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Chapter 16 The Ship

  • In bed we concocted our plans for the morrow. But to my surprise and no smal_oncern, Queequeg now gave me to understand, that he had been diligentl_onsulting Yojo—the name of his black little god— and Yojo had told him two o_hree times over, and strongly insisted upon it everyway, that instead of ou_oing together among the whaling-fleet in harbor, and in concert selecting ou_raft; instead of this, I say, Yojo earnestly enjoined that the selection o_he ship should rest wholly with me, inasmuch as Yojo purposed befriending us; and, in order to do so, had already pitched upon a vessel, which, if left t_yself, I, Ishmael, should infallibly light upon, for all the world as thoug_t had turned out by chance; and in that vessel I must immediately shi_yself, for the present irrespective of Queequeg.
  • I have forgotten to mention that, in many things, Queequeg placed grea_onfidence in the excellence of Yojo’s judgment and surprising forecast o_hings; and cherished Yojo with considerable esteem, as a rather good sort o_od, who perhaps meant well enough upon the whole, but in all cases did no_ucceed in his benevolent designs.
  • Now, this plan of Queequeg’s or rather Yojo’s, touching the selection of ou_raft; I did not like that plan at all. I had not a little relied o_ueequeg’s sagacity to point out the whaler best fitted to carry us and ou_ortunes securely. But as all my remonstrances produced no effect upo_ueequeg, I was obliged to acquiesce; and accordingly prepared to set abou_his business with a determined rushing sort of energy and vigor, that shoul_uickly settle that trifling little affair. Next morning early, leavin_ueequeg shut up with Yojo in our little bedroom—for it seemed that it wa_ome sort of Lent or Ramadan, or day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer wit_ueequeg and Yojo that day; how it was I never could find out, for, though _pplied myself to it several times, I never could master his liturgies an_XXIX Articles— leaving Queequeg, then, fasting on his tomahawk pipe, and Yoj_arming himself at his sacrificial fire of shavings, I sallied out among th_hipping. After much prolonged sauntering, and many random inquiries, I learn_hat there were three ships up for three-years’ voyages—The Devil-Dam the Tit- bit, and the Pequod. Devil-dam, I do not know the origin of; Tit-bit i_bvious; Pequod you will no doubt remember, was the name of a celebrated trib_f Massachusetts Indians; now extinct as the ancient Medes. I peered and prye_bout the Devil-Dam; from her, hopped over to the Tit-bit; and finally, goin_n board the Pequod, looked around her for a moment, and then decided tha_his was the very ship for us.
  • You may have seen many a quaint craft in your day, for aught I know;— square- toed luggers; mountainous Japanese junks; butter-box galliots, and what not; but take my word for it, you never saw such a rare old craft as this same rar_ld Pequod. She was a ship of the old school, rather small if anything; wit_n old-fashioned claw-footed look about her. Long seasoned and weather-staine_n the typhoons and calms of all four oceans, her old hull’s complexion wa_arkened like a French grenadier’s, who has alike fought in Egypt and Siberia.
  • Her venerable bows looked bearded. Her masts—cut somewhere on the coast o_apan, where her original ones were lost overboard in a gale—her masts stoo_tiffly up like the spines of the three old kings of Cologne. Her ancien_ecks were worn and wrinkled, like the pilgrim-worshipped flag-stone i_anterbury Cathedral where Beckett bled. But to all these her old antiquities, were added new and marvellous features, pertaining to the wild business tha_or more than half a century she had followed. Old Captain Peleg, many year_er chief-mate, before he commanded another vessel of his own, and now _etired seaman, and one of the principal owners of the Pequod,—this old Peleg, during the term of his chief-mateship, had built upon her origina_rotesqueness, and inlaid it, all over, with a quaintness both of material an_evice, unmatched by anything except it be Thorkill-Hake’s carved buckler o_edstead. She was apparelled like any barbaric Ethiopian emperor, his nec_eavy with pendants of polished ivory. She was a thing of trophies. A canniba_f a craft, tricking herself forth in the chased bones of her enemies. Al_ound, her unpanelled, open bulwarks were garnished like one continuous jaw, with the long sharp teeth of the sperm whale, inserted there for pins, t_asten her old hempen thews and tendons to. Those thews ran not through bas_locks of land wood, but deftly travelled over sheaves of sea-ivory. Scornin_ turnstile wheel at her reverend helm, she sported there a tiller; and tha_iller was in one mass, curiously carved from the long narrow lower jaw of he_ereditary foe. The helmsman who steered by that tiller in a tempest, fel_ike the Tartar, when he holds back his fiery steed by clutching its jaw. _oble craft, but somehow a most melancholy! All noble things are touched wit_hat.
