The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Notes on 'Post Captain'

Sequel to this post about my favorite moments from Master and Commander:

POST CAPTAIN

30-2: "'And now, Admiral, what have you to tell us of the other gentleman at Melbury Lodge, Captain Aubrey's particular friend?' 'Oh, him,' said Admiral Haddock. 'I do not know much about him. He was Captain Aubrey's surgeon in this sloop. And I believe I heard he was someone's natural son. His name is Maturin.'" Haddock says Aubrey has been unlucky in love: "'He told Trimble, who suggested a match with his sister-in-Law, that he had quite given up women. It seems that he was so unfortunate in his last attachment, that he has quite given up women. And indeed he is an unlucky wight, whatever they may call him: there is not only this wretched business of his promotion and his father's cursed untimely marriage, but he also has a couple of neutral prizes in the Admiralty court, on appeal. I dare say that is why he is perpetually fagging up and down to London. He is an unlucky man, no doubt; and no doubt he has come to understand it. So he has very rightly given up all thoughts of marriage, in which luck is everything - has quite given up women.' 'It is perfectly true," cried Cecilia. 'There is not a single woman in the house! Mrs Burdett, who just happened to be passing by, and our Molly, whose father's cottage is directly behind and can see everything, say there is not a woman in the house! There they live together, with a parcel of sailors to look after them. La, how strange! And yet Mrs Burdett, who had a good look, you may be sure, says the window-panes were shining like diamonds, and all the frames and doors had been new-painted white.' 'How can they hope to manage?" asked Mrs Williams. 'Surely, it is very wrong-headed and unnatural. Dear me, I should not fancy sitting down in that house. I should wipe my chair with my handkerchief, I can tell you.' 'Why, ma'am," cried the admiral, "we manage tolerably well at sea, you know.' 'Oh, at sea..." said Mrs Williams with a smile.' 'What can they do for mending, poor things?' asked Sophia. 'I suppose they buy new.' 'I can just see them with their stockings out at heel,' cried Frances, with a coarse whoop, 'pegging away with their needles -- 'Doctor, may I trouble you for the blue worsted? After you with the thimble, if you please.' Ha, ha, ha, ha!' 'I dare say they can cook," said Diana. 'Men can broil a steak; and there are always eggs and bread-and-butter.' 'But how wonderfully strange," cried Cecilia. "How romantic! As good as a ruin. Oh, how I long to see 'em."

35: When the women come to visit, Jack is singing loudly inside:
"You ladies of lubricity
That dwell in the bordello
Ha-ha ha-ha, ha-ha ha-hee
For I am that kind of fellow"

40: "Sometimes Mrs. Williams wondered whether he were really quite the thing - whether those strange tales about sea-officers might possibly be true in his case. Was it not very odd that he should live with Dr. Maturin?"

69: Sophie to Jack: "'Surely you cannot go today. You must lie down and rest.' 'Today it must be, alas.' 'Then you must not ride. You must take a chaise and post up.' 'Yes. That is just what Stephen said. I will do it: I have ordered one from the Goat.' 'What a dear good man he is: he must be such a comfort to you. Such a good friend.'"

77: "They rode back, stabled the cob and the mule and said good night to one another. 'You would not care for a hand of cards, I suppose?' said Jack, pausing on the stairs and looking down into the hall. 'I would not,' said Stephen. 'My mind is turned elsewhere.' His person, too. He walked fast through the night over Polcary Down, carefully skirted a group of poachers in Gole's Hanger, giving them a wide berth, and paused under a clump of elms that stood, swaying and creaking in the wind, over against Mapes Court...'I take my happiness in my hands every time I come to this door,' he said, not trying it for a moment. He felt the lock's silent response: turned it slowly. He walked up the spiral staircase to the first floor, where Diana lived: a little sitting-room with her bedroom opening out of it, the whole communicating with the rest of the house by a long corridor that opened into the main staircase. There was no one in the sitting-room. He sat down on the sofa and looked attentively at the gold-thread embroidery of a sari that was being turned into a European dress. Under the golden light of the lamp gold tigers tore a Company's officer lying on the spotted ground with a brandy-bottle in his hand: sometimes in his right hand, sometimes in his left, for the pattern had many variations. 'How late you are, Maturin,' said Diana, coming in from her bedroom; she was wearing two shawls over her peignoir and her face was tired - no welcome. 'I was going to bed. However, sit down for five minutes. Eugh, your shoes are covered with filth.' Stephen took them off and set them by the door. 'There was a gang with lurchers over by the warren. I stepped off the road. You have a singular gift for putting me at a disadvantage, Villiers.' 'So you walked again? Are you not allowed out at night? Anyone would think you were married to that man.'"

