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OB. A.D. 1892.
Printed in Great Britain by T. and A. CONSTABLE LTD
at the Edinburgh University Press
III. THE SPOUTER-INN . . . . . . 13
IV. THE COUNTERPANE . . . . . 31
V. BREAKFAST ...... 36
VI. THE STREET . . . . . 39
VII. THE CHAPEL . . . . . . 42
VIII. THE PULPIT ....... 46
IX. THE SERMON ...... 49
X. A BOSOM FRIEND ...... 60
XIII. WHEELBARROW . . . . . . 71
XIV. NANTUCKET ....... 77
XV. CHOWDER ....... 80
XVII. THE RAMADAN ...... 102
XVHI. HIS MARK ....... 110
XIX. THE PROPHET . . . . . .115
XX. ALL ASTIR ....... 119
XXI. GOING ABOARD ...... 122
XXIII. THE LEE SHORE . . . . . .132
XXIV. THE ADVOCATE . . . . . .134
XXV. POSTSCRIPT . . . . . 140
XXVIII. AHAB ....... 151
XXX. THE PIPE ...... 160
XXXII. CETOLOGY . . . . . .164
XXXV. THE MAST-HEAD . . . . .191
XXXVII. SUNSET . . . . . . . 209
XLI. MOBY-DICK ...... 222
XLIV. THE CHART ...... 247
XLIX. THE HYENA ...... 286
MI. THE ALBATROSS ...... 298
Mil. THE GAM 301
LX. THE LINE . 353
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 up the signification of the word, you deliver
that which is not true.' Hakluyt.
1 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. W alien ; A.S. Walw-ian y to roll, to wallow.'
Richardson's Dictionary.
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, pick-
ing 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 commen-
tator 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 forever 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!
' And God created great whales.'
* Leviathan maketh a path to shine after him ;
One would think the deep to be hoary.'
' 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.'
HollancFs 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.
1 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 1 s Apology for Eaimond Sebond.
' Let us fly, let us fly ! Old Nick take me if it is not
Leviathan described by the noble prophet Moses in the life
of patient Job.' Rabelais.
' This whale's liver was two cart-loads.'
Stowe's Annals.
1 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.
1 The sovereignest thing on earth is parmacetti for an in-
ward 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 Fairie Queen.
' Immense as whales, the motion of whose vast bodies can
in a peaceful calm trouble the ocean till it boil.'
Sir William Davenant's Preface to Gondibert.
' What spermaceti! is, men might justly doubt, since the
learned Hosmannus in his work of thirty years, saith plainly,
Nescio quid sit.'
Sir T. Browne's 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 Common-
wealth 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.
4 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.'
' The mighty whales which swim in a sea of water, and
have a sea of oil swimming in them.'
Fuller's Profane and Holy State.
' So close behind some promontory lie
The huge Leviathans to attend their prey,
And give no chace, but swallow in the fry,
Which through their gaping jaws mistake the way.'
Dry den'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
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. Herberts Voyages into Asia and Africa. Harris Coll.
4 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.
4 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
Richard Strafford's Letter from the Bermudas.
Phil. Trans. A.D. 1668.
' Whales in the sea
God's voice obey.'
N. E. Primer.
1 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.
****** an( j ^e breath of the whale is fre-
quently attended with such an insupportable smell, as to
bring on a disorder of the brain.'
Ulloa's South America.
1 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's Nat. Hist.
' If you should write a fable for little fishes, you would
make them speak like great whales.'
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 en-
deavour 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 bold-
ness in the fishermen.'
Thomas Jefferson's Whale Memorial to the
French Minister in 1778.
1 And pray, sir, what in the world is equal to it ? '
Edmund Burke's Reference in Parliament
to the Nantucket Whale Fishery.
VOL. I. b
' 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 pro-
tecting 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 pro-
perty of the king.' Blackstone.
c 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 Spermacetti 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' '<$ World before the Flood.
' lo ! Paean ! lo ! 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.'
CJiarles 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
spout ; 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.'
Eckermanris 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 Nan-
tucket, first mate of said vessel. New York,
' 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 different boats
engaged in the capture of this one whale, amounted alto-
gether to 10,440 yards or nearly six English miles. * * *
t 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.
1 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 every-
thing around him ; he rushes at the boats with his head ;
they are propelled before him with vast swiftness, and some-
times utterly destroyed.
* * * It is a matter of great astonishment that the
consideration of the habits of so interesting, and, in a com-
mercial point of view, of 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 oppor-
tunities of witnessing their habitudes. 5
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 possess-
ing a formidable weapon at either extremity of its body,
but also more frequently displays a disposition to employ
these weapons offensively, and in a 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
" 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-o-s ! "
" How far off ? "
c< Two miles and a half."
" Thunder and lightning ! so near ! Call all hands ! "
J. Ross Browne's Etchings of a
Whaling Cruise. 1846.
4 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 Mutiny, by
Lay and Hussey, Survivors. A.D. 1828.
c 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. 5
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.
xxii . MOBY-DICK
' The whale fell directly over him, and probably killed him
in a moment.'
The Whale and his Captors, or the Whale-
man's Adventures and the Whale's Bio-
graphy, 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.
4 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.
4 It is impossible to meet a whale-ship on the ocean with-
out 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 a regular voyage.'
Currents and Whaling. U.S. Ex. Ex.
1 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.
1 Suddenly a mighty mass emerged from the water, and
shot up perpendicularly into the air. It was the whale.'
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 WJialing 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 ' (Tierra
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.
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 bring-
ing 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 toward the ocean
with me.
There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes,
belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs
commerce surrounds it with her surf. Right and left, the
streets take you waterward. Its extreme down -town is the
battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves, and
cooled by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of
sight of land. Look at the crowds of water -gazers there.
Circumambulate the city of a dreamy Sabbath after-
noon. 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
Vhe 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 everyone knows, meditation andli
water are wedded forever.
