“Haven’t time!” exclaimed Lynch.
“No; I’ve got a big job on my hands.”
“Making a chain.”
“Making a what?”
“Making a chain.”
“A watch chain?”
“I think it will be a watch chain; but I’ll tell you about it when we are alone. Do you understand?”
“No, I don’t.”
“Keep still then.”
Shuffles turned in, and the others followed his example. He did not sleep, if they did, for his soul was full of rage and malice. He was studying up the means of revenge; and he had matured a project, so foolhardy that it was ridiculous, and his mind was fully occupied with it.
At twelve o’clock he was called to take his place with the first part of the port watch on deck. Belonging to each quarter watch, there were five petty officers, four of whom were to call the portion of the crew who were to relieve those on duty. Shuffles was called by one of these.
The wind was freshening when he went on deck, and the ship was going rapidly through the water. At the last heaving of the log she was making eleven knots, with her studding sails still set. Mr. Fluxion came on deck at eight bells.
Wilton, Sanborn, and Adler were in the watch with Shuffles, and the malcontent lost not a moment in pushing forward the scheme he had matured. Fortunately or unfortunately, he was placed on the lookout with Wilton, and the solitude of the top-gallant forecastle afforded them a good opportunity for the conference.
THE GAMBLERS IN NO. 8.
“It’s coming on to blow,” said Wilton, as the lookouts took their stations on the top-gallant forecastle.
“I don’t think it will blow much; it is only freshening a little,” replied Shuffles.
“Now, what about the mutiny?” demanded Wilton, impatiently, after he had become more accustomed to the dash of the sea under the bows of the ship.
“Don’t call it by that name,” replied Shuffles, earnestly. “Never use that word again.”
“That’s what you mean—isn’t it? You might as well call things by their right names.”
“It’s an ugly word, and if any one should happen to hear it, their attention would be attracted at once. We musn’t get in the habit of using it.”
“I don’t know what you are going to do yet,” added Wilton.
“It’s a big job; but I mean to put it through, even if I am sure of failure.”
“What’s the use of doing that? Do you want to get the fellows into a scrape for nothing?”
“There will be no failure, Wilton; you may depend upon that. There will be a row on board within a day or two, and, if I mistake not, nearly all the fellows will be so mad that they will want to join us.”
“Do you know the reason why I wouldn’t shake props this evening?”
“I’m sure I don’t.”