"All ready, sir."
"Now, Mr. Almayer, lead the way," said the lieutenant
Almayer rested his eyes on him as if he saw him for the first time.
"Two men," he said thickly. The effort of speaking seemed to interfere with his equilibrium. He took a quick step to save himself from a fall, and remained swaying backwards and forwards. "Two men," he began again, speaking with difficulty. "Two white men--men in uniform--honourable men. I want to say--men of honour. Are you?"
"Come! None of that," said the officer impatiently. "Let us have that friend of yours."
"What do you think I am?" asked Almayer, fiercely.
"You are drunk, but not so drunk as not to know what you are doing. Enough of this tomfoolery," said the officer sternly, "or I will have you put under arrest in your own house."
"Arrest!" laughed Almayer, discordantly. "Ha! ha! ha! Arrest! Why, I have been trying to get out of this infernal place for twenty years, and I can't. You hear, man! I can't, and never shall! Never!"
He ended his words with a sob, and walked unsteadily down the stairs. When in the courtyard the lieutenant approached him, and took him by the arm. The sub-lieutenant and Babalatchi followed close.
"That's better, Almayer," said the officer encouragingly. "Where are you going to? There are only planks there. Here," he went on, shaking him slightly, "do we want the boats?"
"No," answered Almayer, viciously. "You want a grave."
"What? Wild again! Try to talk sense."
"Grave!" roared Almayer, struggling to get himself