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and care of the diners to get it from plate to lip. And, after all, more than half of it was spilled.
"Thank goodness, that is over! The solids won't give us so much trouble," said the captain, handing his empty plate to the steward.
The second course was served. But the motion of the ship increased so much in violence that the two diners were compelled to hold still more firmly on to the edge of the table with one hand, while they ate with the other, as they were tossed up and down.
"You're a good sailor, sir!" bawled the captain as he pitched down out of sight.
"Yes, thank Heaven!" shouted Ishmael, flying up.
Then came a tremendous lurch of the ship.
"Oh, I must see that wave!" cried the captain, imprudently climbing up to look out from the port-light above him.
He had scarcely attained the desired position when there came another, an unprecedented toss of the ship, and the unlucky captain lay sprawling on the top of the table--with one wide-flung hand deep in the dish of mashed turnips and the other grasping the roast pig, while his bullet head was butted into Ishmael's stomach.
"Blast the ship!" cried the discomfited old man--very unnecessarily, since there was "blast" enough, and to spare.
"'Only a capful of wind,' captain! 'Only a capful of wind,'" said Ishmael, in a grave, matter-of-fact way, as he carefully assisted the veteran to rise.
"Humph! humph! humph! I might have known you would have said that. Ha! glad none of the women are here to see me! I s'pose I've done for the mashed turnips and roast pig; and I shouldn't wonder if I had knocked your breath out of your body, too, sir," sputtered the old man, trying to recover his feet, a difficult matter amid the violent pitching of the ship.
"Oh, you've not hurt me the least," said Ishmael, still rendering him all the assistance in his power.
But this mishap put an end to the dinner. For the captain's toilet sadly needed renovating, and the table required putting right.
Ishmael went up on deck--a nearly impossible feat for any landsman, even for one so strong and active as Ishmael was, to accomplish with safety to life and limb, for the ship was now fearfully pitched from side to side, and wallowing among the leaping waves.
High as the wind was--blowing now a hurricane--the sky was perfectly clear, and the sun was near its setting.
Ishmael found his old servant sitting propped up against the back of the wheel-house, looking out at one of the most glorious of all the glorious sights in nature--sunset at sea.
"As soon as the sun has set you must go down and turn in, Morris. The wind is increasing, and it is no longer safe for a landsman like you to remain up here," said his master.
"Mr. Ishmael, sir, you must just leave me up here to my fate. As to getting me down now, that is impossible; I noticed that it took both your hands, as well as both your feet, to help yourself up," replied the professor.
"What! do you mean to stay on deck all night?"
"I see no help for it, sir; I should be pitched downstairs and have my neck broken, or be washed into the sea and get drowned, by any attempt to go below."
"Nonsense, Morris; the sun has gone down now; follow his example. I will take you safely," said Ishmael, offering his arm to the old man in that kind, but peremptory, way that admitted of no denial.
A sailor near at hand came forward and offered his assistance. And between the two the professor was safely taken down to the second cabin and deposited in his berth.
A German Jew, who shared the professor's stateroom, saw the party coming, and exclaimed to a fellow-passenger:
"Tere's tat young shentleman mit his olt man again. Fader Abraham! he ish von shentleman; von drue shentleman!"
"A 'true gentleman,' I believe you, Isaacs. Why, don't you know who he is? He is that German prince they've been making such a fuss over, in the States. I saw his name in the list of passengers. Prince--Prince Edward of--of Hesse--Hesse something or other, I forget. They are all Hesses or Saxes up there," said his interlocutor.
"No, no," objected the Jew. "Dish ish nod he. I know Brince Etwart ven I see him. He ish von brince, but nod von shentleman. He svears ad hish mens."
The near approach of the subject of this conversation prevented farther personal remarks. But when Ishmael had seen his old follower comfortably in bed, the Jew turned to him and, as it would seem, for the simple pleasure of speaking to the young man whom he admired so much, said:
"Zir; te zhip rollts mush. Tere vill pe a gread pig storm."
"I think so," answered Ishmael courteously.
"Vell, if zhe goesh down do te boddom tere vill pe von lesh drue shentleman in de vorlt, zir. Ant tat vill be you."
"Thank you," said Ishmael, smiling.
"Ant tere vill pe von lesh Sherman Shew in te vorlt. Ant tat vill pe me."
"Oh, I hope there is no danger of such a calamity. Good-night!" said Ishmael, smiling upon his admirer and withdrawing from the cabin.
Ishmael took tea with the old captain, who came into the saloon and sat down in a perfectly renovated toilet, as if nothing had happened.
But when I say they took tea, I mean that they took quite as much of it up their sleeves and down their bosoms as into their mouths. Drinking tea in a rolling ship is a sloppy operation.
After that the captain produced a chess-board, ingeniously arranged for sea-service, and the two gentlemen spent the evening in a mimic warfare that ended in a drawn battle.
"The gale seems to be subsiding. The motion of the ship has not been so violent for the last half hour, I think," said Ishmael, as they arose from the table.
"No; if it had been, we could not have played chess, even on this boxed board," was the reply.
"I hope we shall have fine weather now. What do you say, captain?"
"I say as I said before. I am a passenger, and the weather is nothing to me. But if you expect we are going to have fine weather because the wind has lulled--humph!"
"We shall not, then?"
"We shall have a twister, that is what we shall have--and before many hours. And I shouldn't wonder if we had a storm of snow and sleet to cap off with. Good-night, sir!" And with this consoling prophecy the old man withdrew.
Ishmael went to his berth and slept soundly until morning. When he awoke he found the ship rolling, pitching, tossing, leaping, falling, and fairly writhing and twisting like a living creature in mortal agony.
He fell out of his berth, pitched into his clothes, slopped his face and hands, raked his hair, and tumbled on deck. In other words, by sleight of hand and foot, he made a sea-toilet and went up.
What a night!
The sky black as night; the sea lashed into a foam as white as snow; the waves running mountain high from south to north; the wind blowing a hurricane from east to west; the ship subjected to this cross action, pitching onward in semicircular jerks, deadly sickening to see and feel.
"I suppose this is what you call a 'twister,'" said Ishmael, reeling towards the old captain, who was already on deck.
"Yes; just as I told you! You see that gale blew from the south for about forty-eight hours and got the sea up running north. And then, before the sea had time to subside, the wind chopped round and now blows from due east. And the ship is rolled from side to side by the waves and tossed from stem to stern by the wind. And between the two actions she is regularly twisted, and that is the reason why the sailors call this sort of thing a 'twister.' And this is not the worst of it. This east wind will be sure to blow up a snowstorm. We shall have it on the Banks."
"This has gone beyond a gale. I should call this a hurricane," said Ishmael.
"Hurricane? hurricane? Bless you, sir, no, sir! capful of wind! capful of wind!" said the old man doggedly.
Nevertheless Ishmael noticed that the ship's captain looked anxious and gave his orders in short, peremptory tones.
The predicted snowstorm did not come on during that short winter's day, however. The "twister" "twisted" vigorously; twisted the ship nearly in two; twisted the souls, or rather the stomachs, nearly out of the bodies of the seasick victims. Even the well-pickled "old salt," Captain Mountz, felt uncomfortable. And it was just as much as Ishmael could do to keep himself up and avoid succumbing to illness. Those two were the last of the passengers that attempted to keep up. And they were very glad when night came and gave them an excuse for retiring.
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