ЭЛЕКТРОННАЯ БИБЛИОТЕКА КОАПП
Сборники Художественной, Технической, Справочной, Английской, Нормативной, Исторической, и др. литературы.



Herman Melville


                                Moby Dick




                              1. LOOMINGS

    Call me Ishmael. Some years ago-never mind how long precisely -having
little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest  me  on
shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the  watery  part  of
the world. It is a way I have of driving off the  spleen,  and  regulating
the circulation. Whenever I find myself  growing  grim  about  the  mouth;
whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself
involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up  the  rear
of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever  my  hypos  get  such  an
upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent  me
from deliberately stepping into  the  street,  and  methodically  knocking
people's hats off-then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as  I
can.
    This is my substitute for  pistol  and  ball.  With  a  philosophical
flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to  the  ship.
There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost  all  men
in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings
towards the ocean  with  me.  There  now  is  your  insular  city  of  the
Manhattoes,  belted  round  by  wharves   as   Indian   isles   by   coral
reefs-commerce surrounds it with her surf.
    Right and left, the streets take you waterward. Its extreme down-town
is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves,  and  cooled  by
breezes, which a few hours previous were out of sight of land. Look at the
crowds of water-gazers there. Circumambulate the city of a dreamy  Sabbath
afternoon. Go from Corlears Hook to Coenties Slip,  and  from  thence,  by
Whitehall northward. What do you see?-Posted  like  silent  sentinels  all
around the town, stand thousands upon thousands of  mortal  men  fixed  in
ocean reveries. Some leaning against the  spiles;  some  seated  upon  the
pier-heads; some looking over the bulwarks glasses! of ships  from  China;
some high aloft in the rigging, as if  striving  to  get  a  still  better
seaward peep. But these are all landsmen; of week days pent up in lath and
plaster-tied to counters, nailed to benches, clinched to desks.  How  then
is this? Are the green fields gone? What do they here? But look! here come
more crowds, pacing straight for the water,  and  seemingly  bound  for  a
dive. Strange! Nothing will content them but the extremest  limit  of  the
land; loitering under the shady lee of yonder warehouses will not suffice.
No. They must get just as nigh the water  as  they  possibly  can  without
falling in. And there they stand-miles  of  them-leagues.  Inlanders  all,
they come from lanes and alleys, streets and avenues, -north, east, south,
and west. Yet here they all unite. Tell me, does the  magnetic  virtue  of
the needles of the compasses of all those ships attract them thither? Once
more. Say, you are in the country; in some high land of lakes. Take almost
any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down  in  a  dale,  and
leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There is magic in  it.  Let  the
most absent-minded of men be plunged in his  deepest  reveries-stand  that
man on his legs, set his feet a-going, and he will infallibly lead you  to
water, if water there be in all that region. Should you ever be athirst in
the great American desert, try this experiment, if your caravan happen  to
be supplied with a  metaphysical  professor.  Yes,  as  every  one  knows,
meditation and water are wedded for ever.
    But here is an  artist.  He  desires  to  paint  you  the  dreamiest,
shadiest, quietest, most enchanting bit of romantic landscape in  all  the
valley of the Saco. What is the chief element he employs? There stand  his
trees, each with a hollow trunk, as  if  a  hermit  and  a  crucifix  were
within; and here sleeps his meadow, and there sleep  his  cattle;  and  up
from yonder cottage goes a sleepy smoke. Deep into distant woodlands winds
a mazy way, reaching to overlapping spurs of  mountains  bathed  in  their
hill-side blue. But though the picture lies thus tranced, and though  this
pine-tree shakes down its sighs like leaves upon this shepherd's head, yet
all were vain, unless the shepherd's eye were fixed upon the magic  stream
before him. Go visit the Prairies in June, when for scores  on  scores  of
miles you wade knee-deep among Tiger-lilies-what is the one charm wanting?
-Water -there is not a drop of water there! Were Niagara but a cataract of
sand, would you travel your thousand miles to see it?  Why  did  the  poor
poet of  Tennessee,  upon  suddenly  receiving  two  handfuls  of  silver,
deliberate whether to buy him a coat, which he sadly needed, or invest his
money in a pedestrian trip to Rockaway Beach? Why is almost  every  robust
healthy boy with a robust healthy soul in him, at some time or other crazy
to go to sea? Why upon your first voyage as a passenger, did you  yourself
feel such a mystical vibration, when first told that  you  and  your  ship
were now out of sight of land? Why did the old Persians hold the sea holy?
Why did the Greeks give it a separate deity,  and  own  brother  of  Jove?
Surely all this is not without meaning. And still deeper  the  meaning  of
that story of Narcissus, who because he could not  grasp  the  tormenting,
mild image he saw in the fountain, plunged into it and  was  drowned.  But
that same image, we ourselves see in all rivers  and  oceans.  It  is  the
image of the ungraspable phantom of life; and this is the key to  it  all.
Now, when I say that I am in the habit of going to sea whenever I begin to
grow hazy about the eyes, and begin to be over conscious of my lungs, I do
not mean to have it inferred that I ever go to sea as a passenger. For  to
go as a passenger you must needs have a purse, and a purse is  but  a  rag
unless you have something in it. Besides, passengers  get  sea-sick  -grow
quarrelsome -don't sleep of nights -do not enjoy  themselves  much,  as  a
general thing; -no, I never go as a passenger; nor, though I am  something
of a salt, do I ever go to sea as a Commodore, or a Captain, or a Cook.  I
abandon the glory and distinction of such offices to those who like  them.
For my part, I abominate all  honorable  respectable  toils,  trials,  and
tribulations of every kind whatsoever. It is quite as much as I can do  to
take care of  myself,  without  taking  care  of  ships,  barques,  brigs,
schooners, and what not. And as for going as  cook,  -  though  I  confess
there is considerable glory in that, a cook being a  sort  of  officer  on
ship-board -yet, somehow, I never fancied  broiling  fowls;  -though  once
broiled, judiciously buttered,  and  judgmatically  salted  and  peppered,
there  is  no  one  who  will  speak  more  respectfully,   not   to   say
reverentially, of a broiled fowl than I will. It is out of the  idolatrous
dotings of the old Egyptians upon broiled ibis and  roasted  river  horse,
that you see the mummies of those creatures in their huge bake-houses  the
pyramids. No, when I go to sea, I go as a simple sailor, right before  the
mast, plumb down into the forecastle, aloft there to the royal  mast-head.
True, they rather order me about some, and make me jump from spar to spar,
like a grasshopper in a May meadow. And at first, this sort  of  thing  is
unpleasant enough. It touches one's sense of honor,  particularly  if  you
come of an old established family in the land,  the  van  Rensselaers,  or
Randolphs, or Hardicanutes. And more than all, if just previous to putting
your hand into the  tar-pot,  you  have  been  lording  it  as  a  country
schoolmaster, making the tallest boys stand in awe of you. The  transition
is a keen one, I assure you,  from  the  schoolmaster  to  a  sailor,  and
requires a strong decoction of Seneca and the Stoics to enable you to grin
and bear it. But even this wears off in time. What  of  it,  if  some  old
hunks of a sea-captain orders me to get a broom and sweep down the  decks?
What does that indignity amount to, weighed, I mean, in the scales of  the
New Testament? Do you think the archangel Gabriel thinks anything the less
of me, because I promptly and respectfully obey that  old  hunks  in  that
particular instance? Who aint a slave? Tell me that. Well,  then,  however
the old sea-captains may order me about-however they may thump  and  punch
me about, I have the satisfaction of knowing that it is  all  right;  that
everybody else is one way or other served in much the same way - either in
a physical or metaphysical point of view, that is; and  so  the  universal
thump  is  passed  round,  and  all  hands   should   rub   each   other's
shoulder-blades, and be content. Again, I always go to sea  as  a  sailor,
because they make a point of paying me for my trouble, whereas they  never
pay passengers a single penny that I  ever  heard  of.  On  the  contrary,
passengers themselves must pay. And there is all  the  difference  in  the
world between paying and being paid. The act of paying is perhaps the most
uncomfortable infliction that the two orchard thieves  entailed  upon  us.
But being paid, -what will compare with it? The urbane activity with which
a man  receives  money  is  really  marvellous,  considering  that  we  so
earnestly believe money to be the root of all earthly ills, and that on no
account can a monied man enter  heaven.  Ah!  how  cheerfully  we  consign
ourselves to perdition! Finally, I always go to sea as a  sailor,  because
of the wholesome exercise and pure air of the forecastle deck. For  as  in
this world, head winds are far more prevalent than winds from astern (that
is, if you never violate the Pythagorean maxim), so for the most part  the
Commodore on the quarter-deck gets his atmosphere at second hand from  the
sailors on the forecastle. He thinks he breathes it first; but not so.  In
much the same way do the commonalty  lead  their  leaders  in  many  other
things, at the same time that the leaders little suspect it. But wherefore
it was that after having repeatedly smelt the sea as a merchant sailor,  I
should now take it into my head to  go  on  a  whaling  voyage;  this  the
invisible police officer of the Fates, who has the  constant  surveillance
of me, and secretly dogs me, and influences me in some  unaccountable  way
-he can better answer than any one else. And, doubtless, my going on  this
whaling voyage, formed part of the grand programme of Providence that  was
drawn up a long time ago. It came in as a sort of brief interlude and solo
between more extensive performances. I take it that this part of the  bill
must have run something  like  this:  Grand  Contested  Election  for  the
Presidency of the United States. Whaling Voyage  by  one  Ishmael.  Bloody
Battle in Affghanistan. Though I cannot tell why it was exactly that those
stage managers, the Fates, put me down for this shabby part of  a  whaling
voyage, when others were set down for magnificent parts in high tragedies,
and short and easy parts in genteel comedies, and jolly  parts  in  farces
-though I cannot tell why this was exactly; yet, now that I recall all the
circumstances, I think I can see a little into  the  springs  and  motives
which being cunningly presented to me under various disguises, induced  me
to set about performing the part I  did,  besides  cajoling  me  into  the
delusion that it was a choice resulting from my own unbiased freewill  and
discriminating judgment. chief among these motives  was  the  overwhelming
idea of the great whale himself. Such a portentous and mysterious  monster
roused all my curiosity. Then the wild and distant seas  where  he  rolled
his island bulk; the undeliverable, nameless perils of the  whale;  these,
with all the attending marvels of a thousand Patagonian sights and sounds,
helped to sway me to my wish. With other men, perhaps, such  things  would
not have been  inducements;  but  as  for  me,  I  am  tormented  with  an
everlasting itch for things remote. I love to  sail  forbidden  seas,  and
land on barbarous coasts. Not  ignoring  what  is  good,  I  am  quick  to
perceive a horror, and could still be social with  it-would  they  let  me
-since it is but well to be on friendly terms with all the inmates of  the
place one lodges in. By reason of these things, then, the  whaling  voyage
was welcome; the great flood-gates of the wonder-world swung open, and  in
the wild conceits that swayed me to my purpose, two and two there  floated
into my inmost soul, endless processions of the whale, and,  mid  most  of
them all, one grand hooded phantom, like a snow hill in the air.



                          2. THE CARPET-BAG

    I stuffed a shirt or two into my old carpet-bag, tucked it  under  my
arm, and started for Cape Horn and the Pacific. Quitting the good city  of
old Manhatto, I duly arrived in New Bedford. It was on a Saturday night in
December. Much was I disappointed upon learning that the little packet for
Nantucket had already sailed, and that no way of reaching that place would
offer, till the following Monday. As most young candidates for  the  pains
and penalties of whaling stop at this same New Bedford, thence  to  embark
on their voyage, it may as well be related that I, for one, had no idea of
so doing. For my mind was made up to sail in no  other  than  a  Nantucket
craft, because there was a fine,  boisterous  something  about  everything
connected with that famous old island, which amazingly pleased me. Besides
though New Bedford has of late been gradually monopolizing the business of
whaling, and though in this matter poor old Nantucket is now  much  behind
her, yet Nantucket was her great original -the Tyre of this Carthage; -the
place where the first dead American whale was  stranded.  Where  else  but
from Nantucket did those aboriginal whalemen, the Red-Men, first sally out
in canoes to give chase to the Leviathan? And where  but  from  Nantucket,
too, did that first adventurous little sloop put forth, partly laden  with
imported cobble-stones -so goes the story -to  throw  at  the  whales,  in
order to discover when they were nigh enough to risk a  harpoon  from  the
bowsprit? Now having a night, a day, and  still  another  night  following
before me in New Bedford, ere I could embark  for  my  destined  port,  it
became a matter of concernment where I was to eat and sleep meanwhile.  It
was a very dubious-looking, nay, a very dark and  dismal  night,  bitingly
cold and cheerless. I knew no one in the place. With  anxious  grapnels  I
had sounded my pocket, and only brought up a few pieces  of  silver,  -So,
wherever you go, Ishmael, said I to myself, as I stood in the middle of  a
dreary street shouldering my bag, and  comparing  the  gloom  towards  the
north with the darkness towards the south -wherever in your wisdom you may
conclude to lodge for the night, my dear Ishmael, be sure to  inquire  the
price, and don't be  too  particular.  With  halting  steps  I  paced  the
streets, and passed the sign of The Crossed Harpoons -but  it  looked  too
expensive and jolly there. Further on, from the bright red windows of  the
Sword-Fish Inn, there came such fervent  rays,  that  it  seemed  to  have
melted the packed snow and ice from before the house, for everywhere  else
the congealed frost lay ten inches thick in a  hard,  asphaltic  pavement,
-rather  weary  for  me,  when  I  struck  my  foot  against  the   flinty
projections, because from hard, remorseless service the soles of my  boots
were in a most miserable plight. Too expensive and jolly, again thought I,
pausing one moment to watch the broad glare in the street,  and  hear  the
sounds of the tinkling glasses within. But go on, Ishmael, said I at last;
don't you hear? get away from before the  door;  your  patched  boots  are
stopping the way. So on I went. I now by  instinct  followed  the  streets
that took me waterward, for there, doubtless, were the  cheapest,  if  not
the cheeriest inns. Such dreary streets! Blocks of blackness, not  houses,
on either hand, and here and there a candle, like a candle moving about in
a tomb. At this hour of the night, of the  last  day  of  the  week,  that
quarter of the town proved all but deserted. But presently  I  came  to  a
smoky light proceeding from a low, wide building, the door of which  stood
invitingly open. It had a careless look, as if it were meant for the  uses
of the public; so, entering, the first thing I did was to stumble over  an
ash-box in the porch. Ha! thought I, ha, as the  flying  particles  almost
choked me, are these ashes from that destroyed  city,  Gomorrah?  But  The
Crossed Harpoons, and The Sword-Fish? -this, then, must needs be the  sign
of The Trap. However, I picked myself up and hearing a loud voice  within,
pushed on and opened a second, interior door. It seemed  the  great  Black
Parliament sitting in Tophet. A hundred black faces turned round in  their
rows to peer; and beyond, a black Angel of Doom was beating a  book  in  a
pulpit. It was a negro church; and  the  preacher's  text  was  about  the
blackness of darkness, and the  weeping  and  wailing  and  teeth-gnashing
there. Ha, Ishmael, muttered I, backing out, Wretched entertainment at the
sign of The Trap! Moving on, I at last came to a dim sort of light not far
from the docks, and heard a forlorn creaking in the air; and  looking  up,
saw a swinging sign over the door with a white painting upon  it,  faintly
representing  a  tall  straight  jet  of  misty  spray,  and  these  words
underneath - The Spouter-Inn: -Peter  Coffin.  Coffin?  -Spouter?  -Rather
ominous in that particular connexion, thought I. But it is a  common  name
in Nantucket, they say, and I suppose this Peter here is an emigrant  from
there. As the light looked so dim, and the place,  for  the  time,  looked
quiet enough, and the dilapidated little wooden house itself looked as  if
it might have been carted here from the ruins of some burnt district,  and
as the swinging sign had a poverty-stricken sort of creak to it, I thought
that here was the very spot for  cheap  lodgings,  and  the  best  of  pea
coffee. It was a queer sort of place -a gable-ended old  house,  one  side
palsied as it were, and leaning over sadly. It  stood  on  a  sharp  bleak
corner, where that tempestuous wind Euroclydon kept  up  a  worse  howling
than ever it did about poor Paul's tossed craft. Euroclydon, nevertheless,
is a mighty pleasant zephyr to any one in-doors, with his feet on the  hob
quietly toasting for bed. In  judging  of  that  tempestuous  wind  called
Euroclydon, says an old writer -of whose works I  possess  the  only  copy
extant - it maketh a marvellous difference, whether thou lookest out at it
from a glass window where the frost is all on the outside, or whether thou
observest it from that sashless window, where the frost is on both  sides,
and of which the wight Death is the only glazier. True enough, thought  I,
as this passage occurred to my  mind  -old  black-letter,  thou  reasonest
well. Yes, these eyes are windows, and this body of  mine  is  the  house.
What a pity they didn't stop up the chinks and the  crannies  though,  and
thrust in a little lint here and there. But it's  too  late  to  make  any
improvements now. The universe is finished; the copestone is on,  and  the
chips were carted off a million years ago. Poor Lazarus there,  chattering
his teeth against the curbstone  for  his  pillow,  and  shaking  off  his
tatters with his shiverings, he might plug up both ears with rags, and put
a corn-cob into his mouth, and yet that would not keep out the tempestuous
Euroclydon. Euroclydon! says old Dives, in his red silken wrapper -(he had
a redder one afterwards) pooh, pooh! What a fine frosty night;  how  Orion
glitters; what northern lights! Let them talk  of  their  oriental  summer
climes of everlasting conservatories; give me the privilege of  making  my
own summer with my own coals. But what thinks Lazarus?  Can  he  warm  his
blue hands by holding them up to the  grand  northern  lights?  Would  not
Lazarus rather be in Sumatra than here? Would he not far  rather  lay  him
down lengthwise along the line of the equator; yea, ye gods!  go  down  to
the fiery pit itself, in order to keep out this frost? Now,  that  Lazarus
should lie stranded there on the curbstone before the door of Dives,  this
is more wonderful than that an iceberg should be  moored  to  one  of  the
Moluccas. Yet Dives himself, he too lives like a Czar  in  an  ice  palace
made of frozen sighs, and being a president of a  temperance  society,  he
only drinks the tepid tears of orphans. But no  more  of  this  blubbering
now, we are going a-whaling, and there is plenty of that yet to come.  Let
us scrape the ice from our frosted feet, and see what sort of a place this
Spouter may be.



                            3. THE SPOUTER-INN

    Entering that gable-ended Spouter-Inn, you found yourself in a  wide,
low, straggling entry with old-fashioned wainscots, reminding one  of  the
bulwarks of some condemned old craft.  On  one  side  hung  a  very  large
oil-painting so thoroughly besmoked, and every way defaced,  that  in  the
unequal cross-lights by which you viewed it, it was only by diligent study
and a series of systematic visits  to  it,  and  careful  inquiry  of  the
neighbors, that you could any  way  arrive  at  an  understanding  of  its
purpose. such unaccountable masses of shades and shadows,  that  at  first
you almost thought some ambitious young artist, in the  time  of  the  New
England hags, had endeavored to delineate chaos bewitched. But by dint  of
much  and  earnest  contemplation,  and  oft  repeated   ponderings,   and
especially by throwing open the little window  towards  the  back  of  the
entry, you at last come to the conclusion that such an idea, however wild,
might not be altogether unwarranted. But what most puzzled and  confounded
you was a long, limber, portentous, black mass of  something  hovering  in
the centre of the  picture  over  three  blue,  dim,  perpendicular  lines
floating in a nameless yeast. A  boggy,  soggy,  squitchy  picture  truly,
enough to drive a  nervous  man  distracted.  Yet  was  there  a  sort  of
indefinite, half-attained, unimaginable sublimity  about  it  that  fairly
froze you to it, till you involuntarily took an oath with yourself to find
out what that marvellous painting meant. Ever  and  anon  a  bright,  but,
alas, deceptive idea would dart you through. -It's  the  Black  Sea  in  a
midnight gale. -It's the unnatural combat of  the  four  primal  elements.
-It's a blasted  heath.  -It's  a  Hyperborean  winter  scene.  -It's  the
breaking-up of the ice-bound stream of Time. But at last all these fancies
yielded to that one portentous something in the picture's midst. That once
found out, and all the rest were plain. But stop; does it not bear a faint
resemblance to a gigantic fish? even the great leviathan himself? In fact,
the artist's design seemed this: a final theory of my  own,  partly  based
upon the aggregated opinions of many aged persons with  whom  I  conversed
upon the  subject.  The  picture  represents  a  Cape-Horner  in  a  great
hurricane;  the  half-foundered  ship  weltering  there  with  its   three
dismantled masts alone visible; and an  exasperated  whale,  purposing  to
spring clean over the craft, is in the enormous act  of  impaling  himself
upon the three mast-heads. The opposite wall of this entry  was  hung  all
over with a heathenish array of monstrous  clubs  and  spears.  Some  were
thickly set with glittering  teeth  resembling  ivory  saws;  others  were
tufted with knots of human hair; and one was sickle-shaped,  with  a  vast
handle sweeping round like the segment made in the  new-mown  grass  by  a
long-armed mower. You shuddered as you gazed, and wondered what  monstrous
cannibal and savage could ever have gone a death-harvesting  with  such  a
hacking, horrifying implement. Mixed with these  were  rusty  old  whaling
lances and harpoons all broken and deformed. Some  were  storied  weapons.
With this once long lance, now wildly elbowed, fifty years ago did  Nathan
Swain kill fifteen whales  between  a  sunrise  and  a  sunset.  And  that
harpoon-so like a corkscrew now-was flung in Javan seas, and run away with
by a whale, years afterward slain off the Cape  of  Blanco.  The  original
iron entered nigh the tail, and, like a restless needle sojourning in  the
body of a man, travelled full forty feet, and at last was  found  imbedded
in the hump. Crossing this dusky entry, and on through yon low-arched  way
-cut through what in old times must have been a great central chimney with
fire-places all round -you enter the public room. A still duskier place is
this, with such low ponderous beams above, and such  old  wrinkled  planks
beneath, that you would almost fancy you trod some old  craft's  cockpits,
especially of such a howling night,  when  this  corner-anchored  old  ark
rocked so furiously. On one side  stood  a  long,  low,  shelf-like  table
covered with cracked glass cases, filled with dusty rarities gathered from
this wide world's remotest nooks. Projecting from the further angle of the
room stands a dark-looking den -the bar- a rude attempt at a right whale's
head. Be that how it may, there stands the vast arched bone of the whale's
jaw, so wide, a coach might almost drive beneath  it.  within  are  shabby
shelves, ranged round with old decanters, bottles, flasks;  and  in  those
jaws of swift destruction, like another cursed Jonah (by which name indeed
they called him), bustles a little withered old man, who, for their money,
dearly sells the sailors deliriums and death. Abominable are the  tumblers
into which he pours his poison. Though true cylinders without -within, the
villanous green  goggling  glasses  deceitfully  tapered  downwards  to  a
cheating bottom. Parallel meridians rudely pecked into the glass, surround
these footpads' goblets. Fill to this mark,  and  your  charge  is  but  a
penny; to this a penny more; and so on to the full glass  -the  Cape  Horn
measure, which you may gulp down for a shilling. Upon entering the place I
found a number of young seamen gathered about a table, examining by a  dim
light divers specimens of skrimshander. I sought the landlord, and telling
him I desired to be accommodated with a room, received for answer that his
house was full -not a bed unoccupied. But avast,  he  added,  tapping  his
forehead, you haint no objections to sharing a harpooneer's blanket,  have
ye? I s'pose you are goin' a whalin', so you'd better  get  used  to  that
sort of thing. I told him that I never liked to sleep two in a  bed;  that
if I should ever do so, it would depend upon who the harpooneer might  be,
and that if he (the landlord) really had no other place for  me,  and  the
harpooneer was not decidedly objectionable, why rather than wander further
about a strange town on so bitter a night, I would put up with the half of
any decent man's blanket. I thought so. All right; take  a  seat.  Supper?
-you want supper? Supper 'll be ready directly.  I  sat  down  on  an  old
wooden settle, carved all over like a bench on the Battery. At one  end  a
ruminating tar was still further adorning it with his jack-knife, stooping
over and diligently working away at the space between  his  legs.  he  was
trying his hand at a ship  under  full  sail,  but  he  didn't  make  much
headway, I thought. At last some four or five of us were summoned  to  our
meal in an adjoining room. It was cold as Iceland -no  fire  at  all  -the
landlord said he  couldn't  afford  it.  Nothing  but  two  dismal  tallow
candles, each in a winding sheet. We were fain to  button  up  our  monkey
jackets, and hold to our lips cups of scalding tea with  our  half  frozen
fingers. But the fare was of the most substantial kind -not only meat  and
potatoes, but dumplings; good heavens! dumplings  for  supper!  One  young
fellow in a green box coat, addressed himself to these dumplings in a most
direful manner. My boy, said the landlord, you'll have the nightmare to  a
dead sartainty. Landlord, I whispered, that aint the  harpooneer,  is  it?
Oh, no, said he, looking a sort of diabolically funny, the harpooneer is a
dark complexioned chap. He never eats dumplings, he don't-he eats  nothing
but steaks, and likes 'em rare. The devil he does, says I. Where  is  that
harpooneer? Is he here? He'll be here afore long, was the answer. I  could
not help it, but I began to feel  suspicious  of  this  dark  complexioned
harpooneer. At any rate, I made up my mind that if it so turned  out  that
we should sleep together, he must undress and get into bed before  I  did.
Supper over, the company went back to the bar-room, when, knowing not what
else to do with myself, I resolved to spend the rest of the evening  as  a
looker on. Presently a rioting noise was heard without. Starting  up,  the
landlord cried, That's the Grampus's crew. I  seed  her  reported  in  the
offing this morning; a three years' voyage, and a full ship. Hurrah, boys;
now we'll have the latest news from the Feegees. A tramping of  sea  boots
was heard in the entry; the door was flung open, and in rolled a wild  set
of mariners enough. Enveloped in their shaggy watch coats, and with  their
heads muffled in woollen comforters, all bedarned and  ragged,  and  their
beards stiff with icicles, they seemed an eruption of bears from Labrador.
They had just landed from their boat, and this was the  first  house  they
entered. No wonder, then, that they made a straight wake for  the  whale's
mouth -the bar -when the wrinkled little  old  Jonah,  there  officiating,
soon poured them out brimmers all round. One complained of a bad  cold  in
his head, upon which Jonah mixed  him  a  pitch-like  potion  of  gin  and
molasses, which he swore was a sovereign cure for all colds  and  catarrhs
whatsoever, never mind of how long standing, or  whether  caught  off  the
coast of Labrador, or on the weather side of  an  ice-island.  The  liquor
soon mounted into  their  heads,  as  it  generally  does  even  with  the
arrantest topers newly landed from sea, and they began capering about most
obstreperously. I observed, however, that one of them held somewhat aloof,
and though he seemed desirous not to spoil the hilarity of  his  shipmates
by his own sober face, yet upon the whole he refrained from making as much
noise as the rest. This man interested me at once; and since the  sea-gods
had ordained that  he  should  soon  become  my  shipmate  (though  but  a
sleeping-partner one, so far as this narrative is concerned), I will  here
venture upon a little description of  him.  He  stood  full  six  feet  in
height, with noble shoulders, and a chest like a coffer-dam. I have seldom
seen such brawn in a man. His face was deeply brown and burnt, making  his
white teeth dazzling by the contrast; while in the  deep  shadows  of  his
eyes floated some reminiscences that did not seem to give  him  much  joy.
His voice at once announced that he was a Southerner, and  from  his  fine
stature, I thought he must be one of  those  tall  mountaineers  from  the
Alleganian Ridge in Virginia. When  the  revelry  of  his  companions  had
mounted to its height, this man slipped away unobserved, and I saw no more
of him till he became my comrade on the sea. In a few minutes, however, he
was missed by his shipmates, and being, it seems, for some reason  a  huge
favorite with them, they raised a cry of Bulkington!  Bulkington!  where's
Bulkington? and darted out of the house in pursuit  of  him.  It  was  now
about nine o'clock, and the room seeming almost supernaturally quiet after
these orgies, I began to congratulate myself upon a little plan  that  had
occurred to me just previous to the entrance of the seamen. No man prefers
to sleep two in a bed. In fact, you would a good  deal  rather  not  sleep
with your own brother. I don't know how it  is,  but  people  like  to  be
private when they are sleeping. And when it  comes  to  sleeping  with  an
unknown stranger, in a strange inn, in a strange town, and that stranger a
harpooneer, then your objections indefinitely multiply. Nor was there  any
earthly reason why I as a sailor should sleep two  in  a  bed,  more  than
anybody else; for sailors no more sleep two in a bed at sea, than bachelor
Kings do ashore. To be sure they all sleep together in one apartment,  but
you have your own hammock, and cover yourself with your own  blanket,  and
sleep in your own skin. The more I pondered over this harpooneer, the more
I abominated the thought of sleeping with him. It was fair to presume that
being a harpooneer, his linen or woollen, as the case might be, would  not
be of the tidiest, certainly none of the finest. I  began  to  twitch  all
over. Besides, it was getting late, and my decent harpooneer ought  to  be
home and going bedwards. Suppose now, he  should  tumble  in  upon  me  at
midnight -how could I tell  from  what  vile  hole  he  had  been  coming?
Landlord! I've changed my mind about that harpooneer.  -  I  shan't  sleep
with him. I'll try the bench here. just as you please; i'm  sorry  i  cant
spare ye a tablecloth for a mattress, and it's a plaguy rough  board  here
-feeling of the knots and notches. But wait a bit, Skrimshander; I've  got
a carpenter's plane there in the bar -wait, I say, and I'll make  ye  snug
enough.  So  saying  he  procured  the  plane;  and  with  his  old   silk
handkerchief first dusting the bench, vigorously set to planing away at my
bed, the while grinning like an ape. The shavings  flew  right  and  left;
till at last the plane-iron came bump against an indestructible knot.  The
landlord was near spraining his wrist, and I told him for heaven's sake to
quit - the bed was soft enough to suit me, and I did not know how all  the
planing in the world could make eider down of a pine plank.  So  gathering
up the shavings with another grin, and throwing them into the great  stove
in the middle of the room, he went about his business, and left  me  in  a
brown study. I now took the measure of the bench, and found that it was  a
foot too short; but that could be mended with a chair. But it was  a  foot
too narrow, and the other bench in the room was about four  inches  higher
than the planed one -so there was no yoking them. I then placed the  first
bench lengthwise along the only clear space against the  wall,  leaving  a
little interval between, for my back to settle down in. But I  soon  found
that there came such a draught of cold air over me from under the sill  of
the window, that this plan would never do at all,  especially  as  another
current from the rickety door met  the  one  from  the  window,  and  both
together formed a series of small whirlwinds in the immediate vicinity  of
the spot where I had thought to spend the  night.  The  devil  fetch  that
harpooneer, thought I, but stop, couldn't I steal a march on him -bolt his
door inside, and jump into his bed, not to be wakened by the most  violent
knockings? it seemed no bad idea; but upon second thoughts I dismissed it.
For who could tell but what the next morning, so soon as I popped  out  of
the room, the harpooneer might be standing in  the  entry,  all  ready  to
knock me down! Still, looking around me  again,  and  seeing  no  possible
chance of spending a sufferable night unless in some other person's bed, I
began to  think  that  after  all  I  might  be  cherishing  unwarrantable
prejudices against this unknown harpooneer. Thinks I, I'll wait awhile; he
must be dropping in before long. I'll have a good look at  him  then,  and
perhaps we may become jolly good bedfellows after all -there's no telling.
But though the other boarders kept coming in by ones,  twos,  and  threes,
and going to bed, yet no sign of my harpooneer.  Landlord!  said  I,  what
sort of a chap is he -does he always keep such late hours? It was now hard
upon twelve o'clock. The landlord chuckled again with  his  lean  chuckle,
and seemed to be mightily tickled at something  beyond  my  comprehension.
No, he answered, generally he's an early bird - airley to bed  and  airley
to rise -yes, he's the bird what catches the worm. -But to-night  he  went
out a peddling, you see, and I don't see what on airth keeps him so  late,
unless, may be, he can't sell his head. Can't sell his head? -What sort of
a bamboozingly story is this you are telling me? getting into  a  towering
rage.
    Do you pretend to say, landlord, that  this  harpooneer  is  actually
engaged this blessed Saturday night, or rather Sunday morning, in peddling
his head around this town? That's precisely it, said the landlord,  and  I
told him he couldn't sell it here, the market's  overstocked.  With  what?
shouted I.
    With heads to be sure; ain't there too many heads  in  the  world?  I
tell you what it is, landlord, said I, quite  calmly,  you'd  better  stop
spinning that yarn to me -I'm not green. May be not, taking  out  a  stick
and whittling a toothpick, but I rayther guess you'll  be  done  brown  if
that ere harpooneer hears you a slanderin' his head.  I'll  break  it  for
him, said I, now flying into a passion again at this unaccountable farrago
of the landlord's. It's broke a'ready, said he. Broke, said I - broke,  do
you mean? Sartain, and that's the very reason he can't sell it, I guess.
    Landlord, said I, going up to him as cool as  Mt.  Hecla  in  a  snow
storm, - landlord, stop whittling. You and I must understand one  another,
and that too without delay. I come to your house and want a bed; you  tell
me you can only give me half a one; that  the  other  half  belongs  to  a
certain harpooneer. And about this harpooneer, whom I have not  yet  seen,
you persist in telling me the most mystifying  and  exasperating  stories,
tending to beget in me an uncomfortable feeling towards the man  whom  you
design for my bedfellow -a  sort  of  connexion,  landlord,  which  is  an
intimate and confidential one in the highest degree. I now demand  of  you
to speak out and tell me who and what this harpooneer is,  and  whether  I
shall be in all respects safe to spend the night  with  him.  And  in  the
first place, you will be so good as to unsay that story about selling  his
head, which if true I take to be good evidence  that  this  harpooneer  is
stark mad, and I've no idea of sleeping with a madman; and you, sir, you I
mean, landlord, you, sir, by trying to induce me to do so knowingly, would
thereby render yourself liable to a criminal prosecution. Wall,  said  the
landlord, fetching a long breath, that's a purty long sarmon  for  a  chap
that rips a little  now  and  then.  But  be  easy,  be  easy,  this  here
harpooneer I have been tellin' you of has  just  arrived  from  the  south
seas, where he bought up a lot of 'balmed New Zealand heads (great curios,
you know), and he's sold all on 'em but one, and that one he's  trying  to
sell to-night, cause to-morrow's Sunday, and it would not do to be sellin'
human heads about the streets when folks is goin' to churches.  He  wanted
to, last Sunday, but I stopped him just as he was goin' out  of  the  door
with four heads strung on a string, for all the airth  like  a  string  of
inions. This account cleared up the otherwise unaccountable  mystery,  and
showed that the landlord, after all, had had no idea of fooling me -but at
the same time what could I think of a harpooneer who stayed out a Saturday
night clean into the holy Sabbath, engaged in such a cannibal business  as
selling the heads of  dead  idolators?  Depend  upon  it,  landlord,  that
harpooneer is a dangerous man. He pays reg'lar, was the rejoinder.
    But come, it's getting dreadful  late,  you  had  better  be  turning
flukes -it's a nice bed: Sal and me slept in that ere  bed  the  night  we
were spliced. There's plenty room for two to kick about in that bed;  it's
an almighty big bed that. Why, afore we give it up, Sal used  to  put  our
Sam and little Johnny in the  foot  of  it.  But  I  got  a  dreaming  and
sprawling about one night, and somehow, Sam got pitched on the floor,  and
came near breaking his arm. After that, Sal  said  it  wouldn't  do.  Come
along here, I'll give ye a glim in a jiffy; and so  saying  he  lighted  a
candle and held it towards me, offering to  lead  the  way.  But  I  stood
irresolute; when looking at a clock in the corner, he exclaimed I vum it's
Sunday -you won't see  that  harpooneer  to-night;  he's  come  to  anchor
somewhere -come along then; do come;  won't  ye  come?  I  considered  the
matter a moment, and then up stairs we went, and  I  was  ushered  into  a
small room, cold as a clam, and furnished, sure enough, with a  prodigious
bed, almost big enough indeed for any four harpooneers to  sleep  abreast.
There, said the landlord, placing the candle on a crazy old sea chest that
did double duty as a wash-stand and centre  table;  there,  make  yourself
comfortable now, and good night to ye. I turned round from eyeing the bed,
but he had disappeared. Folding back the counterpane, I stooped  over  the
bed. Though none of the most elegant, it yet stood the scrutiny  tolerably
well. I then glanced round the room; and besides the bedstead  and  centre
table, could see no other furniture belonging to the  place,  but  a  rude
shelf, the four walls, and a papered fireboard representing a man striking
a whale. Of things not properly belonging to the room, there was a hammock
lashed up, and thrown upon the floor in one corner; also a large  seaman's
bag, containing the harpooneer's wardrobe, no doubt  in  lieu  of  a  land
trunk. Likewise, there was a parcel of outlandish bone fish hooks  on  the
shelf over the fire-place, and a tall harpoon standing at the head of  the
bed. But what is this on the chest? I took it up, and held it close to the
light, and felt it, and smelt it, and tried every way possible  to  arrive
at some satisfactory conclusion concerning it. I can compare it to nothing
but a large door mat, ornamented at the edges with  little  tinkling  tags
something like the stained porcupine  quills  round  an  Indian  moccasin.
There was a hole or slit in the middle of this mat, as you see the same in
South American ponchos. But could it be possible that any sober harpooneer
would get into a door mat, and parade the streets of any Christian town in
that sort of guise? I put it on, to try it, and it weighed me down like  a
hamper, being uncommonly shaggy and thick, and I thought a little damp, as
though this mysterious harpooneer had been wearing it of a  rainy  day.  I
went up in it to a bit of glass stuck against the wall, and  I  never  saw
such a sight in my life. I tore myself out of it in such a  hurry  that  I
gave myself a kink in the neck. I sat down on the side  of  the  bed,  and
commenced thinking about this head-peddling harpooneer, and his door  mat.
After thinking some time on the bed-side, I got up and took off my  monkey
jacket, and then stood in the middle of the room thinking. I then took off
my coat, and thought a little more in my shirt sleeves. But  beginning  to
feel very cold now, half undressed as I  was,  and  remembering  what  the
landlord said about the harpooneer's not coming home at all that night, it
being so very late, I made no more ado, but jumped out  of  my  pantaloons
and boots, and then blowing out the light tumbled into bed, and  commended
myself to the care of heaven.  Whether  that  mattress  was  stuffed  with
corn-cobs or broken crockery, there is no telling, but I  rolled  about  a
good deal, and could not sleep for a long time. At last I slid off into  a
light doze, and had pretty nearly made a good offing towards the  land  of
Nod, when I heard a heavy footfall in the passage, and saw  a  glimmer  of
light come into the room from under the door. Lord save me, thinks I, that
must be the harpooneer, the infernal head-peddler.  But  I  lay  perfectly
still, and resolved not to say a word till spoken to. Holding a  light  in
one hand, and that identical New Zealand head in the other,  the  stranger
entered the room, and without looking towards the bed, placed his candle a
good way off from me on the floor in one corner, and  then  began  working
away at the knotted cords of the large bag I before spoke of as  being  in
the room. I was all eagerness to see his face, but he kept it averted  for
some time while employed in unlacing the bag's mouth.  This  accomplished,
however, he turned round -when, good heavens! what a sight! Such  a  face!
It was of a dark purplish, yellow color, here and there  stuck  over  with
large, blackish looking squares. Yes, it's  just  as  I  thought,  he's  a
terrible bedfellow; he's been in a fight, got dreadfully cut, and here  he
is, just from the surgeon. But at that moment he chanced to turn his  face
so  towards  the  light,  that  I  plainly   saw   they   could   not   be
sticking-plasters at all, those black squares on  his  cheeks.  they  were
stains of some sort or other. At first I knew not what to  make  of  this;
but soon an inkling of the truth occurred to me. I remembered a story of a
white man -a whaleman too-who,  falling  among  the  cannibals,  had  been
tattooed by them. I concluded that this harpooneer, in the course  of  his
distant voyages, must have met with a similar adventure. And what  is  it,
thought I, after all! It's only his outside; a man can be  honest  in  any
sort of skin. But then, what to make of  his  unearthly  complexion,  that
part of it, I mean, lying round about, and completely independent  of  the
squares of tattooing. To be sure, it might be nothing but a good  coat  of
tropical tanning; but I never heard of a hot sun's  tanning  a  white  man
into a purplish yellow one. However, I had never been in the  South  Seas;
and perhaps the sun there produced these extraordinary  effects  upon  the
skin. Now, while all these ideas were passing through me  like  lightning,
this harpooneer never noticed me at all. But, after some difficulty having
opened his bag, he commenced fumbling in it, and presently  pulled  out  a
sort of tomahawk, and a seal-skin wallet with the hair on.  Placing  these
on the old chest in the middle of the room, he then took the  New  Zealand
head -a ghastly thing enough -and crammed it down into  the  bag.  He  now
took off his hat -a new beaver hat -when I  came  nigh  singing  out  with
fresh surprise. There was no hair on his head -none to speak of at least -
nothing but a small scalp-knot  twisted  up  on  his  forehead.  His  bald
purplish head now looked for all the world like a mildewed skull. Had  not
the stranger stood between me and the door, I would have bolted out of  it
quicker than ever I bolted a dinner. Even as it was, I  thought  something
of slipping out of the window, but it was the second floor back. I  am  no
coward, but what to make of this head-peddling  purple  rascal  altogether
passed my comprehension. Ignorance  is  the  parent  of  fear,  and  being
completely nonplussed and confounded about the stranger, i confess  i  was
now as much afraid of him as if it was the  devil  himself  who  had  thus
broken into my room at the dead of night. In fact, I was so afraid of  him
that I was not game  enough  just  then  to  address  him,  and  demand  a
satisfactory answer concerning what seemed inexplicable in him. Meanwhile,
he continued the business of undressing, and at last showed his chest  and
arms. As I live, these covered parts of him were checkered with  the  same
squares as his face; his back, too, was all over the same dark squares; he
seemed to have been in a Thirty Years' War, and just escaped from it  with
a sticking-plaster shirt. Still more, his very legs were marked, as  if  a
parcel of dark green frogs were running up the trunks of young  palms.  It
was now quite plain that he  must  be  some  abominable  savage  or  other
shipped aboard of a whaleman in the South Seas,  and  so  landed  in  this
Christian country. I quaked to  think  of  it.  A  peddler  of  heads  too
-perhaps the heads of his own brothers. He might  take  a  fancy  to  mine
-heavens! look at that tomahawk! But there was no time for shuddering, for
now  the  savage  went  about  something  that  completely  fascinated  my
attention, and convinced me that he must indeed be a heathen. Going to his
heavy grego, or wrapall, or dreadnaught, which he had previously hung on a
chair, he fumbled in the pockets, and produced at length a curious  little
deformed image with a hunch on its back, and exactly the color of a  three
days' old Congo baby. Remembering the embalmed head,  at  first  I  almost
thought that this black manikin was a real baby preserved in some  similar
manner. But seeing that it was not at all limber, and that it glistened  a
good deal like polished ebony, I concluded that it must be nothing  but  a
wooden idol, which indeed it proved to be. For now the savage goes  up  to
the empty fireplace, and removing the papered  fire-board,  sets  up  this
little hunchbacked image, like a tenpin, between the andirons. the chimney
jambs and all the bricks inside were very sooty, so that  I  thought  this
fire-place made a very appropriate little shrine or chapel for  his  Congo
idol. I now screwed my eyes hard towards the half  hidden  image,  feeling
but ill at ease meantime -to see what was next to follow. First  he  takes
about a double handful of shavings out of his  grego  pocket,  and  places
them carefully before the idol; then laying a bit of ship biscuit  on  top
and applying the flame from the lamp,  he  kindled  the  shavings  into  a
sacrificial blaze. Presently, after many hasty snatches into the fire, and
still hastier  withdrawals  of  his  fingers  (whereby  he  seemed  to  be
scorching them badly), he at last succeeded in drawing  out  the  biscuit;
then blowing off the heat and ashes a little, he made a polite offer of it
to the little negro. But the little devil did not seem to fancy  such  dry
sort of fare at all; he never moved his lips.  All  these  strange  antics
were accompanied by still stranger guttural noises from the  devotee,  who
seemed to be praying in a sing-song or else singing some pagan psalmody or
other, during which his face twitched about in the most unnatural  manner.
At last extinguishing the fire, he took the idol up very  unceremoniously,
and bagged it again in his grego pocket as carelessly  as  if  he  were  a
sportsman bagging a dead woodcock. All these queer  proceedings  increased
my uncomfortableness, and seeing him now  exhibiting  strong  symptoms  of
concluding his business operations,  and  jumping  into  bed  with  me,  I
thought it was high time, now or never, before the light was put  out,  to
break the spell into which I had so long been bound. But  the  interval  I
spent in deliberating what to say, was a fatal one. Taking up his tomahawk
from the table, he examined the head  of  it  for  an  instant,  and  then
holding it to the light, with his mouth at the handle, he puffed out great
clouds of tobacco smoke. The next moment the light was  extinguished,  and
this wild cannibal, tomahawk between his teeth, sprang into bed with me. I
sang out, I  could  not  help  it  now;  and  giving  a  sudden  grunt  of
astonishment he began feeling me. Stammering out  something,  I  knew  not
what, I rolled away from him against the  wall,  and  then  conjured  him,
whoever or whatever he might be, to keep quiet, and  let  me  get  up  and
light the lamp again. But his guttural responses satisfied me at once that
he but ill comprehended my meaning. Who-e debel you? -he at  last  said  -
you no speak-e, dam-me, I kill-e. And so saying the lighted tomahawk began
flourishing about me in the dark. Landlord, for God's sake, Peter  Coffin!
shouted I. Landlord! Watch! Coffin! Angels! save me! Speak-e!  tell-ee  me
who-ee be, or dam-me, I kill-e! again  growled  the  cannibal,  while  his
horrid flourishings of the tomahawk scattered the hot tobacco ashes  about
me till I thought my linen would get on fire. But thank  heaven,  at  that
moment the landlord came into the room light in hand, and leaping from the
bed I ran up to him.
    Don't be afraid now, said he, grinning again. Queequeg here  wouldn't
harm a hair of your head. Stop your grinning, shouted I,  and  why  didn't
you tell me that that infernal harpooneer was a  cannibal?  I  thought  ye
know'd it; -didn't I tell ye, he was peddlin' heads around town? -but turn
flukes again and go to sleep. Queequeg, look here -you sabbee me, I sabbee
you -this man sleepe you -you sabbee? Me sabbee plenty -grunted  Queequeg,
puffing away at his pipe and sitting up in bed. You gettee in,  he  added,
motioning to me with his tomahawk, and throwing the clothes to  one  side.
He really did this in not only a civil but a really  kind  and  charitable
way. I stood looking at him a moment. For all his tattooings he was on the
whole a clean, comely looking cannibal. What's all this fuss I  have  been
making about, thought i to myself -the man's a human being just as  I  am:
he has just as much reason to fear me, as I have  to  be  afraid  of  him.
Better sleep with a sober cannibal than  a  drunken  Christian.  Landlord,
said I, tell him to stash his tomahawk there, or  pipe,  or  whatever  you
call it; tell him to stop smoking, in short, and I will turn in with  him.
But I don't fancy having a man smoking in bed  with  me.  It's  dangerous.
Besides, I aint insured. This being told to Queequeg, he at once complied,
and again politely motioned me to get into bed -rolling over to  one  side
as much as to say -I wont touch a leg of ye. Good night, landlord, said I,
you may go. I turned in, and never slept better in my life.



                           4. THE COUNTERPANE

    Upon waking next morning  about  daylight,  I  found  Queequeg's  arm
thrown over me in the most loving and affectionate manner. You had  almost
thought I had been his wife. The counterpane was of patchwork, full of odd
little parti-colored squares and triangles; and this arm of  his  tattooed
all over with an interminable Cretan labyrinth of a figure, no  two  parts
of which were of one precise shade -owing I suppose to his keeping his arm
at sea unmethodically in sun and  shade,  his  shirt  sleeves  irregularly
rolled up at various times -this same arm of his, I say,  looked  for  all
the world like a strip of that same patchwork quilt. Indeed, partly  lying
on it as the arm did when I first awoke, I could hardly tell it  from  the
quilt, they so blended their hues together; and it was only by  the  sense
of weight and pressure that I could tell that Queequeg was hugging me.  My
sensations were strange. Let me try to explain them. When I was a child, I
well remember a somewhat similar circumstance that befell me;  whether  it
was a reality or a dream, I never could entirely settle. The  circumstance
was this. I had been cutting up some caper or other -I think it was trying
to crawl up the chimney, as i had seen  a  little  sweep  do  a  few  days
previous; and my stepmother who,  somehow  or  other,  was  all  the  time
whipping me, or sending me to bed supperless, -my mother dragged me by the
legs out of the chimney and packed me off to bed, though it was  only  two
o'clock in the afternoon of the 21st June, the longest day in the year  in
our hemisphere. I felt dreadfully. But there was no help  for  it,  so  up
stairs I went to my little room in the third floor,  undressed  myself  as
slowly as possible so as to kill time, and with a bitter sigh got  between
the sheets. I lay there dismally calculating  that  sixteen  entire  hours
must elapse before I could hope for a resurrection. Sixteen hours in  bed!
the small of my back ached to think of it. And it was so  light  too;  the
sun shining in at the window, and a  great  rattling  of  coaches  in  the
streets, and the sound of gay voices all over the house. I felt worse  and
worse -at last I got up, dressed, and softly going down in  my  stockinged
feet, sought out my stepmother, and suddenly threw  myself  at  her  feet,
beseeching her as a particular favor to give me a good slippering  for  my
misbehavior; anything indeed  but  condemning  me  to  lie  abed  such  an
unendurable length of time. But she was the best and most conscientious of
stepmothers, and back I had to go to my room.  For  several  hours  I  lay
there broad awake, feeling a great deal worse than I have ever done since,
even from the greatest subsequent misfortunes. At last I must have  fallen
into a troubled nightmare of a doze;  and  slowly  waking  from  it  -half
steeped in dreams -I opened my eyes, and the before sun-lit room  was  now
wrapped in outer darkness. Instantly I felt a shock running through all my
frame; nothing was to be  seen,  and  nothing  was  to  be  heard;  but  a
supernatural hand seemed placed in mine. My arm hung over the counterpane,
and the nameless, unimaginable, silent form or phantom, to which the  hand
belonged, seemed closely seated by my bedside. For what seemed ages  piled
on ages, I lay there, frozen with the most awful fears, not daring to drag
away my hand; yet ever thinking that if I could but  stir  it  one  single
inch, the horrid spell would be broken. I knew not how this  consciousness
at last glided away from me; but waking in  the  morning,  I  shudderingly
remembered it all, and for days and weeks and  months  afterwards  I  lost
myself in confounding attempts to explain the mystery. Nay, to  this  very
hour, I often puzzle myself with it. Now, take away the awful fear, and my
sensations at feeling the supernatural hand in mine were very similar,  in
their strangeness, to those which I experienced on waking  up  and  seeing
Queequeg's pagan arm thrown round me. But at length all the  past  night's
events soberly recurred, one by one, in fixed reality, and then I lay only
alive to the comical predicament. For though  I  tried  to  move  his  arm
-unlock his bridegroom clasp -yet, sleeping as he was, he still hugged  me
tightly, as though naught but death should part us twain. I now strove  to
rouse him -
    Queequeg! -but his only answer was a snore. I then  rolled  over,  my
neck feeling as if it were in a horse-collar; and suddenly felt  a  slight
scratch. Throwing aside the counterpane, there lay the  tomahawk  sleeping
by the savage's side, as if it were a hatchet-faced baby. A pretty pickle,
truly, thought I; abed here in a strange house in the broad  day,  with  a
cannibal and a tomahawk! Queequeg! -in the  name  of  goodness,  Queequeg,
wake! At length, by  dint  of  much  wriggling,  and  loud  and  incessant
expostulations upon the unbecomingness of his hugging  a  fellow  male  in
that matrimonial sort of style,
    I succeeded in extracting a grunt; and presently, he  drew  back  his
arm, shook himself all over like a Newfoundland dog just from  the  water,
and sat up in bed, stiff as a pike-staff, looking at me, and  rubbing  his
eyes as if he did not altogether remember how I came to be there, though a
dim consciousness of knowing something about me seemed slowly dawning over
him. Meanwhile, I lay quietly eyeing him,  having  no  serious  misgivings
now, and bent upon narrowly observing so  curious  a  creature.  When,  at
last, his mind seemed made up touching the character of his bedfellow, and
he became, as it were, reconciled to the fact;  he  jumped  out  upon  the
floor, and by certain signs and sounds gave me to understand that,  if  it
pleased me, he would dress first and then leave me  to  dress  afterwards,
leaving the whole apartment to  myself.  Thinks  I,  Queequeg,  under  the
circumstances, this is a very civilized overture; but, the truth is, these
savages have an innate sense  of  delicacy,  say  what  you  will;  it  is
marvellous  how  essentially  polite  they  are.  I  pay  this  particular
compliment to Queequeg, because he treated me with so  much  civility  and
consideration, while I was guilty of great rudeness; staring at  him  from
the bed, and watching all his toilette motions; for the time my  curiosity
getting the better of my breeding. Nevertheless, a man like  Queequeg  you
don't see every day, he and his ways were well worth unusual regarding. He
commenced dressing at top by donning his beaver hat, a very tall  one,  by
the by, and then -still minus his trowsers - he hunted up his boots.  What
under the heavens he did it for, I cannot tell, but his next movement  was
to crush himself -boots in hand, and hat on -under  the  bed;  when,  from
sundry violent gaspings and strainings, I inferred he  was  hard  at  work
booting himself; though by no law of propriety that I ever  heard  of,  is
any man required to be private when putting on his boots. But Queequeg, do
you see, was a creature in the transition state - neither caterpillar  nor
butterfly. He was just enough civilized to show off his outlandishness  in
the strangest possible manner. his education was not yet completed. He was
an undergraduate. If he had not been a small  degree  civilized,  he  very
probably would not have troubled himself with boots at all; but  then,  if
he had not been still a savage, he never  would  have  dreamt  of  getting
under the bed to put them on. At last, he emerged with his hat  very  much
dented and crushed down over his eyes,  and  began  creaking  and  limping
about the room, as if, not being much accustomed to  boots,  his  pair  of
damp, wrinkled cowhide ones - probably not made to  order  either  -rather
pinched and tormented him at the first go off of a  bitter  cold  morning.
Seeing, now, that there were no curtains  to  the  window,  and  that  the
street being very narrow, the house opposite commanded a plain  view  into
the room, and observing more and more the indecorous figure that  Queequeg
made, staving about with little else but his hat and boots  on;  I  begged
him  as  well  as  I  could,  to  accelerate  his  toilet  somewhat,   and
particularly to get into his pantaloons as soon as possible. He  complied,
and then proceeded to wash himself.  At  that  time  in  the  morning  any
Christian would have washed his  face;  but  Queequeg,  to  my  amazement,
contented himself with restricting his ablutions to his chest,  arms,  and
hands. He then donned his waistcoat, and taking up a piece of hard soap on
the wash-stand centre-table, dipped it into water and commenced  lathering
his face. I was watching to see where he  kept  his  razor,  when  lo  and
behold, he takes the harpoon from the  bed  corner,  slips  out  the  long
wooden stock, unsheathes the head, whets it a  little  on  his  boot,  and
striding up to the bit of mirror  against  the  wall,  begins  a  vigorous
scraping, or rather harpooning of his cheeks. Thinks I, Queequeg, this  is
using Rogers's best cutlery with a vengeance. Afterwards  I  wondered  the
less at this operation when I came to know of what fine steel the head  of
a harpoon is made, and how exceedingly sharp the long straight  edges  are
always kept. the rest of his toilet was  soon  achieved,  and  he  proudly
marched out of the room, wrapped up in his great pilot monkey jacket,  and
sporting his harpoon like a marshal's baton.



                             5. BREAKFAST

    I quickly followed suit, and descending into  the  bar-room  accosted
the grinning landlord very pleasantly. I cherished no malice towards  him,
though he had been skylarking with me not a little in  the  matter  of  my
bedfellow. However, a good laugh is a mighty good thing,  and  rather  too
scarce a good thing; the more's the pity. So, if any one man, in  his  own
proper person, afford stuff for a good joke to anybody,  let  him  not  be
backward, but let him cheerfully allow himself to spend and  be  spent  in
that way. And the man that has anything bountifully laughable  about  him,
be sure there is more in that man than you perhaps think for. The bar-room
was now full of the boarders who had been dropping in the night  previous,
and whom I had not as yet had  a  good  look  at.  They  were  nearly  all
whalemen; chief  mates,  and  second  mates,  and  third  mates,  and  sea
carpenters, and sea coopers, and sea  blacksmiths,  and  harpooneers,  and
ship keepers; a brown and brawny company, with bosky beards;  an  unshorn,
shaggy set, all wearing monkey jackets for morning gowns. You could pretty
plainly tell how long each  one  had  been  ashore.  This  young  fellow's
healthy cheek is like a sun-toasted pear in hue, and would seem  to  smell
almost as musky; he cannot have been three days  landed  from  his  Indian
voyage. That man next him looks a few shades  lighter;  you  might  say  a
touch of satin wood is in him. In the complexion of a third still  lingers
a tropic tawn, but slightly bleached  withal;  he  doubtless  has  tarried
whole weeks ashore. But who could  show  a  cheek  like  Queequeg?  which,
barred with various tints, seemed like the Andes' western slope,  to  show
forth in one array, contrasting climates, zone by zone.
    Grub, ho! now cried the landlord, flinging open a  door,  and  in  we
went to breakfast. They say that men who  have  seen  the  world,  thereby
become quite at ease in  manner,  quite  self-possessed  in  company.  Not
always, though: Ledyard, the great New England traveller, and Mungo  Park,
the Scotch one; of all men, they possessed  the  least  assurance  in  the
parlor. But perhaps the mere crossing of Siberia in a sledge drawn by dogs
as Ledyard did, or the taking a long solitary walk on an empty stomach, in
the negro heart of Africa, which was the sum of poor Mungo's  performances
- this kind of travel, I say, may not be the very best mode of attaining a
high social polish. Still, for the most part, that sort of thing is to  be
had  anywhere.  These  reflections  just  here  are  occasioned   by   the
circumstance that after we were  all  seated  at  the  table,  and  I  was
preparing to hear  some  good  stories  about  whaling;  to  my  no  small
surprise, nearly every man maintained a profound  silence.  And  not  only
that, but they looked embarrassed. Yes, here were a set of sea-dogs,  many
of whom without the slightest bashfulness had boarded great whales on  the
high seas -entire  strangers  to  them  -and  duelled  them  dead  without
winking; and yet, here they sat at a social breakfast table  -all  of  the
same calling, all of kindred tastes -looking round as sheepishly  at  each
other as though they had never been out of sight of some  sheepfold  among
the Green Mountains. A curious sight; these  bashful  bears,  these  timid
warrior whalemen! But as for Queequeg -why, Queequeg sat there among  them
-at the head of the table, too, it so chanced; as cool as an icicle. To be
sure I cannot say much for his breeding. His greatest  admirer  could  not
have cordially justified his bringing his harpoon into breakfast with him,
and using it there without ceremony; reaching over the table with  it,  to
the imminent jeopardy of many heads, and grappling the beefsteaks  towards
him. But that was certainly very coolly done by him, and every  one  knows
that in most people's estimation, to  do  anything  coolly  is  to  do  it
genteelly. We will not speak of all Queequeg's peculiarities here; how  he
eschewed coffee and hot rolls, and  applied  his  undivided  attention  to
beefsteaks, done rare. Enough, that when breakfast was  over  he  withdrew
like the rest into the public room, lighted  his  tomahawk-pipe,  and  was
sitting there quietly digesting and smoking with his inseparable  hat  on,
when I sallied out for a stroll.



                             6. THE STREET

    If I had been astonished at first catching a glimpse of so outlandish
an individual as Queequeg  circulating  among  the  polite  society  of  a
civilized town, that astonishment  soon  departed  upon  taking  my  first
daylight stroll through the streets of New Bedford. In thoroughfares  nigh
the docks, any considerable seaport will  frequently  offer  to  view  the
queerest looking nondescripts from foreign parts.  Even  in  Broadway  and
Chestnut  streets,  Mediterranean  mariners  will  sometimes  jostle   the
affrighted ladies. Regent street is not unknown to Lascars and Malays; and
at Bombay, in the  Apollo  Green,  live  Yankees  have  often  scared  the
natives. But New Bedford beats all Water  street  and  Wapping.  In  these
last-mentioned haunts you see only sailors; but  in  New  Bedford,  actual
cannibals stand chatting at street corners; savages outright; many of whom
yet carry on their bones unholy flesh. It makes  a  stranger  stare.  But,
besides the Feegeeans,  Tongatabooarrs,  Erromanggoans,  Pannangians,  and
Brighggians, and, besides the wild specimens of  the  whaling-craft  which
unheeded reel about the streets, you will  see  other  sights  still  more
curious, certainly more comical. There weekly arrive in this  town  scores
of green Vermonters and New Hampshire men, all athirst for gain and  glory
in the fishery. They are mostly young, of  stalwart  frames;  fellows  who
have felled forests,  and  now  seek  to  drop  the  axe  and  snatch  the
whale-lance. Many are as green as the Green Mountains whence they came. In
some things you would think them but a few hours  old.  Look  there!  that
chap strutting round the corner. He wears a beaver hat and  swallow-tailed
coat, girdled with a sailor-belt and sheath-knife. Here comes another with
a sou'-wester and a bombazine cloak. No town-bred dandy will compare  with
a country-bred one - I mean a downright bumpkin dandy -a fellow  that,  in
the dog-days, will mow his two  acres  in  buckskin  gloves  for  fear  of
tanning his hands. Now when a country dandy like this takes  it  into  his
head  to  make  a  distinguished   reputation,   and   joins   the   great
whale-fishery, you should see the comical things he does upon reaching the
seaport. In bespeaking his  sea-outfit,  he  orders  bell-buttons  to  his
waistcoats; straps to his canvas trowsers. Ah, poor Hay-Seed! how bitterly
will burst those straps in the first howling gale, when thou  art  driven,
straps, buttons, and all, down the throat of the tempest.  But  think  not
that this famous town has only harpooneers,  cannibals,  and  bumpkins  to
show her visitors. Not at all. Still New Bedford is a queer place. Had  it
not been for us whalemen, that tract of land would this day  perhaps  have
been in as howling condition as the coast of Labrador. As it is, parts  of
her back country are enough to frighten one, they look so bony.  The  town
itself is perhaps the dearest place to live in, in all New England. It  is
a land of oil, true enough; but not like Canaan; a land, also, of corn and
wine. The streets do not run with milk; nor in  the  spring-time  do  they
pave them with fresh eggs. Yet, in spite of this, nowhere in  all  America
will you find more patrician-like houses; parks and gardens more  opulent,
than in New Bedford. Whence came they? how planted upon this once  scraggy
scoria of a country? Go and gaze upon the iron emblematical harpoons round
yonder lofty mansion, and your question will be answered. Yes;  all  these
brave houses and flowery gardens came  from  the  Atlantic,  Pacific,  and
Indian oceans. One and all, they were harpooned and dragged up hither from
the bottom of the sea. Can Herr Alexander perform a feat like that? In New
Bedford, fathers, they say, give whales for dowers to their daughters, and
portion off their nieces with a few porpoises a-piece. You must go to  New
Bedford to see a brilliant wedding; for, they say, they have reservoirs of
oil in every house, and every  night  recklessly  burn  their  lengths  in
spermaceti candles. In summer time, the town is sweet to see; full of fine
maples -long avenues of green and gold. And in August, high  in  air,  the
beautiful and  bountiful  horse-chestnuts,  candelabra-wise,  proffer  the
passer-by  their  tapering  upright  cones  of  congregated  blossoms.  So
omnipotent  is  art;  which  in  many  a  district  of  New  Bedford   has
superinduced bright terraces of  flowers  upon  the  barren  refuse  rocks
thrown aside at creation's final day. And the women of New  Bedford,  they
bloom like their own red roses. But roses only bloom  in  summer;  whereas
the fine carnation of their cheeks is perennial as sunlight in the seventh
heavens. Elsewhere match that bloom of theirs, ye cannot, save  in  Salem,
where they tell me  the  young  girls  breathe  such  musk,  their  sailor
sweethearts smell them miles off shore, as though they were  drawing  nigh
the odorous Moluccas instead of the Puritanic sands.



                             7. THE CHAPEL

    In this same New Bedford there stands a Whaleman's  Chapel,  and  few
are the moody fishermen, shortly bound for the Indian  Ocean  or  Pacific,
who fail to make a Sunday visit to the spot. I am sure  that  I  did  not.
Returning from my first morning stroll, I  again  sallied  out  upon  this
special errand. The sky had changed from clear,  sunny  cold,  to  driving
sleet and mist. Wrapping myself in my shaggy jacket of  the  cloth  called
bearskin, I fought my way against the stubborn storm. Entering, I found  a
small scattered congregation of sailors, and sailors' wives and widows.  A
muffled silence reigned, only broken at times by the shrieks of the storm.
Each silent worshipper seemed purposely sitting apart from the  other,  as
if each silent grief were insular and incommunicable. The chaplain had not
yet arrived;  and  there  these  silent  islands  of  men  and  women  sat
steadfastly eyeing several marble tablets,  with  black  borders,  masoned
into the wall on either side the pulpit. Three of them ran something  like
the following, but I do not pretend to quote: - Sacred To  the  Memory  of
John Talbot, Who, at the age of eighteen, was  lost  overboard,  Near  the
Isle of Desolation, off Patagonia, November 1st. This Tablet Is erected to
his Memory By his Sister. Sacred To the  Memory  of  Robert  Long,  Willis
Ellery, Nathan Coleman, Walter Canny, Seth Macy, and Samuel Gleig, Forming
one of the boats' crews of the Ship Eliza, Who were towed out of sight  by
a Whale, On the Off-shore Ground  in  the  Pacific,  December  31st.  This
Marble Is here placed by their surviving Shipmates. Sacred To  the  Memory
of The late Captain Ezekiel Hardy, Who in the bows of his boat was  killed
by a Sperm Whale on the coast of Japan, August 3d, This Tablet Is  erected
to his Memory by His Widow. Shaking off the sleet from my  ice-glazed  hat
and jacket, I seated myself  near  the  door,  and  turning  sideways  was
surprised to see Queequeg near me. Affected by the solemnity of the scene,
there was a wondering gaze of incredulous curiosity  in  his  countenance.
This savage was the only person present who seemed to notice my  entrance;
because he was the only one who could not read, and,  therefore,  was  not
reading those  frigid  inscriptions  on  the  wall.  Whether  any  of  the
relatives of the seamen whose names appeared  there  were  now  among  the
congregation, I knew not; but so many are the unrecorded accidents in  the
fishery, and so plainly did several women present wear the countenance  if
not the trappings of some unceasing grief, that  I  feel  sure  that  here
before me were assembled those, in whose unhealing  hearts  the  sight  of
those bleak tablets sympathetically caused the old wounds to bleed afresh.
Oh! ye whose dead lie buried beneath the green grass; who  standing  among
flowers can say -here, here lies my beloved; ye know  not  the  desolation
that  broods  in  bosoms  like  these.  What  bitter   blanks   in   those
black-bordered marbles  which  cover  no  ashes!  What  despair  in  those
immovable inscriptions! What deadly voids and unbidden infidelities in the
lines that seem to gnaw upon all Faith, and refuse  resurrections  to  the
beings who have placelessly perished without a grave. As well might  those
tablets stand in the cave of Elephanta as here. In what census  of  living
creatures, the dead of mankind are included; why it is  that  a  universal
proverb says of them, that they tell  no  tales,  though  containing  more
secrets than the Goodwin Sands; how it is that to his name  who  yesterday
departed for the other world, we prefix so significant and infidel a word,
and yet do not thus entitle him, if he but embarks for the remotest Indies
of  this  living   earth;   why   the   Life   Insurance   Companies   pay
death-forfeitures upon immortals; in what eternal,  unstirring  paralysis,
and deadly, hopeless trance, yet lies antique Adam who  died  sixty  round
centuries ago; how it is that we still refuse to be  comforted  for  those
who we nevertheless maintain are dwelling in unspeakable  bliss;  why  all
the living so strive to hush all the dead; wherefore but the  rumor  of  a
knocking in a tomb will terrify a whole city. All  these  things  are  not
without their meanings. But Faith, like a jackal, feeds among  the  tombs,
and even from these dead doubts she gathers her most vital hope. It  needs
scarcely to be told, with what feelings, on the eve of a Nantucket voyage,
I regarded those marble tablets, and by the murky light of that  darkened,
doleful day read the fate of the whalemen who had  gone  before  me,  Yes,
Ishmael, the same fate may be thine.  But  somehow  I  grew  merry  again.
Delightful inducements to embark, fine chance for promotion,  it  seems  -
aye, a stove boat will make me an immortal by brevet. Yes, there is  death
in this business of whaling -a speechlessly quick chaotic  bundling  of  a
man into Eternity. But what then? Methinks we have  hugely  mistaken  this
matter of Life and Death. Methinks that what they call my shadow  here  on
earth is my true substance. Methinks that in looking at things  spiritual,
we are too much like oysters observing the  sun  through  the  water,  and
thinking that thick water the thinnest of air. Methinks my body is but the
lees of my better being. In fact take my body who will, take it I say,  it
is not me. And therefore three cheers for Nantucket; and come a stove boat
and stove body when they will, for stave my soul, Jove himself cannot.



                              8. THE PULPIT

    I had not been seated very long ere a  man  of  a  certain  venerable
robustness entered; immediately as the storm-pelted door  flew  back  upon
admitting him, a quick regardful eyeing of him by  all  the  congregation,
sufficiently attested that this fine old man was the chaplain. Yes, it was
the famous Father Mapple, so called by the whalemen, among whom he  was  a
very great favorite. He had been a sailor and a harpooneer in  his  youth,
but for many years past had dedicated his life to  the  ministry.  At  the
time I now write of, Father Mapple was in the hardy winter  of  a  healthy
old age; that sort of old age which seems merging into a second  flowering
youth, for among all the fissures of his  wrinkles,  there  shone  certain
mild gleams of a newly developing bloom -the spring verdure peeping  forth
even beneath February's snow. No one having previously heard his  history,
could for the first time behold Father Mapple without the utmost interest,
because there were certain engrafted  clerical  peculiarities  about  him,
imputable to that adventurous maritime life he had led. When he entered  I
observed that he carried no umbrella, and certainly had not  come  in  his
carriage, for his tarpaulin hat ran down with melting sleet, and his great
pilot cloth jacket seemed almost to drag him to the floor with the  weight
of the water it had absorbed. However, hat and coat and overshoes were one
by one removed, and hung up in a little space in an adjacent corner; when,
arrayed in a decent suit, he quietly approached the pulpit. Like most  old
fashioned pulpits, it was a very lofty one, and since a regular stairs  to
such a height would, by its long angle with the floor, seriously  contract
the already small area of the chapel, the architect, it seemed, had  acted
upon the hint of Father Mapple, and finished the pulpit without a  stairs,
substituting a perpendicular side ladder, like those used  in  mounting  a
ship from a boat at sea. The wife of a whaling captain  had  provided  the
chapel with a handsome pair of red  worsted  man-ropes  for  this  ladder,
which, being itself nicely headed, and stained with a mahogany color,  the
whole contrivance, considering what manner of chapel it was, seemed by  no
means in bad taste. Halting for an instant at the foot of the ladder,  and
with both hands grasping the ornamental knobs  of  the  man-ropes,  Father
Mapple cast a look upwards, and then with a  truly  sailorlike  but  still
reverential dexterity, hand over hand, mounted the steps as  if  ascending
the main-top of his vessel. the perpendicular parts of this  side  ladder,
as is usually the case with swinging ones,  were  of  cloth-covered  rope,
only the rounds were of wood, so that at every step there was a joint.  At
my first glimpse of the  pulpit,  it  had  not  escaped  me  that  however
convenient for a  ship,  these  joints  in  the  present  instance  seemed
unnecessary. For I was not prepared to see Father Mapple after gaining the
height, slowly turn round, and stooping over the pulpit, deliberately drag
up the ladder step by step, till the whole was deposited  within,  leaving
him impregnable in his little Quebec. I pondered some time  without  fully
comprehending the reason for this.  Father  Mapple  enjoyed  such  a  wide
reputation for sincerity and sanctity, that I could  not  suspect  him  of
courting notoriety by any mere tricks of the stage. No, thought  I,  there
must be some sober reason for this thing; furthermore, it  must  symbolize
something unseen. Can it be, then, that by that act of physical isolation,
he signifies his spiritual withdrawal  for  the  time,  from  all  outward
worldly ties and connexions? Yes, for replenished with the meat  and  wine
of the word, to the faithful  man  of  God,  this  pulpit,  I  see,  is  a
self-containing stronghold -a lofty Ehrenbreitstein, with a perennial well
of water within the walls. But the side ladder was not  the  only  strange
feature of the place, borrowed from  the  chaplain's  former  sea-farings.
Between the marble cenotaphs on either hand of the pulpit, the wall  which
formed its back was adorned with a large painting representing  a  gallant
ship beating against a terrible storm off a lee coast of black  rocks  and
snowy breakers. But high above the flying scud  and  dark-rolling  clouds,
there floated a little isle  of  sunlight,  from  which  beamed  forth  an
angel's face; and this bright face shed a distinct spot of  radiance  upon
the ship's tossed deck, something like that silver plate now inserted into
the Victory's plank where Nelson fell. Ah, noble ship, the angel seemed to
say, beat on, beat on, thou noble ship, and bear a hardy helm; for lo! the
sun is breaking through; the clouds are rolling off -serenest azure is  at
hand. Nor was the pulpit itself without a trace of the same sea-taste that
had achieved the ladder and the picture. Its panelled  front  was  in  the
likeness of a ship's  bluff  bows,  and  the  Holy  Bible  rested  on  the
projecting piece of scroll work, fashioned after  a  ship's  fiddle-headed
beak. What could be more full of meaning? -for the  pulpit  is  ever  this
earth's foremost part; all the rest comes in its rear;  the  pulpit  leads
the world. From thence it is the storm  of  God's  quick  wrath  is  first
descried, and the bow must bear the earliest brunt. From thence it is  the
God of breezes fair or foul is first invoked for favorable winds. Yes, the
world's a ship on its passage out, and not  a  voyage  complete;  and  the
pulpit is its prow.



                             9. THE SERMON

    Father Mapple rose, and in  a  mild  voice  of  unassuming  authority
ordered the scattered people to condense. Starboard gangway,  there!  side
away to larboard-larboard gangway to starboard! Midships! midships!  There
was a low rumbling of heavy sea-boots  among  the  benches,  and  a  still
slighter shuffling of women's shoes, and all was quiet  again,  and  every
eye on the preacher. He paused a little; then  kneeling  in  the  pulpit's
bows, folded his large brown hands across his chest, uplifted  his  closed
eyes, and offered a prayer so deeply devout that he  seemed  kneeling  and
praying at the bottom of the sea. This ended, in prolonged  solemn  tones,
like the continual tolling of a bell in a ship that is foundering  at  sea
in a fog -in such tones he  commenced  reading  the  following  hymn;  but
changing his manner towards the concluding stanzas,  burst  forth  with  a
pealing exultation and joy - The ribs and terrors  in  the  whale,  Arched
over me a dismal gloom, While all God's sun-lit waves rolled by, And  lift
me deepening down to doom. I saw the opening maw  of  hell,  With  endless
pains and sorrows there; Which none but they that feel can tell- Oh, I was
plunging to despair. In black distress, I called  my  God,  When  I  could
scarce believe him mine, He bowed his ear to my complaints - No  more  the
whale did me confine. With speed he flew to my relief,  As  on  a  radiant
dolphin borne; Awful, yet bright,  as  lightning  shone  The  face  of  my
Deliverer God. My song for ever shall record That  terrible,  that  joyful
hour; I give the glory to my God, His all the mercy and the power.  Nearly
all joined in singing this hymn, which swelled high above the  howling  of
the storm. A brief pause ensued;  the  preacher  slowly  turned  over  the
leaves of the Bible, and at last, folding his hand down  upon  the  proper
page, said: Beloved shipmates, clinch the last verse of the first  chapter
of Jonah - And God  had  prepared  a  great  fish  to  swallow  up  Jonah.
Shipmates, this book, containing only four chapters -four yarns -is one of
the smallest strands in the mighty  cable  of  the  Scriptures.  Yet  what
depths of the soul does Jonah's deep sealine sound! what a pregnant lesson
to us is this prophet! What a noble thing is that canticle in  the  fish's
belly! How billow-like and boisterously grand! We feel the floods  surging
over us; we sound with him to the kelpy bottom of the waters; sea-weed and
all the slime of the sea is about us! But what is  this  lesson  that  the
book of Jonah teaches? Shipmates, it is a two-stranded lesson; a lesson to
us all as sinful men, and a lesson to me as a pilot of the living God.  As
sinful men, it is a lesson to us all, because it is a story  of  the  sin,
hard-heartedness,  suddenly  awakened   fears,   the   swift   punishment,
repentance, prayers, and finally the deliverance and joy of Jonah. As with
all sinners among men, the sin of this son of Amittai was  in  his  wilful
disobedience of the command of God -never mind now what that command  was,
or how conveyed -which he found a hard command. But all  the  things  that
God would have us do are hard for us to do -remember that -and  hence,  he
oftener commands us than endeavors to persuade. And if  we  obey  God,  we
must disobey ourselves; and it is in this  disobeying  ourselves,  wherein
the hardness of obeying God consists. With this  sin  of  disobedience  in
him, Jonah still further flouts at God, by seeking to flee  from  Him.  He
thinks that a ship made by men, will carry him into  countries  where  God
does not reign, but only the Captains of this earth.
    He skulks about the wharves of Joppa, and seeks a ship  that's  bound
for Tarshish. There lurks, perhaps, a hitherto unheeded meaning  here.  By
all accounts Tarshish could have been no other city than the modern Cadiz.
That's the opinion of learned men. And where is Cadiz, shipmates? Cadiz is
in Spain; as far by water, from Joppa, as Jonah could possibly have sailed
in those ancient days, when  the  Atlantic  was  an  almost  unknown  sea.
Because Joppa, the modern Jaffa, shipmates, is on the most easterly  coast
of the Mediterranean, the Syrian; and Tarshish  or  Cadiz  more  than  two
thousand miles to the westward from that,  just  outside  the  Straits  of
Gibraltar.  See  ye  not  then,  shipmates,  that  Jonah  sought  to  flee
world-wide from God? Miserable man! Oh! most contemptible  and  worthy  of
all scorn; with slouched hat  and  guilty  eye,  skulking  from  his  God;
prowling among the shipping like a vile burglar  hastening  to  cross  the
seas. So disordered, self-condemning is his  look,  that  had  there  been
policemen in those days, jonah, on the mere suspicion of something  wrong,
had been arrested ere he touched a deck. How plainly he's a  fugitive!  no
baggage, not a hat-box, valise, or carpet-bag, -no friends  accompany  him
to the wharf with their adieux. At last, after  much  dodging  search,  he
finds the Tarshish ship receiving the last items of her cargo; and  as  he
steps on board to see its Captain in the cabin, all the  sailors  for  the
moment desist from hoisting in the goods, to mark the stranger's evil eye.
Jonah sees this; but in vain he tries to look all ease and confidence;  in
vain essays his wretched smile. Strong intuitions of the  man  assure  the
mariners he can be no innocent. In their gamesome but still  serious  way,
one whispers to the other -"Jack, he's robbed a widow;"  or,"Joe,  do  you
mark him; he's a bigamist;" or,"Harry lad, I guess he's the adulterer that
broke jail in old Gomorrah, or belike, one of the missing  murderers  from
Sodom." Another runs to read the bill that's stuck against the spile  upon
the wharf to which the ship is moored, offering five  hundred  gold  coins
for the apprehension of a parricide, and containing a description  of  his
person. He reads, and  looks  from  Jonah  to  the  bill;  while  all  his
sympathetic shipmates now crowd round Jonah, prepared to lay  their  hands
upon him. Frighted Jonah trembles, and summoning all his boldness  to  his
face, only looks so much the more a coward. He will  not  confess  himself
suspected; but that itself is strong suspicion. So he makes  the  best  of
it; and when the sailors find him not to be the man  that  is  advertised,
they let him pass, and he descends into the cabin.  "Who's  there?"  cries
the Captain at his busy desk, hurriedly making  out  his  papers  for  the
Customs -"who's there?" Oh! how that harmless question mangles Jonah!
    For the instant he almost turns to flee again.  But  he  rallies.  "I
seek a passage in this ship to Tarshish; how soon sail ye, sir?" Thus  far
the busy captain had not looked up to jonah, though  the  man  now  stands
before him; but no sooner does he hear that hollow voice, than he darts  a
scrutinizing glance. "We sail with the  next  coming  tide,"  at  last  he
slowly answered, still intently  eyeing  him.  "No  sooner,  sir?"  -"Soon
enough for any honest man  that  goes  a  passenger."  Ha!  Jonah,  that's
another stab. But he swiftly calls away the Captain from that scent. "I'll
sail with ye," -he says, -"the passage money, how much is that, -I'll  pay
now." For it is particularly written, shipmates, as if it were a thing not
to be overlooked in this history,"that he paid the fare thereof"  ere  the
craft did sail. And taken with the context, this is full of  meaning.  Now
Jonah's Captain, shipmates, was one whose  discernment  detects  crime  in
any, but whose cupidity exposes it only in the penniless. In  this  world,
shipmates, sin that  pays  its  way  can  travel  freely,  and  without  a
passport; whereas Virtue, if a pauper, is stopped  at  all  frontiers.  So
Jonah's Captain prepares to test the length of Jonah's purse, ere he judge
him openly. He charges him thrice the usual sum;  and  it's  assented  to.
Then the Captain knows that Jonah is a fugitive;  but  at  the  same  time
resolves to help a flight that paves its rear with gold.  Yet  when  Jonah
fairly takes out his purse, prudent suspicions still molest the Captain.
    He rings every coin to find a counterfeit. Not a forger, any way,  he
mutters; and Jonah is put down for his passage. "Point out my  state-room,
Sir," says Jonah now. "I'm travel-weary; I need sleep." "Thou look'st like
it," says the Captain, "there's thy room." Jonah enters,  and  would  lock
the door, but the lock contains no key.  Hearing  him  foolishly  fumbling
there, the Captain laughs lowly to himself, and  mutters  something  about
the doors of convicts' cells being never allowed to be locked within.  All
dressed and dusty as he is, Jonah throws himself into his berth, and finds
the little state-room ceiling almost resting on his forehead. The  air  is
close, and jonah gasps. then, in that contracted hole, sunk, too,  beneath
the ship's water-line, Jonah feels  the  heralding  presentiment  of  that
stifling hour, when the whale shall  hold  him  in  the  smallest  of  his
bowel's wards. Screwed at its axis  against  the  side,  a  swinging  lamp
slightly oscillates in Jonah's room; and the ship,  heeling  over  towards
the wharf with the weight of the last bales received, the lamp, flame  and
all, though in slight motion, still maintains a permanent  obliquity  with
reference to the room; though, in truth, infallibly  straight  itself,  it
but made obvious the false, lying levels among which  it  hung.  The  lamp
alarms and frightens Jonah; as lying in his berth his tormented eyes  roll
round the place, and this thus far successful fugitive finds no refuge for
his restless glance. But that contradiction in  the  lamp  more  and  more
appals him. The floor, the ceiling, and the side, are all awry. "Oh! so my
conscience hangs in me!" he groans, "straight upward, so it burns; but the
chambers of my soul are all in crookedness!" Like one who after a night of
drunken revelry hies to his bed, still reeling, but  with  conscience  yet
pricking him, as the plungings of the Roman race-horse  but  so  much  the
more strike his steel tags into him; as one who in that  miserable  plight
still turns and turns in giddy anguish, praying God for annihilation until
the fit be passed; and at last amid the whirl of  woe  he  feels,  a  deep
stupor steals over  him,  as  over  the  man  who  bleeds  to  death,  for
conscience is the wound, and there's naught to staunch it; so, after  sore
wrestlings in his berth, Jonah's prodigy of  ponderous  misery  drags  him
drowning down to sleep. And now the time of tide has come; the ship  casts
off her cables; and  from  the  deserted  wharf  the  uncheered  ship  for
Tarshish, all careening, glides to sea.
    That ship, my friends, was  the  first  of  recorded  smugglers!  the
contraband was jonah. but the sea rebels; he  will  not  bear  the  wicked
burden. A dreadful storm comes on, the ship is like to break. But now when
the boatswain calls all hands to lighten her; when boxes, bales, and  jars
are clattering overboard; when the wind is  shrieking,  and  the  men  are
yelling, and every plank thunders with trampling feet right  over  Jonah's
head; in all this raging tumult, Jonah sleeps his hideous sleep.  He  sees
no black sky and raging sea, feels not the  reeling  timbers,  and  little
hears he or heeds he the far rush of the mighty whale, which even now with
open mouth is cleaving the seas after him. Aye, shipmates, Jonah was  gone
down into the sides of the ship -a berth in the cabin as I have taken  it,
and was fast asleep. But the frightened master comes to him,  and  shrieks
in his dead ear, "What meanest thou, O sleeper! arise!" Startled from  his
lethargy by that direful cry, Jonah staggers to his feet, and stumbling to
the deck, grasps a shroud, to look out upon the sea. But at that moment he
is sprung upon by a panther billow leaping over the bulwarks.  Wave  after
wave thus leaps into the ship, and finding no  speedy  vent  runs  roaring
fore and aft, till the mariners come nigh to drowning  while  yet  afloat.
And ever, as the white moon shows  her  affrighted  face  from  the  steep
gullies in the blackness overhead, aghast Jonah sees the rearing  bowsprit
pointing high upward, but soon beat downward again towards  the  tormented
deep. Terrors upon terrors run shouting  through  his  soul.  In  all  his
cringing attitudes, the God-fugitive is now too plainly known. The sailors
mark him; more and more certain grow their suspicions of him, and at last,
fully to test the truth, by referring the whole  matter  to  high  Heaven,
they fall to casting lots, to see for whose cause this great  tempest  was
upon them. The lot is Jonah's; that discovered, then  how  furiously  they
mob him with their questions. "What is  thine  occupation?  whence  comest
thou? thy country? what people?" but mark now, my shipmates, the  behavior
of poor Jonah. The eager mariners but ask him who he is, and  where  from;
whereas, they not only receive an answer to those questions, but  likewise
another answer to a question not put by them, but the  unsolicited  answer
is forced from Jonah by the hard hand of God that is upon  him.  "I  am  a
Hebrew," he cries -and then -"I fear the Lord the God of Heaven  who  hath
made the sea and the dry land!" Fear him, O Jonah? Aye, well mightest thou
fear the Lord God then! Straightway,  he  now  goes  on  to  make  a  full
confession; whereupon the mariners became  more  and  more  appalled,  but
still are pitiful. For when Jonah, not yet  supplicating  God  for  mercy,
since he but too well knew the darkness of  his  deserts,  -when  wretched
Jonah cries out to them to take him and cast him forth into the  sea,  for
he knew that  for  his  sake  this  great  tempest  was  upon  them;  they
mercifully turn from him, and seek by other means to save  the  ship.  But
all in vain; the indignant gale howls louder; then, with one  hand  raised
invokingly to God, with the other  they  not  unreluctantly  lay  hold  of
Jonah. And now behold Jonah taken up as an anchor  and  dropped  into  the
sea; when instantly an oily calmness floats out from the east, and the sea
is still, as Jonah carries down the gale with him,  leaving  smooth  water
behind. He goes down in the whirling heart of such a masterless  commotion
that he scarce heeds the moment when he drops seething  into  the  yawning
jaws awaiting him; and the whale shoots-to all his ivory teeth,  like  the
Lord out of the fish's belly. But observe his prayer, and  so  many  white
bolts, upon his prison. Then Jonah prayed unto learn a weighty lesson. For
sinful as he is, Jonah does not weep and wail for direct  deliverance.  He
feels that his dreadful punishment is just. He leaves all his  deliverance
to God, contenting himself with this, that spite  of  all  his  pains  and
pangs, he will still look towards His holy temple. And here, shipmates, is
true and faithful repentance; not clamorous for pardon, but  grateful  for
punishment. And how pleasing to God was this conduct in Jonah, is shown in
the eventual deliverance of him from the sea and the whale.  Shipmates,  I
do not place Jonah before you to be copied for his sin but I do place  him
before you as a model for repentance. Sin not; but if you do, take heed to
repent of it like Jonah. While he was speaking these words, the howling of
the shrieking, slanting storm without seemed  to  add  new  power  to  the
preacher, who, when describing Jonah's sea-storm, seemed tossed by a storm
himself. His deep chest heaved as with a  ground-swell;  his  tossed  arms
seemed the warring elements at work; and the  thunders  that  rolled  away
from off his swarthy brow, and the light leaping from his  eye,  made  all
his simple hearers look on him with a quick fear that was strange to them.
There now came a lull in his look, as he silently turned over  the  leaves
of the Book once more; and, at  last,  standing  motionless,  with  closed
eyes, for the moment, seemed communing with God and himself. But again  he
leaned over towards the people, and bowing his head lowly, with an  aspect
of the deepest yet manliest humility, he spake these words: Shipmates, God
has laid but one hand upon you; both his hands press upon me. I have  read
ye by what murky light may be mine the lesson that Jonah  teaches  to  all
sinners; and therefore to ye, and still more to me, for  I  am  a  greater
sinner than ye. And now how gladly would I come down from  this  mast-head
and sit on the hatches there where you sit,  and  listen  as  you  listen,
while some one of you reads me that other  and  more  awful  lesson  which
Jonah teaches to me as a pilot of the living God. How  being  an  anointed
pilot-prophet, or speaker of true things, and bidden by the Lord to  sound
those unwelcome truths in the ears of a wicked nineveh, jonah, appalled at
the hostility he should raise, fled from his mission, and sought to escape
his duty and his God by taking ship  at  Joppa.  But  God  is  everywhere;
Tarshish he never reached. As we have seen,  God  came  upon  him  in  the
whale, and swallowed him down to living gulfs  of  doom,  and  with  swift
slantings tore him along"into the midst of the seas,"  where  the  eddying
depths sucked him ten thousand fathoms down, and"the  weeds  were  wrapped
about his head," and all the watery world of woe bowled over him. Yet even
then beyond the reach of any plummet -"out of the belly of hell" -when the
whale grounded upon the ocean's utmost bones, even  then,  God  heard  the
engulphed, repenting prophet when he cried. Then God spake unto the  fish;
and from the shuddering cold and blackness of  the  sea,  the  whale  came
breeching up towards the warm and pleasant sun, and all  the  delights  of
air and earth; and"vomited out Jonah upon the dry land;" when the word  of
the Lord came a second time; and Jonah, bruised and beaten -his ears, like
two sea-shells, still multitudinously murmuring of the  ocean  -Jonah  did
the Almighty's bidding. And what was that, shipmates? To preach the  Truth
to the face of Falsehood! That was it! This, shipmates, this is that other
lesson; and woe to that pilot of the living God who slights it. Woe to him
whom this world charms from Gospel duty! Woe to him who seeks to pour  oil
upon the waters when God has brewed them into a gale! Woe to him who seeks
to please rather than to appal! Woe to him whose good name is more to  him
than goodness!
    Woe to him who, in this world, courts not dishonor! Woe  to  him  who
would not be true, even though to be false were salvation! Yea, woe to him
who, as the great Pilot Paul has it, while preaching to others is  himself
a castaway! He drooped and fell away  from  himself  for  a  moment;  then
lifting his face to them again, showed a deep joy in his eyes, as he cried
out with a heavenly enthusiasm, - but oh! shipmates! on the starboard hand
of every woe, there is a sure delight; and higher the top of that delight,
than the bottom of the woe is deep. Is not the main-truck higher than  the
kelson is low? Delight is to him -a far, far upward,  and  inward  delight
-who against the proud gods and commodores  of  this  earth,  ever  stands
forth his own inexorable self. Delight is to him  whose  strong  arms  yet
support him, when the ship of this base treacherous world  has  gone  down
beneath him. Delight is to him, who gives no quarter  in  the  truth,  and
kills, burns, and destroys all sin though he pluck it out from  under  the
robes of Senators and Judges. Delight, -top-gallant delight is to him, who
acknowledges no law or lord, but the Lord his God, and is only  a  patriot
to heaven. Delight is to him, whom all the waves of  the  billows  of  the
seas of the boisterous mob can never shake from  this  sure  Keel  of  the
Ages. And eternal delight and deliciousness will be his, who coming to lay
him down, can say with his final breath -O Father! -chiefly known to me by
Thy rod -mortal or immortal, here I die. I have striven to be Thine,  more
than to be this world's, or  mine  own.  Yet  this  is  nothing;  I  leave
eternity to Thee; for what is man that he should live out the lifetime  of
his God? He said no more, but slowly waving  a  benediction,  covered  his
face with his hands, and so remained kneeling, till  all  the  people  had
departed, and he was left alone in the place.



