Make it beautiful, but make it


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.



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.


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