In most other parts of the ocean, however, where these fish do not so largely abound, their wondrous
voracity can be at times considerably diminished, by vigorously stirring them up with sharp whaling-spades, a procedure notwithstanding, which, in some instances, only seems to tickle them into still greater activity.
Nevertheless, upon Stubb setting the anchor-watch after his supper was concluded; and when, accordingly, Queequeg and a forecastle seaman came on deck, no small excitement was created among the sharks; for immediately suspending the cutting stages over the side, and lowering three lanterns, so that they cast long gleams of light over the
turbid sea, these two mariners, darting their long whaling-spades, kept up an incessant murdering of the sharks,*
so great in size or force or extent as to elicit awe
For the strain constantly kept up by the windlass continually keeps the whale rolling over and over in the water, and as the blubber in one strip uniformly peels off along the line called the "scarf," simultaneously cut by the spades of Starbuck and Stubb, the mates; and just as fast as it is thus peeled off, and indeed by that very act itself, it is all the time being hoisted higher and higher aloft till its upper end grazes the main-top; the men at the windlass then cease heaving, and for a mo
And thus the work proceeds; the two tackles hoisting and lowering simultaneously; both whale and windlass heaving, the heavers singing, the blubber-room gentlemen coiling, the mates scarfing, the ship straining, and all hands swearing occasionally, by way of
assuaging the general friction.
retentive memory of the hieroglyphics upon one Sperm Whale in particular, I was much struck with a plate representing the old Indian characters chiselled on the famous hieroglyphic palisades on the banks of the Upper Mississippi.
By my retentive memory of the hieroglyphics upon one Sperm Whale in particular, I was much struck with a plate representing the old Indian characters chiselled on the famous hieroglyphic
palisades on the banks of the Upper Mississippi.
Besides all the other phenomena which the exterior of the Sperm Whale presents, he not seldom displays the back, and more especially his flanks,
effaced in great part of the regular linear appearance, by reason of numerous rude scratches, altogether of an irregular, random aspect.
living by preying on other animals especially by catching living prey
Slowly it floats more and more away, the water round it torn and splashed by the insatiate sharks, and the air above vexed with
rapacious flights of screaming fowls, whose beaks are like so many insulting poniards in the whale.
not in keeping with accepted standards of what is right or proper in polite society
Bear in mind, too, that under these
untoward circumstances he has to cut many feet deep in the flesh; and in that subterraneous manner, without so much as getting one single peep into the ever-contracting gash thus made, he must skilfully steer clear of all adjacent, interdicted parts, and exactly divide the spine at a critical point hard by its insertion into the skull.
"Speak, thou vast and
venerable head," muttered Ahab, "which, though ungarnished with a beard, yet here and there lookest hoary with mosses; speak, mighty head, and tell us the secret thing that is in thee.
"Speak, thou vast and venerable head," muttered Ahab, "which, though ungarnished with a beard, yet here and there lookest
hoary with mosses; speak, mighty head, and tell us the secret thing that is in thee.
The unflinching earnestness with which he declared these things;—the dark, daring play of his sleepless, excited imagination, and all the
preternatural terrors of real delirium, united to invest this Gabriel in the minds of the majority of the ignorant crew, with an atmosphere of sacredness.
Greedily sucking in this intelligence, Gabriel solemnly warned the captain against attacking the White Whale, in case the monster should be seen; in his gibbering insanity, pronouncing the White Whale to be no less a being than the Shaker God
incarnated; the Shakers receiving the Bible.
But when, some year or two afterwards, Moby Dick was fairly sighted from the mast-heads, Macey, the chief mate, burned with ardour to encounter him; and the captain himself being not unwilling to let him have the opportunity, despite all the archangel's
denunciations and forewarnings, Macey succeeded in persuading five men to man his boat.