Moby Dick: or, the White Whale eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 623 pages of information about Moby Dick.
a lot of jackasses on top of that!  He might as well have kicked me, and done with it.  Maybe he did kick me, and I didn’t observe it, I was so taken all aback with his brow, somehow.  It flashed like a bleached bone.  What the devil’s the matter with me?  I don’t stand right on my legs.  Coming afoul of that old man has a sort of turned me wrong side out.  By the Lord, I must have been dreaming, though—­How? how? how?—­ but the only way’s to stash it; so here goes to hammock again; and in the morning, I’ll see how this plaguey juggling thinks over by daylight.”

CHAPTER 30

The Pipe

When Stubb had departed, Ahab stood for a while leaning over the bulwarks; and then, as had been usual with him of late, calling a sailor of the watch, he sent him below for his ivory stool, and also his pipe.  Lighting the pipe at the binnacle lamp and planting the stool on the weather side of the deck, he sat and smoked.

In old Norse times, the thrones of the sea-loving Danish kings were fabricated, saith tradition, of the tusks of the narwhale.  How could one look at Ahab then, seated on that tripod of bones, without bethinking him of the royalty it symbolized?  For a Khan of the plank, and a king of the sea and a great lord of Leviathans was Ahab.

Some moments passed, during which the thick vapor came from his mouth in quick and constant puffs, which blew back again into his face.  “How now,” he soliloquized at last, withdrawing the tube, “this smoking no longer soothes.  Oh, my pipe! hard must it go with me if thy charm be gone!  Here have I been unconsciously toiling, not pleasuring—­ aye, and ignorantly smoking to windward all the while; to windward, and with such nervous whiffs, as if, like the dying whale, my final jets were the strongest and fullest of trouble.  What business have I with this pipe?  This thing that is meant for sereneness, to send up mild white vapors among mild white hairs, not among torn iron-grey locks like mine.  I’ll smoke no more-”

He tossed the still lighted pipe into the sea.  The fire hissed in the waves; the same instant the ship shot by the bubble the sinking pipe made.  With slouched hat, Ahab lurchingly paced the planks.

CHAPTER 31

Queen Mab

Next morning Stubb accosted Flask.

“Such a queer dream, King-Post, I never had.  You know the old man’s ivory leg, well I dreamed he kicked me with it; and when I tried to kick back, upon my soul, my little man, I kicked my leg right off!  And then, presto!  Ahab seemed a pyramid, and I like a blazing fool, kept kicking at it.  But what was still more curious, Flask—­you know how curious all dreams are—­through all this rage that I was in, I somehow seemed to be thinking to myself, that after all, it was not much of an insult, that kick from Ahab.  ‘Why,’ thinks I, ‘what’s the row?  It’s

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