With that he gave an order to the steersman, and sent Riach to the foretop. So, as I say, it fell to Mr. Riach to go aloft, and he sat there looking out and hailing the deck with news of all he saw. "The sea to the south is thick," he cried; and then, after a while, "it does seem clearer in by the land." "Well, sir," said Hoseason to Alan, "we'll try your way of it.
Suddenly with a simultaneous motion these men tore off their masks so that for a moment Asti and Tua saw their faces and behold! the face of the captain was the face of Pharaoh, Tua's father, and the face of the steersman was the face of Mermes, Asti's husband. For one moment only did they see them, then a dark cloud hid the dying sun, and when it passed that ship was gone, whither they knew not.
It was so sudden, and cut so sharply across the path of the Spider, that Allen narrowly avoided a collision. "Why don't you look before you come out?" he called sharply to the steersman of the smaller craft. "Why don't you keep more to the middle of the river?" was the retort, and then the boat shot around and took the same direction as the one in which the Spider was going.
Presently they approached a canal over which they rushed, and, for one moment, glanced down on the antipodal mode of locomotion a boat going three miles an hour with its steersman half asleep and smoking at the helm!
He returned to the river as steersman for George Ealer, whom he loved, and in September of that year obtained a full license as Mississippi River pilot from St. Louis to New Orleans. In eighteen months he had packed away in his head all those wearisome details and acquired that confidence that made him one of the elect.
His back was towards me, but there was something about that closely cropped head that I recognized instantly. "Way enough!" cried the steersman, and all the oars stood upright in the air. The man in the bow seized the boat-hook, and, turning round quickly, showed me the honest face of Sailor Ben of the Typhoon. "It's Sailor Ben!" I cried, nearly pushing Pepper Whitcomb overboard in my excitement.
Then below, far below her, as if in the entrails of the earth, a door slammed heavily; and the quiet house vibrated to it from roof to foundations, more than to a clap of thunder. He never returned. The white man, leaning with both arms over the roof of the little house in the stern of the boat, said to the steersman "We will pass the night in Arsat's clearing. It is late."
Then the steersman was seen to nudge the skipper in the side. 'Yes; but then you must whisper to me, said the latter.
Pardon us, gentle deity, for the violence we have done you, and give success to our undertakings. Dictys, one of my best hands for climbing the mast and coming down by the ropes, and Melanthus, my steersman, and Epopeus, the leader of the sailor's cry, one and all exclaimed, 'Spare your prayers for us. So blind is the lust of gain! When they proceeded to put him on board I resisted them.
In the morning, ill as I felt myself, I managed to gain the deck with the help of the steward, and sat down near the steersman to enjoy the aspect of that grandest of nature's phenomena a storm at sea. Holding tightly on, I bade defiance to the waves, which broke over the ship and wetted me all over, as though to cool my feverish heat.