The old sailor took a spoke toward him, eased it back again, and looked up.
"Things don't change none with me," he answered. " Duggan don't trouble me any; he knows a good man when he sees one, anyway. I ain't sayin' that I don't sort o' miss ye--sir--but I reckon I'm all right."
"That's good," said Goodwin.
"An' you're goin' on all right?" inquired the old man. "What's this about you an' Slade?"
Goodwin shrugged. "Oh, it ain't nothin'," he answered. "Slade's a fool, that's all. He don't know when he's well off."
Noble nodded, easing the wheel as the ship's head swung up to the wind. He was extraordinarily reverend as he stood at his post, one long arm extended across the top of the wheel to grasp the brass-ringed midship spoke, his face composed and wise and benevolent under the white hair that showed beneath the brim of his cap. While he talked he steered accurately and all but unconsciously, doing his work with the easy expertness that came of his forty-odd years at sea