The After House
21. 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 i2?"
"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
"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 -"