To try whether it was upon him that she was directing the glass, or at the unusual discharging of freight into the sail-boat, he waved his hat, and his whole face lighted up with joy as he saw her return his signal. He took off his hat again, and received another wave of the glass in reply.
He stood there then straining his eyes abstractedly in the direction of the rock until it disappeared behind them in the gathering twilight. He had been inspirited for the whole voyage; and the first thing he should do when they arrived at Boston would be to buy a dress and a ring; and when he came home he determined that his first business should be to make an expedition to the island, and put a certain question to a certain person whom he knew out there.
He was roused from his abstraction by the boatswain bawling out his name, and asking if he was going to sleep there, and whether he wanted something to wake him up. The order had been given to make all snug for the night, as the breeze was freshening.
The watches had been set at noon, and the starboard and larboard watch told off, as customary on the first day a vessel goes to sea. Salve had the middle watch; and by that time the sea was running high, and they were plunging through the darkness under a double-reefed mainsail, the moon every now and then clearing an open space in the storm—clouds that were driving like smoke before it, so that he could fitfully distinguish objects over the deck, even to the look-out man’s looming figure out upon the forecastle.
Upon the capstan bar sat a sailor in oilskin clothes, who had probably been on shore the previous night and not closed his eyes, and who was making great efforts to keep awake. His head, however, would still keep nodding; and from time to time he stood up and tried to keep himself warm by exercising his arms. He sang, or more often took up afresh upon each recovery of consciousness a verse of a half-Swedish ballad about a “girl so true,” that he wished he then had by his side, for the time without her seemed so long. Now and then the spray of a sea would bring him more sharply to himself, but it did not last long; and so the ditty, which was melancholy to the last degree, would begin afresh.
Salve was far too restless to have any desire to sleep, and as he paced to and fro by the fore-hatch, lost in his dreams, and listened to the song, it seemed to him a most touching one.
The nodding sailor little thought that he was performing before a deeply-moved audience.
The party, meanwhile, that had left the ship, were passing the night with old Jacob on Torungen. They had tried first to beat out to the larger island, but the sea had risen, darkness had set in, and it had soon become evident that it was no longer pleasure-sailing for a boat with ladies in it. They had determined, therefore, rather than go about for home, and lose the whole sporting expedition, which was to have lasted for two or three days, to spend the night on Little Torungen and see what the morning would do for them.