This is Moby Dick Chapter 21: Going Aboard (summary).
Vocabulary Words found in this chapter: Moby Dick Chapter 21: Going Aboard (Vocabulary Words)
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About six o’clock in the morning, Queegqueg and Ishmael were already on their way to the Pequod. For a time, Ishmael saw some sailors running ahead to the Pequod, and concluded that the ship would depart before sunrise. So they hurried.
Suddenly, someone shouted, ‘Avast!’ The man laid a hand upon both their shoulders, and strangely peered from Queegqueg to Ishmael. It was Elijah. Then, he asked both of them if they were going aboard the ship. They both took Elijah’s hands off their shoulders first, and then spoke an affirmative answer.
Next, Ishmael frankly asked him if he knows that they consider him rude; he’s not aware at all. Ishmael said that he and Queegqueg will go to the Indian and Pacific Oceans, so they should not be late on the ship.
Afterwards, Elijah asked them if they were coming back afore breakfast. Then twice Ishmael said to Queegqueg not to mind Elijah, ‘cause he’s cracked. But he patted Ishmael’s shoulder, and asked if they saw anything that looked like men going towards the ship earlier.
Ishmael replied that they saw four or five men, but they’re not sure. At that time, Elijah said ‘morning’ to them. And once more they moved away from him. But once more he went after them, and asked if they could find them. At this, Ishmael asked who. He said ‘morning’ again; he was about to warn them against something, but he said to never mind. Finally, Elijah had left them alone.
Upon stepping on board the Pequod, everything was very quiet and there was no movement. The cabin was locked, and the slide of the scuttle on the forecastle was open. Shortly, they found a sleeping rigger who wore a tattered pea-jacket.
Ishmael inquired Queegqueg where those sailors they saw earlier might have gone to. Yet it seems that Queegqueg didn’t see them earlier. So Ishmael thought that he was just imagining things.
Later, Ishmael hinted to Queegqueg that they should sit down beside the body. But Queegqueg sat on the man’s butt without further ado. Ishmael told him to get off since the rigger’s having a hard time breathing. Strangely, he won’t wake up.
So, Queegqueg lit his tomahawk pipe, while Ishmael sat on the rigger’s feet. They kept passing the pipe from one to the other. Meanwhile, Queegqueg told Ishmael about their customs in his country.
Kings and chiefs in Rokovoko didn’t have anything soft to sit on, such as a sofa. Alternatively, they buy some eight or ten lazy bozos, and then lay them down on the floor to serve as an ottoman. Occasionally, the chief calls his attendant to serve as a settee for him on a damp location under a tree.
While narrating all these things, every time Queegqueg receives the pipe from Ishmael, he sweeps the hatchet side over the sleeper’s head, close to killing the sleeper. Queegqueg’s tomahawk pipe has two uses: to kill and to soothe himself.
At last, the rigger woke up because of the strong vapor of their smoke. He sat up and he rubbed his eyes. He said the Pequod will sail today, and that Captain Ahab came aboard last night. Ishmael was about to ask him a few questions about Ahab, but the deck got noisy.
Ishmael and Queegqueg followed the rigger on the deck. Soon, it was already clear sunrise, and the crew came on board in twos and threes. Finally, they were all engaged for the journey. Concerning Captain Ahab, Ishmael and Queegqueg never saw him that day, for he remained inside his cabin.
End of Moby Dick Chapter 21: Going Aboard (summary).