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 hillside 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. Be-
sides, 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 respect-
able toils, trials, and tribulations of every kind what-
soever. 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 shipboard 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 respect-
fully, not to say reverentially, of a broiled fowl than I
will. It is out of the idolatrous do tings 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 estab-
lished family in the land, the Van Rensselaers, or Ran-
dolphs, 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 hi 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 arch-
angel 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 forecastle deck.
For as in this world, head-winds are far more prevalent
than winds from astern (that is, if you never violate
the Pythagorean maxim), so for the most part the com-
modore 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 surveil-
lance 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 Provi-
dence that was drawn up a long time ago. It came in
as a sort of brief interlude and solo between more exten-
sive 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.
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 gortentous 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 for-
bidden 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, midmost of
them all, one grand hooded phantom, like a snow hill in
the air.
I stuffed a shirt or two into my old carpet-bag, tucked
it under my arm, and started for Cape Horn and the
Pacific. Quitting the good city of old Manhatto, I duly
arrived in New Bedford. It was on a Saturday night in
December. Much was I disappointed upon learning
that the little packet for Nantucket had already sailed,
and that no way of reaching that place would offer, till
the following Monday.
As most young candidates for the pains and penalties
of whaling stop at this same New Bedford, thence to
embark on their voyage, it may as well be related that I 5
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 adven-
turous little sloop put forth, partly laden with imported
cobble-stones so goes the story to throw at the whales,
in order to discover when they were nigh enough to risk
a harpoon from the bowsprit ?
Now having a night, a day, and still another night
following before me in New Bedford, ere I could embark
for my destined port, it became a matter of concernment
where I was to eat and sleep meanwhile. It was a very
dubious-looking, nay, a very dark and dismal night,
bitingly cold and cheerless. I knew no one in the place.
With anxious grapnelsJE 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 toward the north with the darkness toward 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 expen-
sive and jolly there. Further on, from the bright red
windows of the ' Sword-Fish Inn,' there came such fer-
vent 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, remorse-
less service the soles of mv 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 i
on, Ishmael, said I at last ; don't you hear ? get away l
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 carne 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 Cfossed Harpoons ' and
4 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 weep-
ing 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 particu-
lar connection, 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 dis-
trict, 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, never-
theless, is a mighty pleasant zephyr to anyone indoors,
with his feet on the hob quietly toasting for bed. 4 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 Cashless 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 cope-stone 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 afterward) 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
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
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.
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 con-
demned old craft. On one side hung a very large oil-
painting so thoroughly besmoked, and every way defaced,
that in the unequal cross-lights by which you viewed it,
it was only by diligent study and a series of systematic
visits to it, and careful inquiry of the neighbours, 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
endeavoured to delineate chaos bewitched. But by dint
of much and earnest contemplation, and oft-repeated
ponderings, and especially by throwing open the little
window toward 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 hover-
ing 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 there was a sort of indefinite, half-
attained, unimaginable sublimity about it that fairly
froze you to it, till you in voluntarily, took an oath with
yourself to find out what that marvellous painting meant.
Ever and anon a bright, but, alas, deceptive idea would
dart you through. It 's the Black Sea in a midnight gale.
It 's the unnatural combat of the four primal elements.
It 's a blasted heath. It 's a Hyperborean winter scene.
It 's the breaking-up of the ice-bound stream of Time.
But at last all these fancies yielded to that one portentous
something in the picture's midst. That once found out,
and all the rest were plain. But stop ; does it not bear
a faint resemblance to a gigantic fish ? even the great
leviathan himself ?
In fact, the artist's design seemed this : a final theory
of my own, partly based upon the aggregated opinions
of many aged persons with whom I conversed upon the
subject. The picture represents a Cape-Horner in a great
hurricane ; the half-foundered ship weltering there with
its three dismantled masts alone visible ; and an exasper-
ated whale, purposing to spring clean over the craft, is
in the enormous act of impaling himself upon the three
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 after-
ward slain off the Cape of Blanco. The original iron
entered nigh the tail, and, like a restless needle sojourning
in the body of a man, travelled full forty feet, and at last
was found imbedded in the hump.
Crossing this dusky entry, and on through yon low-
arched way cut through what in old times must have
been a great central chimney with fire-places all round
you enter the public room. A still duskier place is this,
with such low ponderous beams above, and such old
wrinkled planks beneath, that you would almost fancy
you trod some old craft's cockpits, especially of such a
howling night, when this corner-anchored old ark rocked
so furiously. On one side stood a long, low, shelf-like
table covered with cracked glass cases, filled with dusty
rarities gathered from this wide world's remotest nooks.
Projecting from the further angle of the room stands a
dark-looking den the bar a rude attempt at a right
whale's head. Be that how it may, there stands the vast
arched bone of the whale's jaw, so wide, a coach might
almost drive beneath it. Within are shabby shelves,
ranged round with old decanters, bottles, flasks ; and in
those jaws of swift destruction, like another cursed Jonah
(by which name indeed they called him), bustles a little
withered old man, who, for their money, dearly sells the
sailors deliriums and death.
Abominable are the tumblers into which he pours his
poison. Though true cylinders without within, the
villainous green goggling glasses deceitfully tapered down-
ward 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 speiimens of skrimshander. I sought the land-
lord, 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, 5 he added, tapping his
forehead, ' you hain't no objections to sharin* a har-
pooneer 's blanket, have ye ? I s'pose you are goin' a-
whalin 5 , so you 'd better get used to that sort of thing. 5
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 5 s blanket.
' I thought so. All right ; take a seat. Supper ?
you want supper ? Supper 5 11 be ready directly. 5
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
hi a most direful manner.
' My boy,' said the landlord, ' you '11 have the night-
mare to a dead sartainty.'
'Landlord,' I whispered, w that ain't the harpooneer,
is it ? '
1 Oh, no/ said he, looking a sort of diabolically funny,
4 the harpooneer is a dark - complexioned chap. He
never eats dumplings, he don't he eats nothing but
steaks, and likes 'em rare.'
' The devil he does, ' says I. ' Where is that harpooneer ?
