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slack lines, when we saw him rise again, about a quarter of a mile off. It was a hurrah, for we now trought that we had him. Off he set with his nose up, right in the wind's eye, towing the two boats at the rate of twelve miles an hour, our stems cleaving through the sea, and throwing off the water like a plume of feathers on each side of the bows, while the sun's rays pierced through the spray and formed bright rainbows. We hoped soon to tire him, and to be able to haul in upon our lines, so as to get near enough to give him our lances; but that was only hope, as you'll hear. Of a sudden, he stopped, turned round, and made right for us, with his jaws open; then, all we had to do was to baulk him, and give him the lance. He did not seem to have made up his mind which boat he would attack-we were pretty near together, and he yawed at one, and then at the other. At last he made right for the other boat, and the boatsetter dodged him very cleverly, while we pulled up to him, and I put the lance
to the stock into his side. He made a plunge as if he were going to sound' again ; and as he did so, with his flukes he threw our boat into the air a matter of twenty feet, cutting it clean in half, and one of the boat's thwarts came right athwart of my nose, and it never has been straight since. So now you have it, messmate; and I shouldn't mind if you passed the beer this way, for this long yarn has made
throat somewhat dry.”
“When you've had your swig, old chap, you may as well tell us how the matter ended," observed my father.
"Why, it just ended in our losing the whale, in the first place, and the boat with her gear, in the second. We were picked up by the other boat, and there was no time to be lost, for the sharks were brought together by the scent of the whale's blood; the whale sounded again, and we were obliged to cut the line, and return on board. But, God bless you, messmate, I could tell you many a longer yarn than that, and mayhap I shall some day or another.”
“Well, I hope you will," replicd my father; " but your fishing story has put me in mind of rather a curious fish, caught by a lad on board of a man-of-war: and suppose I finish what's at the bottom of this here pot, send Jack for another, and when he comes back, I'll tell you all about it.”
“There's nothing gives me more satisfaction," replied Ben, “ than to pass away the evening in a sober, quiet way, as we are doing now, telling and listening to long yarns.-A'n't you sleepy, Jack?"
“Oh! no," replicd I, “not a bit. I'll run for the porter; and don't let father begin till I come back, Ben. The house will be shut up soon : shall I get more than a pot?"
“ Yes, Jack; but not more beer,” replicd my father, putting some silver into my hand; “get one pot of beer, and a bottle of rum. We'll have that by way of a nightcap, old boy."
I ran for the beer and liquor, and was soon back. My father and Ben refilled their pipes, and the former commenced as follows:
“When I was quartermaster on board of the 'Melpomene,' we had an old chap for first lieutenant whose name was Fletcher.
a kind-heartcd man
enough, as he never worried the ship's company wher there was no occasion ; but, at the same time, he was what you call a great stickler for duty-made no allowances for neglect or disobedience of orders, although he would wink at any little sky-larking, walking aft, shutting his eyes, and pretending not to see or hear it. His usual phrase was ‘My man, you've got your duty to do, and I've got mine.' And this he repeated fifty times a day; so at last he went by the name of ‘Old Duty. I think I see him now, walking up and down with his spy-glass under his left arm, and the hand of the other pushed into his breast, as if he were fumbling for a fica. His hat was always split and worn in the front, from constantly taking it off, instead of touching it, when he camo on the quarterdeck; and, as soon as it was too far gone in front to raise the purchase off his head, he used to shift it end for end, bringing the back part in front, and then he would wear it, until, as the Yankees say, it was in * taterations altogether;' and he was forced to bend a
“Now, we had a boy on board, who entered one day when the captain landed at Torquay to dine with a friend. His name was Jack Jervis : his father and his whole tribe had been fishermen for as long as could be remembered ; and Jack himself had been drafted out of his cradle into a coble; and there he had continued day and night, from one year's end to another, helping his father to fish,-80, you see, it had become second nature to him; and, after he came on board, his liking for his former calling still remained with him, and never was so happy as when his line was overboard, or when he was snooding a hook in some corner or another. He went by the name of Jack the Fisherman ; and a smart, active, willing lad he was, sure enough.
“Now, there was a little difficulty between Old Duty and Jack the Fisherman. Old Duty would not allow the lines to be overboard when the ship was in harbour, as he said it was untidy in appearance, and that there was always plenty of work, and no time for fishing. So Jack hadn't pulled up his line ten or a dozen times before he was pulled up himself. Whose line's that?' says Old Duty. Mine, sir,' says Jack, touching his hat. I don't allow fishing, young man,' said the first lieutenant. You understand me?-I don't allow fishing. You've your duty to do, sir, and I've got mine.'
“ Jack, who had only been two or three days on board, and who, I believe, would never have entered, had he known that there would have been such a 'weto,' as the boatswain used to call it, looked quite astonished, and said — “What, mayn't I fish, sir?'
No, my man, you must not fish without permission; and that I never give in harbour. If I catch you fishing again, you get two dozen at the gun ; recollect that. You've got your duty to do, and I've got mine.'
“Well, Jack could not give up his habit, so he used to fish at night, and all night long, out of the forechains; but it so happened that the ship’s corporal caught Jack in the middle watch, and reports him to the first lieutenant.
“So, you've been fishing again, sir,' says Old Duty
No, sir,' replied Jack, 'not fishing,-only laying night lines.'
“Oh! that's it,' replied the first lieutenant; 'only laying night lines! Pray, what's the difference ? ' Please, sir,' said Jack, touching his hat, the difference is
that it's not the same thing.' “Well, sir, I see but one difference, and I'll meet it accordingly. You've your duty to do, and I've got mine.'
“The boys' heads and ears having been pulled about and examined by the master-at-arms, they were dismissed ; and Jack thought that he had got off, --but he was mistaken.
“ After the hammocks had been piped down, and it was dark, the boys were ordered up by the master-atarms; Jack was seized to the gun, and had his two dozen. “There, sir,' said Old Duty, as they cast the seizings off, 'if fishing at night is not fishing, punishment at night is not punishment. Now we're quits. You've your duty to do, and I've got mine.'
“I don't think that Jack perceived any more difference in the two dozen at night-time than the first lieutenant did between day and night fishing; howsver, Jack did not fish for some time afterwards. But it so happened that the first lieutenant was asked on shore to dine with the port-admiral; and, although he seldom left the ship, he could not refuse such a compliment, and so he went. As soon as it was dark, Jack thought his absence too good an opportunity not to have a fish'; so he goes into the mizen-chains, and drops his line. Well, he fished (but I don't know whether he caught any) till the boat was hailed in