To Return With Honour
by Joan C.
Ross Carlyle stood shivering outside of the captain's cabin. Hornblower's gravity had frightened him. He had never been First Lieutenant before Skylark, and the assignment had seemed an easy one: sail to Portugal, pick up cargo, sail to England, and return home. What could be more simple? The Skylark was a new ship, Captain Campion was known as a fair and brave commander, and the crew, though small, had a fine complement of veteran seaman among its numbers. It was a dream appointment, one that he had accepted with alacrity, certain that he was ready for the challenge.
He had been wrong. And this was the first time he was admitting it. It had been an easy enough voyage over, perhaps too easy, for there had been nothing to bind the crew to their captain. No test of loyalty, no threat to security, no shared adversity to forge the necessary trust between men and officers. They had outrun a Dutch schooner. Their cheers had been cocky, and for a day, they had basked in that very specious victory.
Nothing had prepared Ross for the trials he was facing, now. And he was too weary to care. He wished his stomach weren't heaving, that his uniform weren't soaked through, but he could not walk away from Campion's summons. Dear God, what had gone wrong? He knocked softly, as if there were a chance Campion would not hear him.
"Come." And Ross entered.
Campion was standing by the stern windows, but as soon as the door closed, he turned towards his lieutenant. His face was pale and set, his mouth grim, and those grey eyes were as chill as the sea outside. For a long moment, the two men locked gazes, then Carlyle looked away, ashamed to know that he had somehow failed in his duty to the Skylark and his captain.
Campion's stern visage softened briefly as Carlyle broke down, but by the time the lieutenant found the courage to meet his captain's eyes, the mask of command was back in place. "I have been informed that we have a situation, Mr. Carlyle. One that I should have anticipated, and one that you failed to observe."
"Sir? I have done my best during this storm --" Carlyle objected, trying to think of some flaw in his management of the Skylark over the last hours.
"I have no quarrel with your physical working of the ship, Lieutenant. However, your handling of the men has been lax and negligent. I am ashamed to say that Hornblower and his men have been far more diligent and aware than you or I."
"I don't understand, sir."
Campion's brows leveled. "I can see that you don't. And that is the problem. What do you know of Bosun's Mate Cleaver?"
"He's a good hand, sir. Big, strong. A decent worker."
Campion nodded. "A troublemaker? A complainer?"
"I-I don't know, sir ..." Carlyle faltered.
"He is plotting a mutiny, Lieutenant. He is planning on forcing the hold, and taking a fortune. And neither you, nor I were aware of it. But Hornblower was. Mr. Kennedy was."
Carlyle's lips were white. "M-mutiny, sir? Surely there is a mistake!"
Campion's brows rose. "There is a mistake, indeed. And it is *ours*. Not yours alone, but mine as well. I cannot hold you to blame when I am equally -- if not more responsible. Perhaps we were too complacent, too confident. But the truth is known, and we have had our eyes opened."
Carlyle's mouth went dry. "What ..." his voice cracked, and he cleared his throat nervously. "What will you do, sir?"
"What will *we* do?" Campion's mouth twisted wryly. "We will do nothing. We have been warned, we will not be caught off-guard. However, we cannot afford to alienate and divide our crew by making accusations that we cannot prove or disprove. So, until we are safe in England or dead in the water, we shall lie quiet, keep our eyes well-opened, and allow Hornblower and his men to continue monitoring Cleaver and his plots. Do you understand, Mr. Carlyle?"
He was not sure that he did. He shook his head, "Sir, am I officially reprimanded? Am I to continue as your First officer?"
Campion looked at this young man who had never, ever questioned or shirked his duty. He had the makings of a fine officer and it was no fault of his that he had been pushed too quickly and too hard by ambitious interests backing his career. Campion knew that pressure very well -- his father had sent him to sea at eight, had tutored him in command, demanding nothing but perfection. He had hated it. But he had no choice but to excel. He had grown to love his life; he had also sworn that he would never drive any youth the way he had been driven.
"Mr. Carlyle -- Ross. You will notice that I have spoken of *our* mistakes. I cannot punish you for something when I share an equal blame. I think you have learned a lesson you will not forget. And so have I."
"Sir," Carlyle asked, puzzled. "How did Hornblower know?"
"Luck, and loyalty, Ross. An enviable mix. We can only hope for one, and earn the other."
