Summary (Masterplots: Revised Category Edition, European Fiction Series)
In the foc’s’l head, a hollow, pointed room like the inside of a gigantic sea gull, five men were sitting around the massive table which filled almost all the space between the bulkheads. They were waiting to take their turn on watch, for it was nearly midnight. They had cracked some biscuit with a hammer and had eaten. Now they were drinking water and cider.
Around the room little pigeonholes near the ceiling served as bedchambers, for these fishermen were outside so much they seemed to need no air while they slept. A murky lamp swung back and forth with the gentle swell of the sea.
Sylvester, who was only seventeen years old, was impatient for the appearance of Yann. They were celebrating in honor of their patron, the Virgin Mary, and Yann had to take part in the toasts. Finally Yann opened the little hatch in the deck and came down the narrow ladder. Yann, in his late twenties, and a giant of a man, was a hero to Sylvester. The whole company brightened on his arrival.
It was midnight. The toasts were quickly drunk. Then the watch went on deck for their turn to fish. Outside it was daylight, for in those latitudes it never got dark in summer. It was monotonous and soothing to fish in the daylight.
At the rail, Yann and Sylvester baited their hooks and dropped their lines. William waited behind them with sheath knife and salt. Regularly, in turn, Yann and Sylvester brought up their hooks, passed the plump cod to...
(The entire section is 1303 words.)
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