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As we were walking down the end of the wharf towards the
ship, Queequeg carrying his harpoon, Captain Peleg in his
gruff voice loudly hailed us from his wigwam, saying he had


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not suspected my friend was a cannibal, and furthermore
announcing that he let no cannibals on board that craft, unless
they previously produced their papers.

“What do you mean by that, Captain Peleg?” said I, now
jumping on the bulwarks, and leaving my comrade standing on
the wharf.

“I mean,” he replied, “he must show his papers.”

“Yea,” said Captain Bildad in his hollow voice, sticking his
head from behind Peleg's, out of the wigwam. “He must show
that he's converted. Son of darkness,” he added, turning to
Queequeg, “art thou at present in communion with any
christian church?”

“Why,” said I, “he's a member of the first Congregational
Church.” Here be it said, that many tattooed savages sailing
in Nantucket ships at last come to be converted into the

“First Congregational Church,” cried Bildad, “what! that
worships in Deacon Deuteronomy Coleman's meeting-house?”
and so saying, taking out his spectacles, he rubbed them with
his great yellow bandana handkerchief, and putting them on
very carefully, came out of the wigwam, and leaning stiffly
over the bulwarks, took a good long look at Queequeg.

“How long hath he been a member?” he then said, turning
to me; “not very long, I rather guess, young man.”

“No,” said Peleg, “and he hasn't been baptized right either,
or it would have washed some of that devil's blue off his face.”

“Do tell, now,” cried Bildad, “is this Philistine a regular
member of Deacon Deuteronomy's meeting? I never saw him
going there, and I pass it every Lord's day.”

“I don't know anything about Deacon Deuteronomy or his
meeting,” said I, “all I know is, that Queequeg here is a born
member of the First Congregational Church. He is a deacon
himself, Queequeg is.”

“Young man,” said Bildad sternly, “thou art skylarking


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with me—explain thyself, thou young Hittite. What church
dost thee mean? answer me.”

Finding myself thus hard pushed, I replied. “I mean, sir,
the same ancient Catholic Church to which you and I, and
Captain Peleg there, and Queequeg here, and all of us, and
every mother's son and soul of us belong; the great and everlasting
First Congregation of this whole worshipping world;
we all belong to that; only some of us cherish some queer
crotchets noways touching the grand belief; in that we all join

“Splice, thou mean'st splice hands,” cried Peleg, drawing
nearer. “Young man, you'd better ship for a missionary,
instead of a fore-mast hand; I never heard a better sermon.
Deacon Deuteronomy—why Father Mapple himself couldn't
beat it, and he's reckoned something. Come aboard, come
aboard; never mind about the papers. I say, tell Quohog
there—what's that you call him? tell Quohog to step along.
By the great anchor, what a harpoon he's got there! looks like
good stuff that; and he handles it about right. I say,
Quohog, or whatever your name is, did you ever stand in the
head of a whale-boat? did you ever strike a fish?”

Without saying a word, Queequeg, in his wild sort of way,
jumped upon the bulwarks, from thence into the bows of one of
the whale-boats hanging to the side; and then bracing his left
knee, and poising his harpoon, cried out in some such way as

“Cap'ain, you see him small drop tar on water dere? You
see him? well, spose him one whale eye, well, den!” and
taking sharp aim at it, he darted the iron right over old
Bildad's broad brim, clean across the ship's decks, and struck
the glistening tar spot out of sight.

“Now,” said Queequeg, quietly hauling in the line, “spos-ee
him whale-e eye; why, dad whale dead.”

“Quick, Bildad,” said Peleg, his partner, who, aghast at the


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close vicinity of the flying harpoon, had retreated towards the
cabin gangway. “Quick, I say, you Bildad, and get the ship's
papers. We must have Hedgehog there, I mean Quohog, in
one of our boats. Look ye, Quohog, we'll give ye the ninetieth
lay, and that's more than ever was given a harpooneer yet out of

So down we went into the cabin, and to my great joy
Queequeg was soon enroiled among the same ship's company
to which I myself belonged.

When all preliminaries were over and Peleg had got everything
ready for signing, he turned to me and said, “I guess,
Quohog there don't know how to write, does he? I say, Quohog,
blast ye! dost thou sign thy name or make thy mark?”

But at this question, Queequeg, who had twice or thrice
before taken part in similar ceremonies, looked no ways abashed;
but taking the offered pen, copied upon the paper, in the proper
place, an exact counterpart of a queer round figure which
was tattooed upon his arm; so that through Captain Peleg's
obstinate mistake touching his appellative, it stood something
like this:—


his ✠ mark.

Meanwhile Captain Bildad sat earnestly and steadfastly
eyeing Queequeg, and at last rising solemnly and fumbling in
the huge pockets of his broad-skirted drab coat, took out a
bundle of tracts, and selecting one entitled “The Latter Day
Coming; or No Time to Lose,” placed it in Queequeg's hands,
and then grasping them and the book with both his, looked
earnestly into his eyes, and said, “Son of darkness, I must do
my duty by thee; I am part owner of this ship, and feel concerned
for the souls of all its crew; if thou still clingest to thy
Pagan ways, which I sadly fear, I beseech thee, remain not
for aye a Belial bondsman. Spurn the idol Bell, and the


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hideous dragon; turn from the wrath to come; mind thine
eye, I say; oh! goodness gracious! steer clear of the fiery

Something of the salt sea yet lingered in old Bildad's
language, heterogeneously mixed with Scriptural and domestic

“Avast there, avast there, Bildad, avast now spoiling our
harpooneer,” cried Peleg. “Pious harpooneers never make
good voyagers—it takes the shark out of 'em; no harpooneer
is worth a straw who aint pretty sharkish. There was young
Nat Swaine, once the bravest boat-header out of all Nantucket
and the Vineyard; he joined the meeting, and never came to
good. He got so frightened about his plaguy soul, that he
shrinked and sheered away from whales, for fear of after-claps,
in case he got stove and went to Davy Jones.”

“Peleg! Peleg!” said Bildad, lifting his eyes and hands,
“thou thyself, as I myself, hast seen many a perilous time;
thou knowest, Peleg, what it is to have the fear of death; how,
then, can'st thou prate in this ungodly guise. Thou beliest
thine own heart, Peleg. Tell me, when this same Pequod here
had her three masts overboard in that typhoon on Japan, that
same voyage when thou went mate with Captain Ahab, did'st
thou not think of Death and the Judgment then?”

“Hear him, hear him now,” cried Peleg, marching across the
cabin, and thrusting his hands far down into his pockets,—
“hear him, all of ye. Think of that! When every moment we
thought the ship would sink! Death and the Judgment
then? What? With all three masts making such an everlasting
thundering against the side; and every sea breaking
over us, fore and aft. Think of Death and the Judgment then?
No! no time to think about Death then. Life was what
Captain Ahab and I was thinking of; and how to save all
hands—how to rig jury-masts—how to get into the nearest
port; that was what I was thinking of.”


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Bildad said no more, but buttoning up his coat, stalked on
deck, where we followed him. There he stood, very quietly
overlooking some sail-makers who were mending a top-sail in
the waist. Now and then he stooped to pick up a patch,
or save an end of the tarred twine, which otherwise might have
been wasted.