“Let Dalton provision the whale-boat, and you men get out,” said Mr. Bell after I had finished whispering my views to Chips.
“Yes,” said the steward; “you men stay where you are, and I’ll put the stuff aboard for you, and then you can get out.”
“All right,” I answered; “go ahead.”
Some of us sat about the after-skylight, while Andrews and his gang disposed themselves, as comfortably as they might, around the mizzen. Dalton went down over the poop, and entered the cabin from forward, and Chips, Johnson, and myself looked over our dead.
Jim lay where he fell. There was no sign of life, and Chips swore softly at the villain’s work, when we laid his head back upon the planks. Hans breathed slightly, but he was going fast. We poured some spirits between his lips, but he relaxed, and was lifeless in a few minutes. Phillippi lay with his eyes staring up at the sky. His knife was still clutched in his dark hand, and his teeth shone white beneath his black mustache. The other sailor was dead, and while we looked for some sign of life, I heard a smothered sob come from aft. We turned and saw a slender white form bending over the body of Captain Sackett. The moon was rising in the east, lighting the heavens and making a long silver wake over the calm ocean. By its light I made out Miss Sackett, holding the head of her dead father in her lap, and crying softly.
The moon rose higher, and Dalton came and went, carrying provisions up from the cabin. These he lowered into our boat, which was hauled alongside, Jenks taking a hand when necessary, although he never came aft far enough to encounter any of our men. Andrews sat quietly on the deck and had his cuts bound up and dressed, while Mr. Bell went below to the medicine chest for whatever he wanted. We kept well apart, each side feeling a distrust for the other, and neither caring to provoke a conflict.
In about an hour Dalton announced the boat was ready.
“There’s salt junk enough for all hands a week or two, and ship’s bread for a month. There’s water in the breaker. You can go when you’re ready,” said Journegan.
I went aft to Miss Sackett, where she had sat motionless for a long time with her face buried in her hands, as if to shut out the cruel sight around her.
“We will leave the ship in a few minutes,” said I, taking her by the hand, and trying to raise her gently to her feet. “You must try to bear up to go with us. Try to walk evenly and quickly when the time comes, for there may be a struggle yet.”
She let fall her hands from her face, and I saw her eyes, dry and bright in the moonlight.
“Can’t you kill them?” she asked quietly. “Oh, if I were only a man!” Then she drew herself up to her full height, and gazed hard at the group of ruffians at the mizzen.
“I’ll have to go below first, and get my things,” she said. “I suppose you know what is best, to go or stay?”