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CHAPTER 134: The Chase--Second Day. (continued)
The ship tore on; leaving such a furrow in the sea as when a cannon-ball, missent, becomes a plough-share and turns up the level field.
"By salt and hemp!" cried Stubb, "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!"
"There she blows--she blows!--she blows!--right ahead!" was now the mast-head cry.
"Aye, aye!" cried Stubb, "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!"
And Stubb did but speak out for well nigh all that crew. The frenzies of the chase had by this time worked them bubblingly up, like old wine worked anew. Whatever pale fears and forebodings some of them might have felt before; these were not only now kept out of sight through the growing awe of Ahab, but they were broken up, and on all sides routed, as timid prairie hares that scatter before the bounding bison. The hand of Fate had snatched all their souls; and by the stirring perils of the previous day; the rack of the past night's suspense; the fixed, unfearing, blind, reckless way in which their wild craft went plunging towards its flying mark; by all these things, their hearts were bowled along. The wind that made great bellies of their sails, and rushed the vessel on by arms invisible as irresistible; this seemed the symbol of that unseen agency which so enslaved them to the race.
They were one man, not thirty. For as the one ship that held them all; though it was put together of all contrasting things--oak, and maple, and pine wood; iron, and pitch, and hemp--yet all these ran into each other in the one concrete hull, which shot on its way, both balanced and directed by the long central keel; even so, all the individualities of the crew, this man's valor, that man's fear; guilt and guiltiness, all varieties were welded into oneness, and were all directed to that fatal goal which Ahab their one lord and keel did point to.
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