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Moby Dick: or, the White Whale by Herman Melville
page 2 of 786 (00%)
If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time
or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards
the ocean with me.

There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by wharves
as Indian isles by coral reefs--commerce surrounds it with her surf.
Right and left, the streets take you waterward. Its extreme downtown
is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves, and cooled
by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of sight of land.
Look at the crowds of water-gazers there.

Circumambulate the city of a dreamy Sabbath afternoon. Go from
Corlears Hook to Coenties Slip, and from thence, by Whitehall, northward.
What do you see?--Posted like silent sentinels all around the town,
stand thousands upon thousands of mortal men fixed in ocean reveries.
Some leaning against the spiles; some seated upon the pier-heads;
some looking over the bulwarks glasses! of ships from China; some high
aloft in the rigging, as if striving to get a still better seaward peep.
But these are all landsmen; of week days pent up in lath and plaster--
tied to counters, nailed to benches, clinched to desks.
How then is this? Are the green fields gone? What do they here?

But look! here come more crowds, pacing straight for the water,
and seemingly bound for a dive. Strange! Nothing will content
them but the extremest limit of the land; loitering under the shady
lee of yonder warehouses will not suffice. No. They must get
just as nigh the water as they possibly can without falling in.
And there they stand--miles of them--leagues. Inlanders all,
they come from lanes and alleys, streets and avenues,--
north, east, south, and west. Yet here they all unite.
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