                          10. A BOSOM FRIEND

    Returning to the Spouter-Inn from the Chapel, I found Queequeg  there
quite alone; he having left the Chapel before the benediction  some  time.
He was sitting on a bench before the fire, with  his  feet  on  the  stove
hearth, and in one hand was holding close up to his face that little negro
idol of his; peering hard into its face,  and  with  a  jack-knife  gently
whittling away at its nose, meanwhile humming to himself in his heathenish
way. But being now interrupted, he put up  the  image;  and  pretty  soon,
going to the table, took up a large book there, and placing it on his  lap
began counting the pages with deliberate  regularity;  at  every  fiftieth
page -as I fancied -stopping a moment, looking vacantly  around  him,  and
giving utterance to a long-drawn  gurgling  whistle  of  astonishment.  He
would then begin again at the next fifty; seeming to  commence  at  number
one each time, as though he could not count more than fifty,  and  it  was
only by such a large number of fifties  being  found  together,  that  his
astonishment at the multitude of pages was excited. With much  interest  I
sat watching him. Savage though he was, and  hideously  marred  about  the
face -at least to my taste - his countenance yet had  a  something  in  it
which was by no means disagreeable. You cannot hide the soul. Through  all
his unearthly tattooings, I thought I saw the traces of  a  simple  honest
heart; and in his large, deep eyes, fiery black  and  bold,  there  seemed
tokens of a spirit that would dare a  thousand  devils.  And  besides  all
this, there was a certain lofty bearing about the Pagan,  which  even  his
uncouthness could not altogether maim. He looked like a man who had  never
cringed and never had had a creditor. Whether it was, too, that  his  head
being shaved, his forehead was drawn out in freer and brighter relief, and
looked more expansive than it otherwise would, this I will not venture  to
decide; but certain it was his head was phrenologically an excellent  one.
It may seem ridiculous, but it reminded me of General  Washington's  head,
as seen in the popular busts of him. It had the same long regularly graded
retreating  slope  from  above  the  brows,  which  were   likewise   very
projecting, like two long promontories thickly wooded on top. Queequeg was
George Washington cannibalistically developed. Whilst I was  thus  closely
scanning him, half-pretending meanwhile to be looking  out  at  the  storm
from the casement, he never heeded my  presence,  never  troubled  himself
with so much as  a  single  glance;  but  appeared  wholly  occupied  with
counting the pages of the marvellous book. Considering how sociably we had
been sleeping together the night previous, and especially considering  the
affectionate arm I had found thrown over me upon waking in the morning,  I
thought this indifference of his very strange.  But  savages  are  strange
beings; at times you do not know exactly how to take them. At  first  they
are  overawing;  their  calm  self-collectedness  of  simplicity  seems  a
Socratic wisdom. I had noticed also that Queequeg never consorted at  all,
or but very little, with the other seamen in the inn. He made no  advances
whatever; appeared to  have  no  desire  to  enlarge  the  circle  of  his
acquaintances. All this struck me as mighty  singular;  yet,  upon  second
thoughts, there was something almost sublime in it. Here was  a  man  some
twenty thousand miles from home, by the way of Cape Horn, that  is  -which
was the only way he could get there -thrown among people as strange to him
as though he were in the planet Jupiter; and yet he seemed entirely at his
ease; preserving the utmost serenity; content with his own  companionship;
always equal to himself. Surely this  was  a  touch  of  fine  philosophy;
though no doubt he had never heard there was such a thing  as  that.  But,
perhaps, to be true philosophers, we mortals should not be conscious of so
living or so striving. So soon as I hear that such or  such  a  man  gives
himself out for a philosopher, I conclude that,  like  the  dyspeptic  old
woman, he must have broken his digester. As I sat there in that now lonely
room; the fire burning low, in that  mild  stage  when,  after  its  first
intensity has warmed the air, it then only glows  to  be  looked  at;  the
evening shades and phantoms gathering round the casements, and peering  in
upon us silent, solitary  twain;  the  storm  booming  without  in  solemn
swells; I began to be sensible of strange feelings. I felt  a  melting  in
me. No more my splintered heart and maddened hand were turned against  the
wolfish world. This soothing savage had redeemed it.  There  he  sat,  his
very indifference speaking a nature in which  there  lurked  no  civilized
hypocrisies and bland deceits. Wild he was; a very sight of sights to see;
yet I began to feel myself mysteriously drawn towards him. And those  same
things that would have repelled most others, they were  the  very  magnets
that thus drew me. I'll try a pagan friend,  thought  I,  since  Christian
kindness has proved but hollow courtesy. I drew my  bench  near  him,  and
made some friendly signs and  hints,  doing  my  best  to  talk  with  him
meanwhile. At first he little noticed these advances; but presently,  upon
my referring to his last night's hospitalities, he  made  out  to  ask  me
whether we were again to be bedfellows. I told him yes; whereat I  thought
he looked pleased, perhaps a little complimented. We then turned over  the
book together, and I endeavored to explain  to  him  the  purpose  of  the
printing, and the meaning of the few pictures that were in it. Thus I soon
engaged his interest; and from that we went to jabbering the best we could
about the various outer sights to be seen in  this  famous  town.  Soon  I
proposed a social smoke; and, producing his pouch and tomahawk, he quietly
offered me a puff. And then we sat exchanging puffs from that wild pipe of
his, and keeping it regularly passing between us. If there yet lurked  any
ice of indifference towards me  in  the  Pagan's  breast,  this  pleasant,
genial smoke we had, soon thawed it out, and left us cronies. He seemed to
take to me quite as naturally and unbiddenly as I to  him;  and  when  our
smoke was over, he pressed his forehead against mine, clasped me round the
waist, and said that henceforth we were married; meaning, in his country's
phrase, that we were bosom friends; he would gladly die for  me,  if  need
should be. In a countryman, this sudden flame  of  friendship  would  have
seemed far too premature, a thing to  be  much  distrusted;  but  in  this
simple savage those old rules would not apply. After supper,  and  another
social chat and smoke, we went to our room together. He made me a  present
of his embalmed head; took out his enormous tobacco  wallet,  and  groping
under the tobacco, drew out some thirty dollars in silver; then  spreading
them on the table, and mechanically dividing them into two equal portions,
pushed one of them towards me, and said  it  was  mine.  I  was  going  to
remonstrate; but he silenced me by pouring them into my trowsers' pockets.
I let them stay. He then went about his  evening  prayers,  took  out  his
idol, and removed the paper fireboard. By certain signs  and  symptoms,  I
thought he seemed anxious for me to join him; but well knowing what was to
follow, I deliberated a moment whether, in case he  invited  me,  I  would
comply or otherwise. I was a good Christian; born and bred in the bosom of
the infallible Presbyterian Church. How then could I unite with this  wild
idolator in worshipping his piece of wood? But what is worship? thought I.
Do you suppose now, Ishmael, that the magnanimous God of heaven and  earth
-pagans and all included -can possibly be jealous of an insignificant  bit
of black wood? Impossible! But what is worship? -to do the will of  God  -
that is worship. And what is the will of God? -to do to my fellow man what
I would have my fellow man to do to me - that is the  will  of  God.  Now,
Queequeg is my fellow man. And what do I wish that this Queequeg would  do
to me? Why, unite with me in my particular Presbyterian form  of  worship.
consequently, i must then unite  with  him  in  his;  ergo,  I  must  turn
idolator. So I kindled the shavings; helped prop up  the  innocent  little
idol; offered him burnt biscuit with Queequeg; salamed before him twice or
thrice; kissed his nose; and that done, we undressed and went to  bed,  at
peace with our own consciences and all the world. But we  did  not  go  to
sleep without some little chat. How it is I know  not;  but  there  is  no
place like a bed for confidential disclosures  between  friends.  Man  and
wife, they say, there open the very bottom of their souls to  each  other;
and some old couples often  lie  and  chat  over  old  times  till  nearly
morning. Thus, then, in our hearts' honeymoon, lay I and Queequeg -a cosy,
loving pair.



                             11. NIGHTGOWN

    We had lain thus in bed, chatting and napping at short intervals, and
Queequeg now and then affectionately throwing his brown tattooed legs over
mine, and then drawing them back; so entirely sociable and free  and  easy
were we; when, at last, by  reason  of  our  confabulations,  what  little
nappishness remained in us altogether departed, and we felt  like  getting
up again, though day-break was yet some  way  down  the  future.  Yes,  we
became very wakeful; so much so that our recumbent position began to  grow
wearisome, and by little and little we found  ourselves  sitting  up;  the
clothes well tucked around us, leaning against  the  head-board  with  our
four knees drawn up close together, and our two noses bending  over  them,
as if our knee-pans were warming-pans. We felt very  nice  and  snug,  the
more so since it was so chilly out of doors;  indeed  out  of  bed-clothes
too, seeing that there was no fire in  the  room.  The  more  so,  I  say,
because truly to enjoy bodily warmth, some small part of you must be cold,
for there is no quality in this world that is not what  it  is  merely  by
contrast. Nothing exists in itself. If you flatter yourself that  you  are
all over comfortable, and have been so a long time,  then  you  cannot  be
said to be comfortable any more. But if, like Queequeg and me in the  bed,
the tip of your nose or the crown of your head be  slightly  chilled,  why
then, indeed, in the general consciousness you feel most delightfully  and
unmistakably warm.
    For this reason a sleeping apartment should never be furnished with a
fire, which is one of the luxurious  discomforts  of  the  rich.  For  the
height of this sort of deliciousness is to have nothing  but  the  blanket
between you and your snugness and the cold of the outer  air.  Then  there
you lie like the one warm spark in the heart of an arctic crystal. We  had
been sitting in this crouching manner for some time, when all  at  once  I
thought I would open my eyes; for when between sheets, whether by  day  or
by night, and whether asleep or awake, I have a way of always  keeping  my
eyes shut, in order the more to concentrate the snugness of being in  bed.
Because no man can ever feel his own identity aright except  his  eyes  be
closed; as if darkness were indeed the proper  element  of  our  essences,
though light be more congenial to our clayey part. Upon  opening  my  eyes
then, and coming out of my own pleasant and self-created darkness into the
imposed    and    coarse    outer    gloom    of     the     unilluminated
twelve-o'clock-at-night, I experienced a disagreeable revulsion. Nor did I
at all object to the hint from Queequeg  that  perhaps  it  were  best  to
strike a light, seeing that we were so wide awake; and besides he  felt  a
strong desire to have a few quiet puffs from his  Tomahawk.  Be  it  said,
that though I had felt such a strong repugnance to his smoking in the  bed
the night before, yet see how elastic our stiff prejudices grow when  love
once comes to bend them. For now I  liked  nothing  better  than  to  have
Queequeg smoking by me, even in bed, because he seemed to be full of  such
serene household joy then.  I  no  more  felt  unduly  concerned  for  the
landlord's policy  of  insurance.  I  was  only  alive  to  the  condensed
confidential comfortableness of sharing a pipe and a blanket with  a  real
friend. With our shaggy jackets drawn about our shoulders, we  now  passed
the Tomahawk from one to the other, till slowly there grew over us a  blue
hanging tester of smoke, illuminated by the flame  of  the  new-lit  lamp.
Whether it was that this undulating tester rolled the savage away  to  far
distant scenes, I know not, but he now spoke of his  native  island;  and,
eager to hear his history, I begged him to go on and tell  it.  He  gladly
complied. Though at the time I but ill  comprehended  not  a  few  of  his
words, yet subsequent disclosures, when I had become  more  familiar  with
his broken phraseology, now enable me to present the whole story  such  as
it may prove in the mere skeleton I give.



                             12. BIOGRAPHICAL

    Queequeg was a native of Kokovoko, an island far away to the West and
South. It is  not  down  in  any  map;  true  places  never  are.  When  a
new-hatched savage running wild about his  native  woodlands  in  a  grass
clout, followed by the nibbling goats, as if he were a green sapling; even
then, in  Queequeg's  ambitious  soul,  lurked  a  strong  desire  to  see
something more of Christendom than a specimen whaler or  two.  His  father
was a High Chief, a King; his uncle a High Priest;  and  on  the  maternal
side he boasted aunts who were the wives of unconquerable warriors.  There
was excellent blood in his veins -royal stuff; though  sadly  vitiated,  I
fear, by the cannibal propensity he nourished in his  untutored  youth.  A
Sag Harbor ship visited his father's bay, and Queequeg sought a passage to
Christian lands. But the ship,  having  her  full  complement  of  seamen,
spurned his suit; and not  all  the  King  his  father's  influence  could
prevail. But Queequeg vowed a vow. Alone in his canoe, he paddled off to a
distant strait, which he knew the ship must pass through when she  quitted
the island. On one side was a coral reef; on the other  a  low  tongue  of
land, covered with mangrove thickets that grew out into the water.  Hiding
his canoe, still afloat, among these thickets, with its prow  seaward,  he
sat down in the stern, paddle low in hand; and when the ship  was  gliding
by, like a flash he darted out; gained her side; with one backward dash of
his foot capsized and sank his canoe; climbed up the chains; and  throwing
himself at full length upon the deck, grappled a ringbolt there, and swore
not to let it go, though hacked in pieces. In vain the captain  threatened
to throw him  overboard;  suspended  a  cutlass  over  his  naked  wrists;
Queequeg was the son of a King, and Queequeg budged  not.  Struck  by  his
desperate dauntlessness, and his wild desire  to  visit  Christendom,  the
captain at last relented, and told him he might make himself at home.  But
this fine young savage -this sea Prince of Wales, never saw the  captain's
cabin. They put him down among the sailors, and made a  whaleman  of  him.
But like Czar Peter content to toil in the shipyards  of  foreign  cities,
Queequeg disdained no seeming ignominy, if thereby he might  happily  gain
the power of enlightening his untutored countrymen. For at bottom  -so  he
told me -he  was  actuated  by  a  profound  desire  to  learn  among  the
Christians, the arts whereby to make his people still  happier  than  they
were; and more than that, still better than  they  were.  But,  alas!  the
practices of whalemen soon convinced him that  even  Christians  could  be
both miserable and wicked; infinitely  more  so,  than  all  his  father's
heathens. Arrived at last in old Sag Harbor; and seeing what  the  sailors
did there; and then going on to Nantucket, and seeing how they spent their
wages in that place also, poor Queequeg gave it up for lost.  Thought  he,
it's a wicked world in all meridians; I'll die a pagan. and  thus  an  old
idolator at heart,  he  yet  lived  among  these  Christians,  wore  their
clothes, and tried to talk their gibberish. Hence  the  queer  ways  about
him, though now some time from home. By hints, I asked him whether he  did
not propose going back, and  having  a  coronation;  since  he  might  now
consider his father dead and gone, he being very old  and  feeble  at  the
last accounts. He answered no, not yet; and  added  that  he  was  fearful
Christianity, or rather Christians, had unfitted  him  for  ascending  the
pure and undefiled throne of thirty pagan Kings before him. But by and by,
he said, he would return, -as soon as he felt himself baptized again.  For
the nonce, however, he proposed to sail about, and sow his  wild  oats  in
all four oceans. They had made a harpooneer of him, and that  barbed  iron
was in lieu of a sceptre now. I asked him  what  might  be  his  immediate
purpose, touching his future movements. He answered, to go to  sea  again,
in his old vocation. Upon this, I told him that whaling was my own design,
and informed him of my intention to sail out of Nantucket,  as  being  the
most promising port for an adventurous whaleman to embark from. He at once
resolved to accompany me to that island, ship aboard the same vessel,  get
into the same watch, the same boat, the same mess with  me,  in  short  to
share my every hap; with both my hands in his, boldly dip into the Potluck
of both worlds. To all this I joyously assented; for besides the affection
I now felt for Queequeg, he was an experienced harpooneer,  and  as  such,
could not fail to be of great usefulness to one, who, like me, was  wholly
ignorant of the mysteries of whaling, though well acquainted with the sea,
as known to merchant seamen. His story being ended with  his  pipe's  last
dying puff, Queequeg embraced me, pressed his forehead against  mine,  and
blowing out the light, we rolled over from each other, this way and  that,
and very soon were sleeping.



                             13. WHEELBARROW

    wheelbarrow next morning, Monday, after  disposing  of  the  embalmed
head to a barber, for a block, I settled my own and comrade's bill; using,
however, my comrade's  money.  The  grinning  landlord,  as  well  as  the
boarders, seemed amazingly tickled at  the  sudden  friendship  which  had
sprung up between me and Queequeg - especially as Peter Coffin's cock  and
bull stories about him had previously so much alarmed  me  concerning  the
very person whom I now companied with.  We  borrowed  a  wheelbarrow,  and
embarking our things, including my own  poor  carpet-bag,  and  Queequeg's
canvas sack and hammock, away  we  went  down  to  the  Moss,  the  little
Nantucket packet schooner moored at the wharf. As we were going along  the
people stared; not at Queequeg so much  -for  they  were  used  to  seeing
cannibals like him in their streets, - but at seeing him and me upon  such
confidential terms. But we heeded  them  not,  going  along  wheeling  the
barrow by turns, and Queequeg now and then stopping to adjust  the  sheath
on his harpoon barbs. I asked him why he carried such a troublesome  thing
with him ashore, and whether all whaling ships  did  not  find  their  own
harpoons. To this, in substance, he replied, that though what I hinted was
true enough, yet he had  a  particular  affection  for  his  own  harpoon,
because it was of assured stuff, well tried in many a mortal  combat,  and
deeply intimate with the hearts of whales.  In  short,  like  many  inland
reapers and mowers, who go into the farmers' meadows armed with their  own
scythes -though in no wise obliged to furnished them - even so,  Queequeg,
for his own private reasons,  preferred  his  own  harpoon.  Shifting  the
barrow from my hand to his, he told me  a  funny  story  about  the  first
wheelbarrow he had ever seen. It was in Sag  Harbor.  The  owners  of  his
ship, it seems, had lent him one, in which to carry his heavy chest to his
boarding house. Not to seem ignorant about the thing -though in  truth  he
was entirely so, concerning the precise way in which to manage the  barrow
-Queequeg puts his chest upon it; lashes it fast; and then  shoulders  the
barrow and marches up the wharf. Why, said I,  Queequeg,  you  might  have
known better than that, one would think. Didn't  the  people  laugh?  Upon
this, he told me another story. The people of his island of  Rokovoko,  it
seems, at their  wedding  feasts  express  the  fragrant  water  of  young
cocoanuts into a  large  stained  calabash  like  a  punchbowl;  and  this
punchbowl always forms the great central ornament on the braided mat where
the feast is held. Now a certain  grand  merchant  ship  once  touched  at
Rokovoko, and its commander -from all accounts, a very stately punctilious
gentleman, at least for a sea captain -this commander was invited  to  the
wedding feast of Queequeg's sister, a pretty young princess just turned of
ten. Well; when all the wedding  guests  were  assembled  at  the  bride's
bamboo cottage, this Captain marches in, and being assigned  the  post  of
honor, placed himself over against the punchbowl,  and  between  the  High
Priest and his majesty the King, Queequeg's father. Grace  being  said,  -
for those people have their grace as well as we -though Queequeg  told  me
that unlike us, who at such times look downwards to our platters, they, on
the contrary, copying the ducks, glance upwards to the great Giver of  all
feasts -Grace, I say, being said, the High Priest opens the banquet by the
immemorial ceremony of the island; that is, dipping  his  consecrated  and
consecrating fingers into the bowl before the blessed beverage circulates.
Seeing himself placed next  the  Priest,  and  noting  the  ceremony,  and
thinking himself -being Captain of a ship -as having plain precedence over
a mere island King, especially in the King's own house -the Captain coolly
proceeds to wash his hands in the punch bowl; -taking it i suppose  for  a
huge finger-glass. now, said Queequeg, what  you  tink  now,  -Didn't  our
people laugh? At last, passage paid, and luggage safe, we stood  on  board
the schooner. Hoisting sail, it glided down the  Acushnet  river.  On  one
side, New Bedford rose in terraces of streets, their ice-covered trees all
glittering in the clear, cold air. Huge hills and mountains  of  casks  on
casks were piled upon her wharves, and side by  side  the  world-wandering
whale ships lay silent and safely moored at last; while from others came a
sound of carpenters and coopers, with blended noises of fires  and  forges
to melt the pitch, all betokening that new cruises were on the start; that
one most perilous and long voyage ended,  only  begins  a  second;  and  a
second ended, only begins a third, and so on, for ever and for  aye.  Such
is the endlessness,  yea,  the  intolerableness  of  all  earthly  effort.
Gaining the more open water, the bracing breeze waxed  fresh;  the  little
Moss tossed the quick foam from her bows, as a young colt  his  snortings.
How I snuffed that Tartar air! -how I spurned that turnpike  earth!  -that
common highway all over dented with the marks of slavish heels and  hoofs;
and turned me to admire the magnanimity of the sea which  will  permit  no
records. At the same foam-fountain, Queequeg seemed to drink and reel with
me. His dusky nostrils swelled apart; he  showed  his  filed  and  pointed
teeth. On, on we flew, and our offing gained, the Moss did homage  to  the
blast; ducked and dived her brows as a slave before the  Sultan.  Sideways
leaning, we sideways darted; every ropeyarn tingling like a wire; the  two
tall masts buckling like Indian canes in land tornadoes. So full  of  this
reeling scene were we, as we stood by the plunging bowsprit, that for some
time  we  did  not  notice  the  jeering  glances  of  the  passengers,  a
lubber-like assembly, who marvelled that two fellow beings  should  be  so
companionable; as though a white man were anything more dignified  than  a
whitewashed negro. But there were some boobies and bumpkins there, who, by
their intense greenness, must have come from the heart and centre  of  all
verdure. Queequeg caught one of these young saplings mimicking him  behind
his back. I thought the bumpkin's hour of doom was come.
    Dropping his harpoon, the brawny savage caught him in his  arms,  and
by an almost miraculous dexterity and strength, sent him  high  up  bodily
into the air; then slightly tapping his stern in mid-somerset, the  fellow
landed with bursting lungs upon his feet, while Queequeg, turning his back
upon him, lighted his tomahawk pipe and  passed  it  to  me  for  a  puff.
Capting! Capting!  yelled  the  bumpkin,  running  towards  that  officer;
Capting, Capting, here's the devil.
    Hallo, you sir, cried the Captain, a gaunt rib of the  sea,  stalking
up to Queequeg, what in thunder do you mean by that? Don't  you  know  you
might have killed that chap? What him say? said  Queequeg,  as  he  mildly
turned to me.
    He say, said I, that you came near kill-e that man there, pointing to
the still  shivering  greenhorn.  Kill-e,  cried  Queequeg,  twisting  his
tattooed face into an  unearthly  expression  of  disdain,  ah!  him  bevy
small-e fish-e; Queequeg no kill-e so small-e fish-e; Queequeg kill-e  big
whale! Look you, roared the Captain, I'll kill-e you, you cannibal, if you
try any more of your tricks aboard here; so  mind  your  eye.  But  it  so
happened just then, that it was high time for the Captain to mind his  own
eye.  The  prodigious  strain  upon   the   main-sail   had   parted   the
weather-sheet, and the tremendous boom was now flying from side  to  side,
completely sweeping the entire after part of the  deck.  The  poor  fellow
whom Queequeg had handled so roughly, was swept overboard; all hands  were
in a panic; and to attempt snatching  at  the  boom  to  stay  it,  seemed
madness. It flew from right to left, and back again, almost in one ticking
of a watch, and every  instant  seemed  on  the  point  of  snapping  into
splinters. Nothing was done, and nothing seemed  capable  of  being  done;
those on deck rushed towards the bows, and stood eyeing the boom as if  it
were the lower  jaw  of  an  exasperated  whale.  In  the  midst  of  this
consternation, Queequeg dropped deftly to his knees,  and  crawling  under
the path of the boom, whipped hold of a  rope,  secured  one  end  to  the
bulwarks, and then flinging the other like a lasso, caught  it  round  the
boom as it swept over his head, and at the next jerk, the  spar  was  that
way trapped, and all was safe. The schooner was run  into  the  wind,  and
while the hands were clearing away the stern boat, Queequeg,  stripped  to
the waist, darted from the side with a long living  arc  of  a  leap.  For
three minutes or more he was seen swimming like a dog, throwing  his  long
arms straight out before him, and by turns revealing his brawny  shoulders
through the freezing foam. I looked at the grand and glorious fellow,  but
saw no one to be saved. The greenhorn  had  gone  down.  Shooting  himself
perpendicularly from the water, Queequeg  now  took  an  instant's  glance
around him, and seeming to see just  how  matters  were,  dived  down  and
disappeared. A few minutes more, and he rose again, one arm still striking
out, and with the other dragging a lifeless form.  The  boat  soon  picked
them up. The poor bumpkin was restored. All hands voted Queequeg  a  noble
trump; the captain begged his pardon. From that hour I clove  to  Queequeg
like a barnacle; yea, till poor Queequeg took  his  last  long  dive.  Was
there ever such unconsciousness? He did not seem to think that he  at  all
deserved a medal from the Humane and Magnanimous Societies. He only  asked
for water -fresh water - something to wipe the brine off;  that  done,  he
put on dry clothes, lighted his pipe, and leaning  against  the  bulwarks,
and mildly eyeing those around him, seemed to be saying to himself -  It's
a mutual, joint-stock world, in all  meridians.  We  cannibals  must  help
these Christians.



                              14. NANTUCKET

    Nothing more happened on the passage worthy the mentioning; so, after
a fine run, we safely arrived in Nantucket. Nantucket! Take out  your  map
and look at it. See what a real corner of the world it  occupies;  how  it
stands there, away off shore, more lonely than the  Eddystone  lighthouse.
Look at it -a mere hillock, and  elbow  of  sand;  all  beach,  without  a
background. There is more sand there than you would use in twenty years as
a substitute for blotting paper. Some gamesome wights will tell  you  that
they have to plant weeds there,  they  don't  grow  naturally;  that  they
import Canada thistles; that they have to send beyond seas for a spile  to
stop a leak in an oil cask; that pieces of wood in Nantucket  are  carried
about like bits of the  true  cross  in  Rome;  that  people  there  plant
toadstools before their houses, to get under the  shade  in  summer  time;
that one blade of grass makes an oasis, three blades in  a  day's  walk  a
prairie;  that  they  wear  quicksand  shoes,  something  like   Laplander
snowshoes; that they are so shut up, belted  about,  every  way  inclosed,
surrounded, and made an utter island of by the ocean, that to  their  very
chairs and tables small clams will sometimes be found adhering, as to  the
backs of sea turtles. But these extravaganzas only show that Nantucket  is
no Illinois. Look now at the wondrous traditional story of how this island
was settled by the red-men. Thus goes the legend. In olden times an  eagle
swooped down upon the New England coast, and carried off an infant  Indian
in his talons. With loud lament the parents saw their child borne  out  of
sight over the wide waters. They resolved to follow in the same direction.
Setting out in their canoes, after a perilous passage they discovered  the
island, and there they found an  empty  ivory  casket,  -the  poor  little
Indian's skeleton. What wonder, then, that these Nantucketers, born  on  a
beach, should take to the sea for a livelihood! They  first  caught  crabs
and quohogs in the sand; grown  bolder,  they  waded  out  with  nets  for
mackerel; more experienced, they pushed off in boats and captured cod; and
at last, launching a navy of great ships on the sea, explored this  watery
world; put an incessant belt of circumnavigations round it; peeped  in  at
Behring's Straits; and in all seasons and all oceans declared  everlasting
war with the mightiest animated mass that has  survived  the  flood;  most
monstrous  and  most  mountainous!  That  Himmalehan,  salt-sea  Mastodon,
clothed with such portentousness  of  unconscious  power,  that  his  very
panics are more to  be  dreaded  than  his  most  fearless  and  malicious
assaults! And thus have  these  naked  Nantucketers,  these  sea  hermits,
issuing from their ant-hill in the sea, overrun and conquered  the  watery
world like so many Alexanders; parcelling out  among  them  the  Atlantic,
Pacific, and Indian oceans, as the three pirate  powers  did  Poland.  Let
America add Mexico to Texas, and pile Cuba upon Canada;  let  the  English
overswarm all India, and hang out their blazing banner from the  sun;  two
thirds of this terraqueous globe are the Nantucketer's.  For  the  sea  is
his; he owns it, as Emperors own empires; other seamen having but a  right
of way through it. Merchant ships are but extension  bridges;  armed  ones
but floating forts; even pirates and privateers, though following the  sea
as highwaymen the road, they but plunder other ships, other  fragments  of
the land like themselves, without seeking to draw their  living  from  the
bottomless deep itself. The Nantucketer, he alone resides and riots on the
sea; he alone, in Bible language, goes down to it in  ships;  to  and  fro
ploughing it as his own special plantation. There is his home; there  lies
his business,  which  a  noah's  flood  would  not  interrupt,  though  it
overwhelmed all the millions in China. He lives on  the  sea,  as  prairie
cocks in the prairie; he hides among the waves, he climbs them as  chamois
hunters climb the Alps. For years he knows not the land; so that  when  he
comes to it at last, it smells like another world, more strangely than the
moon would to an Earthsman. With the landless gull, that at  sunset  folds
her wings and is rocked to sleep between billows;  so  at  nightfall,  the
Nantucketer, out of sight of land, furls his sails, and lays  him  to  his
rest, while under his very pillow rush herds of walruses and whales.



                             15. CHOWDER

    It was quite late in the evening when the little Moss came snugly  to
anchor, and Queequeg and I went ashore; so we could attend to no  business
that day, at least none but a supper  and  a  bed.  The  landlord  of  the
Spouter-Inn had recommended us to his cousin Hosea Hussey of the Try Pots,
whom he asserted to be the proprietor of one of the best  kept  hotels  in
all Nantucket, and moreover he had assured us that  cousin  Hosea,  as  he
called him, was famous for his chowders. In short, he plainly hinted  that
we could not possibly do better than try pot-luck at the Try Pots. But the
directions he had given  us  about  keeping  a  yellow  warehouse  on  our
starboard hand till we opened a white church to  the  larboard,  and  then
keeping that on the larboard hand till we made a corner  three  points  to
the starboard, and that done, then ask the first  man  we  met  where  the
place was: these crooked directions of his very much puzzled us at  first,
especially as, at the outset, Queequeg insisted that the yellow  warehouse
-our first point of departure -must be left on the larboard hand,  whereas
I had understood Peter Coffin to say it was on the starboard. However,  by
dint of beating about a little in the dark, and now and then knocking up a
peaceable inhabitant to inquire the way, we  at  last  came  to  something
which there was no mistaking. Two enormous wooden pots painted black,  and
suspended by asses' ears, swung from the cross-trees of an  old  top-mast,
planted in front of an old doorway. The  horns  of  the  cross-trees  were
sawed off on the other side, so that this old top-mast looked not a little
like a gallows. Perhaps I was over sensitive to such  impressions  at  the
time, but I could not help staring at this gallows with a vague misgiving.
A sort of crick was in my neck as I gazed up to the two  remaining  horns;
yes, two of them, one for Queequeg, and one for me. It's  ominous,  thinks
I. A Coffin my Innkeeper upon landing in my first whaling port; tombstones
staring at me in the whalemen's chapel; and here a gallows! and a pair  of
prodigious black pots too! Are  these  last  throwing  out  oblique  hints
touching tophet? I was called from these reflections by  the  sight  of  a
freckled woman with yellow hair and a yellow gown, standing in  the  porch
of the inn, under a dull red lamp swinging there, that looked much like an
injured eye, and carrying on a brisk scolding  with  a  man  in  a  purple
woollen shirt. Get along with ye, said she to the man, or I'll be  combing
ye!
    Come on, Queequeg, said I, all right. There's Mrs. Hussey. And so  it
turned out; Mr. Hosea Hussey being from  home,  but  leaving  Mrs.  Hussey
entirely competent to attend to all his affairs.  Upon  making  known  our
desires for a supper and a bed, Mrs. Hussey, postponing  further  scolding
for the present, ushered us into a little room, and seating us at a  table
spread with the relics of a recently concluded repast, turned round to  us
and said- Clam or Cod? What's that about Cods, ma'am? said  I,  with  much
politeness. Clam or Cod? she repeated. A clam for supper? a cold clam;  is
that what you mean, Mrs. Hussey? says I; but  that's  a  rather  cold  and
clammy reception in the winter time, ain't it, Mrs Hussey? But being in  a
great hurry to resume scolding the  man  in  the  purple  shirt,  who  was
waiting for it in the entry, and seeming to  hear  nothing  but  the  word
clam, Mrs. Hussey hurried towards an open door leading to the kitchen, and
bawling out clam for two, disappeared. Queequeg, said I, do you think that
we can make out a supper for us both on one clam? However, a  warm  savory
steam from the kitchen served to belie the apparently  cheerless  prospect
before us. But  when  that  smoking  chowder  came  in,  the  mystery  was
delightfully explained. Oh, sweet friends! hearken to me. It was  made  of
small juicy clams, scarcely bigger than hazel  nuts,  mixed  with  pounded
ship biscuit, and salted  pork  cut  up  into  little  flakes;  the  whole
enriched with butter, and plentifully seasoned with pepper and  salt.  Our
appetites being  sharpened  by  the  frosty  voyage,  and  in  particular,
Queequeg seeing his favorite fishing food  before  him,  and  the  chowder
being surpassingly excellent, we despatched it with great expedition: when
leaning back a moment and bethinking me of  Mrs.  Hussey's  clam  and  cod
announcement, I thought I would try a little experiment.
    Stepping to the kitchen door, I  uttered  the  word  cod  with  great
emphasis, and resumed my seat. In a few  moments  the  savory  steam  came
forth again, but with  a  different  flavor,  and  in  good  time  a  fine
cod-chowder was placed before us. We resumed business;  and  while  plying
our spoons in the bowl, thinks I to myself, I wonder now if this here  has
any  effect  on  the  head?   What's   that   stultifying   saying   about
chowder-headed people? But look, Queequeg, ain't that a live eel  in  your
bowl? Where's your harpoon? Fishiest of all fishy places was the Try Pots,
which well deserved its name; for  the  pots  there  were  always  boiling
chowders. Chowder for breakfast, and chowder for dinner, and  chowder  for
supper, till you began to look for fish-bones coming through your clothes.
The area before the house was paved with clam-shells. Mrs. Hussey  wore  a
polished necklace of codfish vertebra; and Hosea Hussey  had  his  account
books bound in superior old shark-skin. There was a fishy  flavor  to  the
milk, too, which I  could  not  at  all  account  for,  till  one  morning
happening to take a stroll along the beach among some fishermen's boats, I
saw Hosea's brindled cow feeding on fish remnants, and marching along  the
sand with each foot in a cod's decapitated head, looking very slip-shod, I
assure ye. Supper concluded, we received a lamp, and directions from  Mrs.
Hussey concerning the nearest way to bed; but, as Queequeg  was  about  to
precede me up the stairs, the lady reached forth her arm, and demanded his
harpoon; she allowed no harpoon in her chambers. Why not?  said  I;  every
true whaleman sleeps with his harpoon -but why not?
    Because it's dangerous, says she. Ever since young Stiggs coming from
that unfort'nt v'y'ge of his, when he was gone four years and a half, with
only three barrels of ile, was found dead in my first floor back, with his
harpoon in his side; ever since then I allow  no  boarders  to  take  sich
dangerous weepons in their rooms at night. So, Mr. Queequeg (for  she  had
learned his name), I will just take this here iron, and keep  it  for  you
till morning. But the chowder; clam or cod to-morrow for  breakfast,  men?
Both, says I; and let's have a couple of smoked herring by way of variety.



                              16. THE SHIP

    In bed we concocted our plans for the morrow. But to my surprise  and
no small concern, Queequeg now gave me to understand,  that  he  had  been
diligently consulting Yojo -the name of his black little god -and Yojo had
told him two or three times over, and strongly insisted upon it  everyway,
that instead of our going together among the whaling-fleet in harbor,  and
in concert selecting our craft; instead of this,  I  say,  Yojo  earnestly
enjoined that the selection of  the  ship  should  rest  wholly  with  me,
inasmuch as Yojo purposed befriending us; and, in  order  to  do  so,  had
already pitched upon a vessel, which,  if  left  to  myself,  I,  Ishmael,
should infallibly light upon, for all the world as though  it  had  turned
out by chance; and in that vessel I must immediately ship myself, for  the
present irrespective of Queequeg. I have forgotten  to  mention  that,  in
many things, Queequeg placed great confidence in the excellence of  Yojo's
judgment and surprising  forecast  of  things;  and  cherished  Yojo  with
considerable esteem, as a rather good sort of god, who perhaps meant  well
enough upon the whole, but in all cases did not succeed in his  benevolent
designs. Now, this plan of Queequeg's,  or  rather  Yojo's,  touching  the
selection of our craft; I did not like that plan  at  all.  I  had  not  a
little relied on Queequeg's sagacity to point out the whaler  best  fitted
to carry us and  our  fortunes  securely.  But  as  all  my  remonstrances
produced no  effect  upon  Queequeg,  I  was  obliged  to  acquiesce;  and
accordingly prepared to set about this business with a determined  rushing
sort of energy and vigor, that should quickly settle that trifling  little
affair. Next morning early, leaving Queequeg shut  up  with  Yojo  in  our
little bedroom -for it seemed that it was some sort of Lent or Ramadan, or
day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer with Queequeg and Yojo  that  day;
how it was I never could find out, for, though  I  applied  myself  to  it
several times, I never could  master  his  liturgies  and  XXXIX  Articles
-leaving Queequeg, then, fasting on his tomahawk pipe,  and  Yojo  warming
himself at his sacrificial fire of  shavings,  I  sallied  out  among  the
shipping. After much prolonged sauntering and  many  random  inquiries,  I
learnt that there were  three  ships  up  for  three-years'  voyages  -The
Devil-Dam the Tit-bit, and the pequod. devil-  dam,  i  do  not  know  the
origin of; tit-bit is obvious; Pequod, you will no doubt remember, was the
name of a celebrated tribe of Massachusetts Indians, now  extinct  as  the
ancient Medes. I peered and pryed about the Devil-Dam;  from  her,  hopped
over to the Tit-bit; and, finally,  going  on  board  the  Pequod,  looked
around her for a moment, and then decided that this was the very ship  for
us. You may have seen many a quaint craft in your day, for aught  I  know;
-squared-toed luggers; mountainous Japanese  junks;  butter-box  galliots,
and what not; but take my word for it, you never saw such a rare old craft
as this same rare old Pequod. She was a ship of  the  old  school,  rather
small if anything; with an old fashioned claw-footed look about her.  Long
seasoned and weather-stained in the typhoons and calms of all four oceans,
her old hull's complexion was darkened like a French grenadier's, who  has
alike fought in Egypt and Siberia. Her venerable bows looked bearded.  Her
masts-cut somewhere on the coast of Japan, where her  original  ones  were
lost overboard in a gale -her masts stood stiffly up like  the  spines  of
the three old kings of Cologne. Her ancient decks were worn and  wrinkled,
like the  pilgrim-worshipped  flag-stone  in  Canterbury  Cathedral  where
Beckett bled. But to all these her old antiquities,  were  added  new  and
marvellous features, pertaining to the wild business that  for  more  than
half a century she  had  followed.  Old  Captain  Peleg,  many  years  her
chief-mate, before he commanded another vessel  of  his  own,  and  now  a
retired seaman, and one of the principal owners of the Pequod,  -this  old
Peleg, during the term of his chief-mateship, had built upon her  original
grotesqueness, and inlaid it, all over, with a quaintness both of material
and device, unmatched by anything  except  it  be  Thorkill-Hake's  carved
buckler or bedstead.  She  was  apparelled  like  any  barbaric  Ethiopian
emperor, his neck heavy with pendants of polished ivory. She was  a  thing
of trophies. A cannibal of a craft, tricking herself forth in  the  chased
bones of her enemies.  All  round,  her  unpanelled,  open  bulwarks  were
garnished like one continuous jaw, with the long sharp teeth of the  sperm
whale, inserted there for pins, to fasten her old hempen thews and tendons
to. Those thews ran not through base  blocks  of  land  wood,  but  deftly
travelled over sheaves of sea-ivory. Scorning a  turnstile  wheel  at  her
reverend helm, she sported there a tiller; and  that  tiller  was  in  one
mass, curiously carved from the long narrow lower jaw  of  her  hereditary
foe. The helmsman who steered by that tiller in a tempest, felt  like  the
Tartar, when he holds back his fiery steed by clutching its jaw.  A  noble
craft, but somehow a most melancholy! All noble things  are  touched  with
that. Now when I looked  about  the  quarter-deck,  for  some  one  having
authority, in order to propose myself as a candidate for  the  voyage,  at
first I saw nobody; but I could not well overlook a strange sort of  tent,
or rather wigwam, pitched a little behind the main-mast. It seemed only  a
temporary erection used in port. It was of a conical shape, some ten  feet
high; consisting of the long, huge slabs of limber black bone  taken  from
the middle and highest part of the jaws of the right-whale.  Planted  with
their broad ends on the deck, a circle  of  these  slabs  laced  together,
mutually sloped towards each other, and at the apex  united  in  a  tufted
point, where the loose hairy fibres waved to and fro like  a  top-knot  on
some old Pottowotamie Sachem's head. A triangular  opening  faced  towards
the bows of the ship, so  that  the  insider  commanded  a  complete  view
forward. And half concealed in this queer tenement, I at length found  one
who by his aspect seemed to have authority; and who, it  being  noon,  and
the ship's work suspended, was now enjoying respite  from  the  burden  of
command. He was seated on an old-fashioned oaken chair, wriggling all over
with curious carving; and the bottom  of  which  was  formed  of  a  stout
interlacing of the same elastic stuff of which the wigwam was constructed.
There was nothing so very particular, perhaps, about the appearance of the
elderly man I saw; he was brown and brawny,  like  most  old  seamen,  and
heavily rolled up in blue pilot-cloth, cut in the Quaker style; only there
was a fine and  almost  microscopic  net-work  of  the  minutest  wrinkles
interlacing round his eyes, which must  have  arisen  from  his  continual
sailings in many hard gales, and always looking  to  windward;  -for  this
causes the  muscles  about  the  eyes  to  become  pursed  together.  Such
eye-wrinkles are very effectual in a scowl. Is this  the  Captain  of  the
Pequod? said I, advancing to the door of the tent.  Supposing  it  be  the
Captain of the Pequod, what dost thou want of  him?  he  demanded.  I  was
thinking of shipping. Thou wast, wast thou? I see thou are no  Nantucketer
-ever been in a stove boat? No, Sir, I never have. Dost  know  nothing  at
all about whaling, I dare say -eh? Nothing, Sir; but I  have  no  doubt  I
shall soon learn. I've been several voyages in the merchant service, and I
think that- Merchant service be damned. Talk not that lingo  to  me.  Dost
see that leg? -I'll take that leg  away  from  thy  stern,  if  ever  thou
talkest of the marchant service to me again. Marchant  service  indeed!  I
suppose now ye feel considerable proud of having served in those  marchant
ships. But flukes! man, what makes thee want to  go  a  whaling,  eh?  -it
looks a little suspicious, don't it, eh? -Hast not  been  a  pirate,  hast
thou? -Didst not rob thy last Captain, didst  thou?  -Dost  not  think  of
murdering the officers when thou gettest to sea? I protested my  innocence
of these things. I  saw  that  under  the  mask  of  these  half  humorous
inuendoes, this old seaman, as an  insulated  Quakerish  Nantucketer,  was
full of his insular prejudices, and  rather  distrustful  of  all  aliens,
unless they hailed from Cape Cod or the  Vineyard.  But  what  takes  thee
a-whaling? I want to know that before I think of shipping ye. Well, sir, I
want to see what whaling is. I want to see the world.  Want  to  see  what
whaling is, eh? Have ye clapped eye on Captain Ahab?
    Who is Captain Ahab, sir? Aye, aye, I thought so. Captain Ahab is the
Captain of this ship. I am mistaken then. I thought I was speaking to  the
Captain himself. Thou art speaking to Captain Peleg  -that's  who  ye  are
speaking to, young man. It belongs to me and Captain  Bildad  to  see  the
Pequod fitted out for  the  voyage,  and  supplied  with  all  her  needs,
including crew. We are part owners and agents. But as I was going to  say,
if thou wantest to know what whaling is, as thou tellest ye do, I can  put
ye in a way of finding it out before ye bind yourself to it, past  backing
out. Clap eye on Captain Ahab, young man, and thou wilt find that  he  has
only one leg.
    What do you mean, sir? Was the other one lost by a whale? Lost  by  a
whale!
    Young man, come nearer to me: it was devoured, chewed up, crunched by
the monstrousest parmacetty that ever chipped a boat! -ah,  ah!  I  was  a
little alarmed by his energy, perhaps also a little touched at the  hearty
grief in his concluding exclamation, but said as calmly as I  could,  What
you say is no doubt true enough, sir; but how could I know there  was  any
peculiar ferocity in that particular whale, though  indeed  I  might  have
inferred as much from the simple fact of the accident. Look ye now,  young
man, thy lungs are a sort of soft, d'ye see; thou dost not  talk  shark  a
bit. Sure, ye've been to sea before now; sure of  that?  Sir,  said  I,  I
thought I told you that I had been four voyages in the merchant- Hard down
out of that! Mind what I said about the marchant service -don't  aggravate
me -I won't have it. But let us understand each other. I have given thee a
hint about what whaling is; do ye yet feel inclined for  it?  I  do,  sir.
Very good. Now, art thou the man to pitch a harpoon down  a  live  whale's
throat, and then jump after it? Answer, quick! I am, sir, if it should  be
positively indispensable to do so; not to be got rid of, that is; which  I
don't take to be the fact. Good again. Now then, thou not only wantest  to
go a-whaling, to find out by experience what whaling is, but ye also  want
to go in order to see the world? Was not that what ye said? I thought  so.
Well then, just step forward there, and take a peep over the  weather-bow,
and then back to me and tell me what ye see there. For a moment I stood  a
little puzzled by this curious request, not knowing exactly  how  to  take
it, whether humorously or in earnest. But  concentrating  all  his  crow's
feet into one scowl, Captain Peleg started me on the errand. Going forward
and glancing over the weather bow, I perceived that the ship  swinging  to
her anchor with the flood-tide, was now  obliquely  pointing  towards  the
open ocean. The prospect was unlimited,  but  exceedingly  monotonous  and
forbidding; not the slightest variety that I could see. Well,  what's  the
report? said Peleg when I came back; what did ye see? Not much, I  replied
- nothing but water; considerable horizon though,  and  there's  a  squall
coming up, I think. Well, what dost thou think then of seeing  the  world?
Do ye wish to go round Cape Horn to see any more of it, eh? Can't  ye  see
the world where you stand? I was a little staggered, but  go  a-whaling  I
must, and I would; and the Pequod was as good a ship as any -I thought the
best - and all this I now repeated to Peleg. Seeing me so  determined,  he
expressed his willingness to ship me. And thou mayest  as  well  sign  the
papers right off, he added - come along with ye. And so saying, he led the
way below deck into the cabin. seated on the transom was what seemed to me
a most uncommon and surprising figure. It turned out to be Captain Bildad,
who along with Captain Peleg was one of the largest owners of the  vessel;
the other shares, as is sometimes the case in these ports, being held by a
crowd of old annuitants; widows, fatherless children, and chancery  wards;
each owning about the value of a timber head, or a foot  of  plank,  or  a
nail or two in the ship. People in Nantucket invest their money in whaling
vessels, the same way that you do yours in approved state stocks  bringing
in  good  interest.  Now,  Bildad,  like  Peleg,  and  indeed  many  other
Nantucketers, was a Quaker, the island having been originally  settled  by
that sect; and to this  day  its  inhabitants  in  general  retain  in  an
uncommon measure the peculiarities  of  the  Quaker,  only  variously  and
anomalously modified by things altogether  alien  and  heterogeneous.  For
some of these same Quakers are the most  sanguinary  of  all  sailors  and
whale-hunters.  They  are  fighting  Quakers;  they  are  Quakers  with  a
vengeance. So that there are instances among them of men, who, named  with
Scripture names -a  singularly  common  fashion  on  the  island  -and  in
childhood naturally imbibing the stately dramatic thee  and  thou  of  the
Quaker idiom; still, from the audacious, daring, and  boundless  adventure
of  their  subsequent  lives,  strangely  blend  with   these   unoutgrown
peculiarities, a  thousand  bold  dashes  of  character,  not  unworthy  a
Scandinavian sea-king, or a poetical Pagan Roman. And  when  these  things
unite in a man of greatly superior natural force, with  a  globular  brain
and a ponderous heart; who has also by the stillness and seclusion of many
long night-watches in the  remotest  waters,  and  beneath  constellations
never seen here at the  north,  been  led  to  think  untraditionally  and
independently; receiving all nature's sweet or  savage  impressions  fresh
from her own virgin voluntary and confiding breast, and  thereby  chiefly,
but with some help from accidental advantages, to learn a bold and nervous
lofty language -that man makes one in a whole nation's  census  -a  mighty
pageant creature, formed for noble tragedies. Nor will it at  all  detract
from  him,  dramatically  regarded,  if   either   by   birth   or   other
circumstances, he have what seems a half wilful overruling  morbidness  at
the bottom of his nature. For all men tragically great are made so through
a certain morbidness. Be sure  of  this,  O  young  ambition,  all  mortal
greatness is but disease. But, as yet we have not to do with such an  one,
but with quite another; and still a man, who, if indeed peculiar, it  only
results again from another phase of the  Quaker,  modified  by  individual
circumstances. Like  Captain  Peleg,  Captain  Bildad  was  a  well-to-do,
retired whaleman. But unlike Captain Peleg -who cared not a rush for  what
are called serious things, and indeed deemed those selfsame serious things
the veriest of all trifles -Captain Bildad had not  only  been  originally
educated according to the strictest sect of Nantucket Quakerism,  but  all
his subsequent ocean life, and the sight of  many  unclad,  lovely  island
creatures, round the Horn -all that had not moved this native born  Quaker
one single jot, had not so much as altered one angle of his  vest.  Still,
for all this immutableness, was there  some  lack  of  common  consistency
about worthy Captain Bildad. Though refusing, from conscientious scruples,
to bear arms against land invaders, yet himself  had  illimitably  invaded
the Atlantic and Pacific; and though a sworn foe to human  bloodshed,  yet
had he in his straight-bodied coat, spilled tuns upon  tuns  of  leviathan
gore. How now in the contemplative evening of his days, the  pious  Bildad
reconciled these things in the reminiscence, I do not know; but it did not
seem to concern him much, and very probably he had long since come to  the
sage and sensible conclusion that a man's religion is one thing, and  this
practical world quite another. This world pays dividends.  Rising  from  a
little cabin-boy in short clothes of the drabbest drab, to a harpooneer in
a  broad  shad-bellied  waistcoat;   from   that   becoming   boat-header,
chief-mate, and captain, and finally a ship-owner;  Bildad,  as  I  hinted
before, had concluded his  adventurous  career  by  wholly  retiring  from
active life at the goodly age of sixty, and dedicating his remaining  days
to the quiet receiving of his well-earned income. Now Bildad, I  am  sorry
to say, had the reputation of being an incorrigible old hunks, and in  his
sea-going days, a bitter, hard task-master. They  told  me  in  Nantucket,
though it certainly seems a curious story, that when  he  sailed  the  old
Categut whaleman, his crew, upon arriving home, were  mostly  all  carried
ashore to the hospital, sore exhausted and worn  out.  For  a  pious  man,
especially for a Quaker, he was certainly rather hard-hearted to  say  the
least. He never used to swear, though, at his men, they said; but  somehow
he got an inordinate quantity of cruel, unmitigated hard work out of them.
When Bildad was a  chief-mate,  to  have  his  drab-colored  eye  intently
looking at you, made you feel completely nervous, till  you  could  clutch
something -a hammer or a marling-spike,  and  go  to  work  like  mad,  at
something or other, never mind what. Indolence and idleness perished  from
before him. His own person was the exact  embodiment  of  his  utilitarian
character. On his  long,  gaunt  body,  he  carried  no  spare  flesh,  no
superfluous beard, his chin having a soft, economical nap to it, like  the
worn nap of his broad-brimmed hat. Such, then, was the person that  I  saw
seated on the transom when I followed Captain Peleg down into  the  cabin.
The space between the decks was small; and there,  bolt-upright,  sat  old
Bildad, who always sat so, and never leaned, and this  to  save  his  coat
tails. His broad-brim  was  placed  beside  him;  his  legs  were  stiffly
crossed; his drab vesture was buttoned up to his chin; and  spectacles  on
nose, he seemed absorbed in reading from a ponderous volume. Bildad, cried
Captain Peleg, at it again,  Bildad,  eh?  Ye  have  been  studying  those
Scriptures, now, for the last thirty years, to my certain  knowledge.  How
far ye got, Bildad? As if long habituated to such profane  talk  from  his
old shipmate, Bildad, without noticing his  present  irreverence,  quietly
looked up, and seeing me, glanced again inquiringly towards Peleg. He says
he's our man, Bildad, said Peleg,  he  wants  to  ship.  Dost  thee?  said
Bildad, in a hollow tone,  and  turning  round  to  me.  I  dost,  said  I
unconsciously, he was so intense a  Quaker.  What  do  ye  think  of  him,
Bildad? said Peleg. He'll do, said Bildad, eyeing me,  and  then  went  on
spelling away at his book in a mumbling tone quite audible. I thought  him
the queerest old Quaker I ever saw, especially as Peleg,  his  friend  and
old shipmate, seemed such a blusterer. But I said  nothing,  only  looking
round me sharply. Peleg now threw open a  chest,  and  drawing  forth  the
ship's articles, placed pen and ink before him, and seated  himself  at  a
little table. I began to think it was high time to settle with  myself  at
what terms I would be willing to engage for  the  voyage.  I  was  already
aware that in the whaling business they paid  no  wages;  but  all  hands,
including the captain, received certain shares of the profits called lays,
and that  these  lays  were  proportioned  to  the  degree  of  importance
pertaining to the respective duties of the  ship's  company.  I  was  also
aware that being a green hand at whaling, my own lay  would  not  be  very
large; but considering that I was used to the sea,  could  steer  a  ship,
splice a rope, and all that, I made no doubt that from all I had  heard  I
should be offered at least the 275th lay -that is, the 275th part  of  the
clear nett proceeds of the voyage, whatever that might  eventually  amount
to. And though the 275th lay was what they call a rather long lay, yet  it
was better than nothing; and if we had a lucky voyage, might pretty nearly
pay for the clothing I would wear out on it, not  to  speak  of  my  three
years' beef and board, for which I would not have to pay  one  stiver.  It
might be thought that this was a poor way to accumulate a princely fortune
-and so it was, a very poor way indeed. But I am one of those  that  never
take on about princely fortunes, and am quite  content  if  the  world  is
ready to board and lodge me, while I am putting up at this  grim  sign  of
the Thunder Cloud. Upon the whole, I thought that the 275th lay  would  be
about the fair thing, but would not have been surprised had I been offered
the 200th, considering I was of a broad-shouldered make.  But  one  thing,
nevertheless, that made me a little distrustful about receiving a generous
share of the profits was this: Ashore,
    I had heard something of both Captain Peleg and his unaccountable old
crony Bildad; how that they being the principal proprietors of the Pequod,
therefore the other and more inconsiderable  and  scattered  owners,  left
nearly the whole management of the ship's affairs to these two. And I  did
not know but what the stingy old Bildad might have a mighty  deal  to  say
about shipping hands, especially as I now found him on board  the  Pequod,
quite at home there in the cabin, and reading his Bible as if at  his  own
fireside. Now while Peleg was  vainly  trying  to  mend  a  pen  with  his
jack-knife, old Bildad, to my no small surprise, considering that  he  was
such an interested party in these proceedings; Bildad never heeded us, but
went on mumbling to himself out of his book, Lay  not  up  for  yourselves
treasures upon earth, where moth-
    Well, Captain Bildad, interrupted Peleg,  what  d'ye  say,  what  lay
shall we give this young man?
    Thou knowest best, was the sepulchral reply, the  seven  hundred  and
seventy-seventh wouldn't be too much, would it? - "where moth and rust  do
corrupt, but lay-" Lay, indeed, thought I,  and  such  a  lay!  the  seven
hundred and seventy-seventh! Well, old Bildad, you are determined that  I,
for one, shall not lay up many lays here below, where  moth  and  rust  do
corrupt. It was an exceedingly long lay that, indeed; and though from  the
magnitude of the figure it might at first  deceive  a  landsman,  yet  the
slightest  consideration  will  show  that  though   seven   hundred   and
seventy-seven is a pretty large number, yet,  when  you  come  to  make  a
teenth of it, you will then  see,  I  say,  that  the  seven  hundred  and
seventy-seventh part of a farthing is a good deal less than seven  hundred
and seventy-seven gold doubloons; and so I thought at the time. Why, blast
your eyes, Bildad, cried Peleg, Thou dost not want to swindle  this  young
man! he must have more than that. Seven hundred and seventy-seventh, again
said Bildad, without lifting his eyes; and then went  on  mumbling  -  for
where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. I am going  to  put
him down for the three hundredth, said Peleg, do ye hear that, Bildad! The
three hundredth lay, I  say.  Bildad  laid  down  his  book,  and  turning
solemnly towards him said, Captain Peleg, thou hast a generous heart;  but
thou must consider the duty  thou  owest  to  the  other  owners  of  this
shipwidows and orphans, many of them -and that if we too abundantly reward
the labors of this young man, we may be taking the bread from those widows
and those orphans. The seven  hundred  and  seventy-seventh  lay,  Captain
Peleg. Thou Bildad! roared Peleg, starting up  and  clattering  about  the
cabin. Blast ye, Captain Bildad, if I had followed  thy  advice  in  these
matters, I would afore now had a conscience to lug  about  that  would  be
heavy enough to founder the largest ship that ever sailed round Cape Horn.
Captain Peleg, said Bildad steadily, thy conscience  may  be  drawing  ten
inches of water, or ten fathoms, i can't tell; but as thou  art  still  an
impenitent man, captain Peleg, I greatly fear lest thy conscience be but a
leaky one; and will in the end sink thee foundering down to the fiery pit,
Captain Peleg.
    Fiery pit! fiery pit! ye insult me, man; past all natural bearing, ye
insult me. It's an all-fired outrage to tell any human creature that  he's
bound to hell. Flukes and flames! Bildad, say that again to me, and  start
my soul-bolts, but I'll-I'll-yes, I'll swallow a live goat  with  all  his
hair and horns on. Out of the cabin, ye canting,  drab-colored  son  of  a
wooden gun -a straight wake with ye! As he thundered out this  he  made  a
rush at Bildad, but with a marvellous oblique,  sliding  celerity,  Bildad
for that time eluded him. Alarmed at this terrible  outburst  between  the
two principal and responsible owners of the ship, and feeling half a  mind
to give up all idea of sailing in  a  vessel  so  questionably  owned  and
temporarily commanded, I stepped aside from the door  to  give  egress  to
Bildad, who, I made no doubt, was all eagerness to vanish from before  the
awakened wrath of Peleg. But to my astonishment, he sat down again on  the
transom very quietly, and seemed to have not the  slightest  intention  of
withdrawing. He seemed quite used to impenitent Peleg and his ways. As for
Peleg, after letting off his rage as he had, there seemed no more left  in
him, and he, too, sat down like a lamb, though he twitched a little as  if
still nervously agitated. Whew! he whistled at last -  the  squall's  gone
off to leeward, I think. Bildad, thou used to  be  good  at  sharpening  a
lance, mend that pen, will ye. My jack-knife here  needs  the  grindstone.
That's he; thank ye, Bildad. Now then, my young man, Ishmael's  thy  name,
didn't ye say? Well  then,  down  ye  go  here,  Ishmael,  for  the  three
hundredth lay. Captain Peleg, said I, I have a friend with me who wants to
ship too -shall I bring him down to-morrow? To be sure, said peleg.  fetch
him along, and we'll look at him. What lay does he want?  groaned  Bildad,
glancing up from the book in which he had again been burying himself.  Oh!
never thee mind about that, Bildad, said Peleg. Has he ever whaled it any?
turning to me. Killed more whales than I can count, Captain  Peleg.  Well,
bring him along then. And, after signing the papers, off I  went;  nothing
doubting but that I had done a good morning's work, and  that  the  Pequod
was the identical ship that Yojo had provided to  carry  Queequeg  and  me
round the Cape. But I had not proceeded far, when I began  to  bethink  me
that the captain with whom I was  to  sail  yet  remained  unseen  by  me;
though, indeed, in many cases, a whale-ship will be completely fitted out,
and receive all her crew on board, ere the captain makes  himself  visible
by arriving to take command; for sometimes these voyages are so prolonged,
and the shore intervals at home so exceedingly brief, that if the  captain
have a family, or any absorbing concernment of  that  sort,  he  does  not
trouble himself much about his ship in port, but leaves her to the  owners
till all is ready for sea. However, it is always as well to have a look at
him before irrevocably committing yourself into his hands. Turning back  I
accosted Captain Peleg, inquiring where Captain Ahab was to be found.  And
what dost thou want of Captain Ahab?  It's  all  right  enough;  thou  art
shipped. Yes, but I should like to see him. But I don't think thou wilt be
able to at present. I don't know exactly what's the matter with  him;  but
he keeps close inside the house; a sort of sick, and yet he don't look so.
In fact, he ain't sick; but no, he isn't well either. Any how, young  man,
he won't always see me, so I don't suppose he will thee. He's a queer man,
Captain Ahab -so some think -but a good one. Oh,  thou'lt  like  him  well
enough; no fear, no fear. he's a grand,  ungodly,  god-like  man,  Captain
Ahab; doesn't speak much; but, when he  does  speak,  then  you  may  well
listen. Mark ye, be forewarned; Ahab's above the common;  Ahab's  been  in
colleges, as well as 'mong the cannibals; been used to deeper wonders than
the waves; fixed his fiery lance in mightier stranger  foes  than  whales.
His lance! aye, the keenest and the surest that out of all our  isle!  Oh!
he ain't Captain Bildad; no, and he ain't Captain Peleg; he's  Ahab,  boy;
and Ahab of old, thou knowest, was a crowned king! And a  very  vile  one.
When that wicked king was slain, the dogs, did they not lick his blood?
    Come hither to me -hither, hither, said Peleg, with a significance in
his eye that almost startled me. Look ye, lad; never say that on board the
Pequod. Never say it anywhere. Captain Ahab did not name himself. 'Twas  a
foolish, ignorant whim of his crazy, widowed mother, who died when he  was
only a twelvemonth old. And yet the old squaw  Tistig,  at  Gayhead,  said
that the name would somehow prove prophetic.  And,  perhaps,  other  fools
like her may tell thee the same. I wish to warn thee. It's a lie.  I  know
Captain Ahab well; I've sailed with him as mate years ago; I know what  he
is-a good man -not a pious, good man, like Bildad, but a swearing good man
-something like me -only there's a good deal more of him. Aye, aye, I know
that he was never very jolly; and I know that on the passage home, he  was
a little out of his mind for a spell; but it was the sharp shooting  pains
in his bleeding stump that brought that about, as any  one  might  see.  I
know, too, that ever since he lost his leg last voyage  by  that  accursed
whale, he's been a kind of moody -desperate moody, and  savage  sometimes;
but that will all pass off. And once for all, let me tell thee and  assure
thee, young man, it's better to sail with a  moody  good  captain  than  a
laughing bad one. So good-bye to thee -and wrong not Captain Ahab, because
he happens to have a wicked name. Besides, my boy,  he  has  a  wife  -not
three voyages wedded -a sweet, resigned girl. Think of that; by that sweet
girl that old man has a child: hold  ye  then  there  can  be  any  utter,
hopeless harm in Ahab? No, no, my lad; stricken, blasted, if he  be,  Ahab
has his humanities! As I walked away, I was full of  thoughtfulness;  what
had been incidentally revealed to me of Captain Ahab,  filled  me  with  a
certain wild vagueness of painfulness concerning him. And somehow, at  the
time, I felt a sympathy and a sorrow for him, but for I don't  know  what,
unless it was the cruel loss of his leg. And yet I also felt a strange awe
of him; but that sort of awe, which I cannot  at  all  describe,  was  not
exactly awe; I do not know what it was. But I felt  it;  and  it  did  not
disincline me towards him; though I felt impatience at  what  seemed  like
mystery in him, so imperfectly as he was known to  me  then.  However,  my
thoughts were at length carried in  other  directions,  so  that  for  the
present dark Ahab slipped my mind.



                             17. THE RAMADAN

    As Queequeg's Ramadan, or Fasting and Humiliation,  was  to  continue
all day, I did not choose to disturb him till towards  night-fall;  for  I
cherish the greatest respect towards  everybody's  religious  obligations,
never mind how comical, and could not find it in my  heart  to  undervalue
even a congregation of ants  worshipping  a  toad-stool;  or  those  other
creatures in certain parts of our earth, who with a degree  of  footmanism
quite unprecedented in other planets, bow  down  before  the  torso  of  a
deceased landed proprietor merely on account of the inordinate possessions
yet owned and rented in his name. I say, we good  Presbyterian  christians
should be charitable in these things, and not fancy  ourselves  so  vastly
superior  to  other  mortals,  pagans  and  what  not,  because  of  their
half-crazy conceits on these subjects. There was Queequeg, now,  certainly
entertaining the most absurd notions about Yojo and his Ramadan; -but what
of that? Queequeg thought he knew what he was about, I suppose; he  seemed
to be content; and there let him rest. All our arguing with him would  not
avail; let him be, I say: and Heaven have mercy on us  all  -Presbyterians
and Pagans alike -for we are all  somehow  dreadfully  cracked  about  the
head, and sadly need mending. Towards evening, when I  felt  assured  that
all his performances and rituals must be over, I went up to his  room  and
knocked at the door; but no answer.  I  tried  to  open  it,  but  it  was
fastened inside. Queequeg,  said  I  softly  through  the  key-hole:  -all
silent. I say, Queequeg! why don't you  speak?  It's  I-Ishmael.  But  all
remained still as before. I began to grow alarmed. I had allowed him  such
abundant time; I thought he might have had an  apoplectic  fit.  I  looked
through the key-hole; but the door opening into an odd corner of the room,
the key-hole prospect was but a crooked and sinister one. I could only see
part of the foot-board of the bed and a line  of  the  wall,  but  nothing
more. I was surprised to behold resting against the wall the wooden  shaft
of Queequeg's harpoon, which the landlady the evening previous  had  taken
from him, before our mounting to the chamber. That's strange,  thought  I;
but at any rate, since the harpoon stands yonder, and he seldom  or  never
goes abroad without it, therefore he must be inside here, and no  possible
mistake. 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 chambermaid. 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! And running up after me, she caught me
as I was again trying to force open the door. I won't allow  it;  I  won't
have my premises spoiled. Go for the locksmith, there's one about  a  mile
from here. But avast! putting her hand in her side-pocket,  here's  a  key
that'll fit, I guess; let's see. And with that, she turned it in the lock;
but, alas! Queequeg's supplemental bolt remained unwithdrawn within.  Have
to burst it open, said I, and was running down the entry a little,  for  a
good start, when the landlady caught at me,  again  vowing  I  should  not
break down her premises; but I tore from her, and  with  a  sudden  bodily
rush dashed myself full against the mark. With a prodigious noise the door
flew open, and the knob slamming against the wall, sent the plaster to the
ceiling; and there, good heavens! there sat Queequeg, altogether cool  and
self-collected; right in the middle of the room; squatting  on  his  hams,
and holding Yojo on top of his head. He looked neither  one  way  nor  the
other way, but sat like a carved image with scarce a sign of active  life.
Queequeg, said I, going up to him, Queequeg, what's the matter  with  you?
He hain't been a sittin' so all day, has he? said the landlady. But all we
said, not a word could we drag out of him; I almost felt like pushing  him
over, so as to change his position, for  it  was  almost  intolerable,  it
seemed so painfully and unnaturally constrained;  especially,  as  in  all
probability he had been sitting so for upwards  of  eight  or  ten  hours,
going too without his regular meals. Mrs. Hussey, said I,  he's  alive  at
all events; so leave us, if you please, and I will  see  to  this  strange
affair myself. Closing the door upon the landlady,
    I endeavored to prevail upon Queequeg to take a chair; but  in  vain.
There  he  sat;  and  all  he  could  do  -for  all  my  polite  arts  and
blandishments -he would not move a peg, nor say a single  word,  nor  even
look at me, nor notice my presence in any the  slightest  way.  I  wonder,
thought I, if this can possibly be a part of his Ramadan; do they fast  on
their hams that way in his native island. It must be so; yes, it's part of
his creed, I suppose; well, then, let him rest; he'll  get  up  sooner  or
later, no doubt. It can't last for ever, thank God, and his  Ramadan  only
comes once a year; and I don't believe it's very  punctual  then.  I  went
down to supper. After sitting a long time listening to the long stories of
some sailors who had just come from a plum-pudding voyage, as they  called
it (that is, a short whaling-voyage in a schooner or brig, confined to the
north of the line, in the Atlantic Ocean only); after listening  to  these
plum-puddingers till nearly eleven o'clock, I went up stairs to go to bed,
feeling quite sure by this time Queequeg must certainly have  brought  his
Ramadan to a termination. But no; there he was just where I had left  him;
he had not stirred an inch. I began to grow vexed with him; it  seemed  so
downright senseless and insane to be sitting there all day  and  half  the
night on his hams in a cold room, holding a piece of wood on his head. For
heaven's sake, Queequeg, get up and shake yourself; get up and  have  some
supper. You'll starve; you'll kill yourself, Queequeg. But not a word  did
he reply. Despairing of him, therefore, I determined to go to bed  and  to
sleep; and no doubt, before  a  great  while,  he  would  follow  me.  But
previous to turning in, I took my heavy bearskin jacket, and threw it over
him, as it promised to be a very cold night; and he had  nothing  but  his
ordinary round jacket on. For some time, do all I would, I could  not  get
into the faintest doze. I had blown out the candle; and the  mere  thought
of Queequegnot four feet off -sitting there in that uneasy position, stark
alone in the cold and dark; this made me really  wretched.  Think  of  it;
sleeping all night in the same room with a wide awake pagan on his hams in
this dreary, unaccountable Ramadan! But somehow I dropped off at last, and
knew nothing more till break of day; when, looking over the bedside, there
squatted Queequeg, as if he had been screwed down to  the  floor.  But  as
soon as the first glimpse of sun entered the window, up he got, with stiff
and grating joints, but with a cheerful look; limped towards  me  where  I
lay; pressed his forehead again against mine; and  said  his  Ramadan  was
over. Now, as I before  hinted,  I  have  no  objection  to  any  person's
religion, be it what it may, so long as  that  person  does  not  kill  or
insult any other person, because that other person don't believe it  also.
But when a man's religion becomes really frantic; when it  is  a  positive
torment to him; and, in fine, makes this earth of  ours  an  uncomfortable
inn to lodge in; then I think it high time to take that  individual  aside
and argue the point with him.  And  just  so  I  now  did  with  Queequeg.
Queequeg, said I, get into bed now, and lie and listen to me. I then  went
on, beginning with the rise and progress of the primitive  religions,  and
coming down to the various religions of the  present  time,  during  which
time I labored to show  Queequeg  that  all  these  Lents,  Ramadans,  and
prolonged ham-squattings in cold, cheerless rooms were stark nonsense; bad
for the health; useless for the soul; opposed, in short,  to  the  obvious
laws of Hygiene and common sense. I told him, too, that he being in  other
things such an extremely sensible and sagacious savage, it pained me, very
badly pained  me,  to  see  him  now  so  deplorably  foolish  about  this
ridiculous Ramadan of his. Besides, argued I, fasting makes the body  cave
in; hence the spirit caves in; and  all  thoughts  born  of  a  fast  must
necessarily be  half-starved.  This  is  the  reason  why  most  dyspeptic
religionists cherish such melancholy notions about  their  hereafters.  In
one word, Queequeg, said I, rather digressively; hell  is  an  idea  first
born on an undigested apple-dumpling; and since then  perpetuated  through
the hereditary dyspepsias nurtured by Ramadans.
    I then asked Queequeg whether  he  himself  was  ever  troubled  with
dyspepsia; expressing the idea very plainly, so that he could take it  in.
He said no; only upon one memorable occasion. It was after a  great  feast
given by his father the king, on the gaining of  a  great  battle  wherein
fifty of the enemy had been killed by about two o'clock in the  afternoon,
and all cooked and eaten that very evening. No  more,  Queequeg,  said  I,
shuddering; that will do; for I knew the inferences  without  his  further
hinting them. I had seen a sailor who had visited that very island, and he
told me that it was the custom, when a great battle had been gained there,
to barbecue all the slain in the yard or garden of the victor;  and  then,
one by one, they were placed in  great  wooden  trenchers,  and  garnished
round like a pilau, with breadfruit and cocoanuts; and with  some  parsley
in their mouths, were sent round with the victor's compliments to all  his
friends, just as though these presents were  so  many  Christmas  turkeys.
After all, I do not  think  that  my  remarks  about  religion  made  much
impression upon Queequeg. Because, in the first place, he  somehow  seemed
dull of hearing on that important subject, unless considered from his  own
point of view; and, in the second place, he did not more  than  one  third
understand me, couch my ideas simply as I would; and, finally, he no doubt
thought he knew a good deal more about the true religion than  I  did.  He
looked at me with a sort  of  condescending  concern  and  compassion,  as
though he thought it a great pity that such a sensible young man should be
so hopelessly lost to  evangelical  pagan  piety.  At  last  we  rose  and
dressed; and Queequeg, taking a prodigiously hearty breakfast of  chowders
of all sorts, so that the landlady should not make much profit  by  reason
of his Ramadan, we sallied out to board the Pequod, sauntering along,  and
picking our teeth with halibut bones.



                              18. HIS MARK

    As we were walking down the  end  of  the  wharf  towards  the  ship,
Queequeg carrying his harpoon, Captain Peleg in  his  gruff  voice  loudly
hailed us from his wigwam, saying he had not suspected  my  friend  was  a
cannibal, and furthermore announcing that he let  no  cannibals  on  board
that craft, unless they previously produced their papers. What do you mean
by that, Captain Peleg? said I, now jumping on the bulwarks,  and  leaving
my comrade standing on the wharf. I mean, he replied,  he  must  show  his
papers. Yea, said Captain Bildad in his hollow voice,  sticking  his  head
from behind Peleg's, out of the wigwam. He must show that he's  converted.
Son of darkness, he added, turning to Queequeg, art  thou  at  present  in
communion with any christian church? Why, said I, he's  a  member  of  the
first Congregational Church. Here be it said, that many  tattooed  savages
sailing in Nantucket ships at last come to be converted into the churches.
    First Congregational Church, cried Bildad,  what!  that  worships  in
Deacon Deuteronomy Coleman's meeting-house? and so saying, taking out  his
spectacles, he rubbed them with his great yellow bandana handkerchief, and
putting them on very carefully,  came  out  of  the  wigwam,  and  leaning
stiffly over the bulwarks, took a good long look  at  Queequeg.  How  long
hath he been a member? he then said, turning  to  me;  not  very  long,  I
rather guess, young man. No, said Peleg, and he hasn't been baptized right
either, or it would have washed some of that devil's blue off his face. Do
tell, now, cried Bildad, is this Philistine a  regular  member  of  Deacon
Deuteronomy's meeting? I never saw him going there, and I  pass  it  every
Lord's day.
    I don't know anything about Deacon Deuteronomy or his meeeting,  said
I, all I know is, that Queequeg  here  is  a  born  member  of  the  First
Congregational Church. He is a deacon himself,  Queequeg  is.  Young  man,
said Bildad sternly, thou art skylarking with me  -explain  thyself,  thou
young Hittite. What church dost thee mean? answer me. Finding myself  thus
hard pushed, I replied. I mean, sir, the same ancient Catholic  Church  to
which you and I, and Captain Peleg there, and Queequeg here,  and  all  of
us, and  every  mother's  son  and  soul  of  us  belong;  the  great  and
everlasting First Congregation of this whole  worshipping  world;  we  all
belong to that; only some  of  us  cherish  some  queer  crotchets  noways
touching the grand belief; in that we all join hands. Splice, thou mean'st
splice hands, cried Peleg, drawing nearer. Young man,  you'd  better  ship
for a missionary, instead of a fore-mast hand;  I  never  heard  a  better
sermon. Deacon Deuteronomy -why Father Mapple himself  couldn't  beat  it,
and he's reckoned something. Come aboard, come aboard;  never  mind  about
the papers. I say, tell Quohog there  -what's  that  you  call  him?  tell
Quohog to step along. By the great anchor, what a harpoon he's got  there!
looks like good stuff that; and he handles it about right. I say,  Quohog,
or whatever your name is, did you ever stand in the head of a  whale-boat?
did you ever strike a fish? Without saying a word, Queequeg, in  his  wild
sort of way, jumped upon the bulwarks, from thence into the bows of one of
the whale-boats hanging to the side; and then bracing his left  knee,  and
poising his harpoon, cried out in some such way as this:  -  Cap'ain,  you
see him small drop tar on water dere? You see him?  well,  spose  him  one
whale eye, well, den! and taking sharp aim at it, he darted the iron right
over old Bildad's broad brim, clean across the ship's  decks,  and  struck
the glistening tar spot out of sight. Now, said Queequeg, quietly  hauling
in the line, spos-ee him whale-e eye; why, dad whale dead. Quick,  Bildad,
said Peleg, his partner, who, aghast at the close vicinity of  the  flying
harpoon, had retreated towards the cabin gangway.
    Quick, I say, you Bildad, and get the ship's  papers.  We  must  have
Hedgehog there, I mean Quohog, in one of our boats. Look ye, Quohog, we'll
give ye the  ninetieth  lay,  and  that's  more  than  ever  was  given  a
harpooneer yet out of
    Nantucket. So down we went into  the  cabin,  and  to  my  great  joy
Queequeg was soon enrolled among the same ship's company to which I myself
belonged. When all preliminaries were over and Peleg  had  got  everything
ready for signing, he turned to me and said, I guess  Quohog  there  don't
know how to write, does he? I say, Quohog, blast ye! dost  thou  sign  thy
name or make thy mark? But at this question, Queequeg, who  had  twice  or
thrice before taken part in similar ceremonies, looked  no  ways  abashed;
but taking the offered pen, copied upon the paper, in the proper place, an
exact counterpart of a queer round figure which was tattooed upon his arm;
so  that  through  Captain  Peleg's   obstinate   mistake   touching   his
appellative, it stood something like this: - Quohog  his  mark.  Meanwhile
Captain Bildad sat earnestly and steadfastly eyeing Queequeg, and at  last
rising solemnly and fumbling in the huge pockets of his broad-skirted drab
coat, took out a bundle of tracts, and selecting one entitled  The  Latter
Day Coming; or No Time to Lose, placed it in queequeg's  hands,  and  then
grasping them and the book with both his, looked earnestly into his  eyes,
and said, Son of darkness, I must do my duty by thee; I am part  owner  of
this ship, and feel concerned for the souls of all its crew; if thou still
clingest to thy Pagan ways, which I sadly fear, I beseech thee, remain not
for aye a Belial bondsman. Spurn the idol Bell, and  the  hideous  dragon;
turn from the wrath to come; mind thine eye, I say; oh! goodness gracious!
steer clear of the fiery pit! Something of the salt sea  yet  lingered  in
old Bildad's language, heterogeneously mixed with Scriptural and  domestic
phrases.  Avast  there,  avast  there,  Bildad,  avast  now  spoiling  our
harpooneer, cried Peleg. Pious harpooneers never make  good  voyagers  -it
takes the shark out of 'em; no harpooneer is worth a straw who aint pretty
sharkish. There was young Nat Swaine, once the bravest boat-header out  of
all Nantucket and the Vineyard; he joined the meeting, and never  came  to
good. He got so frightened about his plaguy soul,  that  he  shrinked  and
sheered away from whales, for fear of after-claps in case he got stove and
went to Davy Jones.
    Peleg! Peleg! said Bildad, lifting his eyes and hands, thou  thyself,
as I myself, hast seen many a perilous time; thou knowest, Peleg, what  it
is to have the fear of death; how, then, can'st thou prate in this ungodly
guise. Thou beliest thine own heart, Peleg. Tell me, when this same Pequod
here had her three masts overboard in that typhoon  on  Japan,  that  same
voyage when thou went mate with Captain Ahab, did'st  thou  not  think  of
Death and the Judgment then? Hear him, hear him now, cried Peleg, marching
across the cabin, and thrusting his hands far down  into  his  pockets,  -
hear him, all of ye. Think of that! When every moment we thought the  ship
would sink! Death and the judgment then? What? With all three masts making
such an everlasting thundering against the side; and  every  sea  breaking
over us, fore and aft. Think of Death and the Judgment then? No!  no  time
to think about Death then.
    Life was what Captain Ahab and I was thinking of; and how to save all
hands -how to rig jury-masts - how to get into the nearest port; that  was
what I was thinking of. Bildad said no more, but buttoning  up  his  coat,
stalked on deck, where we followed  him.  There  he  stood,  very  quietly
overlooking some sail-makers who were mending a top-sail in the waist. Now
and then he stooped to pick up a patch, or save an end  of  tarred  twine,
which otherwise might have been wasted.



                             19. THE PROPHET

    Shipmates, have ye shipped in that ship? Queequeg and I had just left
the Pequod, and were sauntering away from the water, for the  moment  each
occupied with his own thoughts, when the above words were put to us  by  a
stranger, who, pausing before us, levelled his massive forefinger  at  the
vessel in question. He was but shabbily apparelled  in  faded  jacket  and
patched trowsers; a rag of a black  handkerchief  investing  his  neck.  A
confluent small-pox had in all directions flowed over his face,  and  left
it like the complicated ribbed bed of a torrent, when the  rushing  waters
have been dried up. Have ye shipped in her? he repeated.
    You mean the ship Pequod, I suppose, said I, trying to gain a  little
more time for an uninterrupted look at him. Aye,  the  Pequod  -that  ship
there, he said, drawing back his whole arm, and then  rapidly  shoving  it
straight out from him, with the fixed bayonet of his pointed finger darted
full at the object. Yes,  said  I,  we  have  just  signed  the  articles.
Anything down there about your souls? About what? Oh, perhaps you  hav'n't
got any, he said quickly. no matter though, i know many chaps that hav'n't
got any, -good luck to 'em; and they are all the  better  off  for  it.  A
soul's a sort of a fifth wheel to a wagon. What are you  jabbering  about,
shipmate? said I. He's got enough, though, to make up for all deficiencies
of that sort in other chaps, abruptly said the stranger, placing a nervous
emphasis upon the word he. Queequeg, said I, let's  go;  this  fellow  has
broken loose from somewhere; he's talking about something and somebody  we
don't know.
    Stop! cried the stranger. Ye said true -ye hav'n't seen  Old  Thunder
yet, have ye? Who's Old Thunder? said I, again  riveted  with  the  insane
earnestness of his manner. Captain Ahab. What! the captain  of  our  ship,
the Pequod? Aye, among some of us old sailor chaps, he goes by that  name.
Ye hav'n't seen him yet, have ye? No, we hav'n't. He's sick they say,  but
is getting better, and will be all right  again  before  long.  All  right
again before long! laughed the stranger, with a solemnly derisive sort  of
laugh.
    Look ye; when captain Ahab is all right, then this left arm  of  mine
will be all right; not before. What do you know about him? What  did  they
tell you about him? Say that! They didn't tell much of anything about him;
only I've heard that he's a good whale-hunter, and a good captain  to  his
crew.
    That's true, that's true -yes, both true enough. But  you  must  jump
when he gives an order. Step and growl; growl and go -that's the word with
Captain Ahab. But nothing about that thing that happened to him  off  Cape
Horn, long ago, when he lay like dead for three days and  nights;  nothing
about that deadly skrimmage with the Spaniard afore the altar in Santa?  -
heard nothing about that, eh? Nothing about the silver  calabash  he  spat
into? And nothing about his losing his leg last voyage, according  to  the
prophecy. Didn't ye hear a word about them matters and something more, eh?
No, I don't think ye did; how could ye? Who knows it? Not all Nantucket, I
guess. But hows'ever, mayhap, ye've heard tell about the leg, and  how  he
lost it; aye, ye have heard of that, I dare say. Oh yes,  that  every  one
knows a'most -I mean they know he's only one leg; and  that  a  parmacetti
took the other off.
    My friend, said I, what all this gibberish of yours is about, I don't
know, and I don't much care; for it seems to me that you must be a  little
damaged in the head. But if you are speaking of Captain Ahab, of that ship
there, the Pequod, then let me tell you, that I know all about the loss of
his leg.
    All about it, eh -sure you do? -all? Pretty sure. With finger pointed
and eye levelled at the Pequod, the beggar-like stranger stood  a  moment,
as if in a troubled reverie; then starting a little, turned  and  said:  -
Ye've shipped, have ye? Names down  on  the  papers?  Well,  well,  what's
signed, is signed; and what's to be, will be; and then again,  perhaps  it
wont be, after all. Any how, it's all fixed and arranged a'ready; and some
sailors or other must go with him, I suppose; as well these as  any  other
men, God pity 'em!  Morning  to  ye,  shipmates,  morning;  the  ineffable
heavens bless ye; I'm sorry I stopped ye. Look here, friend,  said  I,  if
you have anything important to tell us, out with it; but if you  are  only
trying to bamboozle us, you are mistaken in your game; that's all  I  have
to say. And it's said very well, and I like to hear a chap  talk  up  that
way; you are just the man for  him  -the  likes  of  ye.  Morning  to  ye,
shipmates, morning! Oh, when ye get there, tell 'em I've concluded not  to
make one of 'em. Ah, my dear fellow, you can't fool us that way -you can't
fool us. It is the easiest thing in the world for a man to look as  if  he
had a great secret in him. Morning to ye, shipmates, morning.  Morning  it
is, said I. Come along, Queequeg, let's leave this crazy  man.  But  stop,
tell me your name, will you?
    Elijah. Elijah! thought I, and we walked away, both commenting, after
each other's fashion, upon this ragged old sailor; and agreed that he  was
nothing but a humbug, trying to be a bugbear. But we had not gone  perhaps
above a hundred yards, when chancing to turn a corner, and looking back as
I did so, who should  be  seen  but  Elijah  following  us,  though  at  a
distance. Somehow, the sight of him struck me so, that I said  nothing  to
Queequeg of his being behind, but passed on with my  comrade,  anxious  to
see whether the stranger would turn the same corner that we did.  He  did;
and then it seemed to me that he was dogging us, but with  what  intent  I
could not for the life of me imagine. This circumstance, coupled with  his
ambiguous, half-hinting, half-revealing, shrouded sort of talk, now  begat
in me all kinds of  vague  wonderments  and  half-apprehensions,  and  all
connected with the Pequod; and Captain Ahab; and the leg he had lost;  and
the Cape Horn fit; and the silver calabash; and  what  Captain  Peleg  had
said of him, when I left the ship the day previous; and the prediction  of
the squaw Tistig; and the voyage we had bound ourselves  to  sail;  and  a
hundred other shadowy things. I was resolved  to  satisfy  myself  whether
this ragged Elijah was really dogging us or  not,  and  with  that  intent
crossed the way with Queequeg, and on that side of it retraced our  steps.
But Elijah passed on, without seeming to notice us. This relieved me;  and
once more, and finally as it seemed to me, I pronounced him in my heart, a
humbug.



                              20. ALL ASTIR

    A day or two passed, and there was great activity aboard the  pequod.
not only were the old sails being mended, but new  sails  were  coming  on
board, and bolts of canvas, and coils of  rigging;  in  short,  everything
betokened that the ship's preparations were hurrying to a  close.  Captain
Peleg seldom or never went ashore, but sat in his wigwam keeping  a  sharp
look-out upon the hands: Bildad did all the purchasing  and  providing  at
the stores; and the men employed in the  hold  and  on  the  rigging  were
working till long  after  night-fall.  On  the  day  following  Queequeg's
signing the articles, word was given at all  the  inns  where  the  ship's
company were stopping, that their chests must be on  board  before  night,
for there was no telling how soon the vessel might be sailing. So Queequeg
and I got down our traps, resolving, however, to  sleep  ashore  till  the
last. But it seems they always give very long notice in these  cases,  and
the ship did not sail for several days. But no wonder; there  was  a  good
deal to be done, and there is no telling how many things to be thought of,
before the Pequod was fully equipped. Every one knows what a multitude  of
things -beds, sauce-pans, knives and forks, shovels  and  tongs,  napkins,
nut-crackers,  and  what  not,  are  indispensable  to  the  business   of
housekeeping. Just so with  whaling,  which  necessitates  a  three-years'
housekeeping upon the wide ocean, far  from  all  grocers,  costermongers,
doctors, bakers, and bankers. And though this also holds true of  merchant
vessels, yet not by any means to the same extent  as  with  whalemen.  For
besides the great length of the  whaling  voyage,  the  numerous  articles
peculiar to the prosecution of  the  fishery,  and  the  impossibility  of
replacing them at the  remote  harbors  usually  frequented,  it  must  be
remembered, that of all ships, whaling vessels are  the  most  exposed  to
accidents of all kinds, and especially to the destruction and loss of  the
very things upon which the success of the voyage most depends. Hence,  the
spare boats,  spare  spars,  and  spare  lines  and  harpoons,  and  spare
everythings, almost, but a spare captain and duplicate ship. At the period
of our arrival at the Island, the heaviest storage of the Pequod had  been
almost completed; comprising her beef, bread, water, fuel, and iron  hoops
and staves. But, as before hinted, for some time  there  was  a  continual
fetching and carrying on board of divers odds and  ends  of  things,  both
large and small. Chief among those who did this fetching and carrying  was
Captain Bildad's sister,  a  lean  old  lady  of  a  most  determined  and
indefatigable spirit, but withal very  kindhearted,  who  seemed  resolved
that, if she could help it, nothing should be found wanting in the Pequod,
after once fairly getting to sea. At one time she would come on board with
a jar of pickles for the steward's pantry; another time with  a  bunch  of
quills for the chief mate's desk, where he kept his log; a third time with
a roll of flannel for the small of some one's rheumatic  back.  Never  did
any woman better deserve her name, which was  Charity  -Aunt  Charity,  as
everybody called her. And like a sister of  charity  did  this  charitable
Aunt Charity bustle about hither and thither, ready to turn her  hand  and
heart to anything that promised to yield safety, comfort, and  consolation
to all on board a ship in which her beloved brother Bildad was  concerned,
and in which she herself owned a score or two of well-saved  dollars.  But
it was startling to see this excellent hearted Quakeress coming on  board,
as she did the last day, with a long oil-ladle in one hand,  and  a  still
longer whaling lance in the other. Nor  was  Bildad  himself  nor  Captain
Peleg at all backward. As for Bildad, he carried about  with  him  a  long
list of the articles needed, and at every fresh  arrival,  down  went  his
mark opposite that article upon the paper.
    Every once and a while Peleg came hobbling out of his whalebone  den,
roaring at the men down the hatchways, roaring up to the  riggers  at  the
mast-head, and then concluded by roaring  back  into  his  wigwam.  During
these days of preparation, Queequeg and I often visited the craft, and  as
often I asked about Captain Ahab, and how he was, and when he was going to
come on board his ship. To these questions they would answer, that he  was
getting better and better, and was expected aboard  every  day;  meantime,
the two Captains, Peleg and Bildad, could attend to  everything  necessary
to fit the vessel for the voyage. If I  had  been  downright  honest  with
myself, I would have seen very plainly in my heart that  I  did  but  half
fancy being committed this way to so long a voyage, without once laying my
eyes on the man who was to be the absolute dictator of it, so soon as  the
ship sailed out upon the open sea. But when a man suspects any  wrong,  it
sometimes happens that if  he  be  already  involved  in  the  matter,  he
insensibly strives to cover up his suspicions even from himself. And  much
this way it was with me. I said nothing, and tried to  think  nothing.  At
last it was given out that some time next day  the  ship  would  certainly
sail. So next morning, Queequeg and I took a very early start.



