Stubb was the second mate. He was a native of Cape Cod; and hence, accordin_o local usage, was called a Cape-Cod-man. A happy-go-lucky; neither crave_or valiant; taking perils as they came with an indifferent air; and whil_ngaged in the most imminent crisis of the chase, toiling away, calm an_ollected as a journeyman joiner engaged for the year. Good-humored, easy, an_areless, he presided over his whaleboat as if the most deadly encounter wer_ut a dinner, and his crew all invited guests. He was as particular about th_omfortable arrangements of his part of the boat, as an old stage-driver i_bout the snugness of his box. When close to the whale, in the very death-loc_f the fight, he handled his unpitying lance coolly and off-handedly, as _histling tinker his hammer. He would hum over his old rigadig tunes whil_lank and flank with the most exasperated monster. Long usage had, for thi_tubb, converted the jaws of death into an easy chair. What he thought o_eath itself, there is no telling. Whether he ever thought of it at all, migh_e a question; but, if he ever did chance to cast his mind that way after _omfortable dinner, no doubt, like a good sailor, he took it to be a sort o_all of the watch to tumble aloft, and bestir themselves there, abou_omething which he would find out when he obeyed the order, and not sooner.
What, perhaps, with other things, made Stubb such an easy-going, unfearin_an, so cheerily trudging off with the burden of life in a world full of grav_eddlers, all bowed to the ground with their packs; what helped to bring abou_hat almost impious good-humor of his; that thing must have been his pipe.
For, like his nose, his short, black little pipe was one of the regula_eatures of his face. You would almost as soon have expected him to turn ou_f his bunk without his nose as without his pipe. He kept a whole row of pipe_here ready loaded, stuck in a rack, within easy reach of his hand; and,
whenever he turned in, he smoked them all out in succession, lighting one fro_he other to the end of the chapter; then loading them again to be i_eadiness anew. For, when Stubb dressed, instead of first putting his leg_nto his trowsers, he put his pipe into his mouth.
I say this continual smoking must have been one cause, at least of hi_eculiar disposition; for every one knows that this earthly air, whethe_shore or afloat, is terribly infected with the nameless miseries of th_umberless mortals who have died exhaling it; and as in time of the cholera,
some people go about with a camphorated handkerchief to their mouths; so,
likewise, against all mortal tribulations, Stubb’s tobacco smoke might hav_perated as a sort of disinfecting agent.
The third mate was Flask, a native of Tisbury, in Martha’s Vineyard. A short,
stout, ruddy young fellow, very pugnacious concerning whales, who someho_eemed to think that the great Leviathans had personally and hereditaril_ffronted him; and therefore it was a sort of point of honor with him, t_estroy them whenever encountered. So utterly lost was he to all sense o_everence for the many marvels of their majestic bulk and mystic ways; and s_ead to anything like an apprehension of any possible danger from encounterin_hem; that in his poor opinion, the wondrous whale was but a species o_agnified mouse, or at least water-rat, requiring only a little circumventio_nd some small application of time and trouble in order to kill and boil. Thi_gnorant, unconscious fearlessness of his made him a little waggish in th_atter of whales; he followed these fish for the fun of it; and a three years’
voyage round Cape Horn was only a jolly joke that lasted that length of time.
As a carpenter’s nails are divided into wrought nails and cut nails; s_ankind may be similarly divided. Little Flask was one of the wrought ones;
made to clinch tight and last long. They called him King-Post on board of th_equod; because, in form, he could be well likened to the short, square timbe_nown by that name in Arctic whalers; and which by the means of many radiatin_ide timbers inserted into it, serves to brace the ship against the ic_oncussions of those battering seas.
Now these three mates—Starbuck, Stubb and Flask, were momentous men. They i_as who by universal prescription commanded three of the Pequod’s boats a_eadsmen. In that grand order of battle in which Captain Ahab would probabl_arshal his forces to descend on the whales, these three headsmen were a_aptains of companies. Or, being armed with their long keen whaling spears,
they were as a picked trio of lancers; even as the harpooneers were flinger_f javelins.
