‘Yes, rather oddish,’ said the Lakeman, holding it at arm’s length before him; ‘but I think it will answer. Shipmate, I haven’t enough twine,—have you any?’
- But there was none in the forecastle.
- ‘Then I must get some from old Rad;’ and he rose to go aft.
- ‘You don’t mean to go a begging to HIM!’ said a sailor.
‘Why not? Do you think he won’t do me a turn, when it’s to help himself in the end, shipmate?’ and going to the mate, he looked at him quietly, and asked him for some twine to mend his hammock. It was given him—neither twine nor lanyard were seen again; but the next night an iron ball, closely netted, partly rolled from the pocket of the Lakeman’s monkey jacket, as he was tucking the coat into his hammock for a pillow. Twenty-four hours after, his trick at the silent helm—nigh to the man who was apt to doze over the grave always ready dug to the seaman’s hand—that fatal hour was then to come; and in the fore-ordaining soul of Steelkilt, the mate was already stark and stretched as a corpse, with his forehead crushed in.
But, gentlemen, a fool saved the would-be murderer from the bloody deed he had planned. Yet complete revenge he had, and without being the avenger. For by a mysterious fatality, Heaven itself seemed to step in to take out of his hands into its own the damning thing he would have done.
It was just between daybreak and sunrise of the morning of the second day, when they were washing down the decks, that a stupid Teneriffe man, drawing water in the main-chains, all at once shouted out, ‘There she rolls! there she rolls!’ Jesu, what a whale! It was Moby Dick.
‘Moby Dick!’ cried Don Sebastian; ‘St. Dominic! Sir sailor, but do whales have christenings? Whom call you Moby Dick?’
‘A very white, and famous, and most deadly immortal monster, Don;—but that would be too long a story.’
‘How? how?’ cried all the young Spaniards, crowding.