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That whale of Stubb's, so dearly purchased, was duly brought
to the Pequod's side, where all those cutting and hoisting operations
previously detailed, were regularly gone through, even to
the baling of the Heidelburgh Tun, or Case.

While some were occupied with this latter duty, others were
employed in dragging away the larger tubs, so soon as filled
with the sperm; and when the proper time arrived, this same
sperm was carefully manipulated ere going to the try-works, of
which anon.

It had cooled and crystallized to such a degree, that when,
with several others, I sat down before a large Constantine's bath
of it, I found it strangely concreted into lumps, here and there
rolling about in the liquid part. It was our business to squeeze
these lumps back into fluid. A sweet and unctuous duty! No
wonder that in old times this sperm was such a favorite cosmetic.
Such a clearer! such a sweetener! such a softener!
such a delicious mollifier! After having my hands in it for only
a few minutes, my fingers felt like eels, and began, as it were,
to serpentine and spiralize.

As I sat there at my ease, cross-legged on the deck; after the
bitter exertion at the windlass; under a blue tranquil sky; the


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ship under indolent sail, and gliding so serenely along; as
I bathed my hands among those soft, gentle globules of infiltrated
tissues, woven almost within the hour; as they richly
broke to my fingers, and discharged all their opulence, like
fully ripe grapes their wine; as I snuffed up that uncontaminated
aroma,—literally and truly, like the smell of spring
violets; I declare to you, that for the time I lived as in a
musky meadow; I forgot all about our horrible oath; in that
inexpressible sperm, I washed my hands and my heart of it; I
almost began to credit the old Paracelsan superstition that
sperm is of rare virtue in allaying the heat of anger: while
bathing in that bath, I felt divinely free from all ill-will, or
petulence, or malice, of any sort whatsoever.

Squeeze! squeeze! squeeze! all the morning long; I squeezed
that sperm till I myself almost melted into it; I squeezed that
sperm till a strange sort of insanity came over me; and I found
myself unwittingly squeezing my co-laborers' hands in it, mistaking
their hands for the gentle globules. Such an abounding,
affectionate, friendly, loving feeling did this avocation beget;
that at last I was continually sqeezing their hands, and looking
up into their eyes sentimentally; as much as to say,—Oh! my
dear fellow beings, why should we longer cherish any social
acerbities, or know the slightest ill-humor or envy! Come;
let us squeeze hands all round; nay, let us all squeeze ourselves
into each other; let us squeeze ourselves universally into the
very milk and sperm of kindness.

Would that I could keep squeezing that sperm for ever! For
now, since by many prolonged, repeated experiences, I have
perceived that in all cases man must eventually lower, or at
least shift, his conceit of attainable felicity; not placing it anywhere
in the intellect or the fancy; but in the wife, the heart,
the bed, the table, the saddle, the fire-side, the country; now
that I have perceived all this, I am ready to squeeze case eternally.
In thoughts of the visions of the night, I saw long rows


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of angels in paradise, each with his hands in a jar of spermaceti.

Now, while discoursing of sperm, it behooves to speak of
other things akin to it, in the business of preparing the sperm
whale for the try-works.

First comes white-horse, so called, which is obtained from
the tapering part of the fish, and also from the thicker portions
of his flukes. It is tough with congealed tendons—a wad of
muscle—but still contains some oil. After being severed from
the whale, the white-horse is first cut into portable oblongs ere
going to the mincer. They look much like blocks of Berkshire

Plum-pudding is the term bestowed upon certain fragmentary
parts of the whale's flesh, here and there adhering to the
blanket of blubber, and often participating to a considerable
degree in its unctuousness. It is a most refreshing, convivial,
beautiful object to behold. As its name imports, it is of an
exceedingly rich, mottled tint, with a bestreaked snowy and
golden ground, dotted with spots of the deepest crimson and
purple. It is plums of rubies, in pictures of citron. Spite of
reason, it is hard to keep yourself from eating it. I confess,
that once I stole behind the foremast to try it. It tasted something
as I should conceive a royal cutlet from the thigh of
Louis le Gros might have tasted, supposing him to have been
killed the first day after the venison season, and that particular
venison season contemporary with an unusually fine vintage of
the vineyards of Champagne.

There is another substance, and a very singular one, which
turns up in the course of this business, but which I feel it to be
very puzzling adequately to describe. It is called slobgollion;
an appellation original with the whalemen, and even so is the
nature of the substance. It is an ineffably oozy, stringy affair,
most frequently found in the tubs of sperm, after a prolonged


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squeezing, and subsequent decanting. I hold it to be the wondrously
thin, ruptured membranes of the case, coalescing.

Gurry, so called, is a term properly belonging to right whalemen,
but sometimes incidentally used by the sperm fishermen.
It designates the dark, glutinous substance which is scraped
off the back of the Greenland or right whale, and much of
which covers the decks of those inferior souls who hunt that
ignoble Leviathan.

Nippers. Strictly this word is not indigenous to the whale's
vocabulary. But as applied by whalemen, it becomes so. A
whaleman's nipper is a short firm strip of tendinous stuff cut
from the tapering part of Leviathan's tail: it averages an inch
in thickness, and for the rest, is about the size of the iron part
of a hoe. Edgewise moved along the oily deck, it operates like
a leathern squilgee; and by nameless blandishments, as of magic,
allures along with it all impurities.

But to learn all about these recondite matters, your best way
is at once to descend into the blubber-room, and have a long
talk with its inmates. This place has previously been mentioned
as the receptacle for the blanket-pieces, when stript and hoisted
from the whale. When the proper time arrives for cutting up
its contents, this apartment is a scene of terror to all tyros,
especially by night. On one side, lit by a dull lantern, a space
has been left clear for the workmen. They generally go in
pairs,—a pike-and-gaff-man and a spade-man. The whaling-pike
is similar to a frigate's boarding-weapon of the same name.
The gaff is something like a boat-hook. With his gaff, the
gaffman hooks on to a sheet of blubber, and strives to hold it
from slipping, as the ship pitches and lurches about. Meanwhile,
the spade-man stands on the sheet itself, perpendicularly
chopping it into the portable horse-pieces. This spade is sharp
as hone can make it; the spademan's feet are shoeless; the
thing he stands on will sometimes irresistibly slide away from
him, like a sledge. If he cuts off one of his own toes, or one


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of his assistants, would you be very much astonished? Toes
are scarce among veteran blubber-room men.