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Stubb and Flask mounted on them, and passing additional
lashings over the anchors there hanging.

No, Stubb; you may pound that knot there as much as
you please, but you will never pound into me what you were
just now saying. And how long ago is it since you said the
very contrary? Didn't you once say that whatever ship Ahab
sails in, that ship should pay something extra on its insurance
policy, just as though it were loaded with powder barrels aft
and boxes of lucifers forward? Stop, now; didn't you say

“Well, suppose I did? What then? I've part changed my
flesh since that time, why not my mind? Besides, supposing
we are loaded with powder barrels aft and lucifers forward;


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how the devil could the lucifers get afire in this drenching spray
here? Why, my little man, you have pretty red hair, but you
couldn't get afire now. Shake yourself; you're Aquarius, or
the water-bearer, Flask; might fill pitchers at your coat collar.
Don't you see, then, that for these extra risks the Marine Insurance
companies have extra guarantees? Here are hydrants,
Flask. But hark, again, and I'll answer ye the other thing.
First take your leg off from the crown of the anchor here, though,
so I can pass the rope; now listen. What's the mighty difference
between holding a mast's lightning-rod in the storm, and
standing close by a mast that hasn't got any lightning-rod at
all in a storm? Don't you see, you timber-head, that no harm
can come to theh older of the rod, unless the mast is first struck?
What are you talking about, then? Not one ship in a hundred
carries rods, and Ahab,—aye, man, and all of us,—were in no
more danger then, in my poor opinion, than all the crews in ten
thousand ships now sailing the seas. Why, you King-Post, you,
I suppose you would have every man in the world go about
with a small lightning-rod running up the corner of his hat,
like a militia officer's skewered feather, and trailing behind like
his sash. Why don't ye be sensible, Flask? it's easy to be sensible;
why don't ye, then? any man with half an eye can be

“I don't know that, Stubb. You sometimes find it rather

“Yes, when a fellow's soaked through, it's hard to be sensible,
that's a fact. And I am about drenched with this spray.
Never mind; catch the turn there, and pass it. Seems to me
we are lashing down these anchors now as if they were never
going to be used again. Tying these two anchors here, Flask,
seems like tying a man's hands behind him. And what big
generous hands they are, to be sure. These are your iron fists,
hey? What a hold they have, too! I wonder, Flask, whether
the world is anchored anywhere; if she is, she swings with an


Page 565
uncommon long cable, though. There, hammer that knot
down, and we've done. So; next to touching land, lighting on
deck is the most satisfactory. I say, just wring out my jacket
skirts, will ye? Thank ye. They laugh at long-togs so, Flask;
but seems to me, a long tailed coat ought always to be worn in all
storms afloat. The tails tapering down that way, serve to carry
off the water, d'ye see. Same with cocked hats; the cocks form
gable-end eave-troughs. Flask. No more monkey-jackets and
tarpaulins for me; I must mount a swallow-tail, and drive down
a beaver; so. Halloa! whew! there goes my tarpaulin overboard;
Lord, Lord, that the winds that come from heaven should
be so unmannerly! This is a nasty night, lad.”