"Yes, sir." Relief washed over Carlyle's face. "I will return to my watch, sir. If I may?"
"Do your duty, Lieutenant. We shall trust that Hornblower and his men will do theirs."
"Aye, aye, sir."
Campion waited until Carlyle left him. Then with a heavy sigh, he pulled out his log book to write the painful entry that had the power to end his career. He had no sooner dipped the quill into the inkwell, than the sudden hollow boom of a cannon shot sent him rocketing from his cabin and up to the deck. The Dutchman had returned.
It happened quickly. So quickly that the lookout on the mainmast scarcely had time to give a warning before the shot roared over the Skylark's bows. Horatio saw the flash from the corner of his eye, but could not discern dark hull of the Dutch ship through the rain and heaving seas. Early dusk was falling, making visibility impossible, and he could only guess at the range from the flight of the cannon ball; less than half a mile, surely.
Campion came to the quarter-deck, his breath coming in gasps, and betraying his haste. "What the devil is going on, Hornblower?"
"The Dutchman, sir. He has obviously been keeping closer station than we realized."
"Will you give the order to fire, sir?" Pyne was agitated, fairly dancing with impatience to strike back at his impudent foe.
Campion shook his head. "I think not, Mr. Pyne.We fire now, and they will know for certain that they have the range. They cannot see us any more than we can see them, but they will if we show them our position." He paused, then seemed to muse out loud. "Only one shot fired. Why?"
Overhearing the question, Horatio's mind raced with a possibility he had not thought of before. Did he dare offer his opinion? He gnawed his lip nervously, debating his options and then coming to a decision. He turned to Campion, a fire in his eyes.
"I beg your pardon, sir. Perhaps he does not know we are here ... Think on it, sir. He may have tipped his hand in a way he did not anticipate."
"Did you see where the shot came from?"
"Do we have the range?"
"I believe so, sir. Though I have never seen your gunners in action."
"If we fire and we are wrong, we shall find ourselves in a pitched battle in this bloody weather, Hornblower."
"If we do not, we may find ourselves caught between two ships, sir. And that is a battle we cannot win!" Seconds were ticking away, and with every one that passed, their chances of striking at the Dutch vessel were growing more faint.
Campion nodded sharply. "Mr. Pyne, Mr. Carlyle, Mr. Kennedy, run out all guns. When the crews are ready, fire the stern bowchaser; it matters not if it is accurate, it is to give us an idea of their position only. As soon as there is the first sign of response, give them a broadside."
"Aye, aye, sir." Pyne set off closely followed by Archie and Carlyle. In a moment, the creak of the gun ports opening and the rumble of the carriages reached the quarter-deck. Horatio suddenly doubted his thoughts. Dear Lord, what if he were wrong? They could be blasted to splinters in the blink of an eye! What if the second ship was just beyond their sight and firing the shot betrayed their position? His throat closed. He could not breathe. He cast a desperate glance at Campion and was shocked to see that his expression was a mirror of tension and doubt.
Campion filled his lungs with air and shouted, "Fire!"
Horatio jumped as the bowchaser fired into the darkness, its muzzle flashing briefly, the report sharp and hollow. And then they waited.
Nothing. Just wind, rain, and the sounds of the Skylark as she sailed. Horatio forced himself to swallow. His mouth was so dry that it hurt. His eyes strained to see, but darkness had come too completely to even imagine that there was a world beyond the rails of the Skylark.
Minutes passed, and tension drained from bodies and minds strained past bearing. Campion moved from Hornblower's side towards Pyne. "Mr. Pyne, set the stays'ls again. and let out two reefs in the mainsail. I think we had better take flight and hope that the dawn will see us well ahead of the Dutchman."
Horatio drew his first deep breath since the bowchaser had been fired. His knees were shaking as they took the shock of the Skylark leaping under the influence of the wind and added sail. He took hold of the rail, hoping it did not look as if he needed the support.
Campion noticed, and smiled. "What is the game, Mr. Hornblower?"
"I do not know, sir. It is a mystery." He rubbed his forehead and then as quickly, clasped his hands behind his back. "I cannot read his intent. But I think tomorrow will give us an answer."
"Then I order you to get some rest tonight."
"I will be all right, sir."
"No doubt. However, it would put my mind at ease to know that when the sun rises tomorrow morning, you will be awake and alive when I have need of you."