86+: Stephen discovers that Jack has been seeing Diana and she is knowingly deceiving them both. " After perhaps a hundred yards, with the tower sunk in the trees behind him, he stopped dead and put his hand to his heart. Walked on: a heavy, lumpish pace, stumbling in the ruts, driving himself forward by brute force.'Jack,' he said at breakfast next morning, 'I think I must leave you: I shall see whether I can find a place on the mail.' 'Leave me!' cried Jack, perfectly aghast. 'Oh, surely not?' 'I am not entirely well, and conceive that my native air might set me up.' 'You do look miserably hipped,' said Jack, gazing at him now with attention and deep concern. 'I have been so wrapped up in my own damned unhappy business - and now this - that I have not been watching you. I am so sorry, Stephen. You must be damned uncomfortable here, with only Killick, and no company. How I hope you are not really ill. Now I recollect, you have been low, out of spirits, these last weeks - no heart for a jig..." It took Stephen the interval between breakfast and the coming of the post to quiet his friend - he knew his disease perfectly - had suffered from it before - it was nothing a man could die of - he knew the cure - the malady was called solis deprivatio.' 'The taking away of the sun?' cried Jack. 'Are you making game of me, Stephen? You cannot be thinking of going to Ireland for the sun.' 'It was a kind of dismal little joke,' said Stephen. 'But I had meant Spain rather than Ireland.'" The mail arrives, Stephen says he has no letters, Jack says, "'Oh yes you have, though. I quite forgot. Here in my pocket. I happened to see Diana Villiers yesterday and she gave me this note to deliver - said such handsome things about you, Stephen. We said what a capital shipmate you were, and what a hand with a 'cello and a knife. She thinks the world of you...' Perhaps: the note was kind, in its way. 'My dear Stephen, How shabbily you treat your friends - all these days without a sign of life. It is true I was horribly disagreeable when last you did me the pleasure of calling. Please forgive me. It was the east wind, or original sin, or the full moon, or something of that kind. But I have found some curious Indian butterflies - just their wings - in a book that belonged to my father. If you are not too tired, or bespoke, perhaps you might like to come and see them this evening. D.V.'" Stephen says that perhaps he needs not leave at once, goes to visit Diana, tells her he will go. "'Oh, Stephen...and will you abandon your friends? What will poor Aubrey do? Surely you cannot leave him now? He seems so very low. And what shall I do? I shall have no one to talk to, no one to misuse...I am so very sorry. I shall never be unkind again. And so you really mean to go? Oh, dear. But friends kiss when they say good-bye. Come and just pretend to look at my butterflies - I put them out so prettily - and give me a kiss, and then you shall go.' 'I am pitifully weak with you, Diana, as you know very well,' he said. 'I came slowly over Polcary, rehearsing the words in which I should tell you I had come to break, and that I was happy to do so in kindness and friendship, with no bitter words to remember. I cannot do so, I find.' 'Break? Oh dear me, that is a word we must never use.' 'Never.' Yet the word appeared five days later in his diary. 'I am required to deceive JA, and although I am not unaccustomed to deception, this is painful to me. He endeavours to delude me too, of course, but out of a consideration for what he conceives to be my view of right conduct of his relationship with Sophia. He has a singularly open and truthful nature and his efforts are ineffectual, though persistent. She is right: I cannot go away with him in his present difficulties. Why does she increase them?'"

108: Jack lying in the bear skin in the woods terrified that Stephen might leave him and go into Spain without him: "Stephen was strangely reticent these days. Jack had supposed he knew him through and through in the old uncomplicated times, and he loved all he knew; but now there were new depths, an underlying hard ruthlessness, an unexpected Maturin; and Jack was quite out of his depth."

