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Hum... I'll bite (fish reference intended). Elsewhere he talks about Hypocondrias (imagined sicknesses). Though greek translation of hypo like under, beneath, etc and context makes me thing more like "fear in his lower guts". Maybe both.

Could also be a hypo-dermic with something that makes you see white whales.


You're right on the first count. It's short for hypochondria(according to Cassell's Dictionary of Slang), which kind of extended to depression or melancholy at the time

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