. . . A MOONLESS NIGHT, THICK WITH STARS ABOVE, VERY DARK ON THE WATER*
"In the mess-room Powell found Mr. Franklin hacking at a piece of cold salt beef with a table knife. The mate, fiery in the face and rolling his eyes over that task, explained that the carver belonging to the mess- room could not be found. The steward, present also, complained savagely of the cook. The fellow got things into his galley and then lost them. Mr. Franklin tried to pacify him with mournful firmness.
"'There, there! That will do. We who have been all these years together in the ship have other things to think about than quarrelling among ourselves.'
"Mr. Powell thought with exasperation: 'Here he goes again,' for this utterance had nothing cryptic for him. The steward having withdrawn morosely, he was not surprised to hear the mate strike the usual note. That morning the mizzen topsail tie had carried away (probably a defective link) and something like forty feet of chain and wire-rope, mixed up with a few, heavy iron blocks, had crashed down from aloft on the poop with a terrifying racket.
"'Did you notice the captain then, Mr. Powell? Did? you notice?'
" Powell confessed frankly that he was too scared himself when all that lot of gear came down on deck to notice anything.
"'The gin-block missed his head by an inch,' went on