Jack, wrapped in a boat-cloak, with a dark-lantern between his knees, sat in the stern-sheets, filled with pleasurable anticipation. He had not seen Stephen Maturin for a vast stretch of time, made even longer by the grinding monotony of the blockade: how lonely he had been for the want of that harsh, unpleasant voice! Two hundred and fifty-nine men living in promiscuity, extreme promiscuity for the lower-deck, and the two hundred and sixtieth a hermit: of course it was the common lot of captains, it was the naval condition, and like all other lieutenants he had strained every nerve to reach this stark isolation; but admitting the fact made precious little odds to what it felt like. No consolation in philosophy. Stephen would have seen Sophie only a few weeks ago, perhaps even less; he would certainly have messages from her, possibly a letter. He put his hand secretly to the crinkle in his bosom, and lapsed into a reverie. A moderate following sea heaved the launch in towards the land; with the rhythm of the waves and the long even pull and creak of the oars he dozed, smiling in his almost sleep.
HMS Surprise – Patrick O’Brian