The Handsome Sailor
The Handsome Sailor





“Call me Luc. Some years ago

- never mind how long precisely -

having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would visit the « Phare des baleines », Isle of Ré’s lighthouse, and its bookshop in order

to read about a little and

see the literary part of the world ....”







I thus ran across a most marvellous little volume in Wordsworth Classics : short stories by Herman Melville.


So far, the whole of Budd’s family I was acquainted with was Jim, courtesy of

le blog des 5 du vin”. I had no idea he was kin to such illustrious ancestry, albeit an ill-fated one.


Imagine: “He was strength and beauty. Tales of his prowess were recited. Ashore he was the champion, afloat the spokeman; on every suitable occasion always foremost. Close-reefing topsails in a gale, there he was, astride the weather yard-arm-end, foot in “stirrup”, both hands tugging at the “earring” as at a briddle, in very much the attitude of young Alexander curbing the fiery Bucephalus ....” (I quote).


One could easily imagine such description applying to our Jim, the truth-seeker in anything, the evil-prosecutor in the Campogate plot.


And further: “So with sanity and insanity. In pronounced cases there is no question about them. But in some cases, in various degrees supposedly less pronounced, to draw the line of demarcation few will undertake, though for a fee some professional experts will. There is nothing nameable but that some men will undertake to do for pay. In other words, there are instances where it is next to impossible to determine whether a man is sane or beginning to be otherwise ...” (I quote again).


So it goes as far as his shirts are concerned. I go for “border-line” personality if I am to express my most sincere opinion.


By the way, “Billy Budd, the Handsome Sailor” makes for fascinating reading.

HIGHLY recommended by the maker of Domaine de la Coume Majou wines !



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Commentaires: 5
  • #1

    Jim Budd (jeudi, 29 décembre 2011 14:05)

    Certainly ill-fêted!

  • #2

    Luc Charlier (jeudi, 29 décembre 2011 14:27)

    Your own guilt. Who the fuck drinks Champagne LANSON when there is so much excellent Loire sparkling wine around !

  • #3

    David Cobbold (jeudi, 29 décembre 2011 14:42)

    Bily Budd is one of Melville's most remarkable (and lest known) stories. Tragic in its conclusion, ambiguous and majestic in its portrayal of beauty and the effect that has on those around, alternating between admiration and jealousy.
    I have always thought that Jim was a descendant, although necessarily by another branch (or mast, if you prefer)

  • #4

    Jim Budd (jeudi, 29 décembre 2011 21:55)

    'Your own guilt. Who the fuck drinks Champagne LANSON when there is so much excellent Loire sparkling wine around!'

    Actually the 89 was rather good and if someone gives you six magnums it is rude not to occasionally drink them. 4 or 5 magnums stretched over 14 years is hardly excessive.

  • #5

    Luc Charlier (jeudi, 29 décembre 2011 23:24)

    I pay due honour to your sense of politeness.
    I do confess I might have found myself compelled to uncork a magnum now and again, be it only for the sake of good manners!