Chapter 115: The Pequod meets the Bachelor

. . . as the two ships crossed each others’ wakes — one all jubilations for things passed, the other all forebodings as to things to come — their two captains in themselves impersonated the whole striking contrast of the scene.

Providing some comic relief in the dark moments leading up to the story’s ultimate dark moment, the Pequod crosses paths with a Nantucket whaler called the Bachelor, which is homeward bound after a stroke of exceptional luck. Not only had the Bachelor’s crew managed to fill the hold to its bulging limit, they had to give away food provisions to make room for more oil. If that weren’t enough, the crew had conspicuously lashed additional barrels of oil to the mast, to the deck, and to every last possible nook or cranny of the ship that could accommodate.

Thus decked out, the Bachelor decides to make its last rounds of the cruising ground with banners and flags streaming, with the crew banging on drum skins stretched over the try pots while singing and dancing on the deck with their newly wedded Polynesian wives. The whole scene is over the top to the opposite degree of Ahab and the Pequod. As the ships cross paths, we realize just how ridiculous Ahab’s moodiness (to which we’ve become accustomed) really is. The moment does not pass without some poignancy, though. Looking after the Bachelor as it passes, Ahab ponderously pulls a vial of Nantucket sand from his pocket, possibly thinking of the mirth of home, or of being homeward bound. We the readers get a small glimpse and reminder of Ahab the sentimentalist.

Chapter 115: The Pequod meets the Bachelor


Well, we’re on our way;
Homeward! Cheer us on our victory day.

We’re on our way;
Set the honest work aside for honest play.


Every cask is full, and then some —
The hold is overflowing!

Hard times for you?
We’re sorry, we spoke not even knowing!


Thou art too damned jolly.
Head thee home if home is calling.
Get thee on your way —
That’s all I really have to say.
Get thee on your way,
Hey, hey, hey.


When we’re flush, we’re flush —
Hop aboard, we’ll treat you to a party.

White whale what?
Lighten up, you think you’re such a smarty.

Well, we’re on our way;
Homeward! Cheer us on our victory day.
(Thou art too damned jolly.)

Well, we’re on our way;
Homeward! Cheer us on our victory day.
(Get thee home if home is calling.)


(c) and (p) 2010 Patrick Shea
Words and music written by Patrick Shea August 18, 2010
All parts performed, arranged, and recorded by Patrick Shea July 23, 2011

Published in: on September 25, 2011 at 8:42 am  Leave a Comment  
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