Fiction > Herman Melville > Moby-Dick
Herman Melville (1819–1891).  Moby-Dick.  1922.
Chapter XLIII
‘HIST! Did you hear that noise, Cabaco?’  1
  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.  2
  It was in the midst of this repose, that Archy, one of the cordon, whose post was near the after-hatches, whispered to his neighbour, a Cholo, the words above.  3
  ‘Hist! did you hear that noise, Cabaco?’  4
  ‘Take the bucket, will ye, Archy? what noise d’ ye mean?’  5
  ‘There it is again—under the hatches—don’t you hear it—a cough—it sounded like a cough.’  6
  ‘Cough be damned! Pass along that return bucket.’  7
  ‘There again—there it is!—it sounds like two or three sleepers turning over, now!’  8
  ‘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!’  9
  ‘Say what ye will, shipmate; I ’ve sharp ears.’  10
  ‘Ay, 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.’  11
  ‘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.’  12
  ‘Tish! the bucket!’  13

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