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“It is bad luck, kaptan," said the “I bave heard, Holar,” said Andervoice of his first-mate behind him. The sen more gently. “You bad bad luck man, who had just come on deck from when you were hunting from Finhis bunk, spoke sadly and respectfully. marken. Was it not so?”

Kaptan Andersen wheeled round. “It was bad luck," continued the

“What is bad luck?" he asked mate—“bad luck such as bas never sharply. Then he laughed pleasantly. happened to a Norsk whaler since old "You have broken your coffee-mug Svend Foyn showed us how to take again, Holar; that is the trouble.” the great blaa-hral with the bomb-barHolar shook his head.

He was a

poon from the little steamer. My big man, looking much older than bis steamer, the Ulf, was sunk by a whale years, and melancholy of countenance; that I had struck and made fast." often he seemed to be brooding over “I know it, Holar." some tremendous disappointment.

“Every one in Norge knows it, for “I have broken nothing, kaptan," he such a thing never bappened befom sald slowly. “Neither have I been or since. But every one does not dreaming dreams. But I tell you it is know that the whale-the last whalo bad luck to get news of a cachalot I hunted, I who have killed hundrede from Kaptan Bjornsen of the Ole -the whale was a cachalot.” Bull."

"Al!” said Andersen, “I had not "So you have heard about the cacha- heard that." lot. Well, Holar, I say to you that "It was twelve years ago.” any news of a cachalot, when we have “So you think it is unlucky to strike been a week without even a sej-hval, a cachalot, Holar," said the captain, is good luck; and when we have killed suppressing a smile. "A goodly numour cachalot you will also"

ber of cachalots have been safely takes “Kaptan," said the other solemnly, since then, and nearly all from the "you will not bunt this cachalot?” small boats."

Andersen stared at his mate. “What “The ill-luck is not in the cachalot foolish talk is this, Holar, about bad but in the way the cachalot is found luck and Kaptan Bjornsen?" be de- Listen, kaptan. Twelve years ago I manded impatiently. He was sorry was cruising for blaa-hval and fin-htal for the older man, to whom he had and Nordkappers, and getting few of allowed considerable latitude of speech any. And on a night such as this a in the past; but this was going too steamer going to Tronsö came a little far. “What kind of talk is this from out of her course to tell me about a you to me?"

cachalot-a big bull—that was not four The mate's gloomy gray eyes looked

miles away.

The steamer was the straight into the captain's angry blue Helga." ones.

"Not the Ole Bull," said Andersen It is for your sake, kaptan, that I turning to him with a light laugh. speak what you call foolisliness," said “No; but the Helga's kaptan was Holar quietly. “Will you listen, Kaptan Bjornsen, now of the Olo kaptan?"

Bull." “What is it?" Andersen rapped out. The captain of the Gisli uttered as Als eyes were now turned to the sea exclamation. "That is queer, Holar," ahead.

be admitted presently; "but it means "You bave beard,” began the mate nothing." in a low voice, “that I also was once “Nothing but bad luck," said the a kaptan of a whaler?"

mate stolidly.

"For me?" asked Andersen with a "On the crown of his great head short laugh.

there is a large, whitish blotch. It is "For you, kaptan. There is no luck like the map of Island (Iceland) on for me now-neither bad nor good," the chart, the shape of it." Holar muttered sadly. “But I would “Good!” said Audersen. "I will look not that you should ever be as I. It is for it when the time comes," he added not good to be second after one has firmly. been first. It is not good to see an- “And you will find it, kaptan," re other fire the gun. It is hell.

And so

turned the other in a dull voice. Ho I beg you, kaptan-you who have for perceived that nothing he could say given me much and been patient-to would move the young man froin bis let this cursed—"

purpose, and he turued away, for it "Hral! Hval!" came the alarm from was time to relieve the man at tho the man in the crow's nest.

wheel. Kaptan Andersen gave a shout of "Stay!" the captain called, his voice utisfaction. The whale, however, had gentle again. risen far away, and the chase, in the Holar halted. meantime, would be directed from the “See here, my good Holar," said the masthead.

captain. "Suppose that yonder cacha“Let him go, kaptan; let him go!" lot is really your old enemy. What the mate pleaded. “Do not risk every

then? Has not the day come for your thing."

revenge? Think of that, and cheer Once more Andersen laughed. It is up!" doubtless the very cachalot that sank “My revenge! What have I to do the vif. my good Holar," he said with it?" asked the mate moodily. festingly.

Audersen fushed with anger, and "It is no other," said the mate in a turned again to the guu. It was not hoarse whisper.

bis fault that Holar was serving in a Somehow Andersen did not laugh secondary position. It had always this time. He was afraid of no whale been a trial, his shipboard relation in the sea, but he was troubled about with a mate old enough to be his fabis mate. Was the latter getting a ther. He had borne with the old man little lad?

for three seasons, but he was coming "It is surely a strange happening," to the end of his patience. Holar, he said after a pause.

