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damned engineer would pull my beard and tell me to rightabout. They
never got away with a line of chatter like that when Black McTee was
speaking to them. Never!"

At this comparison the face of Henshaw grew marvelously evil.

"McTee," he said, "men step lively when you speak to them - but they
jump out of their skins when they hear White Henshaw's voice."

"That's what I've heard," said the other dauntlessly, "but d'you think
Campbell ever would have taken this chance if he didn't know you're not
what you used to be?"

For reply Henshaw set his teeth and dipped the pen into the ink. As he
poised it above the paper, Sloan appeared at the door calling: "One
minute, captain!"

The captain turned livid and rose slowly, crumpling the paper as he did
so and letting it drop to the floor.

"Out with it!" he muttered in a hoarse whisper. "She's worse again!
Damn you, McTee, I told you this message was bad luck!"

The wireless operator was much puzzled and glance from the Scotchman
to his skipper.

"I only wanted to know, sir, if you wish to send an answer
to this last wireless. Any congratulations?"

"No - get out!"

And as Sloan fled from the door with a wondering side glance at McTee,
Henshaw sank back into his chair, picked up the paper on which he was
about to write, and tore it into small bits. Not until this task was
finished was he able to speak to McTee.

"D'you see now? Is there nothing in my superstitions? Why, sir, just
holding that pen over this piece of damnable paper brought Sloan on
the run to my door. If I'd written a single word, he'd of had a message
from the doctors saying that Beatrice was dying. I know!"

"You really think," began McTee, and some of his furious impatience
crept into his voice - "you really think that writing on that piece of
paper with your pen would have brought in Sloan with a wireless message
from the mainland?"

Henshaw shook his head slowly.

"There's no use trying to explain these things," he said, "but
sometimes, McTee, there's a small voice that comes up inside of me and
tells me what to do and what not to do. When I first saw the picture of
Beatrice - that one where she's just a slip of a child - there was a
voice that said: 'Here's the spirit of your dead wife come back to
life. You must work for her and cherish her.' So I've done it. And
because I started to do it, the voice never left me. It warned me when
to put to sea and when to stay in port. It gave me a hint when to buy
and when to sell, and the result is that I'm rich - rich - rich. Gold in
my hand and gold in my brain, McTee!"

The Scotchman began to feel more and more that old age or his monomania
had shaken White Henshaw's reason, but he said bitterly: "And I
suppose, if that voice never fails you and if these South Seas natives
can read the future, that you are bound to burn at sea?"

"Damn you!" said Henshaw, terribly moved. "What devil keeps putting
that in your brain? Isn't it in mine all the day and all the night?
Don't I see hellfire in the dark? Don't I see the same flames, blue and
thin, dancing in the light of the sun at midday? Is the thing ever out
of my mind? Were you put on this ship to keep dinning the idea into my
ears? If there's something more than the life on earth, then there must
be a hell - and if there's a hell, then it's real hellfire that I see!"

He paused and pointed a gaunt, trembling arm at McTee:

"D'you understand? The men I've killed before they died - they send
their spirits here to walk beside me. They wait in the dark - and they
whisper in my ear!"

McTee swallowed hard and commenced to edge toward the door.

"Farley is always hanging around - Farley, as I saw him on the beach
that last time in his loincloth, with his pig eyes; sometimes he seems
to be begging me to take pity on him; sometimes he seems to be laughing
at me. And he's always got his hand outstretched. And Collins comes
stroking his beard in the way he had, and he keeps his hand stretched
out to me. What do they want? Alms! Alms! Alms! They want my soul for
alms to take it below and burn it in the hellfire - the thin, blue

He stopped in the midst of his ravings and drew himself erect, a smile
of infinite cruelty on his lips.

"Let them all come with their damned, empty palms! They're ghosts, and
they cannot stop me so long as I follow the small voice that's inside
of me. They can't stop me, and I'll win back to Beatrice. There I'm
safe - safe! Her hands are thin and light and cool and as fragrant as
flowers. She'll lay them on my eyelids and I'll go to sleep! And the
ghosts will close their empty hands. Ha! McTee, d'you know aught of the
power of a woman's love?"

He stepped close to the burly Scotchman.

"Keep off," growled McTee. "I want none of you! There's poison in your

He raised his hand like a guard, but two lean, thin hands,
incredibly strong, closed on his wrists.

