A Letter to the Departed
Oh, my friend. I cannot believe I am resorting to this. Many
and doctors, including Doctor Clive, have mentioned the virtues of writing
to a friend or loved one lost, to ease one's conscience. But I do this for
you as much as for me.
I know you will never truly read this, but in my heart I don't
enough to know that I put down on paper the thoughts that I will never share
with anyone, especially the one person I should have told.
You were always a true friend, Archie. From the moment I came
Justinian, you showed me kindness I did not expect to find among more than
What you and Clayton did for me was infinitely admirable, and
I shall never
I will never forget your kindness during the time we spent
Mariette's loss was a hard one for me. I know I was young, and our Mr. Bush
would say I was too young to understand the concept of love. But as kind as
he is, and as well meaning, only you knew just how I felt. And you knew
what to say and what to do.
You consistantly showed me the meaning of true friendship,
and I aspire to
repay it by being the best man I can be.
I realize that emotion, to me, is an untested water. I tend
to lean toward
the reserved; a fault perhaps due to the way I was raised. Losing my mother
was a thing my father never got over, and I dare say I learned from him
quickly the way a proper gentleman should behave.
Well, Archie, it appears that I have become a proper gentleman.
Hornblower; can you believe it? It tries my tongue to even say it, even
though Commodore Pellew assures me it will come easier with time. My ship
is the Hotspur, a small recommissioned French frigate. She is not the Indy,
nor even the Renown, but she is mine. And Mr. Bush, whom I happened to run
into in Portsmouth, is my first Lieutenant. He is a wonder, and a most
excellent friend and confidante for a new captain.
Other things have changed as well.
I am also a husband.
And soon to be a father.
Unbelievable. Me, a father.
Who is the lucky girl you would ask?
Don't count her so lucky.
Her name is Maria. She is the daughter of my former landlady,
who is a
Well, let us just say she's not the most ladylike of ladies.
An interesting situation I've fallen into, Archie.
Maria is a kind, gentle, sweet, loyal woman. She helped me
immensely in a
time of need, and I felt the obligation, nay, the duty to help her.
Unfortunately - the only the aid I could properly lend was
a ring on her
finger, and my last name. The poor woman would accept nothing else, and
thinking on it, I fear I have damaged her sense of decorum. You were ever
the better man at understanding the fairer sex, Archie. I feel you would
never have found yourself in such a situation.
I wish I could love her, as I know she loves me. She is completely
to me, the best kind of wife any man could wish for. A perfect Captain's
wife. I should be proud to have her on my arm at any function, and I know
she would behave in a manner befitting a lady of her station.
But God forgive me, Archie, I don't love her. Not as she wishes,
deserves. She is a good friend, and trustworthy and everything I ought to
I know I'm not one to be passionate. But I love my life at
sea. I would
die without it. It is everything to me, as are the men that serve under me.
As were you.
How can I be a better husband, a good father? I wish I knew.
Maria I would be just that - and I don't know how to do it.
I should have told you so long ago, just how important you
were to me. I
sat at your deathbed, dry eyed. And you smiled at me, even at the end.
You smiled, and I couldn't even take your hand as you left me.
You took a sentence that was to be mine, and by doing so, allowed
me to live
a life I can be proud of.
As I told Commodore Pellew that day, I will never forget your
name, or what
you did for me.
I can be seen to be stiff and unyielding on the outside, however
hope to be seen also as understanding and loyal to my crew, and they to me.
But some nights, when I lie next to Maria, or by myself in
my bunk aboard
the Hotspur, I allow myself to think of all the things we went through
together, and how I should have shown you the affection I held in my heart
I have never been one for open emotion - but I should have
been the day you
I miss you, my dear friend.
I wish to all the Heavens you were here to help me with the
events of my
life as of late.
I try to be a good man, an honest Captain, and a good leader.
I cannot help but think that I would be better at all of those
you still alive, and in my life.
Ah - Mr. Bush calls - I must answer my duty.
I remain truly yours,