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Billy Budd, Sailor
Herman Melville

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proficient Having or marked by an advanced degree of competence, as in an art, vocation, profession, or branch of learning.

promiscuous 1. Indiscriminate in the choice of sexual partners. 2. Lacking standards of selection; indiscriminate. 3. Casual; random. 4. Consisting of diverse, unrelated parts or individuals; confused: "Throngs promiscuous strew the level green" (Alexander Pope).

promulgated, promulgate 1. To make known (a decree, for example) by public declaration; announce officially. 2. To put (a law) into effect by formal public announcement..

prosaic 1. a. Consisting or characteristic of prose. b. Matter-of-fact; straightforward. 2. Lacking in imagination and spirit; dull.

protuberant Swelling outward; bulging.

prudent 1. Wise in handling practical matters; exercising good judgment or common sense. 2. Careful in regard to one's own interests; provident. 3. Careful about one's conduct; circumspect.

pugnacious Combative in nature; belligerent.

punctilious 1. Strictly attentive to minute details of form in action or conduct. 2. Precise; scrupulous.

purser Officially appointed but having no professional examination, the purser was responsible for keeping the ship's accounts and for issuing provisions and clothing. By the beginning of the 19th century, the purser was considered a wardroom officer.


quarter-deck, quarter-deck cabin The part of the spar-deck from the mainmast aft. It is generally reserved for commanding officers and the officer of the deck.

queer 1. Deviating from the expected or normal; strange: a queer situation. 2. Odd or unconventional, as in behavior; eccentric. 3. Of a questionable nature or character; suspicious. 4. Slang. Fake; counterfeit. 5. Feeling slightly ill; queasy.

quidnunc Nosy person; a busybody.


Radcliffe, Ann, The Mysteries of Udolpho At the end of the 18th century, Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho was the most popular of the Gothic novels--horror stories of castles and dark, stormy nights filled with suspense.
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