moment the main-boom swung inboard, the sheet groaning in the blocks, and showed me the lee after-deck.
There were the two watchmen, sure enough; red-cap on his back, as stiff as a handspike, with his arms stretched out like those of a crucifix, and his teeth showing through his open lips; Israel Hands propped against the bulwarks, his chin on his chest, his hands lying open before him on the deck, his face as white, under its tan, as a tallow candle.
For a while the ship kept bucking and sidling like a vicious horse, the sails filling, now on one tack, now on another, and the boom swinging to and fro till the mast groaned aloud under the strain. Now and again, too, there would come a cloud of light sprays over the bulwark, and a heavy blow of the ship's bows against the swell; so much heavier weather was made of it by this great rigged ship than by my home-made, lopsided coracle, now gone to the bottom of the sea.
At every jump of the schooner red-cap slipped to and fro; but—what was ghastly to behold—neither his attitude nor his fixed, teeth-disclosing grin was anyway disturbed by this rough usage. At every jump, too, Hands appeared still more to sink into himself and settle down upon the deck, his feet sliding ever the farther out, and the whole body canting toward the stern, so that his face became, little by little, hid from me; and at last I could see nothing beyond his ear and the frayed ringlet of one whisker.
And at the same time I observed around both of them splashes of dark blood upon the planks, and began to feel sure that they had killed each other in their drunken wrath.
While I was thus looking and wondering, in a calm moment when the ship was still Israel Hands turned partly round and, with a low moan, writhed himself back to the position in which I had seen him first. The moan, which told of pain and deadly weakness, and the way in which his jaw hung open, went right to my heart. But when I remembered the talk I had overheard from the apple-barrel all pity left me.
I walked aft until I reached the mainmast.
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