                            21. GOING ABOARD

    It was nearly six o'clock, but only grey imperfect misty  dawn,  when
we drew nigh the wharf. There are some sailors running ahead there,  if  I
see right, said I to Queequeg, it can't be shadows; she's off by  sunrise,
I guess; come on! Avast! cried a voice,  whose  owner  at  the  same  time
coming close behind us, laid a hand upon  both  our  shoulders,  and  then
insinuating himself between us, stood stooping forward a  little,  in  the
uncertain twilight, strangely peering from Queequeg to me. It was  Elijah.
Going aboard? Hands off, will you, said I.  Lookee  here,  said  Queequeg,
shaking himself, go 'way! Aint going aboard, then? Yes, we  are,  said  I,
but what business is that of yours?  Do  you  know,  Mr.  Elijah,  that  I
consider you a little impertinent? No, no, no; I  wasn't  aware  of  that,
said elijah, slowly and wonderingly looking from me to Queequeg, with  the
most unaccountable glances. Elijah, said I, you will oblige my friend  and
me by withdrawing. We are going to the  Indian  and  Pacific  Oceans,  and
would prefer not  to  be  detained.  Ye  be,  be  ye?  Coming  back  afore
breakfast?  He's  cracked,  Queequeg,  said  I,  come  on.  Holloa!  cried
stationary Elijah, hailing us when we had removed a few paces. Never  mind
him, said I, Queequeg, come on. But he stole up to us again, and  suddenly
clapping his hand on my shoulder, said - Did ye see anything looking  like
men  going  towards  that  ship  a  while  ago?  Struck  by   this   plain
matter-of-fact question, I answered, saying,
    Yes, I thought I did see four or five men; but it was too dim  to  be
sure.
    Very dim, very dim, said Elijah. Morning to ye. Once more we  quitted
him; but once more he came softly  after  us;  and  touching  my  shoulder
again, said,
    See if you can find 'em now,  will  ye?  Find  who?  Morning  to  ye!
morning to ye! he rejoined, again moving off. Oh! I was going to  warn  ye
against -but never mind, never mind -it's all one, all in the family  too;
-sharp frost this morning, ain't it? Good bye to ye. Shan't see  ye  again
very soon, I guess; unless it's before the  Grand  Jury.  And  with  these
cracked words he finally departed, leaving me, for the moment, in no small
wonderment at his frantic  impudence.  At  last,  stepping  on  board  the
Pequod, we found everything in profound quiet,  not  a  soul  moving.  The
cabin entrance was locked within; the hatches were all  on,  and  lumbered
with coils of rigging. Going forward to the forecastle, we found the slide
of the scuttle open. Seeing a light, we went down, and found only  an  old
rigger there, wrapped in a tattered pea-jacket. He  was  thrown  at  whole
length upon two chests, his face downwards  and  inclosed  in  his  folded
arms. The profoundest slumber  slept  upon  him.  Those  sailors  we  saw,
Queequeg, where can they have gone to? said I, looking  dubiously  at  the
sleeper. But it seemed that, when on the wharf, Queequeg had  not  at  all
noticed what I now alluded to; hence I would have thought myself  to  have
been optically deceived in that matter, were it not for Elijah's otherwise
inexplicable question. But I beat the thing down; and  again  marking  the
sleeper, jocularly hinted to Queequeg that perhaps we had best sit up with
the body; telling him to establish himself accordingly. He  put  his  hand
upon the sleeper's rear, as though feeling if  it  was  soft  enough;  and
then, without more ado, sat quietly down there. Gracious! Queequeg,  don't
sit there, said I. Oh! perry dood seat, said  Queequeg,  my  country  way;
won't hurt him face. Face! said I, call that  his  face?  very  benevolent
countenance then; but how hard he breathes, he's heaving himself; get off,
Queequeg, you are heavy, it's grinding the face  of  the  poor.  Get  off,
Queequeg! Look, he'll twitch  you  off  soon.  I  wonder  he  don't  wake.
Queequeg removed himself to just beyond  the  head  of  the  sleeper,  and
lighted his tomahawk pipe. I sat at the feet. We  kept  the  pipe  passing
over the sleeper, from one to the other. Meanwhile, upon  questioning  him
in his broken fashion, Queequeg gave me to understand that, in  his  land,
owing to the absence of settees and sofas of all sorts, the king,  chiefs,
and great people generally, were in the custom of fattening  some  of  the
lower orders for ottomans; and to furnish  a  house  comfortably  in  that
respect, you had only to buy up eight or ten lazy fellows,  and  lay  them
round in the piers and alcoves. Besides, it  was  very  convenient  on  an
excursion; much better than those garden-chairs which are convertible into
walking-sticks; upon occasion, a chief calling his attendant, and desiring
him to make a settee of himself under a spreading tree,  perhaps  in  some
damp marshy place. While  narrating  these  things,  every  time  Queequeg
received the tomahawk from me, he flourished the hatchet-side of  it  over
the sleeper's head. What's that for, Queequeg?  Perry  easy,  kill-e;  oh!
perry easy! He was  going  on  with  some  wild  reminiscences  about  his
tomahawk-pipe, which, it seemed, had in its two uses both brained his foes
and soothed his soul, when we were  directly  attracted  to  the  sleeping
rigger. The strong vapor now completely filling the  contracted  hole,  it
began to tell upon him. He breathed  with  a  sort  of  muffledness;  then
seemed troubled in the nose; then revolved over once or twice; then sat up
and rubbed his eyes. Holloa! he breathed  at  last,  who  be  ye  smokers?
Shipped men, answered I, when does she sail? Aye, aye,  ye  are  going  in
her, be ye? She sails to-day. The Captain came  aboard  last  night.  What
Captain? -Ahab? Who but him indeed?
    I was going to ask him some further questions concerning  Ahab,  when
we heard a noise on deck. Halloa! Starbuck's astir, said the rigger.  He's
a lively chief mate, that; good man, and a pious; but  all  alive  now,  I
must turn to. And so saying he went on deck, and we followed. It  was  now
clear sunrise. Soon the crew came on board in twos and threes; the riggers
bestirred themselves; the mates were actively engaged; and several of  the
shore people were busy in bringing various last things on board. Meanwhile
Captain Ahab remained invisibly enshrined within his cabin.



                          22. MERRY CHRISTMAS

    At length, towards noon, upon  the  final  dismissal  of  the  ship's
riggers, and after the Pequod had been hauled  out  from  the  wharf,  and
after the ever-thoughtful Charity had come off in a  whaleboat,  with  her
last gift -a night-cap for Stubb, the second mate, her brother-in-law, and
a spare bible for the steward - after all this, the  two  captains,  Peleg
and Bildad, issued from the cabin, and turning to the  chief  mate,  Peleg
said: Now, Mr. Starbuck, are you sure everything is right? Captain Ahab is
all ready -just spoke to him -nothing more to be got from shore, eh? Well,
call all hands, then. Muster 'em aft here -blast 'em! No need  of  profane
words, however great the hurry, Peleg, said Bildad, but  away  with  thee,
friend Starbuck, and do our bidding. How now! Here upon the very point  of
starting for the voyage, Captain Peleg and Captain Bildad  were  going  it
with a high hand  on  the  quarter-deck,  just  as  if  they  were  to  be
joint-commanders at sea, as well as to all appearances in  port.  And,  as
for Captain Ahab, no sign of him was yet to be seen; Only,  they  said  he
was in the cabin. But then, the idea was, that  his  presence  was  by  no
means necessary in getting the ship under weigh, and steering her well out
to sea. Indeed, as that was not  at  all  his  proper  business,  but  the
pilot's; and as  he  was  not  yet  completely  recovered  -so  they  said
-therefore, Captain Ahab stayed below. And all this seemed natural enough;
especially as in the merchant service many captains never show  themselves
on deck for a considerable time after heaving up the  anchor,  but  remain
over the cabin table, having  a  farewell  merrymaking  with  their  shore
friends, before they quit the ship for good with the pilot. But there  was
not much chance to think over the matter, for Captain Peleg  was  now  all
alive. He seemed to do most of the talking and commanding, and not Bildad.
    Aft here, ye sons of bachelors, he cried, as the sailors lingered  at
the main-mast. Mr. Starbuck, drive 'em aft. Strike the  tent  there!  -was
the next order. As I hinted  before,  this  whalebone  marquee  was  never
pitched except in port; and on board the Pequod,  for  thirty  years,  the
order to strike the tent was well known to be the next thing to heaving up
the anchor.
    Man the capstan! Blood and thunder! -jump! -was the next command, and
the crew sprang for the handspikes.  Now,  in  getting  under  weigh,  the
station generally occupied by the pilot is the forward part of  the  ship.
And here Bildad, who, with Peleg, be it known, in addition  to  his  other
offices, was one of the licensed pilots of the port -he being suspected to
have got himself made a pilot in order to save the Nantucket pilot-fee  to
all the ships he was concerned in, for he never piloted  any  other  craft
-Bildad, I say, might now be seen actively engaged  in  looking  over  the
bows for the approaching anchor, and at intervals singing  what  seemed  a
dismal stave of psalmody, to cheer the hands at the windlass,  who  roared
forth some sort of a chorus about the girls in Booble Alley,  with  hearty
good will. Nevertheless, not three days previous,  Bildad  had  told  them
that no profane songs would be allowed on board the  Pequod,  particularly
in getting under weigh; and Charity, his sister, had placed a small choice
copy of Watts in each seaman's berth. Meantime, overseeing the other  part
of the ship, Captain Peleg ripped and swore astern in the  most  frightful
manner. I almost thought he would sink the ship before the anchor could be
got up; involuntarily I paused on my handspike, and told  Queequeg  to  do
the same, thinking of the perils we both ran, in starting  on  the  voyage
with such a devil for a pilot. I was comforting myself, however, with  the
thought that in pious Bildad might be found some salvation, spite  of  his
seven hundred and seventy-seventh lay; when I felt a sudden sharp poke  in
my rear, and turning round, was horrified at  the  apparition  of  Captain
Peleg in the act of withdrawing his leg from my immediate  vicinity.  That
was my first kick. Is that the way they heave in the marchant service?  he
roared. Spring, thou sheep-head; spring, and break thy backbone! why don't
ye spring, i say, all of ye-spring! Quohog! spring, thou chap with the red
whiskers; spring there, Scotchcap; spring, thou  green  pants.  Spring,  I
say, all of ye, and spring your eyes out! And so saying,  he  moved  along
the  windlass,  here  and  there  using  his  leg   very   freely,   while
imperturbable Bildad kept leading off with his psalmody. Thinks I, Captain
Peleg must have been drinking something to-day. At last the anchor was up,
the sails were set, and off we glided. It was a short, cold Christmas; and
as the short northern day merged into night,  we  found  ourselves  almost
broad upon the wintry ocean, whose freezing spray cased us in ice,  as  in
polished armor. The long rows of teeth on the bulwarks  glistened  in  the
moonlight; and like the white ivory tusks  of  some  huge  elephant,  vast
curving icicles depended from the bows. Lank Bildad, as pilot, headed  the
first watch, and ever and anon, as the old craft deep dived into the green
seas, and sent the shivering frost all over her, and the winds howled, and
the cordage rang, his steady notes were heard, - Sweet fields  beyond  the
swelling flood, Stand dressed in living green. So to the Jews  old  Canaan
stood, While Jordan rolled between. Never did those sweet words sound more
sweetly to me than then. They were full of hope  and  fruition.  Spite  of
this frigid winter night in the boisterous Atlantic, spite of my wet  feet
and wetter jacket, there was yet, it then seemed to me,  many  a  pleasant
haven in store; and meads and glades so eternally vernal, that  the  grass
shot up by the spring, untrodden, unwilted, remains at midsummer. At  last
we gained such an offing, that the two pilots were needed no  longer.  The
stout sail-boat that had accompanied us began ranging  alongside.  It  was
curious and not unpleasing, how Peleg and Bildad  were  affected  at  this
juncture, especially Captain Bildad. For loath to depart, yet; very  loath
to leave, for good, a ship bound on so long and perilous a voyage  -beyond
both stormy Capes; a ship in which  some  thousands  of  his  hard  earned
dollars were invested; a ship, in which an old shipmate sailed as captain;
a man almost as old as he, once more starting to encounter all the terrors
of the pitiless jaw; loath to say good-bye to a thing so every way brimful
of every interest to him, -poor old Bildad lingered long; paced  the  deck
with anxious strides" ran down into the cabin to  speak  another  farewell
word there; again came on deck, and looked to windward; looked towards the
wide and endless waters,  only  bounded  by  the  far-off  unseen  Eastern
Continents; looked towards the land, looked aloft; looked right and  left;
looked everywhere and nowhere; and at last, mechanically  coiling  a  rope
upon its pin, convulsively grasped stout Peleg by the hand, and holding up
a lantern, for a moment stood gazing heroically in his face, as much as to
say, Nevertheless, friend Peleg, I can stand it; yes, I can. As for  Peleg
himself, he took it more like a philosopher; but for all  his  philosophy,
there was a tear twinkling in his eye, when the lantern came too near. And
he, too, did not a little run from cabin to deck -now a  word  below,  and
now a word with Starbuck, the chief mate. But, at last, he turned  to  his
comrade, with a final sort of look about him, - Captain Bildad -come,  old
shipmate, we must go. Back the main-yard there! Boat  ahoy!  Stand  by  to
come close alongside, now! Careful, careful! -come, Bildad, boy -say  your
last. Luck to ye, Starbuck -luck to ye, Mr. Stubb -luck to ye,
    Mr. Flask -good-bye, and good luck to ye  all  -and  this  day  three
years I'll have a hot supper smoking for ye in old Nantucket.  Hurrah  and
away! God bless ye, and have ye in His holy  keeping,  men,  murmured  old
Bildad, almost incoherently. I hope ye'll have fine weather now,  so  that
Captain Ahab may soon be moving among ye -a pleasant sun is all he  needs,
and ye'll have plenty of them in the tropic voyage ye go.  Be  careful  in
the hunt, ye mates. Don't stave the boats needlessly, ye harpooneers; good
white cedar plank is raised full three per cent. within  the  year.  Don't
forget your prayers, either. Mr Starbuck, mind that cooper don't waste the
spare staves. Oh! the sail-needles are in the green locker! Don't whale it
too much a' Lord's days, men; but don't miss a fair chance either,  that's
rejecting Heaven's good gifts. Have an eye to  the  molasses  tierce,  Mr.
Stubb; it was a little leaky, I thought. If ye touch at the  islands,  Mr.
Flask, beware of fornication. Good-bye, good-bye! Don't keep  that  cheese
too long down in the hold, Mr. Starbuck; it'll spoil. Be careful with  the
butter -twenty cents the pound it  was,  and  mind  ye,  if-  Come,  come,
Captain Bildad; stop palavering, -away! and with that, Peleg  hurried  him
over the side, and both dropt into the boat. Ship and boat  diverged;  the
cold, damp night breeze blew between; a screaming gull flew overhead;  the
two hulls wildly rolled; we gave three heavy-hearted cheers,  and  blindly
plunged like fate into the lone Atlantic.



                          23. THE LEE SHORE

    Some chapters back, one Bulkington was spoken of, a tall,  new-landed
mariner, encountered in New Bedford at the inn.
    When  on  that  shivering  winter's  night,  the  Pequod  thrust  her
vindictive bows into the cold malicious waves, who should I  see  standing
at her helm but Bulkington! I looked with sympathetic awe and  fearfulness
upon the man, who in mid-winter just landed from a four  years'  dangerous
voyage, could so unrestingly push off again for still another  tempestuous
term. The land seemed scorching to his feet. Wonderfullest things are ever
the unmentionable; deep memories yield no epitaphs; this six-inch  chapter
is the stoneless grave of Bulkington. Let me only say that it  fared  with
him as with the storm-tossed ship, that miserably drives along the leeward
land. The port would fain give succor; the port is pitiful; in the port is
safety, comfort, hearthstone, supper, warm blankets, friends,  all  that's
kind to our mortalities. But in that gale, the port,  the  land,  is  that
ship's direst jeopardy; she must fly all hospitality; one touch  of  land,
though it but graze the keel, would make her shudder through and  through.
With all her might she crowds all sail off  shore;  in  so  doing,  fights
'gainst the very winds that fain would blow her homeward;  seeks  all  the
lashed sea's landlessness again; for refuge's sake forlornly rushing  into
peril; her only friend  her  bitterest  foe!  Know  ye,  now,  Bulkington?
Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable  truth;  that  all
deep, earnest thinking is but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep  the
open independence of her sea; while the wildest winds of heaven and  earth
conspire to cast  her  on  the  treacherous,  slavish  shore?  But  as  in
landlessness alone resides the highest truth, shoreless, indefinite as God
-so, better is it to perish in that howling infinite, than be ingloriously
dashed upon the lee, even if that were safety! For  worm-like,  then,  oh!
who would craven crawl to land! Terrors of the terrible! is all this agony
so vain? Take heart, take heart, O Bulkington! Bear thee grimly,  demigod!
Up  from  the  spray  of  thy  ocean-perishing  -straight  up,  leaps  thy
apotheosis!



                             24. THE ADVOCATE

    As Queequeg and I  are  now  fairly  embarked  in  this  business  of
whaling; and as this business of whaling has somehow come to  be  regarded
among landsmen as a rather unpoetical and disreputable pursuit; therefore,
I am all anxiety to convince ye, ye landsmen, of the injustice hereby done
to us hunters of whales. In the first  place,  it  may  be  deemed  almost
superfluous to establish  the  fact,  that  among  people  at  large,  the
business of whaling is not accounted on a level with what are  called  the
liberal professions. If a stranger were introduced into any  miscellaneous
metropolitan society, it would but slightly advance the general opinion of
his merits, were he presented to the company as a harpooneer, say; and  if
in emulation of the naval officers he should append the initials S. W.  F.
(Sperm Whale Fishery) to his visiting card,  such  a  procedure  would  be
deemed pre-eminently  presuming  and  ridiculous.  Doubtless  one  leading
reason why the world declines honoring us whalemen, is  this:  they  think
that, at best, our vocation amounts to a butchering sort of business;  and
that when actively engaged therein, we are surrounded  by  all  manner  of
defilements. Butchers we are,  that  is  true.  But  butchers,  also,  and
butchers of the bloodiest badge have been all Martial Commanders whom  the
world invariably delights to honor. And as for the matter of  the  alleged
uncleanliness of our business, ye shall soon  be  initiated  into  certain
facts hitherto pretty generally unknown, and which, upon the  whole,  will
triumphantly plant the sperm whale-ship  at  least  among  the  cleanliest
things of this tidy earth. But even granting the charge in question to  be
true; what disordered slippery decks of a whale-ship are comparable to the
unspeakable carrion of those battle-fields from  which  so  many  soldiers
return to drink in all ladies' plaudits? And if the idea of peril so  much
enhances the popular conceit of the soldier's profession; let me assure ye
that many a veteran who has freely marched up to a battery, would  quickly
recoil at the apparition of the sperm  whale's  vast  tail,  fanning  into
eddies the air over his head. For what are the comprehensible  terrors  of
man compared with the interlinked terrors and wonders of God! But,  though
the world scouts at us whale hunters, yet does it unwittingly pay  us  the
profoundest homage; yea, an all-abounding adoration! for  almost  all  the
tapers, lamps, and candles that burn round the globe, burn, as  before  so
many shrines, to our glory! But look at this matter in other lights; weigh
it in all sorts of scales; see what we whalemen are, and  have  been.  Why
did the Dutch in DeWitt's time have admirals of their whaling fleets?  Why
did Louis XVI. of France, at his own personal  expense,  fit  out  whaling
ships from Dunkirk, and politely invite to that town some score or two  of
families from our own island of Nantucket? Why  did  Britain  between  the
years and pay to her whalemen in bounties upwards of 1,000,000 pounds? And
lastly, how comes it that we whalemen of America  now  outnumber  all  the
rest of the banded whalemen in the world; sail a navy of upwards of  seven
hundred  vessels;  manned  by  eighteen  thousand  men;  yearly  consuming
00824,000,000 of dollars; the ships worth, at the time of sailing, 20,000,
000 dollars; and every year importing  into  our  harbors  a  well  reaped
harvest of 00847,000,000 dollars. How comes all  this,  if  there  be  not
something puissant in whaling? But this is not the  half;  look  again.  I
freely assert, that the cosmopolite  philosopher  cannot,  for  his  life,
point out one single peaceful influence, which within the last sixty years
has operated more potentially upon the whole broad  world,  taken  in  one
aggregate, than the high and mighty  business  of  whaling.  One  way  and
another, it has begotten  events  so  remarkable  in  themselves,  and  so
continuously momentous in their sequential issues, that whaling  may  well
be regarded  as  that  Egyptian  mother,  who  bore  offspring  themselves
pregnant from her womb. It would be a hopeless, endless task to  catalogue
all these  things.  Let  a  handful  suffice.  For  many  years  past  the
whale-ship has been the pioneer in ferreting out the  remotest  and  least
known parts of the earth. She has explored seas  and  archipelagoes  which
had no chart, where no Cook or Vancouver had ever sailed. If American  and
european men-of-war now peacefully ride in once savage harbors,  let  them
fire salutes to the honor and glory of the  whale-ship,  which  originally
showed them the way, and first interpreted between them and  the  savages.
They may celebrate as they will the heroes of Exploring Expeditions,  your
Cookes, Your Krusensterns; but I say that  scores  of  anonymous  Captains
have sailed out of Nantucket, that were as great, and  greater  than  your
Cooke and your Krusenstern. For in their succorless emptyhandedness, they,
in the heathenish sharked  waters,  and  by  the  beaches  of  unrecorded,
javelin islands, battled with virgin wonders and terrors that  Cooke  with
all his marines and muskets would not willingly have dared.  All  that  is
made such a flourish of in the old South Sea Voyages,  those  things  were
but  the  lifetime  commonplaces  of  our  heroic   Nantucketers.   Often,
adventures  which  Vancouver  dedicates  three  chapters  to,  these   men
accounted unworthy of being set down in the ship's  common  log.  Ah,  the
world! Oh, the world! Until  the  whale  fishery  rounded  Cape  Horn,  no
commerce but colonial, scarcely any intercourse but colonial, was  carried
on between Europe and the long line of the opulent  Spanish  provinces  on
the Pacific coast. It was the whaleman who first broke through the jealous
policy of the Spanish  crown,  touching  those  colonies;  and,  if  space
permitted, it might be distinctly shown how from those  whalemen  at  last
eventuated the liberation of Peru, Chili, and Bolivia from the yoke of Old
Spain, and the establishment of the eternal democracy in those parts. That
great America on the other side of the sphere, Australia, was given to the
enlightened world by the whaleman. After its first blunder-born  discovery
by a Dutchman, all other ships long shunned those shores as  pestiferously
barbarous; but the whale-ship touched there. The whale-ship  is  the  true
mother of that now mighty colony. Moreover, in the infancy  of  the  first
Australian  settlement,  the  emigrants  were  several  times  saved  from
starvation by the benevolent biscuit of the whale-ship luckily dropping an
anchor in their waters. The uncounted isles of all Polynesia  confess  the
same truth, and do commercial homage to the whale-ship, that  cleared  the
way for the missionary and the merchant, and in  many  cases  carried  the
primitive missionaries to their first destinations. If that  double-bolted
land, Japan, is ever to become hospitable, it is the whale-ship  alone  to
whom the credit will be due; for already she is on the threshold. But  if,
in  the  face  of  all  this,  you  still  declare  that  whaling  has  no
aesthetically noble associations connected with it, then  am  I  ready  to
shiver fifty lances with you there, and unhorse you with  a  split  helmet
every time. The  whale  has  no  famous  author,  and  whaling  no  famous
chronicler, you will say. The whale  no  famous  author,  and  whaling  no
famous chronicler? Who wrote the first account of our Leviathan?  Who  but
mighty Job! And who composed the first narrative of a whaling-voyage? Who,
but no less a prince than Alfred the Great, who, with his own  royal  pen,
took down the words from Other, the Norwegian whale-hunter of those times!
And who pronounced our glowing  eulogy  in  Parliament?  Who,  but  Edmund
Burke! True enough, but then whalemen themselves  are  poor  devils;  they
have no good blood in their veins. No good blood in their veins? They have
something better than royal  blood  there.  The  grandmother  of  Benjamin
Franklin was Mary Morrel" afterwards, by marriage, Mary Folger, one of the
old settlers of Nantucket, and the ancestress to a long  line  of  Folgers
and harpooneers -all kith and kin to noble Benjamin -this day darting  the
barbed iron from one side of the world to the other. Good again; but  then
all confess that somehow whaling is not respectable.
    Whaling  not  respectable?  Whaling  is  imperial!  By  old   English
statutory law, the whale is declared a royal fish.
    Oh, that's only nominal! The whale himself has never figured  in  any
grand imposing way. The whale never figured in any grand imposing way?  In
one of the mighty triumphs given to a Roman general upon his entering  the
world's capital, the bones of a whale, brought all the way from the Syrian
coast, were the most conspicuous object in the cymballed procession. Grant
it, since you cite it; but, say what you will, there is no real dignity in
whaling. No dignity in whaling?  The  dignity  of  our  calling  the  very
heavens attest. Cetus is a constellation in the South! No more! Drive down
your hat in presence of the Czar, and take it off to Queequeg! No more!  I
know a man that, in his  lifetime,  has  taken  three  hundred  and  fifty
whales. I account that man more  honorable  than  that  great  captain  of
antiquity who boasted of taking as many walled towns. And, as for me,  if,
by any possibility, there be any as yet undiscovered prime thing in me; if
I shall ever deserve any real repute in that small but high  hushed  world
which I might not be unreasonably ambitious of; if hereafter  I  shall  do
anything that, upon the whole, a man might rather have done than  to  have
left undone; if, at my death, my executors, or more properly my creditors,
find any precious MSS. in my desk, then here I prospectively  ascribe  all
the honor and the glory to whaling; for a whale-ship was my  Yale  College
and my Harvard.
    See subsequent chapters for something more on this head.
    See subsequent chapters for something more on this head.



                             25. POSTSCRIPT

    In behalf of the dignity of whaling, I would fain advance naught  but
substantiated facts. But after  embattling  his  facts,  an  advocate  who
should wholly suppress  a  not  unreasonable  surmise,  which  might  tell
eloquently upon his cause -such an advocate, would he not be  blameworthy?
It is well known that at the coronation of kings and queens,  even  modern
ones, a certain curious process of seasoning them for their  functions  is
gone through. There is a saltcellar of state, so called, and there may  be
a caster of state. How they use the salt, precisely -who knows? Certain  I
am, however, that a king's head is solemnly oiled at his coronation,  even
as a head of salad. Can it be, though, that they anoint it with a view  of
making its interior run well, as they  anoint  machinery?  Much  might  be
ruminated here, concerning the essential dignity of  this  regal  process,
because in common life we esteem but meanly and contemptibly a fellow  who
anoints his hair, and palpably smells  of  that  anointing.  In  truth,  a
mature man who uses hair-oil, unless medicinally, that  man  has  probably
got a quoggy spot in him somewhere. As a general rule, he can't amount  to
much in his totality. But the only thing to be considered  here,  is  this
-what kind of oil is used at coronations? Certainly  it  cannot  be  olive
oil, nor macassar oil, nor castor oil, nor bear's oil, nor train oil,  nor
cod-liver oil. What then  can  it  possibly  be,  but  sperm  oil  in  its
unmanufactured, unpolluted state, the sweetest of all oils? Think of that,
ye loyal Britons! we whalemen supply your kings and queens with coronation
stuff!



                        26. KNIGHTS AND SQUIRES

    The chief mate of the Pequod was Starbuck, a native of Nantucket, and
a Quaker by descent. He was a long, earnest man, and though born on an icy
coast, seemed well adapted to endure hot latitudes, his flesh  being  hard
as twice-baked biscuit. Transported to the Indies, his  live  blood  would
not spoil like bottled ale. He must have been born in some time of general
drought and famine, or upon one of those fast days for which his state  is
famous. Only some thirty arid summers had he seen; those summers had dried
up all his physical superfluousness. But this, his thinness, so to  speak,
seemed no more the token of wasting anxieties and cares,  than  it  seemed
the indication of any bodily blight. It was merely the condensation of the
man. He was by no means ill-looking; quite the contrary.  His  pure  tight
skin was an excellent fit; and closely wrapped up in it, and embalmed with
inner health and strength,  like  a  revivified  Egyptian,  this  Starbuck
seemed prepared to endure for long ages to come, and to endure always,  as
now; for be it Polar snow or torrid sun, like a  patent  chronometer,  his
interior vitality was warranted to do well in all climates.  Looking  into
his eyes, you seemed to see  there  the  yet  lingering  images  of  those
thousand-fold perils he had  calmly  confronted  through  life.  A  staid,
steadfast man, whose life for the most part was  a  telling  pantomime  of
action, and not a tame chapter of sounds. Yet, for all his hardy  sobriety
and fortitude,  there  were  certain  qualities  in  him  which  at  times
affected, and in some cases seemed well nigh to overbalance all the  rest.
Uncommonly conscientious for a seaman, and  endued  with  a  deep  natural
reverence, the wild watery loneliness of his life did  therefore  strongly
incline him to superstition; but to that sort of  superstition,  which  in
some organizations seems rather to spring, somehow, from intelligence than
from ignorance. Outward portents and inward presentiments were his. And if
at times these things bent the welded iron of his soul, much more did  his
far-away domestic memories of his young Cape wife and child, tend to  bend
him still more from the original ruggedness of his nature,  and  open  him
still further to those latent influences  which,  in  some  honest-hearted
men, restrain the gush of dare-devil daring, so often evinced by others in
the more perilous vicissitudes of the fishery. I will have no  man  in  my
boat, said starbuck, who is not afraid of a whale. by this, he  seemed  to
mean, not only that the most reliable and useful courage  was  that  which
arises from the fair estimation of the  encountered  peril,  but  that  an
utterly fearless man is a far more dangerous comrade than a coward.
    Aye, aye, said Stubb, the second mate, Starbuck, there, is as careful
a man as you'll find anywhere in this fishery. But we shall ere  long  see
what that word careful precisely means when used by a man like  Stubb,  or
almost any other whale hunter. Starbuck was no crusader after  perils;  in
him courage was not a sentiment; but a thing simply  useful  to  him,  and
always at hand upon all mortally practical occasions. Besides, he thought,
perhaps, that in this business of whaling, courage was one  of  the  great
staple outfits of the ship, like her beef and her bread,  and  not  to  be
foolishly wasted. Wherefore he had no fancy for lowering for whales  after
sun-down; nor for persisting in fighting a fish that too much persisted in
fighting him. For, thought Starbuck, I am here in this critical  ocean  to
kill whales for my living, and not to be killed by them  for  theirs;  and
that hundreds of men had been so killed Starbuck well knew. What doom  was
his own father's? Where, in the bottomless deeps, could he find  the  torn
limbs of his brother? With memories like  these  in  him,  and,  moreover,
given to a certain superstitiousness, as has been  said;  the  courage  of
this Starbuck which could, nevertheless, still flourish, must indeed  have
been extreme. But it was not in reasonable nature that a man so organized,
and with such terrible experiences and remembrances as he had; it was  not
in nature that these things should fail in latently engendering an element
in him, which, under suitable circumstances,  would  break  out  from  its
confinement, and burn all his courage up. And brave as he might be, it was
that sort of bravery chiefly, visible in some intrepid men,  which,  while
generally abiding firm in the conflict with seas, or winds, or whales,  or
any of the ordinary irrational horrors of the world, yet cannot  withstand
those more terrific,  because  more  spiritual  terrors,  which  sometimes
menace you from the concentrating brow of an enraged and mighty  man.  But
were the coming  narrative  to  reveal,  in  any  instance,  the  complete
abasement of poor Starbuck's fortitude, scarce might I have the  heart  to
write it; for it is a thing most sorrowful, nay shocking,  to  expose  the
fall  of  valor  in  the  soul.  Men  may   seem   detestable   as   joint
stock-companies and nations; knaves, fools, and murderers  there  may  be;
men may have mean and meagre faces; but man, in the ideal, is so noble and
so sparkling, such a grand and glowing creature, that over any ignominious
blemish in him all his fellows should run to throw their costliest  robes.
That immaculate manliness we feel within ourselves, so far within us, that
it remains intact though all the outer character seem  gone;  bleeds  with
keenest anguish at the undraped spectacle of a valor-ruined man.  Nor  can
piety itself, at such a shameful sight, completely stifle her  upbraidings
against the permitting stars. But this august dignity I treat of,  is  not
the dignity of kings and robes, but that abounding dignity  which  has  no
robed investiture. Thou shalt see it shining in the arm that wields a pick
or drives a spike; that democratic dignity which, on all  hands,  radiates
without end from God; Himself! The great  God  absolute!  The  centre  and
circumference of all democracy! His omnipresence, our divine equality! If,
then, to meanest mariners, and renegades and castaways, I shall  hereafter
ascribe high qualities, though dark; weave round them  tragic  graces;  if
even the most mournful, perchance the most abased, among them  all,  shall
at times lift himself to  the  exalted  mounts;  if  I  shall  touch  that
workman's arm with some ethereal light; if I shall spread a  rainbow  over
his disastrous set of sun; then against all mortal critics bear me out  in
it, thou just spirit of equality, which hast spread one  royal  mantle  of
humanity over all my kind! Bear me out in it, thou great democratic
    God! who didst not refuse to the swart  convict,  Bunyan,  the  pale,
poetic pearl; Thou who didst clothe with doubly hammered leaves of  finest
gold, the stumped and paupered arm of old Cervantes; Thou who  didst  pick
up Andrew Jackson from the pebbles; who didst hurl him upon  a  war-horse;
who didst thunder him higher than a throne! Thou who, in all  Thy  mighty,
earthly marchings, ever cullest Thy selectest champions  from  the  kingly
commons; bear me out in it, O God!



                        27. KNIGHTS AND SQUIRES

    Stubb was the second mate. He was a native of Cape  Cod;  and  hence,
according to local usage, was called  a  Cape-Cod-man.  A  happy-go-lucky;
neither craven nor valiant; taking perils as they came with an indifferent
air; and while engaged in the most imminent crisis of the  chase,  toiling
away, calm and collected as a journeyman  joiner  engaged  for  the  year.
Good-humored, easy, and careless, he presided over his  whale-boat  as  if
the most deadly encounter were but a dinner,  and  his  crew  all  invited
guests. He was as particular about the comfortable arrangement of his part
of the boat, as an old stage-driver is about the snugness of his box.
    When close to the whale, in the very  death-lock  of  the  fight,  he
handled his unpitying lance coolly and off-handedly, as a whistling tinker
his hammer. He would hum over his old rigadig tunes while flank and  flank
with the most  exasperated  monster.  Long  usage  had,  for  this  Stubb,
converted the jaws of death into an easy chair. What he thought  of  death
itself, there is no telling. Whether he ever thought of it at  all,  might
be a question; but, if he ever did chance to cast his mind that way  after
a comfortable dinner, no doubt, like a good sailor, he took  it  to  be  a
sort of call of the watch to tumble aloft, and  bestir  themselves  there,
about something which he would find out when he obeyed the order, and  not
sooner. What, perhaps, with other things, made Stubb  such  an  easygoing,
unfearing man, so cheerily trudging off with the burden of life in a world
full of grave peddlers, all bowed to the ground  with  their  packs;  what
helped to bring about that almost impious good-humor of  his;  that  thing
must have been his pipe. For, like his nose, his short, black little  pipe
was one of the regular features of his face. You would almost as soon have
expected him to turn out of his bunk without his nose as without his pipe.
    He kept a whole row of pipes there ready loaded,  stuck  in  a  rack,
within easy reach of his hand; and, whenever he turned in, he smoked  them
all out in succession, lighting one from the  other  to  the  end  of  the
chapter; then loading them again to be in readiness anew. For, when  Stubb
dressed, instead of first putting his legs into his trowsers, he  put  his
pipe into his mouth. I say this  continual  smoking  must  have  been  one
cause, at least, of his peculiar disposition; for  every  one  knows  that
this earthly air, whether ashore or afloat, is terribly infected with  the
nameless miseries of the numberless mortals who have died exhaling it; and
as in time of the  cholera,  some  people  go  about  with  a  camphorated
handkerchief  to  their  mouths;  so,   likewise,   against   all   mortal
tribulations, Stubb's tobacco smoke might  have  operated  as  a  sort  of
disinfecting agent. The third mate was Flask,  a  native  of  Tisbury,  in
Martha's Vineyard. A short, stout, ruddy  young  fellow,  very  pugnacious
concerning whales, who somehow seemed to think that the  great  Leviathans
had personally and hereditarily affronted him; and therefore it was a sort
of point of honor with him,  to  destroy  them  whenever  encountered.  So
utterly lost was he to all sense of reverence  for  the  many  marvels  of
their majestic bulk and mystic ways; and  so  dead  to  anything  like  an
apprehension of any possible danger from encountering them;  that  in  his
poor opinion, the wondrous whale was but a species of magnified mouse,  or
at least water-rat, requiring only a little circumvention and  some  small
application of time and trouble in order to kill and boil. This  ignorant,
unconscious fearlessness of his made him a little waggish in the matter of
whales; he followed these fish for the fun  of  it;  and  a  three  years'
voyage round Cape Horn was only a jolly joke that lasted  that  length  of
time. As a carpenter's nails are divided into wrought nails and cut nails;
so mankind may be similarly divided.
    Little Flask was one of the wrought ones; made to  clinch  tight  and
last long. They called him King-Post on board of the Pequod;  because,  in
form, he could be well likened to the short, square timber known  by  that
name in Arctic whalers; and which by the  means  of  many  radiating  side
timbers inserted  in  it,  served  to  brace  the  ship  against  the  icy
concussions of those battering seas.  Now  these  three  mates  -Starbuck,
Stubb, and Flask, were  momentous  men.  They  it  was  who  by  universal
prescription commanded three of the Pequod's boats as  headsmen.  In  that
grand order of battle in which Captain Ahab  would  probably  marshal  his
forces to descend on the whales, these three headsmen were as captains  of
companies. Or, being armed with their long keen whaling spears, they  were
as a picked trio of lancers; even as  the  harpooneers  were  flingers  of
javelins. And since in this famous fishery, each mate or headsman, like  a
Gothic Knight of  old,  is  always  accompanied  by  his  boat-steerer  or
harpooneer, who in certain conjunctures provides him with a  fresh  lance,
when the former one has been badly twisted, or elbowed in the assault; and
moreover, as there generally subsists between the two,  a  close  intimacy
and friendliness; it is therefore but meet, that in this place we set down
who the Pequod's harpooneers were, and  to  what  headsman  each  of  them
belonged. first of all was queequeg, whom Starbuck, the  chief  mate,  had
selected for his squire. But Queequeg is already known. Next was Tashtego,
an unmixed Indian from Gay Head, the most westerly promontory of  Martha's
Vineyard, where there still exists the last remnant of a  village  of  red
men, which has long supplied the neighboring island of Nantucket with many
of her most daring harpooneers. In the fishery, they  usually  go  by  the
generic name of Gay-Headers. Tashtego's long, lean, sable hair,  his  high
cheek bones, and black rounding eyes -for an  Indian,  Oriental  in  their
largeness,  but  Antarctic  in  their  glittering  expression  -all   this
sufficiently proclaimed him an inheritor of the unvitiated blood of  those
proud warrior hunters, who, in quest of the great New England  moose,  had
scoured, bow in hand, the aboriginal forests of the main.  But  no  longer
snuffing in the trail of the wild beasts of  the  woodland,  Tashtego  now
hunted in the wake of the great whales of the sea; the unerring harpoon of
the son fitly replacing the infallible arrow of the sires. To look at  the
tawny brawn of his lithe snaky limbs, you would almost have  credited  the
superstitions of some of the earlier Puritans, and half believed this wild
Indian to be a son of the Prince of the Powers of the  Air.  Tashtego  was
Stubb the second mate's squire. Third among the harpooneers was Daggoo,  a
gigantic, coal-black negro-savage, with a lion-like tread -an Ahasuerus to
behold. Suspended from his ears were two golden hoops, so large  that  the
sailors called them ring-bolts, and would talk of  securing  the  top-sail
halyards to them. In his youth Daggoo had voluntarily shipped on board  of
a whaler, lying in a lonely bay on his native coast. And never having been
anywhere in the world but in Africa, Nantucket, and the pagan harbors most
frequented by whalemen; and having now led for many years the bold life of
the fishery in the ships of owners uncommonly heedful of  what  manner  of
men they shipped; daggoo retained all his barbaric virtues, and erect as a
giraffe, moved about the decks in all the pomp of six  feet  five  in  his
socks. There was a corporeal humility in looking up at him;  and  a  white
man standing before him seemed a  white  flag  come  to  beg  truce  of  a
fortress. Curious to tell, this imperial negro, Ahasuerus Daggoo, was  the
Squire of little Flask, who looked like a chess-man beside him. As for the
residue of the Pequod's company, be it said, that at the present  day  not
one in two of the many thousand  men  before  the  mast  employed  in  the
American whale fishery, are Americans born, though pretty nearly  all  the
officers are. Herein it is the same with the  American  whale  fishery  as
with  the  American  army  and  military  and  merchant  navies,  and  the
engineering forces employed in the construction of the American Canals and
Railroads. The same, I say, because in all these cases the native American
liberally provides the  brains,  the  rest  of  the  world  as  generously
supplying the muscles. No small number of these whaling seamen  belong  to
the Azores, where the outward bound Nantucket whalers frequently touch  to
augment their crews from the hardy peasants of those rocky shores. In like
manner, the Greenland whalers sailing out of Hull or London, put in at the
Shetland Islands, to receive the full complement of their crew.  Upon  the
passage homewards, they drop them there again. How  it  is,  there  is  no
telling, but Islanders seem to make the best whalemen.  They  were  nearly
all Islanders in the Pequod, Isolatoes too, I call such, not acknowledging
the common continent of  men,  but  each  Isolato  living  on  a  separate
continent of his own. Yet now, federated along one keel, what a set  these
Isolatoes were! An Anacharsis Clootz deputation from all the isles of  the
sea, and all the ends of the earth, accompanying Old Ahab in the pequod to
lay the world's grievances before that bar from which  not  very  many  of
them ever come back. Black Little Pip -he  never  did  -oh,  no!  he  went
before. Poor Alabama boy! On the grim Pequod's forecastle,  ye  shall  ere
long see him, beating his tambourine; prelusive of the eternal time,  when
sent for, to the great quarter-deck on high, he was  bid  strike  in  with
angels, and beat his tambourine in glory; called a coward here,  hailed  a
hero there!



                               28. AHAB

    For several days after leaving Nantucket, nothing above  hatches  was
seen of Captain Ahab. The mates  regularly  relieved  each  other  at  the
watches, and for aught that could be seen to the contrary, they seemed  to
be the only commanders of the ship; only they sometimes  issued  from  the
cabin with orders so sudden and peremptory, that after all  it  was  plain
they but commanded vicariously. Yes, their supreme lord and  dictator  was
there, though hitherto unseen by any eyes not permitted to penetrate  into
the now sacred retreat of the cabin. Every time I  ascended  to  the  deck
from my watches below, I instantly gazed aft to mark if any  strange  face
were visible; for my first vague disquietude touching the unknown captain,
now in the seclusion of the sea, became almost a  perturbation.  This  was
strangely  heightened  at  times  by  the   ragged   Elijah's   diabolical
incoherences uninvitedly recurring to me, with a subtle energy I could not
have before conceived of. But poorly could I withstand them,  much  as  in
other moods I was almost ready to smile at the  solemn  whimsicalities  of
that  outlandish  prophet  of  the  wharves.  But  whatever  it   was   of
apprehensiveness or uneasiness -to call it so -which I felt, yet  whenever
I came to look about me in the ship, it seemed against  all  warrantry  to
cherish such emotions. For though the harpooneers, with the great body  of
the crew, were a far more barbaric, heathenish, and motley set than any of
the tame merchant-ship companies which my previous experiences had made me
acquainted with, still I ascribed this -and rightly ascribed  it  -to  the
fierce uniqueness of the very nature of that wild Scandinavian vocation in
which I had so abandonedly embarked. But it was especially the  aspect  of
the three chief officers of the ship, the mates, which was  most  forcibly
calculated to allay these colorless misgivings, and induce confidence  and
cheerfulness in every presentment of the voyage. Three better, more likely
sea-officers and men, each in his own different way, could not readily  be
found, and they were  every  one  of  them  Americans;  a  Nantucketer,  a
Vineyarder, a Cape man. Now, it being Christmas when the  ship  shot  from
out her harbor, for a space we had biting Polar weather,  though  all  the
time running away from it to the southward; and by every degree and minute
of latitude which we sailed, gradually leaving that merciless winter,  and
all its intolerable weather behind us. It was one of those less  lowering,
but still grey and gloomy enough mornings of the transition, when  with  a
fair wind the ship was rushing through the water with a vindictive sort of
leaping and melancholy rapidity, that as I mounted to the deck at the call
of the forenoon watch, so  soon  as  I  levelled  my  glance  towards  the
taffrail, foreboding shivers ran over  me.  Reality  outran  apprehension;
Captain Ahab stood upon his quarter-deck. There seemed no sign  of  common
bodily illness about him, nor of the recovery from any. He looked  like  a
man cut away from the stake, when the fire has  overrunningly  wasted  all
the limbs without consuming them, or taking away one particle  from  their
compacted aged robustness. His whole high,  broad  form,  seemed  made  of
solid bronze, and shaped in an  unalterable  mould,  like  Cellini's  cast
Perseus. Threading its way out from among his grey hairs,  and  continuing
right down one  side  of  his  tawny  scorched  face  and  neck,  till  it
disappeared in his clothing, you saw  a  slender  rod-like  mark,  lividly
whitish. It resembled  that  perpendicular  seam  sometimes  made  in  the
straight, lofty trunk of a great tree, when the upper lightning  tearingly
darts down it, and without wrenching a single twig, peels and grooves  out
the bark from top to bottom, ere running off into the  soil,  leaving  the
tree still greenly alive, but branded. Whether that  mark  was  born  with
him, or whether it was the scar left by some desperate wound, no one could
certainly say. By some tacit consent, throughout the voyage little  or  no
allusion was made to it, especially by  the  mates.  But  once  Tashtego's
senior, an old Gay-Head Indian among the  crew,  superstitiously  asserted
that not till he was full  forty  years  old  did  Ahab  become  that  way
branded, and then it came upon him, not in the fury of  any  mortal  fray,
but  in  an  elemental  strife  at  sea.  Yet,  this  wild   hint   seemed
inferentially negatived,  by  what  a  grey  Manxman  insinuated,  an  old
sepulchral man, who, having never before  sailed  out  of  Nantucket,  had
never  ere  this  laid  eye  upon  wild  Ahab.   Nevertheless,   the   old
sea-traditions, the immemorial credulities, popularly  invested  this  old
Manxman with preternatural powers of discernment. So that no white  sailor
seriously contradicted him when he said that if ever Captain  Ahab  should
be tranquilly laid out -which might hardly come to pass,  so  he  muttered
-then, whoever should do that last office  for  the  dead,  would  find  a
birth-mark on him from crown to sole. So powerfully  did  the  whole  grim
aspect of Ahab affect me, and the livid brand which streaked it, that  for
the first few moments I hardly noted that not a little of this overbearing
grimness was owing to the barbaric white leg upon which he  partly  stood.
It had previously come to me that this ivory leg had at sea been fashioned
from the polished bone of the sperm whale's jaw. Aye, he was dismasted off
Japan, said the old Gay-Head Indian once; but like his dismasted craft, he
shipped another mast without coming home for it. he has a quiver of 'em. I
was struck with the singular posture he maintained. Upon each side of  the
Pequod's quarter deck, and pretty close to the mizen shrouds, there was an
auger hole, bored about half an inch or so, into the plank. His  bone  leg
steadied in that hole; one arm elevated, and holding by a shroud;  Captain
Ahab stood erect, looking straight out  beyond  the  ship's  ever-pitching
prow.  There  was  an  infinity  of  firmest  fortitude,   a   determinate
unsurrenderable wilfulness, in the fixed and fearless, forward  dedication
of that glance. Not a word he spoke; nor did his  officers  say  aught  to
him; though by all their minutest gestures and expressions,  they  plainly
showed the uneasy, if not painful, consciousness of being under a troubled
master-eye. And not only that, but moody stricken Ahab stood  before  them
with a crucifixion in his face; in  all  the  nameless  regal  overbearing
dignity of some mighty woe. Ere long, from his first visit in the air,  he
withdrew into his cabin. But after that morning, he was every day  visible
to the crew; either standing in his pivot-hole, or seated  upon  an  ivory
stool he had; or heavily walking the deck. As the sky  grew  less  gloomy;
indeed, began to grow a little genial, he became still  less  and  less  a
recluse; as if, when the ship had sailed from home, nothing but  the  dead
wintry bleakness of the sea had then kept him so secluded. And, by and by,
it came to pass, that he was almost continually in the air; but,  as  yet,
for all that he said, or perceptibly did, on the at last  sunny  deck,  he
seemed as unnecessary there as another  mast.  But  the  Pequod  was  only
making  a  passage  now;  not  regularly  cruising;  nearly  all   whaling
preparatives needing supervision the mates were  fully  competent  to,  so
that there was little or nothing, out of  himself,  to  employ  or  excite
Ahab, now; and thus chase away, for that one  interval,  the  clouds  that
layer upon layer were piled upon his brow, as ever all clouds  choose  the
loftiest peaks to pile themselves upon. Nevertheless, ere long, the  warm,
warbling persuasiveness of the  pleasant,  holiday  weather  we  came  to,
seemed gradually to charm him from his mood. For, as when the red-cheeked,
dancing girls, April and May, trip home to the wintry, misanthropic woods;
even the barest, ruggedest, most thunder-cloven old oak will at least send
forth some few green sprouts, to welcome such glad-hearted  visitants;  so
Ahab did, in the end, a little respond to the playful  allurings  of  that
girlish air. More than once did he put forth the faint blossom of a  look,
which, in any other man, would have soon flowered out in a smile.



                     29. ENTER AHAB; TO HIM, STUBB

    Some days elapsed, and ice and icebergs all astern,  the  Pequod  now
went rolling through the  bright  Quito  spring,  which,  at  sea,  almost
perpetually reigns on the threshold of the eternal August of  the  Tropic.
The warmly cool, clear, ringing, perfumed,  overflowing,  redundant  days,
were as crystal goblets of Persian sherbet, heaped  up  -flaked  up,  with
rose-water snow. The starred and stately nights seemed  haughty  dames  in
jewelled velvets, nursing at home in lonely pride,  the  memory  of  their
absent conquering Earls, the golden helmeted suns! For sleeping man, 'twas
hard to choose between such winsome days and such seducing nights. But all
the witcheries of that unwaning weather did not merely lend new spells and
potencies to  the  outward  world.  Inward  they  turned  upon  the  soul,
especially when the still mild hours of eve came on; then, memory shot her
crystals as the clear ice most forms of noiseless twilights. And all these
subtle agencies, more and more they wrought on Ahab's texture. Old age  is
always wakeful; as if, the longer linked with life, the less man has to do
with aught that looks like death. among sea-commanders, the old greybeards
will oftenest leave their berths to visit the night-cloaked deck.  It  was
so with Ahab; only that now, of late, he seemed so much  to  live  in  the
open air, that truly speaking, his visits were more  to  the  cabin,  than
from, the cabin to the planks. It feels like going down into  one's  tomb,
-he would mutter to himself, - for an old captain like me to be descending
this narrow scuttle, to  go  to  my  grave-dug  berth.  So,  almost  every
twenty-four hours, when the watches of the night were set, and the band on
deck sentinelled the slumbers of the band below; and when if a rope was to
be hauled upon the forecastle, the sailors flung it not rudely down, as by
day, but with some cautiousness  dropt  it  to  its  place,  for  fear  of
disturbing their slumbering shipmates; when this sort of  steady  quietude
would begin to prevail, habitually, the silent steersman would  watch  the
cabin-scuttle; and ere long the old man would emerge, griping at the  iron
banister, to help his crippled way. Some considerating touch  of  humanity
was in him; for at times like these, he usually abstained from  patrolling
the quarter-deck; because to his wearied mates, seeking repose within  six
inches of his ivory heel, such would have been the reverberating crack and
din of that bony step, that their dreams would have been of the  crunching
teeth of sharks. But once, the  mood  was  on  him  too  deep  for  common
regardings; and as with heavy, lumber-like pace he was measuring the  ship
from taffrail to mainmast, Stubb, the odd second mate, came up from below,
and with a certain unassured, deprecating  humorousness,  hinted  that  if
Captain Ahab was pleased to walk the planks, then, no one could  say  nay;
but there might be some way  of  muffling  the  noise;  hinting  something
indistinctly and hesitatingly about a globe of tow, and the insertion into
it, of the ivory heel. Ah! Stubb, thou did'st not know Ahab then. Am  I  a
cannon-ball, Stubb, said Ahab, that thou wouldst wad me that fashion?  But
go thy ways; I had forgot. Below to thy nightly grave; where  such  as  ye
sleep between shrouds, to use ye to the filling one at last.  -Down,  dog,
and kennel! Starting at the unforeseen concluding exclamation  of  the  so
suddenly scornful old man,  Stubb  was  speechless  a  moment;  then  said
excitedly, I am not used to be spoken to that way, sir; I do but less than
half like it,  sir.  Avast!  gritted  Ahab  between  his  set  teeth,  and
violently moving away, as if to avoid some passionate temptation.
    No, sir; not yet, said Stubb, emboldened, I will not tamely be called
a dog, sir. Then be called ten times a donkey, and a mule, and an ass, and
begone, or I'll clear the world of thee! As he said  this,  Ahab  advanced
upon  him  with  such  overbearing  terrors  in  his  aspect,  that  Stubb
involuntarily retreated. I was never served so  before  without  giving  a
hard blow for it, muttered Stubb,  as  he  found  himself  descending  the
cabin-scuttle.
    It's very queer. Stop, Stubb; somehow, now, I don't well know whether
to go back and strike him, or -what's that? - down here on  my  knees  and
pray for him? Yes, that was the thought coming up in me; but it  would  be
the first time I ever did pray. It's queer; very  queer;  and  he's  queer
too; aye, take him fore and aft, he's about the  queerest  old  man  Stubb
ever sailed with. How he flashed at me! -his eyes like powder-pans! is  he
mad? Anyway there's something on his  mind,  as  sure  as  there  must  be
something on a deck when it cracks. He aint in his bed now,  either,  more
than three hours out of the twenty-four; and he don't sleep  then.  Didn't
that Dough-Boy, the steward, tell me that of a morning he always finds the
old man's hammock clothes all rumpled and tumbled, and the sheets down  at
the foot, and the coverlid almost tied into knots, and the pillow  a  sort
of frightful hot, as though a baked brick had been on it? A hot old man! I
guess he's got what some folks ashore call a conscience; it's  a  kind  of
Tic-Dolly-row they say -worse nor a toothache. Well, well;  I  don't  know
what it is, but the Lord keep me from catching it. He's full of riddles; I
wonder what he goes into the after hold for,  every  night,  as  Dough-Boy
tells me he suspects; what's that for, I should like to know?  Who's  made
appointments with him in the hold?
    Ain't that queer, now? But there's no  telling,  it's  the  old  game
-Here goes for a snooze. Damn me, it's worth a fellow's while to  be  born
into the world, if only to fall right asleep. And now that I think of  it,
that's about the first thing babies do, and that's a sort of  queer,  too.
Damn me, but all things are queer,  come  to  think  of  'em.  But  that's
against my principles. Think not, is my eleventh  commandment;  and  sleep
when you can, is my twelfth - So here goes again. But how's  that?  didn't
he call me a dog? blazes! he called me ten times a donkey, and piled a lot
of jackasses on top of that! He might as well have  kicked  me,  and  done
with it. Maybe he did kick me, and I didn't observe it, I was so taken all
aback with his brow, somehow. It flashed like a bleached  bone.  What  the
devil's the matter with me? I don't stand right on my legs.  Coming  afoul
of that old man has a sort of turned me wrong side out.  By  the  Lord,  I
must have been dreaming, though -How? how? how? -but  the  only  way's  to
stash it; so here goes to hammock again; and in the morning, I'll see  how
this plaguey juggling thinks over by day-light.



                              30. THE PIPE

    When Stubb had departed, Ahab stood for  a  while  leaning  over  the
bulwarks; and then, as had been usual with him of late, calling  a  sailor
of the watch, he sent him below for his ivory stool, and  also  his  pipe.
lighting the pipe at the binnacle lamp  and  planting  the  stool  on  the
weather side of the deck, he sat and  smoked.  In  old  Norse  times,  the
thrones of the sea-loving Danish kings were fabricated,  saith  tradition,
of the tusks of the narwhale. How could one look at Ahab then,  seated  on
that tripod of bones, without bethinking him of the royalty it symbolized?
For a Khan of the plank, and a king of  the  sea,  and  a  great  lord  of
Leviathans was Ahab. Some moments passed, during  which  the  thick  vapor
came from his mouth in quick and constant puffs,  which  blew  back  again
into his face. How now, he soliloquized at  last,  withdrawing  the  tube,
this smoking no longer soothes. Oh, my pipe! hard must it go  with  me  if
thy charm be gone! Here have I been unconsciously toiling, not pleasuring,
-aye, and ignorantly smoking to windward all the while; to  windward,  and
with such nervous whiffs, as if, like the dying whale, my final jets  were
the strongest and fullest of trouble. What business have I with this pipe?
This thing that is meant for sereneness, to  send  up  mild  white  vapors
among mild white hairs, not among torn iron-grey  locks  like  mine.  I'll
smoke no more- He tossed the still lighted pipe into  the  sea.  The  fire
hissed in the waves; the same instant the ship  shot  by  the  bubble  the
sinking pipe made. With slouched hat, Ahab lurchingly paced the planks.



                              31. QUEEN MAB

    Next morning Stubb accosted Flask. Such a queer dream,  King-Post,  I
never had. You know the old man's ivory leg, well I dreamed he  kicked  me
with it; and when I tried to kick back, upon my soul,  my  little  man,  I
kicked my leg right off! And then, presto! Ahab seemed a pyramid,  and  I,
like a blazing fool, kept kicking at it. But what was still more  curious,
Flask-you know how curious all dreams are- through all this  rage  that  I
was in, I somehow seemed to be thinking to myself, that after all, it  was
not much of an insult, that kick from ahab. "Why,"  thinks  I,"what's  the
row? It's not a real  leg,  only  a  false  leg."  And  there's  a  mighty
difference between a living thump and a dead thump. That's  what  makes  a
blow from the hand, Flask, fifty times more savage to  bear  than  a  blow
from a cane. The living member -that makes the living  insult,  my  little
man. And thinks I to myself all the while, mind, while I was  stubbing  my
silly toes against that cursed pyramid - so confoundedly contradictory was
it all, all the while, I say, I was thinking to myself,  "what's  his  leg
now, but a cane -a whalebone cane. Yes," thinks I,"it was only  a  playful
cudgelling -in fact, only a whaleboning that he gave me -not a base  kick.
Besides," thinks I,"look at it once; why, the end of  it  -the  foot  part
-what a small sort of end it is; whereas, if a broad footed farmer  kicked
me, there's a devilish broad insult.
    But this insult is whittled down to a point only." But now comes  the
greatest joke of the dream, Flask. While  I  was  battering  away  at  the
pyramid, a sort of badger-haired old merman, with  a  hump  on  his  back,
takes me by the shoulders, and slews me round. "What are you 'bout?"  says
he. Slid! man, but I was frightened.  Such  a  phiz!  But,  somehow,  next
moment I was over the fright. "What am I about?" says I at last. "And what
business is that of yours, I should like to know,  Mr.  Humpback?  Do  you
want a kick?" By the lord, Flask, I had  no  sooner  said  that,  than  he
turned round his stern to me, bent over, and dragging up a lot of  seaweed
he had for a clout -what do you think, I saw? -why thunder alive, man, his
stern was stuck full of marlinspikes, with the  points  out.  Says  I,  on
second thoughts,"I guess I won't kick you, old fellow." "Wise Stubb," said
he,"wise Stubb;" and kept muttering it all the time, a sort of  eating  of
his own gums like a chimney hag. seeing he wasn't  going  to  stop  saying
over his "wise Stubb, wise Stubb," I thought  I  might  as  well  fall  to
kicking the pyramid again. But I had only just lifted my foot for it, when
he roared out, "Stop that kicking!" "Halloa," says  I,"what's  the  matter
now, old fellow?" "Look ye here," says he;"let's argue the insult. Captain
Ahab kicked ye, didn't he?" "Yes, he did," says I -"right  here  it  was."
"Very good," says he -"he used his ivory leg, didn't he?" "Yes,  he  did,"
says I. "Well then," says he, "wise Stubb, what have you to  complain  of?
Didn't he kick with right good will? it wasn't a common pitch pine leg  he
kicked with, was it? No, you were kicked  by  a  great  man,  and  with  a
beautiful ivory leg, Stubb. It's an honor; I consider it an honor. Listen,
wise Stubb. In old England the greatest lords think it great glory  to  be
slapped by a queen, and made garter-knights of; but, be your boast, Stubb,
that ye were kicked by old Ahab, and made a wise man of. Remember  what  I
say; be kicked by him; account his kicks honors; and on  no  account  kick
back; for you can't help yourself, wise Stubb. Don't you see that pyramid?
" With that, he all of a sudden seemed somehow, in some queer fashion,  to
swim off into the air. I snored; rolled  over;  and  there  I  was  in  my
hammock! Now, what do you think of that dream, Flask?  I  don't  know;  it
seems a sort of foolish to me, tho'. May be, may be. But it's made a  wise
man of me, Flask. D'ye see Ahab standing there, sideways looking over  the
stern? Well, the best thing you can do, Flask, is  to  let  that  old  man
alone; never speak to him,  whatever  he  says.  Halloa!  what's  that  he
shouts? Hark!
    Mast-head, there! Look sharp, all of ye! There are whales hereabouts!
If ye see a white one, split your lungs for him! What d'ye think  of  that
now, Flask? ain't there a small drop of something queer about that, eh?  a
white whale-did ye mark that, man? Look ye-there's  something  special  in
the wind. Stand by for it, Flask. Ahab has that that's bloody on his mind.
But, mum; he comes this way.



                              32. CETOLOGY

    Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon  we  shall  be
lost in its unshored, harborless immensities. Ere that come to  pass;  ere
the Pequod's weedy hull rolls side by side with the barnacled hulls of the
leviathan; at the outset it is but well  to  attend  to  a  matter  almost
indispensable to a thorough appreciative understanding of the more special
leviathanic revelations and allusions of all sorts which are to follow. It
is some systematized exhibition of the whale in his broad genera,  that  I
would now fain put before you. Yet is it no easy task. The  classification
of the constituents of a chaos, nothing less is here  essayed.  Listen  to
what the best and latest authorities have laid down. No branch of  Zoology
is so much involved as that  which  is  entitled  Cetology,  says  Captain
Scoresby, A. D. . It is not my intention, were it in my  power,  to  enter
into the inquiry as to the true method of dividing the cetacea into groups
and families.... Utter confusion  exists  among  the  historians  of  this
animal (sperm whale), says Surgeon Beale, A. D.
    Unfitness  to  pursue  our  research  in  the  unfathomable   waters.
Impenetrable veil covering our knowledge of the cetacea.  A  field  strewn
with thorns. All these incomplete indications  but  serve  to  torture  us
naturalists. Thus speak of the whale, the great Cuvier, and  John  Hunter,
and Lesson, those lights of zoology and anatomy. Nevertheless,  though  of
real knowledge there be little, yet of books there are a plenty; and so in
some small degree, with cetology, or the science of whales. many  are  the
men, small and great, old and new, landsmen and seamen, who have at  large
or in little, written of the whale. Run over a few: -The  Authors  of  the
Bible; Aristotle; Pliny;  Aldrovandi;  Sir  Thomas  Browne;  Gesner;  Ray;
Linnaeus;  Rondeletius;  Willoughby;  Green;  Artedi;  Sibbald;   Brisson;
Marten; Lacepede; Bonneterre; Desmarest; Baron Cuvier;  Frederick  Cuvier;
John Hunter; Owen; Scoresby; Beale; Bennett; J. Ross Browne; the Author of
Miriam Coffin; Olmstead; and the Rev. T. Cheever.  But  to  what  ultimate
generalizing purpose all these have written, the above cited extracts will
show. Of the names in this list of whale  authors,  only  those  following
Owen ever saw living whales; and but one of them was a  real  professional
harpooneer and whaleman. I mean Captain Scoresby. On the separate  subject
of the Greenland or right-whale, he is the best  existing  authority.  But
Scoresby knew nothing and says nothing of the great sperm whale,  compared
with which the Greenland whale is almost unworthy mentioning. And here  be
it said, that the Greenland whale is an usurper upon  the  throne  of  the
seas. He is not even by any means the largest of the whales. Yet, owing to
the long priority of his claims, and the profound  ignorance  which,  till
some seventy years back, invested the then fabulous  and  utterly  unknown
sperm-whale, and which ignorance to this present day still reigns  in  all
but some few scientific retreats and whale-ports; this usurpation has been
every way complete. Reference to nearly all the leviathanic  allusions  in
the great poets of past days, will satisfy you that the  Greenland  whale,
without one rival, was to them the monarch of the seas. But the  time  has
at last come for a new proclamation. This is Charing Cross; hear ye!  good
people all, -the Greenland whale is deposed, -the great  sperm  whale  now
reigneth! There are only two books in being which at all  pretend  to  put
the living sperm whale before you, and at the same time, in  the  remotest
degree succeed in the attempt. Those books are Beale's and Bennett's; both
in their time surgeons to English South-Sea whale-ships,  and  both  exact
and reliable men. The original matter touching the sperm whale to be found
in their volumes is necessarily small; but so far as it  goes,  it  is  of
excellent quality, though mostly confined to  scientific  description.  As
yet, however, the sperm whale, scientific or poetic, lives not complete in
any literature. Far above all other hunted whales,  his  is  an  unwritten
life. Now the  various  species  of  whales  need  some  sort  of  popular
comprehensive classification, if only an easy outline one for the present,
hereafter to be filled in all its departments by subsequent  laborers.  As
no better man advances to take this matter in hand, I  hereupon  offer  my
own poor endeavors. I promise nothing complete; because  any  human  thing
supposed to be complete, must for that very reason infallibly be faulty. I
shall not pretend to  a  minute  anatomical  description  of  the  various
species, or- in this place at least -to much of any description. My object
here is simply to project the draught of a systematization of cetology.
    I am the architect, not the builder. But it is a ponderous  task;  no
ordinary letter-sorter in the Post-office is equal to it.  To  grope  down
into the bottom of the sea after them;  to  have  one's  hands  among  the
unspeakable foundations, ribs, and very pelvis of the  world;  this  is  a
fearful thing. What am I that I should essay to  hook  the  nose  of  this
leviathan! The awful tauntings in Job might well appal me.  Will  he  (the
leviathan) make a covenant with thee? Behold the hope of him is vain!  But
I have swam through libraries and sailed through oceans; I have had to  do
with whales with these visible hands; I am in earnest;  and  I  will  try.
There are some preliminaries to settle. first:  the  uncertain,  unsettled
condition of this science of Cetology is in the very vestibule attested by
the fact, that in some quarters it still remains a moot  point  whether  a
whale be a fish. In his System of Nature,  A.  D.,  Linnaeus  declares,  I
hereby separate the whales from the fish. But of my own knowledge, I  know
that down to the year, sharks and  shad,  alewives  and  herring,  against
Linnaeus's express edict, were still found dividing the possession of  the
same seas with the Leviathan. The grounds upon which Linnaeus  would  fain
have banished the whales from the waters, he states as follows: On account
of their warm bilocular heart, their lungs, their movable  eyelids,  their
hollow ears, penem intrantem feminam mammis  lactantem,  and  finally,  ex
lege naturae jure meritoque. I submitted all this  to  my  friends  Simeon
Macey and Charley Coffin, of  Nantucket,  both  messmates  of  mine  in  a
certain voyage, and they united in the opinion that the reasons set  forth
were altogether insufficient.
    Charley profanely hinted they were humbug. Be it known that,  waiving
all argument, I take the good old fashioned ground that  the  whale  is  a
fish, and call upon holy Jonah to back me. This fundamental thing settled,
the next point is, in what internal respect does  the  whale  differ  from
other fish. Above, Linnaeus has given you those items. But in brief,  they
are these: lungs and warm blood; whereas, all other fish are lungless  and
cold blooded. Next:  how  shall  we  define  the  whale,  by  his  obvious
externals, so as conspicuously to label him for all time to  come?  To  be
short, then, a whale is a spouting fish with a horizontal tail. There  you
have him. However contracted, that definition is the  result  of  expanded
meditation. A walrus spouts much like a whale, but the  walrus  is  not  a
fish, because he is amphibious. but the last term  of  the  definition  is
still more cogent, as coupled with the first. Almost  any  one  must  have
noticed that all the fish familiar to landsmen have  not  a  flat,  but  a
vertical, or up-and-down tail. Whereas,  among  spouting  fish  the  tail,
though it  may  be  similarly  shaped,  invariably  assumes  a  horizontal
position. By the above definition of what a whale is, I  do  by  no  means
exclude  from  the  leviathanic  brotherhood  any  sea  creature  hitherto
identified with the whale by the best informed Nantucketers; nor,  on  the
other hand, link with it any fish  hitherto  authoritatively  regarded  as
alien. Hence, all the smaller, spouting, and horizontal tailed  fish  must
be included in this ground-plan of Cetology. Now,  then,  come  the  grand
divisions of the entire whale host. First: According to magnitude I divide
the whales into three primary  BOOKS  (subdivisible  into  Chapters),  and
these shall comprehend them all, both small and large. I. The FOLIO WHALE;
II. the OCTAVO WHALE; III. the DUODECIMO WHALE. As the type of the FOLIO I
present the Sperm Whale; of the OCTAVO, the Grampus; of the DUODECIMO, the
Porpoise. FOLIOS. Among these I here include the following chapters: -  I.
The Sperm Whale; II. the Right
    Whale; III. the Fin Back Whale; IV. the Hump-backed Whale; V. the
    Razor Back Whale; VI. the Sulphur Bottom Whale.  BOOK  I.  (  Folio),
CHAPTER I. ( Sperm Whale). -This whale, among the English of  old  vaguely
known as the Trumpa whale, and the Physeter whale, and  the  Anvil  Headed
whale, is the present Cachalot of the French, and  the  Pottsfich  of  the
Germans, and the Macrocephalus of the Long Words. He  is,  without  doubt,
the largest inhabitant of the globe; the most formidable of all whales  to
encounter; the most majestic in  aspect;  and  lastly,  by  far  the  most
valuable in commerce; he being the only creature from which that  valuable
substance, spermaceti, is obtained. All his peculiarities  will,  in  many
other places, be enlarged upon.
    It is chiefly with his name that I now  have  to  do.  Philologically
considered, it is absurd. Some centuries ago, when  the  Sperm  whale  was
almost wholly unknown in his own proper individuality, and  when  his  oil
was only accidentally obtained from  the  stranded  fish;  in  those  days
spermaceti, it would seem, was popularly supposed to  be  derived  from  a
creature identical with the one then known in England as the Greenland  or
Right Whale. It was the idea also, that  this  same  spermaceti  was  that
quickening humor of the Greenland Whale which the first  syllable  of  the
word literally expresses. In those times, also, spermaceti was exceedingly
scarce, not being used for light, but only as an ointment and  medicament.
It was only to be had from the druggists as you nowadays buy an  ounce  of
rhubarb. When, as I opine, in the course  of  time,  the  true  nature  of
spermaceti became known, its original  name  was  still  retained  by  the
dealers;  no  doubt  to  enhance  its  value  by  a  notion  so  strangely
significant of its scarcity. And so the appellation must at last have come
to be bestowed upon the  whale  from  which  this  spermaceti  was  really
derived. BOOK I. ( Folio), CHAPTER II. ( Right Whale).-In one respect this
is the most venerable of the leviathans, being  the  one  first  regularly
hunted by man. It yields  the  article  commonly  known  as  whalebone  or
baleen; and the oil specially known as whale oil, an inferior  article  in
commerce. Among the fishermen, he is indiscriminately  designated  by  all
the following titles: The Whale; the Greenland Whale; the Black Whale; the
Great Whale; the True Whale; the Right whale. there is a deal of obscurity
concerning the identity of the species thus multitudinously baptized. What
then is the whale, which I include in the second species of my Folios?  It
is the Great Mysticetus of the English naturalists; the Greenland Whale of
the English Whalemen; the Baliene Ordinaire of the  French  whalemen;  the
Growlands Walfish of the Swedes. It is the whale which for more  than  two
centuries past has been hunted by the Dutch  and  English  in  the  Arctic
seas; it is the whale which the American fishermen have  long  pursued  in
the Indian ocean, on the Brazil Banks, on the Nor' West Coast, and various
other parts of the world, designated by them Right Whale Cruising Grounds.
Some pretend to see a  difference  between  the  Greenland  whale  of  the
English and the right whale of the Americans. But they precisely agree  in
all their grand features; nor  has  there  yet  been  presented  a  single
determinate fact upon which to ground a  radical  distinction.  It  is  by
endless subdivisions based upon the most  inconclusive  differences,  that
some departments of natural history become so repellingly  intricate.  The
right whale will be elsewhere treated of at some length, with reference to
elucidating the sperm whale. BOOK I. ( Folio), CHAPTER III.  (  Fin-Back).
-Under this head I reckon  a  monster  which,  by  the  various  names  of
Fin-Back, Tall-Spout, and Long-John, has been seen almost in every sea and
is commonly the whale whose distant jet is so often descried by passengers
crossing the Atlantic, in the New York packet-tracks.  In  the  length  he
attains, and in his baleen, the Fin-back resembles the right whale, but is
of a less portly girth, and a lighter color,  approaching  to  olive.  His
great lips present a  cable-like  aspect,  formed  by  the  intertwisting,
slanting folds of large wrinkles. His grand  distinguishing  feature,  the
fin, from which he derives his name, is often a conspicuous  object.  this
fin is some three or four feet long, growing vertically  from  the  hinder
part of the back, of an angular shape, and with a very sharp pointed  end.
Even if not the slightest other part of  the  creature  be  visible,  this
isolated fin will, at times, be seen plainly projecting from the  surface.
When the sea is  moderately  calm,  and  slightly  marked  with  spherical
ripples, and this gnomon-like fin stands up and  casts  shadows  upon  the
wrinkled  surface,  it  may  well  be  supposed  that  the  watery  circle
surrounding it  somewhat  resembles  a  dial,  with  its  style  and  wavy
hour-lines graved on it. On that Ahaz-dial the shadow often goes back. The
Fin-Back is not gregarious. He  seems  a  whale-hater,  as  some  men  are
man-haters. Very shy; always going solitary; unexpectedly  rising  to  the
surface in the remotest and most sullen waters; his  straight  and  single
lofty jet rising like a tall  misanthropic  spear  upon  a  barren  plain;
gifted with such wondrous power and velocity in swimming, as to  defy  all
present  pursuit  from  man;  this  leviathan  seems  the   banished   and
unconquerable Cain of his race, bearing for his mark that style  upon  his
back. From having the baleen in  his  mouth,  the  Fin-Back  is  sometimes
included with the right  whale,  among  a  theoretic  species  denominated
Whalebone whales, that is, whales with baleen.
    Of these so called Whalebone whales, there would seem to  be  several
varieties, most of which, however, are little  known.  Broad-nosed  whales
and beaked whales; pike-headed whales; bunched whales; under-jawed  whales
and rostrated whales, are the  fishermen's  names  for  a  few  sorts.  In
connexion with this appellative of Whalebone  whales  ,  it  is  of  great
importance to mention, that however such a nomenclature may be  convenient
in facilitating allusions to some kind of whales, yet it  is  in  vain  to
attempt a clear classification of the Leviathan, founded upon  either  his
baleen, or hump, or fin, or teeth; notwithstanding that those marked parts
or features very obviously seem better adapted to afford the basis  for  a
regular system of Cetology than any other  detached  bodily  distinctions,
which the whale, in his kinds,  presents.  How  then?  The  baleen,  hump,
back-fin,  and  teeth;  these   are   things   whose   peculiarities   are
indiscriminately dispersed among all sorts of whales, without  any  regard
to what may be the nature of their structure in other and  more  essential
particulars. Thus, the sperm whale and the humpbacked whale,  each  has  a
hump; but there the similitude ceases. Then, this  same  humpbacked  whale
and the Greenland whale, each of these has baleen;  but  there  again  the
similitude ceases. And it is just the same  with  the  other  parts  above
mentioned.  In  various  sorts  of  whales,  they  form   such   irregular
combinations; or, in the case  of  any  one  of  them  detached,  such  an
irregular isolation; as utterly to defy all general  methodization  formed
upon such a basis. On this rock every one  of  the  whale-naturalists  has
split. But it may possibly be conceived that, in the internal parts of the
whale, in his anatomy -there, at least, we shall be able to hit the  right
classification. Nay; what thing, for example, is there  in  the  Greenland
whale's anatomy more striking than his baleen? Yet we have  seen  that  by
his baleen it is impossible correctly to classify the Greenland whale. And
if you descend into the bowels of the various leviathans,  why  there  you
will  not  find  distinctions  a  fiftieth  part  as  available   to   the
systematizer as those external ones already enumerated. What then remains?
nothing but to take hold of the whales bodily,  in  their  entire  liberal
volume, and boldly sort them that way. And  this  is  the  Bibliographical
system here adopted; and it is the only one that can possibly succeed, for
it alone is practicable. To proceed.
    book i. ( folio), chapter iv. ( hump back). -this whale is often seen
on the northern American coast. He has been frequently captured there, and
towed into harbor. He has a great pack on him like a peddler; or you might
call him the Elephant and Castle whale. At any rate, the popular name  for
him does not sufficiently distinguish him, since the sperm whale also  has
a hump, though a smaller one. His oil is not very valuable. He has baleen.
He is the most gamesome and light-hearted of all the whales,  making  more
gay foam and white water generally than any  other  of  them.  BOOK  I.  (
Folio), CHAPTER V. ( Razor Back). -Of this whale little is known  but  his
name. I have seen him at a distance off Cape Horn. Of a  retiring  nature,
he eludes both hunters and philosophers. Though no coward,  he  has  never
yet shown any part of him but his back, which rises in a long sharp ridge.
Let him go. I know little more of him, nor does anybody else.  BOOK  I.  (
Folio), CHAPTER VI. ( Sulphur Bottom). - Another retiring gentleman,  with
a brimstone belly, doubtless got by scraping along the Tartarian tiles  in
some of his profounder divings. He is seldom seen; at least I  have  never
seen him except in the remoter southern seas, and then always at too great
a distance to study his countenance. He is never chased; he would run away
with rope-walks of line. Prodigies are told of him. Adieu, Sulphur Bottom!
I can say nothing more that is true of ye, nor can the oldest Nantucketer.
Thus ends BOOK I. ( Folio), and now begins BOOK II. ( octavo).
    OCTAVOES. These embrace the whales of middling magnitude, among which
at present may be numbered: -I., the Grampus; II., the Black  Fish;  III.,
the
    Narwhale; IV., the Thrasher; V., the  Killer.  BOOK  II.  (  Octavo),
CHAPTER I. ( Grampus). -Though this fish, whose loud  sonorous  breathing,
or rather blowing, has furnished a proverb to landsmen, is so well known a
denizen of the deep, yet is he not popularly  classed  among  whales.  But
possessing all the grand  distinctive  features  of  the  leviathan,  most
naturalists have recognised him for one. He is of  moderate  octavo  size,
varying from fifteen to twenty-five feet in length, and  of  corresponding
dimensions round the waist. He swims  in  herds;  he  is  never  regularly
hunted, though his oil is considerable in quantity, and  pretty  good  for
light. By some fishermen his approach is regarded as  premonitory  of  the
advance of the great sperm whale. BOOK II. ( Octavo), CHAPTER II. (  Black
Fish). -I give the popular fishermen's  names  for  all  these  fish,  for
generally they are the best.  Where  any  name  happens  to  be  vague  or
inexpressive, I shall say so, and suggest another. I do so  now,  touching
the Black Fish, so called, because blackness is the rule among almost  all
whales. So, call him the Hyena Whale, if you please. His voracity is  well
known, and from the circumstance that the inner angles  of  his  lips  are
curved upwards, he carries an  everlasting  Mephistophelean  grin  on  his
face. This whale averages some sixteen or eighteen feet in length.  He  is
found in almost all latitudes. He has a peculiar way of showing his dorsal
hooked fin in swimming, which looks something like a Roman nose. When  not
more profitably employed, the sperm whale hunters  sometimes  capture  the
Hyena whale, to keep up the supply of cheap oil  for  domestic  employment
-as some frugal housekeepers, in the absence of company, and  quite  alone
by themselves, burn unsavory tallow instead of odorous wax.  Though  their
blubber is very thin, some of these  whales  will  yield  you  upwards  of
thirty gallons of oil. BOOK II. ( Octavo), CHAPTER III. ( Narwhale),  that
is, Nostril whale. -Another instance of a curiously named whale, so  named
I suppose from his peculiar horn being originally mistaken  for  a  peaked
nose. The creature is some sixteen feet in length, while its horn averages
five feet, though some exceed  ten,  and  even  attain  to  fifteen  feet.
Strictly speaking, this horn is but a lengthened tusk,  growing  out  from
the jaw in a line a little depressed from the horizontal. But it  is  only
found on the sinister side, which has an  ill  effect,  giving  its  owner
something analogous to the  aspect  of  a  clumsy  left-handed  man.  What
precise purpose this ivory horn or lance answers, it would be hard to say.
It does not seemed to be  used  like  the  blade  of  the  sword-fish  and
bill-fish; though some sailors tell me that the Narwhale employs it for  a
rake in turning over the bottom of the sea for food. Charley  Coffin  said
it was used for an ice-piercer; for the Narwhale, rising to the surface of
the Polar Sea, and finding it sheeted with ice, thrusts his horn  up,  and
so breaks through. But you cannot prove either of  these  surmises  to  be
correct. My own opinion is, that however this one-sided horn may really be
used by the Narwhale -however that may be  -it  would  certainly  be  very
convenient to him for a folder in reading pamphlets. The Narwhale  I  have
heard called the Tusked whale, the Horned whale, and the Unicorn whale. He
is certainly a curious example of the Unicornism to  be  found  in  almost
every kingdom of animated nature. From certain cloistered  old  authors  I
have gathered that this  same  sea-unicorn's  horn  was  in  ancient  days
regarded as the great antidote against poison, and as  such,  preparations
of it brought immense prices. It was also distilled to  a  volatile  salts
for fainting ladies, the same way that the horns  of  the  male  deer  are
manufactured into hartshorn. Originally it  was  in  itself  accounted  an
object of great curiosity. Black Letter tells me that Sir Martin Frobisher
on his return from that voyage, when Queen Bess  did  gallantly  wave  her
jewelled hand to him from a window of Greenwich Palace, as his  bold  ship
sailed down the Thames; when Sir Martin returned from that  voyage,  saith
Black Letter, on bended knees he presented to her  highness  a  prodigious
long horn of the Narwhale, which for a  long  period  after  hung  in  the
castle at Windsor. An Irish author avers that the Earl  of  Leicester,  on
bended  knees,  did  likewise  present  to  her  highness  another   horn,
pertaining to a land beast of the unicorn nature. The Narwhale has a  very
picturesque, leopard-like look, being of a milk-white ground color, dotted
with round and oblong spots of black. His oil is very superior, clear  and
fine; but there is little of it, and he is seldom  hunted.  He  is  mostly
found in the circumpolar seas. BOOK II. ( Octavo), CHAPTER IV. (  Killer).
-Of this whale little is precisely known to the Nantucketer,  and  nothing
at all to the professed naturalist. From what I have  seen  of  him  at  a
distance, I should say that he was about the bigness of a grampus.  He  is
very savage -a sort of Feegee fish. He sometimes  takes  the  great  Folio
whales by the lip, and hangs there like a leech, till the mighty brute  is
worried to death. The Killer is never hunted. I never heard what  sort  of
oil he has. Exception might be taken to the name bestowed upon this whale,
on the ground of its indistinctness. For we are all killers, on  land  and
on sea; Bonapartes and Sharks included. BOOK II. ( Octavo), CHAPTER  V.  (
Thrasher). -This gentleman is famous for his tail, which  he  uses  for  a
ferule in thrashing his foes. He mounts the Folio whale's back, and as  he
swims, he works his passage by flogging him;  as  some  schoolmasters  get
along in the world by a similar  process.  Still  less  is  known  of  the
Thrasher than of the Killer. Both are outlaws, even in the  lawless  seas.
thus ends  book  II.  (  Octavo),  and  begins  BOOK  III.  (  Duodecimo).
DUODECIMOES. -These include the smaller whales. I.
    The Huzza Porpoise. II. The Algerine Porpoise. III. The Mealy-mouthed
Porpoise. To those who have not chanced specially to study the subject, it
may possibly seem strange, that fishes not commonly exceeding four or five
feet should be marshalled among WHALES -a  word,  which,  in  the  popular
sense, always conveys an idea of hugeness.  But  the  creatures  set  down
above as Duodecimoes are infallibly whales, by the terms of my  definition
of what a whale is -i. e. a spouting fish, with a  horizontal  tail.  BOOK
III. ( Duodecimo), CHAPTER I ( Huzza  Porpoise).  -  This  is  the  common
porpoise found almost all over the globe. The name is of my own  bestowal;
for there are more than one sort of porpoises, and something must be  done
to distinguish them.  I  call  them  thus,  because  he  always  swims  in
hilarious shoals, which upon the broad  sea  keep  tossing  themselves  to
heaven like caps in a Fourth-of-July crowd. Their appearance is  generally
hailed with delight by the mariner. Full of fine spirits, they  invariably
come from the breezy billows to windward. They are the  lads  that  always
live before the wind. They are accounted a lucky omen. If you yourself can
withstand three cheers at beholding these vivacious fish, then heaven help
ye; the spirit of godly gamesomeness is not in ye. A well-fed, plump Huzza
Porpoise will yield you one good gallon of good  oil.  But  the  fine  and
delicate fluid extracted from his jaws is exceedingly valuable. It  is  in
request among jewellers and watchmakers.
    Sailors put it on their hones. Porpoise  meat  is  good  eating,  you
know. It may never have occurred to you that a  porpoise  spouts.  Indeed,
his spout is so small that it is not very  readily  discernible.  But  the
next time you have a chance, watch him; and you will then  see  the  great
Sperm whale himself in miniature. BOOK III. ( Duodecimo),  CHAPTER  II.  (
Algerine Porpoise). - A pirate. Very savage. He is only found, I think, in
the Pacific. He is somewhat larger than the Huzza Porpoise,  but  much  of
the same general make. Provoke him, and he will buckle to a shark. I  have
lowered for him many times, but never yet saw him captured.  BOOK  III.  (
Duodecimo), CHAPTER III. ( Mealy-mouthed Porpoise). The  largest  kind  of
Porpoise; and only found in the Pacific, so far as it is known.  The  only
English name, by which he has hitherto been designated,  is  that  of  the
fishers - Right-Whale Porpoise, from the circumstance that he  is  chiefly
found in the vicinity of that Folio. In shape, he differs in  some  degree
from the Huzza Porpoise, being of a less rotund and jolly  girth;  indeed,
he is of quite a neat and gentleman-like figure. He has  no  fins  on  his
back (most other porpoises have), he has a lovely  tail,  and  sentimental
Indian eyes of a hazel hue. But his mealy-mouth  spoils  all.  Though  his
entire back down to his side fins is of a deep sable, yet a boundary line,
distinct as the mark in a ship's hull, called the bright waist, that  line
streaks him from stem to stern, with two separate colors, black above  and
white below. The white comprises part of his head, and the  whole  of  his
mouth, which makes him look as if he had just  escaped  from  a  felonious
visit to a meal-bag. A most mean and mealy aspect! His oil  is  much  like
that of the common porpoise. Beyond the DUODECIMO, this  system  does  not
proceed, inasmuch as the Porpoise is the smallest of  the  whales.  Above,
you have all the Leviathans of note. But there are a rabble of  uncertain,
fugitive, half-fabulous whales, which, as an American whaleman, I know  by
reputation, but not personally. I shall enumerate them by their forecastle
appellations;  for  possibly  such  a  list  may  be  valuable  to  future
investigators, who may complete what I have here but begun. If any of  the
following whales, shall hereafter  be  caught  and  marked,  then  he  can
readily be incorporated into this System, according to his Folio,  Octavo,
or Duodecimo magnitude:  -The  Bottle-Nose  Whale;  the  Junk  Whale;  the
Pudding-Headed Whale; the Cape Whale; the Leading Whale; the Cannon Whale;
the Scragg Whale; the Coppered Whale;  the  Elephant  Whale;  the  Iceberg
Whale; the Quog Whale; the Blue Whale; etc. From Icelandic, Dutch, and old
English authorities, there  might  be  quoted  other  lists  of  uncertain
whales, blessed with all manner of uncouth  names.  But  I  omit  them  as
altogether obsolete; and can hardly help suspecting them for mere  sounds,
full of Leviathanism, but signifying nothing. Finally: It  was  stated  at
the outset, that this system would not be here, and  at  once,  perfected.
You cannot but plainly see that I have kept my word. But I  now  leave  my
cetological System standing thus unfinished, even as the  great  Cathedral
of Cologne was left, with the crane still standing upon  the  top  of  the
uncompleted tower. For small erections may  be  finished  by  their  first
architects; grand ones, true ones, ever leave the copestone to  posterity.
God keep me from ever completing  anything.  This  whole  book  is  but  a
draught -nay, but the draught of a draught. Oh Time, Strength,  Cash,  and
Patience!
    I am aware that down to the present time, the  fish  styled  Lamatins
and Dugongs (Pig-fish and  Sow-fish  of  the  Coffins  of  Nantucket)  are
included by many naturalists among the whales. But as these pig-fish are a
nosy, contemptible set, mostly  lurking  in  the  mouths  of  rivers,  and
feeding on wet hay, and especially as they do  not  spout,  I  deny  their
credentials as whales; and have presented them  with  their  passports  to
quit the kingdom of Cetology.
    Why this book of whales is not denominated the Quarto is very  plain.
Because, while the whales of this order, though smaller than those of  the
former order, nevertheless retain a  proportionate  likeness  to  them  in
figure, yet the bookbinder's Quarto volume in its diminished form does not
preserve the shape of the Folio volume, but the Octavo volume does.



