baby born zubehör badewanne
-chapter 124.the needle. next morning the not-yet-subsided searolled in long slow billows of mighty bulk, and striving in the pequod's gurglingtrack, pushed her on like giants' palms outspread. the strong, unstaggering breeze aboundedso, that sky and air seemed vast outbellying sails; the whole world boomedbefore the wind. muffled in the full morning light, theinvisible sun was only known by the spread intensity of his place; where his bayonetrays moved on in stacks. emblazonings, as of crowned babyloniankings and queens, reigned over everything.
the sea was as a crucible of molten gold,that bubblingly leaps with light and heat. long maintaining an enchanted silence, ahabstood apart; and every time the tetering ship loweringly pitched down her bowsprit,he turned to eye the bright sun's rays produced ahead; and when she profoundly settled by the stern, he turned behind, andsaw the sun's rearward place, and how the same yellow rays were blending with hisundeviating wake. "ha, ha, my ship! thou mightest well betaken now for the sea-chariot of the sun. ho, ho! all ye nations before my prow, ibring the sun to ye! yoke on the further billows; hallo! atandem, i drive the sea!"
but suddenly reined back by some counterthought, he hurried towards the helm, huskily demanding how the ship was heading. "east-sou-east, sir," said the frightenedsteersman. "thou liest!" smiting him with his clenchedfist. "heading east at this hour in the morning,and the sun astern?" upon this every soul was confounded; forthe phenomenon just then observed by ahab had unaccountably escaped every one else;but its very blinding palpableness must have been the cause. thrusting his head half way into thebinnacle, ahab caught one glimpse of the
compasses; his uplifted arm slowly fell;for a moment he almost seemed to stagger. standing behind him starbuck looked, andlo! the two compasses pointed east, and the pequod was as infallibly going west. but ere the first wild alarm could get outabroad among the crew, the old man with a rigid laugh exclaimed, "i have it!it has happened before. mr. starbuck, last night's thunder turnedour compasses--that's all. thou hast before now heard of such a thing,i take it." "aye; but never before has it happened tome, sir," said the pale mate, gloomily. here, it must needs be said, that accidentslike this have in more than one case
occurred to ships in violent storms. the magnetic energy, as developed in themariner's needle, is, as all know, essentially one with the electricity beheldin heaven; hence it is not to be much marvelled at, that such things should be. instances where the lightning has actuallystruck the vessel, so as to smite down some of the spars and rigging, the effect uponthe needle has at times been still more fatal; all its loadstone virtue being annihilated, so that the before magneticsteel was of no more use than an old wife's knitting needle.
but in either case, the needle never again,of itself, recovers the original virtue thus marred or lost; and if the binnaclecompasses be affected, the same fate reaches all the others that may be in the ship; even were the lowermost one insertedinto the kelson. deliberately standing before the binnacle,and eyeing the transpointed compasses, the old man, with the sharp of his extendedhand, now took the precise bearing of the sun, and satisfied that the needles were exactly inverted, shouted out his ordersfor the ship's course to be changed accordingly.
the yards were hard up; and once more thepequod thrust her undaunted bows into the opposing wind, for the supposed fair onehad only been juggling her. meanwhile, whatever were his own secretthoughts, starbuck said nothing, but quietly he issued all requisite orders;while stubb and flask--who in some small degree seemed then to be sharing his feelings--likewise unmurmuringlyacquiesced. as for the men, though some of them lowlyrumbled, their fear of ahab was greater than their fear of fate. but as ever before, the pagan harpooneersremained almost wholly unimpressed; or if
impressed, it was only with a certainmagnetism shot into their congenial hearts from inflexible ahab's. for a space the old man walked the deck inrolling reveries. but chancing to slip with his ivory heel,he saw the crushed copper sight-tubes of the quadrant he had the day before dashedto the deck. "thou poor, proud heaven-gazer and sun'spilot! yesterday i wrecked thee, and to-day the compasses would fain have wrecked me.so, so. but ahab is lord over the level loadstoneyet. mr. starbuck--a lance without a pole; atop-maul, and the smallest of the sail-
maker's needles. quick!" accessory, perhaps, to the impulsedictating the thing he was now about to do, were certain prudential motives, whoseobject might have been to revive the spirits of his crew by a stroke of his subtile skill, in a matter so wondrous asthat of the inverted compasses. besides, the old man well knew that tosteer by transpointed needles, though clumsily practicable, was not a thing to bepassed over by superstitious sailors, without some shudderings and evil portents.
"men," said he, steadily turning upon thecrew, as the mate handed him the things he had demanded, "my men, the thunder turnedold ahab's needles; but out of this bit of steel ahab can make one of his own, thatwill point as true as any." abashed glances of servile wonder wereexchanged by the sailors, as this was said; and with fascinated eyes they awaitedwhatever magic might follow. but starbuck looked away. with a blow from the top-maul ahab knockedoff the steel head of the lance, and then handing to the mate the long iron rodremaining, bade him hold it upright, without its touching the deck.
then, with the maul, after repeatedlysmiting the upper end of this iron rod, he placed the blunted needle endwise on thetop of it, and less strongly hammered that, several times, the mate still holding therod as before. then going through some small strangemotions with it--whether indispensable to the magnetizing of the steel, or merelyintended to augment the awe of the crew, is uncertain--he called for linen thread; and moving to the binnacle, slipped out the tworeversed needles there, and horizontally suspended the sail-needle by its middle,over one of the compass-cards. at first, the steel went round and round,quivering and vibrating at either end; but
at last it settled to its place, when ahab,who had been intently watching for this result, stepped frankly back from the binnacle, and pointing his stretched armtowards it, exclaimed,--"look ye, for yourselves, if ahab be not lord of thelevel loadstone! the sun is east, and that compass swearsit!" one after another they peered in, fornothing but their own eyes could persuade such ignorance as theirs, and one afteranother they slunk away. in his fiery eyes of scorn and triumph, youthen saw ahab in all his fatal pride. chapter 125.the log and line.
while now the fated pequod had been so longafloat this voyage, the log and line had but very seldom been in use. owing to a confident reliance upon othermeans of determining the vessel's place, some merchantmen, and many whalemen,especially when cruising, wholly neglect to heave the log; though at the same time, and frequently more for form's sake thananything else, regularly putting down upon the customary slate the course steered bythe ship, as well as the presumed average rate of progression every hour. it had been thus with the pequod.the wooden reel and angular log attached
hung, long untouched, just beneath therailing of the after bulwarks. rains and spray had damped it; sun and windhad warped it; all the elements had combined to rot a thing that hung so idly. but heedless of all this, his mood seizedahab, as he happened to glance upon the reel, not many hours after the magnetscene, and he remembered how his quadrant was no more, and recalled his frantic oathabout the level log and line. the ship was sailing plungingly; astern thebillows rolled in riots. "forward, there! heave the log!"two seamen came.
the golden-hued tahitian and the grizzlymanxman. "take the reel, one of ye, i'll heave." they went towards the extreme stern, on theship's lee side, where the deck, with the oblique energy of the wind, was now almostdipping into the creamy, sidelong-rushing sea. the manxman took the reel, and holding ithigh up, by the projecting handle-ends of the spindle, round which the spool of linerevolved, so stood with the angular log hanging downwards, till ahab advanced tohim. ahab stood before him, and was lightlyunwinding some thirty or forty turns to
form a preliminary hand-coil to tossoverboard, when the old manxman, who was intently eyeing both him and the line, madebold to speak. "sir, i mistrust it; this line looks fargone, long heat and wet have spoiled it." "'twill hold, old gentleman. long heat and wet, have they spoiled thee?thou seem'st to hold. or, truer perhaps, life holds thee; notthou it." "i hold the spool, sir. but just as my captain says.with these grey hairs of mine 'tis not worth while disputing, 'specially with asuperior, who'll ne'er confess."
"what's that? there now's a patched professor in queennature's granite-founded college; but methinks he's too subservient.where wert thou born?" "in the little rocky isle of man, sir." "excellent!thou'st hit the world by that." "i know not, sir, but i was born there.""in the isle of man, hey? well, the other way, it's good. here's a man from man; a man born in onceindependent man, and now unmanned of man; which is sucked in--by what?up with the reel!
the dead, blind wall butts all inquiringheads at last. up with it!so." the log was heaved. the loose coils rapidly straightened out ina long dragging line astern, and then, instantly, the reel began to whirl. in turn, jerkingly raised and lowered bythe rolling billows, the towing resistance of the log caused the old reelman tostagger strangely. "hold hard!" snap! the overstrained line sagged down inone long festoon; the tugging log was gone.
"i crush the quadrant, the thunder turnsthe needles, and now the mad sea parts the log-line. but ahab can mend all.haul in here, tahitian; reel up, manxman. and look ye, let the carpenter make anotherlog, and mend thou the line. see to it." "there he goes now; to him nothing'shappened; but to me, the skewer seems loosening out of the middle of the world.haul in, haul in, tahitian! these lines run whole, and whirling out:come in broken, and dragging slow. ha, pip? come to help; eh, pip?""pip? whom call ye pip?
pip jumped from the whale-boat. pip's missing.let's see now if ye haven't fished him up here, fisherman.it drags hard; i guess he's holding on. jerk him, tahiti! jerk him off; we haul in no cowards here.ho! there's his arm just breaking water. a hatchet! a hatchet! cut it off--we haulin no cowards here. captain ahab! sir, sir! here's pip, tryingto get on board again." "peace, thou crazy loon," cried themanxman, seizing him by the arm. "away from the quarter-deck!"
"the greater idiot ever scolds the lesser,"muttered ahab, advancing. "hands off from that holiness!where sayest thou pip was, boy? "astern there, sir, astern! lo! lo!""and who art thou, boy? i see not my reflection in the vacantpupils of thy eyes. oh god! that man should be a thing forimmortal souls to sieve through! who art thou, boy?""bell-boy, sir; ship's-crier; ding, dong, ding! pip!pip!
pip! one hundred pounds of clay reward for pip;five feet high--looks cowardly--quickest known by that!ding, dong, ding! who's seen pip the coward?" "there can be no hearts above the snow-line. oh, ye frozen heavens! look down here.ye did beget this luckless child, and have abandoned him, ye creative libertines. here, boy; ahab's cabin shall be pip's homehenceforth, while ahab lives. thou touchest my inmost centre, boy; thouart tied to me by cords woven of my heart-
strings. come, let's down.""what's this? here's velvet shark-skin," intently gazing at ahab's hand, and feelingit. "ah, now, had poor pip but felt so kind athing as this, perhaps he had ne'er been lost!this seems to me, sir, as a man-rope; something that weak souls may hold by. oh, sir, let old perth now come and rivetthese two hands together; the black one with the white, for i will not let thisgo." "oh, boy, nor will i thee, unless i shouldthereby drag thee to worse horrors than are
here.come, then, to my cabin. lo! ye believers in gods all goodness, andin man all ill, lo you! see the omniscient gods oblivious of suffering man; and man,though idiotic, and knowing not what he does, yet full of the sweet things of loveand gratitude. come!i feel prouder leading thee by thy black hand, than though i grasped an emperor's!" "there go two daft ones now," muttered theold manxman. "one daft with strength, the other daftwith weakness. but here's the end of the rotten line--alldripping, too.
mend it, eh?i think we had best have a new line altogether. i'll see mr. stubb about it." chapter 126.the life-buoy. steering now south-eastward by ahab'slevelled steel, and her progress solely determined by ahab's level log and line;the pequod held on her path towards the equator. making so long a passage through suchunfrequented waters, descrying no ships, and ere long, sideways impelled byunvarying trade winds, over waves
monotonously mild; all these seemed the strange calm things preluding some riotousand desperate scene. at last, when the ship drew near to theoutskirts, as it were, of the equatorial fishing-ground, and in the deep darknessthat goes before the dawn, was sailing by a cluster of rocky islets; the watch--then headed by flask--was startled by a cry soplaintively wild and unearthly--like half- articulated wailings of the ghosts of allherod's murdered innocents--that one and all, they started from their reveries, and for the space of some moments stood, orsat, or leaned all transfixedly listening,
like the carved roman slave, while thatwild cry remained within hearing. the christian or civilized part of the crewsaid it was mermaids, and shuddered; but the pagan harpooneers remained unappalled. yet the grey manxman--the oldest mariner ofall--declared that the wild thrilling sounds that were heard, were the voices ofnewly drowned men in the sea. below in his hammock, ahab did not hear ofthis till grey dawn, when he came to the deck; it was then recounted to him byflask, not unaccompanied with hinted dark meanings. he hollowly laughed, and thus explained thewonder.
those rocky islands the ship had passedwere the resort of great numbers of seals, and some young seals that had lost theirdams, or some dams that had lost their cubs, must have risen nigh the ship and kept company with her, crying and sobbingwith their human sort of wail. but this only the more affected some ofthem, because most mariners cherish a very superstitious feeling about seals, arisingnot only from their peculiar tones when in distress, but also from the human look of their round heads and semi-intelligentfaces, seen peeringly uprising from the water alongside.
in the sea, under certain circumstances,seals have more than once been mistaken for men. but the bodings of the crew were destinedto receive a most plausible confirmation in the fate of one of their number thatmorning. at sun-rise this man went from his hammockto his mast-head at the fore; and whether it was that he was not yet half waked fromhis sleep (for sailors sometimes go aloft in a transition state), whether it was thus with the man, there is now no telling; but,be that as it may, he had not been long at his perch, when a cry was heard--a cry anda rushing--and looking up, they saw a
falling phantom in the air; and looking down, a little tossed heap of white bubblesin the blue of the sea. the life-buoy--a long slender cask--wasdropped from the stern, where it always hung obedient to a cunning spring; but nohand rose to seize it, and the sun having long beat upon this cask it had shrunken, so that it slowly filled, and that parchedwood also filled at its every pore; and the studded iron-bound cask followed the sailorto the bottom, as if to yield him his pillow, though in sooth but a hard one. and thus the first man of the pequod thatmounted the mast to look out for the white
whale, on the white whale's own peculiarground; that man was swallowed up in the deep. but few, perhaps, thought of that at thetime. indeed, in some sort, they were not grievedat this event, at least as a portent; for they regarded it, not as a foreshadowing ofevil in the future, but as the fulfilment of an evil already presaged. they declared that now they knew the reasonof those wild shrieks they had heard the night before.but again the old manxman said nay. the lost life-buoy was now to be replaced;starbuck was directed to see to it; but as
no cask of sufficient lightness could befound, and as in the feverish eagerness of what seemed the approaching crisis of the voyage, all hands were impatient of anytoil but what was directly connected with its final end, whatever that might prove tobe; therefore, they were going to leave the ship's stern unprovided with a buoy, when by certain strange signs and inuendoesqueequeg hinted a hint concerning his coffin."a life-buoy of a coffin!" cried starbuck, starting. "rather queer, that, i should say," saidstubb.
