Quote of the Day

‘Tell me, Stephen, what did you drink on that infernal rock?’

‘Boiled shit.’ Stephen was chaste in his speech, rarely an oath, never an obscene word, never any bawdy: his reply astonished Jack, who looked quickly at the tablecloth. Perhaps it was a learned term he had misunderstood. ‘Boiled shit,’ he said again. Jack smiled in a worldly fashion, but he felt the blush rising. ‘Yes. There was one single pool of rainwater left in a hollow. The birds defecated in it, copiously. Not with set intent – the whole rock is normally deep in their droppings – but enough to foul it to the pitch of nausea. The next day was hotter, if possible, and with the reverberation the liquid rose to an extraordinary temperature. I drank it, however, until it ceased to be liquid at all; then I turned to blood. Poor unsuspecting boobies’ blood, tempered with a little sea-water and the expressed juice of kelp.’

HMS Surprise – Patrick O’Brian

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