  • Now when I looked about the quarter-deck, for some one having authority, i_rder to propose myself as a candidate for the voyage, at first I saw nobody; but I could not well overlook a strange sort of tent, or rather wigwam, pitched a little behind the main-mast. It seemed only a temporary erectio_sed in port. It was of a conical shape, some ten feet high; consisting of th_ong, huge slabs of limber black bone taken from the middle and highest par_f the jaws of the right-whale. Planted with their broad ends on the deck, _ircle of these slabs laced together, mutually sloped towards each other, an_t the apex united in a tufted point, where the loose hairy fibres waved t_nd fro like a top-knot on some old Pottowotamie Sachem’s head. A triangula_pening faced towards the bows of the ship, so that the insider commanded _omplete view forward.
  • And half concealed in this queer tenement, I at length found one who by hi_spect seemed to have authority; and who, it being noon, and the ship’s wor_uspended, was now enjoying respite from the burden of command. He was seate_n an old-fashioned oaken chair, wriggling all over with curious carving; an_he bottom of which was formed of a stout interlacing of the same elasti_tuff of which the wigwam was constructed.
  • There was nothing so very particular, perhaps, about the appearance of th_lderly man I saw; he was brown and brawny, like most old seamen, and heavil_olled up in blue pilot-cloth, cut in the Quaker style; only there was a fin_nd almost microscopic net-work of the minutest wrinkles interlacing round hi_yes, which must have arisen from his continual sailings in many hard gales, and always looking to windward;— for this causes the muscles about the eyes t_ecome pursed together. Such eye-wrinkles are very effectual in a scowl.
  • “Is this the Captain of the Pequod?” said I, advancing to the door of th_ent.
  • “Supposing it be the Captain of the Pequod, what dost thou want of him?” h_emanded.
  • “I was thinking of shipping.”
  • “Thou wast, wast thou? I see thou art no Nantucketer— ever been in a stov_oat?”
  • “No, Sir, I never have.”
  • “Dost know nothing at all about whaling, I dare say—eh?
  • “Nothing, Sir; but I have no doubt I shall soon learn.
  • I’ve been several voyages in the merchant service, and I think that-”
  • “Merchant service be damned. Talk not that lingo to me. Dost see tha_eg?—I’ll take that leg away from thy stern, if ever thou talkest of th_erchant service to me again. Marchant service indeed! I suppose now ye fee_onsiderable proud of having served in those marchant ships. But flukes! man, what makes thee want to go a whaling, eh?—it looks a little suspicious, don’_t, eh?—Hast not been a pirate, hast thou?— Didst not rob thy last Captain, didst thou?—Dost not think of murdering the officers when thou gettest t_ea?”
  • I protested my innocence of these things. I saw that under the mask of thes_alf humorous innuendoes, this old seaman, as an insulated Quakeris_antucketer, was full of his insular prejudices, and rather distrustful of al_liens, unless they hailed from Cape Cod or the Vineyard.
  • “But what takes thee a-whaling? I want to know that before I think of shippin_e.”
  • “Well, sir, I want to see what whaling is. I want to see the world.”
  • “Want to see what whaling is, eh? Have ye clapped eye on Captain Ahab?”
  • “Who is Captain Ahab, sir?”
  • “Aye, aye, I thought so. Captain Ahab is the Captain of this ship.”
  • “I am mistaken then. I thought I was speaking to the Captain himself.”
  • “Thou art speaking to Captain Peleg—that’s who ye are speaking to, young man.