"A woman's love," went on the old buccaneer of the South Seas, "is
stronger than armor plate to save the man she cares for. You can't see
it; you could never see it! But I tell you there are times when the
ghosts have come close to me, and then sometimes I've seen the shadows
of thin, small hands come in front of me and push them back. The hands
of Beatrice push them back, and they're helpless to harm me!"


But McTee wrenched his arms away and fled out on the deck. He blundered
into Jerry Hovey, who started back at sight of him.

"What's happened, sir?" asked the bos'n. "Been seein' ghosts?"

"Damn you," growled McTee, "I had a nap and a bad dream - a hell of a

"You look it! You heard what Harrigan said? Does that sound as if I had
enough backing?"

"If the rest of them are as strong for it as Harrigan, it does."

"As strong for it as Harrigan? Between you and me - just a whisper in
your ear - I don't think Harrigan is half as strong for it as he talks.
I don't trust him, somehow."


"Look here," said the bos'n cautiously. "We hear there was once some
trouble between you and Harrigan?"


"Would you waste much tune if somethin' was to happen to him - say in
the middle of the night, silent and unexpected?"

"I would not! Take him by the foot and heave him into the sea. Very
good idea, Hovey. Is he getting the eyes of the lads too much?"

Hovey fenced: "He's a landlubber, and he don't understand sea things.
He's better out of the way."

"How'll you do it?" asked McTee softly. "Speak out, Hovey. Would you
try your own hand on Harrigan?"

"Not me! I know a better way. There's one that's in the mutiny who has
a hand as strong as mine - almost - and a foot as silent as the paw of a
cat. I'll give him the tip."

"And now for the details of the attack," said McTee, anxious not to lay
too much stress upon the destruction of Harrigan.

"Here it is," answered Hovey, and entered into an elaborate description
of all their plans. McTee listened with faraway eyes. He heard the
words, but he was thinking of the death of Harrigan.

That invincible Irishman, after his talk with Hovey in front of the
cabin of Kate, returned to the cool room of the chief engineer. The
worthy Campbell, in wait for the ultimatum of White Henshaw, had been
fortifying himself steadily with liquor, and by the middle of the
afternoon he had reached a state in which he had no care for
consequences; he would have defied all the powers upon earth and beyond

The next morning, as he went up to his usual task of scrubbing the
bridge, Harrigan thought he perceived a possible reason why his
persecution was being neglected. It was the picture of McTee and Kate
Malone leaning at the rail. McTee was content. There was no doubt of
that. He leaned above Kate and talked seriously down into her face.
Harrigan was mightily tempted to turn about and climb to the bridge
from the other side of the deck, but he made himself march on and begin
whistling a tune.

McTee raised his head instantly, and, staring at the Irishman, he
murmured a word to Kate, and she turned and regarded Harrigan with an
almost painful curiosity. He was about to swagger past her when she
shook off the detaining hand of McTee and ran to the Irishman.

"Dan," she said eagerly, and laid a hand on his arm.

"Come back, Kate," growled McTee. "You've promised me not to speak - "

"Did you promise him not to speak with me again?" broke in Harrigan.

"I only meant - " she began.

"It's little I care what you meant," said the Irishman coldly, and he
shook off her hand. "Go play with McTee. I want none of ye! After I've
slaved for ye an' saved ye from God knows what, ye dare to turn and
make them eyes cold and distant when ye look at me? Ah-h, get back to
McTee! I'm through with ye!"

She only insisted the more: "I _will_ speak to you, Dan!"

"Come away, Kate," urged McTee, grinding his teeth. "Doesn't this prove
what I told you?"

"I don't care what it proves," she said hotly. "Dan, I've been thinking
grisly things of you. I simply can't believe them now that I look you
in the face."

"Whisht!" said Harrigan, and his face was black. "Have you the right to
doubt me?"

She answered sadly: "I have, Dan."

The Irishman turned slowly away and started up for the bridge without
answer. As he went, he groaned beneath his breath: "Ochone! Ochone!
She's heard!"

He could not dream how she knew of the mutiny, but if it was carried
through, he was damned in her eyes forever. What she guessed McTee must
know. What McTee knew must be familiar to White Henshaw, yet Henshaw
could not know, for if he did, the ring-leaders would be instantly
clapped into irons. Once or twice he looked down from his work to Kate
and McTee. They still leaned at the rail, talking seriously.

