Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
Why I should have done so I can hardly say. It was at first mere
instinct, but once I had it in my hands and found it fast, curiosity
began to get the upper hand, and I determined I should have one
look through the cabin window.
I pulled in hand over hand on the cord, and when I judged
myself near enough, rose at infinite risk to about half my height
and thus commanded the roof and a slice of the interior of the
By this time the schooner and her little consort were gliding
pretty swiftly through the water; indeed, we had already fetched
up level with the camp-fire. The ship was talking, as sailors say,
loudly, treading the innumerable ripples with an incessant
weltering splash; and until I got my eye above the window-sill I
could not comprehend why the watchmen had taken no alarm.
One glance, however, was sufficient; and it was only one glance
that I durst take from that unsteady skiff. It showed me Hands and
his companion locked together in deadly wrestle, each with a hand
upon the other’s throat.
I dropped upon the thwart again, none too soon, for I was near
overboard. I could see nothing for the moment but these two
furious, encrimsoned faces swaying together under the smoky
lamp, and I shut my eyes to let them grow once more familiar with
The endless ballad had come to an end at last, and the whole
diminished company about the camp-fire had broken into the
chorus I had heard so often:
“Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest--
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!