Quote of the Day

Indignation at the Sophie‘s treatment was not confined to the sloop, but naturally it was strongest there, and as the crew heaved the capstan round to unmoor they sang a new song, a song that owed nothing whatever to Mr Mowett’s chaste muse.

Fuck old Harte, Fuck old Harte,
That red-faced son of a dry French fart.
Hey ho, stamp and go,
Stamp and go, stamp and go,
Hey ho, stamp and go.

The cross-legged fifer on the capstan-head lowered his pipe and sang the quiet solo part:

Says old Harte to his missis
O what do I see?
Bold Sophie’s commander
With his fiddle-dee-dee.

Then the deep cross rhythmical bellow again

Fuck old Harte, Fuck old Harte,
That one-eyed son of a blue French fart.

 

– Master and Commander – Patrick O’Brian

Quote of the Day

‘Dear Doctor, you know what to do?’ Stephen nodded, taking over the spokes and feeling the life of the wheel. The quartermaster stepped away, picked up a cutlass with a grim look of delight. ‘Doctor, what’s the Spanish for fifty more men?’

‘Otros cincuenta.’

‘Otros cincuenta,’ said Jack, looking into his face with a most affectionate smile. ‘Now lay us alongside, I beg.’

Master and Commander – Patrick O’Brian

Quote of the Day

He darted below. Stephen had four quiet wounded men, two corpses. ‘We’re boarding her,’ said Jack. ‘I must have your man — every man-jack aboard. Will you come?’

‘I will not,’ said Stephen. ‘I will steer, if you choose.’

‘Do — yes, do. Come on,’ cried Jack.

Master and Commander – Patrick O’Brian

Quote of the Day

The Spanish bowman was about to hook on when Stephen, speaking a Scandinavian but instantly comprehensible Spanish, called out, ‘Have you a surgeon that understands the plague aboard your ship?’

The bowman lowered his hook. The officer said, ‘Why?’

‘Some of our men were taken poorly at Algiers, and we are afraid. We cannot tell what it is.’

‘Back water,’ said the Spanish officer to his men. ‘Where did you say you had touched?’

‘Algiers, Alger, Argel: it was there the men went ashore. Pray what is the plague like? Swellings? Buboes? Will you come and look at them? Pray, sir, take this rope.’

‘Back water,’ said the officer again. ‘And they went ashore at Algiers?’

‘Yes. Will you send your surgeon?’

‘No. Poor people, God and His Mother preserve you.’

‘May we come for medicines? Pray let me come into your boat.’

‘No,’ said the officer, crossing himself. ‘No, no. Keep off, or we shall fire into you. Keep out to sea — the sea will cure them. God be with you, poor people. And a happy voyage to you.’ He could be seen ordering the bowman to throw the boathook into the sea, and the launch pulled back fast to the bright-red xebec.

They were within very easy hailing distance now, and a voice from the frigate called out some words in Danish; Pram replied; and then a tall thin figure on the quarter-deck, obviously the captain, asked, had they seen an English sloop-of-war, a brig?

‘No,’ they said; and as the vessels began to draw away from one another Jack whispered, ‘Ask her name.’

Cacafuego,’ came the answer over the widening lane of sea. ‘A happy voyage.’

‘A happy voyage to you.’

Master and Commander – Patrick O’Brian

Quote of the Day

‘Back the foretopsail slowly, Mr Marshall,’ murmured Jack, ‘and keep the hands to the braces.’ He murmured, for he knew very well that the frigate’s officers had their glasses trained on the quarter-deck, and a persuasive fallacy assured him that the glasses would magnify his voice as well.

Master and Commander – Patrick O’Brian

Quote of the Day

‘Take great care of the paint, now.’

At this point Stephen fell straight into the sea — into the hollow of the sea between the boat and the side of the sloop as they drew away from one another. He sank at once, rose just as they came together, struck his head between the two and sank again, bubbling. Most of the Sophie‘s people who swim leapt into the water, Jack among them; and others ran with boat-hooks, a dolphin-striker, two small grapnels, an ugly barbed hook on a chain; but it was the brothers Sponge that found him, five fathoms down (heavy bones for his size, no fat, lead-soled half-boots) and brought him up, his clothes blacker than usual, his face more white, and he streaming with water, furiously indignant.

Master and Commander – Patrick O’Brian

Quote of the Day

‘Sir,’ came Dillon’s voice over the intervening sea, ‘you will be pleased to hear the Norwegians are all safe.’
‘What?’
‘The – Norwegians – are – all – safe.’ The two vessels came closer. ‘They hid in a secret place in the forepeak — in the forepeak,’ went on Dillon.
‘Oh, fuck their forepeak,’ muttered the quartermaster at the wheel; for the Sophie was all ears — a very religious hush.
‘Full and by!’ cried Jack angrily, as the topsails shivered under the influence of the quartermaster’s emotion. ‘Keep her full and by.’
‘Full and by it is, sir.’
‘And the master says,’ continued the distant voice, ‘could we send a surgeon aboard, because one of his men hurt his toe hurrying down the ladder.’
‘Tell the master, from me,’ cried Jack, in a voice that reached almost to Cagliari, his face purple with effort and furious indignation, ‘tell the master that he can take his man’s toe and fuck with it.’
He stumped below, £875 the poorer, and looking thoroughly sour and disagreeable.

Master and Commander – Patrick O’Brian

Quote of the Day

He was not afraid for his skin, not afraid for himself: but presently his climbing body, now half-way up the shrouds, let him know that for its own part it was in a state of rapidly increasing terror. Forty feet is no very great height, but it seems far more lofty, aerial and precarious when there is nothing but an insubstantial yielding ladder of moving ropes underfoot; and when Stephen was three parts of the way up cries of ‘Belay’ on deck showed that the staysails were set and their sheets hauled aft. They filled, and the Sophie heeled over another strake or two; this coincided with her leeward roll, and the rail passed slowly under Stephen’s downward gaze, to be followed by the sea — a wide expanse of glittering water, very far below, and directly underneath. His grip on the ratlines tightened with cataleptic strength and his upward progress ceased: he remained there spreadeagled, while the varying forces of gravity, centrifugal motion, irrational panic and reasonable dread acted upon his motionless, tight-cramped person, now pressing him forward so that the checkered pattern of the shrouds and their crossing ratlines were imprinted on his front, and now plucking him backwards so that he bellied out like a shirt hung out to dry.

Master and Commander – Patrick O’Brian

Quote of the Day

By the Right Honourable Lord Keith, Knight of the Bath, Admirable of the Blue and Commander in Chief of His Majesty’s Ships and Vessels employed and to be employed in the Mediterranean, etc., etc., etc.
Whereas Captain Samuel Allen of His Majesty’s Sloop Sophie is removed to the Pallas, Captain James Bradby deceased —
You are hereby required and directed to proceed on board the Sophie and take upon you the Charge and Command of Commander of her; willing and requiring all the Officers and Company belonging to the said Sloop to behave themselves in their several Employments with all due Respect and Obedience to you their Commander; and you likewise to observe as well the General Printed Instructions as what Orders and Directions you may from time to time receive from any your superior Officer for His Majesty’s Service. Hereof nor you nor any of you may fail as you will answer the contrary at your Peril.
And for so doing this shall be your Order.
Given on board the Foudroyant
at sea, 1st April, 1800.

To John Aubrey, Esqr,
hereby appointed Commander of
His Majesty’s Sloop Sophie
By command of the Admiral Thos Walker

Master and Commander – Patrick O’Brian