                          33. THE SPECKSYNDER

    Concerning the officers of the whale-craft,  this  seems  as  good  a
place as any to set down a  little  domestic  peculiarity  on  ship-board,
arising from the existence of the harpooneer class of  officers,  a  class
unknown of course in any other marine  than  the  whale-fleet.  The  large
importance attached to the harpooneer's vocation is evinced by  the  fact,
that originally in the old Dutch Fishery, two centuries and more ago,  the
command of a whale ship was not wholly lodged in the person now called the
captain,  but  was  divided  between  him  and  an  officer   called   the
Specksynder. Literally this word means Fat-Cutter; usage, however, in time
made it equivalent to Chief  Harpooneer.  In  those  days,  the  captain's
authority was restricted to the navigation and general management  of  the
vessel: while over the whale-hunting department and all its concerns,  the
Specksynder or Chief Harpooneer reigned supreme. In the British  Greenland
Fishery, under  the  corrupted  title  of  Specksioneer,  this  old  Dutch
official is still retained, but his former dignity is sadly  abridged.  At
present he ranks simply as senior Harpooneer; and as such, is but  one  of
the captain's more inferior subalterns. Nevertheless,  as  upon  the  good
conduct of the  harpooneers  the  success  of  a  whaling  voyage  largely
depends, and since in the American Fishery he is  not  only  an  important
officer in the boat, but under certain circumstances (night watches  on  a
whaling ground) the command of the ship's deck is also his; therefore  the
grand political maxim of the sea demands, that he  should  nominally  live
apart from the men before the mast, and be in some  way  distinguished  as
their professional superior; though always, by them,  familiarly  regarded
as their social equal. Now, the grand distinction  drawn  between  officer
and man at sea, is this-the first lives aft, the last forward.  Hence,  in
whale-ships and merchantmen alike, the mates have their quarters with  the
captain; and so, too, in most of the American whalers the harpooneers  are
lodged in the after part of the ship. That is  to  say,  they  take  their
meals  in  the  captain's  cabin,  and  sleep  in   a   place   indirectly
communicating with it. Though the long period of a Southern whaling voyage
(by far the longest of all voyages now or ever made by man), the  peculiar
perils of it, and the community of interest prevailing  among  a  company,
all of whom, high or low, depend for their profits, not upon fixed  wages,
but  upon  their  common  luck,  together  with  their  common  vigilance,
intrepidity, and hard work; though all these things do in some cases  tend
to beget a less rigorous discipline than in  merchantmen  generally;  yet,
never mind how much like an old Mesopotamian family these whalemen may, in
some primitive instances, live together; for  all  that,  the  punctilious
externals, at least, of the quarter-deck are  seldom  materially  relaxed,
and in no instance done away. Indeed, many  are  the  Nantucket  ships  in
which you will see the skipper parading his quarter-deck  with  an  elated
grandeur not surpassed in any military navy; nay, extorting almost as much
outward homage as if he wore the imperial purple, and not the shabbiest of
pilot-cloth. And though of all men the moody captain of the Pequod was the
least given to that sort of shallowest assumption;  and  though  the  only
homage he ever exacted, was implicit, instantaneous obedience;  though  he
required no man to remove the shoes from his feet ere  stepping  upon  the
quarter-deck;  and  though  there  were  times  when,  owing  to  peculiar
circumstances connected with events hereafter to be detailed, he addressed
them in unusual  terms,  whether  of  condescension  or  in  terrorem,  or
otherwise; yet even Captain Ahab  was  by  no  means  unobservant  of  the
paramount forms and usages of the sea. Nor, perhaps, will it  fail  to  be
eventually perceived, that behind those forms and usages, as it  were,  he
sometimes masked himself; incidentally making use of them  for  other  and
more private ends than they were legitimately intended to  subserve.  That
certain sultanism of his brain, which  had  otherwise  in  a  good  degree
remained unmanifested; through those  forms  that  same  sultanism  became
incarnate in an irresistible dictatorship. For  be  a  man's  intellectual
superiority what it will, it can never  assume  the  practical,  available
supremacy over other men, without the aid of some sort  of  external  arts
and entrenchments, always, in themselves, more or less  paltry  and  base.
This it is, that for ever keeps God's true princes of the Empire from  the
world's hustings; and leaves the highest honors that this air can give, to
those men who become famous more through their infinite inferiority to the
choice hidden handful of the Divine Inert, than  through  their  undoubted
superiority over the dead level of the mass. Such large  virtue  lurks  in
these small things when extreme political superstitions invest them,  that
in some royal instances  even  to  idiot  imbecility  they  have  imparted
potency. But when, as in the case of Nicholas the Czar, the  ringed  crown
of geographical empire encircles an imperial  brain;  then,  the  plebeian
herds crouch abased before the tremendous centralization.  Nor,  will  the
tragic dramatist who would depict mortal indomitableness  in  its  fullest
sweep and direct swing, ever forget a hint, incidentally so  important  in
his art, as the one now alluded to. But  Ahab,  my  Captain,  still  moves
before me in all his  Nantucket  grimness  and  shagginess;  and  in  this
episode touching Emperors and Kings, I must not conceal that I  have  only
to do with a poor old whale-hunter like him; and, therefore,  all  outward
majestical trappings and housings are denied me. Oh, Ahab! what  shall  be
grand in thee, it must needs be plucked at from the skies, and  dived  for
in the deep, and featured in the unbodied air!



                         34. THE CABIN-TABLE

    It  is  noon;  and  Dough-Boy,  the  steward,  thrusting   his   pale
loaf-of-bread face from the cabin-scuttle, announces dinner  to  his  lord
and master; who, sitting in the lee quarter-boat, has just been taking  an
observation of the sun; and is now mutely reckoning the  latitude  on  the
smooth, medallion-shaped tablet, reserved for that daily  purpose  on  the
upper part of his ivory leg. From his complete inattention to the tidings,
you would think that moody Ahab had not heard his menial.  But  presently,
catching hold of the mizen shrouds, he swings himself to the deck, and  in
an even, unexhilarated voice, saying,
    Dinner, Mr. Starbuck, disappears into the cabin. When the  last  echo
of his sultan's step has died away, and  Starbuck,  the  first  Emir,  has
every reason to suppose that he is seated, then Starbuck rouses  from  his
quietude, takes a few turns along the planks, and, after a grave peep into
the binnacle, says, with some touch of pleasantness,  Dinner,  Mr.  Stubb,
and descends the scuttle.  The  second  Emir  lounges  about  the  rigging
awhile, and then slightly shaking the main brace, to see whether it be all
right with that important rope, he likewise takes up the old  burden,  and
with a rapid Dinner, Mr. Flask, follows after his  predecessors.  But  the
third emir, now seeing himself all alone on  the  quarter-deck,  seems  to
feel relieved from some curious  restraint;  for,  tipping  all  sorts  of
knowing winks in all sorts of directions, and kicking off  his  shoes,  he
strikes into a sharp but noiseless squall of a  hornpipe  right  over  the
Grand Turk's head; and then, by a dexterous sleight, pitching his  cap  up
into the mizentop for a shelf, he goes down rollicking, so far at least as
he remains visible from the deck,  reversing  all  other  processions,  by
bringing up the rear with music.
    But ere stepping into the cabin doorway below, he pauses, ships a new
face altogether, and, then, independent,  hilarious  little  Flask  enters
King Ahab's presence, in the character of Abjectus, or the  Slave.  It  is
not the least among the strange things bred by the intense  artificialness
of sea-usages, that while in the open air of the deck some officers  will,
upon provocation, bear themselves  boldly  and  defyingly  enough  towards
their commander; yet, ten to one, let those very officers the next  moment
go down to their customary dinner in  that  same  commander's  cabin,  and
straightway their inoffensive, not  to  say  deprecatory  and  humble  air
towards him, as he sits at the head of  the  table;  this  is  marvellous,
sometimes most comical. Wherefore this difference? A problem? Perhaps not.
To have been Belshazzar, King of Babylon; and to have been Belshazzar, not
haughtily but courteously, therein certainly must have been some touch  of
mundane grandeur. But he who in the rightly regal and  intelligent  spirit
presides over his own private dinner-table of invited guests,  that  man's
unchallenged power and dominion of individual influence for the time; that
man's royalty of state transcends Belshazzar's, for Belshazzar was not the
greatest. Who has but once dined his friends, has tasted what it is to  be
Caesar.  It  is  a  witchery  of  social  czarship  which  there   is   no
withstanding. Now, if to this  consideration  you  superadd  the  official
supremacy of a ship-master, then, by inference, you will derive the  cause
of that peculiarity of sea-life just mentioned.
    Over his  ivory-inlaid  table,  Ahab  presided  like  a  mute,  maned
sea-lion on the white coral beach, surrounded by  his  warlike  but  still
deferential cubs. In his own  proper  turn,  each  officer  waited  to  be
served. They were as little children before Ahab; and yet, in Ahab,  there
seemed not to lurk the smallest social arrogance.  With  one  mind,  their
intent eyes all fastened upon the old man's knife, as he carved the  chief
dish before him. I do not suppose that  for  the  world  they  would  have
profaned that moment with the slightest observation, even upon so  neutral
a topic as the weather. No! And when reaching  out  his  knife  and  fork,
between which  the  slice  of  beef  was  locked,  Ahab  thereby  motioned
Starbuck's plate towards  him,  the  mate  received  his  meat  as  though
receiving alms; and cut it tenderly; and a little started  if,  perchance,
the knife grazed  against  the  plate;  and  chewed  it  noiselessly;  and
swallowed it, not without circumspection. For, like the Coronation banquet
at Frankfort, where the German Emperor profoundly dines with the seven
    Imperial Electors, so these cabin meals were  somehow  solemn  meals,
eaten  in  awful  silence;  and  yet  at  table  old  Ahab   forbade   not
conversation; only he himself was dumb. What a relief it  was  to  choking
Stubb, when a rat made a sudden racket in the hold below. And poor  little
Flask, he was the youngest son, and little boy of this weary family party.
His were the shinbones of  the  saline  beef;  his  would  have  been  the
drumsticks. For Flask to have presumed to help  himself,  this  must  have
seemed to him tantamount to larceny in the first  degree.  Had  he  helped
himself at that table, doubtless, never more would he have  been  able  to
hold his head up in this honest world; nevertheless, strange to say,  Ahab
never forbade him. And had Flask helped himself, the chances were Ahab had
never so much as noticed it. Least of  all,  did  flask  presume  to  help
himself to butter. Whether he thought the owners of the ship denied it  to
him, on account of its clotting his clear, sunny complexion; or whether he
deemed that, on so long a voyage in such marketless waters, butter was  at
a premium, and therefore was not for him, a  subaltern;  however  it  was,
Flask, alas! was a butterless man!  Another  thing.  Flask  was  the  last
person down at the dinner, and Flask is the first man  up.  Consider!  For
hereby Flask's dinner was badly jammed in  point  of  time.  Starbuck  and
Stubb both had the start of him; and yet they also have the  privilege  of
lounging in the rear. If Stubb even, who is but a peg higher  than  Flask,
happens to  have  but  a  small  appetite,  and  soon  shows  symptoms  of
concluding his repast, then Flask must bestir himself,  he  will  not  get
more than three mouthfuls that day; for it is against holy usage for Stubb
to precede Flask to the deck. Therefore it was that Flask once admitted in
private, that ever since he had arisen to the dignity of an officer,  from
that moment he had never known what it was to be  otherwise  than  hungry,
more or less. For what he ate did not so much relieve his hunger, as  keep
it immortal in him. Peace and satisfaction, thought Flask, have  for  ever
departed from my stomach. I am an officer; but, how I wish I could fist  a
bit of old-fashioned beef in the forecastle, as  I  used  to  when  I  was
before the mast. There's the fruits of promotion now; there's  the  vanity
of glory: there's the insanity of life! Besides, if it were  so  that  any
mere sailor of the Pequod had a grudge against Flask in  Flask's  official
capacity, all that sailor had to do, in order to obtain  ample  vengeance,
was to go aft at dinner-time, and get a peep at Flask  through  the  cabin
sky-light, sitting silly and dumfoundered before awful Ahab. Now, Ahab and
his three mates formed what may be called the first table in the  Pequod's
cabin. After their departure, taking place  in  inverted  order  to  their
arrival, the canvas cloth was cleared, or  rather  was  restored  to  some
hurried order by the pallid steward. And then the three  harpooneers  were
bidden to the feast, they being its residuary legatees. They made  a  sort
of temporary servants' hall of the  high  and  mighty  cabin.  In  strange
contrast  to  the  hardly  tolerable  constraint  and  nameless  invisible
domineerings of the captain's table, was the entire care-free license  and
ease,  the  almost  frantic  democracy  of  those  inferior  fellows   the
harpooneers. While their masters, the mates, seemed afraid of the sound of
the hinges of their own jaws, the harpooneers chewed their food with  such
a relish that there was a report to it. They dined like lords; they filled
their bellies  like  Indian  ships  all  day  loading  with  spices.  Such
portentous appetites had Queequeg and  Tashtego,  that  to  fill  out  the
vacancies made by the previous repast, often the pale Dough-Boy  was  fain
to bring on a great baron of salt-junk,  seemingly  quarried  out  of  the
solid ox. And if he were not lively about it, if he  did  not  go  with  a
nimble hop-skip-and-jump,  then  Tashtego  had  an  ungentlemanly  way  of
accelerating him by darting a fork at  his  back,  harpoonwise.  And  once
Daggoo, seized  with  a  sudden  humor,  assisted  Dough-Boy's  memory  by
snatching him up bodily, and thrusting his head into a great empty  wooden
trencher, while Tashtego, knife in  hand,  began  laying  out  the  circle
preliminary to scalping him. He was naturally a very  nervous,  shuddering
sort of little fellow, this bread-faced steward; the progeny of a bankrupt
baker and a hospital nurse. And what with the standing  spectacle  of  the
black terrific Ahab, and the periodical tumultuous  visitations  of  these
three savages,  Dough-Boy's  whole  life  was  one  continual  lip-quiver.
Commonly, after seeing the harpooneers  furnished  with  all  things  they
demanded, he would escape from  their  clutches  into  his  little  pantry
adjoining, and fearfully peep out at them through the blinds of its  door,
till all was over. It was a sight to  see  Queequeg  seated  over  against
Tashtego, opposing his filed teeth to the  Indian's:  crosswise  to  them,
Daggoo  seated  on  the  floor,  for  a  bench  would  have  brought   his
hearse-plumed head to the low carlines; at every motion  of  his  colossal
limbs, making the low  cabin  framework  to  shake,  as  when  an  African
elephant goes passenger in a ship. But for all this, the great  negro  was
wonderfully abstemious, not to say dainty. It seemed hardly possible  that
by such comparatively small  mouthfuls  he  could  keep  up  the  vitality
diffused through so broad, baronial, and superb a person. But,  doubtless,
this noble savage fed strong and drank deep of the  abounding  element  of
air; and through his dilated nostrils snuffed in the sublime life  of  the
worlds. Not by beef or  by  bread,  are  giants  made  or  nourished.  But
Queequeg, he had a mortal, barbaric smack of the lip in  eating  -an  ugly
sound enough -so much so, that the trembling Dough-Boy  almost  looked  to
see whether any marks of teeth lurked in his own lean arms.  And  when  he
would hear Tashtego singing out for him to produce himself, that his bones
might be picked, the simple-witted Steward all but shattered the  crockery
hanging round him in the pantry, by his sudden fits of the palsy. Nor  did
the whetstone which the harpooneers carried in their  pockets,  for  their
lances and other weapons; and with which whetstones, at dinner, they would
ostentatiously sharpen their knives; that grating sound  did  not  at  all
tend to tranquillize poor Dough-Boy. How  could  he  forget  that  in  his
Island days, Queequeg, for one, must certainly have been  guilty  of  some
murderous, convivial indiscretions. Alas! Dough-Boy! hard fares the  white
waiter who waits upon cannibals. Not a napkin should he carry on his  arm,
but a buckler. in good time, though,  to  his  great  delight,  the  three
salt-sea warriors would rise and depart; to his credulous, fable-mongering
ears, all their martial bones jingling in them at every step, like Moorish
scimetars in scabbards. But, though these barbarians dined in  the  cabin,
and nominally lived there; still, being anything but  sedentary  in  their
habits, they were scarcely ever in  it  except  at  meal-times,  and  just
before sleeping-time, when they passed through it to  their  own  peculiar
quarters. In this one matter, Ahab seemed no exception  to  most  American
whale captains, who, as a set, rather  incline  to  the  opinion  that  by
rights the ship's cabin belongs to them; and that it is by courtesy  alone
that anybody else is, at any time,  permitted  there.  So  that,  in  real
truth, the mates and harpooneers of the Pequod might more properly be said
to have lived out of the cabin than in it. For when they did enter it,  it
was something as a street-door enters  a  house;  turning  inwards  for  a
moment, only to be turned  out  the  next;  and,  as  a  permanent  thing,
residing in the open air. Nor did they lose much hereby; in the cabin  was
no  companionship;  socially,  Ahab  was  inaccessible.  Though  nominally
included in the census of Christendom, he was still an  alien  to  it.  He
lived in the world, as the last of  the  Grisly  Bears  lived  in  settled
Missouri. And as when Spring and Summer had departed, that wild  Logan  of
the woods, burying himself in the hollow of a tree, lived out  the  winter
there, sucking his own paws; so, in his inclement, howling old age, Ahab's
soul, shut up in the caved trunk of his body, there fed  upon  the  sullen
paws of its gloom!



                            35. THE MAST-HEAD

    It was during the more pleasant weather, that in  due  rotation  with
the other seamen my first mast-head came round. In most American  whalemen
the mast-heads are manned almost simultaneously with the vessel's  leaving
her port; even though she may have fifteen thousand miles,  and  more,  to
sail ere reaching her proper cruising ground. and if, after a three, four,
or five years' voyage she is drawing nigh home with anything empty in  her
-say, an empty vial even -then, her mast-heads  are  kept  manned  to  the
last; and not till her skysail-poles sail in among the spires of the port,
does she altogether relinquish the hope of capturing one whale more.  Now,
as the business of standing  mast-heads,  ashore  or  afloat,  is  a  very
ancient and interesting one, let us in some measure expatiate here. I take
it, that the earliest standers  of  mast-heads  were  the  old  Egyptians;
because, in all my researches, I find none prior to them. For though their
progenitors, the builders of Babel, must doubtless, by their  tower,  have
intended to rear the loftiest mast-head in all Asia, or Africa either; yet
(ere the final truck was put to it) as that great stone mast of theirs may
be said to have gone by the board, in  the  dread  gale  of  God's  wrath;
therefore,  we  cannot  give  these  Babel  builders  priority  over   the
Egyptians. And that the Egyptians were a nation of mast-head standers,  is
an assertion based upon the general belief among archaeologists, that  the
first pyramids were founded for astronomical purposes: a theory singularly
supported by the peculiar stair-like formation of all four sides of  those
edifices; whereby, with prodigious long upliftings of  their  legs,  those
old astronomers were wont to mount to the  apex,  and  sing  out  for  new
stars; even as the look-outs of a modern ship sing out for a  sail,  or  a
whale just bearing in sight.  In  Saint  Stylites,  the  famous  Christian
hermit of old times, who built him a lofty stone pillar in the desert  and
spent the whole latter portion of his life on  its  summit,  hoisting  his
food from the ground with a tackle; in him we have a  remarkable  instance
of a dauntless stander-of-mast-heads; who was not to be  driven  from  his
place by fogs or frosts,  rain,  hail,  or  sleet;  but  valiantly  facing
everything out to the last, literally died at his post.
    Of modern standers-of-mast-heads we have but  a  lifeless  set;  mere
stone, iron, and bronze men; who, though well  capable  of  facing  out  a
stiff gale, are still entirely incompetent to the business of singing  out
upon discovering any strange sight. There is Napoleon; who, upon  the  top
of the column of Vendome, stands with arms folded, some  one  hundred  and
fifty feet in the air; careless, now, who rules the decks  below;  whether
Louis Philippe, Louis Blanc, or Louis the Devil.  Great  Washington,  too,
stands high aloft on his towering main-mast in Baltimore, and like one  of
Hercules' pillars, his column marks that point of  human  grandeur  beyond
which few  mortals  will  go.  Admiral  Nelson,  also,  on  a  capstan  of
gun-metal, stands his mast-head in Trafalgar Square; and  ever  when  most
obscured by that London smoke, token is yet given that a  hidden  hero  is
there; for  where  there  is  smoke,  must  be  fire.  But  neither  great
Washington, nor Napoleon, nor Nelson,  will  answer  a  single  hail  from
below, however madly invoked to befriend by their counsels the  distracted
decks upon which they gaze; however it may be surmised, that their spirits
penetrate through the thick haze of the future, and descry what shoals and
what rocks must be shunned. It may seem unwarrantable  to  couple  in  any
respect the mast-head standers of the land with those of the sea; but that
in truth it is not so, is plainly evinced by an item for which Obed  Macy,
the sole historian of Nantucket, stands accountable. The worthy Obed tells
us, that in the early times of the whale fishery, ere ships were regularly
launched in pursuit of the game, the people of that island  erected  lofty
spars along the sea-coast, to which the look-outs  ascended  by  means  of
nailed cleats, something as fowls go upstairs in a hen-house. A few  years
ago this same plan was adopted by the Bay whalemen of  New  Zealand,  who,
upon descrying the game, gave notice to the ready-manned  boats  nigh  the
beach. But this custom has now become obsolete; turn we then  to  the  one
proper mast-head, that of a whale-ship at sea. The  three  mast-heads  are
kept manned from sun-rise to sun-set;  the  seamen  taking  their  regular
turns (as at the helm), and relieving each other every two hours.  In  the
serene weather of the tropics it is exceedingly  pleasant  the  mast-head;
nay, to a dreamy meditative man it  is  delightful.  There  you  stand,  a
hundred feet above the silent decks, striding along the deep,  as  if  the
masts were gigantic stilts, while beneath you and between your legs, as it
were, swim the hugest monsters of the  sea,  even  as  ships  once  sailed
between the boots of the famous Colossus at old Rhodes. There  you  stand,
lost in the infinite series of the  sea,  with  nothing  ruffled  but  the
waves. The tranced ship indolently rolls; the  drowsy  trade  winds  blow;
everything resolves you into languor. For the most part,  in  this  tropic
whaling life, a sublime uneventfulness invests you; you hear no news; read
no gazettes; extras with startling accounts of commonplaces  never  delude
you into unnecessary excitements; you hear  of  no  domestic  afflictions;
bankrupt securities; fall of stocks; are never troubled with  the  thought
of what you shall have for dinner -for all your meals for three years  and
more are snugly stowed in casks, and your bill of fare  is  immutable.  In
one of those southern whalemen, on a long three or four years' voyage,  as
often happens, the sum of the various hours you  spend  at  the  mast-head
would amount to several entire months. And it is much to be deplored  that
the place to which you devote so considerable a portion of the whole  term
of your natural life, should be so sadly destitute of anything approaching
to a cosy inhabitiveness, or adapted to breed a comfortable  localness  of
feeling, such as pertains to a bed, a hammock, a hearse, a sentry  box,  a
pulpit, a coach, or any other of those  small  and  snug  contrivances  in
which men temporarily isolate themselves. Your most usual point  of  perch
is the head of the t' gallant-mast, where you stand upon two thin parallel
sticks (almost peculiar to whalemen) called the  t'  gallant  cross-trees.
Here, tossed about by the sea, the beginner feels  about  as  cosy  as  he
would standing on a bull's horns. To be sure,  in  cold  weather  you  may
carry your house aloft with  you,  in  the  shape  of  a  watch-coat;  but
properly speaking the thickest watch-coat is no more of a house  than  the
unclad body; for as the soul is glued inside of  its  fleshly  tabernacle,
and cannot freely move about in it, nor  even  move  out  of  it,  without
running great risk of perishing (like an  ignorant  pilgrim  crossing  the
snowy Alps in winter); so a watch-coat is not so much of a house as it  is
a mere envelope, or additional skin encasing you. You cannot put  a  shelf
or chest of drawers in your body, and no more can you  make  a  convenient
closet of your watch-coat. Concerning all this, it is much to be  deplored
that the mast-heads of a southern whale ship  are  unprovided  with  those
enviable little tents  or  pulpits,  called  crow's-nests,  in  which  the
lookouts of a Greenland whaler are protected from the inclement weather of
the frozen seas. In the fire-side narrative of Captain Sleet,  entitled  A
Voyage  among  the  Icebergs,  in  quest  of  the  Greenland  Whale,   and
incidentally for the re-discovery of the Lost Icelandic  Colonies  of  Old
Greenland; in this  admirable  volume,  all  standers  of  mast-heads  are
furnished with a charmingly circumstantial account of  the  then  recently
invented crow's-nest of the Glacier, which was the name of Captain Sleet's
good craft. He called it the Sleet's crow's-nest, in honor of himself;  he
being the original inventor and patentee, and  free  from  all  ridiculous
false delicacy, and holding that if we call our own children after our own
names (we fathers being the original inventors and patentees), so likewise
should we denominate after ourselves any other apparatus we may beget.  In
shape, the Sleet's crow's-nest is something like a large tierce  or  pipe;
it  is  open  above,  however,  where  it  is  furnished  with  a  movable
side-screen to keep to windward of your head in a hard gale.  Being  fixed
on the summit of the mast, you ascend into it through a little  trap-hatch
in the bottom. On the after side, or side next the stern of the ship, is a
comfortable seat, with a locker underneath for umbrellas, comforters,  and
coats. In front is a leather rack, in which to keep your speaking trumpet,
pipe, telescope, and other nautical conveniences. When  Captain  Sleet  in
person stood his mast-head in this crow's nest of his, he tells us that he
always had a rifle with him (also fixed in  the  rack),  together  with  a
powder flask and shot, for the purpose of popping off the stray narwhales,
or  vagrant  sea  unicorns  infesting  those  waters;   for   you   cannot
successfully shoot at them from the deck owing to the  resistance  of  the
water, but to shoot down upon them is a very different thing. Now, it  was
plainly a labor of love for Captain Sleet to describe, as he does, all the
little detailed conveniences of his crow's-nest; but though he so enlarges
upon many of these, and though he treats us to a very  scientific  account
of his experiments in this crow's-nest, with a small compass he kept there
for the purpose of counteracting the errors resulting from what is  called
the local attraction of all binnacle magnets; an error ascribable  to  the
horizontal vicinity of the iron in the ship's planks, and in the Glacier's
case, perhaps, to there having been so many broken-down blacksmiths  among
her crew; I say, that though the Captain is very discreet  and  scientific
here, yet, for  all  his  learned  binnacle  deviations,  azimuth  compass
observations, and approximate errors, he knows very well,  Captain  Sleet,
that he was not so much immersed in those profound  magnetic  meditations,
as to fail being attracted  occasionally  towards  that  well  replenished
little case-bottle, so nicely tucked in on one side of  his  crow's  nest,
within easy reach of his hand. Though, upon the whole,  I  greatly  admire
and even love the brave, the honest, and learned Captain; yet  I  take  it
very ill of him that he should so utterly ignore that case-bottle,  seeing
what a faithful friend  and  comforter  it  must  have  been,  while  with
mittened fingers and hooded head he was  studying  the  mathematics  aloft
there in that bird's nest within three or four perches of the pole. But if
we Southern whale-fishers are not so snugly housed aloft as Captain  Sleet
and  his  Greenland-men   were;   yet   that   disadvantage   is   greatly
counterbalanced by the widely contrasting serenity of those seductive seas
in which we South fishers mostly float. For one, I used to lounge  up  the
rigging very leisurely, resting in the top to have a chat  with  Queequeg,
or any one else off duty whom I might find there; then ascending a  little
way further, and throwing a lazy  leg  over  the  top-sail  yard,  take  a
preliminary view of the watery pastures,  and  so  at  last  mount  to  my
ultimate destination. Let me make a clean breast of it here,  and  frankly
admit that I kept but sorry  guard.  With  the  problem  of  the  universe
revolving in me, how could I-being left completely to  myself  at  such  a
thought-engendering altitude, -how could I but lightly hold my obligations
to observe all whale-ships' standing orders, Keep your weather  eye  open,
and sing out every time. And let me in this place movingly  admonish  you,
ye  ship-owners  of  Nantucket!  Beware  of  enlisting  in  your  vigilant
fisheries any lad with lean brow and hollow  eye;  given  to  unseasonable
meditativeness; and who  offers  to  ship  with  the  phaedon  instead  of
Bowditch in his head. Beware of such an one, I say; your  whales  must  be
seen before they can be killed; and this sunken-eyed young Platonist  will
tow you ten wakes round the world, and never make you one  pint  of  sperm
the richer. Nor are these monitions at all  unneeded.  For  nowadays,  the
whale-fishery furnishes an  asylum  for  many  romantic,  melancholy,  and
absent-minded young men, disgusted with the carking cares  of  earth,  and
seeking sentiment in tar  and  blubber.  Childe  Harold  not  unfrequently
perches  himself  upon  the  mast-head  of  some   luckless   disappointed
whale-ship, and in moody phrase ejaculates: - Roll on, thou deep and  dark
blue ocean, roll! Ten thousand blubber-hunters sweep over  thee  in  vain.
Very often do the captains of such ships take  those  absent-minded  young
philosophers to task, upbraiding them with not feeling sufficient interest
in the voyage; half-hinting that  they  are  so  hopelessly  lost  to  all
honorable ambition, as that in their secret souls they  would  rather  not
see whales than otherwise. But all in vain; those young Platonists have  a
notion that their vision is imperfect; they are short-sighted;  what  use,
then, to strain the visual nerve? They have left  their  opera-glasses  at
home. Why, thou monkey, said a harpooneer to one of these lads, we've been
cruising now hard upon three years, and thou hast not raised a whale  yet.
Whales are scarce as hen's teeth whenever thou art up here.  Perhaps  they
were; or perhaps there might have been shoals of them in the far  horizon;
but lulled into such an opium-like  listlessness  of  vacant,  unconscious
reverie is this absent-minded youth by the blending cadence of waves  with
thoughts, that at last he loses his identity; takes the  mystic  ocean  at
his feet for the visible  image  of  that  deep,  blue,  bottomless  soul,
pervading mankind and  nature;  and  every  strange,  half-seen,  gliding,
beautiful thing that eludes him; every dimly-discovered, uprising  fin  of
some undiscernible form, seems to him  the  embodiment  of  those  elusive
thoughts that only people the soul by continually flitting through it.  In
this enchanted mood, thy spirit ebbs  away  to  whence  it  came;  becomes
diffused through time and  space;  like  Cranmer's  sprinkled  Pantheistic
ashes, forming at last a part of every shore the round globe  over.  There
is no life in thee, now, except that rocking life  imparted  by  a  gently
rolling ship; by her,  borrowed  from  the  sea;  by  the  sea,  from  the
inscrutable tides of God. But while this sleep, this dream is on ye,  move
your foot or hand an inch; slip your hold at all; and your identity  comes
back in horror. Over  Descartian  vortices  you  hover.  And  perhaps,  at
mid-day, in the fairest weather, with one half-throttled shriek  you  drop
through that transparent air into the summer sea,  no  more  to  rise  for
ever. Heed it well, ye Pantheists!



                         36. THE QUARTER-DECK

    ( enter Ahab: Then, all.) It was not a great while after  the  affair
of the pipe, that one morning shortly after breakfast, Ahab,  as  was  his
wont, ascended the cabin-gangway to  the  deck.  There  most  sea-captains
usually walk at that hour, as country gentlemen, after the same meal, take
a few turns in the garden. Soon his steady, ivory stride was heard, as  to
and fro he paced his old rounds, upon planks so  familiar  to  his  tread,
that they were all over dented, like geological stones, with the  peculiar
mark of his walk. Did you fixedly gaze, too, upon that ribbed  and  dented
brow;  there  also,  you  would  see  still  stranger   foot-prints   -the
foot-prints of  his  one  unsleeping,  ever-pacing  thought.  But  on  the
occasion in question, those dents looked deeper, even as his nervous  step
that morning left a deeper mark. And, so full of  his  thought  was  Ahab,
that at every uniform turn that he made, now at the main-mast and  now  at
the binnacle, you could almost see that thought turn in him as he  turned,
and pace in him as he paced; so completely possessing him, indeed, that it
all but seemed the inward mould of every outer movement.  D'ye  mark  him,
Flask? whispered Stubb; the chick that's in him pecks  the  shell.  T'will
soon be out. The hours wore on; -Ahab now shut up within his cabin;  anon,
pacing the deck, with the same intense bigotry of purpose in  his  aspect.
It drew near the close of day.
    Suddenly he came to a halt by the bulwarks, and  inserting  his  bone
leg into the auger-hole there, and with one hand  grasping  a  shroud,  he
ordered Starbuck to send everybody aft. Sir! said the mate, astonished  at
an order seldom or never given on ship-board except in some  extraordinary
case. Send everybody aft, repeated Ahab.  Mast-heads,  there!  come  down!
When the entire ship's company were assembled, and with  curious  and  not
wholly unapprehensive faces, were eyeing him, for he looked not unlike the
weather horizon when a storm is coming up, Ahab,  after  rapidly  glancing
over the bulwarks, and then darting his eyes among the crew, started  from
his standpoint; and as though not a soul were nigh him resumed  his  heavy
turns upon the deck. With bent head and half-slouched hat he continued  to
pace, unmindful of the wondering whispering  among  the  men;  till  Stubb
cautiously whispered to Flask, that Ahab must have summoned them there for
the purpose of witnessing a pedestrian feat. But this did not  last  long.
Vehemently pausing, he cried: - What do ye do when ye see  a  whale,  men?
Sing out for him! was the impulsive rejoinder  from  a  score  of  clubbed
voices.
    Good! cried Ahab, with a wild approval in his  tones;  observing  the
hearty animation into which his unexpected question  had  so  magnetically
thrown them.
    And what do ye next, men? Lower away, and after him! And what tune is
it ye pull to, men? A dead whale or a stove boat! More and more  strangely
and fiercely glad and approving, grew the countenance of the  old  man  at
every shout; while the mariners began to gaze curiously at each other,  as
if marvelling how it was that they themselves became so  excited  at  such
seemingly purposeless questions. But, they were all  eagerness  again,  as
Ahab, now half-revolving in his pivot-hole, with one hand reaching high up
a shroud, and tightly, almost convulsively  grasping  it,  addressed  them
thus: - All ye mast-headers have before now heard me give orders  about  a
white whale. Look ye! d'ye see this Spanish ounce of gold? -holding  up  a
broad bright coin to the sun - it is a sixteen dollar piece, men. D'ye see
it? Mr. Starbuck, hand me yon top-maul. While the  mate  was  getting  the
hammer, Ahab, without speaking, was slowly rubbing the gold piece  against
the skirts of his jacket, as if to heighten its lustre, and without  using
any words was meanwhile lowly humming to himself,  producing  a  sound  so
strangely muffled and inarticulate that it seemed the  mechanical  humming
of the wheels  of  his  vitality  in  him.  Receiving  the  top-maul  from
Starbuck, he advanced towards the main-mast with the  hammer  uplifted  in
one hand, exhibiting the gold with the other, and with a high raised voice
exclaiming: Whosoever of ye raises me a white-headed whale with a wrinkled
brow and a crooked jaw; whosoever of ye raises me that white-headed whale,
with three holes punctured in his starboard fluke -look ye,  whosoever  of
ye raises me that same white whale, he shall  have  this  gold  ounce,  my
boys! Huzza! huzza! cried the seamen, as  with  swinging  tarpaulins  they
hailed the act of nailing the gold to the mast. It's a white whale, I say,
resumed Ahab, as he threw down the top-maul; a white whale. Skin your eyes
for him, men; look sharp for white water; if ye see  but  a  bubble,  sing
out. All this while Tashtego, Daggoo, and Queequeg had looked on with even
more intense interest and surprise than the rest, and at  the  mention  of
the wrinkled brow and  crooked  jaw  they  had  started  as  if  each  was
separately touched by  some  specific  recollection.  Captain  Ahab,  said
Tashtego, that white whale must be the same that some call Moby Dick. Moby
Dick? shouted Ahab. Do ye  know  the  white  whale  then,  Tash?  Does  he
fan-tail a little curious, sir, before he goes down? said  the  Gay-Header
deliberately. And has he a curious spout, too, said  Daggoo,  very  bushy,
even for a parmacetty, and mighty quick, Captain Ahab? And  he  have  one,
two, tree -oh! good many iron in him hide, too,  Captain,  cried  Queequeg
disjointedly, all twiske-tee betwisk, like him-him- faltering hard  for  a
word, and screwing his hand round and round as though uncorking a bottle -
like him-him- Corkscrew! cried Ahab, aye, Queequeg, the harpoons  lie  all
twisted and wrenched in him; aye, Daggoo, his spout is a big one,  like  a
whole shock of wheat, and white as a pile of our Nantucket wool after  the
great annual sheep-shearing; aye, Tashtego, and he fan-tails like a  split
jib in a squall. Death and devils! men, it is Moby Dick ye have seen -Moby
Dick- Moby Dick! Captain Ahab, said Starbuck, who, with Stubb  and  Flask,
had thus far been eyeing his superior with  increasing  surprise,  but  at
last seemed struck with a thought which somewhat explained all the wonder.
Captain Ahab, I have heard of Moby Dick-but it was not Moby Dick that took
off thy leg? Who told thee that? cried Ahab; then pausing,
    Aye, Starbuck; aye, my hearties all round;  it  was  Moby  Dick  that
dismasted me; Moby Dick that brought me to this dead stump I stand on now.
Aye, aye, he shouted with a terrific, loud, animal sob,  like  that  of  a
heart-stricken moose; Aye, aye! it was  that  accursed  white  whale  that
razeed me; made a poor pegging lubber of me  for  ever  and  a  day!  Then
tossing both arms, with measureless imprecations he shouted out: Aye, aye!
and I'll chase him round Good Hope, and round  the  horn,  and  round  the
norway maelstrom, and round perdition's flames before I give him  up.  And
this is what ye have shipped for, men! to chase that white whale  on  both
sides of land, and over all sides of earth, till he spouts black blood and
rolls fin out. What say ye, men, will ye splice hands on it, now? I  think
ye do look brave. Aye, aye! shouted the harpooneers  and  seamen,  running
closer to the excited old man: A sharp eye for the White  Whale;  a  sharp
lance for Moby Dick! God bless ye, he seemed to half sob and  half  shout.
God bless ye, men. Steward! go draw the great measure of grog. But  what's
this long face about, Mr. Starbuck; wilt thou not chase the  white  whale?
art not game for Moby Dick? I am game for his crooked  jaw,  and  for  the
jaws of Death too, Captain Ahab, if it fairly comes  in  the  way  of  the
business we follow; but I came here to hunt  whales,  not  my  commander's
vengeance. How many barrels will thy vengeance yield  thee  even  if  thou
gettest it, Captain Ahab? it will not fetch thee  much  in  our  Nantucket
market. Nantucket market! Hoot! But come closer, Starbuck; thou  requirest
a little lower layer.  If  money's  to  be  the  measurer,  man,  and  the
accountants  have  computed  their  great  counting-house  the  globe,  by
girdling it with guineas, one to every three parts of an inch;  then,  let
me tell thee, that my vengeance will fetch a great premium here! He smites
his chest, whispered Stubb, what's that for? methinks it rings most  vast,
but hollow.
    Vengeance on a dumb brute! cried Starbuck,  that  simply  smote  thee
from blindest instinct! Madness! To be enraged with a dumb thing,  Captain
Ahab, seems blasphemous. Hark ye yet again, -the little lower  layer.  All
visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each  event  -in
the living  act,  the  undoubted  deed  -there,  some  unknown  but  still
reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from  behind  the
unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike through the mask! How can the
prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall?  To  me,  the
white whale is that wall, shoved near to me.  Sometimes  I  think  there's
naught beyond. But 'tis enough. He tasks me; he heaps me;  I  see  in  him
outrageous  strength,  with  an  inscrutable  malice  sinewing  it.   That
inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate; and be the white whale agent, or
be the white whale principal, I will wreak that hate upon him. Talk not to
me of blasphemy, man; I'd strike the sun if it insulted me. For could  the
sun do that, then could I do the other; since there is ever a sort of fair
play herein, jealousy presiding over all creations.  But  not  my  master,
man, is even that fair play. Who's over me? Truth hath no  confines.  Take
off thine eye! more intolerable than fiends' glarings is a doltish  stare!
So, so; thou reddenest and palest; my heat has melted thee to  anger-glow.
But look ye, Starbuck, what is said in heat,  that  thing  unsays  itself.
There are men from whom warm words are small indignity.  I  meant  not  to
incense thee. Let it go. Look! see yonder Turkish cheeks of spotted tawn -
living, breathing pictures painted by the sun.  The  Pagan  leopards  -the
unrecking and unworshipping things, that  live;  and  seek,  and  give  no
reasons for the torrid life they feel! The crew, man, the crew!  Are  they
not one and all with Ahab, in this matter of  the  whale?  See  Stubb!  he
laughs! See yonder Chilian! he snorts to think of it. Stand  up  amid  the
general hurricane, thy one tost sapling cannot, Starbuck! And what is  it?
Reckon it. 'Tis but to help strike a fin; no wondrous feat  for  Starbuck.
What is it more? From this one poor hunt, then, the best lance out of  all
Nantucket, surely he will not hang  back,  when  every  foremast-hand  has
clutched a whetstone? Ah! constrainings seize  thee;  I  see!  the  billow
lifts thee! Speak, but speak! -Aye, aye! thy silence,  then,  that  voices
thee. ( aside) something shot from my dilated nostrils, he has inhaled  it
in his lungs.  Starbuck  now  is  mine;  cannot  oppose  me  now,  without
rebellion. God keep me! -keep us all! murmured Starbuck, lowly. But in his
joy at the enchanted, tacit acquiescence of the mate, Ahab  did  not  hear
his foreboding invocation; nor yet the low laugh from the  hold;  nor  yet
the presaging vibrations of the winds in the cordage; nor yet  the  hollow
flap of the sails against the masts, as for a moment their hearts sank in.
For again Starbuck's downcast eyes lighted up  with  the  stubbornness  of
life; the subterranean laugh died away;  the  winds  blew  on;  the  sails
filled out; the ship heaved and rolled as before. Ah, ye  admonitions  and
warnings! why stay ye not when ye come? But rather are ye predictions than
warnings, ye shadows!  Yet  not  so  much  predictions  from  without,  as
verifications of the foregoing things within. For with little external  to
constrain us, the innermost necessities in our being, these still drive us
on. The measure! the measure! cried Ahab. Receiving the  brimming  pewter,
and turning to the harpooneers, he ordered them to produce their  weapons.
Then ranging them before him near the  capstan,  with  their  harpoons  in
their hands, while his three mates stood at his side  with  their  lances,
and the rest of the ship's company formed a circle  round  the  group;  he
stood for an instant searchingly eyeing every man of his crew.  But  those
wild eyes met his, as the bloodshot eyes of the prairie  wolves  meet  the
eye of their leader, ere he rushes on at their head in the  trail  of  the
bison; but, alas! only to fall into the hidden snare of the Indian.
    Drink and pass! he cried, handing the heavy  charged  flagon  to  the
nearest seaman. The crew alone now drink.  Round  with  it,  round!  Short
draughts -long swallows, men; 'tis hot as Satan's hoof. So,  so;  it  goes
round excellently. It spiralizes in ye; forks out at the  serpent-snapping
eye. well done; almost drained. That way it went, this way it comes.  Hand
it me - here's a hollow! Men, ye seem  the  years;  so  brimming  life  is
gulped and gone. Steward, refill! Attend now, my braves. I  have  mustered
ye all round this capstan; and ye mates, flank me with your lances; and ye
harpooneers, stand there with your irons; and ye, stout mariners, ring  me
in, that I may in some sort revive a noble custom of my fisherman  fathers
before me. O men, you will yet see that- Ha! boy, come back?  bad  pennies
come not sooner. Hand it me. Why, now, this pewter had run brimming again,
wer't not thou St. Vitus' imp -away, thou ague! Advance, ye  mates!  Cross
your lances full before me. Well done! Let me touch the axis.  So  saying,
with extended arm, he grasped the three level, radiating lances  at  their
crossed centre; while so doing,  suddenly  and  nervously  twitched  them;
meanwhile, glancing intently from Starbuck to Stubb; from Stubb to  Flask.
It seemed as though, by some nameless, interior volition,  he  would  fain
have shocked into them the  same  fiery  emotion  accumulated  within  the
Leyden jar of his own magnetic life. The three mates  quailed  before  his
strong, sustained, and mystic aspect. Stubb and Flask looked sideways from
him; the honest eye of Starbuck fell downright. In vain! cried Ahab;  but,
maybe, 'tis well. For did ye three but once take  the  full-forced  shock,
then mine own electric thing,  that  had  perhaps  expired  from  out  me.
Perchance, too, it would have dropped ye dead. Perchance ye need  it  not.
Down lances! And now, ye mates, I do appoint ye three  cup-bearers  to  my
three  pagan  kinsmen  there  -yon  three  most  honorable  gentlemen  and
noblemen, my valiant harpooneers. Disdain the task? What, when  the  great
Pope washes the feet of beggars, using his tiara for ewer?  Oh,  my  sweet
cardinals! your own condescension, that shall bend ye  to  it.  I  do  not
order  ye;  ye  will  it.  Cut  your  seizings  and  draw  the  poles,  ye
harpooneers!
    Silently obeying the order, the three harpooneers now stood with  the
detached iron part of their harpoons, some three feet  long,  held,  barbs
up, before him.
    Stab me not with that keen steel! Cant them; cant them over! know  ye
not the goblet end? Turn up the  socket!  So,  so;  now,  ye  cup-bearers,
advance. The irons! take them; hold them while I fill!  Forthwith,  slowly
going from one officer to the other, he brimmed the harpoon  sockets  with
the fiery waters from the pewter. Now, three to three, ye  stand.  Commend
the murderous chalices! Bestow them, ye who are now made parties  to  this
indissoluble league. Ha! Starbuck! but the deed is done! Yon ratifying sun
now waits to sit upon it. Drink, ye harpooneers! drink and swear,  ye  men
that man the deathful whaleboat's bow - Death to Moby Dick!  God  hunt  us
all, if we do not hunt Moby Dick to his  death!  The  long,  barbed  steel
goblets were lifted; and to  cries  and  maledictions  against  the  white
whale, the spirits were simultaneously quaffed down with a hiss.  Starbuck
paled, and turned, and shivered. Once more, and finally,  the  replenished
pewter went the rounds among the frantic crew; when, waving his free  hand
to them, they all dispersed; and Ahab retired within his cabin.



                               37. SUNSET

    The cabin; by the stern windows;
    Ahab sitting alone, and gazing out. I leave a white and turbid  wake;
pale waters, paler cheeks, where'er I sail. The envious  billows  sidelong
swell to whelm my track; let them;  but  first  I  pass.  Yonder,  by  the
ever-brimming goblet's rim, the warm waves blush like wine. The gold  brow
plumbs the blue. The diver sun -slow dived from noon, -goes down; my  soul
mounts up! she wearies with her endless hill.  Is,  then,  the  crown  too
heavy that I wear? this Iron Crown of Lombardy. Yet is it bright with many
a gem; i, the wearer, see not its far flashings; but darkly  feel  that  i
wear that, that dazzlingly confounds. 'Tis iron  -that  I  know-not  gold.
'Tis split, too -that I feel; the jagged edge galls me so, my brain  seems
to beat against the solid metal; aye, steel skull,  mine;  the  sort  that
needs no helmet in the most brain-battering fight! Dry heat upon my  brow?
Oh! time was, when as the sunrise nobly spurred me, so the sunset soothed.
No more. This lovely light, it lights not me; all loveliness is anguish to
me, since I can ne'er enjoy. Gifted with the high perception, I  lack  the
low, enjoying power; damned, most subtly and most malignantly!  damned  in
the midst of Paradise! Good night -good night! ( waving his hand, he moves
from the window.) 'Twas not  so  hard  a  task.  I  thought  to  find  one
stubborn, at the least; but my one  cogged  circle  fits  into  all  their
various wheels, and they revolve. Or, if you will, like so many  ant-hills
of powder, they all stand before me; and I their match. Oh, hard! that  to
fire others, the match itself must needs be wasting! What I've dared, I've
willed; and what I've willed, I'll do! They think me mad  -Starbuck  does;
but I'm demoniac, I am madness maddened! That  wild  madness  that's  only
calm to comprehend itself! The prophecy was that I should be  dismembered;
and-Aye! I lost this  leg.  I  now  prophesy  that  I  will  dismember  my
dismemberer. Now, then, be the prophet and the fulfiller one. That's  more
than  ye,  ye  great  gods,  ever  were.  I  laugh  and  hoot  at  ye,  ye
cricket-players, ye pugilists, ye deaf Burkes  and  blinded  Bendigoes!  I
will not say as school-boys do to bullies, -Take  some  one  of  your  own
size; don't pommel me! No, ye've knocked me down, and I am up  again;  but
ye have run and hidden. Come forth from behind your cotton bags! I have no
long gun to reach ye. Come, Ahab's compliments to ye; come and see  if  ye
can swerve me. Swerve me? ye cannot swerve me, else ye swerve  yourselves!
man has ye there. Swerve me? The path to my fixed  purpose  is  laid  with
iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved  to  run.  Over  unsounded  gorges,
through the rifled hearts of mountains, under torrents' beds, unerringly I
rush! Naught's an obstacle, naught's an angle to the iron way!



                                38. DUSK

    By the Mainmast; Starbuck leaning against it. My soul  is  more  than
matched; she's overmanned; and  by  a  madman!  Insufferable  sting,  that
sanity should ground arms on such a field! But he drilled deep  down,  and
blasted all my reason out of me! I think I see his impious end;  but  feel
that I must help him to it. Will I, nill I, the ineffable thing  has  tied
me to him; tows me with a cable I have no knife to cut. Horrible old  man!
Who's over him, he cries; -aye, he would be a democrat to all above; look,
how he lords it over all below! Oh! I plainly see my miserable office, -to
obey, rebelling; and worse yet, to hate with touch of  pity!  For  in  his
eyes I read some lurid woe would shrivel me up, had I  it.  Yet  is  there
hope. Time and tide flow wide. The hated whale has the round watery  world
to  swim  in,  as  the  small  gold-fish  has  its   glassy   globe.   His
heaven-insulting purpose, God may wedge aside. I would up heart,  were  it
not like lead. But my whole clock's run down; my heart the all-controlling
weight, I have no key to lift  again.  [  A  burst  of  revelry  from  the
forecastle.] Oh, God! to sail with such a heathen  crew  that  have  small
touch of human mothers in them! Whelped somewhere by the sharkish sea. The
white whale is their demigorgon. Hark! the infernal orgies!  that  revelry
is forward! mark the unfaltering silence aft! Methinks it  pictures  life.
Foremost through the sparkling sea shoots on the gay, embattled, bantering
bow, but only to drag dark Ahab after  it,  where  he  broods  within  his
sternward cabin, builded over the dead water of the wake, and further  on,
hunted by its wolfish gurglings. The long howl thrills me through!  Peace!
ye revellers, and set the watch! Oh, life! 'tis in an hour like this, with
soul beat down and held to  knowledge,  -as  wild,  untutored  things  are
forced to feed -Oh, life! 'tis now that I do feel  the  latent  horror  in
thee! but 'tis not me! that horror's out of me! and with the soft  feeling
of the human in me, yet will I try to fight ye, ye grim, phantom  futures!
Stand by me, hold me, bind me, O ye blessed influences!



                    39. FIRST NIGHT-WATCH FORE-TOP

    ( Stubb solus, and mending a brace.) Ha! ha! ha! ha!  hem!  clear  my
throat! -I've been thinking over it ever since,  and  that  ha,  ha's  the
final consequence. Why so? Because a laugh's the wisest, easiest answer to
all that's queer; and come what will, one comfort's  always  left  -  that
unfailing comfort is, it's all predestinated. I heard  not  all  his  talk
with Starbuck; but to my poor eye Starbuck then looked something as I  the
other evening felt. Be sure the old Mogul has fixed him,  too.  I  twigged
it, knew it; had had the gift, might readily have prophesied it -for  when
I clapped my eye upon his skull I saw it. Well, Stubb, wise Stubb  -that's
my title -well, Stubb, what of it, Stubb? Here's a carcase. I know not all
that may be coming, but be it what it will, I'll go to it laughing. Such a
waggish leering as lurks in all your horribles!  I  feel  funny.  Fa,  la!
lirra, skirra! What's my juicy little pear at home doing now?  Crying  its
eyes out? -Giving a party to the last arrived harpooneers, I dare say, gay
as a frigate's pennant, and so am I-fa, la! lirra, skirra! Oh- We'll drink
to-night with hearts as light, To love, as gay  and  fleeting  As  bubbles
that swim, on the beaker's brim, And break on the lips  while  meeting.  a
brave stave that -who calls? mr. starbuck? Aye, aye, sir - (  Aside)  he's
my superior, he has his too, if I'm not mistaken. - Aye,  aye,  sir,  just
through with this job -coming.



             40. MIDNIGHT, FORECASTLE HARPOONERS AND SAILORS

    ( Foresail rises and discovers the watch standing, lounging, leaning,
and lying in various attitudes, all singing in chorus.) Farewell and adieu
to you, Spanish ladies! Farewell and adieu to you, ladies  of  Spain!  Our
captain's  commanded.  -  1st  Nantucket  Sailor  Oh,   boys,   don't   be
sentimental; it's bad for the digestion! Take a tonic, follow me! ( Sings,
and all follow.) Our captain stood upon the deck, A spy-glass in his hand,
A viewing of those gallant whales That blew at every strand. Oh, your tubs
in your boats, my boys, And by your braces stand, And we'll  have  one  of
those fine whales, Hand, boys, over hand! So, be cheery, my lads! may your
hearts never fail! While the bold harpooneer is striking the whale! Mate's
Voice from the Quarter-Deck Eight  bells  there,  forward!  2nd  Nantucket
Sailor Avast the chorus! Eight bells there! d'ye  hear,  bell-boy?  Strike
the bell eight, thou Pip! thou blackling! and let me call the watch.  I've
the sort of mouth for that -the hogshead mouth. So, so, ( thrusts his head
down the scuttle,) Star-bo-l-e-e-n-s, a-h-o-y! Eight  bells  there  below!
Tumble up! Dutch Sailor Grand snoozing to-night, maty; fat night for that.
I mark this in our old Mogul's wine; it's quite as deadening  to  some  as
filliping to others. We sing;  they  sleep  -aye,  lie  down  there,  like
ground-tier butts. At 'em again! There, take this  copper-pump,  and  hail
'em through it. Tell 'em to avast dreaming of their lasses. Tell 'em  it's
the resurrection; they must kiss their last, and come to judgment.  That's
the way - that's it;  thy  throat  ain't  spoiled  with  eating  Amsterdam
butter.
    French Sailor Hist, boys! let's have a jig or two before we  ride  to
anchor in Blanket Bay. What say ye? There comes the other watch. Stand  by
all legs! Pip! little Pip! hurrah with your tambourine! Pip  (  Sulky  and
sleepy.) Don't know where it is. French Sailor Beat thy belly,  then,  and
wag thy ears. Jig it, men, I say; merry's the word; hurrah! Damn me, won't
you dance? Form, now, Indian-file, and  gallop  into  the  double-shuffle?
Throw yourselves! Legs! Legs! Iceland Sailor  I  don't  like  your  floor,
maty; it's too springy to my taste. I'm used to ice-floors. I'm  sorry  to
throw cold water on the subject; but excuse me.  Maltese  Sailor  Me  too;
where's your girls? Who but a fool would take his left hand by his  right,
and say to himself, how d'ye do? Partners! I must have partners!  Sicilian
Sailor Aye; girls  and  a  green!  -then  I'll  hop  with  ye;  yea,  turn
grasshopper! Long-Island Sailor Well, well,  ye  sulkies,  there's  plenty
more of us. Hoe corn when you may, I say. All legs go to harvest soon. Ah!
here comes the music; now for it! Azore Sailor ( Ascending,  and  pitching
the tambourine up the scuttle.)
    Here you are, Pip; and there's the windlass-bitts; up you mount! Now,
boys! ( The half of them dance to the  tambourine;  some  go  below;  some
sleep or lie among the coils of rigging. Oaths a-plenty.) Azore  Sailor  (
Dancing.) Go it, Pip! Bang it, bell-boy! Rig it, dig it, stig it, quig it,
bell-boy; Make fire-flies; break the  jinglers!  Pip  Jinglers,  you  say?
-there goes another, dropped off; I pound it so. China Sailor  Rattle  thy
teeth, then, and pound away; make  a  pagoda  of  thyself.  French  Sailor
Merry-mad! Hold up thy hoop, Pip, till I jump through it! split jibs! tear
yourselves! Tashtego ( Quietly smoking.) That's a white man; he calls that
fun: humph! I save my sweat. Old Manx Sailor I wonder whether those  jolly
lads bethink them of what they are dancing  over.  I'll  dance  over  your
grave, I will -that's the bitterest threat of your night-women, that  beat
head-winds round corners. O Christ! to think of the green navies  and  the
green-skulled crews! Well, well; belike the whole world's a ball,  as  you
scholars have it; and so 'tis right to make one ballroom of it. Dance  on,
lads, you're young; I was once. 3d Nantucket Sailor Spell oh! -whew!  this
is worse than pulling after whales in a calm -give us  a  whiff,  Tash.  (
They cease dancing, and gather in clusters. Meantime the sky darkens - the
wind rises.)
    Lascar Sailor  By  Brahma!  boys,  it'll  be  douse  sail  soon.  The
sky-born, high-tide Ganges turned to wind! Thou showest  thy  black  brow,
Seeva! Maltese Sailor ( Reclining and shaking his  cap.)  It's  the  waves
-the snow's caps turn to jig it now. They'll shake their tassels soon. Now
would all the waves were women, then I'd go drown, and chassee  with  them
evermore! There's naught so sweet on earth -heaven may not match  it!  -as
those  swift  glances  of  warm,  wild  bosoms  in  the  dance,  when  the
over-arboring arms hide such ripe,  bursting  grapes.  Sicilian  Sailor  (
Reclining.) Tell me not of it! Hark ye, lad  -fleet  interlacings  of  the
limbs -lithe swayings -coyings -flutterings! lip! heart! hip!  all  graze:
unceasing touch and go! not taste, observe  ye,  else  come  satiety.  Eh,
Pagan? ( Nudging.) Tahitan Sailor  (  Reclining  on  a  mat.)  Hail,  holy
nakedness of our dancing girls! -the Heeva-Heeva!  Ah!  low  veiled,  high
palmed Tahiti! I still rest me on thy mat, but the soft soil has  slid!  I
saw thee woven in the wood, my mat! green  the  first  day  i  brought  ye
thence; now worn and wilted quite. Ah me! -not thou nor  I  can  bear  the
change! How then, if so be transplanted to yon sky?  Hear  I  the  roaring
streams from Pirohitee's peak of spears, when they leap down the crags and
drown the villages? -The blast! the blast! Up, spine, and meet it! ( Leaps
to his feet.) Portuguese Sailor How the sea  rolls  swashing  'gainst  the
side! Stand by for reefing, hearties! the winds are just crossing  swords,
pell-mell they'll go lunging presently. Danish Sailor  Crack,  crack,  old
ship! so long as thou crackest, thou holdest! Well done!  The  mate  there
holds ye to it stiffly.  He's  no  more  afraid  than  the  isle  fort  at
Cattegat, put there to fight the Baltic with storm-lashed guns,  on  which
the sea-salt cakes! 4th Nantucket Sailor He has his orders, mind ye  that.
I heard old Ahab tell him he must always kill a squall, something as  they
burst a waterspout with a pistol -fire your ship right  into  it!  English
Sailor Blood! but that old man's a grand old cove! We are the lads to hunt
him up his whale! All Aye! aye! Old Manx Sailor How the three pines shake!
Pines are the hardest sort of tree to live when shifted to any other soil,
and here there's none  but  the  crew's  cursed  clay.  Steady,  helmsman!
steady. This is the sort of weather when brave  hearts  snap  ashore,  and
keeled hulls split at sea. Our captain has his  birth-mark;  look  yonder,
boys, there's another in the sky  -lurid-like,  ye  see,  all  else  pitch
black. Daggoo What of that? Who's afraid of  black's  afraid  of  me!  I'm
quarried out of it! Spanish Sailor ( Aside.) He wants to bully,  ah!  -the
old grudge makes me touchy. ( Advancing.) Aye, harpooneer, thy race is the
undeniable dark side of mankind -devilish dark at that. No offence. Daggoo
( grimly) None. St. Jago's Sailor That Spaniard's mad or drunk.  But  that
can't be, or else in his one case our old Mogul's fire-waters are somewhat
long in working. 5th Nantucket Sailor What's that I saw-lightning? Yes.
    Spanish Sailor No; Daggoo showing  his  teeth.  Daggoo  (  springing)
Swallow thine, mannikin! White skin, white liver! Spanish Sailor ( meeting
him) Knife thee heartily! big frame, small spirit! All A  row!  a  row!  a
row! Tashtego ( with a whiff) A row a'low, and a row aloft -Gods  and  men
-both brawlers! Humph! Belfast Sailor A row! arrah a row!  The  Virgin  be
blessed, a row! Plunge in with ye! English Sailor Fair  play!  Snatch  the
Spaniard's knife! A ring, a ring! Old Manx Sailor Ready formed. There! the
ringed horizon. In that ring Cain struck Abel. Sweet work, right work! No?
Why then, God, mad'st thou the ring? Mate's Voice from  the  Quarter  Deck
Hands by the halyards! in top-gallant sails! Stand by  to  reef  topsails!
All The squall! the squall! jump, my  jollies!  (  They  scatter.)  Pip  (
shrinking under the windlass) Jollies?  Lord  help  such  jollies!  Crish,
crash! there goes the jib-stay! Blang-whang! God! Duck  lower,  Pip,  here
comes the royal yard! It's worse than being in the whirled woods, the last
day of the year; Who'd go climbing after chestnuts now? But there they go,
all cursing, and here I don't. Fine prospects to 'em; they're on the  road
to heaven. Hold on hard! Jimmini, what a squall! But those chaps there are
worse yet -they are your white squalls, they. White squalls? white  whale,
shirr! shirr! Here have I heard all their chat just  now,  and  the  white
whale -shirr! shirr! -but spoken of once! and only this evening - it makes
me jingle all over like my tambourine -that anaconda of an old  man  swore
'em in to hunt him! Oh, thou big white God aloft there  somewhere  in  yon
darkness, have mercy on this small black boy down here; preserve him  from
all men that have no bowels to feel fear!



                             41. MOBY DICK

    I, Ishmael, was one of that crew; my shouts  had  gone  up  with  the
rest; my oath had been welded with theirs; and  stronger  I  shouted,  and
more did I hammer and clinch my oath, because of the dread in my  soul.  A
wild, mystical, sympathetical feeling was in me;  Ahab's  quenchless  feud
seemed mine. With greedy ears I learned  the  history  of  that  murderous
monster against whom I and all the others had taken our oaths of  violence
and  revenge.  For  some  time  past,  though  at  intervals   only,   the
unaccompanied, secluded White Whale had  haunted  those  uncivilized  seas
mostly frequented by the Sperm Whale fishermen. But not all of  them  knew
of his existence; only a few of them, comparatively,  had  knowingly  seen
him; while the number who as yet had actually and knowingly  given  battle
to  him,  was  small  indeed.  For,  owing  to   the   large   number   of
whale-cruisers; the disorderly way they were  sprinkled  over  the  entire
watery circumference, many of them adventurously pushing their quest along
solitary latitudes, so as seldom or never for a whole twelvemonth or  more
on a stretch, to encounter a single news-telling sail  of  any  sort;  the
inordinate length of each separate voyage; the irregularity of  the  times
of sailing from home; all these,  with  other  circumstances,  direct  and
indirect,  long  obstructed  the  spread  through  the  whole   world-wide
whaling-fleet of the special individualizing tidings concerning Moby Dick.
It was hardly to  be  doubted,  that  several  vessels  reported  to  have
encountered, at such or such a time, or on such  or  such  a  meridian,  a
Sperm Whale of uncommon magnitude and malignity, which whale, after  doing
great mischief to his assailants, had completely  escaped  them;  to  some
minds it was not an unfair presumption, I say, that the whale in  question
must have been no other than moby Dick. Yet as of  late  the  Sperm  Whale
fishery had been marked by various and not unfrequent instances  of  great
ferocity, cunning, and malice in the monster attacked; therefore  it  was,
that those who by accident ignorantly  gave  battle  to  Moby  Dick;  such
hunters, perhaps, for the most part, were content to ascribe the  peculiar
terror he bred, more, as it were, to the perils of the Sperm Whale fishery
at large,  than  to  the  individual  cause.  In  that  way,  mostly,  the
disastrous  encounter  between  Ahab  and  the  whale  had  hitherto  been
popularly regarded. And as for those who, previously hearing of the  White
Whale, by chance caught sight of him; in the beginning of the  thing  they
had every one of them, almost, as boldly and fearlessly lowered  for  him,
as for any other whale of that species. But at length, such calamities did
ensue in these assaults -not restricted to  sprained  wrists  and  ancles,
broken limbs, or devouring amputations -but fatal to the  last  degree  of
fatality; those repeated disastrous repulses, all accumulating and  piling
their terrors upon Moby Dick; those things  had  gone  far  to  shake  the
fortitude of many brave hunters, to whom the story of the White Whale  had
eventually come. Nor did wild rumors of all sorts fail to exaggerate,  and
still the more horrify the true histories of these deadly encounters.  For
not only do fabulous rumors naturally grow out of the  very  body  of  all
surprising terrible events, -as the smitten tree gives birth to its fungi;
but, in maritime life, far more than in that of terra firma,  wild  rumors
abound, wherever there is any adequate reality for them to cling  to.  And
as the sea surpasses the  land  in  this  matter,  so  the  whale  fishery
surpasses every other sort of maritime  life,  in  the  wonderfulness  and
fearfulness of the rumors which sometimes circulate there.  For  not  only
are whalemen as a body unexempt from that ignorance and  superstitiousness
hereditary to all sailors; but of all sailors, they are by  all  odds  the
most  directly  brought  into  contact  with   whatever   is   appallingly
astonishing in the sea; face to  face  they  not  only  eye  its  greatest
marvels, but, hand to jaw, give battle to them. Alone,  in  such  remotest
waters, that though you sailed a thousand miles,  and  passed  a  thousand
shores, you  would  not  come  to  any  chiselled  hearthstone,  or  aught
hospitable beneath that part of the sun; in such latitudes and longitudes,
pursuing too such a calling  as  he  does,  the  whaleman  is  wrapped  by
influences all tending to make his  fancy  pregnant  with  many  a  mighty
birth. No wonder, then, that ever gathering volume from the  mere  transit
over the widest watery spaces, the outblown rumors of the White Whale  did
in the end incorporate with themselves all manner  of  morbid  hints,  and
half-formed foetal suggestions of supernatural agencies, which  eventually
invested Moby Dick with new terrors unborrowed from anything that  visibly
appears. So that in many cases such a panic did he  finally  strike,  that
few who by those rumors, at least, had heard of the White  Whale,  few  of
those hunters were willing to encounter the perils of his jaw.  But  there
were still other and more vital practical influences at work. Not even  at
the present day has the original prestige of the Sperm Whale, as fearfully
distinguished from all other species of the leviathan,  died  out  of  the
minds of the whalemen as a body. There are those this day among them, who,
though intelligent  and  courageous  enough  in  offering  battle  to  the
Greenland  or  Right  whale,  would  perhaps  -either  from   professional
inexperience, or incompetency, or timidity, decline  a  contest  with  the
Sperm Whale; at any rate, there are plenty of whalemen,  especially  among
those whaling nations not sailing under the American flag, who have  never
hostilely encountered the Sperm Whale, but whose  sole  knowledge  of  the
leviathan is restricted to the ignoble monster primitively pursued in  the
North; seated on their hatches, these men will  hearken  with  a  childish
fire-side interest and  awe,  to  the  wild,  strange  tales  of  Southern
whaling. Nor is the pre-eminent tremendousness of the  great  Sperm  Whale
anywhere more feelingly comprehended, than on board of those  prows  which
stem him. And as if the now tested reality of  his  might  had  in  former
legendary times thrown its shadow before it; we find some book naturalists
-Olassen and Povelson  -declaring  the  Sperm  Whale  not  only  to  be  a
consternation to every other creature in  the  sea,  but  also  to  be  so
incredibly ferocious as continually to be athirst  for  human  blood.  Nor
even down to so late a time as Cuvier's,  were  these  or  almost  similar
impressions effaced. For in his Natural History, the Baron himself affirms
that at sight of the Sperm Whale, all fish (sharks  included)  are  struck
with the most lively terrors, and  often  in  the  precipitancy  of  their
flight dash themselves against the rocks with such violence  as  to  cause
instantaneous death. And however the general experiences  in  the  fishery
may amend such reports as these; yet in their full terribleness,  even  to
the bloodthirsty item of Povelson, the superstitious belief in them is, in
some vicissitudes of their vocation, revived in the minds of the  hunters.
So that overawed by the rumors and portents concerning him, not a  few  of
the fishermen recalled, in reference to Moby Dick, the earlier days of the
Sperm Whale fishery, when it was oftentimes hard to induce long  practised
Right whalemen to embark in the perils of this  new  and  daring  warfare;
such men protesting that although  other  leviathans  might  be  hopefully
pursued, yet to chase and point lance at such an apparition as  the  Sperm
Whale was not for mortal man. That to attempt it, would be  inevitably  to
be torn into a quick eternity. on this head,  there  are  some  remarkable
documents that may be consulted. Nevertheless, some there were,  who  even
in the face of these things were ready to give chase to Moby Dick;  and  a
still greater number who, chancing only  to  hear  of  him  distantly  and
vaguely, without the specific details of any certain calamity, and without
superstitious accompaniments, were sufficiently hardy not to flee from the
battle if offered. One of the wild suggestings referred  to,  as  at  last
coming  to  be  linked  with  the  White  Whale  in  the  minds   of   the
superstitiously inclined, was the unearthly conceit  that  Moby  Dick  was
ubiquitous; that he had actually been encountered in opposite latitudes at
one and the same instant of time. Nor, credulous as such minds  must  have
been, was this conceit altogether without some faint show of superstitious
probability. For as the secrets of the currents in the seas have never yet
been divulged, even to the most erudite research; so the  hidden  ways  of
the  Sperm  Whale  when  beneath  the  surface  remain,  in  great   part,
unaccountable to his pursuers; and from time to time have  originated  the
most curious and contradictory  speculations  regarding  them,  especially
concerning the mystic modes whereby, after sounding to a great  depth,  he
transports himself with such vast swiftness to  the  most  widely  distant
points. It is a thing well known to both American and English whale-ships,
and as well  a  thing  placed  upon  authoritative  record  years  ago  by
Scoresby, that some whales have been captured far north in the Pacific, in
whose bodies have been found the barbs of harpoons darted in the Greenland
seas. Nor is it to be gainsaid, that in some of  these  instances  it  has
been declared that the interval of time between the two assaults could not
have exceeded very many days. Hence, by inference, it has been believed by
some whalemen, that the nor' west passage, so long a problem to  man,  was
never a problem to the whale. So that here, in the real living  experience
of living men, the prodigies related in old times of  the  inland  Strello
mountain in Portugal (near whose top there was said to be a lake in  which
the wrecks of ships floated up  to  the  surface);  and  that  still  more
wonderful story of the Arethusa fountain near Syracuse (whose waters  were
believed to have come from the Holy Land by an underground passage); these
fabulous narrations are almost fully equalled  by  the  realities  of  the
whaleman. Forced into familiarity, then, with such prodigies as these; and
knowing that after  repeated,  intrepid  assaults,  the  White  Whale  had
escaped alive; it cannot be much matter of  surprise  that  some  whalemen
should go still further in their superstitions; declaring  Moby  Dick  not
only ubiquitous, but immortal (for immortality is but ubiquity  in  time);
that though groves of spears should be planted in  his  flanks,  he  would
still swim away unharmed; or if indeed he should ever  be  made  to  spout
thick blood, such a sight would be but a ghastly deception; for  again  in
unensanguined billows hundreds of leagues away, his  unsullied  jet  would
once more be seen. But even stripped  of  these  supernatural  surmisings,
there was enough in the earthly make and incontestable  character  of  the
monster to strike the imagination with unwonted power. For, it was not  so
much his uncommon bulk that so much distinguished  him  from  other  sperm
whales, but, as was elsewhere thrown out -a peculiar  snow-white  wrinkled
forehead, and a high, pyramidical white hump.  These  were  his  prominent
features; the tokens whereby, even in the limitless,  uncharted  seas,  he
revealed his identity, at a long distance, to those who knew him. The rest
of his body was so streaked,  and  spotted,  and  marbled  with  the  same
shrouded hue, that, in the end, he had gained his distinctive  appellation
of the white Whale; a name,  indeed,  literally  justified  by  his  vivid
aspect, when seen gliding at high noon through a dark blue sea, leaving  a
milky-way wake of creamy foam, all spangled with golden gleamings. Nor was
it his unwonted magnitude, nor his remarkable hue, nor  yet  his  deformed
lower jaw, that so much invested the whale with natural  terror,  as  that
unexampled, intelligent malignity which, according to  specific  accounts,
he had over and over again evinced in his assaults.  More  than  all,  his
treacherous retreats struck more of dismay than perhaps aught  else.  For,
when swimming before his exulting pursuers, with every apparent symptom of
alarm, he had several times been  known  to  turn  around  suddenly,  and,
bearing down upon them, either stave their boats to  splinters,  or  drive
them back in consternation to their ship. Already several  fatalities  had
attended his chase. But though similar disasters, however  little  bruited
ashore, were by no means unusual in the fishery; yet, in  most  instances,
such seemed the White Whale's  infernal  aforethought  of  ferocity,  that
every dismembering or death that he caused, was  not  wholly  regarded  as
having been inflicted by an unintelligent  agent.  Judge,  then,  to  what
pitches of inflamed, distracted fury  the  minds  of  his  more  desperate
hunters were impelled, when amid  the  chips  of  chewed  boats,  and  the
sinking limbs of torn comrades, they swam out of the white  curds  of  the
whale's direful wrath into the serene, exasperating sunlight, that  smiled
on, as if at a birth or a bridal. His three boats stove  around  him,  and
oars and men both  whirling  in  the  eddies;  one  captain,  seizing  the
line-knife from his broken prow, had dashed at the whale, as  an  Arkansas
duellist at his foe, blindly seeking with a six inch blade  to  reach  the
fathom-deep life of the whale. That captain was Ahab.  And  then  it  was,
that suddenly sweeping his sickle-shaped lower jaw beneath him, Moby  Dick
had reaped away ahab's leg, as a mower a blade of grass in the  field.  No
turbaned Turk, no hired Venetian or Malay, could have smote him with  more
seeming malice. Small reason was there to doubt,  then,  that  ever  since
that almost fatal encounter, Ahab  had  cherished  a  wild  vindictiveness
against the whale, all the more fell for that in his frantic morbidness he
at last came to identify with him, not only all his bodily woes,  but  all
his intellectual and spiritual exasperations. The White Whale swam  before
him as the monomaniac incarnation of all those  malicious  agencies  which
some deep men feel eating in them, till they are left living on with  half
a heart and half a lung. That intangible malignity which has been from the
beginning; to whose dominion even the modern Christians  ascribe  one-half
of the worlds; which the ancient Ophites of the east reverenced  in  their
statue devil; - Ahab did not fall down  and  worship  it  like  them;  but
deliriously transferring its idea to the abhorred white whale,  he  pitted
himself, all mutilated, against it. All that most  maddens  and  torments;
all that stirs up the lees of things; all truth with  malice  in  it;  all
that cracks the sinews and cakes the brain; all the  subtle  demonisms  of
life and thought; all evil, to crazy Ahab, were visibly  personified,  and
made practically assailable in Moby Dick. He piled upon the whale's  white
hump the sum of all the general rage and hate felt by his whole race  from
Adam down; and then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst  his  hot
heart's shell upon it. It is not probable that this monomania in him  took
its instant rise at the precise time of his bodily dismemberment. Then, in
darting at the monster, knife in hand, he had but given loose to a sudden,
passionate, corporal animosity; and when he received the stroke that  tore
him, he probably but felt the agonizing  bodily  laceration,  but  nothing
more. Yet, when by this collision forced to turn  towards  home,  and  for
long months of days and weeks, ahab and anguish lay stretched together  in
one hammock, rounding in mid winter that dreary, howling Patagonian  Cape;
then it was, that his torn body and gashed soul bled into one another; and
so interfusing, made him mad. That it  was  only  then,  on  the  homeward
voyage, after the encounter, that the final monomania  seized  him,  seems
all but certain from the fact that, at intervals during  the  passage,  he
was a raving lunatic; and, though  unlimbed  of  a  leg,  yet  such  vital
strength yet lurked in his Egyptian chest, and was moreover intensified by
his delirium, that his mates were forced to lace him fast, even there,  as
he sailed, raving in his hammock. In a strait-jacket, he swung to the  mad
rockings of the gales. And, when running into more  sufferable  latitudes,
the ship,  with  mild  stun'sails  spread,  floated  across  the  tranquil
tropics, and, to all appearances,  the  old  man's  delirium  seemed  left
behind him with the Cape Horn swells, and he came forth from his dark  den
into the blessed light and  air;  even  then,  when  he  bore  that  firm,
collected front, however pale, and issued his calm orders once again;  and
his mates thanked God the direful madness was now gone; even  then,  Ahab,
in his hidden self, raved on. Human madness is oftentimes  a  cunning  and
most feline thing. When  you  think  it  fled,  it  may  have  but  become
transfigured into some still subtler form.  Ahab's  full  lunacy  subsided
not, but deepeningly contracted; like the unabated Hudson, when that noble
Northman flows narrowly, but unfathomably through the Highland gorge. But,
as in his narrow-flowing monomania, not one jot of  Ahab's  broad  madness
had been left behind; so in that broad madness, not one jot of  his  great
natural intellect had perished. That before living agent, now  became  the
living instrument. If such a furious trope may stand, his  special  lunacy
stormed his general sanity, and carried it, and turned all its  concentred
cannon upon its own mad mark; so that far from having lost  his  strength,
Ahab, to that one end, did now possess a thousand fold more  potency  than
ever he had sanely brought to bear upon any one reasonable object. This is
much; yet Ahab's larger, darker, deeper part remains unhinted. But vain to
popularize profundities, and all truth is profound. Winding far down  from
within the very heart of this spiked Hotel de Cluny where  we  here  stand
-however grand and wonderful, now quit it; -and take your way, ye  nobler,
sadder souls, to those vast Roman halls of Thermes; where far beneath  the
fantastic towers of man's upper earth, his root  of  grandeur,  his  whole
awful  essence  sits  in  bearded  state;  an   antique   buried   beneath
antiquities, and throned on torsoes! So with a broken  throne,  the  great
gods mock that  captive  king;  so  like  a  Caryatid,  he  patient  sits,
upholding on his frozen brow the piled entablatures of ages. Wind ye  down
there, ye prouder, sadder souls! question that proud, sad king!  A  family
likeness! aye, he did beget ye, ye young exiled royalties; and  from  your
grim sire only will the old State-secret come. Now, in his heart, Ahab had
some glimpse of this, namely: all my means are  sane,  my  motive  and  my
object mad. Yet without power to kill, or change, or  shun  the  fact;  he
likewise knew that to mankind he did now long dissemble; in some sort, did
still. But  that  thing  of  his  dissembling  was  only  subject  to  his
perceptibility, not to his will determinate. Nevertheless, so well did  he
succeed in that dissembling, that when with ivory leg he stepped ashore at
last, no Nantucketer thought him otherwise than but naturally grieved, and
that to the quick, with the terrible casualty which had overtaken him. The
report of his undeniable delirium at sea was likewise  popularly  ascribed
to a kindred cause. And so too,  all  the  added  moodiness  which  always
afterwards, to the very day of  sailing  in  the  pequod  on  the  present
voyage, sat brooding on his brow. Nor is it so  very  unlikely,  that  far
from distrusting his fitness for another whaling  voyage,  on  account  of
such dark symptoms, the calculating  people  of  that  prudent  isle  were
inclined to harbor the conceit, that for those very reasons he was all the
better qualified and set on edge, for  a  pursuit  so  full  of  rage  and
wildness as the bloody hunt of whales. Gnawed within and scorched without,
with the infixed, unrelenting fangs of some incurable idea; such  an  one,
could he be found, would seem the very man to dart his iron and  lift  his
lance against the most appalling of all brutes.  Or,  if  for  any  reason
thought to be corporeally incapacitated for that, yet such  an  one  would
seem superlatively competent to cheer and howl on his  underlings  to  the
attack. But be all this as it may, certain it is, that with the mad secret
of his unabated rage bolted up and keyed in him, Ahab had purposely sailed
upon the present voyage with the one only  and  all-engrossing  object  of
hunting the White Whale. Had any one of his old acquaintances on shore but
half dreamed of what was lurking in him then, how soon would their  aghast
and righteous souls have wrenched the ship from such a fiendish man!  They
were bent on profitable cruises, the profit to be counted down in  dollars
from  the  mint.  He  was  intent  on  an  audacious,   immitigable,   and
supernatural revenge. Here, then, was this grey-headed, ungodly  old  man,
chasing with curses a Job's whale round the world, at the head of a  crew,
too, chiefly made up of mongrel renegades, and  castaways,  and  cannibals
-morally enfeebled also, by the incompetence of  mere  unaided  virtue  or
right-mindedness in Starbuck, the invulnerable jollity of indifference and
recklessness in Stubb, and the pervading mediocrity in Flask. Such a crew,
so officered, seemed specially picked and packed by some infernal fatality
to help him to his monomaniac revenge. How it was that they so aboundingly
responded to the old man's ire  -by  what  evil  magic  their  souls  were
possessed, that at times his hate seemed almost theirs; the White Whale as
much their insufferable foe as his; how all this  came  to  be  -what  the
White Whale was to them, or how to their unconscious understandings, also,
in some dim, unsuspected way, he might have seemed the gliding great demon
of the seas of life, -all this to explain, would be to  dive  deeper  than
Ishmael can go. The subterranean miner that works in us all, how  can  one
tell whither leads his shaft by the ever shifting, muffled  sound  of  his
pick? Who does not feel the irresistible arm drag? What skiff in tow of  a
seventy-four can stand still? For one, I gave myself up to the abandonment
of the time and the place; but while  yet  all  a-rush  to  encounter  the
whale, could see naught in that brute but the deadliest ill.



                       42. THE WHITENESS OF THE WHALE

    What the white whale was to Ahab, has been hinted; what, at times, he
was  to  me,  as  yet  remains  unsaid.  Aside  from  those  more  obvious
considerations touching Moby Dick, which could not but occasionally awaken
in any man's soul some alarm, there was another thought, or rather  vague,
nameless horror concerning him, which at times by its intensity completely
overpowered all the rest; and yet so mystical and well nigh ineffable  was
it, that I almost despair of putting it in a comprehensible form.  It  was
the whiteness of the whale that above all things appalled me. But how  can
I hope to explain myself here; and yet, in some dim, random  way,  explain
myself I must, else all these chapters might be  naught.  Though  in  many
natural objects, whiteness refiningly enhances  beauty,  as  if  imparting
some special virtue of its own, as in marbles, japonicas, and pearls;  and
though various nations  have  in  some  way  recognised  a  certain  royal
pre-eminence in this hue; even the  barbaric,  grand  old  kings  of  Pegu
placing the title Lord of  the  White  Elephants  above  all  their  other
magniloquent ascriptions  of  dominion;  and  the  modern  kings  of  Siam
unfurling the same snow-white quadruped in the  royal  standard;  and  the
Hanoverian flag bearing the one figure of a snow-white  charger;  and  the
great Austrian Empire, Caesarian, heir to overlording Rome, having for the
imperial color the same imperial hue; and though this pre-eminence  in  it
applies to the human race itself, giving the white  man  ideal  mastership
over every dusky tribe; and though, besides all this, whiteness  has  been
even made significant of gladness, for among  the  Romans  a  white  stone
marked  a  joyful  day;  and  though  in  other  mortal   sympathies   and
symbolizings, this same hue is made the emblem  of  many  touching,  noble
things -the innocence of brides, the benignity of age;  though  among  the
Red Men of America the giving of the white belt of wampum was the  deepest
pledge of honor; though in many climes, whiteness typifies the majesty  of
Justice in the ermine of the Judge, and contributes to the daily state  of
kings and queens drawn by milk-white steeds; though  even  in  the  higher
mysteries of the most august religions it has been made the symbol of  the
divine spotlessness and power; by the Persian fire worshippers, the  white
forked flame being held the  holiest  on  the  altar;  and  in  the  Greek
mythologies, Great Jove himself made incarnate in a snow-white  bull;  and
though to the noble Iroquois, the midwinter sacrifice of the sacred  White
Dog was by far the holiest festival  of  their  theology,  that  spotless,
faithful creature being held the purest envoy they could send to the Great
Spirit with the annual tidings of their own fidelity; and though  directly
from the Latin word for white, all Christian priests derive  the  name  of
one part of their sacred vesture, the  alb  or  tunic,  worn  beneath  the
cassock; and though among the holy pomps of the  Romish  faith,  white  is
specially employed in the celebration of the Passion of our  Lord;  though
in the Vision of St. John, white robes are given to the redeemed, and  the
four-and-twenty elders stand clothed  in  white  before  the  great  white
throne, and the Holy One that sitteth there white like wool; yet  for  all
these accumulated associations, with whatever is sweet, and honorable, and
sublime, there yet lurks an elusive something in  the  innermost  idea  of
this hue, which strikes more of panic to the soul than that redness  which
affrights in blood.
    This elusive quality it is, which causes the  thought  of  whiteness,
when divorced from more kindly associations, and coupled with  any  object
terrible in itself, to  heighten  that  terror  to  the  furthest  bounds.
Witness the white bear of the poles, and the white shark of  the  tropics;
what but their smooth, flaky whiteness makes them the transcendent horrors
they are? That ghastly whiteness it is which  imparts  such  an  abhorrent
mildness, even more loathsome than terrific, to the dumb gloating of their
aspect. So that not the fierce-fanged tiger in his heraldic  coat  can  so
stagger courage as the white-shrouded bear or shark. Bethink thee  of  the
albatross, whence come those  clouds  of  spiritual  wonderment  and  pale
dread, in  which  that  white  phantom  sails  in  all  imaginations?  Not
Coleridge first threw that spell; but God's great, unflattering  laureate,
Nature.
    Most famous in our Western annals and Indian traditions  is  that  of
the White  Steed  of  the  Prairies;  a  magnificent  milk-white  charger,
large-eyed,  small-headed,  bluff-chested,  and  with  the  dignity  of  a
thousand monarchs in his lofty, overscorning carriage. He was the  elected
Xerxes of vast herds of wild horses, whose pastures  in  those  days  were
only fenced by the Rocky Mountains and the Alleghanies. At  their  flaming
head he westward trooped it like that  chosen  star  which  every  evening
leads on the hosts of light. The flashing cascade of his mane, the curving
comet of his tail, invested him with housings more resplendent  than  gold
and  silver-beaters  could  have  furnished  him.  A  most  imperial   and
archangelical apparition of that unfallen, western  world,  which  to  the
eyes of the old trappers and hunters revived the glories of those primeval
times when Adam walked majestic as a god, bluff-bowed and fearless as this
mighty steed. Whether marching amid his aides and marshals in the  van  of
countless cohorts that endlessly streamed it  over  the  plains,  like  an
Ohio; or whether with his circumambient subjects browsing  all  around  at
the horizon, the White Steed gallopingly reviewed them with warm  nostrils
reddening through his cool milkiness;  in  whatever  aspect  he  presented
himself, always to the bravest Indians he  was  the  object  of  trembling
reverence and awe. Nor can it be questioned from what stands on  legendary
record of this noble horse, that it was his spiritual  whiteness  chiefly,
which so clothed him with divineness; and that this divineness had that in
it which, though commanding worship, at the same time enforced  a  certain
nameless terror. But there are other instances where this whiteness  loses
all that accessory and strange glory which invests it in the  White  Steed
and Albatross.
    What is it that in the Albino man  so  peculiarly  repels  and  often
shocks the eye, as that sometimes he is loathed by his own kith  and  kin!
It is that whiteness which invests him, a thing expressed by the  name  he
bears. The Albino is as  well  made  as  other  men  -has  no  substantive
deformity -and yet this mere aspect of all-pervading whiteness  makes  him
more strangely hideous than the ugliest abortion. Why should this  be  so?
Nor, in quite other aspects, does Nature in her least palpable but not the
less malicious agencies, fail to enlist among  her  forces  this  crowning
attribute of the terrible. From its snowy aspect, the gauntleted ghost  of
the Southern Seas has been denominated the  White  Squall.  Nor,  in  some
historic instances, has the art of  human  malice  omitted  so  potent  an
auxiliary.  How  wildly  it  heightens  the  effect  of  that  passage  in
Froissart, when,  masked  in  the  snowy  symbol  of  their  faction,  the
desperate White Hoods of Ghent murder their bailiff in  the  market-place!
Nor, in some things, does the common, hereditary experience of all mankind
fail to bear witness to the supernaturalism of this hue. It cannot well be
doubted, that the one visible quality in the aspect of the dead which most
appals the gazer, is the marble pallor lingering there; as if indeed  that
pallor were as much like the badge of consternation in the other world, as
of mortal trepidation here. And from that pallor of the  dead,  we  borrow
the expressive hue of the shroud in which we wrap them. Nor  even  in  our
superstitions do we  fail  to  throw  the  same  snowy  mantle  round  our
phantoms; all ghosts rising in a milk-white fog -Yea, while these  terrors
seize us, let us add, that even the king of terrors, when  personified  by
the evangelist, rides on his pallid horse. Therefore, in his other  moods,
symbolize whatever grand or gracious thing he will by  whiteness,  no  man
can deny that in its profoundest idealized  significance  it  calls  up  a
peculiar apparition to the soul. But though without dissent this point  be
fixed, how is mortal man to account for it?  To  analyse  it,  would  seem
impossible. Can we, then, by the  citation  of  some  of  those  instances
wherein this thing of whiteness -though for the time either wholly  or  in
great part stripped of all direct associations calculated to impart to  it
aught fearful, but, nevertheless, is found  to  exert  over  us  the  same
sorcery, however modified; -can we thus hope to  light  upon  some  chance
clue to conduct us to the hidden cause we seek?  Let  us  try.  But  in  a
matter like this, subtlety appeals to subtlety, and without imagination no
man can follow another into these halls. And though,  doubtless,  some  at
least of the imaginative impressions about to be presented may  have  been
shared by most men, yet few perhaps were entirely conscious of them at the
time, and therefore may not be able to recall them now. Why to the man  of
untutored ideality, who happens to be  but  loosely  acquainted  with  the
peculiar character of the  day,  does  the  bare  mention  of  Whitsuntide
marshal  in  the  fancy  such  long,  dreary,  speechless  processions  of
slow-pacing pilgrims, downcast and hooded with new-fallen snow? Or, to the
unread, unsophisticated Protestant of the Middle American States, why does
the passing mention of a White Friar or a White Nun, evoke such an eyeless
statue in the soul?  Or  what  is  there  apart  from  the  traditions  of
dungeoned warriors and kings (which will not wholly account for  it)  that
makes the White Tower  of  London  tell  so  much  more  strongly  on  the
imagination  of  an  untravelled  American,  than  those   other   storied
structures, its neighbors -the Byward Tower, or even the Bloody? And those
sublimer towers, the White Mountains of New Hampshire, whence, in peculiar
moods, comes that gigantic ghostliness over the soul at the  bare  mention
of that name, while the thought of Virginia's Blue  Ridge  is  full  of  a
soft, dewy, distant dreaminess? Or why, irrespective of all latitudes  and
longitudes, does the name of the White Sea exert such a spectralness  over
the fancy, while that of the Yellow Sea lulls us with mortal  thoughts  of
long lacquered mild afternoons on the waves, followed by the gaudiest  and
yet sleepiest of sunsets? Or, to choose a wholly  unsubstantial  instance,
purely addressed to the fancy, why, in reading  the  old  fairy  tales  of
Central Europe, does the  tall  pale  man  of  the  Hartz  forests,  whose
changeless pallor unrestingly glides through the green of the groves  -why
is  this  phantom  more  terrible  than  all  the  whooping  imps  of  the
Blocksburg?   Nor   is   it,   altogether,   the   remembrance   of    her
cathedral-toppling earthquakes; nor the stampedoes of  her  frantic  seas:
nor the tearlessness of arid skies that never rain; nor the sight  of  her
wide field of leaning spires, wrenched cope-stones, and crosses all adroop
(like canted yards of  anchored  fleets);  and  her  suburban  avenues  of
house-walls lying over upon each other, as a tossed pack of cards; -it  is
not these things alone which make tearless Lima,  the  strangest,  saddest
city thou can'st see. For Lima has taken the white veil; and  there  is  a
higher horror in this whiteness of her woe. Old as Pizarro, this whiteness
keeps her ruins for  ever  new;  admits  not  the  cheerful  greenness  of
complete decay; spreads over her broken ramparts the rigid  pallor  of  an
apoplexy that fixes its own  distortions.  I  know  that,  to  the  common
apprehension, this phenomenon of whiteness is  not  confessed  to  be  the
prime agent in exaggerating the terror of objects otherwise terrible;  nor
to the unimaginative mind is there aught of terror  in  those  appearances
whose awfulness to  another  mind  almost  solely  consists  in  this  one
phenomenon, especially when exhibited under any form at all approaching to
muteness or universality. What I mean by these two statements may  perhaps
be respectively elucidated by the following examples. First: The  mariner,
when drawing nigh the coasts of foreign lands, if by  night  he  hear  the
roar  of  breakers,  starts  to  vigilance,  and  feels  just  enough   of
trepidation to sharpen all his  faculties;  but  under  precisely  similar
circumstances, let him be called from his hammock to view his ship sailing
through a midnight sea of milky whiteness -as if from encircling headlands
shoals of combed white bears were swimming round  him,  then  he  feels  a
silent, superstitious dread; the shrouded phantom of the  whitened  waters
is horrible to him as a real ghost; in vain the lead  assures  him  he  is
still off soundings; heart and helm they both go down; he never rests till
blue water is under him again. Yet where is  the  mariner  who  will  tell
thee, Sir, it was not so much the fear of striking hidden  rocks,  as  the
fear of that hideous whiteness that so stirred me? Second: To  the  native
Indian of Peru, the continual sight of  the  snow-howdahed  Andes  conveys
naught of dread, except, perhaps, in the  mere  fancying  of  the  eternal
frosted desolateness reigning at such  vast  altitudes,  and  the  natural
conceit of what a fearfulness it would be to lose oneself in such  inhuman
solitudes. Much the same is it with the backwoodsman of the West, who with
comparative indifference views an unbounded prairie  sheeted  with  driven
snow, no shadow of tree or twig to break the fixed  trance  of  whiteness.
Not so the sailor, beholding the scenery of the Antarctic seas;  where  at
times, by some infernal trick of legerdemain in the powers  of  frost  and
air, he, shivering and half shipwrecked, instead of rainbows speaking hope
and solace to  his  misery,  views  what  seems  a  boundless  church-yard
grinning upon him with its lean ice monuments and splintered crosses.  But
thou sayest, methinks this white-lead chapter about  whiteness  is  but  a
white flag hung out from a craven  soul;  thou  surrenderest  to  a  hypo,
Ishmael. Tell me, why this strong young  colt,  foaled  in  some  peaceful
valley of Vermont, far removed from all beasts of prey  -why  is  it  that
upon the sunniest day, if you but shake a fresh buffalo robe  behind  him,
so that he cannot even see it, but only smells its wild  animal  muskiness
-why will he start, snort, and  with  bursting  eyes  paw  the  ground  in
phrensies of affright? There is no remembrance in him of  any  gorings  of
wild creatures in his green northern home, so that the  strange  muskiness
he smells cannot recall to him anything associated with the experience  of
former perils; for what knows he, this New  England  colt,  of  the  black
bisons of distant oregon? no: but here  thou  beholdest  even  in  a  dumb
brute, the instinct of the knowledge of the demonism in the world.  Though
thousands of miles from Oregon, still when he smells that savage musk, the
rending, goring bison herds are as present as to the deserted wild foal of
the prairies, which this instant they may be trampling  into  dust.  Thus,
then, the muffled rollings of a milky sea;  the  bleak  rustlings  of  the
festooned frosts of mountains; the desolate  shiftings  of  the  windrowed
snows of prairies; all these, to Ishmael,  are  as  the  shaking  of  that
buffalo robe to the frightened colt! Though neither knows  where  lie  the
nameless things of which the mystic sign gives forth such hints; yet  with
me, as with the colt, somewhere those things must exist. Though in many of
its aspects this visible world seems formed in love, the invisible spheres
were formed in fright. But not yet have we solved the incantation of  this
whiteness, and learned why it appeals with such power  to  the  soul;  and
more strange and far more portentous -why, as we have seen, it is at  once
the most meaning symbol of spiritual things, nay, the  very  veil  of  the
Christian's Deity; and yet should be as it is, the intensifying  agent  in
things the most appalling to mankind. Is it that by its indefiniteness  it
shadows forth the heartless voids and immensities  of  the  universe,  and
thus stabs us from behind with the thought of annihilation, when beholding
the white depths of the milky way? Or is it, that as in essence  whiteness
is not so much a color as the visible absence of color, and  at  the  same
time the concrete of all colors; is it for these  reasons  that  there  is
such a dumb blankness, full of meaning, in a wide landscape  of  snows  -a
colorless, all-color of atheism from which we shrink? And when we consider
that other theory of the natural philosophers, that all other earthly hues
-every stately or lovely emblazoning -the sweet tinges of sunset skies and
woods; yea, and the gilded  velvets  of  butterflies,  and  the  butterfly
cheeks of young girls; all these are but  subtile  deceits,  not  actually
inherent in substances, but only laid on from without; so that all deified
Nature absolutely paints like the harlot, whose allurements cover  nothing
but the charnel-house within; and when we proceed  further,  and  consider
that the mystical cosmetic which produces every one of her hues, the great
principle of light, for ever remains white or colorless in itself, and  if
operating without medium upon matter, would touch all objects, even tulips
and roses, with its own blank  tinge  -pondering  all  this,  the  palsied
universe lies before us a leper; and like wilful  travellers  in  Lapland,
who refuse to wear colored and coloring glasses upon their  eyes,  so  the
wretched infidel gazes himself blind at the monumental white  shroud  that
wraps all the prospect around him. And of  all  these  things  the  Albino
whale was the symbol. Wonder ye then at the fiery hunt?
    With reference to the Polar bear, it may possibly be urged by him who
would fain go still deeper into this matter, that it is not the whiteness,
separately regarded, which heightens the intolerable hideousness  of  that
brute; for, analysed, that heightened hideousness, it might be said,  only
arises from the circumstance, that the irresponsible ferociousness of  the
creature stands invested in the fleece of celestial  innocence  and  love;
and hence, by bringing together two such opposite emotions in  our  minds,
the Polar bear frightens  us  with  so  unnatural  a  contrast.  But  even
assuming all this to be true; yet, were it  not  for  the  whiteness,  you
would not have that intensified terror. As for the white shark, the  white
gliding ghostliness of  repose  in  that  creature,  when  beheld  in  his
ordinary moods, strangely tallies with  the  same  quality  in  the  Polar
quadruped. This peculiarity is most vividly hit by the French in the  name
they bestow upon that fish. The Romish  mass  for  the  dead  begins  with
Requiem eternam (eternal  rest),  whence  Requiem  denominating  the  mass
itself, and any other funereal music.  Now,  in  allusion  to  the  white,
silent stillness of death in this shark, and the mild  deadliness  of  his
habits, the French call him Requin. I remember the first albatross I  ever
saw. It was during a prolonged gale, in waters  hard  upon  the  Antarctic
seas. From my forenoon watch below, I ascended to  the  overclouded  deck;
and there, dashed upon the main hatches, I saw a regal, feathery thing  of
unspotted whiteness, and with a hooked, Roman bill sublime. At  intervals,
it arched forth its vast archangel wings, as if to embrace some holy  ark.
Wondrous flutterings and throbbings shook it. Though bodily  unharmed,  it
uttered cries, as some king's ghost in supernatural distress. Through  its
inexpressible, strange eyes, methought I peeped to secrets which took hold
of God. As Abraham before the angels, I bowed myself; the white thing  was
so white, its wings so wide, and in those for ever exiled  waters,  I  had
lost the miserable warping memories of traditions and  of  towns.  Long  I
gazed at that prodigy of plumage. I cannot tell, can only hint, the things
that darted through me then. But at last I awoke;  and  turning,  asked  a
sailor what bird was this.
    A goney, he replied. Goney! I never had heard that name before; is it
conceivable that this glorious thing is utterly  unknown  to  men  ashore!
never! But some time after, I learned that goney was  some  seaman's  name
for albatross. So that by no possibility could Coleridge's wild Rhyme have
had aught to do with those mystical impressions which were  mine,  when  I
saw that bird upon our deck. For neither had I then read  the  Rhyme,  nor
knew the bird to be an albatross. Yet, in saying this, I do but indirectly
burnish a little brighter the noble merit of the  poem  and  the  poet.  I
assert, then, that in the wondrous bodily whiteness of  the  bird  chiefly
lurks the secret of the spell; a truth the more evinced in this, that by a
solecism of terms there are birds called grey  albatrosses;  and  these  I
have frequently seen, but never with such emotions as when  I  beheld  the
Antarctic fowl. But how had the mystic thing been caught? Whisper it  not,
and I will tell; with a treacherous hook and line, as the fowl floated  on
the sea. At last the Captain made a  postman  of  it;  tying  a  lettered,
leathern tally round its neck, with the ship's time and  place;  and  then
letting it escape.
    But I doubt not, that leathern tally, meant for man, was taken off in
Heaven, when the white fowl flew to join the wing-folding,  the  invoking,
and adoring cherubim!



