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.