August 27 1666 London
(1) Deer Archie,
I decidet to write you as soon as posibel. I can not
tel you hau happie I am wit your note. It kame as a
big suprice me tis morning. You my haf dificulties to
reed tis letter, so I will write you agan soon wen me
writing has improvet. Wit lov, Anne.
P.S. your moter wil teats me to write properlie and I
lov you wit all me hart. Mis you badlie alreadie.
Dear son, Anne has asked me to learn her how to write
properly (properlie) and I personally think that is
not asked too much and her next letter to you will be
easier to read. Although you must admit her writing is
She has told me all about your note she found this
morning. How could you not trust your own mother, my
dear, I have thought from the very first moment I saw
you two together you would suit each other well. Your
good friend Horatio does so too. He told me so the
morning he left, and also that he thought that you
liked her much. Take good care that you keep this
friend my dear, to know someone like Horatio is a
valuable thing indeed.
I have only one other question to put to you; why did
you not tell Anne before? Or did you yourself just
find out that very morning?
When you receive this letter you have most likely been
at sea a few weeks already, so in your next letter
could you please tell me how's life on board the
Indifatigable, how's the captain? Isn't his name
Your mother (who is in good health by the way)
August 28 1666 o/b HMS Indefatigable
Dear mother, dear Anne,
I have barely set foot on board this ship or I receive
a letter from the two of you. Anne, thank you for the
words you have sent me, I will keep 'em forever! Don't
change your writing dear, I just love it the way it
is. I miss you also very much. Unbelievable that I
won't come home before four months are over (2) I love
you, your Archie
And now to my loving mother. I am afraid I cannot yet
tell you how I like or dislike it here, but it was
good to see Horatio again. He told me all. That calls
himself a friend! Telling everything he suspects to my
mother instead of meÖ but you gotta love the guy! Yes,
he is very perceptive. I will tell you more in my next
letter, I now finish this one up so it will reach you
soon. Your loving son
Lt. A. Kennedy.
September 1 1666 - - - (3)
My dear son,
It is already late in the evening but I thought it
would do me good to write you. Although I am a bit
tired, I will try to finish at least some lines. Anne
already is asleep. I have no doubt that she will write
Today we have undertaken the journey from London to -
- - to visit my dear sister (Mary) and my brother in
law Mrs and Mr Humphrey(4). They both were in good
health when we arrived, just two hours ago, and happy
to hear that you are too, at least when we last met.
Also they were very much delighted to get aquainted
with 'our' Anne.
They truly adore her, as do most people. I am very
glad she is so well accepted wherever she meets new
people, but she is such a dearie, you have to love
her. My guess is that you know that best of allÖ don't
worry me teasing you too much with it, although
sometimes I just can't help myself.
We are invited to stay here for at least four weeks,
or whenever we want to go home. No real departure date
had been decided on yet.
Please keep in touch with us, tell us all the things
that are going on on board!
September 2 1666 - - -
It has been a few days since my last letter. How are
you? Do you like it on board the new ship? How is the
crew? How is your friend? How is the food, is it bad
yet, I hope notÖ but I don't think so. Do you have
much to do? Please tell me what you do when at sea, I
am really interested. Those were all the questions I
could think of, and perhaps they have been asked
before. But would you please answer them?
I am fine, I really like your aunt and uncle. I think
they like me too. Everyone is so nice to me. With your
mothers help writing goes better. I now first write
down what I think, and then how it 'should' be
written. She helps me correcting. Thus getting a very
normal letter, with nothing really interesting.
Hopefully next time I write it is completely on my own
and I will be able to tell you more. All I have left
to say is that it is a very hot day and very sunny and
I wish you were here.
September 3 1666 - - -
This morning some very shocking news reached us.
London is on fire!(5) by now the fire already has
destroyed some whole streets, houses and churches and
God knows what more... Mr Humphrey will ride to the
city tomorrow to see what the real case is, on what
side of the Tames it is. Where it started, if our
house still stands... How fortunate that we had not
delayed our visit even one day! It must have been so.
Only think of it!
My dear Archie (OK, I know you would like your mother
to address you with Lt A Kennedy when you are at sea,
but you are still my youngest, my boy...) our stay
here will now at least be ten weeks, then we will see
if there is any going back. Everything is so turned
upside down! When there is more news we will write you
about it. If it would only rain! The summer had been
extremely dry. And it already being September it still
hasn't rained much. Some drops yesterday, but not
enough t call rain. Probably not before October has
entered will we see any of it.
Last but not least; we are all alright and busy with
our 'normal' things although it feels a bit odd to
continue those things when there is this catastrophe
not even so far from here.
September 5 1666 London
My dear sister, this letter will be very short because
I have no news of immediate importance to inform you
of. Your house is still untouched by the fire. Most of
the fire has already died out, or has been
extinguished. The city itself looks horrible. Dead, I
might as well call it. I expect my return in three
days. Please give my regards to my wife Mary and to
'your' Anne. Mr Humphrey.
September 10 1666 - - -
Can I call you that, 'my love'? I thought that after
so many 'dear Archies' you might prefer something
else. It has been eight days since my last letter.
Have you received that one already? Or will you get it
together with this one? I think the last will be the
case. With all the happenings of the last few days,
your mother, lovely person she is, has insisted that
my writing lessons continued. She said I did well
enough to try again, this time without her help. She
is nice and patient, but sometimes she can be very
hard on me, especially when I want to quit for that
day, or just can't have anymore of it.
Oh! When will you come home, I hope it will be soon!
