R., who professed a taste for natural history, sat at a table stuffing a woodpecker; the brother of the captain, who was an Irishman, was splicing a trail-rope on the floor, as he had been an amateur sailor.
Mason Good’s Book of Nature—a very good book, to be sure, but not precisely adapted to tarry tastes—was one of these volumes; and Machiavel’s Art of War—which was very dry fighting; and a folio of Tillotson’s Sermons—the best of reading for divines, indeed, but with little relish for a main-top-man; and Locke’s Essays—incomparable essays, everybody knows, but miserable reading at sea; and Plutarch’s Lives—super-excellent biographies, which pit Greek against Roman in beautiful style, but then, in a sailor’s estimation, not to be mentioned with the Lives of the Admirals; and Blair’s Lectures, University Edition—a fine treatise on rhetoric, but having nothing to say about nautical phrases, such as “splicing the main-brace,” “passing a gammoning,” “puddinging the dolphin,” and “making a Carrick-bend;” besides numerous invaluable but unreadable tomes, that might have been purchased cheap at the auction of some college-professor’s library.
Poles are extremely scarce in this region--lumber has to be brought from Puget Sound, 6000 miles away--so nearly all the masts I saw were made of small pieces of wood spliced two or three times.
Besides, in their frequent sallies by day and night, they attempted either to set fire to the mound, or attack our soldiers when engaged in the works; and, moreover, by splicing the upright timbers of their own towers, they equalled the height of ours, as fast as the mound had daily raised them, and countermined our mines, and impeded the working of them by stakes bent and sharpened at the ends, and boiling pitch, and stones of very great weight, and prevented them from approaching the walls.
In the morning when he sobered, he had quite forgotten where the leg was, and how he broke it; he therefore got Kelson to splice the stump with the butt-end of a mop; but in the hurry it had been left three inches too long, so that he had to jerk himself up to the top of his peg at every step.
We shall be obliged to import the timber for the last, hereafter, or splice such sticks as we have;--and our ideas of liberty are equally mean with these.
One cannot," he continued, as who should say, "Let us be reasonable," "one cannot, to take a parallel case, imagine the colonel commanding the garrison at a naval station going on board a battleship and ordering the crew to splice the jibboom spanker.
West was splicing a golf shaft and whistling blithely over the task.
His hardest duty was supposed to be shinning up the ratlin to "reef," or "brail up," or "splice the mainbrace," or do some other of those mysterious things that caused him to look so mythical to the minds of land-lubbers and the simple-hearted kind of women that used to be, but now no longer are.
Then I took off the post end, spliced the line, took it over the fork, and pulled, while Mary helped me with the prop.
"I've spliced his hands up in good style, Max," came the reply.
On heaving the lead they found water at 80 fathoms; on which they spliced all their four cables on end, and rode at anchor for the space of forty hours; when one of die crew, terrified at the dreadful working of the ship occasioned by the winds and waves, cut the cable at the forecastle, and the ship now drove about as before.