Knock-knock on the door. ‘Beg pardon, your honour. Loblolly boy’s all in a mother, sir. Young Mr Ricketts has swallowed a musket-ball and they can’t get it out. Choking to death, sir, if you please.’
‘Forgive me,’ said Stephen, carefully putting down his glass and covering it with a red spotted handkerchief, a bandanna.
‘Is all well — did you manage . . .?’ asked Jack five minutes later.
‘We may not be able to do all we could wish in physic,’ said Stephen with quiet satisfaction, ‘but at least we can give an emetic that answers, I believe. You were saying, sir?’
Master and Commander – Patrick O’Brian