"it will make a good enough one," saidflask, "the carpenter here can arrange it easily." "bring it up; there's nothing else for it,"said starbuck, after a melancholy pause. "rig it, carpenter; do not look at me so--the coffin, i mean. dost thou hear me? rig it.""and shall i nail down the lid, sir?" moving his hand as with a hammer."aye." "and shall i caulk the seams, sir?" movinghis hand as with a caulking-iron. "aye."
"and shall i then pay over the same withpitch, sir?" moving his hand as with a pitch-pot."away! what possesses thee to this? make a life-buoy of the coffin, and nomore.--mr. stubb, mr. flask, come forward with me.""he goes off in a huff. the whole he can endure; at the parts hebaulks. now i don't like this. i make a leg for captain ahab, and he wearsit like a gentleman; but i make a bandbox for queequeg, and he won't put his headinto it. are all my pains to go for nothing withthat coffin?
and now i'm ordered to make a life-buoy ofit. it's like turning an old coat; going tobring the flesh on the other side now. i don't like this cobbling sort ofbusiness--i don't like it at all; it's undignified; it's not my place. let tinkers' brats do tinkerings; we aretheir betters. i like to take in hand none but clean,virgin, fair-and-square mathematical jobs, something that regularly begins at thebeginning, and is at the middle when midway, and comes to an end at the conclusion; not a cobbler's job, that's atan end in the middle, and at the beginning
at the end.it's the old woman's tricks to be giving cobbling jobs. lord! what an affection all old women havefor tinkers. i know an old woman of sixty-five who ranaway with a bald-headed young tinker once. and that's the reason i never would workfor lonely widow old women ashore, when i kept my job-shop in the vineyard; theymight have taken it into their lonely old heads to run off with me. but heigh-ho! there are no caps at sea butsnow-caps. let me see.
nail down the lid; caulk the seams; payover the same with pitch; batten them down tight, and hang it with the snap-springover the ship's stern. were ever such things done before with acoffin? some superstitious old carpenters, now,would be tied up in the rigging, ere they would do the job. but i'm made of knotty aroostook hemlock;i don't budge. cruppered with a coffin!sailing about with a grave-yard tray! but never mind. we workers in woods make bridal-bedsteadsand card-tables, as well as coffins and
hearses. we work by the month, or by the job, or bythe profit; not for us to ask the why and wherefore of our work, unless it be tooconfounded cobbling, and then we stash it if we can. hem!i'll do the job, now, tenderly. i'll have me--let's see--how many in theship's company, all told? but i've forgotten. any way, i'll have me thirty separate,turk's-headed life-lines, each three feet long hanging all round to the coffin.
then, if the hull go down, there'll bethirty lively fellows all fighting for one coffin, a sight not seen very often beneaththe sun! come hammer, caulking-iron, pitch-pot, andmarling-spike! let's to it." chapter 127.the deck. the coffin laid upon two line-tubs, betweenthe vice-bench and the open hatchway; the carpenter caulking its seams; the string oftwisted oakum slowly unwinding from a large roll of it placed in the bosom of his frock.--ahab comes slowly from the cabin-gangway, and hears pip following him.
"back, lad; i will be with ye againpresently. he goes! not this hand complies with my humor moregenially than that boy.--middle aisle of a church!what's here?" "life-buoy, sir. mr. starbuck's orders.oh, look, sir! beware the hatchway!""thank ye, man. thy coffin lies handy to the vault." "sir?the hatchway? oh!
so it does, sir, so it does.""art not thou the leg-maker? look, did not this stump come from thyshop?" "i believe it did, sir; does the ferrulestand, sir?" "well enough. but art thou not also the undertaker?""aye, sir; i patched up this thing here as a coffin for queequeg; but they've set menow to turning it into something else." "then tell me; art thou not an arrant, all-grasping, intermeddling, monopolising, heathenish old scamp, to be one day makinglegs, and the next day coffins to clap them in, and yet again life-buoys out of thosesame coffins?
thou art as unprincipled as the gods, andas much of a jack-of-all-trades." "but i do not mean anything, sir. i do as i do.""the gods again. hark ye, dost thou not ever sing workingabout a coffin? the titans, they say, hummed snatches whenchipping out the craters for volcanoes; and the grave-digger in the play sings, spadein hand. dost thou never?" "sing, sir?do i sing? oh, i'm indifferent enough, sir, for that;but the reason why the grave-digger made
music must have been because there was nonein his spade, sir. but the caulking mallet is full of it. hark to it.""aye, and that's because the lid there's a sounding-board; and what in all thingsmakes the sounding-board is this--there's naught beneath. and yet, a coffin with a body in it ringspretty much the same, carpenter. hast thou ever helped carry a bier, andheard the coffin knock against the churchyard gate, going in? "faith, sir, i've--""faith?
what's that?""why, faith, sir, it's only a sort of exclamation-like--that's all, sir." "um, um; go on.""i was about to say, sir, that--" "art thou a silk-worm?dost thou spin thy own shroud out of thyself? look at thy bosom!despatch! and get these traps out of sight.""he goes aft. that was sudden, now; but squalls comesudden in hot latitudes. i've heard that the isle of albemarle, oneof the gallipagos, is cut by the equator
right in the middle. seems to me some sort of equator cuts yonold man, too, right in his middle. he's always under the line--fiery hot, itell ye! he's looking this way--come, oakum; quick. here we go again.this wooden mallet is the cork, and i'm the professor of musical glasses--tap, tap!"(ahab to himself.) "there's a sight! there's a sound!the grey-headed woodpecker tapping the hollow tree!blind and dumb might well be envied now.
see! that thing rests on two line-tubs,full of tow-lines. a most malicious wag, that fellow.rat-tat! so man's seconds tick! oh! how immaterial are all materials!what things real are there, but imponderable thoughts? here now's the very dreaded symbol of grimdeath, by a mere hap, made the expressive sign of the help and hope of mostendangered life. a life-buoy of a coffin! does it go further?can it be that in some spiritual sense the
coffin is, after all, but an immortality-preserver! i'll think of that. but no.so far gone am i in the dark side of earth, that its other side, the theoretic brightone, seems but uncertain twilight to me. will ye never have done, carpenter, withthat accursed sound? i go below; let me not see that thing herewhen i return again. now, then, pip, we'll talk this over; i dosuck most wondrous philosophies from thee! some unknown conduits from the unknownworlds must empty into thee!" >
-chapter 128.the pequod meets the rachel. next day, a large ship, the rachel, wasdescried, bearing directly down upon the pequod, all her spars thickly clusteringwith men. at the time the pequod was making goodspeed through the water; but as the broad- winged windward stranger shot nigh to her,the boastful sails all fell together as blank bladders that are burst, and all lifefled from the smitten hull. "bad news; she brings bad news," mutteredthe old manxman. but ere her commander, who, with trumpet tomouth, stood up in his boat; ere he could hopefully hail, ahab's voice was heard."hast seen the white whale?"
"aye, yesterday. have ye seen a whale-boat adrift?" throttling his joy, ahab negativelyanswered this unexpected question; and would then have fain boarded the stranger,when the stranger captain himself, having stopped his vessel's way, was seendescending her side. a few keen pulls, and his boat-hook soonclinched the pequod's main-chains, and he sprang to the deck. immediately he was recognised by ahab for anantucketer he knew. but no formal salutation was exchanged."where was he?--not killed!--not killed!"
cried ahab, closely advancing. "how was it?" it seemed that somewhat late on theafternoon of the day previous, while three of the stranger's boats were engaged with ashoal of whales, which had led them some four or five miles from the ship; and while they were yet in swift chase to windward,the white hump and head of moby dick had suddenly loomed up out of the water, notvery far to leeward; whereupon, the fourth rigged boat--a reserved one--had beeninstantly lowered in chase. after a keen sail before the wind, thisfourth boat--the swiftest keeled of all--
seemed to have succeeded in fastening--atleast, as well as the man at the mast-head could tell anything about it. in the distance he saw the diminisheddotted boat; and then a swift gleam of bubbling white water; and after thatnothing more; whence it was concluded that the stricken whale must have indefinitely run away with his pursuers, as oftenhappens. there was some apprehension, but nopositive alarm, as yet. the recall signals were placed in therigging; darkness came on; and forced to pick up her three far to windward boats--ere going in quest of the fourth one in the
precisely opposite direction--the ship had not only been necessitated to leave thatboat to its fate till near midnight, but, for the time, to increase her distance fromit. but the rest of her crew being at last safeaboard, she crowded all sail--stunsail on stunsail--after the missing boat; kindlinga fire in her try-pots for a beacon; and every other man aloft on the look-out. but though when she had thus sailed asufficient distance to gain the presumed place of the absent ones when last seen;though she then paused to lower her spare boats to pull all around her; and not
finding anything, had again dashed on;again paused, and lowered her boats; and though she had thus continued doing tilldaylight; yet not the least glimpse of the missing keel had been seen. the story told, the stranger captainimmediately went on to reveal his object in boarding the pequod. he desired that ship to unite with his ownin the search; by sailing over the sea some four or five miles apart, on parallellines, and so sweeping a double horizon, as it were. "i will wager something now," whisperedstubb to flask, "that some one in that
missing boat wore off that captain's bestcoat; mayhap, his watch--he's so cursed anxious to get it back. who ever heard of two pious whale-shipscruising after one missing whale-boat in the height of the whaling season? see, flask, only see how pale he looks--pale in the very buttons of his eyes--look- -it wasn't the coat--it must have been the--" "my boy, my own boy is among them. for god's sake--i beg, i conjure"--hereexclaimed the stranger captain to ahab, who thus far had but icily received hispetition.
"for eight-and-forty hours let me charteryour ship--i will gladly pay for it, and roundly pay for it--if there be no otherway--for eight-and-forty hours only--only that--you must, oh, you must, and you shalldo this thing." "his son!" cried stubb, "oh, it's his sonhe's lost! i take back the coat and watch--what saysahab? we must save that boy." "he's drowned with the rest on 'em, lastnight," said the old manx sailor standing behind them; "i heard; all of ye heardtheir spirits." now, as it shortly turned out, what madethis incident of the rachel's the more
melancholy, was the circumstance, that notonly was one of the captain's sons among the number of the missing boat's crew; but among the number of the other boat's crews,at the same time, but on the other hand, separated from the ship during the darkvicissitudes of the chase, there had been still another son; as that for a time, the wretched father was plunged to the bottomof the cruellest perplexity; which was only solved for him by his chief mate'sinstinctively adopting the ordinary procedure of a whale-ship in such emergencies, that is, when placed betweenjeopardized but divided boats, always to
pick up the majority first. but the captain, for some unknownconstitutional reason, had refrained from mentioning all this, and not till forced toit by ahab's iciness did he allude to his one yet missing boy; a little lad, but twelve years old, whose father with theearnest but unmisgiving hardihood of a nantucketer's paternal love, had thus earlysought to initiate him in the perils and wonders of a vocation almost immemoriallythe destiny of all his race. nor does it unfrequently occur, thatnantucket captains will send a son of such tender age away from them, for a protractedthree or four years' voyage in some other
ship than their own; so that their first knowledge of a whaleman's career shall beunenervated by any chance display of a father's natural but untimely partiality,or undue apprehensiveness and concern. meantime, now the stranger was stillbeseeching his poor boon of ahab; and ahab still stood like an anvil, receiving everyshock, but without the least quivering of his own. "i will not go," said the stranger, "tillyou say aye to me. do to me as you would have me do to you inthe like case. for you too have a boy, captain ahab--though but a child, and nestling safely at
home now--a child of your old age too--yes,yes, you relent; i see it--run, run, men, now, and stand by to square in the yards." "avast," cried ahab--"touch not a rope-yarn"; then in a voice that prolongingly moulded every word--"captain gardiner, iwill not do it. even now i lose time. good-bye, good-bye.god bless ye, man, and may i forgive myself, but i must go. mr. starbuck, look at the binnacle watch,and in three minutes from this present instant warn off all strangers: then braceforward again, and let the ship sail as
before." hurriedly turning, with averted face, hedescended into his cabin, leaving the strange captain transfixed at thisunconditional and utter rejection of his so earnest suit. but starting from his enchantment, gardinersilently hurried to the side; more fell than stepped into his boat, and returned tohis ship. soon the two ships diverged their wakes;and long as the strange vessel was in view, she was seen to yaw hither and thither atevery dark spot, however small, on the sea. this way and that her yards were swunground; starboard and larboard, she
continued to tack; now she beat against ahead sea; and again it pushed her before it; while all the while, her masts and yards were thickly clustered with men, asthree tall cherry trees, when the boys are cherrying among the boughs. but by her still halting course andwinding, woeful way, you plainly saw that this ship that so wept with spray, stillremained without comfort. she was rachel, weeping for her children,because they were not. chapter 129.the cabin. (ahab moving to go on deck; pip catches himby the hand to follow.)
