Living with the Tiger

Posted on August 2, 2011 by Haymaker

When: October 20 – November 5, 2011

Where: Manbites Dog Theater, Durham, NC

Good Kitty



Creators and Performers: Akiva Fox, Emily K. Hill, and Dan VanHoozer

Director: Colin Hovde

Stage Manager: Shaun M. Jamieson

Lighting Designer: Megan Thrift

Choreographer: Julianne Harper

Producer: Tim Scales

Producing Assistant: Tara Rison

Graphic & Web Designer: Robb Stout

Poster Designer: Liza Donovan

Photographer: Allie Mullin Photography

With assistance from:

Wyckham Avery, Torry Bend, Colin Bills, Matthew Gardiner, Rachel Grossman, Erin Hanehan, Julianne Harper, Matt Harris, Colin Hovde, James Huckenpahler, Shaun M. Jamieson, Jessica Lefkow, Charles Phaneuf, Betsy Rosen, and Megan Thrift


Five thousand. That’s the estimated number of tigers living in private hands in the United States. Three thousand. That’s the estimated number of tigers living in the wild worldwide. Limited local and national regulation and easy access to tiger breeders through the internet have brought the American obsession with big cats into your neighborhood. Think we’re kidding? Tigers have been found in Harlem housing projects, chained to telephone poles in downtown city parks, roaming rural highways, and wandering suburban neighborhoods. There are two tiger sanctuaries within 30 miles of The Triangle (that’s less than a day’s walk for a tiger, by the way).

What makes so many of us want to own dangerous predators, and what does it say about the American psyche that we lead the world in tiger ownership?


See More

Related Blog Entries

See More


See More

Act 2, Scene 2 – Walmart

EMILY and AKIVA put on Wal-Mart vests.

EMILY GREETER:  Welcome to Super-Wal-Mart. How are you today?

PAT (Dan):  I’m great! How are you?

EMILY GREETER:  Just fine sir.  Thank you for asking.  Is there something I can help you with?

PAT:  Uh, yea. Sure! I’m looking to buy a tiger…

EMILY GREETER:  Well, sir, I’d have to check, but…

AKIVA GREETER: I’m afraid we don’t sell tigers.

PAT: Shit.

AKIVA GREETER: But we do have a few other things you might need!

PAT: Yeah?

AKIVA GREETER: Most definitely. Will this tiger be a full-size tiger?

PAT: Most definitely.

AKIVA GREETER: Well, you’ll need to feed it lots of meat.

EMILY GREETER: And we have got a great meat department. That’s on aisle 4. Talk to Carlos, he’s our head butcher.

AKIVA GREETER: And you’ll need a freezer to store all that meat.

EMILY GREETER: Appliances are aisle 10.

PAT: Great.

EMILY GREETER: And may I ask where exactly you’ll be housing this tiger? Inside? Or outside?

PAT: Well, that’s a great question. I was thinking outside. Seems like a shame to keep it inside. So, I was thinking I’d build it a beautiful pen.

EMILY GREETER: Lovely. Well, I think you’ll find our garden supplies well suited to your needs. Lots of reinforced chicken wire and such.

PAT: And that’s?

AKIVA GREETER: Oh, I’m sorry, sir. You’ll just keep going right down this aisle here, 5, and then when you get about half way through you’ll see a large sign on your right. Can’t miss it.

EMILY GREETER: Speak with Ellen.

PAT: OooK. So aisle 4, and here and there. Pat points to various sections of the “store” where he’d find appliances and the garden department. Pat starts to go.


PAT: Yeah?

EMILY GREETER: Are you having this tiger delivered? Or are you picking it up?

PAT: I’m…uh…picking it up.

EMILY GREETER: Well, in that case you may want to think about rope on aisle 5, right here.


EMILY GREETER: —tranquilizer guns on aisle 22.

PAT:  That’s great! Great! America!

EMILY GREETER:  Yes sir, America! Pat goes to leave.

AKIVA GREETER: “America is a land of wonders in which everything is in constant motion and every change seems an improvement.”

PAT: What’s that?

AKIVA GREETER: You seem like a fellow who takes his freedom seriously.

PAT: You’re damn right I am!

AKIVA GREETER: Well, then there’s a book you’re going to need too. Democracy in America, sir. I think it’d be right up your alley.

PAT: Alright. Well, I’ll check it out. Thank you.

