"In the same New Bedford there stands a Whaleman's Chapel, and few are the moody fishermen, shortly bound for the Pacific, who fail to make a Sunday visit to the spot. Entering, I found a small, scattered congregation of sailors, and sailors' wives and widows. A muffled silence reigned, only broken at times by shrieks of the storm raging outside. Each silent worshipper seemed purposely sitting apart from the other.
"I seated my self near the door and was surprised to see Queequeg near me." (Note that Melville may be suggesting here that an aboriginal savage is being seduced from his natural religion into adopting one which, by the author's lights, leads such noble savages astray).
"The chaplain had not yet arrived; these silent islands of men and women sat steadfastly eyeing several marble tablets with black borders, masoned into the wall on either side of the pulpit. One read as follows:
"Oh! Ye [the fortunate bereaved] whose dead lie buried beneath the green grass, who can say: here, here, lies my beloved. What despair [for ye unfortunate bereaved whose loved ones are lost at sea] in Those immovable inscriptions!
"Yes, Ishmael, the same fate may be thine. Yes, there is death in this business of whaling -- but what then? Methinks we have hugely mistaken this matter of Life and Death.
"Somehow I grew merry again. Methinks my body is but the lees of my better being. In fact take my body who will; take it I say, it is not me!
AND THEREFORE THREE CHEERS FOR NANTUCKET! AND COME A STOVE BOAT AND STOVE BODY WHEN THEY WILL -- FOR STAVE MY SOUL, JOVE HIMSELF CANNOT!
[Note that Melville here begins, and will continue to emphasize the distinction between body -- impermanent and perishable -- and soul -- eternal and everlasting.]