189 ^ 51 green follows See ^ right hand side for Number of Page 179
After the ——//——mysterious interview
in the fore-chains, the one so abruptly ended
there by Billy,
Some time passed after
the abruptly ended interview in
the fore-chains and \ nothing especially
german to the story occurred until the
events now about to ^ be narrated.
Elsewhere it has been
said that in the lack of frigates 1
(of course better sailers than line-of-battle
ships) in the English fleet of that
period squadron up the Straits at
that period, the Bellipotent 74
^ perhaps quite as much on account of her sailing qualities
not common in a ship of her rate
180 190 was occasionally employed not only
as an available substitute for a
scout, but at times on detached service
of more important kind. This was
not alone because of her sailing
qualities, not common in a ship of her
rate, but quite as much, probably,
that the character of her commander, ^ it was thought,2 1
specially adapted him for any duty
where under unforseen difficulties
a prompt initiative might have to be
taken in some matter calling for
demanding knowledge and ability
in addition to those ^ qualities implyed in
good seamanship . and so forth.
181 191 It was on an expedition of the
latter sort, a somewhat distant one,
and when the Bellipotent was almost
at her furthest remove from the fleet
191 was occasionaly employed not only as a substitute for a scout but on
as on evenHS at times on detached service , . as a sort of scout of quite another sort ^ substitute for a
or otherwise and sometimes on more
or less distant expeditions. It was
on separate duty of the latter sort

that in the latter part of an afternoon-watch
she ^ unexpectedly came in sight of a ship of the enemy.
It proved to be a frigate. The latter 2 2
percieving thro' the glass that the
weight of men and metal would
be heavily against her, invoking her
light heels crowded sail to get away.
After a chace urged almost against
hope and lasting until about
the middle of the first dog-watch,
54 green follows 182 192 she signally succeeded in effecting
her escape.
Not long after the pursuit
had been given up, and ere the
excitement incident thereto excit interest ^ had altogether waned
away, the Master-at-Arms ascending
from his cavernous sphere made
his appearance cap in hand by the ^ mainmast 3
respectfully ^ requesting waiting the notice of 3
Captain Vere then ^ solitary paceing walking the
^ after- ^ weather-side of the quarter - deck, evidently ^ doubtless somewhat chafed at the
failure of the recent pursuit. chace. The spot where
Claggart stood was the place alloted
to all men of the lesser grades seeking
some more particular interview either
??? ??? that he should ??? ?????? obtain permissionHS of
54 follows 183 193 with the officer-of-the-deck or the
captain . ^ himself. But from the latter it was
not often that a sailor or pett?y petty -officer ^ of those days
would seek a hearing; only some
exceptional cause, would, according to
established custom, have warranted that.
Presently, just as Captain Vere the Commander
worried by absorbed in his reflections was on the point 4
of turning aft in his promenade, he
became sensible of Claggart's prescence presence ,
and sa seeing saw the doffed cap held in
deferential expectancy , . (Insert) knew what that it
meant On the instant, ^ no sooner did Captain Vere observe who
it was that stood awaiting him, than
that expression
that flits across the face of most men
sud at unawares encountering a person
184 194 Here be it said that Captain Vere
personal knowledge of this petty-officer
had only begun at the time of
the ship's ^ last sailing from home, Claggart
then for the first, in transfer from a
ship detained for repais repairs , supplying
on in ^ on board the Bellipotent the place of a 5
previous Master-at-arms now disabled from
duty and in hospital ashore.
No sooner did the Commander
observe who it was that now so
deferentially stood awaiting ^ his notice,
than a peculiar expression came over him.
his face. It was not unlike that which
uncontrolably will flit across the

185 195 countenance of one at unawares
encoutering a person who tho' though known
to him indeed has hardly been long
enough known for thorough knowledge,
but whose something in whose aspect
nevertheless now for the first operates
upon him with a r provokes a vaguely
repellant distaste. But coming to a
stand, and resuming much of his 6
wonted official manner, save that a sort of
impatience lurked in the intonation of
the opening word, he said "Well? what
is it, Master-at-Arms?" [ With the air of
a subordinate grieved at the necessity of
being a messenger of ill tidings , and while
conscientiously determined to be frank, yet
but to ^ equally resolved upon shun shunning overstatement,
186 196 Claggart at this invitation or rather
summons to disburthen, spoke up.
What he said, conveyed in the language
of no uneducated man, was to this
the effect ^ following if not altogether
in these words, namely, that
that during the chace and
preparations for the possible encounter he
had seen enough to convince him that 7
at least one sailor aboard ^ one not a
volunteer , was a ^ rather dangerous character
in a ship mustering

