The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Notes on 'The Letter of Marque' and 'The Thirteen Gun Salute'

Sequel to this post about my favorite moments from The Far Side of the World and The Reverse of the Medal, with the rest to be found filed under "O'Brian":


10: "The Surprise now probably had a more efficient, more professional ship's company than any vessel of her size afloat, which might well have filled her captain's heart with joy: and indeed when he reflected upon the fact it did bring a certain amount of conscientious pleasure and what joy the heart could hold; this was not very much. It might have been said that Jack Aubrey's heart had been sealed off, so that he could accept his misfortune without its breaking; and that the sealing-off had turned him into a eunuch as far as emotion was concerned. The explanation would have been on the simple side, yet whereas in former times Captain Aubrey, like his hero Nelson and so many of his contemporaries, had been somewhat given to tears - he had wept with joy at the masthead of his first command; tears had sometimes wetted the lower part of his fiddle when he played particularly moving passages; and cruel sobs had racked him at many a shipmate's funeral by land or sea - he was now as hard and dry-eyed as a man could well be. He had parted from Sophie and the children at Ashgrove Cottage with no more than a constriction in his throat which made his farewells sound painfully harsh and unfeeling. And for that matter his fiddle lay there still in its wax-clothed case, untouched since he came aboard."

12: In the open sea the Surprise folded her wings again, dropped the anchor from her cathead, veered away a reasonable scope and rode easy. It had been a simple operation, one that Jack had seen many thousand times, but it had run perfectly smoothly, without the slightest fuss or fault, and it pleased him. This was just as well, since for some considerable time a feeling of indignation at Maturin's lateness had been growing in him: his huge misfortune he could, if not accept, then at least endure without railing or complaint, but small things were capable of irritating him as much as ever they did - indeed a great deal more - and he had prepared a curt note for Stephen, to be left on shore, appointing another rendezvous in a fortnight's time.

41: Jack is ordered aboard a Royal Navy vessel that plans to try to press his privateersmen. "'Listen, brother,' said Stephen, drawing him to the stern window, 'it is not without some inward wrestling that I produce this, because there was a tacit assumption that it was designed to cover our South American voyage alone. Yet the carpenter tells me that this Viper is commanded by a peculiarly busy coxcomb, a newly-appointed lieutenant who is habitually rude and tyrannical, and it appears to me that if the puppy were to be as provoking as I fear he may be, you might commit yourself and there would be no voyage to South America, no voyage at all.' 'By God, Stephen,' said Jack, reading the document, which was the Admiralty's letter of exemption from impressment for the entire ship's company, 'I admire your judgment. I have looked at the Navy List, and Viper is commanded by the son of that scrub in Port Mahon, Dixon. It might have been hard to avoid kicking him, if he gave himself airs. By God, I shall be easy in my mind now.' Even so, Jack Aubrey required all his self-command - more indeed than he thought he possessed - to avoid kicking the young man; for the loss of almost all pleasurable emotion left susceptibility, irritation, anger and rage intact or in fact strengthened, except during his long periods of apathy; and this was not one of them." Jack goes aboard, is ignored and treated shabbily, is finally admitted to the cabin. "Dixon was sitting at a table: he did not offer Aubrey a chair. He had hated him from those remote days in Minorca and ever since the Surprise had heaved in sight he had been preparing sarcastic remarks of a particularly cutting nature. But the sight of Jack's bulk towering there, filling the meagre space and all the more massive since he had to crouch under the low deckhead, his grim face and the natural authority that emanated from him, overcame young Dixon's resolution; he said nothing when Jack pushed some objects from a locker and sat down. It was only when he had leafed through the papers that he said 'I see you have a very full ship's company, Mr Aubrey. I shall have to relieve you of a score or so.' 'They are protected,' said Jack. 'Nonsense. They cannot be protected. Privateersmen are not protected.' 'Read that,' said Jack, gathering up the other papers and standing over him. Dixon read it, read it again and held the paper against the light to see the watermark: while he did so Jack gazed out of the scuttle at his boat's crew's tarpaulincovered hats, rising and falling on the gentle swell. 'Well,' said Dixon at last, 'I suppose there is nothing more to be said. You may go.' 'What did you say?' said Jack, turning short upon him. 'I said there is nothing more to say.' 'Good day to you, sir.'

43-47: Jack tells Stephen how grateful he is for that exemption. "If any of our old shipmates who are deserters had been taken - and I am sure that poor mean-spirited young hound would not have spared them - they would have run the risk of hanging: of several hundred lashes, in any case. And we should have been perpetually playing hide-and-seek with King's ships...I believe I must not ask you how you came by it.' 'I shall tell you, however,' said Stephen, 'for I know you are as silent as the tomb where discretion is required. On this South American journey I shall hope to make some contacts that may be of interest to government. In a hemi-demi-semi official way the Admiralty is aware of this; it is also aware that I cannot reach South America in a ship stripped of its hands. That is why this protection was given. I should have told you before. Indeed there are many things that I should have told you, had we not been so far apart, or had they been fit subjects for correspondence.'" Then Stephen tries to explain the situation involving Jack's trial and conviction, and Wray and Ledward's escape. "For the last few minutes Jack's heart had been beating with steadily greater strength and speed and now it seemed to fill his chest. Breathing deeply and controlling the pitch of his voice with some success he said 'Does that mean I may be reinstated?' 'If there were any justice in the world, I am sure it would, my dear," said Stephen. 'But you must not look for it with any kind of certainty - never with any kind of strong hope at all...General Aubrey is a sad handicap. Then again all authority implies an extreme reluctance to admit past error. On the other hand I believe a friend would advise you not to despair; above all not to give way to melancholy - be not idle, be not alone, as dear Burton says. For activity, naval activity is the solution, if solution there be.' 'I am sorry if I seemed so hipped this morning,' said Jack. 'The fact of the matter is - I do not mean to complain, Stephen, but the fact of the matter is, I had just had a dream so real and true that even now I can touch it. The dream was that the whole affair, the trial and everything that followed, was itself a dream; and my huge relief, my joy at realizing this, my immense happiness I think it was that woke me. But even then I was still partly in the dream and for a moment I looked confidently for my old uniform coat.'" Then after target practice, "Martin said to Stephen, 'Surely the Captain is looking more himself, do not you think? Yesterday evening I was extremely shocked.'"

