to sleep below. It was a calm night. We were out of the Trades, and the Ghost was forging ahead barely a knot an hour. So I tucked a blanket and pillow under my arm and went up on deck.
As I passed between Harrison and the binnacle, which was built into the top of the cabin, I noticed that he was this time fully three points off. Thinking that he was asleep, and wishing him to escape reprimand or worse, I spoke to him. But he was not asleep. His eyes were wide and staring. He seemed greatly perturbed, unable to reply to me.
Whats the matter? I asked. Are you sick?
He shook his head, and with a deep sign as of awakening, caught his breath.
Youd better get on your course, then, I chided.
He put a few spokes over, and I watched the compass-card swing slowly to N.N.W. and steady itself with slight oscillations.
I took a fresh hold on my bedclothes and was preparing to start on, when some movement caught my eye and I looked astern to the rail. A sinewy hand, dripping with water, was clutching the rail. A second hand took form in the darkness beside it. I watched, fascinated. What visitant from the gloom of the deep was I to behold? Whatever it was, I knew that it was climbing aboard by the log-line. I saw a head, the hair wet and straight, shape itself, and then the unmistakable eyes and face of Wolf Larsen. His right cheek was red with blood, which flowed from some wound in the head.
He drew himself inboard with a quick effort, and arose to his feet, glancing swiftly, as he did so, at the man at the wheel, as though to assure himself of his identity and that there was nothing to fear from him. The sea-water was streaming from him. It made little audible gurgles which distracted me. As he stepped toward me I shrank back instinctively, for I saw that in his eyes which spelled death.
All right, Hump, he said in a low voice. Wheres the mate?
I shook my head.
Johansen! he called softly. Johansen!
Where is he? he demanded of Harrison.
The young fellow seemed to have recovered his composure, for he answered steadily enough, I dont know, sir. I saw him go forard a little while ago.
So did I go forard. But you will observe that I didnt come back the way I went. Can you explain it?
You must have been overboard, sir.
Shall I look for him in the steerage, sir? I asked.
Wolf Larsen shook his head. You wouldnt find him, Hump. But youll do. Come on. Never mind your bedding. Leave it where it is.
I followed at his heels. There was nothing stirring amidships.
Those cursed hunters, was his comment. Too damned fat and lazy to stand a four-hour watch.
But on the forecastle-head we found three sailors asleep. He turned them over and looked at their faces. They composed the watch on deck, and it was the ships custom, in good weather, to let the watch sleep with the exception of the officer, the helmsman, and the look-out.
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