Moby Dick

Words are colored according to their "surprise" (minus the logarithm of their frequency in the whole Gutenberg corpus) from red (least surprise) to blue (most surprise).

MOBY DICK ; OR THE WHALE

by Herman Melville




ETYMOLOGY .

( Supplied by a Late Consumptive Usher to a Grammar School )

The pale Usher - - threadbare in coat , heart , body , and brain ; I see him
now . He was ever dusting his old lexicons and grammars , with a queer
handkerchief , mockingly embellished with all the gay flags of all the
known nations of the world . He loved to dust his old grammars ; it
somehow mildly reminded him of his mortality .

" While you take in hand to school others , and to teach them by what
name a whale - fish is to be called in our tongue leaving out , through
ignorance , the letter H , which almost alone maketh the signification
of the word , you deliver that which is not true . " - - HACKLUYT

" WHALE . . . . Sw . and Dan . HVAL . This animal is named from roundness
or rolling ; for in Dan . HVALT is arched or vaulted . " - - WEBSTER ' S
DICTIONARY

" WHALE . . . . It is more immediately from the Dut . and Ger . WALLEN ;
A . S . WALW - IAN , to roll , to wallow . " - - RICHARDSON ' S DICTIONARY

KETOS , GREEK .
CETUS , LATIN .
WHOEL , ANGLO - SAXON .
HVALT , DANISH .
WAL , DUTCH .
HWAL , SWEDISH .
WHALE , ICELANDIC .
WHALE , ENGLISH .
BALEINE , FRENCH .
BALLENA , SPANISH .
PEKEE - NUEE - NUEE , FEGEE .
PEKEE - NUEE - NUEE , ERROMANGOAN .




EXTRACTS ( Supplied by a Sub - Sub - Librarian ) .

It will be seen that this mere painstaking burrower and grub - worm of
a poor devil of a Sub - Sub appears to have gone through the long
Vaticans and street - stalls of the earth , picking up whatever random
allusions to whales he could anyways find in any book whatsoever ,
sacred or profane . Therefore you must not , in every case at least ,
take the higgledy - piggledy whale statements , however authentic , in
these extracts , for veritable gospel cetology . Far from it . As
touching the ancient authors generally , as well as the poets here
appearing , these extracts are solely valuable or entertaining , as
affording a glancing bird ' s eye view of what has been promiscuously
said , thought , fancied , and sung of Leviathan , by many nations and
generations , including our own .

So fare thee well , poor devil of a Sub - Sub , whose commentator I am .
Thou belongest to that hopeless , sallow tribe which no wine of this
world will ever warm ; and for whom even Pale Sherry would be too
rosy - strong ; but with whom one sometimes loves to sit , and feel
poor - devilish , too ; and grow convivial upon tears ; and say to them
bluntly , with full eyes and empty glasses , and in not altogether
unpleasant sadness - - Give it up , Sub - Subs ! For by how much the more
pains ye take to please the world , by so much the more shall ye for
ever go thankless ! Would that I could clear out Hampton Court and
the Tuileries for ye ! But gulp down your tears and hie aloft to the
royal - mast with your hearts ; for your friends who have gone before
are clearing out the seven - storied heavens , and making refugees of
long - pampered Gabriel , Michael , and Raphael , against your coming .
Here ye strike but splintered hearts together - - there , ye shall strike
unsplinterable glasses !


EXTRACTS .

" And God created great whales . " - - GENESIS .

" Leviathan maketh a path to shine after him ; One would think the deep
to be hoary . " - - JOB .

" Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah . "
- - JONAH .

" There go the ships ; there is that Leviathan whom thou hast made to
play therein . " - - PSALMS .

" In that day , the Lord with his sore , and great , and strong sword ,
shall punish Leviathan the piercing serpent , even Leviathan that
crooked serpent ; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea . "
- - ISAIAH

" And what thing soever besides cometh within the chaos of this
monster ' s mouth , be it beast , boat , or stone , down it goes all
incontinently that foul great swallow of his , and perisheth in the
bottomless gulf of his paunch . " - - HOLLAND ' S PLUTARCH ' S MORALS .

