The boat was now all but jammed between two vast black bulks, leaving a narrow Dardanelles between their long lengths. But by desperate endeavor we at last shot into a temporary opening; then giving way rapidly, and at the same time earnestly watching for another outlet. After many similar hair-breadth escapes, we at last swiftly glided into what had just been one of the outer circles, but now crossed by random whales, all violently making for one centre. This lucky salvation was cheaply purchased by the loss of Queequeg’s hat, who, while standing in the bows to prick the fugitive whales, had his hat taken clean from his head by the air-eddy made by the sudden tossing of a pair of broad flukes close by.
The field mouse, now that it was freed from its enemy, stopped short; and coming slowly up to the Woodman it said, in a squeaky little voice: Oh, thank you! Thank you ever so much for saving my life. Don’t speak of it, I beg of you, replied the Woodman. I have no heart, you know, so I am careful to help all those who may need a friend, even if it happens to be only a mouse. Only a mouse! cried the little animal, indignantly. Why, I am a Queen, the Queen of all the Field Mice!(more…)