‘No stores?’ thought Jack in the top, frowning. ‘Damn this.’ He put a leg over the side, feeling for the futtock-shrouds: but someone had seen a familiar purple bag handing up through the cutter’s main-hatch, and there was a cry of ‘Post’. At this word Jack leant out for the backstay and shot down on deck like a midshipman, forgetting his dignity and laddering his fine white stockings. He stood within a yard of the quartermasters and the mate of the watch as the two bags came jerking across the water. ‘Bear a hand, bear a hand there,’ he called out; and when at last the bags were inboard he had to make a strong effort to control his impatience while the midshipman passed them solemnly to Mr Randall, and while Mr Randall brought them across the quarterdeck, took off his hat, and said, ‘Weasel from the flag, sir, if you please.’
‘Thank you, Mr Randall,’ said Jack, carrying them with a fair show of deliberation into his cabin. Here he raped the seals of the post-bag with furious haste, whipped off the cord and riffed through the letters.
HMS Surprise – Patrick O’Brian