Typee. A Peep at Polynesian Life - Herman Melville - ebook

Typee. A Peep at Polynesian Life ebook

Herman Melville

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Opis

Basically, it turns out that the Typee tribe untouched by civilization is children of nature, surrounded by the care and warmth of their native land, spending their easy days in the shade of a palm tree, eating the fruits of breadfruit, bananas and coconuts. Here, Melville begins to compare civilized countries with a clearly backward society and concludes that the former are at a lower stage of development. And the natives with their cannibalism and promiscuity are in many ways more advanced and healthy people in social and psychological terms.

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Liczba stron: 490

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Contents

CHAPTER I

CHAPTER II

CHAPTER III

CHAPTER IV

CHAPTER V

CHAPTER VI

CHAPTER VII

CHAPTER VIII

CHAPTER IX

CHAPTER X

CHAPTER XI

CHAPTER XII

CHAPTER XIII

CHAPTER XIV

CHAPTER XV

CHAPTER XVI

CHAPTER XVII

CHAPTER XVIII

CHAPTER XIX

CHAPTER XX

CHAPTER XXI

CHAPTER XXII

CHAPTER XXIII

CHAPTER XXIV

CHAPTER XXV

CHAPTER XXVI

CHAPTER XXVII

CHAPTER XXVIII

CHAPTER XXIX

CHAPTER XXX

CHAPTER XXXI

CHAPTER XXXII

CHAPTER XXXIII

CHAPTER I

The sea–Longings for shore–A land-sick ship–Destination of the voyagers.

Six months at sea! Yes, reader, as I live, six months out of sight of land; cruising after the sperm whale beneath the scorching sun of the Line, and tossed on the billows of the wide-rolling Pacific–the sky above, the sea around, and nothing else! Weeks and weeks ago our fresh provisions were all exhausted. There is not a sweet potato left; not a single yam. Those glorious bunches of bananas which once decorated our stern and quarter-deck, have, alas, disappeared! and the delicious oranges which hung suspended from our tops and stays–they, too, are gone! Yes, they are all departed, and there is nothing left us but salt-horse and sea-biscuit.

Oh! for a refreshing glimpse of one blade of grass–for a snuff at the fragrance of a handful of the loamy earth! Is there nothing fresh around us? Is there no green thing to be seen? Yes, the inside of our bulwarks is painted green; but what a vile and sickly hue it is, as if nothing bearing even the semblance of verdure could flourish this weary way from land. Even the bark that once clung to the wood we use for fuel has been gnawed off and devoured by the captain’s pig; and so long ago, too, that the pig himself has in turn been devoured.

There is but one solitary tenant in the chicken-coop, once a gay and dapper young cock, bearing him so bravely among the coy hens. But look at him now; there he stands, moping all the day long on that everlasting one leg of his. He turns with disgust from the mouldy corn before him, and the brackish water in his little trough. He mourns no doubt his lost companions, literally snatched from him one by one, and never seen again. But his days of mourning will be few; for Mungo, our black cook, told me yesterday that the word had at last gone forth, and poor Pedro’s fate was sealed. His attenuated body will be laid out upon the captain’s table next Sunday, and long before night will be buried, with all the usual ceremonies, beneath that worthy individual’s vest. Who would believe that there could be any one so cruel as to long for the decapitation of the luckless Pedro; yet the sailors pray every minute, selfish fellows, that the miserable fowl may be brought to his end. They say the captain will never point the ship for the land so long as he has in anticipation a mess of fresh meat. This unhappy bird can alone furnish it; and when he is once devoured, the captain will come to his senses. I wish thee no harm, Peter; but as thou art doomed, sooner or later, to meet the fate of all thy race; and if putting a period to thy existence is to be the signal for our deliverance, why–truth to speak–I wish thy throat cut this very moment; for, oh! how I wish to see the living earth again! The old ship herself longs to look out upon the land from her hawseholes once more, as Jack Lewis said right the other day when the captain found fault with his steering.

“Why, d’ye see, Captain Vangs,” says bold Jack, “I’m as good a helmsman as ever put hand to spoke; but none of us can steer the old lady now. We can’t keep her full and bye, sir: watch her ever so close, she will fall off; and then, sir, when I put the helm down so gently and try like to coax her to the work, she won’t take it kindly, but will fall round off again; and it’s all because she knows the land is under the lee, sir, and she won’t go any more to windward.” Ay, and why should she, Jack? didn’t every one of her stout timbers grow on shore, and hasn’t she sensibilities as well as we?

Poor old ship! Her very looks denote her desires: how deplorable she appears! The paint on her sides, burnt up by the scorching sun, is puffed out and cracked. See the weeds she trails along with her, and what an unsightly bunch of these horrid barnacles has formed about her stern-piece; and every time she rises on a sea, she shows her copper torn away or hanging in jagged strips.

Poor old ship! I say again: for six months she has been rolling and pitching about, never for one moment at rest. But courage, old lass, I hope to see thee soon within a biscuit’s toss of the merry land, riding snugly at anchor in some green cove, and sheltered from the boisterous winds.

* * * * * * * * * *

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