By Herman Melville
In 1843, after years of voyaging within the South Seas, Herman Melville signed up as a seaman at the man-of-war usa, headed for domestic. What he saw shaped the root for this disclose of autocratic practices which meted out to white males on board an identical therapy as black slaves obtained on plantations. released in 1850, WHITE JACKET mirrored deep-rooted tensions that resulted in the Civil battle 15 years later.
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Extra resources for White Jacket, or The World in a Man-of-War: Volume Five, Scholarly Edition (Melville)
Lieutenant Blink, I am ready. Adieu! Don Sereno, and Madre de Dios protect you! You have been a most gentlemanly friend and captain to me. ” With that he turned; and entering the cutter, was pulled back to the frigate, and stepped up to Captain Claret, where that gentleman stood on the quarter-deck. “Your servant, my fine Don,” said the Captain, ironically lifting his chapeau, but regarding Jack at the same time with a look of intense displeasure. “Your most devoted and penitent Captain of the Main-top, sir; and one who, in his very humility of contrition is yet proud to call Captain Claret his commander,” said Jack, making a glorious bow, and then tragically flinging overboard his Peruvian sword.
This gentleman was called the Commodore’s secretary. He was a remarkably urbane and polished man; with a very graceful exterior, and looked much like an Embassador Extraordinary from Versailles. He messed with the Lieutenants in the Ward-room, where he had a state-room, elegantly furnished as the private cabinet of Pelham. His cot-boy used to entertain the sailors with all manner of stories about the silver-keyed flutes and flageolets, fine oil paintings, morocco bound volumes, Chinese chess-men, gold shirt-buttons, enameled pencil cases, extraordinary fine French boots with soles no thicker than a sheet of scented note-paper, embroidered vests, incense-burning sealing-wax, alabaster statuettes of Venus and Adonis, tortoise-shell snuff-boxes, inlaid toilet-cases, ivory-handled hair-brushes and mother-of-pearl combs, and a hundred other luxurious appendages scattered about this magnificent secretary’s state-room.
Topmates! has not this Tubbs here been but a misuser of good oak planks, and a vile desecrator of the thrice holy sea? turning his ship, my hearties! into a fat-kettle, and the ocean into a whale-pen? Begone! you graceless, godless knave! ” But there was no necessity for my exertions. Poor Tubbs, astounded at these fulminations, was already rapidly descending by the rigging. This outburst on the part of my noble friend Jack made me shake all over, spite of my padded surtout; and caused me to offer up devout thanksgivings, that in no evil hour had I divulged the fact of having myself served in a whaler; for having previously marked the prevailing prejudice of men-of-war’s-men to that much-maligned class of mariners, I had wisely held my peace concerning stove boats on the coast of Japan.