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The Yearly Tribute by Rosina Hubley Emmet

 

“For science is a cruel mistress. She exacts a yearly tribute of flesh and blood like the dragons of ancient pagan mythology.”

The eminent scientist paused momentarily here and viewed the earnest young faces before him. In this poetic figure of speech he saw fit to present to them the hardships of the life they had chosen to embark upon. It was a hot June morning, and the heavy scent of syringa came in through the high uncurtained windows of the lecture-hall. All the students stared with reverence at this distinguished stranger, who had come a long distance to speak to the graduating class; and one of its members sighed deeply and turned his eyes to the window, and watched some maple leaves moving languidly against the blue sky. The lecturer heard his sigh, saw him fall into abstraction, realized the peculiar character of his face; and marked him as a man who would serve to the end, possibly becoming one of the victims of that cruel mistress.

       * * * * *

Pilchard and Swan had stopped to rest in the middle of the plaza. The black Mexican night was falling and a few stars blossomed in the sky, but there was no abatement in the heat which had held since sunrise; rather, indeed, the thickness of the atmosphere seemed intensified. The two Americans, who had spent a whole year in Mexico and become accustomed to the climate, attempted to make themselves comfortable. Pilchard sank to a dilapidated bench and lighted a cigarette; and Swan, not having even sufficient spirit to smoke, stretched himself bodily on the flat stones which paved the plaza, and placed his old hat upon his upturned face.

Both young men seemed depressed, and without speaking they listened to the moaning of the ocean which heaved and glistened in the distance; and when Pilchard finally said, “So poor Murphy is gone too,” and Swan responded, “His troubles are over, poor fellow,” it showed how completely they had been absorbed in the same thought.

“And Mulligan last week,” Pilchard continued, “and all the others who went before, and Peele taken sick this afternoon. Swan, we're the only white men left.”

“And we've only got ten days left.”

“Oh, I guess we can do it, so long as we're out of the swamp.”

“So long as the swamp isn't in us.”

They were alluding to the railroad they had come to Mexico to build. The time-limit given in the contract would expire in ten days, and it would be a race to get the tracks through the town and down to the new docks in that time. Swan, whenever he thought of it, became restless, and now he sat up with a jerk, and his old hat slipped off his face. Even in that dim light Swan's ugliness was apparent. He measured over six feet and was loose-jointed and ungainly; he had big flat feet, and big bony, capable hands; and his features, which were big and bony too, seemed in proportion to nothing but his general ungainliness. Swan was an inventive Yankee with no background and no tradition. He could not even claim the proverbial Connecticut farm. His people had been dreary commercials in a middle-sized New Hampshire town, and he had worked his way through college to fit himself for a scientific career. His memory of his deceased parents was so colorless that it seemed to Swan as if they had never existed, and his contacts had been so dull, his outlook so dreary, that he had almost no conception of beauty. His plain college room, where, by the hour, he had worked out mathematical problems, and a grimy engine-room (which was the next stage of his advancement), where he had stood in a greasy black shirt, surrounded by an unceasing whir of machinery, and bossed a gang of men—these had been the things which had substituted for him romance and passion and life; and finally, when Pilchard, a college friend, had persuaded him to come down to Mexico and build a railroad, he had taken off his greasy black shirt and gone, principally because this was such a big undertaking, and it would undoubtedly in the end lead to something very much bigger.

The company which was causing the railroad to be built had established large exporting-houses in San Francisco, which sent down certain articles of merchandise to Mexico, and the railroad was designed to transport this freight from one of the southwestern seaport towns to the city of Mexico. The undertaking included the erection of docks with swinging elevators to lift the freight from the vessels and deposit it in the cars, and as the pay was very large and Pilchard was an adventurous soul, he undertook the job when it was offered to him, and going to the manager's office, impressed him with his boldness and ability, and signed his name to the contracts without reading them through; then gayly, and feeling no uneasiness, he buttoned his coat over the neatly folded paper and went to see Swan.