54-5: It was tense work, a very fair imitation of a real engagement, for the guns were fired so fast they soon heated and grew skittish, leaping high and recoiling with frightful force. Once Jumping Billy broke both breeching and after side-tackle and since there was a heavy swell from the south-west the whole lethal mass of gun and carriage would have run amok on the deck if Padeen, who was enormously strong, had not wedged it with a handspike until his mates could make all fast. They worked as quick as ever they could, but all this time Padeen had to stand there with his excoriated hand pressed hard against the hot gun, so hot that his blood hissed as it ran down the metal. Bonden, the captain of the main top, brought him below, openly weeping with the pain, and as they came he could be heard comforting him in the loud and distinct voice used for invalids, foreigners, and those who were not quite exactly (and Padeen for the moment fit all of these qualifications): 'Never mind, mate, the Doctor will soon put you right - what a rare plucked 'un you are to be sure - you smell like a grilled beefsteak, mate- he may save your poor bloody hand too, I dare say- anyway he will take away the pain.' And reaching up, for Padeen was far taller, he gently wiped the tears from his cheeks.

64: "'Stephen,' cried Jack. 'Not another note, I beg. I have it exactly, if only it don't fly away.' He whipped the cloth off his violin-case, tuned roughly, and swept straight into the true line. After a while Stephen joined him, and when they were thoroughly satisfied they stopped, tuned very exactly, passed the rosin to and fro and so returned to the direct statement, to variations upon it, inversions, embroideries, first one setting out in a flight of improvisation while the other filled in and then the other doing the same, playing on and on until a lee-lurch half-flung Stephen from his seat, so that his 'cello gave a dismal screech. He recovered, bow and strings unharmed, but their free-flowing rhythm was destroyed, and they played no more. 'It is just as well, however,' said Jack, 'I should very soon have been most damnably out of tune. During the great-gun exercise I ran up and down without a pause, doing what half a dozen midshipmen usually do, each for his own set of guns - I never knew the little brutes were so useful before - and now I am quite fagged out. Hold hard, Stephen,' he cried, catching Stephen as he fell again, this time from a standing position. 'Where are your sea-legs?' 'It is not a question of sea-legs at all,' said Stephen. 'The ship is moving about in a very wild, unbridled manner. A crocodile would fall, in such circumstances, without it had wings.'" Knowing it will be a dirty night, Jack strikes his fiddle and the cello down into the hold "'with the article'" which Killick calls "'the object'" - the cabinet that serves as music stand, wash-basin, desk, etc. with gold fittings.

86-7: Killick wakes Stephen, "'Captain's compliments and should the Doctor like to see a glorious sight?'" Stephen steps out into the sun, "happy seamen all along the windward gangway, laughter on the forecastle. 'There you are, Doctor,' cried Jack. 'Good morning to you. Ain't it charming? The breeze veered in a black squall soon after you had turned in, and began to blow from west by south in the morning watch; and I believe it may haul north of west. But come with me - mind your step.' He led him still blinking and heavy to the taffrail and said 'There. That's what I woke you up for." At first Stephen could not make it out: then he realized that the near sea to leeward was filled, filled with whales: an immense school of sperm whales travelling in one direction, passing above, below, round and amongst a school of right whales travelling in the other. Everywhere he looked there were huge dark forms rising, blowing, sometimes lying awash, more often diving again almost at once, often showing their enormous flukes above the surface as they did so. Some were so close he could hear their breath, their strong, almost explosive outward breath and their heaving inspiration. 'Lord, Lord,' he said at last. 'What a splendour of creation.' 'I am so glad you saw them,' said Jack. 'In five minutes time it would have been too late.'"

144-6: Jack learns about the Sethians and defuses the problem of the name painted on the ship.

158: Stephen wonders at the discomfort with which the men will cope in the exercises. "He made the remark to Martin as they sat each side of Tom Edwards, Stephen's left hand on the wound, feeling for the coldness of gangrene, and his right taking the patient's fine steady hopeful pulse: he made it in Latin, and in the same language or rather his comic English version of it Martin replied 'Perhaps you are so used to your friend that you no longer see what a great man he is to the sailors. If he can leap and bound at night in the pouring rain, defying the elements, they would be ashamed not to do the same, though I have seen some almost weep at the second assault, or when they are desired to go through the cutlass exercise once more. I doubt they would do so much for anyone else. It is a quality some men possess.' 'I dare say you are in the right of it,' said Stephen. 'But if he were to ask me to come out in a rowing-boat on a night like this, even wrapped in waterproof garments and wearing a cork jacket, I should decline.' 'I should never have the moral courage.'" But Stephen is also dissatisfied with Padeen, whom unbeknownst to him is stealing his laudanum.

