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The After House

10. That's Mutiny
Exactly what occurred during Elsa Lee's visit to her brother-in-law's cabin I have
never learned. He was sober, I know, and somewhat dazed, with no recollection
whatever of the previous night, except a hazy idea that he had quarreled with
Jones and I waited outside. He suggested that we have prayers over the bodies
when we placed them in the boat, and I agreed to read the burial service from the
Episcopal Prayer Book. The voices from Turner's cabin came steadily, Miss
Lee's low tones, Turner's heavy bass only now and then. Once I heard her give a
startled exclamation, and both Jones and I leaped to the door. But the next
moment she was talking again quietly.
Ten minutes - fifteen - passed. I grew restless and took to wandering about the
cabin. Mrs. Johns came to the door opposite, and asked to have tea sent down
to the stewardess. I called the request up the companionway, unwilling to leave
the cabin for a moment. When I came back, Jones was standing at the door of
Vail's cabin, looking in. His face was pale.
"Look there!" he said hoarsely. "Look at the bell. He must have tried to push the
I stared in. Williams had put the cabin to rights, as nearly as he could. The
soaked mattress was gone, and a clean linen sheet was spread over the bunk.
Poor Vail's clothing, as he had taken it off the night before, hung on a mahogany
stand beside the bed, and above, almost concealed by his coat, was the bell.
Jones's eyes were fixed on the darkish smear, over and around the bell, on the
white paint.
I measured the height of the bell from the bed. It was well above, and to one side
- a smear rather than a print, too indeterminate to be of any value, sinister, cruel.