Friday, April 30, 2004

Poem for Friday

My Sweet, Crushed Angel
By Hafiz

You have not danced so badly, my dear,
Trying to hold hands with the Beautiful One.

You have waltzed with great style,
My sweet, crushed angel,
To have ever neared God's heart at all.

Our Partner is notoriously difficult to follow,
And even His best musicians are not always easy
To hear.

So what if the music has stopped for a while.

So what
If the price of admission to the Divine
Is out of reach tonight.

So what, my dear,
If you do not have the ante to gamble for Real Love.

The mind and the body are famous
For holding the heart ransom,

But Hafiz knows the Beloved's eternal habits.

Have patience,

For He will not be able to resist your longing
For Long.

You have not danced so badly, my dear,
Trying to kiss the Beautiful One.

You have actually waltzed with tremendous style,
O my sweet,
O my sweet crushed angel.


The above poem swiped from . It's the last day of poetry month and I am quite sorry. I hope other people will keep posting poems periodically!

: Alternate Universe 5
1. AUs: yes please or what's the point?

Yes please in some cases, when it really makes me think about the characters and who they'd be in a different setting, though when I run across RPF I wonder why the writer didn't simply change the names and write the story as original fiction with those actors "playing" the characters instead.
2. What's the best AU you've read?
's "Five Things That Never Happened To Aubrey and Maturin, Part Five...The World Turned Upside Down."
3. What's the worst AU you've read?
It involved the Voyager crew in Earth's past and Janeway being a virgin. 'Nuff said.
4. How would you like to see your fandom altered that you haven't seen yet?
I don't tend to think that way or I'd probably write it. For me the interest tends to be working around the edges of canon, not overhauling it.
5. What AU worked that you never would have expected?
There've been a couple where Aragorn took the Ring and siezed the throne of Gondor that surprised me, because I don't like darkfic and I certainly don't like evil!Aragorn. And yet it was instructive to see him fall as an ordinary man.

1. Go into your LJ's archives.
2. Find your 23rd post (or closest to).
3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
I'm not sure whether Katie Holmes is the worst screen kisser in the history of television or if she just doesn't like kissing the regulars on DC, but she always looked like she thought Jack and Pacey might give her cooties and her kisses with Dawson in the season premiere...let's just say I shared Television Without Pity's sense that it would be less painful to tear my eyeballs out than keep watching.
Oh my god, I hit a post about Dawson's Creek. *blush* Am running out the door to have blood drawn. Whose bright idea was it to do fasting blood work at 11? :p If I do not pass out, I should be home, and ravenous, in a little while.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Poem for Thursday

By Alfred Noyes

Give me the pulse of the tide again
And the slow lapse of the leaves,
The rustling gold of a field of grain
And a bird in the nested eaves;

And a fishing-smack in the old harbour
Where all was happy and young;
And an echo or two of the songs I knew
When songs could still be sung.

For I would empty my heart of all
This world's implacable roar,
And I would turn to my home, and fall
Asleep in my home once more;

And I would forget what the cities say,
And the folly of all the wise,
And turn to my own true folk this day,
And the love in their constant eyes.

There is peace, peace, where the sea-birds wheel,
And peace in the breaking wave;
And I have a broken heart to heal,
And a broken soul to save.


Poem swiped from the wonderful . Am absolutely loving National Poetry Month. , , would like to swipe from you too, if you don't mind...

The end of the world has arrived in Washington, DC. No -- not the cicadas, though those are coming, too (see GIP). The dreaded snakehead fish has been found in Pine Branch Lake at Wheaton Regional Park, one of my favorite spots to take the kids on weekends. So, naturally, they have to drain the lake. If the Asian invader has spawned, and spread into the Northwest Branch, which flows into the Anacostia and the Potomac, will they drain the rivers, too?

Also, I am never ever moving to Virginia, even if we could afford a house there that's twice as big and our kids would be in smaller public school classes and less crowded schools.

posted this Sunday Times interview with Russell Crowe (with pics) from last November for someone else, but I am linking anyway because I love the defensiveness of certain interviewers, particularly men, when Russell growls at them; Russell seems to deal better with reporters who growl back at him, which entertains me because some of my favorite interviews I've ever done were with people who got pissy until I snapped at them. Russell, like Anjelica Huston, though, is on my list of people I would never want to interview because real life couldn't possibly live up to fantasy.

This morning you all get the rush job because I am going out to see and have not done one instant of work yet. Bwaaah. Comments later!

Wednesday, April 28, 2004


I've posted on this topic several times before, but I've become involved in several new fandoms since the last time, and there are lots of people on my friends list now who weren't there before, and based on some comments I've received recently, I am feeling the need to revisit the topic of how I feel about RPF. If you've heard me talk about this before, you can probably leave now, as my feelings have not changed substantially since the last time. For anyone else who wants to know...

Whenever I talk about RPF (real person fiction), I always start with a quote from Broadway Melody of 1938, spoken just before Judy Garland's character started writing that famous love letter to Clark Gable, "You Made Me Love You." It's particularly instructive, I think, because it's nearly 70 years old; some fans seem to believe that RPF and its more recent offshoot RPS is a recent trend among teenies, but that simply isn't true. The quote is, "Now, look here, young lady - you stop thinking about those motion picture actors and you go right to sleep! And mind you - no dreaming about them, either!" Which I think we can all agree is the unreasonable extreme of restriction upon fannish fantasy. Far more than their roles as artists, movie stars exist as such for us to dream about. And think about. And, dare I say, talk about. It's why they're celebrities.

Garland sang "You Made Me Love You" to Gable at several public occasions, so I daresay as well that he didn't think of her as a stalker just because she publicly professed to having fantasies about him. Of course, it's different between celebrities to begin with -- they're presumed to understand the extent to which the persona one sees is just that, though given the number of affairs they seem to have while making movies together which fall apart as soon as they're fully out of character, one does sometimes wonder whether it's really true. My point is that it's been widely understood since the creation of stardom that people would fantasize about the stars, who were at one time so prepackaged and marketed that playing themselves was a bigger occupation than playing their characters. To some extent, for certain celebrities, this is undoubtedly still true.

I have a story on my web site about discovering RPS by accident, but it doesn't tell the whole story. It is true that I discovered lotrips while looking for Smallville fic, finding what I thought was a Clark/Lex story and discovering only a third of the way in that it was, in fact, Viggo Mortensen/Elijah Wood, at which point the part of my brain that wanted to know if there was Viggo Mortensen/Sean Bean fic was crying out far more loudly than the part of my brain that was saying, "Should people really be posting this stuff in public, where absolutely anyone could find it including the celebrities themselves and their underage fans?" (I know that saying "think of the children" makes some people go berserk, to which I can only say: look, I have children, and I do supervise their internet usage, and I have watched one of them type in the name of an actor to look up a project only to see RPF show up in the Google result. Parental supervision can only go so far with a completely unrestricted internet.)

The truth is that I already had a vague notion of public RPF from a friend who'd left Trek fandom for boy band fandom, but I didn't think about it much, partly from an out-of-sight, out-of-mind attitude -- I didn't read or look for anything having to do with BSB or N'Sync, and it seemed very marginal as a result. But I also knew full well at that point that private RPF existed. I'd written it. In fact, in one case, I'd posted it to a closed mailing list. But we're talking about a very, very limited number of people who ever saw this, all friends, people I knew by real names and occupations, and the stuff was covered with disclaimers not only stating that it wasn't true, but that it was never to be shared with anyone without the express written consent of the author, and its existence was not even to be discussed. (And yes, it's Trek, and no, you can't see it.)