Swan, in a greasy black shirt, was in the engine-room, hard at work, and he was just about to reprimand one of the men when Pilchard came in. Although it was early in May, a spell of precocious heat had taken New York by the throat, and what with the whir of rapidly turning wheels, and the smell of hot machine-oil and perspiring men, there was something filthy and degraded about the atmosphere. Swan suddenly realized this, although it was the only atmosphere he knew anything about. Glancing upward, he saw a little patch of blue sky through the top of one of the grimy windows ... a white cloud sailed past ... and then another ... something akin to longing welled in his heart, something like a wave of despair and hope, a desire to lift himself into a higher and less degraded world.... He looked toward the door and saw Pilchard, and crossing the room, he greeted him warmly and read the contract Pilchard pulled from his pocket.

“That's a queer business,” said Swan, when he had finished.

“How so?”

“Man alive, haven't you read what you've signed your name to?”

“Certainly I've read it.”

“And you think you can put the job through in a year?”

“Why not?” asked Pilchard, with his “cock-sure” smile.

Swan, like every one else, was taken in by this smile, and to convince himself he read the contract again, out loud this time, and in a thoughtful way. Pilchard listened.

The contract guaranteed that a railroad covering two hundred and fifty miles, between the city of Mexico and the little seaport of Zacatula, on the Pacific Ocean, would be built and completed in one year's time, work starting on the 25th of June. Docks and freight-elevators were included in the work, and if the tracks were not in fit condition for the trains to run by the date specified, every penny of the very large pay would be forfeited by the builders. A strange contract, indeed! Pilchard, however, as he heard it read, betrayed by no sign that he was as much surprised as Swan.

“Well,” said Swan, looking up and meeting that “cock-sure” smile, “you think you can do it in a year?”

“I'm certain I can.”

“Of course,” Swan continued, not yet convinced, “it's the worst country on earth; full of swamp and yellow fever.”

“I'll run in a gang of Mexican Indians to lay the ties. They can stand their own climate.”

“But you'll have to take down some white men, too, good fellows who know the business. You can't be the only man to do the bossing. It'd kill you.”

All this time Pilchard was closely watching Swan, and almost unconsciously something had been growing in his mind. Swan had an ugly, resolute face, and endurance seemed to be expressed in every line of his body. Behind him the engine roared, and spit steam, and ground out the produce of a great city factory; his face and hands were grimy and covered with grease, and the black cinders around his deep-set eyes gave him a terrible, deathly look. Pilchard saw instantly that he must have Swan to do the work. He must take him down to Mexico or else the railroad would never be built. Swan would come, too, because there was a look of tragic fatigue in his deep-set eyes, an expression of sick nausea in the lines about his mouth, that showed how gladly he would change, how completely he had come to the end of his hopes here; so Pilchard suggested with a careless smile that they go down to Mexico together. “Of course,” he said, “I don't say that it mightn't be better for me to do it alone—two heads to a job, you know, isn't always a good arrangement; but you've got a pretty mean berth here. It'll take years for you to get a rise, and you're wasting your youth and health shut up with this filthy gang of men. This job of mine would push you right along, and you'll get others like it. Better come.”

Swan reflected. His work was the only thing on earth that he cared for, and to progress in his work, to keep putting through more and more difficult jobs, was what he had always aimed to do. But had he a right to take advantage of Pilchard's generosity? He glanced around the room, conscious of the incessant chattering of the different parts of the engine, which he must keep going in order to turn out the produce of a great city factory. He was no more here than one of the many parts of that engine, and if some day he should be absorbed into the midst of those whirring wheels and ground up like corn, who would ever be the wiser?

So he went.

       * * * * *

“Had a letter from the company today,” Pilchard observed, suddenly.

“That so?”

“They're going to send a fellow down from Frisco on the steamer that touches on the 25th. Everything plays into their hands. Steamer reaches here the day the contract expires.”

“Well, that's all right.”

“They request that I meet the fellow and show him around.”

“That's easy, too.”

Pilchard breathed smoke through his nose in his self-possessed way, and said nothing more, until Swan suddenly broke out:

“Well, I for one won't be sorry to get out of this hole. I'll get the job done, of course, but we've just had a terrible setback. I think Peele's dying.”

“Lord!”

“I came away from him only half an hour ago. He may last through the night, but I doubt it. Anyhow, if he lives or dies, we're devilish pressed for time. I'm beginning to think we'll have to work at night, too.”

“At night?”

“There's a full moon. Here she comes now.” Swan looked at the full moon, which, as the darkness increased, grew in radiance.

Pilchard breathed more smoke through his nose, then said with a sigh: “That's hard luck, Swan. I'm sorry.”

“Hey?”

