“I couldn’t hear the talk, only part of a sentence whispered by that man-woman when the steward came into the cabin during the mid-watch last night with a can of salmon and some ship’s bread. They stood near the door of the alleyway, talking, and I suddenly came bulging into them with rubber boots on. He said something about Andrews being a fine captain and perfectly capable of taking this ship in or out any port on the African coast. That’s all.”
I stopped serving the end of the lanyard I was at work on and looked across the deck to where Andrews stood with several men. His sinister face with its sour smile was turned toward us as though he studied our thoughts.
“You’re not over busy, Mr. Rolling,” said Sackett, coming along the rail to the rigging. “I wish you and the carpenter would try to get a gantline over the side and look along under her for the butt. In this clear water the chances are good for getting a sight of it if it’s well up on her bilge. We ought to stop her up some while the calm lasts.”
At noon Sackett came on deck to take the sun. His second officer, Journegan, a heavily built man with mutton-chop whiskers of a colorless hue, was incapable of the smallest attempt at navigation, so he stood idly by while his superior let the sun rise until it had reached its highest point.
“Eight bells,” cried Sackett, and went below to work out the sight.
“By the grace of God,” echoed Andrews, who had come upon the poop.
The second officer smiled at his attempted wit and struck off the bells. He appeared to be quite friendly with Andrews and stopped a moment afterward to chat with him.
When we went below to dinner the words of Jim were fresh in my mind. How would Andrews try to get clear of us? The fact that he intended to do it I firmly believed, for the ruffian had such a sinister character that I felt certain his only reason for being apparently satisfied at present was because he intended some treachery. What part the third officer of the Pirate would play in the affair I could hardly guess. Jim knew nothing about him, but since he came aboard with Thompson, there was every reason to believe that this rosy-cheeked youngster with the girl’s voice was an accomplished villain. That Andrews and he understood each other was certain. Andrews was most blasphemous at meals, and would endeavor to engage Sackett in an argument concerning devils, hell, and many other subjects not relating to navigation of the Indian Ocean. At such times the third mate would raise his piping voice and plead with Andrews not to shock him with his profanity. The second officer of the Sovereign appeared to enjoy the situation, and would laugh until ordered from the table by Sackett. Miss Sackett, of course, would not dine with the rest, but had her meals served in her stateroom by the steward, who