I knew I wasn't the only one; every fic mailing list I'd signed onto at that point had big warnings, "ABSOLUTELY NO STORIES ABOUT THE ACTORS!" And, you know, people don't write disclaimers like that unless it's been an issue, either on the lists or in their own imagined possibilities. I think it was taken for granted until very recently that if you thought things like that, you only told your best friends, and if you wrote it down, you only showed them. That's what has changed -- not the existence of RPF, but its publicity and the widespread sense now that there aren't the same legal or ethical concerns that there once were.

Nearly everyone reading this probably knows I've written LOTR RPS. At one time I posted it, too, under a different username that shall not be mentioned here (note to anyone leaving comments: you mention her, you're off my friends list!), because after that initial stumble into lotrips, I discovered that there were reams of it and thought, hey, why not get involved? The lotrippers were by and large a friendlier group than the Tolkien fan writers I knew, not as nitpicky about trivia from books, more welcoming, and, in many cases, much better writers of erotica.

Moreover, on LiveJournal at least, one could get the impression that there was more fic being written about the actors than the characters. There are several reasons for this, I think: the ease of writing in modern rather than Tolkienesque English, the fact that the actors seem so open to discussing themselves and their feelings for one another in a way the characters largely do not, the voluminous interviews and source material (as opposed to a handful of novels), the photos, Ian's web site, Viggo's poetry, Dom and Billy's seeming determination in every interview to suggest that they might be any rate, I saw all this and I didn't think much about the ethics of private versus public posting when I first got involved. I was more concerned with my privacy than with the actors', not really fearful that anyone who stumbled into the fandom would have any more trouble determining its fictionality than I did.

Then I met a nutcase. Not one of the Lij/Dom tinhats, though it might just as well have been; I never knew any of them by anything other than reputation. This was a person whom I'd thought was relatively sane and stable, until I discovered that she drew no distinctions between her fantasy life about the actors and objective reality concerning them. It really freaked me out. Not that I thought she was a threat to anyone other than herself, or perhaps a couple of other friends in the fandom, but that was enough.

It made me rethink my personal ethics concerning RPF, the privacy issues involved, both among fans and concerning celebrities. There's so damn much of the stuff...unlike anything around before, this public wealth of stories about actual people that isn't specifically parody, though I've been told that both certain musicians and certain science fiction actors had their own closed communities of RPF writers in the past. I still wrestle with the shared-reality issues, the consent issues -- does willingness to sell oneself on magazine covers imply consent to have oneself commodified in printed fictional form? -- and particularly the fact that, for people whose grasp on reality is already tenuous, RPF seems to encourage completely abandoning any attempt to separate personal fantasy from the sometimes illusory notion of community via the "shared reality" of RPF. It seems to have all the usual fandom power games and BNF issues, plus its own set of specific delusional behaviors centered on the fact that one can attempt to raise money in Sean Astin's name or meet Karl Urban at a convention, unlike Sam or Eomer.

All that said...this week, for the first time in a long time, I've been hearing from the other side. The people who have serious ethical issues with RPF, not in the ridiculous "writing fanfic is equivalent to rape" sense or even in the people-should-be-able-to-copyright-their-own-names sense but in the concern that if this sort of published falsehood is permissible and acceptable about celebrities, it has implications for all of us. But, that said, I have to wonder what's at stake for the people who most vehemently insist upon the wrongness of RPF -- and I don't mean the knee-jerk homophobes or the ones who are uncomfortable with any public discussion of sexuality, I mean the ones who quietly pass moral judgments on people who write it or even joke about it. I'm certainly guilty of a great deal of the latter in this journal. But it's my journal. If it makes you uncomfortable, you don't have to read it, or you can read it and say hey, that's her thing, not mine.

My feelings are pro-choice in this as in most things. If you want to read/post RPF in public, with your real name, so long as it's disclaimed to distinguish it from libel, fine; if you want to post it anonymously because you fear it could get you in trouble in your line of work or you're just not sure of the legal ramifications, that doesn't mean you're doing anything illicit; if you want to read it but you don't want to write it, that's your prerogative; and if it offends you and you don't want to read it or even talk about it, I understand completely. But saying you'd rather not discuss it and saying "this is wrong" are two different things.

Poem for Wednesday

From Lizards, Frogs and Polliwogs
By Douglas Florian

The Red-Eyed Tree Frog

Tomato eyes.
Catches flies.

Orange toes.
Loves to pose.

Matchstick legs.
Hatches from eggs.

Swallows bugs.
Lives on T-shirts and coffee mugs.

The Komodo Dragon

I am komodo.
I’m gruesome and gray-
The most massive lizard
That’s living today.
Birds and boars
For me are a meal,
Plus all those who don’t think
That dragons are real.

The Tortoise

I wear a helmet
On my back.
It’s hard
And guards
Me from attack.
And if I wheeze,
   Or sneeze,
      Or cough,
The shell I dwell in
Won’t fall off.
It’s glued without
A screw or mortise.
I’m born with it,
For I’m a tortoise.

The Chameleon

Chameleon, comedian,
We never know which skin you're in.
Sometimes you're yellow,
Then you're green,
Turquoise blue, or tangerine.
Chameleon, you're hard to find.
Comedian, make up your mind!

My son was doing a report on this poet for school, and I was so charmed I decided to post some of his poems, though they're really much better with the illustrations. Here is my son's brief biography:

"Douglas Florian was born in New York. When asked, 'What was your childhood like,' he replied in his own words, 'I grew up surrounded by landscapes, seascapes, and portraits covering the wall. You could always smell linseed oil in the nearby air.' He had great and challenging teachers when studying at Queens College and The School Of Visual Arts. The first book he ever wrote was called A Bird Can Fly, and he is still improving upon it today. His father is an artist who is still alive. Douglas himself is still a poet. Today he can be found living in New York and writing poems."

: "Tracks", for the memory challenge. Really needed more than 100 words, but 100 words is all I ever allow myself in Smallville because I am so freakin' behind on the episodes and out of the fandom.

And now a whole bunch of links and spam. First, from , and I don't know how I never saw this before but I am hugely grateful to her: "Thus Spake Maximus (Battle Royale: Crowe vs. Nietzsche)". Made me howl with self-conscious glee; oh, I do need my reality checks where celebrities are concerned.

Meanwhile posted a link to Playboy's Charisma Carpenter pictures, and I am ashamed of how pleased their sheer cheap commercial tawdriness makes me. I almost stopped watching Buffy because I hated her acting, I never started watching Angel because she was on the series, and I am far too gleeful that she has lived down to my lowest expectations, when if it was an actress I liked who had posed for Playboy I would probably be rationalizing her airbrushed, shaved, commodified use of her body as some sort of liberation. I suck.

So, some fic recs. First, Keiko's "More Certain in Affection", a M&C story not connected to her other M&C stories, Post Captain-era AU. It's full of little period detail, which is marvelous, but that's not what captures me about her writing. A decent number of people do O'Brian well stylistically, but she just writes these men with such a wealth of emotion, subtly yet directly expressed, with so much respect and affection. And she and I see the characters so similarly as well, glossing over the same things and highlighting the same characteristics...this one didn't make me cry the way "The Glass Portrait" did, but it's still wrenchingly lovely.

I am reading very little LOTRfic at the moment; am overwhelmed by the sheer volume of it, distracted by the amount of angst and not even sure which characters really rouse my empathy at present. But I did read 's "Fos Almir" and was just overwhelmed. I can't pretend to be an expert on Samwise Gamgee in fanfic but I can't imagine anyone writing him better than Bill.

And then I stumbled across 's "It Must Be The Flu", in another fandom of which I only crawl around the very edges. It's Remus/Sirius dizzy fearful falling in love, one of those pieces that just made me smile for twenty minutes while I was eating breakfast, remembering it.

