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datatime: 2022-07-07 12:26:55 Author:Tea fragrance

Whatever is it, Mr. Martin? I’ve never heard such a devilish noise in my life.

You might as well stay to supper an�?keep me company, unless you’ve got to get back anywhere.

A long confab succeeded to the accompaniment of many cigars and sundry pegs, but not another word about the skipper and his hobbies did the mate let slip. No; we discussed, as housewives are said to do when they meet, the shortcomings of those over whom we were put in authority, compared notes as to the merits and demerits of skippers we had served under, and generally sampled the gamut of seafaring causeries, until, with my head buzzing like a mosquito in a bottle, I gave the mate good-night, and retired to my bunk in an enviable state of satisfaction at my good fortune. Next morning I was up at coffee-time, and while sitting on the after-hatch coamings enjoying the enlivening drink and chatting with the mate, a most unearthly howl fairly made my whiskers bristle. I looked at Mr. Martin, whose face wore a sarcastic grin, but never a word spake he. Another nerve-tearing yell resounded, starting me to my feet, while I exclaimed�?

Our ole man’s scientific, Mr. Roper.

I stared in utter amazement at a most extraordinary collection of queer looking instruments, models, retorts, crucibles, and specimen glasses, turning round after completing my scrutiny, and gazing into the mate’s face without speaking.

All preparations complete, we unmoored, and in tow of the Court Hey proceeded majestically down the Hooghly, waking all the echoes and scaring the numberless pigeons of the King of Oude’s palace with the exultant strains of Sally Brown. One of those majestic creatures, the Calcutta pilots, paced the poop in awful state, alone, the skipper being nowhere visible. Presently, my lord the pilot, feeling slightly fatigued, I suppose, threw himself into the old man’s favourite chair, an elaborately cushioned affair of peculiar shape and almost as long as a sofa. No sooner had he done so than, with a most amazing movement, the whole fabric changed its shape, and became one of the most bewildering entanglements conceivable, gripping the astounded pilot in so many places at once that he was in imminent danger of being throttled. I rushed to his assistance, and exerted all my strength to set him free, but my energetic efforts only seemed to hamper him more, and fearing lest I should break him all to pieces, I rushed below for the skipper. That gentleman was busy in his laboratory, making carburetted hydrogen, I should judge, from the feel of the smell, as the Scotch say, but in answer to my agitated call he emerged, serene and bland, to inquire my business. Faith, I could hardly tell him, what with the reek, my haste, and the anxiety I felt. Somehow I managed to135 convey to him that the pilot was being done to death in his chair, and as I did so I noticed (or thought I did) a momentary gleam of satisfaction in his starboard eye. But he mounted the companion, and gliding to the spot where the unhappy man, voiceless and black in the face, was struggling, he stooped, touched a spring, and that infernal chair fell out flat like a board. I stooped to assist the victim, but, unluckily for me, he sprang to his feet at the same moment, and his head catching me under the chin, I had urgent business of my own to attend to for some little time. When I got quite well again, I heard conversation. In fact I might almost say the coolies in the jungle heard it. The pilot was expressing his opinion upon his recent experience, and from his manner I concluded that he was annoyed. When at last he had finished, and the lingering echoes had died away, the old man, looking as happy as a lamb, offered to show him the beauty and ingenuity of the mechanism. But the pilot merely suggested that the only sight that could interest him just then would be the old man dangling by the neck at the cro’jack yard-arm, with that something (I didn’t quite catch the adjective) chair jammed on to his legs. And then the unreasonable man walked forward, leaving the skipper looking after him with a puzzled, yearning expression upon his pleasant face. Perhaps it is hardly necessary to say that thenceforward relations between the pilot and the captain were somewhat strained. At any rate, the former potentate refused to come below, taking his meals on deck with an air as of a man whose life was at the mercy of irresponsible136 beings, and when at last we hauled up at the mouth of the river for the pilot brig to send a boat for our pilot, he left the ship looking supremely relieved. To the skipper’s outstretched hand he was blind, and to that gentleman’s kindly good-bye he said naught but thank God, I’m safe out of your ship. Away he went, never once looking back to where we were busily setting sail for the long homeward passage.

