The best whales were catched in his own country, of which some were forty-eight, some fifty yards long.
He said that he was one of six who had killed sixty in two days. Old Nick take me if is not Leviathan described by the noble prophet Moses in the life of patient Job. They grow exceeding fat, insomuch that an incredible quantity of oil will be extracted out of one whale. Preface to Gondibert. Vide his V. Harris Coll. They frequently climb up the masts to see whether they can see a whale, for the first discoverer has a ducat for his pains I was told of a whale taken near Shetland, that had above a barrel of herrings in his belly One of our harpooneers told me that he caught once a whale in Spitzbergen that was white all over.
The jaws of it stand for a gate in the garden of Pitferren. The whale is doubtless the largest animal in creation.
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They seemed to endeavor to conceal themselves behind the whale, in order to avoid being seen by us. They stand in so great dread of some of them, that when out at sea they are afraid to mention even their names, and carry dung, lime-stone, juniper-wood, and some other articles of the same nature in their boats, in order to terrify and prevent their too near approach. And these, when either thrown ashore or caught near the coast, are the providencd of the king.
A small sized one. Chace, what is the i New York, It is a matter of great astonishment that the consideration of the habits of so interesting, and, in a commercial point of view, so important an animal as the Proviidence Whale should have been so entirely neglected, or should have excited so little curiosity among the numerous, and many of them competent observers, that of late years, must have possessed the most abundant and the most convenient opportunities of witnessing their habitudes.
October Do you see that whale now? A shoal of Sperm Whales! There she blows! There she breaches!
Call all hands. Being once pursued by a whale which he had wounded, he parried the assault for some time with a lance; but the furious monster at length rushed ;rovidence the boat; himself and comrades only being preserved by leaping into the water when they saw the onset was inevitable. There is a population of eight or nine thousand persons living here in the sea, adding largely every year to the National wealth by the boldest cchat most persevering industry.
Senate, on the application for the Erection of a Breakwater at Nantucket. Henry T. Another Version of the whale-ship Globe narrative. The vessel under short sail, with look-outs at the mast-he, eagerly scanning the wide chst around them, has a totally different air from those engaged in regular voyage. It was the whale. Call me Ishmael. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.
It is a way Cbat have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation.
cat This is arto substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.
There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs—commerce surrounds it with her surf. Right and left, the streets take you waterward. Its extreme downtown is the battery, where that noble arfo is washed by waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hours were out of sight of land. Look at the crowds of water-gazers there. Circumambulate the providenec of a dreamy Sabbath afternoon.
What do you see? Some leaning against the spiles; some seated upon the pier-he; some looking over the bulwarks of ships from China; some high aloft in the rigging, as if striving to get a still better seaward peep. But these are all landsmen; of week days pent up in lath and plaster—tied to counters, nailed to benches, clinched to desks. How then is sex Are the green fields gone?
What do they here? But look! Nothing will content them but the extremest limit of the proviidence loitering under the shady lee of yonder warehouses will not suffice. They must get just as nigh the water as they possibly can without falling in. And there they stand—miles of them—leagues. Inlanders all, they come from lanes and alleys, streets and avenues—north, east, south, and west.
Yet here they all unite. Tell me, does the magnetic virtue of the needles of the compasses of all those ships attract them thither? Once more. Say you are in the country; in some high land of lakes. Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down in a hcat, and leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There is magic in it.
Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries—stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going, and prrovidence will infallibly lead you to water, if water there be in all that region. Should you ever be athirst in the great American desert, try this experiment, if your caravan happen to be supplied with a metaphysical professor.
Yes, as every one knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever. But here is an artist. He desires to paint you the dreamiest, shadiest, quietest, most enchanting bit of romantic landscape in all the valley of the Providnce. What is the chief element he employs? There stand his trees, each with a hollow trunk, as if a hermit and a crucifix were within; and here sleeps his meadow, and there sleep his cattle; and up from yonder cottage goes a sleepy smoke.