The prospect of sleep was enough to make Horatio dizzy with longing. He would argue, but when he opened his mouth, the words that came out were not an objection, but an assent. He touched the brim of his hat and lurched from the quarter-deck. When he reached his cabin, he stripped off his wet clothing, rubbed his body with a blanket to warm himself, and then wrapped in that blanket and pulling another over himself, he fell into his cot and into darkness.
Archie returned to the cabin two hours later, feeling weary enough himself to sleep for a hundred years. As he reached to extinguish the lantern, his gaze fell on Horatio. In exhaustion, his pale complexion was translucent, his eyes deeply circled with shadows. Naturally slender, the last months had worn him to the bone; seasickness and stress had attenuated him further. Archie feared that if this voyage did not end soon, it would kill him.
It might kill all of us, he thought, and extinguished the lantern. His hammock enfolded him. He pulled his blankets up to his chin and resolutely closed his eyes.
The guns crews stood down, the ports were closed, the decks cleared of buckets, swabs, and rammers. Hammocks were unslung, and occupied by exhausted seamen, snoring, coughing, dreaming restlessly. One man slipped from his hammock and went out into the companionway. He did not notice that he was followed by Seaman Styles.
What was that bastard Cleaver up to now? Styles wondered. Had a finger in every rotten pie on this ship, it seemed. He'd been a bit more cautious, too. Styles figured that Cleaver had seen him talkin' to Mr. Kennedy, and that had made him a mite leery of confiding in the Brits.
The Skylark was not a large ship, there were only so many shadows, so many recesses where nasty business could be planned. Styles knew all about dark recesses and the evil that lurked in the shadows. He'd been around, he 'ad, and had seen the Devil himself at work in the slight form of Jack Simpson. Next to that blackguard, Cleaver weren't anything to be feared -- nothin' but a greedy, bullyin' son of a bitch. Styles' fingers sought the hilt of his dagger as he moved silently down the companionway toward the holds. *Not now,* he thought. *Christ, not now!*
As the American passed the cargo hold with a nod towards the marine guards, Styles' heartbeat slowed for a moment, then quickened. What was beyond the cargo hold? He tried to envision the passage that he had only been down once. The guarded compartment where the gold was kept, the food and water stores almost as dear as the gold, the aft magazine. Styles shuddered, thinking of the kegs of powder that turned every ship of war into a floating bomb; and near to it, the armoury. Styles leaned against the bulkhead at his back and closed his eyes. The bugger was scoutin' for weapons. His mate, Wright, the armourer would be in on this. Styles heard footsteps approaching; there was nowhere to hide. Cripes! Nothing to do but meet trouble head on. He shoved away from the bulkhead and tried to look casual-like.
His sudden appearance startled Cleaver, who grabbed Styles' shirt front, hauling him close. "What're you doin', here?" he asked sharply.
Styles grinned. "Follerin you, mate. I was 'opin you was headin' to the steward fer an extra ration o'rum."
Styles feared Cleaver hadn't brought his story. Those cold eyes bored into his, but Styles had been raised in a school harder than anything Cleaver had ever faced, and after a moment, the suspicion lifted and he clapped Styles on the arm. "Nah, that bastard wouldn't give his grandmother a cuppa grog if she begged him. I got a bit put aside to warm the cockles of your heart, mate. Come on, then."
Styles wanted nothing more than to crawl into his hammock and sleep for the next seven days, but he reckoned this was more important. He'd have eternity to sleep if he let his guard down. He followed Cleaver to the lower deck, past the slung hammocks and the waiting guns, to a storage hold. Cleaver rooted amongst the rolled hammocks and canvas sacks until he came up with a canteen. He uncorked it, drank deeply and handed it to Styles. "Here you go, mate. Wet your whistle."
Styles took a swallow of the rough Jamaican rum. Wouldn't do to drink too much. He'd not eaten for hours, not slept for more. Adding rum to the mix was nothin' but trouble. He sighed, wiped his mouth, handed the canteen back to Cleaver. "That's bloody good, mate."
Cleaver sat back against the rolled hammocks. "Take a load off yer feet, Styles. Yer off duty, ain't ya?"
"I am. I am." He joined Cleaver, took the canteen in hand, and took a more judicious swallow. "Bloody weather. I ain't been dry and warm in three days."
"How long d'ye reckon it will last?"