162: Stephen has rowed to Old Scratch. "A rock-dove, gliding placidly along before him, abruptly swerved, flying very fast northwards; a peregrine, stooping from high above with the sound of a rocket, struck a cloud of feathers from the dove and bore it off to the mainland cliff, beyond the Surprise. As he watched the falcon's heavier but still rapid flight he heard eight bells strike aboard, followed by the remote pipe of all hands to breakfast and the much more emphatic roar of the hungry seamen: a moment later he saw Jack Aubrey, mother-naked, plunge from the taffrail and swim out towards Old Scratch, his long yellow hair streaming behind him. When he was half way across two seals joined him, those intensely curious animals, sometimes diving and coming up ahead to gaze into his face almost within hand's reach. 'I give you joy of your seals, brother,' said Stephen, as Jack waded ashore on the little golden strand, where the skiff now lay high, dry and immovable. 'It is the universal opinion of the good and the wise that there is nothing more fortunate than the company of seals.' 'I have always liked them,' said Jack, sitting on the gunwale and dripping all over. 'If they could speak, I am sure they would say something amiable, but Stephen, have you forgot breakfast?' 'I have not. My mind has been toying with thoughts of coffee, stirabout, white pudding, bacon, toast, marmalade and more coffee, for some considerable time.' 'Yet you would never have had it until well after dinner, you know, because your boat is stranded and I doubt you could swim so far.' 'The sea has receded!' cried Stephen. 'I am amazed.' 'They tell me it does so twice a day in these parts,' said Jack. 'It is technically known as the tide.' 'Why, your soul to the Devil, Jack Aubrey,' said Stephen, who had been brought up on the shores of the Mediterranean, that unebbing sea. He struck his hand to his forehead and exclaimed 'There must be some imbecility, some weakness here. But perhaps I shall grow used to the tide in time. Tell me, Jack, did you notice that the boat was as who should say marooned, and did you then leap into the sea?' 'I believe it was pretty generally observed aboard. Come, clap on to the gunwale and we will run her down. I can almost smell the coffee from here.'

191: Preparing for the cutting-out expedition: "As Bonden passed, Jack took him by the arm and said in a low voice, 'Keep very close to the Doctor when we board.' Then he went below, where Stephen was playing chess with Martin by the glittering candle with his sword on the table in front of him. 'Will you come with me?' said Jack. 'We are on our way.' Stephen stood up, smiling, and put his sword-belt over his shoulder; Martin fastened it behind, an expression of very great concern upon his face. Jack led the way up to the quarterdeck, aft to the taffrail, where Pullings and Martin followed to wish them Godspeed, and over on to the stern-ladder. The boats had already formed in the long linked line that the captain's launch was to lead; and as Jack reached it, the last of the cutting-out party, Bonden shoved off and Jack murmured 'Give way.'"

218-19: Soames comes to have unofficial words with Jack about the possibility of a solicitation for a free pardon for the Stock Exchange fraud. 'But surely, sir, you must be aware that I pleaded not guilty? That I said upon my honour that I was not guilty?' 'Yes, sir, I remember it perfectly.' 'Then how in God's name am I to be forgiven for what I have not done? How can I conceivably solicit a free pardon when I am innocent?' Jack had begun the interview in a state of strong, ill-defined, diffused irritation; he was now white with anger and he went on 'Do not you see that if I ask for a pardon I am giving myself the lie? Proclaiming that there is something to be forgiven?' 'It is no more than a formality - it might almost be called a legal fiction - and it must affect the question of your eventual reinstatement.' 'No, sir,' said Jack, rising. 'I cannot see the matter as a formality at all. I am aware that neither you nor the gentlemen who desired you to speak to me means any offence, but I must beg you to return them my compliments and state that 1 see the matter in a different light.' 'Sir, will you not consider for a while, and take advice?' 'No, sir; these are things a man must decide for himself.'" Jack sends him away, and Sir Joseph says Jack "has missed his tide." Stephen blames Soames, the messenger, for not making comparisons to false musters like the one that has Philip Aubrey on the books.

224-5: Jack bonds with his half-brother Philip at Woolcombe, the house that he will inherit now.

232-33: "'The Ministry (said he) had heard that I was to be member for Milport; his brother rejoiced at the news because this additional influence in my favour would allow him to urge his colleagues even more strongly that I should be reinstated by mere motion - that is to say, without having to sue out any pardon. But in order to do so with full effect Melville would have to be able to assure them of my attitude in the House. It was not required that I should engage to support the Ministry through thick and thin, but Melville hoped he could say that at least I should not violently and systematically oppose it - that I should not be a vehement or enthusiastic member. I looked at Sophie, who knew perfectly well what I meant; she nodded, and I said to Heneage that it was excessively unlikely I should ever address the House on anything but a naval question...Melville had told him that in the event of a favourable answer the papers would be put in hand directly, and that although they would take some months to pass through all the proper channels, while the official announcement would not be made until it could coincide with some victory in the Peninsula or even better at sea, he undertook that my name and present command should be placed on a special list, and that I should not suffer in seniority. Lord, Stephen, we are so happy! Sophie goes singing about the house. She says she would give anything for you to share our joy, so here I am scribbling this in the greatest haste, hoping it may catch you before you set out for Leith... God bless you, Stephen. Sophie bids me send her dear love. Yours ever Jno Aubrey'"

239-40: Stephen waits for his draught to have its effect and thinks while waiting to fall asleep. "There was a a vast expanse in which his thoughts could take their pleasure: Jack Aubrey's affairs could hardly be more prosperous, and short of a very hideous mischance (Stephen unhooked his hand to cross himself) it was scarcely possible that he should not be fully, publicly reinstated within the next few months. He would most probably be given a command after the South American voyage: and perhaps it would be another independent commission - his genius lay that way. Conceivably they might explore the high northern latitudes together: extremely interesting, no doubt; though they could scarcely hope for the fantastic wealth of the south again." Then he thinks about seeing Diana, returning her blue diamond, how he did not want to duel Jagiello, how other than money he had no idea what he had to offer her.

251-52: "No one could have looked at the new Member for Milport's face without his heart lifting: it was not that Jack Aubrey's was exultant or filled with obvious pleasure - indeed for some time after they had lain close to the Leopard it was clouded - but it possessed a shining inner life, a harmony of its own, and the strange almost paralytic deadness that had hung over it in repose these last months was now quite gone. His had been a naturally cheerful countenance until all joy was driven out of it, a fine ruddy face whose lines and creases had been formed by laughter and smiling; now it was essentially the same again, ruddier if anything, and lit by eyes that seemed an even brighter blue. Stephen felt his sadness and near-desperation recede, almost vanish, as they talked and talked about Cousin Edward Norton's extraordinarily handsome conduct, and about the House of Commons, where they agreed that Jack's wisest course would be silence except in the case of overwhelming conviction on a naval point, and a general but by no means unconditional support of the Ministry: or at least of Lord Melville." Jack shows Stephen around the ship and Stephen gets worried about rapidly approaching Sweden. "This view of the present racing along to become the future grew in Stephen's mind as they ate their dinner, and by the time they had said everything that could be said about parliament, Ashgrove, Woolcombe, the children, Philip Aubrey and the Surprise's new iron water-tanks, his mind tended to stray away. In spite of the very profound satisfaction of seeing the old Jack Aubrey on the other side of the table, his anxiety was welling up again."

