Moby Dick: or, the White Whale eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 623 pages of information about Moby Dick.

I lay there dismally calculating that sixteen entire hours must elapse before I could hope for a resurrection.  Sixteen hours in bed! the small of my back ached to think of it.  And it was so light too; the sun shining in at the window, and a great rattling of coaches in the streets, and the sound of gay voices all over the house.  I felt worse and worse—­ at last I got up, dressed, and softly going down in my stockinged feet, sought out my stepmother, and suddenly threw myself at her feet, beseeching her as a particular favor to give me a good slippering for my misbehaviour:  anything indeed but condemning me to lie abed such an unendurable length of time.  But she was the best and most conscientious of stepmothers, and back I had to go to my room.  For several hours I lay there broad awake, feeling a great deal worse than I have ever done since, even from the greatest subsequent misfortunes.  At last I must have fallen into a troubled nightmare of a doze; and slowly waking from it—­half steeped in dreams—­I opened my eyes, and the before sunlit room was now wrapped in outer darkness.  Instantly I felt a shock running through all my frame; nothing was to be seen, and nothing was to be heard; but a supernatural hand seemed placed in mine.  My arm hung over the counterpane, and the nameless, unimaginable, silent form or phantom, to which the hand belonged, seemed closely seated by my bed-side.  For what seemed ages piled on ages, I lay there, frozen with the most awful fears, not daring to drag away my hand; yet ever thinking that if I could but stir it one single inch, the horrid spell would be broken.  I knew not how this consciousness at last glided away from me; but waking in the morning, I shudderingly remembered it all, and for days and weeks and months afterwards I lost myself in confounding attempts to explain the mystery.  Nay, to this very hour, I often puzzle myself with it.

Now, take away the awful fear, and my sensations at feeling the supernatural hand in mine were very similar, in their strangeness, to those which I experienced on waking up and seeing Queequeg’s pagan arm thrown round me.  But at length all the past night’s events soberly recurred, one by one, in fixed reality, and then I lay only alive to the comical predicament.  For though I tried to move his arm—­ unlock his bridegroom clasp—­yet, sleeping as he was, he still hugged me tightly, as though naught but death should part us twain.  I now strove to rouse him—­“Queequeg!”—­but his only answer was a snore.  I then rolled over, my neck feeling as if it were in a horse-collar; and suddenly felt a slight scratch.  Throwing aside the counterpane, there lay the tomahawk sleeping by the savage’s side, as if it were a hatchet-faced baby.  A pretty pickle, truly, thought I; abed here in a strange house in the broad day, with a cannibal and a tomahawk!  “Queequeg!—­in the name of goodness, Queequeg, wake!” At length, by dint of much wriggling, and loud and incessant expostulations

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Moby Dick: or, the White Whale from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.