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Moby Dick Chapter 60 The Line 
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Post Moby Dick Chapter 60 The Line
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2701/270 ... m#2HCH0060

In preparation for the description of whaling, a discourse on the danger of a rope aboard a whale boat zinging out at such ferocious speed with a whale attached to the other end of it that it risks taking limbs of unwary whalers with it.
Quote:
I have here to speak of the magical, sometimes horrible whale-line

Melville describes its strength, its material, its manner of coiling and storage, and other details which make sitting in a whale boat rather like sitting inside a working steam engine
Quote:
were the lower end of the line in any way attached to the boat, and were the whale then to run the line out to the end almost in a single, smoking minute as he sometimes does, he would not stop there, for the doomed boat would infallibly be dragged down after him into the profundity of the sea; and in that case no town-crier would ever find her again.

In case you think this detail is tedious, Ishmael explains his parable
Quote:
why say more? All men live enveloped in whale-lines. All are born with halters round their necks; but it is only when caught in the swift, sudden turn of death, that mortals realize the silent, subtle, ever-present perils of life. And if you be a philosopher, though seated in the whale-boat, you would not at heart feel one whit more of terror, than though seated before your evening fire with a poker, and not a harpoon, by your side.


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