Is he here ? '
' He '11 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 '11
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 be-
darned 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
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 ship-
mate (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 unob-
served, 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 5 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 bedward. 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 '11 try the bench
' Just as you please ; I 'm sorry I can't 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 '11 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 '11 wait awhile ; he must be
dropping in before long. 1 11 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.
4 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 5 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, maybe, 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 tower-
ing 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
6 Maybe not, ' taking out a stick and whittling a tooth-
pick, ' but I rayther guess you '11 be done brown if that
'ere harpooneer hears you a-slanderin' his head.'
' I '11 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 har-
pooneer, 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 toward the man
whom you design for my bedfellow* a sort of connection,
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 tryin' 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 idolaters ?
' Depend upon it, landlord, that harpooneer is a danger-
ous man.'
' He pays reg'lar, 5 was the rejoinder. ' But come,
it 's getting dreadful late, you had better be turning
flukes it 's a nice bed : Sail and me slept in that 'ere
bed the night we were spliced. There 's plenty room for
two to kick about in that bed ; it 's an almighty big bed
that. Why, afore we give it up, Sal used to put our Sam
and little Johnny in the foot of it. But I got a-dreaming
and sprawling about one night, and somehow, Sam got
pitched on the floor, and came near breaking his arm.
Arter that, Sal said it wouldn't do. Come along here,
I '11 give ye a glim in a jiffy ' ; and so saying he lighted a
candle and held it toward 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 some-
where come along then ; do come ; won't ye come ? '
I considered the matter a moment, and then upstairs
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 fire-board 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 stand-
ing 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 con-
clusion 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 bedside, 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 har-
pooneer '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
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 toward 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 infemal 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 toward 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 toward 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 adven-
ture. 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 sealskin 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,
js^the parent^QJJear, 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 whale-
man 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 pre-
served 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 hunchbacked
image, like a ten-pin, 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 toward 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 with-
drawals 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 uncomf ortable-
ness, 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 hold-
ing 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, toma-
hawk 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 compre-
hended 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.
4 Landlord, for God's sake, Peter Coffin ! ' shouted I.
' Landlord ! Watch ! Coffin ! Angels ! save me ! '
1 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.
4 Don't be afraid now,' said he, grinning again. ' Quee-
queg 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.
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. 1 felt dread-
fully. But there was no help for it, so upstairs 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, be-
seeching her as a particular favour to give me a good
slippering for my misbehaviour ; anything indeed but con-
demning 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 sunlit room was now wrapped in
outer darkness. Instantly I felt a shock running through
all my frame ; nothing was to be seen, and nothing was
to be heard ; but a supernatural hand seemed placed
in mine. My arm hung over the counterpane, and the
nameless, unimaginable, silent form or phantom, to which
the hand belonged, seemed closely seated by my bedside.
For what seemed ages piled on ages, I lay there, frozen
with the most awful fears, not daring to drag away my
hand ; yet ever thinking that if I could but stir it one
single inch, the horrid spell would be broken. I knew
not how this consciousness at last glided away from me ;
but waking in the morning, I shudderingly remembered
it all, and for days and weeks and months afterward 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 pikestaff, looking at
me, and rubbing his eyes as if he did not altogether re-
member how I came to be there, though a dim conscious-
ness 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
VOL. i. c
observing so curious a creature. When, at last, his mind
seemed made up touching the character of his bed-
fellow, 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 afterward,
leaving the whole apartment to myself. Thinks I,
Queequeg, under the circumstances, this is a very civilised
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 compli-
ment 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 toilet motions ; for the time my curiosity getting the
better of my breeding. Nevertheless, a man like Quee-
queg 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 strain-
ings, 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 transi-
tion state neither caterpillar nor butterfly. He was
just enough civilised to show off his outlandishness in the
strangest possible manner. His education was not yet
completed. He was an undergraduate. If he had not
been a small degree civilised, 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 pro-
bably 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 panta-
loons as soon as possible. He complied, and then pro-
ceeded 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. Afterward 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
I QUICKLY followed suit, and descending into the bar-room
accosted the grinning landlord very pleasantly. I
cherished no malice toward him, though he had been
skylarking with me not a little in the matter of my
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 satinwood
is in him. In the complexion of a third still lingers a
tropic tawn, but slightly bleached withal ; lie 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 parlour.
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 cir-
cumstance 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 in to 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 toward him. But that
was certainly very coolly done by him, and everyone
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.
IF I had been astonished at first catching a glimpse of so
outlandish an individual as Queequeg circulating among
the polite society of a civilised town, that astonishment
soon departed upon taking my first daylight stroll through
the streets of New Bedford.
In thoroughfares nigh the docks, any considerable sea-
port will frequently offer to view the queerest -looking
nondescripts from foreign parts. Even in Broadway
and Chestnut Streets, Mediterranean mariners will some-
times jostle the affrighted ladies. Regent Street is not
unknown to Lascars and Malays ; and at Bombay, in the
Apollo Green, live Yankees have often scared the natives.
But New Bedford beats all Water Street and Wapping.
In these last -mentioned haunts you see only sailors ; but
in New Bedford actual cannibals stand chatting at street
corners ; savages outright ; many of whom yet carry on
their bones unholy flesh. It makes a stranger stare.
But, besides the Feegeeans, Tongatabooarrs, Erro-
manggoans, 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 Hamp-
shire 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 a 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 distin-
guished reputation, and joins the great whale-fishery, you
should see the comical things he does upon reaching the
seaport. In bespeaking his sea -out fit, 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 har-
pooneers, 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, hi all New
England. It is a land of oil, true enough : but not like
Caanan ; 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 hi 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 per-
form 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 apiece. You must go to New Bed-
ford 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 sweet-
hearts smell them miles off shore, as though they were
drawing nigh the odorous Moluccas instead of the Puritanic
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 incom-
municable. 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 :
Who, at the age of eighteen, was lost overboard,
Near the Isle of Desolation, off Patagonia,
November 1st, 1836.
Is erected to his Memory
^o tlje em orp
Forming one of the boats' crews
Who were towed out of sight by a Whale,
On the Ofi-shore Ground in the
December 3lst, 1839.