some who not only had taken a guilty
part in the late serious troubles, but others
also who, like the man in question, had
been entered His Magesty's service inder
another form than enlistment.
187 197 At this point Captain Vere
with some impatience interrupted him:
"Be direct, man; say impressed men."
Claggart made a gesture of
subservience, and proceeded. 8 1
57 57 56 2 188 Quite Wherof lately he (Claggart) had begun to
suspect that ^ on the gun-decks some sort of movement
^ prompted by the sailor in question was covertly going on, but he had not
thought himself warranted in reporting
the suspicion so long as it ^ vaguely remained nothing a vague one indistinct.
more than that. But from what he had
that afternoon observed in the individual 8 2
man sailor referred to in question the suspicion ^ of something ominous ^ clandestine going on had advanced
to a point less removed from certainty.
Nor could the general opinion he had
Nor could his impression as to the man's
character be altogether illusory since
he could su summon two or three good
men who would testify that they
in part shared it. He well knew

198 He deeply felt, he added, the serious
responsibility assumed in making a 8 2
report involving such possible consequences
to the individual mainly concerned, besides
tending to augment those natural
anxieties which every naval commander
189 199 must feel in view of lamentable ^ extraordinary
outbreaks so recent as those which,
he sorrowfully said ^ it, it needed not to
Now at the first broaching of
the matter Captain Vere taken by surprise
could not wholly dissemble his disquietude.
But as ^ claggart Claggart the testifier went on, the former's his aspect
changed into restiveness under
something in the a witness' testifyer's testifier's manner 9
in giving his testimony. However,
he refrained from interrupting him.
And Claggart, continuing, concluded
with this:
190 200 Claggart continuing, concluded thus:
God forbid, Sir, Your honor, that the Bellipotent 's
should be the experience of the —"
"Never mind that!" here peremptoraly
broke in the superior, his face paling
^ altering with anger, ^ instinctivly divining the ship that
the other was about to name, one 10
in which the Nore Mutiny had
assumed a ^ singularly tragical character
that for a time singularly jeopardized
the life of its commander. Under
the circumstances Captain Vere he was
indignant at the purposed allusion.
When the commissioned officers themselves
191 201 were on all occasions very heedful
how they referred to the recent events ^ Great Mutiny deplorable of in the fle the Fleet
events, for a petty-officer unnecessarily
to allude to them in the prescence presence of
his Captain, ^ this struck him as a most immodest
presumption. Besides, to his quick
sense of self-respect personal honor , it even looked ^ under the circumstances
something like an attempt to alarm him. Nor 11 1
at first ^ was he without some surprise that a
man one who so far as he had
^ hitherto come under his notice had hitherto
shown considerable tact in his difficult
function should in this particular case be
giv xxHS evince such lack of it . , Insert So at least
did it seem to him.
192 202 But these thoughts and kindred ^ dubious ones
rapidly passing flitting through across his mind
were suddenly replaced by an intuitional
surmise which though now at first as yet
obscure in form served practically to
affect his reception of the ill-tidings.
Certain it is, that long versed in 11 2
193 203 For the rest, So that long Long versed in the
everything pertaining to ins-and-outs of ^ the complicated life
gun-deck life, and e xHS which like every
other form of life, has its secret mines and dubious ^ darker side,
which is so often ever the side ^ popularly disclaimed, Captain
Vere did not permit himself to be
unduly disturbed by the general
tenor of his subordinate's report. 12
Furthermore, If in view of recent
events prompt action should be
taken at the first palpable sign
of recurring insubordination, for all that, not
judicious was it would it be, he thought,
to keep the idea of lingering
disaffection alive by undue
forwardness in crediting a an vague
194 13 204 informer even if his own subordinate
and charged ^ among other things with police surveilance
of the crew
59 1 195 205 This feeling would not perhaps have
so prevailed with him the Commander were
it not that upon a one former ^ prior occasion
the official patriotic zeal of officially evinced by
Claggart had ^ somewhat irritated the former's his instinctive
sense him as appearing ^ somewhat rather supersenseable
and strained. Besides Furthermore , something even 14
in the official's
self-possessed ^ and decorous unexceptionable ^ ^and somewhat ostentatious manner in making his
specifications strangely ^ & painfully reminded him 14
his critic the Captain Vere of a bandsman, a
perjured perjurous witness in a capital case
before a court-martial ^ ashore of which
when a lieutenant he ^ Captain Vere had been a
196 206 Now The peremptory check given
to Claggart the Master-at-arms in the matter
of the arrested allusion was quickly
followed up by his this : question " You say that
there is at least one man who is d
dangerous ^ man character aboard. Who is he? Name him. " 15
" William Budd. A foretopman, your honor—
by name William Budd. ^"
"William Budd" repeated 15
Captain Vere with unfeigned astonishment surprise ; "and was mean you
it not he the man that Lieutenant Ratcliff
took from the merchantman not
very long ago— yes, the young
fellow who seems to be so popular
with the men—Billy, the
Handsome Sailor, as they call him?
197 207 "The same, Sir Your honor ; but for all
his youth and good looks, a deep
one. ^ Not for nothing does he insinuate himself
into (Insert) the good will of his shipmates, since at the least
they will at a pinch say ^ all hands will a good word for him . , ^ and all hazards.
62 60 2 Did Lieutenant Ratcliffe happen to tell 16
you your honor , Sir, of that adroit fling of Budd's his ,
jumping up in the cutter's bow
under the merchantman's stern
when b xxHS he was being taken off?
It is even under masqued by that sort of merry ^ good good humored air
that vindictivly at heart he resents his
impressment. " Your honor, ^ I am greatly mistaken or there is a 16
pitfall under his ruddy clover."
Your hon Your honor
His cheek is it is ruddy,
You think he is goodly to see, but
he is as
You have but noted notedHS his ruddy fair
cheek. Beware the man-trap under the red clover
A man-trap may be under red clover the
ruddy-tipped daisies.
61 1 198 208 Now the Handsome Sailor
as a signal figure among the crew
had naturally enough attracted the
Captain's attention from the first. beginning.

