Joy. As he walked heavily, solemnly down the stairs, it mounted in him, a great calm flood-tide of joy. His momentary disappointment about the Fanciulla (he had counted on her – such a quick, stiff, sweet-handling, weatherly pet) entirely vanished by the third step – forgotten, overwhelmed – and by the landing he had realized his happiness almost to the full. He had been made post. He was a post-captain; and he would die an admiral at last.
He gazed with quiet benevolence at the hall-porter in his red waistcoat, smiling and bobbing at the foot of the stairs.
‘Give you joy, sir,’ said Tom. ‘But oh dear me, sir, you’re improperly dressed.’
‘Thankee, Tom,’ said Jack, rising a little way out of his beatitude. ‘Eh?’ He cast a quick glance down his front.
‘No, no, sir,’ said Tom, guiding him into the shelter of the hooded leather porter’s chair and unfastening the epaulette on his left shoulder to transfer it to his right. ‘There. You had your swab shipped like a mere commander. There: that’s better. Why, bless you, I did that for Lord Viscount Nelson, when he came down them stairs, made post.’
‘Did you indeed, Tom?’ said Jack, intensely pleased. The thing was materially impossible, but it delighted him and he emitted a stream of gold – a moderate stream, but enough to make Tom very affable, affectionate, and brisk in hailing the chaise and bringing it into the court.
Post Captain – Patrick O’Brian