What a considerate guy,
thinks. But his officers know better. They sense that he’s about to make a
major announcement that will reveal malicious intent. “ D’ye
mark him, Flask?” whispered Stubb; “the chick that’s in him pecks the shell. ’Twill
soon be out.” Sure enough, Ahab starts peeping; he calls
for a meeting of the entire crew.
It starts off with a simple call and response. Why are we here?
bellows. To hunt whales! the crew
responds. (Like, duh.) Then Ahab raises the stakes.
“ ‘Look ye! d’ye see this Spanish ounce of gold?’—holding up a broad bright
coin to the sun—‘it is a sixteen dollar piece, men. D’ye
see it?’ ”
Yep, they definitely see it. But how to get it? Simple. “Whosoever of ye raises me a white-headed whale with a wrinkled brow and a crooked jaw; whosoever of ye raises me that white-headed whale, with three holes punctured in his starboard fluke—look ye, whosoever of ye raises that same white whale, he shall have this gold ounce, my boys!”
The crew—idiots to a man—are totally on board with the idea. “ ‘Aye, aye!’ shouted the harpooneers and seamen. ‘A sharp eye for the White Whale; a sharp lance for
!’ ” However, their superior—Starbuck—isn’t buying it. That’s why he’s superior. Starbuck says: “Look, dude [I’m paraphrasing here], if in
the course of doing business we happen to kill Moby
that’s fine with me. But I didn’t come on this trip to do my commander’s
vengeance.” Moby Dick