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Moby Dick Chapter 67 Cutting In
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Author:  Robert Tulip [ Thu May 24, 2012 7:23 am ]
Post subject:  Moby Dick Chapter 67 Cutting In

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2701/270 ... m#2HCH0067

Morbid souls with abattoirious fascination for The Jungle of the seas will not skip this chapter, with its Volga Boatmen of the High Seas.

Quote:
every sailor a butcher... offering up ten thousand red oxen to the sea gods.

the huge lower block of the tackles was swung over the whale; to this block the great blubber hook, weighing some one hundred pounds, was attached. And now suspended in stages over the side, Starbuck and Stubb, the mates, armed with their long spades, began cutting a hole in the body for the insertion of the hook just above the nearest of the two side-fins. This done, a broad, semicircular line is cut round the hole, the hook is inserted, and the main body of the crew striking up a wild chorus, now commence heaving in one dense crowd at the windlass. When instantly, the entire ship careens over on her side; every bolt in her starts like the nail-heads of an old house in frosty weather; she trembles, quivers, and nods her frighted mast-heads to the sky. More and more she leans over to the whale, while every gasping heave of the windlass is answered by a helping heave from the billows; till at last, a swift, startling snap is heard; with a great swash the ship rolls upwards and backwards from the whale, and the triumphant tackle rises into sight dragging after it the disengaged semicircular end of the first strip of blubber. Now as the blubber envelopes the whale precisely as the rind does an orange, so is it stripped off from the body precisely as an orange is sometimes stripped by spiralizing it. For the strain constantly kept up by the windlass continually keeps the whale rolling over and over in the water,

...accomplished swordsman, warning all hands to stand off, once more makes a scientific dash at the mass, and with a few sidelong, desperate, lunging slicings, severs it completely in twain; so that while the short lower part is still fast, the long upper strip, called a blanket-piece, swings clear, and is all ready for lowering.

... sundry nimble hands keep coiling away the long blanket-piece as if it were a great live mass of plaited serpents. And thus the work proceeds; the two tackles hoisting and lowering simultaneously; both whale and windlass heaving, the heavers singing, the blubber-room gentlemen coiling, the mates scarfing, the ship straining, and all hands swearing occasionally, by way of assuaging the general friction.


This ghoulish sport has prompted me to find NIMROD OF THE SEA OR, THE AMERICAN WHALEMAN.
BY WILLIAM M. DAVIS.
NEW YORK: HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS, FRANKLIN SQUARE. 1874.
http://mysite.du.edu/~ttyler/ploughboy/davisnimrod.htm

Source of many picturesque scenes, including this one

Image

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