AKIVA GREETER: No sir, thank you. That’s aisle…

EMILY GREETER: Aisle 16. Democracy in America. Go get ‘em.

Pat builds sculpture center stage with help of Walmart greeters while “Old Chunk of Coal” by Johnny Cash plays.

Pat sits down with a well-used Democracy in America to preach to the audience – as if they’re diner customers – about his new plan over coffee.

PAT: Can I ask you a question? What is the most alive you’ve ever felt?

Can I read you something? “America is a land of wonders in which everything is in constant motion and every change seems an improvement.”

You see all those people out there? Everybody zooming by in those damn cars. Look at ‘em. Look at that guy with his Humvee. Bet he feels feel bigger and stronger in that tank! And look at her…fancy car, fancy husband, and big ole ring. They all got that need for more. Keep gatherin’ and fillin. Not that I don’t or you don’t…all us Americans got that itch to keep on chasin’ down the next thing, money and power and land, but what we really need is…a way to fill that hole permanently.

Can I read you something? “The whole life of an American is passed like a game of chance, a revolutionary crisis, or a battle.” Is your life a game of chance, mister? A battle? A revolution? See, I think every American is made up like on a molecular level of a few things. We’ve got these elements in our lives, right – progress and status.  And those two elements get us to success. So, Progress – that’s stuff that makes our lives better.  Sytrofoam, Air Conditioning, Electric Fencing, Drive-Throughs. And Status, well, that’s like Bartender, Preacher, Republican, Mother, President. And the faster we achieve progress and status, the higher our level of success. That’s what we call an inverse proportion – right – the smaller the time, the higher the success.

You followin’ me here?  Great. So for us, in America, success has a direct correlation to happiness – now I reckon that for every level of success you achieve, your sense of happiness is exponentially greater – so let’s just say, that’s the square of that number.  So there you go – if we let progress equal P and status equal S, and time equal T, and success equal X – okay? And then happiness, H, equals X squared, so you put those all together and you’ve got, H equals the square of the sum of P plus S over T.

Now, when I lay this on you, you might say it’s selfish. But remember when you hear it: it’s not, it’s pure individualism! It’s democratic individualism! It’s what makes us great! Cause all greatness is attainable! We can be prophets! We can be visionaries! We can be bright stars in the firmament of the Union! And I know just how.

Can I share my plan with you? All right. Every last one of us Americans should own a TIGER.

T – I – G – E – R. Tiger.

He lets it hang.

PAT: It’s like…a new way to get better, you know? …tigers. Plain and simple. Big, beautiful, furry tigers. TIGER trumps all, TIGER is the infinity of progress.  TIGER is the infinity of status. And when you’ve got that tiger sittin’ on your living room sofa purrin’ as you stroke its majestic fur, then you’ve got that tiger NOW – time equals zero. So do the math: the square of infinity plus infinity over zero.  You can’t get bigger than that.  Look at me, I’m purrin’.  A new way to get better, people! It’s a way to love the land and be godly too. You see it? This here’s the thing that’ll fill up that tank, keep it on full forever. No more chasin’. And I’m gonna make it happen. I’m gonna start it, just gotta get my tiger first and then I’ll spread ‘em all over this land. You can count on that. And I’ll be back sooner than later. Me and my tiger.


See More

Never Trust A Tiger” (Time, October 20, 2003)

The Trouble With Tigers” (Newsweek, July 28, 2010)

Antoine Yates Interview: A Discussion with the Man Who Kept a Tiger in His Apartment

Apologetic tiger owner touts new cage (Express-News, January 28, 2009)

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness:

“Going up that river was like traveling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings. An empty stream, a great silence, an impenetrable forest. The air was warm, thick, heavy, sluggish. There was no joy in the brilliance of sunshine. The long stretches of the waterway ran on, deserted, into the gloom of overshadowed distances. On silvery sandbanks hippos and alligators sunned themselves side by side. The broadening waters flowed through a mob of wooded islands; you lost your way on that river as you would in a desert, and butted all day long against shoals, trying to find the channel, till you thought yourself bewitched and cut off for ever from everything you had known once—somewhere—far away—in another existence perhaps. There were moments when one’s past came back to one, as it will sometimes when you have not a moment to spare to yourself; but it came in the shape of an unrestful and noisy dream, remembered with wonder amongst the overwhelming realities of this strange world of plants, and water, and silence. And this stillness of life did not in the least resemble a peace. It was the stillness of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention. It looked at you with a vengeful aspect.”

