'Moby-Dick' - It's a coffee pot, Mr. Starbuck

'Moby-Dick' - It's a coffee pot, Mr. Starbuck
Source: Reusableart.com

As I continue to read "Moby-Dick," I've found references to the sailors' drinking habits at last. I found the following in Chapter 81, "The Pequod Meets the Virgin" (a German ship):

"'What has he in his hand there?' cried Starbuck, pointing to something wavingly held by the German. 'Impossible! -- a lamp-feeder!'

    "'Not that,' said Stubb, 'no, no, it's a coffee-pot, Mr. Starbuck; he's coming off to make us our coffee, is the Yarman; don't you see that big tin can there alongside of him? -- that's his boiling water.'" 

This is the first reference to coffee I've come across -- in Chapter 81. Granted, there's Mr. Starbuck in the same sentence, but he doesn't look like the coffee aficionado a certain chain of coffee shops would have us believe.

A little later, in Chapter 87, "The Grand Armada," narrator Ishmael describes the contents of whaling ships compared to other ships ("other hulls," to use author Herman Melville's term):

"She has a whole lake's contents bottled in her ample hold. She is ballasted with utilities; not altogether with unusable pig-lead and kentledge. She carries years' water in her. Clear old prime Nantucket water; which, when three years afloat, the Nantucketer, in the Pacific, prefers to drink before the brackish fluid, but yesterday rafted off in casks, from the Peruvian or Indian streams."

Not a coffee bean in sight here. The puzzle continues.

Margaret Serious has a page on Facebook. 

Filed under: Sustaining Books, Writing

Tags: Moby-Dick


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  • Also not explained why the apparatus Mr. Starbuck is holding has a picture of a woman who once had nipples, but no longer does, and has Ishmael's name on it misspelled.

  • In reply to jack:

    Well, thanks for checking in, Jack -- but are you following the movie version? I don't see anything like this in what I've been reading!

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    I'm following the version now playing at Adams and State, Monroe and State...the Mariano's in Bannockburn, the Jewel that used to be a Dominick's, the drive thru off Milwaukee Ave. ... you get the picture, and it's not the cinema.

  • Ah, you're referring to something about the coffee shops -- but unless you mean the logo's mermaid, which doesn't have any spelling any longer, I am not sure at all what you mean.

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