  • It belongs to me and Captain Bildad to see the Pequod fitted out for th_oyage, and supplied with all her needs, including crew. We are part owner_nd agents. But as I was going to say, if thou wantest to know what whalin_s, as thou tellest ye do, I can put ye in a way of finding it out before y_ind yourself to it, past backing out. Clap eye on Captain Ahab, young man, and thou wilt find that he has only one leg.”
  • “What do you mean, sir? Was the other one lost by a whale?”
  • “Lost by a whale! Young man, come nearer to me: it was devoured, chewed up, crunched by the monstrousest parmacetty that ever chipped a boat!—ah, ah!”
  • I was a little alarmed by his energy, perhaps also a little touched at th_earty grief in his concluding exclamation, but said as calmly as I could, “What you say is no doubt true enough, sir; but how could I know there was an_eculiar ferocity in that particular whale, though indeed I might hav_nferred as much from the simple fact of the accident.”
  • “Look ye now, young man, thy lungs are a sort of soft, d’ye see; thou dost no_alk shark a bit. Sure, ye’ve been to sea before now; sure of that?”
  • “Sir,” said I, “I thought I told you that I had been four voyages in th_erchant-”
  • “Hard down out of that! Mind what I said about the marchant service— don’_ggravate me—I won’t have it. But let us understand each other. I have give_hee a hint about what whaling is! do ye yet feel inclined for it?”
  • “I do, sir.”
  • “Very good. Now, art thou the man to pitch a harpoon down a live whale’_hroat, and then jump after it? Answer, quick!”
  • “I am, sir, if it should be positively indispensable to do so; not to be go_id of, that is; which I don’t take to be the fact.”
  • “Good again. Now then, thou not only wantest to go a-whaling, to find out b_xperience what whaling is, but ye also want to go in order to see the world?
  • Was not that what ye said? I thought so. Well then, just step forward there, and take a peep over the weather bow, and then back to me and tell me what y_ee there.”
  • For a moment I stood a little puzzled by this curious request, not knowin_xactly how to take it, whether humorously or in earnest. But concentratin_ll his crow’s feet into one scowl, Captain Peleg started me on the errand.
  • Going forward and glancing over the weather bow, I perceived that the shi_winging to her anchor with the flood-tide, was now obliquely pointing toward_he open ocean. The prospect was unlimited, but exceedingly monotonous an_orbidding; not the slightest variety that I could see.
  • “Well, what’s the report?” said Peleg when I came back; “what did ye see?”
  • “Not much,” I replied—“nothing but water; considerable horizon though, an_here’s a squall coming up, I think.”
  • “Well, what dost thou think then of seeing the world? Do ye wish to go roun_ape Horn to see any more of it, eh? Can’t ye see the world where you stand?”
  • I was a little staggered, but go a-whaling I must, and I would; and the Pequo_as as good a ship as any—I thought the best— and all this I now repeated t_eleg. Seeing me so determined, he expressed his willingness to ship me.
  • “And thou mayest as well sign the papers right off,” he added—“come along wit_e.” And so saying, he led the way below deck into the cabin.
  • Seated on the transom was what seemed to me a most uncommon and surprisin_igure. It turned out to be Captain Bildad who along with Captain Peleg wa_ne of the largest owners of the vessel; the other shares, as is sometimes th_ase in these ports, being held by a crowd of old annuitants; widows, fatherless children, and chancery wards; each owning about the value of _imber head, or a foot of plank, or a nail or two in the ship. People i_antucket invest their money in whaling vessels, the same way that you d_ours in approved state stocks bringing in good interest.
  • Now, Bildad, like Peleg, and indeed many other Nantucketers, was a Quaker, th_sland having been originally settled by that sect; and to this day it_nhabitants in general retain in an uncommon measure the peculiarities of th_uaker, only variously and anomalously modified by things altogether alien an_eterogeneous. For some of these same Quakers are the most sanguinary of al_ailors and whale-hunters. They are fighting Quakers; they are Quakers with _engeance.
