A dim idea of the horror he had gone through came upon me.
“Good God, Trunnell,” I said, “did you do it alone?”
“Well, there ware only one strong one in the lot—but look here, young man, if ye don’t turn in pretty soon, ye’ll be in trouble agin.”
He poured himself out another drink, and put the bottle in the pantry. Then he went on deck, and I turned in to think over the spectacle that must have occurred aboard the blackened derelict. I could see Andrews’s hope and the third mate’s joy at being rescued. I could even picture them undergoing the wild joy I had just felt myself, when we had sighted the Pirate. Then came that nameless something. Had the men seen it? A rescuer coming aboard with a bloody knife in his belt, and the ship standing away again on her course for the States on the other side of the world!
There would be no explanations, and the blackened wreck, half sunken in the swell, would tell no tales. Trunnell was really a strange character.
“Discipline is discipline,” I seemed to hear him saying all my watch below. His step sounded above my head as he walked fore and aft, during his watch; and during the periods of fitful slumber I enjoyed before eight bells struck, I fancied him a great giant whose feet struck with a thunderous sound at every stride. I was almost startled when his great bushy head was thrust into my room door, and he announced loudly that it was the mid-watch, and that I would need a stout jacket to ward off the cold.
For the next three days we went along merrily to the northward, the beginning of the southeast trade behind us, and our skysails drawing full overhead. On the third day Cape Agullas was sighted on our beam. Then, away we went scudding across the South Atlantic Ocean for the equator.
Miss Sackett and her mother came on deck now and enjoyed the beautiful weather. The sufferings they had both gone through had made a deep impression upon them, and they were very quiet. The older woman would sit for hours in a faded dress saved from the wreck of the Sovereign, gazing sadly at the wake sparkling away in the sunshine astern. The bright gleams seemed to light up the memories of her past, and sometimes when I saw her she would have a tear trickling slowly down each cheek. Men as good as Sackett were scarce on deep water.
But the daughter was different. She was sad enough, at times. Being young, however, the loss of her father fell easier upon her. We often found time to chat together during the day watches on deck, and she showed a marked interest in the ship, and the people aboard, talking cheerfully of the future and the probable ending of the voyage. Jenks interested her and likewise Trunnell; but the sturdy mate paid little attention to her, devoting all his time to the affairs of her mother.