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  Herman Melville
1819 - 1891

M o b y   D i c k ,
o r ,   t h e   W h a l e

1 8 5 1


C h a p t e r   3 9
F i r s t   N i g h t   W a t c h .

     HA! ha! ha! ha! hem! clear my throat! – I've been thinking over it ever since, and that ha, ha's the final consequence. Why so? Because a laugh's the wisest, easiest answer to all that's queer; and come what will, one comfort's always left – that unfailing comfort is, it's all predestinated. I heard not all his talk with Starbuck; but to my poor eye Starbuck then looked something as I the other evening felt. Be sure the old Mogul has fixed him, too. I twigged it, knew it; had had the gift, might readily have prophesied it – for when I clapped my eye upon his skull I saw it. Well, Stubb, WISE Stubb – that's my title – well, Stubb, what of it, Stubb? Here's a carcase. I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I'll go to it laughing. Such a waggish leering as lurks in all your horribles! I feel funny. Fa, la! lirra, skirra! What's my juicy little pear at home doing now? Crying its eyes out? – Giving a party to the last arrived harpooneers, I dare say, gay as a frigate's pennant, and so am I – fa, la! lirra, skirra! Oh –
     We'll drink to-night with hearts as light, To love, as gay and fleeting As bubbles that swim, on the beaker's brim, And break on the lips while meeting.
     A brave stave that – who calls? Mr. Starbuck? Aye, aye, sir – (ASIDE) he's my superior, he has his too, if I'm not mistaken. – Aye, aye, sir, just through with this job – coming.