And, okay, I just had to post these, after I found that pic of Russell trying to smoke with his cigarette between his toes, because the parallels sprung to mind so strongly that I went hunting for the Knight's Tale screen cap just to look at the images side by side. Shall title the pair "Foot In Mouth Disease":

I'll stop now. Really I will. No, I swear. At least until next time.

Ahem! Also gacked from !

Life at Hogwarts
Full Wizard Name?
Favourite Teacher?
Animagus? TRUE
Wand Dragon Heartstring/Mahogany
Best Class... Potions
This person doesn't like you very much Reese Waterstone
This Marauder has a crush on you... Remus Lupin
Campatability with your Marauder... - 47%
This QuickKwiz by LiselleDeFontaine - Taken 767 Times.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Notes on 'HMS Surprise' and 'The Mauritius Command'

Sequel to this post about my favorite moments from Post Captain:


26: Stephen: "He is, as you know, a paederast. Not that I have anything against paederasty myself - each man must decide for himself where beauty lies and surely the more affection in this world the better."

28-9: Jack profited by them: in the evenings, after the watch was set, he would work lunars or read Grimble on Conic Sections with real pleasure,in the intervals between writing to Sophie and playing his fiddle. 'How amazed Stephen will be,' he reflected. 'How I shall come it the philosopher over him: and how I wish the old soul were here.'

52: Jack, wrapped in a boat-cloak...sat in the stern-sheets, filled with a pleasurable anticipation. He had not seen Stephen Maturin for a vast stretch of lonely he had been for the want of that harsh, unpleasant voice!

63: Jack unable to eat for worry about Stephen. "Up and down the water-line of the half-moon beach, with his hands behind his back, turning over various private marks that might make Stephen smile if he missed this first rendezvous: some degrees of tension, to be sure, but none of the devouring anxiety of that first night long ago,sout of Palamós, when he had had no idea of his friend's capabilities...In the beam of the lantern the paper showed a straggle of disconnected lines: Dear J -- some words, lines of figures -- the signature S, trailing away off the corner, a wavering curve. 'This is not his writing,' whispering still in the darkness, caution rising still over this certainty of complete disaster. 'This is not his hand.' 'He has been tortured.'

"Then, after a slight pause and in a diffident tone he said, 'My dear Simmons, here are some personal papers and letters I will trouble you with, if I may, to be sent home from Gibraltar in the event of things going amiss.' The first lieutenant looked down, and then up again into Jack's face; he was profoundly troubled, and he was obviously seeking for words. Jack did not wish to hear them: this was his own affair...and at this pitch of cold tension he wanted no gestures of any kind, either. He had no emotion to spare for anyone else...Stephen saw them walk into his timeless dream: they had been there before, but never together. And never in these dull colours. He smiled to see Jack, although poor Jack's face was so shockingly concerned, white, distraught. But when Jack's hands grappled with the straps his smile changed to an almost frightened rigour: the furious jet of pain brought the two remote realities together. 'Jack, handsomely, my dear,' he whispered as they eased him tenderly into a padded chair. 'Will you give me something to drink, now, for the love of God?'"

87: Sir Joseph discusses Stephen's illegitimacy, born on the wrong side of the blanket, and being "so chaste...that at one time we were uneasy...there was one liaison, however, and that set our minds at rest. A young woman of very good family: it ended unhappily, of course."

91: "'What is it?' asked Stephen at last, with a bestial snarl... 'Sunday morning, surely to God, and you would be at your holystoning?' The bag, worn against the moon-pall, stifled his words but not the whining tone of a man jerked from total relaxation and an erotic dream."

92: "To the infinite distress of the afterguard a huge shadow fell across the deck - the captain, stark naked and carrying a towel. 'Good morning, Doctor,' he said. 'What are you about?' 'Good morning my dear,' said Stephen."

111: Young Conroy with his smooth girl's face so beautiful, Jack totally unmoved but this could not be said for all his shipmates.

140: Stephen begging to disembark to find fruit for the crew: " notoriously supplied with all these commodities." "So it is," said Jack. "And with vampires."

153: "'I cannot imagine,' said Jack, recovering the chaplain and guiding him along the gangway, 'what that sloth has against me. I have always been civil to it, more than civil; but nothing answers. I cannot think why you speak of its discrimination.' Jack was of a sanguine temperament; he liked most people and he was surprised when they did not like him. This readiness to be pleased had been damaged of recent years, but it remained intact as far as horses, dogs and sloths were concerned; it wounded him to see tears come into the creature's eyes when he walked into the cabin, and he laid himself out to be agreeable. As they ran down to Rio he sat with it at odd moments, addressing it in Portuguese, more or less, and feeding it with offerings that it sometimes ate, sometimes allowed to drool slowly from its mouth; but it was not until they were approaching Capricorn, with Rio no great distance on the starboard bow, that he found it respond. The weather had freshened almost to coldness, for the wind was coming more easterly, from the chilly currents between Tristan and the Cape; the sloth was amazed by the change; it shunned the deck and spent its time below. Jack was in his cabin, pricking the chart with less satisfaction than he could have wished: progress slow, serious trouble with the mainmast - unaccountable headwinds by night - and sipping a glass of grog... The sloth sneezed, and looking up, Jack caught its gaze fixed upon him; its inverted face had an expression of anxiety and concern. 'Try a piece of this, old cock,' he said, dipping his cake in the grog and proferring the sop. 'It might put a little heart into you.' The sloth sighed, closed its eyes, but gently absorbed the piece and sighed again. Some minutes later he felt a touch on his knee: the sloth had silently climbed down and it was standing there, its beady eyes looking up into his face, bright with expectation. More cake, more grog: growing confidence and esteem. After this, as soon as the drum had beat the retreat, the sloth would meet him, hurrying towards the door on its uneven legs: it was given its own bol, and it would grip it with its claws, lowering its round face into it and pursing its lips to drink (its tongue was too short to lap). Sometimes it went to sleep in this position, bowed over the emptiness. 'In this bucket,' said Stephen, walking into the cabin, 'in this small half-bucket, now, I have the population of Dublin, London and Paris combined: these animalculae - what is the matter with the sloth?' It was curled on Jack's knee, breathing heavily: its bowl and Jack's glass stood empty on the table. Stephen picked it up, peered into its affable, bleary face, shook it, and hung it upon its rope. It seized hold with one fore and one hind foot, letting the others dangle limp, and went to sleep.Stephen looked sharply round, saw the decanter, smelt to the sloth, and cried, 'Jack, you have debauched my sloth.'" Later when they argue he calls him "salope."

179: Stephen picks on Jack over the ship's butt-ends and hanging knees and how he whines: "God set a flower upon you, my dear, with your ten-inch spike." Stephen also complains that Jack has been prattling in his sleep about it.

186: Stephen thinking about Diana and his unreasoning attachment: 'He was surely lost in a cloud of unknowing; but at least it was a peaceful cloud at present and sailing through a milky sea towards a possible though unlikely ecstasy at an indefinite remove was, if not the fulness of life, then something like its shadow.'

191: "They have chosen their cake, and must lie on it." "You mean, they cannot have their bed and eat it." "No, no, it is not quite that, neither. I mean -- I wish you would not confuse my mind, Stephen."

197: "Why, there you are, Stephen," cried Jack. "You are come home, I find." "That is true," said Stephen with an affectionate look: he prized statements of this kind in Jack."So are you, joy; and earlier than usual. You look perturbed. Do you find the heat affects you? Take off some of these splendid garments." Then Jack tells Stephen that Diana is in India, learns that Stephen already knew, and looks at him sideways about being "a close one."

