William Bush's Journal - Mutiny
by PJ

The Arrival

Something tells me that this is not a happy ship.

I know, I'm not exactly well known throughout His Majesty's Navy as a
man of great perception, but on board HMS Renown it would be hard to
miss the signs.

I have waited all of my career for a chance like this one. Second
lieutenant on a ship of the line, serving under a captain a hero
like James Sawyer. And now that I find myself here I am uneasy.
There is a strange sort of atmosphere; almost like a scent on the
wind.

Captain Sawyer is very much as I expected, yet.... Perhaps what
imagination I possess is working overtime, but there did seem to be a
tension as soon as he stepped on board. He was stately and correct
in his manner, and addressed me as directly as could be expected
toward a subordinate. He seemed content with my answers to his
questions, so why do I feel as if I've been found somehow lacking?

Mister Buckland, the first lieutenant, is a tall gentleman of over
twenty years service to His Majesty. He strikes me as, at best,
diffident. At worst he might prove ineffectual and indecisive.
There was an almost fearful tone in is his attitude toward the
captain. An odd response.

But in thinking more on it perhaps not. A man like James Sawyer
casts a formidable shadow; its bound to get a bit cold standing in
it. To be a subordinate to such a leader is not easy for some. Not
having experienced such a situation myself can I really judge a man
who has? No doubt Mister Buckland is an able administrator and well
respected by the junior and warrant officers.

Speaking of which....

What can I say about my two immediate juniors? Hornblower (Lord, I
pity him that name!) and Kennedy. They've served together for some
time, I understand. There's a trust and a bond between them that
only comes from shared experience. The sort of bond that makes it
difficult to see each surviving without the other.

And yet they are such different men.

I would guess that Kennedy comes from an upper class family, for he
carries himself and speaks with a confidence and assurance that can
only come from money. Perhaps too much assurance, for he seems to
value himself above his rank of fourth lieutenant. I had occasion to
chastise him for a comment he made with regard to the captain,
although thinking back perhaps he wasn't implying what I thought.
Its difficult to know, for I also detected in his manner an almost
irrepressible sense of humour. The sort of humour that I can
appreciate as a fellow man, but must not condone as his superior
officer.

Well, time will tell. He seems to command the loyalty of the men, so
he must have the qualities necessary in a good officer. If only he
didn't always have that half-smile on his face!

Hornblower, on the other hand, could use an occasional smile.

He was the officer on watch when I came on board, amidst the
confusion of loading supplies and completing the re-fit to return to
sea. Its natural that with so much going on, and him responsible for
everything, that he would be a bit abrupt in greeting me. But I
never expected to be knocked down on the deck!

An interesting welcoming ceremony, to be sure.

True, if he hadn't pushed me down I might have been more seriously
injured. As I said to him, nothing damaged but my pride. But what
followed was an incident that I hesitate to commit to paper, despite
my intention to always be truthful in the pages of this journal.

Mister Hobbs, the ship's gunner, was serving the watch with Mister
Hornblower. He was directly supervising the loading (although not
very well to judge by the net of powder casks that nearly beheaded
me) and when Hornblower spoke to him after that near miss his
response startled me. Oh, his words were perfectly correct a
simple "Aye, aye, sir." - but his tone and manner were as sulky and
insolent as a five year old child's would be under similar
circumstances. I kept silent, watching to see how young Hornblower
would handle the matter.

Better than I would have when I was his age, certain sure. But there
was something in the manner of both men as they confronted each
other. Despite his response there was a light of anger that never
left Hobbs' eyes, combined with something else I couldn't quite
place. Contempt?

And Hornblower's attitude was equally puzzling. At first I thought
he had lost his temper, so fiery was his tone of voice. But as Hobbs
walked away I caught Hornblower's eye and was surprised at the
sadness I saw there. Perhaps sadness is not the right word, more a
melancholy. It was that contrast, between the fire breathing words
and the melancholy aspect, that made my next words sharper than they
need have been.

"Perhaps if the men were better supervised such accidents wouldn't
happen."

I deeply regret those words, as well as their implied criticism.
Especially in light of the fact that Hornblower had just spared me
from serious injury. For I can truly know nothing of what this ship
and crew are. Not yet, at any rate.

But I cannot take them back. I can only hope that I shall have an
opportunity in the future to replace them with words of better import.

Wm. Bush