  • So that there are instances among them of men, who, named with Scriptur_ames—a singularly common fashion on the island— and in childhood naturall_mbibing the stately dramatic thee and thou of the Quaker idiom; still, fro_he audacious, daring, and boundless adventure of their subsequent lives, strangely blend with these unoutgrown peculiarities, a thousand bold dashes o_haracter, not unworthy a Scandinavian sea-king, or a poetical Pagan Roman.
  • And when these things unite in a man of greatly superior natural force, with _lobular brain and a ponderous heart; who has also by the stillness an_eclusion of many long night-watches in the remotest waters, and beneat_onstellations never seen here at the north, been led to think untraditionall_nd independently; receiving all nature’s sweet or savage impressions fres_rom her own virgin voluntary and confiding breast, and thereby chiefly, bu_ith some help from accidental advantages, to learn a bold and nervous loft_anguage—that man makes one in a whole nation’s census— a mighty pagean_reature, formed for noble tragedies. Nor will it at all detract from him, dramatically regarded, if either by birth or other circumstances, he have wha_eems a half wilful overruling morbidness at the bottom of his nature. For al_en tragically great are made so through a certain morbidness. Be sure o_his, O young ambition, all mortal greatness is but disease. But, as yet w_ave not to do with such an one, but with quite another; and still a man, who, if indeed peculiar, it only results again from another phase of the Quaker, modified by individual circumstances.
  • Like Captain Peleg, Captain Bildad was a well-to-do, retired whaleman. Bu_nlike Captain Peleg—who cared not a rush for what are called serious things, and indeed deemed those self-same serious things the veriest of al_rifles—Captain Bildad had not only been originally educated according to th_trictest sect of Nantucket Quakerism, but all his subsequent ocean life, an_he sight of many unclad, lovely island creatures, round the Horn—all that ha_ot moved this native born Quaker one single jot, had not so much as altere_ne angle of his vest. Still, for all this immutableness, was there some lac_f common consistency about worthy Captain Bildad. Though refusing, fro_onscientious scruples, to bear arms against land invaders, yet himself ha_llimitably invaded the Atlantic and Pacific; and though a sworn foe to huma_loodshed, yet had he in his straight-bodied coat, spilled tuns upon tuns o_eviathan gore. How now in the contemplative evening of his days, the piou_ildad reconciled these things in the reminiscence, I do not know; but it di_ot seem to concern him much, and very probably he had long since come to th_age and sensible conclusion that a man’s religion is one thing, and thi_ractical world quite another. This world pays dividends. Rising from a littl_abin boy in short clothes of the drabbest drab, to a harpooneer in a broa_had-bellied waistcoat; from that becoming boat-header, chief mate, an_aptain, and finally a shipowner; Bildad, as I hinted before, had conclude_is adventurous career by wholly retiring from active life at the goodly ag_f sixty, and dedicating his remaining days to the quiet receiving of hi_ell-earned income.
  • Now, Bildad, I am sorry to say, had the reputation of being an incorrigibl_ld hunks, and in his sea-going days, a bitter, hard task-master. They told m_n Nantucket, though it certainly seems a curious story, that when he saile_he old Categut whaleman, his crew, upon arriving home, were mostly al_arried ashore to the hospital, sore exhausted and worn out. For a pious man, especially for a Quaker, he was certainly rather hard-hearted, to say th_east. He never used to swear, though, at his men, they said; but somehow h_ot an inordinate quantity of cruel, unmitigated hard work out of them. Whe_ildad was a chief-mate, to have his drab-colored eye intently looking at you, made you feel completely nervous, till you could clutch something—a hammer o_ marling-spike, and go to work like mad, at something or other, never min_hat. Indolence and idleness perished from before him. His own person was th_xact embodiment of his utilitarian character. On his long, gaunt body, h_arried no spare flesh, no superfluous beard, his chin having a soft, economical nap to it, like the worn nap of his broad-brimmed hat.
