They had each received an official notification the day before, and for some reason each had brought it with him, folded or rolled. After a while Babbington and Ricketts took to changing all the words they could into obscenities, secretly in a corner, while Mowett wrote and scratched out on the back of his, counting syllables on his fingers and silently mouthing. Lucock stared straight ahead of him into vacancy. Stephen intently watched the busy unsatisfied questing of a shining dark-red rat-flea on the chequered sailcloth floor.
Master and Commander – Patrick O’Brian