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When next interest-day came round for Orchis, not a penny could be raised. With much grief of heart, China Aster so informed Orchis' agent. Meantime, the note to the old usurer fell due, and nothing from China Aster was ready to meet it; yet, as heaven sends its rain on the just and unjust alike, by a coincidence not unfavorable to the old farmer, the well-to-do uncle, the tanner, having died, the usurer entered upon possession of such part of his property left by will to the wife of China Aster. When still the next interest-day for Orchis came round, it found China Aster worse off than ever; for, besides his other troubles, he was now weak with sickness. Feebly dragging himself to Orchis' agent, he met him in the street, told him just how it was; upon which the agent, with a grave enough face, said that he had instructions from his employer not to crowd him about the interest at present, but to say to him that about the time the note would mature, Orchis would have heavy liabilities to meet, and therefore the note must at that time be certainly paid, and, of course, the back interest with it; and not only so, but, as Orchis had had to allow the interest for good part of the time, he hoped that, for the back interest, China Aster [342] would, in reciprocation, have no objections to allowing interest on the interest annually. To be sure, this was not the law; but, between friends who accommodate each other, it was the custom.

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It has been seen that while a man-of-war barber is shaving his customers at so much per chin, his wages as a seaman are still running on, which makes him a sort of sleeping partner of a sailor; nor are the sailor wages he receives altogether to be reckoned as earnings. Considering the circumstances, however, not much objection can be made to the barbers on this score. But there were instances of men in the Neversink receiving government money in part pay for work done for private individuals. Among these were several accomplished tailors, who nearly the whole cruise sat cross-legged on the half deck, making coats, pantaloons, and vests for the quarter-deck officers. Some of these men, though knowing little or nothing about sailor duties, and seldom or never performing them, stood upon the ship's books as ordinary seamen, entitled to ten dollars a month. Why was this? Previous to shipping they had divulged the fact of their being tailors. True, the officers who employed them upon their wardrobes paid them for their work, but some of them in such a way as to elicit much grumbling from the tailors. At any rate, these makers and menders of clothes did not receive from some of these officers an amount equal to what they could have fairly earned ashore by doing the same work. It was a considerable saving to the officers to have their clothes made on board.

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I grant thou wert not married to my Muse.You mean the eight hundred million power?Nothing like this can be even insinuated against the At the time I was on the gun-deck below, and did not know of these proceedings; but a moment after, I heard the boatswain's mates bawling my name at all the hatch-ways, and along all three decks. It was the first time I had ever heard it so sent through the furthest recesses of the ship, and well knowing what this generally betokened to other seamen, my heart jumped to my throat, and I hurriedly asked Flute, the boatswain's-mate at the fore-hatchway, what was wanted of me.

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¡°But, Mr. Scribe,¡± said I, stroking my chin, ¡°have you allowed for the walls, both main and sectional? They take up some space, you know.¡±

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CHAPTER XXXIV. SOME OF THE EVIL EFFECTS OF FLOGGING.

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After looking me in the eye for some time, and, by so doing, revealing an obvious unsteadiness in his own visual organs, he begged me to reach forth my arm. I did so; wondering what upon earth that useful member had to do with the matter in hand.£¬Armed with cutlasses all round¡ªthe natives were said to be an ugly set¡ªthey were followed over the side by the invalid captain, who, on this occasion, it seems, was determined to signalize himself. Accordingly, in addition to his cutlass, he wore an old boarding belt, in which was thrust a brace of pistols. They at once shoved off.¡£The action over, the heavy artillery came up, in the person of the Long Doctor with the blunderbuss.¡£

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don't board,£¬It may have been that a portion of our crew were the more anxious to race with this frigate, from a little circumstance which a few of them deemed rather galling. Not many cables'-length distant from our Commodore's cabin lay the frigate President, with the red cross of St. George flying from her peak. As its name imported, this fine craft was an American born; but having been captured during the last war with Britain, she now sailed the salt seas as a trophy.¡£Upon the ferns before us were laid several layers of broad, thick ¡£

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Captain Delano observed with interest that while the complexion of the mulatto was hybrid, his physiognomy was European¡ªclassically so.£¬Now, there can be little doubt, that their being so much among the guns is the very thing that makes a gunner's gang so cross and quarrelsome. Indeed, this was once proved to the satisfaction of our whole company of main-top-men. A fine top-mate of ours, a most merry and companionable fellow, chanced to be promoted to a quarter-gunner's berth. A few days afterward, some of us main-top-men, his old comrades, went to pay him a visit, while he was going his regular rounds through the division of guns allotted to his care. But instead of greeting us with his usual heartiness, and cracking his pleasant jokes, to our amazement, he did little else but scowl; and at last, when we rallied him upon his ill-temper, he seized a long black rammer from overhead, and drove us on deck; threatening to report us, if we ever dared to be familiar with him again.¡£We all felicitated Pat upon picking up such a friend, and told him his fortune was made.¡£

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And when¡ªat the critical moment of quitting his chambers that morning of the receipt of the fatal tidings¡ªthe face itself¡ªthe man himself¡ªthis inscrutable Plotinus Plinlimmon himself¡ªdid visibly brush by him in the brick corridor, and all the trepidation he had ever before felt at the mild-mystic aspect in the tower window, now redoubled upon him, so that, as before said, he flushed, looked askance, and stammered with his saluting hand to his hat;¡ªthen anew did there burn in him the desire of procuring the pamphlet. £¬pusillanimously cried for quarter,¡£The further extremity of the cuddy, overhanging the ship's stern, was pierced with three openings, windows or port-holes, according as men or cannon might peer, socially or unsocially, out of them. At present neither men nor cannon were seen, though huge ring-bolts and other rusty iron fixtures of the wood-work hinted of twenty-four-pounders. [pg 199]¡£

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