157: Stephen thinking that Jack is playing the violin badly, maudlin, possibly over Sophie: "Dear me, he is sadly moved. How I hope those tears will not fall. He is the best of creatures -- I love him dearly -- but he is an Englishman, no more -- emotional, lachrymose."

195-96: Stephen tells Jack he is not sure he wishes to go to sea: "'But I had taken it absolutely for granted that we were to sail together, Stephen,' cried Jack. 'And I was so happy to bring you these orders. What shall I...' He checked himself, and then in a much lower tone he said, 'But of course I had not the least right to make such an assumption. I do beg your pardon...I am afraid I have been very presumptuous.' 'No, no, no, my dear,' cried Stephen. '...Never be so put about, joy: it was only the abruptness that disturbed me -- I am more deliberate in my motions than you sanguine, briny creatures."

236: Jack has just returned with his new fiddle. "The cabin was filled with the opening movement of Boccherini's Corelli sonata, a glorious texture of sound, the violin sending up brilliant jets through the 'cello's involutions, and they soared up and away from the grind of the pumps, the tireless barking, the problems of command, up, the one answering the other, joining, separating, twining, rising up into their native air.

242: "'Jack, Jack," said Stephen, when the lamp was lit, "I fear I am a sad embarrassment to you. I think I shall pack my chest and go ashore.' 'No, soul, never say that...' 'You must forgive me, my dear. Those men are dropsical with authority, permanently deranged, I must go.' 'I say you shall not,' said Jack, with a smile. 'I say I shall.' 'Do you know, my dear Stephen, that you may not come and go as you please?" said Jack, leaning back in his chair and gazing at Stephen with placid triumph. "Do not you know that you are under martial law? That if you was to stir without my leave, I shall be obliged to put an R against your name, have you taken up, brought back in irons and most severely punished? What do you say to a flogging through the feet, ha? You have no notion of the powers of a captain of a man-of-war. He is dropsical with authority, if you like.' 'Must I not go ashore?' 'No, of course you must not, and that's the end to it. You must make your bed and lie on it.'"

263: 'Yes. I may preach a sermon to the ship's company next Sunday.' 'You? Preach a sermon?' 'Certainly. Captains often do, when no chaplain is carried. I always made do with the Articles of War in the Sophie, but now I think I shall give them a clear, well-reasoned - come, what's the matter? What is so very entertaining about my preaching a sermon? Damn your eyes Stephen.' Stephen was doubled in his chair, rocking to and fro, uttering harsh spasmodic squeaks; tears ran down his face. 'What a spectacle you are, to be sure. Now I come to think of it, I do not believe I have ever heard you laugh before. It is a damned illiberal row, I can tell you - it don't suit you at all. Squeak, squeak. Very well: you shall laugh your bellyful. He turned away with something about 'pragmatical apes - simpering, tittering' and affected to look into the Bible without the least concern; but there are not many who can find themselves the object of open, whole-hearted, sincere, prostrating laughter without being put out of countenance, and Jack was not one of these few. However, Stephen's mirth died away in time - a few last crowing whoops and it was over.

270: Jack at dinner with Canning and some of his officers: "They sang ['Sotto i pini'] through, then through again; the others gazed at them with a mild, bemused, contemplative satisfaction; at this stage it seemed natural that their captain should impersonate a Spanish lady's maid, and even, somewhat later, three blind mice.

303: Jack watches Stephen and Macdonald practicing with pistols and swords: "Jack, watching from the side of the quarterdeck, was wholly amazed: he had no idea that Stephen could hold a sword, nor yet load a pistol, still less knock the pips out of a playing-card at twenty paces: yet he had known him intimately. He was pleased that his friend was doing so well; he was pleased at the respectful silence; but he was a little sad that he could not join in, that he stood necessarily aloof -- the captain could not compete -- and he was obscurely uneasy. There was something disagreeable, and somehow reptilian, about the cold, contained way Stephen took up his stance, raised his pistol, looked along the barrel with his pale eyes, and shot the head off the king of hearts. Jack's certainties wavered."

