Week Distraction

Do they say that men who have seen the world, thereby become quite at ease in manner, quite self-possessed in company. Not always, though: Ledyard, the great New England traveller, and Mungo Park, the Scotch one of all men, they possessed the least assurance in the parlor. 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. Still, for the most part, that sort of thing is to be had anywhere. The intense Pequod sailed on; the rolling waves and days went by; the life-buoy-coffin still lightly swung; and another ship.

He doubtless has tarried whole weeks ashore. But who could show a cheek like Queequeg? Which, barred with various tints, seemed like the Andes’ western slope, to show forth in one array, contrasting climates, zone by zone. The intense Pequod sailed on; the rolling waves and days went by; the life-buoy-coffin still lightly swung; and another ship, most miserably misnamed the Delight, was descried. As she drew nigh, all eyes were fixed upon her broad beams, called shears, which, in some whaling-ships, cross the quarter-deck at the height of eight or nine feet; serving to carry the spare, unrigged, or disabled boats. Upon the stranger’s shears were beheld the shattered, white ribs, and some few splintered planks, of what had once been a whale-boat. But you now saw through this wreck, as plainly as you see through the peeled, half-unhinged, and bleaching skeleton of a horse. That man next him looks a few shades lighter; you might say a touch of satin wood is in him.

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