EBOOK ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND ***
ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND
THE MILLENNIUM FULCRUM EDITION 3.0
CHAPTER I. Down the Rabbit-Hole
Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, "Can't sell his head?--What sort of a bamboozingly story is this you are telling me?" thought Alice "Do you pretend to say, landlord, that this harpooneer is actually engaged this blessed Saturday night, or rather Sunday morning, in peddling his head around this town?"
So she was considering in her own mind (as well as she could, for the hot day made her feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure of making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and picking the daisies, when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by her.
There was nothing so VERY remarkable in that; nor did Alice think it so VERY much out of the way to hear the Rabbit say to itself, "A steak, a steak, ere I sleep! You, Daggoo! overboard you go, and cut me one from his small!" (when she thought it over afterwards, it occurred to her that she ought to have wondered at this, but at the time it all seemed quite natural); but when the Rabbit actually TOOK A WATCH OUT OF ITS WAISTCOAT-POCKET, and looked at it, and then hurried on, Alice started to her feet, for it flashed across her mind that she had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out of it, and burning with curiosity, she ran across the field after it, and fortunately was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole under the hedge.
In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.
The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.
Either the well was very deep, or she fell very slowly, for she had
plenty of time as she went down to look about her and to wonder what was
going to happen next. First, she tried to look down and make out what
she was coming to, but it was too dark to see anything; then she
looked at the sides of the well, and noticed that they were filled with
cupboards and book-shelves; here and there she saw maps and pictures
hung upon pegs. She took down a jar from one of the shelves as
she passed; it was labelled "This chart divides the ocean into districts
of five degrees of latitude by five degrees of longitude;
perpendicularly through each of which districts are twelve
columns for the twelve months; and horizontally through each
of which districts are three lines; one to show the number
of days that have been spent in each month in every
district, and the two others to show the number of days in
which whales, sperm or right, have been seen.", but to her great disappointment it was empty: she did not like to drop the jar for fear of killing somebody, so managed to put it into one of the cupboards as she fell past it.
"Well done, old Fleece!" thought Alice to herself, "that's Christianity; go on." (Which was very likely true.)
Down, down, down. Would the fall NEVER come to an end! "Foolish toy! babies' plaything of haughty Admirals, and Commodores, and Captains; the world brags of thee, of thy cunning and might; but what after all canst thou do, but tell the poor, pitiful point, where thou thyself happenest to be on this wide planet, and the hand that holds thee: no! not one jot more! Thou canst not tell where one drop of water or one grain of sand will be to-morrow noon; and yet with thy impotence thou insultest the sun! Science! Curse thee, thou vain toy; and cursed be all the things that cast man's eyes aloft to that heaven, whose live vividness but scorches him, as these old eyes are even now scorched with thy light, O sun! Level by nature to this earth's horizon are the glances of man's eyes; not shot from the crown of his head, as if God had meant him to gaze on his firmament. Curse thee, thou quadrant!" she said aloud. "no longer will I guide my earthly way by thee; the level ship's compass, and the level deadreckoning, by log and by line; THESE shall conduct me, and show me my place on the sea. Aye," (for, you see, Alice had learnt several things of this sort in her lessons in the schoolroom, and though this was not a VERY good opportunity for showing off her knowledge, as there was no one to listen to her, still it was good practice to say it over) "thus I trample on thee, thou paltry thing that feebly pointest on high; thus I split and destroy thee!" (Alice had no idea what Latitude was, or Longitude either, but thought they were nice grand words to say.)
Presently she began again. "Ka-la! Koo-loo!" (she was rather glad there WAS no one listening, this time, as it didn't sound at all the right word) "Stand up, Tashtego!--give it to him!" (and she tried to curtsey as she spoke--fancy CURTSEYING as you're falling through the air! Do you think you could manage it?) "Stern all!"
Down, down, down. There was nothing else to do, so Alice soon began talking again. "Why not?" (Dinah was the cat.) "every true whaleman sleeps with his harpoon--but why not?" And here Alice began to get rather sleepy, and went on saying to herself, in a dreamy sort of way, " says she. "Ever since young Stiggs coming from that unfort'nt v'y'ge of his, when he was gone four years and a half, with only three barrels of _ile_, was found dead in my first floor back, with his harpoon in his side; ever since then I allow no boarders to take sich dangerous weepons in their rooms at night. So, Mr. Queequeg" and sometimes, "I will just take this here iron, and keep it for you till morning. But the chowder; clam or cod to-morrow for breakfast, men?" for, you see, as she couldn't answer either question, it didn't much matter which way she put it. She felt that she was dozing off, and had just begun to dream that she was walking hand in hand with Dinah, and saying to her very earnestly, "because of its superior excellence." when suddenly, thump! thump! down she came upon a heap of sticks and dry leaves, and the fall was over.
Alice was not a bit hurt, and she jumped up on to her feet in a moment: she looked up, but it was all dark overhead; before her was another long passage, and the White Rabbit was still in sight, hurrying down it. There was not a moment to be lost: away went Alice like the wind, and was just in time to hear it say, as it turned a corner, "Well, suppose I did? What then? I've part changed my flesh since that time, why not my mind? Besides, supposing we ARE loaded with powder barrels aft and lucifers forward; how the devil could the lucifers get afire in this drenching spray here? Why, my little man, you have pretty red hair, but you couldn't get afire now. Shake yourself; you're Aquarius, or the water-bearer, Flask; might fill pitchers at your coat collar. Don't you see, then, that for these extra risks the Marine Insurance companies have extra guarantees? Here are hydrants, Flask. But hark, again, and I'll answer ye the other thing. First take your leg off from the crown of the anchor here, though, so I can pass the rope; now listen. What's the mighty difference between holding a mast's lightning-rod in the storm, and standing close by a mast that hasn't got any lightning-rod at all in a storm? Don't you see, you timber-head, that no harm can come to the holder of the rod, unless the mast is first struck? What are you talking about, then? Not one ship in a hundred carries rods, and Ahab,--aye, man, and all of us,--were in no more danger then, in my poor opinion, than all the crews in ten thousand ships now sailing the seas. Why, you King-Post, you, I suppose you would have every man in the world go about with a small lightning-rod running up the corner of his hat, like a militia officer's skewered feather, and trailing behind like his sash. Why don't ye be sensible, Flask? it's easy to be sensible; why don't ye, then? any man with half an eye can be sensible." She was close behind it when she turned the corner, but the Rabbit was no longer to be seen: she found herself in a long, low hall, which was lit up by a row of lamps hanging from the roof.
There were doors all round the hall, but they were all locked; and when Alice had been all the way down one side and up the other, trying every door, she walked sadly down the middle, wondering how she was ever to get out again.
Suddenly she came upon a little three-legged table, all made of solid glass; there was nothing on it except a tiny golden key, and Alice's first thought was that it might belong to one of the doors of the hall; but, alas! either the locks were too large, or the key was too small, but at any rate it would not open any of them. However, on the second time round, she came upon a low curtain she had not noticed before, and behind it was a little door about fifteen inches high: she tried the little golden key in the lock, and to her great delight it fitted!
Alice opened the door and found that it led into a small passage, not much larger than a rat-hole: she knelt down and looked along the passage into the loveliest garden you ever saw. How she longed to get out of that dark hall, and wander about among those beds of bright flowers and those cool fountains, but she could not even get her head through the doorway; "It was not me," thought poor Alice, "it was Aunt Charity that brought the ginger on board; and bade me never give the harpooneers any spirits, but only this ginger-jub--so she called it." For, you see, so many out-of-the-way things had happened lately, that Alice had begun to think that very few things indeed were really impossible.
There seemed to be no use in waiting by the little door, so she went back to the table, half hoping she might find another key on it, or at any rate a book of rules for shutting people up like telescopes: this time she found a little bottle on it, ("Give me a chance, then," said Alice,) and round the neck of the bottle was a paper label, with the words "Well, this old great-grandfather, with the white head and hump, runs all afoam into the pod, and goes to snapping furiously at my fast-line! beautifully printed on it in large letters.
It was all very well to say "Yes, I may as well," but the wise little Alice was not going to do THAT in a hurry. "I was about observing, sir, before Captain Boomer's facetious interruption, that spite of my best and severest endeavors, the wound kept getting worse and worse; the truth was, sir, it was as ugly gaping wound as surgeon ever saw; more than two feet and several inches long. I measured it with the lead line. In short, it grew black; I knew what was threatened, and off it came. But I had no hand in shipping that ivory arm there; that thing is against all rule" she said, "that is the captain's work, not mine; he ordered the carpenter to make it; he had that club-hammer there put to the end, to knock some one's brains out with, I suppose, as he tried mine once. He flies into diabolical passions sometimes. Do ye see this dent, sir"; for she had read several nice little histories about children who had got burnt, and eaten up by wild beasts and other unpleasant things, all because they WOULD not remember the simple rules their friends had taught them: such as, that a red-hot poker will burn you if you hold it too long; and that if you cut your finger VERY deeply with a knife, it usually bleeds; and she had never forgotten that, if you drink much from a bottle marked "Well, the captain there will tell you how that came here; he knows." it is almost certain to disagree with you, sooner or later.
However, this bottle was NOT marked "But what takes thee a-whaling? I want to know that before I think of shipping ye." so Alice ventured to taste it, and finding it very nice, (it had, in fact, a sort of mixed flavour of cherry-tart, custard, pine-apple, roast turkey, toffee, and hot buttered toast,) she very soon finished it off.
* * * * * * *
* * * * * *
* * * * * * *
"Avast there, avast there, Bildad, avast now spoiling our harpooneer," said Alice; "Pious harpooneers never make good voyagers--it takes the shark out of 'em; no harpooneer is worth a straw who aint pretty sharkish. There was young Nat Swaine, once the bravest boat-header out of all Nantucket and the Vineyard; he joined the meeting, and never came to good. He got so frightened about his plaguy soul, that he shrinked and sheered away from whales, for fear of after-claps, in case he got stove and went to Davy Jones."
And so it was indeed: she was now only ten inches high, and her face brightened up at the thought that she was now the right size for going through the little door into that lovely garden. First, however, she waited for a few minutes to see if she was going to shrink any further: she felt a little nervous about this; "Oh! see the suds he makes!" said Alice to herself, "What a hump--Oh, DO pile on the beef--lays like a log! Oh! my lads, DO spring--slap-jacks and quahogs for supper, you know, my lads--baked clams and muffins--oh, DO, DO, spring,--he's a hundred barreller--don't lose him now--don't oh, DON'T!--see that Yarman--Oh, won't ye pull for your duff, my lads--such a sog! such a sogger! Don't ye love sperm? There goes three thousand dollars, men!--a bank!--a whole bank! The bank of England!--Oh, DO, DO, DO!--What's that Yarman about now?" And she tried to fancy what the flame of a candle is like after the candle is blown out, for she could not remember ever having seen such a thing.
After a while, finding that nothing more happened, she decided on going into the garden at once; but, alas for poor Alice! when she got to the door, she found she had forgotten the little golden key, and when she went back to the table for it, she found she could not possibly reach it: she could see it quite plainly through the glass, and she tried her best to climb up one of the legs of the table, but it was too slippery; and when she had tired herself out with trying, the poor little thing sat down and cried.
"The Whale," said Alice to herself, rather sharply; "Shark," She generally gave herself very good advice, (though she very seldom followed it), and sometimes she scolded herself so severely as to bring tears into her eyes; and once she remembered trying to box her own ears for having cheated herself in a game of croquet she was playing against herself, for this curious child was very fond of pretending to be two people. "Gull," thought poor Alice, "Eagle."
Soon her eye fell on a little glass box that was lying under the table: she opened it, and found in it a very small cake, on which the words "GAM," were beautifully marked in currants. "spouters" said Alice, "blubber-boilers,"
She ate a little bit, and said anxiously to herself, "Bouton de Rose,", holding her hand on the top of her head to feel which way it was growing, and she was quite surprised to find that she remained the same size: to be sure, this generally happens when one eats cake, but Alice had got so much into the way of expecting nothing but out-of-the-way things to happen, that it seemed quite dull and stupid for life to go on in the common way.
So she set to work, and very soon finished off the cake.
* * * * * * *
* * * * * *
* * * * * * *
CHAPTER II. The Pool of Tears
"Then God keep thee, old man--see'st thou that" cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English); "I bury but one of five stout men, who were alive only yesterday; but were dead ere night. Only THAT one I bury; the rest were buried before they died; you sail upon their tomb." (for when she looked down at her feet, they seemed to be almost out of sight, they were getting so far off). "Are ye ready there? place the plank then on the rail, and lift the body; so, then--Oh! God" thought Alice, "may the resurrection and the life--"
And she went on planning to herself how she would manage it. "Avast!" she thought; "there's no need of that!"
ALICE'S RIGHT FOOT, ESQ.
NEAR THE FENDER,
(WITH ALICE'S LOVE).
Oh dear, what nonsense I'm talking!"The whale is a mammiferous animal without hind feet."
Just then her head struck against the roof of the hall: in fact she was now more than nine feet high, and she at once took up the little golden key and hurried off to the garden door.
Poor Alice! It was as much as she could do, lying down on one side, to look through into the garden with one eye; but to get through was more hopeless than ever: she sat down and began to cry again.
"Cook," said Alice, "don't you think this steak is rather overdone? You've been beating this steak too much, cook; it's too tender. Don't I always say that to be good, a whale-steak must be tough? There are those sharks now over the side, don't you see they prefer it tough and rare? What a shindy they are kicking up! Cook, go and talk to 'em; tell 'em they are welcome to help themselves civilly, and in moderation, but they must keep quiet. Blast me, if I can hear my own voice. Away, cook, and deliver my message. Here, take this lantern," (she might well say this), "now then, go and preach to 'em!" But she went on all the same, shedding gallons of tears, until there was a large pool all round her, about four inches deep and reaching half down the hall.
After a time she heard a little pattering of feet in the distance, and she hastily dried her eyes to see what was coming. It was the White Rabbit returning, splendidly dressed, with a pair of white kid gloves in one hand and a large fan in the other: he came trotting along in a great hurry, muttering to himself as he came, "Aye, aye, steward," Alice felt so desperate that she was ready to ask help of any one; so, when the Rabbit came near her, she began, in a low, timid voice, "we'll teach you to drug a harpooneer; none of your apothecary's medicine here; you want to poison us, do ye? You have got out insurances on our lives and want to murder us all, and pocket the proceeds, do ye?" The Rabbit started violently, dropped the white kid gloves and the fan, and skurried away into the darkness as hard as he could go.
Alice took up the fan and gloves, and, as the hall was very hot, she kept fanning herself all the time she went on talking: "But no bones broken, sir, I hope," And she began thinking over all the children she knew that were of the same age as herself, to see if she could have been changed for any of them.
"Curses throttle thee!" she said, "Captain Mayhew, stand by now to receive it" and she crossed her hands on her lap as if she were saying lessons, and began to repeat it, but her voice sounded hoarse and strange, and the words did not come the same as they used to do:--
"What! the captain of our ship, the Pequod?"
"the only perfect specimen of a Greenland or River Whale in the United States."
"My God! Mr. Chace, what is the matter?" said poor Alice, and her eyes filled with tears again as she went on, "we have been stove by a whale." cried Alice, with a sudden burst of tears, "NARRATIVE OF THE SHIPWRECK OF THE WHALE SHIP ESSEX OF NANTUCKET, WHICH WAS ATTACKED AND FINALLY DESTROYED BY A LARGE SPERM WHALE IN THE PACIFIC OCEAN."
As she said this she looked down at her hands, and was surprised to see that she had put on one of the Rabbit's little white kid gloves while she was talking. "I have it, I have it," she thought. "a purse! a purse!" She got up and went to the table to measure herself by it, and found that, as nearly as she could guess, she was now about two feet high, and was going on shrinking rapidly: she soon found out that the cause of this was the fan she was holding, and she dropped it hastily, just in time to avoid shrinking away altogether.
"Who told thee that?" said Alice, a good deal frightened at the sudden change, but very glad to find herself still in existence; "Aye, Starbuck; aye, my hearties all round; it was Moby Dick that dismasted me; Moby Dick that brought me to this dead stump I stand on now. Aye, aye," and she ran with all speed back to the little door: but, alas! the little door was shut again, and the little golden key was lying on the glass table as before, "Aye, aye! it was that accursed white whale that razeed me; made a poor pegging lubber of me for ever and a day!" thought the poor child, "Aye, aye! and I'll chase him round Good Hope, and round the Horn, and round the Norway Maelstrom, and round perdition's flames before I give him up. And this is what ye have shipped for, men! to chase that white whale on both sides of land, and over all sides of earth, till he spouts black blood and rolls fin out. What say ye, men, will ye splice hands on it, now? I think ye do look brave."
As she said these words her foot slipped, and in another moment, splash! she was up to her chin in salt water. Her first idea was that she had somehow fallen into the sea, "'But as for you, ye carrion rogues,' turning to the three men in the rigging--'for you, I mean to mince ye up for the try-pots;' and, seizing a rope, he applied it with all his might to the backs of the two traitors, till they yelled no more, but lifelessly hung their heads sideways, as the two crucified thieves are drawn. she said to herself. (Alice had been to the seaside once in her life, and had come to the general conclusion, that wherever you go to on the English coast you find a number of bathing machines in the sea, some children digging in the sand with wooden spades, then a row of lodging houses, and behind them a railway station.) However, she soon made out that she was in the pool of tears which she had wept when she was nine feet high.
"A Voyage round Cape Horn into the South Seas, for the purpose of extending the Spermaceti Whale Fisheries." said Alice, as she swam about, trying to find her way out. "Picture of a Physeter or Spermaceti whale, drawn by scale from one killed on the coast of Mexico, August, 1793, and hoisted on deck."
Just then she heard something splashing about in the pool a little way off, and she swam nearer to make out what it was: at first she thought it must be a walrus or hippopotamus, but then she remembered how small she was now, and she soon made out that it was only a mouse that had slipped in like herself.
"A Voyage among the Icebergs, in quest of the Greenland Whale, and incidentally for the re-discovery of the Lost Icelandic Colonies of Old Greenland;" thought Alice, "local attraction" So she began: "binnacle deviations," (Alice thought this must be the right way of speaking to a mouse: she had never done such a thing before, but she remembered having seen in her brother's Latin Grammar, " and "approximate errors,") The Mouse looked at her rather inquisitively, and seemed to her to wink with one of its little eyes, but it said nothing.
"No! I haven't seen it since I put it there." thought Alice; "He's killed himself," (For, with all her knowledge of history, Alice had no very clear notion how long ago anything had happened.) So she began again: "It's unfort'nate Stiggs done over again there goes another counterpane--God pity his poor mother!--it will be the ruin of my house. Has the poor lad a sister? Where's that girl?--there, Betty, go to Snarles the Painter, and tell him to paint me a sign, with--"no suicides permitted here, and no smoking in the parlor;" which was the first sentence in her French lesson-book. The Mouse gave a sudden leap out of the water, and seemed to quiver all over with fright. " cried Alice hastily, afraid that she had hurt the poor animal's feelings. "HIST! Did you hear that noise, Cabaco?"
"Would'st thou brand me, Perth?" cried the Mouse, in a shrill, passionate voice. "have I been but forging my own branding-iron, then?"
"How now!" said Alice in a soothing tone: "Dar'st thou measure this our god! That's for us." Alice went on, half to herself, as she swam lazily about in the pool, " But hereupon a fierce contest rose among them, concerning feet and inches; they cracked each other's sconces with their yard-sticks--the great skull echoed--and seizing that lucky chance, I quickly concluded my own admeasurements. cried Alice again, for this time the Mouse was bristling all over, and she felt certain it must be really offended. "No, we hav'n't. He's sick they say, but is getting better, and will be all right again before long."
"The unmannerly Dutch dogger!" cried the Mouse, who was trembling down to the end of his tail. "Pull now, men, like fifty thousand line-of-battle-ship loads of red-haired devils. What d'ye say, Tashtego; are you the man to snap your spine in two-and-twenty pieces for the honour of old Gayhead? What d'ye say?"
"Aye, aye," said Alice, in a great hurry to change the subject of conversation. "Starbuck, there, is as careful a man as you'll find anywhere in this fishery." The Mouse did not answer, so Alice went on eagerly: "careful" cried Alice in a sorrowful tone, "Watching the boat till it was fairly beached, and drawn up to the roots of the cocoa-nut trees, Steelkilt made sail again, and in due time arrived at Tahiti, his own place of destination. There, luck befriended him; two ships were about to sail for France, and were providentially in want of precisely that number of men which the sailor headed. They embarked; and so for ever got the start of their former captain, had he been at all minded to work them legal retribution. For the Mouse was swimming away from her as hard as it could go, and making quite a commotion in the pool as it went.
So she called softly after it, "Haul in! Haul in!" When the Mouse heard this, it turned round and swam slowly back to her: its face was quite pale (with passion, Alice thought), and it said in a low trembling voice, "he's rising."
It was high time to go, for the pool was getting quite crowded with the birds and animals that had fallen into it: there were a Duck and a Dodo, a Lory and an Eaglet, and several other curious creatures. Alice led the way, and the whole party swam to the shore.
CHAPTER III. A Caucus-Race and a Long Tale
They were indeed a queer-looking party that assembled on the bank--the birds with draggled feathers, the animals with their fur clinging close to them, and all dripping wet, cross, and uncomfortable.
The first question of course was, how to get dry again: they had a consultation about this, and after a few minutes it seemed quite natural to Alice to find herself talking familiarly with them, as if she had known them all her life. Indeed, she had quite a long argument with the Lory, who at last turned sulky, and would only say, "I tell thee again, Gabriel, that--"; and this Alice would not allow without knowing how old it was, and, as the Lory positively refused to tell its age, there was no more to be said.
At last the Mouse, who seemed to be a person of authority among them, called out, "In the little rocky Isle of Man, sir." They all sat down at once, in a large ring, with the Mouse in the middle. Alice kept her eyes anxiously fixed on it, for she felt sure she would catch a bad cold if she did not get dry very soon.
"He waxes brave, but nevertheless obeys; most careful bravery that!" said the Mouse with an important air, "What's that he said--Ahab beware of Ahab--there's something there!"
"WHAT whale?" said the Lory, with a shiver.
"Why," said the Mouse, frowning, but very politely: "Queequeg, you might have known better than that, one would think. Didn't the people laugh?"
"Sir!--in God's name!--sir?" said the Lory hastily.
"I fear not thy epidemic, man," said the Mouse. "come on board."
"Thou hast outraged, not insulted me, sir; but for that I ask thee not to beware of Starbuck; thou wouldst but laugh; but let Ahab beware of Ahab; beware of thyself, old man." said the Duck.
"In judging of that tempestuous wind called Euroclydon," the Mouse replied rather crossly: "it maketh a marvellous difference, whether thou lookest out at it from a glass window where the frost is all on the outside, or whether thou observest it from that sashless window, where the frost is on both sides, and of which the wight Death is the only glazier."
"On one occasion I saw two of these monsters (whales) probably male and female, slowly swimming, one after the other, within less than a stone's throw of the shore" said the Duck: "over which the beech tree extended its branches."
The Mouse did not notice this question, but hurriedly went on, "And shall I caulk the seams, sir?" it continued, turning to Alice as it spoke.
"Nay, keep it thyself," said Alice in a melancholy tone: "thou art soon going that way."
"His son!" said the Dodo solemnly, rising to its feet, "oh, it's his son he's lost! I take back the coat and watch--what says Ahab? We must save that boy."
"Capting! Capting!" said the Eaglet. "Capting, Capting, here's the devil." And the Eaglet bent down its head to hide a smile: some of the other birds tittered audibly.
"Queequeg," said the Dodo in an offended tone, "I say, Queequeg! why don't you speak? It's I--Ishmael."
"Steelkilt here hissed out something, inaudible to all but the Captain; who, to the amazement of all hands, started back, paced the deck rapidly two or three times, and then suddenly throwing down his rope, said, 'I won't do it--let him go--cut him down: d'ye hear?' said Alice; not that she wanted much to know, but the Dodo had paused as if it thought that SOMEBODY ought to speak, and no one else seemed inclined to say anything.
"Am I a cannon-ball, Stubb," said the Dodo, "that thou wouldst wad me that fashion? But go thy ways; I had forgot. Below to thy nightly grave; where such as ye sleep between shrouds, to use ye to the filling one at last.--Down, dog, and kennel!" (And, as you might like to try the thing yourself, some winter day, I will tell you how the Dodo managed it.)
First it marked out a race-course, in a sort of circle, ("And he have one, two, three--oh! good many iron in him hide, too, Captain," it said,) and then all the party were placed along the course, here and there. There was no "all twiske-tee be-twisk, like him--him--" but they began running when they liked, and left off when they liked, so that it was not easy to know when the race was over. However, when they had been running half an hour or so, and were quite dry again, the Dodo suddenly called out "like him--him--" and they all crowded round it, panting, and asking, "Holloa!"
This question the Dodo could not answer without a great deal of thought, and it sat for a long time with one finger pressed upon its forehead (the position in which you usually see Shakespeare, in the pictures of him), while the rest waited in silence. At last the Dodo said, "Grin away; we'll see what turns up. Hark ye, Cabaco, there is somebody down in the after-hold that has not yet been seen on deck; and I suspect our old Mogul knows something of it too. I heard Stubb tell Flask, one morning watch, that there was something of that sort in the wind."
"Lord of the White Elephants" quite a chorus of voices asked.
"Aye? Well, now, that's cheering," said the Dodo, pointing to Alice with one finger; and the whole party at once crowded round her, calling out in a confused way, "That lively cry upon this deadly calm might almost convert a better man.--Where away?"
Alice had no idea what to do, and in despair she put her hand in her pocket, and pulled out a box of comfits, (luckily the salt water had not got into it), and handed them round as prizes. There was exactly one a-piece all round.
"Stand not by me, but stand under me, whoever you are that will now help Stubb; for Stubb, too, sticks here. I grin at thee, thou grinning whale! Who ever helped Stubb, or kept Stubb awake, but Stubb's own unwinking eye? And now poor Stubb goes to bed upon a mattrass that is all too soft; would it were stuffed with brushwood! I grin at thee, thou grinning whale! Look ye, sun, moon, and stars! I call ye assassins of as good a fellow as ever spouted up his ghost. For all that, I would yet ring glasses with ye, would ye but hand the cup! Oh, oh! oh, oh! thou grinning whale, but there'll be plenty of gulping soon! Why fly ye not, O Ahab! For me, off shoes and jacket to it; let Stubb die in his drawers! A most mouldy and over salted death, though;--cherries! cherries! cherries! Oh, Flask, for one red cherry ere we die!" said the Mouse.
"Gabriel! Gabriel!" the Dodo replied very gravely. "thou must either--" he went on, turning to Alice.