" The Indian Sea breedeth the most and the biggest fishes that are :
among which the Whales and Whirlpooles called Balaene , take up as
much in length as four acres or arpens of land . " - - HOLLAND ' S PLINY .

" Scarcely had we proceeded two days on the sea , when about sunrise a
great many Whales and other monsters of the sea , appeared . Among the
former , one was of a most monstrous size . . . . This came towards us ,
open - mouthed , raising the waves on all sides , and beating the sea
before him into a foam . " - - TOOKE ' S LUCIAN . " THE TRUE HISTORY . "

" He visited this country also with a view of catching horse - whales ,
which had bones of very great value for their teeth , of which he
brought some to the king . . . . The best whales were catched in his
own country , of which some were forty - eight , some fifty yards long .
He said that he was one of six who had killed sixty in two days . "
- - OTHER OR OCTHER ' S VERBAL NARRATIVE TAKEN DOWN FROM HIS MOUTH BY
KING ALFRED , A . D . 890 .

" And whereas all the other things , whether beast or vessel , that
enter into the dreadful gulf of this monster ' s ( whale ' s ) mouth , are
immediately lost and swallowed up , the sea - gudgeon retires into it in
great security , and there sleeps . " - - MONTAIGNE . - - APOLOGY FOR
RAIMOND SEBOND .

" Let us fly , let us fly ! Old Nick take me if is not Leviathan
described by the noble prophet Moses in the life of patient Job . "
- - RABELAIS .

" This whale ' s liver was two cartloads . " - - STOWE ' S ANNALS .

" The great Leviathan that maketh the seas to seethe like boiling
pan . " - - LORD BACON ' S VERSION OF THE PSALMS .

" Touching that monstrous bulk of the whale or ork we have received
nothing certain . They grow exceeding fat , insomuch that an
incredible quantity of oil will be extracted out of one whale . "
- - IBID . " HISTORY OF LIFE AND DEATH . "

" The sovereignest thing on earth is parmacetti for an inward bruise . "
- - KING HENRY .

" Very like a whale . " - - HAMLET .

" Which to secure , no skill of leach ' s art
Mote him availle , but to returne againe
To his wound ' s worker , that with lowly dart ,
Dinting his breast , had bred his restless paine ,
Like as the wounded whale to shore flies thro ' the maine . "
- - THE FAERIE QUEEN .

" Immense as whales , the motion of whose vast bodies can in a peaceful
calm trouble the ocean til it boil . " - - SIR WILLIAM DAVENANT . PREFACE
TO GONDIBERT .

" What spermacetti is , men might justly doubt , since the learned
Hosmannus in his work of thirty years , saith plainly , Nescio quid
sit . " - - SIR T . BROWNE . OF SPERMA CETI AND THE SPERMA CETI WHALE .
VIDE HIS V . E .

" Like Spencer ' s Talus with his modern flail
He threatens ruin with his ponderous tail .
. . .
Their fixed jav ' lins in his side he wears ,
And on his back a grove of pikes appears . " - - WALLER ' S BATTLE OF THE
SUMMER ISLANDS .

" By art is created that great Leviathan , called a Commonwealth or
State - - ( in Latin , Civitas ) which is but an artificial man . " - - OPENING
SENTENCE OF HOBBES ' S LEVIATHAN .

" Silly Mansoul swallowed it without chewing , as if it had been a
sprat in the mouth of a whale . " - - PILGRIM ' S PROGRESS .

" That sea beast
Leviathan , which God of all his works
Created hugest that swim the ocean stream . " - - PARADISE LOST .

- - - " There Leviathan ,
Hugest of living creatures , in the deep
Stretched like a promontory sleeps or swims ,
And seems a moving land ; and at his gills
Draws in , and at his breath spouts out a sea . " - - IBID .

" The mighty whales which swim in a sea of water , and have a sea of
oil swimming in them . " - - FULLLER ' S PROFANE AND HOLY STATE .

" So close behind some promontory lie
The huge Leviathan to attend their prey ,
And give no chance , but swallow in the fry ,
Which through their gaping jaws mistake the way . "
- - DRYDEN ' S ANNUS MIRABILIS .

