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  • Writer's pictureDenise Tolan

The Daily Dick: Day 52: Musings From a Sixth Reading of the Great Book


Chapter 43: Hark!


“Hist! did you hear that noise, Cabaco?”

“Take the bucket, will ye, Archy? what noise d’ye mean?”

“There it is again—under the hatches—don’t you hear it—a cough—it sounded like a cough.”

“Cough be damned! Pass along that return bucket.”

“There again—there it is!—it sounds like two or three sleepers turning over, now!”

“Caramba! have done, shipmate, will ye? It’s the three soaked biscuits ye eat for supper turning over inside of ye—nothing else. Look to the bucket!”

“Say what ye will, shipmate; I’ve sharp ears.”

“Aye, you are the chap, ain’t ye, that heard the hum of the old Quakeress’s knitting-needles fifty miles at sea from Nantucket; you’re the chap.”

“Grin away; we’ll see what turns up. Hark ye, Cabaco, there is somebody down in the after-hold that has not yet been seen on deck; and I suspect our old Mogul knows something of it too. I heard Stubb tell Flask, one morning watch, that there was something of that sort in the wind.”

 


 

Musings:


Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Moby-Dick is also a mystery! In this Chapter we have the format of the play within the play again (so Shakespearean!) Ishmael is taking a little break so we can listen in as two members of the crew chat.


We know some folks were seen coming on board by Ishmael at the start of the voyage – then they disappeared! And now, we have a cough. And some amusing dialogue. Melville has some good comedic timing!


We learn that there is talk among the crew about someone in the hold of the boat. The men think Ahab is fully aware of it. Apparently, the rumor began with Stubb.


I’ve never paid much attention to the mysterious men on board the Pequod before this reading. It is true then – each reading of this fantastic book can delight!


Stay tuned!

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