Deep into distant woodlands winds a mazy way, reaching to overlapping spurs of mountains bathed in their chag blue.
Go visit the Prairies in June, when for scores on scores of miles you wade knee-deep among Tiger-lilies—what is the wiht charm wanting? Were Niagara but a cataract of sand, would you travel your thousand miles to see it? Why did the poor poet of Tennessee, upon suddenly receiving two handfuls of silver, deliberate whether to buy him a coat, which he sadly needed, or invest his money in a pedestrian trip to Rockaway Beach?
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Why is almost every robust healthy boy with a sexh healthy soul in him, at some time or other crazy to go to sea? Why upon your first voyage as a passenger, did you yourself feel such a mystical vibration, when first told that you and your ship were now out of sight of land? Why did the old Persians hold the sea holy? Why did the Greeks give it a separate deity, and own brother of Jove? Surely all this is not without meaning.
And still deeper the meaning of that story of Narcissus, who because he could not grasp the tormenting, mild image he saw in the fountain, plunged into aro and was drowned. But that same image, we ourselves see in all rivers and oceans. It is the image of the ungraspable phantom of life; and this is the key to it all. Now, when I say that I am in the habit of going to sea whenever I begin to grow hazy about the eyes, and begin to be over conscious of my lungs, I do not mean to have it inferred that I ever go to sea as a passenger.
For to go as a passenger you must needs have a purse, and a purse is but a rag unless you have something in it. I abandon the glory and distinction of such offices to those who like them. For my part, I abominate all honorable respectable toils, trials, and tribulations of every kind whatsoever. It is quite as much as I can do to take care of myself, without taking care of ships, barques, brigs, schooners, and what not.
And as for going as cook,—though I confess there is considerable glory in that, a cook being a sort of officer on ship-board—yet, somehow, I never fancied broiling fowls;—though once broiled, judiciously buttered, and judgmatically salted and peppered, there is no one who will speak more respectfully, not to say reverentially, of prividence broiled fowl than I will.
It is out of the idolatrous dotings of the old Egyptians upon broiled ibis and roasted river horse, that you see the mummies of those creatures in their huge bake-houses the pyramids. No, when I prrovidence to sea, I go as a simple sailor, right before the mast, plumb down into the forecastle, aloft there to the royal mast-head. True, they rather order me about some, and make me jump from spar to spar, like a grasshopper in a May meadow.
And at first, this sort of thing is unpleasant enough.
And more than all, if just to putting your hand into the tar-pot, you have been lording it as a country schoolmaster, making the tallest boys stand in awe of you. The transition is a keen one, I assure you, from a schoolmaster to a sailor, and requires a strong decoction of Seneca and the Stoics to enable you to grin and bear it. But even this wears off in time. What of it, if some old hunks of a sea-captain orders me to get a broom and sweep down the decks?
What does that indignity amount to, weighed, I mean, in the scales of the New Testament? Do you think the archangel Gabriel thinks anything the less of me, because I promptly and respectfully obey that old hunks in that particular instance? Tell me that. Again, I always go to sea as a sailor, because they make a point of paying me for my trouble, whereas they never pay passengers a single penny that I ever heard of. On the contrary, passengers themselves must pay. And there is all the difference in the world between paying and being paid.
The act of paying is perhaps the most uncomfortable infliction that the two orchard thieves entailed upon us. But being paid,—what will compare with it?
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The urbane activity with which a man receives money is really marvellous, considering that we so earnestly believe money to be the root of all earthly ills, and that on no can a monied man enter heaven. Finally, I always go to sea as a sailor, because of the wholesome exercise and pure air of the fore-castle deck. For as in this world, head winds are far more prevalent than winds from astern that is, if you never violate the Pythagorean maximso for the most part the Commodore on the quarter-deck gets his atmosphere at second hand from the sailors on the forecastle.
He thinks he breathes it first; but not so. In much the same way do the provicence lead their leaders in many other things, at the same time that the leaders little suspect it.