" While the whale is floating at the stern of the ship , they cut off
his head , and tow it with a boat as near the shore as it will come ;
but it will be aground in twelve or thirteen feet water . " - - THOMAS
EDGE ' S TEN VOYAGES TO SPITZBERGEN , IN PURCHAS .

" In their way they saw many whales sporting in the ocean , and in
wantonness fuzzing up the water through their pipes and vents , which
nature has placed on their shoulders . " - - SIR T . HERBERT ' S VOYAGES
INTO ASIA AND AFRICA . HARRIS COLL .

" Here they saw such huge troops of whales , that they were forced to
proceed with a great deal of caution for fear they should run their
ship upon them . " - - SCHOUTEN ' S SIXTH CIRCUMNAVIGATION .

" We set sail from the Elbe , wind N . E . in the ship called The
Jonas - in - the - Whale . . . . Some say the whale can ' t open his mouth , but
that is a fable . . . . They frequently climb up the masts to see
whether they can see a whale , for the first discoverer has a ducat
for his pains . . . . I was told of a whale taken near Shetland , that
had above a barrel of herrings in his belly . . . . One of our
harpooneers told me that he caught once a whale in Spitzbergen that
was white all over . " - - A VOYAGE TO GREENLAND , A . D . 1671 HARRIS COLL .

" Several whales have come in upon this coast ( Fife ) Anno 1652 , one
eighty feet in length of the whale - bone kind came in , which ( as I was
informed ) , besides a vast quantity of oil , did afford 500 weight of
baleen . The jaws of it stand for a gate in the garden of Pitferren . "
- - SIBBALD ' S FIFE AND KINROSS .

" Myself have agreed to try whether I can master and kill this
Sperma - ceti whale , for I could never hear of any of that sort that
was killed by any man , such is his fierceness and swiftness . "
- - RICHARD STRAFFORD ' S LETTER FROM THE BERMUDAS . PHIL . TRANS . A . D .
1668 .

" Whales in the sea God ' s voice obey . " - - N . E . PRIMER .

" We saw also abundance of large whales , there being more in those
southern seas , as I may say , by a hundred to one ; than we have to the
northward of us . " - - CAPTAIN COWLEY ' S VOYAGE ROUND THE GLOBE , A . D .
1729 .

" . . . and the breath of the whale is frequendy attended with such an
insupportable smell , as to bring on a disorder of the brain . "
- - ULLOA ' S SOUTH AMERICA .

" To fifty chosen sylphs of special note ,
We trust the important charge , the petticoat .
Oft have we known that seven - fold fence to fail ,
Tho ' stuffed with hoops and armed with ribs of whale . " - - RAPE
OF THE LOCK .

" If we compare land animals in respect to magnitude , with those that
take up their abode in the deep , we shall find they will appear
contemptible in the comparison . The whale is doubtless the largest
animal in creation . " - - GOLDSMITH , NAT . HIST .

" If you should write a fable for little fishes , you would make them
speak like great wales . " - - GOLDSMITH TO JOHNSON .

" In the afternoon we saw what was supposed to be a rock , but it was
found to be a dead whale , which some Asiatics had killed , and were
then towing ashore . They seemed to endeavor to conceal themselves
behind the whale , in order to avoid being seen by us . " - - COOK ' S
VOYAGES .

" The larger whales , they seldom venture to attack . They stand in so
great dread of some of them , that when out at sea they are afraid to
mention even their names , and carry dung , lime - stone , juniper - wood ,
and some other articles of the same nature in their boats , in order
to terrify and prevent their too near approach . " - - UNO VON TROIL ' S
LETTERS ON BANKS ' S AND SOLANDER ' S VOYAGE TO ICELAND IN 1772 .

" The Spermacetti Whale found by the Nantuckois , is an active , fierce
animal , and requires vast address and boldness in the fishermen . "
- - THOMAS JEFFERSON ' S WHALE MEMORIAL TO THE FRENCH MINISTER IN 1778 .

" And pray , sir , what in the world is equal to it ? " - - EDMUND BURKE ' S
REFERENCE IN PARLIAMENT TO THE NANTUCKET WHALE - FISHERY .