“And yet it's a lucky thing that you're as strong as you are. It's a lucky thing you haven't got the responsibilities at home that I have.”

“I don't see what you mean.”

“Why, you know I'm engaged! I'm as good as married. That poor girl's got everything ready for the wedding. You met her that day last year you came up to Maine before we left New York.”

“Yes, I met her.”

“And you remember how much she thought of me?” Pilchard spoke slowly. It was impossible to tell why he did so. Was it because he did not care to discuss the woman he loved with an outsider like Swan, or was it because he was going on tiptoe, because he wondered what he must say next, because he was waiting, hoping that something unexpected would develop?

Swan, however, dropped the question of Pilchard's marriage.

“You mean, I suppose, that you won't work at night.”

“I can't. I'm not well enough.”

Swan grunted and sighed and stretched all his limbs, shaking his great shoulders as if he were trying to shake out the ague. Then he cleared his throat again and turned to Pilchard.

“See here, Pilchard, it's time we came to some understanding.”

“Understanding?” Pilchard queried in a surprised voice.

“Yes, about this job. About the pay—m—not so much the pay as the credit. This job ought to give a man a name. It's been a big piece of engineering and devilish hard work to put it through. I've planned the whole thing and watched every stroke of what's been done, and I deserve at least half the credit, if not all.”

Swan spoke in a brutal, masterful way. Perhaps he realized as he did so how completely the acknowledgment of his services depended on Pilchard's generosity. Pilchard alone had signed the contract, and Swan's existence was no more to the company than the existence of the other workmen. Moreover, the eleven mechanics they had brought down had all been carried off by fever, and there was no one else who, in case of necessity, could testify to the splendid work Swan had done, practically alone. All this was in Pilchard's mind as well as Swan's, and all this suddenly showed Pilchard how completely Swan was in his power. He must play a careful game.

“Why, what the devil do you mean?” he asked, speaking rather angrily.

“What do I mean? I mean that this is all too unbusinesslike. It's too vague. I'm risking my life to put this business through, and I want to get what I deserve. It's the biggest thing I've ever done, and I won't do it for nothing.”

“For nothing? Man alive, you're almost accusing me of dishonesty! I told you when we started out that I'd give you half the pay. If I'd ever supposed you didn't trust my word I'd have had it drawn up on paper. And as for the credit, you deserve it all, and you'll get it all ... and that's all.”

Pilchard ended with a self-conscious laugh, and got up to go indoors and take a few drinks before he went to bed. He stood for a moment, uncertainly, before Swan, wondering with a strange distrust, which lately had been growing upon him, what Swan really thought. Swan was so silent and reserved, and he worked with such unflinching constancy, that Pilchard often felt as if he too must be developing some plan. It was fortunate, he told himself, that there were only ten days more. His nerves could not have held out much longer; but after he had filled himself with several drinks and was sitting in gauzy pajamas beside an open window, things began to look brighter. Ten days might develop unheard-of things. To work all night on the borders of a swamp in this rainy season, which is almost certain death for a white man—Pilchard closed his eyes and peacefully slept....

Swan continued to sit on the bench, and throwing back his head, looked at the sky. A full moon swung above him, huge and tropical and red, seeming to garnish the black depths that lay behind it and that great black mouth that opened immeasurably into the west. All his actual surroundings faded away, and, as is often the case with men at these moments, he thought of a woman that he had seen once and had never forgotten.

That cool summer day just a year ago that he had spent on the coast of Maine, whither he had gone to see Pilchard about some final arrangements for their journey to Mexico—Pilchard had introduced him to the girl he was going to marry, and it had somehow happened that he and she had taken a short walk together along a cliff where some pines were growing, and which looked forlornly enough across the solitary ocean. Nothing but the most commonplace words had passed between them; they had talked of Pilchard and his enterprise, and had stopped to look at the view, and had gazed out over the rolling waves. He had scarcely dared look at his companion, but once he had helped her over some rocks, and he remembered that her foot had slipped, and for an instant her body had swayed against his. He remembered, too, that she had pale cheeks and dreamy eyes, and a slim hand laden with rings that held back her skirts. This slight experience had made a changed man of him. New senses existed for him, new hopes for the future that turned him dizzy, a splendid and deeper insight into life. The sordid realities of his life no longer claimed all his thoughts; they were beautified by rare and exquisite dreams, and by repetitions of that strange welling of hope and despair which had come to him in the grimy engine-room. After all, there were things in the world other than engines and boilers and steel tracks; there were plenty of uses for him besides calculating and experimenting and bossing a lot of filthy men. He, too, could serve and wait and hope and ... die!

