I always took great pride in the keeping of my que', I had the type hair that if left uunattended would turn into a great wrought nest fit only for birds.
Not to say that vanity was of any great importance to me while at sea, and I often forgot what my reflection looked like, but at times I thought it fancy to keep my mane wrapped in colored ribbon.
First the hair must be combed clean of birds-nests and eggs and any other manor of twigs and chaff, then carefully plated, making sure that each lay has an even hand was even and each strand being brought together tight at the head and good tension kept all the way through
Now if I were to be attending a bunn party on shore it was one fathom of red silk. Take the ribbon and pull it through the hair in the center and wrap it round twice and tie in a neat bow about three fingers wide on each side, but care must be taken to knot the bow twice, this keeps it from unwrapping and make a cleaner line.
Now take one ribbon and wrap it round and then the other side the same. It makes the finest pattern if the platt is good, then barely a hair would poke through. After this my tie-mate would finish that with a twist and tuck and Bobs your uncle.
The Frenchman, the one who was the doctors mate, would often do this for me but I must admit that sometimes I would jostle him that God was angry with him since he came on board and took some of his hair as his penance for forsaking his countrymen. He would talk of his wife Marie and his twin sons and we would share stories, never letting the truth get in our way.
But Hobbs, his hair rivaled mine in length and was a fine as a babes hair, he was quite proficient at knotwork and would often platt my hair in sennits or even twist it like a line. He was born in Hull and said he worked on a number of whalers for some years and had lived on Nantucket for a bit during the peace when he wasn't at sea. Which Im guessing with how handy he was aboard ship, that he was not very often on any land for any length of time.
I saw him with my own eyes once take a long gig and pierce a shark well over three fathoms long and haul it onboard, he took a boarding knife and finished him very quickly and neatly. He then cut it all up and brought it to the mess cook for our supper. After that most, including myself, held him in a higher regard.
Oh and I might remind you how the ladies would ask to see my hair loose since the braid was past the bottom of my monkey jacket. They would offer and beg, promising to comb and platt it again if I would let them just see it loose. But I was always scared that they were working for the wig maker, even though that fashion was long gone and from my youth.