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  • Writer's pictureDenise Tolan

The Daily Dick: Day 93: Musings From a Sixth Reading of the Great Book

Chapter 90 Heads or Tails and 91 The Pequod Meets The Rose-Bud.

“And this, good friends, is ambergris, worth a gold guinea an ounce to any druggist. Some six handfuls were obtained; but more was unavoidably lost in the sea, and still more, perhaps, might have been secured were it not for impatient Ahab’s loud command to Stubb to desist, and come on board, else the ship would bid them good bye.”




An odd pairing of chapters. Chapter 90 merely reviews the idea of fast and loose fish using a silly story about a sturgeon. If I could think of something good to say about this chapter, I would.


Chapter 91 is another Gam and shipmates, it is an odd one. The Pequod comes upon the Rose- Bud. The Rose-Bud is towing a shriveled up whale and the smell is crazy bad. Stubb yells across to a crew member aboard the Rose Bud that the whale is no good and they should cut it loose. The crew member agrees and asks Stubb to come tell his Captain.


The Captain of the Rose-Bud was a cologne manufacturer before he became a Captain and, as the crewmember alludes, knows nothing about whales. So Stubb goes aboard the Rose-Bud and hassles the Captain, who does not speak English.


As it turns out, Stubb finds ambergris in the smelly whale, which is used in perfume making and worth a fortune.


Lessons to be learned from this chapter, sometimes crew members think they know everything when, in fact, they do not. Perhaps Captains should be believed. Perhaps even Ahab should be as well.

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