Styles shrugged. "Can't say. I've known 'em to last a week or more." He gave Cleaver a sidelong glance. "Makin' a hash of your plans, is it?"
Cleaver took a deep swig of rum and gave a disgusted grunt of agreement. "Aye, it is. But as long as Hans is out there, we've still got a chance."
Styles nodded. "And if he don't attack?"
Cleaver took another deep swallow of rum. "There's more than one way to skin a cat, Styles. I got another plan if Hans don't cooperate."
Styles snorted in derision. "Yeah? Like walkin' up to them marines and beggin' their pardon, but would they mind steppin' aside so's you can help yourself?"
"In a manner of speakin', mate." He leaned close to Styles, his breath foul and hot. Before Styles could back off, Cleaver yanked the dagger from his belt and held it to his throat. "But you wouldn't tell a soul, would you?"
"Not if you cut me in," Styles whispered. When he swallowed, he could feel the edge of the blade against his skin. Cleaver's eyes glittered in the half light.
"And how do I know you won't go to those high and mighty officers o' yers? I seen you with that Mr. Kennedy --"
"Kennedy? Ye think I fancy that little shit?" Styles laughed. "Christ, let me tell you -- better yet, let me show yer somethin', Cleaver. Hey, mate, I promise, no tricks --" When Cleaver withdrew the knife and moved back, Styles sat up and pulled his shirt off. He knew that the scars DeVergesse had left were raw still, and that they were only the freshest lines on the map of agony that was his back. "Go ahead, Cleaver, touch me back." He grimaced as he felt Cleaver's damp palm on his skin.
"Jesus! Kennedy did that?"
"Kennedy ain't got the stomach fer it," Styles grunted.
"T'other one. Hornblower?"
"He stood there and watched every stroke." *Well, it weren't exactly a lie now, was it?* "Well, mate. I reckon that's better'n a bible, don't you?"
"Yeah, I reckon it is." Cleaver took another swallow of rum. "Awright, Styles. You're in." He settled on his haunches. "There's Krause and Tipton. You and me. Any of your mates in?"
Styles knew he could not risk Matthews being involved in this stew. Not Matty with his years of service, his petty officer rating -- he wouldn't even breathe his name, lest it be tainted somehow. "Oldroyd. He's a bit simple, but ye won't find a handier man in a fight. And he'll do what he's told."
Cleaver nodded. "Good. Now if Hans'd cooperate. What's he up to, d'ye think?"
Styles could answer this one truthfully. "I don't know, Cleaver. I ain't never seen anyone play this game. But the weather'll change soon and then we'll know. Mr. Hornblower thinks there's two ships chasin' us."
Cleaver flashed a grin. "Good." He paused when he heard the watch bell toll. "We gotta get out of here. Twelve men, Styles. I figger that's all we'll need. Twelve men, a boat, and a little help from our friend Hans." He capped the canteen, shoved it deep into the pile of canvas, and rose. He looked at the dagger in his hand and threw it point down into the deck at Styles' feet, before he vanished into the shadowy companionway.
Styles jerked on the haft, releasing the blade. "Twelve men and a boat ..." he mimicked. "Bloody stupid sod." He thrust the dagger into his belt and picked up his shirt. What he had done made him feel sick. Gettin' Oldroyd involved, mocking Kennedy, betraying Mr. Hornblower. It were a right fine tangle he'd woven for himself. One wrong step and he'd be swinging on a rope. He didn't dare be seen with Kennedy, now. Maybe if he let Cleaver think he was trying to convince Matthews to join in ... then at least he'd have Matty on his side, knowing the truth. Matty would speak fer him, if worse came to worse. But Matty had watch now, so that would have to wait for a few more hours. Styles hadn't felt this sick in years -- not since Simpson had decided to show him what happened to common seamen who objected to an officer's behaviour. He could have sworn the scars on his back burned with the memory. With a curse, he pulled his shirt over his head and despite the wind and the rain, returned to the deck. He needed some fresh air.
The first thing he noticed when he emerged on deck was that the rain had stopped. Not slowed, stopped. The wind was still high, but it had changed from a straight westward blow to a more southerly influence. If he was any judge of weather after all these years at sea, the storm would have passed by morning. It would be a relief to have a chance to dry out and warm up; but with the calmer weather would come the certainty of attack. And once those shots were fired, there would be no turning back for Cleaver and his plots. Styles searched the deck and thankfully found Oldroyd. He was idle, and Styles took advantage of that lull in activity to hurry to his side. He was not concerned about stealth -- Cleaver knew he was planning on *recruiting* Oldroyd for the mutiny.
