He returned to America the next summer, to seek his fortune in the West. They are both relatively intelligent, established, well-balanced men who are exposed to a number of very odd events and behaviors.
When Babo shows Cereno the bloody razor, the reader understands his terror—Babo is threatening him. Annoyed, Delano goes to ask a sailor for the story, but Cereno abruptly speaks up. Troubled by this, Delano tries to distract himself and sees an odd sight: Billy is a flawed human being, even violent at times.
He was both, and more. Melville's sea-romances, but cannot be regarded as improvements on his former popular productions in that kind. He bought books on poetry, landscape, art, and engraving.
Delano is momentarily shocked by this Spanish cruelty, but when he sees Babo and Don Benito reconciled he is relieved to notice that the outrage has passed. Delano, "now with the scales dropped from his eyes", realizes that a slave revolt has been going on aboard the San Dominick.
What disturbs Delano are incidents that he observes among the hatchet polishers and oakum pickers, such as when a black boy slashes the head of a white boy with a knife. The Delight is a sealer, or whaling ship.
The ship looks weather-beaten and decrepit. Delano asks the sad Benito: When The Rover arrives with supplies, Delano sends the dinghy back for more water while he continues to observe curious incidents.
A slave revolt, of course, is the worst fear of all slave owners and traders. With a second dagger, Babo continues his attack. Apparently, Babo tests the blade across his palm, and for Delano the sound is that of a man humbling himself, while Cereno hears "the black man warning him: With this belief, and in his actions throughout the later part of the novel, Vere demonstrates that he places greater faith in reason and rational philosophy than he does in the dictates of his own heart.
Briefly, Cereno falters, staring down at the deck. This needs to change. First, while Delano does not describe the Spanish ship, Melville provides a description of a "Spanish merchantman of the first class," that had seen better days: Melville elaborates on Cereno's leap into Delano's boat after Babo's attempt to stab Cereno as well as the revelation of the skeleton-shaped figurehead.
Francesco, a tall steward, announces lunch. Delano and Cereno sit down to fish, pumpkin, beef, and biscuit along with cider and wine; Babo stands behind Delano's chair, in full sight of Cereno's needs.
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