By this time nothing could surprise Jackey Tar. Four sailors executed the order promptly.
While the men were dispersing to their several stations, Captain Bazalgette apologised to the chaplain, and explained to him and to the officers. But I give his explanation in my own words. Finding the ship quiet, the purser went to the captain down below, and asked him coolly what entry he should make in the ship's books about this William Thompson, who was no more William Thompson than he was. "What do you mean?" said the captain. Then the purser told him that Thompson's messmates, in preparing him last night for interment, had found a little bag round his neck, and inside it, a medal of the Humane Society, and a slip of paper written on in a lady's hand; then they had sent for him; and he had seen at once that this was a mysterious case: this lady spoke of him as her husband, and skipper of a merchant vessel.
What is that?" roared the captain, who hitherto had listened with scarce half an ear.
Skipper of a merchant vessel, sir, as sure as you command her majesty's frigate _Vulture:_ and then we found his shirt marked with the same name as the lady's."
"Lucy Dodd; and David Dodd is on the shirt."
"Why didn't you tell me this before?" cried the captain.
"Didn't know it till last night."
"Why it is twelve o'clock. They are burying him."