And McTee was saying: "I have learned what I want to know. Every detail
of the plot is in my hands. Now I am going to the cabin of White
Henshaw and tell him everything. It's the simplest way. And you've
started a suspicion in the mind of Harrigan. He'll spread the word to
the rest of the mutineers, and they'll be on their watch against us."

She made a little gesture of appeal. "I couldn't help speaking to him,
Angus. Suspecting him of such a thing is like - is like suspecting

"Let it go. It's done. Now I'm going up to see White Henshaw. The old
man will be crazy when he hears it."

He found the captain giving some orders to Salvain, and waited until
they were alone. Then he said: "There are about ten of us against the
rest of the crew of the ship. Can we hold them in case of a mutiny?"

He had planned this laconic statement carefully, expecting to see
Henshaw turn pale and stammer in terror. Instead, the captain regarded
McTee with quietly contemplative eyes.

"So," he murmured, "you've heard of the mutiny?"

The tables were completely turned on the Scotchman. He gasped: "You
have known all the time?"

"Certainly," said Henshaw; "I even know every word that Hovey said to

McTee turned crimson.

"I have eyes that see everything on the ship," went on Henshaw, as if
he wished to cover the embarrassment of the Scotchman, "and I have ears
which hear everything. I have lines of information tangled through the
forecastle. I can almost guess what they are about to think, let alone
what they will speak or do. The blockheads are always planning a
mutiny, though I confess none of them have ever taken the proportions
of this one. However, this will go the way of the rest."

"The way of the rest?" queried McTee almost stupidly.

"Yes. They plan to hold their action till we're close to the land.
About that time I'll call up one or two of the ring-leaders and tell
them just what they have planned to do. That'll make them think I have
unknown means of meeting the mutiny. It will die."

McTee sat down, loosened his shirt at the throat, and gaped upon
Henshaw as a child might gape upon a magician.

"I don't blame you for taking a day to think over the temptation,"
smiled the old buccaneer. "The gold I showed you would have tempted any
man. But I'm glad you came to me. I expected you last night. It took
you a little longer to settle the details in your mind, eh?"

"Henshaw, I feel like a yellow dog!"

"Come! Come! You're a man after my own heart. You took the temptation
in your hand - you looked it over - and then you turned away from it.
Well, and suppose the mutiny should actually come to the breaking
point; they would be right in thinking I have means of fighting them. I
have no firearms on the ship; they know that. They don't know that I
have these."

He went into the next room and returned carrying a heavy box. This he
placed on the desk and took a small, heavy ball of metal from it.

"A bomb?" queried McTee.

"It is. The moment a group gathers, one of these tossed among them will
end the mutiny the moment it begins."

McTee handed back the bomb in silence. There was something about this
cold-blooded way of speaking of death which was not cruelty - it was
something greater - it was an absolute disregard of life.

"Of course," said Henshaw, as he came back from depositing the box in
the next room, "there are only half a dozen of those bombs, but that
will be enough. The explosion of a couple of them would just about
wreck the deck. However, the mutiny will never reach the point of
action. I'll see to that. What always ties the hands of the crew is
that it lacks real leaders. Hovey, for instance, will turn to water
when I say three words about the mutiny to him."

"But Harrigan," said McTee quietly, "will not."

"The Irishman!" Henshaw muttered. "I forgot. McTee, I'm getting old!"

"Only careless," answered the other, "but it's a bad thing to be
careless where Harrigan is concerned. A man like that, Henshaw, could
lead your mutineers, and lead them well. Hovey told me that every one
of the crew looks up to the Irishman."

"He's got to be crippled - or put out of the way," stated Henshaw
calmly. "I was a fool. I forgot about Harrigan."

"It may be," said McTee, "that he'll be put out of the way tonight."

"McTee, I begin to see that you have brains."

The latter waved the sinister compliment aside.

"Suppose the little - er - experiment fails? Doesn't it occur to you that
that message might be written out and sent to Campbell?"

The captain changed color, and his eyes shifted.

"I've told you - " he began.

"Nonsense," said McTee. "I'll write the thing, if you want, and all
you'll have to do is to sign it."

"Would that make any difference?" asked Henshaw wistfully.

"Of course," said McTee. "Here we go. You've got to do something to
tame Harrigan, captain, or there'll be the deuce to pay."

