The axe is locked in the captain’s cabin.
John Robert Burns
Charles Klineordlinger (Jones)
Witnesses Carl L. Clarke
Joseph Q. Adams
THE FIRST MATE TALKS
Williams came up on deck late that afternoon, with a scared face, and announced that Mr. Turner had locked himself in his cabin, and was raving in delirium on the other side of the door. I sent Burns down having decided, in view of Mrs. Johns’s accusation, to keep away from the living quarters of the family. Burns’s report corroborated what Williams had said. Turner was in the grip of delirium tremens, and the Ella was without owner or officers.
Turner refused to open either door for us. As well as we could make out, he was moving rapidly but almost noiselessly up and down the room, muttering to himself, now and then throwing himself on the bed, only to get up at once. He rang his bell a dozen times, and summoned Williams, only, in reply to the butler’s palpitating knock, to stand beyond the door and refuse to open it or to voice any request. The situation became so urgent that finally I was forced to go down, with no better success.
Mrs. Turner dragged herself across, on the state of affairs being reported to her, and, after two or three abortive attempts, succeeded in getting a reply from him.
“Marsh!” she called. “I want to talk to you. Let me in.”
“They’ll get us,” he said craftily.
“Us? Who is with you?”
“Vail,” he replied promptly. “He’s here talking. He won’t let me sleep.”
“Tell him to give you the key and you will keep it for him so no one can get him,” I prompted. I had had some experience with such cases in the hospital.
She tried it without any particular hope, but it succeeded immediately. He pushed the key out under the door, and almost at once we heard him throw himself on the bed, as if satisfied that the problem of his security was solved.
Mrs. Turner held the key out to me, but I would not take it.
“Give it to Williams,” I said. “You must understand, Mrs. Turner, that I cannot take it.”
She was a woman of few words, and after a glance at my determined face she turned to the butler.
“You will have to look after Mr. Turner, Williams. See that he is comfortable, and try to keep him in bed.”
Williams put out a trembling hand, but, before he took the key, Turner’s voice rose petulantly on the other side of the door.
“For God’s sake, Wilmer,” he cried plaintively, “get out and let me sleep I haven’t slept for a month.”