"But how do with his grievance that insinuated ityou know it is the same cachalot? It sell into half of his conversation, was is likely that your cachalot died in the becoming unbearable. Arctic."

And now Kaptan Andersen thought "I shot bim badly-too near the tail. he saw through the old man and his He got a coil of the cable round his cry of “bad luck." The old man had flukes, and the cable went snap as if pretenderl that bis anxiety was all for It had been wool. Then he went mad his skipper and his skipper's reputaand came for the Ulf. Nej, kaptan, he tion. So! And what would the old lives yet; and there is now a devil in man do if he were suddenly put in the him that entered with my harpoon. skipper's place? Would he let the Let him go, käptan; let him swim cacha lot go? Andersen muttered a away to the south, to his "

curse or two, reviling himself for his "How can you tell he is the same?” previous indulgence to bis mate. And Andersen interrupted irritably. "How an ugly question leapt up in his mind: vould you know-"

could he even trust Holar in the steer

ing-box when the Gisli and the cacha- Andersen dropped the letter and sat lot came to close quarters?

down on the locker. His wrath died; He looked behind him, but the mate pity rose again. He began to underhad gone aft. A couple of sailors stand something of what the ex-captain were standing at their posts beside must have suffered during his twelve the winches carrying the cables, to years' mateship; something of what one of which was attached the har- the old woman at home must have enpoon, But he did not send a sailor dured as year after year went past for the mate, as he thought of first without restoring her husband to the doing. The Gisli was still far from position that had seemed so grand to the cachalot; she was taking a curved them both. And twelve years without course that would eventually, if the firing a barpoon! Perbaps that aplookout's calculations were correct, pealed to the young gunner more than bring her close and at right angles to did anything else in the tragedy. the whale's line of progress and some- Twelve years' blank on the top of, what in advance of the whale, there perhaps, twenty years' full existence, to await his approach. There was,

for Holar had been a famous gunner therefore, no immediate need for the in his day. gun.

Andersen felt sick of himself. He Kaptan Andersen went aft. In the had pitied the old man, but had be steering-box he found the second-mate, ever really done aught to help him? who informed him that Holar had Was he not a nepbew of the largest gone below, promising to return to shareholder in the company? Yet be take charge in a few minutes. At this had never spoken a word on Holar's Andersen's resentment was not less- behalf-he, “the young kaptan wbo ened. The old man had taken one was so kind!" liberty too many. What could he be doing below at such a time?

The second-mate summoned him, The young man went into the tiny and he hurried on deck. deck-house and quietly descended the "Take the wheel, and send Holar to narrow stair. At the last step he me," he said briefly, and went forward balted and peeped into the cabin. to the gun. The unsuspecting cachalot,

The mate was sitting on his locker, after a long submersion, was coming crouching over the table, his face leisurely towards the Gisli, and would bowed on his arms.

most probably cross her bows. "Holar,” said Andersen sternly, "are The captain signalled with his band you asleep? It is time for you to take for "dead slow." the wheel."

Presently Holar stood beside him. With a start the mate rose, squeezed The old man was trembling. past the captain without look or word, "You mean to strike him, kaptan ? and climbed the stair.

he whispered. Andersen entered the cabin, feeling Andersen nodded. “How could I go uneasy. A crumpled, closely and badly back to the station and tell them I written letter was lying on the locker. bad let a cacbalot go from under my He picked it up, and ere he knew gun? Are you afraid, Holar?" what he was doing these words were "For you, kaptan. You will lose ringing in his mind: “You must not your ship." give up hope, dear husband. Would Andersen bit off an oath. The old not the young kaptan who is so kind man's croaking was maddening. speak for you to the company?”

The whale came nearer, and sod

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denly Holar whispered, “Look! See!-- he suspected danger. He moved forthe whitish blotch on his head!"

ward with a rush. But ere he could “Ah!" The young man drew a long sound, Holar's finger had pressed the breath. He laid his right hand on trigger. It was a long shot, but the the stock of the gun, and signalled old man's skill had not departed, and with his left for a turn ahead. The the hundredweight barpoon buried its supreme moment was nigh. Already four feet length in the great greasy, he saw the Gisli, with all her flags and flank. Almost with the crash of the bunting flying, arriving at the Faroe cannon the awful tail whirled a loft, hvalstation with the cachalot in tow; and amid the roaring and foaming of already he heard the managing direc- waters the cachalot plunged for the tor's praise and the congratulations of depths. brother-captains.

To the tune of whirring and clanking The mate sighed, the sigh of a man wheels the yellow hempen cable flashed growing old without hope.

from the winch and over the bow. Kaptan Andersen stepped from the Ninety fathoms poured into the sea ere gun-platform. “Holar," he said rap- Holar gave orders to check the wheels idly, "I give you charge. Take the with the massive wooden brakesgun-and your revenge. I go to take lightly at first, then heavily-until at the wheel. Good luck!"

last the cable ceased to flow, and the Holar went white as death.

