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Starbuck is a native of Nantucket and a Quaker by descent. He is quite thin, which seems to be a condensation of the man, who is by no means ill-looking. He is no crusader after perils, for in him courage is not a sentiment but a thing that is useful. Ishmael posits that man in the ideal, is so noble and sparkling, that "over any ignominious blemish in him all his fellows should run to throw their costliest robes."