Is here placed by their surviving
Eo tfje
The late
Who in the bows of his boat was killed by a
Sperm Whale on the coast of Japan,
August 3d, 1833.
Is erected to his Memory
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 inscrip-
tions 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 unre-
corded 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.
Li 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 rumour of a knocking in a tomb will terrify a
whole city. All these things are not without their
But Faith, like a jackal, feeds among the tombs, and
even from these dead doubts she gathers her most vital
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 ay, 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
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 regard-
ful 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 whale-
men, 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 upward,
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 symbolise
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 connections ?
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.
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 toward 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.
4 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 pre-
pared 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 sea-line 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 punish- !
ment, 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 com-
mands us than endeavours to persuade. And if we obey
God, we must disobey ourselves ; and it is in this dis-
obeying ourselves, wherein the hardness of obeying God
' 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, ship-
mates, 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 ah 1 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 con-
taining a description of his person. He reads, and looks
from Jonah to the bill ; while all his sympathetic ship-
mates now crowd round Jonah, prepared to lay their
hands upon him. Frighted Jonah trembles, and summon-
ing 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
' " 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 scrutinising 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 '11 sail with ye," he says,
" the passage money, how much is that ? I '11 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 dis-
cernment 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 pass-
port ; 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, anyway, he mutters ;
and Jonah is put down for his passage. " Point out my
state-room, sir," says Jonah now, " I 'm travel- weary ;
I need sleep." "Thou look'st like it," says the captain,
" there 's thy room." Jonah enters, and would lock the
door, but the lock contains no key. Hearing him foolishly
fumbling there, the captain laughs lowly to himself, and
mutters something about the doors of convicts' cells being
never allowed to be locked within. All dressed and dusty
as he is, Jonah throws himself into his berth, and finds
the little state-room ceiling almost resting on his forehead.
The air is close, and Jonah gasps. Then, in that con-
tracted hole, sunk, too, beneath the ship's water-line,
Jonah feels the heralding presentiment of that stifling
hour, when the whale shall hold him in the smallest of
his bowel's wards.
' Screwed at its axis against the side, a swinging lamp
slightly oscillates in Jonah's room ; and the ship, heeling
over toward the wharf with the weight of the last bales
received, the lamp, flame and all, though in slight motion,
still maintains a permanent obliquity with reference to
the room ; though, in truth, infallibly straight itself, it
but made obvious the false, lying levels among which it
hung. The lamp alarms and frightens Jonah ; as lying
in his berth his tormented eyes roll round the place, and
this thus far successful fugitive finds no refuge for his
restless glance. But that contradiction in the lamp more
and more appals him. The floor, the ceiling, and the
side, are all awry. " Oh ! so my conscience hangs in
me ! " he groans, " straight upward, so it burns ; but the
chambers of my soul are all in crookedness ! "
' Like one who after a night of drunken revelry hies
to his bed, still reeling, but with conscience yet pricking
him, as the plungings of the Roman race -horse but so
much the more strike his steel tags into him ; as one who
in that miserable plight still turns and turns in giddy
anguish, praying God for annihilation until the fit be
passed ; and at last amid the whirl of woe he feels, a deep
stupor steals over him, as over the man who bleeds to
death, for conscience is the wound, and there 's naught
to staunch it ; so, after sore wrestlings in his berth,
Jonah's prodigy of ponderous misery drags him drowning
down to sleep.
c And now the time of tide has come ; the ship casts
off her cables ; and from the deserted wharf the un-
cheered ship for Tarshish, all careening, glides to sea.
That ship, my friends, was the first of recorded smugglers !
the contraband was Jonah. But the sea rebels ; he will
not bear the wicked burden. A dreadful storm comes on,
the ship is like to break. But now when the boatswain
calls all hands to lighten her ; when boxes, bales, and
jars are clattering overboard ; when the wind is shrieking,
and the men are yelling, and every plank thunders with
trampling feet right over Jonah's head ; in all this raging
tumult, Jonah sleeps his hideous sleep. He sees no black
sky and raging sea, feels not the reeling timbers, and little
hears he or heeds he the far rush of the mighty whale,
which even now with open mouth is cleaving the seas
after him. Ay, shipmates, Jonah was gone down into
the sides of the ship a berth in the cabin as I have taken
it and was fast asleep. But the frightened master comes
to him, and shrieks hi his dead ear, " What meanest thou,
sleeper ! arise ! " Startled from his lethargy by that
direful cry, Jonah staggers to his feet, and stumbling to
the deck, grasps a shroud, to look out upon the sea. But
at that moment he is sprung upon by a panther billow
leaping over the bulwarks. Wave after wave thus leaps
into the ship, and finding no speedy vent runs roaring
fore and aft, till the mariners come nigh to drowning
while yet afloat. And ever, as the white moon shows her
affrighted face from the steep gullies in the blackness
overhead, aghast Jonah sees the rearing bowsprit pointing
high upward, but soon beat downward again toward the
tormented deep.
' Terrors upon terrors run shouting through his soul.
In all his cringing attitudes, the God-fugitive is now too
plainly known. The sailors mark him ; more and more
certain grow their suspicions of him, and at last, fully
to test the truth, by referring the whole matter to high
Heaven, they fall to casting lots, to see for whose cause
this great tempest was upon them. The lot is Jonah's ;
that discovered, then how furiously they mob him with
their questions. " What is thine occupation ? Whence
comest thou ? Thy country ? What people ? " But
mark now, my shipmates, the behaviour of poor Jonah.
The eager mariners but ask him who he is, and where
from ; whereas, they not only receive an answer to those
questions, but likewise another answer to a question not
put by them, but the unsolicited answer is forced from
Jonah by the hard hand of God that is upon him.
' " I am a Hebrew," he cries and then " I fear the
Lord the God of Heaven who hath made the sea and the
dry land ! " Fear him, O Jonah ? Ay, well mightest
thou fear the Lord God then ! Straightway, he now goes
on to make a full confession ; whereupon the mariners
became more and more appalled, but still are pitiful.