206: Jack tearing up telling Stephen how much he loves Sophie and how he wants a neat cottage, Stephen tells Jack to write to her, Jack accidentally insults Irishmen and then says, "Autre pays, autre merde." Stephen tells Jack to hurry as Sophie is a beauty "whereas although you are tolerably well-looking in your honest tarpaulin way, you are rather old and likely to grow older; too fat, and likely to grow even fatter -- nay, obese...horribly knocked about, earless, scarred: brother, you are no Adonis. Do not be wounded," he said, laying his hand on Aubrey's knee, "when I say you are no Adonis." Then he insults his wit, too.

243: Jack writes to Sophie about Stephen's attachment to Diana. "'He is a deep old file, and I do not pretend to any great penetration; but I love him more than anyone but you, and strong affection supplies what intellect don't -- he lit up like a boy when we reached the soundings.'"

246-52: Jack takes Stephen up into the top. "'I have rarely been more moved -- delighted; and am most sensible of your kindness in carrying me up.'" Jack talks about his history on the ship: "On the broad rim of the square hole that sat on the topmast head there were the initials JA cut deep and clear, supported on either side by blowsy forms that might have been manatees, though mermaids were more likely -- beer-drinking mermaids. 'Does that not raise your heart?' he asked. 'Why,' said Stephen, 'I am obliged to you for the sight of it, sure.' 'But it does raise your heart, you know, whatever you may say,' said Jack. 'It raises it a hundred feet above the deck. Ha, ha -- I can get out a good thing now and then, given time -- oh ha, ha, ha! You never smoked it -- you was not aware of my motions.' When Jack was as amused as this, so intensely amused throughout his whole massive being, belly and all, with his scarlet face glorious and shining and his blue eyes darting mirth from their narrowed slits, it was impossible to resist. Stephen felt his mouth widen involuntarily, his diaphragm contract, and his breath beginning to come in short thick pants. 'But I am truly grateful to you, my dear,' he said, 'for having brought me to this proud perilous eminency, this quasi-apex, this apogee; you have indeed lifted my heart, in the spirit and in the flesh; and I am now resolved to mount up daily...what an ape, or even I may say an obese post-captain can accomplish, that also I can do.'"

259: "Stephen said, 'Have you ever contemplated upon sex, my dear?' 'Never,' said Jack. 'Sex has never entered my mind, at any time.'" Then Stephen goes on about the burden of sex upon the male bird with the pretty feathers.

273: Mr Stanhope dies, Jack says they came on a fool's errand, Stephen recites, "'And all of a piece throughout/Thy chase had a beast in view/Thy wars brought nothing about/Thy lovers were all untrue.'"

309: After being on the Indiamen to prepare to meet Linois, Jack returns to the Surprise. 'The lively pleasure of being aboard his own ship again -- her quick life and response after the heavy deliberation of the Indiaman -- her uncluttered decks, a clean sweep fore and aft -- the perfect familiarity of everything about her, including the remote sound of Stephen's 'cello somewhere below, improvising on a theme Jack knew well but could not name.'

326: Etherege, Stephen's second: "'Oh dear me. No apology in that case I presume? But did you say Canning? Ain't he a Jew? You don't have to fight a Jew, Doctor. You must not put your life at risk for a Jew. Let a file of Marines tan his unbelieving hide and ram a piece of bacon down his throat, and leave it at that.' 'We see things differently,' said Stephen, 'I have a particular devotion to Our Lady, who was a Jewess, and I cannot feel my race superior to her; besides, I feel for the man; I will fight him with the best will in the world.'"

342: Just before the duel with Canning, Stephen goes to ask Jack to play with him. "'Have you come aboard, my plum?' cried Jack, looking up from the bosun's accounts with a beaming face." Then Jack tells him they are to carry treasure for the Company to clear his debt and Stephen says, "'That is news indeed. Ha, ha, I give you joy, with all my heart. I am delighted -- amazed." Jack is humming the Boccherini adagio even though he is not in the least melancholy and tells Stephen that Canning will send his letter overland to Sophie asking her to come to Madeira. And after they play Stephen gives Jack his papers and explains that he fights Canning in the morning.

350: Jack looks at Diana and blames her for Stephen's wounding and the death of Canning and yet knows he attacked her virtue himself. "That meeting under the trees could have taken place over the most virtuous of women, the world being what it was...the common cant *it is different for men* was no comfort... Virtue: the one he esteemed above all was courage; and surely it included all the rest? ...She possessed it -- never a doubt of that. She was standing there perfectly straight, so slim and frail he could break her with one hand: a tenderness and admiration he had thought quite dead moved in him." Still, he refuses to give her passage.

358: Jack cares for the wounded, delirious Stephen and overhears both official secrets and Stephen's secrets. "For a man as proud as Stephen (and Lucifer could not hold a candle to him) it would be death to know that even the closest friend had heard his naked statements of desire and all his weaknesses laid as bare as Judgment Day." He sits sponging Stephen, embarrassed, ashamed and confused. "He had looked upon Stephen as the type of philosopher, strong, hardly touched upon by common feelings, sure of himself and rightly so; he had respected no landsman more. This Stephen, so passionate, so wholly subjugated by Diana, and so filled with doubt of every kind, left him aghast; he would not have been more at a loss if he had found the Surprise deprived of her anchors, ballast and compass."

362: Stephen hugs the carapace of Testudo Aubreii.


22: Stephen on a cow refusing the bull: "'From a philosophical point if view, her behaviour is logical enough. Reflect upon the continual, wearisome pregnancies, the price of a momentary and I may say aleatory pleasure. Reflect upon the physical discomfort of a full udder, to say nothing of the necessary parturition, with its attendant perils...were I a female of any kind, I should beg to decline these general cares.'"

32: Jack: "'. . . The trouble is that I had somehow got the wrong notion of marriage. I had thought there was more friendship and confidence and unreserve in it than the case allows. I am not criticizing Sophie in the least degree, you understand --' 'Certainly not.' '-- but in the nature of things . . . The fault is entirely on my side, I am sure. When you are in command, you get so sick of the loneliness, of playing the great man and so on, that you long to break out of it; but in the nature of things it don't seem possible.'" The Stephen says, oh, so you wouldn't mind being called to sea? And Jack says he should kiss the messenger.

44: Stephen sees Jack glowing with the discovery that he will be given a ship: "'You are as transparent as a bride.'"

72: "Mr. Farquhar often used Latin expressions that made Jack uneasy, and referred to authors Jack had never read: Stephen had always done the same (indeed, it would have been difficult to refer to any author with whom Jack was acquainted apart from those who wrote on fox-hunting, naval tactics, or astronomy) but with Stephen it was entirely different. Jack loved him, and had not the least objection to granting him all the erudition in the world, while remaining inwardly convinced that in all practical matters other than physic and surgery Stephen should never be allowed out alone."

141: Stephen asks whether Clonfert is a bugger and McAdam says "'It is the wise man that can always separate male and female.'"

142: Stephen to Jack: "'I beg you will take notice, Commodore...that I am come aboard seven minutes before my time, and I desire it may be made up, whenever the requirements of the service next permit.'"

166-7: Stephen makes excuses for not discussing the Druids by claiming he has an appointment, which turns out to be with an aardvark he wants to sketch. "'There, honey, it is done,'" Stephen says when he is finished, "showing the aardvark its likeness."

180: Jack asks Stephen whether he'll climb into the maintop with him. "'Certainly,' said Stephen. 'To the ultimate crosstrees, if you choose: I too am as nimble as an ape.' Jack was moved to ask whether there were earthbound apes, as compact as lead, afflicted with vertigo, possessed of two left hands and no sense of balance; but he had seen the startling effect of a challenge upon his friend, and apart from grunting as he thrust Stephen up through the lubber's hole, he remained silent until they were comfortably installed among the studding-sails."