And as he spoke, he picked up pen and paper and began to write, Henshaw
in the meantime walking to the door in an agony of apprehension as if
he expected to see the dreaded figure of Sloan appear. McTee wrote:

_From Captain Henshaw to Chief Engineer Douglas Campbell


On the receipt of this order, you will at once place Daniel Harrigan at
work passing coal, beginning this day with a double shift, and
continuing hereafter one shift a day.


"Here you are, captain," he called, and Henshaw turned reluctantly from
the door and sat down at the table.

"Bad luck's in it," he muttered, "but something has to be done -
something has to be done!"

He wrote: "Captain Hensh - " but at this point the voice of Sloan spoke
from the open door.

"A message, captain."

With a choked cry Henshaw whirled and rose, supporting himself against
the edge of the table with both trembling hands. His accusing eyes were
on McTee.

"Sloan!" he called in his hoarse whisper at last, but still
his damning gaze held hard upon McTee.

The wireless operator advanced a step at a time into the room, placed
the written message on the edge of the table, and then sprang back as
if in mortal fear. Henshaw, still keeping his glance upon the Scotchman
with a terrible earnestness, picked up the sheet of paper on which he
had been signing his name, and tore it slowly, methodically, into small
strips. As the last of the small fragments fluttered to the floor, his
hand went out to the message Sloan had brought and drew it to his side.
He waved his arm in a sweeping gesture that commanded the other two
from his presence, and they slipped from the cabin without a word.


"She's dead?" McTee asked softly when they stood on the promenade

"She is. She must have been dying at about the time I brought in that
other message - the one you told me to bring."

They avoided each other's eyes. Inside the cabin they heard a faint
sound like paper crumpled up. Then they caught a moan from the room - a
soft sound such as the wind makes when it hums around the corners of a
tall building.

They were silent for a time, listening with painful intentness. Not
another murmur came from the cabin. Sloan wiped his wet forehead and
whispered shakily: "I wouldn't mind it so much if he'd curse and rave.
But to sit like that, not making a sound - it ain't natural, Captain

"Hush, you fool," said McTee. "White Henshaw is alone with his dead.
And it's me that he blames for it. I brought him the bad luck."

Sloan shuddered.

"Then I wouldn't have your name for ten thousand dollars, sir."

"If there's bad luck," said McTee solemnly, for every sailor has some
superstitious belief, "it's on the entire ship - on every one of the
crew as well as on me. We'll have to pay for this - all of us - and pay
high. We're apt to _feel_ it before long. And I've got to go back to
that cabin after a while!"

He spoke it as another man might say: "And an hour from now I have to
face the firing squad."

But when he returned to the cabin, he heard no outburst of reproaches
from White Henshaw. The door to Henshaw's bedroom was closed, and McTee
could hear the captain stirring about in it, working at some nameless
task over which he hummed continually, now and then breaking into
little snatches of song. McTee was stupefied. He tried to explain to
himself by imagining that Henshaw was one of those hard-headed men who
live for the present and never waste time thinking of the past. He had
made many plans for his granddaughter. Now she was dead, and he
dismissed her from his mind.

This explanation might be the truth, but nevertheless the steady
humming wore on McTee's nerves until finally he knocked on the door of
the inner cabin. It was dusk by this time, and when Henshaw opened the
door, he was carrying a lantern.

"You!" he muttered. "Well, captain?"

"You seem busy," said McTee uneasily, shifting under the steady light
from the lantern. "I thought I might be able to help you."

"At the work I'm doing no man can help," answered Henshaw.

"What work?"

"I'm calculating profit and loss."

"On your cargo?"

"Cargo? Yes, yes! Profit and loss on this cargo."

And he broke into a harsh laugh. Obviously Henshaw was lying, yet the
Scotchman went on with the conversation, eager to draw out some hidden

"It's an odd idea of yours, this, to bring a shipment of wheat from the
south seas to Central America."

"Aye, the first time it's ever been done. This wheat came all the way
from Australia and the United States, and now it's going back again.
I'll tell you why. Wheat is scarce for export even in the States just
now, so I'm taking a gambling chance on getting this to port before the
first quantities come from the north. If I get in in time, I'll clean
up - big."

"I understand," said McTee.

The captain raised his lantern again and shone it in the eyes of McTee.

"Do you understand?" he queried. "Do you?"

