31 151 161 This incident sorely puzzled ——//——
Billy Budd. It was an entirely
new experience; the first time in his
life that he had ever been personally
apprached in underhand intrigueing
fashion. Prior to this encounter he
had known nothing of the afterguardsman,
the two men being stationed wide
apart, one foreward and aloft during
his watch, the other on deck and aft.
[ What could it mean? And could
they really be guineas, those two
glittering objects the interloper
had held up to his ^ (Billy's) eyes?
32 152 Where could the fellow get guineas?
Why even s Hardly so plentiful as buttons ^ ^ are spare buttons they with are not so plentiful
sailors at sea. ^ and even buttons sometimes are scarce The more he turned
the matter over, the more he was
non-plussed, and made uneasy and
discomforted. In his instinctive
disgustful recoil ^ recoil from an overture
which tho' he but ill comprehended
he instinctivly knew b hDC xHS must involve
evil of some sort, Billy Budd was
like a young horse fresh from the
pasture suddenly inhaling a vile
whiff from some chemical factory
and by repeated snortings tries to get
it out of his nostrils and lungs. In
this This frame ^ of mind barred all desire of holding further 162
33 1 153 163 parley with the fellow, even were it
but to for the purpose of gaining some
enlightenment as to his real design .
in clandestinely approaching him. And
yet he was not without natural
curiosity to see how such a visitor
in the dark would look in broad
He espied him the following
afternoon in his first dog-watch below
one of the smokers on that foreward
part of the upper gun deck allotted
to the pipe. He recognized recognisedHS him by
his general look cut and build, more
than by his round freckled face and p
glassy fugitive eyes me of watery glassy ^ pale blue, shaded veiled with
lashes all but white.
33 2 154 164 And yet Billy was a bit uncertain
whether indeed it were he— the ^ yonder young chap
fellow about his own age chatting and
laughing in free-hearted way, leaning
against a gun; a genial young fellow
enough to look at, and something of
a rattle-brain, to all appearance.
Rather chubby too for a sailor even
an afterguardsman. In short the last
man in the world, one would think,
to be overburthened with thoughts, especially
those perilous thoughts that must needs
belong to a conspirator in any serious
project, or ^ even to the confident underling of one. such a conspirator.
33 3 155 165 For all that, ^ in some sort he must needs have
been a sly fox one. dog. For altho' Altho' Billy
was not aware of it, the fellow, with a
sidelong ^ watchful glance had perceived Billy first,
and then noting that he Billy was looking
at him, ^ thereupon nodded a familiar sort of
friendly recognition recognition as to an old
acquaintance, without interrupting the
talk he was engaged in with the
group of smokers. A day or two afterwards
chancing to in the dog-watch evening promenade
on a gun deck, to pass Billy, he offered
a flying word of good-fellowship as it
were, which by its unexpectedness, and
equivocalness under the circumstances
33 4 156 166 so embarrased Billy that he knew
not how to respond to it, and let it
go unnoticed. After that there was
no more recognition on either side.
Billy was now left more at sea at a loss
than be xHS he before . The ineffectual speculations
into which he was led was so disturbingly
alien to him that he did his best to
smother them. It never entered his
mind that here was a matter which
from its extreme questionableness suspiciousness , it was his duty
as a loyal tar blue-jacket to report in
the proper quarter. And, probably,
had such a course step been suggested
to him, he would have been deterred
from taking it by the thought,
34 157 167 one of novice-magnanimity, that
it would savor overmuch of the dirty
work of a tell-tale. He kept the
thing to himself. Yet upon one occasion,
tempted he could not forbear a little
disburthening himself to the old
Dansker, tempted m ?HS thereto perhaps by
the influence of a fine balmy night when the ship lay becalmed ^ , ; the
twain, silent for the most part , sitting
together on deck, their heads propped
against the bulwarks. But it was
only a partial and annoyemous
account that Billy gave, the
unfounded scruples above referred to
preventing full disclosure to anybody.
Upon hearing Billy's version, the
sage old \Dansker/ Merlin of the sea seemed to
168 35 158 divine more than he was told; and
after a little meditation during
which his wrinkles ^ were pursed them
as into a point, quite effacing for the
time that quizzing expression ^ his face they sometimes
wore,—"Did'nt I say so, Baby
Budd?" [ "Say what?" demanded Billy.
"Why, Jemmy Legs is down
on you."
"And what" rejoined Billy
in amazement, "has Jemmy Legs
to do with that cracked afterguardsman?"

"Ho, it was an afterguardsman
then. A cat's-paw, a catsp cat's-paw!" And
with that exclamation, which , whether flaw?
it had reference to a light puff of air
just then coming over the calm sea, or
subtler relation to the afterguardsman,
there is no telling, the old Merlin gave
a twisting wrench with his
169 36 159 black teeth at his plug of tobacco,
vouchsafing no reply to Billy's
impetuous question, tho' now
repeated, for it was his wont to
relapse into grim silence when
interrogated in skeptical sort

as to any of his sententious oracles,
not always very clear ones, rather
partaking of that tenebrific ^ obscurity which
invests most Delphic deliverances
from any quarter. ——//——

In Long experience had very likely
brought this old man to the conclusion that never
to give advice that ^ bitter prudence which never interferes
in aught and never gives advice.