For when Jonah, not yet supplicating God for mercy,
since he but too well knew the darkness of his deserts,
when wretched Jonah cries out to them to take him and
cast him forth into the sea, for he knew that for his sake
this great tempest was upon them ; they mercifully turn
from him, and seek by other means to save the ship.
But all in vain ; the indignant gale howls louder ; then,
with one hand raised invokingly to God, with the other
they not unreluctantly lay hold of Jonah.
' And now behold Jonah taken up as an anchor and
dropped into the sea ; when instantly an oily calmness
floats out from the east, and the sea is still, as Jonah
carries down the gale with him, leaving smooth water
behind. He goes down in the whirling heart of such a
masterless commotion that he scarce heeds the moment
when he drops seething into the yawning jaws awaiting
him ; and the whale shoots-to all his ivory teeth, like so
many white bolts, upon his prison. Then Jonah prayed
unto the Lord out of the fish's belly. But observe his
prayer, and learn a weighty lesson. For sinful as he is,
Jonah does not weep and wail for direct deliverance.
He feels that his dreadful punishment is just. He leaves
all his deliverance to God, contenting himself with this,
that spite of all his pains and pangs, he will still look
toward His holy temple. And here, shipmates, is true
and faithful repentance ; not clamorous for pardon, but
grateful for punishment. And how pleasing to God was
this conduct in Jonah, is shown in the eventual deliver-
ance of him from the sea and the whale. Shipmates, I
do not place Jonah before you to be copied for his sin,
but I do place him before you as a model for repentance.
Sin not ; but if you do, take heed to repent of it like Jonah. '
While he was speaking these words, the howling of the
shrieking, slanting storm without seemed to add new
power to the preacher, who, when describing Jonah's sea-
storm, seemed tossed by a storm himself. His deep chest
heaved as with a ground-swell ; his tossed arms seemed
the warring elements at work ; and the thunders that
rolled away from off his swarthy brow, and the light
leaping from his eye, made all his simple hearers look on
him with a quick fear that was strange to them.
There now came a lull in his look, as he silently turned
over the leaves of the Book once more ; and, at last,
standing motionless, with closed eyes, for the moment,
seemed communing with God and himself.
But again he leaned over toward the people, and
bowing his head lowly, with an aspect of the deepest
yet manliest humility, he spake these words :
c Shipmates, God has laid but one hand upon you ;
both his hands press upon me. I have read ye by what
murky light may be mine the lesson that Jonah teaches
to all sinners ; and therefore to ye, and still more to me,
for I am a greater sinner than ye. And now how gladly
would I come down from this mast-head and sit on the
hatches there where you sit, and listen as you listen,
while some one of you reads me that other and more
awful lesson which Jonah teaches to me, as a pilot of the
living God. How being an anointed pilot -prophet, or
speaker of true things, and bidden by the Lord to sound
those unwelcome truths in the ears of a wicked Nineveh,
Jonah, appalled at the hostility he should raise, fled from
his mission, and sought to escape his duty and his God by
taking ship at Joppa. But God is everywhere ; Tarshish
he never reached. As we have seen, God came upon him
in the whale, and swallowed him down to living gulfs
of doom, and with swift slantings tore him along " into
the midst of the seas," where the eddying depths sucked
him ten thousand fathoms down, and " the weeds were
wrapped about his head," and all the watery world of woe
bowled over him. Yet even then beyond the reach of any
plummet " out of the belly of hell " when the whale
grounded upon the ocean's utmost bones, even then, God
heard the engulphed, repenting prophet when he cried.
Then God spake unto the fish ; and from the shuddering
cold and blackness of the sea, the whale came breaching
up toward the warm and pleasant sun, and all the delights
of air and earth ; and " vomited out Jonah upon the dry
land " ; when the word of the Lord came a second time ;
and Jonah, bruised and beaten his ears, like two sea-
shells, still multitudinously murmuring of the ocean
Jonah did the Almighty's bidding. And what was that,
shipmates ? To preach the Truth to the face of False-
hood ! That was it !
' This, shipmates, this is that other lesson ; and we
to that pilot of the living God who slights it. Woe to
him whom this world charms from Gospel duty ! Woe
to him who seeks to pour oil upon the waters when God
has brewed them into a gale ! Woe to him who seeks
to please rather than to appal ! Woe to him whose good
name is more to him than goodness ! Woe to him who,
in this world, courts not dishonour ! Woe to him who
would not be true, even though to be false were salva-
tion ! Yea, woe to him who, as the great Pilot Paul has
it, while preaching to others is himself a castaway ! '
He drooped and fell away from himself for a moment ;
then lifting his face to them again, showed a deep joy
in his eyes, as he cried out with a heavenly enthusiasm,
' But oh ! shipmates ! on the starboard hand of every
woe, there is a sure delight ; and higher the top of that
delight, than the bottom of the woe is deep. Is not the
main-truck higher than the kelson is low ? Delight is to
him a far, far upward, and inward delight who against
the proud gods and commodores of this earth, ever stands
forth his own inexorable self. Delight is to him whose
strong arms yet support him, when the ship of this base
treacherous world has gone down beneath him. Delight
is to him, who gives no quarter in the truth, and kills,
burns, and destroys all sin though he pluck it out from
under the robes of Senators and Judges. Delight, top-
gallant delight is to him, who acknowledges no law or
lord, but the Lord his God, and is only a patriot to heaven.
Delight is to him, whom all the waves of the billows of
the seas of the boisterous mob can never shake from this
sure Keel of the Ages. And eternal delight and delicious-
ness will be his, who coming to lay him down, can say with
his final breath Father ! chiefly known to me by
Thy rod mortal or immortal, here I die. I have striven
to be Thine, more than to be this world's, or mine own.
Yet this is nothing ; I leave eternity to Thee ; for what
is man that he should live out the lifetime of his God 1 '
He said no more, but slowly waving a benediction,
covered his face with his hands, and so remained kneeling,
till all the people had departed, and he was left alone in
the place.