"Oi, Styles," Oldroyd greeted him cheerfully. Styles thought he was the most blissfully innocent being who ever was born. He had a cast-iron constitution, was young enough that lack of sleep scarcely bothered him, and so far removed from the murky plotting on the Skylark that his conscience was clear. "Looks like the worst is over, eh?"
Styles jerked his head aside. "Come here, we need to have a chat."
Oldroyd scratched his head. "Yeah? What I done wrong now?"
"Nuthin' yet." He pulled Oldroyd closer. "Listen, mate, and listen up good, 'cause I ain't got time to explain things twice."
His serious manner must have made an impression, for Oldroyd's blue eyes widened. "Awright. What is it?"
"Cleaver -- he's up to no good. Serious trouble. I left 'im thinkin' that I'm in on his plots, but I ain't. He thinks you are, too. So you gotta act like I pressed you into it, right?"
"Yeah, but ..."
"Listen ta me. Mr. Kennedy knows what's up, but I can't talk to him no more without Cleaver gettin' suspicious. But I can talk to you, and you can talk to Matty. 'e's clean on this, and he's gonna stay that way, right?"
"Yeah, but ..."
"What?" Styles asked with some asperity.
"You're talkin' mutiny, Styles, ain't you?" As he said that word, his eyes got wider, like a scared child's. "I don't want no part of it."
Styles mouth twisted in a wry smile. "Like it or not, you've been pressed, mate. But it ain't real, see? Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Hornblower know it. Matty knows it. It'll be all right."
"What about you?" Oldroyd asked, his eyes suddenly sharp. "How deep are you, Styles?"
"Deep enough for Cleaver ta think I'm with 'im all the way." Styles still felt sick when he said it. "You tell Mr. Hornblower that I knows what I'm doin'. But I'm as true a King's man as I ever were. You tell him that fer me." His voice was suddenly thick in his throat. "You got that, Oldroyd? You got everything?" He asked fiercely.
"I got it, mate. You watch'er back, eh?"
"Yeah, you too. Just remember, Oldroyd. We're both King's men. No matter what happens." He clapped Oldroyd on the shoulder, gave him a grin, and sauntered off as if he had no other cares. Inside he was cold. Cold and lonely. He went below to his hammock. If he were right about the weather, he would need his rest.
Horatio woke suddenly, all his sense attuned to the change in the weather. He flung his blankets aside and dressed with a swift and silent economy of motion, so as not to disturb Archie. Despite his efforts, Archie yawned and opened his eyes. "What is it?"
"The weather's changed. Can't you tell from the motion of the ship?"
Archie lay back and laughed. "Horatio, I've been away from the sea for three years! I'm surprised I haven't been puking out my guts." Then realizing what he had said, he gave Horatio a mischievous grin. "Sorry."
"Trust me, you're not. You'd better hurry." He grabbed his cloak and ran up to the deck. Campion was there already, his hair streaming in the fresh wind. After the days of the rain and sodden atmosphere, the dry, cold air was refreshing -- and dangerous. The clouds were shredding overhead, and an occasional star pierced the misty veils. Visibility was increasing rapidly. By dawn, there would be no more hiding from the Dutchman.
The Skylark was dancing on the waves, her sails trimmed to catch the wind. Campion turned to Horatio, his eyes tired, but keen. "Our luck is changing, Hornblower."
Clearly, Campion believed it was changing for the better, but Horatio was less sanguine."Yes, sir." His tone was noncommittal, and Campion frowned.
"It is better to face an adversary in the clear light of day."
Horatio could only think that if you could see the enemy clearly, he was most likely seeing you in equally sharp focus. "It is good for the gunners, sir."
Campion laughed. "Aye. But it is an even chance, is it not?"
The phrase made a slight smile curve Horatio's mouth. "Aye, aye, sir." His gaze swept across the deck of the Skylark. He saw Styles leaving his watch, and Oldroyd watching him with an odd expression. His stomach gave a lurch that had nothing to do with the motion of the deck beneath his feet. There was mutiny on the wind, as well.
Archie came on deck and stood beside Horatio. "Anything, yet?"