276-77: Diana tends Stephen after his accident from the laudanum overdose. "They had known one another these many years, but their relations had never called for tenderness on her side and he would have said that it formed no part of her character: courage, spirit and determination, yes, but nothing nearer tenderness than generosity and good nature. He was weak, having been much battered in his physical and metaphysical fall and having eaten nothing since, weak and somewhat maudlin, and reflecting upon this new dimension he wept silently in the darkness." The doctors will not give him laudanum. "'Have you any reason to suppose that I had taken laudanum?' 'Your pupils, of course; and the apothecary's label was still on the broken glass. A wise physician would no more add a drop of laudanum to an already overcharged body than a gunner would take a naked light into a powder-magazine.' 'Many medical men use the tincture against pain and emotional disturbance.' 'Certainly. But in this case I am persuaded that we should be well advised to bear the pain and deal with the agitation by exhibiting a moderate dose of hellebore.' Stephen felt inclined to congratulate Mersennius on his fortitude, but he did not and they parted on civil terms. Within the limits of his information Mersennius was right; he obviously thought that his patient was addicted to laudanum, and he had no means of knowing, as Stephen knew, that this frequent and indeed habitual use was not true addiction, but just the right side of it. The boundary was difficult to define and he did not blame Mersennius for his mistake, the less so as his body was at this moment feeling more than a hint of that craving which was the mark of a man who had gone too far. Yet the present unsteady emotional state must be taken in hand. The pain he could bear, but he would never forgive himself if he were to weep at Diana or behave weakly." He explains to Diana that Laura was not his mistress: "The removal certainly preserved her life, but it damaged her reputation among those who were not connected with intelligence. Even Jack was deceived, which surprised me; I had thought he knew me better.'"

281-4: Jack arrives, Diana packs to go with them, Stephen buys coca leaves to sustain himself. "West was the only officer on the quarterdeck... 'This is Dr Maturin's cabin. Who are you, ma'am?' 'I am his wife, sir,' she said, 'and I beg you will desire the carpenter to sling a cot for me here.' She pointed, and then bending and peering out of the scuttle she cried 'Here they are. Pray let people stand by to help him aboard: he will be lying on a door.' She urged West out of the cabin and on deck, and there he and the amazed foremast hands saw a blue and gold coach and four, escorted by a troop of cavalry in mauve coats with silver facings, driving slowly along the quay with their captain and a Swedish officer on the box, their surgeon and his mate leaning out of the windows, and all of them, now joined by the lady on deck, singing 'Ah tutti contend saremo cost, ah tutti contenti saremo, saremo cosi' with surprisingly melodious full-throated happiness.


8: "Jack Aubrey, by a mere count of days, must have spent more time afloat than ashore; and if the formative years of his youth were given greater value, an impartial observer might have set him down as nine-tenths marine, particularly as his strongest emotions had all been known at sea. To be sure, love and an encounter with the law at its most unjust had marked him deeply by land, but these feelings, powerful though they were, could not equal those he had known as a sailor in number or intensity. Quite apart from the extreme perils of storm and shipwreck natural to his calling, he had fought in more great fleet battles and in more single-ship actions than most officers of his time. He had boarded many and many an enemy and it was at these times that he felt most wholly alive. Ordinarily he was not at all aggressive - a cheerful, sanguine, friendly, good-natured creature, severe only in the event of bad seamanship - but when he was on a Frenchman's deck, sword in hand, he felt a wild and savage joy, a fulness of being, like no other; and he remembered every detail of blows given or received, every detail of the whole engagement, with the most vivid clarity."

9: "People walked about at ease, even with their hands in their pockets; there was a certain amount of laughter in the forecastle in spite of the parting; and the quartermaster at the con, wiping a tear from his cheek and shaking his grey head, did not scruple to address Jack directly: 'I shall never see her like again, sir. The loveliest young woman in Shelmerston.' 'A lovely young woman indeed, Heaven,' said Jack. 'Mrs Heaven, if I do not mistake?' 'Why, sir, in a manner of speaking: but some might say more on the porcupine-lay, the roving-line, if you understand me.' 'There is a great deal to be said for porcupines, Heaven: Solomon had a thousand, and Solomon knew what o'clock it was, I believe. You will certainly see her again.'"

15-19: Stephen suggests to Jack that they put to sea directly and Jack takes it to mean as near-instantaneously as possible, making Stephen cross, as Diana is pregnant and temperamental and he has business in town. 'Oh for all love,' cried Stephen with a most unusual jet of ill-humour, 'must our lives be ruled by bells on land as well as by sea?' 'Dear Stephen,' said Jack, looking down on him kindly, though with a little surprise, 'this is Liberty Hall, you know...' Stephen ponders that Diana should stay with Sophie and use Jack's lands for her horses, though he doesn't really want her riding while pregnant; they have married in a church and Stephen has given up opium, and they have been quarrelling, for the giving up the laudanum has restored his temper: "it was in all likelihood the cause of the heat with which they now argued, each preserving an imperilled independence, it was quite certainly the cause of this baby. When Stephen had first heard that foetal heart beat, his own had stopped dead and then turned over. He was filled with a joy he had never known before, and with a kind of adoration for Diana." He remembers that he has letters from Sam, "as tall as Aubrey and even broader...Jack's natural son, as black as polished ebony yet absurdly recognizable - the same carriage, the same big man's gentleness, even the same features, transposed to another key."