328-9: Sophie and Stephen talk about Jack and Diana, Stephen speaks: "As for Jack... He is unhappy...I tell you bluntly, my dear, he is jealous of me and I of him. I love him as much as I have loved any man, but often these last months I have wondered whether we can stay in the same ship without fighting. I am no longer what small comfort I was to him, but a present irritation and a constraint -- our friendship is constrained. And the tension, cooped up in a little small ship day after day, is very great - covert words, the risk of misunderstanding, watching the things we say or even sing. It is well enough when we are far out in the ocean. But with Channel service, in and out of the Downs - no, it cannot last.' 'Does he know of your feelings for Diana? Surely not. Surely, to his best friend, he would never...He loves you dearly.' 'Oh, as to that - yes, I believe he does, in his own way; and I believe if he had never been led into this by a series of unhappy misunderstandings, he would never have "crossed my hawse", as he would put it. As for his knowing the nature of my feelings, I like to think he does not. Certainly not with any sharp clarity, in the forefront of his mind. Jack is not quick in such matters; he is not in any way an analytical thinker, except aboard a ship in action: but light creeps in, from time to time.'" He then warns her to push with Jack if she wants to keep him for herself, even if it seems improper to her.

337: After trouncing an officer at cards for making insinuations about Diana, Stephen stops in to see Jack. 'Come in, come in, my dear fellow, come in,' cried Jack, springing forward and guiding him to a chair. 'I have scarcely seen you - how very pleasant this is! I cannot tell you how dreary the ship has been without you. How brown you are!' In spite of an animal revulsion at the catch of the scent that hung about Jack's coat - never was there a more unlucky present - Stephen felt a warmth in his heart. His face displayed no more than a severe questioning, professional look, however, and he said, 'Jack, what have you been doing to yourself? You are thin, grey - costive, no doubt. You have lost another couple of stone: the skin under your eyes is a disagreeable yellow. Has the bullet-wound been giving trouble? Come, take off your shirt. I was never happy that I had extracted all the lead; my probe still seemed to grate on something.' 'No, no. It has quite healed over again. I am very well. It is only that I don't sleep. Toss, turn, can't get off, then ill dreams and I wake up some time in the middle watch - never get off again, and I am stupid all the rest of the day. And damned ill-tempered, Stephen; I sway away on all top-ropes for a nothing, and then I am sorry afterwards. Is it my liver, do you think? Not yesterday, but the day before I had a damned unpleasant surprise: I was shaving, and thinking of something else; and Killick had hung the glass aft the scuttle instead of its usual place. So just for a moment I caught sight of my face as though it was a stranger looking in. When I understood it was me, I said, "Where did I get that damned forbidding ship's corporal's face?" and determined not to look like that again...that is another reason why I am so glad to see you: you will give me one of your treble shotted slime-draughts to get me to sleep. It's the devil, you know, not sleeping: no wonder a man looks like a ship's corporal. And these dreams - do you dream, Stephen?' 'No, sir.' 'I thought not. You have a head-piece...however, I had one some nights ago, about your narwhal; and Sophie was mixed up with it in some way. It sounds nonsense, but it was so full of unhappiness that I woke blubbering like a child. Here it is, by the way.' He reached behind him and passed the long tapering spiral of ivory. Stephen's eyes gleamed as he took it and turned it slowly round and round in his hands. 'Oh thank you, thank you, Jack,' he cried. 'It is perfect - the very apotheosis of a tooth.' 'There were some longer ones, well over a fathom, but they had lost their tips, and I thought you would like to get the point, ha, ha, ha.' It was a flash of his old idiot self, and he wheezed and chuckled for some time, his blue eyes as clear and delighted as they had been long ago: wild glee over an infinitesimal grain of merriment. 'It is a most prodigious phenomenon,' said Stephen, cherishing it. 'How much do I owe you, Jack?' He put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a handkerchief, which he laid on the table, then a handful of gold, then another, and scrabbled for the odd coins, observing that it was foolish to carry it loose: far better made a bundle of. 'Good God,' cried Jack, staring. 'What on earth have you been at? Have you taken a treasure-ship? I have never seen so much money all! at once in my life.'" Stephen explains that he won it from Smithers. "'Since you wish it, I shall not play with him again. Now how much do I owe you, my dear?' 'Oh, nothing, nothing. Do me the pleasure of accepting it as a present. Pray do. It was very little, and the prize paid for it.' 'You took a prize, so?' 'Yes. Just one." Stephen says Sophie told him about Jack's rewards which he would like to see. "'Sophie?' cried Jack, as though he had been kicked. 'Oh. Oh, yes - yes, of course. You called upon her.' As an attempt at diverting his mind to happier thoughts, this was not a success. After a moment he said, 'I am sorry, they are not here. I ran short again. For the time being, they are in Dover.' 'Dover,' said Stephen, and thought for a while, running the narwhal's horn through his fingers. 'Dover. Listen, Jack, you take insane risks, going ashore so often, particularly in Dover.' 'Why particularly in Dover?' 'Because your often presence there is notorious. If it is notorious to your friends, how much more so to your enemies? It is known in Whitehall; it must be known to your creditors in Mincing Lane. Do not look angerly now, Jack, but let me tell you three things: I must do so, as a friend. First, you will certainly be arrested for debt if you continue to go ashore. Second, it is said in the service that you cling to this station; and what harm that may do you professionally, you know better than I. No, let me finish. Third, have you considered how you expose Diana Villiers by your very open attentions, in circumstances of such known danger?' 'Has Diana Villiers put herself under your protection? Has she commissioned you to say this to me?' 'No, sir.' 'Then I do not see what right you have to speak to me in this way.' 'Sure, Jack, my dear, I have the right of a friend, have I not? I will not say duty, for that smells of cant.' 'A friend who wants a clear field, maybe. I may not be very clever, no God-damned Macchiavelli, but I believe I know a ruse de guerre when I see one. For a long time I did not know what to think about you and Diana Villiers - first one thing and then another - for you are a devilish sly fox, and break back upon your line. But now I see the reason for this standing off and on, this "not at home", and all this damned unkind treatment, and all this cracking-up of clever, amusing Stephen Maturin, who understands people and never preaches, whereas I am a heavy-handed fool that understands nothing. It is time we had a clear explanation about Diana Villiers, so that we may know where we stand.' 'I desire no explanations. They are never of any use, particularly in matters of this kind, where what one might term sexuality is concerned - reason, flies out of the window; all candour with it. In any case, even where this passion is not concerned, language is so imperfect, that...' 'Any bastard can cowardly evade the issue by a flood of words.' 'You have said enough, sir,' said Stephen, standing up. 'Too much by far: you must withdraw.' 'I shall not withdraw,' cried Jack, very pale. 'And I will add, that when a man comes back from leave as brown as a Gibraltar Jew, and says he had delicate weather in Ireland, he lies. I will stand by that, and I am perfectly willing to give you any satisfaction you may choose to ask for.' 'It is odd enough,' said Stephen, in a low voice, 'that our acquaintance should have begun with a challenge, and that it should end with one.'"