"lad, lad, i tell thee thou must not followahab now. the hour is coming when ahab would notscare thee from him, yet would not have thee by him.there is that in thee, poor lad, which i feel too curing to my malady. like cures like; and for this hunt, mymalady becomes my most desired health. do thou abide below here, where they shallserve thee, as if thou wert the captain. aye, lad, thou shalt sit here in my ownscrewed chair; another screw to it, thou must be." "no, no, no! ye have not a whole body, sir;do ye but use poor me for your one lost
leg; only tread upon me, sir; i ask nomore, so i remain a part of ye." "oh! spite of million villains, this makesme a bigot in the fadeless fidelity of man!--and a black! and crazy!--but methinkslike-cures-like applies to him too; he grows so sane again." "they tell me, sir, that stubb did oncedesert poor little pip, whose drowned bones now show white, for all the blackness ofhis living skin. but i will never desert ye, sir, as stubbdid him. sir, i must go with ye.""if thou speakest thus to me much more, ahab's purpose keels up in him.
i tell thee no; it cannot be.""oh good master, master, master! "weep so, and i will murder thee! have acare, for ahab too is mad. listen, and thou wilt often hear my ivoryfoot upon the deck, and still know that i am there.and now i quit thee. thy hand!--met! true art thou, lad, as the circumference toits centre. so: god for ever bless thee; and if it cometo that,--god for ever save thee, let what will befall." (ahab goes; pip steps one step forward.)"here he this instant stood; i stand in his
air,--but i'm alone.now were even poor pip here i could endure it, but he's missing. ding, dong, ding!who's seen pip? he must be up here; let's try the door. what? neither lock, nor bolt, nor bar; andyet there's no opening it. it must be the spell; he told me to stayhere: aye, and told me this screwed chair was mine. here, then, i'll seat me, against thetransom, in the ship's full middle, all her keel and her three masts before me.
here, our old sailors say, in their blackseventy-fours great admirals sometimes sit at table, and lord it over rows of captainsand lieutenants. ha! what's this? epaulets! epaulets! theepaulets all come crowding! pass round the decanters; glad to see ye;fill up, monsieurs! what an odd feeling, now, when a blackboy's host to white men with gold lace upon their coats!--monsieurs, have ye seen onepip?--a little negro lad, five feet high, hang-dog look, and cowardly! jumped from a whale-boat once;--seen him?no! well then, fill up again, captains, and let's drink shame upon all cowards!i name no names.
shame upon them! put one foot upon the table.shame upon all cowards.--hist! above there, i hear ivory--oh, master! master!i am indeed down-hearted when you walk over me. but here i'll stay, though this sternstrikes rocks; and they bulge through; and oysters come to join me." chapter 130.the hat. and now that at the proper time and place,after so long and wide a preliminary cruise, ahab,--all other whaling watersswept--seemed to have chased his foe into
an ocean-fold, to slay him the more securely there; now, that he found himselfhard by the very latitude and longitude where his tormenting wound had beeninflicted; now that a vessel had been spoken which on the very day preceding had actually encountered moby dick;--and nowthat all his successive meetings with various ships contrastingly concurred toshow the demoniac indifference with which the white whale tore his hunters, whether sinning or sinned against; now it was thatthere lurked a something in the old man's eyes, which it was hardly sufferable forfeeble souls to see.
as the unsetting polar star, which throughthe livelong, arctic, six months' night sustains its piercing, steady, centralgaze; so ahab's purpose now fixedly gleamed down upon the constant midnight of thegloomy crew. it domineered above them so, that all theirbodings, doubts, misgivings, fears, were fain to hide beneath their souls, and notsprout forth a single spear or leaf. in this foreshadowing interval too, allhumor, forced or natural, vanished. stubb no more strove to raise a smile;starbuck no more strove to check one. alike, joy and sorrow, hope and fear,seemed ground to finest dust, and powdered, for the time, in the clamped mortar ofahab's iron soul.
like machines, they dumbly moved about thedeck, ever conscious that the old man's despot eye was on them. but did you deeply scan him in his moresecret confidential hours; when he thought no glance but one was on him; then youwould have seen that even as ahab's eyes so awed the crew's, the inscrutable parsee's glance awed his; or somehow, at least, insome wild way, at times affected it. such an added, gliding strangeness began toinvest the thin fedallah now; such ceaseless shudderings shook him; that themen looked dubious at him; half uncertain, as it seemed, whether indeed he were a
mortal substance, or else a tremulousshadow cast upon the deck by some unseen being's body.and that shadow was always hovering there. for not by night, even, had fedallah evercertainly been known to slumber, or go below. he would stand still for hours: but neversat or leaned; his wan but wondrous eyes did plainly say--we two watchmen neverrest. nor, at any time, by night or day could themariners now step upon the deck, unless ahab was before them; either standing inhis pivot-hole, or exactly pacing the planks between two undeviating limits,--the
main-mast and the mizen; or else they sawhim standing in the cabin-scuttle,--his living foot advanced upon the deck, as ifto step; his hat slouched heavily over his eyes; so that however motionless he stood, however the days and nights were added on,that he had not swung in his hammock; yet hidden beneath that slouching hat, theycould never tell unerringly whether, for all this, his eyes were really closed at times; or whether he was still intentlyscanning them; no matter, though he stood so in the scuttle for a whole hour on thestretch, and the unheeded night-damp gathered in beads of dew upon that stone-carved coat and hat.
the clothes that the night had wet, thenext day's sunshine dried upon him; and so, day after day, and night after night; hewent no more beneath the planks; whatever he wanted from the cabin that thing he sentfor. he ate in the same open air; that is, histwo only meals,--breakfast and dinner: supper he never touched; nor reaped hisbeard; which darkly grew all gnarled, as unearthed roots of trees blown over, which still grow idly on at naked base, thoughperished in the upper verdure. but though his whole life was now becomeone watch on deck; and though the parsee's mystic watch was without intermission ashis own; yet these two never seemed to
speak--one man to the other--unless at long intervals some passing unmomentous mattermade it necessary. though such a potent spell seemed secretlyto join the twain; openly, and to the awe- struck crew, they seemed pole-like asunder. if by day they chanced to speak one word;by night, dumb men were both, so far as concerned the slightest verbal interchange. at times, for longest hours, without asingle hail, they stood far parted in the starlight; ahab in his scuttle, the parseeby the mainmast; but still fixedly gazing upon each other; as if in the parsee ahab
saw his forethrown shadow, in ahab theparsee his abandoned substance. and yet, somehow, did ahab--in his ownproper self, as daily, hourly, and every instant, commandingly revealed to hissubordinates,--ahab seemed an independent lord; the parsee but his slave. still again both seemed yoked together, andan unseen tyrant driving them; the lean shade siding the solid rib.for be this parsee what he may, all rib and keel was solid ahab. at the first faintest glimmering of thedawn, his iron voice was heard from aft,-- "man the mast-heads!"--and all through theday, till after sunset and after twilight,
the same voice every hour, at the striking of the helmsman's bell, was heard--"whatd'ye see?--sharp! sharp!" but when three or four days had slided by,after meeting the children-seeking rachel; and no spout had yet been seen; themonomaniac old man seemed distrustful of his crew's fidelity; at least, of nearly all except the pagan harpooneers; he seemedto doubt, even, whether stubb and flask might not willingly overlook the sight hesought. but if these suspicions were really his, hesagaciously refrained from verbally expressing them, however his actions mightseem to hint them.
"i will have the first sight of the whalemyself,"--he said. "aye! ahab must have the doubloon! and with hisown hands he rigged a nest of basketed bowlines; and sending a hand aloft, with asingle sheaved block, to secure to the main-mast head, he received the two ends of the downward-reeved rope; and attaching oneto his basket prepared a pin for the other end, in order to fasten it at the rail. this done, with that end yet in his handand standing beside the pin, he looked round upon his crew, sweeping from one tothe other; pausing his glance long upon
daggoo, queequeg, tashtego; but shunning fedallah; and then settling his firmrelying eye upon the chief mate, said,-- "take the rope, sir--i give it into thyhands, starbuck." then arranging his person in the basket, hegave the word for them to hoist him to his perch, starbuck being the one who securedthe rope at last; and afterwards stood near it. and thus, with one hand clinging round theroyal mast, ahab gazed abroad upon the sea for miles and miles,--ahead, astern, thisside, and that,--within the wide expanded circle commanded at so great a height.
when in working with his hands at somelofty almost isolated place in the rigging, which chances to afford no foothold, thesailor at sea is hoisted up to that spot, and sustained there by the rope; under these circumstances, its fastened end ondeck is always given in strict charge to some one man who has the special watch ofit. because in such a wilderness of runningrigging, whose various different relations aloft cannot always be infallibly discernedby what is seen of them at the deck; and when the deck-ends of these ropes are being every few minutes cast down from thefastenings, it would be but a natural
fatality, if, unprovided with a constantwatchman, the hoisted sailor should by some carelessness of the crew be cast adrift andfall all swooping to the sea. so ahab's proceedings in this matter werenot unusual; the only strange thing about them seemed to be, that starbuck, almostthe one only man who had ever ventured to oppose him with anything in the slightest degree approaching to decision--one ofthose too, whose faithfulness on the look- out he had seemed to doubt somewhat;--itwas strange, that this was the very man he should select for his watchman; freely giving his whole life into such anotherwise distrusted person's hands.
now, the first time ahab was perched aloft;ere he had been there ten minutes; one of those red-billed savage sea-hawks which sooften fly incommodiously close round the manned mast-heads of whalemen in these latitudes; one of these birds came wheelingand screaming round his head in a maze of untrackably swift circlings. then it darted a thousand feet straight upinto the air; then spiralized downwards, and went eddying again round his head. but with his gaze fixed upon the dim anddistant horizon, ahab seemed not to mark this wild bird; nor, indeed, would any oneelse have marked it much, it being no
uncommon circumstance; only now almost the least heedful eye seemed to see some sortof cunning meaning in almost every sight. "your hat, your hat, sir!" suddenly criedthe sicilian seaman, who being posted at the mizen-mast-head, stood directly behindahab, though somewhat lower than his level, and with a deep gulf of air dividing them. but already the sable wing was before theold man's eyes; the long hooked bill at his head: with a scream, the black hawk dartedaway with his prize. an eagle flew thrice round tarquin's head,removing his cap to replace it, and thereupon tanaquil, his wife, declared thattarquin would be king of rome.
but only by the replacing of the cap wasthat omen accounted good. ahab's hat was never restored; the wildhawk flew on and on with it; far in advance of the prow: and at last disappeared; whilefrom the point of that disappearance, a minute black spot was dimly discerned,falling from that vast height into the sea. chapter 131.the pequod meets the delight. the intense pequod sailed on; the rollingwaves and days went by; the life-buoy- coffin still lightly swung; and anothership, most miserably misnamed the delight, was descried. as she drew nigh, all eyes were fixed uponher broad beams, called shears, which, in
some whaling-ships, cross the quarter-deckat the height of eight or nine feet; serving to carry the spare, unrigged, ordisabled boats. upon the stranger's shears were beheld theshattered, white ribs, and some few splintered planks, of what had once been awhale-boat; but you now saw through this wreck, as plainly as you see through the peeled, half-unhinged, and bleachingskeleton of a horse. "hast seen the white whale?" "look!" replied the hollow-cheeked captainfrom his taffrail; and with his trumpet he pointed to the wreck."hast killed him?"
