IN THE TIME BEFORE STEAMSHIPS, or then more frequently than now, a stroller along the docks of any considerable sea-port would occasionally have his attention arrested by a group of bronzed mariners, man-of-war's men or merchant-sailors in holiday attire ashore on liberty. In certain instances they would flank, or, like a body-guard quite surround some superior figuresome superior figure] Originally, HM wrote "some one signal figure" but then, in coordination with revisions at "signal object" below, revised to "superior figure." Click on the associated MS leaf thumbnail, and then click on the Revision Narratives explaining Melville's revisions at this site. of their own class, moving along with them like Aldebaran among the lesser lights of his constellation. That signal objectsignal object] In earlier versions of this phrase, HM called the Handsome Sailor a "signal figure," and "shining figure," and then "shining object," before settling on "signal object." Click on the associated MS leaf thumbnail, and then click on the Revision Narratives explaining Melville's revisions at this site. was the "Handsome Sailor" of the less prosaic time alike of the military and merchant navies. With no perceptible trace of the vainglorious about him, rather with the off-hand unaffectedness of natural regality, he seemed to accept the spontaneous homage of his shipmates.
A somewhat remarkable instance recurs to meA somewhat remarkable instance recurs to me.] The sentence initiates a digression (based on HM's reminiscence of his six weeks in Liverpool in summer 1839) inscribed on four manuscript leaves (whole and partial) that ends with the paragraph beginning "To return." Though HM does not indent this transitional sentence, MEL and HS create a new paragraph here to mark the digression; NN does not. . In Liverpool, now half a century ago I saw under the shadow of the great dingy street-wall of Prince's Dock (an obstruction long since removed) a common sailor, so intensely black that he must needs have been a native African of the unadulterate blood of Hamunadulterate blood of Ham] In earlier versions of this phrase, HM experimented with "son of Ham" and "best blood of Ham" before settling on "unadulterate blood of Ham." Click on the associated MS leaf thumbnail, and then click on the Revision Narratives explaining Melville's revisions at this site.. A symmetric figure much above the average height. The two ends of a gay silk handerchiefhandkerchief thrown loose about the neck danced upon the displayed ebony of his chest; in his ears were big hoops of gold, and a Scotch HighlandScotch Highland] Originally, HM inscribed "Scotch bonnet" and later added "Highland" in pencil beneath "Scotch." He never cancelled one or the other nor provided a caret to indicate the inclusion of both. Since the two might also be a compound adjective, MEL prints both, as does NN. bonnet with a tartan band set off his shapely head. It was a hot noon in July; and his face, lustriuslustrius] HM’s misspelling in manuscript can be read to indicate either "lustrous," meaning shiny, or "lustrious," meaning glowing, radiant, splendid. Conventionally, "lustrous" is the expected word, but the OED reports the usage of "lustrious" as early as the 17th century. The word also appears in Whitman's 1869 poem "Proud Music of the Storm": "The teeming lady comes, / The lustrious orb, Venus contralto, the blooming mother." HS emends to "lustrous," and NN to "lustrious." MEL does not emend to either spelling but keeps Melville's misspelling to underscore the two options. with perspiration, beamed with barbaric good humor. In jovial sallies right and left (no comma in MS)left, his white teeth flashing into view, he rollicked along, the centre of a company of his shipmates. These were made up of such an assortment of tribes and complexions as would have well fitted them to be marched up by Anacharsis Cloots before the bar of the first French Assembly as Representatives of the Human Race. At each spontaneous tribute rendered by the wayfarers to this black pagod of a fellow—the tribute of a pause and stare, and less frequentfrequent] HS and NN emend to the grammatical adverbial form "frequently." MEL does not emend as the solecism does not impede reading. an exclamation,—the motley retinue showed that they took that sort of pride in which the evoker of it the AssryianAssyrian priests doubtless showed for their grand sculptured Bull when the faithful prostrated themselves.