  • Such, then, was the person that I saw seated on the transom when I followe_aptain Peleg down into the cabin. The space between the decks was small; an_here, bolt upright, sat old Bildad, who always sat so, and never leaned, an_his to save his coat-tails. His broad-brim was placed beside him; his leg_ere stiffly crossed; his drab vesture was buttoned up to his chin; an_pectacles on nose, he seemed absorbed in reading from a ponderous volume.
  • “Bildad,” cried Captain Peleg, “at it again, Bildad, eh? Ye have been studyin_hose Scriptures, now, for the last thirty years, to my certain knowledge. Ho_ar ye got, Bildad?”
  • As if long habituated to such profane talk from his old shipmate, Bildad, without noticing his present irreverence, quietly looked up, and seeing me, glanced again inquiringly towards Peleg.
  • “He says he’s our man, Bildad,” said Peleg, “he wants to ship.”
  • “Dost thee?” said Bildad, in a hollow tone, and turning round to me.
  • “I dost,” said I unconsciously, he was so intense a Quaker.
  • “What do ye think of him, Bildad?” said Peleg.
  • “He’ll do,” said Bildad, eyeing me, and then went on spelling away at his boo_n a mumbling tone quite audible.
  • I thought him the queerest old Quaker I ever saw, especially as Peleg, hi_riend and old shipmate, seemed such a blusterer. But I said nothing, onl_ooking round me sharply. Peleg now threw open a chest, and drawing forth th_hip’s articles, placed pen and ink before him, and seated himself at a littl_able. I began to think it was high time to settle with myself at what terms _ould be willing to engage for the voyage. I was already aware that in th_haling business they paid no wages; but all hands, including the captain, received certain shares of the profits called lays, and that these lays wer_roportioned to the degree of importance pertaining to the respective dutie_f the ship’s company. I was also aware that being a green hand at whaling, m_wn lay would not be very large; but considering that I was used to the sea, could steer a ship, splice a rope, and all that, I made no doubt that from al_ had heard I should be offered at least the 275th lay—that is, the 275th par_f the clear net proceeds of the voyage, whatever that might eventually amoun_o. And though the 275th lay was what they call a rather long lay, yet it wa_etter than nothing; and if we had a lucky voyage, might pretty nearly pay fo_he clothing I would wear out on it, not to speak of my three years’ beef an_oard, for which I would not have to pay one stiver.
  • It might be thought that this was a poor way to accumulate a princel_ortune—and so it was, a very poor way indeed. But I am one of those tha_ever take on about princely fortunes, and am quite content if the world i_eady to board and lodge me, while I am putting up at this grim sign of th_hunder Cloud. Upon the whole, I thought that the 275th lay would be about th_air thing, but would not have been surprised had I been offered the 200th, considering I was of a broad-shouldered make.
  • But one thing, nevertheless, that made me a little distrustful about receivin_ generous share of the profits was this: Ashore, I had heard something o_oth Captain Peleg and his unaccountable old crony Bildad; how that they bein_he principal proprietors of the Pequod, therefore the other and mor_nconsiderable and scattered owners, left nearly the whole management of th_hip’s affairs to these two. And I did not know but what the stingy old Bilda_ight have a mighty deal to say about shipping hands, especially as I no_ound him on board the Pequod, quite at home there in the cabin, and readin_is Bible as if at his own fireside. Now while Peleg was vainly trying to men_ pen with his jack-knife, old Bildad, to my no small surprise, considerin_hat he was such an interested party in these proceedings; Bildad never heede_s, but went on mumbling to himself out of his book, “Lay not up fo_ourselves treasures upon earth, where moth-”
  • “Well, Captain Bildad,” interrupted Peleg, “what d’ye say, what lay shall w_ive this young man?”
  • “Thou knowest best,” was the sepulchral reply, “the seven hundred and seventy- seventh wouldn’t be too much, would it?—‘where moth and rust do corrupt, bu_ay-‘”
  • Lay, indeed, thought I, and such a lay! the seven hundred and seventy-seventh!
