The Sea Wolf HTML version

Chapter 22
I knew what it was as she came toward me. For ten minutes I had watched her talking
earnestly with the engineer, and now, with a sign for silence, I drew her out of earshot of
the helmsman. Her face was white and set; her large eyes, larger than usual what of the
purpose in them, looked penetratingly into mine. I felt rather timid and apprehensive, for
she had come to search Humphrey Van Weyden's soul, and Humphrey Van Weyden had
nothing of which to be particularly proud since his advent on the Ghost.
We walked to the break of the poop, where she turned and faced me. I glanced around to
see that no one was within hearing distance.
"What is it?" I asked gently; but the expression of determination on her face did not relax.
"I can readily understand," she began, "that this morning's affair was largely an accident;
but I have been talking with Mr. Haskins. He tells me that the day we were rescued, even
while I was in the cabin, two men were drowned, deliberately drowned - murdered."
There was a query in her voice, and she faced me accusingly, as though I were guilty of
the deed, or at least a party to it.
"The information is quite correct," I answered. "The two men were murdered."
"And you permitted it!" she cried.
"I was unable to prevent it, is a better way of phrasing it," I replied, still gently.
"But you tried to prevent it?" There was an emphasis on the "tried," and a pleading little
note in her voice.
"Oh, but you didn't," she hurried on, divining my answer. "But why didn't you?"
I shrugged my shoulders. "You must remember, Miss Brewster, that you are a new
inhabitant of this little world, and that you do not yet understand the laws which operate
within it. You bring with you certain fine conceptions of humanity, manhood, conduct,
and such things; but here you will find them misconceptions. I have found it so," I added,
with an involuntary sigh.
She shook her head incredulously.
"What would you advise, then?" I asked. "That I should take a knife, or a gun, or an axe,
and kill this man?"
She half started back.