Page:A Mainsail Haul - Masefield - 1913.djvu/39

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27
A SAILOR'S YARN

And Bill he said: 'You shut your heads about that there little monkey. I'm going to teach that little monkey how to speak. And when he can speak I'm going to sell him to a museum. And then I'll buy a farm. I won't come to sea any more.' So they just laugh at Bill, and by and by the Mary loaded, and got her hatches on, and sailed south-away, on the road home to Liverpool.

"Well, every evening, in the dog-watch, after supper, while the decks were drying from the washing-down, Bill used to take the monkey on to the fo'c's'le head, and set him on the capstan. 'Well, ye little divvle,' he used to say, 'will ye speak? Are ye going to speak, hey?' and the monkey would just grin and chatter back at Billy, but never no Christian speech came in front of them teeth of his. And this game went on until they were up with the Horn, in bitter cold weather, running east like a stag, with a great sea piling up astern. And then one night, at eight bells, Billy came on deck for the first watch, bringing the monkey with him. It was blowing like sin, stiff and cold, and the Mary was butting through, and dipping her fo'c's'le under. So Bill takes the