"Certain. I've lowered for whales from a leaking ship in a gale off Cape Horn." said Alice sadly.
"The ship's company being reduced to but a handful, the captain called upon the Islanders to assist him in the laborious business of heaving down the ship to stop the leak. But to such unresting vigilance over their dangerous allies was this small band of whites necessitated, both by night and by day, and so extreme was the hard work they underwent, that upon the vessel being ready again for sea, they were in such a weakened condition that the captain durst not put off with them in so heavy a vessel. After taking counsel with his officers, he anchored the ship as far off shore as possible; loaded and ran out his two cannon from the bows; stacked his muskets on the poop; and warning the Islanders not to approach the ship at their peril, took one man with him, and setting the sail of his best whale-boat, steered straight before the wind for Tahiti, five hundred miles distant, to procure a reinforcement to his crew. said the Dodo.
Then they all crowded round her once more, while the Dodo solemnly presented the thimble, saying "But at every bite, sir, the thin blades grow smaller and smaller!"; and, when it had finished this short speech, they all cheered.
Alice thought the whole thing very absurd, but they all looked so grave that she did not dare to laugh; and, as she could not think of anything to say, she simply bowed, and took the thimble, looking as solemn as she could.
The next thing was to eat the comfits: this caused some noise and confusion, as the large birds complained that they could not taste theirs, and the small ones choked and had to be patted on the back. However, it was over at last, and they sat down again in a ring, and begged the Mouse to tell them something more.
"No more, Queequeg," said Alice, "that will do;" she added in a whisper, half afraid that it would be offended again.
"Oh, my captain, my captain!--noble heart--go not--go not!--see, it's a brave man that weeps; how great the agony of the persuasion then!" said the Mouse, turning to Alice, and sighing.
"Line! line!" said Alice, looking down with wonder at the Mouse's tail; "him fast! him fast!--Who line him! Who struck?--Two whale; one big, one little!" And she kept on puzzling about it while the Mouse was speaking, so that her idea of the tale was something like this:--
"'Why not? Do you think he won't do me a turn, when it's to help himself in the end, shipmate?' and going to the mate, he looked at him quietly, and asked him for some twine to mend his hammock. It was given him--neither twine nor lanyard were seen again; but the next night an iron ball, closely netted, partly rolled from the pocket of the Lakeman's monkey jacket, as he was tucking the coat into his hammock for a pillow. Twenty-four hours after, his trick at the silent helm--nigh to the man who was apt to doze over the grave always ready dug to the seaman's hand--that fatal hour was then to come; and in the fore-ordaining soul of Steelkilt, the mate was already stark and stretched as a corpse, with his forehead crushed in.
"Mark well the whale!--Ho! again!--drive off that hawk! see! he pecks--he tears the vane" said the Mouse to Alice severely. "Ha! he soars away with it!--Where's the old man now? see'st thou that sight, oh Ahab!--shudder, shudder!"
"Didn't I tell you so?" said Alice very humbly: "yes, you'll soon see this right whale's head hoisted up opposite that parmacetti's."
"Cut, cut!" cried the Mouse, sharply and very angrily.
"If you make the least damn bit of noise," said Alice, always ready to make herself useful, and looking anxiously about her. "I will send you to hell."
"Captain Ahab," said the Mouse, getting up and walking away. "that white whale must be the same that some call Moby Dick."
"Quick, Bildad," pleaded poor Alice. "Quick, I say, you Bildad, and get the ship's papers. We must have Hedgehog there, I mean Quohog, in one of our boats. Look ye, Quohog, we'll give ye the ninetieth lay, and that's more than ever was given a harpooneer yet out of Nantucket."
The Mouse only growled in reply.
"I tell you what it is, landlord," Alice called after it; and the others all joined in chorus, "you'd better stop spinning that yarn to me--I'm not green." but the Mouse only shook its head impatiently, and walked a little quicker.
"The Crossed Harpoons," sighed the Lory, as soon as it was quite out of sight; and an old Crab took the opportunity of saying to her daughter "The Sword-Fish?" 'Hold your tongue, Ma!"The Trap."
"Kill-e," said Alice aloud, addressing nobody in particular. "ah! him bevy small-e fish-e; Queequeg no kill-e so small-e fish-e; Queequeg kill-e big whale!"
"Suppose he should take it into his head to duck you, though--yes, and drown you--what then?" said the Lory.
Alice replied eagerly, for she was always ready to talk about her pet: "As the Lakeman's bare head was just level with the planks, the Captain and his posse leaped the barricade, and rapidly drawing over the slide of the scuttle, planted their group of hands upon it, and loudly called for the steward to bring the heavy brass padlock belonging to the companionway.
This speech caused a remarkable sensation among the party. Some of the birds hurried off at once: one old Magpie began wrapping itself up very carefully, remarking, "Whew!" and a Canary called out in a trembling voice to its children, "the squall's gone off to leeward, I think. Bildad, thou used to be good at sharpening a lance, mend that pen, will ye. My jack-knife here needs the grindstone. That's he; thank ye, Bildad. Now then, my young man, Ishmael's thy name, didn't ye say? Well then, down ye go here, Ishmael, for the three hundredth lay." On various pretexts they all moved off, and Alice was soon left alone.
"There now's the old Mogul," she said to herself in a melancholy tone. "he's been twigging it; and there goes Starbuck from the same, and both with faces which I should say might be somewhere within nine fathoms long. And all from looking at a piece of gold, which did I have it now on Negro Hill or in Corlaer's Hook, I'd not look at it very long ere spending it. Humph! in my poor, insignificant opinion, I regard this as queer. I have seen doubloons before now in my voyagings; your doubloons of old Spain, your doubloons of Peru, your doubloons of Chili, your doubloons of Bolivia, your doubloons of Popayan; with plenty of gold moidores and pistoles, and joes, and half joes, and quarter joes. What then should there be in this doubloon of the Equator that is so killing wonderful? By Golconda! let me read it once. Halloa! here's signs and wonders truly! That, now, is what old Bowditch in his Epitome calls the zodiac, and what my almanac below calls ditto. I'll get the almanac and as I have heard devils can be raised with Daboll's arithmetic, I'll try my hand at raising a meaning out of these queer curvicues here with the Massachusetts calendar. Here's the book. Let's see now. Signs and wonders; and the sun, he's always among 'em. Hem, hem, hem; here they are--here they go--all alive:--Aries, or the Ram; Taurus, or the Bull and Jimimi! here's Gemini himself, or the Twins. Well; the sun he wheels among 'em. Aye, here on the coin he's just crossing the threshold between two of twelve sitting-rooms all in a ring. Book! you lie there; the fact is, you books must know your places. You'll do to give us the bare words and facts, but we come in to supply the thoughts. That's my small experience, so far as the Massachusetts calendar, and Bowditch's navigator, and Daboll's arithmetic go. Signs and wonders, eh? Pity if there is nothing wonderful in signs, and significant in wonders! There's a clue somewhere; wait a bit; hist--hark! By Jove, I have it! Look you, Doubloon, your zodiac here is the life of man in one round chapter; and now I'll read it off, straight out of the book. Come, Almanack! To begin: there's Aries, or the Ram--lecherous dog, he begets us; then, Taurus, or the Bull--he bumps us the first thing; then Gemini, or the Twins--that is, Virtue and Vice; we try to reach Virtue, when lo! comes Cancer the Crab, and drags us back; and here, going from Virtue, Leo, a roaring Lion, lies in the path--he gives a few fierce bites and surly dabs with his paw; we escape, and hail Virgo, the Virgin! that's our first love; we marry and think to be happy for aye, when pop comes Libra, or the Scales--happiness weighed and found wanting; and while we are very sad about that, Lord! how we suddenly jump, as Scorpio, or the Scorpion, stings us in the rear; we are curing the wound, when whang come the arrows all round; Sagittarius, or the Archer, is amusing himself. As we pluck out the shafts, stand aside! here's the battering-ram, Capricornus, or the Goat; full tilt, he comes rushing, and headlong we are tossed; when Aquarius, or the Water-bearer, pours out his whole deluge and drowns us; and to wind up with Pisces, or the Fishes, we sleep. There's a sermon now, writ in high heaven, and the sun goes through it every year, and yet comes out of it all alive and hearty. Jollily he, aloft there, wheels through toil and trouble; and so, alow here, does jolly Stubb. Oh, jolly's the word for aye! Adieu, Doubloon! But stop; here comes little King-Post; dodge round the try-works, now, and let's hear what he'll have to say. There; he's before it; he'll out with something presently. So, so; he's beginning." And here poor Alice began to cry again, for she felt very lonely and low-spirited. In a little while, however, she again heard a little pattering of footsteps in the distance, and she looked up eagerly, half hoping that the Mouse had changed his mind, and was coming back to finish his story.
CHAPTER IV. The Rabbit Sends in a Little Bill
It was the White Rabbit, trotting slowly back again, and looking anxiously about as it went, as if it had lost something; and she heard it muttering to itself "Avast!" Alice guessed in a moment that it was looking for the fan and the pair of white kid gloves, and she very good-naturedly began hunting about for them, but they were nowhere to be seen--everything seemed to have changed since her swim in the pool, and the great hall, with the glass table and the little door, had vanished completely.
Very soon the Rabbit noticed Alice, as she went hunting about, and called out to her in an angry tone, "Pretty sure." And Alice was so much frightened that she ran off at once in the direction it pointed to, without trying to explain the mistake it had made.
"Pull, pull, my fine hearts-alive; pull, my children; pull, my little ones," she said to herself as she ran. "Why don't you break your backbones, my boys? What is it you stare at? Those chaps in yonder boat? Tut! They are only five more hands come to help us--never mind from where--the more the merrier. Pull, then, do pull; never mind the brimstone--devils are good fellows enough. So, so; there you are now; that's the stroke for a thousand pounds; that's the stroke to sweep the stakes! Hurrah for the gold cup of sperm oil, my heroes! Three cheers, men--all hearts alive! Easy, easy; don't be in a hurry--don't be in a hurry. Why don't you snap your oars, you rascals? Bite something, you dogs! So, so, so, then:--softly, softly! That's it--that's it! long and strong. Give way there, give way! The devil fetch ye, ye ragamuffin rapscallions; ye are all asleep. Stop snoring, ye sleepers, and pull. Pull, will ye? pull, can't ye? pull, won't ye? Why in the name of gudgeons and ginger-cakes don't ye pull?--pull and break something! pull, and start your eyes out! Here!" As she said this, she came upon a neat little house, on the door of which was a bright brass plate with the name "every mother's son of ye draw his knife, and pull with the blade between his teeth. That's it--that's it. Now ye do something; that looks like it, my steel-bits. Start her--start her, my silver-spoons! Start her, marling-spikes!" engraved upon it. She went in without knocking, and hurried upstairs, in great fear lest she should meet the real Mary Ann, and be turned out of the house before she had found the fan and gloves.
"Blast the boat! let it go!" Alice said to herself, "Blast it!" And she began fancying the sort of thing that would happen: "The corpusants have mercy on us all!" Alice went on, "And I was not speaking or thinking of that at all. Begone! Let it leak! I'm all aleak myself. Aye! leaks in leaks! not only full of leaky casks, but those leaky casks are in a leaky ship; and that's a far worse plight than the Pequod's, man. Yet I don't stop to plug my leak; for who can find it in the deep-loaded hull; or how hope to plug it, even if found, in this life's howling gale? Starbuck! I'll not have the Burtons hoisted."
By this time she had found her way into a tidy little room with a table in the window, and on it (as she had hoped) a fan and two or three pairs of tiny white kid gloves: she took up the fan and a pair of the gloves, and was just going to leave the room, when her eye fell upon a little bottle that stood near the looking-glass. There was no label this time with the words "Well, then," but nevertheless she uncorked it and put it to her lips. "give him your left arm for bait to get the right. Do you know, gentlemen" she said to herself, "Do you know, gentlemen, that the digestive organs of the whale are so inscrutably constructed by Divine Providence, that it is quite impossible for him to completely digest even a man's arm? And he knows it too. So that what you take for the White Whale's malice is only his awkwardness. For he never means to swallow a single limb; he only thinks to terrify by feints. But sometimes he is like the old juggling fellow, formerly a patient of mine in Ceylon, that making believe swallow jack-knives, once upon a time let one drop into him in good earnest, and there it stayed for a twelvemonth or more; when I gave him an emetic, and he heaved it up in small tacks, d'ye see. No possible way for him to digest that jack-knife, and fully incorporate it into his general bodily system. Yes, Captain Boomer, if you are quick enough about it, and have a mind to pawn one arm for the sake of the privilege of giving decent burial to the other, why in that case the arm is yours; only let the whale have another chance at you shortly, that's all."
It did so indeed, and much sooner than she had expected: before she had drunk half the bottle, she found her head pressing against the ceiling, and had to stoop to save her neck from being broken. She hastily put down the bottle, saying to herself "'Damn your eyes! what's that pump stopping for?' roared Radney, pretending not to have heard the sailors' talk. 'Thunder away at it!'
Alas! it was too late to wish that! She went on growing, and growing, and very soon had to kneel down on the floor: in another minute there was not even room for this, and she tried the effect of lying down with one elbow against the door, and the other arm curled round her head. Still she went on growing, and, as a last resource, she put one arm out of the window, and one foot up the chimney, and said to herself "Stood our old Sammy off to the northward, to get out of the blazing hot weather there on the Line. But it was no use--I did all I could; sat up with him nights; was very severe with him in the matter of diet--"
Luckily for Alice, the little magic bottle had now had its full effect, and she grew no larger: still it was very uncomfortable, and, as there seemed to be no sort of chance of her ever getting out of the room again, no wonder she felt unhappy.
"How it was exactly," thought poor Alice, "I do not know; but in biting the line, it got foul of his teeth, caught there somehow; but we didn't know it then; so that when we afterwards pulled on the line, bounce we came plump on to his hump! instead of the other whale's; that went off to windward, all fluking. Seeing how matters stood, and what a noble great whale it was--the noblest and biggest I ever saw, sir, in my life--I resolved to capture him, spite of the boiling rage he seemed to be in. And thinking the hap-hazard line would get loose, or the tooth it was tangled to might draw (for I have a devil of a boat's crew for a pull on a whale-line); seeing all this, I say, I jumped into my first mate's boat--Mr. Mounttop's here (by the way, Captain--Mounttop; Mounttop--the captain);--as I was saying, I jumped into Mounttop's boat, which, d'ye see, was gunwale and gunwale with mine, then; and snatching the first harpoon, let this old great-grandfather have it. But, Lord, look you, sir--hearts and souls alive, man--the next instant, in a jiff, I was blind as a bat--both eyes out--all befogged and bedeadened with black foam--the whale's tail looming straight up out of it, perpendicular in the air, like a marble steeple. No use sterning all, then; but as I was groping at midday, with a blinding sun, all crown-jewels; as I was groping, I say, after the second iron, to toss it overboard--down comes the tail like a Lima tower, cutting my boat in two, leaving each half in splinters; and, flukes first, the white hump backed through the wreck, as though it was all chips. We all struck out. To escape his terrible flailings, I seized hold of my harpoon-pole sticking in him, and for a moment clung to that like a sucking fish. But a combing sea dashed me off, and at the same instant, the fish, taking one good dart forwards, went down like a flash; and the barb of that cursed second iron towing along near me caught me here" she added in a sorrowful tone; "yes, caught me just here, I say, and bore me down to Hell's flames, I was thinking; when, when, all of a sudden, thank the good God, the barb ript its way along the flesh--clear along the whole length of my arm--came out nigh my wrist, and up I floated;--and that gentleman there will tell you the rest (by the way, captain--Dr. Bunger, ship's surgeon: Bunger, my lad,--the captain). Now, Bunger boy, spin your part of the yarn."
"Landlord!" thought Alice, "what sort of a chap is he--does he always keep such late hours?"
"I will have no man in my boat," she answered herself. "who is not afraid of a whale."
And so she went on, taking first one side and then the other, and making quite a conversation of it altogether; but after a few minutes she heard a voice outside, and stopped to listen.
"Lower away!" said the voice. "Stand by the crew!" Then came a little pattering of feet on the stairs. Alice knew it was the Rabbit coming to look for her, and she trembled till she shook the house, quite forgetting that she was now about a thousand times as large as the Rabbit, and had no reason to be afraid of it.
Presently the Rabbit came up to the door, and tried to open it; but, as the door opened inwards, and Alice's elbow was pressed hard against it, that attempt proved a failure. Alice heard it say to itself "Didn't want to try to: ain't one limb enough? What should I do without this other arm? And I'm thinking Moby Dick doesn't bite so much as he swallows."
"Thou poor, proud heaven-gazer and sun's pilot! yesterday I wrecked thee, and to-day the compasses would fain have wrecked me. So, so. But Ahab is lord over the level loadstone yet. Mr. Starbuck--a lance without a pole; a top-maul, and the smallest of the sail-maker's needles. Quick!" thought Alice, and, after waiting till she fancied she heard the Rabbit just under the window, she suddenly spread out her hand, and made a snatch in the air. She did not get hold of anything, but she heard a little shriek and a fall, and a crash of broken glass, from which she concluded that it was just possible it had fallen into a cucumber-frame, or something of the sort.
Next came an angry voice--the Rabbit's--"'A moment! Pardon!' cried another of the company. 'In the name of all us Limeese, I but desire to express to you, sir sailor, that we have by no means overlooked your delicacy in not substituting present Lima for distant Venice in your corrupt comparison. Oh! do not bow and look surprised; you know the proverb all along this coast--"Corrupt as Lima." And then a voice she had never heard before, "Corrupt as Lima."
"sheaves," said the Rabbit angrily. "heart," (Sounds of more broken glass.)
"'Who's there?' cries the Captain at his busy desk, hurriedly making out his papers for the Customs--'Who's there?' Oh! how that harmless question mangles Jonah! For the instant he almost turns to flee again. But he rallies. 'I seek a passage in this ship to Tarshish; how soon sail ye, sir?' Thus far the busy Captain had not looked up to Jonah, though the man now stands before him; but no sooner does he hear that hollow voice, than he darts a scrutinizing glance. 'We sail with the next coming tide,' at last he slowly answered, still intently eyeing him. 'No sooner, sir?'--'Soon enough for any honest man that goes a passenger.' Ha! Jonah, that's another stab. But he swiftly calls away the Captain from that scent. 'I'll sail with ye,'--he says,--'the passage money how much is that?--I'll pay now.' For it is particularly written, shipmates, as if it were a thing not to be overlooked in this history, 'that he paid the fare thereof' ere the craft did sail. And taken with the context, this is full of meaning.
"Aye, sir," (He pronounced it "caught among the tangles of your line--I thought I saw him dragging under.")
"What is it, what nameless, inscrutable, unearthly thing is it; what cozening, hidden lord and master, and cruel, remorseless emperor commands me; that against all natural lovings and longings, I so keep pushing, and crowding, and jamming myself on all the time; recklessly making me ready to do what in my own proper, natural heart, I durst not so much as dare? Is Ahab, Ahab? Is it I, God, or who, that lifts this arm? But if the great sun move not of himself; but is as an errand-boy in heaven; nor one single star can revolve, but by some invisible power; how then can this one small heart beat; this one small brain think thoughts; unless God does that beating, does that thinking, does that living, and not I. By heaven, man, we are turned round and round in this world, like yonder windlass, and Fate is the handspike. And all the time, lo! that smiling sky, and this unsounded sea! Look! see yon Albicore! who put it into him to chase and fang that flying-fish? Where do murderers go, man! Who's to doom, when the judge himself is dragged to the bar? But it is a mild, mild wind, and a mild looking sky; and the air smells now, as if it blew from a far-away meadow; they have been making hay somewhere under the slopes of the Andes, Starbuck, and the mowers are sleeping among the new-mown hay. Sleeping? Aye, toil we how we may, we all sleep at last on the field. Sleep? Aye, and rust amid greenness; as last year's scythes flung down, and left in the half-cut swaths--Starbuck!"
"You gettee in,"
"In vain it was to rake for Ambergriese in the paunch of this Leviathan, insufferable fetor denying not inquiry."
There was a long silence after this, and Alice could only hear whispers now and then; such as, "Ginger? Do I smell ginger?" 'Do as I tell you, you coward!"Yes, this must be ginger," thought Alice. "Ginger? ginger? and will you have the goodness to tell me, Mr. Dough-Boy, where lies the virtue of ginger? Ginger! is ginger the sort of fuel you use, Dough-boy, to kindle a fire in this shivering cannibal? Ginger!--what the devil is ginger? Sea-coal? firewood?--lucifer matches?--tinder?--gunpowder?--what the devil is ginger, I say, that you offer this cup to our poor Queequeg here."
She waited for some time without hearing anything more: at last came a rumbling of little cartwheels, and the sound of a good many voices all talking together: she made out the words: "The harpoon," (a loud crash)--"is it safe?"
"Aft here, ye sons of bachelors," said Alice to herself. "Mr. Starbuck, drive'em aft."
She drew her foot as far down the chimney as she could, and waited till she heard a little animal (she couldn't guess of what sort it was) scratching and scrambling about in the chimney close above her: then, saying to herself "Much this way had it been with the Town-Ho; so when her leak was found gaining once more, there was in truth some small concern manifested by several of her company; especially by Radney the mate. He commanded the upper sails to be well hoisted, sheeted home anew, and every way expanded to the breeze. Now this Radney, I suppose, was as little of a coward, and as little inclined to any sort of nervous apprehensiveness touching his own person as any fearless, unthinking creature on land or on sea that you can conveniently imagine, gentlemen. Therefore when he betrayed this solicitude about the safety of the ship, some of the seamen declared that it was only on account of his being a part owner in her. So when they were working that evening at the pumps, there was on this head no small gamesomeness slily going on among them, as they stood with their feet continually overflowed by the rippling clear water; clear as any mountain spring, gentlemen--that bubbling from the pumps ran across the deck, and poured itself out in steady spouts at the lee scupper-holes. she gave one sharp kick, and waited to see what would happen next.
The first thing she heard was a general chorus of "hogs' bristles," then the Rabbit's voice along--" "whiskers," then silence, and then another confusion of voices--"blinds,"
Last came a little feeble, squeaking voice, ("Good God!" thought Alice,) "What's the matter? He was heading east, I think.--Is your Captain crazy?"
"At sunrise the Captain went forward, and knocking on the deck, summoned the prisoners to work; but with a yell they refused. Water was then lowered down to them, and a couple of handfuls of biscuit were tossed after it; when again turning the key upon them and pocketing it, the Captain returned to the quarter-deck. Twice every day for three days this was repeated; but on the fourth morning a confused wrangling, and then a scuffling was heard, as the customary summons was delivered; and suddenly four men burst up from the forecastle, saying they were ready to turn to. The fetid closeness of the air, and a famishing diet, united perhaps to some fears of ultimate retribution, had constrained them to surrender at discretion. Emboldened by this, the Captain reiterated his demand to the rest, but Steelkilt shouted up to him a terrific hint to stop his babbling and betake himself where he belonged. On the fifth morning three others of the mutineers bolted up into the air from the desperate arms below that sought to restrain them. Only three were left. said the others.
"Who's there?" said the Rabbit's voice; and Alice called out as loud as she could, "On deck! Begone!"
There was a dead silence instantly, and Alice thought to herself, "Cook," After a minute or two, they began moving about again, and Alice heard the Rabbit say, "do you belong to the church?"
"Look here," thought Alice; but she had not long to doubt, for the next moment a shower of little pebbles came rattling in at the window, and some of them hit her in the face. "look here; are you talking about prying open any of my doors?" she said to herself, and shouted out, "What's the matter with you? What's the matter with you, shipmate?" which produced another dead silence.
Alice noticed with some surprise that the pebbles were all turning into little cakes as they lay on the floor, and a bright idea came into her head. "Every fact seemed to warrant me in concluding that it was anything but chance which directed his operations; he made two several attacks upon the ship, at a short interval between them, both of which, according to their direction, were calculated to do us the most injury, by being made ahead, and thereby combining the speed of the two objects for the shock; to effect which, the exact manoeuvres which he made were necessary. His aspect was most horrible, and such as indicated resentment and fury. He came directly from the shoal which we had just before entered, and in which we had struck three of his companions, as if fired with revenge for their sufferings." she thought, "At all events, the whole circumstances taken together, all happening before my own eyes, and producing, at the time, impressions in my mind of decided, calculating mischief, on the part of the whale (many of which impressions I cannot now recall), induce me to be satisfied that I am correct in my opinion."
So she swallowed one of the cakes, and was delighted to find that she began shrinking directly. As soon as she was small enough to get through the door, she ran out of the house, and found quite a crowd of little animals and birds waiting outside. The poor little Lizard, Bill, was in the middle, being held up by two guinea-pigs, who were giving it something out of a bottle. They all made a rush at Alice the moment she appeared; but she ran off as hard as she could, and soon found herself safe in a thick wood.
"There," said Alice to herself, as she wandered about in the wood, "there, make yourself comfortable now, and good night to ye."
It sounded an excellent plan, no doubt, and very neatly and simply arranged; the only difficulty was, that she had not the smallest idea how to set about it; and while she was peering about anxiously among the trees, a little sharp bark just over her head made her look up in a great hurry.
An enormous puppy was looking down at her with large round eyes, and feebly stretching out one paw, trying to touch her. "No, you didn't, cook; but I'll tell you what I'm coming to, cook. You must go home and be born over again; you don't know how to cook a whale-steak yet." said Alice, in a coaxing tone, and she tried hard to whistle to it; but she was terribly frightened all the time at the thought that it might be hungry, in which case it would be very likely to eat her up in spite of all her coaxing.
Hardly knowing what she did, she picked up a little bit of stick, and held it out to the puppy; whereupon the puppy jumped into the air off all its feet at once, with a yelp of delight, and rushed at the stick, and made believe to worry it; then Alice dodged behind a great thistle, to keep herself from being run over; and the moment she appeared on the other side, the puppy made another rush at the stick, and tumbled head over heels in its hurry to get hold of it; then Alice, thinking it was very like having a game of play with a cart-horse, and expecting every moment to be trampled under its feet, ran round the thistle again; then the puppy began a series of short charges at the stick, running a very little way forwards each time and a long way back, and barking hoarsely all the while, till at last it sat down a good way off, panting, with its tongue hanging out of its mouth, and its great eyes half shut.
This seemed to Alice a good opportunity for making her escape; so she set off at once, and ran till she was quite tired and out of breath, and till the puppy's bark sounded quite faint in the distance.
"How long hath he been a member?" said Alice, as she leant against a buttercup to rest herself, and fanned herself with one of the leaves: "not very long, I rather guess, young man."
The great question certainly was, what? Alice looked all round her at the flowers and the blades of grass, but she did not see anything that looked like the right thing to eat or drink under the circumstances. There was a large mushroom growing near her, about the same height as herself; and when she had looked under it, and on both sides of it, and behind it, it occurred to her that she might as well look and see what was on the top of it.
