The Sea Wolf
I came on deck to find the Ghost heading up close on the port tack and cutting in to
windward of a familiar spritsail close-hauled on the same tack ahead of us. All hands
were on deck, for they knew that something was to happen when Leach and Johnson
were dragged aboard.
It was four bells. Louis came aft to relieve the wheel. There was a dampness in the air,
and I noticed he had on his oilskins.
"What are we going to have?" I asked him.
"A healthy young slip of a gale from the breath iv it, sir," he answered, "with a splatter iv
rain just to wet our gills an' no more."
"Too bad we sighted them," I said, as the Ghost's bow was flung off a point by a large sea
and the boat leaped for a moment past the jibs and into our line of vision.
Louis gave a spoke and temporized. "They'd never iv made the land, sir, I'm thinkin'."
"Think not?" I queried.
"No, sir. Did you feel that?" (A puff had caught the schooner, and he was forced to put
the wheel up rapidly to keep her out of the wind.) "'Tis no egg-shell'll float on this sea an
hour come, an' it's a stroke iv luck for them we're here to pick 'em up."
Wolf Larsen strode aft from amidships, where he had been talking with the rescued men.
The cat-like springiness in his tread was a little more pronounced than usual, and his eyes
were bright and snappy.
"Three oilers and a fourth engineer," was his greeting. "But we'll make sailors out of
them, or boat-pullers at any rate. Now, what of the lady?"
I know not why, but I was aware of a twinge or pang like the cut of a knife when he
mentioned her. I thought it a certain silly fastidiousness on my part, but it persisted in
spite of me, and I merely shrugged my shoulders in answer.
Wolf Larsen pursed his lips in a long, quizzical whistle.
"What's her name, then?" he demanded.
"I don't know," I replied. "She is asleep. She was very tired. In fact, I am waiting to hear
the news from you. What vessel was it?"