Now, while all these ideas were passing through me like lightning, this harpooneer never noticed me at all.
This improvement upon the original usage was introduced by no less a man than Stubb, in order to afford the imperilled harpooneer the strongest possible guarantee for the faithfulness and vigilance of his monkey-rope holder.
And as for a tiller, the whale-boat never admits of any such effeminacy; and therefore as in gamming a complete boat's crew must leave the ship, and hence as the boat steerer or harpooneer is of the number, that subordinate is the steersman upon the occasion, and the captain, having no place to sit in, is pulled off to his visit all standing like a pine tree.
Of the names in this list of whale authors, only those following Owen ever saw living whales; and but one of them was a real professional harpooneer and whaleman.
He had been a sailor and a harpooneer in his youth, but for many years past had dedicated his life to the ministry.
But be easy, be easy, this here harpooneer I have been tellin' you of has just arrived from the south seas, where he bought up a lot of 'balmed New Zealand heads (great curios, you know), and he's sold all on 'em but one, and that one he's trying to sell to-night, cause to-morrow's Sunday, and it would not do to be sellin' human heads about the streets when folks is goin' to churches.
Concerning the officers of the whale-craft, this seems as good a place as any to set down a little domestic peculiarity on ship-board, arising from the existence of the harpooneer class of officers, a class unknown of course in any other marine than the whale-fleet.
They had made a harpooneer of him, and that barbed iron was in lieu of a sceptre now.
I know that this would sometimes involve a slight loss of speed in the chase; but long experience in various whalemen of more than one nation has convinced me that in the vast majority of failures in the fishery, it has not by any means been so much the speed of the whale as the before described exhaustion of the harpooneer that has caused them.
In those days, the captain's authority was restricted to the navigation and general management of the vessel; while over the whale-hunting department and all its concerns, the Specksynder or Chief Harpooneer reigned supreme.