Everything is for a term venerated in navies. Any tangible object associated with some striking incident of the service, is converted into a monument. The spar from which the Foretopman was suspended, was for some few years kept trace of by the bluejackets. Their knowledges followed it from ship to dock-yard and again from dock-yard to ship, still pursuing it even when at last reduced to a meermeer] HS and NN have corrected HM's spelling of "meer" to "mere," but the OED records that "meer" was an acceptable spelling for Milton—"Privation meer of light and absent day" (Paradise Regained, Book 4)—and through the eighteenth century. E.g., "Our public performances are .. looked upon as a meer form" (S. Hayward, Seventeen Serm., p. xiv, 1758). dock-yard boom. To them a chip of it was as a piece of the Cross. Ignorant tho'though they were of the secret facts of the tragedy, and not thinking but that the penalty was somehow unavoidably inflicted from the naval point of view, for all that (no comma in MS)that, they instinctivlyinstinctively felt that Billy was a sort of man as incapable of mutiny as of wilful murder. They recalled the fresh young image of the Handsome Sailor, that face never deformed by a sneer or subtler vile freak of the heart within. This impression of him was doutlessdoutless] Inscribed entirely in pencil, Ch. 30 is a rough draft, barely legible in many places. Even so, HM's inscription of "doutless" – without a "b" – is distinct. Rather than emend to the more conventional "doubtless," MEL retains HM's archaic spelling, which, along with various "b-less" versions of the word, is found in Chaucer and other works into the 16th century, deepened by the fact that he was gone, and in a measure mysteriously gone. On the gun decks of the Indomitable[quote]IndomitableIndomitable] Drafting entirely in pencil, HM inscribed Indomitable" without adding an opening quotation mark before the ship's name. MEL deletes the orphaned quotation mark and italicizes the ship name, in keeping with standard usage. Thethethe] At the end of the preceding manuscript line, HM originally began a new sentence: "The general feeling on the gun decks of the Indomitable, etc." However, he revised by starting his sentence with "On the gun decks of the Indomitable," and began a series of revisions beginning with "The general feeling." First, he changed "feeling" to "estimate," then he added more details which cascade down the right margin of the manuscript leaf. (See thumbnail for leaf image.) In the process, HM neglected to change "The" to lowercase. MEL emends to "the." general estimate of his nature and its unconscious simplicity eventually found rude utterance
from one of his own watch (no comma in MS)watch, another another foretopmen (plural with no comma in MSforetopmanfrom one of his own watch, another foretopman,] HM originally inscribed "from one of the foretopmen," but he made a series of revisions that leave his final word order hard to determine. First, he deleted "one of the" and inserted "one of his mates," above "foretopmen"; at the same time he inserted "a" in the left margin adjacent to "fortopmen" (neglecting to change "foretopmen" to the singular). These revisions give us "one of his mates, a foretopmen". HM then deleted "mates", inserting "own watch" to the right of the comma. He probably then revised "a" to "another" to give "another foretopmen". The word order adopted by MEL—"from one of his own watch, another foretopman"—prioritizes the intimacy of watchmates, who eat and sleep together, with "another foretopman" appearing as a clarifying appositibve. HS and NN invert the order with "from another foretopman, one of his own watch"., gifted, as some sailors are, with an artless poeticpoetic] In manuscript this penciled word is underlined in ink. The meaning of the underlining is not clear. Conventionally, underlining indicates emphasis and appears in print as italic. With this assumption, HS and NN have italicized "poetic." But the ink underlining of a pencil inscription is rare, and since the word is difficult to read, an alternative theory is that HM's wife (ESM), another reader or editor, or perhaps even HM himself, underlined the word because it was indecipherable and required another pair of eyes to decipher it. Assuming no rhetorical emphasis was intended, MEL leaves "poetic" unitalicized. temperament. HeHis tarry handHis tarry hand] HM struggled in revising this sentence about the poetic foretopman who writes the ballad about Billy. Originally, HM wrote "He composed some lines that follow," but he then deleted "composed" and added below it "tarry hand made some lines," neglecting to modify "He" to "The." The resulting "He tarry hand" is grammatically impossible, but emending it adequately is equally impossible. Treating "hand" as a synecdoche for "sailor," HS and NN emend "He tarry hand" to "The tarry hand." But given that the foretopman poet has already been introduced, an alternative approach is that "hand" is his actual hand used to write the ballad. With this in mind, MEL emends "He tarry hand" to "His tarry hand." made some lines which after circulating among the shipboard crews for a while, finally got rudely printed at Portsmouth as a ballad. The titletitle:
HM supplies the title "Billy in the Darbies" (underlined) after the last sentence on this leaf, with abundant blank space remaining. The ballad itself was fair-copied in ink on four separate leaves, with the title added in pencil and in parentheses—"(Billy in the Darbies)"—in the upper right corner of the first leaf. Given that HM's ballad title emerged directly out of his pencil revisions to the fair-copied poem (see "these darbies" in Billy in the Darbies), and given that the poem's new prose introduction was written hastily and entirely in pencil, it is certain that HM composed Chapter 30 soon after he settled on its title while pencil-revising the poem. HM's narrator concludes Chapter 30 by identifying the writer of the poem as a "tarry hand" and by observing that "The title given to it was the sailor's." Both narrator and sailor are the tarry prose-poet Herman Melville. given to it was the sailor's.