21. Going Aboard
It was nearly six o'clock, but only grey imperfect misty dawn, when we drew nigh the
"There are some sailors running ahead there, if I see right," said I to Queequeg, "it can't
be shadows; she's off by sunrise, I guess; come on!"
"Avast!" cried a voice, whose owner at the same time coming close behind us, laid a
hand upon both our shoulders, and then insinuating himself between us, stood stooping
forward a little, in the uncertain twilight, strangely peering from Queequeg to me. It was
"Hands off, will you," said I.
"Lookee here," said Queequeg, shaking himself, "go 'way!"
"Ain't going aboard, then?"
"Yes, we are," said I, "but what business is that of yours? Do you know, Mr. Elijah, that I
consider you a little impertinent?"
"No, no, no; I wasn't aware of that," said Elijah, slowly and wonderingly looking from me
to Queequeg, with the most unaccountable glances.
"Elijah," said I, "you will oblige my friend and me by withdrawing. We are going to the
Indian and Pacific Oceans, and would prefer not to be detained."
"Ye be, be ye? Coming back afore breakfast?"
"He's cracked, Queequeg," said I, "come on."
"Holloa!" cried stationary Elijah, hailing us when we had removed a few paces.
"Never mind him," said I, "Queequeg, come on."
But he stole up to us again, and suddenly clapping his hand on my shoulder, said--"Did
ye see anything looking like men going towards that ship a while ago?"
Struck by this plain matter-of-fact question, I answered, saying, "Yes, I thought I did see
four or five men; but it was too dim to be sure."