Leaning over the side he called, ‘Dr Maturin, will you not come aboard?” Stephen was no more of a mariner now than he had been at the outset of his naval career, and it took him a long moment to clamber snorting up the frigate’s side, propped by the agonized Killick, a moment that increased the attentive quarterdeck’s sense of expectation. ‘Mr Simmons,’ said Jack, fixing him with a hard, savage eye, ‘this is my friend Dr Maturin, who will be accompanying me. Dr Maturin, Mr Simmons, the first lieutenant of the Lively.’
‘Your servant, sir,’ said Stephen, making a leg: and this, thought Jack, was perhaps the most hideous action that a person in so subhuman a garment could perform. Hitherto the Lively’s quarterdeck had taken the apparition nobly, with a vexing, remote perfection; but now, as Mr Simmons bowed stiffly, saying, ‘Servant, sir,’ and as Stephen, by way of being amiable, said, ‘What a splendid vessel, to be sure – vast spacious decks: one might almost imagine oneself aboard an Indiaman,’ there was a wild shriek of childish laughter – a quickly smothered shriek, followed by a howl that vanished sobbing down the companion-ladder.
‘Perhaps you would like to come into the cabin,’ said Jack, taking Stephen’s elbow in an iron grip.
Post Captain – Patrick O’Brian