To return. If in some cases a bit of a nautical Murat in setting forth his person ashore, the handsome sailorhandsome sailor] HM's original wording was "white forecastle-magnate." Click on the associated MS leaf thumbnail, and then click on the Revision Narratives explaining Melville's revisions at this site. of the period in question evinced nothing of the dandified Billy-be-Dam, an amusing character all but extinct now, but occasionally to be encountered, and in a form yet more amusing than the original, at the tiller of the boats on the tempestuous Erie Canal or, more likely, vaporing in the groggeries along the tow-path. Invariably a proficient in his perilous calling, hehe] In revision, HM added a brief description of an Erie canal boatman, or "Billy-be-dam," as a counter-example to the handsome sailor type. As a result of this insertion, the pronoun "he"—originally situated closer to its "handsome sailor" antecedent—might be construed as referring to Billy-be-Dam. NN emends "he" to "the handsome sailor," thereby adding to the textual record of Billy Budd a false instance of HM's use of this crucial phrase. Because the ambiguous pronoun is not an impediment to reading, MEL retains "he." was also more or less of a mighty boxer or wrestler. It was strength and beauty. Tales of his prowess were recited. Ashore he was the champion; afloat the spokesman; on every suitable occasion always foremost. Close-reefing topsails in a gale, there he was, astride the weather yard-arm-end, foot in the Flemish horse as in "stirrup,"foot in the Flemish horse as in "stirrup,"] The original phrasing in manuscript—"foot the Flemish horse as in 'stirrup,'"—is odd and probably the result of two mistakes in revision—a dropped word and a misplaced caret—which MEL has emended, to the present wording. (Click on associated thumbnail to view the manuscript leaf.)
HM originally writes that the sailor is straddling the yardarm “foot in ‘stirrup,’” which is an expression, still common today, meaning something like "get on your horse and go." HM also used "Foot in Stirrup" as the title of ch. 1 of Mardi, and the phrase is repeated in that chapter in "as one might put foot in stirrup" (NN Mardi 6).
But by itself the image of the sailor with “foot in stirrup” would not be clear to land-lubber readers. Not stated originally is that the straddling sailor must secure his balance by putting his foot in a footrope, called “the Flemish horse,” that dangles below the spar. Wanting to clarify by adding this no-less obscure detail, HM inserted “the Flemish horse as,” but he misplaced his insertion caret between “foot” and “in stirrup” (instead of between “in” and “stirrup”) giving the barely coherent “foot the Flemish horse as in ‘stirrup.’”
However, when we correct this misplacement, the resultant reading—"foot in the Flemish horse as 'stirrup,'" adopted by the HS and NN editions—is still problematic because "as stirrup" still misses the preposition “in.” Apparently, the confusion in misplacing the caret to the left of “in” also resulted in HM failing to supply the second, necessary “in” after “as.” Therefore, MEL also emends by adding the second “in.” both hands tugging at the "ear-ring" as at a bridle, in verryvery much the attitude of young Alexander curbing the fiery Bucephalus. A superb figure, tossed up as by the horns of Taurus against the thunderous sky, cheerily hallooing to the strenuous file along the spar.
The moral nature was seldom out of keeping with the physical make. Indeed, except as toned by the former, the comeliness and power, always attractive in masculine conjunction, hardly could have drawn the sort of honest homagehonest homage] Click on the associated MS leaf thumbnail, and then click on the Revision Narratives explaining Melville's revisions at this site. the Handsome Sailor in some examples received from his less gifted associates.