RETURNING to the Spouter-Inn from the Chapel, I found
Queequeg there quite alone ; he having left the Chapel
before the benediction some time. He was sitting on a
bench before the fire, with his feet on the stove hearth,
and in one hand was holding close up to his face that
little negro idol of his ; peering hard into its face, and
with a jack-knife gently whittling away at its nose,
meanwhile humming to himself in his heathenish way.
But being now interrupted, he put up the image ; and
pretty soon, going to the table, took up a large book there,
and placing it on his lap began counting the pages with
deliberate regularity ; at every fiftieth page as I fancied
stopping a moment, looking vacantly around him,
and giving utterance to a long-drawn gurgling whistle
of astonishment. He would then begin again at the next
fifty ; seeming to commence at number one each time,
as though he could not count more than fifty, and it
was only by such a large number of fifties being found
together, that his astonishment at the multitude of pages
was excited.
With much interest I sat watching him. Savage
though he was, and hideously marred about the face
at least to my taste his countenance yet had a something
in it which was by no means disagreeable. You cannot
hide the soul. Through all his unearthly tattooings, I
thought I saw the traces of a simple honest heart ; and
in his large, deep eyes, fiery black and bold, there seemed
tokens of a spirit that would dare a thousand devils.
And besides all this, there was a certain lofty bearing
about the pagan, which even his uncouthness could not
altogether maim. He looked like a man who had never
cringed and never had had a creditor. Whether it was,
too, that his head being shaved, his forehead was drawn
out in freer and brighter relief, and looked more expansive
than it otherwise would, this I will not venture to decide ;
but certain it was his head was phrenologically an ex-
cellent one. It may seem ridiculous, but it reminded me
of General Washington's head, as seen in the popular
busts of him. It had the same long regularly graded
retreating slope from above the brows, which were like-
wise very projecting, like two long promontories thickly
wooded on top. Queequeg was George Washington
cannibalistically developed.
Whilst I was thus closely scanning him, half pretending
meanwhile to be looking out at the storm from the case-
ment, he never heeded my presence, never troubled him-
self with so much as a single glance ; but appeared wholly
occupied with counting the pages of the marvellous book.
Considering how sociably we had been sleeping together
the night previous, and especially considering the affection-
ate arm I had found thrown over me upon waking in the
morning, I thought this indifference of his very strange.
But savages are strange beings ; at times you do not
know exactly how to take them. At first they are over-
awing ; their calm self-collectedness of simplicity seems
a Socratic wisdom. I had noticed also that Queequeg
never consorted at all, or but very little, with the other
seamen in the inn. He made no advances whatever ;
appeared to have no desire to enlarge the circle of his
acquaintances. All this struck me as mighty singular ;
yet, upon second thoughts, there was something almost
sublime in it. Here was a man some twenty thousand
miles from home, by the way of Cape Horn, that is
which was the only way he could get there thrown
among people as strange to him as though he were in the
planet Jupiter ; and yet he seemed entirely at his ease ;
preserving the utmost serenity ; content with his own
companionship ; always equal to himself. Surely this
was a touch of fine philosophy ; though no doubt he had
never heard there was such a thing as that. But, per-
haps, to be true philosophers, we mortals should not
be conscious of so living or so striving. So soon as I
hear that such or such a man gives himself out for a
philosopher, I conclude that, like the dyspeptic old woman,
he must have ' broken his digester.'
As I sat there in that now lonely room ; the fire burn-
ing low, in that mild stage when, after its first intensity
has warmed the air, it then only glows to be looked at ;
the evening shades and phantoms gathering round the
casements, and peering in upon us silent, solitary twain ;
the storm booming without in solemn swells ; I began to
be sensible of strange feelings. I felt a melting in me.
No more my splintered heart and maddened hand were
turned against the wolfish world. This soothing savage
had redeemed it. There he sat, his very indifference
speaking a nature in which there lurked no civilised
hypocrisies and bland deceits. Wild he was ; a very
sight of sights to see ; yet I began to feel myself mysteri-
ously drawn toward him. And those same things that
would have repelled most others, they were the very
magnets that thus drew me. 1 11 try a pagan friend,
thought I, since Christian kindness has proved but hollow
courtesy. I drew my bench near him, and made some
friendly signs and hints, doing my best to talk with him
meanwhile. At first he little noticed these advances ;
but presently, upon my referring to his last night's
hospitalities, he made out to ask me whether we were
again to be bedfellows. I told him yes ; whereat I
thought he looked pleased, perhaps a little complimented.
We then turned over the book together, and I en-
deavoured to explain to him the purpose of the printing,
and the meaning of the few pictures that were in it. Thus
I soon engaged his interest ; and from that we went to
jabbering the best we could about the various outer sights
to be seen in this famous town. Soon I proposed a social
smoke ; and, producing his pouch and tomahawk, he
quietly offered me a puff. And then we sat exchanging
puffs from that wild pipe of his, and keeping it regularly
passing between us.
If there yet lurked any ice of indifference toward me
in the pagan's breast, this pleasant, genial smoke we had
soon thawed it out, and left us cronies. He seemed to
take to me quite as naturally and unbiddenly as I to him ;
and when our smoke was over, he pressed his forehead
against mine, clasped me round the waist, and said that
henceforth we were married ; meaning, in his country's
phrase, that we were bosom friends ; he would gladly
die for me, if need should be. In a countryman this
sudden flame of friendship would have seemed far too
premature, a thing to be much distrusted ; but in this
simple savage those old rules would not apply.
After supper, and another social chat and smoke, we
went to our room together. He made me a present of
his embalmed head ; took out his enormous tobacco
wallet, and groping under the tobacco, drew out some
thirty dollars in silver ; then spreading them on the
table, and mechanically dividing them into two equal
portions, pushed one of them toward me, and said it was
mine. I was going to remonstrate ; but he silenced me
by pouring them into my trowsers' pockets. I let them
stay. He then went about his evening prayers, took
out his idol, and removed the paper fire-board. By
certain signs and symptoms, I thought he seemed anxious
for me to join him ; but well knowing what was to follow,
I deliberated a moment whether, in case he invited me,
I would comply or otherwise.