“Trees, trees, millions of trees, massive, immense, running up high; and at their foot, hugging the bank against the stream, crept the little begrimed steamboat, like a sluggish beetle crawling on the floor of a lofty portico. It made you feel very small, very lost, and yet it was not altogether depressing, that feeling. After all, if you were small, the grimy beetle crawled on—which was just what you wanted it to do. Where the pilgrims imagined it crawled to I don’t know. To some place where they expected to get something, I bet! For me it crawled toward Kurtz—exclusively; but when the steam-pipes started leaking we crawled very slow. The reaches opened before us and closed behind, as if the forest had stepped leisurely across the water to bar the way for our return. We penetrated deeper and deeper into the heart of darkness. It was very quiet there. At night sometimes the roll of drums behind the curtain of trees would run up the river and remain sustained faintly, as if hovering in the air high over our heads, till the first break of day. Whether it meant war, peace, or prayer we could not tell. The dawns were heralded by the descent of a chill stillness; the woodcutters slept, their fires burned low; the snapping of a twig would make you start. We were wanderers on a prehistoric earth, on an earth that wore the aspect of an unknown planet.”

“I have wrestled with death. It is the most unexciting contest you can imagine. It takes place in an impalpable grayness, with nothing underfoot, with nothing around, without spectators, without clamor, without glory, without the great desire of victory, without the great fear of defeat, in a sickly atmosphere of tepid skepticism, without much belief in your own right, and still less in that of your adversary. If such is the form of ultimate wisdom, then life is a greater riddle than some of us think it to be. I was within a hair’s-breadth of the last opportunity for pronouncement, and I found with humiliation that probably I would have nothing to say. This is the reason why I affirm that Kurtz was a remarkable man. He had something to say. He said it. Since I had peeped over the edge myself, I understand better the meaning of his stare, that could not see the flame of the candle, but was wide enough to embrace the whole universe, piercing enough to penetrate all the hearts that beat in the darkness. He had summed up—he had judged. ‘The horror!’ He was a remarkable man. After all, this was the expression of some sort of belief; it had candor, it had conviction, it had a vibrating note of revolt in its whisper, it had the appalling face of a glimpsed truth—the strange commingling of desire and hate. And it is not my own extremity I remember best—a vision of grayness without form filled with physical pain, and a careless contempt for the evanescence of all things—even of this pain itself. No! It is his extremity that I seem to have lived through. True, he had made that last stride, he had stepped over the edge, while I had been permitted to draw back my hesitating foot. And perhaps in this is the whole difference; perhaps all the wisdom, and all truth, and all sincerity, are just compressed into that inappreciable moment of time in which we step over the threshold of the invisible. Perhaps! I like to think my summing-up would not have been a word of careless contempt. Better his cry—much better. It was an affirmation, a moral victory paid for by innumerable defeats, by abominable terrors, by abominable satisfactions. But it was a victory! That is why I have remained loyal to Kurtz to the last, and even beyond, when a long time after I heard once more, not his own voice, but the echo of his magnificent eloquence thrown to me from a soul as translucently pure as a cliff of crystal.”

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America:

“The inhabitants of the United States are never fettered by the axioms of their profession; they escape from all the prejudices of their present station; they are not more attached to one line of operation than to another; they are not more prone to employ an old method than a new one; they have no rooted habits, and they easily shake off the influence that the habits of other nations might exercise upon them, from a conviction that their country is unlike any other and that its situation is without a precedent in the world. America is a land of wonders, in which everything is in constant motion and every change seems an improvement. The idea of novelty is there indissolubly connected with the idea of amelioration. No natural boundary seems to be set to the efforts of man; and in his eyes what is not yet done is only what he has not yet attempted to do.

This perpetual change which goes on in the United States, these frequent vicissitudes of fortune, these unforeseen fluctuations in private and public wealth, serve to keep the minds of the people in a perpetual feverish agitation, which admirably invigorates their exertions and keeps them, so to speak, above the ordinary level of humanity. The whole life of an American is passed like a game of chance, a revolutionary crisis, or a battle. As the same causes are continually in operation throughout the country, they ultimately impart an irresistible impulse to the national character. The American, taken as a chance specimen of his countrymen, must then be a man of singular warmth in his desires, enterprising, fond of adventure and, above all, of novelty.”

