‘Get over, you bastard,’ said the girl, in her pure clear young voice. Jack had never heard a girl say bastard before, and he turned to look at her with particular interest. She was busy coping with the mare’s excitement, but after a moment she caught his eye and frowned. He looked away, smiling, for she was the prettiest thing — indeed beautiful with her heightened colour and her fine straight back, sitting her horse with the unconscious grace of a midshipman at the tiller in a lively sea. She had black hair and blue eyes; a certain ram-you-damn-you air that was slightly comic and more than a little touching in so slim a creature. She was wearing a shabby blue habit with white cuffs and lapels, like a naval lieutenant’s coat, and on top of it all a dashing tricorne with a tight curl of ostrich-feather. In some ingenious way, probably by the use of combs, she had drawn up her hair under this hat so as to leave one ear exposed; and this perfect ear, as Jack observed when the mare came crabwise towards him, was as pink as . . .
Post Captain – Patrick O’Brian