“An’ this is the beggar we’re taking back to the States to be skipper of some American ship, maybe this same one, if he gets clear of the killing of his quartermaster off Melbourne,” said the bos’n.
“An’ that’s the reason, by your leave, Mr. Rolling,” said Jim, “I say it’s best to go back again and deliver this man up to the proper authorities.”
“As far as I’m concerned,” I answered, “I would just as soon see him safe where the wind won’t annoy him; but I’m not the skipper, and if you want to get any satisfaction you’ll have to go aft.”
“We did,” said the bos’n; “we asked the old man, but he wouldn’t hear of it, and Trunnell is with him.”
“Trunnell is with him because he thinks it right,” said Jim, with a shrewd look at me; “but if you were to try to persuade him, I believe he would come around all right.”
“Why fo’ not put him abo’ad the English ship, sah,” put in the “doctor.” “I votes we ax the ole man to put ’im abo’ad her.”
All were agreeable to this proposition and decided to go aft the first thing in the morning watch. Jim stuck out for going back.
“If you were to go with us, Mr. Rolling, we might persuade Trunnell,” said he.
“It’s no use, he never would—” Before we could continue the discussion further the bells struck out loudly, and the bos’n and I went on deck for our watch.
It was a fine, clear night, and I was glad to get the course from the mate and walk fore and aft on the weather side of the poop to enjoy it.
The morning dawned calm and beautiful. The heavy, oily swell, which still ran from the effects of the blow, moved in long, smooth humps upon the sea. Far to the eastward the light of the rising sun tinted the cirrus clouds above with a rosy hue.
I was quite tired from the effects of the gale, and the morning watch is always a cheerless one. The steward had coffee ready, however, and after a good drink I felt better, and got out the glass to see if I could make out the Sovereign. We had been drifting all night, so that in the mid-watch Trunnell wore ship and stood up for her to keep in sight. There she lay, about three miles away