" Spain - - a great whale stranded on the shores of Europe . " - - EDMUND
BURKE . ( SOMEWHERE . )

" A tenth branch of the king ' s ordinary revenue , said to be grounded
on the consideration of his guarding and protecting the seas from
pirates and robbers , is the right to royal fish , which are whale and
sturgeon . And these , when either thrown ashore or caught near the
coast , are the property of the king . " - - BLACKSTONE .

" Soon to the sport of death the crews repair :
Rodmond unerring o ' er his head suspends
The barbed steel , and every turn attends . "
- - FALCONER ' S SHIPWRECK .

" Bright shone the roofs , the domes , the spires ,
And rockets blew self driven ,
To hang their momentary fire
Around the vault of heaven .

" So fire with water to compare ,
The ocean serves on high ,
Up - spouted by a whale in air ,
To express unwieldy joy . " - - COWPER , ON THE QUEEN ' S
VISIT TO LONDON .

" Ten or fifteen gallons of blood are thrown out of the heart at a
stroke , with immense velocity . " - - JOHN HUNTER ' S ACCOUNT OF THE
DISSECTION OF A WHALE . ( A SMALL SIZED ONE . )

" The aorta of a whale is larger in the bore than the main pipe of the
water - works at London Bridge , and the water roaring in its passage
through that pipe is inferior in impetus and velocity to the blood
gushing from the whale ' s heart . " - - PALEY ' S THEOLOGY .

" The whale is a mammiferous animal without hind feet . " - - BARON
CUVIER .

" In 40 degrees south , we saw Spermacetti Whales , but did not take any
till the first of May , the sea being then covered with them . "
- - COLNETT ' S VOYAGE FOR THE PURPOSE OF EXTENDING THE SPERMACETI WHALE
FISHERY .

" In the free element beneath me swam ,
Floundered and dived , in play , in chace , in battle ,
Fishes of every colour , form , and kind ;
Which language cannot paint , and mariner
Had never seen ; from dread Leviathan
To insect millions peopling every wave :
Gather ' d in shoals immense , like floating islands ,
Led by mysterious instincts through that waste
And trackless region , though on every side
Assaulted by voracious enemies ,
Whales , sharks , and monsters , arm ' d in front or jaw ,
With swords , saws , spiral horns , or hooked fangs . "
- - MONTGOMERY ' S WORLD BEFORE THE FLOOD .

" Io ! Paean ! Io ! sing .
To the finny people ' s king .
Not a mightier whale than this
In the vast Atlantic is ;
Not a fatter fish than he ,
Flounders round the Polar Sea . " - - CHARLES LAMB ' S TRIUMPH OF THE
WHALE .

" In the year 1690 some persons were on a high hill observing the
whales spouting and sporting with each other , when one observed :
there - - pointing to the sea - - is a green pasture where our children ' s
grand - children will go for bread . " - - OBED MACY ' S HISTORY OF
NANTUCKET .

" I built a cottage for Susan and myself and made a gateway in the
form of a Gothic Arch , by setting up a whale ' s jaw bones . "
- - HAWTHORNE ' S TWICE TOLD TALES .

" She came to bespeak a monument for her first love , who had been
killed by a whale in the Pacific ocean , no less than forty years
ago . " - - IBID .

" No , Sir , ' tis a Right Whale , " answered Tom ; " I saw his sprout ; he
threw up a pair of as pretty rainbows as a Christian would wish to
look at . He ' s a raal oil - butt , that fellow ! " - - COOPER ' S PILOT .

" The papers were brought in , and we saw in the Berlin Gazette that
whales had been introduced on the stage there . " - - ECKERMANN ' S
CONVERSATIONS WITH GOETHE .

" My God ! Mr . Chace , what is the matter ? " I answered , " we have been
stove by a whale . " - - " NARRATIVE OF THE SHIPWRECK OF THE WHALE SHIP
ESSEX OF NANTUCKET , WHICH WAS ATTACKED AND FINALLY DESTROYED BY A
LARGE SPERM WHALE IN THE PACIFIC OCEAN . " BY OWEN CHACE OF NANTUCKET ,
FIRST MATE OF SAID VESSEL . NEW YORK , 1821 .

" A mariner sat in the shrouds one night ,
The wind was piping free ;
Now bright , now dimmed , was the moonlight pale ,
And the phospher gleamed in the wake of the whale ,
As it floundered in the sea . " - - ELIZABETH OAKES SMITH .