                                43. HARK

    Hist! Did you hear that noise, Cabaco? It  was  the  middle-watch;  a
fair moonlight; the seamen were standing in a cordon, extending  from  one
of the fresh-water butts in  the  waist,  to  the  scuttle-butt  near  the
taffrail.  In  this  manner,  they  passed  the  buckets   to   fill   the
scuttle-butt. Standing, for the most part, on the  hallowed  precincts  of
the quarter-deck, they were careful not to speak  or  rustle  their  feet.
From hand to hand, the buckets went in the deepest silence, only broken by
the occasional flap of a sail, and  the  steady  hum  of  the  unceasingly
advancing keel. It was in the midst of this repose, that Archy, one of the
cordon, whose post was near the after-hatches, whispered to his  neighbor,
a Cholo, the words above. Hist! did you hear that noise, Cabaco? Take  the
bucket, will ye, Archy? what noise d'ye mean? There it is again -under the
hatches -don't you hear it -a cough-it sounded  like  a  cough.  Cough  be
damned! Pass along that return bucket.  There  again  -there  it  is!  -it
sounds like two or three sleepers turning over, now! Caramba!  have  done,
shipmate, will ye? It's the  three  soaked  biscuits  ye  eat  for  supper
turning over inside of ye -nothing else. Look to the bucket!
    Say what ye will, shipmate; I've sharp ears. Aye, you are  the  chap,
ain't ye, that heard the hum of the old Quakeress's knitting-needles fifty
miles at sea from Nantucket; you're the chap. Grin away;  we'll  see  what
turns up. Hark ye, Cabaco, there is somebody down in the  after-hold  that
has not yet been seen on deck; and I suspect our old Mogul knows something
of it too. I heard Stubb tell Flask, one morning  watch,  that  there  was
something of that sort in the wind. Tish! the bucket!



                              44. THE CHART

    Had you followed Captain Ahab down into his cabin  after  the  squall
that took place on the night succeeding  that  wild  ratification  of  his
purpose with his crew, you would have seen him  go  to  a  locker  in  the
transom, and bringing out a large wrinkled roll of yellowish  sea  charts,
spread them before him on his screwed-down  table.  Then  seating  himself
before it, you would have seen him intently study the  various  lines  and
shadings which there met his eye; and with slow but  steady  pencil  trace
additional courses over spaces that before were blank.  At  intervals,  he
would refer to piles of old log-books beside him, wherein  were  set  down
the seasons and places in which, on  various  former  voyages  of  various
ships, sperm whales had been captured or seen. While  thus  employed,  the
heavy pewter lamp suspended in chains over his  head,  continually  rocked
with the motion of the ship,  and  for  ever  threw  shifting  gleams  and
shadows of lines upon his wrinkled brow, till it almost seemed that  while
he himself was marking out lines and courses on the wrinkled charts,  some
invisible pencil was also tracing lines and courses upon the deeply marked
chart of his forehead. But it was not this night in  particular  that,  in
the solitude of his cabin, Ahab thus  pondered  over  his  charts.  Almost
every night they were brought out; almost every night  some  pencil  marks
were effaced, and others were substituted. For with the charts of all four
oceans before him, Ahab was threading a maze of currents and eddies,  with
a view to the more certain accomplishment of that  monomaniac  thought  of
his soul. Now, to any one not  fully  acquainted  with  the  ways  of  the
leviathans, it might seem an absurdly hopeless task thus to seek  out  one
solitary creature in the unhooped oceans of this planet. But not so did it
seem to Ahab, who knew the sets of all tides  and  currents;  and  thereby
calculating the driftings of the sperm whale's food; and, also, calling to
mind the regular,  ascertained  seasons  for  hunting  him  in  particular
latitudes; could arrive at  reasonable  surmises,  almost  approaching  to
certainties, concerning the timeliest day to be upon this or  that  ground
in search of his prey. So assured, indeed,  is  the  fact  concerning  the
periodicalness of the sperm whale's resorting to given waters,  that  many
hunters believe that, could he be closely observed and studied  throughout
the world; were the  logs  for  one  voyage  of  the  entire  whale  fleet
carefully collated, then the migrations of the sperm whale would be  found
to correspond in invariability to  those  of  the  herring-shoals  or  the
flights of swallows. On this hint, attempts have been  made  to  construct
elaborate migratory charts of the sperm  whale.  Besides,  when  making  a
passage from one feeding-ground to another, the sperm  whales,  guided  by
some infallible instinct - say, rather, secret intelligence from the Deity
-mostly swim in veins, as they are called; continuing their  way  along  a
given ocean-line with such  undeviating  exactitude,  that  no  ship  ever
sailed her course, by  any  chart,  with  one  tithe  of  such  marvellous
precision. Though, in these cases, the direction taken by any one whale be
straight as a surveyor's parallel, and  though  the  line  of  advance  be
strictly confined to its own unavoidable, straight wake, yet the arbitrary
vein in which at these times he is said to swim, generally  embraces  some
few miles in width (more or less, as the vein is  presumed  to  expand  or
contract); but never  exceeds  the  visual  sweep  from  the  whale-ship's
mast-heads, when circumspectly gliding along this magic zone. The sum  is,
that at particular seasons  within  that  breadth  and  along  that  path,
migrating whales may with great confidence be looked for.  And  hence  not
only at substantiated times, upon  well  known  separate  feeding-grounds,
could Ahab hope to encounter his prey; but in crossing the widest expanses
of water between those grounds he could, by his art,  so  place  and  time
himself on his way, as even then not to be wholly without  prospect  of  a
meeting. There was a circumstance which at first sight seemed to  entangle
his delirious but still methodical scheme. But  not  so  in  the  reality,
perhaps. Though the gregarious sperm whales have their regular seasons for
particular grounds, yet in general you  cannot  conclude  that  the  herds
which hunted such and such a latitude or longitude this  year,  say,  will
turn out to be identically the same with those that were found  there  the
preceding season; though there are peculiar and  unquestionable  instances
where the contrary of this has proved true. In general, the  same  remark,
only within a less wide limit, applies to the solitaries and hermits among
the matured, aged sperm whales. So that though Moby Dick had in  a  former
year been seen, for example, on what is called the Seychelle ground in the
Indian ocean, or Volcano Bay on the Japanese Coast; yet it did not follow,
that were the pequod to visit either of  those  spots  at  any  subsequent
corresponding season, she would infallibly encounter him there.  So,  too,
with some other feeding grounds, where he had at times  revealed  himself.
But all these seemed only his casual stopping-places and ocean-inns, so to
speak, not his places of prolonged abode.  And  where  Ahab's  chances  of
accomplishing his object have hitherto been spoken of, allusion  has  only
been made to whatever way-side, antecedent, extra prospects were his,  ere
a particular set time or place were attained, when all possibilities would
become probabilities, and, as Ahab fondly thought, every  possibility  the
next thing to a  certainty.  That  particular  set  time  and  place  were
conjoined in the one technical phrase -the Season-on-the-Line.  For  there
and then, for several consecutive years, Moby Dick had  been  periodically
descried, lingering in those waters for awhile, as the sun, in its  annual
round, loiters for a predicted interval in any one  sign  of  the  Zodiac.
There it was, too, that most of the deadly encounters with the white whale
had taken place; there the waves were storied with his deeds;  there  also
was that tragic spot where the monomaniac old  man  had  found  the  awful
motive to  his  vengeance.  But  in  the  cautious  comprehensiveness  and
unloitering vigilance with which Ahab threw his brooding  soul  into  this
unfaltering hunt, he would not permit himself to rest all his  hopes  upon
the one crowning fact above mentioned, however flattering it might  be  to
those hopes; nor in the sleeplessness of his vow could he so  tranquillize
his unquiet heart as to postpone all intervening quest.  Now,  the  Pequod
had sailed from Nantucket at the very beginning of the Season-on-the-Line.
No possible endeavor then could enable her commander  to  make  the  great
passage southwards, double Cape Horn, and then running down sixty  degrees
of latitude arrive in the equatorial Pacific  in  time  to  cruise  there.
Therefore, he must wait for the next ensuing  season.  Yet  the  premature
hour of the Pequod's sailing had,  perhaps,  been  correctly  selected  by
Ahab, with a view to this very complexion of things. Because, an  interval
of three hundred and  sixty-five  days  and  nights  was  before  him;  an
interval which, instead of impatiently enduring ashore, he would spend  in
a miscellaneous hunt; if by chance the White Whale, spending his  vacation
in seas far remote from his periodical feeding-grounds, should turn up his
wrinkled brow off the Persian Gulf, or in the Bengal Bay, or  China  Seas,
or in any other waters haunted by his  race.  So  that  Monsoons,  Pampas,
Nor-Westers, Harmattans, Trades; any wind but  the  Levanter  and  Simoom,
might blow Moby Dick into the devious zig-zag world-circle of the Pequod's
circumnavigating wake. But granting all this; yet, regarded discreetly and
coolly, seems it not but a mad idea, this; that  in  the  broad  boundless
ocean, one solitary whale, even if encountered, should be thought  capable
of individual recognition from his hunter, even as a  white-bearded  Mufti
in the thronged thoroughfares of Constantinople?  Yes.  For  the  peculiar
snow-white brow of Moby Dick, and his snow-white hump, could  not  but  be
unmistakable. And have I not tallied  the  whale,  Ahab  would  mutter  to
himself, as after poring over his charts till long after midnight he would
throw himself back in reveries -tallied him,  and  shall  he  escape?  His
broad fins are bored, and scalloped out like a lost sheep's ear! And here,
his mad mind would run on in a  breathless  race;  till  a  weariness  and
faintness of pondering came over him; and in the open air of the  deck  he
would seek to recover his strength. Ah, God! what trances of torments does
that man endure who is consumed with one unachieved revengeful desire.  He
sleeps with clenched hands; and wakes with his own  bloody  nails  in  his
palms. often, when forced from his hammock by exhausting  and  intolerably
vivid dreams of the  night,  which,  resuming  his  own  intense  thoughts
through the day, carried them on amid a clashing of phrensies, and whirled
them round and round in his blazing brain, till the very throbbing of  his
life-spot became insufferable anguish; and  when,  as  was  sometimes  the
case, these spiritual throes in him heaved his being up from its base, and
a chasm seemed opening in him, from which  forked  flames  and  lightnings
shot up, and accursed fiends beckoned him to leap down  among  them;  when
this hell in himself yawned beneath him, a wild cry would be heard through
the ship; and with glaring eyes Ahab would burst from his state  room,  as
though escaping from a bed that was on fire. Yet these,  perhaps,  instead
of being the unsuppressable symptoms of some latent weakness, or fright at
his own resolve, were but the plainest tokens of its  intensity.  For,  at
such times, crazy Ahab, the scheming, unappeasedly steadfast hunter of the
white whale; this Ahab that had gone to his hammock,  was  not  the  agent
that so caused him to burst from it in horror again. The  latter  was  the
eternal, living principle or soul in him; and in sleep, being for the time
dissociated from the characterizing mind, which at other times employed it
for its outer vehicle or agent, it spontaneously sought  escape  from  the
scorching contiguity of the frantic thing, of which, for the time, it  was
no longer an integral. But as the mind does not exist unless leagued  with
the soul, therefore it must have been that, in Ahab's  case,  yielding  up
all his thoughts and fancies to his one supreme purpose; that purpose,  by
its own sheer inveteracy of will, forced itself against  gods  and  devils
into a kind of self-assumed, independent being  of  its  own.  Nay,  could
grimly live and burn, while the common vitality to which it was conjoined,
fled horror-stricken from the unbidden and  unfathered  birth.  Therefore,
the tormented spirit that glared out of bodily eyes, when what seemed Ahab
rushed from his room, was for the time but a  vacated  thing,  a  formless
somnambulistic being, a ray of living light, to be sure,  but  without  an
object to color, and therefore a blankness in itself. God help  thee,  old
man, thy thoughts have created a creature in thee; and  he  whose  intense
thinking thus makes him a Prometheus; a vulture feeds upon that heart  for
ever; that vulture the very creature he creates.
    Since the above was written, the statement is happily borne out by an
official  circular,  issued  by  Lieutenant   Maury,   of   the   National
Observatory, Washington, April 16th. By that  circular,  it  appears  that
precisely such a chart is in course of completion; and portions of it  are
presented in the circular. This chart divides the ocean into districts  of
five degrees of latitude by five  degrees  of  longitude;  perpendicularly
through each of which districts are twelve columns for the twelve  months;
and horizontally through each of which districts are three lines;  one  to
show the number of days that have  been  spent  in  each  month  in  every
district, and the two others to show the number of days in  which  whales,
sperm or right, have been seen.



                           45. THE AFFIDAVIT

    So far as what there may be of a narrative in this book; and, indeed,
as indirectly touching one or two very interesting and curious particulars
in the habits of sperm whales, the  foregoing  chapter,  in  its  earliest
part, is as important a one as will be  found  in  this  volume;  but  the
leading matter of it requires to be  still  further  and  more  familiarly
enlarged upon, in order to be adequately understood, and moreover to  take
away any incredulity which a profound ignorance of the entire subject  may
induce in some minds, as to the natural verity of the main points of  this
affair. I care not to perform this part of my task methodically; but shall
be content to produce the desired  impression  by  separate  citations  of
items, practically or reliably known to me as a whaleman; and  from  these
citations, I take it -the conclusion aimed at  will  naturally  follow  of
itself. First: I have personally known  three  instances  where  a  whale,
after receiving a harpoon, has effected a complete escape; and,  after  an
interval (in one instance of three years), has been again  struck  by  the
same hand, and slain; when the two irons, both marked by the same  private
cypher, have been taken from the body. In the instance where  three  years
intervened between the flinging of the two harpoons; and I  think  it  may
have been something more than that; the man who darted them happening,  in
the interval, to go in a trading ship on a voyage to Africa,  went  ashore
there, joined a discovery party, and penetrated  far  into  the  interior,
where he travelled for a period of nearly two years, often  endangered  by
serpents, savages, tigers, poisonous miasmas, with all  the  other  common
perils incident to wandering in the heart of unknown  regions.  Meanwhile,
the whale he had struck must also have been on its travels;  no  doubt  it
had thrice circumnavigated the globe, brushing with  its  flanks  all  the
coasts of Africa; but to no purpose. This man and this  whale  again  came
together, and the one vanquished the other. I say I,  myself,  have  known
three instances similar to this; that is in two of them I saw  the  whales
struck; and, upon the second attack, saw the two irons with the respective
marks cut in them, afterwards taken from the dead fish. In the  three-year
instance, it so fell out that I was in the  boat  both  times,  first  and
last, and the last time distinctly recognized a peculiar sort of huge mole
under the whale's eye, which I had observed there three years previous.
    I say three years, but I am pretty sure it was more than  that.  Here
are three instances, then, which I personally know the  truth  of;  but  I
have heard of many other instances from  persons  whose  veracity  in  the
matter there is no good ground to impeach. secondly: It is well  known  in
the Sperm Whale Fishery, however ignorant the world ashore may be  of  it,
that there have  been  several  memorable  historical  instances  where  a
particular whale in the  ocean  has  been  at  distant  times  and  places
popularly cognisable.  Why  such  a  whale  became  thus  marked  was  not
altogether  and  originally  owing  to   his   bodily   peculiarities   as
distinguished from other whales; for however peculiar in that respect  any
chance whale may be, they soon put an end to his peculiarities by  killing
him, and boiling him down into a peculiarly valuable oil. No:  the  reason
was this: that from the fatal experiences of  the  fishery  there  hung  a
terrible prestige of perilousness about such a whale as  there  did  about
Rinaldo Rinaldini, insomuch that most fishermen were content to  recognise
him by merely touching  their  tarpaulins  when  he  would  be  discovered
lounging by them on the sea, without seeking to cultivate a more  intimate
acquaintance. Like  some  poor  devils  ashore  that  happen  to  know  an
irascible great man, they make distant unobtrusive salutations to  him  in
the street, lest if they pursued  the  acquaintance  further,  they  might
receive a summary thump for their presumption. But not only  did  each  of
these famous whales enjoy great individual celebrity -nay, you may call it
an ocean-wide renown; not only was he famous in life and now  is  immortal
in forecastle stories after death,  but  he  was  admitted  into  all  the
rights, privileges, and distinctions of a name; had as much a name  indeed
as Cambyses or Caesar. Was it not so, O Timor Tom! thou  famed  leviathan,
scarred like an iceberg, who so long did'st lurk in the  Oriental  straits
of that name, whose spout was oft seen from the palmy beach of Ombay?  Was
it not so, O New Zealand Jack! thou terror of all  cruisers  that  crossed
their wakes in the vicinity of the Tattoo Land? Was it not so, O  Morquan!
King of Japan, whose lofty jet they say at times assumed the semblance  of
a snow-white cross against the sky?
    Was it not so, O Don Miguel! thou Chilian whale, marked like  an  old
tortoise with mystic hieroglyphics upon the back! In plain prose, here are
four whales as well known to the students of Cetacean History as Marius or
Sylla to the classic scholar. But this is not all. New Zealand Tom and Don
Miguel, after at various times creating great havoc  among  the  boats  of
different vessels, were finally gone in quest  of,  systematically  hunted
out, chased and killed by valiant whaling captains, who  heaved  up  their
anchors with that express object as  much  in  view,  as  in  setting  out
through the Narragansett Woods, Captain Butler of old had it in  his  mind
to capture that notorious murderous savage Annawon, the  headmost  warrior
of the Indian King Philip. I do not know where I can find a  better  place
than just here, to make mention of one or two other things,  which  to  me
seem important, as in  printed  form  establishing  in  all  respects  the
reasonableness of the whole story of the White Whale, more especially  the
catastrophe. For this is one of those disheartening instances where  truth
requires full as much bolstering as error.
    So ignorant are most landsmen  of  some  of  the  plainest  and  most
palpable wonders of the world, that without some hints touching the  plain
facts, historical and otherwise, of the fishery, they might scout at  Moby
Dick as a monstrous fable, or still worse and more detestable,  a  hideous
and intolerable allegory. First: Though most men have some vague  flitting
ideas of the general perils of the grand fishery, yet  they  have  nothing
like a fixed, vivid conception of those perils,  and  the  frequency  with
which they recur. One reason perhaps is, that not  one  in  fifty  of  the
actual disasters and deaths by casualties in the  fishery,  ever  finds  a
public record at home, however transient and  immediately  forgotten  that
record. Do you suppose that  that  poor  fellow  there,  who  this  moment
perhaps caught by the whale-line off the coast of  New  Guinea,  is  being
carried down to the bottom of the sea by the sounding  leviathan  -do  you
suppose that that poor fellow's name will appear in the newspaper obituary
you will read to-morrow at your breakfast? No: because the mails are  very
irregular between here and New Guinea. In fact, did  you  ever  hear  what
might be called regular news direct or indirect from  New  Guinea?  Yet  I
tell you that upon one particular voyage which  I  made  to  the  Pacific,
among many others we spoke thirty different ships, every one of which  had
had a death by a whale, some of them more than one,  and  three  that  had
each lost a boat's crew. For God's sake, be economical with your lamps and
candles! not a gallon you burn, but at least one drop of man's  blood  was
spilled for it.
    Secondly: People ashore have indeed some indefinite idea that a whale
is an enormous creature of enormous power; but I have ever found that when
narrating to them some specific example  of  this  two-fold  enormousness,
they have significantly complimented me upon  my  facetiousness;  when,  I
declare upon my soul, I had no more idea of being  facetious  than  Moses,
when he wrote the history of the plagues of  Egypt.  But  fortunately  the
special point I here seek  can  be  established  upon  testimony  entirely
independent of my own. That point is this: The  Sperm  Whale  is  in  some
cases sufficiently powerful, knowing, and judiciously malicious,  as  with
direct aforethought to stave in, utterly destroy, and sink a  large  ship;
and what is more, the Sperm Whale has done it. First: In the year the ship
Essex, Captain Pollard, of Nantucket, was cruising in the  Pacific  Ocean.
One day she saw spouts, lowered her boats, and gave chase to  a  shoal  of
sperm whales.  Ere  long,  several  of  the  whales  were  wounded;  when,
suddenly, a very large whale escaping from  the  boats,  issued  from  the
shoal, and bore directly down upon the ship. dashing his forehead  against
her hull, he so stove her in, that in less than ten  minutes  she  settled
down and fell over. Not a surviving plank of  her  has  been  seen  since.
After the severest exposure, part of the crew reached the  land  in  their
boats. Being returned home at last, Captain Pollard once more  sailed  for
the Pacific in command of another ship, but the gods shipwrecked him again
upon unknown rocks and breakers; for the second time his ship was  utterly
lost, and forthwith forswearing the sea, he has never tempted it since. At
this day Captain Pollard is a resident of  Nantucket.  I  have  seen  Owen
Chace, who was chief mate of the Essex at the time of the tragedy; I  have
read his plain and faithful narrative; I have conversed with his son;  and
all this within a few miles of the scene of the catastrophe.
    Secondly: The ship Union, also of Nantucket, was in the year  totally
lost off the Azores by a similar onset, but the authentic  particulars  of
this catastrophe I have never chanced to encounter, though from the  whale
hunters I have now and then heard casual allusions to  it.  Thirdly:  Some
eighteen or twenty years ago Commodore J--  then  commanding  an  American
sloop-of-war of the first class, happened to be dining  with  a  party  of
whaling captains, on board  a  Nantucket  ship  in  the  harbor  of  Oahu,
Sandwich Islands. Conversation turning  upon  whales,  the  Commodore  was
pleased to be sceptical touching the amazing strength ascribed to them  by
the professional gentlemen present. He peremptorily  denied  for  example,
that any whale could so smite his stout sloop-of-war as to  cause  her  to
leak so much as a thimbleful. Very good; but there is  more  coming.  Some
weeks after,  the  commodore  set  sail  in  this  impregnable  craft  for
Valparaiso. But he was stopped on the way by a portly  sperm  whale,  that
begged a few  moments'  confidential  business  with  him.  that  business
consisted in fetching the Commodore's craft such a thwack, that  with  all
his pumps going he made straight for the nearest port to  heave  down  and
repair. I am not superstitious, but I consider the  Commodore's  interview
with that whale as providential. Was not Saul  of  Tarsus  converted  from
unbelief by a similar fright? I tell you, the sperm whale  will  stand  no
nonsense. I will now refer  you  to  Langsdorff's  Voyages  for  a  little
circumstance in  point,  peculiarly  interesting  to  the  writer  hereof.
Langsdorff, you must know by the way, was attached to the Russian  Admiral
Krusenstern's famous Discovery Expedition in the beginning of the  present
century. Captain Langsdorff thus begins his seventeenth  chapter.  By  the
thirteenth of May our ship was ready to sail, and the next day we were out
in the open sea, on our way to Ochotsh. The weather  was  very  clear  and
fine, but so intolerably cold that we were obliged  to  keep  on  our  fur
clothing. For some days we had very little  wind;  it  was  not  till  the
nineteenth that a brisk gale from the northwest  sprang  up.  An  uncommon
large whale, the body of which was larger than the ship itself, lay almost
at the surface of the water, but was not perceived by  any  one  on  board
till the moment when the ship, which was in full  sail,  was  almost  upon
him, so that it was impossible to prevent its  striking  against  him.  We
were thus placed in the most imminent danger, as this  gigantic  creature,
setting up its back, raised the ship three feet at least out of the water.
The masts reeled, and the sails fell altogether, while we who  were  below
all sprang instantly upon the deck, concluding that  we  had  struck  upon
some rock; instead of this we saw the monster sailing off with the  utmost
gravity and solemnity. Captain D'Wolf applied immediately to the pumps  to
examine whether or not the vessel had received any damage from the  shock,
but we found that very happily it had escaped entirely uninjured. now, the
captain d'wolf here alluded to as commanding the ship in  question,  is  a
New Englander,  who,  after  a  long  life  of  unusual  adventures  as  a
sea-captain, this day resides in the village of Dorchester near Boston.  I
have the honor of being a nephew of his. I  have  particularly  questioned
him concerning this passage in Langsdorff. He substantiates every word.
    The ship, however, was by no means a large one: a Russian craft built
on the Siberian coast, and purchased by my uncle after bartering away  the
vessel in which he sailed from home. In that up and  down  manly  book  of
old-fashioned adventure, so full, too, of honest wonders  -the  voyage  of
Lionel Wafer, one of ancient Dampier's old chums -I found a little  matter
set down so like that just quoted from Langsdorff, that I  cannot  forbear
inserting it here for a corroborative example, if such be needed.  Lionel,
it seems, was on his way to John Ferdinando, as he calls the  modern  Juan
Fernandes. In our way thither, he says, about four o'clock in the morning,
when we were about one hundred and fifty leagues from the Main of America,
our ship felt a terrible shock, which put our men  in  such  consternation
that they could hardly tell where they were or what to  think;  but  every
one began to prepare for death. And, indeed, the shock was so  sudden  and
violent, that we took it for granted the ship had struck against  a  rock;
but when the amazement was a little over, we cast the lead,  and  sounded,
but found no ground. The suddenness of the shock made  the  guns  leap  in
their carriages, and several of the men were shaken out of their hammocks.
Captain Davis, who lay with his head on a  gun,  was  thrown  out  of  his
cabin! Lionel then goes on to impute the shock to an earthquake, and seems
to substantiate  the  imputation  by  stating  that  a  great  earthquake,
somewhere about that time,  did  actually  do  great  mischief  along  the
spanish land. but i should not much wonder if, in  the  darkness  of  that
early hour of the morning, the shock was after all  caused  by  an  unseen
whale vertically bumping the hull  from  beneath.  I  might  proceed  with
several more examples, one way or another known to me, of the great  power
and malice at times of the sperm whale. In more than one instance, he  has
been known, not only to chase the assailing boats back to their ships, but
to pursue the ship itself, and long withstand all the lances hurled at him
from its decks. The English ship Pusie Hall can tell a story on that head;
and, as for his strength, let me say, that there have been examples  where
the lines attached to  a  running  sperm  whale  have,  in  a  calm,  been
transferred to the ship, and secured there; the  whale  towing  her  great
hull through the water, as a horse walks off with a  cart.  Again,  it  is
very often observed that, if the sperm whale, once struck, is allowed time
to rally, he then acts, not so often with  blind  rage,  as  with  wilful,
deliberate designs of destruction to  his  pursuers;  nor  is  it  without
conveying some eloquent indication  of  his  character,  that  upon  being
attacked he will frequently open his mouth, and retain it  in  that  dread
expansion for several consecutive minutes. But I must be content with only
one more and a concluding illustration; a remarkable and most  significant
one, by which you will not  fail  to  see,  that  not  only  is  the  most
marvellous event in this book corroborated by plain facts of  the  present
day, but that these marvels (like all marvels) are mere repetitions of the
ages; so that for the millionth time we  say  amen  with  Solomon  -Verily
there is nothing new under the sun. In the sixth Christian  century  lived
Procopius, a Christian magistrate of  Constantinople,  in  the  days  when
Justinian was Emperor and Belisarius general. As many know, he  wrote  the
history of his own times, a work every way of uncommon value. By the  best
authorities,  he  has  always  been  considered  a  most  trustworthy  and
unexaggerating historian, except in some one or two  particulars,  not  at
all affecting the matter presently to be mentioned. Now, in  this  history
of his, Procopius mentions that, during the  term  of  his  prefecture  at
Constantinople, a  great  sea-monster  was  captured  in  the  neighboring
Propontis, or Sea of Marmora, after having destroyed vessels at  intervals
in those waters for a period of more than fifty years.  A  fact  thus  set
down in substantial history cannot easily be gainsaid. Nor  is  there  any
reason it should be. Of what precise species this sea-monster was, is  not
mentioned. But as he destroyed ships, as well as  for  other  reasons,  he
must have been a whale; and I am strongly inclined to think a sperm whale.
And I will tell you why. For a long time I fancied that  the  sperm  whale
had  been  always  unknown  in  the  Mediterranean  and  the  deep  waters
connecting with it. Even now I am certain that those  seas  are  not,  and
perhaps never can be, in the present constitution of things, a  place  for
his habitual gregarious resort. But further investigations  have  recently
proved to me, that in modern times there have been isolated  instances  of
the presence of the sperm whale in the Mediterranean. I am told,  on  good
authority, that on the Barbary coast, a Commodore  Davis  of  the  British
navy found the skeleton of a sperm whale. Now, as a vessel of war  readily
passes through the Dardanelles, hence a sperm whale  could,  by  the  same
route, pass out of the Mediterranean into the Propontis. In the Propontis,
as far as I can learn, none of that peculiar substance called brit  is  to
be found, the aliment of the right whale.  But  I  have  every  reason  to
believe that the food of the sperm whale -squid or cuttle-fish  -lurks  at
the bottom of that sea, because large  creatures,  but  by  no  means  the
largest of that sort, have been  found  at  its  surface.  If,  then,  you
properly put these statements together, and reason upon them  a  bit,  you
will clearly perceive that, according to all human reasoning,  Procopius's
sea-monster, that for half a century stove the ships of a  Roman  Emperor,
must in all probability have been a sperm whale.
    The following are extracts from Chace's narrative: Every fact  seemed
to warrant me in concluding that it was anything but chance which directed
his operations; he made two several attacks upon  the  ship,  at  a  short
interval between them, both of which, according to their  direction,  were
calculated to do us the most injury, by  being  made  ahead,  and  thereby
combining the speed of the two objects for the shock; to effect which, the
exact manoeuvres which  he  made  were  necessary.  His  aspect  was  most
horrible, and such as indicated resentment and fury. He came directly from
the shoal which we had just before entered, and in  which  we  had  struck
three of his companions, as if fired with revenge  for  their  sufferings.
Again:  At  all  events,  the  whole  circumstances  taken  together,  all
happening before my own eyes, and producing, at the time,  impressions  in
my mind of decided, calculating mischief, on the part of the  whale  (many
of which impressions I cannot now recall), induce me to be satisfied  that
I am correct in my opinion. Here  are  his  reflections  some  time  after
quitting the ship, during a black night  in  an  open  boat,  when  almost
despairing of reaching any hospitable shore. The dark ocean  and  swelling
waters were nothing; the fears of being  swallowed  up  by  some  dreadful
tempest, or dashed upon hidden rocks, with all the other ordinary subjects
of fearful contemplation, seemed scarcely entitled to a moment's  thought;
the dismal looking wreck, and the horrid aspect and revenge of the  whale,
wholly engrossed my reflections, until day again made its  appearance.  In
another place -p. 45, -he speaks of the mysterious and  mortal  attack  of
the animal.



                              46. SURMISES

    Though, consumed with the hot fire of his purpose, Ahab  in  all  his
thoughts and actions ever had in view the ultimate capture of  Moby  Dick;
though he seemed ready to sacrifice  all  mortal  interests  to  that  one
passion; nevertheless it may have been that he  was  by  nature  and  long
habituation far too wedded to  a  fiery  whaleman's  ways,  altogether  to
abandon the collateral prosecution of the voyage. Or at least if this were
otherwise, there were not wanting other motives much more influential with
him. It  would  be  refining  too  much,  perhaps,  even  considering  his
monomania, to hint that his vindictiveness towards the White  Whale  might
have possibly extended itself in some degree to all sperm whales, and that
the more monsters he slew by so much the more he  multiplied  the  chances
that each subsequently encountered whale would prove to be the  hated  one
he hunted. But if such an hypothesis be indeed exceptionable,  there  were
still additional considerations which, though not  so  strictly  according
with the wildness of his ruling passion, yet were by no means incapable of
swaying him. To accomplish his object Ahab must  use  tools;  and  of  all
tools used in the shadow of the moon, men are  most  apt  to  get  out  of
order. He knew, for example, that however magnetic his ascendency in  some
respects was over Starbuck, yet that ascendency did not cover the complete
spiritual  man  any  more  than  mere   corporeal   superiority   involves
intellectual mastership; for to the purely spiritual, the intellectual but
stand in a sort of corporeal  relation.  Starbuck's  body  and  Starbuck's
coerced will were Ahab's, so long as Ahab kept his  magnet  at  Starbuck's
brain; still he knew that for all  this  the  chief  mate,  in  his  soul,
abhorred his captain's quest, and could he,  would  joyfully  disintegrate
himself from it, or even frustrate it. it might be that  a  long  interval
would elapse ere the White Whale  was  seen.  During  that  long  interval
Starbuck would ever be apt to fall into open relapses of rebellion against
his captain's leadership, unless some ordinary, prudential, circumstantial
influences were brought to bear upon him. Not only that,  but  the  subtle
insanity of Ahab  respecting  Moby  Dick  was  noways  more  significantly
manifested than in his superlative  sense  and  shrewdness  in  foreseeing
that, for the present, the hunt should in some way  be  stripped  of  that
strange imaginative impiousness which naturally invested it; that the full
terror of the voyage must be kept withdrawn into  the  obscure  background
(for few men's courage is proof against protracted  meditation  unrelieved
by action); that when they stood their long night  watches,  his  officers
and men must have some nearer things to  think  of  than  Moby  Dick.  For
however  eagerly  and  impetuously  the  savage  crew   had   hailed   the
announcement of his quest; yet all sailors of all sorts are more  or  less
capricious and unreliable -they live in the  varying  outer  weather,  and
they inhale its fickleness -and when retained for any  object  remote  and
blank in the pursuit, however promissory of life and passion in  the  end,
it is above all things requisite that temporary interests  and  employment
should intervene and hold them healthily suspended for the final dash. Nor
was Ahab unmindful of another thing. In times of  strong  emotion  mankind
disdain all base  considerations;  but  such  times  are  evanescent.  The
permanent constitutional condition of the manufactured man, thought  Ahab,
is sordidness. Granting that the White Whale fully incites the  hearts  of
this my savage crew, and playing round  their  savageness  even  breeds  a
certain generous knight-errantism in them, still, while for the love of it
they give chase to Moby Dick, they must also  have  food  for  their  more
common, daily appetites. For even the high lifted and chivalric  Crusaders
of old times were not content to traverse two thousand miles  of  land  to
fight for their holy sepulchre,  without  committing  burglaries,  picking
pockets, and gaining other pious perquisites by the  way.  Had  they  been
strictly held to their one final  and  romantic  object  -that  final  and
romantic object, too many would have turned from in disgust.  I  will  not
strip these men, thought Ahab, of all hopes of cash -aye, cash.  They  may
scorn cash now; but let some months go by, and no perspective  promise  of
it to them, and then this same quiescent cash all  at  once  mutinying  in
them, this same cash would soon cashier Ahab. Nor was there wanting  still
another precautionary motive  more  related  to  Ahab  personally.  Having
impulsively, it is probable, and perhaps somewhat prematurely revealed the
prime but private purpose of the Pequod's voyage, Ahab  was  now  entirely
conscious that, in so doing, he had indirectly laid himself  open  to  the
unanswerable charge of usurpation; and with perfect impunity,  both  moral
and legal, his crew if so disposed,  and  to  that  end  competent,  could
refuse all further obedience to him, and even violently wrest from him the
command. From even the barely hinted imputation  of  usurpation,  and  the
possible consequences of such a suppressed impression gaining ground, Ahab
must of course have been most anxious to protect himself.
    That protection could only consist in his own predominating brain and
heart and hand, backed by a  heedful,  closely  calculating  attention  to
every minute atmospheric influence which it was possible for his  crew  to
be subjected to. For all  these  reasons  then,  and  others  perhaps  too
analytic to be verbally developed here, Ahab  plainly  saw  that  he  must
still in a good degree continue true to the natural,  nominal  purpose  of
the Pequod's voyage; observe all customary usages; and not only that,  but
force himself to evince all his well  known  passionate  interest  in  the
general pursuit of his profession. be all this as it may,  his  voice  was
now often heard hailing the three mast-heads and admonishing them to  keep
a bright look-out, and not omit reporting even a porpoise. This  vigilance
was not long without reward.



                            47. THE MAT-MAKER

    It was a cloudy, sultry afternoon; the seamen  were  lazily  lounging
about the decks, or vacantly gazing over  into  the  lead-colored  waters.
Queequeg and I were mildly employed weaving what is  called  a  sword-mat,
for an additional lashing to our  boat.  So  still  and  subdued  and  yet
somehow preluding was all the scene, and such  an  incantation  of  revery
lurked in the air, that each silent sailor seemed resolved  into  his  own
invisible self. I was the attendant or page of Queequeg, while busy at the
mat. As I kept passing and  repassing  the  filling  or  woof  of  marline
between the long yarns of the warp, using my own hand for the shuttle, and
as Queequeg, standing sideways, ever and anon slid his heavy  oaken  sword
between the threads, and idly looking off upon the water,  carelessly  and
unthinkingly drove home every yarn: I say  so  strange  a  dreaminess  did
there then reign all over the ship and all over the sea,  only  broken  by
the intermitting dull sound of the sword, that it seemed as if  this  were
the Loom of Time, and I myself were a  shuttle  mechanically  weaving  and
weaving away at the Fates. There lay the fixed threads of the warp subject
to  but  one  single,  ever  returning,  unchanging  vibration,  and  that
vibration merely enough to admit of the crosswise interblending  of  other
threads with its own. This warp seemed necessity;  and  here,  thought  I,
with my own hand I ply my own shuttle and weave my own destiny into  these
unalterable threads. Meantime, Queequeg's  impulsive,  indifferent  sword,
sometimes hitting the woof  slantingly,  or  crookedly,  or  strongly,  or
weakly, as the case might be; and by this  difference  in  the  concluding
blow producing a  corresponding  contrast  in  the  final  aspect  of  the
completed fabric; this savage's  sword,  thought  I,  which  thus  finally
shapes and fashions both warp and woof; this easy, indifferent sword  must
be chance -aye, chance, free will, and  necessity  -no  wise  incompatible
-all interweavingly working together. The straight warp of necessity,  not
to be swerved from its ultimate course -its every  alternating  vibration,
indeed, only tending to that; free will still  free  to  ply  her  shuttle
between given threads; and chance, though restrained in  its  play  within
the right lines of necessity, and sideways in its motions directed by free
will, though thus prescribed to by both, chance by turns rules either, and
has the last featuring blow at events. Thus we were  weaving  and  weaving
away when I started at a sound so strange, long drawn, and musically  wild
and unearthly, that the ball of free will dropped  from  my  hand,  and  I
stood gazing up at the clouds whence that voice dropped like a wing.  High
aloft in the cross-trees was that mad Gay-Header, Tashtego. His  body  was
reaching eagerly forward, his hand stretched out like a wand, and at brief
sudden intervals he continued his cries. To be sure  the  same  sound  was
that very moment perhaps being heard all over the seas, from  hundreds  of
whalemen's look-outs perched as high in the air; but  from  few  of  those
lungs could that accustomed old cry have derived such a marvellous cadence
as from Tashtego  the  Indian's.  As  he  stood  hovering  over  you  half
suspended in air, so wildly and eagerly peering towards the  horizon,  you
would have thought him some prophet or seer beholding the shadows of Fate,
and by those wild cries announcing their coming. There she  blows!  there!
there! there! she blows! she blows!
    Where-away? On the lee-beam, about two miles off! a school  of  them!
Instantly all was commotion. The Sperm Whale blows as a clock ticks,  with
the  same  undeviating  and  reliable  uniformity.  And  thereby  whalemen
distinguish this fish from other tribes of his genus. There go flukes! was
now the cry from Tashtego; and the  whales  disappeared.  Quick,  steward!
cried Ahab.
    Time! time! Dough-Boy  hurried  below,  glanced  at  the  watch,  and
reported the exact minute to Ahab. The ship was now  kept  away  from  the
wind, and she went gently rolling before it. Tashtego reporting  that  the
whales had gone down heading to leeward, we confidently looked to see them
again directly in advance of our bows. For that singular  craft  at  times
evinced by the Sperm Whale when, sounding with his head in one  direction,
he nevertheless, while concealed beneath the  surface,  mills  round,  and
swiftly swims off in the opposite quarter -this deceitfulness of his could
not now be in action; for there was no reason to  suppose  that  the  fish
seen by Tashtego had been in any way alarmed, or indeed knew at all of our
vicinity. One of the men selected for shipkeepers -  that  is,  those  not
appointed to the boats, by this time relieved the Indian at the  main-mast
head. The sailors at the fore and mizzen had come down; the line tubs were
fixed in their places; the  cranes  were  thrust  out;  the  mainyard  was
backed, and the three boats swung over the sea like three samphire baskets
over high cliffs. Outside of the bulwarks their eager crews with one  hand
clung to the rail, while one foot was expectantly poised on  the  gunwale.
So look the long line of man-of-war's men about  to  throw  themselves  on
board an enemy's ship. But at this critical instant a  sudden  exclamation
was heard that took every eye from the whale. With a start all  glared  at
dark Ahab, who was surrounded by five dusky  phantoms  that  seemed  fresh
formed out of air.



                         48. THE FIRST LOWERING

    The phantoms, for so they then seemed, were  flitting  on  the  other
side of the deck, and, with a noiseless celerity, were casting  loose  the
tackles and bands of the boat which swung there. This boat had always been
deemed one of the spare boats, though technically called the captain's, on
account of its hanging from the starboard quarter.  The  figure  that  now
stood by its bows  was  tall  and  swart,  with  one  white  tooth  evilly
protruding from its steel-like lips. A rumpled  Chinese  jacket  of  black
cotton funereally invested him, with wide black trowsers of the same  dark
stuff. But strangely crowning his ebonness was a glistening white  plaited
turban, the living hair braided and coiled round and round upon his  head.
Less swart in aspect, the companions of this figure were  of  that  vivid,
tiger-yellow complexion peculiar to some of the aboriginal natives of  the
Manillas; -a race notorious for a certain diabolism of  subtilty,  and  by
some honest white mariners supposed  to  be  the  paid  spies  and  secret
confidential  agents  on  the  water  of  the  devil,  their  lord,  whose
counting-room they suppose to be elsewhere. While yet the wondering ship's
company  were  gazing  upon  these  strangers,  Ahab  cried  out  to   the
white-turbaned old man at their head, All ready  there,  Fedallah?  Ready,
was the half-hissed reply. Lower away then; d'ye hear? shouting across the
deck. Lower away there, I say. Such was the thunder  of  his  voice,  that
spite of their amazement the men sprang over the rail; the sheaves whirled
round in the blocks; with a wallow, the three boats dropped into the  sea;
while, with a dexterous, off-handed daring, unknown in any other vocation,
the sailors, goat-like, leaped down  the  rolling  ship's  side  into  the
tossed boats below. Hardly had they pulled out from under the ship's  lee,
when a fourth keel, coming from the windward side, pulled round under  the
stern, and showed the five strangers rowing Ahab, who, standing  erect  in
the stern, loudly hailed Starbuck, Stubb, and Flask, to spread  themselves
widely, so as to cover a large expanse of water. but with all  their  eyes
again riveted upon the swart Fedallah and his crew,  the  inmates  of  the
other boats obeyed not the command. Captain Ahab?- said  Starbuck.  Spread
yourselves, cried Ahab; give way, all four boats. Thou,  Flask,  pull  out
more to leeward! Aye, aye, sir, cheerily cried little King-Post,  sweeping
round his great steering  oar.  Lay  back!  addressing  his  crew.  There!
-there! -there again! There she blows right ahead, boys! - lay back! Never
heed yonder yellow boys, Archy. Oh, I don't mind 'em, sir, said  Archy;  I
knew it all before now. Didn't I hear 'em in the hold? And didn't  I  tell
Cabaco here of it? What say ye, Cabaco? They  are  stowaways,  Mr.  Flask.
Pull, pull, my fine hearts-alive; pull, my children; pull, my little ones,
drawingly and soothingly sighed Stubb to his  crew,  some  of  whom  still
showed signs of uneasiness. Why don't you break your backbones,  my  boys?
What is it you stare at? Those chaps in yonder boat? Tut!  They  are  only
five more hands come to help us -never  mind  from  where  -the  more  the
merrier. Pull, then, do pull; never mind the brimstone  -devils  are  good
fellows enough. So, so; there  you  are  now;  that's  the  stroke  for  a
thousand pounds; that's the stroke to sweep the  stakes!  Hurrah  for  the
gold cup of sperm oil, my heroes! Three cheers,  men  -all  hearts  alive!
Easy, easy; don't be in a hurry -don't be in a hurry. Why don't  you  snap
your oars, you rascals? Bite  something,  you  dogs!  So,  so,  so,  then;
-softly, softly! That's it - that's it! long and strong. Give  way  there,
give way! The devil fetch ye,  ye  ragamuffin  rapscallions;  ye  are  all
asleep. Stop snoring, ye sleepers, and pull. Pull, will  ye?  pull,  can't
ye? pull, won't ye? Why in the name of gudgeons and ginger-cakes don't  ye
pull? -pull and break something! pull, and  start  your  eyes  out!  Here!
whipping out the sharp knife from his girdle; every  mother's  son  of  ye
draw his knife, and pull with the blade between his teeth.
    That's it -that's it. Now ye do something; that  looks  like  it,  my
steel-bits.  Start  her  -start  her,   my   silver-spoons!   Start   her,
marling-spikes! Stubb's exordium to his  crew  is  given  here  at  large,
because he had rather a peculiar way of talking to them  in  general,  and
especially in inculcating the religion of rowing. But you must not suppose
from this specimen of his sermonizings that he ever  flew  into  downright
passions with his congregation. Not at  all;  and  therein  consisted  his
chief peculiarity. He would say the most terrific things to his crew, in a
tone so strangely compounded of fun and  fury,  and  the  fury  seemed  so
calculated merely as a spice to the fun, that no oarsman could  hear  such
queer invocations without pulling for dear life, and yet pulling  for  the
mere joke of the thing. Besides  he  all  the  time  looked  so  easy  and
indolent himself, so loungingly managed his steering-oar, and  so  broadly
gaped -open-mouthed at times -that  the  mere  sight  of  such  a  yawning
commander, by sheer force of contrast, acted like a charm upon  the  crew.
Then again, Stubb was one of those odd sort of humorists, whose jollity is
sometimes so curiously ambiguous, as to put all inferiors on  their  guard
in the matter of obeying them. In obedience to a sign from Ahab,  Starbuck
was now pulling obliquely across Stubb's bow; and when for a minute or  so
the two boats were pretty near to each other, Stubb hailed the  mate.  Mr.
Starbuck! larboard boat there, ahoy! a word with ye, sir,  if  ye  please!
Halloa! returned Starbuck, turning round not a single inch  as  he  spoke;
still earnestly but whisperingly urging his crew;  his  face  set  like  a
flint from Stubb's. What think ye of those yellow boys, sir!
    Smuggled on board, somehow, before the ship sailed. (Strong,  strong,
boys! ) in a whisper to his crew, then speaking  out  loud  again:  A  sad
business, Mr. Stubb! (seethe her, seethe her, my lads!)  but  never  mind,
Mr. Stubb, all for the best. Let all your  crew  pull  strong,  come  what
will. (Spring, my men, spring!)
    There's hogsheads of sperm ahead, Mr. Stubb, and that's what ye  came
for. (Pull, my boys!) Sperm, sperm's the play! This at least is duty; duty
and profit hand in hand! Aye, aye, I thought as much, soliloquized  Stubb,
when the boats diverged, as soon as I clapt eye on 'em, I thought so. Aye,
and that's what he went into the after hold for, so  often,  as  Dough-Boy
long suspected. They were hidden down there.  The  White  Whale's  at  the
bottom of it. Well, well, so be it! Can't be helped! All right! Give  way,
men! It ain't the White Whale to-day! Give way! Now the  advent  of  these
outlandish strangers at such a critical instant as  the  lowering  of  the
boats from the  deck,  this  had  not  unreasonably  awakened  a  sort  of
superstitious amazement in some of the ship's company; but Archy's fancied
discovery having some time previous got abroad among them,  though  indeed
not credited then, this had in some small measure prepared  them  for  the
event. It took off the extreme edge of their wonder; and so what with  all
this and Stubb's confident way of accounting for  their  appearance,  they
were for the time freed from superstitious surmisings; though  the  affair
still left abundant room for all manner of wild  conjectures  as  to  dark
Ahab's precise agency in the matter from the beginning. For me, I silently
recalled the mysterious shadows I had seen creeping on  board  the  Pequod
during the dim Nantucket dawn, as well as the enigmatical hintings of  the
unaccountable Elijah. Meantime, Ahab, out  of  hearing  of  his  officers,
having sided the furthest to windward, was  still  ranging  ahead  of  the
other boats; a circumstance bespeaking how potent a crew was pulling  him.
those tiger yellow creatures of his seemed all steel and whale-bone;  like
five trip-hammers they rose and fell with  regular  strokes  of  strength,
which periodically started the boat along  the  water  like  a  horizontal
burst boiler out of a Mississippi steamer. As for Fedallah, who  was  seen
pulling the harpooneer oar, he had thrown  aside  his  black  jacket,  and
displayed his naked chest with the  whole  part  of  his  body  above  the
gunwale, clearly cut against the alternating  depressions  of  the  watery
horizon; while at the other end of the boat Ahab, with  one  arm,  like  a
fencer's, thrown half backward into the air, as if to  counterbalance  any
tendency to trip: Ahab was seen steadily managing his steering oar as in a
thousand boat lowerings ere the White Whale had torn him.
    All at once the out-stretched arm gave a  peculiar  motion  and  then
remained fixed, while  the  boat's  five  oars  were  seen  simultaneously
peaked. Boat and crew sat motionless  on  the  sea.  Instantly  the  three
spread boats in the rear paused on their way. The whales  had  irregularly
settled bodily down into the blue, thus giving  no  distantly  discernible
token of the movement, though from his closer vicinity Ahab  had  observed
it. Every man look out along his oars!  cried  Starbuck.  Thou,  Queequeg,
stand up! Nimbly springing up on the triangular raised box in the bow, the
savage stood erect there, and with intensely eager eyes gazed off  towards
the spot where the chase had last been descried. Likewise upon the extreme
stern of the boat where it was also triangularly platformed level with the
gunwale, Starbuck himself was seen coolly and adroitly  balancing  himself
to the jerking tossings of his chip of a craft, and  silently  eyeing  the
vast blue eye of the sea. Not very far distant Flask's boat was also lying
breathlessly still; its commander recklessly standing upon the top of  the
loggerhead, a stout sort of post rooted in the keel, and rising  some  two
feet above the level of the stern platform. it is used for catching  turns
with the whale line. Its top is not more spacious than the palm of a man's
hand, and standing upon such a base as that, Flask seemed perched  at  the
mast-head of some ship which had sunk to all but her  trucks.  But  little
King-Post was small and short, and at the same time little  King-Post  was
full of a large and tall ambition, so that this loggerhead stand-point  of
his did by no means satisfy King-Post. I can't see three seas off; tip  us
up an oar there, and let me on to that. Upon  this,  Daggoo,  with  either
hand upon the gunwale to steady  his  way,  swiftly  slid  aft,  and  then
erecting himself volunteered his lofty shoulders for a pedestal.
    Good a mast-head as any, sir. Will you mount? That I will, and  thank
ye very much, my fine fellow; only I wish you fifty feet taller. Whereupon
planting his feet firmly against two opposite  planks  of  the  boat,  the
gigantic negro, stooping a little, presented  his  flat  palm  to  Flask's
foot, and then putting Flask's hand on his hearse-plumed head and  bidding
him spring as he himself should toss, with one dexterous fling landed  the
little man high and dry on his shoulders. And here was Flask now standing,
Daggoo with one lifted arm furnishing  him  with  a  breast-band  to  lean
against and steady himself by. At any time it is a strange  sight  to  the
tyro to see with what wondrous habitude of unconscious skill the  whaleman
will maintain an erect posture in his boat, even when pitched about by the
most riotously perverse and cross-running seas. Still more strange to  see
him giddily perched upon the loggerhead itself, under such  circumstances.
But the sight of little Flask mounted upon gigantic Daggoo  was  yet  more
curious; for sustaining himself with a cool, indifferent, easy,  unthought
of,  barbaric  majesty,  the  noble  negro  to  every  roll  of  the   sea
harmoniously rolled his fine form. On his broad back, flaxen-haired  flask
seemed a snow-flake. The bearer looked nobler than the rider. Though truly
vivacious, tumultuous, ostentatious little Flask would now and then  stamp
with impatience; but not one added  heave  did  he  thereby  give  to  the
negro's lordly chest. So have I  seen  Passion  and  Vanity  stamping  the
living magnanimous earth, but the earth did not alter her  tides  and  her
seasons for that. Meanwhile  Stubb,  the  third  mate,  betrayed  no  such
far-gazing solicitudes. The whales might have made one  of  their  regular
soundings, not a temporary dive from mere fright; and  if  that  were  the
case, Stubb, as his wont in such cases, it seems, was resolved  to  solace
the languishing interval with his pipe. He withdrew it from  his  hatband,
where he always wore it aslant like a feather. He loaded  it,  and  rammed
home the loading with his thumb-end; but hardly had he ignited  his  match
across the rough sand-paper of his hand, when  Tashtego,  his  harpooneer,
whose eyes had been setting to windward like  two  fixed  stars,  suddenly
dropped like light from his erect attitude to his seat, crying  out  in  a
quick phrensy of hurry, Down, down all, and give way! -there they are!  To
a landsman, no whale, nor any sign of a herring, would have  been  visible
at that moment; nothing but a troubled bit of greenish  white  water,  and
thin scattered puffs of vapor hovering over it,  and  suffusingly  blowing
off to leeward, like the confused scud from white rolling billows. The air
around suddenly vibrated and tingled,  as  it  were,  like  the  air  over
intensely heated plates of  iron.  Beneath  this  atmospheric  waving  and
curling, and partially beneath a thin layer of  water,  also,  the  whales
were swimming. Seen in advance of all the other indications, the puffs  of
vapor they spouted, seemed their forerunning couriers and detached  flying
outriders. All four boats were now in keen pursuit of  that  one  spot  of
troubled water and air. But it bade far to outstrip them; it flew  on  and
on, as a mass of interblending bubbles borne down a rapid stream from  the
hills. Pull, pull, my good boys, said Starbuck, in the lowest possible but
intensest concentrated whisper to his men; while the  sharp  fixed  glance
from his eyes darted straight ahead of  the  bow,  almost  seemed  as  two
visible needles in two unerring binnacle compasses. He did not say much to
his crew, though, nor did his crew say anything to him. Only  the  silence
of the boat was at intervals startlingly pierced by one  of  his  peculiar
whispers, now harsh with command, now soft with  entreaty.  How  different
the loud little King-Post.
    Sing  out  and  say  something,  my  hearties.  Roar  and  pull,   my
thunderbolts! Beach me, beach me on their black backs, boys; only do  that
for me, and I'll sign over to you my Martha's Vineyard  plantation,  boys;
including wife and children, boys. Lay me on -lay me on! O Lord, Lord! but
I shall go stark, staring mad: See! see that white water! And so shouting,
he pulled his hat from his head, and stamped  up  and  down  on  it;  then
picking it up, flirted it far off  upon  the  sea;  and  finally  fell  to
rearing and plunging in the boat's stern  like  a  crazed  colt  from  the
prairie. Look at that chap now, philosophically drawled Stubb,  who,  with
his unlighted short pipe, mechanically retained between his  teeth,  at  a
short distance, followed after - He's got fits, that Flask has. Fits? yes,
give him fits -that's the very  word  -  pitch  fits  into  'em.  Merrily,
merrily, hearts-alive. Pudding for supper, you know;  -merry's  the  word.
Pull, babes -pull, sucklings - pull, all.  But  what  the  devil  are  you
hurrying about? Softly, softly, and steadily, my men. Only pull, and  keep
pulling; nothing more. Crack all your backbones, and bite your  knives  in
two - that's all. Take it easy -why don't ye take  it  easy,  I  say,  and
burst all your livers and lungs! But what it  was  that  inscrutable  Ahab
said to that tiger-yellow crew of his -these were words best omitted here;
for you live under the blessed light of the  evangelical  land.  Only  the
infidel sharks in the audacious seas may give ear  to  such  words,  when,
with tornado brow, and eyes of  red  murder,  and  foam-glued  lips,  Ahab
leaped after his prey. Meanwhile, all the  boats  tore  on.  The  repeated
specific allusions of Flask to that whale, as  he  called  the  fictitious
monster which he declared to be incessantly  tantalizing  his  boat's  bow
with its tail  -these  allusions  of  his  were  at  times  so  vivid  and
life-like, that they would cause some one or two of his men  to  snatch  a
fearful look over the shoulder. But this was against  all  rule;  for  the
oarsmen must put out their eyes, and ram a  skewer  through  their  necks;
usage pronouncing that they must have no organs but ears, and no limbs but
arms, in these critical moments. It was a sight full of quick  wonder  and
awe! The vast swells of the omnipotent sea; the surging, hollow roar  they
made, as they rolled along the eight gunwales, like gigantic  bowls  in  a
boundless bowling-green; the brief suspended agony  of  the  boat,  as  it
would tip for an instant on the knife-like edge of the sharper waves, that
almost seemed threatening to cut it in two; the sudden profound  dip  into
the watery glens and hollows; the keen spurrings and goadings to gain  the
top of the opposite hill; the headlong, sled-like  slide  down  its  other
side; -all these, with the cries of the headsmen and harpooneers, and  the
shuddering gasps of the oarsmen, with the  wondrous  sight  of  the  ivory
Pequod bearing down upon her boats with outstretched sails,  like  a  wild
hen after her screaming brood;  -all  this  was  thrilling.  Not  the  raw
recruit, marching from the bosom of his wife into the fever  heat  of  his
first battle; not the dead man's  ghost  encountering  the  first  unknown
phantom in the other world;  -neither  of  these  can  feel  stranger  and
stronger emotions than that man does, who for the first time finds himself
pulling into the charmed, churned circle of the hunted  sperm  whale.  The
dancing white water made by the chase  was  now  becoming  more  and  more
visible, owing to the increasing darkness of the dun  cloud-shadows  flung
upon the sea. The jets of vapor no longer blended, but  tilted  everywhere
to right and left; the whales seemed separating  their  wakes.  The  boats
were pulled more apart; Starbuck giving chase to three whales running dead
to leeward. Our sail was now set, and, with  the  still  rising  wind,  we
rushed along; the boat going with such madness through the water, that the
lee oars could scarcely be worked rapidly enough to escape being torn from
the row-locks. Soon we were running through a suffusing wide veil of mist;
neither ship nor boat to be  seen.  Give  way,  men,  whispered  Starbuck,
drawing still further aft the sheet of his sail; there is time to  kill  a
fish yet before the squall comes. There's white water  again!  -close  to!
Spring! Soon after, two cries in quick  succession  on  each  side  of  us
denoted that the other boats had got fast; but hardly were they overheard,
when with a lightning-like hurtling whisper Starbuck said: Stand  up!  and
Queequeg, harpoon in hand, sprang to his  feet.  Though  not  one  of  the
oarsmen was then facing the life and death peril so close to  them  ahead,
yet with their eyes on the intense countenance of the mate in the stern of
the boat, they knew that the imminent instant had come; they  heard,  too,
an enormous wallowing sound  as  of  fifty  elephants  stirring  in  their
litter. Meanwhile the boat was still booming through the mist,  the  waves
curling and hissing around us like the erected crests of enraged serpents.
That's his hump. There, there, give it to him! whispered Starbuck. A short
rushing sound leaped out of the boat; it was the darted iron of  Queequeg.
Then all in one welded commotion came an invisible push from astern, while
forward the boat seemed striking  on  a  ledge;  the  sail  collapsed  and
exploded; a gush of scalding vapor shot up near by; something  rolled  and
tumbled like an earthquake beneath us. The whole crew were half suffocated
as they were tossed helter-skelter into the white curdling  cream  of  the
squall. Squall, whale, and harpoon  had  all  blended  together;  and  the
whale, merely grazed by the iron, escaped. Though completely swamped,  the
boat was nearly unharmed. Swimming round it  we  picked  up  the  floating
oars, and lashing them across the gunwale, tumbled  back  to  our  places.
There we sat up to our knees in the sea, the water covering every rib  and
plank, so that to our downward gazing eyes the suspended  craft  seemed  a
coral boat grown up to us from the bottom of the ocean. The wind increased
to a howl; the waves dashed their  bucklers  together;  the  whole  squall
roared, forked, and crackled around us like a white fire upon the prairie,
in which, unconsumed, we were burning; immortal in these jaws of death! In
vain we hailed the other boats; as well roar to the live  coals  down  the
chimney of a flaming furnace as hail those boats in that storm.  Meanwhile
the driving scud, rack, and mist, grew darker with the shadows  of  night;
no sign of the ship could be seen. The rising sea forbade all attempts  to
bale out the boat. The oars were useless as propellers, performing now the
office of life-preservers. So, cutting  the  lashing  of  the  water-proof
match keg, after many failures Starbuck contrived to ignite  the  lamp  in
the lantern; then stretching it on a waif pole, handed it to  Queequeg  as
the standard-bearer of this forlorn hope. There, then, he sat, holding  up
that imbecile candle in the heart of  that  almighty  forlornness.  There,
then, he sat, the sign and symbol  of  a  man  without  faith,  hopelessly
holding up hope in the  midst  of  despair.  Wet,  drenched  through,  and
shivering cold, despairing of ship or boat, we lifted up our eyes  as  the
dawn came on. The mist still spread over the sea, the  empty  lantern  lay
crushed in the bottom of the boat. Suddenly Queequeg started to his  feet,
hollowing his hand to his ear. We all heard a faint creaking, as of  ropes
and yards hitherto muffled by the storm. The sound came nearer and nearer;
the thick mists were dimly parted by a huge, vague  form.  Affrighted,  we
all sprang into the sea as the ship at  last  loomed  into  view,  bearing
right down upon us within a distance of not much  more  than  its  length.
Floating on the waves we saw the abandoned boat, as  for  one  instant  it
tossed and gaped beneath the ship's bows like a chip  at  the  base  of  a
cataract; and then the vast hull rolled over it, and it was seen  no  more
till it came up weltering astern.  Again  we  swam  for  it,  were  dashed
against it by the seas, and were at last taken up  and  safely  landed  on
board. Ere the squall came close to, the other boats had  cut  loose  from
their fish and returned to the ship in good time. The ship  had  given  us
up, but was still cruising, if haply it might light upon some token of our
perishing, -an oar or a lance pole.



                              49. THE HYENA

    There are certain queer times and occasions  in  this  strange  mixed
affair we call life when a man  takes  this  whole  universe  for  a  vast
practical joke, though the wit thereof he but  dimly  discerns,  and  more
than suspects that the joke is at nobody's expense but his  own.  However,
nothing dispirits, and nothing seems worth while disputing. He bolts  down
all events, all creeds, and beliefs,  and  persuasions,  all  hard  things
visible and invisible, never mind how knobby;  as  an  ostrich  of  potent
digestion  gobbles  down  bullets  and  gun  flints.  And  as  for   small
difficulties and worryings, prospects of sudden disaster,  peril  of  life
and limb; all these, and death itself, seem to him only sly,  good-natured
hits,  and  jolly  punches  in  the  side  bestowed  by  the  unseen   and
unaccountable old joker. That odd sort of wayward mood I am  speaking  of,
comes over a man only in some time of extreme tribulation; it comes in the
very midst of his earnestness, so that what just before might have  seemed
to him a thing most momentous, now seems but a part of the  general  joke.
There is nothing like the perils of whaling to breed this  free  and  easy
sort of genial, desperado philosophy; and with  it  I  now  regarded  this
whole voyage of  the  Pequod,  and  the  great  White  Whale  its  object.
Queequeg, said I, when they had dragged me, the last man, to the deck, and
I was still shaking myself in my jacket to fling off the water;  Queequeg,
my fine friend, does  this  sort  of  thing  often  happen?  Without  much
emotion, though soaked through just like me, he gave me to understand that
such things did often happen. Mr. Stubb, said I, turning to  that  worthy,
who, buttoned up in his oil-jacket, was now calmly smoking his pipe in the
rain; Mr. Stubb, I think I have heard you say that  of  all  whalemen  you
ever met, our chief mate, Mr. Starbuck, is by far  the  most  careful  and
prudent. I suppose then, that going plump on a flying whale with your sail
set in a foggy squall is the height of a whaleman's  discretion?  Certain.
I've lowered for whales from a leaking ship in a gale off Cape  Horn.  Mr.
Flask, said I, turning to little King-Post, who was standing close by; you
are experienced in these things, and I am not. Will you tell me whether it
is an unalterable law in this fishery, Mr. Flask, for an oarsman to  break
his own back pulling himself back-foremost into death's  jaws?  Can't  you
twist that smaller? said Flask.
    Yes, that's the law. I should like to see a boat's crew backing water
up to a whale face foremost. Ha, ha! the whale would give them squint  for
squint, mind that! here then, from three  impartial  witnesses,  i  had  a
deliberate statement of the  entire  case.  Considering,  therefore,  that
squalls and capsizings in the water and consequent bivouacks on the  deep,
were matters of common occurrence in this kind of life;  considering  that
at the superlatively critical instant of going on  to  the  whale  I  must
resign my life into the hands of him who steered the  boat  -oftentimes  a
fellow who at that very moment is in his impetuousness upon the  point  of
scuttling the craft with his own frantic stampings; considering  that  the
particular disaster to our own particular boat was chiefly to  be  imputed
to Starbuck's driving on to his whale almost in the teeth of a squall, and
considering that Starbuck,  notwithstanding,  was  famous  for  his  great
heedfulness in the fishery; considering that I belonged to this uncommonly
prudent Starbuck's boat; and finally considering in what a devil's chase I
was implicated, touching the White Whale: taking all  things  together,  I
say, I thought I might as well go below and make a rough draft of my will.
    Queequeg, said I, come along, you shall be my lawyer,  executor,  and
legatee. It may seem strange that of all men sailors should  be  tinkering
at their last wills and testaments, but there are no people in  the  world
more fond of that diversion. This was the fourth time in my nautical  life
that I had done the same thing. After the ceremony was concluded upon  the
present occasion, I felt all the easier; a stone was rolled away  from  my
heart. Besides, all the days I should now live would be  as  good  as  the
days that Lazarus lived after his resurrection; a supplementary clean gain
of so many months or weeks as the case might be.  I  survived  myself;  my
death and burial were locked up in my chest. I looked round me  tranquilly
and contentedly, like a quiet ghost with a clean conscience sitting inside
the bars of a snug  family  vault.  now  then,  thought  i,  unconsciously
rolling up the sleeves of my frock, here goes a cool,  collected  dive  at
death and destruction, and the devil fetch the hindmost.



                   50. AHAB'S BOAT AND CREW. FEDALLAH

    Who would have thought it, Flask! cried Stubb; if I had but  one  leg
you would not catch me in a boat, unless maybe to stop the plug-hole  with
my timber toe. Oh! he's a wonderful old man! I don't think it so  strange,
after all, on that account, said Flask. If his leg were off  at  the  hip,
now, it would be a different thing. That would disable him; but he has one
knee, and good part of the other left, you know. I  don't  know  that,  my
little man; I never yet saw him kneel.  Among  whale-wise  people  it  has
often been argued whether, considering the  paramount  importance  of  his
life to the success of the voyage, it is right for a  whaling  captain  to
jeopardize that life in the active perils of  the  chase.  So  Tamerlane's
soldiers often argued with tears in their eyes,  whether  that  invaluable
life of his ought to be carried into the thickest of the fight.  But  with
Ahab the question assumed a modified aspect.  Considering  that  with  two
legs man is but a hobbling wight in all times of danger; considering  that
the  pursuit  of  whales  is  always   under   great   and   extraordinary
difficulties; that every  individual  moment,  indeed,  then  comprises  a
peril; under these circumstances is it wise for any maimed man to enter  a
whale-boat in the hunt? As a general thing, the joint-owners of the Pequod
must have plainly thought not. Ahab well knew that although his friends at
home would think little of his entering a boat  in  certain  comparatively
harmless vicissitudes of the chase, for the sake of being near  the  scene
of action and giving his orders in person, yet for Captain Ahab to have  a
boat actually apportioned to him as a regular headsman in the hunt  -above
all for Captain Ahab to be supplied with five  extra  men,  as  that  same
boat's crew, he well knew that such generous conceits  never  entered  the
heads of the owners of the Pequod. Therefore he had not solicited a boat's
crew from them, nor had he in any way hinted his  desires  on  that  head.
Nevertheless he had taken private measures of his own  touching  all  that
matter.  Until  Cabaco's  published  discovery,  the  sailors  had  little
foreseen it, though to be sure when, after being a  little  while  out  of
port, all hands had  concluded  the  customary  business  of  fitting  the
whaleboats for service; when some time after this Ahab was  now  and  then
found bestirring himself in the matter of making thole-pins with  his  own
hands for what was thought  to  be  one  of  the  spare  boats,  and  even
solicitously cutting the small wooden skewers,  which  when  the  line  is
running out are pinned over the groove in  the  bow:  when  all  this  was
observed in him, and particularly his solicitude in having an  extra  coat
of sheathing in the bottom of the boat, as if to make it better  withstand
the pointed pressure of his ivory limb; and also the anxiety he evinced in
exactly shaping the thigh board, or  clumsy  cleat,  as  it  is  sometimes
called, the horizontal piece in  the  boat's  bow  for  bracing  the  knee
against in darting or stabbing at the whale;  when  it  was  observed  how
often he stood up in that  boat  with  his  solitary  knee  fixed  in  the
semi-circular depression in the cleat, and  with  the  carpenter's  chisel
gouged out a little here and straightened it a  little  there;  all  these
things, I say, had awakened much interest and curiosity at the  time.  But
almost everybody supposed that this particular preparative heedfulness  in
Ahab must only be with a view to the ultimate chase of Moby Dick;  for  he
had already revealed his intention to hunt that mortal monster in  person.
But such a supposition did by no means involve the remotest  suspicion  as
to any boat's crew being assigned to that boat. now, with the  subordinate
phantoms, what wonder remained soon waned away; for in  a  whaler  wonders
soon wane. Besides, now and then  such  unaccountable  odds  and  ends  of
strange nations come up from the unknown nooks and ash-holes of the  earth
to man these floating outlaws of whalers; and the ships  themselves  often
pick up such queer castaway creatures found tossing about the open sea  on
planks, bits of  wreck,  oars,  whale-boats,  canoes,  blown-off  Japanese
junks, and what not; that Beelzebub himself might climb up  the  side  and
step down into the cabin to chat with the captain, and it would not create
any unsubduable excitement in the forecastle. But be all this as  it  may,
certain it is that while the subordinate phantoms soon found  their  place
among the crew, though still as it were somehow distinct  from  them,  yet
that hair-turbaned Fedallah remained a muffled mystery to the last. Whence
he came in a mannerly world like this, by what sort of  unaccountable  tie
he soon evinced himself to be linked with Ahab's peculiar  fortunes;  nay,
so far as to have some sort of a half-hinted influence; Heaven knows,  but
it might have been even authority over him; all this none  knew.  But  one
cannot sustain an indifferent air  concerning  Fedallah.  He  was  such  a
creature as civilized, domestic people in the temperate zone only  see  in
their dreams, and that but dimly; but the like of whom now and then  glide
among the unchanging Asiatic communities, especially the Oriental isles to
the east  of  the  continent  -those  insulated,  immemorial,  unalterable
countries, which even in these modern days  still  preserve  much  of  the
ghostly aboriginalness of earth's primal generations, when the  memory  of
the first man was a distinct recollection, and all  men  his  descendants,
unknowing whence he came, eyed each other as real phantoms, and  asked  of
the sun and the moon why they were created and to what end;  when  though,
according to genesis, the angels indeed consorted with  the  daughters  of
men, the devils also, add the uncanonical  Rabbins,  indulged  in  mundane
amours.



                          51. THE SPIRIT-SPOUT

    Days, weeks passed, and under easy sail, the ivory Pequod had  slowly
swept across four several cruising-grounds; that off the Azores;  off  the
Cape de Verdes; on the Plate (so called), being off the mouth of  the  Rio
de la  Plata;  and  the  Carrol  Ground,  an  unstaked,  watery  locality,
southerly from St. Helena. It  was  while  gliding  through  these  latter
waters that one serene and moonlight night, when all the waves  rolled  by
like scrolls of silver; and, by their soft, suffusing seethings, made what
seemed a silvery silence, not a solitude: on such a silent night a silvery
jet was seen far in advance of the white bubbles at the bow. Lit up by the
moon, it looked celestial; seemed some plumed and glittering god  uprising
from the sea. Fedallah first descried this jet.  For  of  these  moonlight
nights, it was his wont to mount  to  the  main-mast  head,  and  stand  a
look-out there, with the same precision as if it had been  day.  And  yet,
though herds of whales were seen by night, not one whaleman in  a  hundred
would venture a lowering for them. You may think with what emotions, then,
the seamen beheld this old Oriental perched aloft at such  unusual  hours;
his turban and the moon, companions in one sky. But when,  after  spending
his uniform interval there for several successive nights without  uttering
a single sound; when, after all this  silence,  his  unearthly  voice  was
heard announcing that  silvery,  moon-lit  jet,  every  reclining  mariner
started to his feet as if some winged spirit had lighted in  the  rigging,
and hailed the mortal crew. There she blows! Had  the  trump  of  judgment
blown, they could not have quivered more; yet still they felt  no  terror;
rather pleasure. for though it was a most unwonted hour, yet so impressive
was the cry, and so deliriously exciting, that almost every soul on  board
instinctively  desired  a  lowering.  Walking   the   deck   with   quick,
side-lunging strides, Ahab commanded the t'gallant sails and royals to  be
set, and every stunsail spread. The best man in the  ship  must  take  the
helm. Then, with every mast-head manned, the piled-up  craft  rolled  down
before the wind. The strange, upheaving, lifting tendency of the  taffrail
breeze filling the hollows of so many sails, made  the  buoyant,  hovering
deck to feel like air beneath the feet; while still she rushed  along,  as
if two antagonistic influences were struggling in her -one to mount direct
to heaven, the other to drive yawingly to some horizontal  goal.  And  had
you watched Ahab's face that night, you would have  thought  that  in  him
also two different things were warring. While his one live leg made lively
echoes along the deck, every stroke  of  his  dead  limb  sounded  like  a
coffin-tap. On life and death this old man walked. But though the ship  so
swiftly sped, and though from every eye, like arrows,  the  eager  glances
shot, yet the silvery jet was no more seen that night. Every sailor  swore
he saw it once, but not a second  time.  This  midnight-spout  had  almost
grown a forgotten thing, when, some days after, lo!  at  the  same  silent
hour, it was again announced: again it  was  descried  by  all;  but  upon
making sail to overtake it, once more it disappeared as if  it  had  never
been. And so it served us night after night, till no one heeded it but  to
wonder at it. Mysteriously jetted into the clear moonlight, or  starlight,
as the case might be; disappearing again for one whole day, or  two  days,
or three; and somehow seeming at every distinct repetition to be advancing
still further and further in our van, this solitary jet  seemed  for  ever
alluring us on. Nor with the immemorial superstition of their race, and in
accordance with the preternaturalness, as it seemed, which in many  things
invested the Pequod, were there wanting some of the seamen who swore  that
whenever and wherever descried; at however remote times, or in however far
apart latitudes and longitudes, that unnearable  spout  was  cast  by  one
self-same whale; and that whale, Moby Dick. For  a  time,  there  reigned,
too, a sense of peculiar dread at this flitting apparition, as if it  were
treacherously beckoning us on and on, in order that the monster might turn
round upon us, and rend us at last in the remotest and most  savage  seas.
These temporary apprehensions, so vague but so awful, derived  a  wondrous
potency from the contrasting serenity of the weather,  in  which,  beneath
all its blue blandness, some thought there lurked a devilish charm, as for
days and days we voyaged along, through seas so wearily, lonesomely  mild,
that all space, in repugnance to  our  vengeful  errand,  seemed  vacating
itself of life before our urn-like prow. But, at last, when turning to the
eastward, the Cape winds began howling around us, and  we  rose  and  fell
upon the long, troubled seas that are there; when the ivory-tusked  Pequod
sharply bowed to the blast, and gored the dark waves in her madness, till,
like showers of silver chips, the foam-flakes flew over her bulwarks; then
all this desolate vacuity of life went away, but gave place to sights more
dismal than before. Close to our bows, strange forms in the  water  darted
hither and thither before us; while thick in our rear flew the inscrutable
sea-ravens. And every morning, perched on our stays, rows of  these  birds
were seen; and spite of our hootings, for a long time obstinately clung to
the hemp, as though they deemed our ship some drifting, uninhabited craft;
a thing appointed to desolation,  and  therefore  fit  roosting-place  for
their homeless selves. And heaved and heaved, still unrestingly heaved the
black sea, as if its vast tides were a conscience; and the  great  mundane
soul were in anguish and remorse for the long sin  and  suffering  it  had
bred. Cape of Good Hope, do they  call  ye?  Rather  Cape  Tormentoto,  as
called of yore; for long allured by the perfidious  silences  that  before
had attended us, we found ourselves  launched  into  this  tormented  sea,
where guilty beings transformed into those fowls and  these  fish,  seemed
condemned to swim on everlastingly without any haven  in  store,  or  beat
that black air without any horizon. But calm, snow-white,  and  unvarying;
still directing its fountain of feathers to the sky; still beckoning us on
from before, the solitary jet would at times be descried. During all  this
blackness of the elements, Ahab, though assuming for the time  the  almost
continual command of the  drenched  and  dangerous  deck,  manifested  the
gloomiest reserve; and more seldom  than  ever  addressed  his  mates.  In
tempestuous times like these, after everything above and  aloft  has  been
secured, nothing more can be done but passively to await the issue of  the
gale. Then Captain and crew become practical fatalists. So, with his ivory
leg inserted into its accustomed hole, and with one hand firmly grasping a
shroud, Ahab for hours and hours would  stand  gazing  dead  to  windward,
while an occasional squall of sleet or snow would all but congeal his very
eyelashes together. Meantime, the crew driven from the forward part of the
ship by the perilous seas that burstingly broke over its bows, stood in  a
line along the bulwarks in the waist; and the better to guard against  the
leaping waves, each man had slipped himself into a sort of bowline secured
to the rail, in which he swung as in a loosened belt. Few or no words were
spoken; and the silent ship, as if manned by painted sailors in  wax,  day
after day tore on through all  the  swift  madness  and  gladness  of  the
demoniac waves. By night the same muteness of humanity before the  shrieks
of the ocean prevailed; still in silence the men swung  in  the  bowlines;
still wordless ahab stood up to the blast. Even when wearied nature seemed
demanding repose he would not seek that repose in his hammock. Never could
Starbuck forget the old man's aspect, when one night going down  into  the
cabin to mark how the barometer stood, he saw him with closed eyes sitting
straight in his floor-screwed chair; the rain and half-melted sleet of the
storm from which he had some time before emerged,  still  slowly  dripping
from the unremoved hat and coat. On the table beside him lay unrolled  one
of those charts of tides and currents which have  previously  been  spoken
of. His lantern swung from his tightly clenched hand. Though the body  was
erect, the head was thrown back so  that  the  closed  eyes  were  pointed
towards the needle of the tell-tale that swung from a beam in the ceiling.
Terrible old man! thought Starbuck with a shudder, sleeping in this  gale,
still thou steadfastly eyest thy purpose.



                            52. THE ALBATROSS

    South-eastward from the  Cape,  off  the  distant  Crozetts,  a  good
cruising ground for  Right  Whalemen,  a  sail  loomed  ahead,  the  Goney
(Albatross) by name. As she slowly drew nigh, from my lofty perch  at  the
fore-mast-head, I had a good view of that sight so remarkable to a tyro in
the far ocean fisheries -a whaler at sea, and long absent from home. As if
the waves had been fullers, this craft was bleached like the skeleton of a
stranded walrus. All down her sides, this spectral appearance  was  traced
with long channels of reddened rust, while all her spars and  her  rigging
were like the thick branches of trees furred over  with  hoar-frost.  Only
her lower sails were set. A wild sight it  was  to  see  her  long-bearded
look-outs at those three mast-heads. They seemed  clad  in  the  skins  of
beasts, so torn and bepatched the raiment that had  survived  nearly  four
years of cruising. Standing in iron hoops nailed to the mast, they  swayed
and swung over a fathomless sea; and though, when the ship  slowly  glided
close under our stern, we six men in the air came so nigh  to  each  other
that we might almost have leaped from the mast-heads of one ship to  those
of the other; yet, those forlorn-looking fishermen, mildly  eyeing  us  as
they  passed,  said  not  one  word  to  our  own  look-outs,  while   the
quarter-deck hail was being heard from below. Ship ahoy! Have ye seen  the
White Whale? But as the strange captain, leaning over the pallid bulwarks,
was in the act of putting his trumpet to his mouth, it somehow  fell  from
his hand into the sea; and the wind now rising amain, he in vain strove to
make himself heard without it. Meantime his ship was still increasing  the
distance between. While in various silent ways the seamen  of  the  Pequod
were evincing their observance of this ominous incident at the first  mere
mention of the White Whale's name to  another  ship,  Ahab  for  a  moment
paused; it almost seemed as though he would have lowered a boat  to  board
the stranger, had not the threatening wind forbade. But  taking  advantage
of his windward position, he again seized his trumpet, and knowing by  her
aspect that the stranger vessel was a Nantucketer and shortly bound  home,
he loudly hailed - Ahoy there! This is the Pequod, bound round the  world!
Tell them to address all future letters to the  Pacific  ocean!  and  this
time three years, if I am not at home, tell them to  address  them  to--At
that moment the two wakes were fairly crossed,  and  instantly,  then,  in
accordance with their singular ways, shoals of small harmless  fish,  that
for some days before had been placidly swimming by our side,  darted  away
with what seemed shuddering fins, and ranged themselves fore and aft  with
the stranger's flanks. Though in the course  of  his  continual  voyagings
Ahab must  often  before  have  noticed  a  similar  sight,  yet,  to  any
monomaniac man, the veriest trifles capriciously carry meanings. Swim away
from me, do ye? murmured Ahab, gazing over into the  water.  There  seemed
but little in the words, but the  tone  conveyed  more  of  deep  helpless
sadness than the insane old man had ever before evinced.  But  turning  to
the steersman, who thus far had been holding  the  ship  in  the  wind  to
diminish her headway, he cried out in his old lion voice, - Up helm!  Keep
her off round the world! Round the world! There is much in that  sound  to
inspire  proud  feelings;  but  whereto  does  all  that  circumnavigation
conduct? Only through numberless  perils  to  the  very  point  whence  we
started, where those that we left behind secure, were all the time  before
us. Were this world an endless plain, and by sailing eastward we could for
ever reach new distances, and discover sights more sweet and strange  than
any Cyclades or Islands of King Solomon, then there were  promise  in  the
voyage. But in pursuit of those far mysteries we dream of, or in tormented
chase of that demon phantom that, some time or  other,  swims  before  all
human hearts; while chasing such over this round globe, they  either  lead
us on in barren mazes or midway leave us whelmed.
    The cabin-compass is called the tell-tale, because without  going  to
the compass at the helm, the Captain, while below, can inform  himself  of
the course of the ship.