       * * * * *

Swan spent the remainder of that night with Peele, and as the sick man was still alive at sunrise, and Swan was obliged to oversee the men, he swallowed some coffee and went off, leaving Pilchard in charge. About noon Pilchard came out to him with a white face.

“What's the matter?” Swan asked, full of apprehension.

“Peele died before you'd been gone an hour.”

“We must see to having him buried at once.”

“He's underground already.”

“Where we'll all be if we stay much longer.”

“Where I feel as if I ought to be,” Pilchard groaned.

“What d'ye mean?”

“I mean that I'm about ready to give up. If it wasn't for you I would give up. I'm as weak as water. I just saw Peele die, and that finished me. Ugh! It was awful!”

And Pilchard, who certainly was pale, drew a flask from his pocket and took a long drink. He seemed to drink to his own weakness. He seemed to glory in the fact that he had given up, and that he knew Swan never would.

Swan realized this and looked wearily across the swamp they had just covered. It was all his work. A narrow mound of solid earth ran back as far as eye could reach, and on it two shining steel rails glittered in the blazing sun. On either side lay wet, poisonous ground covered with deadly growths and exuding fearful odors and devitalizing forces which even the heat could not dissipate. In that noonday light which burned and burned and made no impression on the moisture, Swan's face was wilted like a white flower which is dead and turning yellow. His eyes, too, were like things once living and now dead. The muscles around his mouth twitched like electric wire.

“It isn't possible for me to finish it alone,” he told himself. He knew that he could finish the job by working both night and day, but could he stand the strain? Had he, after all, a stronger physique than any other white man had ever had before? He leaned far back as if he were trying to fold himself up, and then bent forward in the same manner, trying, with a desperation like death, to relieve the weakness that was numbing his limbs. He suddenly felt dizzy as he looked at the hot distance where some big leaves were waving—dizzy as he knew that he must fail.

“By God!” he exclaimed, striking the pile of dirt. “By God! I'll do it!”

Pilchard put on his hat and smiled. He had been waiting for this. “If you say you will, I bet you will!” he told Swan. “That's why you'll always come out ahead.” As he said this he looked intently at Swan, who was still sitting on the pile of dirt. He noticed for the first time the peculiar look in his eyes and the trembling of his whole body.

Swan sat silent. He saw the dark perspiring bodies of the Indians who were laying ties, and his lifelong ambition to be a great engineer suddenly presented itself to him in the old strong unemotional way.

“For science is a cruel mistress. She exacts her yearly tribute of flesh and blood like the dragons of ancient pagan mythology.”

This had been said by an eminent scientist who had addressed his graduating class. Swan had heard it then and remembered it now. He clearly remembered that hot June morning ten years ago. Some young maple leaves had made a lovely pattern on the blue northern sky outside the uncurtained windows of the lecture-hall. He remembered that he had looked through the window and vowed that he would never give up.

He organized two bands of men, one to work by moonlight and one by sunlight; but it was necessary for him to overlook them both, day and night, so it happened that there were just two hours in the twenty-four when he could find any rest. This was when the daily tropical storm broke, late in the afternoon, and all the workmen scampered for shelter. Swan crawled into a shanty the men had put up to hold their tools, and wrapping himself in a blanket, slept until the storm was over. That is to say, for three or four times he slept, but gradually he found it impossible to get any rest, and nobody knew the agonies he endured fighting off the fever, which he felt had marked him for its own. He never looked forward longer than twelve hours, thinking always that the next day would decide his fate, and the next day never did. “If I can keep it off till to-morrow, I guess it won't come back,” he repeated, mechanically, standing in the moonlight and dosing himself and bossing the men. But in the morning there was never any abatement in those deadly symptoms which told him that the period of incubation would soon be over; and it almost seemed to him as if his cruel mistress was saving him in some miraculous way to complete her work, for it was not until the evening of the ninth day, when the railroad was finished and the last man paid off, that his temperature rose to fever-heat, his pulse quickened, and his tongue became congested, and this demon of the tropical swamp claimed him for its own.