And since in this famous fishery, each mate or headsman, like a Gothic Knigh_f old, is always accompanied by his boat-steerer or harpooneer, who i_ertain conjunctures provides him with a fresh lance, when the former one ha_een badly twisted, or elbowed in the assault; and moreover, as ther_enerally subsists between the two, a close intimacy and friendliness; it i_herefore but meet, that in this place we set down who the Pequod’_arpooneers were, and to what headsman each of them belonged.
First of all was Queequeg, whom Starbuck, the chief mate, had selected for hi_quire. But Queequeg is already known.
Next was Tashtego, an unmixed Indian from Gay Head, the most westerl_romontory of Martha’s Vineyard, where there still exists the last remnant o_ village of red men, which has long supplied the neighboring island o_antucket with many of her most daring harpooneers. In the fishery, the_sually go by the generic name of Gay-Headers. Tashtego’s long, lean, sabl_air, his high cheek bones, and black rounding eyes—for an Indian, Oriental i_heir largeness, but Antarctic in their glittering expression—all thi_ufficiently proclaimed him an inheritor of the unvitiated blood of thos_roud warrior hunters, who, in quest of the great New England moose, ha_coured, bow in hand, the aboriginal forests of the main. But no longe_nuffing in the trail of the wild beasts of the woodland, Tashtego now hunte_n the wake of the great whales of the sea; the unerring harpoon of the so_itly replacing the infallible arrow of the sires. To look at the tawny braw_f his lithe snaky limbs, you would almost have credited the superstitions o_ome of the earlier Puritans and half-believed this wild Indian to be a son o_he Prince of the Powers of the Air. Tashtego was Stubb the second mate’_quire.
Third among the harpooneers was Daggoo, a gigantic, coal-black negro-savage,
with a lion-like tread—an Ahasuerus to behold. Suspended from his ears wer_wo golden hoops, so large that the sailors called them ringbolts, and woul_alk of securing the top-sail halyards to them. In his youth Daggoo ha_oluntarily shipped on board of a whaler, lying in a lonely bay on his nativ_oast. And never having been anywhere in the world but in Africa, Nantucket,
and the pagan harbors most frequented by the whalemen; and having now led fo_any years the bold life of the fishery in the ships of owners uncommonl_eedful of what manner of men they shipped; Daggoo retained all his barbari_irtues, and erect as a giraffe, moved about the decks in all the pomp of si_eet five in his socks. There was a corporeal humility in looking up at him;
and a white man standing before him seemed a white flag come to beg truce of _ortress. Curious to tell, this imperial negro, Ahasuerus Daggoo, was th_quire of little Flask, who looked like a chess-man beside him. As for th_esidue of the Pequod’s company, be it said, that at the present day not on_n two of the many thousand men before the mast employed in the American whal_ishery, are Americans born, though pretty nearly all the officers are. Herei_t is the same with the American whale fishery as with the American army an_ilitary and merchant navies, and the engineering forces employed in th_onstruction of the American Canals and Railroads. The same, I say, because i_ll these cases the native American liberally provides the brains, the rest o_he world as generously supplying the muscles. No small number of thes_haling seamen belong to the Azores, where the outward bound Nantucket whaler_requently touch to augment their crews from the hardy peasants of those rock_hores. In like manner, the Greenland whalers sailing out of Hull or London,
put in at the Shetland Islands, to receive the full complement of their crew.
Upon the passage homewards, they drop them there again. How it is, there is n_elling, but Islanders seem to make the best whalemen. They were nearly al_slanders in the Pequod, Isolatoes too, I call such, not acknowledging th_ommon continent of men, but each Isolato living on a separate continent o_is own. Yet now, federated along one keel, what a set these Isolatoes were!
An Anacharsis Clootz deputation from all the isles of the sea, and all th_nds of the earth, accompanying Old Ahab in the Pequod to lay the world’_rievances before that bar from which not very many of them ever come back.
Black Little Pip— he never did—oh, no! he went before. Poor Alabama boy! O_he grim Pequod’s forecastle, ye shall ere long see him, beating hi_ambourine; prelusive of the eternal time, when sent for, to the grea_uarter-deck on high, he was bid strike in with angels, and beat hi_ambourine in glory; called a coward here, hailed a hero there!