I asked him why he carried such a troublesome thing with him ashore, and whether all whaling ships did not find their own harpoons. To this, in substance, he replied, that though what I hinted was true enough, yet he had a particular affection for his own harpoon, because it was of assured stuff, well tried in many a mortal combat and deeply intimate with the hearts of whales.
So I found this harpoon. And the way Melville describes it, makes you think of something else. The book has plenty of this allusiveness, which is part of its appeal. By the time I’m done reading it, I’ll probably go to the church just to see and feel if it’s still a church, and not a ship.