Marginalia, no.93

What made Stubb such an easy-going, unfearing man, so cheerily trudging off with the burden of life in a world full of grave-peddlers, all bowed to the ground with their packs; what helped to bring about that almost impious good-humor of his; that thing must have been his pipe.

~ Herman Melville, Moby Dick

It was Ahab’s discarding of his pipe – his inability to take pleasure in it – that prefigured his doom.  Never trust a man with no observable vices.  The smoker, the drinker, the gambler are all seasoned to an easy, fraternal sympathy.  The abstinent, the strict, the grimly ascetic man is a monomaniac in embryo and no lover of mankind.

1 Comment

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One response to “Marginalia, no.93

  1. Nottlesby

    Right you are, sir! Consider, if you will, a certain Austrian politican: one Adolf Hitler. A non-smoker, non-drinker, and stickler for the rules. Look where all those absent vices got him – and Europe.

    I’m off to quaff a snifter or two and smoke until the air’s blue.

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