33-4: "'I can't swim,' roared the pilot, and Jack...grasped the situation at once. Flinging off his coat, he plunged striking the purser as he rose again and driving him down breathless a good four fathoms, into quite dim water. This however gave time for entering ropes to be shipped and for a line with a man-harness hitch to be passed down, so that when Jack - a practised hand - brought Standish's head clear of the water, the purser could be hauled aboard and the Captain could walk up the steps of his ship at his ease. He found Standish sitting on a carronade-slide and gasping while the surgeons examined his wound. 'Nothing at all,' said Stephen. 'A mere superficial tear. Mr Martin will sew it up in a trice.' 'I am most exceedingly obliged to you, sir,' said the purser, standing up and fairly pouring blood from the superficial tear. 'My dear sir, I beg you will not think of it,' replied Jack, shaking his bloody hand. Leaning over the rail he called out to the pilot, who was clawing up into the wind, 'All's well, 'and ran below, where a furious Killick was waiting with a towel, a dry shirt and trousers. 'And these here woollen drawers, sir,' he said. 'You done it again - you are always a-doing of it - but this time you will catch your death, without you put on these woollen drawers. Who ever heard of dipping his bare arse off of the Eddystone?'"

38-9: "Since he was not alone he and Stephen shared the great cabin and Stephen had the coach to himself. As the frigate's surgeon, Maturin also had a cabin below, a stuffy little hole which, like those of the other officers, opened on to the gunroom: he used it on occasion, when Jack, the other side of the frail partition, snored beyond all bearing; but at present, in spite of a steady volume of sound, he was sitting there with his papers, chewing a few coca leaves. He had woken not long since from a most unusually explicit and vivid erotic dream; they had become increasingly frequent of late, with the laudanum dying even in its remotest lingering effects, and the vehemence of his desire quite distressed him. 'I am becoming a mere satyr,' he said. 'Where should I be without my coca-leaves? Where indeed?'...'Buggers,' said Stephen, using a word that he had quite often heard aboard but that rarely came to his mind as a term of reproach. A little surprised at himself, he took up the small heavy parcel that had been delivered at the same time."

62: "There was no music that evening apart from some quiet rumbling over familiar paths by Aubrey and Maturin - an evenly-shared mediocrity - and an hour or so of their favourite exercise, which was improvisation on a theme proposed by one and answered by the other, which sometimes rose well above mediocrity because of their deep mutual comprehension, in this field at least."

70: "'Hola, Stephen,' called Jack from the other side of the street. 'Well met, shipmate. Come and help me choose some taffeta for Sophie. I want some so fine it will go through a ring. I am sure you understand taffeta, Stephen.' 'I doubt there is a man in the whole of Ballinasloe that understands it better,' said Stephen. 'And if there is blue taffeta to be had, I shall buy some for Diana too.' They walked back to the quay carrying their parcels, and since Jack, not knowing how long they would be, had not taken his own gig ashore, they were about to hail a boat when a party of the Surprise's liberty men, gathering about the launch true to their hour, caught sight of them the whole breadth of the square away and roared out, 'Never waste your money on a skiff, sir. Come along o' we.' Jack went along o' they in the democratical corsair fashion quite happily, though he was just as glad that there were no serving officers in their formal barges to watch him: though in fact, apart from their first free, uninhibited invitation the Shelmerstonians were as prim and mute as any long-serving man-of-war's men throughout the crossing."

71: "It was clear that Jack was right in saying that Killick regarded Stephen as his own property. He at once took him down to the coach and made him take off his fine English broadcloth coat, crying out in a shrill nagging tone, 'Look at these here great slobs of grease, so deep you could plough a furrow in them: and your best satin breeches, oh Lord! Didn't I say you was to call for two napkins and never mind if they stared? Now it will be scrub-scrub, brush-brush for poor bloody Killick all through the night watches; and even then they will never be the same.'" Stephen gives him a box of Portugal marchpane and Killick abruptly forgives him.

73: Mail from home finally arrives. "Jack had a couple [of letters] from Hampshire, and according to their usual habit they read them at breakfast, exchanging pieces of family news. Stephen had scarcely broken the seal of his first before he cried, with a passion rare in him, 'Upon my word, Jack, that woman is as headstrong as an allegory on the banks of Nile.' Jack was not always quick, but this time he instantly grasped that Stephen was talking about his wife and he said, 'Has she taken Barham Down?' 'She has not only taken it, she has bought it.' And in an undertone 'The animal.' 'Sophie always said she was very much set upon the place.' Stephen read on, and then said, 'But she means to live with Sophie until we come home, however. She is only sending Hitchcock and a few horses.' 'So much the better. Stephen, did she tell you the kitchen boiler at Ashgrove blew up on Tuesday?' 'She is doing so at this minute - the words are before me. Brother, there is much to be said for living in a monastery.'"

84: On Jack rushing to take the Diane to Pulo Prabang: "Nothing, travel, guilt, extreme discomfort, could take away from the deep glow in his heart: if he could stay alive for the next couple of weeks or so, he would be gazetted and he would have a command - the charming promises would become infinitely more solid realities: changing from what his mind believed to what his whole person knew as a living fact. The fact, however, could not be mentioned, nor the glow acknowledged; even the inward singing must be repressed."