343: "The news of their disagreement spread throughout the ship; the extent and the deadly nature of it were quite unknown, but so close an intimacy could not come to a sudden end without being noticed, and Stephen watched the reactions of his shipmates with a certain interest. He knew that in many ships the captain played the part of a monarch and the officers that of a court - that there was eager competition for Caesar's favour; but he had never thought of himself as the favourite; he had never known how much the respect paid to him was a reflection of the great man's power. Parker, who revered authority far more than he disliked his captain, drew away from Stephen; so did the featureless Jones; and Smithers did not attempt to conceal his animosity. Pullings behaved with marked kindness in the gun-room; but Pullings owed everything to Jack, and on the quarterdeck he seemed a little shy of Stephen's company. Not that he was often put to this trial, however, for convention required that the principals in a duel, like bride and bridegroom, should see nothing of one another before they reached the altar."

362: Stephen goes to warn Jack that he believes there will be a mutiny, though he and Jack are supposed to fight a duel when on land; he is told that Jack will be very happy to see him but reflects when he enters that Jack looks anything but happy, and refuses to give names, insisting, "'You may call me many things, but not an informer. I have said enough, more than enough.'" Jack thanks him for having come to see him. "When the door had closed behind Stephen he sat down with his head in his hands and let himself go to total unhappiness -- to something near despair -- so many things together, and now this cold evil look: he reproached himself most bitterly for not having seized this chance for an apology. 'If only I could have got it out; but he spoke so quick, and he was so very cold. Though indeed, I should have looked the same if any man had given me the lie; it is not to be borne. What in God's name possessed me? So trivial, so beside the point - as gross as a schoolboy calling names - unmanly. However, he shall make a hole in me whenever he chooses. And then again, what should I have the air of, suddenly growing abject now that I know he is such a deadly old file?'"