                              53. THE GAM

    The ostensible reason why Ahab did not go on board of the  whaler  we
had spoken was this: the wind and sea betokened storms. But even had  this
not been the case, he would not  after  all,  perhaps,  have  boarded  her
-judging by his subsequent conduct on similar occasions -if so it had been
that, by the process of hailing, he had obtained a negative answer to  the
question he put. For, as  it  eventually  turned  out,  he  cared  not  to
consort, even for five minutes, with any stranger captain, except he could
contribute some of that information he so absorbingly sought. But all this
might remain inadequately estimated, were not something said here  of  the
peculiar usages of whaling-vessels when  meeting  each  other  in  foreign
seas, and  especially  on  a  common  cruising-ground.  If  two  strangers
crossing the Pine Barrens in New  York  State,  or  the  equally  desolate
Salisbury Plain in England; if casually encountering each  other  in  such
inhospitable wilds, these twain, for the life of them, cannot well avoid a
mutual salutation; and stopping for a moment to interchange the news; and,
perhaps, sitting down for a while and resting in concert: then,  how  much
more natural that upon the illimitable Pine
    Barrens  and  Salisbury  Plains  of  the  sea,  two  whaling  vessels
descrying each other at the ends of the earth -off lone Fanning's  Island,
or the far away King's Mills; how much more natural,  I  say,  that  under
such circumstances these ships should not only interchange hails, but come
into still closer, more friendly  and  sociable  contact.  And  especially
would this seem to be a matter of course, in the case of vessels owned  in
one seaport, and whose captains, officers, and not a few of  the  men  are
personally known to each other; and consequently, have all sorts  of  dear
domestic  things  to  talk  about.  For  the   long   absent   ship,   the
outward-bounder, perhaps, has letters on board; at any rate, she  will  be
sure to let her have some papers of a date a year or two  later  than  the
last one on her blurred and thumb-worn  files.  And  in  return  for  that
courtesy,  the  outward-bound  ship  would  receive  the  latest   whaling
intelligence from the cruising-ground to which  she  may  be  destined,  a
thing of the utmost importance to her. And in degree, all this  will  hold
true concerning  whaling  vessels  crossing  each  other's  track  on  the
cruising-ground itself, even though they  are  equally  long  absent  from
home. for one of them may have received a transfer of  letters  from  some
third, and now far remote vessel; and some of those letters may be for the
people of the ship she now meets. Besides, they would exchange the whaling
news, and have an agreeable chat. For not only would they  meet  with  all
the  sympathies  of  sailors,  but  likewise   with   all   the   peculiar
congenialities  arising  from  a  common  pursuit  and   mutually   shared
privations and perils. Nor would  difference  of  country  make  any  very
essential difference; that is, so long as both parties speak one language,
as is the case with Americans and English. Though, to be  sure,  from  the
small number of English whalers, such meetings do not  very  often  occur,
and when they do occur there is too apt to be a sort  of  shyness  between
them; for your Englishman is rather reserved, and your Yankee, he does not
fancy that sort of thing in anybody  but  himself.  Besides,  the  English
whalers sometimes affect a  kind  of  metropolitan  superiority  over  the
American  whalers;  regarding  the  long,  lean  Nantucketer,   with   his
nondescript provincialisms, as a  sort  of  sea-peasant.  But  where  this
superiority in the English whalemen does really consist, it would be  hard
to say, seeing that the Yankees in one day, collectively, kill more whales
than all the English, collectively, in ten years. But this is  a  harmless
little foible in the English whale-hunters, which the Nantucketer does not
take much to heart; probably, because he knows that he has a  few  foibles
himself. So, then, we see that of all ships separately  sailing  the  sea,
the whalers have most reason to be sociable -and  they  are  so.  Whereas,
some merchant ships crossing each other's wake in the  mid-Atlantic,  will
oftentimes pass on without so  much  as  a  single  word  of  recognition,
mutually cutting each other on the high seas, like a brace of  dandies  in
Broadway; and all the time indulging, perhaps, in finical  criticism  upon
each other's rig. As for Men-of-War, when they chance to meet at sea, they
first go through such a string of silly  bowings  and  scrapings,  such  a
ducking of ensigns, that there does not seem to be much right-down  hearty
good-will and brotherly love about it  at  all.  As  touching  Slave-ships
meeting, why, they are in such a prodigious hurry, they run away from each
other as soon as possible.
    And  as  for  Pirates,  when  they  chance  to  cross  each   other's
cross-bones, the first hail is - How  many  skulls?  -the  same  way  that
whalers hail- How many barrels? And that question once  answered,  pirates
straightway steer apart, for they are infernal villains on both sides, and
don't like to see overmuch of each other's villanous likenesses. But  look
at the godly, honest, unostentatious, hospitable, sociable,  free-and-easy
whaler! What does the whaler do when she meets another whaler in any  sort
of decent weather? She has a Gam, a thing so utterly unknown to all  other
ships that they never heard of the name even; and if by chance they should
hear of it, they only grin at it, and repeat gamesome stuff about spouters
and blubber-boilers, and such like pretty exclamations. Why it is that all
Merchant-seamen, and also all Pirates and Man-of-War's men, and Slave-ship
sailors, cherish such a scornful feeling towards Whale-ships;  this  is  a
question it would be hard to answer. Because, in the case of pirates, say,
I should like to know whether that profession of theirs has  any  peculiar
glory about it. It sometimes ends in uncommon elevation, indeed; but  only
at the gallows. And besides, when a man is elevated in that  odd  fashion,
he has no proper foundation for his superior altitude. Hence, I  conclude,
that in boasting himself to be high  lifted  above  a  whaleman,  in  that
assertion the pirate has no solid basis to stand on. but what  is  a  gam?
you might wear out your index-finger running up and down  the  columns  of
dictionaries, and never find the word. Dr. Johnson never attained to  that
erudition; Noah Webster's ark does not hold it.
    Nevertheless, this same expressive word has now for many  years  been
in constant use among some fifteen thousand true born  Yankees.  Certainly
it needs a definition, and should be incorporated into the  Lexicon.  With
that view, let me learnedly define it. Gam. Noun -A social meeting of  two
(or  more)  Whale-ships,  generally  on  a  cruising-ground;  when,  after
exchanging hails, they exchange visits by boats' crews: the  two  captains
remaining, for the time, on board of one ship, and the two chief mates  on
the other. There is another little item about Gamming which  must  not  be
forgotten here. All professions have their  own  little  peculiarities  of
detail; so has the whale fishery. In a pirate, man-of-war, or slave  ship,
when the captain is rowed anywhere in his boat,  he  always  sits  in  the
stern sheets on a comfortable, sometimes cushioned seat there,  and  often
steers himself with a pretty little milliner's tiller decorated  with  gay
cords and ribbons. But the whale-boat has no seat astern, no sofa of  that
sort whatever, and no  tiller  at  all.  High  times  indeed,  if  whaling
captains were wheeled about the water on castors like gouty  old  aldermen
in patent chairs. And as for a tiller, the whale-boat never admits of  any
such effeminacy; and therefore as in gamming a complete boat's  crew  must
leave the ship, and hence as the boat steerer  or  harpooneer  is  of  the
number, that subordinate is the  steersman  upon  the  occasion,  and  the
captain, having no place to sit  in,  is  pulled  off  to  his  visit  all
standing like a pine tree. And often you will notice that being  conscious
of the eyes of the whole visible world resting on him from  the  sides  of
the two ships, this standing captain is all alive  to  the  importance  of
sustaining his dignity by maintaining his legs. nor is this any very  easy
matter; for in his rear is the immense projecting steering oar hitting him
now and then in the small of his  back,  the  after-oar  reciprocating  by
rapping his knees in front.  He  is  thus  completely  wedged  before  and
behind, and can only expand himself  sideways  by  settling  down  on  his
stretched legs; but a sudden, violent pitch of the boat will often go  far
to  topple  him,  because  length  of  foundation   is   nothing   without
corresponding breadth. Merely make a spread angle of two  poles,  and  you
cannot stand them up. Then, again, it would never do in plain sight of the
world's riveted eyes, it would  never  do,  I  say,  for  this  straddling
captain to be seen steadying himself the slightest  particle  by  catching
hold of anything with his hands; indeed, as token of his  entire,  buoyant
self-command, he generally carries his hands in his trowsers' pockets; but
perhaps being generally very large, heavy hands, he carries them there for
ballast. Nevertheless there have occurred  instances,  well  authenticated
ones too, where the captain has been  known  for  an  uncommonly  critical
moment or two, in a sudden squall  say  -to  seize  hold  of  the  nearest
oarsman's hair, and hold on there like grim death.



                        54. THE TOWN-HO'S STORY

    ( As told at the Golden Inn.)
    The Cape of Good Hope, and all the watery region round  about  there,
is much like some noted four corners of a great highway,  where  you  meet
more travellers than in any  other  part.  It  was  not  very  long  after
speaking the Goney that another homeward-bound whaleman, the Town-Ho,  was
encountered. She was manned almost wholly by Polynesians. In the short gam
that ensued she gave us strong news of Moby  Dick.  To  some  the  general
interest in the White Whale was now wildly heightened by a circumstance of
the Town-Ho's story, which seemed obscurely to involve with  the  whale  a
certain wondrous, inverted visitation of one of those so called  judgments
of God which at times are said to overtake some men.
    This latter circumstance, with  its  own  particular  accompaniments,
forming what may be called the secret part of  the  tragedy  about  to  be
narrated, never reached the ears of Captain Ahab or his  mates.  For  that
secret part of the story  was  unknown  to  the  captain  of  the  Town-Ho
himself. It was the private property of three confederate white seamen  of
that ship, one of whom, it seems, communicated it to Tashtego with  Romish
injunctions of secresy, but the following night Tashtego  rambled  in  his
sleep, and revealed so much of it in that way, that when he was wakened he
could not well withhold the rest. Nevertheless, so potent an influence did
this thing have on those seamen  in  the  Pequod  who  came  to  the  full
knowledge of it, and by such a strange delicacy, to call it so, were  they
governed in this matter, that they kept the  secret  among  themselves  so
that it never transpired abaft the Pequod's main-mast. Interweaving in its
proper place this darker thread with the story as publicly narrated on the
ship, the whole of this strange affair I now proceed  to  put  on  lasting
record. For my humor's sake, I shall preserve the style in  which  I  once
narrated it at Lima, to a lounging  circle  of  my  Spanish  friends,  one
saint's eve, smoking upon the thick-gilt tiled piazza of the  Golden  Inn.
Of those fine cavaliers, the young Dons, Pedro and Sebastian, were on  the
closer  terms  with  me;  and  hence  the   interluding   questions   they
occasionally put, and which are duly answered at the time. Some two  years
prior to my first learning the events which I am about rehearsing to  you,
gentlemen, the Town-Ho, Sperm Whaler of Nantucket, was  cruising  in  your
Pacific here, not very many days' sail westward from  the  eaves  of  this
good Golden Inn. She was somewhere to  the  northward  of  the  Line.  One
morning upon handling the pumps, according to daily usage, it was observed
that she made more  water  in  her  hold  than  common.  They  supposed  a
sword-fish had stabbed  her,  gentlemen.  But  the  captain,  having  some
unusual reason for believing that rare good  luck  awaited  him  in  those
latitudes; and therefore being very averse to quit them, and the leak  not
being then considered at all dangerous, though,  indeed,  they  could  not
find it after searching the hold as low down as  was  possible  in  rather
heavy weather, the  ship  still  continued  her  cruisings,  the  mariners
working at the pumps at wide and easy intervals; but no  good  luck  came;
more days went by, and not only was the  leak  yet  undiscovered,  but  it
sensibly increased. So much so, that now taking some alarm,  the  captain,
making all sail, stood away for the  nearest  harbor  among  the  islands,
there to have his hull hove out and repaired. Though no small passage  was
before her, yet, if the commonest chance favored, he did not at  all  fear
that his ship would founder by the way, because  his  pumps  were  of  the
best, and being periodically relieved at them, those six-and-thirty men of
his could easily keep the ship free; never mind if the leak should  double
on her. In truth, well nigh the whole of this passage  being  attended  by
very prosperous breezes, the Town-Ho had  all  but  certainly  arrived  in
perfect safety at her port without the occurrence of the  least  fatality,
had it not been  for  the  brutal  overbearing  of  Radney,  the  mate,  a
Vineyarder, and the bitterly provoked vengeance of  Steelkilt,  a  Lakeman
and desperado from Buffalo. "Lakeman! -Buffalo! Pray, what is  a  Lakeman,
and where is Buffalo?" said Don Sebastian, rising in his swinging  mat  of
grass. On the eastern shore of  our  Lake  Erie,  Don;  but-I  crave  your
courtesy-may be, you shall soon hear further of all that. Now,  gentlemen,
in square-sail brigs and three-masted ships, well-nigh as large and  stout
as any that ever sailed out of  your  old  Callao  to  far  manilla;  this
lakeman, in the land-locked heart of our America, had yet been nurtured by
all those agrarian freebooting impressions popularly  connected  with  the
open ocean. For in their interflowing aggregate, those  grand  fresh-water
seas of ours -Erie, and Ontario, and Huron, and  Superior,  and  Michigan,
-possess an ocean-like expansiveness, with many  of  the  ocean's  noblest
traits; with many of its rimmed varieties of races  and  of  climes.  They
contain round archipelagoes of romantic  isles,  even  as  the  Polynesian
waters do; in large part, are shored by two great contrasting nations,  as
the Atlantic is; they furnish long maritime  approaches  to  our  numerous
territorial colonies from the East, dotted all round their banks; here and
there are frowned upon by batteries, and by the goat-like craggy  guns  of
lofty Mackinaw; they have heard the fleet thunderings of naval  victories;
at intervals, they yield their  beaches  to  wild  barbarians,  whose  red
painted faces flash from out their peltry wigwams; for leagues and leagues
are flanked by ancient and unentered forests, where the gaunt pines  stand
like serried lines of  kings  in  Gothic  genealogies;  those  same  woods
harboring wild Afric beasts of prey, and silken creatures  whose  exported
furs give robes to Tartar Emperors; they  mirror  the  paved  capitals  of
Buffalo and Cleveland, as well as Winnebago villages; they float alike the
full-rigged merchant ship, the armed cruiser of the  State,  the  steamer,
and the beech canoe; they are swept by Borean  and  dismasting  blasts  as
direful as any that lash the salted wave; they know what  shipwrecks  are,
for out of sight of land, however inland, they have drowned  full  many  a
midnight ship with all its shrieking  crew.  Thus,  gentlemen,  though  an
inlander, Steelkilt was wild-ocean born, and wild-ocean nurtured; as  much
of an audacious mariner as any. And for Radney, though in his  infancy  he
may have laid him down on the  lone  Nantucket  beach,  to  nurse  at  his
maternal sea; though in after  life  he  had  long  followed  our  austere
Atlantic and your contemplative Pacific; yet was he quite as vengeful  and
full of social quarrel as the backwoods seaman, fresh from  the  latitudes
of buck-horn handled Bowie-knives. Yet was this  Nantucketer  a  man  with
some good-hearted traits; and this Lakeman, a mariner, who though  a  sort
of devil indeed, might yet by inflexible firmness, only tempered  by  that
common decency of human recognition which is the  meanest  slave's  right;
thus treated, this Steelkilt had long been retained harmless  and  docile.
At all events, he had proved so thus far; but Radney was doomed  and  made
mad, and Steelkilt -but, gentlemen, you shall hear. It was not more than a
day or two at the furthest after pointing her prow for her  island  haven,
that the Town-Ho's leak seemed again increasing, but only so as to require
an hour or more at the pumps every day. You must know that  in  a  settled
and civilized ocean like our Atlantic, for example,  some  skippers  think
little of pumping their whole way across it; though  of  a  still,  sleepy
night, should the officer of the deck happen to forget his  duty  in  that
respect, the probability would be that he and his  shipmates  would  never
again remember it, on account of all hands gently subsiding to the bottom.
Nor in the solitary  and  savage  seas  far  from  you  to  the  westward,
gentlemen, is it altogether unusual for ships to keep  clanging  at  their
pump-handles in full chorus even for a voyage of considerable length; that
is, if it lie  along  a  tolerably  accessible  coast,  or  if  any  other
reasonable retreat is afforded them. It is only when a leaky vessel is  in
some very out of the way  part  of  those  waters,  some  really  landless
latitude, that her captain begins to feel a little anxious. Much this  way
had it been with the Town-Ho; so when her  leak  was  found  gaining  once
more, there was in truth some small concern manifested by several  of  her
company; especially by radney the mate. He commanded the upper sails to be
well hoisted, sheeted home anew, and every way expanded to the breeze. Now
this Radney, I suppose, was as little of a coward, and as little  inclined
to any sort of nervous apprehensiveness touching his  own  person  as  any
fearless, unthinking creature on land or on sea that you can  conveniently
imagine, gentlemen. Therefore when he betrayed this solicitude  about  the
safety of the ship, some of the  seamen  declared  that  it  was  only  on
account of his being a part owner in her. So when they were  working  that
evening at the pumps, there was on this head no small  gamesomeness  slily
going on among them, as they stood with their feet continually  overflowed
by the rippling clear water; clear as any mountain spring, gentlemen -that
bubbling from the pumps ran across the deck,  and  poured  itself  out  in
steady spouts at the lee scupper-holes. Now, as you well know, it  is  not
seldom the case in this conventional world of ours -watery  or  otherwise;
that when a person placed in command over his fellow-men finds one of them
to be very  significantly  his  superior  in  general  pride  of  manhood,
straightway against that man he conceives  an  unconquerable  dislike  and
bitterness; and if he have a chance he will pull down and  pulverize  that
subaltern's tower, and make a little heap of dust of it. Be  this  conceit
of mine as it may, gentlemen, at all events Steelkilt was a tall and noble
animal with a head like a Roman, and  a  flowing  golden  beard  like  the
tasseled housings of your last viceroy's snorting charger;  and  a  brain,
and a heart, and a soul  in  him,  gentlemen,  which  had  made  Steelkilt
Charlemagne, had he been born son to Charlemagne's father. But Radney, the
mate, was ugly as a mule; yet as hardy, as stubborn, as malicious. He  did
not love Steelkilt, and Steelkilt knew it. Espying the mate  drawing  near
as he was toiling at the pump with the rest, the Lakeman affected  not  to
notice him, but unawed, went on with his gay banterings.
    "Aye, aye, my merry lads, it's a lively leak this; hold  a  cannikin,
one of ye, and let's have a taste. By the Lord,  it's  worth  bottling!  I
tell ye what, men, old Rad's investment must go for it! he  had  best  cut
away his part of the hull and  tow  it  home.  The  fact  is,  boys,  that
sword-fish only began the job;  he's  come  back  again  with  a  gang  of
ship-carpenters, saw-fish, and file-fish, and  what  not;  and  the  whole
posse of 'em are now hard at work cutting  and  slashing  at  the  bottom;
making improvements, I suppose. If old Rad were here now, I'd tell him  to
jump overboard and scatter 'em. They're playing the devil with his estate,
I can tell him. But he's a simple old soul, - Rad, and a beauty too. Boys,
they say the rest of his property is invested in looking-glasses. I wonder
if he'd give a poor devil like me the model of his nose." "Damn your eyes!
what's that pump stopping for?" roared
    Radney, pretending not to have heard the sailors' talk. "Thunder away
at it!" "Aye, aye, sir," said Steelkilt,  merry  as  a  cricket.  "Lively,
boys,  lively,  now!"  And  with  that  the  pump   clanged   like   fifty
fire-engines; the men tossed their hats off  to  it,  and  ere  long  that
peculiar gasping of the lungs was heard which denotes the fullest  tension
of life's utmost energies. Quitting the pump at last, with the rest of his
band, the Lakeman went forward all panting, and sat himself  down  on  the
windlass; his face fiery red, his eyes bloodshot, and wiping  the  profuse
sweat from his brow. Now what  cozening  fiend  it  was,  gentlemen,  that
possessed Radney to meddle with such a man in that corporeally exasperated
state, I know not; but so it  happened.  Intolerably  striding  along  the
deck, the mate commanded him to get a broom and sweep down the planks, and
also a shovel, and remove some offensive matters consequent upon  allowing
a pig to run at large. Now, gentlemen, sweeping a ship's deck at sea is  a
piece of household work which in all times but raging gales  is  regularly
attended to every evening; it has been known to be done  in  the  case  of
ships  actually  foundering  at  the  time.  Such,   gentlemen,   is   the
inflexibility of sea-usages  and  the  instinctive  love  of  neatness  in
seamen; some of whom would not willingly drown without first washing their
faces. But in all vessels this broom business is the prescriptive province
of the boys, if boys there be aboard. Besides, it was the stronger men  in
the Town-Ho that had been divided into gangs, taking turns at  the  pumps;
and being the most  athletic  seaman  of  them  all,  Steelkilt  had  been
regularly assigned captain of one of the  gangs;  consequently  he  should
have been freed  from  any  trivial  business  not  connected  with  truly
nautical duties, such being the case with  his  comrades.  I  mention  all
these particulars so that you may understand exactly how this affair stood
between the two men. But there was more than this:  the  order  about  the
shovel was almost as plainly meant  to  sting  and  insult  Steelkilt,  as
though Radney had spat in his face. Any man  who  has  gone  sailor  in  a
whale-ship will understand this; and all this and doubtless much more, the
Lakeman fully comprehended when the mate uttered his command.  But  as  he
sat still for a moment, and as  he  steadfastly  looked  into  the  mate's
malignant eye and perceived the stacks of powder-casks heaped  up  in  him
and  the  slow-match  silently  burning  along   towards   them;   as   he
instinctively saw all this, that strange forbearance and unwillingness  to
stir  up  the  deeper  passionateness  in  any  already  ireful  being  -a
repugnance most felt, when felt at all, by really valiant  men  even  when
aggrieved -this nameless phantom feeling, gentlemen, stole over Steelkilt.
Therefore, in his ordinary tone,  only  a  little  broken  by  the  bodily
exhaustion he was temporarily in, he answered him saying that sweeping the
deck was not his business, and he would not do it. and  then,  without  at
all alluding to the shovel, he pointed to  three  lads  as  the  customary
sweepers; who, not being billeted at the pumps, had done little or nothing
all day. To this, Radney replied with an oath, in a most  domineering  and
outrageous  manner  unconditionally  reiterating  his  command;  meanwhile
advancing upon the still seated Lakeman, with an  uplifted  cooper's  club
hammer which he had snatched from a cask near by. Heated and irritated  as
he was by his spasmodic toil at the pumps,  for  all  his  first  nameless
feeling of forbearance the sweating Steelkilt could  but  ill  brook  this
bearing in the mate; but somehow still smothering the conflagration within
him, without speaking he remained doggedly rooted to  his  seat,  till  at
last the incensed Radney shook the hammer within a few inches of his face,
furiously commanding him to do his bidding.  Steelkilt  rose,  and  slowly
retreating round the windlass, steadily followed  by  the  mate  with  his
menacing hammer, deliberately repeated his intention not to obey.  Seeing,
however, that his forbearance had not the slightest effect,  by  an  awful
and unspeakable intimation with his twisted hand he warned off the foolish
and infatuated man; but it was to no purpose. And in this way the two went
once slowly round the windlass;  when,  resolved  at  last  no  longer  to
retreat, bethinking him that he had now forborne as much as comported with
his humor, the Lakeman paused  on  the  hatches  and  thus  spoke  to  the
officer: "Mr. Radney, I will not obey you. Take that hammer away, or  look
to yourself." But the predestinated mate coming still closer to him, where
the Lakeman stood fixed, now shook the heavy hammer within an inch of  his
teeth;  meanwhile  repeating  a  string  of   insufferable   maledictions.
Retreating not the thousandth part of an inch; stabbing  him  in  the  eye
with the unflinching poniard of his glance, steelkilt, clenching his right
hand behind him and creepingly drawing it back, told his  persecutor  that
if the hammer but grazed his cheek he (Steelkilt) would murder  him.  But,
gentlemen, the fool had been  branded  for  the  slaughter  by  the  gods.
Immediately the hammer touched the cheek; the next instant the  lower  jaw
of the mate was stove in his head; he fell on  the  hatch  spouting  blood
like a whale. Ere the cry could go aft Steelkilt was shaking  one  of  the
backstays leading far aloft to where two of  his  comrades  were  standing
their mast-heads. They were both Canallers. "Canallers!" cried Don  Pedro,
"We have seen many whale-ships in our harbors, but  never  heard  of  your
Canallers. Pardon: who and  what  are  they?"  "Canallers,  Don,  are  the
boatmen belonging to our grand Erie Canal. You must  have  heard  of  it."
"Nay, Senor; hereabouts in this dull,  warm,  most  lazy,  and  hereditary
land, we know but little of your vigorous North." "Aye?  Well  then,  Don,
refill my cup. Your chicha's very fine; and ere proceeding further I  will
tell ye what our Canallers are; for such information may throw  side-light
upon my story."
    For three hundred and sixty  miles,  gentlemen,  through  the  entire
breadth of the state of New York; through  numerous  populous  cities  and
most thriving villages; through  long,  dismal,  uninhabited  swamps,  and
affluent, cultivated fields, unrivalled for  fertility;  by  billiard-room
and bar-room; through the holy-of-holies of great forests; on Roman arches
over Indian rivers; through sun and shade;  by  happy  hearts  or  broken;
through all the wide contrasting scenery of those noble  Mohawk  counties;
and especially, by rows of snow-white chapels, whose spires  stand  almost
like milestones, flows one continual  stream  of  Venetianly  corrupt  and
often lawless life. There's your true Ashantee, gentlemen; there howl your
pagans; where you ever find them, next door to you; under  the  long-flung
shadow, and the snug patronizing lee of  churches.  For  by  some  curious
fatality, as it is often noted of your metropolitan freebooters that  they
ever encamp around the halls  of  justice,  so  sinners,  gentlemen,  most
abound in holiest vicinities. "Is that a friar passing?" said  Don  Pedro,
looking downwards into the crowded plazza, with humorous concern.
    "Well for our northern friend, Dame Isabella's Inquisition  wanes  in
Lima," laughed Don Sebastian. "Proceed, Senor." "A moment! Pardon!"  cried
another of the company. "In the name of all us Limeese, I  but  desire  to
express to you, sir sailor, that we  have  by  no  means  overlooked  your
delicacy in not substituting present  Lima  for  distant  Venice  in  your
corrupt comparison. Oh! do not  bow  and  look  surprised;  you  know  the
proverb all along this coast - Corrupt as Lima.  It  but  bears  out  your
saying, too; churches more plentiful than billiard-tables,  and  for  ever
open-and Corrupt as Lima. So, too, Venice; I have  been  there;  the  holy
city of the blessed evangelist, St. Mark! -St.  Dominic,  purge  it!  Your
cup! Thanks: here I refill; now, you pour out again." Freely  depicted  in
his own vocation, gentlemen, the Canaller would make a fine dramatic hero,
so abundantly and picturesquely wicked is he. Like Mark Antony,  for  days
and days along his  green-turfed,  flowery  Nile,  he  indolently  floats,
openly toying with his red-cheeked Cleopatra, ripening his  apricot  thigh
upon the sunny deck. But  ashore,  all  this  effeminacy  is  dashed.  The
brigandish guise which the Canaller so proudly sports;  his  slouched  and
gaily-ribboned hat betoken his grand features. A  terror  to  the  smiling
innocence of the villages through which he floats; his  swart  visage  and
bold swagger are not unshunned in cities.  Once  a  vagabond  on  his  own
canal, I have received good turns from one of these Canallers; I thank him
heartily; would fain be not ungrateful; but it is often one of  the  prime
redeeming qualities of your man of violence, that at times he has as stiff
an arm to back a poor stranger in a strait, as to plunder a  wealthy  one.
In  sum,  gentlemen,  what  the  wildness  of  this  canal  life  is,   is
emphatically evinced by this; that our wild whale-fishery contains so many
of its most finished graduates, and  that  scarce  any  race  of  mankind,
except Sydney men, are so much distrusted by  our  whaling  captains.  Nor
does it at all diminish the curiousness  of  this  matter,  that  to  many
thousands of our rural boys  and  young  men  born  along  its  line,  the
probationary life of the Grand Canal furnishes the sole transition between
quietly reaping in a Christian corn-field, and  recklessly  ploughing  the
waters of the most barbaric seas. "I see! I see! "  impetuously  exclaimed
Don Pedro, spilling his chicha upon  his  silvery  ruffles.  "No  need  to
travel! The world's one Lima. I had thought, now, that at  your  temperate
North the generations were cold and holy as the hills. -But the story."  I
left off, gentlemen, where the Lakeman shook the back-stay. Hardly had  he
done so, when he was surrounded by the three junior  mates  and  the  four
harpooneers, who all crowded him to the deck.
    But sliding down the ropes like baleful  comets,  the  two  Canallers
rushed into the uproar, and sought to drag their man out of it towards the
forecastle. Others of the sailors joined with them in this attempt, and  a
twisted turmoil ensued; while standing out  of  harm's  way,  the  valiant
captain danced up and down with a whale-pike, calling upon his officers to
manhandle  that  atrocious  scoundrel,  and  smoke  him   along   to   the
quarter-deck. At intervals, he ran close up to the revolving border of the
confusion, and prying into the heart of it with his pike, sought to  prick
out the object of his resentment. But Steelkilt and his  desperadoes  were
too much for them all; they succeeded  in  gaining  the  forecastle  deck,
where, hastily slewing about three or four large casks in a line with  the
windlass, these sea-Parisians entrenched themselves behind the  barricade.
"come out of that, ye pirates!" roared the captain, now menacing them with
a pistol in each hand, just brought to him by the steward.  "Come  out  of
that, ye cut-throats!" Steelkilt leaped on the barricade, and striding  up
and down there, defied the worst  the  pistols  could  do;  but  gave  the
captain to understand distinctly, that his (Steelkilt's)  death  would  be
the signal for a murderous mutiny on the part of all hands. Fearing in his
heart lest this might prove but too true, the captain a  little  desisted,
but still commanded the insurgents instantly  to  return  to  their  duty.
"Will you promise not to touch us, if we do?" demanded their ringleader.
    "Turn to! turn to! -I make no promise; -to your duty! Do you want  to
sink the ship, by knocking off at a time like this? Turn to!" and he  once
more raised a pistol. "Sink the ship?"  cried  Steelkilt.  "Aye,  let  her
sink. Not a man of us turns to, unless you swear not to raise a  rope-yarn
against us. What say ye, men?" turning to his comrades. A fierce cheer was
their response. The Lakeman now patrolled the  barricade,  all  the  while
keeping his eye on the Captain, and jerking out such sentences  as  these:
-"It's not our fault; we didn't want it; I told him  to  take  his  hammer
away; it was boy's business; he might have known me before  this;  I  told
him not to prick the buffalo; I  believe  I  have  broken  a  finger  here
against his cursed jaw; ain't those mincing knives down in the  forecastle
there, men? look to those handspikes, my hearties. Captain, by  God,  look
to yourself; say the word; don't be a fool; forget it all; we are ready to
turn to; treat us decently, and we're your men; but we won't be  flogged."
"Turn to! I make no promises, turn to, I say!" "Look ye, now,"  cried  the
Lakeman, flinging out his arm towards him. "there are a  few  of  us  here
(and I am one of them) who have shipped for the cruise, d'ye see;  now  as
you well know, sir, we can claim our discharge as soon as  the  anchor  is
down; so we don't want a row;  it's  not  our  interest;  we  want  to  be
peaceable; we are ready to work, but we  won't  be  flogged."  "Turn  to!"
roared the Captain. Steelkilt glanced round him a moment, and  then  said:
-"I tell you what it is now, Captain, rather than kill ye, and be hung for
such a shabby rascal, we won't lift a hand against ye unless ye attack us;
but till you say the word about not flogging us,  we  won't  do  a  hand's
turn." "Down into the forecastle then, down with ye, I'll  keep  ye  there
till ye're sick of it. Down ye go." "Shall we?" cried  the  ringleader  to
his men. Most of them were against it; but  at  length,  in  obedience  to
Steelkilt,  they  preceded  him  down  into  their  dark  den,  growlingly
disappearing, like bears into a cave. As the Lakeman's bare head was  just
level with the planks, the Captain and his posse leaped the barricade, and
rapidly drawing over the slide of the  scuttle,  planted  their  group  of
hands upon it, and loudly called for the steward to bring the heavy  brass
padlock, belonging to the companion-way. Then opening the slide a  little,
the Captain whispered something down the crack, closed it, and turned  the
key upon them -ten in number -leaving on deck some  twenty  or  more,  who
thus far had remained neutral. All night a wide-awake watch  was  kept  by
all the officers, forward and aft, especially about the forecastle scuttle
and fore hatchway; at which last place it was feared the insurgents  might
emerge, after breaking through  the  bulkhead  below.  But  the  hours  of
darkness passed in peace; the men who still remained at their duty toiling
hard at the pumps, whose clinking and clanking at  intervals  through  the
dreary night dismally resounded through the ship. at sunrise  the  captain
went forward, and knocking on the deck, summoned the  prisoners  to  work;
but with a yell they refused. Water was then lowered down to them,  and  a
couple of handfuls of biscuit were tossed after it; when again turning the
key upon them and pocketing it, the Captain returned to the  quarter-deck.
Twice every day for three days  this  was  repeated;  but  on  the  fourth
morning a confused wrangling, and then  a  scuffling  was  heard,  as  the
customary summons was delivered; and suddenly four men burst up  from  the
forecastle, saying they were ready to turn to. The fetid closeness of  the
air, and a famishing diet,  united  perhaps  to  some  fears  of  ultimate
retribution, had constrained them to surrender at  discretion.  Emboldened
by this, the Captain reiterated his demand  to  the  rest,  but  Steelkilt
shouted up to him a terrific hint to stop his babbling and betake  himself
where he belonged. On the fifth morning  three  others  of  the  mutineers
bolted up into the air from  the  desperate  arms  below  that  sought  to
restrain them. Only three were left.  "Better  turn  to,  now?"  said  the
Captain with a  heartless  jeer.  "Shut  us  up  again,  will  ye!"  cried
Steelkilt.
    "Oh! certainly," said the Captain and the key clicked. It was at this
point, gentlemen, that enraged by the defection of  seven  of  his  former
associates, and stung by the mocking voice that had last hailed  him,  and
maddened by his long entombment in a place  as  black  as  the  bowels  of
despair; it was then that Steelkilt proposed to the  two  Canallers,  thus
far apparently of one mind with him, to burst out of  their  hole  at  the
next summoning of the garrison; and armed with their keen  mincing  knives
(long, crescentic, heavy implements with a handle at each end) run a  muck
from the  bowsprit  to  the  taffrail;  and  if  by  any  devilishness  of
desperation possible, seize the ship. For himself, he would  do  this,  he
said, whether they joined him or not. That was the last  night  he  should
spend in that den. but the scheme met with no opposition on  the  part  of
the other two; they swore they were ready for that, or for any  other  mad
thing, for anything in short but a surrender. And what was more, they each
insisted upon being the first man on deck, when the time to make the  rush
should come.
    But to  this  their  leader  as  fiercely  objected,  reserving  that
priority for himself; particularly as his two comrades  would  not  yield,
the one to the other, in the matter; and both of them could not be  first,
for the ladder would but admit one man at a time. And here, gentlemen, the
foul play of these miscreants must come  out.  Upon  hearing  the  frantic
project of their leader, each  in  his  own  separate  soul  had  suddenly
lighted, it would seem, upon the same piece of treachery,  namely:  to  be
foremost in breaking out, in order to be the first of  the  three,  though
the last of the ten, to  surrender;  and  thereby  secure  whatever  small
chance of pardon such conduct might merit. But when Steelkilt  made  known
his determination still to lead them to the last, they  in  some  way,  by
some subtle chemistry of villany, mixed their  before  secret  treacheries
together; and when their leader fell into a doze,  verbally  opened  their
souls to each other in three sentences; and bound the sleeper with  cords,
and gagged him with cords; and shrieked out for the Captain  at  midnight.
Thinking murder at hand, and smelling in the dark for the  blood,  he  and
all his armed mates and harpooneers rushed for the forecastle.  In  a  few
minutes the scuttle was opened,  and,  bound  hand  and  foot,  the  still
struggling ringleader was shoved up into the air by his perfidious allies,
who at once claimed the honor of securing a man who had  been  fully  ripe
for murder. But all these were collared, and dragged along the  deck  like
dead cattle; and, side by side, were seized up  into  the  mizen  rigging,
like three quarters of meat, and there they hung till morning. "Damn  ye,"
cried the Captain, pacing to and fro before them, "the vultures would  not
touch ye, ye villains!" At sunrise he summoned all hands;  and  separating
those who had rebelled from those who had taken no part in the mutiny,  he
told the former that he had a good mind to flog them all  round  -thought,
upon the whole, he would do so -he ought to -justice demanded it; but  for
the present, considering their timely surrender, he would let them go with
a reprimand, which he accordingly administered in the vernacular. "But  as
for you, ye carrion rogues," turning to the three men in the rigging -"for
you, I mean to mince ye up for the try-pots;"  and,  seizing  a  rope,  he
applied it with all his might to the backs of the two traitors, till  they
yelled no more, but lifelessly hung  their  heads  sideways,  as  the  two
crucified thieves are drawn. "My wrist is sprained with ye!" he cried,  at
last; "but there is still rope enough left for you, my fine  bantam,  that
wouldn't give up. Take that gag from his mouth, and let us  hear  what  he
can say for himself." For a moment the exhausted mutineer made a tremulous
motion of his cramped jaws, and then painfully twisting  round  his  head,
said in a sort of hiss, "What I say is this -and mind  it  well--  if  you
flog me, I murder you!" "Say ye so? then see how ye frighten me" -and  the
Captain drew off with the rope to strike. "Best not," hissed the  Lakeman.
"But I must," -and the rope was once  more  drawn  back  for  the  stroke.
Steelkilt here hissed out something, inaudible to  all  but  the  Captain;
who, to the amazement of all hands, started back, paced the  deck  rapidly
two or three times, and then suddenly  throwing  down  his  rope,  said,"I
won't do it -let him go-cut him down: d'ye hear?" But as the junior  mates
were hurrying to execute the order, a pale  man,  with  a  bandaged  head,
arrested them -Radney the chief mate. Ever since the blow, he had lain  in
his berth; but that morning, hearing the tumult on the deck, he had  crept
out, and thus far had watched the whole scene. Such was the state  of  his
mouth, that he could hardly speak; but mumbling something about his  being
willing and able to do what the captain dared not attempt, he snatched the
rope and advanced to his pinioned foe.
    "You are a coward!" hissed the Lakeman. "So I am, but take that." The
mate was in the very  act  of  striking,  when  another  hiss  stayed  his
uplifted arm. He paused: and then pausing no more,  made  good  his  word,
spite of Steelkilt's threat, whatever that might have been. The three  men
were then cut down, all hands were turned to, and, sullenly worked by  the
moody seamen, the iron pumps clanged as before. Just after dark that  day,
when one watch had retired below, a clamor was heard  in  the  forecastle;
and the two trembling traitors running up, besieged the cabin door, saying
they durst not consort with the crew. Entreaties, cuffs, and  kicks  could
not drive them back, so at their own instance they were put  down  in  the
ship's run for salvation. Still, no sign of mutiny  reappeared  among  the
rest. On the contrary, it seemed, that mainly at Steelkilt's  instigation,
they had resolved to maintain the strictest peacefulness, obey all  orders
to the last, and, when the ship reached port, desert her in a body. But in
order to insure the speediest end  to  the  voyage,  they  all  agreed  to
another thing -namely, not to sing out for whales, in case any  should  be
discovered. For, spite of her leak, and spite of all her other perils, the
Town-Ho still maintained her mast-heads,  and  her  captain  was  just  as
willing to lower for a fish that moment, as on the  day  his  craft  first
struck the cruising ground; and Radney the mate  was  quite  as  ready  to
change his berth for a boat, and with his bandaged mouth seek  to  gag  in
death the vital jaw of the whale. But though the Lakeman had  induced  the
seamen to adopt this sort of passiveness in their conduct, he kept his own
counsel (at least till all was over) concerning his own proper and private
revenge upon the man who had stung him in the ventricles of his heart.  He
was in Radney the chief mate's watch; and as if the infatuated man  sought
to run more than half way to  meet  his  doom,  after  the  scene  at  the
rigging, he insisted, against the express counsel  of  the  captain,  upon
resuming the head of his watch at night. Upon this, and one or  two  other
circumstances, Steelkilt systematically built the plan of his revenge.
    During the night, Radney had an unseamanlike way of  sitting  on  the
bulwarks of the quarter-deck, and leaning his arm upon the gunwale of  the
boat which was hoisted up there, a little above the ship's side.  In  this
attitude, it was well known, he sometimes dozed. There was a  considerable
vacancy between the boat and the ship, and down between this was the  sea.
Steelkilt calculated his time, and found that his next trick at  the  helm
would come round at two o'clock, in the morning of the third day from that
in which he had been betrayed. At his leisure, he employed the interval in
braiding something very carefully in his  watches  below.  "What  are  you
making there?" said a shipmate. "What do you  think?  what  does  it  look
like?"
    "Like a lanyard for your bag; but it's an  odd  one,  seems  to  me."
"Yes, rather oddish," said the Lakeman, holding it at arm's length  before
him; "but I think it will answer. Shipmate, I haven't enough twine,  -have
you any?" But there was none in the forecastle. "Then I must get some from
old Rad;" and he rose to go aft. "You don't mean to go a begging to  him!"
said a sailor. "Why not? Do you think he won't do me a turn, when it's  to
help himself in the end, shipmate?" and going to the mate,  he  looked  at
him quietly, and asked him for some twine to  mend  his  hammock.  It  was
given him -neither twine nor lanyard were seen again; but the  next  night
an iron ball, closely  netted,  partly  rolled  from  the  pocket  of  the
Lakeman's monkey jacket, as he was tucking the coat into his hammock for a
pillow. Twenty-four hours after, his trick at the silent helm -nigh to the
man who was apt to doze over the grave always ready dug  to  the  seaman's
hand -that fatal hour was then to come; and in the fore-ordaining soul  of
Steelkilt, the mate was already stark and stretched as a corpse, with  his
forehead crushed in. But, gentlemen, a fool saved  the  would-be  murderer
from the bloody deed he had planned. Yet  complete  revenge  he  had,  and
without being the avenger. For by a  mysterious  fatality,  Heaven  itself
seemed to step in to take out of his hands into its own the damning  thing
he would have done. It was  just  between  daybreak  and  sunrise  of  the
morning of the second day, when they were washing down the decks,  that  a
stupid Teneriffe man, drawing  water  in  the  main-chains,  all  at  once
shouted out, "There she rolls! there she rolls!" Jesu, what  a  whale!  It
was Moby Dick. "Moby Dick!" cried Don Sebastian; "St. Dominic! Sir sailor,
but do whales have christenings? Whom call you Moby Dick?" "A very  white,
and famous, and most deadly immortal monster, Don; -but that would be  too
long a story." "How? how!" cried all the young Spaniards, crowding.  "Nay,
Dons, Dons -nay, nay! I cannot rehearse that now. Let me get more into the
air, Sirs." "The chicha! the  chicha!"  cried  Don  Pedro;  "our  vigorous
friend looks faint; -fill up his empty glass!"  No  need,  gentlemen;  one
moment, and I proceed. -Now, gentlemen, so suddenly perceiving  the  snowy
whale within fifty yards of the ship -forgetful of the compact  among  the
crew -in the excitement of the moment, the Teneriffe man had instinctively
and involuntarily lifted his voice for the monster, though for some little
time past it had been plainly beheld from the three sullen mast-heads. All
was now a phrensy. "The White Whale -the White Whale!" was  the  cry  from
captain, mates, and harpooneers, who, undeterred by fearful  rumors,  were
all anxious to capture so famous and precious a  fish;  while  the  dogged
crew eyed askance, and with curses, the appalling beauty of the vast milky
mass, that lit up by a horizontal spangling  sun,  shifted  and  glistened
like a living opal in the blue morning sea. Gentlemen, a strange  fatality
pervades the whole career of these events, as if verily mapped out  before
the world itself was charted. The mutineer was the bowsman  of  the  mate,
and when fast to a fish, it was his duty to sit  next  him,  while  Radney
stood up with his lance in the prow, and haul in or slacken the  line,  at
the word of command. Moreover, when  the  four  boats  were  lowered,  the
mate's got the start; and none howled more fiercely with delight than  did
Steelkilt, as he strained at his oar. After a stiff pull, their harpooneer
got fast, and, spear in hand, Radney sprang to the bow. He  was  always  a
furious man, it seems, in a boat. And now his bandaged cry was,  to  beach
him on the whale's topmost back. Nothing loath, his bowsman hauled him  up
and up, through a blinding foam that blent two whitenesses together;  till
of a sudden the boat struck as against a sunken ledge, and  keeling  over,
spilled out the standing mate. That instant, as he  fell  on  the  whale's
slippery back, the boat righted, and was dashed aside by the swell,  while
Radney was tossed over into the sea, on the other flank of the  whale.  He
struck out through the spray, and, for an instant, was dimly seen  through
that veil, wildly seeking to remove himself from the eye of Moby Dick. But
the whale rushed round in a sudden maelstrom; seized the  swimmer  between
his jaws; and rearing high up with him, plunged headlong again,  and  went
down. Meantime, at the first tap of the boat's  bottom,  the  Lakeman  had
slackened the line, so as  to  drop  astern  from  the  whirlpool;  calmly
looking on, he thought his own thoughts. But a sudden, terrific,  downward
jerking of the boat, quickly brought his knife to the line. He cut it; and
the whale was free. But, at some distance, Moby Dick rose again, with some
tatters of Radney's red woollen  shirt,  caught  in  the  teeth  that  had
destroyed him. All four boats gave chase again; but the whale eluded them,
and finally wholly disappeared. In good time, the Town-Ho reached her port
-a savage, solitary place -where no  civilized  creature  resided.  There,
headed  by  the  Lakeman,  all  but  five  or  six  of  the   foremast-men
deliberately deserted among the  palms;  eventually,  as  it  turned  out,
seizing a large double war-canoe of the savages, and setting sail for some
other harbor. The ship's company being  reduced  to  but  a  handful,  the
captain called upon the Islanders to assist him in the laborious  business
of heaving down the ship to stop the leak. But to such unresting vigilance
over their dangerous allies was this small band  of  whites  necessitated,
both by night and by day, and so extreme was the hard work they underwent,
that upon the vessel being ready again  for  sea,  they  were  in  such  a
weakened condition that the captain durst not put  off  with  them  in  so
heavy a vessel. After taking counsel with his officers,  he  anchored  the
ship as far off shore as possible; loaded and ran out his two cannon  from
the bows; stacked his muskets on the poop; and warning the  Islanders  not
to approach the ship at their peril, took one man with  him,  and  setting
the sail of his best whale-boat, steered  straight  before  the  wind  for
Tahiti, five hundred miles distant, to  procure  a  reinforcement  to  his
crew.
    On the fourth day of the sail, a  large  canoe  was  descried,  which
seemed to have touched at a low isle of corals. He steered away  from  it;
but the savage craft bore down on him; and soon  the  voice  of  Steelkilt
hailed him to heave to, or he would  run  him  under  water.  the  captain
presented a pistol. With one foot on each prow of  the  yoked  war-canoes,
the Lakeman laughed him to scorn; assuring him that if the pistol so  much
as clicked in the lock, he would bury him in bubbles and  foam.  "What  do
you want of me? cried the captain. "Where are you bound? and for what  are
you bound?" demanded Steelkilt; "no lies." "I am bound to Tahiti for  more
men." "Very good. Let me board you a moment -I come in peace."  With  that
he leaped from the canoe, swam to the  boat;  and  climbing  the  gunwale,
stood face to face with the captain. "Cross your  arms,  sir;  throw  back
your head. Now, repeat after me. As soon as Steelkilt leaves me,  I  swear
to beach this boat on yonder island, and remain there six days.  If  I  do
not, may lightnings strike me!"
    "A pretty scholar," laughed the Lakeman."Adios, Senor!"  and  leaping
into the sea, he swam back to his comrades. Watching the boat till it  was
fairly beached, and  drawn  up  to  the  roots  of  the  cocoa-nut  trees,
Steelkilt made sail again, and in due time  arrived  at  Tahiti,  his  own
place of destination. There, luck befriended him; two ships were about  to
sail for France, and were providentially in want of precisely that  number
of men which the sailor headed. They embarked; and so  for  ever  got  the
start of their former captain, had he been at  all  minded  to  work  them
legal retribution. Some ten  days  after  the  French  ships  sailed,  the
whale-boat arrived, and the captain was forced to enlist some of the  more
civilized Tahitians, who had been somewhat used to the sea.  Chartering  a
small native schooner, he returned with them to his  vessel;  and  finding
all right there, again resumed his  cruisings.  Where  Steelkilt  now  is,
gentlemen, none know; but upon the  island  of  Nantucket,  the  widow  of
Radney still turns to the sea which refuses to give up its dead; still  in
dreams sees the awful white whale that destroyed him. "Are  you  through?"
said Don Sebastian, quietly. "I am, Don." "Then I entreat you, tell me  if
to the best of your own convictions, this story  is  in  substance  really
true? It is so passing wonderful! Did you get it  from  an  unquestionable
source? Bear with me if I seem to press."
    "Also bear with all of us,  sir  sailor;  for  we  all  join  in  Don
Sebastian's suit," cried the company, with exceeding interest. "Is there a
copy of the Holy Evangelists in the Golden Inn,  gentlemen?"  "Nay,"  said
Don Sebastian; "but I know a worthy  priest  near  by,  who  will  quickly
procure one for me. I go for it; but are you well advised? this  may  grow
too serious." "Will you be so good as to  bring  the  priest  also,  Don?"
"Though there are no Auto-da-Fes in Lima now," said one of the company  to
another: "I fear our sailor friend runs risk of the  archiepiscopacy.  Let
us withdraw more out of the moonlight. I see no need for this." "Excuse me
for running after you, Don Sebastian; but may I also beg that you will  be
particular in procuring the largest sized Evangelists you can."  "This  is
the priest, he brings you the Evangelists," said Don  Sebastian,  gravely,
returning with a tall and solemn figure.  "Let  me  remove  my  hat.  Now,
venerable priest, further into the light, and hold the Holy Book before me
that I may touch it."
    "So help me Heaven, and on  my  honor  the  story  I  have  told  ye,
gentlemen, is in substance and its great items, true.  I  know  it  to  be
true; it happened on this ball; I trod the ship; I knew the crew;  I  have
seen and talked with Steelkilt since the death  of  Radney."  The  ancient
whale-cry upon first sighting a whale from the mast-head,  still  used  by
whalemen in hunting the famous Gallipagos terrapin.



                  55, OF THE MONSTROUS PICTURES OF WHALES

    I shall ere long paint to you as well  as  one  can  without  canvas,
something like the true form of the whale as he actually  appears  to  the
eye of the whaleman when in his own absolute  body  the  whale  is  moored
alongside the whale-ship so that he can be fairly stepped upon  there.  It
may be worth while, therefore,  previously  to  advert  to  those  curious
imaginary portraits of him which even down to the present day  confidently
challenge the faith of the landsman. It is time to set the world right  in
this matter, by proving such pictures of the whale all wrong.  It  may  be
that the primal source of all those  pictorial  delusions  will  be  found
among the oldest Hindoo, Egyptian, and Grecian sculptures. For ever  since
those inventive but unscrupulous times when on the  marble  panellings  of
temples, the pedestals of statues, and on shields, medallions,  cups,  and
coins, the dolphin was drawn in scales of chain-armor like Saladin's,  and
a helmeted head like St. George's; ever since then has  something  of  the
same sort of license prevailed, not only in most popular pictures  of  the
whale, but in many scientific presentations of him. Now, by all odds,  the
most ancient extant portrait anyways purporting to be the whale's,  is  to
be found in the famous cavern-pagoda of Elephanta, in India. The  Brahmins
maintain that in the almost endless sculptures of that immemorial  pagoda,
all the trades and pursuits, every  conceivable  avocation  of  man,  were
prefigured ages before any of them actually came  into  being.  No  wonder
then, that in some sort our noble profession of whaling should  have  been
there shadowed forth. The Hindoo whale referred to, occurs in  a  separate
department of the wall, depicting the incarnation of Vishnu in the form of
leviathan, learnedly known as the Matse Avatar. But though this  sculpture
is half man and half whale, so as only to give the tail of the latter, yet
that small section of him is all wrong. It looks more  like  the  tapering
tail of an anaconda, than the broad palms of  the  true  whale's  majestic
flukes. But go to the old Galleries, and look now  at  a  great  Christian
painter's portrait of this fish;  for  he  succeeds  no  better  than  the
antediluvian Hindoo. It is Guido's picture of Perseus  rescuing  Andromeda
from the sea-monster or whale. Where did Guido get the  model  of  such  a
strange creature as that? Nor does Hogarth, in painting the same scene  in
his own Perseus Descending, make out one whit better. The huge  corpulence
of that Hogarthian monster undulates on the surface, scarcely drawing  one
inch of water. It has a sort of howdah on  its  back,  and  its  distended
tusked mouth into which the billows are rolling, might be  taken  for  the
Traitors' Gate leading from the Thames by  water  into  the  Tower.  Then,
there are the Prodromus whales of the  old  Scotch  Sibbald,  and  Jonah's
whale, as depicted in the prints  of  old  Bibles  and  the  cuts  of  old
primers. What shall be said of  these?  As  for  the  book-binder's  whale
winding like a vine-stalk round the  stock  of  a  descending  anchor  -as
stamped and gilded on the backs and title-pages of many books both old and
new -that is a very picturesque but purely fabulous creature, imitated,  I
take it, from the  like  figures  on  antique  vases.  Though  universally
denominated a dolphin, I nevertheless  call  this  book-binder's  fish  an
attempt at a whale; because it was so intended when the device  was  first
introduced. It was introduced by an old Italian publisher somewhere  about
the 15th century, during the Revival of Learning; and in those  days,  and
even down to a comparatively late period, dolphins were popularly supposed
to  be  a  species  of  the  Leviathan.  In  the   vignettes   and   other
embellishments of some ancient books you will  at  times  meet  with  very
curious touches at the whale, where all manner of spouts, jets d'eau,  hot
springs and cold, Saratoga and Baden-Baden,  come  bubbling  up  from  his
unexhausted brain. In the title-page of the original edition of the
    Advancement of Learning  you  will  find  some  curious  whales.  But
quitting all  these  unprofessional  attempts,  let  us  glance  at  those
pictures of leviathan purporting to be sober, scientific delineations,  by
those who know. In old Harris's  collection  of  voyages  there  are  some
plates of whales extracted from a Dutch book of voyages, A. D., entitled A
Whaling Voyage to Spitzbergen in  the  ship  Jonas  in  the  Whale,  Peter
Peterson of Friesland, master. In one of those  plates  the  whales,  like
great rafts of logs, are represented lying  among  ice-isles,  with  white
bears running over their living backs. In another  plate,  the  prodigious
blunder is made of representing the whale with perpendicular flukes.  Then
again, there is an imposing quarto, written by one Captain Colnett, a Post
Captain in the English navy, entitled
    A Voyage round Cape Horn into the South  Seas,  for  the  purpose  of
extending the Spermaceti Whale Fisheries.  In  this  book  is  an  outline
purporting to be a Picture of a Physeter or  Spermaceti  whale,  drawn  by
scale from one killed on the coast of Mexico, August, and hoisted on deck.
I doubt not the captain had this veracious picture taken for  the  benefit
of his marines. To mention but one thing about it, let me say that it  has
an eye which applied, according to the accompanying scale, to a full grown
sperm whale, would make the eye of that whale a bow-window some five  feet
long. Ah, my gallant captain, why did ye not give us Jonah looking out  of
that eye! Nor are the most conscientious compilations of  Natural  History
for the benefit of the young and tender, free from the same heinousness of
mistake. Look at that popular work Goldsmith's  Animated  Nature.  In  the
abridged London edition of, there are plates of an  alleged  whale  and  a
narwhale. I do not wish to seem inelegant, but this unsightly whale  looks
much like an amputated sow; and, as for the narwhale, one glimpse at it is
enough to amaze one, that in this nineteenth  century  such  a  hippogriff
could be palmed for genuine upon any  intelligent  public  of  schoolboys.
Then, again, in, Bernard Germain, Count de Lacepede, a  great  naturalist,
published a scientific systemized whale book, wherein are several pictures
of the different  species  of  the  Leviathan.  All  these  are  not  only
incorrect, but the picture of the Mysticetus or Greenland whale  (that  is
to say, the Right  whale),  even  Scoresby,  a  long  experienced  man  as
touching that species, declares not to have its counterpart in nature. But
the placing of the cap-sheaf to all this blundering business was  reserved
for the scientific Frederick Cuvier, brother to the famous Baron.  In,  he
published a Natural History of Whales, in which he gives what he  calls  a
picture  of  the  Sperm  Whale.  Before  showing  that  picture   to   any
Nantucketer, you had best provide for your summary retreat from Nantucket.
In a word, Frederick Cuvier's Sperm Whale is not  a  Sperm  Whale,  but  a
squash. Of course, he never had the benefit of a whaling voyage (such  men
seldom have), but whence he derived that picture, who can tell? Perhaps he
got it as his scientific predecessor in the same field, Desmarest, got one
of his authentic abortions; that is, from a Chinese drawing. And what sort
of lively lads with the pencil those Chinese  are,  many  queer  cups  and
saucers inform us. As for the sign-painters' whales seen  in  the  streets
hanging over the shops of oil-dealers, what shall be said  of  them?  They
are generally Richard III. whales, with dromedary humps, and very  savage;
breakfasting on three or four sailor tarts, that  is  whaleboats  full  of
mariners: their deformities floundering in seas of blood and  blue  paint.
but these manifold mistakes  in  depicting  the  whale  are  not  so  very
surprising after all. Consider! Most of the scientific drawings have  been
taken from the stranded fish; and these are about as correct as a  drawing
of a wrecked ship, with broken back, would correctly represent  the  noble
animal itself in  all  its  undashed  pride  of  hull  and  spars.  Though
elephants have stood for their  full-lengths,  the  living  Leviathan  has
never yet fairly floated himself for his portrait. The  living  whale,  in
his full  majesty  and  significance,  is  only  to  be  seen  at  sea  in
unfathomable waters; and afloat the vast bulk of him is out of sight, like
a launched line-of-battle ship; and out of that  element  it  is  a  thing
eternally impossible for mortal man to hoist him bodily into the  air,  so
as to preserve all his mighty swells and undulations. And, not to speak of
the highly presumable difference of contour between a young sucking  whale
and a full-grown Platonian Leviathan; yet, even in  the  case  of  one  of
those young sucking whales hoisted to a ship's  deck,  such  is  then  the
outlandish, eel-like, limbered, varying shape of  him,  that  his  precise
expression the devil himself could not catch. But it may be fancied,  that
from the naked skeleton of the  stranded  whale,  accurate  hints  may  be
derived touching his true form. Not at all. For it  is  one  of  the  more
curious things about this Leviathan, that his skeleton gives  very  little
idea of his general shape. Though Jeremy Bentham's skeleton,  which  hangs
for candelabra in the library of one of his executors,  correctly  conveys
the idea of a burly-browed utilitarian old gentleman,  with  all  Jeremy's
other leading personal characteristics; yet nothing of this kind could  be
inferred from any leviathan's articulated bones. In  fact,  as  the  great
Hunter says, the mere skeleton of the whale bears the same relation to the
fully invested and padded animal as the insect does to the chrysalis  that
so roundingly envelopes it. This peculiarity is strikingly evinced in  the
head, as in some part of this book will be incidentally shown. It is  also
very curiously displayed in the  side  fin,  the  bones  of  which  almost
exactly answer to the bones of the human hand, minus only the thumb.  This
fin has four regular bone-fingers, the index,  middle,  ring,  and  little
finger. But all these are permanently lodged in their fleshy covering,  as
the human fingers in an artificial covering. However recklessly the  whale
may sometimes serve us, said humorous Stubb one day, he can never be truly
said to handle us without mittens. For all these reasons,  then,  any  way
you may look at it, you must needs conclude that the  great  Leviathan  is
that one creature in the world which must remain unpainted  to  the  last.
True, one portrait may hit the mark much nearer than another, but none can
hit it with any very considerable degree of  exactness.  So  there  is  no
earthly way of finding out precisely what the whale really looks like. And
the only mode in which you can derive even a tolerable idea of his  living
contour, is by going a whaling yourself; but by so doing, you run no small
risk of being eternally stove and sunk by him. Wherefore, it seems  to  me
you had best not  be  too  fastidious  in  your  curiosity  touching  this
Leviathan.



              56. OF THE LESS ERRONEOUS PICTURES OF WHALES,
                  AND THE TRUE PICTURES OF WHALING SCENES

    In connexion with the monstrous pictures of  whales,  I  am  strongly
tempted here to enter upon those still  more  monstrous  stories  of  them
which are  to  be  found  in  certain  books,  both  ancient  and  modern,
especially in Pliny, Purchas, Hackluyt, Harris, Cuvier, etc.  But  I  pass
that matter by. i know of only four published outlines of the great Sperm
    Whale; Colnett's, Huggins's, Frederick Cuvier's, and Beale's. In  the
previous chapter Colnett and Cuvier have been referred  to.  Huggins's  is
far better than theirs; but, by great  odds,  Beale's  is  the  best.  All
Beale's drawings of this whale are good, excepting the  middle  figure  in
the picture of three whales  in  various  attitudes,  capping  his  second
chapter. His frontispiece, boats attacking Sperm Whales, though  no  doubt
calculated to excite the civil scepticism of some parlor men, is admirably
correct and life-like in its general  effect.  Some  of  the  Sperm  Whale
drawings in J. Ross Browne are pretty correct in  contour;  but  they  are
wretchedly engraved. That is not his fault though. Of the Right Whale, the
best outline pictures are in Scoresby; but they are drawn on too  small  a
scale to convey a desirable impression. He has but one picture of  whaling
scenes, and this is a sad deficiency, because it is by such pictures only,
when at all well done, that you can derive anything like a  truthful  idea
of the living whale as seen by his living hunters. But, taken for  all  in
all, by far the finest, though in  some  details  not  the  most  correct,
presentations of whales and whaling scenes to be anywhere found,  are  two
large French engravings, well executed, and taken from  paintings  by  one
Garnery. Respectively, they represent  attacks  on  the  Sperm  and  Right
Whale. In the first engraving a noble Sperm  Whale  is  depicted  in  full
majesty of might, just risen beneath the boat from the profundities of the
ocean, and bearing high in the air upon his back the terrific wreck of the
stoven planks. The prow of the boat is partially unbroken,  and  is  drawn
just balancing upon the monster's spine; and standing in  that  prow,  for
that one single incomputable flash of time, you behold  an  oarsman,  half
shrouded by the incensed boiling spout of the whale, and  in  the  act  of
leaping, as if from  a  precipice.  The  action  of  the  whole  thing  is
wonderfully good  and  true.  The  half-emptied  line-tub  floats  on  the
whitened sea; the wooden poles of the spilled harpoons  obliquely  bob  in
it; the heads of the swimming  crew  are  scattered  about  the  whale  in
contrasting expressions of affright; while in the  black  stormy  distance
the ship is bearing down upon the scene. Serious fault might be found with
the anatomical details of this whale, but let that pass;  since,  for  the
life of me, I could not draw so good a one. In the second  engraving,  the
boat is in the act of drawing alongside the barnacled  flank  of  a  large
running Right Whale, that rolls his black weedy bulk in the sea like  some
mossy rock-slide from the Patagonian cliffs. His jets are erect, full, and
black like soot; so that from so abounding a smoke  in  the  chimney,  you
would think there must be a brave  supper  cooking  in  the  great  bowels
below. Sea fowls are pecking at the small crabs, shell-fish, and other sea
candies and maccaroni, which the Right  Whale  sometimes  carries  on  his
pestilent back. And all the while the thick-lipped  leviathan  is  rushing
through the deep, leaving tons of tumultuous white curds in his wake,  and
causing the slight boat to rock in the swells like a skiff caught nigh the
paddle-wheels of an ocean steamer. Thus,  the  foreground  is  all  raging
commotion; but behind, in admirable artistic contrast, is the glassy level
of a sea becalmed, the drooping unstarched sails of  the  powerless  ship,
and the inert mass of a dead whale, a conquered fortress, with the flag of
capture lazily hanging from the whale-pole inserted into his spout-hole.
    Who Garnery the painter is, or was, I know not. But my life for it he
was either practically conversant with his subject, or  else  marvellously
tutored by some experienced whaleman. The French are the lads for painting
action. Go and gaze upon all the paintings in Europe, and where  will  you
find such a gallery of living and breathing commotion  on  canvas,  as  in
that triumphal hall at Versailles; where  the  beholder  fights  his  way,
pell-mell, through the consecutive great battles of  France;  where  every
sword seems a flash of the Northern Lights, and the successive armed kings
and Emperors dash by, like  a  charge  of  crowned  centaurs?  Not  wholly
unworthy of a place in  that  gallery,  are  these  sea  battle-pieces  of
Garnery.  The  natural  aptitude   of   the   French   for   seizing   the
picturesqueness of things seems to be peculiarly evinced in what paintings
and engravings they have of their whaling scenes. With not  one  tenth  of
England's experience in the fishery, and not the thousandth part  of  that
of the Americans, they have nevertheless furnished both nations  with  the
only finished sketches at all capable of conveying the real spirit of  the
whale hunt. For the most part, the English and American whale  draughtsmen
seem entirely content with presenting the mechanical  outline  of  things,
such as the vacant profile of the whale; which, so far as  picturesqueness
of effect is concerned, is about tantamount to sketching the profile of  a
pyramid. Even Scoresby, the justly renowned Right whaleman,  after  giving
us a stiff full length of the Greenland whale, and three or four  delicate
miniatures of narwhales and porpoises, treats us to a series of  classical
engravings of boat hooks, chopping knives,  and  grapnels;  and  with  the
microscopic diligence of a Leuwenhoeck submits  to  the  inspection  of  a
shivering world ninety-six fac-similes of magnified Arctic snow  crystals.
I mean no disparagement to the  excellent  voyager  (I  honor  him  for  a
veteran), but in so important a matter it was certainly an  oversight  not
to have procured for every  crystal  a  sworn  affidavit  taken  before  a
Greenland Justice of the Peace. In addition to those fine engravings  from
Garnery, there are two other French engravings worthy of note, by some one
who subscribes himself h.  durand.  one  of  them,  though  not  precisely
adapted to our present purpose, nevertheless  deserves  mention  on  other
accounts. It is a quiet noon-scene among  the  isles  of  the  Pacific;  a
French whaler anchored, inshore, in a calm, and  lazily  taking  water  on
board; the loosened sails of the ship, and the long leaves of the palms in
the background, both drooping together in the breezeless air.  The  effect
is very fine, when considered with reference to its presenting  the  hardy
fishermen under one of their few aspects of  oriental  repose.  The  other
engraving is quite a different affair: the ship hove-to upon the open sea,
and in the very  heart  of  the  Leviathanic  life,  with  a  Right  Whale
alongside; the vessel (in the act of cutting-in) hove over to the  monster
as if to a quay; and a boat, hurriedly pushing  off  from  this  scene  of
activity, is about giving chase to whales in the  distance.  The  harpoons
and lances lie levelled for use; three oarsmen are just setting  the  mast
in its hole; while from a sudden roll of the sea, the little craft  stands
half-erect out of the water, like a rearing  horse.  From  the  ship,  the
smoke of the torments of the boiling whale is going up like the smoke over
a village of smithies; and to windward, a  black  cloud,  rising  up  with
earnest of squalls and rains, seems to quicken the activity of the excited
seamen.



         57. OF WHALES IN PAINT; IN TEETH; IN WOOD; IN SHEET-IRON;
                     IN STONE; IN MOUNTAINS; IN STARS

    On Tower-hill, as you go down to the London docks, you may have  seen
a crippled beggar (or kedger, as the sailors say) holding a painted  board
before him, representing the tragic scene in which he lost his leg.  There
are three whales and three boats;  and  one  of  the  boats  (presumed  to
contain the missing leg in all its original integrity) is  being  crunched
by the jaws of the foremost whale. Any time these ten years, they tell me,
has that man held  up  that  picture,  and  exhibited  that  stump  to  an
incredulous world. But the time of his justification  has  now  come.  His
three whales are as good whales as were ever published in Wapping, at  any
rate; and his stump as unquestionable a stump as any you will find in  the
western clearings. But, though for ever mounted on  that  stump,  never  a
stump-speech does the poor whaleman make; but, with downcast eyes,  stands
ruefully contemplating his own amputation.  Throughout  the  Pacific,  and
also in Nantucket, and New Bedford, and Sag Harbor, you will  come  across
lively sketches of whales and  whaling-scenes,  graven  by  the  fishermen
themselves on Sperm Whale-teeth, or ladies' busks wrought out of the Right
Whale-bone, and other like skrimshander articles, as the whalemen call the
numerous little ingenious contrivances they elaborately carve out  of  the
rough material, in their hours of ocean leisure. Some of them have  little
boxes  of  dentistical-looking  implements,  specially  intended  for  the
skrimshandering  business.  But,  in  general,  they   toil   with   their
jack-knives alone; and, with that almost omnipotent tool  of  the  sailor,
they will turn you out anything you please, in  the  way  of  a  mariner's
fancy. Long exile from Christendom and civilization inevitably restores  a
man to that condition in which God  placed  him,  i.  e.  what  is  called
savagery. Your true whale-hunter is as much a savage  as  an  Iroquois.  I
myself am a savage; owning no allegiance but to the King of the Cannibals;
and ready at any moment to rebel against him. Now,  one  of  the  peculiar
characteristics of the savage in his  domestic  hours,  is  his  wonderful
patience of industry. An ancient Hawaiian war-club or spear-paddle, in its
full multiplicity and elaboration of carving, is  as  great  a  trophy  of
human perseverance as a Latin lexicon. For,  with  but  a  bit  of  broken
sea-shell or a shark's tooth, that miraculous intricacy of wooden net-work
has been achieved; and it has cost steady years of steady application.  As
with the Hawaiian savage, so with the white sailor-savage. With  the  same
marvellous patience, and with the same single shark's tooth,  of  his  one
poor jack-knife, he will carve you a bit of bone sculpture, not  quite  as
workmanlike, but as close packed in its maziness of design, as  the  Greek
savage, Achilles's shield; and full of barbaric spirit and suggestiveness,
as the prints of that fine old Dutch savage, Albert Durer. Wooden  whales,
or whales cut in profile out of the small dark slabs of  the  noble  South
Sea war-wood, are frequently met  with  in  the  forecastles  of  American
whalers.  Some  of  them  are  done  with  much  accuracy.  At  some   old
gable-roofed country houses you will see brass whales hung by the tail for
knockers  to  the  road-side  door.  When  the  porter  is   sleepy,   the
anvil-headed whale would be best. But these  knocking  whales  are  seldom
remarkable as  faithful  essays.  On  the  spires  of  some  old-fashioned
churches you will see sheet-iron whales placed  there  for  weather-cocks;
but they are so elevated, and besides that are to all intents and purposes
so labelled with Hands off! you cannot  examine  them  closely  enough  to
decide upon their merit. In bony, ribby regions of the earth, where at the
base of high  broken  cliffs  masses  of  rock  lie  strewn  in  fantastic
groupings upon the plain,  you  will  often  discover  images  as  of  the
petrified forms of the Leviathan partly merged in grass, which of a  windy
day breaks against them in  a  surf  of  green  surges.  Then,  again,  in
mountainous countries  where  the  traveller  is  continually  girdled  by
amphitheatrical heights; here and there from some lucky point of view  you
will catch passing glimpses of the profiles of whales  defined  along  the
undulating ridges. But you must be  a  thorough  whaleman,  to  see  these
sights; and not only that, but if you wish  to  return  to  such  a  sight
again, you must be sure and  take  the  exact  intersecting  latitude  and
longitude  of  your  first  stand-point,  else  so  chance-like  are  such
observations of the hills, that your precise, previous  stand-point  would
require a laborious re-discovery; like the Solomon  islands,  which  still
remain incognita, though once  high-ruffed  Mendanna  trod  them  and  old
Figuera chronicled them. Nor when expandingly lifted by your subject,  can
you fail to trace out great whales in the starry  heavens,  and  boats  in
pursuit of them; as when long filled with  thoughts  of  war  the  Eastern
nations saw armies locked in battle among the clouds. Thus  at  the  North
have I chased Leviathan round and round the Pole with the  revolutions  of
the bright points that first defined him to me. And beneath the  effulgent
Antarctic skies I have  boarded  the  Argo-Navis,  and  joined  the  chase
against the starry Cetus far beyond the utmost stretch of Hydrus  and  the
Flying Fish. With a frigate's anchors for my bridle-bitts  and  fasces  of
harpoons for spurs, would I could mount that whale and  leap  the  topmost
skies, to see whether the fabled heavens with all  their  countless  tents
really lie encamped beyond my mortal sight!



                                58. BRIT

    Steering north-eastward from the  Crozetts,  we  fell  in  with  vast
meadows of brit, the minute, yellow substance, upon which the Right  Whale
largely feeds. For leagues and leagues it undulated round us, so  that  we
seemed to be sailing through boundless fields of ripe and golden wheat. On
the second day, numbers of Right Whales were seen, who,  secure  from  the
attack of a Sperm Whaler like the Pequod, with open jaws  sluggishly  swam
through the brit, which, adhering to the fringing fibres of that  wondrous
Venetian blind in their mouths, was in  that  manner  separated  from  the
water that escaped at the lip. As morning mowers, who side by side  slowly
and seethingly advance their scythes through the long wet grass of  marshy
meads; even so these monsters swam,  making  a  strange,  grassy,  cutting
sound; and leaving behind them endless swaths of blue upon the yellow sea.
    But it was only the sound they made as they parted the brit which  at
all reminded one of mowers. Seen from the mast-heads, especially when they
paused and were stationary for a while, their vast black forms looked more
like lifeless masses of rock than anything  else.  And  as  in  the  great
hunting countries of India, the stranger at a distance will sometimes pass
on the plains recumbent elephants without knowing them to be such,  taking
them for bare, blackened elevations of the soil; even so, often, with him,
who for the first time beholds this species of the leviathans of the  sea.
And even when recognised at last, their immense magnitude renders it  very
hard really to believe that such bulky masses of overgrowth  can  possibly
be instinct, in all parts, with the same sort of life that lives in a  dog
or a horse. Indeed, in other respects, you can hardly regard any creatures
of the deep with the same feelings that you do those  of  the  shore.  For
though some old naturalists have maintained that all creatures of the land
are of their kind in the sea; and though taking a broad  general  view  of
the thing, this may very well be; yet coming to  specialties,  where,  for
example, does the ocean furnish any fish that in  disposition  answers  to
the sagacious kindness of the dog? The accursed shark  alone  can  in  any
generic respect be said to bear comparative analogy to him. But though, to
landsmen in general, the native inhabitants of the  seas  have  ever  been
regarded with emotions unspeakably unsocial and repelling; though we  know
the sea to be an everlasting terra incognita, so that Columbus sailed over
numberless unknown worlds to discover his  one  superficial  western  one;
though, by vast odds, the most  terrific  of  all  mortal  disasters  have
immemorially and indiscriminately befallen tens and hundreds of  thousands
of  those  who  have  gone  upon  the  waters;  though  but   a   moment's
consideration will teach, that however baby man may brag  of  his  science
and skill, and however much, in a  flattering  future,  that  science  and
skill may augment; yet for ever and for ever, to the crack  of  doom,  the
sea will insult and murder him, and  pulverize  the  stateliest,  stiffest
frigate he can make; nevertheless, by the continual  repetition  of  these
very impressions, man has lost that sense of the full awfulness of the sea
which aboriginally belongs to it. The first boat we read of, floated on an
ocean, that with Portuguese vengeance had whelmed a  whole  world  without
leaving so much as a widow. That same ocean rolls  now;  that  same  ocean
destroyed the wrecked ships of last year.  Yea,  foolish  mortals,  Noah's
flood is not yet subsided; two thirds of the fair  world  it  yet  covers.
Wherein differ the sea and the land, that a miracle  upon  one  is  not  a
miracle upon the other? Preternatural terrors  rested  upon  the  Hebrews,
when under the feet of Korah and his company the live  ground  opened  and
swallowed them up for ever; yet  not  a  modern  sun  ever  sets,  but  in
precisely the same manner the live sea swallows up ships  and  crews.  But
not only is the sea such a foe to man who is an alien to  it,  but  it  is
also a fiend to its  own  offspring;  worse  than  the  Persian  host  who
murdered his own guests; sparing  not  the  creatures  which  itself  hath
spawned. Like a savage tigress that tossing in the jungle overlays her own
cubs, so the sea dashes even the mightiest whales against the  rocks,  and
leaves them there side by side with the split wrecks of ships.  No  mercy,
no power but its own controls it. Panting and snorting like a  mad  battle
steed that has lost its rider, the masterless ocean  overruns  the  globe.
Consider the subtleness of the sea; how its most dreaded  creatures  glide
under water, unapparent  for  the  most  part,  and  treacherously  hidden
beneath  the  loveliest  tints  of  azure.  Consider  also  the   devilish
brilliance and beauty of many of  its  most  remorseless  tribes,  as  the
dainty embellished shape of many species of sharks. Consider,  once  more,
the universal cannibalism of the sea; all whose creatures prey  upon  each
other, carrying on eternal war since the world began. Consider  all  this;
and then turn to this green, gentle, and most docile earth; consider  them
both, the sea and the land; and do you  not  find  a  strange  analogy  to
something in yourself? For as this appalling ocean surrounds  the  verdant
land, so in the soul of man there lies one insular Tahiti, full  of  peace
and joy, but encompassed by all the horrors of the half known life.
    God keep thee! Push not off from that isle, thou canst never return!
    That part of the sea known among whalemen as the  Brazil  Banks  does
not bear that name as the Banks of Newfoundland do, because of there being
shallows and soundings there, but because of this  remarkable  meadow-like
appearance, caused by the vast drifts  of  brit  continually  floating  in
those latitudes, where the Right Whale is often chased.



                                59. SQUID

    Slowly wading through the meadows of brit, the Pequod still  held  on
her way north-eastward towards the island of Java; a gentle air  impelling
her keel, so that in the surrounding  serenity  her  three  tall  tapering
masts mildly waved to that languid breeze, as three mild palms on a plain.
And still, at wide intervals in the silvery night,  the  lonely,  alluring
jet would be seen. But one transparent  blue  morning,  when  a  stillness
almost preternatural spread over the  sea,  however  unattended  with  any
stagnant calm; when the long burnished sun-glade on the  waters  seemed  a
golden finger laid across them, enjoining some secresy; when the slippered
waves whispered together as they softly ran on; in this profound  hush  of
the visible  sphere  a  strange  spectre  was  seen  by  Daggoo  from  the
main-mast-head. In the distance, a  great  white  mass  lazily  rose,  and
rising higher and higher, and disentangling itself from the azure, at last
gleamed before our prow like a snow-slide, new slid from the  hills.  Thus
glistening for a moment, as slowly it subsided, and sank. Then  once  more
arose, and silently gleamed. It seemed not a whale; and yet is  this  Moby
Dick? thought Daggoo. Again the phantom went  down,  but  on  re-appearing
once more, with a stiletto-like cry that startled every man from his  nod,
the negro yelled out - There!  there  again!  there  she  breaches!  right
ahead! The White Whale, the White Whale! Upon this, the seamen  rushed  to
the  yard-arms,  as  in  swarming-time  the  bees  rush  to  the   boughs.
Bare-headed in the sultry sun, Ahab stood on the bowsprit,  and  with  one
hand pushed far behind in readiness to wave his orders  to  the  helmsman,
cast his eager glance in the direction indicated aloft by the outstretched
motionless arm of Daggoo. Whether the flitting attendance of the one still
and solitary jet had gradually worked  upon  Ahab,  so  that  he  was  now
prepared to connect the ideas of mildness and repose with the first  sight
of the particular whale he pursued;  however  this  was,  or  whether  his
eagerness betrayed him; whichever way it might have been, no sooner did he
distinctly perceive the  white  mass,  than  with  a  quick  intensity  he
instantly gave orders for lowering. The four boats were soon on the water;
Ahab's in advance, and all swiftly pulling towards  their  prey.  Soon  it
went  down,  and  while,  with  oars  suspended,  we  were  awaiting   its
reappearance, lo! in the same spot where it  sank,  once  more  it  slowly
rose. Almost forgetting for the moment all thoughts of Moby Dick,  we  now
gazed at the most wondrous phenomenon which the secret seas have  hitherto
revealed to mankind. A vast pulpy mass, furlongs in length and breadth, of
a glancing cream-color, lay floating on the water, innumerable  long  arms
radiating from its centre,  and  curling  and  twisting  like  a  nest  of
anacondas, as if blindly to clutch at any hapless object within reach.  No
perceptible face or front did it have;  no  conceivable  token  of  either
sensation or instinct; but undulated there on the billows,  an  unearthly,
formless, chance-like apparition of life. As with a low sucking  sound  it
slowly disappeared again, Starbuck still gazing  at  the  agitated  waters
where it had sunk, with a wild voice exclaimed - Almost rather had I  seen
Moby Dick and fought him, than to have seen thee, thou white ghost!
    What was it, Sir? said Flask. The great live squid, which  they  say,
few whale-ships ever beheld, and returned to their ports to  tell  of  it.
But Ahab said nothing; turning his boat, he sailed back to the vessel; the
rest as silently following. Whatever superstitions the sperm  whalemen  in
general have connected with the sight of this object, certain it is,  that
a glimpse of it being so very unusual, that circumstance has gone  far  to
invest it with portentousness. So rarely is it beheld, that though one and
all of them declare it to be the largest animated thing in the ocean,  yet
very few of them have any but the most vague  ideas  concerning  its  true
nature and form; notwithstanding, they believe it to furnish to the  sperm
whale his only food. For though other species of whales  find  their  food
above water, and may be seen by man in the act of feeding, the  spermaceti
whale obtains his whole food in unknown zones below the surface; and  only
by inference is it that any one can tell of  what,  precisely,  that  food
consists. At times, when  closely  pursued,  he  will  disgorge  what  are
supposed to be the detached arms of the squid; some of them thus exhibited
exceeding twenty and thirty feet in length. They fancy that the monster to
which these arms belonged ordinarily clings by them  to  the  bed  of  the
ocean; and that the sperm whale, unlike other species,  is  supplied  with
teeth in order to attack and tear it. There seems some ground  to  imagine
that the great Kraken of Bishop Pontoppodan may ultimately resolve  itself
into Squid. The manner in which the Bishop describes  it,  as  alternately
rising and sinking, with some other particulars he narrates, in  all  this
the two correspond. But much abatement is necessary with  respect  to  the
incredible bulk he assigns it. By some naturalists who have vaguely  heard
rumors of the mysterious creature, here spoken of, it  is  included  among
the class of cuttle-fish, to which, indeed, in certain  external  respects
it would seem to belong, but only as the Anak of the tribe.



                              60. THE LINE

    With reference to the whaling scene shortly to be described, as  well
as for the better understanding of all similar scenes elsewhere presented,
I have here to speak of the magical, sometimes  horrible  whale-line.  The
line originally used in the fishery was of the best hemp, slightly vapored
with tar, not impregnated with it, as in the case of ordinary  ropes;  for
while tar, as  ordinarily  used,  makes  the  hemp  more  pliable  to  the
rope-maker, and also renders the rope itself more convenient to the sailor
for common ship use; yet, not only would the ordinary  quantity  too  much
stiffen the  whale-line  for  the  close  coiling  to  which  it  must  be
subjected; but as most seamen are beginning to learn, tar in general by no
means adds to the rope's durability or strength, however much it may  give
it compactness and gloss. Of late  years  the  Manilla  rope  has  in  the
American fishery  almost  entirely  superseded  hemp  as  a  material  for
whale-lines; for, though not so durable as hemp, it is stronger,  and  far
more soft and elastic; and I will add (since there is an aesthetics in all
things), is much more handsome and becoming to the boat, than  hemp.  Hemp
is a  dusky,  dark  fellow,  a  sort  of  Indian;  but  Manilla  is  as  a
golden-haired Circassian to behold. The whale line is only two  thirds  of
an inch in thickness. At first sight, you would not think it so strong  as
it really is. By experiment its one and fifty yarns will  each  suspend  a
weight of one hundred and twenty pounds; so that the whole rope will  bear
a strain  nearly  equal  to  three  tons.  In  length,  the  common  sperm
whale-line measures something over two hundred fathoms. Towards the  stern
of the boat it is spirally coiled away in the tub, not like the  worm-pipe
of a still though, but so as to form  one  round,  cheese-shaped  mass  of
densely bedded sheaves, or layers of  concentric  spiralizations,  without
any hollow but the heart, or minute vertical tube formed at  the  axis  of
the cheese. As the least tangle or kink in the coiling would,  in  running
out, infallibly take somebody's arm, leg, or entire body off,  the  utmost
precaution is used in stowing the line in its tub. Some  harpooneers  will
consume almost an entire morning in this business, carrying the line  high
aloft and then reeving it downwards through a block towards the tub, so as
in the act of coiling to free it from all possible wrinkles and twists. In
the English boats two tubs are used instead of one; the  same  line  being
continuously coiled in both tubs. There is some advantage in this; because
these twin-tubs being so small they fit more readily into the boat, and do
not strain it so much; whereas, the American tub,  nearly  three  feet  in
diameter and of proportionate depth, makes a rather bulky  freight  for  a
craft whose planks are but one half-inch in thickness; for the  bottom  of
the whale-boat is like critical ice, which will  bear  up  a  considerable
distributed weight, but not very much of  a  concentrated  one.  When  the
painted canvas cover is clapped on the american line-tub, the  boat  looks
as if it were pulling off with a prodigious great wedding-cake to  present
to the  whales.  Both  ends  of  the  line  are  exposed;  the  lower  end
terminating in an eye-splice or loop coming up from the bottom against the
side of the tub, and hanging over  its  edge  completely  disengaged  from
everything. This  arrangement  of  the  lower  end  is  necessary  on  two
accounts. First: In  order  to  facilitate  the  fastening  to  it  of  an
additional line from a neighboring boat, in case the stricken whale should
sound so deep as to threaten to  carry  off  the  entire  line  originally
attached to the harpoon. In  these  instances,  the  whale  of  course  is
shifted like a mug of ale, as it were, from the one  boat  to  the  other;
though the first boat always hovers at hand to assist its consort. Second:
This arrangement is indispensable for common safety's sake; for  were  the
lower end of the line in any way attached to the boat, and were the  whale
then to run the line out to the end almost in a single, smoking minute  as
he sometimes does, he would not stop there,  for  the  doomed  boat  would
infallibly be dragged down after him into the profundity of the  sea;  and
in that case no town-crier would ever find her again. Before lowering  the
boat for the chase, the upper end of the line is taken aft from  the  tub,
and passing round the logger-head there,  is  again  carried  forward  the
entire length of the boat, resting crosswise upon the loom  or  handle  of
every man's oar, so that it jogs against his wrist  in  rowing;  and  also
passing between the men, as they alternately sit at the opposite gunwales,
to the leaded chocks or grooves in the extreme pointed prow of  the  boat,
where a wooden pin or skewer the size of a common quill, prevents it  from
slipping out. From the chocks it hangs in a slight festoon over the  bows,
and is then passed inside the boat again; and some ten or  twenty  fathoms
(called box-line) being coiled upon the box in the bows, it continues  its
way to the gunwale still a little further aft, and is then attached to the
short-warp -the rope which is immediately connected with the harpoon;  but
previous  to  that  connexion,  the   short-warp   goes   through   sundry
mystifications too tedious to detail. Thus the whale-line folds the  whole
boat in its complicated coils, twisting and writhing around it  in  almost
every direction. All the oarsmen are involved in its perilous contortions;
so that to the timid eye of the landsman, they seem  as  Indian  jugglers,
with the deadliest snakes sportively festooning their limbs. Nor  can  any
son of mortal woman, for the first time, seat himself  amid  those  hempen
intricacies, and while straining his utmost at the oar, bethink  him  that
at any unknown instant the harpoon may be darted, and all  these  horrible
contortions be put in play like  ringed  lightnings;  he  cannot  be  thus
circumstanced without a shudder that makes the very marrow in his bones to
quiver in him like a shaken jelly. Yet habit -strange thing!  what  cannot
habit accomplish? -Gayer sallies, more  merry  mirth,  better  jokes,  and
brighter repartees, you never heard over your mahogany, than you will hear
over the half-inch white cedar  of  the  whale-boat,  when  thus  hung  in
hangman's nooses; and, like the six burghers of Calais before King Edward,
the six men composing the crew pull into the jaws of death, with a  halter
around every neck, as you may say. Perhaps a very little thought will  now
enable you to account for those repeated whaling disasters  -some  few  of
which are casually chronicled -of this man or that man being taken out  of
the boat by the line, and lost. For, when the line is darting out,  to  be
seated then in the boat, is like being seated in the midst of the manifold
whizzings of a steam-engine in full play,  when  every  flying  beam,  and
shaft, and wheel, is  grazing  you.  It  is  worse;  for  you  cannot  sit
motionless in the heart of these perils, because the boat is rocking  like
a cradle, and you are pitched one way and the other, without the slightest
warning;   and   only   by   a   certain   self-adjusting   buoyancy   and
simultaneousness of volition and action,  can  you  escape  being  made  a
Mazeppa of, and run away with where the all-seeing sun himself could never
pierce you out. Again: as the profound calm which only apparently precedes
and prophesies of the storm, is perhaps more awful than the storm  itself;
for, indeed, the calm is but the wrapper and envelope of  the  storm;  and
contains it in itself, as the seemingly harmless  rifle  holds  the  fatal
powder, and the ball, and the explosion; so the  graceful  repose  of  the
line, as it silently serpentines about the oarsmen  before  being  brought
into actual play - this is a thing which carries more of true terror  than
any other aspect of this dangerous affair. But why say more? All men  live
enveloped in whale-lines. All are born with halters round their necks; but
it is only when caught in the swift, sudden turn of  death,  that  mortals
realize the silent, subtle, ever-present perils of life. And if you  be  a
philosopher, though seated in the whale-boat, you would not at heart  feel
one whit more of terror, than though seated before your evening fire  with
a poker, and not a harpoon, by your side.



