Disko worked all hands mercilessly for the next three or four days; and when they could not go out, turned them into the hold to stack the ship’s stores into smaller compass, to make more room for the fish. The packed mass ran from the cabin partition to the sliding door behind the foc’sle stove; and Disko showed how there is great art in stowing cargo so as to bring a schooner to her best draft. The crew were thus kept lively till they recovered their spirits; and Harvey was tickled with a rope’s end by Long Jack for being, as the Galway man said, “sorrowful as a sick cat over fwhat couldn’t be helped.” He did a great deal of thinking in those weary days, and told Dan what he thought, and Dan agreed with him—even to the extent of asking for fried pies instead of hooking them.
But a week later the two nearly upset the Hattie S. in a wild attempt to stab a shark with an old bayonet tied to a stick. The grim brute rubbed alongside the dory begging for small fish, and between the three of them it was a mercy they all got off alive.
At last, after playing blindman’s-buff in the fog, there came a morning when Disko shouted down the foc’sle: “Hurry, boys! We’re in taown!”
To the end of his days, Harvey will never forget that sight. The sun was just clear of the horizon they had not seen for nearly a week, and his low red light struck into the riding-sails of three fleets of anchored schooners—one to the north, one to the westward, and one to the south. There must have been nearly a hundred of them, of every possible make and build, with, far away, a square-rigged Frenchman, all bowing and courtesying one to the other. From every boat dories were dropping away like bees from a crowded hive, and the clamour of voices, the rattling of ropes and blocks, and the splash of the oars carried for miles across the heaving water. The sails turned all colours, black, pearly-gray, and white, as the sun mounted; and more boats swung up through the mists to the southward.
The dories gathered in clusters, separated, reformed, and broke again, all heading one way; while men hailed and whistled and cat-called and sang, and the water was speckled with rubbish thrown overboard.
“It’s a town,” said Harvey. “Disko was right. It is a town!”
“I’ve seen smaller,” said Disko. “There’s about a thousand men here; an’ yonder’s the Virgin.” He pointed to a vacant space of greenish sea, where there were no dories.
The ‘We’re Here’ skirted round the northern squadron, Disko waving his hand to friend after friend, and anchored as nearly as a racing yacht at the end of the season. The Bank fleet pass good seamanship in silence; but a bungler is jeered all along the line.
“Jest in time fer the caplin,” cried the Mary Chilton.
“’Salt ’most wet?” asked the King Philip.