Such a cynosure, at least in aspect, and something such too in nature, though with important variations made apparent as the story procedsproceeds, was welkin-eyed Billy Budd, or Baby Budd as more familiarly under circumstances hereafter to be given he at last came to be calld (deleted, no comma in MS)called,called,] Originally, HM deleted the misspelled "calld" in an insertion at this site, but he failed to restore it, leaving the text incomplete. MEL restores the word in its proper spelling and adds a comma to set off the apposition "aged twenty-one." aged twenty-one, a foretopman of the British fleet toward the close of the last decade of the eighteenth century. It was not very long prior to the time of the narration that follows that he had entered the King's service, having been impressed on the Narrow Seas from a homeward-bound English merchantman into a seventy-four outward-bound, H.M.S. IndomitableIndomitable] The naming of the war-ship on which Billy is pressed into service poses a textual problem. The name appears as Indomitable twenty-two times throughout the MS and as Bellipotent six times in chapters 18 and 28, both written in a late stage of composition. At no site in the MS do we see HM deleting Indomitable and inserting Bellipotent: the revision must be inferred. Nor did HM regularize this apparent change of mind, so that the Indomitable / Bellipotent pair of names is an uncompleted and oscillating revision. Weaver and Freeman completed the revision in their editions by changing the six Bellipotents to Indomitables. Arguing that these few instances of "Bellipotent" reveal HM's latest intention to change the name, the Hayford Sealts (HS) and Northwestern-Newberry (NN) editions, change all Indomitables to Bellipotents. But while HM surely considered a revision to "Bellipotent" at some point in his creative process, he could just as easily have changed his mind again and reverted to "Indomitable," or created a new substitute name. Given that this oscillating revision signals HM’s indecision, which is itself meaningful, MEL does not regularize the ship’s name to one or the other option but retains both names exactly as they appear in manuscript. See also notes on Bellipotent in ch. 18 and on Indomitable again in ch. 29.; which ship, as was not unusual in those hurried days (no comma in MS)days, having been obliged to put to sea short of her proper complement of men. Plump upon Billy at first sight in the gangway the boarding officer Lieutenant Ratcliffe pounced, even before the merchantman's crew was formally mustered on the quarter-deck for his deliberate inspection. And Him (capitalized in MS)him only he elected. For whether it was because the other men when ranged before him showed to ill advantage after Billy, or whether he had some scruples in view of the merchantman beingmerchantman being] HS emends to to the proper possessive of "merchantman's being" to correct Melville's grammar. MEL and NN do not emend. The meaning is not compromised for lack of the possessive punctuation, and retaining the solecism underscores HM's sometimes imperfect attachment to grammar. rather short-handed, however it might be, the officer contented himself with his first spontaneous choice. To the surprizesurprisesurprise] HM generally spells "surprise" with a "z," and editors have corrected the misspelling. Complicating matters is that HM’s internal "z" closely resembles an "s," so that the word he spelled might be easily rendered as "surprised" anyway. MEL emends HM’s "z"-spellings of the word to the conventional “surprise,” here and elsewhere, without further annotation. of the ship's company, though much to the Lieutenant's satisfaction Billy made no demur. But, indeed, any demur would have been as idle as the protest of a goldfinch popped into a cagecage.] Click on the associated MS leaf thumbnail, and then click on the Revision Narratives explaining Melville's revisions at this site..
Noting this uncomplaining acquiesenceacquiescence, all but cheerful one might say, the shipmaster turned a surprizedsurprised glanceturned a surprised glance] Click on the associated MS leaf thumbnail, and then click on the Revision Narratives explaining Melville's revisions at this site. of silent reproach at the sailor. The shipmaster was one of those worthy mortals found in every vocation even the humbler ones—the sort of person whom everybody agrees in calling "a respectable man." And—nor so strange to report as it may appear to be—though a ploughman of the troubled waters, life-long contending with the intractable elements, there was nothing this honest soul at heart loved better than simple peace and quiet. For the rest, he was fifty or thereabouts, a little inclined to corpulence, a preposessingprepossessing face, unwhiskered, and of an agreeable color—color—] Originally, HM inscribed a comma after "color". In revising, he penciled a dash over the comma, to give what appears to be "color,—" HS emends to "color—" to remove the redundant punctuation. NN keeps both comma and dash. MEL reads the dash as also a deletion of the comma and keeps the dash only. a rather full face, humanely intelligent in expression. On a fair day with a fair wind and all going well, a certain musical chime in his voice seemed to be the veritable unobstructed outcome of the innermost man. He had much prudence, much conscientiousnessmuch prudence, much conscientiousness] Click on the associated MS leaf thumbnail, and then click on the Revision Narratives explaining Melville's revisions at this site., and there were occasions when these virtues were the cause of overmuch disquietude in him. On a passage, so long as his craft was in any proximity to land, no sleep for Captain Graveling. He took to heart those serious responsibilities not so heavily borne by some shipmasters.
