At first the food had been pretty good, but it now became worse and worse, and the men swore that they would stand it no longer. At last, when some rancid pork had been served out with musty peas and weevilly biscuits, the men went aft in a body, headed by the boatswain, Sass Jowler, and Growles, who were deputed to be spokesmen, to the quarterdeck, where the captain was walking.
I won't have none of your weevilly wheat I won't have none of your barley, I'll have some flour In half an hour To bake a cake for Charley. Oh, Charley, he is a fine young man, Charley he is a dandy, Charley he is a fine young man For he buys the girls some candy.
"P. S. Coming in, I saw a group of children dancing on a bridge, close to a schoolhouse, down near the Mississippi. I guess no one but myself knew what they were doing; but I recognized our old 'Weevilly Wheat' dance.
The captain looked sheepish enough at this, but he looked sorrowful, too, as if he could have wished it had been different, and he asked the man if he had been abused since he came on board. Well, the man said, not unless you called tainted salt-horse and weevilly biscuit abuse; and then the captain sat down again, and I could feel his poor wife shrinking beside me.
"Yes, I did," the storekeeper declared. "I was third aboard her she carried a full crew. She sailed out o' N'York for Australia and home by the way of the Chile ports and the Horn a hermaphrodite brig she was; and she could sail! "But she warn't well found. The grub was wuss'n a Blue-nose herrin' smack's. Weevilly bread and rusty beef.
The dance was "The Weevilly Wheat" and Ed Blackler was her partner. Against the wall stood Marsh Belford, a tall, crude, fierce young savage with eyes fixed on Agnes. He was one of her suitors and mad with jealousy of Blackler to whom she was said to be engaged. He was a singular youth, at once bashful and baleful.
It was good for me to live under sharp discipline; to be down on the realities of existence by living on bare necessaries; to find out how extremely well worth living life seemed to be when one woke up from a night's rest on a soft plank, with the sky for canopy and cocoa and weevilly biscuit the sole prospect for breakfast; and, more especially, to learn to work for the sake of what I got for myself out of it, even if it all went to the bottom and I along with it.
And to emphasize that fact, my mind ran along the trail of the 'Weevilly Wheat' into the domain of tickers, margins, puts and calls, and all the cussedness of the Board of Trade, and came bump against poor Bill's bucket-shop deals, and settled down to the chronic wonder as to just how badly crippled he was when he died. If Will gets it figured out soon, at all accurately, wire me.
I have seen Wades and Flemings and Holbrooks and all the rest singing and hopping about to the tune of We Come Here to Bounce Around; and also We'll All Go Down to Rowser; and Hey, Jim Along, Jim Along Josie; and Angelina Do Go Home; and Good-by Susan Jane; and Shoot the Buffalo; and Weevilly Wheat; and Sandy He Belonged to the Mill; and I've Been to the East, I've Been to the West, I've Been to the Jay-Bird's Altar; and Skip-to-My-Lou; and The Juniper Tree; and Go In and Out the Window; and The Jolly Old Miller; and Captain Jinks; and lots more of them.
Before the Encounter Bay incident occurred, the French sailors had expressed so much disgust with their putrid meat, weevilly biscuit, and stinking water, that some of them threw their rations overboard, even in the presence of the captain, preferring to endure the pangs of hunger rather than eat such revolting food.