This is Moby Dick Chapter 22 (summary).
Vocabulary Words found in this chapter: Moby Dick Chapter 22 (Vocabulary Words)
Previous Chapter: Chapter 21: Going Aboard (summary)
At noon, the ever-thoughtful Charity gave Stubb, her brother-in-law, the second mate of the ship, her last gift—a nightcap. She also gave the steward a spare Bible.
Afterwards, the two captains of the ship, Peleg and Bildad, urged Mr. Starbuck, the chief mate, to sail out now. It is to our great surprise that these two captains now act jointly as commanders.
But concerning Captain Ahab, there was no sign of him. He’s still in his cabin, recovering from his sickness. Nevertheless, the two other captains have already taken care of the ship’s departure, so there is no need for Ahab to be present at the time.
The lively Captain Peleg did all the talking and commanding, not Bildad. After ordering the men to heave up the anchor, Peleg’s next command was to pitch the whalebone marquee up the port, as they’ve always been doing for the last thirty years in the Pequod.
On the other hand, Captain Bildad piloted the ship, for he is a licensed pilot. The Pequod is the only ship he has ever piloted. At intervals, Bildad sang some sort of chorus about the girls in Booble Alley to cheer the boys at the windlass.
Just two days before, Bildad had told them that he won’t allow nonreligious songs aboard the Pequod. So that day, Charity, his sister, placed a copy of Watts under each seaman’s bed.
Meanwhile, the frightened Ishmael thought that the ship would sink because Captain Peleg had ripped the stern. No matter, Ishmael relied on Bildad’s devotion to God for their salvation.
Shortly, Captain Peleg kicked Ishmael on the butt. And then he roared at all the crew to spring, heave, and work. Captain Peleg must have been drinking recently, Ishmael thought. Meanwhile, Bildad kept singing with the crew as they worked.
At last, the anchor was up, the sails were set, and off they’ve glided. It was a very cold winter and the crew were covered with icicles. Also, the bulwarks and the bow of the ship were covered with ice.
And then Bildad, as pilot, sang:
‘Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood,
Stand dressed in living green,
So to the Jews old Canaan stood,
While Jordan rolled between.’
Those sweet words were full of hope and fruition. Despite having himself and his jacket wet, Ishmael thought that there are many pleasant shelters in store. At last, they have gained so much from the shore, so the two pilots were not needed, for the moment.
Though Bildad was unwilling to go on a voyage, still, he was ready to encounter all the terrors ahead. He kept going back and forth on the deck, and then onto the cabin. He kept looking everywhere while saying farewell.
Consequently, he held Peleg by the hand while holding up a lantern, and told him that he can take it while having a heroic look. Even though Peleg was taking it as a philosopher, he too had a tear twinkling in his eye.
Subsequently, he too uttered a word below, and then a word with Mr. Starbuck, the chief mate. And then he said ‘good luck’ to Bildad, to Starbuck, to Mr. Stubb, ‘goodbye’ to Mr. Flask, and another ‘good luck’ to all the crew.
Likewise, Captain Bildad murmured ‘God bless’ to all the crew. He hopes for fine weather for all the crew, especially for Captain Ahab because it’s what he needs. He advised all to be careful on the hunt, and not to forget their prayers.
But before they go, Bildad told Mr. Starbuck not to waste the spare staves, and that the sail-needles are in the green locker; notified Mr. Stubb to have an eye on the molasses; alerted Mr. Flask to beware of fornication once they’ve touched the islands; ordered Mr. Starbuck not to let the cheese spoil and be careful with the butter.
Peleg interrupted and stopped him, and hurried Bildad to the boat. And on and on they went into the lone Atlantic.
End of Moby Dick Chapter 22 (summary).
Note: Wondering why I haven’t mentioned the title of this chapter, even for once? Get the answer here!