" The quantity of line withdrawn from the boats engaged in the capture
of this one whale , amounted altogether to 10 , 440 yards or nearly six
English miles . . . .

" Sometimes the whale shakes its tremendous tail in the air , which ,
cracking like a whip , resounds to the distance of three or four
miles . " - - SCORESBY .

" Mad with the agonies he endures from these fresh attacks , the
infuriated Sperm Whale rolls over and over ; he rears his enormous
head , and with wide expanded jaws snaps at everything around him ; he
rushes at the boats with his head ; they are propelled before him with
vast swiftness , and sometimes utterly destroyed . . . . It is a matter
of great astonishment that the consideration of the habits of so
interesting , and , in a commercial point of view , so important an
animal ( as the Sperm Whale ) should have been so entirely neglected ,
or should have excited so little curiosity among the numerous , and
many of them competent observers , that of late years , must have
possessed the most abundant and the most convenient opportunities of
witnessing their habitudes . " - - THOMAS BEALE ' S HISTORY OF THE SPERM
WHALE , 1839 .

" The Cachalot " ( Sperm Whale ) " is not only better armed than the True
Whale " ( Greenland or Right Whale ) " in possessing a formidable weapon
at either extremity of its body , but also more frequently displays a
disposition to employ these weapons offensively and in manner at once
so artful , bold , and mischievous , as to lead to its being regarded as
the most dangerous to attack of all the known species of the whale
tribe . " - - FREDERICK DEBELL BENNETT ' S WHALING VOYAGE ROUND THE GLOBE ,
1840 .

October 13 . " There she blows , " was sung out from the mast - head .
" Where away ? " demanded the captain .
" Three points off the lee bow , sir . "
" Raise up your wheel . Steady ! " " Steady , sir . "
" Mast - head ahoy ! Do you see that whale now ? "
" Ay ay , sir ! A shoal of Sperm Whales ! There she blows ! There she
breaches ! "
" Sing out ! sing out every time ! "
" Ay Ay , sir ! There she blows ! there - - there - - THAR she
blows - - bowes - - bo - o - os ! "
" How far off ? "
" Two miles and a half . "
" Thunder and lightning ! so near ! Call all hands . " - - J . ROSS BROWNE ' S
ETCHINGS OF A WHALING CRUIZE . 1846 .

" The Whale - ship Globe , on board of which vessel occurred the horrid
transactions we are about to relate , belonged to the island of
Nantucket . " - - " NARRATIVE OF THE GLOBE , " BY LAY AND HUSSEY SURVIVORS .
A . D . 1828 .

Being once pursued by a whale which he had wounded , he parried the
assault for some time with a lance ; but the furious monster at length
rushed on the boat ; himself and comrades only being preserved by
leaping into the water when they saw the onset was inevitable . "
- - MISSIONARY JOURNAL OF TYERMAN AND BENNETT .

" Nantucket itself , " said Mr . Webster , " is a very striking and
peculiar portion of the National interest . There is a population of
eight or nine thousand persons living here in the sea , adding largely
every year to the National wealth by the boldest and most persevering
industry . " - - REPORT OF DANIEL WEBSTER ' S SPEECH IN THE U . S . SENATE ,
ON THE APPLICATION FOR THE ERECTION OF A BREAKWATER AT NANTUCKET .
1828 .

" The whale fell directly over him , and probably killed him in a
moment . " - - " THE WHALE AND HIS CAPTORS , OR THE WHALEMAN ' S ADVENTURES
AND THE WHALE ' S BIOGRAPHY , GATHERED ON THE HOMEWARD CRUISE OF THE
COMMODORE PREBLE . " BY REV . HENRY T . CHEEVER .

" If you make the least damn bit of noise , " replied Samuel , " I will
send you to hell . " - - LIFE OF SAMUEL COMSTOCK ( THE MUTINEER ) , BY HIS
BROTHER , WILLIAM COMSTOCK . ANOTHER VERSION OF THE WHALE - SHIP GLOBE
NARRATIVE .

