‘May I congratulate you upon saving him? The boat would never have come up in time. Such promptitude of mind — such decision! I honour it.’
‘It was pretty good, was it not?’ said Jack. ‘This is capital, upon my word,’ — nodding to the mainmast — ‘and at this rate we shall have the bentincks bent tomorrow. Did you smoke that? I said, the bentincks bent. Ha, ha, ha!’
Was he making light of it out of coxcombery, fanfaronade? From embarassment? No, Stephen decided. It was as genuine as his mirth at his ignoble tiny pun, or adumbration of a pun, the utmost limit of naval wit.
Post Captian – Patrick O’Brian