Now, my lads, said the first lieutenant, we must slug (the part the breeches cover) more forward. As I never had heard of a gun having breeches, I was very curious to see what was going on, and went up close to the first lieutenant, who said to me, Youngster, hand me that monkeys tail. I saw nothing like a monkeys tail, but I was so frightened that I snatched up the first thing that I saw, which was a short bar of iron, and it so happened that it was the very article which he wanted. When I gave it to him, the first lieutenant looked at me, and said, So you know what a monkeys tail is already, do you? Now dont you ever sham stupid after that.
I resolved to learn the names of everything as fast as I could, that I might be prepared, so I listened attentively to what was said; but I soon became quite confused, and despaired of remembering anything.
Why, I beg leave to hint to you, sir, in the most delicate manner in the world, replied the boatswain, that it must be with a double-walland be damned to youdont you know that yet? Captain of the foretop, said he, up on your horses, and take your stirrups up three inches. Aye, aye, sir. I looked and looked, but I could see no horses.
Let me see, sir. Ive one sister, tother we split in half the other day, and I think I have a couple of monkeys down in the store-room. I say, you Smith, pass that brace through the bulls eye, and take the sheep-shank out before you come down.
And then he asked the first lieutenant whether something should not be fitted with a mouse or only a Turks-headtold him the goose-neck must be spread out by the armourer as soon as the forge was up. In short, what with dead-eyes and shrouds, cats and cat-blocks, dolphins and dolphin-strikers, whips and puddings, I was so puzzled with what I heard, that I was about to leave the deck in absolute despair.