Anne Fleming

Moby-Dick, Day 4

Chapter II: The Carpet Bag

Now Ishmael makes it not so far as Nantucket, where he will actually sail from, but to New Bedford, where he must wait out a few days before the boat to Nantucket. He looks for lodging. Two are too expensive, one of them “too jolly.” One looks promising but turns out to be an African-American church in the middle of an evening service. At last, after a disquisition on wind, a particular, vigorous wind (“Euroclydon”) that he mentions in relation to “Paul,” presumably the Biblical Paul. It’s cold. It’s December. There’s frost on the ground, ice. And he finds The Spouter, a downscale weather-beaten inn by the water, whose sign tells him the proprietor is one Peter Coffin. Ominous? And so we we end: “But no more of this blubbering now, we are going a-whaling, and there is plenty of that yet to come. Let us scrape the ice from our frosted feet, and see what sort of a place this ‘Spouter’ may be.”


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