                         61. STUBB KILLS A WHALE

    If to Starbuck the apparition of the Squid was a thing  of  portents,
to Queequeg it was quite a different object. When you see him 'quid,  said
the savage, honing his harpoon in the bow of his hoisted  boat,  then  you
quick see him 'parm whale. The next day was exceedingly still and  sultry,
and with nothing special to engage them, the Pequod's  crew  could  hardly
resist the spell of sleep induced by such a vacant sea. For this  part  of
the Indian Ocean through which we then were voyaging is not what  whalemen
call a lively ground; that is, it affords  fewer  glimpses  of  porpoises,
dolphins, flying-fish, and  other  vivacious  denizens  of  more  stirring
waters, than those off the Rio de la Plata, or  the  in-shore  ground  off
Peru. It was my turn to stand at the foremast-head; and with my  shoulders
leaning against the slackened royal shrouds, to and fro I idly  swayed  in
what seemed an enchanted air. No resolution could withstand  it;  in  that
dreamy mood losing all consciousness, at last my soul went out of my body;
though my body still continued to sway as a pendulum will, long after  the
power which first moved it is withdrawn. Ere forgetfulness altogether came
over me, I had noticed that the seamen at the main  and  mizen  mast-heads
were already drowsy. So that at last all three of us lifelessly swung from
the spars, and for every swing that we made there was  a  nod  from  below
from the slumbering  helmsman.  The  waves,  too,  nodded  their  indolent
crests; and across the wide trance of the sea, east nodded  to  west,  and
the sun over all. Suddenly bubbles seemed bursting beneath my closed eyes;
like vices my hands grasped the shrouds; some invisible,  gracious  agency
preserved me; with a shock I came back to life. And lo!  close  under  our
lee, not forty fathoms off, a gigantic Sperm  Whale  lay  rolling  in  the
water like the capsized hull of a frigate, his broad, glossy back,  of  an
Ethiopian hue, glistening in the sun's rays  like  a  mirror.  But  lazily
undulating in the trough of the sea, and ever and anon tranquilly spouting
his vapory jet, the whale looked like a portly burgher smoking his pipe of
a warm afternoon. But that pipe, poor whale, was thy last. As if struck by
some enchanter's wand, the sleepy ship and every sleeper in it all at once
started into wakefulness; and more than a score of voices from  all  parts
of the vessel, simultaneously with the three  notes  from  aloft,  shouted
forth the accustomed cry, as the great fish slowly and  regularly  spouted
the sparkling brine into the air. clear away the boats! luff! cried  Ahab.
And obeying his own order, he dashed the helm  down  before  the  helmsman
could handle the spokes. The sudden exclamations of  the  crew  must  have
alarmed the whale; and ere the boats were down, majestically  turning,  he
swam away to the leeward, but with such a steady tranquillity, and  making
so few ripples as he swam, that thinking after all he might not as yet  be
alarmed, Ahab gave orders that not an oar should be used, and no man  must
speak but in whispers. So seated like Ontario Indians on the  gunwales  of
the boats, we swiftly but silently paddled along; the calm  not  admitting
of the noiseless sails being set. Presently, as we thus glided  in  chase,
the monster perpendicularly flitted his tail forty feet into the air,  and
then sank out of sight like a tower swallowed up. There go flukes! was the
cry, an announcement immediately followed by Stubb's producing  his  match
and igniting his pipe, for now a  respite  was  granted.  After  the  full
interval of his sounding had elapsed, the whale rose again, and being  now
in advance of the smoker's boat, and much nearer to it than to any of  the
others, Stubb counted upon the honor of the capture. It was obvious,  now,
that the whale had at length become aware of his pursuers. All silence  of
cautiousness was therefore no longer of use.  Paddles  were  dropped,  and
oars came loudly into play. And still puffing at his pipe,  Stubb  cheered
on his crew to the assault. Yes, a mighty change had come over  the  fish.
All alive to his jeopardy, he was going  head  out;  that  part  obliquely
projecting from the mad yeast which he brewed. Start her,  start  her,  my
men! Don't hurry yourselves; take plenty of time -but start her; start her
like thunder-claps, that's all, cried Stubb, spluttering out the smoke  as
he spoke. start her, now; give 'em the long and strong  stroke,  tashtego.
Start her, Tash, my boy -start her, all; but keep cool, keep coolcucumbers
is the word -easy, easy -only start  her  like  grim  death  and  grinning
devils, and raise the buried dead perpendicular out of their graves,  boys
-that's all. Start her! Woo-hoo! Wa-hee! screamed the Gay-Header in reply,
raising some old war-whoop to the skies; as every oarsman in the  strained
boat involuntarily bounced forward with the one tremendous leading  stroke
which the eager Indian gave.
    But his wild screams were answered by others quite as wild.  Kee-hee!
Kee-hee! yelled Daggoo, straining forwards and backwards on his seat, like
a pacing tiger in  his  cage.  Ka-la!  Koo-loo!  howled  Queequeg,  as  if
smacking his lips over a mouthful of Grenadier's steak. And thus with oars
and yells the keels cut the sea. Meanwhile, Stubb retaining his  place  in
the van, still encouraged his men to the onset, all the while puffing  the
smoke from his mouth. Like desperadoes they tugged and they strained, till
the welcome cry was heard - Stand up,  Tashtego!  -give  it  to  him!  The
harpoon was hurled. Stern all! The oarsmen backed water; the  same  moment
something went hot and hissing along every one of their wrists. It was the
magical line. An instant before, Stubb had swiftly caught  two  additional
turns with it round the loggerhead, whence, by  reason  of  its  increased
rapid circlings, a hempen blue smoke now jetted up and  mingled  with  the
steady fumes from his pipe.  As  the  line  passed  round  and  round  the
loggerhead; so also, just before  reaching  that  point,  it  blisteringly
passed  through  and  through  both  of  Stubb's  hands,  from  which  the
hand-cloths, or squares of quilted canvas sometimes worn at  these  times,
had accidentally dropped. It was like holding an enemy's  sharp  two-edged
sword by the blade, and that enemy all the time striving to wrest  it  out
of your clutch. Wet the line! wet the line! cried stubb to the tub oarsman
(him seated by the tub) who, snatching off his hat, dashed  the  sea-water
into it. More turns were taken, so that the line began holding its  place.
The boat now flew through the boiling water like a shark all  fins.  Stubb
and Tashtego here changed places - stem for stern -a  staggering  business
truly in that rocking commotion. From the  vibrating  line  extending  the
entire length of the upper part of the boat, and from its now  being  more
tight than a harpstring, you would have thought the craft had two keels  -
one cleaving the water, the other the air -as the boat churned on  through
both opposing elements at once. A continual cascade played at the bows;  a
ceaseless whirling eddy in her wake; and, at  the  slightest  motion  from
within, even but of a little finger, the vibrating, cracking craft  canted
over her spasmodic gunwale into the sea. Thus they rushed; each  man  with
might and main clinging to his seat, to prevent being tossed to the  foam;
and the tall form of Tashtego at the steering oar crouching almost double,
in order to bring down his centre of gravity. Whole Atlantics and Pacifics
seemed passed as they shot on their way, till at length the whale somewhat
slackened his flight. Haul in -haul in! cried Stubb to the  bowsman!  and,
facing round towards the whale, all hands began pulling  the  boat  up  to
him, while yet the boat was being towed on. Soon ranging up by his  flank,
Stubb, firmly planting his knee in the clumsy  cleat,  darted  dart  after
dart into the flying fish; at the word of command,  the  boat  alternately
sterning out of the way of the whale's horrible wallow, and  then  ranging
up for another fling. The red tide  now  poured  from  all  sides  of  the
monster like brooks down a hill. His tormented body rolled  not  in  brine
but in blood, which bubbled and seethed for furlongs behind in their wake.
The slanting sun playing upon this crimson pond in the sea, sent back  its
reflection into every face, so that they all glowed to each other like red
men. And all the while, jet after jet of white smoke was agonizingly  shot
from the spiracle of the whale, and vehement  puff  after  puff  from  the
mouth of the excited headsman; as at  every  dart,  hauling  in  upon  his
crooked lance (by the line attached to it), Stubb  straightened  it  again
and again, by a few rapid blows against the gunwale, then again and  again
sent it into the whale. Pull up -pull up! he now cried to the bowsman,  as
the waning whale relaxed in his wrath. Pull up! -close to!  and  the  boat
ranged along the fish's flank. When  reaching  far  over  the  bow,  Stubb
slowly churned his long sharp lance into the  fish,  and  kept  it  there,
carefully churning and churning, as if cautiously seeking  to  feel  after
some gold watch that the whale might have  swallowed,  and  which  he  was
fearful of breaking ere he could hook it  out.  But  that  gold  watch  he
sought was the innermost life of the fish. And  now  it  is  struck;  for,
starting from his trance into that unspeakable thing  called  his  flurry,
the monster horribly  wallowed  in  his  blood,  over-wrapped  himself  in
impenetrable, mad, boiling spray, so that the imperilled craft,  instantly
dropping astern, had much ado blindly to struggle out from that  phrensied
twilight into the clear air of the day. And now abating in his flurry, the
whale once  more  rolled  out  into  view;  surging  from  side  to  side;
spasmodically  dilating  and  contracting  his  spout-hole,  with   sharp,
cracking, agonized respirations. At last, gush after gush of  clotted  red
gore, as if it had been the  purple  lees  of  red  wine,  shot  into  the
frighted air; and falling back again, ran  dripping  down  his  motionless
flanks into the sea. His heart had  burst!  He's  dead,  Mr.  Stubb,  said
Daggoo. Yes; both pipes smoked out!  and  withdrawing  his  own  from  his
mouth, Stubb scattered the dead ashes over the water; and, for  a  moment,
stood thoughtfully eyeing the vast corpse he had made.
    It will be seen in some other place of what a  very  light  substance
the entire interior of the sperm whale's enormous  head  consists.  Though
apparently the most massive, it is by far the most buoyant part about him.
So that with ease he elevates it in the air, and invariably does  so  when
going at his utmost speed. Besides, such is the breadth of the upper  part
of the front of his head, and such the tapering cut-water formation of the
lower part, that by obliquely elevating his head, he thereby may  be  said
to  transform  himself  from  a  bluff-bowed  sluggish  galliot   into   a
sharp-pointed New York pilot-boat.
    Partly to show the indispensableness of this  act,  it  may  here  be
stated, that, in the old Dutch fishery, a mop was used to dash the running
line with water; in many other ships, a wooden piggin, or bailer,  is  set
apart for that purpose. Your hat, however, is the most convenient.



                               62. THE DART

    A word concerning an incident in the last chapter. According  to  the
invariable usage of the fishery, the whale-boat pushes off from the  ship,
with  the  headsman  or  whale-killer  as  temporary  steersman,  and  the
harpooneer or whale-fastener pulling the foremost oar, the  one  known  as
the harpooneer-oar. Now it needs a strong, nervous arm to strike the first
iron into the fish; for often, in what is called a long  dart,  the  heavy
implement has to be flung to the distance of twenty or  thirty  feet.  But
however prolonged and exhausting the chase, the harpooneer is expected  to
pull his oar meanwhile to the uttermost; indeed, he is expected to set  an
example of superhuman activity to the rest, not only by incredible rowing,
but by repeated loud and intrepid exclamations; and what  it  is  to  keep
shouting at the top of one's compass, while  all  the  other  muscles  are
strained and half started -what that is none know but those who have tried
it. For one, I cannot bawl very heartily and work very recklessly  at  one
and the same time. In this straining, bawling state, then, with  his  back
to the fish, all at once the exhausted harpooneer hears the exciting cry -
Stand up, and give it to him! He now has to drop and secure his oar,  turn
round on his centre half way, seize his harpoon from the crotch, and  with
what little strength may remain, he essays to pitch it  somehow  into  the
whale. No wonder, taking the whole fleet of whalemen in a body,  that  out
of fifty fair chances for a dart, not five are successful; no wonder  that
so many hapless harpooneers are madly cursed and disrated; no wonder  that
some of them actually burst their blood-vessels in  the  boat;  no  wonder
that some sperm whalemen are absent  four  years  with  four  barrels;  no
wonder that to many ship owners, whaling is but a losing concern;  for  it
is the harpooneer that makes the voyage, and if you take the breath out of
his body how can you expect to find it there when most wanted!  Again,  if
the dart be successful, then at the second critical instant, that is, when
the whale starts to run, the boat-header and harpooneer likewise start  to
running fore and aft, to the imminent jeopardy of themselves and every one
else. It is then they change places; and the headsman, the  chief  officer
of the little craft, takes his proper station in the  bows  of  the  boat.
Now, I care not who maintains the contrary, but all this is  both  foolish
and unnecessary. The headsman should stay in the bows from first to  last;
he should both dart the harpoon and the  lance,  and  no  rowing  whatever
should be expected of him,  except  under  circumstances  obvious  to  any
fisherman. I know that this would sometimes involve a slight loss of speed
in the chase; but long experience in various whalemen  of  more  than  one
nation has convinced me that in the  vast  majority  of  failures  in  the
fishery, it has not by any means been so much the speed of  the  whale  as
the before described exhaustion of the harpooneer that has caused them. To
insure the greatest efficiency in the dart, the harpooneers of this  world
must start to their feet from out of idleness, and not from out of toil.



                              63. THE CROTCH

    Out of the trunk, the branches grow; out of them, the twigs.  So,  in
productive subjects, grow  the  chapters.  The  crotch  alluded  to  on  a
previous page deserves independent mention. It is a  notched  stick  of  a
peculiar form, some two feet in length, which is perpendicularly  inserted
into the starboard gunwale near the bow, for the purpose of  furnishing  a
rest for the wooden extremity of the harpoon, whose  other  naked,  barbed
end slopingly projects from the prow. Thereby the weapon is  instantly  at
hand to its hurler, who snatches it up as  readily  from  its  rest  as  a
backwoodsman swings his rifle from the wall. It is customary to  have  two
harpoons reposing in the crotch, respectively called the first and  second
irons. But these two harpoons, each by its own cord,  are  both  connected
with the line; the object being this: to dart them both, if possible,  one
instantly after the other into the same whale; so that if, in  the  coming
drag, one should draw out, the other may still retain  a  hold.  It  is  a
doubling of the chances. But it very  often  happens  that  owing  to  the
instantaneous, violent, convulsive running of the whale upon receiving the
first  iron,  it  becomes   impossible   for   the   harpooneer,   however
lightning-like in his movements,  to  pitch  the  second  iron  into  him.
Nevertheless, as the second iron is already connected with the  line,  and
the  line  is  running,  hence  that  weapon  must,  at  all  events,   be
anticipatingly tossed out of the boat, somehow  and  somewhere;  else  the
most terrible jeopardy would involve all hands. Tumbled into the water, it
accordingly is in such cases; the spare coils of box line (mentioned in  a
preceding  chapter)  making  this  feat,  in  most  instances,   prudently
practicable. But this critical act  is  not  always  unattended  with  the
saddest and most fatal casualties. Furthermore: you must  know  that  when
the second iron is thrown overboard, it thenceforth  becomes  a  dangling,
sharp-edged terror, skittishly  curvetting  about  both  boat  and  whale,
entangling the lines, or cutting them, and making a  prodigious  sensation
in all directions. Nor, in general, is it  possible  to  secure  it  again
until the whale is fairly captured and a corpse.  Consider,  now,  how  it
must be in the case of four  boats  all  engaging  one  unusually  strong,
active, and knowing whale; when owing to these qualities in him,  as  well
as to the thousand concurring accidents of such an  audacious  enterprise,
eight or ten loose second irons may be simultaneously dangling about  him.
For, of course, each boat is supplied with several harpoons to bend on  to
the line should the first one be ineffectually  darted  without  recovery.
All these particulars are faithfully narrated here, as they will not  fail
to elucidate several most important, however intricate passages, in scenes
hereafter to be painted.



                           64. STUBB'S SUPPER

    Stubb's whale had been killed some distance from the ship. It  was  a
calm; so, forming a tandem of three boats, we commenced the slow  business
of towing the trophy to the Pequod. And now, as we eighteen men  with  our
thirty-six arms, and one hundred and eighty  thumbs  and  fingers,  slowly
toiled hour after hour upon that inert, sluggish corpse in the sea; and it
seemed hardly to budge at all, except at long intervals; good evidence was
hereby furnished of the enormousness of the mass we moved. For,  upon  the
great canal of Hang-Ho, or whatever they call it, in China, four  or  five
laborers on the foot-path will draw a bulky freighted junk at the rate  of
a mile an hour; but this grand argosy we towed heavily forged along, as if
laden with pig-lead in bulk. Darkness came on; but  three  lights  up  and
down in the Pequod's main-rigging  dimly  guided  our  way;  till  drawing
nearer we saw  Ahab  dropping  one  of  several  more  lanterns  over  the
bulwarks. Vacantly eyeing the heaving whale for a moment,  he  issued  the
usual orders for securing it for the night, and then handing  his  lantern
to a seaman, went his way into the cabin, and did not come  forward  again
until morning. Though, in overseeing the pursuit of  this  whale,  Captain
Ahab had evinced his customary activity, to call it so; yet now  that  the
creature was dead, some vague dissatisfaction, or impatience, or  despair,
seemed working in him; as if the sight of that dead body reminded him that
Moby Dick was yet to be slain; and though a  thousand  other  whales  were
brought to his ship, all  that  would  not  one  jot  advance  his  grand,
monomaniac object. Very soon you would have thought from the sound on  the
Pequod's decks, that all hands were preparing to cast anchor in the  deep;
for heavy chains are being dragged along the deck, and thrust rattling out
of the port-holes. But by those clanking links, the  vast  corpse  itself,
not the ship, is to be moored. Tied by the head to the stern, and  by  the
tail to the bows, the whale now lies with its  black  hull  close  to  the
vessel's, and seen through the darkness of the night, which  obscured  the
spars and rigging aloft, the two -ship and whale,  seemed  yoked  together
like colossal bullocks, whereof  one  reclines  while  the  other  remains
standing. If moody Ahab was now all quiescence, at least so far  as  could
be known on deck, Stubb, his second mate, flushed with conquest,  betrayed
an unusual but still good-natured excitement. Such an unwonted bustle  was
he in that the staid Starbuck, his official superior, quietly resigned  to
him for the time the sole management of affairs. One small, helping  cause
of all this liveliness in Stubb, was soon made strangely  manifest.  Stubb
was a high liver; he was somewhat intemperately fond of  the  whale  as  a
flavorish thing to his palate. A steak, a steak, ere I sleep! You, Daggoo!
overboard you go, and cut me one from his small! Here be  it  known,  that
though these wild fishermen do not, as a general thing, and  according  to
the great military maxim, make the enemy defray the  current  expenses  of
the war (at least before realizing the proceeds of the  voyage),  yet  now
and then you find some of these Nantucketers who have a genuine relish for
that particular part of the Sperm Whale designated  by  Stubb;  comprising
the tapering extremity of the body. About midnight that steak was cut  and
cooked; and lighted by two lanterns of sperm oil, Stubb stoutly  stood  up
to his spermaceti supper at the capstan-head, as if that  capstan  were  a
sideboard. Nor was Stubb the only banqueter on whale's flesh  that  night.
Mingling their mumblings with his own mastications, thousands on thousands
of sharks, swarming round the dead leviathan, smackingly  feasted  on  its
fatness. The few sleepers below in their bunks were often startled by  the
sharp slapping of their tails against the hull, within a few inches of the
sleepers' hearts. Peering over the side you could just see them (as before
you heard them) wallowing in the sullen, black waters, and turning over on
their backs as they scooped out huge globular pieces of the whale  of  the
bigness of a human head. This particular feat of the shark seems  all  but
miraculous. How, at such an apparently unassailable surface, they contrive
to gouge out such symmetrical mouthfuls, remains a part of  the  universal
problem of all things. The mark they thus leave on the whale, may best  be
likened to the hollow made by a carpenter in countersinking for  a  screw.
Though amid all the smoking horror and diabolism of  a  sea-fight,  sharks
will be seen longingly gazing up to the ship's  decks,  like  hungry  dogs
round a table where red meat is being carved, ready  to  bolt  down  every
killed man that is tossed to them; and though, while the valiant  butchers
over the deck-table are thus cannibally carving  each  other's  live  meat
with carving-knives all gilded and tasselled, the sharks, also, with their
jewel-hilted mouths, are quarrelsomely carving away under the table at the
dead meat; and though, were you to turn the whole affair upside  down,  it
would still be pretty much the same thing, that  is  to  say,  a  shocking
sharkish business enough for all parties; and though sharks also  are  the
invariable  outriders  of  all  slave   ships   crossing   the   Atlantic,
systematically trotting alongside, to be handy in case a parcel is  to  be
carried anywhere, or a dead slave to be decently buried; and though one or
two other like instances might  be  set  down,  touching  the  set  terms,
places, and occasions, when sharks do most socially congregate,  and  most
hilariously feast; yet is there no conceivable time or occasion  when  you
will find them in such countless numbers, and  in  gayer  or  more  jovial
spirits, than around a dead sperm whale, moored by night to  a  whale-ship
at sea. If you have never seen that  sight,  then  suspend  your  decision
about the propriety of devil-worship, and the expediency  of  conciliating
the devil. But, as yet, Stubb heeded not the mumblings of the banquet that
was going on so nigh him, no more than the sharks heeded the  smacking  of
his own epicurean lips. Cook, cook! -where's that old Fleece? he cried  at
length, widening his legs still further, as if to form a more secure  base
for his supper; and, at the same time darting his fork into the  dish,  as
if stabbing with his lance; cook, you cook! -sail this way, cook! the  old
black, not in any very high glee at having been previously routed from his
warm hammock at a most unseasonable hour, came shambling  along  from  his
galley, for, like many old blacks, there was something the matter with his
knee-pans, which he did not keep well scoured like his  other  pans;  this
old Fleece,  as  they  called  him,  came  shuffling  and  limping  along,
assisting his step with his tongs, which, after  a  clumsy  fashion,  were
made of straightened iron hoops; this old Ebony floundered along,  and  in
obedience to the word of command, came to a dead stop on the opposite side
of Stubb's sideboard; when, with both hands folded before him, and resting
on his two-legged cane, he bowed his arched back still  further  over,  at
the same time sideways inclining his head, so as to  bring  his  best  ear
into play. Cook, said Stubb, rapidly lifting a rather  reddish  morsel  to
his mouth, don't you think this steak  is  rather  overdone?  You've  been
beating this steak too much, cook; it's too tender.  Don't  I  always  say
that to be good, a whale-steak must be tough? There are those  sharks  now
over the side, don't you see they prefer it tough and rare? What a  shindy
they are kicking up! Cook, go and talk to 'em; tell 'em they  are  welcome
to help themselves civilly, and in moderation, but they must  keep  quiet.
Blast me, if I can hear my own voice. Away, cook, and deliver my  message.
Here, take this lantern, snatching one from his sideboard;  now  then,  go
and preach to 'em! Sullenly taking the offered lantern, old Fleece  limped
across the deck to the bulwarks; and then,  with  one  hand  dropping  his
light low over the sea, so as to get a good view of his congregation, with
the other hand he solemnly flourished his tongs, and leaning far over  the
side in a mumbling voice began addressing the sharks, while Stubb,  softly
crawling behind, overheard all that was said.
    Fellow-critters: I'se ordered here to say dat you must stop  dat  dam
noise dare. you hear? stop dat dam smackin' ob de lip! massa Stubb say dat
you can fill your dam bellies up to de hatchings, but  by  Gor!  you  must
stop dat dam racket! Cook, here interposed Stubb,  accompanying  the  word
with a sudden slap on the shoulder, -  Cook!  why,  damn  your  eyes,  you
mustn't swear that way when you're preaching. That's  no  way  to  convert
sinners, Cook!
    Who dat? Den preach to him yourself,  sullenly  turning  to  go.  No,
Cook; go on, go on. Well, den, Belubed fellow-critters: - Right! exclaimed
Stubb, approvingly, coax 'em to it; try that, and Fleece continued. Do you
is  all  sharks,  and  by  natur  wery  woracious,  yet  I  zay  to   you,
fellow-critters, dat dat woraciousness -'top dat dam slappin' ob de  tail!
How you tink to hear, 'spose you keep up such a dam  slappin'  and  bitin'
dare? Cook, cried Stubb, collaring him, I wont have that swearing.
    Talk to  'em  gentlemanly.  Once  more  the  sermon  proceeded.  Your
woraciousness, fellow-critters, I don't blame  ye  so  much  for;  dat  is
natur, and can't be helped; but to gobern dat  wicked  natur,  dat  is  de
pint. You is sharks, sartin; but if you gobern de shark in  you,  why  den
you be angel; for all angel is not'ing more dan de  shark  well  goberned.
Now, look here, bred'ren, just try wonst to be cibil, a helping  yourselbs
from dat whale. Don't be tearin' de blubber out your neighbour's  mout,  I
say. Is not one shark dood right as toder to dat whale? And, by Gor,  none
on you has de right to dat whale; dat whale belong to  some  one  else.  I
know some o' you has berry brig mout, brigger dan oders; but den  de  brig
mouts sometimes has de small bellies; so dat de brigness ob de mout is not
to swallar wid, but to bite off de blubber for de small fry ob sharks, dat
can't get into de scrouge to help demselves. Well done, old Fleece!  cried
Stubb, that's Christianity; go on. No use goin' on; de dam  willains  will
keep a scrougin' and slappin' each oder, Massa Stubb; dey don't  hear  one
word; no use a-preachin' to such dam g'uttons as you call 'em,  till  dare
bellies is full, and dare bellies is bottomless; and when dey  do  get  em
full, dey wont hear you den; for den dey sink in de sea, go fast to  sleep
on de coral, and can't hear not'ing at all, no more, for  eber  and  eber.
Upon my soul, I am about of the same opinion;  so  give  the  benediction,
Fleece, and I'll away to my supper. Upon this, Fleece, holding both  hands
over  the  fishy  mob,  raised  his  shrill  voice,  and  cried  -  Cussed
fellow-critters! Kick up de damndest row as ever you can; fill  your  dam'
bellies 'till dey bust -and den die.
    Now, cook, said Stubb, resuming his supper at the capstan; Stand just
where you stood  before,  there,  over  against  me,  and  pay  particular
attention.
    All dention, said Fleece, again stooping over upon his tongs  in  the
desired position. Well, said Stubb, helping himself  freely  meanwhile;  I
shall now go back to the subject of this steak. In the  first  place,  how
old are you, cook? What dat do wid de 'teak, said the old black, testily.
    Silence! How old are you, cook? 'Bout ninety, dey  say,  he  gloomily
muttered. And have you lived in this world hard upon  one  hundred  years,
cook, and don't know yet  how  to  cook  a  whale-steak?  rapidly  bolting
another  mouthful  at  the  last  word,  so  that  that  morsel  seemed  a
continuation of  the  question.  Where  were  you  born,  cook?  'Hind  de
hatchway, in ferry-boat, goin' ober de  Roanoke.  Born  in  a  ferry-boat!
That's queer, too. But I want to know what country you were born in, cook?
Didn't I say de Roanoke country? he cried, sharply. No, you didn't,  cook;
but I'll tell you what I'm coming to, cook. You must go home and  be  born
over again; you don't know how to cook a whale-steak yet. Bress  my  soul,
if I cook noder one, he growled, angrily, turning round  to  depart.  Come
back, cook; -here, hand me those tongs; -now take that bit of steak there,
and tell me if you think that steak cooked as it should be? Take it, I say
-holding the tongs towards him - take it, and taste it.  Faintly  smacking
his withered lips over it for a  moment,  the  old  negro  muttered,  Best
cooked 'teak I eber taste; joosy, berry joosy. Cook, said Stubb,  squaring
himself once more; do you  belong  to  the  church?  Passed  one  once  in
Cape-Down, said the old man sullenly. And  you  have  once  in  your  life
passed a holy church in Cape-Town, where you doubtless  overheard  a  holy
parson addressing his hearers as his beloved fellow-creatures,  have  you,
cook! And yet you come here, and tell me such a dreadful lie  as  you  did
just now, eh? said Stubb. Where do you expect to go to, cook?
    Go to bed berry soon, he mumbled, half-turning as  he  spoke.  Avast!
heave to! I mean when you die, cook. It's an awful  question.  Now  what's
your answer? When dis old brack man dies, said the negro slowly,  changing
his whole air and demeanor, he hisself won't go nowhere; but some  bressed
angel will come and fetch him. Fetch him? How? In a  coach  and  four,  as
they fetched Elijah? And fetch him where? Up dere,  said  Fleece,  holding
his tongs straight over his head, and keeping it there very solemnly.  So,
then, you expect to go up into our main-top, do you, cook,  when  you  are
dead? But don't you know  the  higher  you  climb,  the  colder  it  gets?
Main-top, eh?
    Didn't say dat t'all, said Fleece, again in the sulks.  You  said  up
there, didn't you, and now look yourself, and see  where  your  tongs  are
pointing. But, perhaps you expect to get into heaven by  crawling  through
the lubber's hole, cook; but no, no, cook, you don't get there, except you
go the regular way, round by the rigging. It's a  ticklish  business,  but
must be done, or else it's no go. But none of us are in heaven  yet.  Drop
your tongs, cook, and hear my orders. Do ye hear? Hold  your  hat  in  one
hand, and clap t'other a'top of your heart, when  I'm  giving  my  orders,
cook. What! that your heart, there? -that's your  gizzard!  Aloft!  aloft!
-that's it -now you have it. Hold it there now,  and  pay  attention.  All
'dention, said the old black, with both hands placed  as  desired,  vainly
wriggling his grizzled head, as if to get both ears in front  at  one  and
the same time.
    Well then, cook; you see this whale-steak of yours was so  very  bad,
that I have put it out of sight as soon as possible; you see  that,  don't
you? Well, for the future,  when  you  cook  another  whale-steak  for  my
private table here, the capstan, I'll tell you what to do  so  as  not  to
spoil it by overdoing. Hold the steak in one hand, and show a live coal to
it with the other; that done, dish it; d'ye hear? And now to-morrow, cook,
when we are cutting in the fish, be sure you stand by to get the  tips  of
his fins; have them put in pickle. As for the ends  of  the  flukes,  have
them soused, cook. There, now ye may go.
    But Fleece had hardly got three paces  off,  when  he  was  recalled.
Cook, give me cutlets for supper to-morrow night in  the  mid-watch.  D'ye
hear? away you sail, then. -Halloa! stop! make a bow before you go. -Avast
heaving again!
    Whale-balls for breakfast -don't forget. Wish, by gor! whale eat him,
'stead of him eat whale. I'm bressed if he ain't more of shark  dan  Massa
Shark hisself, muttered  the  old  man,  limping  away;  with  which  sage
ejaculation he went to his hammock.
    A little item may as well be related here.  The  strongest  and  most
reliable hold which the ship has upon the whale when moored alongside,  is
by the flukes or tail; and as  from  its  greater  density  that  part  is
relatively  heavier  than  any  other  (excepting  the   side-fins),   its
flexibility even in death, causes it to sink low beneath the  surface;  so
that with the hand you cannot get at it from the boat, in order to put the
chain round it. But this difficulty  is  ingeniously  overcome:  a  small,
strong line is prepared with a wooden float at its outer end, and a weight
in its middle, while the other end is  secured  to  the  ship.  By  adroit
management the wooden float is to rise on the other side of the  mass,  so
that now having girdled the made whale,  the  chain  is  readily  made  to
follow suit; and being slipped along the body,  is  at  last  locked  fast
round the smallest part of the tail, at the point  of  junction  with  its
broad flukes or lobes.



                        65. THE WHALE AS A DISH

    That mortal man should feed upon the creature that  feeds  his  lamp,
and, like Stubb, eat him by his own light, as you may say; this  seems  so
outlandish a thing that one must needs go a little into  the  history  and
philosophy of it. It is upon record, that three centuries ago  the  tongue
of the Right Whale was esteemed a great delicacy in France, and  commanded
large prices there. Also, that in Henry VIIIth's time, a certain  cook  of
the court obtained a handsome reward for inventing an admirable  sauce  to
be eaten with barbacued porpoises, which, you remember, are a  species  of
whale. Porpoises, indeed, are to this day considered fine eating. The meat
is made into balls about the  size  of  billiard  balls,  and  being  well
seasoned and spiced might be taken for turtle-balls or veal balls.
    The old monks of Dunfermline were very fond of them. They had a great
porpoise grant from the crown. The fact is,  that  among  his  hunters  at
least, the whale would by all hands be considered a noble dish, were there
not so much of him; but when you come to sit down before a meat-pie nearly
one hundred feet  long,  it  takes  away  your  appetite.  Only  the  most
unprejudiced of men like Stubb, nowadays partake of cooked whales; but the
Esquimaux are not so fastidious. We all know how they  live  upon  whales,
and have rare old vintages of prime old train oil. Zogranda, one of  their
most famous doctors, recommends strips of blubber for  infants,  as  being
exceedingly juicy  and  nourishing.  And  this  reminds  me  that  certain
Englishmen, who long ago were accidentally left in Greenland by a  whaling
vessel -that these men actually lived for several  months  on  the  mouldy
scraps of whales which had been left ashore after trying out the  blubber.
Among the Dutch whalemen these scraps are called fritters; which,  indeed,
they greatly resemble, being brown and crisp, and smelling something  like
old Amsterdam housewives' dough-nuts or oly-cooks, when fresh.
    They have such an eatable look that the  most  self-denying  stranger
can hardly keep his hands off. But what further depreciates the whale as a
civilized dish, is his exceeding richness. He is the great prize ox of the
sea, too fat to be delicately good. Look at his hump, which  would  be  as
fine eating as the buffalo's (which is esteemed a rare dish), were it  not
such a solid pyramid of fat. But the  spermaceti  itself,  how  bland  and
creamy that is; like  the  transparent,  half-jellied,  white  meat  of  a
cocoanut in the third month of its growth, yet far too rich  to  supply  a
substitute for butter.  Nevertheless,  many  whalemen  have  a  method  of
absorbing it into some other substance, and then partaking of it.  In  the
long try watches of the night it is a common thing for the seamen  to  dip
their ship-biscuit into the huge oil-pots and let them fry  there  awhile.
Many a good supper have I thus made. In the case of a  small  Sperm  Whale
the brains are accounted a fine dish. The casket of the  skull  is  broken
into with an axe,  and  the  two  plump,  whitish  lobes  being  withdrawn
(precisely resembling two large puddings), they are then mixed with flour,
and cooked into a most delectable  mess,  in  flavor  somewhat  resembling
calves' head, which is quite a dish among some  epicures;  and  every  one
knows that some young bucks among the epicures, by continually dining upon
calves' brains, by and by get to have a little brains of their own, so  as
to be able to tell a calf's head from  their  own  heads;  which,  indeed,
requires uncommon discrimination. And that is the reason why a young  buck
with an intelligent looking calf's head before him, is somehow one of  the
saddest sights you can see. The head looks a sort of reproachfully at him,
with an Et tu Brute! expression. It is not, perhaps, entirely because  the
whale is so excessively unctuous that landsmen seem to regard  the  eating
of him with abhorrence; that appears to result,  in  some  way,  from  the
consideration before mentioned: i. e.  that  a  man  should  eat  a  newly
murdered thing of the sea, and eat it too by its own light. But  no  doubt
the first man that ever murdered an ox was regarded as a murderer; perhaps
he was hung; and if he had been put on his trial  by  oxen,  he  certainly
would have been; and he certainly deserved it if any murderer does. Go  to
the meat-market of a Saturday night and see  the  crowds  of  live  bipeds
staring up at the long rows of dead quadrupeds. Does not that sight take a
tooth out of the cannibal's jaw? Cannibals? who is not a cannibal? I  tell
you it will be more tolerable for  the  Fejee  that  salted  down  a  lean
missionary in his  cellar  against  a  coming  famine;  it  will  be  more
tolerable for that provident Fejee, I say, in the day  of  judgment,  than
for thee, civilized and enlightened gourmand, who  nailest  geese  to  the
ground and feastest on their bloated livers in thy pate-de-foie-gras.  But
Stubb, he eats the whale by its own light, does he?  and  that  is  adding
insult to injury, is it? Look at your knife-handle,  there,  my  civilized
and enlightened gourmand dining off that roast beef, what is  that  handle
made of? -what but the bones of the brother of the very ox you are eating?
And what do you pick your teeth with, after devouring that fat goose? With
a feather of the same fowl. And with what quill did the Secretary  of  the
Society for the Suppression of Cruelty  to  Ganders  formally  indite  his
circulars? It is only within the last  month  or  two  that  that  society
passed a resolution to patronize nothing but steel pens.



                         66. THE SHARK MASSACRE

    When in the Southern Fishery, a captured Sperm Whale, after long  and
weary toil, is brought alongside late at night, it is not,  as  a  general
thing at least, customary to proceed at once to the  business  of  cutting
him in. For that business is an exceedingly laborious  one;  is  not  very
soon completed; and requires all hands to set  about  it.  Therefore,  the
common usage is to take in all sail; lash the helm a'lee;  and  then  send
every one below to his hammock till daylight, with the  reservation  that,
until that time, anchor-watches shall be kept; that is, two and two for an
hour, each couple, the crew in rotation shall mount the deck to  see  that
all goes well. But sometimes, especially upon the  Line  in  the  Pacific,
this plan will not answer at  all;  because  such  incalculable  hosts  of
sharks gather round the moored carcase, that  were  he  left  so  for  six
hours, say, on a stretch, little more than the skeleton would  be  visible
by morning. In most other parts of the ocean, however, where these fish do
not  so  largely  abound,  their  wondrous  voracity  can  be   at   times
considerably  diminished,  by  vigorously  stirring  them  up  with  sharp
whaling-spades, a procedure notwithstanding,  which,  in  some  instances,
only seems to tickle them into still greater activity. But it was not thus
in the present case with the Pequod's sharks; though, to be sure, any  man
unaccustomed to such sights, to have looked  over  her  side  that  night,
would have almost thought the whole round sea was  one  huge  cheese,  and
those sharks the maggots in  it.  nevertheless,  upon  stubb  setting  the
anchor-watch after  his  supper  was  concluded;  and  when,  accordingly,
Queequeg and a forecastle seaman came on deck,  no  small  excitement  was
created among the sharks; for immediately suspending  the  cutting  stages
over the side, and lowering three lanterns, so that they cast long  gleams
of light over the turbid sea,  these  two  mariners,  darting  their  long
whaling-spades, kept up an incessant murdering of the sharks, by  striking
the keen steel deep into their skulls, seemingly their  only  vital  part.
But in the foamy confusion  of  their  mixed  and  struggling  hosts,  the
marksmen could not always hit their  mark;  and  this  brought  about  new
revelations of the incredible ferocity of the foe. They viciously snapped,
not only at each other's disembowelments, but  like  flexible  bows,  bent
round, and bit their own; till those entrails seemed  swallowed  over  and
over again by the same mouth, to be oppositely voided by the gaping wound.
Nor was this all. It was unsafe to meddle with the corpses and  ghosts  of
these creatures. A sort of generic or Pantheistic vitality seemed to  lurk
in their very joints and bones, after what might be called the  individual
life had departed. Killed and hoisted on deck for the sake  of  his  skin,
one of these sharks almost took poor Queequeg's hand off, when he tried to
shut down the dead lid of his murderous jaw. Queequeg  no  care  what  god
made him shark, said the savage, agonizingly lifting his hand up and down;
wedder Fejee god or Nantucket god; but de god wat made shark must  be  one
dam Ingin.
    The whaling-spade used for cutting-in is made of the very best steel;
is about the bigness of  a  man's  spread  hand;  and  in  general  shape,
corresponds to the garden implement after which  it  is  named;  only  its
sides are perfectly flat, and its upper end considerably narrower than the
lower. This weapon is always kept as sharp as  possible;  and  when  being
used is occasionally honed, just like a razor.  In  its  socket,  a  stiff
pole, from twenty to thirty feet long, is inserted for a handle.



                            67. CUTTING IN

    It was a Saturday night, and such a Sabbath as followed!  Ex  officio
professors of Sabbath breaking are all  whalemen.  The  ivory  Pequod  was
turned into what seemed a shamble; every sailor a butcher. You would  have
thought we were offering up ten thousand red oxen to the sea gods. In  the
first place, the enormous cutting tackles, among  other  ponderous  things
comprising a cluster of blocks  generally  painted  green,  and  which  no
single man can possibly lift -this vast bunch of grapes was swayed  up  to
the main-top and firmly lashed to the lower mast-head, the strongest point
anywhere above a ship's deck. The end  of  the  hawser-like  rope  winding
through these intricacies, was then conducted to  the  windlass,  and  the
huge lower block of the tackles was swung over the whale;  to  this  block
the great blubber hook, weighing some one hundred  pounds,  was  attached.
And now suspended in stages over the side, Starbuck and Stubb, the  mates,
armed with their long spades, began cutting a hole in  the  body  for  the
insertion of the hook just above the nearest of the  two  side-fins.  This
done, a broad, semicircular line is  cut  round  the  hole,  the  hook  is
inserted, and the main body of the crew striking up  a  wild  chorus,  now
commence heaving in one dense crowd at the windlass. When  instantly,  the
entire ship careens over on her side; every bolt in her  starts  like  the
nail-heads of an old house in frosty weather; she trembles,  quivers,  and
nods her frighted mast-heads to the sky. More and more she leans  over  to
the whale, while every gasping heave of the  windlass  is  answered  by  a
helping heave from the billows; till at last, a swift, startling  snap  is
heard; with a great swash the ship rolls upwards and  backwards  from  the
whale, and the triumphant tackle rises into sight dragging  after  it  the
disengaged semicircular end of the first strip  of  blubber.  Now  as  the
blubber envelopes the whale precisely as the rind does an orange, so is it
stripped off from the body precisely as an orange is sometimes stripped by
spiralizing it.  For  the  strain  constantly  kept  up  by  the  windlass
continually keeps the whale rolling over and over in the water, and as the
blubber in one strip uniformly peels off along the line called the  scarf,
simultaneously cut by the spades of Starbuck and  Stubb,  the  mates;  and
just as fast as it is thus peeled off, and indeed by that very act itself,
it is all the time being hoisted higher and higher aloft  till  its  upper
end grazes the main-top; the men at the windlass then cease  heaving,  and
for a moment or two the prodigious blood-dripping mass sways to and fro as
if let down from the sky, and every one present must  take  good  heed  to
dodge it when it swings, else it may box his ears and pitch  him  headlong
overboard. One of the attending harpooneers now advances with a long, keen
weapon called a boarding-sword, and watching  his  chance  he  dexterously
slices out a considerable hole in the lower part of the swaying mass. Into
this hole, the end of the second alternating great tackle is  then  hooked
so as to retain a hold upon the blubber, in  order  to  prepare  for  what
follows. Whereupon, this accomplished  swordsman,  warning  all  hands  to
stand off, once more makes a scientific dash at the mass, and with  a  few
sidelong, desperate, lunging slicings, severs it completely in  twain;  so
that while the short lower part is  still  fast,  the  long  upper  strip,
called a blanket-piece, swings clear, and is all ready for  lowering.  The
heavers forward now resume their song, and while the one tackle is peeling
and hoisting a second strip from the whale, the other is slowly  slackened
away, and down goes the  first  strip  through  the  main  hatchway  right
beneath, into an unfurnished parlor called  the  blubber-room.  Into  this
twilight  apartment  sundry  nimble  hands  keep  coiling  away  the  long
blanket-piece as if it were a great live mass  of  plaited  serpents.  And
thus  the  work  proceeds;  the  two   tackles   hoisting   and   lowering
simultaneously; both whale and windlass heaving, the heavers singing,  the
blubber-room gentlemen coiling, the mates scarfing,  the  ship  straining,
and all hands swearing occasionally,  by  way  of  assuaging  the  general
friction.



                             68. THE BLANKET

    I have given no small attention to that not unvexed subject, the skin
of the whale. I have had controversies about it with experienced  whalemen
afloat, and learned naturalists ashore.
    My original opinion remains unchanged; but it is only an opinion. The
question is, what and where is the skin of the  whale?  Already  you  know
what his blubber is. That blubber is something of the consistence of firm,
close-grained beef, but tougher, more elastic and compact, and ranges from
eight or ten to twelve and  fifteen  inches  in  thickness.  Now,  however
preposterous it may at first seem to talk of any creature's skin as  being
of that sort of consistence and thickness, yet in point of fact these  are
no arguments against such a presumption;  because  you  cannot  raise  any
other dense enveloping layer from the whale's body but that same  blubber;
and the outermost enveloping layer of any  animal,  if  reasonably  dense,
what can that be but the skin? True, from the unmarred dead  body  of  the
whale, you may scrape off with your hand an infinitely  thin,  transparent
substance, somewhat resembling the thinnest shreds of isinglass,  only  it
is almost as flexible and soft as satin; that is, previous to being dried,
when it not only contracts and  thickens,  but  becomes  rather  hard  and
brittle. I have several such dried bits, which  I  use  for  marks  in  my
whale-books. It is transparent, as I said before; and being laid upon  the
printed page, I have sometimes pleased myself with fancying it  exerted  a
magnifying influence. At any rate, it is pleasant  to  read  about  whales
through their own spectacles, as you may say. But what  I  am  driving  at
here is this. That same infinitely thin,  isinglass  substance,  which,  I
admit, invests the entire body of the whale, is not so much to be regarded
as the skin of the creature, as the skin of the skin, so to speak; for  it
were simply ridiculous to say, that the  proper  skin  of  the  tremendous
whale is thinner and more tender than the skin of a new-born child. But no
more of this. Assuming the blubber to be the skin of the whale; then, when
this skin, as in the case of a very large Sperm Whale, will yield the bulk
of one hundred barrels of  oil;  and,  when  it  is  considered  that,  in
quantity, or rather weight, that oil, in  its  expressed  state,  is  only
three fourths, and not the entire substance of the  coat;  some  idea  may
hence be had of the enormousness of that animated mass,  a  mere  part  of
whose mere integument yields such a lake of liquid as that. Reckoning  ten
barrels to the ton, you have ten tons for the net  weight  of  only  three
quarters of the stuff of the whale's skin. In life, the visible surface of
the Sperm Whale is not the least  among  the  many  marvels  he  presents.
Almost invariably it is all over obliquely  crossed  and  re-crossed  with
numberless straight marks in thick array,  something  like  those  in  the
finest Italian line  engravings.  But  these  marks  do  not  seem  to  be
impressed upon the isinglass substance above mentioned,  but  seem  to  be
seen through it, as if they were engraved upon the  body  itself.  Nor  is
this all. In some instances, to the quick,  observant  eye,  those  linear
marks, as in a veritable engraving, but afford the ground  for  far  other
delineations. These  are  hieroglyphical;  that  is,  if  you  call  those
mysterious cyphers on the walls of pyramids hieroglyphics,  then  that  is
the proper word to use in the present connexion. By my retentive memory of
the hieroglyphics upon one Sperm Whale in particular, I  was  much  struck
with a plate representing the  old  Indian  characters  chiselled  on  the
famous hieroglyphic palisades on the banks of the Upper Mississippi.  Like
those mystic rocks, too, the mystic-marked whale  remains  undecipherable.
This allusion to the Indian rocks reminds me of another thing. Besides all
the other phenomena which the exterior of the Sperm Whale presents, he not
seldom displays the back, and more especially his flanks, effaced in great
part of  the  regular  linear  appearance,  by  reason  of  numerous  rude
scratches, altogether of an irregular, random aspect. I  should  say  that
those New England rocks on the sea-coast, which Agassiz imagines  to  bear
the marks of violent scraping  contact  with  vast  floating  icebergs  -I
should say, that those rocks must not a little resemble the Sperm Whale in
this particular. It also seems to me that such scratches in the whale  are
probably made by hostile contact  with  other  whales;  for  I  have  most
remarked them in the large, full-grown bulls of the species. A word or two
more concerning this matter of the skin or blubber of the  whale.  It  has
already been said, that it is stript  from  him  in  long  pieces,  called
blanket-pieces.  Like  most  sea-terms,  this  one  is  very   happy   and
significant. For the whale is indeed wrapt up in his blubber as in a  real
blanket or counterpane; or, still better, an Indian poncho slipt over  his
head, and skirting his extremity. It is by reason of this cosy  blanketing
of his body, that the whale is enabled to keep himself comfortable in  all
weathers, in all seas, times, and tides. What would become of a  Greenland
whale, say, in those shuddering, icy seas of the north, if unsupplied with
his cosy surtout? True, other fish are found exceedingly  brisk  in  those
Hyperborean waters; but these, be  it  observed,  are  your  cold-blooded,
lungless fish, whose very bellies are refrigerators; creatures, that  warm
themselves under the lee of an iceberg, as a  traveller  in  winter  would
bask before an inn fire; whereas, like man, the whale has lungs  and  warm
blood. Freeze his blood, and he dies. How wonderful  is  it  then  -except
after explanation -that this great monster, to whom corporeal warmth is as
indispensable as it is to man; how wonderful that he should  be  found  at
home, immersed to his lips for life in those Arctic  waters!  where,  when
seamen fall  overboard,  they  are  sometimes  found,  months  afterwards,
perpendicularly frozen into the hearts of fields of ice, as a fly is found
glued in amber. But more surprising is it to know, as has been  proved  by
experiment, that the blood of a Polar whale  is  warmer  than  that  of  a
Borneo negro in summer. It does seem to me, that herein we  see  the  rare
virtue of a strong individual vitality,  and  the  rare  virtue  of  thick
walls, and the rare virtue of interior spaciousness. Oh, man!  admire  and
model thyself after the whale! Do thou, too, remain  warm  among  ice.  Do
thou, too, live in this world without being of it. Be cool at the equator;
keep thy blood fluid at the Pole. Like the great dome of St. Peter's,  and
like the great whale, retain,
    O man! in all seasons a temperature of thine own. But  how  easy  and
how hopeless to teach these fine things! Of erections, how few  are  domed
like St. Peter's! of creatures, how few vast as the whale!



                            69. THE FUNERAL

    Haul in the chains! Let the carcase go astern! The vast tackles  have
now done their duty. The peeled white body of the beheaded  whale  flashes
like a marble sepulchre; though changed in hue,  it  has  not  perceptibly
lost anything in bulk. it is still colossal. slowly  it  floats  more  and
more away, the water round it torn and splashed by the  insatiate  sharks,
and the air above vexed with rapacious flights of screaming  fowls,  whose
beaks are like so many insulting poniards in the  whale.  The  vast  white
headless phantom floats further and further from the ship, and  every  rod
that it so floats, what seem square roods of sharks  and  cubic  roods  of
fowls, augment the murderous din. For hours  and  hours  from  the  almost
stationary ship that hideous sight is seen. Beneath the unclouded and mild
azure sky, upon the fair face of the pleasant sea, wafted  by  the  joyous
breezes, that great mass of death floats on and on, till lost in  infinite
perspectives. There's  a  most  doleful  and  most  mocking  funeral!  The
sea-vultures all in pious mourning, the air-sharks  all  punctiliously  in
black or speckled. In life but few of them would have helped the whale,  I
ween, if peradventure he had needed  it;  but  upon  the  banquet  of  his
funeral they most piously do pounce. Oh,  horrible  vultureism  of  earth!
from which not  the  mightiest  whale  is  free.  Nor  is  this  the  end.
Desecrated as the body is, a vengeful ghost survives and hovers over it to
scare. Espied by some timid man-of-war or blundering discovery-vessel from
afar, when the distance obscuring the swarming fowls,  nevertheless  still
shows the white mass floating in the sun, and the white spray heaving high
against it; straightway  the  whale's  unharming  corpse,  with  trembling
fingers is set down in the log - shoals, rocks, and  breakers  hereabouts:
beware! And for years afterwards, perhaps, ships shun the  place;  leaping
over it as silly sheep leap over a vacuum, because their leader originally
leaped there when a stick  was  held.  There's  your  law  of  precedents;
there's your utility of traditions; there's the story  of  your  obstinate
survival of old beliefs never bottomed on the  earth,  and  now  not  even
hovering in the air! There's orthodoxy! Thus,  while  in  life  the  great
whale's body may have been a real terror to his foes,  in  his  death  his
ghost becomes a powerless panic to a world. Are you a believer in  ghosts,
my friend? There are other ghosts than the Cock-Lane one, and  far  deeper
men than Doctor Johnson who believe in them.



                             70. THE SPHYNX

    It should not have been omitted that previous to completely stripping
the body of the leviathan, he was beheaded.  Now,  the  beheading  of  the
Sperm Whale is a scientific anatomical feat, upon which experienced  whale
surgeons very much pride themselves; and not without reason. Consider that
the whale has nothing that can properly be called a neck; on the contrary,
where his head and body seem to join, there, in that very  place,  is  the
thickest part of him. Remember, also, that the surgeon must  operate  from
above, some eight or ten feet intervening between him and his subject, and
that subject almost  hidden  in  a  discolored,  rolling,  and  oftentimes
tumultuous and bursting sea. Bear in mind, too, that under these  untoward
circumstances he has to cut many feet deep  in  the  flesh;  and  in  that
subterraneous manner, without so much as getting one single peep into  the
ever-contracting gash thus made, he must  skilfully  steer  clear  of  all
adjacent, interdicted parts, and exactly divide the spine  at  a  critical
point hard by its insertion into the skull. Do you not  marvel,  then,  at
Stubb's boast, that he demanded but ten minutes to behead a  sperm  whale?
When first severed, the head is dropped astern and held there by  a  cable
till the body is stripped. That done, if it belong to a small whale it  is
hoisted on deck to be deliberately disposed of. But,  with  a  full  grown
leviathan this is impossible; for the sperm whale's head  embraces  nearly
one third of his entire bulk, and completely to suspend such a  burden  as
that, even by the immense tackles of a whaler, this were as vain  a  thing
as to attempt weighing a Dutch barn  in  jewellers'  scales  The  Pequod's
whale being decapitated and  the  body  stripped,  the  head  was  hoisted
against the ship's side -about half way out of the sea, so that  it  might
yet in great part be buoyed up by its native element. And there  with  the
strained craft steeply leaning over to  it,  by  reason  of  the  enormous
downward drag from the lower mast-head, and every yard-arm  on  that  side
projecting like a crane over the waves; there,  that  blood-dripping  head
hung to the Pequod's waist like the giant Holofernes's from the girdle  of
Judith. When this last task was accomplished it was noon, and  the  seamen
went below to their dinner. Silence reigned over the before tumultuous but
now deserted deck. An intense copper calm, like a universal yellow  lotus,
was more and more unfolding its noiseless measureless leaves upon the sea.
A short space elapsed, and up into this noiselessness came Ahab alone from
his cabin. Taking a few turns on the quarter-deck, he paused to gaze  over
the side, then slowly getting into the main-chains he  took  Stubb's  long
spade -still remaining there after the whale's decapitation -and  striking
it into the lower part of the half-suspended mass, placed  its  other  end
crutch-wise under one arm, and so stood leaning over with eyes attentively
fixed on this head. It was a black and hooded head; and hanging  there  in
the midst of so intense a calm, it seemed  the  Sphynx's  in  the  desert.
Speak,  thou  vast  and  venerable  head,  muttered  Ahab,  which,  though
ungarnished with a beard, yet here and there lookest  hoary  with  mosses;
speak, mighty head, and tell us the secret thing that is in thee.  Of  all
divers, thou hast dived the deepest. that head upon which  the  upper  sun
now gleams, has moved amid  this  world's  foundations.  Where  unrecorded
names and navies rust, and untold hopes and  anchors  rot;  where  in  her
murderous hold this frigate earth is ballasted with bones of  millions  of
the drowned; there, in that awful water-land, there was thy most  familiar
home. Thou hast been where bell or diver never went; hast slept by many  a
sailor's side, where sleepless mothers would give their lives to lay  them
down. Thou saw'st the locked lovers when leaping from their flaming  ship;
heart to heart they sank beneath the exulting wave; true  to  each  other,
when heaven seemed false to them.  Thou  saw'st  the  murdered  mate  when
tossed by pirates from the midnight deck;  for  hours  he  fell  into  the
deeper midnight of the insatiate maw; and his murderers  still  sailed  on
unharmed -while swift lightnings shivered the neighboring ship that  would
have borne a righteous husband to outstretched, longing arms. O head! thou
hast seen enough to split the planets and make an infidel of Abraham,  and
not one syllable is thine! Sail ho! cried  a  triumphant  voice  from  the
main-masthead. Aye? Well,  now,  that's  cheering,  cried  Ahab,  suddenly
erecting himself, while whole thunder-clouds swept aside from his brow.
    That lively cry upon this deadly calm might almost convert  a  better
man. -Where away? Three points on the starboard  bow,  sir,  and  bringing
down her breeze to us! Better and better, man. Would now  St.  Paul  would
come along that way, and to my breezelessness bring his breeze! O  Nature,
and O soul of man! how far beyond all utterance are your linked analogies!
not the smallest atom stirs or  lives  on  matter,  but  has  its  cunning
duplicate in mind.



                         71. THE JEROBOAM'S STORY

    Hand in hand, ship and breeze blew on; but  the  breeze  came  faster
than the ship, and soon the Pequod began to rock. By and by,  through  the
glass the stranger's boats and manned mast-heads proved her a  whale-ship.
but as she was so far to windward, and shooting by,  apparently  making  a
passage to some other ground, the Pequod could not hope to reach  her.  So
the signal was set to see what response would be made. Here  be  it  said,
that like the vessels of military marines, the ships of the American Whale
Fleet have each a private signal; all which signals being collected  in  a
book with the names of the respective vessels attached, every  captain  is
provided with it. Thereby, the whale commanders are enabled  to  recognise
each other upon the ocean, even at considerable  distances,  and  with  no
small facility. The Pequod's signal  was  at  last  responded  to  by  the
stranger's setting her own; which proved the ship to be  the  Jeroboam  of
Nantucket. Squaring her yards, she  bore  down,  ranged  abeam  under  the
Pequod's lee, and  lowered  a  boat;  it  soon  drew  nigh;  but,  as  the
side-ladder was being  rigged  by  Starbuck's  order  to  accommodate  the
visiting captain, the stranger in question waved his hand from his  boat's
stern in token of that proceeding being entirely  unnecessary.  It  turned
out that the Jeroboam had a malignant epidemic on board, and that  Mayhew,
her captain, was fearful of infecting the Pequod's  company.  For,  though
himself and boat's crew remained untainted, and though his ship was half a
rifle-shot off, and an incorruptible  sea  and  air  rolling  and  flowing
between; yet conscientiously adhering to the timid quarantine of the land,
he peremptorily refused to come into direct contact with the  Pequod.  But
this did by no means prevent all communication. Preserving an interval  of
some few yards between itself and the ship, the  Jeroboam's  boat  by  the
occasional use of its oars contrived to keep parallel to  the  Pequod,  as
she heavily forged through the sea (for by this time it blew very  fresh),
with her main-topsail aback; though, indeed, at times by the sudden  onset
of a large rolling wave, the boat would be  pushed  some  way  ahead;  but
would be soon skilfully brought to her proper bearings again.  Subject  to
this, and other the like interruptions now and then,  a  conversation  was
sustained between the two parties; but  at  intervals  not  without  still
another interruption of a very different  sort.  Pulling  an  oar  in  the
Jeroboam's boat, was a man of a singular appearance,  even  in  that  wild
whaling life where individual notabilities make up all totalities. He  was
a small, short, youngish man, sprinkled all over his face  with  freckles,
and wearing redundant yellow hair. A long-skirted, cabalistically-cut coat
of a faded walnut tinge enveloped him; the overlapping  sleeves  of  which
were rolled up on his wrists. A deep, settled, fanatic delirium was in his
eyes. So soon as this figure had been first descried, Stubb had  exclaimed
- That's he! that's he! the long-togged scaramouch the  Town-Ho's  company
told us of!
    Stubb here alluded to a strange story told of  the  Jeroboam,  and  a
certain man among her crew, some time previous when the Pequod  spoke  the
Town-Ho. According to this account and what was subsequently  learned,  it
seemed that the scaramouch in question had gained a  wonderful  ascendency
over almost everybody in the Jeroboam. His story was  this:  He  had  been
originally nurtured among the crazy society of Neskyeuna Shakers, where he
had been a great prophet; in their cracked, secret meetings having several
times descended from heaven by the way  of  a  trap-door,  announcing  the
speedy opening of the seventh vial, which he carried in  his  vest-pocket;
but, which, instead of containing gunpowder, was supposed  to  be  charged
with laudanum. A strange, apostolic whim having seized him,  he  had  left
Neskyeuna for Nantucket, where, with that cunning peculiar  to  craziness,
he assumed a steady, common  sense  exterior  and  offered  himself  as  a
green-hand candidate for the Jeroboam's whaling voyage. They engaged  him;
but straightway upon the ship's getting out of sight of land, his insanity
broke out in a freshet. He announced himself as the archangel Gabriel, and
commanded the captain to  jump  overboard.  He  published  his  manifesto,
whereby he set himself forth as the deliverer of the isles of the sea  and
vicar-general of all Oceanica. The unflinching earnestness with  which  he
declared these things; -the dark, daring play of  his  sleepless,  excited
imagination, and all the preternatural terrors of real delirium, united to
invest this Gabriel in the minds of the majority  of  the  ignorant  crew,
with an atmosphere of sacredness. Moreover, they were afraid  of  him.  As
such a man, however, was not of much practical use in the ship, especially
as he refused to work except when  he  pleased,  the  incredulous  captain
would fain have been rid of  him;  but  apprised  that  that  individual's
intention was to land him in the  first  convenient  port,  the  archangel
forthwith opened all his seals and vials - devoting the ship and all hands
to unconditional perdition, in case this intention  was  carried  out.  So
strongly did he work upon his disciples among the crew, that at last in  a
body they went to the captain and told him if Gabriel was  sent  from  the
ship, not a  man  of  them  would  remain.  He  was  therefore  forced  to
relinquish his  plan.  Nor  would  they  permit  Gabriel  to  be  any  way
maltreated, say or do what he would; so that it came to pass that  Gabriel
had the complete freedom of the ship. The consequence  of  all  this  was,
that the archangel cared little or nothing for the captain and mates;  and
since the epidemic had broken out, he carried a  higher  hand  than  ever;
declaring that the plague, as he called it, was at his sole  command;  nor
should it be stayed but according  to  his  good  pleasure.  The  sailors,
mostly poor devils, cringed, and  some  of  them  fawned  before  him;  in
obedience to his instructions, sometimes rendering him personal homage, as
to a god. Such things may seem incredible; but, however wondrous, they are
true. Nor is the history of fanatics half so striking in  respect  to  the
measureless self-deception of the  fanatic  himself,  as  his  measureless
power of deceiving and bedevilling so many  others.  But  it  is  time  to
return to the Pequod. I fear not thy epidemic, man,  said  Ahab  from  the
bulwarks to Captain Mayhew, who stood in the boat's stern; come on  board.
But now Gabriel started to his feet. Think, think of  the  fevers,  yellow
and bilious! Beware  of  the  horrible  plague!  Gabriel,  Gabriel!  cried
Captain Mayhew; thou must either- But that instant a  headlong  wave  shot
the boat far ahead, and its seethings drowned all speech. Hast  thou  seen
the White Whale? demanded Ahab, when the boat drifted back.  Think,  think
of thy whale-boat, stoven and sunk! Beware of the horrible  tail!  I  tell
thee again, Gabriel, that- But again the boat tore ahead as if dragged  by
fiends. Nothing was said for some moments, while a succession  of  riotous
waves rolled by, which by one of those occasional  caprices  of  the  seas
were tumbling, not heaving it.
    Meantime, the hoisted sperm whale's head jogged about very violently,
and Gabriel was seen eyeing it with rather more apprehensiveness than  his
archangel nature seemed to warrant. When this interlude was over,  Captain
Mayhew began a dark story concerning  Moby  Dick;  not,  however,  without
frequent interruptions from Gabriel, whenever his name was mentioned,  and
the crazy sea that seemed leagued with him. It seemed  that  the  Jeroboam
had not long left home, when upon speaking a whale-ship, her  people  were
reliably apprised of the existence of Moby Dick,  and  the  havoc  he  had
made. Greedily sucking in this intelligence, Gabriel solemnly  warned  the
captain against attacking the white whale, in case the monster  should  be
seen; in his gibbering insanity, pronouncing the White Whale to be no less
a being than the Shaker God incarnated; the Shakers receiving  the  Bible.
But when, some year or two afterwards, Moby Dick was fairly  sighted  from
the mast-heads, Macey, the chief mate, burned with ardor to encounter him;
and  the  captain  himself  being  not  unwilling  to  let  him  have  the
opportunity, despite all the archangel's denunciations  and  forewarnings,
Macey succeeded in persuading five men to  man  his  boat.  With  them  he
pushed off; and, after much weary pulling, and many perilous, unsuccessful
onsets, he at last succeeded in getting one iron fast. Meantime,  Gabriel,
ascending to the main-royal mast-head, was  tossing  one  arm  in  frantic
gestures, and hurling forth prophecies of speedy doom to the  sacrilegious
assailants of his divinity. Now, while Macey, the mate, was standing up in
his boat's bow, and with all the reckless energy of his tribe was  venting
his wild exclamations upon the whale, and essaying to get  a  fair  chance
for his poised lance, lo! a broad white shadow rose from the sea;  by  its
quick, fanning motion, temporarily taking the breath out of the bodies  of
the oarsmen. Next instant, the luckless mate, so full of furious life, was
smitten bodily into the air, and making a long arc in  his  descent,  fell
into the sea at the distance of about fifty yards. Not a chip of the  boat
was harmed, nor a hair of any oarsman's head; but the mate for ever  sank.
It is well to parenthesize here,  that  of  the  fatal  accidents  in  the
Sperm-Whale Fishery, this kind is  perhaps  almost  as  frequent  as  any.
Sometimes, nothing is injured but the man who is thus annihilated; oftener
the boat's bow is knocked off, or the thigh-board, in which  the  headsman
stands, is torn from its place and accompanies the body. But strangest  of
all is the circumstance, that in more instances than one,  when  the  body
has been recovered, not a single mark of violence is discernible; the  man
being stark dead. The whole calamity, with the falling form of Macey,  was
plainly descried from the ship. Raising a piercing shriek - The vial!  the
vial! Gabriel called off the terror-stricken crew from the further hunting
of the whale.  This  terrible  event  clothed  the  archangel  with  added
influence;  because  his  credulous  disciples  believed   that   he   had
specifically fore-announced it, instead of only making a general prophecy,
which any one might have done, and so have chanced  to  hit  one  of  many
marks in the wide margin allowed. He became a nameless terror to the ship.
Mayhew having concluded his narration, Ahab put  such  questions  to  him,
that the stranger captain could not forbear inquiring whether he  intended
to hunt the White Whale,  if  opportunity  should  offer.  To  which  Ahab
answered - Aye. Straightway, then, Gabriel once more started to his  feet,
glaring upon the old man, and vehemently exclaimed, with downward  pointed
finger - Think, think of the blasphemer -dead, and down there! -beware  of
the blasphemer's end! Ahab stolidly turned aside; then said to Mayhew,
    Captain, I have just bethought me of my letter-bag; there is a letter
for one of thy officers, if I mistake not. Starbuck, look  over  the  bag.
Every whale-ship takes out a goodly number of letters for  various  ships,
whose delivery to the persons to whom they may be addressed, depends  upon
the mere chance of encountering  them  in  the  four  oceans.  Thus,  most
letters never reach their mark; and many are only received after attaining
an age of two or three years or more. Soon Starbuck returned with a letter
in his hand. It was  sorely  tumbled,  damp,  and  covered  with  a  dull,
spotted, green mould, in consequence of being kept in a dark locker of the
cabin. Of such a letter, Death himself might well have been the  post-boy.
Can'st not read it? cried ahab. give it me, man. aye, aye it's but  a  dim
scrawl; -what's this? As he was studying it  out,  Starbuck  took  a  long
cutting-spade pole, and with his knife slightly split the end,  to  insert
the letter there, and in that way, hand it to the boat, without its coming
any closer to the ship. Meantime, Ahab holding the letter,  muttered,  Mr.
Har-yes, Mr. Harry-(a woman's pinny hand, -the man's wife, I'll  wager)  -
Aye -Mr. Harry Macey, Ship Jeroboam; -why it's Macey, and he's dead!  Poor
fellow! poor fellow! and from his wife, sighed Mayhew; but let me have it.
Nay, keep it thyself, cried Gabriel to Ahab; thou art soon going that way.
Curses throttle thee! yelled Ahab.
    Captain Mayhew, stand by now to receive  it;  and  taking  the  fatal
missive from Starbuck's hands, he caught it in the slit of the  pole,  and
reached it  over  towards  the  boat.  But  as  he  did  so,  the  oarsmen
expectantly desisted from rowing; the boat drifted a  little  towards  the
ship's stern; so that, as if by magic, the letter  suddenly  ranged  along
with Gabriel's eager hand. He  clutched  it  in  an  instant,  seized  the
boat-knife, and impaling the letter on it, sent it thus loaded  back  into
the ship. It fell at  Ahab's  feet.  Then  Gabriel  shrieked  out  to  his
comrades to give way with their oars, and in that manner the mutinous boat
rapidly shot away from the Pequod. As, after this  interlude,  the  seamen
resumed their work upon the jacket of the whale, many strange things  were
hinted in reference to this wild affair.



                 73. STUBB AND FLASK KILL A RIGHT WHALE;
                       AND THEN HAVE A TALK OVER HIM

    It must be borne in mind that all this time we have a  Sperm  Whale's
prodigious head hanging to the Pequod's side. But we must let it  continue
hanging there a while till we can get a chance to attend to  it.  For  the
present other matters press, and the best we can do now for the  head,  is
to pray heaven the tackles may  hold.  Now,  during  the  past  night  and
forenoon, the Pequod had gradually drifted  into  a  sea,  which,  by  its
occasional patches of yellow brit, gave unusual tokens of the vicinity  of
Right Whales, a species of the Leviathan that but few supposed  to  be  at
this particular time lurking anywhere near. And though all hands  commonly
disdained the capture of those inferior creatures; and though  the  Pequod
was not commissioned to cruise for them at all, and though she had  passed
numbers of them near the Crozetts without lowering a boat; yet now that  a
Sperm Whale had been brought alongside and beheaded, to  the  surprise  of
all, the announcement was made that a Right Whale should be captured  that
day, if opportunity offered. Nor was this long wanting. Tall  spouts  were
seen to leeward; and two boats, Stubb's  and  Flask's,  were  detached  in
pursuit. Pulling further and further away,  they  at  last  became  almost
invisible to the men at the mast-head. But suddenly in the distance,  they
saw a great heap of tumultuous white water, and soon after news came  from
aloft that one or both the boats must be fast. An interval passed and  the
boats were in plain sight, in the act of being dragged right  towards  the
ship by the towing whale. So close did the monster come to the hull,  that
at first it seemed as if he meant it malice; but suddenly going down in  a
maelstrom, within three rods of the planks,  he  wholly  disappeared  from
view, as if diving under the keel. Cut, cut! was the cry from the ship  to
the boats, which, for one instant, seemed on the point  of  being  brought
with a deadly dash against the vessel's side. But having  plenty  of  line
yet in the tubs, and the whale not sounding very rapidly,  they  paid  out
abundance of rope, and at the same time pulled with all their might so  as
to get ahead of the ship. For a few minutes  the  struggle  was  intensely
critical; for while they still slacked  out  the  tightened  line  in  one
direction, and still plied their oars in another,  the  contending  strain
threatened to take them under. But it was only a  few  feet  advance  they
sought to gain. And  they  stuck  to  it  till  they  did  gain  it;  when
instantly, a swift tremor was felt running like lightning along the  keel,
as the strained line, scraping beneath the ship,  suddenly  rose  to  view
under her bows, snapping and quivering; and so flinging off its drippings,
that the drops fell like bits of broken glass  on  the  water,  while  the
whale beyond also rose to sight, and once more the boats were free to fly.
But the fagged whale abated his speed, and blindly  altering  his  course,
went round the stern of the ship towing the two boats after him,  so  that
they performed a complete circuit. Meantime, they  hauled  more  and  more
upon their lines, till close flanking him on both  sides,  Stubb  answered
Flask with lance for lance; and thus round and round the Pequod the battle
went, while the multitudes of sharks that had before swum round the  Sperm
Whale's body, rushed to  the  fresh  blood  that  was  spilled,  thirstily
drinking at every new gash,  as  the  eager  Israelites  did  at  the  new
bursting fountains that poured from the smitten rock. At  last  his  spout
grew thick, and with a frightful roll and vomit, he turned upon his back a
corpse. While the two headsmen were engaged in making fast  cords  to  his
flukes, and in other ways getting the mass in readiness for  towing,  some
conversation ensued between them. I wonder what the  old  man  wants  with
this lump of foul lard, said  Stubb,  not  without  some  disgust  at  the
thought of having to do with so ignoble a leviathan. Wants with  it?  said
Flask, coiling some spare line in the boat's bow, did you never hear  that
the ship which but once has a Sperm Whale's head hoisted on her  starboard
side, and at the same time a Right Whale's on the larboard; did you  never
hear, Stubb, that that ship can never afterwards capsize? Why not? I don't
know, but I heard that gamboge ghost of a Fedallah saying so, and he seems
to know all about ships' charms. But I sometimes  think  he'll  charm  the
ship to no good at last. I don't half like that chap, Stubb. Did you  ever
notice how that tusk of his is a sort  of  carved  into  a  snake's  head,
Stubb? Sink him! I never look at him at all; but if ever I get a chance of
a dark night, and he standing hard by the bulwarks, and no  one  by;  look
down there, Flask -pointing into the sea with a peculiar  motion  of  both
hands - Aye, will I! Flask, I take  that  Fedallah  to  be  the  devil  in
disguise. Do you believe that cock and bull story about  his  having  been
stowed away on board ship? He's the devil, I say. The reason why you don't
see his tail, is because he tucks it up out of sight; he carries it coiled
away in his pocket, I guess. Blast him! now  that  I  think  of  it,  he's
always wanting oakum to stuff into the toes of his boots. He sleeps in his
boots, don't he? He hasn't got any hammock;  but  I've  seen  him  lay  of
nights in a coil of rigging. No doubt, and  it's  because  of  his  cursed
tail; he coils it down, do ye see, in the eye of the rigging.  What's  the
old man have so much to do with him for? Striking up a swap or a  bargain,
I suppose. Bargain? -about what? Why, do ye see, the old man is hard  bent
after that White Whale, and the devil there is trying to come  round  him,
and get him to swap away his silver watch, or his soul,  or  something  of
that sort, and then he'll  surrender  Moby  Dick.  Pooh!  Stubb,  you  are
skylarking; how can Fedallah do that? I don't know, Flask, but  the  devil
is a curious chap, and a wicked one, I tell ye. Why, they say  as  how  he
went a sauntering into the old flag-ship once, switching  his  tail  about
devilish easy and gentlemanlike, and inquiring if the old governor was  at
home. Well, he was at home, and asked the devil what he wanted. The devil,
switching his hoofs, up and says, "I want John." "What for?" says the  old
governor, "What business is that of yours," says the devil,  getting  mad,
-"I want to use him." "Take him," says the  governor  -and  by  the  Lord,
Flask, if the devil didn't give John the Asiatic  cholera  before  he  got
through with him, I'll eat this whale in one  mouthful.  But  look  sharp-
aint you all ready there? Well, then, pull ahead, and let's get the  whale
alongside. I think I remember some such story as you  were  telling,  said
Flask, when at last the two boats were slowly advancing with their  burden
towards the ship, but I can't remember where. Three Spaniards?  Adventures
of those three bloody-minded soldadoes? Did ye read  it  there,  Flask?  I
guess ye did? No; never saw such a book; heard of  it,  though.  But  now,
tell me, Stubb, do you suppose that that devil you was  speaking  of  just
now, was the same you say is now on board the Pequod?
    Am I the same man that helped kill this whale? Doesn't the devil live
for ever; who ever heard that the devil was dead? Did  you  ever  see  any
parson a wearing mourning for the devil? And if the devil has a  latch-key
to get into the admiral's cabin, don't you suppose he  can  crawl  into  a
port-hole? Tell me that, Mr. Flask? How old do you  suppose  Fedallah  is,
Stubb? Do you see that mainmast there? pointing to the ship; well,  that's
the figure one; now take all the hoops in the Pequod's  hold,  and  string
'em along in a row with that mast, for oughts,  do  you  see;  well,  that
wouldn't begin to be Fedallah's age.  Nor  all  the  coopers  in  creation
couldn't show hoops enough to make oughts enough. but see here,  stubb,  i
thought you a little boasted just now, that you meant to give  Fedallah  a
sea-toss, if you got a good chance. Now, if he's so old as all those hoops
of yours come to, and if he is going to live for ever, what good  will  it
do to pitch him overboard -tell me that? Give him a good ducking,  anyhow.
But he'd crawl back. Duck him again; and  keep  ducking  him.  Suppose  he
should take it into his head to duck you, though  -  yes,  and  drown  you
-what then? I should like to see him try it; I'd give him such a  pair  of
black eyes that he wouldn't dare to show his face in the  admiral's  cabin
again for a long while, let alone down in the orlop there, where he lives,
and hereabouts on the upper decks where he sneaks so much. Damn the devil,
Flask; do you suppose I'm afraid of the devil? Who's afraid of him, except
the old governor who daresn't catch him and put him in double-darbies,  as
he deserves, but lets him go about kidnapping people; aye,  and  signed  a
bond with him, that all the people the devil  kidnapped,  he'd  roast  for
him? There's a governor! Do you suppose Fedallah wants to  kidnap  Captain
Ahab? Do I suppose it? You'll know it before long, Flask. But I  am  going
now to keep a sharp look-out on him; and if I see anything very suspicious
going on, I'll just take him by the nape of his neck, and say -Look  here,
Beelzebub, you don't do it; and if he makes any fuss,  by  the  Lord  I'll
make a grab into his pocket for his tail, take it to the capstan, and give
him such a wrenching and heaving, that his tail will come short off at the
stump -do you see; and then, I rather guess when he finds  himself  docked
in that queer fashion, he'll sneak off without the  poor  satisfaction  of
feeling his tail between his legs. And what will you  do  with  the  tail,
Stubb? Do with it? Sell it for an ox whip when we get home; -  what  else?
Now, do you mean what you say, and have been saying all along, stubb? Mean
or not mean, here we are at the ship. The boats were here hailed,  to  tow
the whale on the larboard side, where fluke chains and  other  necessaries
were already prepared for securing him. Didn't I tell you so? said  Flask;
yes, you'll soon see this right whale's  head  hoisted  up  opposite  that
parmacetti's. In good time, Flask's saying proved  true.  As  before,  the
Pequod steeply leaned over towards the sperm whale's  head,  now,  by  the
counterpoise of both heads, she regained  her  even  keel;  though  sorely
strained, you may well believe. So, when on one side you hoist in  Locke's
head, you go over that way; but now, on the other side,  hoist  in  Kant's
and you come back again; but in very poor plight.  Thus,  some  minds  for
ever keep trimming boat. Oh, ye foolish!  throw  all  these  thunder-heads
overboard, and then you will float light and right. In  disposing  of  the
body of  a  right  whale,  when  brought  alongside  the  ship,  the  same
preliminary proceedings commonly take place as in  the  case  of  a  sperm
whale; only, in the latter instance, the head is cut off whole, but in the
former the lips and tongue are separately removed  and  hoisted  on  deck,
with all the well  known  black  bone  attached  to  what  is  called  the
crown-piece. But nothing like this, in the present case,  had  been  done.
The carcases of both whales had dropped astern; and  the  head-laden  ship
not a little resembled a mule carrying a pair of  overburdening  panniers.
Meantime, Fedallah was calmly eyeing the right whale's head, and ever  and
anon glancing from the deep wrinkles there to the lines in his  own  hand.
And Ahab chanced so to stand, that the Parsee occupied his shadow;  while,
if the Parsee's shadow was there at all it seemed only to blend with,  and
lengthen Ahab's. As the  crew  toiled  on,  Laplandish  speculations  were
bandied among them, concerning all these passing things.



                74. THE SPERM WHALE'S HEAD-CONTRASTED VIEW

    Here, now, are two great whales, laying their heads together; let  us
join them, and  lay  together  our  own.  Of  the  grand  order  of  folio
leviathans, the Sperm Whale and the  Right  Whale  are  by  far  the  most
noteworthy. They are the only whales  regularly  hunted  by  man.  To  the
Nantucketer, they present the two extremes of all the known  varieties  of
the whale. As the external difference between them is mainly observable in
their heads; and as a head  of  each  is  this  moment  hanging  from  the
Pequod's side; and as we may freely go from one to the  other,  by  merely
stepping across the deck: -where, I should like to know, will you obtain a
better chance to study practical cetology than here? In the  first  place,
you are struck by the general  contrast  between  these  heads.  Both  are
massive enough in all conscience; but  there  is  a  certain  mathematical
symmetry in the Sperm Whale's which the Right Whale's sadly  lacks.  There
is more character in the  Sperm  Whale's  head.  As  you  behold  it,  you
involuntarily yield the immense superiority to him, in point of  pervading
dignity. In the present instance, too, this dignity is heightened  by  the
pepper and salt color of his head at the summit, giving token of  advanced
age and large experience. In short, he is what the  fishermen  technically
call a grey-headed whale. Let us now note  what  is  least  dissimilar  in
these heads - namely, the two most important organs, the eye and the ear.
    Far back on the side of the head, and low down,  near  the  angle  of
either whale's jaw, if you  narrowly  search,  you  will  at  last  see  a
lashless eye, which you would fancy to be a young colt's eye;  so  out  of
all proportion is it to the magnitude of the head. Now, from this peculiar
sideway position of the whale's eyes, it is plain that he can never see an
object which is exactly ahead, no more than he can one exactly astern.  in
a word, the position of the whale's eyes corresponds to that  of  a  man's
ears; and you may fancy, for yourself, how it would fare with you, did you
sideways survey objects through your ears. You would find that  you  could
only command some thirty degrees of vision  in  advance  of  the  straight
side-line of sight; and about thirty more behind it. If your bitterest foe
were walking straight towards you, with dagger uplifted in broad day,  you
would not be able to see him, any more than if he were stealing  upon  you
from behind. In a word, you would have two backs, so to speak; but, at the
same time, also, two fronts (side fronts): for what is it that  makes  the
front of a man -what, indeed, but his eyes? Moreover, while in most  other
animals that I can now think of, the eyes are so planted as  imperceptibly
to blend their visual power, so as to produce one picture and not  two  to
the brain; the peculiar position of the whale's eyes, effectually  divided
as they are by many cubic feet of solid head, which  towers  between  them
like a great mountain separating two lakes in valleys;  this,  of  course,
must wholly separate the impressions which each independent organ imparts.
The whale, therefore, must see one distinct  picture  on  this  side,  and
another distinct picture on that side; while all between must be  profound
darkness and nothingness to him. Man may, in effect, be said to  look  out
on the world from a sentry-box with two joined sashes for his window.  But
with the whale, these two  sashes  are  separately  inserted,  making  two
distinct windows, but sadly impairing the view. This  peculiarity  of  the
whale's eyes is a thing always to be borne in mind in the fishery; and  to
be remembered by the reader in some subsequent scenes. A curious and  most
puzzling question might  be  started  concerning  this  visual  matter  as
touching the Leviathan. But I must be content with a hint. so  long  as  a
man's eyes are open in the light, the act of seeing is  involuntary;  that
is, he cannot then help mechanically seeing whatever  objects  are  before
him. Nevertheless, any one's experience will teach him, that though he can
take in an undiscriminating sweep of things at one  glance,  it  is  quite
impossible for him, attentively, and completely, to examine any two things
-however large or however small -at one and  the  same  instant  of  time;
never mind if they lie side by side and touch each other. But if  you  now
come to separate these two objects, and  surround  each  by  a  circle  of
profound darkness; then, in order to see one of them, in such a manner  as
to bring your mind to bear on it, the other will be utterly excluded  from
your contemporary consciousness. How is it, then, with  the  whale?  True,
both his eyes, in themselves, must simultaneously act; but is his brain so
much more comprehensive, combining, and subtle than man's, that he can  at
the same moment of time attentively examine two distinct prospects, one on
one side of him, and the other in an exactly  opposite  direction?  If  he
can, then is it as marvellous a thing in  him,  as  if  a  man  were  able
simultaneously to go through the demonstrations of two  distinct  problems
in Euclid. Nor, strictly investigated, is there any  incongruity  in  this
comparison. It may be but an idle whim, but it has always  seemed  to  me,
that the extraordinary vacillations of movement displayed by  some  whales
when beset by three or four boats; the timidity  and  liability  to  queer
frights, so common to such whales;
    I  think  that  all  this  indirectly  proceeds  from  the   helpless
perplexity of volition, in which their divided and diametrically  opposite
powers of vision must involve them. But the ear of the whale  is  full  as
curious as the eye. If you are an entire stranger to their race, you might
hunt over these two heads for hours, and never discover  that  organ.  The
ear has no external leaf whatever; and into the hole itself you can hardly
insert a quill, so wondrously minute is it. It is lodged a  little  behind
the eye. With respect to their ears, this important difference  is  to  be
observed between the sperm whale and the  right.  While  the  ear  of  the
former has an external opening, that of the latter is entirely and  evenly
covered over with a  membrane,  so  as  to  be  quite  imperceptible  from
without. Is it not curious, that so vast a being as the whale  should  see
the world through so small an eye, and hear the  thunder  through  an  ear
which is smaller than a hare's? But if his eyes were broad as the lens  of
Herschel's great telescope; and his  ears  capacious  as  the  porches  of
cathedrals; would that make  him  any  longer  of  sight,  or  sharper  of
hearing? Not at all. - Why then do you try to enlarge your mind? Subtilize
it. Let us now with whatever levers and steam-engines  we  have  at  hand,
cant over the sperm whale's head, so that it  may  lie  bottom  up;  then,
ascending by a ladder to the summit, have a peep down the mouth; and  were
it not that the body is now completely separated from it, with  a  lantern
we might descend into the great Kentucky Mammoth Cave of his stomach.  But
let us hold on here by this tooth, and look about us where we are. What  a
really beautiful and chaste-looking mouth! from floor to  ceiling,  lined,
or rather papered with a  glistening  white  membrane,  glossy  as  bridal
satins. But come out now, and look at this  portentous  lower  jaw,  which
seems like the long narrow lid of an immense snuff-box, with  a  hinge  at
one end, instead of one side. If you pry it up, so as to get it  overhead,
and expose its rows of teeth, it seems a terrific  portcullis;  and  such,
alas! it proves to many a poor wight  in  the  fishery,  upon  whom  these
spikes fall with impaling force. But far more terrible is  it  to  behold,
when fathoms down in the sea, you see some  sulky  whale,  floating  there
suspended, with his  prodigious  jaw,  some  fifteen  feet  long,  hanging
straight down at right-angles with his body, for  all  the  world  like  a
ship's jib-boom. This whale is not dead; he is  only  dispirited;  out  of
sorts, perhaps; hypochondriac; and so supine, that the hinges of  his  jaw
have relaxed, leaving him  there  in  that  ungainly  sort  of  plight,  a
reproach to all his tribe, who must, no doubt,  imprecate  lock-jaws  upon
him. In most cases this lower jaw -being easily unhinged  by  a  practised
artist -is disengaged and hoisted on deck for the  purpose  of  extracting
the ivory teeth, and furnishing a supply of that hard white whalebone with
which the fishermen fashion  all  sorts  of  curious  articles,  including
canes, umbrella-stocks, and handles to riding-whips. With  a  long,  weary
hoist the jaw is dragged on board, as if it were an anchor; and  when  the
proper time comes -some few days after the other work  -Queequeg,  Daggoo,
and Tashtego, being all accomplished dentists, are set to  drawing  teeth.
With a keen cutting-spade, Queequeg lances  the  gums;  then  the  jaw  is
lashed down to ringbolts, and a tackle being rigged from aloft, they  drag
out these teeth, as Michigan oxen drag stumps of  old  oaks  out  of  wild
wood-lands. There are generally forty-two teeth in  all;  in  old  whales,
much worn down, but undecayed; nor filled after  our  artificial  fashion.
The jaw is afterwards sawn into slabs, and  piled  away  like  joists  for
building houses.



                75. THE RIGHT WHALE'S HEAD-CONTRASTED VIEW

    Crossing the deck, let us now have a good  long  look  at  the  Right
Whale's head. As in general shape the noble  Sperm  Whale's  head  may  be
compared to a Roman war-chariot (especially  in  front,  where  it  is  so
broadly rounded); so, at a broad view, the  Right  Whale's  head  bears  a
rather inelegant resemblance to a gigantic galliot-toed shoe. Two  hundred
years ago an old Dutch voyager likened its shape to that of a  shoemaker's
last. And in this same last or shoe, that old woman of the  nursery  tale,
with the swarming brood, might very comfortably be lodged, she and all her
progeny. But as you come nearer to this great head  it  begins  to  assume
different aspects, according to your point of view. If you  stand  on  its
summit and look at these two f-shaped  spout-holes,  you  would  take  the
whole head for an enormous bass-viol, and these spiracles,  the  apertures
in its sounding-board. Then, again, if you fix your eye upon this strange,
crested, comb-like incrustation on  the  top  of  the  mass  -this  green,
barnacled thing, which the Greenlanders call the crown, and  the  Southern
fishers the bonnet of the Right Whale; fixing your eyes  solely  on  this,
you would take the head for the trunk of some huge oak, with a bird's nest
in its crotch. At any rate, when you watch those live  crabs  that  nestle
here on this bonnet, such an idea will be almost sure  to  occur  to  you;
unless, indeed, your fancy has been fixed by the technical term crown also
bestowed upon it; in which case you will take great interest  in  thinking
how this mighty monster is actually a diademed  king  of  the  sea,  whose
green crown has been put together for him in this marvellous  manner.  But
if this whale be a king, he is a very sulky  looking  fellow  to  grace  a
diadem. Look at that hanging lower lip! what  a  huge  sulk  and  pout  is
there! a sulk and pout, by carpenter's measurement, about twenty feet long
and five feet deep; a sulk and pout that will yield you some  500  gallons
of oil and more. A great pity, now, that this unfortunate whale should  be
hare-lipped. The fissure is about  a  foot  across.  Probably  the  mother
during an important interval was sailing down  the  Peruvian  coast,  when
earthquakes caused the beach to gape. Over this lip, as  over  a  slippery
threshold, we now slide into the mouth. Upon my word were I at Mackinaw, I
should take this to be the inside of an Indian wigwam. Good Lord! is  this
the road that Jonah went? The roof is about twelve feet high, and runs  to
a pretty sharp angle, as if there were a regular ridge-pole  there;  while
these ribbed, arched, hairy sides, present us with  those  wondrous,  half
vertical, scimetar-shaped slats of whale-bone,  say  three  hundred  on  a
side, which depending from the upper part of the head or crown bone,  form
those Venetian blinds which have elsewhere been cursorily  mentioned.  The
edges of these bones are fringed with  hairy  fibres,  through  which  the
Right Whale strains the water, and in whose  intricacies  he  retains  the
small fish, when open-mouthed he goes through the seas of brit in  feeding
time. In the central blinds of bone, as they stand in their natural order,
there are certain curious marks, curves, hollows, and ridges, whereby some
whalemen calculate the creature's age,  as  the  age  of  an  oak  by  its
circular rings. Though  the  certainty  of  this  criterion  is  far  from
demonstrable, yet it has the savor of analogical probability. At any rate,
if we yield to it, we must grant a far greater age to the Right Whale than
at first glance will seem reasonable. In old times,  there  seem  to  have
prevailed the most curious fancies concerning these blinds. One voyager in
Purchas calls them the wondrous whiskers  inside  of  the  whale's  mouth;
another, hogs' bristles; a  third  old  gentleman  in  Hackluyt  uses  the
following elegant language: There are about two  hundred  and  fifty  fins
growing on each side of his upper chop, which arch over his tongue on each
side of his mouth. As every one knows, these same  hogs'  bristles,  fins,
whiskers, blinds, or whatever you please,  furnish  to  the  ladies  their
busks and other stiffening  contrivances.  But  in  this  particular,  the
demand has long been on the decline. It was in Queen Anne's time that  the
bone was in its glory, the farthingale being then all the fashion. And  as
those ancient dames moved about gaily, though in the jaws of the whale, as
you may say; even so, in a shower, with the like  thoughtlessness,  do  we
nowadays fly under the same jaws for protection; the umbrella being a tent
spread over the same bone. But now forget all about  blinds  and  whiskers
for a moment, and, standing in the Right Whale's mouth,  look  around  you
afresh. Seeing all these colonnades of bone so methodically ranged  about,
would you not think you were inside the great Haarlem  organ,  and  gazing
upon its thousand pipes? For a carpet to the organ we have a  rug  of  the
softest Turkey -the tongue, which is glued, as it were, to  the  floor  of
the mouth. It is very fat and  tender,  and  apt  to  tear  in  pieces  in
hoisting it on deck. This particular tongue now before us;  at  a  passing
glance I should say it was a six-barreler; that  is,  it  will  yield  you
about that amount of oil. Ere this, you must have plainly seen  the  truth
of what I started with -that the Sperm Whale  and  the  Right  Whale  have
almost entirely different heads. To sum up, then;  in  the  Right  Whale's
there is no great well of sperm; no ivory teeth at all; no  long,  slender
mandible of a lower jaw, like the Sperm Whale's. Nor in  the  Sperm  Whale
are there any of those blinds of bone; no huge  lower  lip;  and  scarcely
anything of a tongue. Again, the Right Whale has two external spout-holes,
the Sperm Whale only one. Look your last, now, on these  venerable  hooded
heads, while they yet lie together; for one will soon sink, unrecorded, in
the sea; the other will not be very long in following. Can you  catch  the
expression of the Sperm Whale's there? It is the same he died  with,  only
some of the longer wrinkles in the forehead seem now faded away.  I  think
his broad brow  to  be  full  of  a  prairie-like  placidity,  born  of  a
speculative  indifference  as  to  death.  But  mark  the   other   head's
expression. See that amazing lower lip, pressed by  accident  against  the
vessel's side, so as firmly to embrace the jaw. Does not this  whole  head
seem to speak of an enormous practical resolution in  facing  death?  This
Right Whale I take to have been a Stoic; the Sperm Whale, a Platonian, who
might have taken up Spinoza in his latter years. This reminds us that  the
Right Whale  really  has  a  sort  of  whisker,  or  rather  a  moustache,
consisting of a few scattered white hairs on the upper part of  the  outer
end of the lower jaw. Sometimes these tufts  impart  a  rather  brigandish
expression to his otherwise solemn countenance.



