Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/29

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VOYAGE TO GREENLAND.

belted round his body; by his side he had an immense rapier. He was accompanied by several attendants, and his consort rested upon his august arm; she exhibited nothing remarkable besides a whitened face, and a large protuberance in front, to denote that little apprehension need be entertained of a failure of succession to his throne, as it might reasonably be expected from her size, that she would bring forth a litter of little Neptunes. His barber was most appositely dressed, in a clean white shirt, neckcloth, and apron, with powdered hair; he held a monstrous razor made of an iron hoop, one edge having teeth to answer the purpose of a saw. Neptune inquired whether his implement for shaving was sharp, which he examined, and approved: the watery god and his attendants then retired between decks into the galley, where he ordered his prisoners to be brought singly before him, to answer interrogatories, and to undergo the process of shaving. Here all requisites were prepared, lather mixed with soot and grease, and the brush commonly used in tarring the vessel. The ship's steward was the first brought to this arbitrary tribunal, having his eyes bound with a handkerchief, and his hands and feet put into the stocks which were ready for the occasion. He was not arraigned upon charges said to be imputed to him, that is, of not paying his "cape bottle;" but I have since understood, that the offence was one which sailors consider most heinous, that of not only shortening their grog, but reducing its strength;