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Chapter 10 A Bosom Friend

  • Returning to the Spouter-Inn from the Chapel, I found Queequeg there quit_lone; he having left the Chapel before the benediction some time. He wa_itting on a bench before the fire, with his feet on the stove hearth, and i_ne hand was holding close up to his face that little negro idol of his;
  • peering hard into its face, and with a jack-knife gently whittling away at it_ose, meanwhile humming to himself in his heathenish way.
  • But being now interrupted, he put up the image; and pretty soon, going to th_able, took up a large book there, and placing it on his lap began countin_he pages with deliberate regularity; at every fiftieth page— as _ancied—stopping for a moment, looking vacantly around him, and givin_tterance to a long-drawn gurgling whistle of astonishment. He would the_egin again at the next fifty; seeming to commence at number one each time, a_hough he could not count more than fifty, and it was only by such a larg_umber of fifties being found together, that his astonishment at the multitud_f pages was excited.
  • With much interest I sat watching him. Savage though he was, and hideousl_arred about the face—at least to my taste— his countenance yet had _omething in it which was by no means disagreeable. You cannot hide the soul.
  • Through all his unearthly tattooings, I thought I saw the traces of a simpl_onest heart; and in his large, deep eyes, fiery black and bold, there seeme_okens of a spirit that would dare a thousand devils. And besides all this,
  • there was a certain lofty bearing about the Pagan, which even his uncouthnes_ould not altogether maim. He looked like a man who had never cringed an_ever had had a creditor. Whether it was, too, that his head being shaved, hi_orehead was drawn out in freer and brighter relief, and looked more expansiv_han it otherwise would, this I will not venture to decide; but certain it wa_is head was phrenologically an excellent one. It may seem ridiculous, but i_eminded me of General Washington’s head, as seen in the popular busts of him.
  • It had the same long regularly graded retreating slope from above the brows,
  • which were likewise very projecting, like two long promontories thickly woode_n top. Queequeg was George Washington cannibalistically developed.
  • Whilst I was thus closely scanning him, half-pretending meanwhile to b_ooking out at the storm from the casement, he never heeded my presence, neve_roubled himself with so much as a single glance; but appeared wholly occupie_ith counting the pages of the marvellous book. Considering how sociably w_ad been sleeping together the night previous, and especially considering th_ffectionate arm I had found thrown over me upon waking in the morning, _hought this indifference of his very strange. But savages are strange beings;
  • at times you do not know exactly how to take them. At first they ar_verawing; their calm self-collectedness of simplicity seems as Socrati_isdom. I had noticed also that Queequeg never consorted at all, or but ver_ittle, with the other seamen in the inn. He made no advances whatever;
  • appeared to have no desire to enlarge the circle of his acquaintances. Al_his struck me as mighty singular; yet, upon second thoughts, there wa_omething almost sublime in it. Here was a man some twenty thousand miles fro_ome, by the way of Cape Horn, that is— which was the only way he could ge_here—thrown among people as strange to him as though he were in the plane_upiter; and yet he seemed entirely at his ease; preserving the utmos_erenity; content with his own companionship; always equal to himself. Surel_his was a touch of fine philosophy; though no doubt he had never heard ther_as such a thing as that. But, perhaps, to be true philosophers, we mortal_hould not be conscious of so living or so striving. So soon as I hear tha_uch or such a man gives himself out for a philosopher, I conclude that, lik_he dyspeptic old woman, he must have “broken his digester.”
  • As I sat there in that now lonely room; the fire burning low, in that mil_tage when, after its first intensity has warmed the air, it then only glow_o be looked at; the evening shades and phantoms gathering round th_asements, and peering in upon us silent, solitary twain; the storm boomin_ithout in solemn swells; I began to be sensible of strange feelings. I felt _elting in me. No more my splintered heart and maddened hand were turne_gainst the wolfish world. This soothing savage had redeemed it. There he sat,
  • his very indifference speaking a nature in which there lurked no civilize_ypocrisies and bland deceits. Wild he was; a very sight of sights to see; ye_ began to feel myself mysteriously drawn towards him. And those same thing_hat would have repelled most others, they were the very magnets that thu_rew me. I’ll try a pagan friend, thought I, since Christian kindness ha_roved but hollow courtesy. I drew my bench near him, and made some friendl_igns and hints, doing my best to talk with him meanwhile. At first he littl_oticed these advances; but presently, upon my referring to his last night’_ospitalities, he made out to ask me whether we were again to be bedfellows. _old him yes; whereat I thought he looked pleased, perhaps a littl_omplimented.
  • We then turned over the book together, and I endeavored to explain to him th_urpose of the printing, and the meaning of the few pictures that were in it.
  • Thus I soon engaged his interest; and from that we went to jabbering the bes_e could about the various outer sights to be seen in this famous town. Soon _roposed a social smoke; and, producing his pouch and tomahawk, he quietl_ffered me a puff. And then we sat exchanging puffs from that wild pipe o_is, and keeping it regularly passing between us.
  • If there yet lurked any ice of indifference towards me in the Pagan’s breast,
  • this pleasant, genial smoke we had, soon thawed it out, and left us cronies.
  • He seemed to take to me quite as naturally and unbiddenly as I to him; an_hen our smoke was over, he pressed his forehead against mine, clasped m_ound the waist, and said that henceforth we were married; meaning, in hi_ountry’s phrase, that we were bosom friends; he would gladly die for me, i_eed should be. In a countryman, this sudden flame of friendship would hav_eemed far too premature, a thing to be much distrusted; but in this simpl_avage those old rules would not apply.
  • After supper, and another social chat and smoke, we went to our room together.
  • He made me a present of his embalmed head; took out his enormous tobacc_allet, and groping under the tobacco, drew out some thirty dollars in silver;
  • then spreading them on the table, and mechanically dividing them into tw_qual portions, pushed one of them towards me, and said it was mine. I wa_oing to remonstrate; but he silenced me by pouring them into my trowsers’
  • pockets. I let them stay. He then went about his evening prayers, took out hi_dol, and removed the paper firebrand. By certain signs and symptoms, _hought he seemed anxious for me to join him; but well knowing what was t_ollow, I deliberated a moment whether, in case he invited me, I would compl_r otherwise.
  • I was a good Christian; born and bred in the bosom of the infallibl_resbyterian Church. How then could I unite with this wild idolator i_orshipping his piece of wood? But what is worship? thought I. Do you suppos_ow, Ishmael, that the magnanimous God of heaven and earth—pagans and al_ncluded—can possibly be jealous of an insignificant bit of black wood?
  • Impossible! But what is worship?— to do the will of God? that is worship. An_hat is the will of God?— to do to my fellow man what I would have my fello_an to do to me— that is the will of God. Now, Queequeg is my fellow man. An_hat do I wish that this Queequeg would do to me? Why, unite with me in m_articular Presbyterian form of worship. Consequently, I must then unite wit_im in his; ergo, I must turn idolator. So I kindled the shavings; helped pro_p the innocent little idol; offered him burnt biscuit with Queequeg; salame_efore him twice or thrice; kissed his nose; and that done, we undressed an_ent to bed, at peace with our own consciences and all the world. But we di_ot go to sleep without some little chat.
  • How it is I know not; but there is no place like a bed for confidentia_isclosures between friends. Man and wife, they say, there open the ver_ottom of their souls to each other; and some old couples often lie and cha_ver old times till nearly morning. Thus, then, in our hearts’ honeymoon, la_ and Queequeg— a cosy, loving pair.