Moby Dick: or, the White Whale eBook

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

Towards evening of that day, the Pequod was torn of her canvas, and bare-poled was left to fight a Typhoon which had struck her directly ahead.  When darkness came on, sky and sea roared and split with the thunder, and blazed with the lightning, that showed the disabled mast fluttering here and there with the rags which the first fury of the tempest had left for its after sport.

Holding by a shroud, Starbuck was standing on the quarter-deck; at every flash of the lightning glancing aloft, to see what additional disaster might have befallen the intricate hamper there; while Stubb and Flask were directing the men in the higher hoisting and firmer lashing of the boats.  But all their pains seemed naught.  Though lifted to the very top of the cranes, the windward quarter boat (Ahab’s) did not escape.  A great rolling sea, dashing high up against the reeling ship’s high teetering side, stove in the boat’s bottom at the stern, and left it again, all dripping through like a sieve.

“Bad work, bad work!  Mr. Starbuck,” said Stubb, regarding the wreck, “but the sea will have its way.  Stubb, for one, can’t fight it.  You see, Mr. Starbuck, a wave has such a great long start before it leaps, all round the world it runs, and then comes the spring!  But as for me, all the start I have to meet it, is just across the deck here.  But never mind; it’s all in fun:  so the old song says;”—­(sings.)

Oh! jolly is the gale,
And a joker is the whale,
A’ flourishin’ his tail,—­
Such a funny, sporty, gamy, jesty, joky, hoky-poky
lad, is the Ocean, oh! 
The scud all a flyin’,
That’s his flip only foamin’;
When he stirs in the spicin’,—­
Such a funny, sporty, gamy, jesty, joky, hoky-poky
lad, is the Ocean, oh! 
Thunder splits the ships,
But he only smacks his lips,
A tastin’ of this flip,—­
Such a funny, sporty, gamy, jesty, joky, hoky-poky
lad, is the Ocean, oh!

“Avast Stubb,” cried Starbuck, “let the Typhoon sing, and strike his harp here in our rigging; but if thou art a brave man thou wilt hold thy peace.”

“But I am not a brave man; never said I was a brave man;
I am a coward; and I sing to keep up my spirits. 
And I tell you what it is, Mr. Starbuck, there’s no way
to stop my singing in this world but to cut my throat. 
And when that’s done, ten to one I sing ye the doxology
for a wind-up.”

“Madman! look through my eyes if thou hast none of thine own.”

“What! how can you see better of a dark night than anybody else, never mind how foolish?”

“Here!” cried Starbuck, seizing Stubb by the shoulder, and pointing his hand towards the weather bow, “markest thou not that the gale comes from the eastward, the very course Ahab is to run for Moby Dick? the very course he swung to this day noon? now mark his boat there; where is that stove?  In the stern-sheets, man; where he is wont to stand—­ his stand-point is stove, man!  Now jump overboard, and sing away, if thou must!

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