I and my chimney, two grey-headed old smokers, reside in the country. We are, I may say, old settlers here; particularly my old chimney, which settles more and more every day.
Category: Herman Melville
Herman Melville (August 1, 1819 – September 28, 1891) was an American novelist, writer of short stories, and poet from the American Renaissance period. Most of his writings were published between 1846 and 1857. Best known for his sea adventure Typee (1846) and his whaling novel Moby-Dick (1851), he was almost forgotten during the last thirty years of his life. Melville’s writing draws on his experience at sea as a common sailor, exploration of literature and philosophy, and engagement in the contradictions of American society in a period of rapid change. The main characteristic of his style is probably its heavy allusiveness, a reflection of his use of written sources. Melville’s way of adapting what he read for his own new purposes, scholar Stanley T. Williams wrote, “was a transforming power comparable to Shakespeare’s”.
In the year 1799, Captain Amasa Delano, of Duxbury, in Massachusetts,commanding a large sealer and general trader, lay at anchor with a valuable cargo, in the harbor of St. Maria–a small, desert, uninhabited island toward the southern extremity of the long coast of Chili. There he had touched for water.
When I first saw the table, dingy and dusty, in the furthest corner of the old hopper-shaped garret, and set out with broken, be-crusted old purple vials and flasks, and a ghostly, dismantled old quarto, it seemed just such a necromantic little old table as might have belonged to Friar Bacon.
What grand irregular thunder, thought I, standing on my hearth-stone among the Acroceraunian hills, as the scattered bolts boomed overhead, and crashed down among the valleys, …
So my poem is damned, and immortal fame is not for me! I am nobody forever and ever. Intolerable fate!
Snatching my hat, I dashed down the criticism, and rushed out into Broadway, where enthusiastic throngs were crowding to a circus in a side-street near by, very recently started, and famous for a capital clown.
Presently my old friend Standard rather boisterously accosted me.
IN relating to my friends various passages of my sea-goings I have at times had occasion to allude to that singular people the ‘Gees, sometimes as casual acquaintances, sometimes as shipmates. Such allusions have been quite natural and easy. For instance, I have said The two ‘Gees, just as another would say The two Dutchmen, or The two Indians. In fact, being myself so familiar with ‘Gees, it seemed as if all the rest of the world must be. But not so.