“The wind keeps just the same,” Hawkins said. “I can’t make it more than three and a half knots through the water. I would give a year’s pay if it would go round dead ahead of us; we should soon pick her up then. As it is, she keeps crawling away. However, we can make her out, on such a night as this, a good deal further than she is likely to get before morning. Besides, we shall be having the moon up soon, and as we are steering pretty nearly east, it will show her up famously.
“Now I will give you the same advice that you gave the governor. You had much better lie down for a bit. Purvis has gone down for a sleep, Perry will go down when he comes up at twelve, and I shall get an hour or two myself later on.”
“I won’t go down,” George said, “but I will bring a couple of blankets up and lie down aft. I promised the Major that I would let him know if there was any change in the wind, or in the brigantine’s course, so wake me directly there is anything to tell him. I have put his bell within reach. I have no doubt I shall hear it through that open skylight if he rings; but if not, wake me at once.”
“All right. Trust us for that.”
Twice during the night George got up and went below. The first time Frank had not moved. The second he found that the tumbler of lime juice and water, on the table at the side of the bunk, was nearly half emptied; and that his master had again gone off to sleep and was breathing quietly and regularly.
“He is going on all right,” he said to Hawkins, when he went up. “There is no fever yet, anyhow, for he has drunk only half that glass of lime juice. If he had been feverish he would not have stopped until he had got to the bottom of it.”
When George next woke, the morning was breaking.
“Anything new?” he asked Purvis, who was now at the tiller.
“Nothing whatever. The governor has not rung his bell. The wind is just as it was, neither better nor worse, and the brigantine is eight miles ahead of us.”
George went forward to have a look at her.
“I think I had better wake him,” he said to himself. “He will have had nine hours of it, and he won’t like it if I don’t let him know that it is daylight. I will get two or three fresh limes squeezed, and then go in to him.”
This time Frank opened his eyes as he entered.
“Morning is breaking, Major, and everything is as it was. I hope that you are feeling better for your sleep. Let me help you up. Here is a tumbler of fresh lime juice.”
“I feel right enough, George. I can scarcely believe that it is morning. How I have slept—and I fancied that I should not have gone off at all.”
Drinking off the lime juice, Frank at once followed Lechmere on deck, and after a word or two with Purvis hurried forward.
“She is a long way ahead,” he said, with a tone of disappointment.
“The mate reckoned it between seven and eight miles, Major.”