91-2: Stephen suddenly realizes that the women may learn they are in town and have not sailed with Surprise. 'I have been thinking, brother. Diana will be in a very delicate condition by now, and if we suddenly appear, it may shock her extremely.' 'Oh,' said Jack, who had been on the point of sending for horses, 'I suppose it might. Pen a discreet, diplomatic note hinting that you might be in the neighbourhood presently...' The boy on a mule set off with a note - 'My dear, pray do not be alarmed or in any way concerned if you should see us presently: we are both perfectly well and send our love' - and the men were about to set off to gaze at the Diane from a discreet distance when they ran into the Port Admiral, a cheerful soul, who insisted on their cracking a bottle." They drink together with the loquacious officers. "Talk flowed, bottles came and went, time passed, passed. But at length the landlord's son came and stood by Stephen: 'Oh, Dr Maturin, sir,' he said when Stephen paused in his account of the Basrah method of setting broken bones, 'there is a coach outside with some ladies asking for you' 'Jesus, Mary and Joseph,' muttered Stephen, darting from the room. Diana was at the near-side window She leant out and cried, 'Oh Maturin, my dear, what a monster you are to terrify innocent women like this 'Inside the coach behind her Sophie's voice rose to a high squeak, 'Is not Jack there? You said Jack would be there.' Diana opened the door and offered to jump out, but Stephen took her elbows and lifted her down. 'My dear, you are a fine size,' he said, kissing her tenderly. 'Sophie, will you come in and see Jack and Admiral Martin and a number of other sailors? They are drinking port in the Dolphin room.' 'Oh Stephen,' called Sophie, 'pray bring him out and let us all go home together at once. I do not want to lose a minute of him. Nor of you either, dear Stephen.' 'Sure you are right, for the moments are few: we must be in town on Tuesday, I do believe.'"

96-8: "No one but a man far more obtuse than Maturin would have had to ask the result of the interview as Jack came running upstairs, his papers in his hand. 'He did it as handsomely as the thing could be done,' he said. 'No humming and whoreing, no barking about the wrong bush, no God-damned morality: just shook my hand, said "Captain Aubrey, let me be the first to congratulate you" and showed me these.' Then, having chuckled over the Gazette again, observing that it would make poor Oldham, the postcaptain who had stepped into his seniority, look pretty blank tomorrow, he gave Stephen a minute account of the conversation, the subsequent dinner - 'it went down remarkably well, considering; but I believe I could have ate a hippopotamus in my relief.'" Stephen says it's a "'most wonderfully auspicious date, so it is. On this same fifteenth of May, a Saturday if I remember but in any event just forty days before the Flood, Noah's granddaughter Ceasoir came to Ireland with fifty maidens and three men. They landed I believe at Dun-na-Mbarc in the County Cork; she was the first person that ever set foot on an Irish strand, and she was buried at Carn Ceasra in Connaught, beside which I have often sat, watching the blue hares run.' 'You astonish me, Stephen: I am amazed. So the Irish are really Jews?' 'Not at all. Ceasoir's father was a Greek. And in any case they were all drowned in the Flood. It was not for close on three hundred years more that Partholan arrived.'" Jack asks how Stephen's day dealing with bankers was, learns that it was unpleasant: "'Eventually I carried my point, though not without the use of some very warm expressions, such as the nautical 'lobcock' and 'bugger.'' 'Quite rightly applied too. I am sure I should never have been so your place I should cashier your lobcocks out of hand and place everything with Smith.'"

144-47: "'Come and have a look, sir,' cried Reade in great glee, checking his eager pace at the sight of the Doctor, 'I have never seen the like in all my time at sea. Nor has the master. Come along; I will fetch you a griego.' Most of what Reade said was drowned by the thunder, but he urged Stephen up the ladder to the half-deck, fetched him a hooded watch-coat, and led him up to a total blackness filled with hurtling water, a blackness so thick that the bulwark could not be seen - nothing but a faint orange glow from the binnacle lights. But a moment later the entire horizon, clean round the ship, was lit by such lightning that everything stood out clear - sails, rigging, people, their expressions - the whole length of the ship, in spite of the rain. Stephen felt Reade pull his sleeve and saw his delighted face say something, but the continuous bellow of thunder covered the words. Jack was standing by the weather rail with Fielding and he called Stephen over. Even his powerful voice, at close quarters, was somewhat overlaid, yet 'beats Guy Fawkes night' came through, and his smile, oddly cut by the intermittent flashes so that it appeared to spread in jerks, was quite distinct. They stood there with this stupendous display roaring and flashing for an indeterminate time and then Jack said, 'You are ankle deep and in your slippers. I will give you a tow below.' 'Lord, Jack,' said Stephen, sitting and dripping in the cabin while Ahmed pulled off his stockings, 'a fleet-action must be quite like this.' 'Very like, but for the lack of smoke,' said Jack. 'Now listen, I shall be in and out till morning, waking you with my light, because it is likely to cut up rough, so you had better sleep below. Ahmed, see that the Doctor's cot is aired, and make sure that his feet are thoroughly dry before he turns in.' Their Guy Fawkes night was as it were a gateway from one region to another totally different." Jack shows Stephen nautical phenomena, taking readings, testing the Diane. Stephen watches the albatrosses when weather permits.

160: Jack can't land Stephen on a naturalist's paradise. "'How I shall ever tell the Doctor I do not know,' said Jack. 'He was so set upon it.' 'So he was, poor gentleman,' said the master, shaking his head. 'But haste commands all; and perhaps all these mollymawks and albatrosses will be some comfort to him. I never saw so many all together. There's a whale-bird. Two nellies; and a stink-pot.' 'Stephen,' said Jack, 'I am very sorry to tell you I have made a cock of your island. It lies astern, directly to windward of us. We cannot beat back with this breeze and current and if we were to lie to waiting for the wind to change we should lose days that we cannot afford to lose; we must pick up the south-east trades as soon as possible, if we are to reach Pulo Prabang with the tail of the monsoon.' 'Never grieve, soul,' said Stephen. 'We shall go there at our leisure in the Surprise once that Buonaparte has been knocked on the head. In the meantime I shall look at the master's birds: I should never have expected to see a stink-pot so far from the Cape.'"

