Nautical routine in its essential details is much the same in all ships, whether naval, merchant, or whaling vessels. But while in the ordinary merchantman there are decidedly "no more cats than can catch mice," hardly, indeed, sufficient for all the mousing that should be done, in men-of-war and whaleships the number of hands carried, being far more than are wanted for everyday work, must needs be kept at unnecessary duties in order that they may not grow lazy and discontented.

For instance, in the CACHALOT we carried a crew of thirty-seven all told, of which twenty-four were men before the mast, or common seamen, our tonnage being under 400 tons. Many a splendid clipper-ship carrying an enormous spread of canvas on four masts, and not overloaded with 2500 tons of cargo on board, carries twenty-eight or thirty all told, or even less than that. As far as we were concerned, the result of this was that our landsmen got so thoroughly drilled, that within a week of leaving port they hardly knew themselves for the clumsy clodhoppers they at first appeared to be.

We had now been eight days out, and in our leisurely way were making fair progress across the Atlantic, having had nothing, so far, but steady breezes and fine weather. As it was late autumn the first week in October - I rather wondered at this, for even in my brief experience I had learned to dread a "fall" voyage across the "Western Ocean."

Gradually the face of the sky changed, and the feel of the air, from balmy and genial, became raw and cheerless. The little wave tops broke short off and blew backwards, apparently against the wind, while the old vessel had an uneasy, unnatural motion, caused by a long, new swell rolling athwart the existing set of the sea. Then the wind became fitful and changeable, backing half round the compass, and veering forward again as much in an hour, until at last in one tremendous squall it settled in the N.W. for a business-like blow, Unlike the hurried merchantman who must needs "hang on" till the last minute, only shortening the sail when absolutely compelled to do so, and at the first sign of the gales relenting, piling it on again, we were all snug long before the storm burst upon us, and now rode comfortably under the tiniest of storm staysails.

We were evidently in for a fair specimen of Western Ocean weather, but the clumsy-looking, old-fashioned CACHALOT made no more fuss over it than one of the long-winged sea-birds that floated around, intent only upon snapping up any stray scraps that might escape from us. Higher rose the wind, heavier rolled the sea, yet never a drop of water did we ship, nor did anything about the deck betoken what, a heavy gale was blowing. During the worst of the weather, and just after the wind had shifted back into the N.E., making an uglier cross sea than ever get up, along comes an immense four-masted iron ship homeward bound. She was staggering under a veritable mountain of canvas, fairly burying her bows in the foam at every forward drive, and actually wetting the clews of the upper topsails in the smothering masses of spray, that every few minutes almost hid her hull from sight.

It was a splendid picture; but - for the time - I felt glad I was not on board of her. In a very few minutes she was out of our ken, followed by the admiration of all. Then came, from the other direction, a huge steamship, taking no more notice of the gale than as if it were calm. Straight through the sea she rushed, dividing the mighty rollers to the heart, and often bestriding three seas at once, the centre one spreading its many tons of foaming water fore and aft, so that from every orifice spouted the seething brine. Compared with these greyhounds of the wave, we resembled nothing so much as some old lightship bobbing serenely around, as if part and parcel of the mid-Atlantic.

Our greenies were getting so well seasoned by this time that even this rough weather did not knock any of them over, and from that time forward they had no more trouble from sea-sickness.

The gale gradually blew itself out, leaving behind only a long and very heavy swell to denote the deep-reaching disturbance that the ocean had endured. And now we were within the range of the Sargasso Weed, that mysterious FUCUS that makes the ocean look. like some vast hayfield, and keeps the sea from rising, no matter how high the wind. It fell a dead calm, and the harpooners amused themselves by dredging up great masses of the weed, and turning out the many strange creatures abiding therein. What a world of wonderful life the weed is, to be sure! In it the flying fish spawn and the tiny cuttle-fish breed, both of them preparing bounteous provision for the larger denizens of the deep that have no other food. Myriads of tiny crabs and innumerable specimens of less-known shell-fish, small fish of species as yet unclassified in any work on natural history, with jelly-fish of every conceivable and inconceivable shape, form part of this great and populous country in the sea. At one haul there was brought on board a mass of flying-fish spawn, about ten pounds in weight, looking like nothing so much as a pile of ripe white currants, and clinging together in a very similar manner.

