Page:Yule Logs.djvu/65

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49
VENTURE OF THE "BERTHA" WHALER

like a gold and silver rope in the waves. Take the glass and have a squint."

"Thanks!" replied Arthur, somewhat abashed; "I'll see presently." He was uncertain what pranks might be played upon him when high jinks were the rule of the road at sea near the Line; so he waited the approach of Neptune patiently.

The sea-king came over the bows in due course, accompanied by his spouse and secretary; he was attended by a number of "policemen" and followers, who seized and questioned the intended victims. These were shaved with a hoop, compelled to swallow grease pills, and then soused in the water-sail, while queerly-dressed animals, seals, and such like assisted in the ducking.

The "doctor" did not escape, and, owing to what some people thought was no accident, the young man having been roughly shaved, soused, and jumped upon in the bath, was hunted down the companion-way. Here he came into violent collision with the commander, who was at that moment ascending. The surgeon was thrown down backwards and rendered insensible by the fall.

Mr. Halbrake was carried below, attended by his young friends and the mate. The festivity of the occasion was not greatly interrupted, but Arthur sat with Reginald in the doctor's berth, conversing in whispers, and with grave faces.

"Artie," said the latter, "we are getting into a fix! It seems to me that we are doomed somehow. The Bertha is under a ban!"

"I'm afraid there is something bad here, Reggie. Cordell is at the bottom of it. I wish he was at the bottom of the sea."

"Yes, he seems inclined to remove us one by one. Who's turn next, I wonder!"

"Do you think that he is a pirate?" exclaimed Arthur.