Moby Dick: or, the White Whale eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 769 pages of information about Moby Dick.

Whilst I was thus closely scanning him, half-pretending meanwhile to be looking out at the storm from the casement, he never heeded my presence, never troubled himself with so much as a single glance; but appeared wholly occupied with counting the pages of the marvellous book.  Considering how sociably we had been sleeping together the night previous, and especially considering the affectionate arm I had found thrown over me upon waking in the morning, I thought this indifference of his very strange.  But savages are strange beings; at times you do not know exactly how to take them.  At first they are overawing; their calm self-collectedness of simplicity seems as Socratic wisdom.  I had noticed also that Queequeg never consorted at all, or but very little, with the other seamen in the inn.  He made no advances whatever; appeared to have no desire to enlarge the circle of his acquaintances.  All this struck me as mighty singular; yet, upon second thoughts, there was something almost sublime in it.  Here was a man some twenty thousand miles from home, by the way of Cape Horn, that is—­ which was the only way he could get there—­thrown among people as strange to him as though he were in the planet Jupiter; and yet he seemed entirely at his ease; preserving the utmost serenity; content with his own companionship; always equal to himself.  Surely this was a touch of fine philosophy; though no doubt he had never heard there was such a thing as that.  But, perhaps, to be true philosophers, we mortals should not be conscious of so living or so striving.  So soon as I hear that such or such a man gives himself out for a philosopher, I conclude that, like the dyspeptic old woman, he must have “broken his digester.”

As I sat there in that now lonely room; the fire burning low, in that mild stage when, after its first intensity has warmed the air, it then only glows to be looked at; the evening shades and phantoms gathering round the casements, and peering in upon us silent, solitary twain; the storm booming without in solemn swells; I began to be sensible of strange feelings.  I felt a melting in me.  No more my splintered heart and maddened hand were turned against the wolfish world.  This soothing savage had redeemed it.  There he sat, his very indifference speaking a nature in which there lurked no civilized hypocrisies and bland deceits.  Wild he was; a very sight of sights to see; yet I began to feel myself mysteriously drawn towards him.  And those same things that would have repelled most others, they were the very magnets that thus drew me.  I’ll try a pagan friend, thought I, since Christian kindness has proved but hollow courtesy.  I drew my bench near him, and made some friendly signs and hints, doing my best to talk with him meanwhile.  At first he little noticed these advances; but presently, upon my referring to his last night’s hospitalities, he made out to ask me whether we were again to be bedfellows.  I told him yes; whereat I thought he looked pleased, perhaps a little complimented.

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