I was a good Christian ; born and bred in the bosom
of the infallible Presbyterian Church. How then could
I unite with this wild idolater in worshipping his piece of
wood ? But what is worship ? thought I. Do you
suppose now, Ishmael, that the magnanimous God of
heaven and earth pagans and all included can possibly
be jealous of an insignificant bit of black wood ? Im-
possible ! But what is worship ? to do the will of
God ? that is worship. And what is the will of God ?
to do to my fellow-man what I would have my fellow-man
to do to me that is the will of God. Now, Queequeg is
my fellow- man. And what do I wish that this Queequeg
would do to me ? Why, unite with me in my particular
Presbyterian form of worship. Consequently, I must
then unite with him in his ; ergo, I must turn idolater.
So I kindled the shavings ; helped prop up the innocent
little idol ; offered him burnt biscuit with Queequeg ;
salaamed before him twice or thrice ; kissed his nose ;
and that done, we undressed and went to bed, at peace
with our own consciences and all the world. But we
did not go to sleep without some little chat.
How it is I know not ; but there is no place like a bed
for confidential disclosures between friends. Man and
wife, they say, there open the very bottom of their souls
to each other ; and some old couples often lie and chat
over old times till nearly morning. Thus, then, in our
hearts' honeymoon, lay I and Queequeg a cosy, loving
WE had lain thus in bed, chatting and napping at short
intervals, and Queequeg now and then affectionately
throwing his brown tattooed legs over mine, and then
drawing them back ; so entirely sociable and free and easy
were we ; when, at last, by reason of our confabulations,
what little nappishness remained in us altogether departed,
and we felt like getting up again, though day-break was
yet some way down the future.
Yes, we became very wakeful ; so much so that our
recumbent position began to grow wearisome, and by
little and little we found ourselves sitting up ; the clothes
well tucked around us, leaning against the head-board
with our four knees drawn up close together, and our two
noses bending over them, as if our knee-pans were warm-
ing-pans. We felt very nice and snug, the more so since
it was so chilly out of doors ; indeed out of bed-clothes
too, seeing that there was no fire in the room. The more
so, I say, because truly to enjoy bodily warmth, some
small part of you must be cold, for there is no quality
in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast.
Nothing exists in itself. If you flatter yourself that you
are all over comfortable, and have been so a long time,
then you cannot be said to be comfortable any more.
But if, like Queequeg and me in the bed, the tip of your
nose or the crown of your head be slightly chilled, why
then, indeed, in the general consciousness you feel most
delightfully and unmistakably warm. For this reason
VOL. i. E
a sleeping apartment should never be furnished with a
fire, which is one of the luxurious discomforts of the rich.
For the height of this sort of deliciousness is to have
nothing but the blanket between you and your snugness
and the cold of the outer air. Then there you lie
like the one warm spark in the heart of an arctic
We had been sitting in this crouching manner for some
time, when all at once I thought I would open my eyes ;
for when between sheets, whether by day or by night,
and whether asleep or awake, I have a way of always
keeping my eyes shut, in order the more to concentrate
the snugness of being in bed. Because no man can ever
feel his own identity aright except his eyes be closed ; as
if darkness were indeed the proper element of our essences,
though light be more congenial to our clayey part. Upon
opening my eyes then, and coming out of my own pleasant
and self-created darkness into the imposed and coarse
outer gloom of the unilluminated twelve-o'clock-at-night,
I experienced a disagreeable revulsion. Nor did I at all
object to the hint from Queequeg that perhaps it were best
to strike a light, seeing that we were so wide awake ; and
besides he felt a strong desire to have a few quiet puffs
from his tomahawk. Be it said, that though I had felt
such a strong repugnance to his smoking in the bed the
night before, yet see how elastic our stiff prejudices grow
when love once comes to bend them. For now I liked
nothing better than to have Queequeg smoking by me,
even in bed, because he seemed to be full of such serene
household joy then. I no more felt unduly concerned
for the landlord's policy of insurance. I was only alive
to the condensed confidential comfortableness of sharing
a pipe and a blanket with a real friend. With our shaggy
jackets drawn about our shoulders, we now passed the
tomahawk from one to the other, till slowly there grew
over us a blue hanging tester of smoke, illuminated by
the flame of the new-lit lamp.
Whether it was that this undulating tester rolled the
savage away to far distant scenes, I know not, but he now
spoke of his native island ; and, eager to hear his history,
I begged him to go on and tell it. He gladly complied.
Though at the time I but ill comprehended not a few of
his words, yet subsequent disclosures, when I had become
more familiar with his broken phraseology, now enable
me to present the whole story such as it may prove in
the mere skeleton I give.
QUEEQUEG was a native of Rokovoko, an island far away
to the west and south. It is not down in any map ; true
places never are.
When a new-hatched savage running wild about his
native woodlands in a grass clout, followed by the nib-
bling goats, as if he were a green sapling ; even then, in
Queequeg's ambitious soul, lurked a strong desire to see
something more of Christendom than a specimen whaler
or two. His father was a High Chief, a King ; his uncle
a High Priest ; and on the maternal side he boasted aunts
who were the wives of unconquerable warriors. There
was excellent blood in his veins royal stuff ; though
sadly vitiated, I fear, by the cannibal propensity he
nourished in his untutored youth.
A Sag Harbour ship visited his father's bay, and Quee-
queg sought a passage to Christian lands. But the ship,
having her full complement of seamen, spurned his suit ;
and not all the King his father's influence could prevail.
But Queequeg vowed a vow. Alone in his canoe, he
paddled off to a distant strait, which he knew the ship
must pass through when she quitted the island. On one
side was a coral reef ; on the other a low tongue of land,
covered with mangrove thickets that grew out into the
water. Hiding his canoe, still afloat, among these thickets,
with its prow seaward, he sat down in the stern, paddle
low in hand ; and when the ship was gliding by, like a
flash he darted out ; gained her side ; with one backward
dash of his foot capsized and sank his canoe ; climbed
up the chains ; and throwing himself at full length upon
the deck, grappled a ring-bolt there, and swore not to let
it go, though hacked in pieces.
