The wood was green as mosses of the Icy Glen; the trees stood high and haughty, feeling their living sap; the industrious earth beneath was as a weaver's loom, with a gorgeous carpet on it, whereof the ground-vine tendrils formed the warp and woof, and the living flowers the figures.
Considerations of growth determine to a great extent the hardness or softness, and strength or weakness, of the fibre, and thus, indirectly, whether the cotton is suitable for warp or weft.
Indeed, for a definition of that limitless subject which includes all the phenomena that stand the warp and stress of change, one might adapt a famous epitaph - si historiam requiris, circumspice.
But as if this vast local power in the tendinous tail were not enough, the whole bulk of the leviathan is knit over with a warp and woof of muscular fibres and filaments, which passing on either side the loins and running down into the flukes, insensibly blend with them, and largely contribute to their might; so that in the tail the confluent measureless force of the whole whale seems concentrated to a point.
Of these two kinds of genetic and adaptive resemblance, homogeny is the warp composed of the vertical, hereditary strands, which connect animals with their ancestors and their successors, while analogy is the woof, composed of the horizontal strands which tie animals together by their superficial resemblances.
This warp seemed necessity; and here, thought I, with my own hand I ply my own shuttle and weave my own destiny into these unalterable threads.
Meantime, Queequeg's impulsive, indifferent sword, sometimes hitting the woof slantingly, or crookedly, or strongly, or weakly, as the case might be; and by this difference in the concluding blow producing a corresponding contrast in the final aspect of the completed fabric; this savage's sword, thought I, which thus finally shapes and fashions both warp and woof; this easy, indifferent sword must be chance--aye, chance, free will, and necessity--nowise incompatible--all interweavingly working together.
The only drawback to these good qualities is a certain liability to warp and bend, unless very carefully seasoned; for this purpose it is recommended to be left floating in water for a year after felling, and then allowed some months to dry slowly and completely before sawing up the logs; barking the trunk in winter while the tree is standing, and leaving it in that state till the next year, has been often advised with the larch as with other timber, but the practical inconveniences of the plan have prevented its adoption on any large scale.
But in addition to the greater cost of steel founding as compared with rolling there are two facts which limit the use of steel castings: (1) they are not so good as rolled products, because the kneading which the metal undergoes in rolling improves its quality, and closes up its cavities; and (2) it would be extremely difficult and in most cases impracticable to cast the metal directly into any of the forms in which the great bulk of the steel of commerce is needed, such as rails, plates, beams, angles, rods, bars, and wire, because the metal would become so cool as to solidify before running far in such thin sections, and because even the short pieces which could thus be made would pucker or warp on account of their aeolotachic contraction.
The straight warp of necessity, not to be swerved from its ultimate course--its every alternating vibration, indeed, only tending to that; free will still free to ply her shuttle between given threads; and chance, though restrained in its play within the right lines of necessity, and sideways in its motions directed by free will, though thus prescribed to by both, chance by turns rules either, and has the last featuring blow at events.