Gisli, her screw at rest, glided through "Are you afraid?" asked the captain. the water. Between the wind and

*Afraid! But I think of you. What the bow the cable stretched, taut as a will they say at the station ?"

fiddle-string, a foot above the deck. “Oh, I have a little accident to my Holar stood with one foot resting on right hand,” replied Andersen. "But it while he searched the sea ahead. now I have given you your orders. In seven minutes, perhaps, the cachaQuick, Holar! Look out!!!

lot rose. He had gone down with Like a boy, Holar sprang to the but half-filled lungs, and ere he broke gun. His face was still ghastly, but the surface the carbonic gases burst his limbs had become steady.

from his blow-hole and carried "Holar takes charge,” said Andersen watery spout high in the air. Again to the wondering sailors, and ran aft he blew tremendously and sucked in to the steering-box, there to await the fresh air, rolling from side to side, instructions of his mate.

lashing out with his tail. The cable But Holar seemed mate no longer. slackened ever so little under Holar's With the polished stock of the short foot; but he felt the change, and imswivel-cannon on his palm, he mediately the donkey-engine went to captain in everything but name. The work. Not for long, however. The twelve dreary years were blotted out cachalot set off once more, towing the in the joy and exultation of the mo- Gisli at the rate of six knots an hour, ment. He signalled his orders with- and swimming at near the surout hesitation; he swung his weapon

face. on its bearings with friendly famil- In the steering-box Kaptan Andersen iarity..

felt anxious. It was plain to him that The cachalot appeared to be half- the bomb on the harpoon had failed to asleep, so lazily did he forge through explode. A long struggle was there. the water, bis head with its peculiar fore likely, and it looked as if lancing marking showing from time to time. would be necessary before the end Suddenly the creature seemed as if could be reached. He glanced at the

LIVING AGE. VOL. XXXIV. 1800

а

was

or

two small boats belonging to the Gisli, Beneath his foot the cable became and shrank from the thought of risk- elastic, then easy to bend. ing his inexperienced men in them The deck quivered as the Gisli shot alongside an infuriated whale. It was forward in a curve, the cable trailing a rare experience indeed to use the from her port bow as though she were lance in rorqual-hunting-so rare that a stricken monster running away with little or no provision was made for the line. such an emergency. Andersen remem- A groan burst from Kaptan Anderbered that, a year before, three men sen's throat. Had Holar gone mad? belonging to an Iceland station had He opened his mouth to shout, when left the whaler to lance a wounded the second-mate at his side screeched blaa-hval and had not returned. It and pointed astern. almost seemed as if the "bad luck" There, from the shattered sea, burst had come after all, and he could only the monstrous head; and, as the men hope that by some happy chance the gaped, the cachalot beared his frightbomb might yet explode, or that Holar, ful bulk half out of the water and who was already reloading the gun, across the still bubbling track of the might somehow get a second shot Gisli. home.

Down he went again, raising a tem

pest of spray and leaving a whirlpool Two hours had passed, but the cach- of foam. And Holar laughed aloud, alot, though slower in his move for he saw that the spray and foam ments, was far from being exhausted. were ruddy, and he knew he had Several times, too, he had just missed beaten his enemy at the game of getting a kink of cable round his tail, twelve years ago. which would have ended matters so "Stop! Full astern!” he bawled. A far as the company was concerned. minute later the cable was once more

Forwards and backwards ran the safely ahead of the bow. wheels, as the cable was let out or "Stop!" The cable went rigid. hauled in, and once the Gisli was sent “Half-speed ahead!" “full astern" to overcome a sudden At the same time the donkey-engine slackening.

was set to reel in the cable at a modHolar's eyes had become feverishly

erate pace. alert, but the color had not returned Fifty fathoms away the cachalot to his face. The crisis had yet to came to the surface in a fury, and come. He knew it. He dared not blew fountains of blood skywards. leave his post for a moment, otherwise The bomb had done its work after all he would have run aft to whisper a The Gisli crept nearer, and Holar single sentence to the captain: “Kap- was again at the gun. tan, it is for you more than for my- The cachalot lashed out madly with self."

his tail. Once he raised it as it to

sound, but it fell with a futile thunderOf a sudden the cachalot sounded. clap on the crimson water. He lay

"Steady!" muttered Holar to the still. men at the winch, who were ready The Gisli crept nearer. Holar to let out more cable. “Hold on!" pointed the gun. He wanted to make

He pressed his foot on the cable once-twice-thrice.

Suddenly a convulsion seized the "Full ahead! Hard astarboard!" he enormous bulk.

It rolled over, exposyelled.

ing the gaping jaws, the shallow

sure.

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