18. His Mark
As we were walking down the end of the wharf towards the ship, Queequeg carrying his
harpoon, Captain Peleg in his gruff voice loudly hailed us from his wigwam, saying he
had not suspected my friend was a cannibal, and furthermore announcing that he let no
cannibals on board that craft, unless they previously produced their papers.
"What do you mean by that, Captain Peleg?" said I, now jumping on the bulwarks, and
leaving my comrade standing on the wharf.
"I mean," he replied, "he must show his papers."
"Yes," said Captain Bildad in his hollow voice, sticking his head from behind Peleg's, out
of the wigwam. "He must show that he's converted. Son of darkness," he added, turning
to Queequeg, "art thou at present in communion with any Christian church?"
"Why," said I, "he's a member of the first Congregational Church." Here be it said, that
many tattooed savages sailing in Nantucket ships at last come to be converted into the
"First Congregational Church," cried Bildad, "what! that worships in Deacon
Deuteronomy Coleman's meeting-house?" and so saying, taking out his spectacles, he
rubbed them with his great yellow bandana handkerchief, and putting them on very
carefully, came out of the wigwam, and leaning stiffly over the bulwarks, took a good
long look at Queequeg.
"How long hath he been a member?" he then said, turning to me; "not very long, I rather
guess, young man."
"No," said Peleg, "and he hasn't been baptized right either, or it would have washed
some of that devil's blue off his face."
"Do tell, now," cried Bildad, "is this Philistine a regular member of Deacon
Deuteronomy's meeting? I never saw him going there, and I pass it every Lord's day."
"I don't know anything about Deacon Deuteronomy or his meeting," said I; "all I know is,
that Queequeg here is a born member of the First Congregational Church. He is a
deacon himself, Queequeg is."
"Young man," said Bildad sternly, "thou art skylarking with me--explain thyself, thou
young Hittite. What church dost thee mean? answer me."
Finding myself thus hard pushed, I replied. "I mean, sir, the same ancient Catholic
Church to which you and I, and Captain Peleg there, and Queequeg here, and all of us,