“Selfishness is a passionate and exaggerated love of self, which leads a man to connect everything with himself and to prefer himself to everything in the world. Individualism is a mature and calm feeling, which disposes each member of the community to sever himself from the mass of his fellows and to draw apart with his family and his friends, so that after he has thus formed a little circle of his own, he willingly leaves society at large to itself. Selfishness originates in blind instinct; individualism proceeds from erroneous judgment more than from depraved feelings; it originates as much in deficiencies of mind as in perversity of heart.

Selfishness blights the germ of all virtue; individualism, at first, only saps the virtues of public life; but in the long run it attacks and destroys all others and is at length absorbed in downright selfishness. Selfishness is a vice as old as the world, which does not belong to one form of society more than to another; individualism is of democratic origin, and it threatens to spread in the same ratio as the equality of condition.

Among aristocratic nations, as families remain for centuries in the same condition, often on the same spot, all generations become, as it were, contemporaneous. A man almost always knows his forefathers and respects them; he thinks he already sees his remote descendants and he loves them. He willingly imposes duties on himself towards the former and the latter, and he will frequently sacrifice his personal gratifications to those who went before and to those who will come after him. Aristocratic institutions, moreover, have the effect of closely binding every man to several of his fellow citizens. As the classes of an aristocratic people are strongly marked and permanent, each of them is regarded by its own members as a sort of lesser country, more tangible and more cherished than the country at large. As in aristocratic communities all the citizens occupy fixed positions, one above another, the result is that each of them always sees a man above himself whose patronage is necessary to him, and below himself another man whose co-operation he may claim. Men living in aristocratic ages are therefore almost always closely attached to something placed out of their own sphere, and they are often disposed to forget themselves. It is true that in these ages the notion of human fellowship is faint and that men seldom think of sacrificing themselves for mankind; but they often sacrifice themselves for other men. In democratic times, on the contrary, when the duties of each individual to the race are much more clear, devoted service to any one man becomes more rare; the bond of human affection is extended, but it is relaxed.

Among democratic nations new families are constantly springing up, others are constantly falling away, and all that remain change their condition; the woof of time is every instant broken and the track of generations effaced. Those who went before are soon forgotten; of those who will come after, no one has any idea: the interest of man is confined to those in close propinquity to himself. As each class gradually approaches others and mingles with them, its members become undifferentiated and lose their class identity for each other. Aristocracy had made a chain of all the members of the community, from the peasant to the king; democracy breaks that chain and severs every link of it.

As social conditions become more equal, the number of persons increases who, although they are neither rich nor powerful enough to exercise any great influence over their fellows, have nevertheless acquired or retained sufficient education and fortune to satisfy their own wants. They owe nothing to any man, they expect nothing from any man; they acquire the habit of always considering themselves as standing alone, and they are apt to imagine that their whole destiny is in their own hands.

Thus not only does democracy make every man forget his ancestors, but it hides his descendants and separates his contemporaries from him; it throws him back forever upon himself alone and threatens in the end to confine him entirely within the solitude of his own heart.”

“The taste for physical gratifications leads a democratic people into no such excesses. The love of well-being is there displayed as a tenacious, exclusive, universal passion, but its range is confined. To build enormous palaces, to conquer or to mimic nature, to ransack the world in order to gratify the passions of a man, is not thought of, but to add a few yards of land to your field, to plant an orchard, to enlarge a dwelling, to be always making life more comfortable and convenient, to avoid trouble, and to satisfy the smallest wants without effort and almost without cost. These are small objects, but the soul clings to them; it dwells upon them closely and day by day, till they at last shut out the rest of the world and sometimes intervene between itself and heaven.”

“In America I saw the freest and most enlightened men placed in the happiest circumstances that the world affords, it seemed to me as if a cloud habitually hung upon their brow, and I thought them serious and almost sad, even in their pleasures.

The chief reason for this contrast is that the former do not think of the ills they endure, while the latter are forever brooding over advantages they do not possess. It is strange to see with what feverish ardor the Americans pursue their own welfare, and to watch the vague dread that constantly torments them lest they should not have chosen the shortest path which may lead to it.

A native of the United States clings to this world’s goods as if he were certain never to die; and he is so hasty in grasping at all within his reach that one would suppose he was constantly afraid of not living long enough to enjoy them. He clutches everything, he holds nothing fast, but soon loosens his grasp to pursue fresh gratifications.

