The Mystery HTML version
The Graven Image
I had every reason to be satisfied with my disguise,--if such it could be called. Captain
Selover at first failed to recognise me. Then he burst into his shrill cackle.
"Didn't know you," he trebled. "But you look shipshape. Come, I'll show you your
Immediately I discovered what I had suspected before; that on so small a schooner the
mate took rank with the men rather than the afterguard. Cabin accommodations were of
course very limited. My own lurked in the waist of the ship--a tiny little airless hole.
"Here's where Johnson stayed," proffered Selover. "You can bunk here, or you can go in
the foc'sle with the men. They's more room there. We'll get under way with the turn of
He left me. I examined the cabin. It was just a trifle larger than its single berth, and the
berth was just a trifle larger than myself. My chest would have to be left outside. I
strongly suspected that my lungs would have to be left outside also; for the life of me I
could not see where the air was to come from. With a mental reservation in favour of
investigating the forecastle, I went on deck.
The Laughing Lass was one of the prettiest little schooners I ever saw. Were it not for the
lines of her bilges and the internal arrangement of her hold, it might be imagined she had
been built originally as a pleasure yacht. Even the rake of her masts, a little forward of
the plumb, bore out this impression, which a comparatively new suit of canvas, well
stopped down, brass stanchions forward, and two little guns under tarpaulins, almost
confirmed. One thing struck me as peculiar. Her complement of boats was ample enough.
She had two surf boats, a dingy, and a dory slung to the davits. In addition another dory,--
the one you picked me up in--was lashed to the top of the deck house.
"They'd mighty near have a boat apiece," I thought, and went forward.
Just outside the forecastle hatch I paused. Someone below was singing in a voice
singularly rich in quality. The words and the quaintness of the minor air struck me
immensely and have clung to my memory like a burr ever since.
"'Are you a man-o'-war or a privateer,' said he.
Blow high, blow low, what care we!
'Oh, I am a jolly pirate, and I'm sailing for my fee.'
Down on the coast of the high Barbare-e-e."
I stepped to the companion. The voice at once ceased. I descended.
A glimmer of late afternoon struggled through the deadlights. I found myself in a really
commodious space,--extending far back of where the forward bulk-heads are usually