[Babbington] "What did [the Doctor, Stephen] do to you, sir?" [Captain Aubrey] "Well, I am ashamed to say he took a pistol-ball out of the small of my back. It must have been when I turned to hail for more hands- thank God I did not. At the time I thought it was one of those vile horses that were capering about abaft the wheel." "Oh, sir, surely a horse would never have fired off a pistol?
They played, not beautifully but deep, ignoring their often discordant strings and striking right into the heart of the music they knew best, the true notes acting as their milestones. On the poop above their heads, where the weary helmsmen tended the new steering-oar and Babbington stood at the con, the men listened intently; it was the first sound of human life that they had heard, apart from the brief Christmas merriment, for a time they could scarcely measure.