Moby Dick Chapter 68 The Blanket
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2701/270 ... m#2HCH0068
A learned and experienced discourse on"that not unvexed subject, the skin of the whale."
"Not unvexed" is of course a pompous way of saying vexed. Go Herman! The nonunvexedness of this topic is due to the mighty sperm whale having a skin as fine as gossamer, smooth as a princesses' bum.
Outside the blubber is an
This is the skin of the skin
Must get our commercial priorities straight!
And then we get to the mystic Egyptian markings etched in the blubber.
Similar also to geological discoveries
And his blubber keeps him warm as toast, all the better to boil him down for candles and soap
For the whale is indeed wrapt up in his blubber as in a real blanket or counterpane; or, still better, an Indian poncho slipt over his head, and skirting his extremity. It is by reason of this cosy blanketing of his body, that the whale is enabled to keep himself comfortable in all weathers, in all seas, times, and tides. What would become of a Greenland whale, say, in those shuddering, icy seas of the North, if unsupplied with his cosy surtout? True, other fish are found exceedingly brisk in those Hyperborean waters; but these, be it observed, are your cold-blooded, lungless fish, whose very bellies are refrigerators; creatures, that warm themselves under the lee of an iceberg
And Melville reveals he knows the whale is a mammal and not a fish
And more phrenological style science
Waxing Biblical, after Paul's line in Romans 2:1 (Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest)
Oh, man! admire and model thyself after the whale! Do thou, too, remain warm among ice. Do thou, too, live in this world without being of it. Be cool at the equator; keep thy blood fluid at the Pole. Like the great dome of St. Peter's, and like the great whale, retain, O man! in all seasons a temperature of thine own. But how easy and how hopeless to teach these fine things! Of erections, how few are domed like St. Peter's! of creatures, how few vast as the whale!