For some days everything went on greased wheels. Except for an air of mystery that overhung the ship, and which puzzled me not a little, she was the most comfortable craft I ever sailed in. The skipper scarcely ever appeared, although sundry strange noises and unpleasant odours proceeding from his laboratory were evidence all-sufficient that he was on the alert. I was somewhat aggrieved though by the mate’s sardonic grin every time he relieved me, and made the usual remark, still alive, eh? Still, as each quiet day succeeded a quieter night my wonderment became dulled, and I thought that either the mate was mistaken or that he had been trying to fool me.

It was a lovely evening, the sails just drawing to a steady air, while the sea was so smooth that the vessel was almost as motionless as if in dock. As it was my watch on deck, I mounted the poop, glanced at the standard compass, cast my eye aloft to see that all was as it should be, and then turned my gaze with intense interest upon the scene below. And what a scene it was to be sure. All hands were glaring upon the high priest of the mysteries as if mesmerised, every expression gone from their faces but that of painful anxiety to know what was going to happen. The skipper was as busy as two people about his wheels and things, and the unhappy steward like an image of fear obeyed mechanically the various commands of his dread master. At last a whirring sound was heard like the humming of some huge imprisoned bee, and to this accompaniment the skipper took up his parable and proceeded to talk. I frankly confess that I know no more what he said than I should have done had he138 been speaking in Sanskrit, and I am perfectly sure that none of his audience were in any better case. Indeed, from what I could see of their faces, I believe every other sense was merged in the full expectation of an explosion, and they couldn’t have taken their strained eyes off the buzzing gadget in their midst for any consideration whatever. Suddenly a dark shadow glided across the patch of deck behind the skipper, which I recognized as a monkey belonging to one of the crew. It reached the machine, and then——What really happened nobody is ever likely to know, for in a moment there was a shriek, a perfect shower of blue sparks and a writhing, kicking, biting heap of skipper, monkey, and steward. Some of the fellows, acting upon impulse, forgot their fears and rushed to the rescue, but only succeeded in adding to the infernal riot, as they too became involved in the mysterious calamity. Others, wiser in their generation, fled forward to the fo’c’sle, from whence they gradually crept aft again near enough to watch in safety the devil’s dance that was going on. I looked on in a sort of coma of all the faculties, until the mate touched me on the shoulder, and said in a sepulchral voice�?

For some days everything went on greased wheels. Except for an air of mystery that overhung the ship, and which puzzled me not a little, she was the most comfortable craft I ever sailed in. The skipper scarcely ever appeared, although sundry strange noises and unpleasant odours proceeding from his laboratory were evidence all-sufficient that he was on the alert. I was somewhat aggrieved though by the mate’s sardonic grin every time he relieved me, and made the usual remark, still alive, eh? Still, as each quiet day succeeded a quieter night my wonderment became dulled, and I thought that either the mate was mistaken or that he had been trying to fool me.

All preparations complete, we unmoored, and in tow of the Court Hey proceeded majestically down the Hooghly, waking all the echoes and scaring the numberless pigeons of the King of Oude’s palace with the exultant strains of Sally Brown. One of those majestic creatures, the Calcutta pilots, paced the poop in awful state, alone, the skipper being nowhere visible. Presently, my lord the pilot, feeling slightly fatigued, I suppose, threw himself into the old man’s favourite chair, an elaborately cushioned affair of peculiar shape and almost as long as a sofa. No sooner had he done so than, with a most amazing movement, the whole fabric changed its shape, and became one of the most bewildering entanglements conceivable, gripping the astounded pilot in so many places at once that he was in imminent danger of being throttled. I rushed to his assistance, and exerted all my strength to set him free, but my energetic efforts only seemed to hamper him more, and fearing lest I should break him all to pieces, I rushed below for the skipper. That gentleman was busy in his laboratory, making carburetted hydrogen, I should judge, from the feel of the smell, as the Scotch say, but in answer to my agitated call he emerged, serene and bland, to inquire my business. Faith, I could hardly tell him, what with the reek, my haste, and the anxiety I felt. Somehow I managed to135 convey to him that the pilot was being done to death in his chair, and as I did so I noticed (or thought I did) a momentary gleam of satisfaction in his starboard eye. But he mounted the companion, and gliding to the spot where the unhappy man, voiceless and black in the face, was struggling, he stooped, touched a spring, and that infernal chair fell out flat like a board. I stooped to assist the victim, but, unluckily for me, he sprang to his feet at the same moment, and his head catching me under the chin, I had urgent business of my own to attend to for some little time. When I got quite well again, I heard conversation. In fact I might almost say the coolies in the jungle heard it. The pilot was expressing his opinion upon his recent experience, and from his manner I concluded that he was annoyed. When at last he had finished, and the lingering echoes had died away, the old man, looking as happy as a lamb, offered to show him the beauty and ingenuity of the mechanism. But the pilot merely suggested that the only sight that could interest him just then would be the old man dangling by the neck at the cro’jack yard-arm, with that something (I didn’t quite catch the adjective) chair jammed on to his legs. And then the unreasonable man walked forward, leaving the skipper looking after him with a puzzled, yearning expression upon his pleasant face. Perhaps it is hardly necessary to say that thenceforward relations between the pilot and the captain were somewhat strained. At any rate, the former potentate refused to come below, taking his meals on deck with an air as of a man whose life was at the mercy of irresponsible136 beings, and when at last we hauled up at the mouth of the river for the pilot brig to send a boat for our pilot, he left the ship looking supremely relieved. To the skipper’s outstretched hand he was blind, and to that gentleman’s kindly good-bye he said naught but thank God, I’m safe out of your ship. Away he went, never once looking back to where we were busily setting sail for the long homeward passage.

