We evil seas did look upon, lessr. than they we might not conceive in haste. The weather seemed more wet than formerly. Our Mstr.'n C'dr. appeared today more pear-shaped than at Ydys repast.
Our Barque's stores must be in such Dire Straits but we must gnaw upon her, clenching her with our scorbic fangs in desperation: we are slothful all, but while our frail vessel floats it shall never yet be said that..
It didn't eventuate. Instead there were hushed rustlings and a low murmur
of voices without. Stephen crept back from the latch, drawing back from
the verge of springing out and confronting the woman with a glare. Mrs
Lucas had fallen into the habit of delivering oddments of the plant and
animal kingdoms to him, though sometimes at sea it was hard to distinguish
between them, and when his afternoon contemplations were interrupted by
the arrival of a glabrous green lump it was hard, very hard to feign an
Curious spiders, strangely marked shells, a remarkably ugly fish, they
had all found homes in little jars filled with spirits, though the latest
gift had been granted a temporary reprieve.
He picked it up now, set it on his sleeve, and began to stroke it with
a cuttleface bone lying ready to hand. It gazed up at him with a small
but oddly human regard, its tentacles flaring and mottling in rings of
blue as the tiny octopode crawled along his arm.
For a slow minute man and beast examined each other, the one deliberating
upon the diverse natures of intelligence, the other inching ever closer
along the extended arm to the pulsing wrist.
All at once there was a cry overhead, a confused roaring noise, sounds
of alarm and dismay and a thunder of bare feet on the deck. The ship lurched
to leeward, the frail latch gave way, the door burst inward with shocking
force and of an instant the cabin was full of struggling, writhing bodies.
"Ah, there you are, Doctor!" said Jack, his bulk overflowing the door's
vacancy. "I was just coming to tell you of a prodigious vast water spout
you'd be sorry if you missed it, ha ha!"
Stephen untangled himself from the writhing mass on the floor, and rescued the agitated octopus from where it had come to rest on, or rather in, the...
"Jack, dear, what can you tell me of our new shipmates? Sir Joseph's
letter gives away little but their initials: JG and PSM..."
"I suspect the latter may have been aboard since we called in at Australia. Don't that amaze you, Stephen? Both are clearly of some family and education and are most welcome aboard. They are..." He paused as a figure approached the door. "But they can speak for themselves. Here is one of them now."
Without a word, he reached in, seized his wife, and hauled her up. In doing so, he revealed the prone figure of...
As Stephen stared upon another coruscating gastropod, Mrs Lucas gave
her husband a round shove. "And what be you gawping at, Lucas? ĎWife,
do you be a-eddicating of them young Ďunsí sez you. And eddicating I am,
and thereís many as wouldnít, lively young gentlemen as they be, not to
mention of being throwed around by waves Ė all along of you not doiní
your work, Fred Lucas, you aní that no-good Critchley Ė bosun indeed,
Iíll give him bosun, ainít he síposed to keep the water outside the barky?"
Lucas stumbled dizzily through the door pursued by his spouse.
"A waterspout, old Stephen!" cried Jack again. "What say you to that?"
"That all prior observation suggests such a phenomenon must be accounted
unprecedented in these waters. As are these nondescript gastropods. Yet
they are plentiful. How are we to explain such extraordinary upheavals
in the natural order?"
A whining voice erupted outside the cabin. "Which they says toasted cheese.
Toasted flaming cheese. I asks you. Aní the barky crawling with outlandish
critters. Eels, all right, thatís human, that is. Whelks. Cockles. But
not a cabin full of crawling bastards as is all legs and comes a-worshing
in on giant waves, it ainít fair, that ainít."
Stephen grabbed the creature from Calamyís hand. "Jack, I believe we
may draw a conclusion from the temporal nexus between the gastropods and
the water spout. Are they res causalis et res eveniens? Even if simply
res nescioquo concatenatae, the phenomena demand immediate investigation."
"Stephen, Stephen, what a fellow you are!" Jack cried. "All these years,
and you have still not grasped "
Stephen shot him a cold and reptilian look. "Nay, Jack, do not prate
to me of winds and tides and lose not a minute and similar inane truisms!
Surely you have realised that these singularities may very well be connected
with our present mission!"
"Ah. To be sure. That is to say "
"Come, come. It would be evident to a child that
It was days before PSM spoke again and then it was only because Mrs Lucas had come to cheer him up with a strange jelly fish shaped like a box.
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