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At intervals, he would refer to piles of old log-books beside him.

You would have seen him go to a locker in the tran­som, and brin­ging out a lar­ge wrinkled roll of yel­lo­wish sea charts, spread them befo­re him on his screwed-down table. Then sea­ting him­s­elf befo­re it, you would have seen him intent­ly stu­dy the various lines and sha­dings which the­re met his eye; and with slow but ste­ady pen­cil trace addi­tio­nal cour­ses over spaces that befo­re were blank. At inter­vals, he would refer to piles of old log-books besi­de him, wher­ein were set down the sea­sons and pla­ces in which, on various for­mer voya­ges of various ships, sperm wha­les had been cap­tu­red or seen.

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Had you fol­lo­wed Cap­tain Ahab down into his cabin after the squall that took place on the night suc­cee­ding that wild rati­fi­ca­ti­on of his pur­po­se with his crew, you would have seen him go to a locker in the tran­som, and brin­ging out a lar­ge wrinkled roll of yel­lo­wish sea charts, spread them befo­re him on his screwed-down table. Then sea­ting him­s­elf befo­re it, you would have seen him intent­ly stu­dy the various lines and sha­dings which the­re met his eye; and with slow but ste­ady pen­cil trace addi­tio­nal cour­ses over spaces that befo­re were blank. At inter­vals, he would refer to piles of old log-books besi­de him, wher­ein were set down the sea­sons and pla­ces in which, on various for­mer voya­ges of various ships, sperm wha­les had been cap­tu­red or seen.

While thus employ­ed, the hea­vy pew­ter lamp sus­pen­ded in chains over his head, con­ti­nu­al­ly rocked with the moti­on of the ship.

But it was not this night in par­ti­cu­lar that, in the soli­tu­de of his cabin, Ahab thus pon­de­red over his charts. Almost every night they were brought out; almost every night some pen­cil marks were effa­ced, and others were sub­sti­tu­ted. For with the charts of all four oce­ans befo­re him, Ahab was threa­ding a maze of cur­r­ents and eddies, with a view to the more cer­tain accom­plish­ment of that mono­ma­ni­ac thought of his soul.

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