"the harpoon is not yet forged that everwill do that," answered the other, sadly glancing upon a rounded hammock on thedeck, whose gathered sides some noiseless sailors were busy in sewing together. "not forged!" and snatching perth'slevelled iron from the crotch, ahab held it out, exclaiming--"look ye, nantucketer;here in this hand i hold his death! tempered in blood, and tempered bylightning are these barbs; and i swear to temper them triply in that hot place behindthe fin, where the white whale most feels his accursed life!" "then god keep thee, old man--see'st thouthat"--pointing to the hammock--"i bury but
one of five stout men, who were alive onlyyesterday; but were dead ere night. only that one i bury; the rest were buriedbefore they died; you sail upon their tomb." then turning to his crew--"are ye readythere? place the plank then on the rail, and lift the body; so, then--oh! god"--advancing towards the hammock with uplifted hands--"may the resurrection and the life--" "brace forward!up helm!" cried ahab like lightning to his but the suddenly started pequod was notquick enough to escape the sound of the splash that the corpse soon made as itstruck the sea; not so quick, indeed, but
that some of the flying bubbles might have sprinkled her hull with their ghostlybaptism. as ahab now glided from the dejecteddelight, the strange life-buoy hanging at the pequod's stern came into conspicuousrelief. "ha! yonder! look yonder, men!" cried aforeboding voice in her wake. "in vain, oh, ye strangers, ye fly our sadburial; ye but turn us your taffrail to show us your coffin!" chapter 132.the symphony. it was a clear steel-blue day.
the firmaments of air and sea were hardlyseparable in that all-pervading azure; only, the pensive air was transparentlypure and soft, with a woman's look, and the robust and man-like sea heaved with long, strong, lingering swells, as samson's chestin his sleep. hither, and thither, on high, glided thesnow-white wings of small, unspeckled birds; these were the gentle thoughts ofthe feminine air; but to and fro in the deeps, far down in the bottomless blue, rushed mighty leviathans, sword-fish, andsharks; and these were the strong, troubled, murderous thinkings of themasculine sea.
but though thus contrasting within, thecontrast was only in shades and shadows without; those two seemed one; it was onlythe sex, as it were, that distinguished them. aloft, like a royal czar and king, the sunseemed giving this gentle air to this bold and rolling sea; even as bride to groom. and at the girdling line of the horizon, asoft and tremulous motion--most seen here at the equator--denoted the fond, throbbingtrust, the loving alarms, with which the poor bride gave her bosom away. tied up and twisted; gnarled and knottedwith wrinkles; haggardly firm and
unyielding; his eyes glowing like coals,that still glow in the ashes of ruin; untottering ahab stood forth in the clearness of the morn; lifting hissplintered helmet of a brow to the fair girl's forehead of heaven.oh, immortal infancy, and innocency of the azure! invisible winged creatures that frolic allround us! sweet childhood of air and sky! howoblivious were ye of old ahab's close- coiled woe! but so have i seen little miriam andmartha, laughing-eyed elves, heedlessly
gambol around their old sire; sporting withthe circle of singed locks which grew on the marge of that burnt-out crater of hisbrain. slowly crossing the deck from the scuttle,ahab leaned over the side and watched how his shadow in the water sank and sank tohis gaze, the more and the more that he strove to pierce the profundity. but the lovely aromas in that enchanted airdid at last seem to dispel, for a moment, the cankerous thing in his soul. that glad, happy air, that winsome sky, didat last stroke and caress him; the step- mother world, so long cruel--forbidding--now threw affectionate arms round his
stubborn neck, and did seem to joyously sob over him, as if over one, that howeverwilful and erring, she could yet find it in her heart to save and to bless. from beneath his slouched hat ahab droppeda tear into the sea; nor did all the pacific contain such wealth as that one weedrop. starbuck saw the old man; saw him, how heheavily leaned over the side; and he seemed to hear in his own true heart themeasureless sobbing that stole out of the centre of the serenity around. careful not to touch him, or be noticed byhim, he yet drew near to him, and stood
there.ahab turned. "starbuck!" "sir.""oh, starbuck! it is a mild, mild wind, and a mild looking sky. on such a day--very much such a sweetnessas this--i struck my first whale--a boy- harpooneer of eighteen!forty--forty--forty years ago!--ago! forty years of continual whaling! fortyyears of privation, and peril, and storm- time! forty years on the pitiless sea! forforty years has ahab forsaken the peaceful land, for forty years to make war on thehorrors of the deep!
aye and yes, starbuck, out of those fortyyears i have not spent three ashore. when i think of this life i have led; thedesolation of solitude it has been; the masoned, walled-town of a captain'sexclusiveness, which admits but small entrance to any sympathy from the greencountry without--oh, weariness! heaviness! guinea-coast slavery of solitary command!--when i think of all this; only half- suspected, not so keenly known to mebefore--and how for forty years i have fed upon dry salted fare--fit emblem of the dry nourishment of my soil!--when the poorestlandsman has had fresh fruit to his daily hand, and broken the world's fresh bread tomy mouldy crusts--away, whole oceans away,
from that young girl-wife i wedded past fifty, and sailed for cape horn the nextday, leaving but one dent in my marriage pillow--wife? wife?--rather a widow withher husband alive! aye, i widowed that poor girl when imarried her, starbuck; and then, the madness, the frenzy, the boiling blood andthe smoking brow, with which, for a thousand lowerings old ahab has furiously, foamingly chased his prey--more a demonthan a man!--aye, aye! what a forty years' fool--fool--old fool, has old ahab been! why this strife of the chase? why weary,and palsy the arm at the oar, and the iron,
and the lance? how the richer or better isahab now? behold. oh, starbuck! is it not hard, that withthis weary load i bear, one poor leg should have been snatched from under me?here, brush this old hair aside; it blinds me, that i seem to weep. locks so grey did never grow but from outsome ashes! but do i look very old, so very, very old,starbuck? i feel deadly faint, bowed, and humped, asthough i were adam, staggering beneath the piled centuries since paradise.god!
god! god!--crack my heart!--stave my brain!--mockery! mockery! bitter, biting mockery of grey hairs, have i lived enough joy to wearye; and seem and feel thus intolerably old? close! stand close to me, starbuck; let melook into a human eye; it is better than to gaze into sea or sky; better than to gazeupon god. by the green land; by the bright hearth-stone! this is the magic glass, man; i see my wife and my child in thine eye. no, no; stay on board, on board!--lower notwhen i do; when branded ahab gives chase to moby dick.that hazard shall not be thine.
no, no! not with the far away home i see inthat eye!" "oh, my captain! my captain! noble soul!grand old heart, after all! why should any one give chase to that hated fish! away with me! let us fly these deadlywaters! let us home! wife and child, too, are starbuck's--wifeand child of his brotherly, sisterly, play- fellow youth; even as thine, sir, are thewife and child of thy loving, longing, paternal old age! away! let us away!--this instant let mealter the course! how cheerily, how hilariously, o mycaptain, would we bowl on our way to see
old nantucket again! i think, sir, they have some such mild bluedays, even as this, in nantucket." "they have, they have.i have seen them--some summer days in the morning. about this time--yes, it is his noon napnow--the boy vivaciously wakes; sits up in bed; and his mother tells him of me, ofcannibal old me; how i am abroad upon the deep, but will yet come back to dance himagain." "'tis my mary, my mary herself! she promised that my boy, every morning,should be carried to the hill to catch the
first glimpse of his father's sail!yes, yes! no more! it is done! we head for nantucket! come, my captain, study out the course, andlet us away! see, see! the boy's face from the window!the boy's hand on the hill!" but ahab's glance was averted; like ablighted fruit tree he shook, and cast his last, cindered apple to the soil. "what is it, what nameless, inscrutable,unearthly thing is it; what cozening, hidden lord and master, and cruel,remorseless emperor commands me; that against all natural lovings and longings,
i so keep pushing, and crowding, and jammingmyself on all the time; recklessly making me ready to do what in my own proper,natural heart, i durst not so much as dare? is ahab, ahab? is it i, god, or who, that lifts this arm? but if the great sun move not of himself;but is as an errand-boy in heaven; nor one single star can revolve, but by someinvisible power; how then can this one small heart beat; this one small brain think thoughts; unless god does thatbeating, does that thinking, does that living, and not i.
by heaven, man, we are turned round andround in this world, like yonder windlass, and fate is the handspike.and all the time, lo! that smiling sky, and this unsounded sea! look! see yon albicore! who put it into himto chase and fang that flying-fish? where do murderers go, man!who's to doom, when the judge himself is dragged to the bar? but it is a mild, mild wind, and a mildlooking sky; and the air smells now, as if it blew from a far-away meadow; they havebeen making hay somewhere under the slopes of the andes, starbuck, and the mowers aresleeping among the new-mown hay.
sleeping?aye, toil we how we may, we all sleep at last on the field. sleep?aye, and rust amid greenness; as last year's scythes flung down, and left in thehalf-cut swaths--starbuck!" but blanched to a corpse's hue withdespair, the mate had stolen away. ahab crossed the deck to gaze over on theother side; but started at two reflected, fixed eyes in the water there. fedallah was motionlessly leaning over thesame rail. -chapter 133.the chase--first day.
that night, in the mid-watch, when the oldman--as his wont at intervals--stepped forth from the scuttle in which he leaned,and went to his pivot-hole, he suddenly thrust out his face fiercely, snuffing up the sea air as a sagacious ship's dog will,in drawing nigh to some barbarous isle. he declared that a whale must be near. soon that peculiar odor, sometimes to agreat distance given forth by the living sperm whale, was palpable to all the watch;nor was any mariner surprised when, after inspecting the compass, and then the dog- vane, and then ascertaining the precisebearing of the odor as nearly as possible,
ahab rapidly ordered the ship's course tobe slightly altered, and the sail to be shortened. the acute policy dictating these movementswas sufficiently vindicated at daybreak, by the sight of a long sleek on the seadirectly and lengthwise ahead, smooth as oil, and resembling in the pleated watery wrinkles bordering it, the polishedmetallic-like marks of some swift tide-rip, at the mouth of a deep, rapid stream."man the mast-heads! call all hands!" thundering with the butts of three clubbedhandspikes on the forecastle deck, daggoo
roused the sleepers with such judgmentclaps that they seemed to exhale from the scuttle, so instantaneously did they appearwith their clothes in their hands. "what d'ye see?" cried ahab, flattening hisface to the sky. "nothing, nothing sir!" was the soundhailing down in reply. "t'gallant sails!--stunsails! alow andaloft, and on both sides!" all sail being set, he now cast loose thelife-line, reserved for swaying him to the main royal-mast head; and in a few momentsthey were hoisting him thither, when, while but two thirds of the way aloft, and while peering ahead through the horizontalvacancy between the main-top-sail and top-
gallant-sail, he raised a gull-like cry inthe air. "there she blows!--there she blows! a hump like a snow-hill!it is moby dick!" fired by the cry which seemedsimultaneously taken up by the three look- outs, the men on deck rushed to the riggingto behold the famous whale they had so long been pursuing. ahab had now gained his final perch, somefeet above the other look-outs, tashtego standing just beneath him on the cap of thetop-gallant-mast, so that the indian's head was almost on a level with ahab's heel.
from this height the whale was now seensome mile or so ahead, at every roll of the sea revealing his high sparkling hump, andregularly jetting his silent spout into the air. to the credulous mariners it seemed thesame silent spout they had so long ago beheld in the moonlit atlantic and indianoceans. "and did none of ye see it before?" criedahab, hailing the perched men all around him. "i saw him almost that same instant, sir,that captain ahab did, and i cried out," said tashtego.