Now while Billy Budd was down in the forecastle getting his kit together, the Indomitable's lieutenant, burly and bluff, nowise disconcerted by Captain Graveling's omitting to proferprofferproffer] MEL emends HM's "profer" as does HS; NN retains "profer." MEL finds no evidence of HM's spelling as a current variant in the OED and intervenes here to facilitate reading. the customary hospitalities on an occasion so unwelcome to him, an omission simply caused by preoccupation of thought, uncerimonouslyunceremoniously invited himself into the cabin, and also to a flask from the spirit-locker, a receptacle which his experienced eye instantly discovered. In fact he was one of those sea-dogs in whom all the hardship and peril of naval life in the great prolonged wars of his time never impaired the natural instinct for sensuous enjoyment. His duty he always faithfully did; but duty is sometimes a dry obligation, and he was for irrigating its aridity whensoever possible, with a fertilizing decoction of strong waters. For the cabin's proprietor there was nothing left but to play the part of the inforcedenforced host with whatever grace and alacrity were practicable. As necessary adjuncts to the flask, he silently placed tumbler and water-jug before the irrepressableirrepressible guest. Butguest, butguest, but] Originally, HM put a period after guest to end the preceding sentence and capitalized "but" to start a new one. But the new sentence lacks a subject: either HM intended the action of his sentence to roll over into an intended sentence fragment; or he neglected to supply a subject. HS and NN adopt the latter position and supply the subject "he" as in "he dismally watched," thus converting the fragment into a full sentence. MEL adopts the former, less-intervening editorial approach, by converting the period to a comma and decapitalizing "But." excusing himself from partaking just then, dismally watched the unembarrasedunembarrassed officer deliberatlydeliberately diluting his grog a little, then tossing it off in three swallows, pushing the empty tumbler away, yet not so far as to be beyond easy reach, at the same settlingat the same settling ] HM's phrasing in MS could mean "at the same time settling" or, more colloquially, "all the same settling." HS emends by adding "time" to give "at the same time settling." Given that the MS inscription "at the same" may be intended and is not confusing, MEL retains the original wording. himself in his seat and smacking his lips with high satisfaction, looking straight at the host.
These proceedings over, the Master broke the silence; and there lurked a rueful reproach in the tone of his voice: "Lieutenant, you are going to take my best man from me, the jewel of 'em."
"Yes, I know' (no comma in MS)know," rejoined the other, immediatlyimmediately drawing back the tumbler preliminrypreliminary to a replenishing; "Yes; I know. Sorry' (no period in MS)Sorry."
"Beg pardon, but you do'ntdon'tdon't] Here and generally throughout the MS, HM spells this contraction as "do'nt." NN retains the uncommon spelling as common enough in 19th-century printing. Arguing that the idiosyncratic usage distracts reading, MEL emends all such spellings to "don't," as does HS. understand, Lieutenant. See here now. Before I shipped that young fellow, my forecastle was a rat-pit of quarrels. It was black times, I tell you, aboard the 'Rights''Rights'] HM originally underscored Rights (as is the convention for ship names) and indicated throughout in italics. Later, in pencil, he added double quotation marks around the underscored name. HS and NN remove the inserted quotes. Arguing that the quotes are a meaningful redundancy, MEL retains them, converting them to single quotes as the passage is a quote within a quote. here. I was worried to that degree my pipe had no comfort for me. But Billy came; and it was like a Catholic priest striking peace in an Irish shindy. Not that he preached to them or said or did anything in particular; but a virtue went out of him, sugaring the sour ones. They took to him like hornets to treacle; all but the buffer of the gang, the big shaggy chap with the fire-red whiskers. He indeed out of envy, perhaps, of the new-comer, and thinking such a 'sweet and pleasant fellow,'"sweet and pleasant fellow,"'sweet and pleasant