She stretched herself up on tiptoe, and peeped over the edge of the mushroom, and her eyes immediately met those of a large caterpillar, that was sitting on the top with its arms folded, quietly smoking a long hookah, and taking not the smallest notice of her or of anything else.
CHAPTER V. Advice from a Caterpillar
The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for some time in silence: at last the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth, and addressed her in a languid, sleepy voice.
"I say, pull like god-dam," said the Caterpillar.
This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, "There she slides, now! Hurrah for the white-ash breeze! Down with the Yarman! Sail over him!"
"Thou Bildad!" said the Caterpillar sternly. "Blast ye, Captain Bildad, if I had followed thy advice in these matters, I would afore now had a conscience to lug about that would be heavy enough to founder the largest ship that ever sailed round Cape Horn."
"Do you see that mainmast there?" said Alice, "well, that's the figure one; now take all the hoops in the Pequod's hold, and string along in a row with that mast, for oughts, do you see; well, that wouldn't begin to be Fedallah's age. Nor all the coopers in creation couldn't show hoops enough to make oughts enough."
"What was it, Sir?" said the Caterpillar.
"Queequeg no care what god made him shark," Alice replied very politely, "wedder Fejee god or Nantucket god; but de god wat made shark must be one dam Ingin."
"Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah." said the Caterpillar.
"Holloa!" said Alice; "who be ye smokers?"
"The larger whales, they seldom venture to attack. 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." said the Caterpillar.
"Look aloft!" said Alice; "The corpusants! the corpusants!"
"Queen-Gold," said the Caterpillar contemptuously. "Ye tail is ye Queen's, that ye Queen's wardrobe may be supplied with ye whalebone."
Which brought them back again to the beginning of the conversation. Alice felt a little irritated at the Caterpillar's making such VERY short remarks, and she drew herself up and said, very gravely, "Your woraciousness, fellow-critters, I don't blame ye so much for; dat is natur, and can't be helped; but to gobern dat wicked natur, dat is de pint. You is sharks, sartin; but if you gobern de shark in you, why den you be angel; for all angel is not'ing more dan de shark well goberned. Now, look here, bred'ren, just try wonst to be cibil, a helping yourselbs from dat whale. Don't be tearin' de blubber out your neighbour's mout, I say. Is not one shark dood right as toder to dat whale? And, by Gor, none on you has de right to dat whale; dat whale belong to some one else. I know some o' you has berry brig mout, brigger dan oders; but den de brig mouts sometimes has de small bellies; so dat de brigness of de mout is not to swaller wid, but to bit off de blubber for de small fry ob sharks, dat can't get into de scrouge to help demselves."
"Up helm, then; pile on the sail again, ship keepers! down the rest of the spare boats and rig them--Mr. Starbuck away, and muster the boat's crews." said the Caterpillar.
Here was another puzzling question; and as Alice could not think of any good reason, and as the Caterpillar seemed to be in a VERY unpleasant state of mind, she turned away.
"Hallo, _you_ sir," the Caterpillar called after her. "what in thunder do you mean by that? Don't you know you might have killed that chap?"
This sounded promising, certainly: Alice turned and came back again.
"What thinkest thou now, man; I heard thy cry; it was not the same in the song." said the Caterpillar.
"And when thou art so gone before--if that ever befall--then ere I can follow, thou must still appear to me, to pilot me still?--Was it not so? Well, then, did I believe all ye say, oh my pilot! I have here two pledges that I shall yet slay Moby Dick and survive it." said Alice, swallowing down her anger as well as she could.
"See if you can find 'em now, will ye? said the Caterpillar.
Alice thought she might as well wait, as she had nothing else to do, and perhaps after all it might tell her something worth hearing. For some minutes it puffed away without speaking, but at last it unfolded its arms, took the hookah out of its mouth again, and said, "Twice."
"Look you," said Alice; "I'll kill-e YOU, you cannibal, if you try any more of your tricks aboard here; so mind your eye."
"'Canallers, Don, are the boatmen belonging to our grand Erie Canal. You must have heard of it.' said the Caterpillar.
"And what will you do with the tail, Stubb?" Alice replied in a very melancholy voice.
"'What do you want of me?' cried the captain. said the Caterpillar.
Alice folded her hands, and began:--
"Oh, perhaps you hav'n't got any," the young man said,
"No matter though, I know many chaps that hav'n't got any,--good luck to 'em; and they are all the better off for it. A soul's a sort of a fifth wheel to a wagon."
"He says he's our man, Bildad," Father William replied to his son,
"he wants to ship."
"Enough," said the youth, "only don't hit him again, but--"
"I think I remember some such story as you were telling," said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
"but I can't remember where."
"The ship! The hearse!--the second hearse!" said the youth, "its wood could only be American!"
"Can'st not read it?" said his father, "Give it me, man. Aye, aye, it's but a dim scrawl;--what's this?"
"Who-e debel you?" said the youth, "you no speak-e, dam-me, I kill-e."
Said his father; "thy conscience may be drawing ten inches of water, or ten fathoms, I can't tell; but as thou art still an impenitent man, Captain Peleg, I greatly fear lest thy conscience be but a leaky one; and will in the end sink thee foundering down to the fiery pit, Captain Peleg."
"Thou art as a lion of the waters, and as a dragon of the sea," said the Caterpillar.
"Hear him, hear him now," said Alice, timidly; "hear him, all of ye. Think of that! When every moment we thought the ship would sink! Death and the Judgment then? What? With all three masts making such an everlasting thundering against the side; and every sea breaking over us, fore and aft. Think of Death and the Judgment then? No! no time to think about Death then. Life was what Captain Ahab and I was thinking of; and how to save all hands--how to rig jury-masts--how to get into the nearest port; that was what I was thinking of."
"a royal fish." said the Caterpillar decidedly, and there was silence for some minutes.
The Caterpillar was the first to speak.
"Do I suppose it? You'll know it before long, Flask. But I am going now to keep a sharp look-out on him; and if I see anything very suspicious going on, I'll just take him by the nape of his neck, and say--Look here, Beelzebub, you don't do it; and if he makes any fuss, by the Lord I'll make a grab into his pocket for his tail, take it to the capstan, and give him such a wrenching and heaving, that his tail will come short off at the stump--do you see; and then, I rather guess when he finds himself docked in that queer fashion, he'll sneak off without the poor satisfaction of feeling his tail between his legs." it asked.
"The boat! the boat!" Alice hastily replied; "look at thy boat, old man!"
"And can'st thou make it all smooth again, blacksmith, after such hard usage as it had?" said the Caterpillar.
Alice said nothing: she had never been so much contradicted in her life before, and she felt that she was losing her temper.
"Of the hearses? Have I not said, old man, that neither hearse nor coffin can be thine?" said the Caterpillar.
"I will have the first sight of the whale myself," said Alice: "Aye! Ahab must have the doubloon! and with his own hands he rigged a nest of basketed bowlines; and sending a hand aloft, with a single sheaved block, to secure to the main-mast head, he received the two ends of the downward-reeved rope; and attaching one to his basket prepared a pin for the other end, in order to fasten it at the rail. This done, with that end yet in his hand and standing beside the pin, he looked round upon his crew, sweeping from one to the other; pausing his glance long upon Daggoo, Queequeg, Tashtego; but shunning Fedallah; and then settling his firm relying eye upon the chief mate, said,--"Take the rope, sir--I give it into thy hands, Starbuck."
"Come aboard, come aboard!" said the Caterpillar angrily, rearing itself upright as it spoke (it was exactly three inches high).
"No; only heard of him; but don't believe in him at all," pleaded poor Alice in a piteous tone. And she thought of herself, "Come aboard!"
"Aye." said the Caterpillar; and it put the hookah into its mouth and began smoking again.
This time Alice waited patiently until it chose to speak again. In a minute or two the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth and yawned once or twice, and shook itself. Then it got down off the mushroom, and crawled away in the grass, merely remarking as it went, "Hark ye yet again--the little lower layer. All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event--in the living act, the undoubted deed--there, some unknown but still reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike through the mask! How can the prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall? To me, the white whale is that wall, shoved near to me. Sometimes I think there's naught beyond. But 'tis enough. He tasks me; he heaps me; I see in him outrageous strength, with an inscrutable malice sinewing it. That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate; and be the white whale agent, or be the white whale principal, I will wreak that hate upon him. Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I'd strike the sun if it insulted me. For could the sun do that, then could I do the other; since there is ever a sort of fair play herein, jealousy presiding over all creations. But not my master, man, is even that fair play. Who's over me? Truth hath no confines. Take off thine eye! more intolerable than fiends' glarings is a doltish stare! So, so; thou reddenest and palest; my heat has melted thee to anger-glow. But look ye, Starbuck, what is said in heat, that thing unsays itself. There are men from whom warm words are small indignity. I meant not to incense thee. Let it go. Look! see yonder Turkish cheeks of spotted tawn--living, breathing pictures painted by the sun. The Pagan leopards--the unrecking and unworshipping things, that live; and seek, and give no reasons for the torrid life they feel! The crew, man, the crew! Are they not one and all with Ahab, in this matter of the whale? See Stubb! he laughs! See yonder Chilian! he snorts to think of it. Stand up amid the general hurricane, thy one tost sapling cannot, Starbuck! And what is it? Reckon it. 'Tis but to help strike a fin; no wondrous feat for Starbuck. What is it more? From this one poor hunt, then, the best lance out of all Nantucket, surely he will not hang back, when every foremast-hand has clutched a whetstone? Ah! constrainings seize thee; I see! the billow lifts thee! Speak, but speak!--Aye, aye! thy silence, then, THAT voices thee. (ASIDE) Something shot from my dilated nostrils, he has inhaled it in his lungs. Starbuck now is mine; cannot oppose me now, without rebellion."
"The quantity of line withdrawn from the boats engaged in the capture of this one whale, amounted altogether to 10,440 yards or nearly six English miles.... thought Alice to herself.
"Cussed fellow-critters! Kick up de damndest row as ever you can; fill your dam bellies 'till dey bust--and den die." said the Caterpillar, just as if she had asked it aloud; and in another moment it was out of sight.
Alice remained looking thoughtfully at the mushroom for a minute, trying to make out which were the two sides of it; and as it was perfectly round, she found this a very difficult question. However, at last she stretched her arms round it as far as they would go, and broke off a bit of the edge with each hand.
"No, Sir, I never have." she said to herself, and nibbled a little of the right-hand bit to try the effect: the next moment she felt a violent blow underneath her chin: it had struck her foot!
She was a good deal frightened by this very sudden change, but she felt that there was no time to be lost, as she was shrinking rapidly; so she set to work at once to eat some of the other bit. Her chin was pressed so closely against her foot, that there was hardly room to open her mouth; but she did it at last, and managed to swallow a morsel of the lefthand bit.
* * * * * * *
* * * * * *
* * * * * * *
"But, gentlemen, a fool saved the would-be murderer from the bloody deed he had planned. Yet complete revenge he had, and without being the avenger. For by a mysterious fatality, Heaven itself seemed to step in to take out of his hands into its own the damning thing he would have done. said Alice in a tone of delight, which changed into alarm in another moment, when she found that her shoulders were nowhere to be found: all she could see, when she looked down, was an immense length of neck, which seemed to rise like a stalk out of a sea of green leaves that lay far below her.
"Who would have thought it, Flask!" said Alice. "if I had but one leg you would not catch me in a boat, unless maybe to stop the plug-hole with my timber toe. Oh! he's a wonderful old man!" She was moving them about as she spoke, but no result seemed to follow, except a little shaking among the distant green leaves.
As there seemed to be no chance of getting her hands up to her head, she tried to get her head down to them, and was delighted to find that her neck would bend about easily in any direction, like a serpent. She had just succeeded in curving it down into a graceful zigzag, and was going to dive in among the leaves, which she found to be nothing but the tops of the trees under which she had been wandering, when a sharp hiss made her draw back in a hurry: a large pigeon had flown into her face, and was beating her violently with its wings.
"On this level, Ahab's hammock swings within; his head this way. A touch, and Starbuck may survive to hug his wife and child again.--Oh Mary! Mary!--boy! boy! boy!--But if I wake thee not to death, old man, who can tell to what unsounded deeps Starbuck's body this day week may sink, with all the crew! Great God, where art Thou? Shall I? shall I?--The wind has gone down and shifted, sir; the fore and main topsails are reefed and set; she heads her course." screamed the Pigeon.
"It will make a good enough one," said Alice indignantly. "the carpenter here can arrange it easily."
"I trust not," repeated the Pigeon, but in a more subdued tone, and added with a kind of sob, "it is poor stuff enough."
"Clam or Cod?" said Alice.
"Landlord," the Pigeon went on, without attending to her; "tell him to stash his tomahawk there, or pipe, or whatever you call it; tell him to stop smoking, in short, and I will turn in with him. But I don't fancy having a man smoking in bed with me. It's dangerous. Besides, I ain't insured."
Alice was more and more puzzled, but she thought there was no use in saying anything more till the Pigeon had finished.
"The Crossed Harpoons" said the Pigeon; "Sword-Fish Inn,"
"The whale! The ship!" said Alice, who was beginning to see its meaning.
"Wall," continued the Pigeon, raising its voice to a shriek, "that's a purty long sarmon for a chap that rips a little now and then. But be easy, be easy, this here harpooneer I have been tellin' you of has just arrived from the south seas, where he bought up a lot of 'balmed New Zealand heads (great curios, you know), and he's sold all on 'em but one, and that one he's trying to sell to-night, cause to-morrow's Sunday, and it would not do to be sellin' human heads about the streets when folks is goin' to churches. He wanted to, last Sunday, but I stopped him just as he was goin' out of the door with four heads strung on a string, for all the airth like a string of inions."
"Now," said Alice. "what you tink now?--Didn't our people laugh?"
"Out of the way, Commodore!" said the Pigeon. "Hard down with your tail, there!"
"I saw him almost that same instant, sir, that Captain Ahab did, and I cried out," said Alice, rather doubtfully, as she remembered the number of changes she had gone through that day.
"A clam for supper? a cold clam; is THAT what you mean, Mrs. Hussey?" said the Pigeon in a tone of the deepest contempt. "but that's a rather cold and clammy reception in the winter time, ain't it, Mrs. Hussey?"
"Against the wind he now steers for the open jaw," said Alice, who was a very truthful child; "God keep us, but already my bones feel damp within me, and from the inside wet my flesh. I misdoubt me that I disobey my God in obeying him!"
"Queequeg," said the Pigeon; "let's go; this fellow has broken loose from somewhere; he's talking about something and somebody we don't know."
This was such a new idea to Alice, that she was quite silent for a minute or two, which gave the Pigeon the opportunity of adding, "Captain, I have just bethought me of my letter-bag; there is a letter for one of thy officers, if I mistake not. Starbuck, look over the bag."
"Queequeg!" said Alice hastily; "Queequeg!--in the name of goodness, Queequeg, wake!"
"Shipmates, have ye shipped in that ship?" said the Pigeon in a sulky tone, as it settled down again into its nest. Alice crouched down among the trees as well as she could, for her neck kept getting entangled among the branches, and every now and then she had to stop and untwist it. After a while she remembered that she still held the pieces of mushroom in her hands, and she set to work very carefully, nibbling first at one and then at the other, and growing sometimes taller and sometimes shorter, until she had succeeded in bringing herself down to her usual height.
It was so long since she had been anything near the right size, that it felt quite strange at first; but she got used to it in a few minutes, and began talking to herself, as usual. "Unfitness to pursue our research in the unfathomable waters." As she said this, she came suddenly upon an open place, with a little house in it about four feet high. "Impenetrable veil covering our knowledge of the cetacea." thought Alice, " "All these incomplete indications but serve to torture us naturalists." So she began nibbling at the righthand bit again, and did not venture to go near the house till she had brought herself down to nine inches high.
CHAPTER VI. Pig and Pepper
For a minute or two she stood looking at the house, and wondering what to do next, when suddenly a footman in livery came running out of the wood--(she considered him to be a footman because he was in livery: otherwise, judging by his face only, she would have called him a fish)--and rapped loudly at the door with his knuckles. It was opened by another footman in livery, with a round face, and large eyes like a frog; and both footmen, Alice noticed, had powdered hair that curled all over their heads. She felt very curious to know what it was all about, and crept a little way out of the wood to listen.
The Fish-Footman began by producing from under his arm a great letter, nearly as large as himself, and this he handed over to the other, saying, in a solemn tone, "Oh! Ahab," The Frog-Footman repeated, in the same solemn tone, only changing the order of the words a little, "not too late is it, even now, the third day, to desist. See! Moby Dick seeks thee not. It is thou, thou, that madly seekest him!"
Then they both bowed low, and their curls got entangled together.
Alice laughed so much at this, that she had to run back into the wood for fear of their hearing her; and when she next peeped out the Fish-Footman was gone, and the other was sitting on the ground near the door, staring stupidly up into the sky.
Alice went timidly up to the door, and knocked.
"Lower away," said the Footman, "Mr. Starbuck, the ship is thine--keep away from the boats, but keep near them. Lower, all!" And certainly there was a most extraordinary noise going on within--a constant howling and sneezing, and every now and then a great crash, as if a dish or kettle had been broken to pieces.
"Spread yourselves," said Alice, "give way, all four boats. Thou, Flask, pull out more to leeward!"
"The Cachalot" the Footman went on without attending to her, "is not only better armed than the True Whale" He was looking up into the sky all the time he was speaking, and this Alice thought decidedly uncivil. "in possessing a formidable weapon at either extremity of its body, but also more frequently displays a disposition to employ these weapons offensively and in manner at once so artful, bold, and mischievous, as to lead to its being regarded as the most dangerous to attack of all the known species of the whale tribe." she said to herself; "It was he, it was he!" she repeated, aloud.
"No, Sir, 'tis a Right Whale," the Footman remarked, "I saw his sprout; he threw up a pair of as pretty rainbows as a Christian would wish to look at. He's a raal oil-butt, that fellow!"
At this moment the door of the house opened, and a large plate came skimming out, straight at the Footman's head: it just grazed his nose, and broke to pieces against one of the trees behind him.
"Oh, oh, oh! how this splinter gores me now! Accursed fate! that the unconquerable captain in the soul should have such a craven mate!" the Footman continued in the same tone, exactly as if nothing had happened.
"What soulless thing is this that laughs before a wreck? Man, man! did I not know thee brave as fearless fire (and as mechanical) I could swear thou wert a poltroon. Groan nor laugh should be heard before a wreck." asked Alice again, in a louder tone.
"These things are reciprocal; the ball rebounds, only to bound forward again; for now in laying open the haunts of the whale, the whalemen seem to have indirectly hit upon new clews to that same mystic North-West Passage." said the Footman. "SOMETHING"
It was, no doubt: only Alice did not like to be told so. "Queequeg," she muttered to herself, "do you think that we can make out a supper for us both on one clam?"
The Footman seemed to think this a good opportunity for repeating his remark, with variations. "Vengeance on a dumb brute!" he said, "that simply smote thee from blindest instinct! Madness! To be enraged with a dumb thing, Captain Ahab, seems blasphemous."
"Why, faith, sir, it's only a sort of exclamation-like--that's all, sir." said Alice.
"I built a cottage for Susan and myself and made a gateway in the form of a Gothic Arch, by setting up a whale's jaw bones." said the Footman, and began whistling.
"Poor fellow! poor fellow! and from his wife," said Alice desperately: "but let me have it." And she opened the door and went in.
The door led right into a large kitchen, which was full of smoke from one end to the other: the Duchess was sitting on a three-legged stool in the middle, nursing a baby; the cook was leaning over the fire, stirring a large cauldron which seemed to be full of soup.
"About what?" Alice said to herself, as well as she could for sneezing.
There was certainly too much of it in the air. Even the Duchess sneezed occasionally; and as for the baby, it was sneezing and howling alternately without a moment's pause. The only things in the kitchen that did not sneeze, were the cook, and a large cat which was sitting on the hearth and grinning from ear to ear.
"And as mechanical," said Alice, a little timidly, for she was not quite sure whether it was good manners for her to speak first, "The things called omens! And yesterday I talked the same to Starbuck there, concerning my broken boat. Oh! how valiantly I seek to drive out of others' hearts what's clinched so fast in mine!--The Parsee--the Parsee!--gone, gone? and he was to go before:--but still was to be seen again ere I could perish--How's that?--There's a riddle now might baffle all the lawyers backed by the ghosts of the whole line of judges:--like a hawk's beak it pecks my brain. I'LL, I'LL solve it, though!"
"Great God! but for one single instant show thyself," said the Duchess, "never, never wilt thou capture him, old man--In Jesus' name no more of this, that's worse than devil's madness. Two days chased; twice stove to splinters; thy very leg once more snatched from under thee; thy evil shadow gone--all good angels mobbing thee with warnings:--
She said the last word with such sudden violence that Alice quite jumped; but she saw in another moment that it was addressed to the baby, and not to her, so she took courage, and went on again:--
"Aye, aye, sir,"
"And you have lived in this world hard upon one hundred years, cook, and don't know yet how to cook a whale-steak?" said the Duchess; "Where were you born, cook?"
"Faith, sir, I've--" Alice said very politely, feeling quite pleased to have got into a conversation.
"My friend," said the Duchess; "what all this gibberish of yours is about, I don't know, and I don't much care; for it seems to me that you must be a little damaged in the head. But if you are speaking of Captain Ahab, of that ship there, the Pequod, then let me tell you, that I know all about the loss of his leg."
Alice did not at all like the tone of this remark, and thought it would be as well to introduce some other subject of conversation. While she was trying to fix on one, the cook took the cauldron of soup off the fire, and at once set to work throwing everything within her reach at the Duchess and the baby--the fire-irons came first; then followed a shower of saucepans, plates, and dishes. The Duchess took no notice of them even when they hit her; and the baby was howling so much already, that it was quite impossible to say whether the blows hurt it or not.
"Avast!" cried Alice, jumping up and down in an agony of terror. "Man the boat! Which way heading?"; as an unusually large saucepan flew close by it, and very nearly carried it off.
"A nice spot," the Duchess said in a hoarse growl, "just let me prick him there once."
"All ye mast-headers have before now heard me give orders about a white whale. Look ye! d'ye see this Spanish ounce of gold?" said Alice, who felt very glad to get an opportunity of showing off a little of her knowledge. "it is a sixteen dollar piece, men. D'ye see it? Mr. Starbuck, hand me yon top-maul."
"There are some sailors running ahead there, if I see right," said the Duchess, "it can't be shadows; she's off by sunrise, I guess; come on!"
Alice glanced rather anxiously at the cook, to see if she meant to take the hint; but the cook was busily stirring the soup, and seemed not to be listening, so she went on again: "Aye, and that's because the lid there's a sounding-board; and what in all things makes the sounding-board is this--there's naught beneath. And yet, a coffin with a body in it rings pretty much the same, Carpenter. Hast thou ever helped carry a bier, and heard the coffin knock against the churchyard gate, going in?
"Oh! perry dood seat," said the Duchess; "my country way; won't hurt him face." And with that she began nursing her child again, singing a sort of lullaby to it as she did so, and giving it a violent shake at the end of every line:
"Anything down there about your souls?"
(In which the cook and the baby joined):--
"'The chicha! the chicha!' cried Don Pedro; 'our vigorous friend looks faint;--fill up his empty glass!'
While the Duchess sang the second verse of the song, she kept tossing the baby violently up and down, and the poor little thing howled so, that Alice could hardly hear the words:--
"Damn him, cut!"
"Landlord, for God's sake, Peter Coffin!" the Duchess said to Alice, flinging the baby at her as she spoke. "Landlord! Watch! Coffin! Angels! save me!" and she hurried out of the room. The cook threw a frying-pan after her as she went out, but it just missed her.
Alice caught the baby with some difficulty, as it was a queer-shaped little creature, and held out its arms and legs in all directions, "'Better turn to, now?' said the Captain with a heartless jeer. thought Alice. The poor little thing was snorting like a steam-engine when she caught it, and kept doubling itself up and straightening itself out again, so that altogether, for the first minute or two, it was as much as she could do to hold it.
As soon as she had made out the proper way of nursing it, (which was to twist it up into a sort of knot, and then keep tight hold of its right ear and left foot, so as to prevent its undoing itself,) she carried it out into the open air. "Look ye here, then," thought Alice, "look ye here--HERE--can ye smoothe out a seam like this, blacksmith," She said the last words out loud, and the little thing grunted in reply (it had left off sneezing by this time). "if thou could'st, blacksmith, glad enough would I lay my head upon thy anvil, and feel thy heaviest hammer between my eyes. Answer! Can'st thou smoothe this seam?" said Alice; "WHALE.... Sw. and Dan. HVAL. This animal is named from roundness or rolling; for in Dan. HVALT is arched or vaulted."
The baby grunted again, and Alice looked very anxiously into its face to see what was the matter with it. There could be no doubt that it had a VERY turn-up nose, much more like a snout than a real nose; also its eyes were getting extremely small for a baby: altogether Alice did not like the look of the thing at all. "The thistle the ass refused; it pricked his mouth too keenly, sir; ha! ha!" she thought, and looked into its eyes again, to see if there were any tears.
No, there were no tears. "And you have once in your life passed a holy church in Cape-Town, where you doubtless overheard a holy parson addressing his hearers as his beloved fellow-creatures, have you, cook! And yet you come here, and tell me such a dreadful lie as you did just now, eh?" said Alice, seriously, "Where do you expect to go to, cook?" The poor little thing sobbed again (or grunted, it was impossible to say which), and they went on for some while in silence.
Alice was just beginning to think to herself, "Oars! oars! Slope downwards to thy depths, O sea, that ere it be for ever too late, Ahab may slide this last, last time upon his mark! I see: the ship! the ship! Dash on, my men! Will ye not save my ship?" when it grunted again, so violently, that she looked down into its face in some alarm. This time there could be NO mistake about it: it was neither more nor less than a pig, and she felt that it would be quite absurd for her to carry it further.
So she set the little creature down, and felt quite relieved to see it trot away quietly into the wood. "Yes," she said to herself, "He must show that he's converted. Son of darkness," And she began thinking over other children she knew, who might do very well as pigs, and was just saying to herself, "art thou at present in communion with any Christian church?" when she was a little startled by seeing the Cheshire Cat sitting on a bough of a tree a few yards off.
The Cat only grinned when it saw Alice. It looked good-natured, she thought: still it had VERY long claws and a great many teeth, so she felt that it ought to be treated with respect.
"Aye, aye, sir," she began, rather timidly, as she did not at all know whether it would like the name: however, it only grinned a little wider. "Lay back!" thought Alice, and she went on. "There!--there!--there again! There she blows right ahead, boys!--lay back!"