Whatever is it, Mr. Martin? I’ve never heard such a devilish noise in my life.

For some days everything went on greased wheels. Except for an air of mystery that overhung the ship, and which puzzled me not a little, she was the most comfortable craft I ever sailed in. The skipper scarcely ever appeared, although sundry strange noises and unpleasant odours proceeding from his laboratory were evidence all-sufficient that he was on the alert. I was somewhat aggrieved though by the mate’s sardonic grin every time he relieved me, and made the usual remark, still alive, eh? Still, as each quiet day succeeded a quieter night my wonderment became dulled, and I thought that either the mate was mistaken or that he had been trying to fool me.

All right, my boy. Hullo, what do you want? to the suppliant steward, who stood in a devotional attitude awaiting permission to speak.

Oh yes, sir, drawled the mate, ’eer ’e is, what’s left ov ’im.

All right, my boy. Hullo, what do you want? to the suppliant steward, who stood in a devotional attitude awaiting permission to speak.

Anywhere’s just the right word, Mr. Martin, I broke in; anywhere but ashore again in this God-forsaken place. If you’d been ashore here for six weeks, looking for a pierhead jump as I have, you’d think it was heaven to get aboard a ship again. It’d be a mighty important engagement that ’ud take you up town again.

The Lord only knows, piously ejaculated the mate. Looks ter me ’sif he’d ben shot clean out ov ’em, puggree an�?all.

For some days everything went on greased wheels. Except for an air of mystery that overhung the ship, and which puzzled me not a little, she was the most comfortable craft I ever sailed in. The skipper scarcely ever appeared, although sundry strange noises and unpleasant odours proceeding from his laboratory were evidence all-sufficient that he was on the alert. I was somewhat aggrieved though by the mate’s sardonic grin every time he relieved me, and made the usual remark, still alive, eh? Still, as each quiet day succeeded a quieter night my wonderment became dulled, and I thought that either the mate was mistaken or that he had been trying to fool me.

You might as well stay to supper an�?keep me company, unless you’ve got to get back anywhere.

Good morning, Mr. Martin, said the skipper, for it was himself, did you see where that heathen landed?

Oh yes, sir, drawled the mate, ’eer ’e is, what’s left ov ’im.

’Looks as if the skipper was no end of a scientific pot, I must confess; but, after all, Mr. Martin, it’s a harmless fad enough, isn’t it?

I stared in utter amazement at a most extraordinary collection of queer looking instruments, models, retorts, crucibles, and specimen glasses, turning round after completing my scrutiny, and gazing into the mate’s face without speaking.

I stared in utter amazement at a most extraordinary collection of queer looking instruments, models, retorts, crucibles, and specimen glasses, turning round after completing my scrutiny, and gazing into the mate’s face without speaking.

Oh, it’s only some o�?the ole man’s harmless fads he’s a exercisin�? You’ll git used ter them chunes presently.

