Wolf Larsen ceased swearing as suddenly as he had begun. He relighted his cigar and glanced around. His eyes chanced upon the cook.
"Well, Cooky?" he began, with a suaveness that was cold and of the temper of steel.
"Yes, sir," the cook eagerly interpolated, with appeasing and apologetic servility.
"Don't you think you've stretched that neck of yours just about enough? It's unhealthy, you know. The mate's gone, so I can't afford to lose you too. You must be very, very careful of your health, Cooky. Understand?"
His last word, in striking contrast with the smoothness of his previous utterance, snapped like the lash of a whip. The cook quailed under it.
"Yes, sir," was the meek reply, as the offending head disappeared into the galley.
At this sweeping rebuke, which the cook had only pointed, the rest of the crew became uninterested and fell to work at one task or another. A number of men, however, who were lounging about a companionway between the galley and the hatch, and who did not seem to be sailors, continued talking in low tones with one another. These, afterward learned, were the hunters, the men who shot the seals, and a very superior breed to common sailor-folk.
"Johansen!" Wolf Larsen called out. A sailor stepped forward obediently. "Get your palm and needle and sew