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CHAPTER 17: The Ramadan. (continued)
"Queequeg!--Queequeg!"--all still. Something must have happened. Apoplexy! I tried to burst open the door; but it stubbornly resisted. Running down stairs, I quickly stated my suspicions to the first person I met--the chamber-maid. "La! la!" she cried, "I thought something must be the matter. I went to make the bed after breakfast, and the door was locked; and not a mouse to be heard; and it's been just so silent ever since. But I thought, may be, you had both gone off and locked your baggage in for safe keeping. La! la, ma'am!--Mistress! murder! Mrs. Hussey! apoplexy!"--and with these cries, she ran towards the kitchen, I following.
Mrs. Hussey soon appeared, with a mustard-pot in one hand and a vinegar-cruet in the other, having just broken away from the occupation of attending to the castors, and scolding her little black boy meantime.
"Wood-house!" cried I, "which way to it? Run for God's sake, and fetch something to pry open the door--the axe!--the axe! he's had a stroke; depend upon it!"--and so saying I was unmethodically rushing up stairs again empty-handed, when Mrs. Hussey interposed the mustard-pot and vinegar-cruet, and the entire castor of her countenance.
"What's the matter with you, young man?"
"Get the axe! For God's sake, run for the doctor, some one, while I pry it open!"
"Look here," said the landlady, quickly putting down the vinegar-cruet, so as to have one hand free; "look here; are you talking about prying open any of my doors?"--and with that she seized my arm. "What's the matter with you? What's the matter with you, shipmate?"
In as calm, but rapid a manner as possible, I gave her to understand the whole case. Unconsciously clapping the vinegar-cruet to one side of her nose, she ruminated for an instant; then exclaimed--"No! I haven't seen it since I put it there." Running to a little closet under the landing of the stairs, she glanced in, and returning, told me that Queequeg's harpoon was missing. "He's killed himself," she cried. "It's unfort'nate Stiggs done over again there goes another counterpane--God pity his poor mother!--it will be the ruin of my house. Has the poor lad a sister? Where's that girl?--there, Betty, go to Snarles the Painter, and tell him to paint me a sign, with--"no suicides permitted here, and no smoking in the parlor;"--might as well kill both birds at once. Kill? The Lord be merciful to his ghost! What's that noise there? You, young man, avast there!"
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