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 was watching to see where he kept his razor, when lo and behold, he takes the harpoon from the bed corner, 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. The house opposite commanded a plain view into the room, and observing more and more the indecorous figure that Queequeg made, staving about with little else but his hat and boots on I begged him as well as I could, to accelerate his toilet somewhat, and particularly to get into his pantaloons as soon as possible.
Curious sight these bashful bears, these timid warrior whalemen. They say that men who have seen the world, thereby become quite at ease in manner, quite self-possessed in company. Perhaps the mere crossing of Siberia in a sledge drawn by dogs as Ledyard did, or the taking a long solitary walk on an empty stomach, in the negro heart of Africa, which was the sum of poor Mungo’s performances this kind of travel, I say, may not be the very best mode of attaining a high social polish. He complied, and then proceeded to wash himself. Ahab’s harpoon, the one forged at Perth’s fire, remained firmly lashed in its conspicuous crotch, so that it projected beyond his whale-boat’s bow the sea that had stove its bottom had caused the loose leather sheath to drop off from the keen steel barb there now came a leveled flame of pale, forked fire. As the silent harpoon burned there like a serpent’s tongue.