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If the Sperm Whale be physiognomically a Sphinx, to the
phrenologist his brain seems that geometrical circle which it is
impossible to square.

In the full-grown creature the skull will measure at least
twenty feet in length. Unhinge the lower jaw, and the side
view of this skull is as the side view of a moderately inclined
plane resting throughout on a level base. But in life—as we
have elsewhere seen—this inclined plane is angularly filled up,
and almost squared by the enormous superincumbent mass of
the junk and sperm. At the high end the skull forms a crater
to bed that part of the mass; while under the long floor of this
crater—in another cavity seldom exceeding ten inches in length
and as many in depth—reposes the mere handful of this monster's
brain. The brain is at least twenty feet from his apparent
forehead in life; it is hidden away behind its vast outworks, like
the innermost citadel within the amplified fortifications of
Quebec. So like a choice casket is it secreted in him, that I
have known some whalemen who peremptorily deny that the
Sperm Whale has any other brain than that palpable semblance
of one formed by the cubic-yards of his sperm magazine. Lying
in strange folds, courses, and convolutions, to their apprehensions,


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it seems more in keeping with the idea of his general
might to regard that mystic part of him as the seat of his intelligence.

It is plain, then, that phrenologically the head of this Leviathan,
in the creature's living intact state, is an entire delusion.
As for his true brain, you can then see no indications of it, nor
feel any. The whale, like all things that are mighty, wears a
false bow to the common world.

If you unload his skull of its spermy heaps and then take a
rear view of its rear end, which is the high end, you will be
struck by its resemblance to the human skull, beheld in the
same situation, and from the same point of view. Indeed, place
this reversed skull (scaled down to the human magnitude)
among a plate of men's skulls, and you would involuntarily confound
it with them; and remarking the depressions on one
part of its summit, in phrenological phrase you would say—
This man had no self-esteem, and no veneration. And by those
negations, considered along with the affirmative fact of his prodigious
bulk and power, you can best form to yourself the
truest, though not the most exhilarating conception of what the
most exalted potency is.

But if from the comparative dimensions of the whale's proper
brain, you deem it incapable of being adequately charted, then
I have another idea for you. If you attentively regard almost
any quadruped's spine, you will be struck with the resemblance
of its vertebræ to a strung necklace of dwarfed skulls, all bearing
rudimental resemblance to the skull proper. It is a German
conceit, that the vertebræ are absolutely undeveloped skulls.
But the curious external resemblance, I take it the Germans were
not the first men to perceive. A foreign friend once pointed it out
to me, in the skeleton of a foe he had slain, and with the vertebræ
of which he was inlaying, in a sort of basso-relievo, the beaked
prow of his canoe. Now, I consider that the phrenologists have
omitted an important thing in not pushing their investigations


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from the cerebellum through the spinal canal. For I believe
that much of a man's character will be found betokened in his
backbone. I would rather feel your spine than your skull,
whoever you are. A thin joist of a spine never yet upheld a
full and noble soul. I rejoice in my spine, as in the firm audacious
staff of that flag which I fling half out to the world.

Apply this spinal branch of phrenology to the Sperm Whale.
His cranial cavity is continuous with the first neck-vertebra;
and in that vertebra the bottom of the spinal canal will measure
ten inches across, being eight in height, and of a triangular
figure with the base downwards. As it passes through the
remaining vertebræ the canal tapers in size, but for a considerable
distance remains of large capacity. Now, of course, this
canal is filled with much the same strangely fibrous substance—
the spinal cord—as the brain; and directly communicates with
the brain. And what is still more, for many feet after emerging
from the brain's cavity, the spinal cord remains of an undecreasing
girth, almost equal to that of the brain. Under all
these circumstances, would it be unreasonable to survey and
map out the whale's spine phrenologically? For, viewed in this
light, the wonderful comparative smallness of his brain proper
is more than compensated by the wonderful comparative magnitude
of his spinal cord.

But leaving this hint to operate as it may with the phrenologists,
I would merely assume the spinal theory for a moment,
in reference to the Sperm Whale's hump. This august hump,
if I mistake not, rises over one of the larger vertebræ, and is,
therefore, in some sort, the outer convex mould of it. From its
relative situation then, I should call this high hump the organ
of firmness or indomitableness in the Sperm Whale. And that
the great monster is indomitable, you will yet have reason to