Moby Dick: or, the White Whale eBook

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

How it is I know not; but there is no place like a bed for confidential disclosures between friends.  Man and wife, they say, there open the very bottom of their souls to each other; and some old couples often lie and chat over old times till nearly morning.  Thus, then, in our hearts’ honeymoon, lay I and Queequeg—­ a cosy, loving pair.

CHAPTER 11

Nightgown

We had lain thus in bed, chatting and napping at short intervals, and Queequeg now and then affectionately throwing his brown tattooed legs over mine, and then drawing them back; so entirely sociable and free and easy were we; when, at last, by reason of our confabulations, what little nappishness remained in us altogether departed, and we felt like getting up again, though day-break was yet some way down the future.

Yes, we became very wakeful; so much so that our recumbent position began to grow wearisome, and by little and little we found ourselves sitting up; the clothes well tucked around us, leaning against the headboard with our four knees drawn up close together, and our two noses bending over them, as if our knee-pans were warming-pans.  We felt very nice and snug, the more so since it was so chilly out of doors; indeed out of bed-clothes too, seeing that there was no fire in the room.  The more so, I say, because truly to enjoy bodily warmth, some small part of you must be cold, for there is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast.  Nothing exists in itself.  If you flatter yourself that you are all over comfortable, and have been so a long time, then you cannot be said to be comfortable any more.  But if, like Queequeg and me in the bed, the tip of your nose or the crown of your head be slightly chilled, why then, indeed, in the general consciousness you feel most delightfully and unmistakably warm.  For this reason a sleeping apartment should never be furnished with a fire, which is one of the luxurious discomforts of the rich.  For the height of this sort of deliciousness is to have nothing but the blankets between you and your snugness and the cold of the outer air.  Then there you lie like the one warm spark in the heart of an arctic crystal.

We had been sitting in this crouching manner for some time, when all at once I thought I would open my eyes; for when between sheets, whether by day or by night, and whether asleep or awake, I have a way of always keeping my eyes shut, in order the more to concentrate the snugness of being in bed.  Because no man can ever feel his own identity aright except his eyes be closed; as if, darkness were indeed the proper element of our essences, though light be more congenial to our clayey part.  Upon opening my eyes then, and coming out of my own pleasant and self-created darkness into the imposed and coarse outer gloom of the unilluminated twelve-o’clock-at-night, I experienced a disagreeable revulsion.  Nor did I at all object to the hint

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