By Patrick O'Brian
The starting of the sweeping Aubrey-Maturin sequence. "The most sensible sea tale i've got ever read."―Sir Francis Chichester
This, the 1st within the the best option sequence of Jack Aubrey novels, establishes the friendship among Captain Aubrey, R.N., and Stephen Maturin, ship's physician and intelligence agent, opposed to an exciting backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. information of a lifestyles aboard a man-of-war in Nelson's army are faultlessly rendered: the conversational idiom of the officials within the ward room and the boys at the reduce deck, the nutrition, the floggings, the mysteries of the wind and the rigging, and the roar of broadsides because the nice ships shut in conflict.
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Its tone of semi-literate, authentic, righteous dullness by no means assorted; it pointed out the outlet of beef-cask no. 271 and the dying of the loblolly-boy in just a similar voice, and it by no means deviated into human prose even for the taking of the sloop’s first prize. Thursday, June 28, winds variable, SE by way of S, path S50W, distance sixty three miles. – range 42°32'N, longitude 4°17'E, Cape Creus S76°W 12 leagues. reasonable breezes and cloudy PM. at 7 in first reef topsails. AM d° climate. workout the nice weapons. the folk hired sometimes. Friday, June 29, S and Eastward… mild airs and transparent climate. exercise the good weapons. PM hired worming the cable. AM average breezes and clouds, in 3rd reef maintopsail, bent one other foretopsail and shut reefed it, challenging gales at four passed the sq. main-sail at eight extra reasonable reefed the sq. mainsail and set it. At midday calm. Departed this existence Henry Gouges, loblolly-boy. exercise the good weapons. Saturday, June 30, gentle airs inclinable to calm. Exercised the good weapons. Punished Jno. Shannahan and Thos. Yates with 12 lashes for drunkenness. Killed a bullock weight 530 lb. is still of water three plenty. Sunday, July 1 … Mustered the ship’s corporation by means of divisions learn the Articles of battle played Divine carrier and dedicated the physique of Henry Gouges to the deep. At midday d° climate. Ditto climate: however the sunlight sank in the direction of a furious, pink, tumescent cloud-bank piled deep at the western horizon, and it was once transparent to each seaman aboard that it was once unlikely to stay ditto for much longer. The seamen, sprawling overseas at the fo’c’sle and brushing out their lengthy hair or plaiting it up back for each other, kindly defined to the landmen that this lengthy swell from the south and east, this unusual sticky warmth that got here either from the sky and the glassy floor of the heaving sea, and this horribly threatening visual appeal of the solar, intended that there has been to be a coming dissolution of all average bonds, an apocalyptic upheaval, a correct soiled evening forward. The sailormen had lots of time to depress their hearers, already low of their spirits as a result of unnatural demise of Henry Gouges (had stated, ‘Ha, ha, buddies, i'm fifty years outdated at the present time. Oh dear,’ and had died sitting there, nonetheless maintaining his untasted grog) – that they had lots of time, for this used to be Sunday afternoon, while during nature the fo’c’sle was once lined with sailors at their ease, their pigtails undone. a few of the extra proficient had queues they can tuck into their belts; and now that those adorns have been loosened and combed out, lank whilst nonetheless rainy, or hairy while dry and as but ungreased, they gave their proprietors a unusually lousy and foreboding glance, like oracles; which additional to the landmen’s uneasiness. The seamen laid it on; yet with all their efforts they can scarcely exaggerate the development, for the south-easterly gale elevated from its first caution blasts on the finish of the final dog-watch to a superb roaring present of air via the tip of the center watch, a torrent so encumbered with hot rain that the lads on the wheel needed to carry their heads down and cup their mouths sideways to respire.