It was a lovely evening, the sails just drawing to a steady air, while the sea was so smooth that the vessel was almost as motionless as if in dock. As it was my watch on deck, I mounted the poop, glanced at the standard compass, cast my eye aloft to see that all was as it should be, and then turned my gaze with intense interest upon the scene below. And what a scene it was to be sure. All hands were glaring upon the high priest of the mysteries as if mesmerised, every expression gone from their faces but that of painful anxiety to know what was going to happen. The skipper was as busy as two people about his wheels and things, and the unhappy steward like an image of fear obeyed mechanically the various commands of his dread master. At last a whirring sound was heard like the humming of some huge imprisoned bee, and to this accompaniment the skipper took up his parable and proceeded to talk. I frankly confess that I know no more what he said than I should have done had he138 been speaking in Sanskrit, and I am perfectly sure that none of his audience were in any better case. Indeed, from what I could see of their faces, I believe every other sense was merged in the full expectation of an explosion, and they couldn’t have taken their strained eyes off the buzzing gadget in their midst for any consideration whatever. Suddenly a dark shadow glided across the patch of deck behind the skipper, which I recognized as a monkey belonging to one of the crew. It reached the machine, and then——What really happened nobody is ever likely to know, for in a moment there was a shriek, a perfect shower of blue sparks and a writhing, kicking, biting heap of skipper, monkey, and steward. Some of the fellows, acting upon impulse, forgot their fears and rushed to the rescue, but only succeeded in adding to the infernal riot, as they too became involved in the mysterious calamity. Others, wiser in their generation, fled forward to the fo’c’sle, from whence they gradually crept aft again near enough to watch in safety the devil’s dance that was going on. I looked on in a sort of coma of all the faculties, until the mate touched me on the shoulder, and said in a sepulchral voice�?

All preparations complete, we unmoored, and in tow of the Court Hey proceeded majestically down the Hooghly, waking all the echoes and scaring the numberless pigeons of the King of Oude’s palace with the exultant strains of Sally Brown. One of those majestic creatures, the Calcutta pilots, paced the poop in awful state, alone, the skipper being nowhere visible. Presently, my lord the pilot, feeling slightly fatigued, I suppose, threw himself into the old man’s favourite chair, an elaborately cushioned affair of peculiar shape and almost as long as a sofa. No sooner had he done so than, with a most amazing movement, the whole fabric changed its shape, and became one of the most bewildering entanglements conceivable, gripping the astounded pilot in so many places at once that he was in imminent danger of being throttled. I rushed to his assistance, and exerted all my strength to set him free, but my energetic efforts only seemed to hamper him more, and fearing lest I should break him all to pieces, I rushed below for the skipper. That gentleman was busy in his laboratory, making carburetted hydrogen, I should judge, from the feel of the smell, as the Scotch say, but in answer to my agitated call he emerged, serene and bland, to inquire my business. Faith, I could hardly tell him, what with the reek, my haste, and the anxiety I felt. Somehow I managed to135 convey to him that the pilot was being done to death in his chair, and as I did so I noticed (or thought I did) a momentary gleam of satisfaction in his starboard eye. But he mounted the companion, and gliding to the spot where the unhappy man, voiceless and black in the face, was struggling, he stooped, touched a spring, and that infernal chair fell out flat like a board. I stooped to assist the victim, but, unluckily for me, he sprang to his feet at the same moment, and his head catching me under the chin, I had urgent business of my own to attend to for some little time. When I got quite well again, I heard conversation. In fact I might almost say the coolies in the jungle heard it. The pilot was expressing his opinion upon his recent experience, and from his manner I concluded that he was annoyed. When at last he had finished, and the lingering echoes had died away, the old man, looking as happy as a lamb, offered to show him the beauty and ingenuity of the mechanism. But the pilot merely suggested that the only sight that could interest him just then would be the old man dangling by the neck at the cro’jack yard-arm, with that something (I didn’t quite catch the adjective) chair jammed on to his legs. And then the unreasonable man walked forward, leaving the skipper looking after him with a puzzled, yearning expression upon his pleasant face. Perhaps it is hardly necessary to say that thenceforward relations between the pilot and the captain were somewhat strained. At any rate, the former potentate refused to come below, taking his meals on deck with an air as of a man whose life was at the mercy of irresponsible136 beings, and when at last we hauled up at the mouth of the river for the pilot brig to send a boat for our pilot, he left the ship looking supremely relieved. To the skipper’s outstretched hand he was blind, and to that gentleman’s kindly good-bye he said naught but thank God, I’m safe out of your ship. Away he went, never once looking back to where we were busily setting sail for the long homeward passage.

The Lord only knows, piously ejaculated the mate. Looks ter me ’sif he’d ben shot clean out ov ’em, puggree an�?all.

He was peering at me curiously, and presently said, interrogatively, Well?

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