"not the same instant; not the same--no,the doubloon is mine, fate reserved the doubloon for me.i only; none of ye could have raised the white whale first. there she blows!--there she blows!--thereshe blows! there again!--there again!" he cried, inlong-drawn, lingering, methodic tones, attuned to the gradual prolongings of thewhale's visible jets. "he's going to sound! in stunsails!down top-gallant-sails! stand by three boats.mr. starbuck, remember, stay on board, and
keep the ship. helm there!luff, luff a point! so; steady, man, steady!there go flukes! no, no; only black water! all ready the boats there?stand by, stand by! lower me, mr. starbuck; lower, lower,--quick, quicker!" and he slid through the air to the deck. "he is heading straight to leeward, sir,"cried stubb, "right away from us; cannot have seen the ship yet.""be dumb, man!
stand by the braces! hard down the helm!--brace up!shiver her!--shiver her!--so; well that! boats, boats!" soon all the boats but starbuck's weredropped; all the boat-sails set--all the paddles plying; with rippling swiftness,shooting to leeward; and ahab heading the onset. a pale, death-glimmer lit up fedallah'ssunken eyes; a hideous motion gnawed his mouth. like noiseless nautilus shells, their lightprows sped through the sea; but only slowly
they neared the foe. as they neared him, the ocean grew stillmore smooth; seemed drawing a carpet over its waves; seemed a noon-meadow, soserenely it spread. at length the breathless hunter came sonigh his seemingly unsuspecting prey, that his entire dazzling hump was distinctlyvisible, sliding along the sea as if an isolated thing, and continually set in a revolving ring of finest, fleecy, greenishfoam. he saw the vast, involved wrinkles of theslightly projecting head beyond. before it, far out on the soft turkish-rugged waters, went the glistening white
shadow from his broad, milky forehead, amusical rippling playfully accompanying the shade; and behind, the blue waters interchangeably flowed over into the movingvalley of his steady wake; and on either hand bright bubbles arose and danced by hisside. but these were broken again by the lighttoes of hundreds of gay fowl softly feathering the sea, alternate with theirfitful flight; and like to some flag-staff rising from the painted hull of an argosy, the tall but shattered pole of a recentlance projected from the white whale's back; and at intervals one of the cloud ofsoft-toed fowls hovering, and to and fro
skimming like a canopy over the fish, silently perched and rocked on this pole,the long tail feathers streaming like pennons. a gentle joyousness--a mighty mildness ofrepose in swiftness, invested the gliding whale. not the white bull jupiter swimming awaywith ravished europa clinging to his graceful horns; his lovely, leering eyessideways intent upon the maid; with smooth bewitching fleetness, rippling straight for the nuptial bower in crete; not jove, notthat great majesty supreme! did surpass the
glorified white whale as he so divinelyswam. on each soft side--coincident with theparted swell, that but once leaving him, then flowed so wide away--on each brightside, the whale shed off enticings. no wonder there had been some among thehunters who namelessly transported and allured by all this serenity, had venturedto assail it; but had fatally found that quietude but the vesture of tornadoes. yet calm, enticing calm, oh, whale! thouglidest on, to all who for the first time eye thee, no matter how many in that sameway thou may'st have bejuggled and destroyed before.
and thus, through the serene tranquillitiesof the tropical sea, among waves whose hand-clappings were suspended by exceedingrapture, moby dick moved on, still withholding from sight the full terrors of his submerged trunk, entirely hiding thewrenched hideousness of his jaw. but soon the fore part of him slowly rosefrom the water; for an instant his whole marbleized body formed a high arch, likevirginia's natural bridge, and warningly waving his bannered flukes in the air, the grand god revealed himself, sounded, andwent out of sight. hoveringly halting, and dipping on thewing, the white sea-fowls longingly
lingered over the agitated pool that heleft. with oars apeak, and paddles down, thesheets of their sails adrift, the three boats now stilly floated, awaiting mobydick's reappearance. "an hour," said ahab, standing rooted inhis boat's stern; and he gazed beyond the whale's place, towards the dim blue spacesand wide wooing vacancies to leeward. it was only an instant; for again his eyesseemed whirling round in his head as he swept the watery circle.the breeze now freshened; the sea began to swell. "the birds!--the birds!" cried tashtego.
in long indian file, as when herons takewing, the white birds were now all flying towards ahab's boat; and when within a fewyards began fluttering over the water there, wheeling round and round, withjoyous, expectant cries. their vision was keener than man's; ahabcould discover no sign in the sea. but suddenly as he peered down and downinto its depths, he profoundly saw a white living spot no bigger than a white weasel,with wonderful celerity uprising, and magnifying as it rose, till it turned, and then there were plainly revealed two longcrooked rows of white, glistening teeth, floating up from the undiscoverable bottom.
it was moby dick's open mouth and scrolledjaw; his vast, shadowed bulk still half blending with the blue of the sea. the glittering mouth yawned beneath theboat like an open-doored marble tomb; and giving one sidelong sweep with his steeringoar, ahab whirled the craft aside from this tremendous apparition. then, calling upon fedallah to changeplaces with him, went forward to the bows, and seizing perth's harpoon, commanded hiscrew to grasp their oars and stand by to stern. now, by reason of this timely spinninground the boat upon its axis, its bow, by
anticipation, was made to face the whale'shead while yet under water. but as if perceiving this stratagem, mobydick, with that malicious intelligence ascribed to him, sidelingly transplantedhimself, as it were, in an instant, shooting his pleated head lengthwisebeneath the boat. through and through; through every plankand each rib, it thrilled for an instant, the whale obliquely lying on his back, inthe manner of a biting shark, slowly and feelingly taking its bows full within his mouth, so that the long, narrow, scrolledlower jaw curled high up into the open air, and one of the teeth caught in a row-lock.
the bluish pearl-white of the inside of thejaw was within six inches of ahab's head, and reached higher than that. in this attitude the white whale now shookthe slight cedar as a mildly cruel cat her mouse. with unastonished eyes fedallah gazed, andcrossed his arms; but the tiger-yellow crew were tumbling over each other's heads togain the uttermost stern. and now, while both elastic gunwales werespringing in and out, as the whale dallied with the doomed craft in this devilish way;and from his body being submerged beneath the boat, he could not be darted at from
the bows, for the bows were almost insideof him, as it were; and while the other boats involuntarily paused, as before aquick crisis impossible to withstand, then it was that monomaniac ahab, furious with this tantalizing vicinity of his foe, whichplaced him all alive and helpless in the very jaws he hated; frenzied with all this,he seized the long bone with his naked hands, and wildly strove to wrench it fromits gripe. as now he thus vainly strove, the jawslipped from him; the frail gunwales bent in, collapsed, and snapped, as both jaws,like an enormous shears, sliding further aft, bit the craft completely in twain, and
locked themselves fast again in the sea,midway between the two floating wrecks. these floated aside, the broken endsdrooping, the crew at the stern-wreck clinging to the gunwales, and striving tohold fast to the oars to lash them across. at that preluding moment, ere the boat wasyet snapped, ahab, the first to perceive the whale's intent, by the crafty upraisingof his head, a movement that loosed his hold for the time; at that moment his hand had made one final effort to push the boatout of the bite. but only slipping further into the whale'smouth, and tilting over sideways as it slipped, the boat had shaken off his holdon the jaw; spilled him out of it, as he
leaned to the push; and so he fell flat-faced upon the sea. ripplingly withdrawing from his prey, mobydick now lay at a little distance, vertically thrusting his oblong white headup and down in the billows; and at the same time slowly revolving his whole spindled body; so that when his vast wrinkledforehead rose--some twenty or more feet out of the water--the now rising swells, withall their confluent waves, dazzlingly broke against it; vindictively tossing their shivered spray still higher into the air.*so, in a gale, the but half baffled channel billows only recoil from the base of theeddystone, triumphantly to overleap its
summit with their scud. *this motion is peculiar to the spermwhale. it receives its designation (pitchpoling)from its being likened to that preliminary up-and-down poise of the whale-lance, inthe exercise called pitchpoling, previously described. by this motion the whale must best and mostcomprehensively view whatever objects may be encircling him. but soon resuming his horizontal attitude,moby dick swam swiftly round and round the wrecked crew; sideways churning the waterin his vengeful wake, as if lashing himself
up to still another and more deadlyassault. the sight of the splintered boat seemed tomadden him, as the blood of grapes and mulberries cast before antiochus'selephants in the book of maccabees. meanwhile ahab half smothered in the foamof the whale's insolent tail, and too much of a cripple to swim,--though he couldstill keep afloat, even in the heart of such a whirlpool as that; helpless ahab's head was seen, like a tossed bubble whichthe least chance shock might burst. from the boat's fragmentary stern, fedallahincuriously and mildly eyed him; the clinging crew, at the other drifting end,could not succor him; more than enough was
it for them to look to themselves. for so revolvingly appalling was the whitewhale's aspect, and so planetarily swift the ever-contracting circles he made, thathe seemed horizontally swooping upon them. and though the other boats, unharmed, stillhovered hard by; still they dared not pull into the eddy to strike, lest that shouldbe the signal for the instant destruction of the jeopardized castaways, ahab and all; nor in that case could they themselves hopeto escape. with straining eyes, then, they remained onthe outer edge of the direful zone, whose centre had now become the old man's head.
meantime, from the beginning all this hadbeen descried from the ship's mast heads; and squaring her yards, she had borne downupon the scene; and was now so nigh, that ahab in the water hailed her!--"sail on the"--but that moment a breaking sea dashedon him from moby dick, and whelmed him for the time. but struggling out of it again, andchancing to rise on a towering crest, he shouted,--"sail on the whale!--drive himoff!" the pequod's prows were pointed; andbreaking up the charmed circle, she effectually parted the white whale from hisvictim.
as he sullenly swam off, the boats flew tothe rescue. dragged into stubb's boat with blood-shot,blinded eyes, the white brine caking in his wrinkles; the long tension of ahab's bodilystrength did crack, and helplessly he yielded to his body's doom: for a time, lying all crushed in the bottom of stubb'sboat, like one trodden under foot of herds of elephants.far inland, nameless wails came from him, as desolate sounds from out ravines. but this intensity of his physicalprostration did but so much the more abbreviate it.
in an instant's compass, great heartssometimes condense to one deep pang, the sum total of those shallow pains kindlydiffused through feebler men's whole lives. and so, such hearts, though summary in eachone suffering; still, if the gods decree it, in their life-time aggregate a wholeage of woe, wholly made up of instantaneous intensities; for even in their pointless centres, those noble natures contain theentire circumferences of inferior souls. "the harpoon," said ahab, half way rising,and draggingly leaning on one bended arm-- "is it safe?" "aye, sir, for it was not darted; this isit," said stubb, showing it.
"lay it before me;--any missing men?""one, two, three, four, five;--there were five oars, sir, and here are five men." "that's good.--help me, man; i wish tostand. so, so, i see him! there! there! going toleeward still; what a leaping spout!--hands off from me! the eternal sap runs up in ahab's bonesagain! set the sail; out oars; the helm!" it is often the case that when a boat isstove, its crew, being picked up by another boat, help to work that second boat; andthe chase is thus continued with what is
called double-banked oars. it was thus now. but the added power of the boat did notequal the added power of the whale, for he seemed to have treble-banked his every fin;swimming with a velocity which plainly showed, that if now, under these circumstances, pushed on, the chase wouldprove an indefinitely prolonged, if not a hopeless one; nor could any crew endure forso long a period, such an unintermitted, intense straining at the oar; a thing barely tolerable only in some one briefvicissitude.
the ship itself, then, as it sometimeshappens, offered the most promising intermediate means of overtaking the chase. accordingly, the boats now made for her,and were soon swayed up to their cranes-- the two parts of the wrecked boat havingbeen previously secured by her--and then hoisting everything to her side, and stacking her canvas high up, and sidewaysoutstretching it with stun-sails, like the double-jointed wings of an albatross; thepequod bore down in the leeward wake of moby-dick. at the well known, methodic intervals, thewhale's glittering spout was regularly
announced from the manned mast-heads; andwhen he would be reported as just gone down, ahab would take the time, and then pacing the deck, binnacle-watch in hand, sosoon as the last second of the allotted hour expired, his voice was heard.--"whoseis the doubloon now? d'ye see him?" and if the reply was, no,sir! straightway he commanded them to lift him to his perch. in this way the day wore on; ahab, nowaloft and motionless; anon, unrestingly pacing the planks. as he was thus walking, uttering no sound,except to hail the men aloft, or to bid
them hoist a sail still higher, or tospread one to a still greater breadth--thus to and fro pacing, beneath his slouched hat, at every turn he passed his ownwrecked boat, which had been dropped upon the quarter-deck, and lay there reversed;broken bow to shattered stern. at last he paused before it; and as in analready over-clouded sky fresh troops of clouds will sometimes sail across, so overthe old man's face there now stole some such added gloom as this. stubb saw him pause; and perhaps intending,not vainly, though, to evince his own unabated fortitude, and thus keep up avaliant place in his captain's mind, he
advanced, and eyeing the wreck exclaimed-- "the thistle the ass refused; it prickedhis mouth too keenly, sir; ha! ha!" "what soulless thing is this that laughsbefore a wreck? man, man! did i not know thee brave asfearless fire (and as mechanical) i could swear thou wert a poltroon.groan nor laugh should be heard before a wreck." "aye, sir," said starbuck drawing near,"'tis a solemn sight; an omen, and an ill one.""omen? omen?--the dictionary! if the gods think to speak outright to man,they will honourably speak outright; not
shake their heads, and give an old wives'darkling hint.--begone! ye two are the opposite poles of one thing;starbuck is stubb reversed, and stubb is starbuck; and ye two are all mankind; andahab stands alone among the millions of the peopled earth, nor gods nor men hisneighbors! cold, cold--i shiver!--how now?aloft there! d'ye see him? sing out for every spout, though he spoutten times a second!" the day was nearly done; only the hem ofhis golden robe was rustling. soon, it was almost dark, but the look-outmen still remained unset.
"can't see the spout now, sir;--too dark"--cried a voice from the air. "how heading when last seen?" "as before, sir,--straight to leeward.""good! he will travel slower now 'tis night.down royals and top-gallant stun-sails, mr. starbuck. we must not run over him before morning;he's making a passage now, and may heave-to a while. helm there! keep her full before the wind!--aloft! come down!--mr. stubb, send a fresh hand to the fore-mast head, and see itmanned till morning."--then advancing
towards the doubloon in the main-mast-- "men, this gold is mine, for i earned it;but i shall let it abide here till the white whale is dead; and then, whosoever ofye first raises him, upon the day he shall be killed, this gold is that man's; and if on that day i shall again raise him, then,ten times its sum shall be divided among all of ye!away now!--the deck is thine, sir!" and so saying, he placed himself half waywithin the scuttle, and slouching his hat, stood there till dawn, except when atintervals rousing himself to see how the night wore on.