In the United States a man builds a house in which to spend his old age, and he sells it before the roof is on; he plants a garden and lets it just as the trees are coming into bearing; he brings a field into tillage and leaves other men to gather the crops; he embraces a profession and gives it up; he settles in a place, which he soon afterwards leaves to carry his changeable longings elsewhere. If his private affairs leave him any leisure, he instantly plunges into the vortex of politics; and if at the end of a year of unremitting labor he finds he has a few days’ vacation, his eager curiosity whirls him over the vast extent of the United States, and he will travel fifteen hundred miles in a few days to shake off his happiness. Death at length overtakes him, but it is before he is weary of his bootless chase of that complete felicity which forever escapes him.

At first sight there is something surprising in this strange unrest of so many happy men, restless in the midst of abundance. The spectacle itself, however, is as old as the world; the novelty is to see a whole people furnish an exemplification of it.

Their taste for physical gratifications must be regarded as the original source of that secret disquietude which the actions of the Americans betray and of that inconstancy of which they daily ford fresh examples. He who has set his heart exclusively upon the pursuit of worldly welfare is always in a hurry, for he has but a limited time at his disposal to reach, to grasp, and to enjoy it.

The recollection of the shortness of life is a constant spur to him. Besides the good things that he possesses, he every instant fancies a thousand others that death will prevent him from trying if he does not try them soon. This thought fills him with anxiety, fear, and regret and keeps his mind in ceaseless trepidation, which leads him perpetually to change his plans and his abode.”

“I am next led to inquire how it is that these same democratic nations which are so serious sometimes act in so inconsiderate a manner. The Americans, who almost always preserve a staid demeanor and a frigid air, nevertheless frequently allow themselves to be borne away, far beyond the bounds of reason, by a sudden passion or a hasty opinion and sometimes gravely commit strange absurdities.

This contrast ought not to surprise us. There is one sort of ignorance which originates in extreme publicity. In despotic states men do not know how to act because they are told nothing; in democratic nations they often act at random because nothing is to be left untold. The former do not know, the latter forget; and the chief features of each picture are lost to them in a bewilder- ment of details.”

Herman Melville, Moby-Dick:

“Reality outran apprehension; Captain Ahab stood upon his quarter-deck.

There seemed no sign of common bodily illness about him, nor of the recovery from any. He looked like a man cut away from the stake, when the fire has overrunningly wasted all the limbs without consuming them, or taking away one particle from their compacted aged robustness. His whole high, broad form, seemed made of solid bronze, and shaped in an unalterable mould, like Cellini’s cast Perseus. Threading its way out from among his grey hairs, and continuing right down one side of his tawny scorched face and neck, till it disappeared in his clothing, you saw a slender rod-like mark, lividly whitish. It resembled that perpendicular seam sometimes made in the straight, lofty trunk of a great tree, when the upper lightning tearingly darts down it, and without wrenching a single twig, peels and grooves out the bark from top to bottom, ere running off into the soil, leaving the tree still greenly alive, but branded. Whether that mark was born with him, or whether it was the scar left by some desperate wound, no one could certainly say. By some tacit consent, throughout the voyage little or no allusion was made to it, especially by the mates. But once Tashtego’s senior, an old Gay-Head Indian among the crew, superstitiously asserted that not till he was full forty years old did Ahab become that way branded, and then it came upon him, not in the fury of any mortal fray, but in an elemental strife at sea. Yet, this wild hint seemed inferentially negatived, by what a grey Manxman insinuated, an old sepulchral man, who, having never before sailed out of Nantucket, had never ere this laid eye upon wild Ahab. Nevertheless, the old sea-traditions, the immemorial credulities, popularly invested this old Manxman with preternatural powers of discernment. So that no white sailor seriously contradicted him when he said that if ever Captain Ahab should be tranquilly laid out—which might hardly come to pass, so he muttered—then, whoever should do that last office for the dead, would find a birth-mark on him from crown to sole.”

“Captain Ahab,” said Starbuck, who, with Stubb and Flask, had thus far been eyeing his superior with increasing surprise, but at last seemed struck with a thought which somewhat explained all the wonder. “Captain Ahab, I have heard of Moby Dick—but it was not Moby Dick that took off thy leg?”

