Full Online Books
BOOK CATEGORIES
Authors Authors Short Stories Short Stories Long Stories Long Stories Funny Stories Funny Stories Love Stories Love Stories Stories For Kids Stories For Kids Poems Poems Essays Essays Nonfictions Nonfictions Plays Plays Folktales Folktales Fairy Tales Fairy Tales Fables Fables Learning Kitchen Learning Kitchen
LINKS
Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Free Classified Website Without Registration Free Classified Website Daniel Company
Twitter Twitter Add book
donate
Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWhite Jacket - Chapter 78. Dismal Times In The Mess
Famous Authors (View All Authors)
White Jacket - Chapter 78. Dismal Times In The Mess Post by :mrtwist Category :Long Stories Author :Herman Melville Date :May 2012 Read :2714

Click below to download : White Jacket - Chapter 78. Dismal Times In The Mess (Format : PDF)

White Jacket - Chapter 78. Dismal Times In The Mess

CHAPTER LXXVIII. DISMAL TIMES IN THE MESS

It was on the first day of the long, hot calm which we had on the Equator, that a mess-mate of mine, by the name of Shenly, who had been for some weeks complaining, at length went on the sick-list.

An old gunner's mate of the mess--Priming, the man with the hare- lip, who, true to his tribe, was charged to the muzzle with bile, and, moreover, rammed home on top of it a wad of sailor superstition--this gunner's mate indulged in some gloomy and savage remarks--strangely tinged with genuine feeling and grief-- at the announcement of the sick-ness of Shenly, coming as it did not long after the almost fatal accident befalling poor Baldy, captain of the mizzen-top, another mess-mate of ours, and the dreadful fate of the amputated fore-top-man whom we buried in Rio, also our mess-mate.

We were cross-legged seated at dinner, between the guns, when the sad news concerning Shenly was first communicated.

"I know'd it, I know'd it," said Priming, through his nose. "Blast ye, I told ye so; poor fellow! But dam'me, I know'd it. This comes of having _thirteen in the mess. I hope he arn't dangerous, men? Poor Shenly! But, blast it, it warn't till White- Jacket there comed into the mess that these here things began. I don't believe there'll be more nor three of us left by the time we strike soundings, men. But how is he now? Have you been down to see him, any on ye? Damn you, you Jonah! I don't see how you can sleep in your hammock, knowing as you do that by making an odd number in the mess you have been the death of one poor fellow, and ruined Baldy for life, and here's poor Shenly keeled up. Blast you, and your jacket, say I."

"My dear mess-mate," I cried, "don't blast me any more, for Heaven's sale. Blast my jacket you may, and I'll join you in _that; but don't blast _me; for if you do, I shouldn't wonder if I myself was the next man to keel up."

"Gunner's mate!" said Jack Chase, helping himself to a slice of beef, and sandwiching it between two large biscuits--"Gunner's mate! White-Jacket there is my particular friend, and I would take it as a particular favour if you would _knock off blasting him. It's in bad taste, rude, and unworthy a gentleman."

"Take your back away from that 'ere gun-carriage, will ye now, Jack Chase?" cried Priming, in reply, just then Jack happening to lean up against it. "Must I be all the time cleaning after you fellows? Blast ye! I spent an hour on that 'ere gun-carriage this very mornin'. But it all comes of White-Jacket there. If it warn't for having one too many, there wouldn't be any crowding and jamming in the mess. I'm blessed if we ar'n't about chock a' block here! Move further up there, I'm sitting on my leg!"

"For God's sake, gunner's mate," cried I, "if it will content you, I and my jacket will leave the mess."

"I wish you would, and be ------ to you!" he replied.

"And if he does, you will mess alone, gunner's mate," said Jack Chase.

"That you will," cried all.

"And I wish to the Lord you'd let me!" growled Priming, irritably rubbing his head with the handle of his sheath-knife.

"You are an old bear, gunner's mate," said Jack Chase.

"I am an old Turk," he replied, drawing the flat blade of his knife between his teeth, thereby producing a whetting, grating sound.

"Let him alone, let him alone, men," said Jack Chase. "Only keep off the tail of a rattlesnake, and he'll not rattle."

"Look out he don't bite, though," said Priming, snapping his teeth; and with that he rolled off, growling as he went.

Though I did my best to carry off my vexation with an air of indifference, need I say how I cursed my jacket, that it thus seemed the means of fastening on me the murder of one of my shipmates, and the probable murder of two more. For, had it not been for my jacket, doubtless, I had yet been a member of my old mess, and so have escaped making the luckless odd number among my present companions.

All I could say in private to Priming had no effect; though I often took him aside, to convince him of the philosophical impossibility of my having been accessary to the misfortunes of Baldy, the buried sailor in Rio, and Shenly. But Priming knew better; nothing could move him; and he ever afterward eyed me as virtuous citizens do some notorious underhand villain going unhung of justice.

Jacket! jacket! thou hast much to answer for, jacket!

If you like this book please share to your friends :
NEXT BOOKS

White Jacket - Chapter 79. How Man-Of-War's-Men Die At Sea White Jacket - Chapter 79. How Man-Of-War's-Men Die At Sea

White Jacket - Chapter 79. How Man-Of-War's-Men Die At Sea
CHAPTER LXXIX. HOW MAN-OF-WAR'S-MEN DIE AT SEAShenly, my sick mess-mate, was a middle-aged, handsome, intelligent seaman, whom some hard calamity, or perhaps some unfortunate excess, must have driven into the Navy. He told me he had a wife and two children in Portsmouth, in the state of New Hampshire. Upon being examined by Cuticle, the surgeon, he was, on purely scientific grounds, reprimanded by that functionary for not having previously appeared before him. He was immediately consigned to one of the invalid cots as a serious case. His complaint was of long standing; a pulmonary one, now attended with general prostration.The
PREVIOUS BOOKS

White Jacket - Chapter 77. The Hospital In A Man-Of-War White Jacket - Chapter 77. The Hospital In A Man-Of-War

White Jacket - Chapter 77. The Hospital In A Man-Of-War
CHAPTER LXXVII. THE HOSPITAL IN A MAN-OF-WARAfter running with a fine steady breeze up to the Line, it fell calm, and there we lay, three days enchanted on the sea. We were a most puissant man-of-war, no doubt, with our five hundred men, Commodore and Captain, backed by our long batteries of thirty-two and twenty-four pounders; yet, for all that, there we lay rocking, helpless as an infant in the cradle. Had it only been a gale instead of a calm, gladly would we have charged upon it with our gallant bowsprit, as with a stout lance in rest; but, as
NEXT 10 BOOKS | PREVIOUS 10 BOOKS | RANDOM 10 BOOKS
LEAVE A COMMENT