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Returning to the Spouter-Inn from the Chapel, I found
Queequeg there quite alone; he having left the Chapel before
the benediction some time. He was sitting on a bench before
the fire, with his feet on the stove hearth, and in one hand was
holding close up to his face that little negro idol of his; peering
hard into its face, and with a jack-knife gently whittling away
at its nose, meanwhile humming to himself in his heathenish

But being now interrupted, he put up the image; and pretty
soon, going to the table, took up a large book there, and
placing it on his lap began counting the pages with deliberate
regularity; at every fiftieth page—as I fancied—stopping a
moment, looking vacantly around him, and giving utterance to
a long-drawn gurgling whistle of astonishment. He would then
begin again at the next fifty; seeming to commence at number
one each time, as though he could not count more than fifty,
and it was only by such a large number of fifties being found
together, that his astonishment at the multitude of pages was

With much interest I sat watching him. Savage though he


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was, and hideously marred about the face—at least to my
taste—his countenance yet had a something in it which was by
no means disagreeable. You cannot hide the soul. Through
all his unearthly tattooings, I thought I saw the traces of a
simple honest heart; and in his large, deep eyes, fiery black and
bold, there seemed tokens of a spirit that would dare a thousand
devils. And besides all this, there was a certain lofty bearing
about the Pagan, which even his uncouthness could not altogether
maim. He looked like a man who had never cringed
and never had had a creditor. Whether it was, too, that his
head being shaved, his forehead was drawn out in freer and
brighter relief, and looked more expansive than it otherwise
would, this I will not venture to decide; but certain it was his
head was phrenologically an excellent one. It may seem ridiculous,
but it reminded me of General Washington's head, as
seen in the popular busts of him. It had the same long
regularly graded retreating slope from above the brows, which
were likewise very projecting, like two long promontories thickly
wooded on top. Queequeg was George Washington cannibalistically

Whilst I was thus closely scanning him, half-pretending
meanwhile to be looking out at the storm from the casement,
he never heeded my presence, never troubled himself with so
much as a single glance; out appeared wholly occupied with
counting the pages of the marvellous book. Considering how
sociably we had been sleeping together the night previous, and
especially considering the affectionate arm I had found thrown
over me upon waking in the morning, I thought this indifference
of his very strange. But savages are strange beings; at
times you do not know exactly how to take them. At first
they are overawing; their calm self-collectedness of simplicity
seems a Socratic wisdom. I had noticed also that Queequeg
never consorted at all, or but very little, with the other seamen
in the inn. He made no advances whatever; appeared to have


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no desire to enlarge the circle of his acquaintances. All this
struck me as mighty singular; yet, upon second thoughts,
there was something almost sublime in it. Here was a man
some twenty thousand miles from home, by the way of Cape
Horn, that is—which was the only way he could get there—
thrown among people as strange to him as though he were in
the planet Jupiter; and yet he seemed entirely at his ease;
preserving the utmost serenity; content with his own companionship;
always equal to himself. Surely this was a touch of
fine philosophy; though no doubt he had never heard there was
such a thing as that. But, perhaps, to be true philosophers, we
mortals should not be conscious of so living or so striving. So
soon as I hear that such or such a man gives himself out for a
philosopher, I conclude that, like the dyspeptic old woman, he
must have “broken his digester.”

As I sat there in that now lonely room; the fire burning
low, in that mild stage when, after its first intensity has
warmed the air, it then only glows to be looked at; the evening
shades and phantoms gathering round the casements, and peering
in upon us silent, solitary twain; the storm booming without
in solemn swells: I began to be sensible of strange feelings. I
felt a melting in me. No more my splintered heart and maddened
hand were turned against the wolfish world. This
soothing savage had redeemed it. There he sat, his very indifference
speaking a nature in which there lurked no civilized
hypocrisies and bland deceits. Wild he was; a very sight of
sights to see; yet I began to feel myself mysteriously drawn
towards him. And those same things that would have repelled
most others, they were the very magnets that thus drew me.
I'll try a pagan friend, thought I, since Christian kindness has
proved but hollow courtesy. I drew my bench near him, and
made some friendly signs and hints, doing my best to talk with
him meanwhile. At first he little noticed these advances; but
presently, upon my referring to his last night's hospitalities, he


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made out to ask me whether we were again to be bedfellows.
I told him yes; whereat I thought he looked pleased, perhaps
a little complimented.

We then turned over the book together, and I endeavored
to explain to him the purpose of the printing, and the meaning
of the few pictures that were in it. Thus I soon engaged his
interest; and from that we went to jabbering the best we
could about the various outer sights to be seen in this famous
town. Soon I proposed a social smoke; and, producing his
pouch and tomahawk, he quietly offered me a puff. And then
we sat exchanging puffs from that wild pipe of his, and keeping
it regularly passing between us.

If there yet lurked any ice of indifference towards me in the
Pagan's breast, this pleasant, genial smoke we had, soon thawed
it out, and left us cronies. He seemed to take to me quite as
naturally and unbiddenly as I to him; and when our smoke
was over, he pressed his forehead against mine, clasped me
round the waist, and said that henceforth we were married;
meaning, in his country's phrase, that we were bosom friends;
he would gladly die for me, if need should be. In a countryman,
this sudden flame of friendship would have seemed far
too premature, a thing to be much distrusted; but in this simple
savage those old rules would not apply.

After supper, and another social chat and smoke, we went to
our room together. He made me a present of his embalmed
head; took out his enormous tobacco wallet, and groping under
the tobacco, drew out some thirty dollars in silver; then
spreading them on the table, and mechanically dividing them
into two equal portions, pushed one of them towards me, and
said it was mine. I was going to remonstrate; but he silenced
me by pouring them into my trowsers' pockets. I let them stay.
He then went about his evening prayers, took out his idol, and
removed the paper fireboard. By certain signs and symptoms,
I thought he seemed anxious for me to join him; but well


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knowing what was to follow, I deliberated a moment whether,
in case he invited me, I would comply or otherwise.

I was a good Christian; born and bred in the bosom of the
infallible Presbyterian Church. How then could I unite with
this wild idolator in worshipping his piece of wood? But what
is worship? thought I. Do you suppose now, Ishmael, that the
magnanimous God of heaven and earth—pagans and all included—can
possibly be jealous of an insignificant bit of black
wood? Impossible! But what is worship?—to do the will of
God—that is worship. And what is the will of God?—to do
to my fellow man what I would have my fellow man to do to
me—that is the will of God. Now, Queequeg is my fellow
man. And what do I wish that this Queequeg would do to
me? Why, unite with me in my particular Presbyterian form
of worship. Consequently, I must then unite with him in his;
ergo, I must turn idolator. So I kindled the shavings; helped
prop up the innocent little idol; offered him burnt biscuit with
Queequeg; salamed before him twice or thrice; kissed his nose;
and that done, we undressed and went to bed, at peace with
our own consciences and all the world. But we did not go to
sleep without some little chat.

How it is I know not; but there is no place like a bed for
confidential disclosures between friends. Man and wife, they
say, there open the very bottom of their souls to each other;
and some old couples often lie and chat over old times till
nearly morning. Thus, then, in our hearts' honeymoon, lay I
and Queequeg—a cosy, loving pair.