fellow,'] HM originally placed double-quotes around this phrase. Since the passage is a quote within a quote, MEL converts to single quotation marks, as do HS and NN. as he mockingly designated him to the others, could hardly have the spirit of a game-cock, must needs bestir himself in trying to get up an ugly row with him. Billy forebore with him and reasoned with him in a pleasant way—'hehe[he ... hateful] In revision, HM penciled quotation marks around Graveling's aside to the lieutenant. Because Graveling is already speaking, the quotation marks are superfluous and confusing. MEL omits them here. is something like myself, lieutenant, to whom aught like a quarrel is hateful'hateful—but nothing served. So, in the second dog-watch one day the Red Whiskers in prescencepresence of the others, under pretencepretense of showing Billy just whence a sirloin steak was cut—for the fellow had once been a butcher—insultingly gave him a dig under the ribs. Quick as lightning Billy let fly his arm. I dare say he never meant to do quite as much as he did, but any howanyhow he gave the burly fool a terrible drubbing. It took about half a minute, I should think. And, lord bless you, the lubber was astonished at the celerity. And will you believe it, Lieutenant, the Red Whiskers now really loves Billy—loves him, or is the biggest hypocrite that ever I heard of. But they all love him. Some of 'em do his washing, darn his old trowzerstrowzers] MEL transcribes the word with a "wz" while HS and NN transcribe it as "ws." The OED records both "trowzers" and "trowsers" as accepted variants of "trousers." HS emends to "trousers"; NN retains its "trowsers"; and MEL retains its "trowzers." for him; the carpenter is at odd times making a pretty little chest of drawers for him. Anybody will do any thing for Billy Budd; and it's the happy family here. But Now, (capitalized in MS)now, Lieutenant (no comma in MS)Lieutenant, if that yongyoung fellow goes—I know how it will be aboard the "Rights." Not again very soon,soon,] MEL retains HM's comma after "soon." Modern punctuation is used to indicate sentence structure. HM also used punctuation rhetorically, to indicate pauses for emphasis in the speaking of words in a sentence. In this case, the comma after "soon" is a remnant of the deleted interjection "I think," originally set off with commas. Structurally, HM's remnant comma after "soon" is not needed, and HS and NN delete it. MEL does not emend, as the remnant comma—a kind of vestige of the "I think" interjection—affects our reading of Graveling's speech and his measured intensity as he describes, almost tearfully, his future without Billy. To acknowledge this effect, MEL retains the comma. shall I, coming up from dinner, lean over the capstaincapstain] MEL retains this archaic usage for "capstan." "Capstain" is one of several spellings for what became regularized as "capstan" in the nineteenth century (OED). For instance, we find "capstain" used uniformly in various entries in A New Military Dictionary: or, The Field of War ... Whether by Sea or Land (London 1760), which confirms its nautical usage in the late eighteenth century, the period in which the action of Billy Budd takes place. In fact, originally, HM had inscribed the word “capstan,” without the “i” and without crossing his “t.” At some later point, he carefully altered "capstan" to “capstain” by overwriting certain letters. He put a dot over the first hump in “n” to create an “i” and re-inscribed a new "n" over the original n’s second hump. He also crossed his “t.” This revision of “capstan” to “capstain” not only underscores HM’s close attention to the nautical language of the period of his narrative but also reflects the dialect of Captain Graveling, an eighteenth-century mariner. HS emends to "capstan," even though it transcribes "capstain" in its genetic transcription (without recording its revision from "capstan"). NN retains "capstain" but, like HS, does not record the revision. MEL retains "capstain" and transcribes the word as a revision site. (Click thumbnail to inspect the inscription.) smoking a quiet pipe—no, not very soon again, I think. Ay, Lieutenant, you are going to take away the jewel of 'em; you are going to take away my peacemaker!" And with that the good soul had really some ado in checking a rising sob.
