(During the ensuing scene, the carpenter continues sneezing at times).
Just in time, sir. If the captain pleases, I
will now mark the length.
Let me measure, sir.
Measured for a leg! good. Well, it’s not the first time. About it! There; keep thy finger on it. This is a cogent vice thou hast here, carpenter; let me feel its grip once. So, so; it does pinch some.
Oh, sir, it will break bones—beware, beware!
No fear; I like a good grip; I like to feel something in this slippery world that can hold, man. What’s Prometheus about there?— the blacksmith, I mean—what’s he about?
He must be forging the buckle-screw, sir, now.
Right. It’s a partnership; he supplies
the muscle part.
He makes a fierce red flame there!
Aye, sir; he must have the white heat for this kind of fine work.
Um-m. So he must. I do deem it now a most meaning thing, that that old Greek, Prometheus, who made men, they say, should have been a blacksmith, and animated them with fire; for what’s made in fire must properly belong to fire; and so hell’s probable. How the soot flies! This must be the remainder the Greek made the Africans of. Carpenter, when he’s through with that buckle, tell him to forge a pair of steel shoulder-blades; there’s a pedlar aboard with a crushing pack.
Hold; while Prometheus is about it, I’ll order a complete man after a desirable pattern. Imprimis, fifty feet high in his socks; then, chest modelled after the Thames Tunnel then, legs with roots to ’em, to stay in one place; then, arms three feet through the wrist; no heart at all, brass forehead, and about a quarter of an acre of fine brains; and let me see—shall I order eyes to see outwards? No, but put a sky-light on top of his head to illuminate inwards. There, take the order, and away.
Now, what’s he speaking about, and who’s
he speaking to,
I should like to know? Shall I keep standing here? (aside.)
’Tis but indifferent architecture to make a blind dome; here’s one. No, no, no; I must have a lantern.
Ho, ho! That’s it, hey? Here are two, sir; one will serve my turn.
What art thou thrusting that thief-catcher into my
face for, man?
Thrusted light is worse than presented pistols.
I thought, sir, that you spoke to carpenter.
Carpenter? why that’s—but no;—a very tidy, and, I may say, an extremely gentlemanlike sort of business thou art in here, carpenter;—or would’st thou rather work in clay?
Sir?—Clay? clay, sir? That’s mud; we leave clay to ditchers, sir.
The fellow’s impious! What art thou sneezing about?
Bone is rather dusty, sir.
Take the hint, then; and when thou art dead, never bury thyself under living people’s noses.
Sir?—oh! ah!—I guess so; so;—yes, yes—oh dear!