-chapter 134.the chase--second day. at day-break, the three mast-heads werepunctually manned afresh. "d'ye see him?" cried ahab after allowing alittle space for the light to spread. "see nothing, sir." "turn up all hands and make sail! hetravels faster than i thought for;--the top-gallant sails!--aye, they should havebeen kept on her all night. but no matter--'tis but resting for therush." here be it said, that this pertinaciouspursuit of one particular whale, continued through day into night, and through nightinto day, is a thing by no means
unprecedented in the south sea fishery. for such is the wonderful skill, prescienceof experience, and invincible confidence acquired by some great natural geniusesamong the nantucket commanders; that from the simple observation of a whale when last descried, they will, under certain givencircumstances, pretty accurately foretell both the direction in which he willcontinue to swim for a time, while out of sight, as well as his probable rate ofprogression during that period. and, in these cases, somewhat as a pilot,when about losing sight of a coast, whose general trending he well knows, and whichhe desires shortly to return to again, but
at some further point; like as this pilot stands by his compass, and takes theprecise bearing of the cape at present visible, in order the more certainly to hitaright the remote, unseen headland, eventually to be visited: so does the fisherman, at his compass, with the whale;for after being chased, and diligently marked, through several hours of daylight,then, when night obscures the fish, the creature's future wake through the darkness is almost as established to the sagaciousmind of the hunter, as the pilot's coast is to him.
so that to this hunter's wondrous skill,the proverbial evanescence of a thing writ in water, a wake, is to all desiredpurposes well nigh as reliable as the steadfast land. and as the mighty iron leviathan of themodern railway is so familiarly known in its every pace, that, with watches in theirhands, men time his rate as doctors that of a baby's pulse; and lightly say of it, the up train or the down train will reach suchor such a spot, at such or such an hour; even so, almost, there are occasions whenthese nantucketers time that other leviathan of the deep, according to the
observed humor of his speed; and say tothemselves, so many hours hence this whale will have gone two hundred miles, will haveabout reached this or that degree of latitude or longitude. but to render this acuteness at allsuccessful in the end, the wind and the sea must be the whaleman's allies; for of whatpresent avail to the becalmed or windbound mariner is the skill that assures him he is exactly ninety-three leagues and a quarterfrom his port? inferable from these statements, are manycollateral subtile matters touching the chase of whales.
the ship tore on; leaving such a furrow inthe sea as when a cannon-ball, missent, becomes a plough-share and turns up thelevel field. "by salt and hemp!" cried stubb, "but thisswift motion of the deck creeps up one's legs and tingles at the heart.this ship and i are two brave fellows!--ha, ha! some one take me up, and launch me, spine-wise, on the sea,--for by live-oaks! my spine's a keel.ha, ha! we go the gait that leaves no dust behind!" "there she blows--she blows!--she blows!--right ahead!" was now the mast-head cry.
"aye, aye!" cried stubb, "i knew it--yecan't escape--blow on and split your spout, o whale! the mad fiend himself is after ye!blow your trump--blister your lungs!--ahab will dam off your blood, as a miller shutshis watergate upon the stream!" and stubb did but speak out for well nighall that crew. the frenzies of the chase had by this timeworked them bubblingly up, like old wine worked anew. whatever pale fears and forebodings some ofthem might have felt before; these were not only now kept out of sight through thegrowing awe of ahab, but they were broken up, and on all sides routed, as timid
prairie hares that scatter before thebounding bison. the hand of fate had snatched all theirsouls; and by the stirring perils of the previous day; the rack of the past night'ssuspense; the fixed, unfearing, blind, reckless way in which their wild craft went plunging towards its flying mark; by allthese things, their hearts were bowled along. the wind that made great bellies of theirsails, and rushed the vessel on by arms invisible as irresistible; this seemed thesymbol of that unseen agency which so enslaved them to the race.
they were one man, not thirty. for as the one ship that held them all;though it was put together of all contrasting things--oak, and maple, andpine wood; iron, and pitch, and hemp--yet all these ran into each other in the one concrete hull, which shot on its way, bothbalanced and directed by the long central keel; even so, all the individualities ofthe crew, this man's valor, that man's fear; guilt and guiltiness, all varieties were welded into oneness, and were alldirected to that fatal goal which ahab their one lord and keel did point to.the rigging lived.
the mast-heads, like the tops of tallpalms, were outspreadingly tufted with arms and legs. clinging to a spar with one hand, somereached forth the other with impatient wavings; others, shading their eyes fromthe vivid sunlight, sat far out on the rocking yards; all the spars in full bearing of mortals, ready and ripe fortheir fate. ah! how they still strove through thatinfinite blueness to seek out the thing that might destroy them! "why sing ye not out for him, if ye seehim?" cried ahab, when, after the lapse of
some minutes since the first cry, no morehad been heard. "sway me up, men; ye have been deceived;not moby dick casts one odd jet that way, and then disappears." it was even so; in their headlongeagerness, the men had mistaken some other thing for the whale-spout, as the eventitself soon proved; for hardly had ahab reached his perch; hardly was the rope belayed to its pin on deck, when he struckthe key-note to an orchestra, that made the air vibrate as with the combined dischargesof rifles. the triumphant halloo of thirty buckskinlungs was heard, as--much nearer to the
ship than the place of the imaginary jet,less than a mile ahead--moby dick bodily burst into view! for not by any calm and indolent spoutings;not by the peaceable gush of that mystic fountain in his head, did the white whalenow reveal his vicinity; but by the far more wondrous phenomenon of breaching. rising with his utmost velocity from thefurthest depths, the sperm whale thus booms his entire bulk into the pure element ofair, and piling up a mountain of dazzling foam, shows his place to the distance ofseven miles and more. in those moments, the torn, enraged waveshe shakes off, seem his mane; in some
cases, this breaching is his act ofdefiance. "there she breaches! there she breaches!"was the cry, as in his immeasurable bravadoes the white whale tossed himselfsalmon-like to heaven. so suddenly seen in the blue plain of thesea, and relieved against the still bluer margin of the sky, the spray that heraised, for the moment, intolerably glittered and glared like a glacier; and stood there gradually fading and fadingaway from its first sparkling intensity, to the dim mistiness of an advancing shower ina vale. "aye, breach your last to the sun, mobydick!" cried ahab, "thy hour and thy
harpoon are at hand!--down! down all of ye,but one man at the fore. the boats!--stand by!" unmindful of the tedious rope-ladders ofthe shrouds, the men, like shooting stars, slid to the deck, by the isolated backstaysand halyards; while ahab, less dartingly, but still rapidly was dropped from hisperch. "lower away," he cried, so soon as he hadreached his boat--a spare one, rigged the afternoon previous. "mr. starbuck, the ship is thine--keep awayfrom the boats, but keep near them. lower, all!"
as if to strike a quick terror into them,by this time being the first assailant himself, moby dick had turned, and was nowcoming for the three crews. ahab's boat was central; and cheering hismen, he told them he would take the whale head-and-head,--that is, pull straight upto his forehead,--a not uncommon thing; for when within a certain limit, such a course excludes the coming onset from the whale'ssidelong vision. but ere that close limit was gained, andwhile yet all three boats were plain as the ship's three masts to his eye; the whitewhale churning himself into furious speed, almost in an instant as it were, rushing
among the boats with open jaws, and alashing tail, offered appalling battle on every side; and heedless of the ironsdarted at him from every boat, seemed only intent on annihilating each separate plankof which those boats were made. but skilfully manoeuvred, incessantlywheeling like trained chargers in the field; the boats for a while eluded him;though, at times, but by a plank's breadth; while all the time, ahab's unearthly slogantore every other cry but his to shreds. but at last in his untraceable evolutions,the white whale so crossed and recrossed, and in a thousand ways entangled the slackof the three lines now fast to him, that they foreshortened, and, of themselves,
warped the devoted boats towards theplanted irons in him; though now for a moment the whale drew aside a little, as ifto rally for a more tremendous charge. seizing that opportunity, ahab first paidout more line: and then was rapidly hauling and jerking in upon it again--hoping thatway to disencumber it of some snarls--when lo!--a sight more savage than the embattledteeth of sharks! caught and twisted--corkscrewed in themazes of the line, loose harpoons and lances, with all their bristling barbs andpoints, came flashing and dripping up to the chocks in the bows of ahab's boat. only one thing could be done.
seizing the boat-knife, he criticallyreached within--through--and then, without- -the rays of steel; dragged in the linebeyond, passed it, inboard, to the bowsman, and then, twice sundering the rope near the chocks--dropped the intercepted fagot ofsteel into the sea; and was all fast again. that instant, the white whale made a suddenrush among the remaining tangles of the other lines; by so doing, irresistiblydragged the more involved boats of stubb and flask towards his flukes; dashed them together like two rolling husks on a surf-beaten beach, and then, diving down into the sea, disappeared in a boilingmaelstrom, in which, for a space, the
odorous cedar chips of the wrecks danced round and round, like the grated nutmeg ina swiftly stirred bowl of punch. while the two crews were yet circling inthe waters, reaching out after the revolving line-tubs, oars, and otherfloating furniture, while aslope little flask bobbed up and down like an empty vial, twitching his legs upwards to escapethe dreaded jaws of sharks; and stubb was lustily singing out for some one to ladlehim up; and while the old man's line--now parting--admitted of his pulling into the creamy pool to rescue whom he could;--inthat wild simultaneousness of a thousand
concreted perils,--ahab's yet unstrickenboat seemed drawn up towards heaven by invisible wires,--as, arrow-like, shooting perpendicularly from the sea, the whitewhale dashed his broad forehead against its bottom, and sent it, turning over and over,into the air; till it fell again--gunwale downwards--and ahab and his men struggled out from under it, like seals from a sea-side cave. the first uprising momentum of the whale--modifying its direction as he struck the surface--involuntarily launched him alongit, to a little distance from the centre of the destruction he had made; and with his
back to it, he now lay for a moment slowlyfeeling with his flukes from side to side; and whenever a stray oar, bit of plank, theleast chip or crumb of the boats touched his skin, his tail swiftly drew back, andcame sideways smiting the sea. but soon, as if satisfied that his work forthat time was done, he pushed his pleated forehead through the ocean, and trailingafter him the intertangled lines, continued his leeward way at a traveller's methodicpace. as before, the attentive ship havingdescried the whole fight, again came bearing down to the rescue, and dropping aboat, picked up the floating mariners, tubs, oars, and whatever else could be
caught at, and safely landed them on herdecks. some sprained shoulders, wrists, andankles; livid contusions; wrenched harpoons and lances; inextricable intricacies ofrope; shattered oars and planks; all these were there; but no fatal or even seriousill seemed to have befallen any one. as with fedallah the day before, so ahabwas now found grimly clinging to his boat's broken half, which afforded a comparativelyeasy float; nor did it so exhaust him as the previous day's mishap. but when he was helped to the deck, alleyes were fastened upon him; as instead of standing by himself he still half-hung uponthe shoulder of starbuck, who had thus far
been the foremost to assist him. his ivory leg had been snapped off, leavingbut one short sharp splinter. "aye, aye, starbuck, 'tis sweet to leansometimes, be the leaner who he will; and would old ahab had leaned oftener than hehas." "the ferrule has not stood, sir," said thecarpenter, now coming up; "i put good work into that leg.""but no bones broken, sir, i hope," said stubb with true concern. "aye! and all splintered to pieces, stubb!--d'ye see it.--but even with a broken bone, old ahab is untouched; and i account noliving bone of mine one jot more me, than
this dead one that's lost. nor white whale, nor man, nor fiend, can somuch as graze old ahab in his own proper and inaccessible being. can any lead touch yonder floor, any mastscrape yonder roof?--aloft there! which way?""dead to leeward, sir." "up helm, then; pile on the sail again,ship keepers! down the rest of the spare boats and rig them--mr. starbuck away, andmuster the boat's crews." "let me first help thee towards thebulwarks, sir." "oh, oh, oh! how this splinter gores menow!
accursed fate! that the unconquerablecaptain in the soul should have such a craven mate!""sir?" "my body, man, not thee. give me something for a cane--there, thatshivered lance will do. muster the men.surely i have not seen him yet. by heaven it cannot be!--missing?--quick!call them all." the old man's hinted thought was true.upon mustering the company, the parsee was not there. "the parsee!" cried stubb--"he must havebeen caught in--"
"the black vomit wrench thee!--run all ofye above, alow, cabin, forecastle--find him--not gone--not gone!" but quickly they returned to him with thetidings that the parsee was nowhere to be found. "aye, sir," said stubb--"caught among thetangles of your line--i thought i saw him dragging under.""my line! my line? gone?--gone?what means that little word?--what death- knell rings in it, that old ahab shakes asif he were the belfry.
the harpoon, too!--toss over the litterthere,--d'ye see it?--the forged iron, men, the white whale's--no, no, no,--blisteredfool! this hand did dart it!--'tis in the fish!--aloft there! keep him nailed--quick!--all hands to therigging of the boats--collect the oars-- harpooneers! the irons, the irons!--hoistthe royals higher--a pull on all the sheets!--helm there! steady, steady foryour life! i'll ten times girdle the unmeasured globe;yea and dive straight through it, but i'll slay him yet! "great god! but for one single instant showthyself," cried starbuck; "never, never
wilt thou capture him, old man--in jesus'name no more of this, that's worse than devil's madness. two days chased; twice stove to splinters;thy very leg once more snatched from under thee; thy evil shadow gone--all good angelsmobbing thee with warnings:-- "what more wouldst thou have?--shall wekeep chasing this murderous fish till he swamps the last man?shall we be dragged by him to the bottom of the sea? shall we be towed by him to the infernalworld? oh, oh,--impiety and blasphemy to hunt himmore!"