"Well," said the lieutenantlieutenant] HM had deleted "lieutenant" in ink and inscribed beneath it "officer," also in ink. He later deleted "officer" in pencil, probably thinking that the general term might be taken to refer to Graveling. However, he neglected to restore "lieutenant," creating an uncompleted or oscillating revision. MEL restores "lieutenant." wholieutenant who] In modern punctuation, a comma would be required after "lieutenant" to set off the following non-restrictive "who"-clause. Without the comma the "who"-clause is restrictive and would serve to distinguish this lieutenant from any others in the scene. However, this modern comma usage rule was not universally acknowledged, if at all, in HM's day. And since there is no other lieutenant in the scene from whom Ratcliffe needs to be restricted, the lack of a comma here does not seriously compromise meaning, and MEL does not add a comma. had listened with amused interest to all this, and now waxing merry with his tipple; "Well, blessed are the peacemakers especially the fighting peacemakers.! (unnecessary period in MS)peacemakers! And such are the seventy-four beauties some of which you see poking their noses out of the port-holes of yonder war-ship lying-to for me[quote] (no comma in MS)me," pointing thro'throughthrough] Here and generally throughout the MS, HM abbreviates with "thro'." MEL expands all such abbreviations. the cabin window at the Indomitable. But (no quote in MS)"But courage! do'ntdon't look so downhearted, man. Why, I pledge you in advance the royal approbation. Rest assured that His MagestyMajesty will be delighted to learndelighted to learn] Originally, HM had written that Lieutenant Ratcliffe assures the beset Captain Graveling that the King would be "delighted to know" of Graveling's generosity in surrendering Billy to the British Navy (as if the captain had any choice in the matter). Melville also has Ratcliffe expatiate, pretentiously, and then repeat himself six lines later, again saying that the King would "be delighted to know" of this selfless act. The repetition underscores the lieutenant's bombast. Later, HM tentatively revised "know" to "learn" by inserting "learn" in pencil above both instances of "know," preserving Ratcliffe's repetition. Later, still, Melville confirmed the pencil revision by writing "learn" in ink over the second penciled "learn." He did not, however, overwrite the first instance of "learn" in ink here. Nevertheless, HM's first revision of "know" to "learn" is unambiguous. (Click on thumbnail to inspect the MS leaf.) The HS inscription of this leaf indicates that the first instance of "learn" has been "lined-out" and that "know" has been restored, presumably by the erasure of its penciled deletion line. Consequently, the HS and NN reading texts have Ratcliffe saying "delighted to know" and then modulating later to "delighted to learn." MEL's inscription does not find the lining-out of "learn" (or evidence of its erasure), and only possible evidence of a restoration of "know" by erasure. Accordingly, MEL retains the repetition of "delighted to learn." that in a time when his hard tack is not sought for by sailors with such avidity as should be; a time also when some shipmasters privily resent the borrowing from them a tar or two for the service; His MagestyMajesty, I say, will be delighted to learnSee note on "to learn," above. that one shipmaster at least cheerfully surrenders to the King, the flower of his flock, a sailor who with equal loyalty makes no dissent.—But where's my beauty? Ah," looking through the cabin's open door (no period in MS)door. "Here he comes; and, by Jove—lugging along his chest—Apollo with his portmanteau!—My man," stepping out to him, "You can't take that big box aboard a war-ship. The boxes there are mostly shot-boxes. Put your duds in a bag, lad. Boot and saddle for the cavalryman (no comma in MS).cavalryman, bag and hammock for the man-of war's-man (no hyphen after 'of' in MS)man-of-war's-man."
The transfer from chest to bag was made. And, after seeing his man into the cutter and then following him down, the lieutenant pushed off from the Rights-of-Man. That was the merchant-ship's name; tho'though by her master and crew abbreviated in sailor fashion into The Rights. The hard-headed Dundee owner was a staunch admirer of Thomas Paine whose book in rejoinder to Burke's arraignment of the French Revolution had then been published for some time and had gone everywhere. In christening his vessel after the title of Paine's volume the man of Dundee was something like his contemporary shipowner, Stephen Girard of Philadelphia, whose sympathies, alike with his native land and its liberal philosophers, he evinced by naming his ships after Voltaire, Diderot, and so forth.
But now, when the boat swept under the merchant-man's stern, and officer and oarsmen, (comma in MS).oarsmenoarsmen] Originally, HM had written "oarsmen read the name." In revision, he added a comma after "oarsmen" to make way for the apposition "some bitterly and others with a grin," which he inscribed in the leaf's bottom margin and circled with an insertion device indicating its proper placement after "oarsmen." In a second revision, HM changed "read" to "were noteing" but deleted "were noteing" in order to add it into the bubble encircling the appositive below. In doing so, he re-drew the bubble to encircle the entire new phrase, which made the comma after "oarsmen" unnecessary. MEL removes the remnant comma, as does HS. NN emends by adding a comma after "noting." were noting—some bitterly and others with a grin,—the name emblazoned there; just then it was that the new recruit jumped up from the bow where the coxswain had directed him to sit, and waving hat to his silent shipmates sorrowfully looking over at him from the taffrail, bade the lads a genial good-bye, then, making a salutation as to the ship herself, "and good byegood bye] Though HM hyphenates "good-bye" as a phrase in the preceding line, he does not hyphenate Billy's speaking of the words. HS regularizes by adding the hyphen. MEL retains HM's original spelling, as does NN. to you too, old Rights of Man."