161-2: "Day after day they travelled slowly over a vast disk of sea, perpetually renewed; and when, as the Thane was approaching Capricorn at four knots, Captain Aubrey ended church with the words 'World without end, amen,' he might have been speaking of this present voyage: sea, sea, and then more sea, with no more beginning and no more end than the globe itself. Yet this mild, apparently eternal sameness did leave time for things that had been laid aside or neglected. Jack and Stephen returned to their music, sometimes playing into the middle watch." Jack teaches the midshipmen as well: "'What do you know about the last American war?' 'Not very much, sir, except that the French and Spaniards joined in and were finely served out for doing so.' 'Very true. Do you know how it began?' 'Yes, sir. It was about tea, which they did not choose to pay duty on. They called out 'No reproduction without copulation' and tossed it into Boston Harbour.' Jack frowned, considered, and said, 'Well, in any event they accomplished little or nothing at sea, that bout.' He passed on to the necessary allowance for dip and refraction to be made in working lunars, matters with which he was deeply familiar; but as he tuned his fiddle that evening he said, 'Stephen, what was the Americans' cry in 1775?' 'No representation, no taxation.' 'Nothing about copulation?' 'Nothing at all. At that period the mass of Americans were in favour of copulation.' 'So it could not have been No reproduction without copulation?' 'Why, my dear, that is the old natural philosopher's watchword, as old as Aristotle, and quite erroneous. Do but consider bow the hydra and her kind multiply without any sexual commerce of any sort. Leeuenhoek proved it long ago, but still the more obstinate repeat the cry, bike so many parrots.' 'Well, be damned to taxation, in any case. Shall we attack the andante?'"

192-3: "These days Stephen rarely saw either Fox or Jack Aubrey. He stayed ashore, usually sleeping in the favourite haunt of the small Javanese colony, a house where there were exquisite dancing-girls and a famous Javanese orchestra, a gamelan, whose rhythms, intervals and cadences, though entirely foreign to his ear, pleased him as he lay there through the night by his scented sleeping-partner, a young woman so accustomed to her clients' peculiarities - some very bizarre indeed - that his passivity neither surprised nor displeased her. Here, in the main hail where the dancers performed, he sometimes met his shipmates, surprised, embarrassed, shocked by his presence. Mr Blyth the purser, a kindly man and older than Stephen, took him aside and said, 'I think I ought to warn you, Doctor, that this place is little better than a disorderly house; prostitution often occurs.'" He spends the rest of his time walking about the countryside "in a way that would be expected of a natural philosopher, the Captain's guest, sometimes with Richardson, sometimes with Macmillan, occasionally with Jack, but more often by himself, for his companions objected to the forest-leeches that fastened upon them by the score in the wilder parts and the tormenting flies and mosquitoes in the irrigated fields. Jack finds him: 'There you are, Stephen...they told me you might be here; but if I had known you was gone so far up the mountain-side I should have taken a pony. Lord, ain't it hot! Where you get the energy from, after your nightly activities, I cannot tell, I am sure.' Like the rest of the ship's company Jack had heard of the Doctor's extraordinarily dissolute life, smoking and drinking until all hours, gambling; but he alone knew that Stephen could take the sacrament without confession. 'To be sure,' said Stephen, thinking of their work on the tapir, now a mere skeleton, 'I was very busy last night. But you too would walk far up the mountain-side without gasping if you did not eat so much. You were much better, physically, when you were poor and wretched. What do you weigh now?' 'Never mind.' 'At least another stone and a half, perhaps two stone, God be with us. You fellows of an obese and sanguine habit are always on the verge of an apoplexy, particularly in this climate. Will you not omit suppers, at least? Suppers have killed more than Avicenna ever cured.'"

201: The sultan's cup-bearer Abdul is "a youth like a gazelle." "Stephen watched [Ledward, the spy] empty his goblet and hold it over his right shoulder to be refilled; and as he made this gesture he glanced towards the throne with a very slight but significant change of expression - a private look. Stephen's eye darted to the left and just caught Abdul's answering smile. For some time Stephen could not believe that his first impression was not a mistake; but although from this point on Ledward was perfectly discreet, Abdul, behind the Sultan, was not; and the impression grew to a moral certainty." He ponders the consequences. "'Jack,' he said, as they walked along the rim of the crater to a point where they could hail the ship, 'did you reflect on Ganymede at all?' 'Yes,' said Jack. 'I was up with him all last night, and should be this night were it not for the Sultan's visit tomorrow. Such an endearing little pale golden body as he peeps out - he is easily my favourite. But I shall still have him almost all night, once the Sultan is done with.' 'Shall you though?' said Stephen, looking at his friend's pleased, well-fed face, rather more florid than usual from the Sultan's wine; and after a pause, 'Brother, can we be speaking of the same thing?' 'I should hope so,' said Jack, smiling. 'Jupiter is in opposition you know. No one could have missed his splendour.' 'No indeed: A very glorious sight. And Ganymede is connected with him, I collect?' 'Of course he is - the prettiest of the satellites. What a fellow you are, Stephen.'" Jack was oblivious to the cup-bearer, whom he thought at first was a girl, and Stephen explains, "'Ganymede was Jupiter's cup-bearer; and I believe their connexion, their relations, their friendship, would now be frowned upon.'"

226-7: Stephen at the monastery. "Stephen gave a short account of himself: he was a medical man, a naval surgeon, brought into these parts by the war between England and France; apart from medicine his greatest interest was living things and their way of life He also had a friend who was deeply concerned with the first spread of Buddhism and the remaining early temples. Stephen therefore hoped he might be permitted to look at Kumai, measure it, draw it as far as his powers allowed, and to walk about the country for a few days to observe its inhabitants. 'Certainly you may look at our temple, and draw it,' said the abbot. 'But as for the animals, there is no killing here. We eat rice, fruit and such things; we take no life.' 'I have no wish to kill anything here; only to observe. I have no weapons at all.' While the Abbot was considering this, another monk, who had been gazing at Stephen through his spectacles, said, 'So you are an Englishman.' 'No, sir,' said Stephen. 'I am an Irishman. But for the moment Ireland is subject to England, and therefore at war with France.' 'England and Ireland are small islands on the farthest western extremity of the world,' said another monk. 'They are so close together that they can scarcely be distinguished; birds flying at a great height may land on the one rather than on the other. But in fact England is the larger.' 'It is true that they are close together, and that it is not always easy to distinguish them from a great distance; but then, sir, the same applies to right and wrong.' 'Good and evil are so close at times,' observed the Abbot, 'that there is scarcely the breadth of a hair between them. But as for the animals, young man, since you undertake not to do any harm, you may certainly walk about among them." An ape will be his tour guide for part of the visit. "There were few carnivores in Pub Prabang - no tigers at all - and fewer still at Kumai. Some pythons were to be found, and they had to make a living; but three months between meals were not unusual for them, and neither they nor the odd small cats, still less the honey-bears, created that perpetual half-conscious wariness and apprehension among the peaceful animals that made them so nervous and difficult to watch in most other parts. But above all they had not been persecuted by men for a thousand years and they took no more notice of human beings than of cattle; and Stephen found to his stupefaction that he could walk through a herd of rusa, pushing his way where they stood thick, as though he were one of themselves."

