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                <div class="wrapper">
      CHAPTER 1. Loomings.
      Call me Ishmael. Some years ago&mdash;never mind how long precisely&mdash;having
      little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on
      shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of
      the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the
      circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever
      it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself
      involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear
      of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an
      upper hand of me, that it requires a<span class="wrecker"></span> strong moral principle to prevent me
      from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking
      people&rsquo;s hats off&mdash;then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon
      as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical
      flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship.
      There is nothing surprising in this. 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&mdash;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?&mdash;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 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&mdash;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&mdash;miles of
      them&mdash;leagues. Inlanders all, they come from lanes and alleys,
      streets and avenues&mdash;north, east, south, and west. Yet here they all
      unite. Tell me, does the magnetic virtue of the needles of the compasses
      of all those ships attract them thither?
      Once more. Say you are in the country; in some high land of lakes. Take
      almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down in a dale,
      and leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There is magic in it. Let
      the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries&mdash;stand
      that man on his legs, set his feet a-going, and he will infallibly lead
      you to water, if water there be in all that region. Should you ever be
      athirst in the great American desert, try this experiment, if your caravan
      happen to be supplied with a metaphysical professor. Yes, as every one
      knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever.


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