"starbuck, of late i've felt strangelymoved to thee; ever since that hour we both saw--thou know'st what, in one another'seyes. but in this matter of the whale, be thefront of thy face to me as the palm of this hand--a lipless, unfeatured blank.ahab is for ever ahab, man. this whole act's immutably decreed. 'twas rehearsed by thee and me a billionyears before this ocean rolled. fool!i am the fates' lieutenant; i act under orders. look thou, underling! that thou obeyestmine.--stand round me, men.
ye see an old man cut down to the stump;leaning on a shivered lance; propped up on a lonely foot. 'tis ahab--his body's part; but ahab'ssoul's a centipede, that moves upon a hundred legs. i feel strained, half stranded, as ropesthat tow dismasted frigates in a gale; and i may look so. but ere i break, yell hear me crack; andtill ye hear that, know that ahab's hawser tows his purpose yet.believe ye, men, in the things called omens?
then laugh aloud, and cry encore!for ere they drown, drowning things will twice rise to the surface; then rise again,to sink for evermore. so with moby dick--two days he's floated--tomorrow will be the third. aye, men, he'll rise once more,--but onlyto spout his last! d'ye feel brave men, brave?" "as fearless fire," cried stubb."and as mechanical," muttered ahab. then as the men went forward, he mutteredon: "the things called omens! and yesterday i talked the same to starbuckthere, concerning my broken boat. oh! how valiantly i seek to drive out of
others' hearts what's clinched so fast inmine!--the parsee--the parsee!--gone, gone? and he was to go before:--but still was to be seen again ere i could perish--how'sthat?--there's a riddle now might baffle all the lawyers backed by the ghosts of thewhole line of judges:--like a hawk's beak it pecks my brain. i'll, i'll solve it, though!"when dusk descended, the whale was still in sight to leeward. so once more the sail was shortened, and everything passed nearly as on the previousnight; only, the sound of hammers, and the
hum of the grindstone was heard till nearly daylight, as the men toiled by lanterns inthe complete and careful rigging of the spare boats and sharpening their freshweapons for the morrow. meantime, of the broken keel of ahab's wrecked craft the carpenter made himanother leg; while still as on the night before, slouched ahab stood fixed within his scuttle; his hid, heliotrope glanceanticipatingly gone backward on its dial; sat due eastward for the earliest sun. -chapter 135.the chase.--third day.
the morning of the third day dawned fairand fresh, and once more the solitary night-man at the fore-mast-head wasrelieved by crowds of the daylight look- outs, who dotted every mast and almostevery spar. "d'ye see him?" cried ahab; but the whalewas not yet in sight. "in his infallible wake, though; but followthat wake, that's all. helm there; steady, as thou goest, and hastbeen going. what a lovely day again! were it a new-madeworld, and made for a summer-house to the angels, and this morning the first of itsthrowing open to them, a fairer day could not dawn upon that world.
here's food for thought, had ahab time tothink; but ahab never thinks; he only feels, feels, feels; that's tingling enoughfor mortal man! to think's audacity. god only has that right and privilege. thinking is, or ought to be, a coolness anda calmness; and our poor hearts throb, and our poor brains beat too much for that. and yet, i've sometimes thought my brainwas very calm--frozen calm, this old skull cracks so, like a glass in which thecontents turned to ice, and shiver it. and still this hair is growing now; thismoment growing, and heat must breed it; but no, it's like that sort of common grassthat will grow anywhere, between the earthy
clefts of greenland ice or in vesuviuslava. how the wild winds blow it; they whip itabout me as the torn shreds of split sails lash the tossed ship they cling to. a vile wind that has no doubt blown erethis through prison corridors and cells, and wards of hospitals, and ventilatedthem, and now comes blowing hither as innocent as fleeces. out upon it!--it's tainted.were i the wind, i'd blow no more on such a wicked, miserable world.i'd crawl somewhere to a cave, and slink there.
and yet, 'tis a noble and heroic thing, thewind! who ever conquered it? in every fight it has the last andbitterest blow. run tilting at it, and you but run throughit. ha! a coward wind that strikes stark nakedmen, but will not stand to receive a single blow. even ahab is a braver thing--a nobler thingthan that. would now the wind but had a body; but allthe things that most exasperate and outrage mortal man, all these things are bodiless,but only bodiless as objects, not as agents.
there's a most special, a most cunning, oh,a most malicious difference! and yet, i say again, and swear it now,that there's something all glorious and gracious in the wind. these warm trade winds, at least, that inthe clear heavens blow straight on, in strong and steadfast, vigorous mildness;and veer not from their mark, however the baser currents of the sea may turn and tack, and mightiest mississippies of theland swift and swerve about, uncertain where to go at last. and by the eternal poles! these same tradesthat so directly blow my good ship on;
these trades, or something like them--something so unchangeable, and full as strong, blow my keeled soul along! to it!aloft there! what d'ye see?""nothing, sir." "nothing! and noon at hand! the doubloon goes a-begging!see the sun! aye, aye, it must be so.i've oversailed him. how, got the start? aye, he's chasing me now; not i, him--that's bad; i might have known it, too.
fool! the lines--the harpoons he's towing.aye, aye, i have run him by last night. about! about! come down, all of ye, but the regular lookouts! man the braces!" steering as she had done, the wind had beensomewhat on the pequod's quarter, so that now being pointed in the reverse direction,the braced ship sailed hard upon the breeze as she rechurned the cream in her own whitewake. "against the wind he now steers for theopen jaw," murmured starbuck to himself, as he coiled the new-hauled main-brace uponthe rail.
"god keep us, but already my bones feeldamp within me, and from the inside wet my flesh.i misdoubt me that i disobey my god in obeying him!" "stand by to sway me up!" cried ahab,advancing to the hempen basket. "we should meet him soon." "aye, aye, sir," and straightway starbuckdid ahab's bidding, and once more ahab swung on high.a whole hour now passed; gold-beaten out to ages. time itself now held long breaths with keensuspense.
but at last, some three points off theweather bow, ahab descried the spout again, and instantly from the three mast-headsthree shrieks went up as if the tongues of fire had voiced it. "forehead to forehead i meet thee, thisthird time, moby dick! on deck there!--brace sharper up; crowd herinto the wind's eye. he's too far off to lower yet, mr.starbuck. the sails shake!stand over that helmsman with a top-maul! so, so; he travels fast, and i must down. but let me have one more good round lookaloft here at the sea; there's time for
that. an old, old sight, and yet somehow soyoung; aye, and not changed a wink since i first saw it, a boy, from the sand-hills ofnantucket! the same!--the same!--the same to noah asto me. there's a soft shower to leeward.such lovely leewardings! they must lead somewhere--to something elsethan common land, more palmy than the palms. leeward! the white whale goes that way;look to windward, then; the better if the bitterer quarter.but good bye, good bye, old mast-head!
what's this?--green? aye, tiny mosses inthese warped cracks. no such green weather stains on ahab'shead! there's the difference now between man'sold age and matter's. but aye, old mast, we both grow oldtogether; sound in our hulls, though, are we not, my ship? aye, minus a leg, that's all.by heaven this dead wood has the better of my live flesh every way. i can't compare with it; and i've knownsome ships made of dead trees outlast the lives of men made of the most vital stuffof vital fathers.
what's that he said? he should still gobefore me, my pilot; and yet to be seen again?but where? will i have eyes at the bottom of the sea,supposing i descend those endless stairs? and all night i've been sailing from him,wherever he did sink to. aye, aye, like many more thou told'stdireful truth as touching thyself, o parsee; but, ahab, there thy shot fellshort. good-bye, mast-head--keep a good eye uponthe whale, the while i'm gone. we'll talk to-morrow, nay, to-night, whenthe white whale lies down there, tied by head and tail."
he gave the word; and still gazing roundhim, was steadily lowered through the cloven blue air to the deck. in due time the boats were lowered; but asstanding in his shallop's stern, ahab just hovered upon the point of the descent, hewaved to the mate,--who held one of the tackle-ropes on deck--and bade him pause. "starbuck!""sir?" "for the third time my soul's ship startsupon this voyage, starbuck." "aye, sir, thou wilt have it so." "some ships sail from their ports, and everafterwards are missing, starbuck!"
"truth, sir: saddest truth." "some men die at ebb tide; some at lowwater; some at the full of the flood;--and i feel now like a billow that's all onecrested comb, starbuck. i am old;--shake hands with me, man." their hands met; their eyes fastened;starbuck's tears the glue. "oh, my captain, my captain!--noble heart--go not--go not!--see, it's a brave man that weeps; how great the agony of thepersuasion then!" "lower away!"--cried ahab, tossing themate's arm from him. "stand by the crew!"in an instant the boat was pulling round
close under the stern. "the sharks! the sharks!" cried a voicefrom the low cabin-window there; "o master, my master, come back!" but ahab heard nothing; for his own voicewas high-lifted then; and the boat leaped on. yet the voice spake true; for scarce had hepushed from the ship, when numbers of sharks, seemingly rising from out the darkwaters beneath the hull, maliciously snapped at the blades of the oars, every time they dipped in the water; and in thisway accompanied the boat with their bites.
it is a thing not uncommonly happening tothe whale-boats in those swarming seas; the sharks at times apparently following themin the same prescient way that vultures hover over the banners of marchingregiments in the east. but these were the first sharks that hadbeen observed by the pequod since the white whale had been first descried; and whetherit was that ahab's crew were all such tiger-yellow barbarians, and therefore their flesh more musky to the senses of thesharks--a matter sometimes well known to affect them,--however it was, they seemedto follow that one boat without molesting the others.
"heart of wrought steel!" murmured starbuckgazing over the side, and following with his eyes the receding boat--"canst thou yetring boldly to that sight?--lowering thy keel among ravening sharks, and followed by them, open-mouthed to the chase; and thisthe critical third day?--for when three days flow together in one continuousintense pursuit; be sure the first is the morning, the second the noon, and the third the evening and the end of that thing--bethat end what it may. oh! my god! what is this that shootsthrough me, and leaves me so deadly calm, yet expectant,--fixed at the top of ashudder!
future things swim before me, as in emptyoutlines and skeletons; all the past is somehow grown dim.mary, girl! thou fadest in pale glories behind me; boy! i seem to see but thy eyes grown wondrousblue. strangest problems of life seem clearing;but clouds sweep between--is my journey's end coming? my legs feel faint; like his who has footedit all day. feel thy heart,--beats it yet?stir thyself, starbuck!--stave it off-- move, move! speak aloud!--mast-head there!
