Anne Fleming

Moby-Dick, Day 12

Chapter X: A Bosom Friend

Ishmael returns to the Spouter-Inn and hangs out with Queequeg, noting his resemblance to George Washington. Ishmael is taken with Queequeg’s ease, calm and apparent indifference to the social. Ishmael’s own agitation and anger — the thing that made him want to knock hats off in the street, presumably — ease in Queequeg’s company. “I’ll try a pagan friend, thought I, since Christian kindness has proved but hollow courtesy.” (On this hint he does not elaborate.) Then they share a pipe: “…and when our smoke was over, he pressed his forehead against mine, clasped me round the waist, and said that henceforth we were married; meaning, in his country’s phrase, that we were bosom friends; he would gladly die for me, if need should be.” Then they go to bed together. “Thus, then, in our hearts’ honeymoon, lay I and Queequeg—a cosy, loving pair.”


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