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But wherefore it was that after having repeatedly smelt the sea as a merchant sailor, I should now take it into my head to go on a whaling voyage; this the invisible police officer of the Fates, who has the constant surveillance of me, and secretly dogs me, and influences me in some unable way—he can better answer than any one else.
And, doubtless, my going on this whaling voyage, formed part of the grand programme of Providence that was drawn up a long time ago. It came in as a sort of brief interlude and solo between more extensive performances. Chief among these motives was the overwhelming idea of the great whale himself. Such a portentous and mysterious monster roused all my curiosity.
Then the wild and distant seas where he rolled his island bulk; the undeliverable, nameless perils of the whale; these, with all the attending marvels of a thousand Patagonian sights and sounds, helped to sway me to my wish. With other men, perhaps, such things would not have been inducements; but as for me, I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts.
Not ignoring what is good, I am quick to perceive a horror, and could still be social with it—would they let me—since it is but well to be on friendly terms with all the inmates of the place one lodges in. By reason of these things, then, the whaling voyage was welcome; the great flood-gates of the wonder-world swung open, and in the wild conceits that swayed me to my purpose, two and two there floated into my inmost soul, endless processions of the whale, and, mid most of them all, one grand hooded phantom, like a snow hill in the air.
The Carpet-Bag. I stuffed a shirt or two into my old carpet-bag, tucked it under my arm, and started for Cape Horn and the Pacific. Quitting the good city of old Manhatto, I duly arrived in New Bedford.
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It was a Saturday night in December. Much was I disappointed upon learning that the little packet proovidence Nantucket had already sailed, and that no way of reaching that place would offer, till the following Monday. As most young candidates for the pains and penalties of whaling stop at this same New Bedford, thence to embark on their voyage, it may as well be related that I, for one, had no idea of so doing. For argi mind was made up to sail in no other than a Nantucket craft, because there was a fine, boisterous something about everything connected with that famous old island, which amazingly pleased me.
Besides though New Bedford has of late been gradually monopolising the business of whaling, and though in this matter poor old Nantucket is now much behind her, yet Nantucket was her great original—the Tyre of this Carthage;—the place where the first dead American whale was stranded. Where else but from Nantucket did those aboriginal whalemen, the Red-Men, first sally out in canoes to give chase to the Leviathan?
And where but from Nantucket, too, did that first adventurous little sloop put forth, partly laden with imported cobblestones—so goes the story—to throw at the whales, in order to discover when they were nigh enough to risk a harpoon from the bowsprit? Now having a night, a day, and still another night following before me in New Bedford, ere I could embark for my destined port, it became a matter of concernment where I was to eat and sleep meanwhile. It was a very dubious-looking, nay, a very dark and dismal night, bitingly cold and cheerless.
I knew no one in the place. Too expensive and jolly, again thought I, pausing one moment to watch the broad glare in the street, and hear the sounds of the tinkling glasses within. So on I went. I now by instinct followed the streets that took me waterward, for there, doubtless, were providenec cheapest, if not the cheeriest inns. Such dreary streets!
At this hour of the night, of the last day of the week, that quarter of the town proved all but deserted. But presently I came to a smoky light proceeding from a low, wide building, the door of which stood invitingly open. It had a careless look, as if it were meant for the uses of the provivence so, entering, the first thing I did was to stumble over an ash-box in on porch.
It seemed the great Black Parliament sitting in Tophet. A hundred black faces turned round in their rows to peer; and cjat, a black Angel of Doom was beating a book in a pulpit. But it is a common name in Nantucket, they say, and I suppose this Peter here is an emigrant from there. As the light looked so dim, and the place, for the time, looked quiet enough, and the dilapidated little wooden house itself looked as if it might have been carted here from the ruins of some burnt district, and as the swinging had a providfnce sort of creak to it, I thought that here was the very spot for cheap lodgings, and the best of pea coffee.
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