Moby Dick: or, the White Whale eBook

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

Look ye, carpenter, I dare say thou callest thyself a right good workmanlike workman, eh?  Well, then, will it speak thoroughly well for thy work, if, when I come to mount this leg thou makest, I shall nevertheless feel another leg in the same identical place with it; that is, carpenter, my old lost leg; the flesh and blood one, I mean.  Canst thou not drive that old Adam away?

Truly, sir, I begin to understand somewhat now.  Yes, I have heard something curious on that score, sir; how that a dismasted man never entirely loses the feeling of his old spar, but it will be still pricking him at times.  May I humbly ask if it be really so, sir?

It is, man.  Look, put thy live leg here in the place where mine once was; so, now, here is only one distinct leg to the eye, yet two to the soul.  Where thou feelest tingling life; there, exactly there, there to a hair, do I. Is’t a riddle?

I should humbly call it a poser, sir.

Hist, then.  How dost thou know that some entire, living, thinking thing may not be invisibly and uninterpenetratingly standing precisely where thou now standest; aye, and standing there in thy spite?  In thy most solitary hours, then, dost thou not fear eavesdroppers?  Hold, don’t speak!  And if I still feel the smart of my crushed leg, though it be now so long dissolved; then, why mayest not thou, carpenter, feel the fiery pains of hell for ever, and without a body?  Hah!

Good Lord!  Truly, sir, if it comes to that, I must calculate over again; I think I didn’t carry a small figure, sir.

Look ye, pudding-heads should never grant premises.—­How long before this leg is done?

Perhaps an hour, sir.

Bungle away at it then, and bring it to me (turns to go).  Oh, Life.  Here I am, proud as Greek god, and yet standing debtor to this blockhead for a bone to stand on!  Cursed be that mortal inter-indebtedness which will not do away with ledgers.  I would be free as air; and I’m down in the whole world’s books.  I am so rich, I could have given bid for bid with the wealthiest Praetorians at the auction of the Roman empire (which was the world’s); and yet I owe for the flesh in the tongue I brag with.  By heavens!  I’ll get a crucible, and into it, and dissolve myself down to one small, compendious vertebra.  So.

Carpenter ( resuming his work).

Well, well, well!  Stubb knows him best of all, and Stubb always says he’s queer; says nothing but that one sufficient little word queer; he’s queer, says Stubb; he’s queer—­queer, queer; and keeps dinning it into Mr. Starbuck all the time—­queer—­sir—­queer, queer, very queer.  And here’s his leg.  Yes, now that I think of it, here’s his bed-fellow! has a stick of whale’s jaw-bone for a wife!  And this is his leg; he’ll stand on this.  What was that now about one leg standing in three places, and all three places standing in one hell—­ how was that?  Oh!  I don’t wonder

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