The After House
12. The First Mate Talks
Williams came up on deck late that afternoon, with a scared face, and
announced that Mr. Turner had locked himself in his cabin, and was raving in
delirium on the other side of the door. I sent Burns down having decided, in view
of Mrs. Johns's accusation, to keep away from the living quarters of the family.
Burns's report corroborated what Williams had said. Turner was in the grip of
delirium tremens, and the Ella was without owner or officers.
Turner refused to open either door for us. As well as we could make out, he was
moving rapidly but almost noiselessly up and down the room, muttering to
himself, now and then throwing himself on the bed, only to get up at once. He
rang his bell a dozen times, and summoned Williams, only, in reply to the butler's
palpitating knock, to stand beyond the door and refuse to open it or to voice any
request. The situation became so urgent that finally I was forced to go down, with
no better success.
Mrs. Turner dragged herself across, on the state of affairs being reported to her,
and, after two or three abortive attempts, succeeded in getting a reply from him.
"Marsh!" she called. "I want to talk to you. Let me in."
"They'll get us," he said craftily.
"Us? Who is with you?"
"Vail," he replied promptly. "He's here talking. He won't let me sleep."
"Tell him to give you the key and you will keep it for him so no one can get him," I
prompted. I had had some experience with such cases in the hospital.
She tried it without any particular hope, but it succeeded immediately. He pushed
the key out under the door, and almost at once we heard him throw himself on
the bed, as if satisfied that the problem of his security was solved.