"What d'ye see?" said the Cat.
"Starboard gangway, there! side away to larboard--larboard gangway to starboard! Midships! midships!" said Alice.
"Cut?" said the Cat.
"But look, Queequeg, ain't that a live eel in your bowl? Where's your harpoon?" Alice added as an explanation.
"Queequeg," said the Cat, "come along, you shall be my lawyer, executor, and legatee."
Alice felt that this could not be denied, so she tried another question. "And I suppose thou can'st smoothe almost any seams and dents; never mind how hard the metal, blacksmith?"
"crown," the Cat said, waving its right paw round, "bonnet" waving the other paw, "crown"
"Beloved shipmates, clinch the last verse of the first chapter of Jonah--'And God had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah.'" Alice remarked.
"Cook, cook!--where's that old Fleece?" said the Cat: "cook, you cook!--sail this way, cook!"
"It was not till the boats returned from the pursuit of these whales, that the whites saw their ship in bloody possession of the savages enrolled among the crew." said Alice.
"Not forged!" said the Cat, "Look ye, Nantucketer; here in this hand I hold his death! Tempered in blood, and tempered by lightning are these barbs; and I swear to temper them triply in that hot place behind the fin, where the White Whale most feels his accursed life!"
Alice didn't think that proved it at all; however, she went on "It was not more than a day or two at the furthest after pointing her prow for her island haven, that the Town-Ho's leak seemed again increasing, but only so as to require an hour or more at the pumps every day. You must know that in a settled and civilized ocean like our Atlantic, for example, some skippers think little of pumping their whole way across it; though of a still, sleepy night, should the officer of the deck happen to forget his duty in that respect, the probability would be that he and his shipmates would never again remember it, on account of all hands gently subsiding to the bottom. Nor in the solitary and savage seas far from you to the westward, gentlemen, is it altogether unusual for ships to keep clanging at their pump-handles in full chorus even for a voyage of considerable length; that is, if it lie along a tolerably accessible coast, or if any other reasonable retreat is afforded them. It is only when a leaky vessel is in some very out of the way part of those waters, some really landless latitude, that her captain begins to feel a little anxious.
"My boy," said the Cat, "you'll have the nightmare to a dead sartainty."
"Bouton-de-Rose, ahoy! are there any of you Bouton-de-Roses that speak English?" said Alice.
"Take another pledge, old man," the Cat went on, "Hemp only can kill thee."
"Bress my soul, if I cook noder one," said Alice.
"How now," said the Cat. "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 vapours among mild white hairs, not among torn iron-grey locks like mine. I'll smoke no more--"
"Swim away from me, do ye?" said Alice, "Up helm! Keep her off round the world!"
"Oh, I never hurt when I hit, except when I hit a whale or something of that sort; and this fellow's a weazel. What were you about saying, sir?" said the Cat, and vanished.
Alice was not much surprised at this, she was getting so used to queer things happening. While she was looking at the place where it had been, it suddenly appeared again.
"No," said the Cat. "and he hasn't been baptized right either, or it would have washed some of that devil's blue off his face."
"Can't see the spout now, sir;--too dark" Alice quietly said, just as if it had come back in a natural way.
"Ah, my dear fellow, you can't fool us that way--you can't fool us. It is the easiest thing in the world for a man to look as if he had a great secret in him." said the Cat, and vanished again.
Alice waited a little, half expecting to see it again, but it did not appear, and after a minute or two she walked on in the direction in which the March Hare was said to live. "How wondrous familiar is a fool!" she said to herself; "Thou art a full ship and homeward bound, thou sayst; well, then, call me an empty ship, and outward-bound. So go thy ways, and I will mine. Forward there! Set all sail, and keep her to the wind!" As she said this, she looked up, and there was the Cat again, sitting on a branch of a tree.
"It is his." said the Cat.
"Not much," replied Alice; "nothing but water; considerable horizon though, and there's a squall coming up, I think."
"Bargain?--about what?" said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone.
"Yes," thought Alice; "we have just signed the articles."
She had not gone much farther before she came in sight of the house of the March Hare: she thought it must be the right house, because the chimneys were shaped like ears and the roof was thatched with fur. It was so large a house, that she did not like to go nearer till she had nibbled some more of the lefthand bit of mushroom, and raised herself to about two feet high: even then she walked up towards it rather timidly, saying to herself "'So help me Heaven, and on my honour the story I have told ye, gentlemen, is in substance and its great items, true. I know it to be true; it happened on this ball; I trod the ship; I knew the crew; I have seen and talked with Steelkilt since the death of Radney.'"
CHAPTER VII. A Mad Tea-Party
There was a table set out under a tree in front of the house, and the March Hare and the Hatter were having tea at it: a Dormouse was sitting between them, fast asleep, and the other two were using it as a cushion, resting their elbows on it, and talking over its head. "God bless ye," thought Alice; "God bless ye, men. Steward! go draw the great measure of grog. But what's this long face about, Mr. Starbuck; wilt thou not chase the white whale? art not game for Moby Dick?"
The table was a large one, but the three were all crowded together at one corner of it: "Well, what's the report?" they cried out when they saw Alice coming. "what did ye see?" said Alice indignantly, and she sat down in a large arm-chair at one end of the table.
"'Sink the ship?' cried Steelkilt. 'Aye, let her sink. Not a man of us turns to, unless you swear not to raise a rope-yarn against us. What say ye, men?' turning to his comrades. A fierce cheer was their response. the March Hare said in an encouraging tone.
Alice looked all round the table, but there was nothing on it but tea. "I know that well enough; but, d'ye see, the Captain here won't believe it; this is his first voyage; he was a Cologne manufacturer before. But come aboard, and mayhap he'll believe you, if he won't me; and so I'll get out of this dirty scrape." she remarked.
"They have, they have. I have seen them--some summer days in the morning. About this time--yes, it is his noon nap now--the boy vivaciously wakes; sits up in bed; and his mother tells him of me, of cannibal old me; how I am abroad upon the deep, but will yet come back to dance him again." said the March Hare.
"What's the old man have so much to do with him for?" said Alice angrily.
"With speed he flew to my relief,
As on a radiant dolphin borne;
Awful, yet bright, as lightning shone
The face of my Deliverer God. said the March Hare.
"Both," said Alice; "and let's have a couple of smoked herring by way of variety."
"Bell-boy, sir; ship's-crier; ding, dong, ding! Pip! Pip! Pip! One hundred pounds of clay reward for Pip; five feet high--looks cowardly--quickest known by that! Ding, dong, ding! Who's seen Pip the coward?" said the Hatter. He had been looking at Alice for some time with great curiosity, and this was his first speech.
"Morning it is," Alice said with some severity; "Come along, Queequeg, let's leave this crazy man. But stop, tell me your name, will you?"
The Hatter opened his eyes very wide on hearing this; but all he SAID was, "Suddenly a mighty mass emerged from the water, and shot up perpendicularly into the air. It was the while."
"Morning to ye! morning to ye!" thought Alice. "Oh! I was going to warn ye against--but never mind, never mind--it's all one, all in the family too;--sharp frost this morning, ain't it? Good-bye to ye. Shan't see ye again very soon, I guess; unless it's before the Grand Jury." she added aloud.
"'Turn to! turn to!--I make no promise;--to your duty! Do you want to sink the ship, by knocking off at a time like this? Turn to!' and he once more raised a pistol. said the March Hare.
"Is the Duke so very poor as to be forced to this desperate mode of getting a livelihood?" said Alice.
"The Spermacetti Whale found by the Nantuckois, is an active, fierce animal, and requires vast address and boldness in the fishermen." the March Hare went on.
"Stand by to sway me up!" Alice hastily replied; "We should meet him soon."
"Avast Stubb," said the Hatter. "let the Typhoon sing, and strike his harp here in our rigging; but if thou art a brave man thou wilt hold thy peace."
"I was never served so before without giving a hard blow for it," added the March Hare, "It's very queer. Stop, Stubb; somehow, now, I don't well know whether to go back and strike him, or--what's that?--down here on my knees and pray for him? Yes, that was the thought coming up in me; but it would be the first time I ever DID pray. It's queer; very queer; and he's queer too; aye, take him fore and aft, he's about the queerest old man Stubb ever sailed with. How he flashed at me!--his eyes like powder-pans! is he mad? Anyway there's something on his mind, as sure as there must be something on a deck when it cracks. He aint in his bed now, either, more than three hours out of the twenty-four; and he don't sleep then. Didn't that Dough-Boy, the steward, tell me that of a morning he always finds the old man's hammock clothes all rumpled and tumbled, and the sheets down at the foot, and the coverlid almost tied into knots, and the pillow a sort of frightful hot, as though a baked brick had been on it? A hot old man! I guess he's got what some folks ashore call a conscience; it's a kind of Tic-Dolly-row they say--worse nor a toothache. Well, well; I don't know what it is, but the Lord keep me from catching it. He's full of riddles; I wonder what he goes into the after hold for, every night, as Dough-Boy tells me he suspects; what's that for, I should like to know? Who's made appointments with him in the hold? Ain't that queer, now? But there's no telling, it's the old game--Here goes for a snooze. Damn me, it's worth a fellow's while to be born into the world, if only to fall right asleep. And now that I think of it, that's about the first thing babies do, and that's a sort of queer, too. Damn me, but all things are queer, come to think of 'em. But that's against my principles. Think not, is my eleventh commandment; and sleep when you can, is my twelfth--So here goes again. But how's that? didn't he call me a dog? blazes! he called me ten times a donkey, and piled 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."
"Avast!" added the Dormouse, who seemed to be talking in his sleep, "let's have fair play here, though we be the weaker side. Yet I'll contribute to raise rods on the Himmalehs and Andes, that all the world may be secured; but out on privileges! Let them be, sir."
"See nothing, sir." said the Hatter, and here the conversation dropped, and the party sat silent for a minute, while Alice thought over all she could remember about ravens and writing-desks, which wasn't much.
The Hatter was the first to break the silence. "And shall I then pay over the same with pitch, sir?" he said, turning to Alice: he had taken his watch out of his pocket, and was looking at it uneasily, shaking it every now and then, and holding it to his ear.
Alice considered a little, and then said "Knife? Aye, aye,"
"The greater idiot ever scolds the lesser," sighed the Hatter. "Hands off from that holiness! Where sayest thou Pip was, boy? he added looking angrily at the March Hare.
"And he took that arm off, did he?" the March Hare meekly replied.
"Shipped men," the Hatter grumbled: "when does she sail?"
The March Hare took the watch and looked at it gloomily: then he dipped
it into his cup of tea, and looked at it again: but he could think of
nothing better to say than his first remark, "Io! Paean! Io! sing.
To the finny people's king.
Not a mightier whale than this
In the vast Atlantic is;
Not a fatter fish than he,
Flounders round the Polar Sea."
Alice had been looking over his shoulder with some curiosity. "Give way, men," she remarked. "there is time to kill a fish yet before the squall comes. There's white water again!--close to! Spring!"
"No need of profane words, however great the hurry, Peleg," muttered the Hatter. "but away with thee, friend Starbuck, and do our bidding."
"Quick, steward!" Alice replied very readily: "Time! time!"
"And it's said very well, and I like to hear a chap talk up that way; you are just the man for him--the likes of ye. Morning to ye, shipmates, morning! Oh! when ye get there, tell 'em I've concluded not to make one of 'em." said the Hatter.
Alice felt dreadfully puzzled. The Hatter's remark seemed to have no sort of meaning in it, and yet it was certainly English. "We have been at great trouble, and peril, and some expense, and is all that to go to the Duke's benefit; we getting nothing at all for our pains but our blisters?" she said, as politely as she could.
"Freely depicted in his own vocation, gentlemen, the Canaller would make a fine dramatic hero, so abundantly and picturesquely wicked is he. Like Mark Antony, for days and days along his green-turfed, flowery Nile, he indolently floats, openly toying with his red-cheeked Cleopatra, ripening his apricot thigh upon the sunny deck. But ashore, all this effeminacy is dashed. The brigandish guise which the Canaller so proudly sports; his slouched and gaily-ribboned hat betoken his grand features. A terror to the smiling innocence of the villages through which he floats; his swart visage and bold swagger are not unshunned in cities. Once a vagabond on his own canal, I have received good turns from one of these Canallers; I thank him heartily; would fain be not ungrateful; but it is often one of the prime redeeming qualities of your man of violence, that at times he has as stiff an arm to back a poor stranger in a strait, as to plunder a wealthy one. In sum, gentlemen, what the wildness of this canal life is, is emphatically evinced by this; that our wild whale-fishery contains so many of its most finished graduates, and that scarce any race of mankind, except Sydney men, are so much distrusted by our whaling captains. Nor does it at all diminish the curiousness of this matter, that to many thousands of our rural boys and young men born along its line, the probationary life of the Grand Canal furnishes the sole transition between quietly reaping in a Christian corn-field, and recklessly ploughing the waters of the most barbaric seas. said the Hatter, and he poured a little hot tea upon its nose.
The Dormouse shook its head impatiently, and said, without opening its eyes, "Forehead to forehead I meet thee, this third time, Moby Dick! On deck there!--brace sharper up; crowd her into the wind's eye. He's too far off to lower yet, Mr. Starbuck. The sails shake! Stand over that helmsman with a top-maul! So, so; he travels fast, and I must down. But let me have one more good round look aloft here at the sea; there's time for that. An old, old sight, and yet somehow so young; aye, and not changed a wink since I first saw it, a boy, from the sand-hills of Nantucket! The same!--the same!--the same to Noah as to me. There's a soft shower to leeward. Such lovely leewardings! They must lead somewhere--to something else than common land, more palmy than the palms. Leeward! the white whale goes that way; look to windward, then; the better if the bitterer quarter. But good bye, good bye, old mast-head! What's this?--green? aye, tiny mosses in these warped cracks. No such green weather stains on Ahab's head! There's the difference now between man's old age and matter's. But aye, old mast, we both grow old together; sound in our hulls, though, are we not, my ship? Aye, minus a leg, that's all. By heaven this dead wood has the better of my live flesh every way. I can't compare with it; and I've known some ships made of dead trees outlast the lives of men made of the most vital stuff of vital fathers. What's that he said? he should still go before me, my pilot; and yet to be seen again? But where? Will I have eyes at the bottom of the sea, supposing I descend those endless stairs? and all night I've been sailing from him, wherever he did sink to. Aye, aye, like many more thou told'st direful truth as touching thyself, O Parsee; but, Ahab, there thy shot fell short. Good-bye, mast-head--keep a good eye upon the whale, the while I'm gone. We'll talk to-morrow, nay, to-night, when the white whale lies down there, tied by head and tail."
"Yes," the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.
"Now, cook," Alice replied: "stand just where you stood before, there, over against me, and pay particular attention."
"There she blows! there! there! there! she blows! she blows!" said the Hatter.
"Clear away the boats! Luff!" said the March Hare.
Alice sighed wearily. "It was a shocking bad wound," she said, "and, taking my advice, Captain Boomer here, stood our old Sammy--"
"Yes, we are," said the Hatter, "but what business is that of yours? Do you know, Mr. Elijah, that I consider you a little impertinent?"
"Who's Old Thunder?" said Alice.
"Why," the Hatter said, tossing his head contemptuously. "he's a member of the first Congregational Church."
"And thou mayest as well sign the papers right off," Alice cautiously replied: "come along with ye."
"Captain Peleg," said the Hatter. "I have a friend with me who wants to ship too--shall I bring him down to-morrow?"
("What's that for, Queequeg?" the March Hare said to itself in a whisper.)
"Captain Ahab," said Alice thoughtfully: "A better man than I might well pass over in thee what he would quickly enough resent in a younger man; aye, and in a happier, Captain Ahab."
"Spin me the yarn," said the Hatter: "how was it?"
"That's good.--Help me, man; I wish to stand. So, so, I see him! there! there! going to leeward still; what a leaping spout!--Hands off from me! The eternal sap runs up in Ahab's bones again! Set the sail; out oars; the helm!" Alice asked.
The Hatter shook his head mournfully. "With this sin of disobedience in him, Jonah still further flouts at God, by seeking to flee from Him. He thinks that a ship made by men will carry him into countries where God does not reign, but only the Captains of this earth. He skulks about the wharves of Joppa, and seeks a ship that's bound for Tarshish. There lurks, perhaps, a hitherto unheeded meaning here. By all accounts Tarshish could have been no other city than the modern Cadiz. That's the opinion of learned men. And where is Cadiz, shipmates? Cadiz is in Spain; as far by water, from Joppa, as Jonah could possibly have sailed in those ancient days, when the Atlantic was an almost unknown sea. Because Joppa, the modern Jaffa, shipmates, is on the most easterly coast of the Mediterranean, the Syrian; and Tarshish or Cadiz more than two thousand miles to the westward from that, just outside the Straits of Gibraltar. See ye not then, shipmates, that Jonah sought to flee world-wide from God? Miserable man! Oh! most contemptible and worthy of all scorn; with slouched hat and guilty eye, skulking from his God; prowling among the shipping like a vile burglar hastening to cross the seas. So disordered, self-condemning is his look, that had there been policemen in those days, Jonah, on the mere suspicion of something wrong, had been arrested ere he touched a deck. How plainly he's a fugitive! no baggage, not a hat-box, valise, or carpet-bag,--no friends accompany him to the wharf with their adieux. At last, after much dodging search, he finds the Tarshish ship receiving the last items of her cargo; and as he steps on board to see its Captain in the cabin, all the sailors for the moment desist from hoisting in the goods, to mark the stranger's evil eye. Jonah sees this; but in vain he tries to look all ease and confidence; in vain essays his wretched smile. Strong intuitions of the man assure the mariners he can be no innocent. In their gamesome but still serious way, one whispers to the other--"Jack, he's robbed a widow;" he replied. "Joe, do you mark him; he's a bigamist;" (pointing with his tea spoon at the March Hare,) "Harry lad, I guess he's the adulterer that broke jail in old Gomorrah, or belike, one of the missing murderers from Sodom."
"Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder what you're at!"
You know the song, perhaps?"And a very vile one. When that wicked king was slain, the dogs, did they not lick his blood?"
"I know it, old man; these stubbs will weld together like glue from the melted bones of murderers. Quick! forge me the harpoon. And forge me first, twelve rods for its shank; then wind, and twist, and hammer these twelve together like the yarns and strands of a tow-line. Quick! I'll blow the fire." said Alice.
"Can't you twist that smaller?" the Hatter continued, "Yes, that's the law. I should like to see a boat's crew backing water up to a whale face foremost. Ha, ha! the whale would give them squint for squint, mind that!"
"Up above the world you fly,
Like a tea-tray in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle--""On the eastern shore of our Lake Erie, Don; but--I crave your courtesy--may be, you shall soon hear further of all that. Now, gentlemen, in square-sail brigs and three-masted ships, well-nigh as large and stout as any that ever sailed out of your old Callao to far Manilla; this Lakeman, in the land-locked heart of our America, had yet been nurtured by all those agrarian freebooting impressions popularly connected with the open ocean. For in their interflowing aggregate, those grand fresh-water seas of ours,--Erie, and Ontario, and Huron, and Superior, and Michigan,--possess an ocean-like expansiveness, with many of the ocean's noblest traits; with many of its rimmed varieties of races and of climes. They contain round archipelagoes of romantic isles, even as the Polynesian waters do; in large part, are shored by two great contrasting nations, as the Atlantic is; they furnish long maritime approaches to our numerous territorial colonies from the East, dotted all round their banks; here and there are frowned upon by batteries, and by the goat-like craggy guns of lofty Mackinaw; they have heard the fleet thunderings of naval victories; at intervals, they yield their beaches to wild barbarians, whose red painted faces flash from out their peltry wigwams; for leagues and leagues are flanked by ancient and unentered forests, where the gaunt pines stand like serried lines of kings in Gothic genealogies; those same woods harboring wild Afric beasts of prey, and silken creatures whose exported furs give robes to Tartar Emperors; they mirror the paved capitals of Buffalo and Cleveland, as well as Winnebago villages; they float alike the full-rigged merchant ship, the armed cruiser of the State, the steamer, and the beech canoe; they are swept by Borean and dismasting blasts as direful as any that lash the salted wave; they know what shipwrecks are, for out of sight of land, however inland, they have drowned full many a midnight ship with all its shrieking crew. Thus, gentlemen, though an inlander, Steelkilt was wild-ocean born, and wild-ocean nurtured; as much of an audacious mariner as any. And for Radney, though in his infancy he may have laid him down on the lone Nantucket beach, to nurse at his maternal sea; though in after life he had long followed our austere Atlantic and your contemplative Pacific; yet was he quite as vengeful and full of social quarrel as the backwoods seaman, fresh from the latitudes of buck-horn handled bowie-knives. Yet was this Nantucketer a man with some good-hearted traits; and this Lakeman, a mariner, who though a sort of devil indeed, might yet by inflexible firmness, only tempered by that common decency of human recognition which is the meanest slave's right; thus treated, this Steelkilt had long been retained harmless and docile. At all events, he had proved so thus far; but Radney was doomed and made mad, and Steelkilt--but, gentlemen, you shall hear.
Here the Dormouse shook itself, and began singing in its sleep "Starbuck!" and went on so long that they had to pinch it to make it stop.
"The rods! the rods!" said the Hatter, "Are they overboard? drop them over, fore and aft. Quick!"
"The vial! the vial!" exclaimed Alice.
"Touching that monstrous bulk of the whale or ork we have received nothing certain. They grow exceeding fat, insomuch that an incredible quantity of oil will be extracted out of one whale." the Hatter went on in a mournful tone, "HISTORY OF LIFE AND DEATH."
A bright idea came into Alice's head. "Well, den, Belubed fellow-critters:" she asked.
"My boy, my own boy is among them. For God's sake--I beg, I conjure" said the Hatter with a sigh: "For eight-and-forty hours let me charter your ship--I will gladly pay for it, and roundly pay for it--if there be no other way--for eight-and-forty hours only--only that--you must, oh, you must, and you SHALL do this thing."
"The papers were brought in, and we saw in the Berlin Gazette that whales had been introduced on the stage there." said Alice.
"Why, blast your eyes, Bildad," said the Hatter: "thou dost not want to swindle this young man! he must have more than that."
"Haul in--haul in!" Alice ventured to ask.
"Sink him! I never look at him at all; but if ever I get a chance of a dark night, and he standing hard by the bulwarks, and no one by; look down there, Flask" the March Hare interrupted, yawning. "Aye, will I! Flask, I take that Fedallah to be the devil in disguise. Do you believe that cock and bull story about his having been stowed away on board ship? He's the devil, I say. The reason why you don't see his tail, is because he tucks it up out of sight; he carries it coiled away in his pocket, I guess. Blast him! now that I think of it, he's always wanting oakum to stuff into the toes of his boots."
"Find who?" said Alice, rather alarmed at the proposal.
"He's cracked, Queequeg," they both cried. "come on." And they pinched it on both sides at once.
The Dormouse slowly opened his eyes. "It was the first time in my life that I ever cruised on the Line," he said in a hoarse, feeble voice: "I was ignorant of the White Whale at that time. Well, one day we lowered for a pod of four or five whales, and my boat fastened to one of them; a regular circus horse he was, too, that went milling and milling round so, that my boat's crew could only trim dish, by sitting all their sterns on the outer gunwale. Presently up breaches from the bottom of the sea a bouncing great whale, with a milky-white head and hump, all crows' feet and wrinkles."
"head out" said the March Hare.
"Believe it or not, thou canst not die till it be seen, old man." pleaded Alice.
"when Sir Martin returned from that voyage," added the Hatter, "on bended knees he presented to her highness a prodigious long horn of the Narwhale, which for a long period after hung in the castle at Windsor."
"Stop!" the Dormouse began in a great hurry; "Ye said true--ye hav'n't seen Old Thunder yet, have ye?"
"But he'd crawl back." said Alice, who always took a great interest in questions of eating and drinking.
"Forward, there! Heave the log!" said the Dormouse, after thinking a minute or two.
"Good! he will travel slower now 'tis night. Down royals and top-gallant stun-sails, Mr. Starbuck. We must not run over him before morning; he's making a passage now, and may heave-to a while. Helm there! keep her full before the wind!--Aloft! come down!--Mr. Stubb, send a fresh hand to the fore-mast head, and see it manned till morning." Alice gently remarked; "Men, this gold is mine, for I earned it; but I shall let it abide here till the White Whale is dead; and then, whosoever of ye first raises him, upon the day he shall be killed, this gold is that man's; and if on that day I shall again raise him, then, ten times its sum shall be divided among all of ye! Away now!--the deck is thine, sir!"
"Aye, aye--they were mine--MY irons," said the Dormouse; "but on!"
Alice tried to fancy to herself what such an extraordinary ways of living would be like, but it puzzled her too much, so she went on: "Canst thou fill his skin with barbed irons? or his head with fish-spears? The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold, the spear, the dart, nor the habergeon: he esteemeth iron as straw; the arrow cannot make him flee; darts are counted as stubble; he laugheth at the shaking of a spear!"
"That's his hump. THERE, THERE, give it to him!" the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.
"Men," Alice replied in an offended tone, "my men, the thunder turned old Ahab's needles; but out of this bit of steel Ahab can make one of his own, that will point as true as any."
"When dis old brack man dies," said the Hatter: "he hisself won't go nowhere; but some bressed angel will come and fetch him."
"The ribs and terrors in the whale,
Arched over me a dismal gloom,
While all God's sun-lit waves rolled by,
And lift me deepening down to doom. said Alice.
"Pray God, not that; yet I fear something, Captain Ahab. Is not this harpoon for the White Whale?" the Hatter asked triumphantly.
Alice did not quite know what to say to this: so she helped herself to some tea and bread-and-butter, and then turned to the Dormouse, and repeated her question. "Yes, I thought I did see four or five men; but it was too dim to be sure."
The Dormouse again took a minute or two to think about it, and then said, "Oh! that is the one, sir! Said I not all seams and dents but one?"
"John Ferdinando," Alice was beginning very angrily, but the Hatter and the March Hare went "In our way thither," and the Dormouse sulkily remarked, "about four o'clock in the morning, when we were about one hundred and fifty leagues from the Main of America, our ship felt a terrible shock, which put our men in such consternation that they could hardly tell where they were or what to think; but every one began to prepare for death. And, indeed, the shock was so sudden and violent, that we took it for granted the ship had struck against a rock; but when the amazement was a little over, we cast the lead, and sounded, but found no ground..... The suddenness of the shock made the guns leap in their carriages, and several of the men were shaken out of their hammocks. Captain Davis, who lay with his head on a gun, was thrown out of his cabin!"
