“There’s a mutiny in the ship, and hark how the cargo clatters; will you have it back again?”
“Come, will you? I’ve been dreaming, Jack.”
“Dreaming! what’s that?”
“Thinking of something when you are asleep, you swab.”
“Ha, ha, ha!” laughed Jack; “never did such a thing in my life—ha, ha, ha! what’s the matter now?”
“I’ll tell you what’s the matter. Jack Pringle, you are becoming mutinous, and I won’t have it; if you don’t hold your jaw and draw in your slacks, I’ll have another second.”
“Another second! what’s in the wind, now?” said Jack. “Is this the dream?”
“If ever I dream when I’m alongside a strange craft, then it is a dream; but old Admiral Bell ain’t the man to sleep when there’s any work to be done.”
“That’s uncommon true,” said Jack, turning a quid.
“Well, then, I’m going to fight.”
“Fight!” exclaimed Jack. “Avast, there, I don’t see where’s the enemy—none o’ that gammon; Jack Pringle can fight, too, and will lay alongside his admiral, but he don’t see the enemy anywhere.”
“You don’t understand these things, so I’ll tell you. I have had a bit of talk with Sir Francis Varney, and I am going to fight him.”
“What the wamphigher?” remarked Jack, parenthetically.
“Well, then,” resumed Jack, “then we shall see another blaze, at least afore we die; but he’s an odd fish—one of Davy Jones’s sort.”
“I don’t care about that; he may be anything he likes; but Admiral Bell ain’t a-going to have his nephew burned and eaten, and sucked like I don’t know what, by a vampyre, or by any other confounded land-shark.”
“In course,” said Jack, “we ain’t a-going to put up with nothing of that sort, and if so be as how he has put him out of the way, why it’s our duty to send him after him, and square the board.”
“That’s the thing, Jack; now you know you must go to Sir Francis Varney and tell him you come from me.”
“I don’t care if I goes on my own account,” said Jack.
“That won’t do; I’ve challenged him and I must fight him.”
“In course you will,” returned Jack, “and, if he blows you away, why I’ll take your place, and have a blaze myself.”
The admiral gave a look at Jack of great admiration, and then said,—
“You are a d——d good seaman, Jack, but he’s a knight, and might say no to that, but do you go to him, and tell him that you come from me to settle the when and the where this duel is to be fought.”
“Single fight?” said Jack.
“Yes; consent to any thing that is fair,” said the admiral, “but let it be as soon as you can. Now, do you understand what I have said?”
“Yes, to be sure; I ain’t lived all these years without knowing your lingo.”
“Then go at once; and don’t let the honour of Admiral Bell and old England suffer, Jack. I’m his man, you know, at any price.”