Essay: “Jack Grey, Second Mate”, William Hope Hodgson, 1917.
This is another one of Hodgson’s siege plots with a romantic story added.
Jack Grey is one of Hodgson’s strong, fit, and brave heroes.
Miss Eversley is a passenger on his ship and a friend of the captain’s wife. She is trying to evade the attentions of Mr. Pathan, another passenger. At first, Eversley doesn’t care for Grey’s pipe smoking, but when Grey stops Pathan from groping her, she begins to take an interest in him.
The first mate of the vessel is useless in keeping the crew in line since they aren’t “an orderly crew of respectable Scandinavians” but mostly “dagoes and mixed breeds”. It turns out they are confederates of Pathan and mutiny and take over the vessel, the captain dying of illness.
Grey and Eversley are under siege in the steel deck-house. They grow fond of each other, conduct a marriage ceremony of sorts. Grey even says the last bullet for Eversley, but she refuses.
They do overcome the mutineers – there is some exciting action in the story, and Grey beats Pathan to death.
The story ends with a very traditional scene of the masculine, violent, strong defender protecting his woman:
He caught her up in his great arms, with the one word, ‘Come!’ and stepped through the open doorway into the moonlight, the fallen door ringing under his tread. Then, master of his ship, he carried her aft to the cabin.
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