they wished to go to sleep. He called the boy to take the helm, procured them all they required, and then went forward. And our two midshipmen laid down looking at the stars above them, for some minutes, without exchanging a word. At last Jack commenced.
I have been thinking, Gascoigne, that this is very delightful. My heart bounds with the vessel, and it almost appears to me as if the vessel herself was rejoicing in her liberty. Here she is capering over the waves instead of being tied by the nose with a cable and anchor.
Thats a touch of the sentimental, Jack, replied Gascoigne; but she is no more free than she was when at anchor, for she now is forced to act in obedience to her steersman, and go just where he pleases. You may just as well say that a horse, if taken out of the stable, is free, with the curb, and his rider on his back.
Thats a touch of the rational, Ned, which destroys the illusion. Never mind, we are free, at all events. What machines we are on board of a man-of-war! We walk, talk, eat, drink, sleep, and get up, just like clockwork; we are wound up to go the twenty-four hours, and then wound up again; just like old Smallsole does the chronometers.
Very true, Jack; but it does not appear to me, that, hitherto, you have kept very good time: you require a little more regulating, said Gascoigne.
How can you expect any piece of machinery to go well, so damnably knocked about as a midshipman is? replied our hero.
Very true, Jack; but sometimes you dont keep any time, for you dont keep any watch. Mr. Asper dont wind you up. You dont go at all.
No; because he allows me to go down; but still I do go, Ned.
Yes, to your hammockbut its no go with old Smallsole, if I want a bit of caulk. But, Jack, what do you sayshall we keep watch to-night?
Why, to tell you the truth, I have been thinking the same thingI dont much like the looks of the padrone he squints.
Thats no proof of anything, Jack, except that his eyes are not straight; but if you do not like the look of him, I can tell you that he very much liked the look of your doubloonsI saw him start, and his eyes twinkled, and I thought at the time it was a pity you had not paid him in dollars.
It was very foolish in me; but at all events he has not seen all.
He saw quite enough, Ned.
Very true, but you should have let him see the pistols, and not have let him see the doubloons.
Well, if he wishes to take what he has seen, he shall receive what he has not seenwhy, there are only four of them?
Oh, I have no fear of them, only it may be as well to sleep with one eye open.
When shall we make the land?
To-morrow evening with this wind, and it appears to be steady. Suppose we keep watch and watch, and have our pistols out ready, with the greatcoats just turned over them, to keep them out of sight?
Agreedits about twelve oclock nowwho shall keep the middle watch?
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