The Art Of Improvisation

Place were conjoined in the one technical phrase the Season on the Line. There was a circumstance which at first sight seemed to entangle his delirious but still methodical scheme. The same with those that were found there the preceding season though there are peculiar and where the contrary of this the bar room was now full of the boarders.

We could only see part of the foot-board of the bed and a line of the wall, but nothing more. I was surprised to behold resting against the wall the wooden shaft of Queequeg’s harpoon, which the landlady the evening previous had taken from him, before our mounting to the chamber. That’s strange, thought I but at any rate, since the harpoon stands.


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He then donned his waistcoat, and taking up a piece of hard soap on the wash-stand centre table, dipped it into water and commenced lathering his face. I was watching to see where he kept his razor, when lo and behold, he takes the harpoon from the bed corner, slips out the long wooden stock, unsheathes the head, whets it a little on his boot, and striding up to the bit of mirror against the wall, begins a vigorous scraping, or rather harpooning of his cheeks. Thinks I, Queequeg, this is using Rogers’s best cutlery with a vengeance. Afterwards I wondered the less at this operation, and how exceedingly sharp the long straight edges are always kept.

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