“Well, what do you want?”
“My hand,” said the fellow.
“Take it then,” he said.
He did take it, and we saw that there was blood on it.
The stranger stretched out his left hand, and taking him by the breech, he lifted him, without any effort, upon the water-cask beside him.
We all stared at this, and couldn’t help it; and we were quite convinced we could not throw him overboard, but he would probably have no difficulty in throwing us overboard.
“Well, what do you want?” he again exclaimed to us all.
We looked at one another, and had scarce courage to speak; at length I said,—
“We wish you to leave off whistling.”
“Leave off whistling!” he said. “And why should I do anything of the kind?”
“Because it brings the wind.”
“Ha! ha! why, that’s the very reason I am whistling, to bring the wind.”
“But we don’t want so much.”
“Pho! pho! you don’t know what’s good for you—it’s a beautiful breeze, and not a bit too stiff.”
“It’s a hurricane.”
“But it is.”
“Now you see how I’ll prove you are wrong in a minute. You see my hair, don’t you?” he said, after he took off his cap. “Very well, look now.”
He got up on the water-cask, and stood bolt upright; and running his fingers through his hair, made it all stand straight on end.
“Confound the binnacle!” said the captain, “if ever I saw the like.”
“There,” said the stranger, triumphantly, “don’t tell me there’s any wind to signify; don’t you see, it doesn’t even move one of my grey hairs; and if it blew as hard as you say, I am certain it would move a hair.”
“Confound the binnacle!” muttered the captain as he walked away. “D—n the cabouse, if he ain’t older than I am—he’s too many for me and everybody else.”
“Are you satisfied?”
What could we say?—we turned away and left the place, and stood at our quarters—there was no help for it—we were impelled to grin and abide by it.
As soon as we had left the place he put his cap on again and sat down on the water-casks, and then took leave of his prisoner, whom he set free, and there lay at full length on his back, with his legs hanging down. Once more he began to whistle most furiously, and beat time with his feet.
For full three weeks did he continue at this game night and day, without any interruption, save such as he required to consume enough coffee royal, junk, and biscuit, as would have served three hearty men.
Well, about that time, one night the whistling ceased and he began to sing—oh! it was singing—such a voice! Gog and Magog in Guildhall, London, when they spoke were nothing to him—it was awful; but the wind calmed down to a fresh and stiff breeze. He continued at this game for three whole days and nights, and on the fourth it ceased, and when we went to take his coffee royal to him he was gone.