This is Moby Dick Chapter 27: Knights and Squires (summary).
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Stubb was the second mate. He was a native of Cape Cod and was called a Cape-Cod-man; a carefree man who’s neither cowardly or courageous; so cool and calm when facing all the perils and dangers.
When close to the whale, he throws his lance offhandedly without premeditation. He would even hum and dance as he gets close to the deadly monster, as if he never at all gives thought about the possibility of dying!
And one of his regular features is his pipe. You’ll never see him having no smoke pipe on his face, as if it had already become his nose. He kept a row of pipes that’s all ready-to-use and within easy reach. Then he smokes them all out when he goes to bed.
Finally, he’ll load them ready again for his next session of smoking. Moreover, instead of putting his pants on first thing in the morning, he first puts his pipe on his mouth.
As you well know, smoking is very bad for the respiratory system and in most cases causes cholera. Ishmael knows that well, but he thinks Stubb smokes for disinfecting purposes.
Now the third mate is Flask. A strong, short, and ruddy fellow, who’s very aggressive and pugnacious concerning whales as if these monsters have done something personally offensive to him. And he, therefore, thinks that it would be an honor to kill them whenever he encounters one.
In his opinion, the majestic and gigantic whales are nothing but just a mere water-rat, requiring only little time and trouble to kill. Furthermore, he follows whales just for the fun of it, thinking that the three years’ voyage he had around Cape Horn was just a jolly joke. On the Pequod, they call him “King-Post” because he seems to be like the protector of their ship against the battering seas.
These three mates—Starbuck, Stubb, and Flask—were momentous and significant men. If Captain Ahab were to muster his forces when the time comes, these three would be the three headsmen of his ship.
Just like a Gothic Knight that is accompanied by his own squire, each headsmen in the Pequod also has his own harpooneer. For instance, Starbuck chose Queegqueg to be his harpooneer.
Next was Tashtego who is a pure Indian from Gay Head, Martha’s Vineyard. There comes the supply of harpooneers for Nantucket. They’re called Gay-Headers in the fishery. Tashtego was one of the warrior hunters that hunted in the forest. But now, he hunts for great whales.
Furthermore, because of his flexible limbs, people have thought that he was the Devil. Stubb chose Tashtego to be his harpooneer.
Third was Daggoo. He’s a gigantic, black negro, savage, who walks like a lion. He had two golden hoops that’s so big for earrings. In fact, sailors call his earrings “ring-bolts” and talk about securing the ropes of the ship to them.
He volunteered as a whaler when he was still young. But now, he’s so huge that when you put his headsman, Flask, beside him, Flask would look like a mere chess piece to him! Ishmael even says that in comparison, he looks like a white flag that begs for the truce of a fortress (which is Daggoo).
Now to compare the American fishery with the American army and the construction of the American Canals and Railroads, the type of people for the brains and the people for the muscles are just the same. The Americans provide the brains while the rest of the world provide the muscles.
It seems that the Islanders are the best whalemen because in the Pequod, nearly all of them are Islanders. Ishmael even calls his crewmates as “Isolatoes” since every man, or “Isolato” as he calls them, came from different continents of the world.
In the end of this chapter, Ishmael mentions about black little Pip for the first time, grievously stating that he will never make it back from their voyage.
End of Moby Dick Chapter 27: Knights and Squires (summary).