The Sorrows of Young Werewolf (eyeteeth) wrote,
The Sorrows of Young Werewolf

I should humbly call it a poser

I am in kind of a lousy mood, so I want to dwell on something good. This is from Chapter 108 of Moby-Dick, wherein Ahab is talking to the carpenter, who is making him a new ivory leg to replace the one he broke.

Look ye, carpenter, I dare say thou callest thyself a right good
workmanlike workman, eh? Well, then, will it speak thoroughly well
for thy work, if, when I come to mount this leg thou makest, I shall
nevertheless feel another leg in the same identical place with it;
that is, carpenter, my old lost leg; the flesh and blood one, I mean.
Canst thou not drive that old Adam away?

Truly, sir, I begin to understand somewhat now. Yes, I have heard
something curious on that score, sir; how that a dismasted man never
entirely loses the feeling of his old spar, but it will be still
pricking him at times. May I humbly ask if it be really so, sir?

It is, man. Look, put thy live leg here in the place where mine once
was; so, now, here is only one distinct leg to the eye, yet two to
the soul. Where thou feelest tingling life; there, exactly there,
there to a hair, do I. Is't a riddle?

I should humbly call it a poser, sir.

Hist, then. How dost thou know that some entire, living, thinking
thing may not be invisibly and uninterpenetratingly standing
precisely where thou now standest; aye, and standing there in thy
spite? In thy most solitary hours, then, dost thou not fear
eavesdroppers? Hold, don't speak! And if I still feel the smart of
my crushed leg, though it be now so long dissolved; then, why mayst
not thou, carpenter, feel the fiery pains of hell for ever, and
without a body? Hah!

I do most of my reading on the train, and the first time I read that I think I nearly fell over into the aisle of the Brooklyn-bound Q.
Tags: ahab, herman melville, moby-dick
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