It is not fair! Quit your whining, you can say that,
for you are the one far away from home.... don't tell
me that I am far away from home also. The village I
grew up in is pretty much gone, and all what could
keep me there is gone. That is one reason of why I am
here. Strange, now I think of it; another place I
loved to live in is... burned. It could be just me, or
a very strange coincidence...
Writing about the fire anyway, your uncle has
returned. London's burning(6) has (been) stopped, but
not before five days were over. On the seventh the
battle against the fire had its victory. Only then the
counting of the losses could begin. Dead, injured or
otherwise ruined people; there must be so many! An
area of one and a half miles by a half-mile is in
ashes(7). So many buildings are ruins now, nothing
more than heaps of rubbish and earth and stones. Your
uncle returned the eight and told us all he knew and
so I now tell you all I know. However, the house still
stands. The fire was on the other side of the city. My
love, I trust you are well, hope to hear from you
soon, very soon...
September 14 1666 o/b HMS Indefatigable
It is good to hear that all of you are well. I have
just received all your letters, here at Dover port,
and soon we will leave for Great Yarmouth. Within a
few hours actually, so I'll be quick with writing
We will be patrolling the coast and the channel for
the next few weeks. After that we have to go to the
Mediterranean, although that can change every
moment... because of the ravaging fire in London, this
ship won't be going there any time soon. From all I
understand of Anne's letter, is it possible for you to
even return to London?
She wrote that the house still stands, but how are the
conditions there? I am continuing to be fine, thanks
for being concerned.... Lt A. Kennedy
September 14 1666 o/b HMS Indefatigable
Dear Anne, my love!
No dearest, of course I don't mind you calling me
that. In a way that was the purpose of 'the note' you
know... if you had the opportunity to take a look at
me now, you'd see me smile from ear to ear.... Horatio
tells me I am behaving impossible since I met you. I
probably am but I still haven't figured out if that is
a good or a bad thing. With Horatio it is always so
hard to tell! If only he were in love he'd
I must say your letters have become more easy to read
since the first one... I still think it is amazing how
soon you have made this language your own.
Unfortunately, time does not permit me to answer all
your questions. It will still be a while before we
will see each other again. The 'details' I wrote to my
mother, and she will tell you all of it, I have no
doubt. I am really writing in a hurry now, skipping
lots of what I wanted to tell you, but this way the
letter will be on it's way to you within the hour. I
love you, your Archie.
September 18 1666 - - -
Dear son, your uncle has been back for just a week
when he went back 'there' again. We have no further
report from him. Businesses prevent him to stay here.
As for us; the weather is fine, remarkably soft for
this time of the year. Anne and I make long walks
through the garden while we still can. The park really
is lovely in the afternoon. And when we are not
outside she is in the library reading. It seems like
she is a little bookworm. Not even three weeks here
and she has already read a whole shelf. She loves to
read plays. You should take her to a theatre once...
when they are open again...
The Philips's have invited Anne for a ball that is to
be held in this neighbourhood. They want to meet her
very much, and they thought this was the best way for
everyone to become aquainted with her at the same
time. As you know the Philips's are the nearest
neighbours here. Their daughter Serena had a crush on
you three summers ago, but she then married some Lord
who is also in the army.
I am in good health, but my boy, if only I did not
worry so much when you are at sea. I always think the
most terrible things will happen to you, and they did
once. How grateful I am to have you 'back'! .... I am
sorry, I had promised you once not to talk or write
about that subject. And... never mind, I also had
promised not to discuss that with you. (9) But I do
hope you change your mind one-day.
That is all I have to write you now. Live is following
its normal course here, all is well and we hope to
hear from you soon.
Your loving mother.
September 27 1666 o/b HMS Indefatigable
Dear Mrs Kennedy.
My thanks to you for my stay at your house last
August. I trust you are all well.
However this is not the reason why I took up the
pen(10) to write you. I feel that I most inform you
that your son Lt. A. Kennedy is seriously ill. By the
time you get this letter I hope to arrive shortly
after together with him. He needs more care than can
be offered on board the Indy. Therefore we thought it
best to take him 'home' to you.
The symptoms are alike those of his fits, but now
accompanied with a fever. I hardly dare think of it,
were it not that it is the only logical diagnosis. I
'suspect' it to be ague(11). The only advice I can
give you is getting some cinchona powder. Although it
is hard to get(12), it is the only thing known as a
cure when it really is ague.
Our planned arrival will be on the 30th after noon.
Your servant Lt. H. Hornblower
END PART II
1) Try reading this aloud, it's easier. The poor thing
still hasn't learned how to write in English yetÖ
2) That's what he thinksÖ.
3) About a day's travel from London. Pretty much
wherever you want it to take place.
4) We had a cat once with that name. The interesting
part was that it was a London streetcat who's mother,
Lady, used to roam about at the docks, and one day
decided to go to sea, being found (at sea) by the
captain, who was about to throw them ('lady' and
'humphrey') overboard, when my uncle said that he
would take care of them until he would go home. Thus
the link London-ish, uncle, HumphreyÖ
5) Another fireÖ. The story begins to explain the
title? Not reallyÖ
6) London's burning was supposed to be the title of
part two, as was 'Sir Robert Holmes's bonfire' was
supposed to be the title of part one. The events in
part three (and four?) made me decide on FIYAH!
7) Fact. (there I go again) 373 acres inside the city
wall and 63 acres outside.
8) Conveniently 'forgetting' Mariette here...
9) Whatever she is hinting at here will be
'explained' in part three...nyah nyah!
10) Or should I use quill?
11) Nowadays known as malaria
12) Hard to get because in Protestant England many
orthodox physicians were prejudiced against its use
(talking 1666 here) and because its export from
Bolivia and Peru was in the hands of the Catholics and
also a reliable prescription had not yet been