And he broke again into the harsh laughter. McTee started back with a

"What's the mystery, captain? What's the secret you're laughing about?"

Again Henshaw chuckled.

"You're a curious man, McTee. Well, well! What am I laughing about?
Money always makes me want to laugh, and now I'm laughing about money.
Do you understand that? No, you don't. Perhaps you will before long.
Patience, my friend!"

For some reason the blood of McTee grew cold and colder as he listened.
His original suspicion of insanity grew weaker. He was being mocked,
and the mad do not mock.

"So tonight is the last night of Harrigan, eh?" said Henshaw suddenly.

"In the name of God," said McTee, deeply shaken, "why do you speak of
that? Yes, tonight he dies!"

"Alone!" said Henshaw in a changed voice. "He dies alone! It must be a
grim thing to die alone at sea - to slip into the black water - to drink
the salt - a little struggle - and then the light goes out. So!"

He shivered and folded his arms. He seemed to be embracing himself to
find warmth.

"But to die in the middle of the ocean with many men around you," he
went on, speaking half to himself, "that would not be so bad. What do
you say, McTee?"

But McTee was not in a mood for speaking. He only stared, fascinated
and dumb. Henshaw continued: "In the middle of night, with the engines
thrumming, and the lights burning in every port, suppose a ship should
put her nose under the surface and dive for the bottom! The men are
singing in the forecastle, and suddenly their song goes out. The
captain is in the wheelhouse. He is dreaming of his home town, maybe,
when he sees the black waters rising over the prow. He thinks it is a
dream and rubs his eyes. Before he can look again, the waves are upon
him. There is no alarm; the wireless, perhaps, is broken; the boats,
perhaps, are useless; and so the brave ship dives down to Davy Jones's
locker with all on board, and the next minute the waves wash over the
spot and rub out all memory of those who died there. Well, well, McTee,
there's a way of dying that would please White Henshaw more than a
death in a bed at a home port, with the landsharks sitting round your
bed grinning and nodding out your minutes of life. Ha?"

But Black McTee, like a frightened child caught in a dark room, turned
and fled in shameless fear into the deep night. Not till he was far aft
did he stop in a quiet place to think of Harrigan dying alone, choking
in the black water.

But Harrigan was far from fear. He lay on the deck above the
forecastle, cradled by the swing of the bows. He shook away the lurking
horror of the mutiny and gave himself up to peace.

In the midst of his sleep he dreamed of lying in a pitch-dark room and
staring up at a brilliant point of light, like a dark lantern partially
unshuttered. And suddenly Harrigan woke, and looking up, he caught a
flashing point of light directly above his eyes. In another moment he
was aware of the dark figure of a man crouched beside him, and then he
knew that the light which glittered over his head was the shimmer of
the stars against a steel blade.

The knife, as he stared, jerked up and then down with a sweep; Harrigan
shot up his hand to meet the blow, and his grip fastened on a wrist.
Wrenching on that wrist, he jerked himself to his knees, and the knife
clattered on the deck, but at the same instant the other man - a dim
figure which he could barely make out in the thick night - rushed on
him, a shoulder struck against his chest, and he was thrown sprawling
on the deck, sliding with the toss of the deck underneath the rail. He
would have fallen overboard had he not kept his grip on that wrist, and
as he reached the perilous edge, the other man jerked back to free his

He succeeded, but the effort checked the slide of Harrigan's great
body, and the next instant the Irishman was on his feet. He drove at
the elusive figure with his balled fist, but the other ducked beneath
the blow and fled down the ladder. Harrigan stopped only long enough to
sweep up the fallen knife before he followed, but when he reached the
edge of the deck, the waist of the ship extending back to the main
cabin was empty. The man, whoever he was, must have fled into the

Harrigan knew that if one of the sailors had dared to attack him, he
must be suspected, and if he was suspected by one, that one would
poison the minds of a dozen others in a short time. It was even
possible that someone in authority had given orders for his death. With
this in mind he climbed down the ladder and opened the door of the
forecastle. He found the sailors sitting in a loose circle on the floor
rolling battered dice out of a time-blackened leather box.

Harrigan sat down on the edge of his bunk, produced the captured knife,
and commenced to sharpen it slowly, without ostentation, on the sole of
his shoe. It was already of a razor keenness. It was a carving knife
evidently stolen from the galley of the ship; it had been ground so

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