302: Stephen rolls his eyes at Jack's seamanlike superstitions even as he tells Farquhar how much he respects Jack's judgment in naval matters and his conviction and military intuition.

309: Stephen is injured. "'There, there, take it easy,' said Jack, looking anxiously into his face and speaking in that compassionate protective voice which has vexed so many invalids into the tomb." Meanwhile Stephen is urgently trying to tell him to get to sea.

327: "' do you spell chimaera?' 'Many people start with ch, I believe. Have you told her about my stink-pot petrol?' 'Is not stink-pot a hellish low expression for a letter, Stephen?' 'Bless you, my dear, a mother that tends her own babies will not boggle at stink-pot.'"

332: Jack tells Stephen that he has a son and heir.

342: Stephen admits his depression to McAdam who says, "'Occasionally [a man] may be pulled out by his prick.' 'You mean he may remain capable of love?' 'As between men and women I use the word lust: but call it what you like...he may tide himself over with opium, for awhile.'"

Notes on 'Post Captain'

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


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."

Departure Is A Simple Act (M

Have just watched the Showtime 20-minute preview for their production of The Lion In Winter starring one of my goddesses, Glenn Close, and the illustrious Patrick Stewart, about whom I have one thing to say from this preview: omgHAIR! Yes, I know this is a rather shallow reaction, but I was so distracted by seeing him with long lovely hair that I couldn't get a sense of him as Henry II at all.

In truth, much as I love the cast of the remake -- Jonathan Rhys-Meyers plays Philip of France, and he looked great in the preview, as did the guy playing Geoffrey, whom I don't know -- this is not a movie that in any way needed to be redone. The O'Toole-Hepburn version is absolutely perfect. And Nigel Terry in that one...rawrr. Now my kids want to watch that one and despite the fact that it really needed to be remastered for DVD, it's so wonderful...

So, this is a lots-of-spam post. First of all some Russell spam since I'm on a roll with it today: "Russell Crowe Offers Aid to Montreal Jewish School", with more here. (Am so glad my imaginary boyfriend has not turned out to be an anti-Semitic asshole like Mel Gibson.) And some Paul spam, an interview with his father, Thane Bettany, from The Scotsman. In which, unlike many interviews, he actually talks about being gay.

has posted all her favorite O'Brian lines, making me realize that I could do the same, having dutifully written them down (or borrowed them from other people's posts in a couple of cases). Here are the lines from the first novel, with more to follow...


1: "The listener further to the left was a man between twenty and thirty whose big form overflowed his seat, leaving only a streak if gilt wood to be seen here and there. He was wearing his best uniform – the white-lapelled blue coat, while waistcoat, breeches and stockings of a lieutenant in the Royal Navy, with the silver medal of the Nile in his buttonhole – and the deep white cuff of his gold-buttoned sleeve beat the time, while his bright blue eye, staring from what would have been a pink-and-white face if it had not been so deeply tanned, gazed fixedly at the bow of the first violin. The high note came, the pause, the resolution; and with the resolution, the sailor's fist swept firmly down upon his knee. He leant back into his chair, extinguishing it entirely, sighed happily and turned to his neighbour with a smile. The words 'Very finely played, sir, I believe' were formed in his gullet if not quite in his mouth when he caught the cold and indeed inimical look and head the whisper, 'If you really must keep beat the measure, sir, let me entreat you to do so in time, and not half a beat ahead. Jack Aubrey's face instantly changed from friendly ingenuous communicative pleasure to an expression of somewhat baffled hostility: he could not bet acknowledge that he had been beating the time; and although he had certainly done so with perfect accuracy, in itself the thing was wrong. His colour mounted; he fixed his neighbour's pale eye for a moment, said, 'I trust...' and the opening notes of the slow movement cut him short. The ruminative 'cello uttered two phrases of its own and then began a dialogue with the viola. Only part of Jack's mind paid attention, for the rest of it was anchored to the man at his side. A covert glance showed that he was a small, dark, white-faced creature in a rusty black coat – a civilian. It was difficult to tell his age, for not only did he have that kind of face that does not give anything away, but he was wearing a wig, a grizzled wig, apparently made of wire and quite devoid of powder: he might have been anything between twenty and sixty. 'About my age,' thought Jack. 'The ill-looking son of a bitch, to give himself such airs.'"

4: "Jack let his face return to its expression of cold dislike – the dying remnants of his artificial rapture were peculiarly disagreeable, as the faced – and in a low voice he said, 'My name is Aubrey, sir: I am staying at the Crown.' 'Mine, sir, is Maturin. I am to be found any morning at Joselito's coffee-house. May I beg you to stand aside?' For a moment Jack felt the strongest urge to snatch up his little gilt chair and beat the white-faced man down with it; but he gave way to a tolerable show of civility – he had no choice, unless he was to be run into..."

11: Stephen sees the hoopoe. "'What is a hoopoe?' cried Jack, staring about. 'A bird. That cinnamon-coloured bird with barred wings. Upupa epops. There! There, over the roof. There! There!' 'Where? Where? How does it bear?' 'It has gone now. I had been hoping to see a hoopoe ever since I arrived. In the middle of the town! Happy Mahon, to have such denizens. But I beg your pardon. You were speaking of wetting a swab.' 'Oh yes. It is a cant expression we have in the navy. The swab is this' – patting his epaulette – 'and when we first ship it, we wet it: that is to say, we drink a bottle or two of wine.' 'Indeed?' said Maturin with a civil inclination of his head. 'A decoration, a badge of rank, I make no doubt? A most elegant ornament, so it is, upon my soul. But, my dear sir, have you not forgot the other one?' 'Well,' said Jack laughing, 'I dare say I shall put them both on, by and by. Now I wish you a good day and thank you for the excellent chocolate. I am so happy you saw your epop."

33: "Jack filled their glasses (how the tide went in and out) and observed, 'Had I known you was a surgeon, sir, I do not think I could have resisted the temptation of pressing you.' 'Surgeons are excellent fellows,' said Stephen Maturin with a touch of acerbity. 'And where should we be without them, God forbid: and indeed, the skill and dispatch and dexterity with which Mr Florey at the hospital here everted Mr Browne's eparerial bronchus would have amazed and delighted you. But I have not the honour of counting myself among them, sir. I am a physician.' 'I beg your pardon: oh dear me, what a sad blunder. But even so, Doctor, even so, I think I should have had you run aboard and kept under hatch till we were at sea. My poor Sophie has no surgeon and there is no likelihood of finding her one. Come, sir, cannot I prevail upon you to go to sea? A man-of-war is a very fine thing for a philosopher, above all in the Mediterranean: there are he birds, the fishes – I could promise you some monstrous strange fishes – the natural phenomena, the meteors, the chance of prize money. For even Aristotle would have been moved by prize money. Doubloons, sir: they lie in soft leather sacks, you know, about so big, and they are wonderfully heavy in your hand. Two is all a man can carry.'

47: "'What am I to think of Captain Aubrey's invitation?' he said aloud, in the great emptiness of light and air- all the more vast for the inhabited patch down there and its movement, and the chequered fields behind, faded into pale dun formless hills. 'Was it merely Jack ashore? Yet he was such a pleasant, ingenuous companion.' He smiled as the recollection. 'Still and all, what weight can be attached to...? We dined extremely well: four bottles, or possible five. I must not expose myself to affront.' He turned it over and over, arguing against his hopes."