Such masses of ova I had often seen cast up among the outlying rocks on the shores of the Caribbean Sea, when as a shipwrecked lad I wandered idly about unburying turtle eggs from their snug beds in the warm sand, and chasing the many-hued coral fish from one hiding-place to another.

While loitering in these smooth waters, waiting for the laggard wind, up came a shoal of dolphin, ready as at all times to attach themselves for awhile to the ship. Nothing is more singular than the manner in which deep-sea fish will accompany a vessel that is not going too fast - sometimes for days at a time. Most convenient too, and providing hungry Jack with many a fresh mess he would otherwise have missed. Of all these friendly fish, none is better known than the "dolphin," as from long usage sailors persist in calling them, and will doubtless do so until the end of the chapter. For the true dolphin (DELPHINIDAE) is not a fish at all, but a mammal a warm-blooded creature that suckles its young, and in its most familiar form is known to most people as the porpoise. The sailor's "dolphin," on the other hand, is a veritable fish, with vertical tail fin instead of the horizontal one which distinguishes all the whale family, scales and gills.

It is well known to literature, under its sea-name, for its marvellous brilliancy of colour, and there are few objects more dazzling than a dolphin leaping out of a calm sea into the sunshine. The beauty of a dying dolphin, however, though sanctioned by many generations of writers, is a delusion, all the glory of the fish departing as soon as he is withdrawn from his native element.

But this habit of digression grows upon one, and I must do my best to check it, or I shall never get through my task.

To resume then: when this school of dolphin (I can't for the life of me call them CORIPHAENA HIPPURIS) came alongside, a rush was made for the "granes" - a sort of five-pronged trident, if I may be allowed a baby bull. It was universally agreed among the fishermen that trying a hook and line was only waste of time and provocative of profanity! since every sailor knows that all the deep-water big fish require a living or apparently living bait. The fish, however, sheered off, and would not be tempted within reach of that deadly fork by any lure. Then did I cover myself with glory. For he who can fish cleverly and luckily may be sure of fairly good times in a whaler, although he may be no great things at any other work. I had a line of my own, and begging one of the small fish that had been hauled up in the Gulf weed, I got permission to go aft and fish over the taffrail. The little fish was carefully secured on the hook, the point of which just protruded near his tail. Then I lowered him into the calm blue waters beneath, and paid out line very gently, until my bait was a silvery spot about a hundred feet astern. Only a very short time, and my hopes rose as I saw one bright gleam after another glide past the keel, heading aft. Then came a gentle drawing at the line, which I suffered to slip slowly through my fingers until I judged it time to try whether I was right or wrong, A long hard pull, and my heart beat fast as I felt the thrill along the line that fishermen love. None of your high art here, but haul in hand over hand, the line being strong enough to land a 250 pound fish. Up he came, the beauty, all silver and scarlet and blue, five feet long if an inch, and weighing 35 pounds. Well, such a lot of astonished men I never saw. They could hardly believe their eyes. That such a daring innovation should be successful was hardly to be believed, even with the vigorous evidence before them. Even grim Captain Slocum came to look and turned upon me as I thought a less lowering brow than usual, while Mr. Count, the mate, fairly chuckled again at the thought of how the little Britisher had wiped the eyes of these veteran fishermen. The captive was cut open, and two recent flying-fish found in his maw, which were utilized for new bait, with the result that there was a cheerful noise of hissing and spluttering in the galley soon after, and a mess of fish for all hands.

