Then the Doctor told me to take the wheel while he made a little calculation with his map and worked out what new course we should take.
“I shall have to run for the Capa Blancas after all,” he told me when the seaman’s back was turned. “Dreadful nuisance! But I’d sooner swim back to Puddleby than have to listen to that fellow’s talk all the way to Brazil.”
Indeed he was a terrible person, this Ben Butcher. You’d think that any one after being told he wasn’t wanted would have had the decency to keep quiet. But not Ben Butcher. He kept going round the deck pointing out all the things we had wrong. According to him there wasn’t a thing right on the whole ship. The anchor was hitched up wrong; the hatches weren’t fastened down properly; the sails were put on back to front; all our knots were the wrong kind of knots.
At last the Doctor told him to stop talking and go downstairs. He refused—said he wasn’t going to be sunk by landlubbers while he was still able to stay on deck.
This made us feel a little uneasy. He was such an enormous man there was no knowing what he might do if he got really obstreperous.
Bumpo and I were talking about this downstairs in the dining-saloon when Polynesia, Jip and Chee-Chee came and joined us. And, as usual, Polynesia had a plan.
“Listen,” she said, “I am certain this Ben Butcher is a smuggler and a bad man. I am a very good judge of seamen, remember, and I don’t like the cut of this man’s jib. I—”