61: Stephen believes he will be left behind: "The strength of his emotion at the sight of the Sophie, her white sails and her low hull dwindling fast over the shining sea, showed him how much he had come to look forward to the prospect of a new place and new skies, a living, and a closer acquaintance with this friend who was now running fast towards the quarantine island, behind which he would presently vanish. He walked up through the town with his mind in a curious state; he had suffered so many disappointments recently that it did not seem possible that he could bare another. What was more, he had allowed his defences to disperse – unarm. It was while he was reassembling them and calling out his reserves that his feet carried him past Joselito's coffee-house and voices said, 'There he is – call out – run after him – you will catch him if you run.' He had not been into the coffee-house that morning because it was question either of paying for a cup of coffee or of paying for a boat to row him to the Sophie, and he had therefore been unavailable for the midshipman, who now came running along behind him. 'Dr Maturin?' asked young Mowett, and stopped short, quite shocked by the pale glare of reptilian dislike. However, he delivered his message; and he was relieved to find that it was greeted with a far more human look."

109: Able seaman to be hanged for sodomy with a goat. "Why will they report these things? The goat must be slaughtered – that's but fair – and it shall be served out to the mess that informed on him.' 'Could you not set them both ashore – on separate shores, if you have strong feelings on the moral issue – and sail quietly away?' 'Well,' said Jack, whose anger had died down. 'Perhaps there is something in what you propose. A dish of tea? You take milk, sir?' 'Goat's milk, sir?' 'Why, I suppose it is.' 'Perhaps without milk, then, if you please.'

115: "'Were I under naval discipline, could that fellow have me whipped?' He nodded towards Mr. Marshall." Jack is astounded. "'But he's the master...' said Jack. If Stephen had called the Sophie's stem her stern, or her trunk her keel, he would have understood the situation directly; but that Stephen should confuse the chain of command, the relative status of a captain and a master, of a commissioned officer and a warrant officer, so subverted the natural order, so undermined the sempiternal universe, that for a moment his mind could hardly encompass it... 'My dear sir, I believe you have been led astray by the words master and master and commander - illogical terms, I must confess. The first is subordinate to the second. You must allow me to explain our naval ranks some time. But in any case you will never be flogged – no, no; you shall not be flogged,' he added, gazing with pure affection and something like awe, at so magnificent a prodigy, at an ignorance so vary far beyond anything even his wide-ranging mind had yet conceived.

150-51: Stephen complains about "this foolish insistence upon the word surgeon." "'Do hereby appoint you surgeon...take upon you the employment of surgeon...together with such allowance for wages and victuals for yourself as is usual for the surgeon of the said sloop." It is a false description; and a false description is anathema to the philosophic mind.' 'I am sure it is anathema to the philosophic mind,' said James Dillon. 'But the naval mind fairly revels in it, so it does. Take that word sloop, for example.' 'Yes,' said Stephen, narrowing his eyes through the haze of port and trying to remember the definitions he had heard. 'Why, now, a sloop, as you know, is properly a one-masted vessel, with a fore-and-aft rig. But in the Navy a sloop may be ship-rigged - she may have three masts.' 'Or take the Sophie,' cried the master, anxious to bring his crumb of comfort. 'She's rightly a brig, you know, Doctor, with her two masts.' He held up two fingers, in case a landman might not fully comprehend so great a number. 'But the minute Captain Aubrey sets foot in her, why, she too becomes a sloop; for a brig is a lieutenant's command.' 'Or take me,' said Jack. 'I am called captain, but really I am only a master and commander.' 'Or the place where the men sleep, just for'ard,' said the purser, pointing. 'Rightly speaking, and official, 'tis the gun-deck, though there's never a gun on it. We call it the spar-deck - though there's no spars, neither - but some say the gun-deck still, and call the right gun-deck the upper-deck. Or take this brig, which is no true brig at all, not with her square mainsail, but rather a sorts of snow, or a hermaphrodite.' 'No, no, my dear sir,' said James Dillon, 'never let a mere word grieve your heart. We have nominal captain's servants who are, in fact, midshipmen; we have nominal able seamen on our books who are scarcely breeched - they are a thousand miles away and still at school; we swear we have not shifted any backstays, when we shift them continually; and we take many other oaths that nobody believes - no, no, you may call yourself what you please, so long as you do your duty. The Navy speaks in symbols, and you may suit what meaning you choose to the words.'

161-62: "'What, what's this? Walking about in the rain in your shirt? This is madness,' said Stephen's voice just behind him...'Madness. Think of the night air - the falling damps - the fluxion of the humours. If your duty requires you to walk about in the night air, you must wear a woollen garment. A woollen garment, there, for the captain! I will fetch it myself.'" Later "Jack stuffed his glass into the pocket of the grego Stephen had brought him" and later still, "'Allow me to fill your glass,' said Jack, with the utmost benevolence. 'This is rather better than our ordinary, I believe?' 'Better, dear joy, and very, very much stronger - a healthy, roborative beverage,' said Stephen Maturin."

175: James asks Stephen if he knows Marshall is a paederast, "And he is enamoured of Captain Aubrey – toils like a galley-slave – would holystone the quarter-deck if allowed – hounds the men with far more zeal than the bosun – anything for a smile from him.' Stephen nodded. 'Yes,' he said. 'But surely you do not think Jack Aubrey shares his tastes?' 'No. But I do think he is aware of them and that he encourages the man. Oh, this is a very foul, dirty way of speaking...I go too far. Perhaps I am drunk. We have nearly emptied the bottle.' Stephen shrugged. 'No. But you are quite mistaken, you know. I can assure you, speaking in all sober earnest, that he has no notion of it. He is not very sharp in some ways; and in his simple view of the world, paederasts are dangerous only to powder-monkeys and choir-boys, or to those epicene creatures that are to be found in Mediterranean brothels. I made a circuitous attempt at enlightening him a little, but he looked very knowing and said, "Don't tell me about rears and vices; I have been in the Navy all my life."' 'Then surely he must be wanting a little in penetration?' 'James, I trust there was no mens rea in that remark?'"

184: Jack has just told Stephen to put on silk stockings. "A Montpellier snake glided out with a dry rustling sound and traversed the room in a series of extraordinarily elegant curves, its head held up some eighteen inches above the ground. 'Oh, oh, oh,' cried Jack, leaping on to a chair. 'A snake!' 'Will these do?' asked Stephen. 'They have a hole in them.' 'Is it poisonous?' 'Extremely so. I dare say it will attack you, directly. I have very little doubt of it. Was I to put the silk stockings over my worsted stockings, sure the hole would not show: but then, I should stifle with heat. Do you not find it uncommonly hot?' 'Oh, it must be two fathoms long. Tell me, is it really poisonous? On your oath now?' 'If you thrust your hand down its throat as far as its back teeth you may meet a little venom but not otherwise. Malpolon monspessulanus is a very innocent serpent. I think of carrying a dozen aboard, for the rats – ah, if only I had more time, and if it were not for this foolish, illiberal persecution of reptiles... what a pitiful figure you do cut upon that chair, to be sure. Barney, Barney, buck or doe, Has kept me out of Channel Row,' he sang to the serpent; and, deaf as an adder though it was, it looked happily into his face as he carried it away."

