CHAPTER 40: Midnight, Forecastle.
How the sea rolls swashing 'gainst the side! Stand by for reefing,
hearties! the winds are just crossing swords, pell-mell they'll go
Crack, crack, old ship! so long as thou crackest, thou holdest! Well
done! The mate there holds ye to it stiffly. He's no more afraid
than the isle fort at Cattegat, put there to fight the Baltic with
storm-lashed guns, on which the sea-salt cakes!
4TH NANTUCKET SAILOR.
He has his orders, mind ye that. I heard old Ahab tell him he must
always kill a squall, something as they burst a waterspout with a
pistol--fire your ship right into it!
Blood! but that old man's a grand old cove! We are the lads to hunt
him up his whale!
OLD MANX SAILOR.
How the three pines shake! Pines are the hardest sort of tree to
live when shifted to any other soil, and here there's none but the
crew's cursed clay. Steady, helmsman! steady. This is the sort of
weather when brave hearts snap ashore, and keeled hulls split at sea.
Our captain has his birthmark; look yonder, boys, there's another in
the sky--lurid-like, ye see, all else pitch black.
What of that? Who's afraid of black's afraid of me! I'm quarried
out of it!
(ASIDE.) He wants to bully, ah!--the old grudge makes me touchy
(ADVANCING.) Aye, harpooneer, thy race is the undeniable dark side of
mankind--devilish dark at that. No offence.
ST. JAGO'S SAILOR.
That Spaniard's mad or drunk. But that can't be, or else in his one
case our old Mogul's fire-waters are somewhat long in working.
5TH NANTUCKET SAILOR.
What's that I saw--lightning? Yes.