"Down, Sir!" roared the lieutenant, instantly assuming all the rigor of his rank, though with difficulty repressing a smile.
To be sure (no comma in MS)sure,to be sure,] MEL emends by adding a comma for reading clarity, as does HS. NN does not emend. Billy's action was a terrible breach of naval decorumdecorum] HM originally wrote "decorum" in ink and, in the following sentence, he inserted "decorum" in ink after "in that" to clarify the antecedent for "that." At a later point, in both places, he deleted "decorum" in pencil and inserted "discipline" above each word, also in pencil. Later again, he deleted the first penciled "discipline" with a single pencil stroke, and restored "decorum." And yet again, he restored "discipline" as well, but then apparently erased this formerly penciled, deleted, then restored "discipline." In the second revision site of "that decorum," the inserted word "decorum" is first inscribed in pencil, then deleted with a single stroke, with "discipline" written to the right. Melville then erased "discipline" and wrote "decorum" in ink over the erased penciled "decorum." (Click on thumbnail to view inscriptions in MS.)
Together, these two sites demonstrate HM's oscillation between two verbal options. Because it is inscribed in ink, editors generally favor "decorum," but given that arguments for both words are equally valid, HM's final intentions for his reading text are not clear, and he might have revised these sites once again. See also the revisions regarding "Indomitable / Bellipotent" and "learn / know" above, and the "confined / invested" oscillation, below.. But in that decorumdecorum] See note on "decorum," above. he had never been instructed; in consideration of which the lieutenant would hardly have been so energetic in reproof but for the concluding farewell to the ship. This he rather took as meant to convey a covert sally on the new recruit's part, a sly slur at impressment in general, and that of himself in especial. And yet, more likely, if satire it was in effect, it was hardly so by intention, for Billy tho'though happily endowed with the gayety of high health, youth, and a free heart, was yet by no means of a satirical turn. The will to it and the sinister dexterity were alike wanting. To deal in double meanings and insinuations of any sort was quite foreign to his nature.
As to his enforced enlistment, that he seemed to take pretty much as he was wont to take any vicissitude of weather. Like the animals, though no philosopher, he was, without knowing it, practically a fatalist. And, it may be, that he rather liked this adventurous turn in his affairs, which promised an opening into novel scenes and martial excitements.
Aboard the Indomitable our merchant-sailor was forthwith rated as an able-seaman and assigned to the starboard watch of the fore-top. He was soon at home in the service, not at all disliked for his unpretentious good looks and a sort of genial happy-go-lucky air. No merrier man in his mess: in marked contrast to certain other individuals included like himself among the impressed portion of the ship's company; for these when not activlyactively employed were sometimes, and more particularly in the last dog-watch when the drawing near of twilighttwilight] Click on the associated MS leaf thumbnail, and then click on the Revision Narratives explaining Melville's revisions at this site. induced revery, apt to fall into a saddish mood which in some partook of sullenness. But they were not so young as our foretopman, and no few of them must have known a hearth of some sort, others may have had wives and children left, too probably, in uncertain circumstances, and hardly any but must have had acknowledged kith and kin, while for Billy, as will shortly be seen, his entire family was practically invested in himselfinvested in himself] In the later stages of composition, HM instructed his wife Elizabeth Shaw Melville (ESM) to make revisions for him, in pencil. In this case, HM had originally written in ink that the extent of orphan Billy's family was "confined to himself." Using pencil, ESM later deleted "to" and inserted, either together or separately, "invested" and "in" above the line. But she did not delete "confined." The result is an oscillating revision that includes three options—confined to himself, confined in himself, and invested in himself—each differently meaningful. MEL opts for "invested in himself," as does NN. (Click on thumbnail to inspect the leaf, diplomatic transcription, and revision narrative for this site.) .