Moby Dick Chapter 127 - 129
Chapter 127 - 129
The Deck/The Pequod Meets the Rachel/The Cabin
Ahab comes onto the deck and sees the carpenter working on the coffin. He mocks the man, who he says was once a leg-maker and now an undertaker, just as capricious as the gods. The carpenter once again is confused by his comments.
The next day, a large ship, the Rachel, is seen. Ahab asks if they've seen the White Whale, and the captain responds that they saw it yesterday. He asks if they've seen a whale-boat adrift. Ahab responds no, and prepares to sail over to the other ship, when the captain comes over to the Pequod first. He tells his story: yesterday, three of the whale boats of the Rachel had been pursuing a shoal of whales, when the white hump of Moby-Dick had come into view some distance away. The fourth whale-boat, held in reserve, was immediately lowered to give chase. The other boats could not see what exactly happened, but the fourth boat eventually disappeared; when the Rachel went looking for it, it could not be found. The captain is desperate to find this missing boat, and wants the Pequod to help in the search, for his twelve-year-old son is aboard.
Ahab refuses the request, and the captain returns to his ship; the two ships separate from each other, with the Rachel still sweeping back and forth in search of its lost ship.
Ahab makes to leave his cabin below-deck, and Pip tries to follow him. Ahab tells him to stay below; there is something in Pip's madness that is too curing for the old man. Pip is terrified of being left alone, and swears he will never desert Ahab, but Ahab forces him away.