Moby Dick Chapter 96 - 98
Chapter 96 - 98
The Try-Works/The Lamp/Stowing Down and Clearing Up
The try-works is a large furnace on the largest part of the deck, kept running by the remains of the whale, in order to melt its substance into oil. The smoke that issues from it is horrible to smell, and impossible to avoid.
In the forecastle of the ship, where the men who are off-duty sleep, a number of lights are kept lit; for while merchant sailors are not provided with much oil, whalers provide their own with a successful hunt, and light their own way.
After the oil is boiled down, it is sealed into casks, and put into storage. The oil cleans the deck as it is made; a ship, which three days ago was covered in blood and whale parts, can look completely clean. Also, it is not unusual for a cry of a new whale to go out moments after the last one has been completely taken care of.
"Oh! my friends this is man-killing! Yet this is life. For hardly have we mortals by long toilings extracted from this world's vast bulk its small but valuable sperm; and then, with weary patience, cleansed ourselves from its defilements, and learned to live here in clean tabernacles of the soul; hardly is this done, when- There she blows!- the ghost is spouted up, and away we sail to fight some other world, and go through young life's old routine again." Chapter 98, pg. 361