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Chapter 136: Epilogue



The drama's done. Why then here does any one step forth?--Because one
did survive the wreck.

It so chanced, that after the Parsee's disappearance, I was he whom the
Fates ordained to take the place of Ahab's bowsman, when that bowsman
assumed the vacant post; the same, who, when on the last day the three
men were tossed from out of the rocking boat, was dropped astern. So,
floating on the margin of the ensuing scene, and in full sight of it,
when the halfspent suction of the sunk ship reached me, I was then,
but slowly, drawn towards the closing vortex. When I reached it, it had
subsided to a creamy pool. Round and round, then, and ever contracting
towards the button-like black bubble at the axis of that slowly wheeling
circle, like another Ixion I did revolve. Till, gaining that vital
centre, the black bubble upward burst; and now, liberated by reason of
its cunning spring, and, owing to its great buoyancy, rising with great
force, the coffin life-buoy shot lengthwise from the sea, fell over, and
floated by my side. Buoyed up by that coffin, for almost one whole day
and night, I floated on a soft and dirgelike main. The unharming sharks,
they glided by as if with padlocks on their mouths; the savage sea-hawks
sailed with sheathed beaks. On the second day, a sail drew near, nearer,
and picked me up at last. It was the devious-cruising Rachel, that in
her retracing search after her missing children, only found another