" The voyages of the Dutch and English to the Northern Ocean , in
order , if possible , to discover a passage through it to India , though
they failed of their main object , laid - open the haunts of the whale . "
- - MCCULLOCH ' S COMMERCIAL DICTIONARY .

" These things are reciprocal ; the ball rebounds , only to bound
forward again ; for now in laying open the haunts of the whale , the
whalemen seem to have indirectly hit upon new clews to that same
mystic North - West Passage . " - - FROM " SOMETHING " UNPUBLISHED .

" It is impossible to meet a whale - ship on the ocean without being
struck by her near appearance . The vessel under short sail , with
look - outs at the mast - heads , eagerly scanning the wide expanse around
them , has a totally different air from those engaged in regular
voyage . " - - CURRENTS AND WHALING . U . S . EX . EX .

" Pedestrians in the vicinity of London and elsewhere may recollect
having seen large curved bones set upright in the earth , either to
form arches over gateways , or entrances to alcoves , and they may
perhaps have been told that these were the ribs of whales . " - - TALES
OF A WHALE VOYAGER TO THE ARCTIC OCEAN .

" It was not till the boats returned from the pursuit of these whales ,
that the whites saw their ship in bloody possession of the savages
enrolled among the crew . " - - NEWSPAPER ACCOUNT OF THE TAKING AND
RETAKING OF THE WHALE - SHIP HOBOMACK .

" It is generally well known that out of the crews of Whaling vessels
( American ) few ever return in the ships on board of which they
departed . " - - CRUISE IN A WHALE BOAT .

" Suddenly a mighty mass emerged from the water , and shot up
perpendicularly into the air . It was the while . " - - MIRIAM COFFIN OR
THE WHALE FISHERMAN .

" The Whale is harpooned to be sure ; but bethink you , how you would
manage a powerful unbroken colt , with the mere appliance of a rope
tied to the root of his tail . " - - A CHAPTER ON WHALING IN RIBS AND
TRUCKS .

" On one occasion I saw two of these monsters ( whales ) probably male
and female , slowly swimming , one after the other , within less than a
stone ' s throw of the shore " ( Terra Del Fuego ) , " over which the beech
tree extended its branches . " - - DARWIN ' S VOYAGE OF A NATURALIST .

" ' Stern all ! ' exclaimed the mate , as upon turning his head , he saw
the distended jaws of a large Sperm Whale close to the head of the
boat , threatening it with instant destruction ; - - ' Stern all , for your
lives ! ' " - - WHARTON THE WHALE KILLER .

" So be cheery , my lads , let your hearts never fail ,
While the bold harpooneer is striking the whale ! " - - NANTUCKET SONG .

" Oh , the rare old Whale , mid storm and gale
In his ocean home will be
A giant in might , where might is right ,
And King of the boundless sea . " - - WHALE SONG .



CHAPTER 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 downtown 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 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 honourable 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 honour ,
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 a 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 ain ' t 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 fore - castle 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 .



CHAPTER 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 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 monopolising 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
cobblestones - - 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 .



CHAPTER 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 oilpainting so thoroughly besmoked , and every way defaced ,
that in the unequal crosslights 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 icebound 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 afterwards
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
fireplaces 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 he 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
Alleghanian 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 favourite 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 round 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 of 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 of 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 . Arter 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 colour , 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 colour 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 fire - place , and removing
the papered fire - board , sets up this little hunch - backed 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 in
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 a 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 ain ' t 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 won ' t touch a leg of ye . "

" Good night , landlord , " said I , " you may go . "

I turned in , and never slept better in my life .



CHAPTER 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 - coloured 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 favour to give me a
good slippering for my misbehaviour ; 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 bed - side .
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 stage - - neither caterpillar nor butterfly . He was
just enough civilized to show off his outlandishness in the strangest
possible manners . 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 .



CHAPTER 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 .



CHAPTER 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 , Tongatobooarrs , 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 .



CHAPTER 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 , 1836 .
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 , 1839 .
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 , 1833 .
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 .



CHAPTER 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 favourite . 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 colour , 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
sailor - like 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 a
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
favourable winds . Yes , the world ' s a ship on its passage out , and not
a voyage complete ; and the pulpit is its prow .



CHAPTER 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 lookest 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 bowels ' 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 ,