  • Well, old Bildad, you are determined that I, for one, shall not lay up man_ays here below, where moth and rust do corrupt. It was an exceedingly lon_ay that, indeed; and though from the magnitude of the figure it might a_irst deceive a landsman, yet the slightest consideration will show tha_hough seven hundred and seventy-seven is a pretty large number, yet, when yo_ome to make a teenth of it, you will then see, I say, that the seven hundre_nd seventy-seventh part of a farthing is a good deal less than seven hundre_nd seventy-seven gold doubloons; and so I thought at the time.
  • “Why, blast your eyes, Bildad,” cried Peleg, Thou dost not want to swindl_his young man! he must have more than that.”
  • “Seven hundred and seventy-seventh,” again said Bildad, without lifting hi_yes; and then went on mumbling—“for where your treasure is, there will you_eart be also.”
  • “I am going to put him down for the three hundredth,” said Peleg, “do ye hea_hat, Bildad! The three hundredth lay, I say.”
  • Bildad laid down his book, and turning solemnly towards him said, “Captai_eleg, thou hast a generous heart; but thou must consider the duty thou owes_o the other owners of this ship—widows and orphans, many of them— and that i_e too abundantly reward the labors of this young man, we may be taking th_read from those widows and those orphans. The seven hundred and seventy- seventh lay, Captain Peleg.”
  • “Thou Bildad!” roared Peleg, starting up and clattering about the cabin.
  • “Blast ye, Captain Bildad, if I had followed thy advice in these matters, _ould afore now had a conscience to lug about that would be heavy enough t_ounder the largest ship that ever sailed round Cape Horn.”
  • “Captain Peleg,” said Bildad steadily, “thy conscience may be drawing te_nches of water, or ten fathoms, I can’t tell; but as thou art still a_mpenitent man, Captain Peleg, I greatly fear lest thy conscience be but _eaky one; and will in the end sink thee foundering down to the fiery pit, Captain Peleg.”
  • “Fiery pit! fiery pit! ye insult me, man; past all natural bearing, ye insul_e. It’s an all-fired outrage to tell any human creature that he’s bound t_ell. Flukes and flames! Bildad, say that again to me, and start my soulbolts, but I’ll—I’ll—yes, I’ll swallow a live goat with all his hair and horns on.
  • Out of the cabin, ye canting, drab-colored son of a wooden gun—a straight wak_ith ye!”
  • As he thundered out this he made a rush at Bildad, but with a marvellou_blique, sliding celerity, Bildad for that time eluded him.
  • Alarmed at this terrible outburst between the two principal and responsibl_wners of the ship, and feeling half a mind to give up all idea of sailing i_ vessel so questionably owned and temporarily commanded, I stepped aside fro_he door to give egress to Bildad, who, I made no doubt, was all eagerness t_anish from before the awakened wrath of Peleg. But to my astonishment, he sa_own again on the transom very quietly, and seemed to have not the slightes_ntention of withdrawing. He seemed quite used to impenitent Peleg and hi_ays. As for Peleg, after letting off his rage as he had, there seemed no mor_eft in him, and he, too, sat down like a lamb, though he twitched a little a_f still nervously agitated. “Whew!” he whistled at last—“the squall’s gon_ff to leeward, I think. Bildad, thou used to be good at sharpening a lance, mend that pen, will ye. My jack-knife here needs the grindstone. That’s he; thank ye, Bildad. Now then, my young man, Ishmael’s thy name, didn’t ye say?
  • Well then, down ye go here, Ishmael, for the three hundredth lay.”
  • “Captain Peleg,” said I, “I have a friend with me who wants to ship too— shal_ bring him down to-morrow?”
  • “To be sure,” said Peleg. “Fetch him along, and we’ll look at him.”
  • “What lay does he want?” groaned Bildad, glancing up from the Book in which h_ad again been burying himself.
  • “Oh! never thee mind about that, Bildad,” said Peleg. “Has he ever whaled i_ny?” turning to me.
  • “Killed more whales than I can count, Captain Peleg.”
  • “Well, bring him along then.”
  • And, after signing the papers, off I went; nothing doubting but that I ha_one a good morning’s work, and that the Pequod was the identical ship tha_ojo had provided to carry Queequeg and me round the Cape.
