Omoo, a Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas

By Hermann Melville | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXIV

OUTBREAK OF THE CREW

THE purpose of Bembo had been made known to the men generally by the watch; and now that our salvation was certain, by an instinctive impulse they raised a cry, and rushed toward him.

Just before liberated by Dunk and the steward, he was standing doggedly by the mizzen-mast; and, as the infuriated sailors came on, his bloodshot eye rolled, and his sheath-knife glittered over his head.

" Down with him ! " " Strike him down ! " " Hang him at the main-yard! " such were the shouts now raised. But he stood unmoved, and, for a single instant, they absolutely faltered.

" Cowards ! " cried Salem, and he flung himself upon him. The steel descended like a ray of light; but did no harm; for the sailor's heart was beating against the Mowree's before he was aware.

They both fell to the deck, when the knife was instantly seized, and Bembo secured.

" For'ard! for'ard with him! " was again the cry; " give him a sea-toss! " " Overboard with him ! " and he was dragged along the deck, struggling and fighting with tooth and nail.

All this uproar immediately over the mate's head at last roused him from his drunken nap, and he came staggering on deck.

" What's this? " he shouted, running right in among them.

" It's the Mowree, zur; they are going to murder him, zur," here sobbed poor Rope Yarn, crawling close up to him.

" Avast! avast! " roared Jermin, making a spring

-94-

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