246-50: Jack has climbed to see the French Cornelie. "Everything grew in its usual wild profusion, trees, rattans, screw-pines, and all along the shore itself coconut palms soaring up in a thousand graceful attitudes. A few paces from where he stopped there was a little platform with a spring coming out of the cliff-face, a dense growth of soft fern, and an astonishing display of orchids growing on the rock, the deep moss, the trees and bushes, orchids of every size, shape and colour. 'Lord, I wish Stephen were here,' he said, sitting on a convenient mound and taking a small telescope and an azimuth compass from his ditty-bag. He said it again some time later, when a large black and white bird laboured across the field of his glass, carrying a heavy fish in its talons." Soon he meets Dumesnil, Christy-Palliere's nephew, and can't wait to tell Stephen. 'Well, Stephen,' he said, 'there you are, back from your Godforsaken steps and all alive, I am happy to see. What luck to find you aboard. Have you abandoned your bawdyhouse? Have the girls all proved poxed? Or have you turned evangelical? Ha, ha, ha, ha!' He sat down, wheezing and wiping his eyes. Stephen waited until he had had his laugh out, no small matter, since mirth in Jack Aubrey fed upon what it laughed at. 'What a rattle you are, to be sure,' he said at last. 'Forgive me, Stephen, but there is something so infinitely comic in the idea of you being a Methody, haranguing the girls, handing out tracts...Oh...'"

272-3: Jack reflects on his mood. "I cannot play easy with ill-will just at hand - we have had no music since we sailed. Yet even with this wind we should reach our cruising-ground by something like noon tomorrow, and then it is only a week of going to and fro if Tom is not already there or has left no message, and then the couple of days' run to Batavia. Perhaps there will be news from home waiting for us there. Lord, how I should love to know how things are going.' 'Oh so should I,' cried Stephen. 'Though it is not yet possible that there should be word of Diana and our daughter. Sometimes when I think of that little soul I grow quite lachrymose.' 'A few months of roaring and bawling and swaddling-clothes will soon cure you of that. You have to be a woman to bear babies.' 'So I have always understood,' said Stephen. 'Oh very well, Dr Humorous Droll...' And later still, when he was floating in the warm South China Sea by Stephen's skiff, his hair spreading like a mat of yellow seaweed...calling upon Stephen to 'lay over, there,' heaved himself into the little boat, gliding his seventeen stone over the gunwale so that it remained just free of the surface. 'I believe you once said you were taught Greek when you were a little boy,' said Stephen as he paddled gently towards the frigate. 'To be sure I was taught it,' said Jack, laughing. 'Or rather I was attempted to be taught it, and with many a thump; but I cannot say I ever learnt it. Not beyond zeta, at all events.' 'Well, I am no Grecian either, but I did get as far as upsilon; and there I met with the word hybris, which some writers use for insolent pride of strength or achievement, open unguarded triumph and exultation.' 'Nothing more unlucky.' 'Nor in a way more impious, which is perhaps close kin. Herod was probably guilty of hybris, before being eaten by worms.' 'My old nurse - back astern, there. T'other oar. Look alive.' Jack's old nurse had had a capital remedy for worms, or rather against worms, but it was lost in the dismal collision, the rescuing of Maturin from the bottom of the boat, the recovery of his sculls. Jack, when he at last got there, was received at the gangway by Killick, screened by Richardson, Elliott, the young gentlemen and two quartermasters, and wrapped in a large towel. All hands knew perfectly well how the wind was blowing, and though utterly indifferent to his state themselves, they did not wish Fox and his Old Buggers to see their Captain mother-naked."

293: "Jack sailed along the chosen parallel until the end of the chosen time for
conscience sake, and then, sad at heart, he gave the order to steer south-west, following the course he and the master, working throughout the afternoon on all the available charts, all Dalrymple's and Muffitt's notes and observations, had plotted as the best for Java. Sad at heart and angry too, or rather deeply vexed: he and his clerk had been making their usual readings of temperature, salinity and so on for Humboldt before sunset; he had all his tubes, pots and instruments by his open book in the cabin, but before recording the figures he had retired to the quarter-gallery, his privy. Sitting there he heard a crash and a confused tumbling, and when he came out he found that Stephen had fallen off the chair from which he was trying to catch a spider under the skylight and had not only flung sea-water all over his records but had broken an improbable number of instruments - hygrometers, seven different kinds of thermometer, Crompton's device for measuring specific gravity: practically everything made of glass. He had also contrived to shatter the hanging barometer and tear down a sword-rack: all this in a very moderate sea. By the time the cabin was in order darkness was at hand, and after quarters Jack climbed into the maintop to watch the rising of the moon."

318-19: The marooned Diane is wrecked in a typhoon. Jack, being optimistic, notes that there is plenty of wood on the island where they are stranded, and suggests building a boat as fast as they can.


"Stephen," said Jack, "We cannot beat back with this breeze and current...we must pick up the south-east trades as soon as possible, if we are to reach Pulo Prabang with the tail of the monsoon." "Never grieve, soul," said Stephen. "We shall go there at our leisure in the Surprise once that Buonaparte has been knocked on the head." <3

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