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Chapter 67 Cutting In

  • It was a Saturday night, and such a Sabbath as followed! Ex officio professor_f Sabbath breaking are all whalemen. The ivory Pequod was turned into wha_eemed a shamble; every sailor a butcher. You would have thought we wer_ffering up ten thousand red oxen to the sea gods.
  • In the first place, the enormous cutting tackles, among other ponderous thing_omprising a cluster of blocks generally painted green, and which no singl_an can possibly lift—this vast bunch of grapes was swayed up to the main-to_nd firmly lashed to the lower mast-head, the strongest point anywhere above _hip’s deck. The end of the hawser-like rope winding through thes_ntricacies, was then conducted to the windlass, and the huge lower block o_he tackles was swung over the whale; to this block the great blubber hook,
  • weighing some one hundred pounds, was attached. And now suspended in stage_ver the side, Starbuck and Stubb, the mates, armed with their long spades,
  • began cutting a hole in the body for the insertion of the hook just above th_earest of the two side-fins. This done, a broad, semicircular line is cu_ound the hole, the hook is inserted, and the main body of the crew strikin_p a wild chorus, now commence heaving in one dense crowd at the windlass.
  • When instantly, the entire ship careens over on her side; every bolt in he_tarts like the nailheads of an old house in frosty weather; she trembles,
  • quivers, and nods her frighted mast-heads to the sky. More and more she lean_ver to the whale, while every gasping heave of the windlass is answered by _elping heave from the billows; till at last, a swift, startling snap i_eard; with a great swash the ship rolls upwards and backwards from the whale,
  • and the triumphant tackle rises into sight dragging after it the disengage_emicircular end of the first strip of blubber. Now as the blubber envelope_he whale precisely as the rind does an orange, so is it stripped off from th_ody precisely as an orange is sometimes stripped by spiralizing it. For th_train constantly kept up by the windlass continually keeps the whale rollin_ver and over in the water, and as the blubber in one strip uniformly peel_ff along the line called the “scarf,” simultaneously cut by the spades o_tarbuck and Stubb, the mates; and just as fast as it is thus peeled off, an_ndeed by that very act itself, it is all the time being hoisted higher an_igher aloft till its upper end grazes the main-top; the men at the windlas_hen cease heaving, and for a moment or two the prodigious blood-dripping mas_ways to and fro as if let down from the sky, and every one present must tak_ood heed to dodge it when it swings, else it may box his ears and pitch hi_eadlong overboard.
  • One of the attending harpooneers now advances with a long, keen weapon calle_ boarding-sword, and watching his chance he dexterously slices out _onsiderable hole in the lower part of the swaying mass. Into this hole, th_nd of the second alternating great tackle is then hooked so as to retain _old upon the blubber, in order to prepare for what follows. Whereupon, thi_ccomplished swordsman, warning all hands to stand off, once more makes _cientific dash at the mass, and with a few sidelong, desperate, lunging,
  • slicings, severs it completely in twain; so that while the short lower part i_till fast, the long upper strip, called a blanket-piece, swings clear, and i_ll ready for lowering. The heavers forward now resume their song, and whil_he one tackle is peeling and hoisting a second strip from the whale, th_ther is slowly slackened away, and down goes the first strip through the mai_atchway right beneath, into an unfurnished parlor called the blubber-room.
  • Into this twilight apartment sundry nimble hands keep coiling away the lon_lanket-piece as if it were a great live mass of plaited serpents. And thu_he work proceeds; the two tackles hoisting and lowering simultaneously; bot_hale and windlass heaving, the heavers singing, the blubber-room gentleme_oiling, the mates scarfing, the ship straining, and all hands swearin_ccasionally, by way of assuaging the general friction.