[The following deletion is revised in the patch text below it.]
Ratcliffe in his upon his good fortune
in lighting on such a fine specimen flower
of the genus homo masculine strength and beauty, a flower
Insert ^ scarce yet fully released from the bud.

[The patch text below follows the clip text above.]
Tho' not not to ve
not a very in general a not very demonstrative demonstrativeHS man
to his officers, he had congratulated Lieutenant Ratclife
upon his good fortune in lighting on such
a fine specimen of the genus homo, whose cheek 17
who in the nude might have posed for a
statue of Adam young Adam
208A before the Fall.

[See leaf image 499 for the remainder of leaf 208.]
[See leaf image 497 for preceding text of leaf 208]
As to Billy's adieu to the ship Rights - 17
- of - Man
, which the boarding
lieutenant had indeed reported to him
the Captain , but , in a deferential way more as a good story
than aught else, Captain Vere he , ^ tho mistakenly understanding it as a satiric sally, had but thought
so much the better of ^ the impressed man Billy for it;
as a military sailor'ssailor'sHS sailor , admiring the
spirit that could take an ab arbitrary
enlistment so merryly merrily wittilywittilyHS and sensibly.
61 2 199 209 And Billy's The foretopman's the latter's conduct, too, so far as it had
fallen under his the Captain's notice
had confirmed the first happy
augury opinion of him , while the new 18
recruit's qualities as a sailor - man

