“I don't see it,” returned the captain drily. “One captain's enough for any ship that ever I was aboard.”
“Now don't you start disappointing me,” said Pinkerton; “for you're talking without thought. I'm not going to give you the run of the books of this firm, am I? I guess not. Well, this is not only a cruise; it's a business operation, and that's in the hands of my partner. You sail that ship, you see to breaking up that wreck and keeping the men upon the jump, and you'll find your hands about full. Only, no mistake about one thing; it has to be done to Mr. Dodd's satisfaction; for it's Mr. Dodd that's paying.”
“I'm accustomed to give satisfaction,” said Mr. Nares, with a dark flush.
“And so you will here!” cried Pinkerton. “I understand you. You're prickly to handle, but you're straight all through.”
“The position's got to be understood, though,” returned Nares, perhaps a trifle mollified. “My position, I mean. I'm not going to ship sailing-master; it's enough out of my way already, to set a foot on this mosquito schooner.”
“Well, I'll tell you,” retorted Jim, with an indescribable twinkle: “you just meet me on the ballast, and we'll make it a barquentine.”
Nares laughed a little; tactless Pinkerton had once more gained a victory in tact.
What does “you just meet me on the ballast, and we'll make it a barquentine.” mean in this context. It seems to be slang or nautical speech but it could mean something like dough as well. I have looked up several sources but couldn't find any fitting explanation.