The After House
19. I Take The Stand
And now I come, with some hesitation, to the trial. Hesitation, because I relied on
McWhirter to keep a record. And McWhirter, from his notes, appears to have
been carried away at times by excitement, and either jotted down rows of
unintelligible words, or waited until evening and made up his notes, like a
woman's expense account, from a memory never noticeable for accuracy.
At dawn, the morning after we anchored, Charlie Jones roused me, grinning.
"Friend of yours over the rail, Leslie," he said. "Wants to take you ashore!"
I knew no one in Philadelphia except the chap who had taken me yachting once,
and I felt pretty certain that he would not associate Leslie the football player with
Leslie the sailor on the Ella. I went reluctantly to the rail, and looked down. Below
me, just visible in the river mist of the early morning, was a small boat from which
two men were looking up. One was McWhirter!
"Hello, old top," he cried. "Or is it you behind that beard? "
"It's I, all right, Mac," I said, somewhat huskily. What with seeing him again, his
kindly face behind its glasses, the cheerful faith in me which was his contribution
to our friendship, - even the way he shook his own hand in default of mine, - my
throat tightened. Here, after all, was home and a friend.
He looked up at the rail, and motioned to a rope that hung there.
"Get your stuff and come with us for breakfast," he said. "You look as if you
hadn't eaten since you left."
"I'm afraid I can't, Mac."
"They're not going to hold you, are they?"
"For a day or so, yes."