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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 623 pages of information about Moby Dick.
touch to augment their crews from the hardy peasants of those rocky shores.  In like manner, the Greenland whalers sailing out of Hull or London, put in at the Shetland Islands, to receive the full complement of their crew.  Upon the passage homewards, they drop them there again.  How it is, there is no telling, but Islanders seem to make the best whalemen.  They were nearly all Islanders in the Pequod, Isolatoes too, I call such, not acknowledging the common continent of men, but each Isolato living on a separate continent of his own.  Yet now, federated along one keel, what a set these Isolatoes were!  An Anacharsis Clootz deputation from all the isles of the sea, and all the ends of the earth, accompanying Old Ahab in the Pequod to lay the world’s grievances before that bar from which not very many of them ever come back.  Black Little Pip—­ he never did—­oh, no! he went before.  Poor Alabama boy!  On the grim Pequod’s forecastle, ye shall ere long see him, beating his tambourine; prelusive of the eternal time, when sent for, to the great quarter-deck on high, he was bid strike in with angels, and beat his tambourine in glory; called a coward here, hailed a hero there!

CHAPTER 28

Ahab

For several days after leaving Nantucket, nothing above hatches was seen of Captain Ahab.  The mates regularly relieved each other at the watches, and for aught that could be seen to the contrary, they seemed to be the only commanders of the ship; only they sometimes issued from the cabin with orders so sudden and peremptory, that after all it was plain they but commanded vicariously.  Yes, their supreme lord and dictator was there, though hitherto unseen by any eyes not permitted to penetrate into the now sacred retreat of the cabin.

Every time I ascended to the deck from my watches below, I instantly gazed aft to mark if any strange face were visible; for my first vague disquietude touching the unknown captain, now in the seclusion of the sea became almost a perturbation.  This was strangely heightened at times by the ragged Elijah’s diabolical incoherences uninvitedly recurring to me, with a subtle energy I could not have before conceived of.  But poorly could I withstand them, much as in other moods I was almost ready to smile at the solemn whimsicalities of that outlandish prophet of the wharves.  But whatever it was of apprehensiveness or uneasiness—­to call it so—­ which I felt, yet whenever I came to look about me in the ship, it seemed against all warranty to cherish such emotions.  For though the harpooneers, with the great body of the crew, were a far more barbaric, heathenish, and motley set than any of the tame merchant-ship companies which my previous experiences had made me acquainted with, still I ascribed this—­and rightly ascribed it—­to the fierce uniqueness of the very nature of that wild Scandinavian vocation in which I had so abandonedly embarked.  But it

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