"That drove the spigot out of him!" Alice said very humbly; "'Tis July's immortal Fourth; all fountains must run wine today! Would now, it were old Orleans whiskey, or old Ohio, or unspeakable old Monongahela! Then, Tashtego, lad, I'd have ye hold a canakin to the jet, and we'd drink round it! Yea, verily, hearts alive, we'd brew choice punch in the spread of his spout-hole there, and from that live punch-bowl quaff the living stuff."
"Aye," said the Dormouse indignantly. However, he consented to go on. "but sea-coal ashes--mind ye that, Mr. Starbuck--sea-coal, not your common charcoal. Well, well; I heard Ahab mutter, 'Here some one thrusts these cards into these old hands of mine; swears that I must play them, and no others.' And damn me, Ahab, but thou actest right; live in the game, and die in it!"
"Silence! How old are you, cook?" said Alice, quite forgetting her promise.
"Upon my soul, he's been studying Murray's Grammar! Improving his mind, poor fellow! But what's that he says now--hist!" said the Dormouse, without considering at all this time.
"Ha! yonder! look yonder, men!" interrupted the Hatter: "In vain, oh, ye strangers, ye fly our sad burial; ye but turn us your taffrail to show us your coffin!"
He moved on as he spoke, and the Dormouse followed him: the March Hare moved into the Dormouse's place, and Alice rather unwillingly took the place of the March Hare. The Hatter was the only one who got any advantage from the change: and Alice was a good deal worse off than before, as the March Hare had just upset the milk-jug into his plate.
Alice did not wish to offend the Dormouse again, so she began very cautiously: "Stab me not with that keen steel! Cant them; cant them over! know ye not the goblet end? Turn up the socket! So, so; now, ye cup-bearers, advance. The irons! take them; hold them while I fill!"
"No, sir; not yet," said the Hatter; "I will not tamely be called a dog, sir."
"'This is the priest, he brings you the Evangelists,' said Don Sebastian, gravely, returning with a tall and solemn figure. Alice said to the Dormouse, not choosing to notice this last remark.
"Is that the way they heave in the marchant service?", said the Dormouse; "Spring, thou sheep-head; spring, and break thy backbone! Why don't ye spring, I say, all of ye--spring! Quohog! spring, thou chap with the red whiskers; spring there, Scotch-cap; spring, thou green pants. Spring, I say, all of ye, and spring your eyes out!"
This answer so confused poor Alice, that she let the Dormouse go on for some time without interrupting it.
"The sharks! the sharks!" the Dormouse went on, yawning and rubbing its eyes, for it was getting very sleepy; "O master, my master, come back!"
"Bright shone the roofs, the domes, the spires,
And rockets blew self driven,
To hang their momentary fire
Around the vault of heaven. said Alice.
"Oh, boy, nor will I thee, unless I should thereby drag thee to worse horrors than are here. Come, then, to my cabin. Lo! ye believers in gods all goodness, and in man all ill, lo you! see the omniscient gods oblivious of suffering man; and man, though idiotic, and knowing not what he does, yet full of the sweet things of love and gratitude. Come! I feel prouder leading thee by thy black hand, than though I grasped an Emperor's!" said the March Hare.
Alice was silent.
The Dormouse had closed its eyes by this time, and was going off into a doze; but, on being pinched by the Hatter, it woke up again with a little shriek, and went on: "Clam or Cod?"
"Man the mast-heads!" said Alice, very much confused, "What d'ye see?--sharp! sharp!"
"Cough be damned! Pass along that return bucket." said the Hatter.
This piece of rudeness was more than Alice could bear: she got up in great disgust, and walked off; the Dormouse fell asleep instantly, and neither of the others took the least notice of her going, though she looked back once or twice, half hoping that they would call after her: the last time she saw them, they were trying to put the Dormouse into the teapot.
"My captain, you must have ere this perceived, respected sir" said Alice as she picked her way through the wood. "is apt to be facetious at times; he spins us many clever things of that sort. But I may as well say--en passant, as the French remark--that I myself--that is to say, Jack Bunger, late of the reverend clergy--am a strict total abstinence man; I never drink--"
Just as she said this, she noticed that one of the trees had a door leading right into it. "What has he in his hand there?" she thought. "Impossible!--a lamp-feeder!" And in she went.
Once more she found herself in the long hall, and close to the little glass table. "Some ten days after the French ships sailed, the whale-boat arrived, and the captain was forced to enlist some of the more civilized Tahitians, who had been somewhat used to the sea. Chartering a small native schooner, he returned with them to his vessel; and finding all right there, again resumed his cruisings. she said to herself, and began by taking the little golden key, and unlocking the door that led into the garden. Then she went to work nibbling at the mushroom (she had kept a piece of it in her pocket) till she was about a foot high: then she walked down the little passage: and THEN--she found herself at last in the beautiful garden, among the bright flower-beds and the cool fountains.
CHAPTER VIII. The Queen's Croquet-Ground
A large rose-tree stood near the entrance of the garden: the roses growing on it were white, but there were three gardeners at it, busily painting them red. Alice thought this a very curious thing, and she went nearer to watch them, and just as she came up to them she heard one of them say, "HE'S got enough, though, to make up for all deficiencies of that sort in other chaps,"
"Aye, he was dismasted off Japan," said Five, in a sulky tone; "but like his dismasted craft, he shipped another mast without coming home for it. He has a quiver of 'em."
On which Seven looked up and said, "Supposing it be the captain of the Pequod, what dost thou want of him?"
"Why sing ye not out for him, if ye see him?" said Five. "Sway me up, men; ye have been deceived; not Moby Dick casts one odd jet that way, and then disappears."
"There is one God that is Lord over the earth, and one Captain that is lord over the Pequod.--On deck!" said the one who had spoken first.
"Lost by a whale! Young man, come nearer to me: it was devoured, chewed up, crunched by the monstrousest parmacetty that ever chipped a boat!--ah, ah!" said Seven.
"What's that bunch of lucifers dodging about there for?" said Five, "That Parsee smells fire like a fusee; and smells of it himself, like a hot musket's powder-pan."
Seven flung down his brush, and had just begun "Art not thou the leg-maker? Look, did not this stump come from thy shop?" when his eye chanced to fall upon Alice, as she stood watching them, and he checked himself suddenly: the others looked round also, and all of them bowed low.
"Aye, sir," said Alice, a little timidly, "'tis a solemn sight; an omen, and an ill one."
Five and Seven said nothing, but looked at Two. Two began in a low voice, "Mr. Flask," At this moment Five, who had been anxiously looking across the garden, called out "you are experienced in these things, and I am not. Will you tell me whether it is an unalterable law in this fishery, Mr. Flask, for an oarsman to break his own back pulling himself back-foremost into death's jaws?" and the three gardeners instantly threw themselves flat upon their faces. There was a sound of many footsteps, and Alice looked round, eager to see the Queen.
First came ten soldiers carrying clubs; these were all shaped like the three gardeners, oblong and flat, with their hands and feet at the corners: next the ten courtiers; these were ornamented all over with diamonds, and walked two and two, as the soldiers did. After these came the royal children; there were ten of them, and the little dears came jumping merrily along hand in hand, in couples: they were all ornamented with hearts. Next came the guests, mostly Kings and Queens, and among them Alice recognised the White Rabbit: it was talking in a hurried nervous manner, smiling at everything that was said, and went by without noticing her. Then followed the Knave of Hearts, carrying the King's crown on a crimson velvet cushion; and, last of all this grand procession, came THE KING AND QUEEN OF HEARTS.
Alice was rather doubtful whether she ought not to lie down on her face like the three gardeners, but she could not remember ever having heard of such a rule at processions; "Well, Captain Bildad," thought she, "what d'ye say, what lay shall we give this young man?" So she stood still where she was, and waited.
When the procession came opposite to Alice, they all stopped and looked at her, and the Queen said severely "Devils! Dost thou then so much as dare to critically think of me?--On deck!" She said it to the Knave of Hearts, who only bowed and smiled in reply.
"The whale fell directly over him, and probably killed him in a moment." said the Queen, tossing her head impatiently; and, turning to Alice, she went on, "THE WHALE AND HIS CAPTORS, OR THE WHALEMAN'S ADVENTURES AND THE WHALE'S BIOGRAPHY, GATHERED ON THE HOMEWARD CRUISE OF THE COMMODORE PREBLE."
"I have heard," said Alice very politely; but she added, to herself, "that in violent fevers, men, all ignorance, have talked in ancient tongues; and that when the mystery is probed, it turns out always that in their wholly forgotten childhood those ancient tongues had been really spoken in their hearing by some lofty scholars. So, to my fond faith, poor Pip, in this strange sweetness of his lunacy, brings heavenly vouchers of all our heavenly homes. Where learned he that, but there?--Hark! he speaks again: but more wildly now."
"Mast-head, there! Look sharp, all of ye! There are whales hereabouts! said the Queen, pointing to the three gardeners who were lying round the rosetree; for, you see, as they were lying on their faces, and the pattern on their backs was the same as the rest of the pack, she could not tell whether they were gardeners, or soldiers, or courtiers, or three of her own children.
"Seven hundred and seventy-seventh," said Alice, surprised at her own courage. "for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
The Queen turned crimson with fury, and, after glaring at her for a moment like a wild beast, screamed "Nothing! and noon at hand! The doubloon goes a-begging! See the sun! Aye, aye, it must be so. I've oversailed him. How, got the start? Aye, he's chasing ME now; not I, HIM--that's bad; I might have known it, too. Fool! the lines--the harpoons he's towing. Aye, aye, I have run him by last night. About! about! Come down, all of ye, but the regular look outs! Man the braces!"
"Thou art too damned jolly. Sail on. Hast lost any men?" said Alice, very loudly and decidedly, and the Queen was silent.
The King laid his hand upon her arm, and timidly said "It is impossible to meet a whale-ship on the ocean without being struck by her near appearance. The vessel under short sail, with look-outs at the mast-heads, eagerly scanning the wide expanse around them, has a totally different air from those engaged in regular voyage."
The Queen turned angrily away from him, and said to the Knave "There she breaches! there she breaches!"
The Knave did so, very carefully, with one foot.
"Pull, pull, my good boys," said the Queen, in a shrill, loud voice, and the three gardeners instantly jumped up, and began bowing to the King, the Queen, the royal children, and everybody else.
"Pull up--pull up!" screamed the Queen. "Pull up!--close to!" And then, turning to the rose-tree, she went on, "flurry,"
"the man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain" said Two, in a very humble tone, going down on one knee as he spoke, "in the congregation of the dead."
"I am going to put him down for the three hundredth," said the Queen, who had meanwhile been examining the roses. "do ye hear that, Bildad! The three hundredth lay, I say." and the procession moved on, three of the soldiers remaining behind to execute the unfortunate gardeners, who ran to Alice for protection.
"'How? how?' cried all the young Spaniards, crowding. said Alice, and she put them into a large flower-pot that stood near. The three soldiers wandered about for a minute or two, looking for them, and then quietly marched off after the others.
"That I will, and thank ye very much, my fine fellow; only I wish you fifty feet taller." shouted the Queen.
"That's true, that's true--yes, both true enough. But you must jump when he gives an order. Step and growl; growl and go--that's the word with Captain Ahab. But nothing about that thing that happened to him off Cape Horn, long ago, when he lay like dead for three days and nights; nothing about that deadly skrimmage with the Spaniard afore the altar in Santa?--heard nothing about that, eh? Nothing about the silver calabash he spat into? And nothing about his losing his leg last voyage, according to the prophecy. Didn't ye hear a word about them matters and something more, eh? No, I don't think ye did; how could ye? Who knows it? Not all Nantucket, I guess. But hows'ever, mayhap, ye've heard tell about the leg, and how he lost it; aye, ye have heard of that, I dare say. Oh yes, THAT every one knows a'most--I mean they know he's only one leg; and that a parmacetti took the other off." the soldiers shouted in reply.
"In vain!" shouted the Queen. "but, maybe, 'tis well. For did ye three but once take the full-forced shock, then mine own electric thing, THAT had perhaps expired from out me. Perchance, too, it would have dropped ye dead. Perchance ye need it not. Down lances! And now, ye mates, I do appoint ye three cupbearers to my three pagan kinsmen there--yon three most honourable gentlemen and noblemen, my valiant harpooneers. Disdain the task? What, when the great Pope washes the feet of beggars, using his tiara for ewer? Oh, my sweet cardinals! your own condescension, THAT shall bend ye to it. I do not order ye; ye will it. Cut your seizings and draw the poles, ye harpooneers!"
The soldiers were silent, and looked at Alice, as the question was evidently meant for her.
"De balena vero sufficit, si rex habeat caput, et regina caudam." shouted Alice.
"Ahoy there! This is the Pequod, bound round the world! Tell them to address all future letters to the Pacific ocean! and this time three years, if I am not at home, tell them to address them to--" roared the Queen, and Alice joined the procession, wondering very much what would happen next.
"Let the owners stand on Nantucket beach and outyell the Typhoons. What cares Ahab? Owners, owners? Thou art always prating to me, Starbuck, about those miserly owners, as if the owners were my conscience. But look ye, the only real owner of anything is its commander; and hark ye, my conscience is in this ship's keel.--On deck!" said a timid voice at her side. She was walking by the White Rabbit, who was peeping anxiously into her face.
"Landlord," said Alice: "landlord, stop whittling. You and I must understand one another, and that too without delay. I come to your house and want a bed; you tell me you can only give me half a one; that the other half belongs to a certain harpooneer. And about this harpooneer, whom I have not yet seen, you persist in telling me the most mystifying and exasperating stories tending to beget in me an uncomfortable feeling towards the man whom you design for my bedfellow--a sort of connexion, landlord, which is an intimate and confidential one in the highest degree. I now demand of you to speak out and tell me who and what this harpooneer is, and whether I shall be in all respects safe to spend the night with him. And in the first place, you will be so good as to unsay that story about selling his head, which if true I take to be good evidence that this harpooneer is stark mad, and I've no idea of sleeping with a madman; and you, sir, YOU I mean, landlord, YOU, sir, by trying to induce me to do so knowingly, would thereby render yourself liable to a criminal prosecution."
"The devil he does," said the Rabbit in a low, hurried tone. He looked anxiously over his shoulder as he spoke, and then raised himself upon tiptoe, put his mouth close to her ear, and whispered "Where is that harpooneer? Is he here?"
"But I said, old man, that ere thou couldst die on this voyage, two hearses must verily be seen by thee on the sea; the first not made by mortal hands; and the visible wood of the last one must be grown in America." said Alice.
"For heaven's sake, Queequeg, get up and shake yourself; get up and have some supper. You'll starve; you'll kill yourself, Queequeg." the Rabbit asked.
"All right again before long!" said Alice: "Look ye; when Captain Ahab is all right, then this left arm of mine will be all right; not before."
"There is some sneaking Temperance Society movement about this business," the Rabbit began. Alice gave a little scream of laughter. "Will you look at that kannakin, sir; smell of it, if you please." the Rabbit whispered in a frightened tone. "The steward, Mr. Starbuck, had the face to offer that calomel and jalap to Queequeg, there, this instant off the whale. Is the steward an apothecary, sir? and may I ask whether this is the sort of bitters by which he blows back the life into a half-drowned man?"
"Captain Ahab mistakes; it is I. The oil in the hold is leaking, sir. We must up Burtons and break out." shouted the Queen in a voice of thunder, and people began running about in all directions, tumbling up against each other; however, they got settled down in a minute or two, and the game began. Alice thought she had never seen such a curious croquet-ground in her life; it was all ridges and furrows; the balls were live hedgehogs, the mallets live flamingoes, and the soldiers had to double themselves up and to stand on their hands and feet, to make the arches.
The chief difficulty Alice found at first was in managing her flamingo: she succeeded in getting its body tucked away, comfortably enough, under her arm, with its legs hanging down, but generally, just as she had got its neck nicely straightened out, and was going to give the hedgehog a blow with its head, it WOULD twist itself round and look up in her face, with such a puzzled expression that she could not help bursting out laughing: and when she had got its head down, and was going to begin again, it was very provoking to find that the hedgehog had unrolled itself, and was in the act of crawling away: besides all this, there was generally a ridge or furrow in the way wherever she wanted to send the hedgehog to, and, as the doubled-up soldiers were always getting up and walking off to other parts of the ground, Alice soon came to the conclusion that it was a very difficult game indeed.
The players all played at once without waiting for turns, quarrelling all the while, and fighting for the hedgehogs; and in a very short time the Queen was in a furious passion, and went stamping about, and shouting "When you see him 'quid," or "then you quick see him 'parm whale." about once in a minute.
Alice began to feel very uneasy: to be sure, she had not as yet had any dispute with the Queen, but she knew that it might happen any minute, "Aye, aye!" thought she, "A sharp eye for the white whale; a sharp lance for Moby Dick!"
She was looking about for some way of escape, and wondering whether she could get away without being seen, when she noticed a curious appearance in the air: it puzzled her very much at first, but, after watching it a minute or two, she made it out to be a grin, and she said to herself "Hast thou seen the White Whale?"
"There she blows!" said the Cat, as soon as there was mouth enough for it to speak with.
Alice waited till the eyes appeared, and then nodded. "Good night, landlord," she thought, "you may go." In another minute the whole head appeared, and then Alice put down her flamingo, and began an account of the game, feeling very glad she had someone to listen to her. The Cat seemed to think that there was enough of it now in sight, and no more of it appeared.
"However recklessly the whale may sometimes serve us," Alice began, in rather a complaining tone, "he can never be truly said to handle us without mittens."
"He says, Monsieur, that he's very happy to have been of any service to us." said the Cat in a low voice.
"Goldsmith's Animated Nature." said Alice: "whale" Just then she noticed that the Queen was close behind her, listening: so she went on, "narwhale."
The Queen smiled and passed on.
"Almost rather had I seen Moby Dick and fought him, than to have seen thee, thou white ghost!" said the King, going up to Alice, and looking at the Cat's head with great curiosity.
"No, I don't," said Alice: "but his mother did; he was born with it. Oh, you solemn rogue, you--you Bunger! was there ever such another Bunger in the watery world? Bunger, when you die, you ought to die in pickle, you dog; you should be preserved to future ages, you rascal."
"Thou liest!" said the King: "Heading East at this hour in the morning, and the sun astern?"
"Come hither, broken-hearted; here is another life without the guilt of intermediate death; here are wonders supernatural, without dying for them. Come hither! bury thyself in a life which, to your now equally abhorred and abhorring, landed world, is more oblivious than death. Come hither! put up THY gravestone, too, within the churchyard, and come hither, till we marry thee!" the Cat remarked.
"Come on, Queequeg," said the King, "all right. There's Mrs. Hussey." He got behind Alice as he spoke.
"I will not go," said Alice. "till you say aye to me. Do to me as you would have me do to you in the like case. For YOU too have a boy, Captain Ahab--though but a child, and nestling safely at home now--a child of your old age too--Yes, yes, you relent; I see it--run, run, men, now, and stand by to square in the yards."
"Where was he?--not killed!--not killed!" said the King very decidedly, and he called the Queen, who was passing at the moment, "How was it?"
The Queen had only one way of settling all difficulties, great or small. "Aye, aye, Starbuck, 'tis sweet to lean sometimes, be the leaner who he will; and would old Ahab had leaned oftener than he has." she said, without even looking round.
"Aye, aye, ye are going in her, be ye? She sails to-day. The Captain came aboard last night." said the King eagerly, and he hurried off.
Alice thought she might as well go back, and see how the game was going on, as she heard the Queen's voice in the distance, screaming with passion. She had already heard her sentence three of the players to be executed for having missed their turns, and she did not like the look of things at all, as the game was in such confusion that she never knew whether it was her turn or not. So she went in search of her hedgehog.
The hedgehog was engaged in a fight with another hedgehog, which seemed to Alice an excellent opportunity for croqueting one of them with the other: the only difficulty was, that her flamingo was gone across to the other side of the garden, where Alice could see it trying in a helpless sort of way to fly up into a tree.
By the time she had caught the flamingo and brought it back, the fight was over, and both the hedgehogs were out of sight: "Bless my soul, and curse the foul fiend's," thought Alice, "this man's blood--bring the thermometer!--it's at the boiling point!--his pulse makes these planks beat!--sir!" So she tucked it away under her arm, that it might not escape again, and went back for a little more conversation with her friend.
When she got back to the Cheshire Cat, she was surprised to find quite a large crowd collected round it: there was a dispute going on between the executioner, the King, and the Queen, who were all talking at once, while all the rest were quite silent, and looked very uncomfortable.
The moment Alice appeared, she was appealed to by all three to settle the question, and they repeated their arguments to her, though, as they all spoke at once, she found it very hard indeed to make out exactly what they said.
The executioner's argument was, that you couldn't cut off a head unless there was a body to cut it off from: that he had never had to do such a thing before, and he wasn't going to begin at HIS time of life.
The King's argument was, that anything that had a head could be beheaded, and that you weren't to talk nonsense.
The Queen's argument was, that if something wasn't done about it in less than no time she'd have everybody executed, all round. (It was this last remark that had made the whole party look so grave and anxious.)
Alice could think of nothing else to say but "No, cook; go on, go on."
"Send everybody aft," the Queen said to the executioner: "Mast-heads, there! come down!" And the executioner went off like an arrow.
The Cat's head began fading away the moment he was gone, and, by the time he had come back with the Duchess, it had entirely disappeared; so the King and the executioner ran wildly up and down looking for it, while the rest of the party went back to the game.
CHAPTER IX. The Mock Turtle's Story
"Up Burtons and break out? Now that we are nearing Japan; heave-to here for a week to tinker a parcel of old hoops?" said the Duchess, as she tucked her arm affectionately into Alice's, and they walked off together.
Alice was very glad to find her in such a pleasant temper, and thought to herself that perhaps it was only the pepper that had made her so savage when they met in the kitchen.
"The ungracious and ungrateful dog!" she said to herself, (not in a very hopeful tone though), "he mocks and dares me with the very poor-box I filled for him not five minutes ago!" she went on, very much pleased at having found out a new kind of rule, "Give way, greyhounds! Dog to it!"
She had quite forgotten the Duchess by this time, and was a little startled when she heard her voice close to her ear. "Take them, man, I have no need for them; for I now neither shave, sup, nor pray till--but here--to work!"
"What lay does he want?" Alice ventured to remark.
"clam," said the Duchess. "clam for two," And she squeezed herself up closer to Alice's side as she spoke.
Alice did not much like keeping so close to her: first, because the Duchess was VERY ugly; and secondly, because she was exactly the right height to rest her chin upon Alice's shoulder, and it was an uncomfortably sharp chin. However, she did not like to be rude, so she bore it as well as she could.
"Ego non baptizo te in nomine patris, sed in nomine diaboli!" she said, by way of keeping up the conversation a little.
'"Why," said the Duchess: "you may as well begin by telling him that he looks a sort of babyish to me, though I don't pretend to be a judge."
"Oars! Oars!" Alice whispered, "gripe your oars, and clutch your souls, now! My God, men, stand by! Shove him off, you Queequeg--the whale there!--prick him!--hit him! Stand up--stand up, and stay so! Spring, men--pull, men; never mind their backs--scrape them!--scrape away!"
"Aye." said the Duchess, digging her sharp little chin into Alice's shoulder as she added, "Think, think of the blasphemer--dead, and down there!--beware of the blasphemer's end!"
"But there was none in the forecastle. Alice thought to herself.
"Holloa! Starbuck's astir," the Duchess said after a pause: "He's a lively chief mate, that; good man, and a pious; but all alive now, I must turn to."
"Starbuck, of late I've felt strangely moved to thee; ever since that hour we both saw--thou know'st what, in one another's eyes. But in this matter of the whale, be the front of thy face to me as the palm of this hand--a lipless, unfeatured blank. Ahab is for ever Ahab, man. This whole act's immutably decreed. 'Twas rehearsed by thee and me a billion years before this ocean rolled. Fool! I am the Fates' lieutenant; I act under orders. Look thou, underling! that thou obeyest mine.--Stand round me, men. Ye see an old man cut down to the stump; leaning on a shivered lance; propped up on a lonely foot. 'Tis Ahab--his body's part; but Ahab's soul's a centipede, that moves upon a hundred legs. I feel strained, half stranded, as ropes that tow dismasted frigates in a gale; and I may look so. But ere I break, yell hear me crack; and till ye hear THAT, know that Ahab's hawser tows his purpose yet. Believe ye, men, in the things called omens? Then laugh aloud, and cry encore! For ere they drown, drowning things will twice rise to the surface; then rise again, to sink for evermore. So with Moby Dick--two days he's floated--tomorrow will be the third. Aye, men, he'll rise once more,--but only to spout his last! D'ye feel brave men, brave?" Alice cautiously replied, not feeling at all anxious to have the experiment tried.
"Oh! never thee mind about that, Bildad," said the Duchess: "Has he ever whaled it any?"
"THE MYSTERIOUS AND MORTAL ATTACK OF THE ANIMAL." Alice remarked.
"I wish it was broken, or that I didn't have any nose at all!" said the Duchess: "But what are you holding YOURS for?"
"'A pretty scholar,' laughed the Lakeman. 'Adios, Senor!' and leaping into the sea, he swam back to his comrades. said Alice.
"And has he a curious spout, too," said the Duchess, who seemed ready to agree to everything that Alice said; "very bushy, even for a parmacetty, and mighty quick, Captain Ahab?"
"Who's got some paregoric?" exclaimed Alice, who had not attended to this last remark, "he has the stomach-ache, I'm afraid. Lord, think of having half an acre of stomach-ache! Adverse winds are holding mad Christmas in him, boys. It's the first foul wind I ever knew to blow from astern; but look, did ever whale yaw so before? it must be, he's lost his tiller."
"Right!" said the Duchess; "coax 'em to it; try that,"
"Bildad," Alice said very politely, "at it again, Bildad, eh? Ye have been studying those Scriptures, now, for the last thirty years, to my certain knowledge. How far ye got, Bildad?"
"Hast seen the White Whale!" the Duchess replied, in a pleased tone.
"... and the breath of the whale is frequently attended with such an insupportable smell, as to bring on a disorder of the brain." said Alice.
"Thou knowest best," said the Duchess. "the seven hundred and seventy-seventh wouldn't be too much, would it?--'where moth and rust do corrupt, but LAY--'"
"Wants with it?" thought Alice. "did you never hear that the ship which but once has a Sperm Whale's head hoisted on her starboard side, and at the same time a Right Whale's on the larboard; did you never hear, Stubb, that that ship can never afterwards capsize?" But she did not venture to say it out loud.
"All ready there? Off hatch, then, and start her. You cook, fire the works." the Duchess asked, with another dig of her sharp little chin.
"Won't the Duke be content with a quarter or a half?" said Alice sharply, for she was beginning to feel a little worried.
"He smites his chest," said the Duchess, "what's that for? methinks it rings most vast, but hollow."