188-9: Stephen is being bored to tears at the party by Captain Nevin while Jack makes and arse of himself. "Captain' Nevin's dyspepsy had puzzled the faculty for years, for years, sir; but he was sure it would yield to Stephen's superior powers; he had better give Dr Maturin all the details he could remember, for it was a very singular, interesting case, as Sir John Abel had told him - Stephen knew Sir John? - but to be quite frank (lowering his voice and glancing furtively round) he had to admit there were certain difficulties in - in evacuation, too... His voice ran on, low and urgent, and Stephen stood with his hands behind his back, his head bowed, his face gravely inclined in a listening attitude. He was not, indeed, inattentive; but his attention was not so wholly taken up that he did not hear Jack cry, 'Oh, yes, yes! The rest of them are certainly coming ashore - they are lining the rail in their shore-going rig, with money in their pockets, their eyes staring out of their heads and their pricks a yard long.' He could scarcely have avoided hearing it, for Jack had a fine carrying voice, and his remark happened to drop into one of those curious silences that occur even in very numerous assemblies. Stephen regretted the remark; he regretted its effect upon the ladies the other side of the orange-tree, who were standing up and mincing away with many an indignant glance; but how much more did he regret Jack's crimson face, the look of maniac glee in his blazing eyes and his triumphant, 'You needn't hurry, ladies - they won't be allowed off the sloop till the evening gun.' A determined upsurge of talk drowned any possibility of further observations of this kind, and Captain Nevin was settling down to his colon again when Stephen felt a hand on his arm, and there was Mrs Harte, smiling at Captain Nevin in such a manner that he backed and lost himself behind the punch-bowls. 'Dr Maturin, please take your friend away,' said Molly Harte in a low, urgent tone. 'Tell him his ship is on fire - tell him anything. Only get him away - he will do himself such damage.' Stephen nodded. He lowered his head and walked directly into the group, took Jack by the elbow and said, 'Come, come, come,' in an odd, imperative half-whisper, bowing to those whose conversation he had interrupted. 'There is not a moment to be lost.'"

200: "'A very fine landfall, Mr Marshall,' said Jack, coming down from the top, where he had been scrutinizing the cape through his glass. 'The Astronomer Royal could not have done better.' 'Thank you, sir, thank you,' said the master, who had indeed taken a most painstaking series of lunars, as well as the usual observations, to fix the sloop's position. 'Very happy to - approbation - ' His vocabulary failed him, and he finished by jerking his head and clasping his hands by way of expression. It was curious to see this burly fellow - a hardfaced, formidable man - moved by a feeling that called for a gentle, graceful outlet; and more than one of the hands exchanged a knowing glance with a shipmate. But Jack had no notion of this whatsoever - he had always attributed Mr Marshall's painstaking, scrupulous navigation and his zeal as an executive officer to natural goodness, to his nautical character; and in any case his mind was now quite taken up with the idea of exercising the guns in the darkness."

203-4: 'I am really pleased with tonight's exercise,' said Jack, tuning his fiddle. 'Now I feel I can run inshore with a clearer Conscience - without risking the poor sloop too much.' 'I am happy you are pleased; and certainly the mariners seemed to ply their pieces with a wonderful dexterity; but you must allow me to insist that that note is not A.' 'Ain't it?' cried Jack anxiously. 'Is this better?' Stephen nodded, tapped his foot three times, and they dashed away into Mr Brown's Minorcan divertimento. 'Did you notice my bowing in the pump-pump-pump piece?' asked Jack. 'I did indeed. Very sprightly, very agile. I noticed you neither struck the hanging shelf nor yet the lamp. I only grazed the locker once myself.' 'I believe the great thing is not to think of it. Those fellows, rattling their guns in and out, did not think of it. Clapping on to the tackles, sponging, swabbing, ramming - it has grown quite mechanical. I am very pleased with them, particularly three and five of the port broadside. They were the merest parcel of lubbers to begin with, I do assure you.' 'You are wonderfully earnest to make them proficient.' 'Why, yes: there is not a moment to be lost.' 'Well. You do not find this sense of constant hurry oppressive - jading?' 'Lord, no. It is as much part of our life as salt pork -even more so in tide-flow waters. Anything can happen, in five minutes' time, at sea - ha, ha, you should hear Lord Nelson!

228+: Stephen asks Jack to let him go ashore to visit a friend; Jack assumes a romantic liaison and agrees to send the cutter after sunrise, or the next day if necessary. Stephen praises Jack to Dillon as he is rowed ashore and spends the night enjoying nature. "He meant to sit there until dawn, and to establish a continuity in his mind, if that could be done: the friend (though existent) was a mere pretext. Silence, darkness and these countless familiar scents and the warmth of the land had become (in their way) as necessary to him as air. 'I think we may run in now,' said Jack. 'It will do no harm to be before our time, for I should like to stretch my legs a little. In any case, I should like to see him as early as can be; I am uneasy with him ashore. There are times when I feel he should not be allowed out alone; and then again there are times when I feel he could command a fleet, almost.' The Sophie had been standing off and on, and it was now the end of the middle watch, with James Dillon relieving the master; they might just as well take advantage of having all hands on deck to tack the sloop, observed Jack, wiping the dew off the taffrail and leaning upon it to stare down at the cutter towing astern, clearly visible in the phosphorescence of the milk-warm sea." Stephen has not returned and Jack is called away; he worries about manning his ships, but more, "If the Spaniards caught Stephen Maturin they would shoot him for a spy." He ends up anxious and exhausted, "Yet in that brief interval his darkening mind had time for two darts of intuition, the one stating that all was well with Stephen Maturin, the other that with James Dillon it was not. 'I had no notion he minded so about the cruise: though no doubt he has grown attached to Maturin too: a strange fellow,' he said, sinking right down. Down, down, into the perfect sleep of an exhausted healthy well-fed young fattish man - a rosy sleep; yet not so far that he did not wake sharply after a few hours, frowning and uneasy." During a chase "Jack found himself pondering anxiously about Stephen, forgetful of his duty."

245-9: "In times of stress Jack Aubrey had two main reactions: he either became aggressive or he became amorous; he longed either for the violent catharsis of action or for that of making love." He wishes there were a girl in his cabin. Indeed, this awareness of Jack's state of tension was general throughout the brig. 'Goldilocks is in a rare old taking about the Doctor,' they said. 'Watch out for squalls.' ... But Goldilocks was not the only one to be anxious, by any manner of means, and when Stephen Maturin was at last seen to walk out of the trees and cross the beach to meet the jolly-boat, a general exclamation of 'There he is!' broke out from waist to fo'c'sle, in defiance of good discipline: 'Huzzay!' 'How very glad I am to see you,' cried Jack, as Stephen groped his way aboard, pushed and pulled by well-meaning hands. 'How are you, my dear sir? Come and breakfast directly - I have held it back on purpose. How do you find yourself? Tolerably spry, I hope? Tolerably spry?' 'I am very well, I thank you,' said Stephen, who indeed looked somewhat less cadaverous, flushed as he was with pleasure at the open friendliness of his welcome."

276: "'Did you say Alexandria?' 'Yes.' 'In Lower Egypt?' 'Yes. Did I not tell you? We are to run an errand to Sir Sidney Smith's squadron before our next cruise. He is watching the French, you know.' 'Alexandria,' said Stephen, stopping in the middle of the quay. '0 joy. I wonder you did not cry out with delight the moment you saw me. What an indulgent admiral - paler classis - 0 how I value that worthy man!' 'Why, 'tis no more than a straight run up and down the Mediterranean, about six hundred leagues each way, with precious little chance of seeing a prize either coming or going.' 'I did not think you could have been such an earthling,' cried Stephen. 'For shame. Alexandria is classic ground.' 'So it is,' said Jack, his good nature and pleasure in life flooding back at the sight of Stephen's delight."

278: "It would have been difficult to imagine a pleasanter way of spending the late summer than sailing across the whole width of the Mediterranean as fast as the sloop could fly. She flew a good deal faster now that Jack had hit upon her happiest trim, restowing her hold to bring her by the stern and restoring her masts to the rake her Spanish builders had intended. What is more, the brothers Sponge, with a dozen of the Sophie's swimmers under their instruction, had spent every moment of the long calms in Greek waters (their native element) scraping her bottom; and Stephen could remember an evening when he had sat there in the warm, deepening twilight, watching the sea; it had barely a ruffle on its surface, and yet the Sophie picked up enough moving air with her topgallants to draw a long straight whispering furrow across the water, a line brilliant with unearthly phosphorescence, visible for quarter of a mile behind her. Days and nights of unbelievable purity. Nights when the steady Ionian breeze rounded the square mainsail - not a brace to be touched, watch relieving watch - and he and Jack on deck, sawing away, sawing away, lost in their music, until the falling dew untuned their strings. And days when the perfection of dawn was so great, the emptiness so entire, that men were almost afraid to speak."