                          76. THE BATTERING-RAM

    Ere quitting, for the nonce, the Sperm Whale's  head,  I  would  have
you, as a sensible physiologist, simply  -particularly  remark  its  front
aspect, in all its compacted collectedness. I would have  you  investigate
it now with the sole view  of  forming  to  yourself  some  unexaggerated,
intelligent estimate of whatever battering-ram power may be lodged  there.
Here is a vital point; for you  must  either  satisfactorily  settle  this
matter with yourself, or for ever remain an infidel as to one of the  most
appalling, but not the less true events, perhaps anywhere to be  found  in
all recorded history. You observe that in the ordinary  swimming  position
of the Sperm Whale, the front  of  his  head  presents  an  almost  wholly
vertical plane to the water; you observe that the lower part of that front
slopes considerably backwards, so as to furnish more of a retreat for  the
long socket which receives the boom-like lower jaw; you observe  that  the
mouth is entirely under the head, much in the same way, indeed, as  though
your own mouth were entirely under your chin. Moreover  you  observe  that
the whale has no external nose; and that what nose he has -his spout  hole
-is on the top of his head; you observe that his eyes and ears are at  the
sides of his head, nearly one third of his entire length from  the  front.
Wherefore, you must now have perceived that the front of the Sperm Whale's
head is a dead, blind wall, without a single organ or tender prominence of
any sort whatsoever. Furthermore, you are now to consider that only in the
extreme, lower, backward sloping part of the front of the head,  is  there
the slightest vestige of bone; and not till you get near twenty feet  from
the forehead do you come to the full cranial  development.  So  that  this
whole enormous boneless mass is as one wad. Finally, though, as will  soon
be revealed, its contents partly comprise the most delicate oil; yet,  you
are now to be apprised of the nature of the substance which so impregnably
invests all that apparent  effeminacy.  In  some  previous  place  I  have
described to you how the blubber wraps the body of the whale, as the  rind
wraps an orange. Just so with the head; but with  this  difference:  about
the head this envelope, though not so thick, is of a  boneless  toughness,
inestimable by any man who  has  not  handled  it.  The  severest  pointed
harpoon, the sharpest lance darted by the strongest human arm,  impotently
rebounds from it. It is as though the forehead of  the  Sperm  Whale  were
paved with horses' hoofs. I do not think that any sensation lurks  in  it.
Bethink yourself also of another thing. When two  large,  loaded  Indiamen
chance to crowd and crush towards each other in the  docks,  what  do  the
sailors do? They do not suspend between  them,  at  the  point  of  coming
contact, any merely hard substance, like iron or wood. No, they hold there
a large, round wad of tow and cork, enveloped in the thickest and toughest
of ox-hide. That bravely and uninjured takes  the  jam  which  would  have
snapped all their oaken handspikes  and  iron  crowbars.  By  itself  this
sufficiently illustrates the obvious fact I drive at. But supplementary to
this, it has hypothetically occurred to me, that as ordinary fish  possess
what is called a swimming bladder in them, capable, at will, of distension
or contraction; and as the Sperm Whale, as far as  I  know,  has  no  such
provision in him; considering, too, the otherwise inexplicable  manner  in
which he now depresses his head altogether beneath the surface,  and  anon
swims with it high elevated out of the water; considering the unobstructed
elasticity of its envelop; considering the unique interior of his head; it
has hypothetically occurred to me, I say, that those mystical  lung-celled
honeycombs there may possibly have some hitherto unknown  and  unsuspected
connexion with the outer air, so  as  to  be  susceptible  to  atmospheric
distension and contraction. If this be so, fancy the  irresistibleness  of
that might, to which the most impalpable and destructive of  all  elements
contributes. Now,  mark.  Unerringly  impelling  this  dead,  impregnable,
uninjurable wall, and this most buoyant thing within; there  swims  behind
it all a mass of tremendous life, only to be adequately estimated as piled
wood is -by the cord; and all obedient to one volition,  as  the  smallest
insect. So that when I shall hereafter detail to you all the  specialities
and  concentrations  of  potency  everywhere  lurking  in  this  expansive
monster; when I shall show you some of his  more  inconsiderable  braining
feats; I trust you will have renounced all ignorant  incredulity,  and  be
ready to abide by this; that  though  the  Sperm  Whale  stove  a  passage
through the Isthmus of Darien, and mixed the Atlantic  with  the  Pacific,
you would not elevate one hair of your eye-brow. For unless  you  own  the
whale, you are but a provincial and sentimentalist  in  Truth.  But  clear
Truth is a thing for salamander giants only to encounter;  how  small  the
chances for the provincials then? What befel the  weakling  youth  lifting
the dread goddess's veil at Sais?



                       77. THE GREAT HEIDELBURGH TUN

    Now comes the Baling of the Case. But to comprehend  it  aright,  you
must know something  of  the  curious  internal  structure  of  the  thing
operated upon. Regarding the Sperm whale's head as  a  solid  oblong,  you
may, on an inclined plane, sideways divide it into two quoins, whereof the
lower is the bony structure, forming the cranium and jaws, and  the  upper
an unctuous mass wholly free from bones; its broad forward end forming the
expanded vertical apparent forehead of the whale. At  the  middle  of  the
forehead horizontally subdivide this upper quoin, and then  you  have  two
almost equal parts, which before were naturally  divided  by  an  internal
wall of a thick tendinous substance. The lower subdivided part, called the
junk, is one  immense  honeycomb  of  oil,  formed  by  the  crossing  and
re-crossing, into ten thousand infiltrated cells, of tough  elastic  white
fibres throughout its whole extent. The upper part, known as the Case, may
be regarded as the great Heidelburgh Tun of the Sperm Whale. And  as  that
famous great tierce is mystically carved in front,  so  the  whale's  vast
plaited forehead forms innumerable strange devices  for  the  emblematical
adornment of his wondrous tun. Moreover, as that of Heidelburgh was always
replenished with the most excellent of the wines of the  Rhenish  valleys,
so the tun of the whale contains by far the most precious of all his  oily
vintages; namely, the highly-prized spermaceti, in  its  absolutely  pure,
limpid, and odoriferous  state.  Nor  is  this  precious  substance  found
unalloyed in any other part of the creature. Though  in  life  it  remains
perfectly fluid, yet, upon exposure to  the  air,  after  death,  it  soon
begins to concrete; sending forth beautiful crystalline  shoots,  as  when
the first thin delicate ice is just forming in water. A large whale's case
generally  yields  about  five  hundred  gallons  of  sperm,  though  from
unavoidable circumstances, considerable  of  it  is  spilled,  leaks,  and
dribbles away, or is otherwise irrevocably lost in the  ticklish  business
of securing what you can. I know not with what fine  and  costly  material
the heidelburgh Tun was coated within, but in  superlative  richness  that
coating could not possibly have compared  with  the  silken  pearl-colored
membrane, like the line of a fine pelisse, forming the  inner  surface  of
the Sperm Whale's case. It will have been seen that the Heidelburgh Tun of
the Sperm Whale embraces the entire length of the entire top of the  head;
and since -as has been elsewhere set forth -the head embraces one third of
the whole length of the creature, then setting that length down at  eighty
feet for a good sized whale, you have more than twenty-six  feet  for  the
depth of the tun, when it is lengthwise hoisted  up  and  down  against  a
ship's side. As in decapitating the whale, the  operator's  instrument  is
brought close to the spot where an entrance is  subsequently  forced  into
the spermaceti magazine; he has, therefore, to be uncommonly heedful, lest
a careless, untimely stroke should invade the sanctuary and wastingly  let
out its invaluable contents. It is this decapitated end of the head, also,
which is at last elevated out of the water, and retained in that  position
by the enormous cutting tackles, whose hempen combinations, on  one  side,
make quite a wilderness of ropes in that quarter. Thus  much  being  said,
attend now, I pray  you,  to  that  marvellous  and  -in  this  particular
instance  -almost  fatal  operation  whereby  the  Sperm   Whale's   great
Heidelburgh Tun is tapped.
    Quoin is not a Euclidean  term.  It  belongs  to  the  pure  nautical
mathematics. I know not that it has been defined  before.  A  quoin  is  a
solid which differs from a wedge in having its sharp  end  formed  by  the
steep inclination of one side, instead of  the  mutual  tapering  of  both
sides.



                          78. CISTERN AND BUCKETS

    Nimble as a cat, Tashtego mounts  aloft;  and  without  altering  his
erect posture, runs straight out upon the  overhanging  main-yard-arm,  to
the part where it exactly projects over the hoisted Tun.  He  has  carried
with him a light tackle called a  whip,  consisting  of  only  two  parts,
travelling through a single-sheaved block. Securing this block, so that it
hangs down from the yard-arm, he swings one end of the rope,  till  it  is
caught and firmly held by a hand on deck. Then, hand-over-hand,  down  the
other part, the Indian drops through the air, till dexterously he lands on
the summit of the head. There -still high elevated above the rest  of  the
company, to whom he vivaciously  cries  -he  seems  some  Turkish  Muezzin
calling  the  good  people  to  prayers  from  the  top  of  a  tower.   A
short-handled sharp spade being sent up to him, he diligently searches for
the proper place to begin breaking into  the  Tun.  In  this  business  he
proceeds very  heedfully,  like  a  treasure-hunter  in  some  old  house,
sounding the walls to find where the gold is masoned in. By the time  this
cautious search is over, a  stout  iron-bound  bucket,  precisely  like  a
well-bucket, has been attached to one end of the  whip;  while  the  other
end, being stretched across the deck, is there held by two or three  alert
hands. These last now hoist the bucket within grasp of the Indian, to whom
another person has reached up a very long pole. Inserting this  pole  into
the bucket, Tashtego downward guides the bucket  into  the  Tun,  till  it
entirely disappears; then giving the word to the seamen at  the  whip,  up
comes the bucket again, all bubbling like a dairy-maid's pail of new milk.
Carefully lowered from its height, the full-freighted vessel is caught  by
an appointed hand, and quickly emptied into a large tub. Then  re-mounting
aloft, it again goes through the same round until the  deep  cistern  will
yield no more. Towards the end, Tashtego has to ram his long  pole  harder
and harder, and deeper and deeper into the Tun, until some twenty feet  of
the pole have gone down. Now, the people of the  Pequod  had  been  baling
some time in this way; several tubs had  been  filled  with  the  fragrant
sperm; when all at once a queer accident happened.  Whether  it  was  that
Tashtego, that wild Indian, was so heedless and reckless as to let go  for
a moment his one-handed hold on the great cabled  tackles  suspending  the
head; or whether the place where he stood was so treacherous and oozy;  or
whether the Evil One himself would have it to fall out so, without stating
his particular reasons; how it was exactly, there is no telling now;  but,
on a sudden, as the eightieth or ninetieth bucket came  suckingly  up  -my
God! poor Tashtego -like the twin  reciprocating  bucket  in  a  veritable
well, dropped head-foremost down into this great Tun of  Heidelburgh,  and
with a horrible oily gurgling, went clean out  of  sight!  Man  overboard!
cried Daggoo, who amid the general consternation first came to his senses.
Swing the bucket this way! and putting one foot into it, so as the  better
to secure his slippery hand-hold on the whip itself, the hoisters ran  him
high up to the top of the head, almost before Tashtego could have  reached
its interior bottom. Meantime, there was a terrible tumult.  Looking  over
the side, they saw the before lifeless head  throbbing  and  heaving  just
below the surface of the sea, as if that moment seized with some momentous
idea; whereas it was only the poor Indian unconsciously revealing by those
struggles the perilous depth to which he had sunk. At this instant,  while
Daggoo, on the summit of the  head,  was  clearing  the  whip  -which  had
somehow got foul of the great cutting tackles -a sharp cracking noise  was
heard; and to the unspeakable horror of all, one of the two enormous hooks
suspending the head tore out, and with a vast vibration the enormous  mass
sideways swung, till the drunk ship reeled and shook as if smitten  by  an
iceberg. The  one  remaining  hook,  upon  which  the  entire  strain  now
depended, seemed every instant to be on the point of giving way; an  event
still more likely from the violent motions of the head.  Come  down,  come
down! yelled the seamen to Daggoo, but with one hand  holding  on  to  the
heavy tackles, so that if the head should  drop,  he  would  still  remain
suspended; the negro having cleared the foul line, rammed down the  bucket
into the now collapsed well, meaning that  the  buried  harpooneer  should
grasp it, and so be hoisted out. In heaven's name, man, cried  Stubb,  are
you ramming home a cartridge  there?  -Avast!  How  will  that  help  him;
jamming that iron-bound bucket on top of his head? Avast, will  ye!  Stand
clear of the tackle! cried a voice like the bursting of a  rocket.  Almost
in the same instant, with a thunder-boom, the enormous mass  dropped  into
the sea, like  Niagara's  Table-Rock  into  the  whirlpool;  the  suddenly
relieved hull rolled away from it, to far down her glittering copper;  and
all caught their breath, as half swinging -now over  the  sailors'  heads,
and now over the water -Daggoo, through a thick mist of spray,  was  dimly
beheld  clinging  to  the  pendulous  tackles,  while  poor,  buried-alive
Tashtego was sinking utterly down to the bottom of the sea! But hardly had
the blinding vapor cleared away, when a naked figure with a boarding-sword
in its hand, was for one swift moment seen hovering over the bulwarks. The
next, a loud splash announced that my brave  Queequeg  had  dived  to  the
rescue. One packed rush was made to the side, and every eye counted  every
ripple, as moment followed moment, and no sign of either the sinker or the
diver could be seen. Some hands now jumped  into  a  boat  alongside,  and
pushed a little off from the ship. Ha! ha! cried Daggoo, all at once, from
his now quiet, swinging perch overhead; and looking further off  from  the
side, we saw an arm thrust upright from the blue waves; a sight strange to
see, as an arm thrust forth from the grass over a grave. both!  both!  -it
is both! -cried daggoo again with a joyful shout; and soon after, Queequeg
was seen boldly striking out with one hand, and with the  other  clutching
the long hair of the Indian.  Drawn  into  the  waiting  boat,  they  were
quickly brought to the deck; but Tashtego  was  long  in  coming  to,  and
Queequeg did not look very brisk.
    Now, how had this noble rescue been accomplished? Why,  diving  after
the slowly descending head, Queequeg with his keen  sword  had  made  side
lunges near its bottom, so as to scuttle a large hole there; then dropping
his sword, had thrust his long arm far inwards and upwards, and so  hauled
out our poor Tash by the head. He averred, that upon  first  thrusting  in
for him, a leg was presented; but well knowing that that  was  not  as  it
ought to be, and might occasion great trouble; - he had  thrust  back  the
leg, and by a dexterous heave and toss, had wrought a  somerset  upon  the
Indian; so that with the next trial, he came forth in  the  good  old  way
-head foremost. As for the great head itself, that was doing  as  well  as
could be expected. And thus,  through  the  courage  and  great  skill  in
obstetrics of Queequeg, the deliverance, or rather, delivery of  Tashtego,
was successfully accomplished, in the teeth, too, of the most untoward and
apparently hopeless impediments; which is a  lesson  by  no  means  to  be
forgotten. Midwifery should be taught in the same course with fencing  and
boxing, riding and rowing.  I  know  that  this  queer  adventure  of  the
Gay-Header's will be sure to seem incredible to some landsmen, though they
themselves may have either seen or heard of  some  one's  falling  into  a
cistern ashore; an accident which not seldom happens, and with  much  less
reason too than the Indian's, considering the  exceeding  slipperiness  of
the curb  of  the  Sperm  Whale's  well.  But,  peradventure,  it  may  be
sagaciously urged, how is this? We thought the tissued,  infiltrated  head
of the Sperm Whale, was the lightest and most corky part  about  him;  and
yet thou makest it sink in an element of a far  greater  specific  gravity
than itself. We have thee there. Not at all, but I have  ye;  for  at  the
time poor Tash fell in, the case had been nearly emptied  of  its  lighter
contents, leaving little but the dense  tendinous  wall  of  the  well  -a
double welded, hammered substance, as I have  before  said,  much  heavier
than the sea water, and a lump of which sinks in it like lead almost.  But
the tendency to rapid  sinking  in  this  substance  was  in  the  present
instance materially counteracted by the other parts of the head  remaining
undetached from it, so that it sank very slowly and  deliberately  indeed,
affording Queequeg a fair chance for performing his  agile  obstetrics  on
the run, as you may say. Yes, it was a running delivery, so it  was.  Now,
had Tashtego perished in that head, it had been a very precious perishing;
smothered in the  very  whitest  and  daintiest  of  fragrant  spermaceti;
coffined, hearsed, and tombed in the  secret  inner  chamber  and  sanctum
sanctorum of the whale. Only one sweeter end can readily be recalled  -the
delicious death of an Ohio honey-hunter, who seeking honey in  the  crotch
of a hollow tree, found such exceeding store of it, that leaning  too  far
over, it sucked him in, so that he died embalmed. How many, think ye, have
likewise fallen into Plato's honey head, and sweetly perished there?



                              79. THE PRAIRE

    To scan the lines of his face, or feel the bumps on the head of  this
Leviathan; this is a thing which no Physiognomist or Phrenologist  has  as
yet undertaken. Such an enterprise would seem almost  as  hopeful  as  for
Lavater to have scrutinized the wrinkles on the Rock of Gibraltar, or  for
Gall to have mounted a ladder and manipulated the Dome  of  the  Pantheon.
Still, in that famous work of his, Lavater not only treats of the  various
faces of men, but also attentively studies the  faces  of  horses,  birds,
serpents, and fish;  and  dwells  in  detail  upon  the  modifications  of
expression discernible therein. Nor have Gall and his  disciple  Spurzheim
failed to throw out some hints touching the phrenological  characteristics
of other beings than man. Therefore, though I am but ill qualified  for  a
pioneer, in the application of these two semi-sciences  to  the  whale,  I
will  do  my  endeavor.  I  try  all  things;  I  achieve  what   I   can.
Physiognomically regarded, the Sperm Whale is an  anomalous  creature.  He
has no proper nose. And since the nose is the central and most conspicuous
of the features; and since it perhaps most modifies and  finally  controls
their combined expression; hence it would seem that its entire absence, as
an external appendage, must very largely affect  the  countenance  of  the
whale. For as in landscape gardening, a spire, cupola, monument, or  tower
of some sort, is deemed almost indispensable  to  the  completion  of  the
scene; so no face can be physiognomically in keeping without the  elevated
open-work belfry of the nose. Dash the nose from  Phidias's  marble  Jove,
and what a sorry remainder! Nevertheless, Leviathan  is  of  so  mighty  a
magnitude, all his proportions are so stately, that  the  same  deficiency
which in the sculptured Jove were hideous, in him is no  blemish  at  all.
Nay, it is an added  grandeur.  A  nose  to  the  whale  would  have  been
impertinent. As on your physiognomical voyage you sail round his vast head
in your jolly-boat, your noble conceptions of him are  never  insulted  by
the reflection that he has a nose to be pulled. A pestilent conceit, which
so often will insist upon obtruding  even  when  beholding  the  mightiest
royal beadle on  his  throne.  In  some  particulars,  perhaps,  the  most
imposing physiognomical view to be had of the Sperm Whale, is that of  the
full front of his head. This aspect is sublime. In thought  a  fine  human
brow is like the east when troubled with the morning. in the repose of the
pasture, the curled brow of the bull has a  touch  of  the  grand  in  it.
Pushing heavy cannon up mountain defiles, the elephant's brow is majestic.
Human or animal, the mystical brow is as that great golden seal affixed by
the German emperors to their decrees. It signifies God: done this  day  by
my hand. But in most creatures, nay in man himself, very often the brow is
but a mere strip of alpine land lying along the snow  line.  Few  are  the
foreheads which like Shakespeare's  or  Melancthon's  rise  so  high,  and
descend so low, that the eyes themselves  seem  clear,  eternal,  tideless
mountain lakes; and all above them in the forehead's wrinkles, you seem to
track the antlered thoughts descending there to  drink,  as  the  Highland
hunters track the snow prints of the deer. But in the great  Sperm  Whale,
this high and mighty god-like dignity inherent in the brow is so immensely
amplified, that gazing on it, in that full front view, you feel the  Deity
and the dread powers more forcibly than in beholding any other  object  in
living nature. For you see  no  one  point  precisely;  not  one  distinct
feature is revealed; no nose, eyes, ears, or mouth; no face; he has  none,
proper; nothing but that one broad firmament of a forehead,  pleated  with
riddles; dumbly lowering with the doom of boats, and ships, and men.  Nor,
in profile, does this wondrous brow diminish; though that way viewed,  its
grandeur does not domineer upon you so. In profile, you  plainly  perceive
that horizontal, semi-crescentic  depression  in  the  forehead's  middle,
which, in man, is Lavater's mark of genius. But how? Genius in  the  Sperm
Whale? Has the Sperm Whale ever written a book, spoken a speech?  No,  his
great genius is declared in his doing nothing particular to prove  it.  It
is moreover declared in his pyramidical silence. And this reminds me  that
had the great Sperm Whale been known to the young Orient World,  he  would
have been  deified  by  their  child-magian  thoughts.  they  deified  the
crocodile of the nile, because the crocodile is tongueless; and the  Sperm
Whale has no tongue, or as least it is so  exceedingly  small,  as  to  be
incapable of protrusion. If hereafter any highly cultured, poetical nation
shall lure back to their birth-right, the merry May-day gods of  old;  and
livingly enthrone them again in  the  now  egotistical  sky;  in  the  now
unhaunted hill; then be sure, exalted to Jove's high seat, the great Sperm
Whale  shall  lord  it.  Champollion  deciphered  the   wrinkled   granite
hieroglyphics. But there is no Champollion to decipher the Egypt of  every
man's and every being's face. Physiognomy, like every other human science,
is but a passing fable. If then, Sir William Jones,  who  read  in  thirty
languages, could not read the simplest peasant's face, in  its  profounder
and more subtle meanings, how may unlettered  Ishmael  hope  to  read  the
awful Chaldee of the Sperm Whale's brow? I but put that brow  before  you.
Read if it you can.



                               80. THE NUT

    If the Sperm Whale be physiognomically a Sphinx, to the  phrenologist
his brain seems that geometrical circle which it is impossible to  square.
In the full-grown creature the skull will measure at least twenty feet  in
length. Unhinge the lower jaw, and the side view of this skull is  as  the
side view of a moderately inclined plane resting  throughout  on  a  level
base. But in life -as we have  elsewhere  seen  -this  inclined  plane  is
angularly filled up, and almost squared  by  the  enormous  superincumbent
mass of the junk and sperm. At the high end the skull forms  a  crater  to
bed that part of the mass; while under the long floor of this crater -  in
another cavity seldom exceeding ten inches in length and as many in  depth
-reposes the mere handful of this monster's brain. The brain is  at  least
twenty feet from his apparent forehead in life; it is hidden  away  behind
its vast  outworks,  like  the  innermost  citadel  within  the  amplified
fortifications of Quebec. So like a choice casket is it secreted  in  him,
that I have known some whalemen who peremptorily deny that the Sperm Whale
has any other brain than that palpable semblance  of  one  formed  by  the
cubic-yards of his sperm magazine. Lying in strange  folds,  courses,  and
convolutions, to their apprehensions, it seems more in  keeping  with  the
idea of his general might to regard that mystic part of him as the seat of
his intelligence. It is plain, then, that phrenologically the head of this
Leviathan, in the creature's living intact state, is an  entire  delusion.
As for his true brain, you can then see no indications  of  it,  nor  feel
any. The whale, like all things that are mighty, wears a false brow to the
common world. If you unload his skull of its spermy heaps and then take  a
rear view of its rear end, which is the high end, you will  be  struck  by
its resemblance to the human skull, beheld in the same situation, and from
the same point of view. Indeed, place this reversed skull (scaled down  to
the human magnitude)  among  a  plate  of  men's  skulls,  and  you  would
involuntarily confound it with them; and remarking the depressions on  one
part of its summit, in phrenological phrase you would say -This man had no
self-esteem, and no veneration. And by those negations,  considered  along
with the affirmative fact of his prodigious bulk and power, you  can  best
form to yourself the truest, though not the most  exhilarating  conception
of what  the  most  exalted  potency  is.  But  if  from  the  comparative
dimensions of the whale's proper brain, you deem  it  incapable  of  being
adequately charted, then I have another idea for you. If  you  attentively
regard  almost  any  quadruped's  spine,  you  will  be  struck  with  the
resemblance of its vertebrae to a strung necklace of dwarfed  skulls,  all
bearing rudimental resemblance  to  the  skull  proper.  It  is  a  German
conceit, that the vertebrae are absolutely  undeveloped  skulls.  But  the
curious external resemblance, I take it the Germans were not the first men
to perceive. A foreign friend once pointed it out to me, in  the  skeleton
of a foe he had slain, and with the vertebrae of which he was inlaying, in
a sort of basso-relievo, the beaked prow of his  canoe.  Now,  I  consider
that the phrenologists have omitted an  important  thing  in  not  pushing
their investigations from the cerebellum through the spinal canal.  For  I
believe that much of a man's character will  be  found  betokened  in  his
backbone. I would rather feel your spine than your skull, whoever you are.
A thin joist of a spine never yet upheld a full and noble soul. I  rejoice
in my spine, as in the firm audacious staff of that  flag  which  I  fling
half out to the world. Apply this spinal branch of phrenology to the Sperm
Whale. His cranial cavity is continuous with the first neck-vertebra;  and
in that vertebra the bottom of the spinal canal will  measure  ten  inches
across, being eight in height, and of a triangular figure  with  the  base
downwards. As it passes through the remaining vertebrae the  canal  tapers
in size, but for a considerable distance remains of large  capacity.  Now,
of course, this canal is filled  with  much  the  same  strangely  fibrous
substance - the spinal cord -as the brain; and directly communicates  with
the brain. And what is still more, for many feet after emerging  from  the
brain's cavity, the spinal cord remains of an undecreasing  girth,  almost
equal to that of the brain. Under all these  circumstances,  would  it  be
unreasonable to survey and map out the whale's spine phrenologically? For,
viewed in this light, the wonderful comparative  smallness  of  his  brain
proper is more than compensated by the wonderful comparative magnitude  of
his spinal cord. But leaving this hint to  operate  as  it  may  with  the
phrenologists, I would merely assume the spinal theory for  a  moment,  in
reference to the sperm whale's hump. This august hump, if I  mistake  not,
rises over one of the larger vertebrae, and is, therefore, in  some  sort,
the outer convex mould of it. From its relative situation then,  I  should
call this high hump the organ of firmness or indomitableness in the  Sperm
Whale. And that the great monster is indomitable, you will yet have reason
to know.



                     81. THE PEQUOD MEETS THE VIRGIN

    The predestinated day arrived, and we duly  met  the  ship  Jungfrau,
Derick De Deer, master, of Bremen. At one time the greatest whaling people
in the world, the Dutch and Germans are now among the least; but here  and
there at  very  wide  intervals  of  latitude  and  longitude,  you  still
occasionally meet with their flag in the Pacific.  For  some  reason,  the
Jungfrau seemed quite eager to pay her respects. While yet  some  distance
from the Pequod, she rounded to, and dropping  a  boat,  her  captain  was
impelled towards us, impatiently standing  in  the  bows  instead  of  the
stern.
    What has he in his hand there? cried Starbuck, pointing to  something
wavingly held by the German. Impossible! -a lamp-feeder!  Not  that,  said
Stubb, no, no, it's a coffee-pot, Mr. Starbuck; he's coming off to make us
our coffee, is the Yarman; don't you see that big tin can there  alongside
of him? -that's his boiling water. Oh! he's all right, is the  Yarman.  Go
along with you, cried Flask, it's a lamp-feeder and an oil-can.  He's  out
of oil, and has come  a-begging.  However  curious  it  may  seem  for  an
oil-ship to be borrowing oil on the whale-ground, and however much it  may
invertedly contradict the old proverb about carrying coals  to  Newcastle,
yet sometimes such a thing really happens; and in the present case Captain
Derick De Deer did indubitably conduct a lamp-feeder as Flask did declare.
As he mounted the deck, ahab abruptly accosted him, without at all heeding
what he had in his hand; but in his broken lingo, the German soon  evinced
his complete  ignorance  of  the  White  Whale;  immediately  turning  the
conversation to his lamp-feeder and oil can, with  some  remarks  touching
his having to turn into his hammock at night  in  profound  darkness  -his
last drop of Bremen oil being gone,  and  not  a  single  flying-fish  yet
captured to supply the deficiency; concluding by hinting that his ship was
indeed what in the Fishery is technically called a clean one (that is,  an
empty one), well deserving  the  name  of  Jungfrau  or  the  Virgin.  His
necessities supplied, Derick departed; but he had not  gained  his  ship's
side, when whales were almost simultaneously raised from the mast-heads of
both vessels; and so eager for the chase was Derick, that without  pausing
to put his oil-can and lamp-feeder aboard, he slewed round  his  boat  and
made after the leviathan lamp-feeders.  Now,  the  game  having  risen  to
leeward, he and the other three German boats that soon followed  him,  had
considerably the start of the Pequod's keels. There were eight whales,  an
average pod. Aware of their danger, they were going all abreast with great
speed straight before the wind, rubbing their flanks as closely as so many
spans of horses in harness. They  left  a  great,  wide  wake,  as  though
continually unrolling a great wide parchment upon the sea.  Full  in  this
rapid wake, and many fathoms in the rear, swam a huge,  humped  old  bull,
which by his comparatively slow  progress,  as  well  as  by  the  unusual
yellowish  incrustations  overgrowing  him,  seemed  afflicted  with   the
jaundice, or some other infirmity. Whether this whale belonged to the  pod
in advance,  seemed  questionable;  for  it  is  not  customary  for  such
venerable leviathans to be at all social. Nevertheless, he stuck to  their
wake, though indeed their back water must have retarded him,  because  the
white-bone or swell at his broad muzzle was a dashed one, like  the  swell
formed when two hostile currents meet. His  spout  was  short,  slow,  and
laborious; coming forth with a choking sort of gush, and  spending  itself
in torn shreds, followed by strange subterranean commotions in him,  which
seemed to have egress at his other buried extremity,  causing  the  waters
behind him to upbubble. Who's got some paregoric? said Stubb, he  has  the
stomach-ache,  I'm  afraid.  Lord,  think  of  having  half  an  acre   of
stomach-ache!
    Adverse winds are holding mad Christmas in him, boys. It's the  first
foul wind I ever knew to blow from astern; but look, did ever whale yaw so
before? it must be, he's lost his tiller. As an overladen Indiaman bearing
down the Hindostan coast with a deck load of frightened  horses,  careens,
buries, rolls, and wallows on her way; so did this  old  whale  heave  his
aged bulk, and now and then partly turning over on his cumbrous  rib-ends,
expose the cause of his  devious  wake  in  the  unnatural  stump  of  his
starboard fin. Whether he had lost that fin in battle, or  had  been  born
without it, it were hard to say. Only wait a bit, old chap, and I'll  give
ye a sling for that wounded  arm,  cried  cruel  Flask,  pointing  to  the
whale-line near him. Mind he don't sling thee  with  it,  cried  Starbuck.
Give way, or the German will have him. With one intent  all  the  combined
rival boats were pointed for this one fish, because not only  was  he  the
largest, and therefore the most valuable whale,  but  he  was  nearest  to
them, and the other whales were going with such great velocity,  moreover,
as almost to defy pursuit for the time. At  this  juncture,  the  Pequod's
keel had shot by the three German boats last lowered; but from  the  great
start he had had, Derick's boat still led the chase, though  every  moment
neared by his foreign rivals. The only thing they feared, was,  that  from
being already so nigh to his mark, he would be enabled to  dart  his  iron
before they could completely overtake and pass  him.  as  for  derick,  he
seemed quite confident that this would be the case, and occasionally  with
a  deriding  gesture  shook  his  lamp-feeder  at  the  other  boats.  The
ungracious and ungrateful dog! cried Starbuck; he mocks and dares me  with
the very poor-box I filled for him not five minutes ago! -then in his  old
intense whisper - give way, greyhounds! Dog to it! I tell ye what  it  is,
men -cried Stubb to his crew - It's against my religion to  get  mad;  but
I'd like to eat that villanous Yarman -Pull-won't ye? Are ye going to  let
that rascal beat ye? Do ye love brandy? A hogshead of brandy, then, to the
best man. Come, why don't some of ye burst a blood-vessel? Who's that been
dropping an anchor overboard -we don't  budge  an  inch  -we're  becalmed.
Halloo, here's grass growing in the boat's bottom -and by  the  Lord,  the
mast there's budding. This won't do, boys. Look at that Yarman! The  short
and long of it is, men, will ye spit fire or not?  Oh!  see  the  suds  he
makes! cried Flask, dancing up and down - What a hump -Oh, do pile on  the
beef -lays like a log! Oh! my lads, do spring -slap-jacks and quohogs  for
supper, you know, my lads -baked clams and  muffins  -oh,  do,  do  spring
-he's a hundred barreler -don't lose him now -don't oh, don't! - see  that
Yarman -Oh! won't ye pull for your duff, my  lads  -such  a  sog!  such  a
sogger! Don't ye love sperm? There goes three thousand  dollars,  men!  -a
bank! -a whole bank! The bank of England! -Oh, do, do,  do!  -What's  that
Yarman about now? At this moment Derick was in the  act  of  pitching  his
lamp-feeder at the advancing boats, and also his oil-can; perhaps with the
double  view  of  retarding  his  rivals'  way,  and  at  the  same   time
economically accelerating his own by the momentary impetus of the backward
toss. The unmannerly Dutch dogger! cried Stubb. Pull now, men, like  fifty
thousand line-of-battle-ship loads of red-haired devils.  What  d'ye  say,
Tashtego; are you the man to snap your spine in two-and-twenty pieces  for
the honor of old Gay-head? What d'ye say? I say, pull like god-dam, -cried
the Indian. Fiercely, but evenly incited by the taunts of the German,  the
Pequod's three boats now began ranging almost abreast; and,  so  disposed,
momentarily neared him. In that fine, loose, chivalrous  attitude  of  the
headsman when drawing near to his prey, the three mates stood up  proudly,
occasionally backing the after oarsman with an exhilarating cry of,
    There she slides, now! Hurrah for the white-ash breeze! Down with the
Yarman! Sail over him! But so decided an original start  had  Derick  had,
that spite of all their gallantry, he would have proved the victor in this
race, had not a righteous judgment descended upon  him  in  a  crab  which
caught the blade of his midship oarsman.  While  this  clumsy  lubber  was
striving to free his white-ash, and while, in consequence,  Derick's  boat
was nigh to capsizing, and he thundering away at his men in a mighty rage;
-that was a good time for Starbuck, Stubb, and Flask. With a  shout,  they
took a mortal start forwards, and slantingly ranged  up  on  the  German's
quarter. An instant more, and all four  boats  were  diagonically  in  the
whale's immediate wake, while stretching from them, on both sides, was the
foaming swell that he made.
    It was a terrific, most pitiable, and maddening sight. The whale  was
now going head out, and sending  his  spout  before  him  in  a  continual
tormented jet; while his one poor fin beat his side in an agony of fright.
Now to this hand, now to that, he yawed in his faltering flight, and still
at every billow that he broke,  he  spasmodically  sank  in  the  sea,  or
sideways rolled towards the sky his one beating fin. So have I seen a bird
with clipped wing, making affrighted broken circles  in  the  air,  vainly
striving to escape the piratical hawks. But the bird has a voice, and with
plaintive cries will make known her fear; but the fear of this  vast  dumb
brute of the sea, was chained up and enchanted in him; he  had  no  voice,
save that choking respiration through his  spiracle,  and  this  made  the
sight of him unspeakably pitiable;  while  still,  in  his  amazing  bulk,
portcullis jaw, and  omnipotent  tail,  there  was  enough  to  appal  the
stoutest man who so pitied. Seeing now that but a very  few  moments  more
would give the Pequod's boats the  advantage,  and  rather  than  be  thus
foiled of his game, Derick chose to hazard what to him must have seemed  a
most unusually long dart, ere the last chance would for ever  escape.  But
no sooner did his harpooneer stand up  for  the  stroke,  than  all  three
tigers -Queequeg, Tashtego, Daggoo - instinctively sprang to  their  feet,
and standing in a diagonal row, simultaneously pointed  their  barbs;  and
darted over the head of the German harpooneer, their three Nantucket irons
entered the whale. Blinding vapors  of  foam  and  white-fire!  The  three
boats, in the first fury of the whale's headlong rush, bumped the German's
aside with such force, that both Derick and his  baffled  harpooneer  were
spilled out, and sailed over by the three flying keels. Don't  be  afraid,
my butter-boxes, cried Stubb, casting a passing glance  upon  them  as  he
shot by; ye'll be picked up presently -all right -I saw some sharks astern
-St. Bernard's dogs, you know -relieve distressed travellers. Hurrah! this
is the way to sail now. Every keel a sun-beam! Hurrah! -Here  we  go  like
three tin kettles at the tail of a mad cougar! This puts  me  in  mind  of
fastening to an elephant in a tilbury on a plain -makes  the  wheel-spokes
fly, boys, when you fasten to him that way; and there's  danger  of  being
pitched out too, when you strike a hill. Hurrah! this is the way a  fellow
feels when he's going to Davy Jones -all a rush down an  endless  inclined
plane! Hurrah! this whale carries the everlasting mail! But the  monster's
run was a brief one. Giving a sudden gasp, he tumultuously sounded.
    With a grating rush, the three lines flew round the loggerheads  with
such a force as to gouge deep grooves in them; while so fearful  were  the
harpooneers that this rapid sounding would soon exhaust  the  lines,  that
using all their dexterous might, they caught repeated smoking  turns  with
the rope to hold on; till at last -owing to the perpendicular strain  from
the lead-lined chocks of the boats, whence the three ropes  went  straight
down into the blue -the gunwales of the bows were  almost  even  with  the
water, while the three sterns tilted high in the air. And the  whale  soon
ceasing to sound, for some time they remained in that attitude, fearful of
expending more line, though the position was a little ticklish. But though
boats have been taken down and lost in this way, yet it  is  this  holding
on, as it is called; this hooking up by the sharp barbs of his live  flesh
from the back; this it is that often  torments  the  Leviathan  into  soon
rising again to meet the sharp lance of his foes. Yet not to speak of  the
peril of the thing, it is to be doubted whether this course is always  the
best; for it is but reasonable to presume, that the  longer  the  stricken
whale stays under water, the more he is exhausted. Because, owing  to  the
enormous surface of him -in a full grown sperm whale something  less  than
square feet -the pressure of the water is immense. We  all  know  what  an
astonishing atmospheric weight we ourselves stand  up  under;  even  here,
above-ground, in the air; how vast, then, the burden of a  whale,  bearing
on his back a column of two hundred fathoms of ocean!  It  must  at  least
equal the weight of fifty atmospheres. One whaleman has  estimated  it  at
the weight of twenty  line-of-battle  ships,  with  all  their  guns,  and
stores, and men on board. As the three boats  lay  there  on  that  gently
rolling sea, gazing down into its eternal blue noon; and as not  a  single
groan or cry of any sort, nay, not so much as a ripple or a bubble came up
from its depths; what landsman would have thought, that beneath  all  that
silence and placidity, the utmost monster of the  seas  was  writhing  and
wrenching in agony! Not eight inches of perpendicular rope were visible at
the bows. Seems it credible that by three  such  thin  threads  the  great
Leviathan was suspended like  the  big  weight  to  an  eight  day  clock.
Suspended? and to what? To three bits of board. Is this  the  creature  of
whom it was once so triumphantly said - Canst  thou  fill  his  skin  with
barbed irons? or his head with fish-spears? The sword of him  that  layeth
at him cannot hold, the spear, the dart, nor the habergeon:  he  esteemeth
iron as straw; the arrow cannot  make  him  flee;  darts  are  counted  as
stubble; he laugheth at the shaking of a spear! This  the  creature?  this
he? Oh! that unfulfilments  should  follow  the  prophets.  For  with  the
strength of a thousand thighs in his tail,  Leviathan  had  run  his  head
under the mountains of the sea, to hide him from the Pequod's fish-spears!
In that sloping afternoon sunlight, the shadows that the three boats  sent
down beneath the surface, must have been long enough and broad  enough  to
shade half Xerxes' army. Who can tell how appalling to the  wounded  whale
must have been such huge phantoms flitting over his head! Stand  by,  men;
he stirs, cried Starbuck, as the three  lines  suddenly  vibrated  in  the
water, distinctly conducting upwards to them, as by  magnetic  wires,  the
life and death throbs of the whale, so that every oarsman felt them in his
seat. The next moment, relieved in a great part from the  downward  strain
at the bows, the boats gave a sudden bounce upwards, as a small  ice-field
will, when a dense herd of white bears are scared from it  into  the  sea.
Haul in! Haul in! cried Starbuck again; he's rising. The lines, of  which,
hardly an instant before, not one hand's breadth could have  been  gained,
were now in long quick coils flung back all dripping into the  boats,  and
soon the whale broke water within two ship's lengths of the  hunters.  His
motions plainly denoted his extreme exhaustion. In most land animals there
are certain valves or flood-gates in many of  their  veins,  whereby  when
wounded, the blood is in some  degree  at  least  instantly  shut  off  in
certain directions. Not so with the whale; one of whose  peculiarities  it
is, to have an entire nonvalvular structure of the blood-vessels, so  that
when pierced even by so small a point as a harpoon, a deadly drain  is  at
once begun upon his whole arterial system; and when this is heightened  by
the extraordinary pressure of water at a great distance below the surface,
his life may be said to pour from him in incessant streams. Yet so vast is
the quantity of blood in him, and so distant  and  numerous  its  interior
fountains, that he will keep thus bleeding and bleeding for a considerable
period; even as in a drought a river will flow, whose  source  is  in  the
well-springs of far-off and undiscernible hills. Even now, when the  boats
pulled upon this whale, and perilously drew over his swaying  flukes,  and
the lances were darted into him, they were followed by  steady  jets  from
the new made wound, which kept  continually  playing,  while  the  natural
spout-hole in his head was only at intervals, however rapid,  sending  its
affrighted moisture into the air. From this last vent no blood  yet  came,
because no vital part of him had thus far been struck. His life,  as  they
significantly call it, was  untouched.  As  the  boats  now  more  closely
surrounded him, the whole upper part of his form, with much of it that  is
ordinarily submerged, was plainly revealed. His eyes, or rather the places
where his eyes had been, were beheld. As strange misgrown masses gather in
the knot-holes of the noblest oaks when  prostrate,  so  from  the  points
which the whale's eyes had  once  occupied,  now  protruded  blind  bulbs,
horribly pitiable to see. but pity there was none. For all  his  old  age,
and his one arm, and his  blind  eyes,  he  must  die  the  death  and  be
murdered, in order to light the gay bridals  and  other  merry-makings  of
men, and also to illuminate the solemn churches that preach  unconditional
inoffensiveness by all to all. Still rolling in  his  blood,  at  last  he
partially disclosed a strangely discolored bunch or protuberance, the size
of a bushel, low down on the flank.
    A nice spot, cried Flask; just let me prick him  there  once.  Avast!
cried Starbuck, there's no need of that! But humane Starbuck was too late.
At the instant of the dart an ulcerous jet shot from this cruel wound, and
goaded by it into more than sufferable anguish,  the  whale  now  spouting
thick blood, with swift fury blindly darted  at  the  craft,  bespattering
them and their glorying crews all over with  showers  of  gore,  capsizing
Flask's boat and marring the bows. It was his death stroke. For,  by  this
time, so spent was he by loss of blood, that  he  helplessly  rolled  away
from the wreck he had made; lay panting on his  side,  impotently  flapped
with his stumped fin, then over and over slowly  revolved  like  a  waning
world; turned up the white secrets of his belly; lay like a log, and died.
It was most piteous, that last expiring spout. As when by unseen hands the
water  is  gradually  drawn  off  from  some  mighty  fountain,  and  with
half-stifled melancholy gurglings the spray-column lowers  and  lowers  to
the ground -so the last long dying spout of the whale.
    Soon, while the crews were awaiting the arrival of the ship, the body
showed symptoms of sinking with all its treasures  unrifled.  Immediately,
by Starbuck's orders, lines were secured to it  at  different  points,  so
that ere long every boat was a buoy; the sunken whale  being  suspended  a
few inches beneath them by the cords. By very heedful management, when the
ship drew nigh, the whale was transferred to her side,  and  was  strongly
secured there by the stiffest fluke-chains, for it was plain  that  unless
artificially upheld, the body would at once sink  to  the  bottom.  It  so
chanced that almost upon first cutting into him with the spade, the entire
length of a corroded harpoon was found imbedded in his flesh, on the lower
part of the bunch before described. But as  the  stumps  of  harpoons  are
frequently found in the dead bodies of captured  whales,  with  the  flesh
perfectly healed around them, and no prominence  of  any  kind  to  denote
their place; therefore, there must needs  have  been  some  other  unknown
reason in the present case fully to account for the ulceration alluded to.
But still more curious was the fact of a lance-head of stone  being  found
in him, not far from the buried iron, the flesh perfectly firm  about  it.
Who had darted that stone lance? And when? It might have  been  darted  by
some Nor' West Indian long  before  America  was  discovered.  What  other
marvels might have been rummaged out of this monstrous cabinet there is no
telling. But a sudden stop was put to further discoveries, by  the  ship's
being unprecedentedly dragged over sideways  to  the  sea,  owing  to  the
body's immensely increasing tendency to sink. However, Starbuck,  who  had
the ordering of affairs, hung on to it to the  last;  hung  on  to  it  so
resolutely, indeed, that when at length the ship would have been capsized,
if still persisting in locking arms with the body; then, when the  command
was given to break clear from it, such was the immovable strain  upon  the
timber-heads to which the fluke-chains and cables were fastened,  that  it
was impossible to cast them off. Meantime everything  in  the  Pequod  was
aslant. To cross to the other side of the deck was  like  walking  up  the
steep gabled roof of a house. The ship groaned and  gasped.  Many  of  the
ivory inlayings of her bulwarks and cabins were started from their places,
by the unnatural dislocation. In vain handspikes and crows were brought to
bear upon  the  immovable  fluke-chains,  to  pry  them  adrift  from  the
timber-heads; and so low had the whale now settled that the submerged ends
could not  be  at  all  approached,  while  every  moment  whole  tons  of
ponderosity seemed added to the sinking bulk, and the ship seemed  on  the
point of going over. Hold on, hold on, won't ye? cried Stubb to the  body,
don't be in such a devil of a hurry to sink! By thunder, men, we  must  do
something or go for it. No use  prying  there;  avast,  I  say  with  your
handspikes, and run one of ye for a prayer book and a pen-knife,  and  cut
the  big  chains.  Knife?  Aye,  aye,  cried  Queequeg,  and  seizing  the
carpenter's heavy hatchet, he leaned out of a porthole, and steel to iron,
began slashing at the largest fluke-chains. But a  few  strokes,  full  of
sparks, were given, when the exceeding strain effected the  rest.  With  a
terrific snap, every fastening went adrift; the ship righted, the  carcase
sank. Now, this occasional inevitable sinking of the recently killed Sperm
Whale is a very curious  thing;  nor  has  any  fisherman  yet  adequately
accounted for it. Usually the dead Sperm Whale floats with great buoyancy,
with its side or belly considerably elevated above  the  surface.  If  the
only whales that thus sank were old, meagre, and broken-hearted creatures,
their pads of lard diminished and all their  bones  heavy  and  rheumatic;
then you might with some reason assert that this sinking is caused  by  an
uncommon specific gravity in the fish so  sinking,  consequent  upon  this
absence of buoyant matter in him. But it is not so. For young  whales,  in
the highest health, and swelling with noble aspirations,  prematurely  cut
off in the warm flush and May of life, with all their panting  lard  about
them; even these brawny, buoyant heroes do sometimes  sink.  Be  it  said,
however, that the Sperm Whale is far less liable to this accident than any
other species. Where one of that sort go down,  twenty  Right  Whales  do.
This difference in the species is no doubt imputable in no small degree to
the greater quantity of bone in the Right Whale; his Venetian blinds alone
sometimes weighing more than a ton; from this incumbrance the Sperm  Whale
is wholly free. But there are instances where, after  the  lapse  of  many
hours or several days, the sunken whale again rises, more buoyant than  in
life. But the reason of this is obvious. Gases are generated  in  him;  he
swells to a prodigious magnitude; becomes a  sort  of  animal  balloon.  A
line-of-battle ship could  hardly  keep  him  under  then.  In  the  Shore
Whaling, on soundings, among the Bays of New Zealand, when a Right
    Whale gives token of sinking, they fasten buoys to him,  with  plenty
of rope; so that when the body has gone down, they know where to look  for
it when it shall have ascended again. It was not long after the sinking of
the body that a cry was heard from  the  Pequod's  mast-heads,  announcing
that the Jungfrau was again lowering her boats; though the only  spout  in
sight was that of a Fin-Back, belonging to  the  species  of  uncapturable
whales, because of its incredible power  of  swimming.  Nevertheless,  the
Fin-Back's spout is so similar to the Sperm  Whale's,  that  by  unskilful
fishermen it is often mistaken for it. And consequently Derick and all his
host were now in valiant  chase  of  this  unnearable  brute.  The  Virgin
crowding all sail, made after her four young  keels,  and  thus  they  all
disappeared far to leeward, still in bold, hopeful chase. Oh! many are the
Fin-Backs, and many are the Dericks, my friend.



                     82. THE HONOR AND GLORY OF WHALING

    There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness  is  the
true method. The more I dive into this matter  of  whaling,  and  push  my
researches up to the very spring-head  of  it,  so  much  the  more  am  I
impressed with its great honorableness and antiquity; and especially  when
I find so many great demi-gods and heroes, prophets of all sorts, who  one
way or other have shed distinction upon it,  I  am  transported  with  the
reflection  that  I  myself  belong,  though  but  subordinately,  to   so
emblazoned a fraternity. The gallant Perseus, a son of  Jupiter,  was  the
first whaleman; and to the eternal honor of our calling be it  said,  that
the first whale attacked by our brotherhood was not killed with any sordid
intent. Those were the knightly days of our profession, when we only  bore
arms to succor the distressed, and not to fill men's  lamp-feeders.  Every
one knows the  fine  story  of  Perseus  and  Andromeda;  how  the  lovely
Andromeda, the daughter of a king, was tied to a rock  on  the  sea-coast,
and as Leviathan was in the very act of carrying  her  off,  Perseus,  the
prince of whalemen,  intrepidly  advancing,  harpooned  the  monster,  and
delivered and married the maid. It  was  an  admirable  artistic  exploit,
rarely achieved by the best harpooneers of the present  day;  inasmuch  as
this Leviathan was slain at the very first dart. And let no man doubt this
Arkite story; for in the ancient Joppa, now Jaffa, on the Syrian coast, in
one of the Pagan temples, there stood for many ages the vast skeleton of a
whale, which the city's legends and all the inhabitants asserted to be the
identical bones of the monster that Perseus slew.  When  the  Romans  took
Joppa, the same skeleton was carried to Italy in triumph. What seems  most
singular and suggestively important in this story, is this:  it  was  from
Joppa that Jonah set sail. Akin to the adventure of Perseus and  Andromeda
-indeed, by some supposed to be indirectly derived from it -is that famous
story of St. George and the Dragon; which dragon I maintain to have been a
whale; for in many old chronicles whales and dragons are strangely jumbled
together, and often stand for each other.  Thou  art  as  a  lion  of  the
waters, and as a dragon of the sea, saith ezekiel; hereby, plainly meaning
a whale; in truth, some versions  of  the  Bible  use  that  word  itself.
Besides, it would much subtract from the glory  of  the  exploit  had  St.
George but encountered a crawling reptile of the land,  instead  of  doing
battle with the great monster of the deep. Any man may kill a  snake,  but
only a Perseus, a St. George, a Coffin, have the heart in  them  to  march
boldly up to a whale. Let not the modern paintings of this  scene  mislead
us; for though the creature encountered by that valiant whaleman of old is
vaguely represented of a griffin-like shape,  and  though  the  battle  is
depicted on land and the saint on horseback,  yet  considering  the  great
ignorance of those times, when the true form of the whale was  unknown  to
artists; and considering that as in  Perseus'  case,  St.  George's  whale
might have crawled up out of the sea on the beach;  and  considering  that
the animal ridden by St. George might have been  only  a  large  seal,  or
sea-horse; bearing all  this  in  mind,  it  will  not  appear  altogether
incompatible with the sacred legend and the  ancientest  draughts  of  the
scene, to hold this so-called dragon no other  than  the  great  Leviathan
himself. In fact, placed before the strict and piercing truth, this  whole
story will fare like that fish, flesh, and fowl idol of  the  Philistines,
Dagon by name; who being planted before the ark  of  Israel,  his  horse's
head and both the palms of his hands fell off from him, and only the stump
or fishy part of him remained. Thus, then, one of  our  own  noble  stamp,
even a whaleman, is the tutelary guardian of England; and by good  rights,
we harpooneers of Nantucket should be enrolled in the most noble order  of
St. George. And therefore, let not the knights of that  honorable  company
(none of whom, I venture to say, have ever had to do  with  a  whale  like
their great patron), let them never eye a Nantucketer with disdain,  since
even in our woollen frocks and tarred trowsers we are much better entitled
to st. george's decoration than they. Whether to admit Hercules  among  us
or not, concerning this I long remained dubious: for though  according  to
the Greek mythologies, that antique Crockett and Kit Carson  -that  brawny
doer of rejoicing good deeds, was swallowed down and thrown up by a whale;
still, whether that strictly makes  a  whaleman  of  him,  that  might  be
mooted. It nowhere appears that  he  ever  actually  harpooned  his  fish,
unless, indeed, from the inside. Nevertheless, he may be deemed a sort  of
involuntary whaleman; at any rate the whale caught him, if he did not  the
whale. I claim him for one of our clan. But,  by  the  best  contradictory
authorities, this Grecian story of Hercules and the whale is considered to
be derived from the still more ancient  Hebrew  story  of  Jonah  and  the
whale; and vice versa; certainly they are very similar.  If  I  claim  the
demigod then, why not the prophet?
    Nor do heroes, saints, demigods,  and  prophets  alone  comprise  the
whole roll of our order. Our grand master is still to be named;  for  like
royal kings of old times, we find the  headwaters  of  our  fraternity  in
nothing short of the great gods themselves. That wondrous  oriental  story
is now to be rehearsed from the Shaster, which gives us the dread Vishnoo,
one of the three persons in the godhead of  the  Hindoos;  gives  us  this
divine Vishnoo himself for our Lord; -Vishnoo, who, by the  first  of  his
ten earthly incarnations, has for ever set apart and sanctified the whale.
When Brahma, or the God of Gods, saith the Shaster, resolved  to  recreate
the world after one of its  periodical  dissolutions,  he  gave  birth  to
Vishnoo, to preside over the work; but the Vedas, or mystical books, whose
perusal would seem to have been indispensable to Vishnoo before  beginning
the creation, and which therefore must have  contained  something  in  the
shape of practical hints to young architects, these Vedas  were  lying  at
the bottom of the waters; so Vishnoo became  incarnate  in  a  whale,  and
sounding down in him to the uttermost depths, rescued the sacred  volumes.
Was not this Vishnoo a whaleman, then? even as a man who rides a horse  is
called a horseman? Perseus, St.  George,  Hercules,  Jonah,  and  Vishnoo!
there's a member-roll for you! What club but the whaleman's can  head  off
like that?



                    83. JONAH HISTORICALLY REGARDED

    Reference was made to the historical story of Jonah and the whale  in
the  preceding  chapter.  Now  some  Nantucketers  rather  distrust   this
historical story of  Jonah  and  the  whale.  But  then  there  were  some
sceptical Greeks and Romans, who, standing out from the orthodox pagans of
their times, equally doubted the story of  Hercules  and  the  whale,  and
Arion and the dolphin; and yet their doubting  those  traditions  did  not
make those traditions one whit the less  facts,  for  all  that.  One  old
Sag-Harbor whaleman's chief reason for questioning the  Hebrew  story  was
this: -He had one of those quaint old-fashioned Bibles,  embellished  with
curious, unscientific plates; one of which represented Jonah's whale  with
two spouts in his head -a peculiarity only true with respect to a  species
of the Leviathan (the Right Whale,  and  the  varieties  of  that  order),
concerning which the fishermen have this saying,
    A penny roll would choke him; his swallow is so very small.  But,  to
this,
    Bishop Jebb's anticipative answer is  ready.  It  is  not  necessary,
hints the Bishop, that we consider Jonah as tombed in the  whale's  belly,
but as temporarily lodged in some  part  of  his  mouth.  And  this  seems
reasonable enough in the good Bishop. For truly, the Right  Whale's  mouth
would accommodate a couple of whist tables, and comfortably seat  all  the
players. Possibly, too, Jonah might have ensconced  himself  in  a  hollow
tooth; but, on second thoughts, the  Right  Whale  is  toothless.  Another
reason which Sag-Harbor (he went by that name) urged for his want of faith
in this matter of the prophet, was something obscurely in reference to his
incarcerated body and the  whale's  gastric  juices.  But  this  objection
likewise falls to the ground, because a  German  exegetist  supposes  that
Jonah must have taken refuge in the floating body of a dead whale  -  even
as the French soldiers in the Russian campaign turned  their  dead  horses
into tents, and crawled into them. Besides, it has been divined  by  other
continental commentators, that when Jonah was thrown  overboard  from  the
Joppa ship, he straightway effected his escape to another vessel near  by,
some vessel with a whale for a figure-head; and,  I  would  add,  possibly
called The Whale, as some craft are nowadays  christened  the  Shark,  the
Gull, the Eagle. Nor have there been wanting learned exegetists  who  have
opined that the whale mentioned in  the  book  of  Jonah  merely  meant  a
life-preserver -an inflated bag of wind -which the endangered prophet swam
to, and so was saved from a watery doom. Poor Sag-Harbor, therefore, seems
worsted all round. But he had still another reason for his want of  faith.
It was this, if I remember right: Jonah was swallowed by the whale in  the
Mediterranean Sea, and after three days he was vomited up somewhere within
three days' journey of Nineveh, a city on the Tigris, very much more  than
three days' journey across from the nearest  point  of  the  Mediterranean
coast. How is that? But was there no other way for the whale to  land  the
prophet within that short distance of Nineveh? Yes. He might have  carried
him round by the way of the Cape of Good Hope. But not  to  speak  of  the
passage through the whole length of the Mediterranean, and another passage
up the Persian Gulf and Red Sea, such  a  supposition  would  involve  the
complete circumnavigation of all Africa in three days, not to speak of the
Tigris waters, near the site of Nineveh, being too shallow for  any  whale
to swim in. Besides, this idea of Jonah's weathering the Cape of Good Hope
at so early a day would wrest the honor of the  discovery  of  that  great
headland from Bartholomew Diaz, its reputed discoverer, and so make modern
history a liar. But all these foolish arguments  of  old  Sag-Harbor  only
evinced his foolish pride of reason -a thing still more  reprehensible  in
him, seeing that he had but little learning except what he had  picked  up
from the sun and the sea. I say it only shows his foolish, impious  pride,
and abominable, devilish rebellion against the reverend clergy. For  by  a
Portuguese Catholic priest, this very idea of Jonah's going to Nineveh via
the Cape of Good Hope was  advanced  as  a  signal  magnification  of  the
general miracle.  And  so  it  was.  Besides,  to  this  day,  the  highly
enlightened Turks devoutly believe in the historical story of  Jonah.  And
some three centuries ago, an English traveller in  old  Harris's  Voyages,
speaks of a Turkish Mosque built in honor of Jonah, in which mosque was  a
miraculous lamp that burnt without any oil.



                            84. PITCHPOLING

    To make them run easily and  swiftly,  the  axles  of  carriages  are
anointed; and for much the same purpose, some whalers perform an analogous
operation upon their boat; they grease the bottom. Nor is it to be doubted
that as such a procedure can  do  no  harm,  it  may  possibly  be  of  no
contemptible advantage; considering that oil and water are  hostile;  that
oil is a sliding thing, and that the object in view is to  make  the  boat
slide bravely. Queequeg believed strongly in anointing his boat,  and  one
morning not long after the German ship  Jungfrau  disappeared,  took  more
than customary pains in that occupation; crawling under its bottom,  where
it hung  over  the  side,  and  rubbing  in  the  unctuousness  as  though
diligently seeking to insure a crop of hair from the craft's bald keel. He
seemed to be working in obedience to some particular presentiment. Nor did
it remain unwarranted by the event. Towards noon whales were  raised;  but
so soon as the ship sailed down to them, they turned and fled  with  swift
precipitancy; a disordered flight, as of Cleopatra's barges  from  Actium.
Nevertheless, the boats  pursued,  and  Stubb's  was  foremost.  By  great
exertion, Tashtego at  last  succeeded  in  planting  one  iron;  but  the
stricken whale, without at all sounding, still  continued  his  horizontal
flight, with added  fleetness.  Such  unintermitted  strainings  upon  the
planted iron must  sooner  or  later  inevitably  extract  it.  It  became
imperative to lance the flying whale, or be content to lose  him.  But  to
haul the boat up to his flank was impossible, he swam so fast and furious.
What then remained? Of all  the  wondrous  devices  and  dexterities,  the
sleights of hand and countless subtleties, to which the  veteran  whaleman
is so often forced, none exceed that fine manoeuvre with the lance  called
pitchpoling. Small sword, or broad sword,  in  all  its  exercises  boasts
nothing like it. It is  only  indispensable  with  an  inveterate  running
whale; its grand fact and feature is the wonderful distance to  which  the
long lance is accurately darted from a violently  rocking,  jerking  boat,
under extreme headway. Steel and wood included, the entire spear  is  some
ten or twelve feet in length; the staff is much slighter than that of  the
harpoon, and also of a lighter material-pine. It is furnished with a small
rope called a warp, of considerable length, by which it can be hauled back
to the hand after darting. But before going further, it  is  important  to
mention here, that though the harpoon may be pitchpoled in  the  same  way
with the lance, yet it is seldom  done;  and  when  done,  is  still  less
frequently successful, on account  of  the  greater  weight  and  inferior
length of the harpoon as compared with the lance, which in  effect  become
serious drawbacks. As a general thing, therefore, you must first get  fast
to a whale, before any pitchpoling comes into play. Look now at  Stubb;  a
man who from his humorous,  deliberate  coolness  and  equanimity  in  the
direst emergencies, was specially qualified to excel in pitchpoling.  Look
at him; he stands upright in the tossed bow of the flying boat;  wrapt  in
fleecy foam, the towing whale is forty feet ahead. Handling the long lance
lightly, glancing twice or thrice along its length to see if it be exactly
straight, Stubb whistlingly gathers up the coil of the warp in  one  hand,
so as to secure its free end in his grasp, leaving the rest  unobstructed.
Then holding the lance full before his waistband's middle, he levels it at
the whale; when, covering him with it, he steadily depresses the  butt-end
in his hand, thereby elevating the point till  the  weapon  stands  fairly
balanced upon his palm, fifteen feet in the air. He minds you somewhat  of
a juggler, balancing a long staff on his chin. Next moment with  a  rapid,
nameless impulse, in a superb  lofty  arch  the  bright  steel  spans  the
foaming distance, and quivers in the life spot of the  whale.  Instead  of
sparkling water, he now spouts red blood. That drove  the  spigot  out  of
him! cries Stubb. 'Tis July's immortal Fourth; all fountains must run wine
to-day!  Would  now,  it  were  old  Orleans  whiskey,  or  old  Ohio,  or
unspeakable old Monongahela! Then, Tashtego,  lad,  I'd  have  ye  hold  a
canakin to the jet, and we'd drink round it! Yea,  verily,  hearts  alive,
we'd brew choice punch in the spread of his  spout-hole  there,  and  from
that live punch-bowl quaff the living  stuff!  Again  and  again  to  such
gamesome talk, the dexterous dart is repeated, the spear returning to  its
master like a greyhound held in skilful leash.  The  agonized  whale  goes
into his flurry; the tow-line is slackened, and  the  pitchpoler  dropping
astern, folds his hands, and mutely watches the monster die.



                            85. THE FOUNTAIN

    That for six thousand years -and no one knows how  many  millions  of
ages before -the great whales should have been spouting all over the  sea,
and sprinkling and mistifying the gardens of the deep,  as  with  so  many
sprinkling or mistifying pots; and that for some centuries back, thousands
of hunters should have been close by the fountain of the  whale,  watching
these sprinklings and spoutings -that all this should be,  and  yet,  that
down to this blessed minute  (fifteen  and  a  quarter  minutes  past  one
o'clock P. M. of this sixteenth day of December, A. D. ), it should  still
remain a problem, whether these spoutings are, after all, really water, or
nothing but vapor -this is surely a noteworthy thing. Let us,  then,  look
at this matter, along with some interesting items  contingent.  Every  one
knows that by the peculiar cunning of their gills,  the  finny  tribes  in
general breathe the air which at all times is combined with the element in
which they swim, hence, a herring or a cod might live a century, and never
once raise its head above the surface. But owing to  his  marked  internal
structure which gives him regular lungs, like a human being's,  the  whale
can only live by inhaling the  disengaged  air  in  the  open  atmosphere.
Wherefore the necessity for his periodical visits to the upper world.  But
he cannot in any degree breathe through his mouth, for,  in  his  ordinary
attitude, the Sperm Whale's mouth is buried at least  eight  feet  beneath
the surface; and what is still more, his windpipe has  no  connexion  with
his mouth. No, he breathes through his spiracle alone; and this is on  the
top of his head. If I say, that  in  any  creature  breathing  is  only  a
function indispensable to vitality, inasmuch as it withdraws from the  air
a certain element, which being subsequently brought into contact with  the
blood imparts to the blood its vivifying principle, I do not think I shall
err; though I may possibly use some superfluous scientific  words.  Assume
it, and it follows that if all the blood in a man could  be  aerated  with
one breath, he might then seal up his nostrils and not fetch another for a
considerable time. That is to say, he would then live  without  breathing.
Anomalous as it may seem, this is precisely the case with the  whale,  who
systematically lives, by intervals, his full hour and more  (when  at  the
bottom) without drawing a single breath, or so much as in any way inhaling
a particle of air; for, remember, he has no gills. How  is  this?  Between
his ribs and on each side of his spine he is supplied  with  a  remarkable
involved Cretan labyrinth of vermicelli-like vessels, which vessels,  when
he quits the surface, are completely distended with oxygenated  blood.  So
that for an hour or more, a thousand fathoms in  the  sea,  he  carries  a
surplus stock of vitality in him, just as the camel crossing the waterless
desert carries a surplus supply of  drink  for  future  use  in  its  four
supplementary  stomachs.  The  anatomical  fact  of  this   labyrinth   is
indisputable; and that the supposition founded upon it is  reasonable  and
true, seems  the  more  cogent  to  me,  when  I  consider  the  otherwise
inexplicable obstinacy of that leviathan in having his spoutings  out,  as
the fishermen phrase it. This is what I mean. If unmolested,  upon  rising
to the surface, the Sperm Whale will continue there for a period  of  time
exactly uniform with all his other unmolested risings. Say he stays eleven
minutes, and jets seventy times, that is, respires seventy  breaths;  then
whenever he rises again, he will be sure to have his seventy breaths  over
again, to a minute. Now, if after he fetches a few breaths you alarm  him,
so that he sounds, he will be always dodging up again  to  make  good  his
regular allowance of air. And not till those  seventy  breaths  are  told,
will he finally go down to stay out his full term below. Remark,  however,
that in different individuals these rates are different; but  in  any  one
they are alike. Now, why should the whale  thus  insist  upon  having  his
spoutings out, unless it  be  to  replenish  his  reservoir  of  air,  ere
descending for good? How obvious is it, too, that this necessity  for  the
whale's rising exposes him to all the fatal hazards of the chase. For  not
by hook or by net could this vast leviathan  be  caught,  when  sailing  a
thousand fathoms beneath the sunlight. Not so  much  thy  skill,  then,  O
hunter, as the great necessities that strike the victory to thee! In  man,
breathing is incessantly going on -one breath  only  serving  for  two  or
three pulsations; so that whatever other business he  has  to  attend  to,
waking or sleeping, breathe he must, or die he will. But the  Sperm  Whale
only breathes about one seventh or Sunday of his time. It  has  been  said
that  the  whale  only  breathes  through  his  spout-hole;  if  it  could
truthfully be added that his spouts are mixed with water, then I opine  we
should be  furnished  with  the  reason  why  his  sense  of  smell  seems
obliterated in him; for the only thing about him that at  all  answers  to
his nose is that identical spout-hole;  and  being  so  clogged  with  two
elements, it could not be expected to have  the  power  of  smelling.  But
owing to the mystery of the spout -whether it be water or  whether  it  be
vapor -no absolute certainty can as yet be arrived at on this  head.  Sure
it is, nevertheless, that the Sperm Whale has no proper  olfactories.  But
what does he want of them? No roses, no violets, no Cologne-water  in  the
sea. Furthermore, as his windpipe  solely  opens  into  the  tube  of  his
spouting canal, and as that long canal -like  the  grand  Erie  Canal  -is
furnished with a sort of locks (that  open  and  shut)  for  the  downward
retention of air or the upward exclusion of water, therefore the whale has
no voice; unless you insult him by  saying,  that  when  he  so  strangely
rumbles, he talks through his nose. But then again, what has the whale  to
say? Seldom have I known any profound being that had anything  to  say  to
this world, unless forced to stammer out something by  way  of  getting  a
living. Oh! happy that the world is such an excellent listener!  Now,  the
spouting canal of the Sperm Whale, chiefly  intended  as  it  is  for  the
conveyance of air, and for several feet  laid  along,  horizontally,  just
beneath the upper surface of his head, and a  little  to  one  side;  this
curious canal is very much like a gas-pipe laid down in a city on one side
of a street. But the question returns whether  this  gas-pipe  is  also  a
water-pipe; in other words, whether the spout of the Sperm  Whale  is  the
mere vapor of the exhaled breath, or whether that exhaled breath is  mixed
with water taken in at the mouth, and discharged through the spiracle.  It
is certain that the mouth indirectly communicates with the spouting canal;
but it cannot be proved that this is for the purpose of discharging  water
through the spiracle. Because the greatest necessity for  so  doing  would
seem to be, when in feeding he accidentally takes in water. But the  Sperm
Whale's food is far beneath the surface, and there he cannot spout even if
he would. Besides, if you regard him very closely, and time him with  your
watch, you will find that when unmolested, there is an  undeviating  rhyme
between the periods of his jets and the ordinary periods  of  respiration.
But why pester one with all this reasoning on the subject? Speak out!  You
have seen him spout; then declare what the spout  is;  can  you  not  tell
water from air? My dear sir, in this world it is not  so  easy  to  settle
these plain things. I have ever found your plain things the  knottiest  of
all. And as for this whale spout, you might almost stand in it, and yet be
undecided as to what it is precisely. The central body of it is hidden  in
the snowy sparkling mist enveloping it; and how  can  you  certainly  tell
whether any water falls from it, when, always, when you are  close  enough
to a whale to get a close view  of  his  spout,  he  is  in  a  prodigious
commotion, the water cascading all around him. And if at  such  times  you
should think that you really perceived drops of moisture in the spout, how
do you know that they are not merely condensed from its vapor; or  how  do
you know that they are not those identical drops superficially  lodged  in
the spout-hole fissure, which  is  countersunk  into  the  summit  of  the
whale's head? For even when tranquilly swimming through the mid-day sea in
a calm, with his elevated hump sun-dried as a dromedary's in  the  desert;
even then, the whale always carries a small basin of water on his head, as
under a blazing sun you will sometimes see a cavity in a  rock  filled  up
with rain. Nor is it at all prudent for the  hunter  to  be  over  curious
touching the precise nature of the whale spout. It will not do for him  to
be peering into it, and putting his face in it. You cannot  go  with  your
pitcher to this fountain and fill it, and bring it  away.  For  even  when
coming into slight contact with the outer, vapory shreds of the jet, which
will often happen, your skin will feverishly smart, from the acridness  of
the thing so touching it. And I know one, who  coming  into  still  closer
contact with the spout, whether with some scientific object  in  view,  or
otherwise, I cannot say, the skin peeled  off  from  his  cheek  and  arm.
Wherefore, among whalemen, the spout is  deemed  poisonous;  they  try  to
evade it. Another thing; I have heard it said, and I do not much doubt it,
that if the jet is fairly spouted into your eyes, it will blind  you.  The
wisest thing the investigator can do then, it seems to me, is to let  this
deadly spout alone. Still, we can hypothesize, even if we cannot prove and
establish. My hypothesis is this: that the spout is nothing but mist.  And
besides other reasons, to this conclusion I am impelled, by considerations
touching the great inherent dignity and sublimity of the  Sperm  Whale;  I
account him no common, shallow being, inasmuch as it is an undisputed fact
that he is never found on soundings, or  near  shores;  all  other  whales
sometimes are. He is both ponderous and profound. And I am convinced  that
from the heads of all ponderous profound beings, such  as  Plato,  Pyrrho,
the Devil, Jupiter, Dante, and so on,  there  always  goes  up  a  certain
semi-visible steam, while in the act  of  thinking  deep  thoughts.  While
composing a little treatise on Eternity,
    I had the curiosity to place a mirror before me;  and  ere  long  saw
reflected  there,  a  curious  involved  worming  and  undulation  in  the
atmosphere over my head. The invariable moisture of my hair, while plunged
in deep thought, after six cups of hot tea in my thin shingled  attic,  of
an  August  noon;  this  seems  an  additional  argument  for  the   above
supposition. And how nobly it raises our  conceit  of  the  mighty,  misty
monster, to behold him solemnly sailing through a calm tropical  sea;  his
vast, mild  head  overhung  by  a  canopy  of  vapor,  engendered  by  his
incommunicable contemplations, and that vapor -as you will  sometimes  see
it -glorified by a rainbow, as if Heaven itself had put its seal upon  his
thoughts. For, d'ye see, rainbows do not visit the clear  air;  they  only
irradiate vapor. And so, through all the thick mists of the dim doubts  in
my mind, divine intuitions now and then shoot, enkindling my  fog  with  a
heavenly ray. And for this I thank God; for all have  doubts;  many  deny;
but doubts or denials, few along with them, have intuitions. Doubts of all
things earthly, and intuitions of some things heavenly;  this  combination
makes neither believer nor infidel, but makes a man who regards them  both
with equal eye.



                               86. THE TAIL

    Other poets have warbled the praises of the soft eye of the antelope,
and the lovely plumage of the bird that never alights; less  celestial,  I
celebrate a tail. Reckoning the largest sized Sperm Whale's tail to  begin
at that point of the trunk where it tapers to about the girth of a man, it
comprises upon its upper surface alone, an area of at least  fifty  square
feet. The compact round body of its root expands  into  two  broad,  firm,
flat palms or flukes, gradually shoaling away to  less  than  an  inch  in
thickness. At the crotch or junction, these flukes slightly overlap,  then
sideways recede from  each  other  like  wings,  leaving  a  wide  vacancy
between. In no living thing are  the  lines  of  beauty  more  exquisitely
defined than in the crescentic borders of  these  flukes.  At  its  utmost
expansion in the full grown  whale,  the  tail  will  considerably  exceed
twenty feet across. The entire member seems a dense webbed bed  of  welded
sinews; but cut into it, and you find that three distinct  strata  compose
it: -upper, middle, and lower. The fibres in the upper and  lower  layers,
are long and horizontal; those of the middle one, very short, and  running
crosswise between the outside layers. This triune structure,  as  much  as
anything else, imparts power to the tail. To  the  student  of  old  Roman
walls, the middle layer will furnish a curious parallel to the thin course
of tiles always alternating with the stone in those  wonderful  relics  of
the antique, and  which  undoubtedly  contribute  so  much  to  the  great
strength of the masonry. But as if this vast local power in the  tendinous
tail were not enough, the whole bulk of the leviathan is knit over with  a
warp and woof of muscular fibres and filaments, which  passing  on  either
side the loins and running down into the  flukes,  insensibly  blend  with
them, and largely contribute to their might;  so  that  in  the  tail  the
confluent measureless force of the whole whale  seems  concentrated  to  a
point. Could annihilation occur to matter, this were the thing to  do  it.
Nor does this -its amazing strength, at all tend to cripple  the  graceful
flexion of its motions; where infantileness of ease  undulates  through  a
Titanism of power. On  the  contrary,  those  motions  derive  their  most
appalling beauty from it. Real strength never impairs beauty  or  harmony,
but it often bestows it; and in everything imposingly beautiful,  strength
has much to do with the magic. Take away the tied tendons  that  all  over
seem bursting from the marble in the carved Hercules, and its charm  would
be gone. As devout Eckerman lifted the linen sheet from the  naked  corpse
of Goethe, he was overwhelmed with the massive  chest  of  the  man,  that
seemed as a Roman triumphal arch. When Angelo paints even God  the  Father
in human form, mark what robustness is there. And whatever they may reveal
of the divine love in the Son, the soft, curled, hermaphroditical  Italian
pictures, in which his idea has been  most  successfully  embodied;  these
pictures, so destitute as they are of all brawniness, hint nothing of  any
power, but the mere negative, feminine one of  submission  and  endurance,
which on all hands it is conceded, form the peculiar practical virtues  of
his teachings. Such is the subtle elasticity of the organ I treat of, that
whether wielded in sport, or in earnest, or in anger, whatever be the mood
it be in, its flexions are invariably marked by exceeding  grace.  Therein
no fairy's arm can transcend it. Five great motions are  peculiar  to  it.
First, when used as a fin for progression; Second, when used as a mace  in
battle; Third, in sweeping;  Fourth,  in  lobtailing;  Fifth,  in  peaking
flukes. First:
   Being horizontal in its position, the Leviathan's tail acts in a different
manner from the tails of all other sea creatures.  It never wriggles.  In man
or fish, wriggling is a sign of inferiority.  To the whale, his tail is the
sole means of propulsion.  Scroll-wise coiled forwards beneath the body, and
then rapidly sprung backwards, it is this which gives that singular darting,
leaping motion to the monster when furiously swimming.  His side-fins only
serve to steer by.  Second: It is a little significant, that while one sperm
whale only fights another sperm whale with his head and jaw, nevertheless,
in his conflicts with man, he chiefly and contemptuously uses his tail.  In
striking at a boat, he swiftly curves away his flukes from it, and the blow
is only inflicted by the recoil.  If it be made in the unobstructed air,
especially if it descend to its mark, the stroke is then simply irresistible.
    No ribs of man or boat can withstand it. Your only salvation lies  in
eluding it; but if it comes sideways  through  the  opposing  water,  then
partly owing to the light buoyancy of the whaleboat, and the elasticity of
its materials, a cracked rib or a dashed plank or two, a sort of stitch in
the side, is generally the most serious result. These submerged side blows
are so often received in the fishery, that they are accounted mere child's
play. Some one strips off a frock, and  the  hole  is  stopped.  Third:  I
cannot demonstrate it, but it seems to me, that in the whale the sense  of
touch is concentrated in the tail; for in this respect there is a delicacy
in it only equalled by  the  daintiness  of  the  elephant's  trunk.  This
delicacy is chiefly evinced in the action of sweeping,  when  in  maidenly
gentleness the whale with a certain soft slowness moves his immense flukes
from side to side upon the surface of the  sea;  and  if  he  feel  but  a
sailor's whisker, woe to that sailor, whiskers and all.
    What tenderness there is in that preliminary touch! Had this tail any
prehensile power, I should straightway bethink me of Darmonodes'  elephant
that so frequented the flower-market, and with low  salutations  presented
nosegays to damsels, and then caressed their zones. On more accounts  than
one, a pity it is that the whale does not possess this  prehensile  virtue
in his tail; for I have heard of yet another elephant, that  when  wounded
in the fight, curved round his  trunk  and  extracted  the  dart.  Fourth:
Stealing unawares upon the whale in the fancied security of the middle  of
solitary seas, you find  him  unbent  from  the  vast  corpulence  of  his
dignity, and kitten-like, he plays on the ocean as if it  were  a  hearth.
But still you see his power in his play. The broad palms of his  tail  are
flirted high into the  air;  then  smiting  the  surface,  the  thunderous
concussion resounds for miles. You would almost think a great gun had been
discharged; and if you noticed the light wreath of vapor from the spiracle
at his other extremity, you would think that that was the smoke  from  the
touch-hole. Fifth: As in the ordinary floating posture  of  the  leviathan
the flukes lie considerably below the level of his  back,  they  are  then
completely out of sight beneath the surface;  but  when  he  is  about  to
plunge into the deeps, his entire flukes with at least thirty feet of  his
body are tossed erect in the air, and so remain vibrating a  moment,  till
they downwards shoot out of view. Excepting the sublime breach  -somewhere
else to be described -this peaking of the whale's flukes  is  perhaps  the
grandest sight to be seen in all animated nature. Out  of  the  bottomless
profundities the  gigantic  tail  seems  spasmodically  snatching  at  the
highest heaven. So in dreams, have I seen majestic Satan  thrusting  forth
his tormented colossal claw from the flame Baltic of Hell. But  in  gazing
at such scenes, it is all in all what mood you are in; if in the  Dantean,
the devils will occur to you;  if  in  that  of  Isaiah,  the  archangels.
Standing at the mast-head of my ship during a sunrise that  crimsoned  sky
and sea, I once saw a large herd  of  whales  in  the  east,  all  heading
towards the sun, and for a moment vibrating in concert with peaked flukes.
As it seemed to me at the time, such a grand embodiment  of  adoration  of
the gods  was  never  beheld,  even  in  Persia,  the  home  of  the  fire
worshippers. As Ptolemy Philopater testified of the  African  elephant,  I
then testified of the whale,  pronouncing  him  the  most  devout  of  all
beings. For according to King Juba, the military  elephants  of  antiquity
often hailed the morning with their trunks  uplifted  in  the  profoundest
silence. The chance comparison in this chapter, between the whale and  the
elephant, so far as some aspects of the tail of the one and the  trunk  of
the other are concerned, should not  tend  to  place  those  two  opposite
organs on an equality, much less the creatures to which they  respectively
belong. For as the mightiest elephant is but a terrier to  Leviathan,  so,
compared with Leviathan's tail, his trunk is but the stalk of a lily.  The
most direful blow from the elephant's trunk were as the playful tap  of  a
fan, compared with the measureless crush and crash of  the  sperm  whale's
ponderous flukes, which in repeated instances have  one  after  the  other
hurled entire boats with all their oars and crews into the air, very  much
as an Indian juggler tosses his balls. The more  I  consider  this  mighty
tail, the more do I deplore my inability to express it. At times there are
gestures in it, which, though they would  well  grace  the  hand  of  man,
remain  wholly  inexplicable.  In  an  extensive  herd,   so   remarkable,
occasionally, are these mystic gestures, that I  have  heard  hunters  who
have declared them akin to Free-Mason signs and symbols; that  the  whale,
indeed, by these methods intelligently conversed with the world.  Nor  are
there wanting other motions of the whale in  his  general  body,  full  of
strangeness, and unaccountable to his most experienced assailant.  Dissect
him how I may, then, I but go skin deep; I know him not, and  never  will.
But if I know not even the tail of this whale, how  understand  his  head?
much more, how comprehend his face, when face he has none?
    Thou shalt see my back parts, my tail, he seems to say, but  my  face
shall not be seen. But I cannot completely make out his  back  parts;  and
hint what he will about his face, I say again he has no face.
    Though all comparison in the way of general bulk  between  the  whale
and the elephant is preposterous,  inasmuch  as  in  that  particular  the
elephant stands in much the same respect to the whale that a dog  does  to
the elephant; nevertheless, there are not wanting some points  of  curious
similitude; among these is the spout. It is well known that  the  elephant
will often draw up water or dust in his trunk, and then elevating it,  jet
it forth in a stream.



                          87. THE GRAND ARMADA

    The long and narrow peninsula of  Malacca,  extending  south-eastward
from the territories of Birmah, forms the  most  southerly  point  of  all
Asia. In a continuous line from that peninsula stretch the long islands of
Sumatra, Java, Bally, and Timor; which, with  many  others,  form  a  vast
mole, or rampart, lengthwise connecting Asia with Australia, and  dividing
the  long  unbroken  Indian  ocean  from  the  thickly  studded   oriental
archipelagoes. This rampart is pierced  by  several  sally-ports  for  the
convenience of ships and whales; conspicuous among which are  the  straits
of Sunda and Malacca. By the straits of Sunda, chiefly, vessels  bound  to
China from the west, emerge into the China seas. Those narrow  straits  of
Sunda divide Sumatra from Java; and standing midway in that  vast  rampart
of islands, buttressed by that bold green promontory, known to  seamen  as
Java Head; they not a little correspond to  the  central  gateway  opening
into some vast walled empire: and considering the inexhaustible wealth  of
spices, and silks, and  jewels,  and  gold,  and  ivory,  with  which  the
thousand islands of that oriental sea are enriched, it seems a significant
provision of nature, that such treasures, by the  very  formation  of  the
land, should at least bear the appearance, however ineffectual,  of  being
guarded from the all-grasping western world. The shores of the Straits  of
Sunda are unsupplied with those domineering  fortresses  which  guard  the
entrances to the Mediterranean, the Baltic, and the Propontis. Unlike  the
Danes, these Orientals do not demand  the  obsequious  homage  of  lowered
top-sails from the endless procession of ships before the wind, which  for
centuries past, by night and by day, have passed between  the  islands  of
Sumatra and Java, freighted with the costliest cargoes of  the  east.  But
while they freely waive a ceremonial  like  this,  they  do  by  no  means
renounce their claim to more solid tribute. Time out of mind the piratical
proas of the Malays, lurking among the low  shaded  coves  and  islets  of
Sumatra, have sallied out upon the vessels sailing  through  the  straits,
fiercely demanding tribute at the point of their  spears.  Though  by  the
repeated bloody chastisements they have received at the hands of  European
cruisers, the audacity  of  these  corsairs  has  of  late  been  somewhat
repressed; yet, even at the present day, we occasionally hear  of  English
and American vessels, which, in  those  waters,  have  been  remorselessly
boarded and pillaged.
    With a fair, fresh wind, the Pequod was now  drawing  nigh  to  these
straits; Ahab purposing to pass through  them  into  the  Javan  sea,  and
thence, cruising northwards, over waters known to be frequented  here  and
there by the Sperm whale, sweep inshore by  the  Philippine  Islands,  and
gain the far coast of Japan, in time for the great whaling  season  there.
By these means, the circumnavigating Pequod would  sweep  almost  all  the
known Sperm Whale cruising grounds of the world,  previous  to  descending
upon the Line in the Pacific; where Ahab, though everywhere else foiled in
his pursuit, firmly counted upon giving battle to Moby Dick, in the sea he
was most known to frequent; and at a season when he might most  reasonably
be presumed to be haunting it. But how now? in this zoned quest, does Ahab
touch no land? does his crew drink air? Surely, he will  stop  for  water.
Nay. For a long time, now, the circus-running sun  has  raced  within  his
fiery ring, and needs no sustenance but what's in himself. So  Ahab.  Mark
this, too, in the whaler. While other hulls are  loaded  down  with  alien
stuff,  to  be  transferred  to  foreign  wharves;   the   world-wandering
whale-ship carries no cargo but herself and crew, their weapons and  their
wants. She has a whole lake's contents bottled in her ample hold.  She  is
ballasted with  utilities;  not  altogether  with  unusable  pig-lead  and
kentledge. She carries years' water in  her.  Clear  old  prime  Nantucket
water; which, when three years afloat, the Nantucketer,  in  the  Pacific,
prefers to drink before the brackish fluid, but yesterday  rafted  off  in
casks, from the Peruvian or Indian streams. Hence it is, that, while other
ships may have gone to China from New York, and back again, touching at  a
score of ports, the whale-ship, in all that interval, may not have sighted
one grain of soil; her crew having seen no man but  floating  seamen  like
themselves. So that did you carry them the news  that  another  flood  had
come; they would only answer - Well, boys, here's the ark!  Now,  as  many
Sperm Whales had been captured off the western coast of Java, in the  near
vicinity of  the  straits  of  Sunda;  indeed,  as  most  of  the  ground,
roundabout, was generally recognised by the fishermen as an excellent spot
for cruising; therefore, as the Pequod gained  more  and  more  upon  Java
Head, the look-outs were repeatedly hailed, and admonished  to  keep  wide
awake. But though the green palmy cliffs of the land soon  loomed  on  the
starboard bow, and with delighted nostrils the fresh cinnamon was  snuffed
in the air, yet not a single  jet  was  descried.  Almost  renouncing  all
thought of falling in with any game hereabouts, the  ship  had  well  nigh
entered the straits, when the customary cheering cry was heard from aloft,
and ere long a spectacle of singular magnificence saluted us. But here  be
it premised, that owing to the unwearied activity with which of late  they
have been hunted over all four oceans, the Sperm Whales, instead of almost
invariably sailing in small detached companies, as in  former  times,  are
now frequently met with in extensive herds, sometimes embracing so great a
multitude, that it would almost seem as if numerous nations  of  them  had
sworn solemn league and covenant for mutual assistance and protection.  To
this aggregation of the Sperm Whale into such  immense  caravans,  may  be
imputed the circumstance that even in the best cruising grounds,  you  may
now sometimes sail for weeks and months together, without being greeted by
a single spout; and then be  suddenly  saluted  by  what  sometimes  seems
thousands on thousands. Broad on both bows, at the distance of some two or
three miles, and forming a great semicircle, embracing  one  half  of  the
level horizon, a  continuous  chain  of  whale-jets  were  up-playing  and
sparkling in the noon-day air. Unlike the straight perpendicular twin-jets
of the Right Whale, which, dividing at top, falls over  in  two  branches,
like the cleft drooping boughs of a willow,  the  single  forward-slanting
spout of the Sperm Whale presents a  thick  curled  bush  of  white  mist,
continually rising and falling away to leeward.  Seen  from  the  Pequod's
deck, then, as she would rise on a high hill of  the  sea,  this  host  of
vapory spouts, individually curling up into the air, and beheld through  a
blending atmosphere of bluish haze,  showed  like  the  thousand  cheerful
chimneys of some dense metropolis, descried of a balmy  autumnal  morning,
by some horseman on a height. As marching armies approaching an unfriendly
defile in the mountains, accelerate their march, all  eagerness  to  place
that perilous passage in their rear, and once more expand  in  comparative
security upon the plain; even so did this vast fleet of  whales  now  seem
hurrying forward through the straits; gradually contracting the  wings  of
their semicircle, and swimming on, in  one  solid,  but  still  crescentic
centre. Crowding all sail the Pequod pressed after them;  the  harpooneers
handling their weapons, and loudly cheering from the heads  of  their  yet
suspended boats. If the wind only held, little doubt had they, that chased
through these Straits of Sunda, the vast host would only deploy  into  the
Oriental seas to witness the capture of not a few of their number. And who
could tell whether, in that congregated caravan, Moby Dick  himself  might
not temporarily be swimming, like the  worshipped  white-elephant  in  the
coronation  procession  of  the  Siamese!  So  with  stun-sail  piled   on
stun-sail, we sailed along, driving these leviathans before us; when, of a
sudden, the voice of Tashtego was heard,  loudly  directing  attention  to
something in our wake. Corresponding to the crescent in our van, we beheld
another in our rear. It seemed formed of detached white vapors, rising and
falling something like the spouts of the whales;  only  they  did  not  so
completely come and go;  for  they  constantly  hovered,  without  finally
disappearing. Levelling his glass at this sight, ahab quickly revolved  in
his pivot-hole, crying, aloft there, and rig whips and buck