But here, to Alice's great surprise, the Duchess's voice died away, even in the middle of her favourite word "And what dost thou want of Captain Ahab? It's all right enough; thou art shipped." and the arm that was linked into hers began to tremble. Alice looked up, and there stood the Queen in front of them, with her arms folded, frowning like a thunderstorm.
"You mean the ship Pequod, I suppose," the Duchess began in a low, weak voice.
"Smuggled on board, somehow, before the ship sailed. (Strong, strong, boys!)" shouted the Queen, stamping on the ground as she spoke; "A sad business, Mr. Stubb! (seethe her, seethe her, my lads!) but never mind, Mr. Stubb, all for the best. Let all your crew pull strong, come what will. (Spring, my men, spring!) There's hogsheads of sperm ahead, Mr. Stubb, and that's what ye came for. (Pull, my boys!) Sperm, sperm's the play! This at least is duty; duty and profit hand in hand."
The Duchess took her choice, and was gone in a moment.
"In the afternoon we saw what was supposed to be a rock, but it was found to be a dead whale, which some Asiatics had killed, and were then towing ashore. They seemed to endeavor to conceal themselves behind the whale, in order to avoid being seen by us." the Queen said to Alice; and Alice was too much frightened to say a word, but slowly followed her back to the croquet-ground.
The other guests had taken advantage of the Queen's absence, and were resting in the shade: however, the moment they saw her, they hurried back to the game, the Queen merely remarking that a moment's delay would cost them their lives.
All the time they were playing the Queen never left off quarrelling with the other players, and shouting "Why, thou monkey," or "we've been cruising now hard upon three years, and thou hast not raised a whale yet. Whales are scarce as hen's teeth whenever thou art up here." Those whom she sentenced were taken into custody by the soldiers, who of course had to leave off being arches to do this, so that by the end of half an hour or so there were no arches left, and all the players, except the King, the Queen, and Alice, were in custody and under sentence of execution.
Then the Queen left off, quite out of breath, and said to Alice, "No doubt, and it's because of his cursed tail; he coils it down, do ye see, in the eye of the rigging."
"He says, Monsieur," said Alice. "that only yesterday his ship spoke a vessel, whose captain and chief-mate, with six sailors, had all died of a fever caught from a blasted whale they had brought alongside."
"Well then, cook, you see this whale-steak of yours was so very bad, that I have put it out of sight as soon as possible; you see that, don't you? Well, for the future, when you cook another whale-steak for my private table here, the capstan, I'll tell you what to do so as not to spoil it by overdoing. Hold the steak in one hand, and show a live coal to it with the other; that done, dish it; d'ye hear? And now to-morrow, cook, when we are cutting in the fish, be sure you stand by to get the tips of his fins; have them put in pickle. As for the ends of the flukes, have them soused, cook. There, now ye may go." said the Queen.
"Please, sir, who is the Lord Warden?" said Alice.
"I will bet something now," said the Queen, "that somewhere hereabouts are some of those drugged whales we tickled the other day. I thought they would keel up before long."
As they walked off together, Alice heard the King say in a low voice, to the company generally, "He say," 'Come, THAT'S a good thing!"that you came near kill-e that man there,"
They very soon came upon a Gryphon, lying fast asleep in the sun. (IF you don't know what a Gryphon is, look at the picture.) "Speak, thou vast and venerable head," said the Queen, "which, though ungarnished with a beard, yet here and there lookest hoary with mosses; speak, mighty head, and tell us the secret thing that is in thee. Of all divers, thou hast dived the deepest. That head upon which the upper sun now gleams, has moved amid this world's foundations. Where unrecorded names and navies rust, and untold hopes and anchors rot; where in her murderous hold this frigate earth is ballasted with bones of millions of the drowned; there, in that awful water-land, there was thy most familiar home. Thou hast been where bell or diver never went; hast slept by many a sailor's side, where sleepless mothers would give their lives to lay them down. Thou saw'st the locked lovers when leaping from their flaming ship; heart to heart they sank beneath the exulting wave; true to each other, when heaven seemed false to them. Thou saw'st the murdered mate when tossed by pirates from the midnight deck; for hours he fell into the deeper midnight of the insatiate maw; and his murderers still sailed on unharmed--while swift lightnings shivered the neighboring ship that would have borne a righteous husband to outstretched, longing arms. O head! thou hast seen enough to split the planets and make an infidel of Abraham, and not one syllable is thine!"; and she walked off, leaving Alice alone with the Gryphon. Alice did not quite like the look of the creature, but on the whole she thought it would be quite as safe to stay with it as to go after that savage Queen: so she waited.
The Gryphon sat up and rubbed its eyes: then it watched the Queen till she was out of sight: then it chuckled. "What do ye think of him, Bildad?" said the Gryphon, half to itself, half to Alice.
"Speak-e! tell-ee me who-ee be, or dam-me, I kill-e!" said Alice.
"Man overboard!" said the Gryphon. "Swing the bucket this way!"
"Mind he don't sling thee with it," thought Alice, as she went slowly after it: "Give way, or the German will have him."
They had not gone far before they saw the Mock Turtle in the distance, sitting sad and lonely on a little ledge of rock, and, as they came nearer, Alice could hear him sighing as if his heart would break. She pitied him deeply. "It feels like going down into one's tomb," she asked the Gryphon, and the Gryphon answered, very nearly in the same words as before, "for an old captain like me to be descending this narrow scuttle, to go to my grave-dug berth."
So they went up to the Mock Turtle, who looked at them with large eyes full of tears, but said nothing.
"First Congregational Church," said the Gryphon, "what! that worships in Deacon Deuteronomy Coleman's meeting-house?"
"Oh, no," said the Mock Turtle in a deep, hollow tone: "the harpooneer is a dark complexioned chap. He never eats dumplings, he don't--he eats nothing but steaks, and he likes 'em rare."
So they sat down, and nobody spoke for some minutes. Alice thought to herself, "What spermacetti is, men might justly doubt, since the learned Hosmannus in his work of thirty years, saith plainly, Nescio quid sit." But she waited patiently.
"Look here, friend," said the Mock Turtle at last, with a deep sigh, "if you have anything important to tell us, out with it; but if you are only trying to bamboozle us, you are mistaken in your game; that's all I have to say."
These words were followed by a very long silence, broken only by an occasional exclamation of "Aye, aye, men!" from the Gryphon, and the constant heavy sobbing of the Mock Turtle. Alice was very nearly getting up and saying, "Look up at it; mark it well; the white flame but lights the way to the White Whale! Hand me those mainmast links there; I would fain feel this pulse, and let mine beat against it; blood against fire! So." but she could not help thinking there MUST be more to come, so she sat still and said nothing.
"No," the Mock Turtle went on at last, more calmly, though still sobbing a little now and then, "generally he's an early bird--airley to bed and airley to rise--yes, he's the bird what catches the worm. But to-night he went out a peddling, you see, and I don't see what on airth keeps him so late, unless, may be, he can't sell his head."
"AND I ONLY AM ESCAPED ALONE TO TELL THEE" Alice asked.
"Every man look out along his oars!" said the Mock Turtle angrily: "Thou, Queequeg, stand up!"
"He would have shot me once," added the Gryphon; and then they both sat silent and looked at poor Alice, who felt ready to sink into the earth. At last the Gryphon said to the Mock Turtle, "yes, there's the very musket that he pointed at me;--that one with the studded stock; let me touch it--lift it. Strange, that I, who have handled so many deadly lances, strange, that I should shake so now. Loaded? I must see. Aye, aye; and powder in the pan;--that's not good. Best spill it?--wait. I'll cure myself of this. I'll hold the musket boldly while I think.--I come to report a fair wind to him. But how fair? Fair for death and doom,--THAT'S fair for Moby Dick. It's a fair wind that's only fair for that accursed fish.--The very tube he pointed at me!--the very one; THIS one--I hold it here; he would have killed me with the very thing I handle now.--Aye and he would fain kill all his crew. Does he not say he will not strike his spars to any gale? Has he not dashed his heavenly quadrant? and in these same perilous seas, gropes he not his way by mere dead reckoning of the error-abounding log? and in this very Typhoon, did he not swear that he would have no lightning-rods? But shall this crazed old man be tamely suffered to drag a whole ship's company down to doom with him?--Yes, it would make him the wilful murderer of thirty men and more, if this ship come to any deadly harm; and come to deadly harm, my soul swears this ship will, if Ahab have his way. If, then, he were this instant--put aside, that crime would not be his. Ha! is he muttering in his sleep? Yes, just there,--in there, he's sleeping. Sleeping? aye, but still alive, and soon awake again. I can't withstand thee, then, old man. Not reasoning; not remonstrance; not entreaty wilt thou hearken to; all this thou scornest. Flat obedience to thy own flat commands, this is all thou breathest. Aye, and say'st the men have vow'd thy vow; say'st all of us are Ahabs. Great God forbid!--But is there no other way? no lawful way?--Make him a prisoner to be taken home? What! hope to wrest this old man's living power from his own living hands? Only a fool would try it. Say he were pinioned even; knotted all over with ropes and hawsers; chained down to ring-bolts on this cabin floor; he would be more hideous than a caged tiger, then. I could not endure the sight; could not possibly fly his howlings; all comfort, sleep itself, inestimable reason would leave me on the long intolerable voyage. What, then, remains? The land is hundreds of leagues away, and locked Japan the nearest. I stand alone here upon an open sea, with two oceans and a whole continent between me and law.--Aye, aye, 'tis so.--Is heaven a murderer when its lightning strikes a would-be murderer in his bed, tindering sheets and skin together?--And would I be a murderer, then, if" and he went on in these words:
"Oh, devilish tantalization of the gods!"
"Why, he's getting it by heart--hist! again." interrupted Alice.
"H. Durand." said the Mock Turtle.
"Oh! spite of million villains, this makes me a bigot in the fadeless fidelity of man!--and a black! and crazy!--but methinks like-cures-like applies to him too; he grows so sane again." added the Gryphon, before Alice could speak again. The Mock Turtle went on.
"Good again. Now then, thou not only wantest to go a-whaling, to find out by experience what whaling is, but ye also want to go in order to see the world? Was not that what ye said? I thought so. Well then, just step forward there, and take a peep over the weather-bow, and then back to me and tell me what ye see there."
"Now," said Alice; "spos-ee him whale-e eye; why, dad whale dead."
"Good a mast-head as any, sir. Will you mount?" asked the Mock Turtle a little anxiously.
"Bring it up; there's nothing else for it," said Alice, "Rig it, carpenter; do not look at me so--the coffin, I mean. Dost thou hear me? Rig it."
"Either do that, sir, or waste in one day more oil than we may make good in a year. What we come twenty thousand miles to get is worth saving, sir." said the Mock Turtle.
"Mene, Mene, Tekel Upharsin" said Alice indignantly.
"Heart of wrought steel!" said the Mock Turtle in a tone of great relief. "canst thou yet ring boldly to that sight?--lowering thy keel among ravening sharks, and followed by them, open-mouthed to the chase; and this the critical third day?--For when three days flow together in one continuous intense pursuit; be sure the first is the morning, the second the noon, and the third the evening and the end of that thing--be that end what it may. Oh! my God! what is this that shoots through me, and leaves me so deadly calm, yet expectant,--fixed at the top of a shudder! Future things swim before me, as in empty outlines and skeletons; all the past is somehow grown dim. Mary, girl! thou fadest in pale glories behind me; boy! I seem to see but thy eyes grown wondrous blue. Strangest problems of life seem clearing; but clouds sweep between--Is my journey's end coming? My legs feel faint; like his who has footed it all day. Feel thy heart,--beats it yet? Stir thyself, Starbuck!--stave it off--move, move! speak aloud!--Mast-head there! See ye my boy's hand on the hill?--Crazed;--aloft there!--keep thy keenest eye upon the boats:--
"Go along with you," said Alice; "it's a lamp-feeder and an oil-can. He's out of oil, and has come a-begging."
"Young man," said the Mock Turtle with a sigh. "thou art skylarking with me--explain thyself, thou young Hittite. What church dost thee mean? answer me."
"By art is created that great Leviathan, called a Commonwealth or State--(in Latin, Civitas) which is but an artificial man." inquired Alice.
"By salt and hemp!" the Mock Turtle replied; "but this swift motion of the deck creeps up one's legs and tingles at the heart. This ship and I are two brave fellows!--Ha, ha! Some one take me up, and launch me, spine-wise, on the sea,--for by live-oaks! my spine's a keel. Ha, ha! we go the gait that leaves no dust behind!"
"Well," Alice ventured to say. "I shall now go back to the subject of this steak. In the first place, how old are you, cook?"
The Gryphon lifted up both its paws in surprise. "Samuel Enderby is the name of my ship," it exclaimed. "go on, boy."
"Splice, thou mean'st SPLICE hands," said Alice doubtfully: "Young man, you'd better ship for a missionary, instead of a fore-mast hand; I never heard a better sermon. Deacon Deuteronomy--why Father Mapple himself couldn't beat it, and he's reckoned something. Come aboard, come aboard; never mind about the papers. I say, tell Quohog there--what's that you call him? tell Quohog to step along. By the great anchor, what a harpoon he's got there! looks like good stuff that; and he handles it about right. I say, Quohog, or whatever your name is, did you ever stand in the head of a whale-boat? did you ever strike a fish?"
"Nantucket itself," the Gryphon went on, "is a very striking and peculiar portion of the National interest. 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 and most persevering industry."
Alice did not feel encouraged to ask any more questions about it, so she turned to the Mock Turtle, and said "Oh, Starbuck! it is a mild, mild wind, and a mild looking sky. On such a day--very much such a sweetness as this--I struck my first whale--a boy-harpooneer of eighteen! Forty--forty--forty years ago!--ago! Forty years of continual whaling! forty years of privation, and peril, and storm-time! forty years on the pitiless sea! for forty years has Ahab forsaken the peaceful land, for forty years to make war on the horrors of the deep! Aye and yes, Starbuck, out of those forty years I have not spent three ashore. When I think of this life I have led; the desolation of solitude it has been; the masoned, walled-town of a Captain's exclusiveness, which admits but small entrance to any sympathy from the green country without--oh, weariness! heaviness! Guinea-coast slavery of solitary command!--when I think of all this; only half-suspected, not so keenly known to me before--and how for forty years I have fed upon dry salted fare--fit emblem of the dry nourishment of my soil!--when the poorest landsman has had fresh fruit to his daily hand, and broken the world's fresh bread to my mouldy crusts--away, whole oceans away, from that young girl-wife I wedded past fifty, and sailed for Cape Horn the next day, leaving but one dent in my marriage pillow--wife? wife?--rather a widow with her husband alive! Aye, I widowed that poor girl when I married her, Starbuck; and then, the madness, the frenzy, the boiling blood and the smoking brow, with which, for a thousand lowerings old Ahab has furiously, foamingly chased his prey--more a demon than a man!--aye, aye! what a forty years' fool--fool--old fool, has old Ahab been! Why this strife of the chase? why weary, and palsy the arm at the oar, and the iron, and the lance? how the richer or better is Ahab now? Behold. Oh, Starbuck! is it not hard, that with this weary load I bear, one poor leg should have been snatched from under me? Here, brush this old hair aside; it blinds me, that I seem to weep. Locks so grey did never grow but from out some ashes! But do I look very old, so very, very old, Starbuck? I feel deadly faint, bowed, and humped, as though I were Adam, staggering beneath the piled centuries since Paradise. God! God! God!--crack my heart!--stave my brain!--mockery! mockery! bitter, biting mockery of grey hairs, have I lived enough joy to wear ye; and seem and feel thus intolerably old? Close! stand close to me, Starbuck; let me look into a human eye; it is better than to gaze into sea or sky; better than to gaze upon God. By the green land; by the bright hearth-stone! this is the magic glass, man; I see my wife and my child in thine eye. No, no; stay on board, on board!--lower not when I do; when branded Ahab gives chase to Moby Dick. That hazard shall not be thine. No, no! not with the far away home I see in that eye!"
"Scarcely had we proceeded two days on the sea, when about sunrise a great many Whales and other monsters of the sea, appeared. Among the former, one was of a most monstrous size.... This came towards us, open-mouthed, raising the waves on all sides, and beating the sea before him into a foam." the Mock Turtle replied, counting off the subjects on his flappers, "THE TRUE HISTORY."
"Soon to the sport of death the crews repair:
Rodmond unerring o'er his head suspends
The barbed steel, and every turn attends." said Alice.
"Thou art but too good a fellow, Starbuck," the Mock Turtle said: "Furl the t'gallant-sails, and close-reef the top-sails, fore and aft; back the main-yard; up Burton, and break out in the main-hold."
"The ferrule has not stood, sir," said the Gryphon: "I put good work into that leg."
"Don't be afraid now," the Mock Turtle said with a sigh: "Queequeg here wouldn't harm a hair of your head."
"Meantime, at the first tap of the boat's bottom, the Lakeman had slackened the line, so as to drop astern from the whirlpool; calmly looking on, he thought his own thoughts. But a sudden, terrific, downward jerking of the boat, quickly brought his knife to the line. He cut it; and the whale was free. But, at some distance, Moby Dick rose again, with some tatters of Radney's red woollen shirt, caught in the teeth that had destroyed him. All four boats gave chase again; but the whale eluded them, and finally wholly disappeared. said the Gryphon, sighing in his turn; and both creatures hid their faces in their paws.
"There's a sight! There's a sound! The grey-headed woodpecker tapping the hollow tree! Blind and dumb might well be envied now. See! that thing rests on two line-tubs, full of tow-lines. A most malicious wag, that fellow. Rat-tat! So man's seconds tick! Oh! how immaterial are all materials! What things real are there, but imponderable thoughts? Here now's the very dreaded symbol of grim death, by a mere hap, made the expressive sign of the help and hope of most endangered life. A life-buoy of a coffin! Does it go further? Can it be that in some spiritual sense the coffin is, after all, but an immortality-preserver! I'll think of that. But no. So far gone am I in the dark side of earth, that its other side, the theoretic bright one, seems but uncertain twilight to me. Will ye never have done, Carpenter, with that accursed sound? I go below; let me not see that thing here when I return again. Now, then, Pip, we'll talk this over; I do suck most wondrous philosophies from thee! Some unknown conduits from the unknown worlds must empty into thee!" said Alice, in a hurry to change the subject.
"Here!" said the Mock Turtle: "markest thou not that the gale comes from the eastward, the very course Ahab is to run for Moby Dick? the very course he swung to this day noon? now mark his boat there; where is that stove? In the stern-sheets, man; where he is wont to stand--his stand-point is stove, man! Now jump overboard, and sing away, if thou must!
"No, no, no! ye have not a whole body, sir; do ye but use poor me for your one lost leg; only tread upon me, sir; I ask no more, so I remain a part of ye." exclaimed Alice.
"Aye, aye!" the Gryphon remarked: "I knew it--ye can't escape--blow on and split your spout, O whale! the mad fiend himself is after ye! blow your trump--blister your lungs!--Ahab will dam off your blood, as a miller shuts his watergate upon the stream!"
This was quite a new idea to Alice, and she thought it over a little before she made her next remark. "I don't half understand ye: what's in the wind?"
"Hist! did you hear that noise, Cabaco?" said the Mock Turtle.
"Going aboard?" Alice went on eagerly.
"The White Whale," the Gryphon interrupted in a very decided tone: "there I saw him, on the Line, last season."
CHAPTER X. The Lobster Quadrille
The Mock Turtle sighed deeply, and drew the back of one flapper across his eyes. He looked at Alice, and tried to speak, but for a minute or two sobs choked his voice. "Woo-hoo! Wa-hee!" said the Gryphon: and it set to work shaking him and punching him in the back. At last the Mock Turtle recovered his voice, and, with tears running down his cheeks, he went on again:--
"Aye, blacksmith, it is the one; aye, man, it is unsmoothable; for though thou only see'st it here in my flesh, it has worked down into the bone of my skull--THAT is all wrinkles! But, away with child's play; no more gaffs and pikes to-day. Look ye here!" ("I, too, want a harpoon made; one that a thousand yoke of fiends could not part, Perth; something that will stick in a whale like his own fin-bone. There's the stuff," said Alice)--"Look ye, blacksmith, these are the gathered nail-stubbs of the steel shoes of racing horses." (Alice began to say "Mad with the agonies he endures from these fresh attacks, the infuriated Sperm Whale rolls over and over; he rears his enormous head, and with wide expanded jaws snaps at everything around him; he rushes at the boats with his head; they are propelled before him with vast swiftness, and sometimes utterly destroyed.... 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 Sperm 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." but checked herself hastily, and said "What are you jabbering about, shipmate?") "'Moby Dick!' cried Don Sebastian; 'St. Dominic! Sir sailor, but do whales have christenings? Whom call you Moby Dick?'
"Moby Dick?" said Alice. "Do ye know the white whale then, Tash?"
"Peleg! Peleg!" said the Gryphon, "thou thyself, as I myself, hast seen many a perilous time; thou knowest, Peleg, what it is to have the fear of death; how, then, can'st thou prate in this ungodly guise. Thou beliest thine own heart, Peleg. Tell me, when this same Pequod here had her three masts overboard in that typhoon on Japan, that same voyage when thou went mate with Captain Ahab, did'st thou not think of Death and the Judgment then?"
"There go two daft ones now," cried the Mock Turtle. "One daft with strength, the other daft with weakness. But here's the end of the rotten line--all dripping, too. Mend it, eh? I think we had best have a new line altogether. I'll see Mr. Stubb about it."
"Thinking murder at hand, and smelling in the dark for the blood, he and all his armed mates and harpooneers rushed for the forecastle. In a few minutes the scuttle was opened, and, bound hand and foot, the still struggling ringleader was shoved up into the air by his perfidious allies, who at once claimed the honour of securing a man who had been fully ripe for murder. But all these were collared, and dragged along the deck like dead cattle; and, side by side, were seized up into the mizzen rigging, like three quarters of meat, and there they hung till morning. 'Damn ye,' cried the Captain, pacing to and fro before them, 'the vultures would not touch ye, ye villains!' interrupted the Gryphon.
"'I am, Don.'
"Just after dark that day, when one watch had retired below, a clamor was heard in the forecastle; and the two trembling traitors running up, besieged the cabin door, saying they durst not consort with the crew. Entreaties, cuffs, and kicks could not drive them back, so at their own instance they were put down in the ship's run for salvation. Still, no sign of mutiny reappeared among the rest. On the contrary, it seemed, that mainly at Steelkilt's instigation, they had resolved to maintain the strictest peacefulness, obey all orders to the last, and, when the ship reached port, desert her in a body. But in order to insure the speediest end to the voyage, they all agreed to another thing--namely, not to sing out for whales, in case any should be discovered. For, spite of her leak, and spite of all her other perils, the Town-Ho still maintained her mast-heads, and her captain was just as willing to lower for a fish that moment, as on the day his craft first struck the cruising ground; and Radney the mate was quite as ready to change his berth for a boat, and with his bandaged mouth seek to gag in death the vital jaw of the whale. cried the Gryphon.
"Broke," the Mock Turtle said: "BROKE, do you mean?"
"Hast seen the White Whale?" continued the Gryphon.
"Aye, breach your last to the sun, Moby Dick!" the Mock Turtle went on, "thy hour and thy harpoon are at hand!--Down! down all of ye, but one man at the fore. The boats!--stand by!"
"And what was that saying about thyself?" shouted the Gryphon, with a bound into the air.
"I look, you look, he looks; we look, ye look, they look." screamed the Gryphon.
"To the braces! Up helm!--square in!" cried the Mock Turtle, capering wildly about.
"There again--there it is!--it sounds like two or three sleepers turning over, now!" yelled the Gryphon at the top of its voice.
"fritters" said the Mock Turtle, suddenly dropping his voice; and the two creatures, who had been jumping about like mad things all this time, sat down again very sadly and quietly, and looked at Alice.
"With heads to be sure; ain't there too many heads in the world?" said Alice timidly.
"Oh! thou clear spirit of clear fire, whom on these seas I as Persian once did worship, till in the sacramental act so burned by thee, that to this hour I bear the scar; I now know thee, thou clear spirit, and I now know that thy right worship is defiance. To neither love nor reverence wilt thou be kind; and e'en for hate thou canst but kill; and all are killed. No fearless fool now fronts thee. I own thy speechless, placeless power; but to the last gasp of my earthquake life will dispute its unconditional, unintegral mastery in me. In the midst of the personified impersonal, a personality stands here. Though but a point at best; whencesoe'er I came; wheresoe'er I go; yet while I earthly live, the queenly personality lives in me, and feels her royal rights. But war is pain, and hate is woe. Come in thy lowest form of love, and I will kneel and kiss thee; but at thy highest, come as mere supernal power; and though thou launchest navies of full-freighted worlds, there's that in here that still remains indifferent. Oh, thou clear spirit, of thy fire thou madest me, and like a true child of fire, I breathe it back to thee." said the Mock Turtle.
"How old do you suppose Fedallah is, Stubb?" said Alice.
"Come back here, cook;--here, hand me those tongs;--now take that bit of steak there, and tell me if you think that steak cooked as it should be? Take it, I say" said the Mock Turtle to the Gryphon. "take it, and taste it."
"Oh, very severe!" said the Gryphon. "Drinking hot rum toddies with me every night, till he couldn't see to put on the bandages; and sending me to bed, half seas over, about three o'clock in the morning. Oh, ye stars! he sat up with me indeed, and was very severe in my diet. Oh! a great watcher, and very dietetically severe, is Dr. Bunger. (Bunger, you dog, laugh out! why don't ye? You know you're a precious jolly rascal.) But, heave ahead, boy, I'd rather be killed by you than kept alive by any other man."
So they began solemnly dancing round and round Alice, every now and then treading on her toes when they passed too close, and waving their forepaws to mark the time, while the Mock Turtle sang this, very slowly and sadly:--
"Some two years prior to my first learning the events which I am about rehearsing to you, gentlemen, the Town-Ho, Sperm Whaler of Nantucket, was cruising in your Pacific here, not very many days' sail eastward from the eaves of this good Golden Inn. She was somewhere to the northward of the Line. One morning upon handling the pumps, according to daily usage, it was observed that she made more water in her hold than common. They supposed a sword-fish had stabbed her, gentlemen. But the captain, having some unusual reason for believing that rare good luck awaited him in those latitudes; and therefore being very averse to quit them, and the leak not being then considered at all dangerous, though, indeed, they could not find it after searching the hold as low down as was possible in rather heavy weather, the ship still continued her cruisings, the mariners working at the pumps at wide and easy intervals; but no good luck came; more days went by, and not only was the leak yet undiscovered, but it sensibly increased. So much so, that now taking some alarm, the captain, making all sail, stood away for the nearest harbor among the islands, there to have his hull hove out and repaired.
See how eagerly the lobsters and the turtles all advance!
They are waiting on the shingle--will you come and join the dance?