In vain the captain threatened to throw him overboard ;
suspended a cutlass over his naked wrists ; Queequeg was
the son of a King, and Queequeg budged not. Struck
by his desperate dauntlessness, and his wild desire to visit
Christendom, the captain at last relented, and told him
he might make himself at home. But this fine young
savage this sea Prince of Wales never saw the captain's
cabin. They put him down among the sailors, and made
a whaleman of him. But like Czar Peter content to toil
in the shipyards of foreign cities, Queequeg disdained no
seeming ignominy, if thereby he might happily gain the
power of enlightening his untutored countrymen. For at
bottom so he told me he was actuated by a profound
desire to learn among the Christians, the arts whereby
to make his people still happier than they were ; and more
than that, still better than they were. But, alas ! the
\ practices of whalemen soon convinced him that even
j Christians could be both miserable and wicked ; infinitely
more so, than all his father's heathens. Arrived at last
in old Sag Harbour ; and seeing what the sailors did
there ; and then going on to Nantucket, and seeing how
they spent their wages in that place also, poor Queequeg
gave it up for lost. Thought he, it 5 s a wicked world
in all meridians ; 1 11 die a pagan.
And thus an old idolater at heart, he yet lived among
these Christians, wore their clothes, and tried to talk their
gibberish. Hence the queer ways about him, though
now some time from home.
By hints, I asked him whether he did not propose going
back, and having a coronation ; since he might now
consider his father dead and gone, he being very old and
feeble at the last accounts. He answered no, not yet ;
and added that he was fearful Christianity, or rather
Christians, had unfitted him for ascending the pure and
undefiled throne of thirty pagan kings before him. But
by and by, he said, he would return, as soon as he felt
himself baptized again. For the nonce, however, he
proposed to sail about, and sow his wild oats in all four
oceans. They had made a harpooneer of him, and that
barbed iron was in lieu of a sceptre now.
I asked him what might be his immediate purpose,
touching his future movements. He answered, to go to
sea again, in his old vocation. Upon this, I told him that
whaling was my own design, and informed him of my
intention to sail out of Nantucket, as being the most
promising port for an adventurous whaleman to embark
from. He at once resolved to accompany me to that
island, ship aboard the same vessel, get into the same
watch, the same boat, the same mess with me, in short
to share my every hap ; with both my hands in his, boldly
dip into the Potluck of both worlds. To all this I joy-
ously assented ; for besides the affection I now felt for
Queequeg, he was an experienced harpooneer, and as such,
could not fail to be of great usefulness to one who, like me,
was wholly ignorant of the mysteries of whaling, though
well acquainted with the sea as known to merchant
His story being ended with his pipe's last dying puff,
Queequeg embraced me, pressed his forehead against
mine, and blowing out the light, we rolled over from each
other, this way and that, and very soon were sleeping.
NEXT morning, Monday, after disposing of the embalmed
head to a barber, for a block, I settled my own and com-
rade's bill ; using, however, my comrade's money. The
grinning landlord, as well as the boarders, seemed amaz-
ingly tickled at the sudden friendship which had sprung
up between me and Queequeg especially as Peter Coffin's
cock-and-bull stories about him had previously so much
alarmed me concerning the very person whom I now
companied with.
We borrowed a wheelbarrow, and embarking our
things, including my own poor carpet-bag, and Quee-
queg 's canvas sack and hammock, away we went down to
the Moss, the little Nantucket packet schooner moored
at the wharf. As we were going along the people stared ;
not at Queequeg so much for they were used to seeing
cannibals like him in their streets, but at seeing him
and me upon such confidential terms. But we heeded
them not, going along wheeling the barrow by turns,
and Queequeg now and then stopping to adjust the sheath
on his harpoon barbs. I asked him why he carried such
a troublesome thing with him ashore, and whether all
whaling-ships did not find their own harpoons. To this,
in substance, he replied, that though what I hinted was
true enough, yet he had a particular affection for his own
harpoon, because it was of assured stuff, well tried in
many a mortal combat, and deeply intimate with the
hearts of whales. In short, like many inland reapers and
mowers, who go into the farmer's meadows armed with
their own scythes though in no wise obliged to furnish
them even so, Queequeg, for his own private reasons,
preferred his own harpoon.
Shifting the barrow from my hand to his, he told me
a funny story about the first wheelbarrow he had ever
seen. It was in Sag Harbour. The owners of his ship,
it seems, had lent him one, in which to carry his heavy
chest to his boarding-house. Not to seem ignorant about
the thing though in truth he was entirely so, concerning
the precise way in which to manage the barrow Quee-
queg puts his chest upon it ; lashes it fast ; and then
shoulders the barrow and marches up the wharf. ' Why/
said I, ' Queequeg, you might have known better than
that, one would think. Didn't the people laugh ? '
Upon this, he told me another story. The people
of his island of Rokovoko, it seems, at their wedding
feasts express the fragrant water of young cocoa-nuts into
a large stained calabash like a punch -bowl ; and this
punch -bowl always forms the great central ornament on
the braided mat where the feast is held. Now a certain
grand merchant ship once touched at Rokovoko, and its
commander from all accounts a very stately punctilious
gentleman, at least for a sea-captain this commander
was invited to the wedding feast of Queequeg 's sister, a
pretty young princess just turned of ten. Well ; when all
the wedding guests were assembled at the bride's bamboo
cottage, this captain marches in, and being assigned the
post of honour, placed himself over against the punch-
bowl, and between the High Priest and his majesty the
King, Queequeg 's father. Grace being said, for those
people have their grace as well as we though Queequeg
told me that unlike us, who at such times look downward
to our platters, they, on the contrary, copying the ducks,
glance upward to the great Giver of all feasts Grace,