"No. Archie, go down to Oldroyd. I don't like the look on his face. Styles just told him something. Better stop and talk to some of the other men first, in case Cleaver or his mates happen to be looking on." When Archie appeared to hesitate, Horatio said tersely, "Now."
Archie's mouth tightened. "I understand, Horatio. I have not been gone so long that I cannot act on an order."
Two spots of colour burned on Horatio's cheeks. "I'm sorry. I need to know."
Archie left the quarter-deck and made his way midships, pausing by the Indefatigables to exchange a few words, as if he were merely a concerned officer checking the welfare of his men. When he reached Oldroyd, the seaman's blue eyes were wide and frightened. Archie wished he could exude the confidence Horatio did when he stood before the men; as if he was strong and certain enough to see them through any hardship. And thus far, he had. He had no such confidence in himself, but he approached Oldroyd resolutely.
"Mr. Hornblower sent me to see if everything was well, Oldroyd."
"Mr. Kennedy, sir. Styles said --" Oldroyd paused and his eyes skated away from Archie's as if seeking someone.
Comprehending, Archie spoke softly. "It's all right, Oldroyd. Cleaver is gone. You can speak freely. Styles has told me everything he knows. He has my trust."
Oldroyd looked unhappy. "I knows that, sir. But it's real hard, sir. Even sayin' it."
"Oldroyd, we don't have time for such considerations. Speak plainly, and it will be over."
"He said, sir -- an' these are his words plain as he spoke 'em. 'You tell Mr, Hornblower that I knows what I'm doin'. But I'm as true a King's man as I ever were. You tell him that, fer me.' That's what 'e said. An' then just before he left, he told me to remember, that we was both King's men. No matter what happens. Both King's men. That's all, sir." Oldroyd's unhappiness increased. "He's playin' along with Cleaver, sir. He told 'im that I'd be in on the ... the mutiny, sir. But I ain't, I swear it. And he's not, either."
"I know," Archie said gently. "You must do as he says, Oldroyd. It may save us all. Don't worry about Mr. Hornblower or Styles. Everything will work out."
"Aye, aye, sir. Styles said I was to tell Matty -- I mean, Matthews, what was happenin' and he'd pass the word to you."
Archie nodded. "Yes, that would be best. But things will happen quickly. If you can't reach us, go to Styles and do what he tells you. Mr. Hornblower and I may be --" Archie paused and swallowed the fluttering panic in his throat. The thought of what might happen in a battle or in a mutiny was daunting, but very real. "We may not be able to come to you," he said, weighting the words with meaning.
"Aye, aye, sir."
Archie straightened his shoulders. "We will come through this, Oldroyd. And in a few days we'll be safe in England."
"Aye, aye, sir."
"Carry on, then." Oldroyd knuckled his forehead and Archie moved on to Matthews, who had been watching his exchange with Oldroyd. They stood side by side, the grizzled sailor and youthful officer, and each knew that the other was so much more than they appeared.
"Sir, I reckon I can guess what Oldroyd told ye. And ye don't have to worry about it, sir. Mr. Hornblower, neither. I'll keep my eye on things down here." Matthews continued looking out into the faint blue of the early dawn when he spoke. "I'll do what needs to be done."
Archie never doubted it. "Very good, Matthews. God only knows what the next few hours will bring."
"Well, sir. I reckon there's no use worryin' at it, then."
Matthews' sensible, no-nonsense approach to life seemed so simple, yet there was a world of wisdom in his philosophy. Archie nodded, "No, I suppose there isn't." He glanced back at Horatio. "I wish you could convince Mr. Hornblower of that, Matthews."
The sailor grinned. "Aw, ye can't tell him that, sir. He'd worry if the angels themselves promised him salvation."
Seeing as Horatio was not even certain that there was a God, Archie did not doubt the veracity of that statement. He sighed deeply. "Thank you, Matthews. He will appreciate your assurance."
Archie turned back to the quarter-deck. For a moment he felt as if he were looking at a company of players arrayed on a stage waiting for their cue to begin the play. Horatio and Campion were center-stage, Carlyle stage right, Pyne stage left. Only God knew what was waiting in the wings. He shivered and caught the collar of his cloak tight about his throat, but his chill was not caused by the wind. He denied that it was fear and resolutely ascended to the quarter-deck to make his report to Horatio.