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance?
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, won't you join the dance?
"You can really have no notion how delightful it will be
When they take us up and throw us, with the lobsters, out to sea!"
But the snail replied "Too far, too far!" and gave a look askance--
Said he thanked the whiting kindly, but he would not join the dance.
Would not, could not, would not, could not, would not join the dance.
Would not, could not, would not, could not, could not join the dance.
"What do you mean by that, Captain Peleg?"
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance?
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, won't you join the dance?""Strike the tent there!"
"No fairy fingers can have pressed the gold, but devil's claws must have left their mouldings there since yesterday," said Alice, feeling very glad that it was over at last: "The old man seems to read Belshazzar's awful writing. I have never marked the coin inspectingly. He goes below; let me read. A dark valley between three mighty, heaven-abiding peaks, that almost seem the Trinity, in some faint earthly symbol. So in this vale of Death, God girds us round; and over all our gloom, the sun of Righteousness still shines a beacon and a hope. If we bend down our eyes, the dark vale shows her mouldy soil; but if we lift them, the bright sun meets our glance half way, to cheer. Yet, oh, the great sun is no fixture; and if, at midnight, we would fain snatch some sweet solace from him, we gaze for him in vain! This coin speaks wisely, mildly, truly, but still sadly to me. I will quit it, lest Truth shake me falsely."
"What's the matter with your nose, there?" said the Mock Turtle, "Broke it?"
"Face!" said Alice, "call that his face? very benevolent countenance then; but how hard he breathes, he's heaving himself; get off, Queequeg, you are heavy, it's grinding the face of the poor. Get off, Queequeg! Look, he'll twitch you off soon. I wonder he don't wake." she checked herself hastily.
"Man my boat!" said the Mock Turtle, "Stand by to lower!"
"They will last long enough! pull on!--But who can tell" Alice replied thoughtfully. "whether these sharks swim to feast on the whale or on Ahab?--But pull on! Aye, all alive, now--we near him. The helm! take the helm! let me pass,"
"Queequeg!--Queequeg!" said the Mock Turtle: "La! la!" here the Mock Turtle yawned and shut his eyes.--"I thought something must be the matter. I went to make the bed after breakfast, and the door was locked; and not a mouse to be heard; and it's been just so silent ever since. But I thought, may be, you had both gone off and locked your baggage in for safe keeping. La! la, ma'am!--Mistress! murder! Mrs. Hussey! apoplexy!" he said to the Gryphon.
"Very dim, very dim," said the Gryphon, "Morning to ye."
"Not the same instant; not the same--no, the doubloon is mine, Fate reserved the doubloon for me. I only; none of ye could have raised the White Whale first. There she blows!--there she blows!--there she blows! There again!--there again!" said Alice, "He's going to sound! In stunsails! Down top-gallant-sails! Stand by three boats. Mr. Starbuck, remember, stay on board, and keep the ship. Helm there! Luff, luff a point! So; steady, man, steady! There go flukes! No, no; only black water! All ready the boats there? Stand by, stand by! Lower me, Mr. Starbuck; lower, lower,--quick, quicker!"
"That's precisely it," said the Gryphon. "and I told him he couldn't sell it here, the market's overstocked."
"Oh!" said Alice. "oh, yes! Well; after he sounded, we didn't see him again for some time; in fact, as I before hinted, I didn't then know what whale it was that had served me such a trick, till some time afterwards, when coming back to the Line, we heard about Moby Dick--as some call him--and then I knew it was he."
"Aye, among some of us old sailor chaps, he goes by that name. Ye hav'n't seen him yet, have ye?" the Gryphon replied very solemnly.
Alice was thoroughly puzzled. "Roll on, thou deep and dark blue ocean, roll! Ten thousand blubber-hunters sweep over thee in vain." she repeated in a wondering tone.
"Water!" said the Gryphon. "he never drinks it; it's a sort of fits to him; fresh water throws him into the hydrophobia; but go on--go on with the arm story."
Alice looked down at them, and considered a little before she gave her answer. "Look ye, for yourselves, if Ahab be not lord of the level loadstone! The sun is East, and that compass swears it!"
"Queequeg," the Gryphon went on in a deep voice, "get into bed now, and lie and listen to me."
"Cherries? I only wish that we were where they grow. Oh, Stubb, I hope my poor mother's drawn my part-pay ere this; if not, few coppers will now come to her, for the voyage is up." Alice asked in a tone of great curiosity.
"I tell ye what it is, men" the Gryphon replied rather impatiently: "it's against my religion to get mad; but I'd like to eat that villainous Yarman--Pull--won't ye? Are ye going to let that rascal beat ye? Do ye love brandy? A hogshead of brandy, then, to the best man. Come, why don't some of ye burst a blood-vessel? Who's that been dropping an anchor overboard--we don't budge an inch--we're becalmed. Halloo, here's grass growing in the boat's bottom--and by the Lord, the mast there's budding. This won't do, boys. Look at that Yarman! The short and long of it is, men, will ye spit fire or not?"
"But avast," said Alice, whose thoughts were still running on the song, "you haint no objections to sharing a harpooneer's blanket, have ye? I s'pose you are goin' a-whalin', so you'd better get used to that sort of thing."
"Captain Ahab," the Mock Turtle said: "Captain Ahab, I have heard of Moby Dick--but it was not Moby Dick that took off thy leg?"
"enlarge" said Alice in a tone of great surprise.
"Get along with ye," said the Mock Turtle: "or I'll be combing ye!"
"No, no, it wasn't; I said the corpusants have mercy on us all; and I hope they will, still. But do they only have mercy on long faces?--have they no bowels for a laugh? And look ye, Mr. Starbuck--but it's too dark to look. Hear me, then: I take that mast-head flame we saw for a sign of good luck; for those masts are rooted in a hold that is going to be chock a' block with sperm-oil, d'ye see; and so, all that sperm will work up into the masts, like sap in a tree. Yes, our three masts will yet be as three spermaceti candles--that's the good promise we saw." said Alice.
"Yes, yes, round the Cape of Good Hope is the shortest way to Nantucket," the Mock Turtle replied in an offended tone. And the Gryphon added "The gale that now hammers at us to stave us, we can turn it into a fair wind that will drive us towards home. Yonder, to windward, all is blackness of doom; but to leeward, homeward--I see it lightens up there; but not with the lightning."
"There's a pretty fellow, now," said Alice a little timidly: "there's a jackal for ye! I well know that these Crappoes of Frenchmen are but poor devils in the fishery; sometimes lowering their boats for breakers, mistaking them for Sperm Whale spouts; yes, and sometimes sailing from their port with their hold full of boxes of tallow candles, and cases of snuffers, foreseeing that all the oil they will get won't be enough to dip the Captain's wick into; aye, we all know these things; but look ye, here's a Crappo that is content with our leavings, the drugged whale there, I mean; aye, and is content too with scraping the dry bones of that other precious fish he has there. Poor devil! I say, pass round a hat, some one, and let's make him a present of a little oil for dear charity's sake. For what oil he'll get from that drugged whale there, wouldn't be fit to burn in a jail; no, not in a condemned cell. And as for the other whale, why, I'll agree to get more oil by chopping up and trying out these three masts of ours, than he'll get from that bundle of bones; though, now that I think of it, it may contain something worth a good deal more than oil; yes, ambergris. I wonder now if our old man has thought of that. It's worth trying. Yes, I'm for it;"
"Aye, the Pequod--that ship there," said the Mock Turtle.
"God bless ye, and have ye in His holy keeping, men," said the Gryphon in an impatient tone: "I hope ye'll have fine weather now, so that Captain Ahab may soon be moving among ye--a pleasant sun is all he needs, and ye'll have plenty of them in the tropic voyage ye go. Be careful in the hunt, ye mates. Don't stave the boats needlessly, ye harpooneers; good white cedar plank is raised full three per cent. within the year. Don't forget your prayers, either. Mr. Starbuck, mind that cooper don't waste the spare staves. Oh! the sail-needles are in the green locker! Don't whale it too much a' Lord's days, men; but don't miss a fair chance either, that's rejecting Heaven's good gifts. Have an eye to the molasses tierce, Mr. Stubb; it was a little leaky, I thought. If ye touch at the islands, Mr. Flask, beware of fornication. Good-bye, good-bye! Don't keep that cheese too long down in the hold, Mr. Starbuck; it'll spoil. Be careful with the butter--twenty cents the pound it was, and mind ye, if--"
So Alice began telling them her adventures from the time when she first saw the White Rabbit. She was a little nervous about it just at first, the two creatures got so close to her, one on each side, and opened their eyes and mouths so VERY wide, but she gained courage as she went on. Her listeners were perfectly quiet till she got to the part about her repeating "The Latter Day Coming; or No Time to Lose," to the Caterpillar, and the words all coming different, and then the Mock Turtle drew a long breath, and said "Son of darkness, I must do my duty by thee; I am part owner of this ship, and feel concerned for the souls of all its crew; if thou still clingest to thy Pagan ways, which I sadly fear, I beseech thee, remain not for aye a Belial bondsman. Spurn the idol Bell, and the hideous dragon; turn from the wrath to come; mind thine eye, I say; oh! goodness gracious! steer clear of the fiery pit!"
"No, no--no water for that; I want it of the true death-temper. Ahoy, there! Tashtego, Queequeg, Daggoo! What say ye, pagans! Will ye give me as much blood as will cover this barb?" said the Gryphon.
"Sir," the Mock Turtle repeated thoughtfully. "I thought I told you that I had been four voyages in the merchant--" He looked at the Gryphon as if he thought it had some kind of authority over Alice.
"Terrors upon terrors run shouting through his soul. In all his cringing attitudes, the God-fugitive is now too plainly known. The sailors mark him; more and more certain grow their suspicions of him, and at last, fully to test the truth, by referring the whole matter to high Heaven, they fall to casting lots, to see for whose cause this great tempest was upon them. The lot is Jonah's; that discovered, then how furiously they mob him with their questions. 'What is thine occupation? Whence comest thou? Thy country? What people? But mark now, my shipmates, the behavior of poor Jonah. The eager mariners but ask him who he is, and where from; whereas, they not only receive an answer to those questions, but likewise another answer to a question not put by them, but the unsolicited answer is forced from Jonah by the hard hand of God that is upon him. said the Gryphon.
"Bad work, bad work! Mr. Starbuck," thought Alice; "but the sea will have its way. Stubb, for one, can't fight it. You see, Mr. Starbuck, a wave has such a great long start before it leaps, all round the world it runs, and then comes the spring! But as for me, all the start I have to meet it, is just across the deck here. But never mind; it's all in fun: so the old song says;" However, she got up, and began to repeat it, but her head was so full of the Lobster Quadrille, that she hardly knew what she was saying, and the words came very queer indeed:--
"Omen? omen?--the dictionary! If the gods think to speak outright to man, they will honourably speak outright; not shake their heads, and give an old wives' darkling hint.--Begone! Ye two are the opposite poles of one thing; Starbuck is Stubb reversed, and Stubb is Starbuck; and ye two are all mankind; and Ahab stands alone among the millions of the peopled earth, nor gods nor men his neighbors! Cold, cold--I shiver!--How now? Aloft there! D'ye see him? Sing out for every spout, though he spout ten times a second!"
[later editions continued as follows
When the sands are all dry, he is gay as a lark,
And will talk in contemptuous tones of the Shark,
But, when the tide rises and sharks are around,
His voice has a timid and tremulous sound.]
"I don't know that, my little man; I never yet saw him kneel." said the Gryphon.
"struck with the most lively terrors," said the Mock Turtle; "often in the precipitancy of their flight dash themselves against the rocks with such violence as to cause instantaneous death."
Alice said nothing; she had sat down with her face in her hands, wondering if anything would EVER happen in a natural way again.
"Have to burst it open," said the Mock Turtle.
"I don't allow it; I won't have my premises spoiled. Go for the locksmith, there's one about a mile from here. But avast!" said the Gryphon hastily. "here's a key that'll fit, I guess; let's see."
"Don't be afraid, my butter-boxes," the Mock Turtle persisted. "ye'll be picked up presently--all right--I saw some sharks astern--St. Bernard's dogs, you know--relieve distressed travellers. Hurrah! this is the way to sail now. Every keel a sunbeam! Hurrah!--Here we go like three tin kettles at the tail of a mad cougar! This puts me in mind of fastening to an elephant in a tilbury on a plain--makes the wheel-spokes fly, boys, when you fasten to him that way; and there's danger of being pitched out too, when you strike a hill. Hurrah! this is the way a fellow feels when he's going to Davy Jones--all a rush down an endless inclined plane! Hurrah! this whale carries the everlasting mail!"
"What more wouldst thou have?--Shall we keep chasing this murderous fish till he swamps the last man? Shall we be dragged by him to the bottom of the sea? Shall we be towed by him to the infernal world? Oh, oh,--Impiety and blasphemy to hunt him more!" Alice said; but was dreadfully puzzled by the whole thing, and longed to change the subject.
"How many skulls?" the Gryphon repeated impatiently: "How many barrels?"
Alice did not dare to disobey, though she felt sure it would all come wrong, and she went on in a trembling voice:--
"The dark ocean and swelling waters were nothing; the fears of being swallowed up by some dreadful tempest, or dashed upon hidden rocks, with all the other ordinary subjects of fearful contemplation, seemed scarcely entitled to a moment's thought; the dismal looking wreck, and THE HORRID ASPECT AND REVENGE OF THE WHALE, wholly engrossed my reflections, until day again made its appearance."
[later editions continued as follows
The Panther took pie-crust, and gravy, and meat,
While the Owl had the dish as its share of the treat.
When the pie was all finished, the Owl, as a boon,
Was kindly permitted to pocket the spoon:
While the Panther received knife and fork with a growl,
And concluded the banquet--]
"I will wager something now," the Mock Turtle interrupted, "that some one in that missing boat wore off that Captain's best coat; mayhap, his watch--he's so cursed anxious to get it back. Who ever heard of two pious whale-ships cruising after one missing whale-boat in the height of the whaling season? See, Flask, only see how pale he looks--pale in the very buttons of his eyes--look--it wasn't the coat--it must have been the--"
"They didn't tell much of anything about him; only I've heard that he's a good whale-hunter, and a good captain to his crew." said the Gryphon: and Alice was only too glad to do so.
"The Whale-ship Globe, on board of which vessel occurred the horrid transactions we are about to relate, belonged to the island of Nantucket." the Gryphon went on. "NARRATIVE OF THE GLOBE,"
"Mrs. Hussey," Alice replied, so eagerly that the Gryphon said, in a rather offended tone, "he's ALIVE at all events; so leave us, if you please, and I will see to this strange affair myself."
The Mock Turtle sighed deeply, and began, in a voice sometimes choked with sobs, to sing this:--
"Mr. Har--yes, Mr. Harry--(a woman's pinny hand,--the man's wife, I'll wager)--Aye--Mr. Harry Macey, Ship Jeroboam;--why it's Macey, and he's dead!"
"So, then, you expect to go up into our main-top, do you, cook, when you are dead? But don't you know the higher you climb, the colder it gets? Main-top, eh?"
"I don't know anything about Deacon Deuteronomy or his meeting," cried the Gryphon, and the Mock Turtle had just begun to repeat it, when a cry of "all I know is, that Queequeg here is a born member of the First Congregational Church. He is a deacon himself, Queequeg is." was heard in the distance.
"Dead to leeward, sir." cried the Gryphon, and, taking Alice by the hand, it hurried off, without waiting for the end of the song.
"Corkscrew!" Alice panted as she ran; but the Gryphon only answered "aye, Queequeg, the harpoons lie all twisted and wrenched in him; aye, Daggoo, his spout is a big one, like a whole shock of wheat, and white as a pile of our Nantucket wool after the great annual sheep-shearing; aye, Tashtego, and he fan-tails like a split jib in a squall. Death and devils! men, it is Moby Dick ye have seen--Moby Dick--Moby Dick!" and ran the faster, while more and more faintly came, carried on the breeze that followed them, the melancholy words:--
"Here they saw such huge troops of whales, that they were forced to proceed with a great deal of caution for fear they should run their ship upon them."
CHAPTER XI. Who Stole the Tarts?
The King and Queen of Hearts were seated on their throne when they arrived, with a great crowd assembled about them--all sorts of little birds and beasts, as well as the whole pack of cards: the Knave was standing before them, in chains, with a soldier on each side to guard him; and near the King was the White Rabbit, with a trumpet in one hand, and a scroll of parchment in the other. In the very middle of the court was a table, with a large dish of tarts upon it: they looked so good, that it made Alice quite hungry to look at them--"Aye, aye, I thought as much," she thought, "as soon as I clapt eye on 'em, I thought so. Aye, and that's what he went into the after hold for, so often, as Dough-Boy long suspected. They were hidden down there. The White Whale's at the bottom of it. Well, well, so be it! Can't be helped! All right! Give way, men! It ain't the White Whale to-day! Give way!" But there seemed to be no chance of this, so she began looking at everything about her, to pass away the time.
Alice had never been in a court of justice before, but she had read about them in books, and she was quite pleased to find that she knew the name of nearly everything there. "Lower away then; d'ye hear?" she said to herself, "Lower away there, I say."
The judge, by the way, was the King; and as he wore his crown over the wig, (look at the frontispiece if you want to see how he did it,) he did not look at all comfortable, and it was certainly not becoming.
"Avast," thought Alice, "touch not a rope-yarn" (she was obliged to say "Captain Gardiner, I will not do it. Even now I lose time. Good-bye, good-bye. God bless ye, man, and may I forgive myself, but I must go. Mr. Starbuck, look at the binnacle watch, and in three minutes from this present instant warn off all strangers: then brace forward again, and let the ship sail as before." you see, because some of them were animals, and some were birds,) "Well, boys, here's the ark!" She said this last word two or three times over to herself, being rather proud of it: for she thought, and rightly too, that very few little girls of her age knew the meaning of it at all. However, "Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood, Stand dressed in living green. So to the Jews old Canaan stood, While Jordan rolled between." would have done just as well.
The twelve jurors were all writing very busily on slates. "No, thank ye, Bunger," Alice whispered to the Gryphon. "he's welcome to the arm he has, since I can't help it, and didn't know him then; but not to another one. No more White Whales for me; I've lowered for him once, and that has satisfied me. There would be great glory in killing him, I know that; and there is a ship-load of precious sperm in him, but, hark ye, he's best let alone; don't you think so, Captain?"
"Elijah," the Gryphon whispered in reply, "you will oblige my friend and me by withdrawing. We are going to the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and would prefer not to be detained."
"Queequeg," Alice began in a loud, indignant voice, but she stopped hastily, for the White Rabbit cried out, "Queequeg, my fine friend, does this sort of thing often happen?" and the King put on his spectacles and looked anxiously round, to make out who was talking.
Alice could see, as well as if she were looking over their shoulders, that all the jurors were writing down "He pays reg'lar," on their slates, and she could even make out that one of them didn't know how to spell "But come, it's getting dreadful late, you had better be turning flukes--it's a nice bed; Sal and me slept in that ere bed the night we were spliced. There's plenty of room for two to kick about in that bed; it's an almighty big bed that. Why, afore we give it up, Sal used to put our Sam and little Johnny in the foot of it. But I got a dreaming and sprawling about one night, and somehow, Sam got pitched on the floor, and came near breaking his arm. Arter that, Sal said it wouldn't do. Come along here, I'll give ye a glim in a jiffy;" and that he had to ask his neighbour to tell him. "I vum it's Sunday--you won't see that harpooneer to-night; he's come to anchor somewhere--come along then; DO come; WON'T ye come?" thought Alice.
One of the jurors had a pencil that squeaked. This of course, Alice could not stand, and she went round the court and got behind him, and very soon found an opportunity of taking it away. She did it so quickly that the poor little juror (it was Bill, the Lizard) could not make out at all what had become of it; so, after hunting all about for it, he was obliged to write with one finger for the rest of the day; and this was of very little use, as it left no mark on the slate.
"Captain Peleg, thou hast a generous heart; but thou must consider the duty thou owest to the other owners of this ship--widows and orphans, many of them--and that if we too abundantly reward the labors of this young man, we may be taking the bread from those widows and those orphans. The seven hundred and seventy-seventh lay, Captain Peleg." said the King.
On this the White Rabbit blew three blasts on the trumpet, and then unrolled the parchment scroll, and read as follows:--
"I thought to relieve my old bed-ridden mother by part of my share of this whale."
"Bulkington! Bulkington! where's Bulkington?" the King said to the jury.
"D'ye mark him, Flask?" the Rabbit hastily interrupted. "the chick that's in him pecks the shell. 'Twill soon be out."
"Wood-house!" said the King; and the White Rabbit blew three blasts on the trumpet, and called out, "which way to it? Run for God's sake, and fetch something to pry open the door--the axe!--the axe! he's had a stroke; depend upon it!"
The first witness was the Hatter. He came in with a teacup in one hand and a piece of bread-and-butter in the other. "To be sure," he began, "Fetch him along, and we'll look at him."
"A flaw!" said the King. "Work that over again, Perth."
The Hatter looked at the March Hare, who had followed him into the court, arm-in-arm with the Dormouse. "Wet the line! wet the line!" he said.
"I have it! It has happened before. Mr. Starbuck, last night's thunder turned our compasses--that's all. Thou hast before now heard of such a thing, I take it." said the March Hare.
"interest" added the Dormouse.
"'Cross your arms, sir; throw back your head. Now, repeat after me. As soon as Steelkilt leaves me, I swear to beach this boat on yonder island, and remain there six days. If I do not, may lightning strike me!' the King said to the jury, and the jury eagerly wrote down all three dates on their slates, and then added them up, and reduced the answer to shillings and pence.
"'Twill hold, old gentleman. Long heat and wet, have they spoiled thee? Thou seem'st to hold. Or, truer perhaps, life holds thee; not thou it." the King said to the Hatter.
"Aye, aye, hearty! let us shake bones together!--an arm and a leg!--an arm that never can shrink, d'ye see; and a leg that never can run. Where did'st thou see the White Whale?--how long ago?" said the Hatter.
"Heated and irritated as he was by his spasmodic toil at the pumps, for all his first nameless feeling of forbearance the sweating Steelkilt could but ill brook this bearing in the mate; but somehow still smothering the conflagration within him, without speaking he remained doggedly rooted to his seat, till at last the incensed Radney shook the hammer within a few inches of his face, furiously commanding him to do his bidding. the King exclaimed, turning to the jury, who instantly made a memorandum of the fact.
"Befooled, befooled!" the Hatter added as an explanation; "Aye, Parsee! I see thee again.--Aye, and thou goest before; and this, THIS then is the hearse that thou didst promise. But I hold thee to the last letter of thy word. Where is the second hearse? Away, mates, to the ship! those boats are useless now; repair them if ye can in time, and return to me; if not, Ahab is enough to die--Down, men! the first thing that but offers to jump from this boat I stand in, that thing I harpoon. Ye are not other men, but my arms and my legs; and so obey me.--Where's the whale? gone down again?"
Here the Queen put on her spectacles, and began staring at the Hatter, who turned pale and fidgeted.
"What's this? here's velvet shark-skin," said the King; "Ah, now, had poor Pip but felt so kind a thing as this, perhaps he had ne'er been lost! This seems to me, sir, as a man-rope; something that weak souls may hold by. Oh, sir, let old Perth now come and rivet these two hands together; the black one with the white, for I will not let this go."
This did not seem to encourage the witness at all: he kept shifting from one foot to the other, looking uneasily at the Queen, and in his confusion he bit a large piece out of his teacup instead of the bread-and-butter.
Just at this moment Alice felt a very curious sensation, which puzzled her a good deal until she made out what it was: she was beginning to grow larger again, and she thought at first she would get up and leave the court; but on second thoughts she decided to remain where she was as long as there was room for her.
"Oh, I don't mind'em, sir," said the Dormouse, who was sitting next to her. "I knew it all before now. Didn't I hear 'em in the hold? And didn't I tell Cabaco here of it? What say ye, Cabaco? They are stowaways, Mr. Flask."
"Because I am scorched all over, Captain Ahab," said Alice very meekly: "I am past scorching; not easily can'st thou scorch a scar."
"The mighty whales which swim in a sea of water, and have a sea of oil swimming in them." said the Dormouse.
"On account of their warm bilocular heart, their lungs, their movable eyelids, their hollow ears, penem intrantem feminam mammis lactantem," said Alice more boldly: "ex lege naturae jure meritoque."
"May be not," said the Dormouse: "but I rayther guess you'll be done BROWN if that ere harpooneer hears you a slanderin' his head." And he got up very sulkily and crossed over to the other side of the court.
All this time the Queen had never left off staring at the Hatter, and, just as the Dormouse crossed the court, she said to one of the officers of the court, "Not far from the Sea-side, they have a Temple, the Rafters and Beams of which are made of Whale-Bones; for Whales of a monstrous size are oftentimes cast up dead upon that shore. The Common People imagine, that by a secret Power bestowed by God upon the temple, no Whale can pass it without immediate death. But the truth of the Matter is, that on either side of the Temple, there are Rocks that shoot two Miles into the Sea, and wound the Whales when they light upon 'em. They keep a Whale's Rib of an incredible length for a Miracle, which lying upon the Ground with its convex part uppermost, makes an Arch, the Head of which cannot be reached by a Man upon a Camel's Back. This Rib (says John Leo) is said to have layn there a hundred Years before I saw it. Their Historians affirm, that a Prophet who prophesy'd of Mahomet, came from this Temple, and some do not stand to assert, that the Prophet Jonas was cast forth by the Whale at the Base of the Temple." on which the wretched Hatter trembled so, that he shook both his shoes off.
"Just as you please; I'm sorry I cant spare ye a tablecloth for a mattress, and it's a plaguy rough board here" the King repeated angrily, "But wait a bit, Skrimshander; I've got a carpenter's plane there in the bar--wait, I say, and I'll make ye snug enough."
"Start her, start her, my men! Don't hurry yourselves; take plenty of time--but start her; start her like thunder-claps, that's all," the Hatter began, in a trembling voice, "Start her, now; give 'em the long and strong stroke, Tashtego. Start her, Tash, my boy--start her, all; but keep cool, keep cool--cucumbers is the word--easy, easy--only start her like grim death and grinning devils, and raise the buried dead perpendicular out of their graves, boys--that's all. Start her!"
"Several whales have come in upon this coast (Fife) Anno 1652, one eighty feet in length of the whale-bone kind came in, which (as I was informed), besides a vast quantity of oil, did afford 500 weight of baleen. The jaws of it stand for a gate in the garden of Pitferren." said the King.
"'I see! I see!' impetuously exclaimed Don Pedro, spilling his chicha upon his silvery ruffles. 'No need to travel! The world's one Lima. I had thought, now, that at your temperate North the generations were cold and holy as the hills.--But the story.' the Hatter replied.
