“Could Mr. Singleton have been on deck without you seeing him?”
“Yes, if he did not move around or smoke. I could see his pipe lighted.”
“Did you see his pipe that night?”
“If you were sick, would you be likely to smoke?”
This question, I believe, was ruled out.
“In case the wheel of the vessel were lashed for a short time, what would happen?”
“Depends on the weather. She’d be likely to come to or fall off considerable.”
“Would the lookout know it?”
“The sails would show it, sir.”
That closed the proceedings for the day. The crowd seemed reluctant to disperse. Turner’s lawyers were in troubled consultation with him. Singleton was markedly more cheerful, and I thought the prosecution looked perturbed and uneasy. I went back to jail that night, and dreamed of Elsa—not as I had seen her that day, bending forward, watching every point of the evidence, but as I had seen her so often on the yacht, facing into the salt breeze as if she loved it, her hands in the pockets of her short white jacket, her hair blowing back from her forehead in damp, close-curling rings.
“A bad woman”
Charlie Jones was called first, on the second day of the trial. He gave his place of birth as Pennsylvania, and his present shore address as a Sailors’ Christian Home in New York. He offered, without solicitation, the information that he had been twenty-eight years in the Turner service, and could have been “up at the top,” but preferred the forecastle, so that he could be an influence to the men.
His rolling gait, twinkling blue eyes, and huge mustache, as well as the plug of tobacco which he sliced with a huge knife, put the crowd in good humor, and relieved somewhat the somberness of the proceedings.
“Where were you between midnight and 4 A.M. on the morning of August 12?”
“At the wheel.”
“You did not leave the wheel during that time?”
“When was that?”
“After they found the captain’s body. I went to the forward companion and looked down.”
“Is a helmsman permitted to leave his post?”
“With the captain lying dead down in a pool of blood, I should think-”
“Never mind thinking. Is he?”
“What did you do with the wheel when you left it?”
“Lashed it. There are two rope-ends, with loops, to lash it with. When I was on the Sarah Winters—”
“Stick to the question. Did you see the mate, Mr. Singleton, during your watch?”
“Every half-hour from 12.30 to 1.30. He struck the bells. After that he said he was sick. He thought he’d been poisoned. He said he was going forward to lie down, and for me to strike them.”