Quote of the Day

‘In this bucket,’ said Stephen, walking into the cabin, ‘in this small half-bucket, now, I have the population of Dublin, London and Paris combined: these animalculae – what is the matter with the sloth?’ It was curled on Jack’s knee, breathing heavily: its bowl and Jack’s glass stood empty on the table. Stephen picked it up, peered into its affable, bleary face, shook it, and hug it upon its rope. It seized hold with one fore and one hind foot, letting the others dangle limp, and went to sleep.

Stephen looked sharply round, saw the decanter, smelt to the sloth, and cried, ‘Jack, you have debauched my sloth.’

On the other side of the cabin-bulkheads Mr Atkins said to Mr Stanhope, ‘High words between the Captain and the Doctor, sir. Hoo, hoo! Pretty strong – he pitches it pretty strong: I wonder a man of spirit can stomach it. I should give him a thrashing directly.’

Mr Stanhope had no notion of listening behind bulkheads, and he did not reply; but he could not prevent himself from catching isolated sentiments, such as ‘ . . . paresseux . . . va donc, eh, salope . . . espèce de fripouille’, for the dialogue had switched to French on the entrance of the wooden-faced Killick.

HMS Surprise – Patrick O’Brian

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