My dear Stephen, he wrote
Oh wish me joy – I am made post! I never thought it would be, though he received me in the kindest way; but then suddenly he popped it out, signed, sealed and delivered, with seniority from May 23rd. It was like a prodigious unexpected vast great broadside from a three-decker, but of happiness: I could not get it all aboard directly, I was so taken aback, but by the time I had smuggled myself back to the Grapes I was swelling like a rose – so happy. How I wish you had been there! I celebrated with a quart of your vile porter and a bolus, and turned in at once, quite fagged out.
This morning I was very much better, however, and in the Savoy chapel I said the finest thing in my life. The parson was playing a Handel fugue, the organ-boy deserted his post, and I said ‘it would be a pity to leave Handel up in the air, for want of wind,’ and blew for him. It was the wittiest thing! I did not smoke it entirely all at once, however, only after I had been pumping for some time; and then I could hardly keep from laughing aloud. It may be that post captains are a very witty set of men, and that I am coming to it.
Post Captain – Patrick O’Brian