  • But I had not proceeded far, when I began to bethink me that the Captain wit_hom I was to sail yet remained unseen by me; though, indeed, in many cases, _hale-ship will be completely fitted out, and receive all her crew on board, ere the captain makes himself visible by arriving to take command; fo_ometimes these voyages are so prolonged, and the shore intervals at home s_xceedingly brief, that if the captain have a family, or any absorbin_oncernment of that sort, he does not trouble himself much about his ship i_ort, but leaves her to the owners till all is ready for sea. However, it i_lways as well to have a look at him before irrevocably committing yoursel_nto his hands. Turning back I accosted Captain Peleg, inquiring where Captai_hab was to be found.
  • “And what dost thou want of Captain Ahab? It’s all right enough; thou ar_hipped.”
  • “Yes, but I should like to see him.”
  • “But I don’t think thou wilt be able to at present. I don’t know exactl_hat’s the matter with him; but he keeps close inside the house; a sort o_ick, and yet he don’t look so. In fact, he ain’t sick; but no, he isn’t wel_ither. Any how, young man, he won’t always see me, so I don’t suppose he wil_hee. He’s a queer man, Captain Ahab— so some think—but a good one. Oh, thou’lt like him well enough; no fear, no fear. He’s a grand, ungodly, god- like man, Captain Ahab; doesn’t speak much; but, when he does speak, then yo_ay well listen. Mark ye, be forewarned; Ahab’s above the common; Ahab’s bee_n colleges, as well as ‘mong the cannibals; been used to deeper wonders tha_he waves; fixed his fiery lance in mightier, stranger foes than whales. Hi_ance! aye, the keenest and the surest that out of all our isle! Oh! he ain’_aptain Bildad; no, and he ain’t Captain Peleg; he’s Ahab, boy; and Ahab o_ld, thou knowest, was a crowned king!”
  • “And a very vile one. When that wicked king was slain, the dogs, did they no_ick his blood?”
  • “Come hither to me—hither, hither,” said Peleg, with a significance in his ey_hat almost startled me. “Look ye, lad; never say that on board the Pequod.
  • Never say it anywhere. Captain Ahab did not name himself .’Twas a foolish, ignorant whim of his crazy, widowed mother, who died when he was only _welvemonth old. And yet the old squaw Tistig, at Gayhead, said that the nam_ould somehow prove prophetic. And, perhaps, other fools like her may tel_hee the same. I wish to warn thee. It’s a lie. I know Captain Ahab well; I’v_ailed with him as mate years ago; I know what he is— a good man—not a pious, good man, like Bildad, but a swearing good man—something like me—only there’_ good deal more of him. Aye, aye, I know that he was never very jolly; and _now that on the passage home he was a little out of his mind for a spell; bu_t was the sharp shooting pains in his bleeding stump that brought that about, as any one might see. I know, too, that ever since he lost his leg last voyag_y that accursed whale, he’s been a kind of moody— desperate moody, and savag_ometimes; but that will all pass off. And once for all, let me tell thee an_ssure thee, young man, it’s better to sail with a moody good captain than _aughing bad one. So good-bye to thee—and wrong not Captain Ahab, because h_appens to have a wicked name. Besides, my boy, he has a wife—not thre_oyages wedded—a sweet, resigned girl. Think of that; by that sweet girl tha_ld man had a child: hold ye then there can be any utter, hopeless harm i_hab? No, no, my lad; stricken, blasted, if he be, Ahab has his humanities!”
  • As I walked away, I was full of thoughtfulness; what had been incidentall_evealed to me of Captain Ahab, filled me with a certain wild vagueness o_ainfulness concerning him. And somehow, at the time, I felt a sympathy and _orrow for him, but for I don’t know what, unless it was the cruel loss of hi_eg. And yet I also felt a strange awe of him; but that sort of awe, which _annot at all describe, was not exactly awe; I do not know what it was. But _elt it; and it did not disincline me towards him; though I felt impatience a_hat seemed like mystery in him, so imperfectly as he was known to me then.
  • However, my thoughts were at length carried in other directions, so that fo_he present dark Ahab slipped my mind.