Previous Chapter: Moby Dick Chapter 39: First Night-Watch (summary)
This is Moby Dick Chapter 40: Midnight, Forecastle (summary).
Vocabulary Words found in this chapter: Moby Dick Chapter 40: Midnight, Forecastle (Vocabulary Words)
The harpooneers and sailors stood, others lounged, and others laid while singing a chorus about saying farewell to Spanish ladies. Later, the 1st Nantucket sailor told them not to be sentimental and proposed to take a tonic; all followed him while singing cheerfully about bravely striking the whale.
Now, Ahab, from the quarter-deck, ordered to ring the bell eight times. Afterwards, the 2nd Nantucket sailor commanded them to stop singing and repeated Ahab’s order to Pip. Additionally, the 2nd Nantucket sailor cried “Starboleens ahoy!”1It is a cry used to wake or rouse the members of the starboard watch to come and replace the port watch on duty. The Dutch sailor said others should cease snoozing and wake up.
The cheery and merry French sailor woke Pip up and told him to dance with his bell. Black Pip, sulky and sleepy, didn’t know where it was. The lively French sailor continues to persuade them to dance with him. But the Iceland and Maltese sailor both didn’t like him because he’s too springy and they said they can’t dance without partners. The Sicilian sailor agreed.
The Azore sailor ascended and pitched the bell up the scuttle and handed it to Pip. Half of them danced to the bell; some went below; some sleeped among the coils of rigging. Then as the Azore sailor danced with the others, he and the China sailor and the French sailor cheered Pip up to ring the bell and bang it.
Tashtego, quietly smoking, laughed at what they call fun. The old Manx sailor wonders if they were really reflecting about what they were dancing over; while he said he’ll dance over their graves. Although he said he’d also like to dance with them, refused because he’s too old now. While the 3rd Nantucket sailor said their dancing is worse than hunting for whales.
Meanwhile, the sky darkened and the wind rose, so they ceased dancing and gathered in clusters. The lascar sailor warned them that the wind gets stronger. While the Maltese sailor said that if all the waves were women, he’d go drown and dance with them.
Later, the Portugese sailor said the waves keep on splashing so strong against their ship. However, the English sailor inspired them, saying that their captain is a grand shelter and they will hunt Moby-Dick for him; all agreed.
The old Manx sailor warns that the weather they’re experiencing snaps even sailors’ brave hearts and splits up strong hulls at sea, like firm pine trees shaken completely. Then he points out the pitch-black sky to them.
But Daggoo said he’s not afraid of it because he’s dug out from it. The Spanish sailor agreed and said that Daggoo’s from a devilish dark skin race of mankind. St. Jago’s sailor said the Spaniard sailor’s either mad or drunk.
Shortly, the 5th Nantucket sailor asked if it was lightning that he saw. The Spanish sailor answered it was Daggoo showing his teeth. Daggoo got offended and brawled with the Spanish sailor. Later, all exclaimed that there was a row of big waves coming at them, which apparently stopped the fight.
In the end, Pip, a small black boy, prayed to God that may He protect and preserve him from all his crewmates who kept on cursing and who have no fear of death.
End of Moby Dick Chapter 40: Midnight, Forecastle (summary).