Early on the morning of the 25th, a Pacific mail-steamer touched at the little port of Zacatula, and a man was put off who came down from San Francisco to do business for the company in the event of the railroad not being completed. He was greatly astonished when Pilchard showed him that the last day's work had been done.

“Then,” said the agent, mopping his perspiring bald head, “we may say that you've carried out the contract to the letter, to the very minute. You say you only paid off the men last night?”

“Yes,” answered Pilchard, with his engaging smile, and casting a possessive glance down the front of his white trousers. “And it was an awful rush to get the job done.” But in spite of Pilchard's sleek figure and social smile, he looked pale that morning. The hot sunlight that bathed the end of the dock met no responsive glow in his cheeks.

The agent hung his handkerchief over the top of a post to dry it, and looked more closely at his companion. “Anything the matter?” he asked, kindly. “You certainly haven't lost anything on the job?”

“No—no.” Pilchard brought out that ever-ready smile that was so delightful. “But it's about time to go home. This is a terrible climate. We've lost every white man that came down, eleven all told, except myself and—and—one other, who's dying over in that shed now. Maybe—maybe—he's dead—” Pilchard jerked with his thumb towards a shanty just where the docks joined the land....

       * * * * *

In this rude shanty, knocked together by the workmen to hold their tools, on a heap of sacks and blankets, Swan lay as he had dropped the night before. Pilchard had found him there, and the full moon coming in at the wide opening had revealed a fearful sight—Swan in the throes of terrific fever, his face scarlet, his eyes ferrety and congested, and his swollen tongue lolling between his lips. When he saw Pilchard he asked in a strange voice for water. Pilchard brought him some and felt his forehead. It seemed on fire.

“Pilchard,” began Swan, in a deliberate voice, as if he were trying to fight off the delirium, “the swamp got into me, after all. I've taken the fever.”

Pilchard, appalled by the terrible sight before him, and the things it suggested, which he could not help but see, leaned against the rude wall, and for once his self-possession deserted him. “Swan,” he faltered, “Swan—for God's sake—”

“Hush,” Swan interposed, in that same deliberate voice. “Don't lose your head. I'm keeping mine. Am I talking sense?”

“Yes, yes, Swan. Perfectly correctly.”

“Then I'll tell you what to do.” Swan spoke more and more slowly as the fire mounted to his brain and besieged it. “There's every symptom of fever. You can't deny that.”

“Symptoms, Swan? I don't see any. You're worn out, poor fellow. That's all.”

“Then what's this?” Swan opened his mouth and showed his scarlet tongue. “And this?” He tore open the breast of his shirt and showed the congested condition of his skin. “But I'll fight death as I fought the fever! I'm not going to die. There's too much for me to do in the world! I'll be a great engineer. I'll make her proud. I vowed it when we looked out over the waves and I wanted to take her in my arms. See here!” and suddenly seizing a pickaxe from the ground beside him, he swung it around his head and sent it whizzing past Pilchard's ear, out through the opening of the shanty. “I've got my muscle and I've got my brain and I'll keep my life. I deserve to live. I deserve it as payment for putting the job through. I'll keep my wife here, too, here in the engine-room, with the pines behind us, and I can look after the men then. Who's that leaning against the wall? Pilchard? Poor fool! Why did you boast you were the only man who had ever loved a woman?”

“Me boast! Heaven forbid,” faltered Pilchard.

“Then,” shouted Swan, suddenly sitting up and striking out with both arms, “take these things away. All these little black things that are pouring over me. It's a regular shower. It must be a whole city. No! No! They're sparks! They're fire! They burn! They burn! Take the wheels away from me! They're grinding me like corn—oh, Lord! it's heavy, it's heavy! There, there! It crushes me! Now, now it's over. This is—death—” And he sank back, oppressed by a sudden, and overwhelming load of oblivion.

Swan grew worse toward morning, and though the disease had only attacked him at sunset the night before, so rapid and terrible were its onslaughts that by the time the sun rose a complete physical collapse had occurred. His pulse had fallen below normal, and his skin assumed a strange yellow hue, the color of a lemon, and in these signs and the constant hiccough which convulsed the death-stricken frame Pilchard guessed properly what the termination must be. The end would come easily. Swan had ceased to suffer.

