Now leaning on the netting of the forecastle, now on the taffrail, I devoured with eagerness the soft foam which whitened the sea as far as the eye could reach; and how often have I shared the emotion of the majority of the crew, when some capricious whale raised its black back above the waves!
The entire ship's crew were undergoing a nervous excitement, of which I can give no idea: they could not eat, they could not sleep--twenty times a day, a misconception or an optical illusion of some sailor seated on the taffrail, would cause dreadful perspirations, and these emotions, twenty times repeated, kept us in a state of excitement so violent that a reaction was unavoidable.
And as we stood near the taffrail
side by side, my captain and I, looking at it, hardly discernible already, but still quite close-to on our quarter, he remarked in a meditative tone:
And as Ahab, leaning over the taffrail
, eyed the homeward-bound craft, he took from his pocket a small vial of sand, and then looking from the ship to the vial, seemed thereby bringing two remote associations together, for that vial was filled with Nantucket soundings.
It was one of those less lowering, but still grey and gloomy enough mornings of the transition, when with a fair wind the ship was rushing through the water with a vindictive sort of leaping and melancholy rapidity, that as I mounted to the deck at the call of the forenoon watch, so soon as I levelled my glance towards the taffrail
, foreboding shivers ran over me.
We went past the steersman to the taffrail
, and saw the water come foaming under the stern and the bubbles go dancing and vanishing in her wake.
Many of them went forward, perching upon the headrails or running out upon the bowsprit, while others seated themselves upon the taffrail
, or reclined at full length upon the boats.
M'Kay, who was seated on the taffrail
, sprang on his feet, but was instantly knocked down with a war-club and flung backwards into the sea, where he was despatched by the women in the canoes.
Captain Anthony had not moved away from the taffrail
. He remained in the very position he took up to watch the other ship go by rolling and swinging all shadowy in the uproar of the following seas.
She was perhaps stopped, and her very fate hung in the balance, with the black mass of Koh-ring like the gate of the everlasting night towering over her taffrail
. What would she do now?
She traded among dark islands on a blue reef- scarred sea, with the Red Ensign over the taffrail
and at her masthead a house-flag, also red, but with a green border and with a white crescent in it.
"And the ordinary seaman, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, got up, clambered over the taffrail
, and vanished.