We went very slowly, and the fog lasted unusually long. It included a Sunday, which is a blessed day to Jack at sea. No tarring, greasing, oiling, painting, scraping or scrubbing but what is positively necessary, and no yarn-spinning but that of telling travellers' tales, which seamen aptly describe as spinning yarns.
Sam Rogers told me the story that follows, as we sat in the coils of the foremain and topsail braces easy chairs aboard ship and, sheltered from the blast of wind and spume by the high-weather rail, killed time in the night-watch by yarn-spinning.
"In the ordinary way," replied the big man good-humoredly, "it doesn't. But a sudden death always excites suspicion, and " "A sudden death?" I said, glancing up; "you didn't explain that the ghost had killed any one!" "I'm afraid I'm a poor hand at yarn-spinning, Doctor," said Weymouth, turning his blue, twinkling eyes in my direction.
Naturally enough, having heard that I had been a captive among the savages, they insisted upon my relating to them my adventures; and this inaugurated an evening of yarn-spinning in the forecastle, the incidents related having reference for the most part to the slave-trade.
"Boys, is this the way you treat a watchmate" demanded Israel reproachfully, "trying to cheer up his friends? Shame on ye, boys. Come, let's be sociable. Spin us a yarn, one of ye. Meantime, rub my back for me, another," and very confidently he leaned against his neighbor. "Lean off me, will ye?" roared his friend, shoving him away. "But who is this ere singing, leaning, yarn-spinning chap?
By the time they had him anchored behind an ale-horn on the bench in the hall, he held the household's undivided attention. Good-natured with feasting, and roused by the babel around him, he began yarn-spinning at the first hint. "The western shore? No man living can tell you more of the wonders of that than I, not Biorn Herjulfsson himself!" he declared.
"In the ordinary way," replied the big man good-humouredly, "it doesn't. But a sudden death always excites suspicion, and " "A sudden death?" I said, glancing up; "you didn't explain that the ghost had killed any one!" "I'm afraid I'm a poor hand at yarn-spinning, doctor," said Weymouth, turning his blue, twinkling eyes in my direction.
Ford see your life-book, Captain Jim?" asked Anne, when Captain Jim finally declared that yarn-spinning must end for the time. "Oh, he don't want to be bothered with THAT," protested Captain Jim, who was secretly dying to show it. "I should like nothing better than to see it, Captain Boyd," said Owen. "If it is half as wonderful as your tales it will be worth seeing."
Dunbar struck a bell at his side, and a clerk came promptly from the rear room. "Nesbitt, step over to the livery stable, and order a carriage sent up at once." Turning to Bedney he continued: "I suppose the gist of all your yarn-spinning is, that you have found a stranger prowling about the place. How did you discover him?" "Lem'me tell you, as fur as I can, how I cum to see ole Marster. Mr.
It was a hard, wearing, toilsome journey, but it had its bright side; for after each day was done and our wolfish hunger appeased with a hot supper of fried bacon, bread, molasses and black coffee, the pipe-smoking, song-singing and yarn-spinning around the evening camp-fire in the still solitudes of the desert was a happy, care-free sort of recreation that seemed the very summit and culmination of earthly luxury.