When light crept gray and silent into the shanty, Pilchard stood and looked at Swan's prostrate form. No sound came to them but the gentle lapping of the waves. Sober as a dove Day hovered in the sky, and that solemn change which is Death was somewhere near, hiding and waiting; and Pilchard and Death and the breaking Day were for one second alone. And Pilchard was overwhelmed with terror. Some spectre had seized him, and he could not shake it off. He looked once more at the dying man, at his closed eyes and his still body, momentarily convulsed by the final signs of life, like a great piece of machinery when the steam power is gradually running down. Then he turned and broke away, to take a bath and to take a drink and then go to meet the steamer from San Francisco....

       * * * * *

“Eleven? You don't say. Fever, I suppose?”

“Yes. We tackled three swamps on our way down from Mexico.”

“That so? Well, it's worth some sacrifice. It's a good job. I wouldn't 'a' undertaken it myself.”

“I wouldn't do it again.”

They walked down the dock....

Swan opened his eyes and looked through the wide opening of the shanty out to where the blazing sun struck the hot water of the little harbor. He hardly remembered where he was. Oh yes! He must get up and go down-town. In a minute, when he was fully awake. And he closed his eyes again and heard the accustomed whir of machinery, and knew that he was in the engine-room. One of the workmen needed to be spoken to; he was the filthiest of the lot, and Swan was the only man who could control him. Suddenly Swan opened his eyes again and saw that this same workman had entered the shanty and was standing beside him. He instantly recognized the man's greasy black shirt.

“For science is a cruel mistress,” the man said. “She exacts her yearly tribute of flesh and blood.”

But, singularly enough, these words meant something entirely different. Swan looked curiously at the workman and saw that he too was really somebody else. The man smiled and, leaning over, gently raised him up, and for the first time in his life Swan felt himself encircled by a woman's arms, and he tasted a strange, delicious joy awakening deep within him that knowledge of reciprocal love which slumbers in the heart of every man.

“And you did it all for me,” she said.

“Did what?” he asked her.

“Built the road?”

“Yes,” he whispered, closing his eyes again, filled with this new strange joy.

“And now we'll go home together to the North, where the maple leaves make a lovely pattern against the blue sky.”

He knew nothing for a minute, and then she spoke again:

“Well, it's a good job. I'll see that you get pushed along. The company 'll have plenty more work; big pay, too. This business has made your name. You're a wonderful fellow! You say you worked night as well as day?”

“For eight days, yes.”

It was Pilchard's voice. He was talking to another man. They were leaning heavily against the rough wall of Swan's shanty. A horrible sensation came over the sick man, that sensation experienced by men who emerge from some unnatural mental condition, who are recalled by one sentence, often by one word, which acts like a key and opens again to their terrified vision the horrible realities of actual life. Swan raised his arms to bring that woman's face close to his, but he could not find it. He opened his eyes, and tears of weakness watered his cheeks. He was alone in the hovel knocked together by the men to hold their tools, and the work for which he had given his life was being claimed outside by another man....

The agent leaned against the side of the shanty, gazing reflectively at his steamer, which was anchored half a mile from shore. “I'm going clear round to New York. You'd better get aboard and come with me,” he proposed to Pilchard, to whom he had taken a fancy. “Good Lord!” he suddenly shouted, leaping forward. “Is this the shed where you said a workman was dying of fever? Let's get out quick or we'll take the infection.”

But Pilchard, pale as death, put up a warning hand. “Yes, let's clear out—let's get to sea before I go crazy! But—but—don't speak so loud. He may hear!”

He had heard every word. His faculties, numb with death, sprang instantly into life. He leaped to his feet and left the shanty, momentarily endowed with his full strength, and facing the two men, spoke three times: “My work! My work! My work!” His eyes were on Pilchard all the time, and that look pierced like a sword; it penetrated to the very foundations of his being....

       * * * * *

Pilchard caught the body as it fell and lowered it to the ground, and then looked at the agent with a scared face to see how much he knew. The agent had leaped still farther away, and now was crouching, livid with fear, before this man whose last words had been words of delirium. No, he knew nothing. Pilchard alone knew the extent of his own deceit, which dead lips could never disclose. He alone knew of that half-formed idea he had not dared to mature, which had come to him a year ago when he looked at Swan's resolute face in the engine-room; and he alone in all the world could ever know of the terror which had possessed him at daybreak in the shanty when he had turned in a panic and run away—from what? ...

 
 
 

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