Shortly afterwards a fresh breeze sprang up, which proved to be the beginning of the N.E. trades, and fairly guaranteed us against any very bad weather for some time to come.

Somehow or other it had leaked out that we were to cruise the Cape Verd Islands for a spell before working south, and the knowledge seemed to have quite an enlivening effect upon our Portuguese shipmates.

Most of them belonged there, and although there was but the faintest prospect of their getting ashore upon any pretext whatever, the possibility of seeing their island homes again seemed to quite transform them. Hitherto they had been very moody and exclusive, never associating with us on the white side, or attempting to be at all familiar. A mutual atmosphere of suspicion, in fact, seemed to pervade our quarters, making things already uncomfortable enough, still more so. Now, however, they fraternized with us, and in a variety of uncouth ways made havoc of the English tongue, as they tried to impress us with the beauty, fertility and general incomparability of their beloved Cape Verds. Of the eleven white men besides myself in the forecastle, there were a middle-aged German baker, who had bolted from Buffalo; two Hungarians, who looked like noblemen disguised - in dirt; two slab-sided Yankees of about 22 from farms in Vermont; a drayman from New York; a French Canadian from the neighbourhood of Quebec; two Italians from Genoa; and two nondescripts that I never found out the origin of. Imagine, then, the babel of sound, and think - but no, it is impossible to think, what sort of a jargon was compounded of all these varying elements of language.

One fortunate thing, there was peace below. Indeed, the spirit seemed completely taken out of all of them, and by some devilish ingenuity the afterguard had been able to sow distrust between them all, while treating them like dogs, so that the miseries of their life were never openly discussed. My position among them gave me at times some uneasiness. Though I tried to be helpful to all, and was full of sympathy for their undeserved sufferings, I could not but feel that they would have been more than human had they not envied me my immunity from the kicks and blows they all shared so impartially. However, there was no help for it, so I went on as cheerily as I could.

A peculiarity of all these vessels, as I afterwards learned, was that no stated allowance of anything was made. Even the water was not served out to us, but was kept in a great scuttle-butt by the cabin door, to which every one who needed a drink had to go, and from which none might be carried away. No water was allowed for washing except from the sea; and every one knows, or should know, that neither flesh nor clothes can be cleansed with that. But a cask with a perforated top was lashed by the bowsprit and kept filled with urine, which I was solemnly assured by Goliath was the finest dirt-extractor in the world for clothes. The officers did not avail themselves of its virtues though, but were content with ley, which was furnished in plenty by the ashes from the galley fire, where nothing but wood was used as fuel. Of course when rain fell we might have a good wash, if it was night and no other work was toward; but we were not allowed to store any for washing purposes. Another curious but absolutely necessary custom prevailed in consequence of the short commons under which we lived. When the portion of meat was brought down in its wooden kid, or tub, at dinner-time, it was duly divided as fairly as possible into as many parts as there were mouths. Then one man turned his back on the carver, who holding up each portion, called out, "Who's this for?" Whatever name was mentioned by the arbitrator, that man owning it received the piece, and had perforce to be satisfied therewith. Thus justice was done to all in the only way possible, and without any friction whatever.

As some of us were without clothes except what we stood upright in, when we joined, the "slop chest" was opened, and every applicant received from the steward what Captain Slocum thought fit to let him have, being debited with the cost against such wages as he might afterwards earn. The clothes were certainly of fairly good quality, if the price was high, and exactly suited to our requirements. Soap, matches, and tobacco were likewise supplied on the same terms, but at higher prices than I had ever heard of before for these necessaries. After much careful inquiry I ascertained what, in the event of a successful voyage, we were likely to earn. Each of us were on the two hundredth "lay" or share at $200 per tun, which meant that for every two hundred barrels of oil taken on board, we were entitled to one, which we must sell to the ship at the rate of L40 per tun or L4 per barrel. Truly a magnificent outlook for young men bound to such a business for three or four years.