Now, look here, Nathaniel—" "Drop that, Curtis, you know very well that I won't have it. I can't help having such a beast of a name, and why it was given me I have never been able to make out, and if I had been consulted in the matter all the godfathers and godmothers in the world wouldn't have persuaded me to take such a name. Nat I don't mind. I don't say that it is a name that I should choose; still, I can put up with that, but the other I won't have. You have only just joined the ship, but if you ask the others they will tell you that I have had at least half a dozen fights over the name, and it is an understood thing here that if anyone wants a row with me he has only got to call me Nathaniel, and there is no occasion for any more words after that." The speaker was a pleasant-faced lad, between fifteen and sixteen, and his words were half in jest half in earnest. He was a general favourite among his mess-mates on board H. M. frigate Orpheus. He was full of life and fun, exceptionally good-tempered, and able to stand any amount of chaff and joking, and it was understood by his comrades that there was but one point that it was unsafe to touch on, and that sore point was his name. It had been the choice of his godmother, a maiden aunt, who had in her earlier days had a disappointment. Nat had once closely questioned his father as to how he came by his name, and the latter had replied testily:
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