Sigsand Manuscript


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Williams sent me down for another pin, while he unbent the clewline, and overhauled it down to the sheet. When I returned with the fresh pin, I screwed it into the shackle, clipped on the clewline, and sung out to the men to take a pull on the rope. This they did, and at the second heave the shackle came away. When it was high enough, I went up on to the t'gallant yard, and held the chain, while Williams shackled it into the spectacle. Then he bent on the clew-line afresh, and sung out to the Second Mate that we were ready to hoist away.
"Yer'd better go down an' give 'em a 'aul," he said. "I'll sty an' light up ther syle."
"Right ho, Williams," I said, getting into the rigging. "Don't let the ship's bogy run away with you."
This remark I made in a moment of light-heartedness, such as will come to anyone aloft, at times. I was exhilarated for the time being, and quite free from the sense of fear that had been with me so much of late. I suppose this was due to the freshness of the wind.
"There's more'n one!" he said, in that curiously short way of his.
"What?" I asked.
He repeated his remark.
I was suddenly serious. The reality of all the impossible details of the past weeks came back to me, vivid, and beastly.
"What do you mean, Williams?" I asked him.
But he had shut up, and would say nothing.
"What do you know--how much do you know?" I went on, quickly. "Why did you never tell me that you--"

 束の間の気楽な気分からかけたそんな言葉は、ときどきマストの上で誰もが思い付くようなことだった。それまで付きまとっていた不安もどっかに行ってしまってね。爽やかな風のせいかな。 「上に何人もいやがる!」あいつにしては珍しくはっきりした言い方だった。