.. < chapter xliii 10 HARK >
! Hist! Did you hear that noise, Cabaco?
It was the middle-watch; a fair moonlight; the seamen were standing in a
cordon, extending from one of the fresh-water butts in the waist, to the
scuttle-butt near the taffrail. In this manner, they passed the buckets to
fill the scuttle-butt. Standing, for the most part, on the hallowed precincts
of the quarter-deck, they were careful not to speak or rustle their feet.
From hand to hand, the buckets went in the deepest silence, only broken by
the occasional flap of a sail, and the steady hum of the unceasingly
advancing keel. It was in the midst of this repose, that Archy, one of the
cordon, whose post was near the after-hatches, whispered to his neighbor, a
Cholo, the words above. Hist! did you hear that noise, Cabaco? Take the
bucket, will ye, Archy? what noise d'ye mean? There it is again --under the
hatches --don't you hear it --a cough--it sounded like a cough. Cough be
damned! Pass along that return bucket. There again --there it is! --it sounds
like two or three sleepers turning over, now! Caramba! have done,
shipmate, will ye? It's the three soaked biscuits ye eat for supper turning
over inside of ye --nothing else. Look to the bucket!
Say what ye will, shipmate; I've sharp ears. Aye, you are the chap, ain't
ye, that heard the hum of the old Quakeress's knitting-needles fifty miles at
sea from Nantucket; you're the chap. Grin away; we'll see what turns up.
Hark ye, Cabaco, there is somebody down in the after-hold that has not yet
been seen on deck; and I suspect our old Mogul knows something of it too. I
heard Stubb tell Flask, one morning watch, that there was something of that
sort in the wind. Tish! the bucket!