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Chapter 9

Chapter 9

Most members who worked in the foretop crew of the ship enjoyed life because most of their days were spent lounging around, unlike the crew in the decks below whose tasks kept them busy all day. Billy Budd for the most part enjoyed his life, too, but he also went through the day in constant fear. On his first day aboard the Bellipotent, he witnessed a vicious flogging of a man for the simple offense of being absent at his post. Scared straight from that day forth, he always performed every command in double-time. Therefore, he was puzzled that the police in the lower decks gave him trouble occasionally about petty things like something being wrong with his hammock.
Billy sought the advice of an old Dansker (Dane) who went by the name of "Board-Her-in-the-Smoke." He was a veteran of the Agamemnon, a ship that went down heroically while under the command of Nelson. He had been around a long time and fought in many wars with the scars to prove it. By now, the Dansker was so old that he couldn't do much that required physical strength and so he was in charge of the mainmast watch. He was a quiet but observant old man, and Billy and he got along somehow. Billy admired him for his naval accomplishments, and the Dansker had a strange fascination with the uncorrupted innocence that was evident in Billy's face. The Dansker called him "Baby Budd" for that reason, and the name eventually became what they called Billy on the ship. When Billy asked the Dansker what he thought of the situation, he replied, "Jemmy Legs (meaning the master-at-arms) is down on you." Billy said that he didn't understand why Claggart disliked him so much since Claggart always says nice things about him. The Dansker claimed that this just proved his point. Billy was even more confused than before, but the Dansker refused to explain himself further.

Browse all book notes

Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3 and 4
Chapter 5 and 6
Chapter 7 and 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10 and 11
Chapter 12 and 13
Chapter 14 and 15
Chapter 16 and 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19 and 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22 and 23
Chapter 24 and 25
Chapter 26 and 27
Chapter 28, 29, and 30


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