274 285 ——//—— It was Captain Vere himself
who of his own motion communicated
the finding of the court to the prisoner . ;
For for that purpose going to the
compartment where he was in custody
49 and bidding the marine there to
withdraw for the time.
Beyond the communica^ ting tion
of the sentence what took place
at this interview was never known.
But in view of the character of
the twain briefly closeted in that
state-room, each radically
shareing in the rarer qualities of
275 286 our nature — so rare indeed as to be all
but be incredable to commonplace average minds
however much cultivated — some
conjectures may be ventured.
It would have been in
consonance with the spirit of
Captain Vere should he on this
50 occasion havin have concealed
nothing from the condemned one —
should he indeed have frankly
disclosed to him the part he himself
had played in bringing about the
decision, at the same time
revealing his actuating motives.
On Billy's side ^ it is not improbable that such a confession
276 287 would have been received in much
the same spirit that prompted it.
Not without a sort of joy indeed he
may might have discerned appreciated the
brave opinion of him implyed in
his Captain making such a confidant
51 of him. Nor, as to the sentance itself
could he have been insensble that
it was imparted to him as to one not
afraid to die. Even more may have
been. Captain Vere in end may have
developed the profound intense passion
sometimes latent under a stoic
exterior . ^ ^ stoical or indifferent. He was old enough
to have been Billy's father. The
monkish austere devotee of military
duty letting himself melt
277 288 back into what is remains primeval in
our formalized humanity may
in end have caught Billy to his
arms heart as even as Abraham
may have caught young Isaac
on the brink of resolutly offering
him up in obediance to the
52 exacting demand behest . But there is
no telling of the sacrament, seldom
if ^ in any case revealed to the gadding
world wherever under circumstances
at all akin to those here attempted
to be set forth two of the a great Nature's nobler
order embrace. There is privacy at
the time, not inviolable to the survivor,
and holy oblivion the desirable
278 289 thing for sequel to each diviner magnanimity,
naturally ensues providentially covers all at last .
The first to encounter Captain
Vere in act of leaving the compartment
was the First senior Lieutenant. The face he
beheld, for the moment ^ one expressive of
53 the agony of the strong, was to him that officer , tho'
a man of fifty, a startling
revelation. That the condemned one
suffered less than he who mainly
had effected the condemnation was
apparently indicated by the former's
exclamation in the scene soon
perforce to be touched upon.