see ye my boy's hand on the hill?--crazed;--aloft there!--keep thy keenest eye upon the boats:-- "mark well the whale!--ho! again!--driveoff that hawk! see! he pecks--he tears the vane"--pointing to the red flag flying atthe main-truck--"ha! he soars away with it!--where's the old man now? see'st thouthat sight, oh ahab!--shudder, shudder!" the boats had not gone very far, when by asignal from the mast-heads--a downward pointed arm, ahab knew that the whale hadsounded; but intending to be near him at the next rising, he held on his way a little sideways from the vessel; thebecharmed crew maintaining the profoundest
silence, as the head-beat waves hammeredand hammered against the opposing bow. "drive, drive in your nails, oh ye waves!to their uttermost heads drive them in! ye but strike a thing without a lid; and nocoffin and no hearse can be mine:--and hemp only can kill me! ha! ha!" suddenly the waters around them slowlyswelled in broad circles; then quickly upheaved, as if sideways sliding from asubmerged berg of ice, swiftly rising to the surface. a low rumbling sound was heard; asubterraneous hum; and then all held their
breaths; as bedraggled with trailing ropes,and harpoons, and lances, a vast form shot lengthwise, but obliquely from the sea. shrouded in a thin drooping veil of mist,it hovered for a moment in the rainbowed air; and then fell swamping back into thedeep. crushed thirty feet upwards, the watersflashed for an instant like heaps of fountains, then brokenly sank in a showerof flakes, leaving the circling surface creamed like new milk round the marbletrunk of the whale. "give way!" cried ahab to the oarsmen, andthe boats darted forward to the attack; but maddened by yesterday's fresh irons thatcorroded in him, moby dick seemed
combinedly possessed by all the angels thatfell from heaven. the wide tiers of welded tendonsoverspreading his broad white forehead, beneath the transparent skin, lookedknitted together; as head on, he came churning his tail among the boats; and once more flailed them apart; spilling out theirons and lances from the two mates' boats, and dashing in one side of the upper partof their bows, but leaving ahab's almost without a scar. while daggoo and queequeg were stopping thestrained planks; and as the whale swimming out from them, turned, and showed oneentire flank as he shot by them again; at
that moment a quick cry went up. lashed round and round to the fish's back;pinioned in the turns upon turns in which, during the past night, the whale had reeledthe involutions of the lines around him, the half torn body of the parsee was seen; his sable raiment frayed to shreds; hisdistended eyes turned full upon old ahab. the harpoon dropped from his hand."befooled, befooled!"--drawing in a long lean breath--"aye, parsee! i see thee again.--aye, and thou goestbefore; and this, this then is the hearse that thou didst promise.but i hold thee to the last letter of thy
word. where is the second hearse? away, mates, to the ship! those boats areuseless now; repair them if ye can in time, and return to me; if not, ahab is enough todie--down, men! the first thing that but offers to jump from this boat i stand in,that thing i harpoon. ye are not other men, but my arms and mylegs; and so obey me.--where's the whale? gone down again?" but he looked too nigh the boat; for as ifbent upon escaping with the corpse he bore, and as if the particular place of the lastencounter had been but a stage in his
leeward voyage, moby dick was now again steadily swimming forward; and had almostpassed the ship,--which thus far had been sailing in the contrary direction to him,though for the present her headway had been stopped. he seemed swimming with his utmostvelocity, and now only intent upon pursuing his own straight path in the sea."oh! ahab," cried starbuck, "not too late is it, even now, the third day, to desist. see! moby dick seeks thee not.it is thou, thou, that madly seekest him!" setting sail to the rising wind, the lonelyboat was swiftly impelled to leeward, by
both oars and canvas. and at last when ahab was sliding by thevessel, so near as plainly to distinguish starbuck's face as he leaned over the rail,he hailed him to turn the vessel about, and follow him, not too swiftly, at a judiciousinterval. glancing upwards, he saw tashtego,queequeg, and daggoo, eagerly mounting to the three mast-heads; while the oarsmenwere rocking in the two staved boats which had but just been hoisted to the side, andwere busily at work in repairing them. one after the other, through the port-holes, as he sped, he also caught flying glimpses of stubb and flask, busyingthemselves on deck among bundles of new
irons and lances. as he saw all this; as he heard the hammersin the broken boats; far other hammers seemed driving a nail into his heart.but he rallied. and now marking that the vane or flag wasgone from the main-mast-head, he shouted to tashtego, who had just gained that perch,to descend again for another flag, and a hammer and nails, and so nail it to themast. whether fagged by the three days' runningchase, and the resistance to his swimming in the knotted hamper he bore; or whetherit was some latent deceitfulness and malice in him: whichever was true, the white
whale's way now began to abate, as itseemed, from the boat so rapidly nearing him once more; though indeed the whale'slast start had not been so long a one as before. and still as ahab glided over the waves theunpitying sharks accompanied him; and so pertinaciously stuck to the boat; and socontinually bit at the plying oars, that the blades became jagged and crunched, and left small splinters in the sea, at almostevery dip. "heed them not! those teeth but give newrowlocks to your oars. pull on!
'tis the better rest, the shark's jaw thanthe yielding water." "but at every bite, sir, the thin bladesgrow smaller and smaller!" "they will last long enough! pull on!--butwho can tell"--he muttered--"whether these sharks swim to feast on the whale or onahab?--but pull on! aye, all alive, now--we near him. the helm! take the helm! let me pass,"--andso saying two of the oarsmen helped him forward to the bows of the still flyingboat. at length as the craft was cast to oneside, and ran ranging along with the white whale's flank, he seemed strangelyoblivious of its advance--as the whale
sometimes will--and ahab was fairly within the smoky mountain mist, which, thrown offfrom the whale's spout, curled round his great, monadnock hump; he was even thusclose to him; when, with body arched back, and both arms lengthwise high-lifted to the poise, he darted his fierce iron, and hisfar fiercer curse into the hated whale. as both steel and curse sank to the socket,as if sucked into a morass, moby dick sideways writhed; spasmodically rolled hisnigh flank against the bow, and, without staving a hole in it, so suddenly canted the boat over, that had it not been for theelevated part of the gunwale to which he
then clung, ahab would once more have beentossed into the sea. as it was, three of the oarsmen--whoforeknew not the precise instant of the dart, and were therefore unprepared for itseffects--these were flung out; but so fell, that, in an instant two of them clutched the gunwale again, and rising to its levelon a combing wave, hurled themselves bodily inboard again; the third man helplesslydropping astern, but still afloat and swimming. almost simultaneously, with a mightyvolition of ungraduated, instantaneous swiftness, the white whale darted throughthe weltering sea.
but when ahab cried out to the steersman totake new turns with the line, and hold it so; and commanded the crew to turn round ontheir seats, and tow the boat up to the mark; the moment the treacherous line felt that double strain and tug, it snapped inthe empty air! "what breaks in me?some sinew cracks!--'tis whole again; oars! oars! burst in upon him!" hearing the tremendous rush of the sea-crashing boat, the whale wheeled round to present his blank forehead at bay; but inthat evolution, catching sight of the
nearing black hull of the ship; seemingly seeing in it the source of all hispersecutions; bethinking it--it may be--a larger and nobler foe; of a sudden, he boredown upon its advancing prow, smiting his jaws amid fiery showers of foam. ahab staggered; his hand smote hisforehead. "i grow blind; hands! stretch out before methat i may yet grope my way. is't night?" "the whale!the ship!" cried the cringing oarsmen. "oars! oars!
slope downwards to thy depths, o sea, thatere it be for ever too late, ahab may slide this last, last time upon his mark!i see: the ship! the ship! dash on, my men! will ye not save my ship?" but as the oarsmen violently forced theirboat through the sledge-hammering seas, the before whale-smitten bow-ends of two planksburst through, and in an instant almost, the temporarily disabled boat lay nearly level with the waves; its half-wading,splashing crew, trying hard to stop the gap and bale out the pouring water.
meantime, for that one beholding instant,tashtego's mast-head hammer remained suspended in his hand; and the red flag,half-wrapping him as with a plaid, then streamed itself straight out from him, as his own forward-flowing heart; whilestarbuck and stubb, standing upon the bowsprit beneath, caught sight of the down-coming monster just as soon as he. "the whale, the whale! up helm, up helm!oh, all ye sweet powers of air, now hug me close!let not starbuck die, if die he must, in a woman's fainting fit.
up helm, i say--ye fools, the jaw! the jaw!is this the end of all my bursting prayers? all my life-long fidelities?oh, ahab, ahab, lo, thy work. steady! helmsman, steady. nay, nay!up helm again! he turns to meet us!oh, his unappeasable brow drives on towards one, whose duty tells him he cannot depart. my god, stand by me now!""stand not by me, but stand under me, whoever you are that will now help stubb;for stubb, too, sticks here. i grin at thee, thou grinning whale!
who ever helped stubb, or kept stubb awake,but stubb's own unwinking eye? and now poor stubb goes to bed upon amattrass that is all too soft; would it were stuffed with brushwood! i grin at thee, thou grinning whale!look ye, sun, moon, and stars! i call ye assassins of as good a fellow asever spouted up his ghost. for all that, i would yet ring glasses withye, would ye but hand the cup! oh, oh! oh, oh! thou grinning whale, butthere'll be plenty of gulping soon! why fly ye not, o ahab! for me, off shoes and jacket to it; letstubb die in his drawers!
a most mouldy and over salted death,though;--cherries! cherries! cherries! oh, flask, for one red cherry ere we die!" "cherries?i only wish that we were where they grow. oh, stubb, i hope my poor mother's drawn mypart-pay ere this; if not, few coppers will now come to her, for the voyage is up." from the ship's bows, nearly all the seamennow hung inactive; hammers, bits of plank, lances, and harpoons, mechanically retainedin their hands, just as they had darted from their various employments; all their enchanted eyes intent upon the whale, whichfrom side to side strangely vibrating his
predestinating head, sent a broad band ofoverspreading semicircular foam before him as he rushed. retribution, swift vengeance, eternalmalice were in his whole aspect, and spite of all that mortal man could do, the solidwhite buttress of his forehead smote the ship's starboard bow, till men and timbersreeled. some fell flat upon their faces. like dislodged trucks, the heads of theharpooneers aloft shook on their bull-like necks.through the breach, they heard the waters pour, as mountain torrents down a flume.
"the ship!the hearse!--the second hearse!" cried ahab from the boat; "its wood could only beamerican!" diving beneath the settling ship, the whaleran quivering along its keel; but turning under water, swiftly shot to the surfaceagain, far off the other bow, but within a few yards of ahab's boat, where, for atime, he lay quiescent. "i turn my body from the sun.what ho, tashtego! let me hear thy hammer. oh! ye three unsurrendered spires of mine;thou uncracked keel; and only god-bullied hull; thou firm deck, and haughty helm, andpole-pointed prow,--death-glorious ship! must ye then perish, and without me?
am i cut off from the last fond pride ofmeanest shipwrecked captains? oh, lonely death on lonely life!oh, now i feel my topmost greatness lies in my topmost grief. ho, ho! from all your furthest bounds, pourye now in, ye bold billows of my whole foregone life, and top this one piledcomber of my death! towards thee i roll, thou all-destroyingbut unconquering whale; to the last i grapple with thee; from hell's heart i stabat thee; for hate's sake i spit my last breath at thee. sink all coffins and all hearses to onecommon pool! and since neither can be mine,
let me then tow to pieces, while stillchasing thee, though tied to thee, thou damned whale! thus, i give up the spear!"the harpoon was darted; the stricken whale flew forward; with igniting velocity theline ran through the grooves;--ran foul. ahab stooped to clear it; he did clear it;but the flying turn caught him round the neck, and voicelessly as turkish mutesbowstring their victim, he was shot out of the boat, ere the crew knew he was gone. next instant, the heavy eye-splice in therope's final end flew out of the stark- empty tub, knocked down an oarsman, andsmiting the sea, disappeared in its depths.
for an instant, the tranced boat's crewstood still; then turned. "the ship?great god, where is the ship?" soon they through dim, bewildering mediumssaw her sidelong fading phantom, as in the gaseous fata morgana; only the uppermostmasts out of water; while fixed by infatuation, or fidelity, or fate, to their once lofty perches, the pagan harpooneersstill maintained their sinking lookouts on the sea. and now, concentric circles seized the loneboat itself, and all its crew, and each floating oar, and every lance-pole, andspinning, animate and inanimate, all round
and round in one vortex, carried thesmallest chip of the pequod out of sight. but as the last whelmings intermixinglypoured themselves over the sunken head of the indian at the mainmast, leaving a fewinches of the erect spar yet visible, together with long streaming yards of the flag, which calmly undulated, with ironicalcoincidings, over the destroying billows they almost touched;--at that instant, ared arm and a hammer hovered backwardly uplifted in the open air, in the act of nailing the flag faster and yet faster tothe subsiding spar. a sky-hawk that tauntingly had followed themain-truck downwards from its natural home
among the stars, pecking at the flag, andincommoding tashtego there; this bird now chanced to intercept its broad fluttering wing between the hammer and the wood; andsimultaneously feeling that etherial thrill, the submerged savage beneath, inhis death-gasp, kept his hammer frozen there; and so the bird of heaven, with archangelic shrieks, and his imperial beakthrust upwards, and his whole captive form folded in the flag of ahab, went down withhis ship, which, like satan, would not sink to hell till she had dragged a living part of heaven along with her, and helmetedherself with it.
now small fowls flew screaming over the yetyawning gulf; a sullen white surf beat against its steep sides; then allcollapsed, and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand yearsago. chapter 136epilogue "and i only am escaped alone to tell thee"job. the drama's done.why then here does any one step forth?-- because one did survive the wreck. it so chanced, that after the parsee'sdisappearance, i was he whom the fates ordained to take the place of ahab'sbowsman, when that bowsman assumed the
vacant post; the same, who, when on the last day the three men were tossed from outof the rocking boat, was dropped astern. so, floating on the margin of the ensuingscene, and in full sight of it, when the halfspent suction of the sunk ship reachedme, i was then, but slowly, drawn towards the closing vortex. when i reached it, it had subsided to acreamy pool. round and round, then, and ever contractingtowards the button-like black bubble at the axis of that slowly wheeling circle, likeanother ixion i did revolve. till, gaining that vital centre, the blackbubble upward burst; and now, liberated by
reason of its cunning spring, and, owing toits great buoyancy, rising with great force, the coffin life-buoy shot lengthwise from the sea, fell over, and floated by myside. buoyed up by that coffin, for almost onewhole day and night, i floated on a soft and dirgelike main. the unharming sharks, they glided by as ifwith padlocks on their mouths; the savage sea-hawks sailed with sheathed beaks.on the second day, a sail drew near, nearer, and picked me up at last. it was the devious-cruising rachel, that inher retracing search after her missing
children, only found another orphan.