384: Jack is very nearly bleeding to death after the battle and the Polychrest is sinking. "'Go,' said Jack. 'I shall follow you.' They hesitated, caught the earnestness of his tone and look, crossed and stood hovering on the rail of the corvette. Now the veering breeze blew off the land; the eastern sky was lightening; they were out of the Ras du Point, beyond the shoals; and the water in the offing was a fine deep blue. He stood up, walked as straight as he could to a ruined gun-port, made a feeble spring that just carried him to the Fanciulla, staggered, and turned to look at his ship. She did not sink for a good ten minutes, and by then the blood - what little he had left - had made a pool at his feet. She went very gently, with a sigh of air rushing through the hatches, and settled on the bottom, the tips of her broken masts showing a foot above the surface. 'Come, brother,' said Stephen in his ear, very like a dream. 'Come below. You must come below - here is too much blood altogether. Below, below. Here, Bonden, carry him with me.'"

402: Jack writes to Stephen of having been made post and getting the Lively: "Pray come. I cannot tell you what pleasure it would give me."

405: "As Stephen rose to wave and hoot, Jack saw that he was dressed from head to foot in a single tight dull-brown garment; it clung to him, and his pale, delighted face emerged from a woollen roll at the top, looking unnaturally large. His general appearance was something between that of an attenuated ape and a meagre heart; and he was carrying his narwhal horn. Captain Aubrey's back and shoulders went perfectly rigid: he adopted the features of one who is smiling; he even called out, 'Good morning to you - yes - no - ha, ha.' And as he recomposed them to a look of immovable gravity and unconcern, the thought darted through his mind, 'I believe the wicked old creature is drunk.'"..."'Your servant, sir,' said Stephen, making a leg: and this, thought Jack, was perhaps the most hideous action that a person in so subhuman a garment could perform." Worse, Stephen has brought along a glass beehive. "'Is it not ingenious? I have always wanted to keep bees.' 'But how in God's name do you expect to keep bees on a man-of-war?' cried Jack. 'Where in God's name do you expect them to find flowers, at sea? How will they eat?' 'You can see their every motion,' said Stephen, close against the glass, entranced." ... "'Let us never split hairs, for all the love. There is the queen! Come, look at the queen!' 'How many of those reptiles might there be?' asked Jack, holding pretty much aloof. 'Oh, sixty thousand or so, I dare say,' said Stephen carelessly. 'And when it comes on to blow, we will ship gimbals for the hive. This will preserve them from undue lateral motion.' 'You think of almost everything,' said Jack. Well, I will wear the bees, like Damon and Pythagoras - ho, a mere sixty thousand bees in the cabin don't signify, much. But I tell you what it is, Stephen: you don't always think of quite everything.' 'You refer the queen's being a virgin?' said Stephen. 'Not really. No. What I really meant was, that this is a crack frigate.' ' I am delighted to hear it. There she goes - she lays an egg! You need not fear for her virginity, Jack.' 'And in this frigate they are very particular. Did not you remark on the show of uniforms as you came aboard - an admirals inspection - a royal review.' 'No. I cannot truthfully say that I did. Tell me, brother, is there some uneasiness on your mind?' 'Stephen, will you for the love of God take off that thing?' 'My wool garment? You noticed it, have you? I had forgot, or I should have pointed it out. Have you ever seen anything so deeply rational? See, I can withdraw my head entirely; the same applies to the feet and the hands. Warm yet uncumbering; light; and above all healthy - no constriction anywhere! Paris, who was once a framework knitter, made it to my design; he is working on one for you at present.' 'Stephen, you would favour me deeply by taking it right off. It is unphilosophical of me, I know, but this is only an acting-command, and I cannot afford to be laughed at.' 'But you have often told me that it does not matter what one wears at sea. You yourself appear in nankeen trousers, a thing that I should never, never, countenance. And this' - plucking at his bosom with a disappointed air - 'partakes of the nature both of the Guernsey frock and the free and easy pantaloon.'"