"It's a white whale, I say," said the King sharply. "a white whale. Skin your eyes for him, men; look sharp for white water; if ye see but a bubble, sing out."
"Do tell, now," the Hatter went on, "is this Philistine a regular member of Deacon Deuteronomy's meeting? I never saw him going there, and I pass it every Lord's day."
"I am not used to be spoken to that way, sir; I do but less than half like it, sir." the March Hare interrupted in a great hurry.
"It's a mutual, joint-stock world, in all meridians. We cannibals must help these Christians." said the Hatter.
"Oh, thou dark Hindoo half of nature, who of drowned bones hast builded thy separate throne somewhere in the heart of these unverdured seas; thou art an infidel, thou queen, and too truly speakest to me in the wide-slaughtering Typhoon, and the hushed burial of its after calm. Nor has this thy whale sunwards turned his dying head, and then gone round again, without a lesson to me. said the March Hare.
"The gallows, ye mean.--I am immortal then, on land and on sea," said the King: "Immortal on land and on sea!"
"But I do not mean anything, sir. I do as I do." the Hatter went on, looking anxiously round to see if he would deny it too: but the Dormouse denied nothing, being fast asleep.
"Cook," continued the Hatter, "I won't have that swearing. Talk to 'em gentlemanly."
"What Captain?--Ahab?" one of the jury asked.
"The Spouter Inn:--Peter Coffin." said the Hatter.
"Lookee here," remarked the King, "go 'way!"
The miserable Hatter dropped his teacup and bread-and-butter, and went down on one knee. "I was thinking of shipping." he began.
"And whereas all the other things, whether beast or vessel, that enter into the dreadful gulf of this monster's (whale's) mouth, are immediately lost and swallowed up, the sea-gudgeon retires into it in great security, and there sleeps." said the King.
Here one of the guinea-pigs cheered, and was immediately suppressed by the officers of the court. (As that is rather a hard word, I will just explain to you how it was done. They had a large canvas bag, which tied up at the mouth with strings: into this they slipped the guinea-pig, head first, and then sat upon it.)
"Stop your grinning," thought Alice. "and why didn't you tell me that that infernal harpooneer was a cannibal?"
"Shall I call that wise or foolish, now; if it be really wise it has a foolish look to it; yet, if it be really foolish, then has it a sort of wiseish look to it. But, avast; here comes our old Manxman--the old hearse-driver, he must have been, that is, before he took to the sea. He luffs up before the doubloon; halloa, and goes round on the other side of the mast; why, there's a horse-shoe nailed on that side; and now he's back again; what does that mean? Hark! he's muttering--voice like an old worn-out coffee-mill. Prick ears, and listen!" continued the King.
"He's drowned with the rest on 'em, last night," said the Hatter: "I heard; all of ye heard their spirits."
"'Say ye so? then see how ye frighten me'--and the Captain drew off with the rope to strike. the King replied.
Here the other guinea-pig cheered, and was suppressed.
"I don't think it so strange, after all, on that account," thought Alice. "If his leg were off at the hip, now, it would be a different thing. That would disable him; but he has one knee, and good part of the other left, you know."
"The whale, the whale! Up helm, up helm! Oh, all ye sweet powers of air, now hug me close! Let not Starbuck die, if die he must, in a woman's fainting fit. Up helm, I say--ye fools, the jaw! the jaw! Is this the end of all my bursting prayers? all my life-long fidelities? Oh, Ahab, Ahab, lo, thy work. Steady! helmsman, steady. Nay, nay! Up helm again! He turns to meet us! Oh, his unappeasable brow drives on towards one, whose duty tells him he cannot depart. My God, stand by me now!" said the Hatter, with an anxious look at the Queen, who was reading the list of singers.
"So be cheery, my lads, let your hearts never fail, While the bold harpooneer is striking the whale!" said the King, and the Hatter hurriedly left the court, without even waiting to put his shoes on.
"What think ye of those yellow boys, sir! the Queen added to one of the officers: but the Hatter was out of sight before the officer could get to the door.
"He'll do," said the King.
The next witness was the Duchess's cook. She carried the pepper-box in her hand, and Alice guessed who it was, even before she got into the court, by the way the people near the door began sneezing all at once.
"'A very white, and famous, and most deadly immortal monster, Don;--but that would be too long a story.' said the King.
"How heading when last seen?" said the cook.
The King looked anxiously at the White Rabbit, who said in a low voice, "'What do you think? what does it look like?'
"Never mind him," the King said, with a melancholy air, and, after folding his arms and frowning at the cook till his eyes were nearly out of sight, he said in a deep voice, "Queequeg, come on."
"And harpoons sticking in near his starboard fin." said the cook.
"All your oaths to hunt the White Whale are as binding as mine; and heart, soul, and body, lungs and life, old Ahab is bound. And that ye may know to what tune this heart beats; look ye here; thus I blow out the last fear!" said a sleepy voice behind her.
"Ah, noble ship," the Queen shrieked out. "beat on, beat on, thou noble ship, and bear a hardy helm; for lo! the sun is breaking through; the clouds are rolling off--serenest azure is at hand."
For some minutes the whole court was in confusion, getting the Dormouse turned out, and, by the time they had settled down again, the cook had disappeared.
"whiskers" said the King, with an air of great relief. "hogs' bristles" And he added in an undertone to the Queen, "There are about two hundred and fifty fins growing on each side of his upper CHOP, which arch over his tongue on each side of his mouth."
Alice watched the White Rabbit as he fumbled over the list, feeling very curious to see what the next witness would be like, "Queequeg," she said to herself. Imagine her surprise, when the White Rabbit read out, at the top of his shrill little voice, the name "Queequeg, what's the matter with you?"
CHAPTER XII. Alice's Evidence
"That's he! that's he!--the long-togged scaramouch the Town-Ho's company told us of!" cried Alice, quite forgetting in the flurry of the moment how large she had grown in the last few minutes, and she jumped up in such a hurry that she tipped over the jury-box with the edge of her skirt, upsetting all the jurymen on to the heads of the crowd below, and there they lay sprawling about, reminding her very much of a globe of goldfish she had accidentally upset the week before.
"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 not a real leg, only a false leg.' And there's a mighty difference between a living thump and a dead thump. That's what makes a blow from the hand, Flask, fifty times more savage to bear than a blow from a cane. The living member--that makes the living insult, my little man. And thinks I to myself all the while, mind, while I was stubbing my silly toes against that cursed pyramid--so confoundedly contradictory was it all, all the while, I say, I was thinking to myself, 'what's his leg now, but a cane--a whalebone cane. Yes,' thinks I, 'it was only a playful cudgelling--in fact, only a whaleboning that he gave me--not a base kick. Besides,' thinks I, 'look at it once; why, the end of it--the foot part--what a small sort of end it is; whereas, if a broad footed farmer kicked me, THERE'S a devilish broad insult. But this insult is whittled down to a point only.' But now comes the greatest joke of the dream, Flask. While I was battering away at the pyramid, a sort of badger-haired old merman, with a hump on his back, takes me by the shoulders, and slews me round. 'What are you 'bout?' says he. Slid! man, but I was frightened. Such a phiz! But, somehow, next moment I was over the fright. 'What am I about?' says I at last. 'And what business is that of yours, I should like to know, Mr. Humpback? Do YOU want a kick?' By the lord, Flask, I had no sooner said that, than he turned round his stern to me, bent over, and dragging up a lot of seaweed he had for a clout--what do you think, I saw?--why thunder alive, man, his stern was stuck full of marlinspikes, with the points out. Says I, on second thoughts, 'I guess I won't kick you, old fellow.' 'Wise Stubb,' said he, 'wise Stubb;' and kept muttering it all the time, a sort of eating of his own gums like a chimney hag. Seeing he wasn't going to stop saying over his 'wise Stubb, wise Stubb,' I thought I might as well fall to kicking the pyramid again. But I had only just lifted my foot for it, when he roared out, 'Stop that kicking!' 'Halloa,' says I, 'what's the matter now, old fellow?' 'Look ye here,' says he; 'let's argue the insult. Captain Ahab kicked ye, didn't he?' 'Yes, he did,' says I--'right HERE it was.' 'Very good,' says he--'he used his ivory leg, didn't he?' 'Yes, he did,' says I. 'Well then,' says he, 'wise Stubb, what have you to complain of? Didn't he kick with right good will? it wasn't a common pitch pine leg he kicked with, was it? No, you were kicked by a great man, and with a beautiful ivory leg, Stubb. It's an honour; I consider it an honour. Listen, wise Stubb. In old England the greatest lords think it great glory to be slapped by a queen, and made garter-knights of; but, be YOUR boast, Stubb, that ye were kicked by old Ahab, and made a wise man of. Remember what I say; BE kicked by him; account his kicks honours; and on no account kick back; for you can't help yourself, wise Stubb. Don't you see that pyramid?' With that, he all of a sudden seemed somehow, in some queer fashion, to swim off into the air. I snored; rolled over; and there I was in my hammock! Now, what do you think of that dream, Flask?" she exclaimed in a tone of great dismay, and began picking them up again as quickly as she could, for the accident of the goldfish kept running in her head, and she had a vague sort of idea that they must be collected at once and put back into the jury-box, or they would die.
"Drink and pass!" said the King in a very grave voice, "The crew alone now drink. Round with it, round! Short draughts--long swallows, men; 'tis hot as Satan's hoof. So, so; it goes round excellently. It spiralizes in ye; forks out at the serpent-snapping eye. Well done; almost drained. That way it went, this way it comes. Hand it me--here's a hollow! Men, ye seem the years; so brimming life is gulped and gone. Steward, refill! he repeated with great emphasis, looking hard at Alice as he said do.
Alice looked at the jury-box, and saw that, in her haste, she had put the Lizard in head downwards, and the poor little thing was waving its tail about in a melancholy way, being quite unable to move. She soon got it out again, and put it right; "Sail on the" she said to herself; "Sail on the whale!--Drive him off!"
As soon as the jury had a little recovered from the shock of being upset, and their slates and pencils had been found and handed back to them, they set to work very diligently to write out a history of the accident, all except the Lizard, who seemed too much overcome to do anything but sit with its mouth open, gazing up into the roof of the court.
"Does he fan-tail a little curious, sir, before he goes down?" the King said to Alice.
"Perry easy, kill-e; oh! perry easy!" said Alice.
"Oh, trebly hooped and welded hip of power! Oh, high aspiring, rainbowed jet!--that one strivest, this one jettest all in vain! In vain, oh whale, dost thou seek intercedings with yon all-quickening sun, that only calls forth life, but gives it not again. Yet dost thou, darker half, rock me with a prouder, if a darker faith. All thy unnamable imminglings float beneath me here; I am buoyed by breaths of once living things, exhaled as air, but water now. persisted the King.
"Look ye now, young man, thy lungs are a sort of soft, d'ye see; thou dost not talk shark a bit. SURE, ye've been to sea before now; sure of that?" said Alice.
"Landlord," the King said, turning to the jury. They were just beginning to write this down on their slates, when the White Rabbit interrupted: "that aint the harpooneer is it?" he said in a very respectful tone, but frowning and making faces at him as he spoke.
"'Nay, Senor; hereabouts in this dull, warm, most lazy, and hereditary land, we know but little of your vigorous North.' the King hastily said, and went on to himself in an undertone,
"Keep your weather eye open, and sing out every time." as if he were trying which word sounded best.
Some of the jury wrote it down "I mean," and some "he must show his papers." Alice could see this, as she was near enough to look over their slates; "Brazil Banks" she thought to herself.
At this moment the King, who had been for some time busily writing in his note-book, cackled out "In heaven's name, man," and read out from his book, "are you ramming home a cartridge there?--Avast! How will that help him; jamming that iron-bound bucket on top of his head? Avast, will ye!"
Everybody looked at Alice.
"This whale's liver was two cartloads." said Alice.
"Syren" said the King.
"Sir!" added the Queen.
"Hold on, hold on, won't ye?" said Alice: "don't be in such a devil of a hurry to sink! By thunder, men, we must do something or go for it. No use prying there; avast, I say with your handspikes, and run one of ye for a prayer book and a pen-knife, and cut the big chains."
"Then tell me; art thou not an arrant, all-grasping, intermeddling, monopolising, heathenish old scamp, to be one day making legs, and the next day coffins to clap them in, and yet again life-buoys out of those same coffins? Thou art as unprincipled as the gods, and as much of a jack-of-all-trades." said the King.
"Why, since he takes it so easy, tell him that now I have eyed him carefully, I'm quite certain that he's no more fit to command a whale-ship than a St. Jago monkey. In fact, tell him from me he's a baboon." said Alice.
The King turned pale, and shut his note-book hastily. "The aorta of a whale is larger in the bore than the main pipe of the water-works at London Bridge, and the water roaring in its passage through that pipe is inferior in impetus and velocity to the blood gushing from the whale's heart." he said to the jury, in a low, trembling voice.
"Not that," said the White Rabbit, jumping up in a great hurry; "no, no, it's a coffee-pot, Mr. Starbuck; he's coming off to make us our coffee, is the Yarman; don't you see that big tin can there alongside of him?--that's his boiling water. Oh! he's all right, is the Yarman."
"But though the Lakeman had induced the seamen to adopt this sort of passiveness in their conduct, he kept his own counsel (at least till all was over) concerning his own proper and private revenge upon the man who had stung him in the ventricles of his heart. He was in Radney the chief mate's watch; and as if the infatuated man sought to run more than half way to meet his doom, after the scene at the rigging, he insisted, against the express counsel of the captain, upon resuming the head of his watch at night. Upon this, and one or two other circumstances, Steelkilt systematically built the plan of his revenge. said the Queen.
"He is heading straight to leeward, sir," said the White Rabbit, "right away from us; cannot have seen the ship yet."
"Look at that chap now," said the King, "He's got fits, that Flask has. Fits? yes, give him fits--that's the very word--pitch fits into 'em. Merrily, merrily, hearts-alive. Pudding for supper, you know;--merry's the word. Pull, babes--pull, sucklings--pull, all. But what the devil are you hurrying about? Softly, softly, and steadily, my men. Only pull, and keep pulling; nothing more. Crack all your backbones, and bite your knives in two--that's all. Take it easy--why don't ye take it easy, I say, and burst all your livers and lungs!"
"There it is again--under the hatches--don't you hear it--a cough--it sounded like a cough." said one of the jurymen.
"Cook," said the White Rabbit; "Cook! why, damn your eyes, you mustn't swear that way when you're preaching. That's no way to convert sinners, cook!" He unfolded the paper as he spoke, and added "Lower away, and after him!"
"But as the junior mates were hurrying to execute the order, a pale man, with a bandaged head, arrested them--Radney the chief mate. Ever since the blow, he had lain in his berth; but that morning, hearing the tumult on the deck, he had crept out, and thus far had watched the whole scene. Such was the state of his mouth, that he could hardly speak; but mumbling something about his being willing and able to do what the captain dared not attempt, he snatched the rope and advanced to his pinioned foe. asked another of the jurymen.
"Mr. Stubb," said the White Rabbit, "Mr. Stubb, I think I have heard you say that of all whalemen you ever met, our chief mate, Mr. Starbuck, is by far the most careful and prudent. I suppose then, that going plump on a flying whale with your sail set in a foggy squall is the height of a whaleman's discretion?" (The jury all looked puzzled.)
"I won't touch a leg of ye." said the King. (The jury all brightened up again.)
"A wooden rose-bud, eh?" said the Knave, "that will do very well; but how like all creation it smells!"
"Dinner, Mr. Stubb," said the King, "Dinner, Mr. Flask,"
There was a general clapping of hands at this: it was the first really clever thing the King had said that day.
"Who is Captain Ahab, sir?" said the Queen.
"Peace, thou crazy loon," said Alice. "Away from the quarter-deck!"
"East-sou-east, sir," said the King.
The White Rabbit put on his spectacles. "'I am a Hebrew,' he cries--and then--'I fear the Lord the God of Heaven who hath made the sea and the dry land!' Fear him, O Jonah? Aye, well mightest thou fear the Lord God THEN! Straightway, he now goes on to make a full confession; whereupon the mariners became more and more appalled, but still are pitiful. For when Jonah, not yet supplicating God for mercy, since he but too well knew the darkness of his deserts,--when wretched Jonah cries out to them to take him and cast him forth into the sea, for he knew that for HIS sake this great tempest was upon them; they mercifully turn from him, and seek by other means to save the ship. But all in vain; the indignant gale howls louder; then, with one hand raised invokingly to God, with the other they not unreluctantly lay hold of Jonah. he asked.
"The Parsee!" the King said gravely, "he must have been caught in--"
These were the verses the White Rabbit read:--
"All night a wide-awake watch was kept by all the officers, forward and aft, especially about the forecastle scuttle and fore hatchway; at which last place it was feared the insurgents might emerge, after breaking through the bulkhead below. But the hours of darkness passed in peace; the men who still remained at their duty toiling hard at the pumps, whose clinking and clanking at intervals through the dreary night dismally resounded through the ship.
He sent them word I had not gone
(We know it to be true):
If she should push the matter on,
What would become of you?
I gave her one, they gave him two,
You gave us three or more;
They all returned from him to you,
Though they were mine before.
If I or she should chance to be
Involved in this affair,
He trusts to you to set them free,
Exactly as we were.
My notion was that you had been
(Before she had this fit)
An obstacle that came between
Him, and ourselves, and it.
Don't let him know she liked them best,
For this must ever be
A secret, kept from all the rest,
Between yourself and me."Stand clear of the tackle!"
"Come hither to me--hither, hither," said the King, rubbing his hands; "Look ye, lad; never say that on board the Pequod. Never say it anywhere. Captain Ahab did not name himself. 'Twas a foolish, ignorant whim of his crazy, widowed mother, who died when he was only a twelvemonth old. And yet the old squaw Tistig, at Gayhead, said that the name would somehow prove prophetic. And, perhaps, other fools like her may tell thee the same. I wish to warn thee. It's a lie. I know Captain Ahab well; I've sailed with him as mate years ago; I know what he is--a good man--not a pious, good man, like Bildad, but a swearing good man--something like me--only there's a good deal more of him. Aye, aye, I know that he was never very jolly; and I know that on the passage home, he was a little out of his mind for a spell; but it was the sharp shooting pains in his bleeding stump that brought that about, as any one might see. I know, too, that ever since he lost his leg last voyage by that accursed whale, he's been a kind of moody--desperate moody, and savage sometimes; but that will all pass off. And once for all, let me tell thee and assure thee, young man, it's better to sail with a moody good captain than a laughing bad one. So good-bye to thee--and wrong not Captain Ahab, because he happens to have a wicked name. Besides, my boy, he has a wife--not three voyages wedded--a sweet, resigned girl. Think of that; by that sweet girl that old man has a child: hold ye then there can be any utter, hopeless harm in Ahab? No, no, my lad; stricken, blasted, if he be, Ahab has his humanities!"
"Man the capstan! Blood and thunder!--jump!" said Alice, (she had grown so large in the last few minutes that she wasn't a bit afraid of interrupting him,) "And God created great whales."
The jury all wrote down on their slates, "There she blows--she blows!--she blows!--right ahead!" but none of them attempted to explain the paper.
"Halloa!" said the King, "Hard down out of that! Mind what I said about the marchant service--don't aggravate me--I won't have it. But let us understand each other. I have given thee a hint about what whaling is; do ye yet feel inclined for it?" he went on, spreading out the verses on his knee, and looking at them with one eye; "Who's there?" he added, turning to the Knave.
The Knave shook his head sadly. "Say what ye will, shipmate; I've sharp ears." he said. (Which he certainly did NOT, being made entirely of cardboard.)
"Depend upon it, landlord, that harpooneer is a dangerous man." said the King, and he went on muttering over
the verses to himself: "That sea beast
Leviathan, which God of all his works
Created hugest that swim the ocean stream."
"Avast! heave to! I mean when you die, cook. It's an awful question. Now what's your answer?" said Alice.
"Espying the mate drawing near as he was toiling at the pump with the rest, the Lakeman affected not to notice him, but unawed, went on with his gay banterings. said the King triumphantly, pointing to the tarts on the table. "There go flukes!" he said to the Queen.
"Aye." said the Queen furiously, throwing an inkstand at the Lizard as she spoke. (The unfortunate little Bill had left off writing on his slate with one finger, as he found it made no mark; but he now hastily began again, using the ink, that was trickling down his face, as long as it lasted.)
"Thou wast, wast thou? I see thou art no Nantucketer--ever been in a stove boat?" said the King, looking round the court with a smile. There was a dead silence.
"For three hundred and sixty miles, gentlemen, through the entire breadth of the state of New York; through numerous populous cities and most thriving villages; through long, dismal, uninhabited swamps, and affluent, cultivated fields, unrivalled for fertility; by billiard-room and bar-room; through the holy-of-holies of great forests; on Roman arches over Indian rivers; through sun and shade; by happy hearts or broken; through all the wide contrasting scenery of those noble Mohawk counties; and especially, by rows of snow-white chapels, whose spires stand almost like milestones, flows one continual stream of Venetianly corrupt and often lawless life. There's your true Ashantee, gentlemen; there howl your pagans; where you ever find them, next door to you; under the long-flung shadow, and the snug patronising lee of churches. For by some curious fatality, as it is often noted of your metropolitan freebooters that they ever encamp around the halls of justice, so sinners, gentlemen, most abound in holiest vicinities. the King added in an offended tone, and everybody laughed, "At sunrise he summoned all hands; and separating those who had rebelled from those who had taken no part in the mutiny, he told the former that he had a good mind to flog them all round--thought, upon the whole, he would do so--he ought to--justice demanded it; but for the present, considering their timely surrender, he would let them go with a reprimand, which he accordingly administered in the vernacular. the King said, for about the twentieth time that day.
"'My wrist is sprained with ye!' he cried, at last; 'but there is still rope enough left for you, my fine bantam, that wouldn't give up. Take that gag from his mouth, and let us hear what he can say for himself.' said the Queen. "Whalebone whales,"
"Stick to the boat, Pip, or by the Lord, I won't pick you up if you jump; mind that. We can't afford to lose whales by the likes of you; a whale would sell for thirty times what you would, Pip, in Alabama. Bear that in mind, and don't jump any more." said Alice loudly. "I hold the spool, sir. But just as my captain says. With these grey hairs of mine 'tis not worth while disputing, 'specially with a superior, who'll ne'er confess."
"But the duke had nothing to do with taking this fish?" said the Queen, turning purple.
"But see here, Stubb, I thought you a little boasted just now, that you meant to give Fedallah a sea-toss, if you got a good chance. Now, if he's so old as all those hoops of yours come to, and if he is going to live for ever, what good will it do to pitch him overboard--tell me that? said Alice.
"Oh! keep cool--cool? yes, that's the word! why don't you pack those whales in ice while you're working at 'em? But joking aside, though; do you know, Rose-bud, that it's all nonsense trying to get any oil out of such whales? As for that dried up one, there, he hasn't a gill in his whole carcase." the Queen shouted at the top of her voice. Nobody moved.
"I know not, sir, but I was born there." said Alice, (she had grown to her full size by this time.) "I don't know, but I heard that gamboge ghost of a Fedallah saying so, and he seems to know all about ships' charms. But I sometimes think he'll charm the ship to no good at last. I don't half like that chap, Stubb. Did you ever notice how that tusk of his is a sort of carved into a snake's head, Stubb?"
At this the whole pack rose up into the air, and came flying down upon her: she gave a little scream, half of fright and half of anger, and tried to beat them off, and found herself lying on the bank, with her head in the lap of her sister, who was gently brushing away some dead leaves that had fluttered down from the trees upon her face.
"In the Isle of Man, hey? Well, the other way, it's good. Here's a man from Man; a man born in once independent Man, and now unmanned of Man; which is sucked in--by what? Up with the reel! The dead, blind wall butts all inquiring heads at last. Up with it! So." said her sister; "Cap'ain, you see him small drop tar on water dere? You see him? well, spose him one whale eye, well, den!"
"Take the bucket, will ye, Archy? what noise d'ye mean?" said Alice, and she told her sister, as well as she could remember them, all these strange Adventures of hers that you have just been reading about; and when she had finished, her sister kissed her, and said, "Now, as you well know, it is not seldom the case in this conventional world of ours--watery or otherwise; that when a person placed in command over his fellow-men finds one of them to be very significantly his superior in general pride of manhood, straightway against that man he conceives an unconquerable dislike and bitterness; and if he have a chance he will pull down and pulverize that subaltern's tower, and make a little heap of dust of it. Be this conceit of mine as it may, gentlemen, at all events Steelkilt was a tall and noble animal with a head like a Roman, and a flowing golden beard like the tasseled housings of your last viceroy's snorting charger; and a brain, and a heart, and a soul in him, gentlemen, which had made Steelkilt Charlemagne, had he been born son to Charlemagne's father. But Radney, the mate, was ugly as a mule; yet as hardy, as stubborn, as malicious. He did not love Steelkilt, and Steelkilt knew it. So Alice got up and ran off, thinking while she ran, as well she might, what a wonderful dream it had been.
But her sister sat still just as she left her, leaning her head on her hand, watching the setting sun, and thinking of little Alice and all her wonderful Adventures, till she too began dreaming after a fashion, and this was her dream:--
First, she dreamed of little Alice herself, and once again the tiny hands were clasped upon her knee, and the bright eager eyes were looking up into hers--she could hear the very tones of her voice, and see that queer little toss of her head to keep back the wandering hair that WOULD always get into her eyes--and still as she listened, or seemed to listen, the whole place around her became alive with the strange creatures of her little sister's dream.
The long grass rustled at her feet as the White Rabbit hurried by--the frightened Mouse splashed his way through the neighbouring pool--she could hear the rattle of the teacups as the March Hare and his friends shared their never-ending meal, and the shrill voice of the Queen ordering off her unfortunate guests to execution--once more the pig-baby was sneezing on the Duchess's knee, while plates and dishes crashed around it--once more the shriek of the Gryphon, the squeaking of the Lizard's slate-pencil, and the choking of the suppressed guinea-pigs, filled the air, mixed up with the distant sobs of the miserable Mock Turtle.
So she sat on, with closed eyes, and half believed herself in Wonderland, though she knew she had but to open them again, and all would change to dull reality--the grass would be only rustling in the wind, and the pool rippling to the waving of the reeds--the rattling teacups would change to tinkling sheep-bells, and the Queen's shrill cries to the voice of the shepherd boy--and the sneeze of the baby, the shriek of the Gryphon, and all the other queer noises, would change (she knew) to the confused clamour of the busy farm-yard--while the lowing of the cattle in the distance would take the place of the Mock Turtle's heavy sobs.
Lastly, she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after-time, be herself a grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood: and how she would gather about her other little children, and make THEIR eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long ago: and how she would feel with all their simple sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days.