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"We don't reckon whales by their length," Captain Spofford answered, "but by the number of barrels of oil they make. Ask any old captain how long the largest whale was that he ever took, and the chances are he'll begin to estimate by the length of his ship, and frankly tell you he never measured one. I measured the largest sperm-whale I ever took, and found him seventy-nine feet long; he made a hundred and seven barrels of oil. Here's the figures of him: nose to neck, twenty-six feet; neck to hump, twenty-nine feet; hump to tail, seventeen feet; tail, seven feet. His tail was sixteen feet across, and he was forty-one feet six inches around the body. He had fifty-one teeth, and the heaviest weighed twenty-five ounces. We took nineteen barrels of oil from his case, the inside of the head, where we dipped it out with a bucket. I know one captain that captured a sperm-whale ninety feet long, that made a hundred and thirty-seven barrels, and there was another sperm taken by the ship Monka, of New Bedford, that made a hundred and forty-five barrels. I don't know how long he was.
Kirkby muttered something of the council.
There lay the great Fusiyama, the holy mountain of Japan, which[Pg 207] they had come so many thousand miles to see. In the afternoon the clouds rolled at its base, but the cone, barren as a hill in the great desert, was uncovered, and all the huge furrows of its sloping sides were distinctly to be seen. Close at hand were forests of the beautiful cedar of Japan, fields of waving corn, and other products of agriculture. Not far off were the waters of the bay that sweeps in from the ocean to near the base of the famous landmark for the mariners who approach this part of the coast. Now and then the wind brought to their ears the roar of[Pg 208] the breakers, as they crashed upon the rocks, or rolled along the open stretches of sandy beach.
"Then, my lord bishop, let who will stay, we go. My lords, will you attend your king?"