302: Stephen on Dillon and Aubrey: "'JA is in many ways more suited to be a pirate chief in the Caribbean a hundred years ago: and for all his acumen JD is in danger of becoming an enthusiast - a latter-day Loyola, if he is not knocked on the head first, or run through the body.'"

317-19: Jack feels that he has played badly and Stephen says his heart is not in the music. "'Pom, pom, pom, pom,' went Stephen in unison with his 'cello, glancing at Jack: there was an exceedingly serious look on that darkened, heavy face, a kind of red light in his clouded eyes. 'I am coming to believe that laws are the prime cause of unhappiness. It is not merely a case of born under one law, required another to obey - you know the lines: I have no memory for verse. No, sir: it is born under half a dozen, required another fifty to obey. There are parallel sets of laws in different keys that have nothing to do with one another and that are even downright contradictory. You, now - you wish to do something that the Articles of War and (as you explained to me) the rules of generosity forbid, but that your present notion of the moral law and your present notion of the point of honour require. This is but one instance of what is as common as breathing. Buridan's ass died of misery between equidistant mangers, drawn first by one then by the other. Then again, with a slight difference, there are these double loyalties - another great source of torment.' 'Upon my word, I cannot see what you mean by double loyalty. You can only have one King. And a man's heart can only be in one place at a time, unless he is a scrub.' 'What nonsense you do talk, to be sure,' said Stephen. 'What "balls", as you sea-officers say: it is a matter of common observation that a man may be sincerely attached to two women at once - to three, to four, to a very surprising number of women. However,' he said, 'no doubt you know more of these things than I. No: what I had in mind were those wider loyalties, those more general conflicts - the candid American, for example, before the issue became envenomed; the unimpassioned Jacobite in '45; Catholic priests in France today - Frenchmen of many complexions, in and out of France. So much pain; and the more honest the man the worse the pain. But there at least the conflict is direct: it seems to me that the greater mass of confusion and distress must arise from these less evident divergencies The moral law, the civil, military, common laws, the code of honour, custom, the rules of practical life, of civility, of amorous conversation, gallantry, to say nothing of Christianity for those that practise it. All sometimes, indeed generally, at variance; none ever in an entirely harmonious relation to the rest; and a man is perpetually required to choose one rather than another, perhaps (in his particular case) its contrary. It is as though our strings were each tuned according to a completely separate system - it is as though the poor ass were surrounded by four and twenty mangers.' 'You are an antinomian,' said Jack. 'I am a pragmatist,' said Stephen. 'Come, let us drink up our wine, and I will compound you a dose - requies Nicholai. Perhaps tomorrow you should be let blood: it is three weeks since you was let blood.' 'Well, I will swallow your dose,' said Jack. 'But I tell you what - tomorrow night I shall be in among those gunboats and I shall do the blood-letting. And don't they wish they may relish it.'"

348-9: Jack is in trouble for having flaunted his liaison with Molly Harte. "Do you suppose one of your squills would be a good thing, in a general way, to set a man up? I feel as low as a gib cat - quite out of order.' Stephen looked at him attentively, took his pulse, gazed at his tongue, asked squalid questions, examined him. 'Is it a wound going bad?' asked Jack, alarmed by his gravity. 'It is a wound, if you wish,' said Stephen. 'But not from our battle with the Cacafuego. Some lady of your acquaintance has been too liberal with her favours, too universally kind.' 'Oh, Lord,' cried Jack, to whom this had never happened before. 'Never mind,' said Stephen, touched by Jack's horror. 'We shall soon have you on your feet again: taken early, there is no great problem. It will do you no harm to keep close, drink nothing but demulcent barley-water and eat gruel, thin gruel - no beef or mutton, no wine or will certainly be in a state to ruin your health, prospects, reason, features and happiness again by the time we raise Cape Mola.' He left the cabin with what seemed to Jack an inhuman want of concern and went directly below, where he mixed a draught and a powder from the large stock that he (like all other naval surgeons) kept perpetually at hand...he knew very well that Jack would act on the ancient seafaring belief that more is better and dose himself into Kingdom Come if not closely watched, and he stood there reflecting upon the passage of authority from one to the other in relationships of this kind (or rather of potential authority, for they had never entered into any actual collision) as Jack gasped and retched over his nauseous dose."

401: "'They tell me I am to be tried for the loss of the Sophie.' Jack had not thought of the court-martial since early that morning, when it became certain that the combined fleet was coming out: now it came back to him with an extraordinarily unpleasant shock, quite closing his stomach. However, he only replied, 'Who told you that? The physical gentlemen at the hospital, I suppose.' 'Yes.' 'Theoretically, they are right, of course. The thing is officially called the trial of the captain, officers and ship’s company; and they formally ask the officers if they have any complaints to make against the captain and the captain whether he has any to make against the officers; but obviously it is only my conduct that is in question. You have nothing to worry about, I assure you, upon my word and honour, nothing at all.' 'Oh, I shall plead guilty at once,’ said Stephen. 'And I shall add that I was sitting in the powder magazine with a naked light at the time, imagining the death of the king, wasting the medical stores, smoking tobacco and making a fraudulent return of the portable soup. What solemn nonsense this is' –- laughing heartily –- 'I am surprised so sensible a man as you should attribute any importance to the matter.' 'Oh, I do not mind it,' cried Jack. 'How you lie,' said Stephen affectionately, but within his own bosom. After a longish pause Jack said, 'You do not rate post-captains and admirals very high among intelligent beings, I believe? I have heard you say some tolerable severe things about admirals, and great men in general.' 'Why, to be sure, something sad seems to happen to your great men and your admirals, with age, pretty often: even to your post-captains. A kind of atrophy, a withering-away of the head and the heart. I conceive it may arise...' 'Well,' said Jack, laying a hand upon his friend’s dimly lit shoulder in the starlight, 'how would you like to place your life, your profession and your good name between the hands of a parcel of senior officers?'"

412: "'...the court is of the opinion that Captain Aubrey, his officers and ship's company used every possible exertion to prevent the King's sloop from falling into the hands of the enemy: and do therefore honourably acquit them. And they are hereby acquitted accordingly,' said the judge-advocate, and Jack heard none of it. The inaudible voice stopped and Jack's blurred vision saw the black form sit down. He shook his singing head, tightened his jaw and compelled his faculties to return; for here was the president of the court getting to his feet. Jack's clearing eyes caught Keats' smile, saw Captain Stirling pick up that familiar, rather shabby sword, holding it with its hilt towards him, while with his left hand he smoothed a piece of paper by the inkwell. The president cleared his throat again in the dead silence, and speaking in a clear, seamanlike voice that combined gravity, formality and cheerfulness, he said, 'Captain Aubrey: it is no small pleasure to me to receive the commands of the court I have the honour to preside at, that in delivering to you your sword, I should congratulate you upon its being restored by both friend and foe alike; hoping ere long you will be called upon to draw it once more in the honourable defence of your country.'"


Happy late birthday ! And happy early birthday ! See, I do eventually check the portal page...

Meme from : Invent a fanfiction I wrote and post about it in the comments. It can be anything you want, so long as it is something that I never wrote. Give me feedback! Mention your favourite quote! Flame me! Illustrate it! You know you want to.