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A maritime classic from the master pen of Herman Melville. Written some forty years after Moby Dick, Melville’s Billy Budd is a moving tale of good versus evil. Set aboard a British navy ship at the end of the eighteenth century, a young, innocent sailor’s charm and good nature put the men around him at ease. Ship-life agreed with Billy. He made friends quickly and was well liked, which infuriated John Claggart, the ship’s cold-blooded superior officer. Mutiny was a continual threat greatly feared by naval officers. Even minor offences were dealt with harshly to keep crews in their place – regardless of whether the accused was guilty or innocent. The envious Master-at-Arms becomes obsessed with the destruction of the ‘Handsome Sailor’ and torments the young man until his false accusations lead to an eventual charge of treason against Billy.
Herman Melville: Billy Budd
Chapter 1: In the time before steamships,
Chapter 1: Now while Billy Budd was down in the forecastle
Chapter 1: The transfer from chest to bag was made.
Chapter 2: Though our new-made foretopman
Chapter 3: At the time of Billy Budd's arbitrary enlistment
Chapter 4: In this matter of writing
Chapter 5: Yes, the outbreak at the Nore was put down.
Chapter 6: But on board the seventy-four
Chapter 7: In view of the part that the Commander
Chapter 8: The lieutenants and other commissioned gentlemen
Chapter 9: Life in the fore-top well agreed with Billy Budd.
Chapter 10: The next day
Chapter 11: What was the matter with the Master-at-Arms?
Chapter 12: Lawyers, Experts, Clergy - An Episode.
Chapter 13: That Claggart's figure was not amiss.
Chapter 14: Passion, and passion in its profoundest,
Chapter 15: Not many days after the last incident narrated,
Chapter 16: This incident sorely puzzled Billy Budd.
Chapter 17: Yes, despite the Dansker's pithy insistence
Chapter 18: But after the little matter at the mess
Chapter 19: After the mysterious interview in the fore-chains
Chapter 19: Now the handsome sailor,
Chapter 20: Now when the Foretopman found himself closeted there,
Chapter 21: Full of disquietude and misgiving
Chapter 22: Who in the rainbow can draw the line
Chapter 22: All being quickly in readiness,
Chapter 22: When speak he did,
Chapter 22: Can we not convict and yet mitigate the penalty?
Chapter 23: It was Captain Vere himself
Chapter 24: Of a series of incidents within a brief term
Chapter 25: In a seventy-four of the old order
Chapter 26: The night, so luminous on the spar-deck,
Chapter 27: A Digression.
Chapter 28: The silence at the moment of execution
Chapter 29: The symmetry of form attainable
Chapter 30: Some few weeks after the execution,
Chapter 31: Everything is for a term remarkable in navies.