Chapter 43: Hark!
"HIST! Did you hear that noise, Cabaco?"
It was the middle-watch; a fair moonlight; the seamen were standing in a
cordon, extending from one of the fresh-water butts in the waist, to the
scuttle-butt near the taffrail. In this manner, they passed the buckets
to fill the scuttle-butt. Standing, for the most part, on the hallowed
precincts of the quarter-deck, they were careful not to speak or rustle
their feet. From hand to hand, the buckets went in the deepest silence,
only broken by the occasional flap of a sail, and the steady hum of the
unceasingly advancing keel.
It was in the midst of this repose, that Archy, one of the cordon, whose
post was near the after-hatches, whispered to his neighbor, a Cholo, the
"Hist! did you hear that noise, Cabaco?"
"Take the bucket, will ye, Archy? what noise d'ye mean?"
"There it is again--under the hatches--don't you hear it--a cough--it
sounded like a cough."
"Cough be damned! Pass along that return bucket."
"There again--there it is!--it sounds like two or three sleepers turning
"Caramba! have done, shipmate, will ye? It's the three soaked biscuits
ye eat for supper turning over inside of ye--nothing else. Look to the
"Say what ye will, shipmate; I've sharp ears."
"Aye, you are the chap, ain't ye, that heard the hum of the old
Quakeress's knitting-needles fifty miles at sea from Nantucket; you're
"Grin away; we'll see what turns up. Hark ye, Cabaco, there is somebody
down in the after-hold that has not yet been seen on deck; and I suspect
our old Mogul knows something of it too. I heard Stubb tell Flask, one
morning watch, that there was something of that sort in the wind."
"Tish! the bucket!"