“Who told thee that?” cried Ahab; then pausing, “Aye, Starbuck; aye, my hearties all round; it was Moby Dick that dismasted me; Moby Dick that brought me to this dead stump I stand on now. Aye, aye,” he shouted with a terrific, loud, animal sob, like that of a heart-stricken moose; “Aye, aye! it was that accursed white whale that razeed me; made a poor pegging lubber of me for ever and a day!” Then tossing both arms, with measureless imprecations he shouted out: “Aye, aye! and I’ll chase him round Good Hope, and round the Horn, and round the Norway Maelstrom, and round perdition’s flames before I give him up. And this is what ye have shipped for, men! to chase that white whale on both sides of land, and over all sides of earth, till he spouts black blood and rolls fin out. What say ye, men, will ye splice hands on it, now? I think ye do look brave.”

“Aye, aye!” shouted the harpooneers and seamen, running closer to the excited old man: “A sharp eye for the white whale; a sharp lance for Moby Dick!”

“God bless ye,” he seemed to half sob and half shout. “God bless ye, men. Steward! go draw the great measure of grog. But what’s this long face about, Mr. Starbuck; wilt thou not chase the white whale? art not game for Moby Dick?”

“I am game for his crooked jaw, and for the jaws of Death too, Captain Ahab, if it fairly comes in the way of the business we follow; but I came here to hunt whales, not my commander’s vengeance. How many barrels will thy vengeance yield thee even if thou gettest it, Captain Ahab? it will not fetch thee much in our Nantucket market.”

“Nantucket market! Hoot! But come closer, Starbuck; thou requirest a little lower layer. If money’s to be the measurer, man, and the accountants have computed their great counting-house the globe, by girdling it with guineas, one to every three parts of an inch; then, let me tell thee, that my vengeance will fetch a great premium HERE!”

“He smites his chest,” whispered Stubb, “what’s that for? methinks it rings most vast, but hollow.”

“Vengeance on a dumb brute!” cried Starbuck, “that simply smote thee from blindest instinct! Madness! To be enraged with a dumb thing, Captain Ahab, seems blasphemous.”

“Hark ye yet again—the little lower layer. All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event—in the living act, the undoubted deed—there, some unknown but still reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike through the mask! How can the prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall? To me, the white whale is that wall, shoved near to me. Sometimes I think there’s naught beyond. But ’tis enough. He tasks me; he heaps me; I see in him outrageous strength, with an inscrutable malice sinewing it. That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate; and be the white whale agent, or be the white whale principal, I will wreak that hate upon him. Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I’d strike the sun if it insulted me. For could the sun do that, then could I do the other; since there is ever a sort of fair play herein, jealousy presiding over all creations. But not my master, man, is even that fair play. Who’s over me? Truth hath no confines. Take off thine eye! more intolerable than fiends’ glarings is a doltish stare! So, so; thou reddenest and palest; my heat has melted thee to anger-glow. But look ye, Starbuck, what is said in heat, that thing unsays itself. There are men from whom warm words are small indignity. I meant not to incense thee. Let it go. Look! see yonder Turkish cheeks of spotted tawn—living, breathing pictures painted by the sun. The Pagan leopards—the unrecking and unworshipping things, that live; and seek, and give no reasons for the torrid life they feel! The crew, man, the crew! Are they not one and all with Ahab, in this matter of the whale? See Stubb! he laughs! See yonder Chilian! he snorts to think of it. Stand up amid the general hurricane, thy one tost sapling cannot, Starbuck! And what is it? Reckon it. ‘Tis but to help strike a fin; no wondrous feat for Starbuck. What is it more? From this one poor hunt, then, the best lance out of all Nantucket, surely he will not hang back, when every foremast-hand has clutched a whetstone? Ah! constrainings seize thee; I see! the billow lifts thee! Speak, but speak!—Aye, aye! thy silence, then, THAT voices thee. (ASIDE) Something shot from my dilated nostrils, he has inhaled it in his lungs. Starbuck now is mine; cannot oppose me now, without rebellion.”

“God keep me!—keep us all!” murmured Starbuck, lowly.

But in his joy at the enchanted, tacit acquiescence of the mate, Ahab did not hear his foreboding invocation; nor yet the low laugh from the hold; nor yet the presaging vibrations of the winds in the cordage; nor yet the hollow flap of the sails against the masts, as for a moment their hearts sank in. For again Starbuck’s downcast eyes lighted up with the stubbornness of life; the subterranean laugh died away; the winds blew on; the sails filled out; the ship heaved and rolled as before. Ah, ye admonitions and warnings! why stay ye not when ye come? But rather are ye predictions than warnings, ye shadows! Yet not so much predictions from without, as verifications of the foregoing things within. For with little external to constrain us, the innermost necessities in our being, these still drive us on.”


See More