Mark brought in food, merely opening the door slightly, and sliding the tray in on the floor. No words were exchanged, nor was the tray removed until just at twilight, when the fellow appeared again on a similar mission. It became dark, but no light was furnished. Outside the clouds had thickened, and a heavy swell was tossing the vessel about rather roughly. Seemingly the engine was merely endeavouring to maintain head-way, with no port in immediate prospect; they were steering aimlessly into the promise of a stormy night. No sound reached him from the cabin, and finally, worn out mentally and physically, West flung himself on the lower bunk, and lay there motionless, staring up into the intense darkness.
THE SINKING YACHT
Lying there motionless, yet wide awake, his senses alert, every slightest sound and movement made clearer the situation. He could feel the laboured efforts of the vessel, the slap of waves against the side, the rush of water astern. Occasionally the echo of a voice reached him from the deck above, and once footsteps were audible almost over his head. The engine strokes were regular, but slow, the vibrations shaking the boat in its sturdy battling against the forces of the sea. The Seminole rolled heavily, yet there was nothing at all alarming in her actions, and West felt no premonition of illness, or fear as to the sea-worthiness of the little craft. Whoever was handling her was evidently a seaman, quite capable of conquering a storm of this magnitude. No noise came to him from the cabin, yet he had no thought it could be deserted. Hogan would certainly retain a guard there, and probably others—with no duties of seamanship weighing on them—would seek refuge there from the wind-swept deck above. No doubt the fellows had a skipper, as neither Hogan, nor the man Mark, bore any resemblance to a lake sailor. Quite possibly the entire crew were innocent of what was actually transpiring aboard, and equally indifferent, so long as their wages were satisfactory. Yet it was even more probable that they had been selected for this special service because of lack of ordinary scruples; men who would never question so long as the pay was adequate for the danger involved. It seemed to West the wind and sea were slowly decreasing