It is by a mathematical point only that we are wise, as the sailor or the fugitive slave keeps the polestar in his eye; but that is sufficient guidance for all our life.
There, luck befriended him; two ships were about to sail for France, and were providentially in want of precisely that number of men which the sailor headed.
The sailor rarely cares to know the latitude in which his ship is sailing, but on the day of battle--heaven knows how and whence--a stern note of which all are conscious sounds in the moral atmosphere of an army, announcing the approach of something decisive and solemn, and awakening in the men an unusual curiosity.
So that no white sailor seriously contradicted him when he said that if ever Captain Ahab should be tranquilly laid out--which might hardly come to pass, so he muttered--then, whoever should do that last office for the dead, would find a birth-mark on him from crown to sole.
They are generally Richard III. whales, with dromedary humps, and very savage; breakfasting on three or four sailor tarts, that is whaleboats full of mariners: their deformities floundering in seas of blood and blue paint.
When in working with his hands at some lofty almost isolated place in the rigging, which chances to afford no foothold, the sailor at sea is hoisted up to that spot, and sustained there by the rope; under these circumstances, its fastened end on deck is always given in strict charge to some one man who has the special watch of it.
The ivory Pequod was turned into what seemed a shamble; every sailor a butcher.
One was founded on the description by the Swedish sailor Niklas KBping of the ferocious men with long tails inhabiting the Nicobar Islands.
While still warm, the oil, like hot punch, is received into the six-barrel casks; and while, perhaps, the ship is pitching and rolling this way and that in the midnight sea, the enormous casks are slewed round and headed over, end for end, and sometimes perilously scoot across the slippery deck, like so many land slides, till at last man-handled and stayed in their course; and all round the hoops, rap, rap, go as many hammers as can play upon them, for now, EX OFFICIO, every sailor is a cooper.
The line originally used in the fishery was of the best hemp, slightly vapoured with tar, not impregnated with it, as in the case of ordinary ropes; for while tar, as ordinarily used, makes the hemp more pliable to the rope-maker, and also renders the rope itself more convenient to the sailor for common ship use; yet, not only would the ordinary quantity too much stiffen the whale-line for the close coiling to which it must be subjected; but as most seamen are beginning to learn, tar in general by no means adds to the rope's durability or strength, however much it may give it compactness and gloss.