seemed to be such that he had
thought of reccomending recommending him to
the executive officer for promotion 18
to a place that would more
frequently bring him under his
own observation, namely, the
captaincy of the mizzen-top,
replacing there in the starboard watch
a man not so young whom partly
for that reason he deemed less
200 210 fitted for the post. Be it said added parenthesized here that
since the mizzen-top-men having
not to handle such breadths of heavy
canvas as the ^ lower sails on the main-mast
and fore-mast, a young man if of the
right stuff not only seems best adapted
to duty there, but in fact is generally
selected for it the captaincy of that top,
and the company he commands is
often composed under him are light 19
hands and often but striplings.
In sum, Captain Vere had from
the beginning deemed Billy Budd
to be what in the naval parlance
of the time was called a "King's
bargain" that is to say, for His
201 211 Brittanic Magesty's Majesty's navy a capital
investment at small outlay . or none at all.
After a brief pause during
which the reminiscences abovementioned
passed vividly through his mind
and he weighed the import of Claggart's
last suggestion conveyed in the
phrase "pitfal under the clover," 20
and the more he weighed it the less
reliance he felt in the informer's
good faith, suddenly he turned
upon him and in a low voice : "Do you come to me,
master-at-arms with so foggy
a tale? Let the rest go. But , as to
Budd, cite me an act or spoken word of his at
all confirmatory of what you in general charge insinuate
against him. Stay, " ^ drawing nearer to him and speaking
yet lower
" heed what
202 212 you speak. In ^ Just now, and in a case , like this, there
is a yard-arm-end for the false-witness."
"Ah, your honor , ! " sighed
Claggart mildly shaking his shapely
head as in sad deprecation of
such unmerited severity of tone.
Then, bridling—erecting himself 21
as in virtuous self-assertion, he
circumstantially alleged certain
things, words and acts, which collectivly, ^
if credited, led to presumptions
mortally inculpating Budd. ^ And For
some of these thin thxxHS averments, he added,
substantiating proof was not far.
203 213 With gray eyes impatient and
distrustful essaying to fathom to the
bottom the Claggart's calm violet ones,
Captain Vere again heard him out . ;
The perplexity then for the moment
stood ruminating. The mood he evinced,
Claggart—himself for the time liberated
from ^ the other's scrutiny—steadily regarded 22
with a look difficult to render, a
look curious of the operation of his
tactics, a look such as might have
been that of the spokesman of the
envious children of Jacob
deceptivly imposing upon the
troubled patriarch the blood-dyed
coat of young Joseph.
204 214 Now t T hough something
exceptional in the moral quality
of Captain Vere made him, in
earnest encounter with a fellow-man,
a veritable touch-stone of that man's
essential nature, yet now as to the
Claggart and what was ^ really going on in him
his feeling partook less of ^ intuitional conviction
than of strong suspicion clogged by 23
strange dubieties. That The perplexity
he evinced proceeded less from aught
touching the man informed against—
as Claggart doutless opined—than
from considerations how best to act
in regard to the informer. At first
indeed he was naturally for
205 215 summoning that substantiat^ ing ion proff
of his allegations which Claggart
said was at hand . , But such a
proceeding would result in the
matter at once getting abroad, which
in the present stage of it might ,
he thought, m might undesirably
affect the ship's company. If Claggart 24
was a false witness, that closed the
affair. And therefore before trying the
accusation, he would first practically
test the accuser; and he thought
this could be done in a private quiet
undemonstrative way.
The measure he determined
upon involved a shifting of the
206 216 scene, or ^ a transfer to a place less
exposed ^ to observation than the broad quarter-deck.
For Although the few gun-room officers
there at the time had, in due
observance of naval etiquette, withdrawn
to leeward the moment Captain Vere
had begun prom his promenade 25
on the ship's ^ deck's weather-side; and tho'
during the colloquy with Claggart they
of course ventured not to diminish
the distance; and though throughout
the interview Captain Vere's voice
was far ^ from high, and Claggart's voice
was silvery and low; ^ yet lower; and the wind in the
cordage and the wash of the sea helped
the more to put them beyond ear-shot;
207 217 nevertheless, the interview's continuance
already had attracted some observation
from some ^ topman aloft and some others other ^ sailors in
the waist or further forward.
Having settled upon h the cou
his Having determined upon the his
course to adopt measures , Captain Vere forthwith
took action. Abruptly ^ Turning turning to Claggart he 26
asked "Master-at-arms, is it now
Budd's watch aloft?" [ "No, your
honor , . " Whereupon, "Mr. Wilkes , ! "
summoning the nearest midshipman,
"tell Albert to come to me." Albert
was his ^ the Captain hammock-boy, a sort of
sea-valet in whose discretion and
fidelity his master had much
208 218 confidence. The lad appeared.
"You know Budd the foretopman?"
"I do, Sir"
"Go find him. It is his watch off.
Manage to tell him out of ear-shot
that he is wanted aft. Contrive it 27
that he speaks \
65 1 64 209 219 ascribed to the entire class in

29 1 to nobody. Keep him in talk . yourself.
And not till you get well aft here, let
not till then let him know that the place
where he is wanted is my cabin. G You
understand . , Albert: Go.—Master-at-
27 Arms ?? show
yourself on the decks below, and when
you think it time for Albert to be coming
with his man, stand by quietly to 28 1

follow the sailor in. "

[See Ch. 19 for the transcription of the rest of this leaf]