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Chapter 39

CHAPTER 39
First Night-Watch


(Stubb solus,and mending a brace.)

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 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.

Herman Melville

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