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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesMoby Dick (or The Whale) - Chapter 127 The Deck.
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Moby Dick (or The Whale) - Chapter 127 The Deck. Post by :kellymonaghan Category :Long Stories Author :Herman Melville Date :February 2011 Read :2131

Click below to download : Moby Dick (or The Whale) - Chapter 127 The Deck. (Format : PDF)

Moby Dick (or The Whale) - Chapter 127 The Deck.

THE COFFIN LAID UPON TWO LINE-TUBS, BETWEEN THE VICE-BENCH AND THE
OPEN HATCHWAY; THE CARPENTER CAULKING ITS SEAMS; THE STRING OF
TWISTED OAKUM SLOWLY UNWINDING FROM A LARGE ROLL OF IT PLACED IN THE
BOSOM OF HIS FROCK.--AHAB COMES SLOWLY FROM THE CABIN-GANGWAY, AND
HEARS PIP FOLLOWING HIM.


Back, lad; I will be with ye again presently. He goes! Not this
hand complies with my humor more genially than that boy.--Middle
aisle of a church! What's here?"

"Life-buoy, sir. Mr. Starbuck's orders. Oh, look, sir! Beware the
hatchway!"

"Thank ye, man. Thy coffin lies handy to the vault."

"Sir? The hatchway? oh! So it does, sir, so it does."

"Art not thou the leg-maker? Look, did not this stump come from thy
shop?"

"I believe it did, sir; does the ferrule stand, sir?"

"Well enough. But art thou not also the undertaker?"

"Aye, sir; I patched up this thing here as a coffin for Queequeg; but
they've set me now to turning it into something else."

"Then tell me; art thou not an arrant, all-grasping, intermeddling,
monopolising, heathenish old scamp, to be one day making legs, and
the next day coffins to clap them in, and yet again life-buoys out of
those same coffins? Thou art as unprincipled as the gods, and as
much of a jack-of-all-trades."

"But I do not mean anything, sir. I do as I do."

"The gods again. Hark ye, dost thou not ever sing working about a
coffin? The Titans, they say, hummed snatches when chipping out the
craters for volcanoes; and the grave-digger in the play sings, spade
in hand. Dost thou never?"

"Sing, sir? Do I sing? Oh, I'm indifferent enough, sir, for that;
but the reason why the grave-digger made music must have been because
there was none in his spade, sir. But the caulking mallet is full of
it. Hark to it."

"Aye, and that's because the lid there's a sounding-board; and what
in all things makes the sounding-board is this--there's naught
beneath. And yet, a coffin with a body in it rings pretty much the
same, Carpenter. Hast thou ever helped carry a bier, and heard the
coffin knock against the churchyard gate, going in?

"Faith, sir, I've--"

"Faith? What's that?"

"Why, faith, sir, it's only a sort of exclamation-like--that's all,
sir."

"Um, um; go on."

"I was about to say, sir, that--"

"Art thou a silk-worm? Dost thou spin thy own shroud out of thyself?
Look at thy bosom! Despatch! and get these traps out of sight."

"He goes aft. That was sudden, now; but squalls come sudden in hot
latitudes. I've heard that the Isle of Albemarle, one of the
Gallipagos, is cut by the Equator right in the middle. Seems to me
some sort of Equator cuts yon old man, too, right in his middle.
He's always under the Line--fiery hot, I tell ye! He's looking this
way--come, oakum; quick. Here we go again. This wooden mallet is
the cork, and I'm the professor of musical glasses--tap, tap!"

(AHAB TO HIMSELF.)

"There's a sight! There's a sound! The grey-headed woodpecker
tapping the hollow tree! Blind and dumb might well be envied now.
See! that thing rests on two line-tubs, full of tow-lines. A most
malicious wag, that fellow. Rat-tat! So man's seconds tick! Oh!
how immaterial are all materials! What things real are there, but
imponderable thoughts? Here now's the very dreaded symbol of grim
death, by a mere hap, made the expressive sign of the help and hope
of most endangered life. A life-buoy of a coffin! Does it go
further? Can it be that in some spiritual sense the coffin is, after
all, but an immortality-preserver! I'll think of that. But no. So
far gone am I in the dark side of earth, that its other side, the
theoretic bright one, seems but uncertain twilight to me. Will ye
never have done, Carpenter, with that accursed sound? I go below;
let me not see that thing here when I return again. Now, then, Pip,
we'll talk this over; I do suck most wondrous philosophies from thee!
Some unknown conduits from the unknown worlds must empty into thee!"

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