The Pulpit or a man of certain venerable robustness. Chapter 8.

by Buxton Brown

From time to time we should probably play a little game called “what exactly is going on here?” Our dear Ishmael is in the church on a blustery, stormy day in New Bedford after having departed New Yawk in search of work on a whaling ship. He has acquired a delightful friend, heathen in appearances yet quite deliberate and cool, named Queequeg. They have shared a bed, spooned, and elicited odd childhood memories in Ishmael. As far as I can tell there was no suggestive language to give the impression of sexual touches, so get your mind out of the gutter. This is a family web log and we shall maintain the utmost professionalism and respect for taste and decency. Breakfast has been consumed and now we appear to be in search of some spiritual sustenance.

Hermano Melville has provided us with a dashing and dramatic entrance for our new friend and man of the cloth, Father Mapple.

“I had not been seated very long ere a man of certain venerable robustness entered; immediately as the storm pelted-door flew back upon admitting him, a quick regardful eyeing of him by all the congregation, sufficiently attested that his fine old man was the chaplain.”

In plain speak, as I see it; these two big ass doors fly open, and they’re like huge and wooden and covered in like engravings and scripture and shit, and there’s this storm ragin’ and this big fucker, and I mean BIG fucker, dressed in like holy robes and shit, looking all serious and holy and in charge, walks in like it’s not a big deal, even though it is because he’s about to drop the serious word of the lord and everyone knows it cause he’s got that boss look in his eye that says, “I see you and I see your sin.” The word of the lord. Here it comes. Fuck.

Turns out he was just wearing a raincoat, and upon removing it, reveals a suit of casual profession. The pulpit, the namesake of dear chapter 8, is the stand from which our new acquaintance Father Mapple shall deliver us from evil. The pulpit itself is tall and comes equipped with an ornate red rope-ladder, so as to be like a ship. Because we are in a whalmans chapel, and obviously the lord channels his wisdom from a sturdy three-masted vessel known as Heaven. Once father maple has fully, slowly, and robustly ascended the pulpit, he draws the ladder up within,

“… leaving him impregnable in his little Quebec.”

Let’s get ready to rumble. The sermon is probably about to begin. Next.