With the money that I received I paid my passage in a vessel bound to Genoa, where I arrived in safety, but without the means of subsistence. But what doth the poet say, “Necessity is a strong rider with sharp stirrups, who maketh the sorry jade do that which the strong horse sometimes will not do.” Having no other resource, I determined once more to try my fortune upon the ocean.
* * * * *
“Allah wakbar—God is everywhere! It was your talleh—your destiny, Huckaback.”
“It was his kismet—his fate, your sublime highness,” rejoined Mustapha, “that he should go through those perils to amuse your leisure hours.”
“Wallah Thaib—well said, by Allah! Let the slave rejoice in our bounty. Give him ten pieces of gold; we will open our ears to his next voyage to-morrow. Murakhas, you are dismissed.”
“May your sublime shadow never be less,” replied Huckaback, as he salaamed out of the pacha’s presence.
THE LAST VOYAGE OF HUCKABACK.
Your highness will be surprised at the unheard-of adventures that occurred to me in my last voyage, and I think I can boldly assert that no man, either before or since, has explored so much, or has been in the peculiarly dangerous situations in which I have been placed by destiny.
Notwithstanding the danger which I incurred from my former expedition to the Northern Ocean, I was persuaded to take the command of a whaler about to proceed to those latitudes: we sailed from Marseilles early in the year that we might arrive at the northward in good time, and be able to quit the Frozen Ocean before the winter had set in. We were very fortunate on our arrival at Baffin’s Bay, and very soon had eighteen fish on board. The autumn was hardly commenced before I proposed to return, and we were steering in a southerly direction, when we encountered two or three large icebergs, upon the edges of which the walruses or sea-horses were lying in herds. As we had some casks still empty, I determined to fill them with the oil to be obtained from these animals, and hoisted out my boats to attack them. We killed a large number, which we sent on board, and continued our fishery with great success, having only lost one boat, the bottom plank of which had been bitten out by the tusks of one of these unwieldy animals. Of a sudden the wind changed to the southward, and the small icebergs which were then to windward rapidly closed with the large one upon which we were fishing. The harpooners observed it, and recommended me to return to the ship, but I was so amused with the sport that I did not heed their advice. A sea-horse was lying in a small cave accidentally formed on the upright edge of the iceberg, and wishing to attack him, I directed my boat to pull towards it. At this time there was not more than twenty yards of water between the two icebergs, and a sudden squall coming on, they