409: "'Stephen,' he said, 'how are your bees?' 'They are very well, I thank you; they show great activity, even enthusiasm. But,' he added, with a slight hesitation, 'I seem to detect a certain reluctance to return to their hive.' 'Do you mean to say you let them out?' cried Jack. 'Do you mean that there are sixty thousand bees howling for blood in the cabin?' 'No, no. Oh no. Not above half that number; perhaps even less. And if you do not provoke them, I am persuaded you may go to and fro without the least concern; they are not froward bees. They will have gone home by morning, sure; I shall creep in during the middle watch and close their little wicket. But perhaps it might be as well, were we to sit together in this room tonight, just to let them get used to their surroundings. A certain initial agitation is understandable after all, and should not be discountenanced.' Jack was not a bee, however, and his initial agitation was something else again."

439: "'Tell me, Stephen, would you do me a kindness?' 'I might,' said Stephen, looking shrewish. 'It is just to shift your brutes into the quarter-gallery. The guns are to fire in the cabin, and perhaps the bang might be bad for them. Besides, I do not want another mutiny on my hands.' 'Oh, certainly. I shall carry the hive and you shall fix the gimbals. Let us do it at once.' When Jack returned, still trembling and with the sweat running down the hollow of his spine, it was time for quarters.

452: Jack: "I believe I have told you how I dined with Lord Nelson?" Stephen: "Not above two or three hundred times."

453: Stephen complaining about how Jack is having the cabin redone so Sophie and her sister can stay in it: "The whole was shut up, forbidden ground, except for a space where he had to lie in disagreeable proximity to Jack, who tossed and snorted through the night."

475: Jack realizes that Stephen knows more than he can admit regarding the rendezvous with Indefatigable, Meduse and Amphion: "'Well, I must be discreet myself, I find... But you did say...' 'Now listen, Jack, will you? I am somewhat given to lying: my occasions require it from time to time. But I do not choose to have any man alive tell me of it.' 'Oh no, no, no...I should never dream of doing such a thing. Not when I am in my right mind. Quite apart from my love for you, it is far, far too dangerous. Hush: mum's the word. Tace is the Latin for candle. I quite understand - am amazed I did not smoke it before: what a deep old file you are. But I twig it now.' 'Do you, my dear? Bless you.'"

478: "'There's a question,' said Jack, 'Where should you berth, in fact? Of course you shall sleep in my cot; but officially where should you be? That would puzzle Solomon. What seniority did they give you?' Ha."

481: "'Are you unwell? Queasy? Sick?' 'No, no. Not at all. What a foolish suggestion, No. This may ve the onset of a very serious malady. I was bitten by a tame bat a little while ago, and I have reason to doubt its sanity: it was a horseshoe bat, a female. It seems to me that I detect a likeness between my symptoms and the Ludolphus' description of his disease.' 'Should you like a glass of grog?" asked Jack. 'Or a ham sandwich, which luscious white fat?' he added, with a grin. 'No, no, no,' cried Stephen. 'Nothing of the kind. I tell you, this is a serious matter, calling for… there it goes again. Oh, this is a vile ship: the Sophie never behaved so - wild, unmeaning lurches. Would it be too much to ask you to turn down the lamp and to go away? Surely this is a situation that requires all your vigilance? Surely this is no time to stand idly smirking?' 'Are you sure there is nothing I can fetch you? A basin?' 'No, no, no.' Stephen face assumed a pinched, mean expression: his beard showed black against the nacreous green. 'Does this sort of tempest last long?' 'Oh, three of four days, no more,' said Jack, staggering with the lee-lurch. 'I will send Killick with a basin.' 'Jesus, Mary, Joseph,' said Stephen. 'There she goes again.'

496: The men toast Sophia, wisdom, and Jack's former ship; Stephen says "Sophie...God bless her."
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  • Lyrics for Tuesday and Maryland Zoo Birds

    Seven Shades Of Blue By Beth Nielsen Chapman I want to hold you now And listen to you breathe It's like the ocean sound Whispering through the…

  • Greetings from Baltimore

    We spent Sunday in Baltimore, where the weather was gorgeous and, masks and social distancing aside, it almost felt like life before the plague. We…

  • Greetings from Sugarloaf

    Saturday was a gorgeous day, so after lunch we went on the Countryside Artisans spring tour, which is mostly outdoors and socially distanced -- we…

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