The Honourable Richard Arthur Horatio Hornblower
by Sarah T.

The diary of The Honourable Richard Arthur Horatio Hornblower born
1811 son of Lady Barbara Hornblower and Admiral Lord Horatio
Hornblower R.N. Order of the Bath Etc

May the 4th 1836
I can't believe my father called me a boy! I'm 25 years old I am a
man. I'm fed up of him dictating my life. When I need him he is too
busy and when I want to be independent I can't get rid of him.
Mother is not much help with all her `Oh Richard dear you're going
to wear that to such and such?' `Your not going out of the house
dressed like that!' and `Why don't you want to join the Navy?'
I don't want to join the navy because I might get killed, that's
why. I prefer to concentrate on my studies. I want to discover some
long lost treasure, discover an ancient civilisation, or maybe even
discover a place like the fabled Atlantis. I already know Latin,
French, Spanish, and some Italian and am currently learning Greek. I
think I will learn Russian next. My tutor says I'm a genius, but my
parents don't see it that way.

May the 5th 1836
Tonight my parents are holding a party and they have invited all
those Navy types. I think they're hoping that if I meet some other
people in the service that I will change my mind about joining. No
chance! But I have a plan. I have heard that there is a fellow who
is investigating some pyramids in Egypt and I have written to him
asking weather I could help.
I received the reply this morning. He would be glad for me to join
him. Apparently its hard work documenting all the hieroglyphs in the
pyramids, so I am to join him as his assistant, but there's a
problem. I asked my parents for the money to travel there. They
said `No!'
So I am going to see whether I can persuade one of the captain's at
the party to give me passage on their ship. Of course I might tell a
few white lies, embellish some facts, but if it will get me where I
want to go then so be it. My contingency plan is to join the navy as
my parents wish. Then I will desert when I get to Egypt, but the
latter course of action would bring shame on the family. Apparently
tonight when we have dinner I will have to sit between Admiral
Pellew and Captain Gerard, both men will probably be dull as
dishwater as regards conversation, anyway.

May 6th 1836
No luck this time. No one would risk their jobs by giving me
passage, but they did tell me of a German named Karl Richard
Lepsius. Apparently he is a year older than me and is here in
England to study Egyptian archaeological collections in Britain and
that if I was interested in Egyptology I should write to him. I was
told this piece of information by a Dr Maturin, who seemed to share
my passion for the past. Although he talked mainly of philosophy, I
was able to keep up with him, but only because I had had a classical
education (father had insisted). I will write to this Mr Lipsuis,
maybe he will allow me to come with him on his tour of Egyptian
archaeological collections? Mother can't have any objections to my
visiting museums. Maybe I will get to see the Rosetta stone?

May 7th 1836
Went into town today to post my letter to Mr Lepsuis. I met Miss
Isabelle Jones there. Isabelle is the niece of father's late friend,
Captain Bush. He has told me several times of how they escaped and
were able to capture `The Witch of Endor'. Isabelle is an
intelligent girl who I have formed a friendship with. Mother does
not approve of the connection, but she does not approve of anything
I do. Apparently I am a source of constant vexation to her. Isabelle
tells me that she has been told that she has the countenance of her
uncle, and that I could believe. Her fiery hair matches her volatile
temperament, which keeps me on my toes. She's invited me to her
family home for tea and to play cards this evening. Of course I
agreed although I do not know what my parents will think of this
little excursion.

When I told Isabelle about my plans she virtually insisted that she
should accompany me. She is a very forward young lady and into
women's suffrage, which one of the many reasons mother objects to
her so. She swings from one extreme to another, emotionally, and she
knows more words than a young lady should know.

I couldn't believe it! She practically threatened me. Isabelle said
that I leaving her here to go to who-knows-where would be a crime,
and that if I left she would have to marry some dull man of
property, when she wanted to come travelling with me, an interesting
man of property. She could not conceive the impropriety of a young
unmarried woman travelling with a young unmarried man.

Then she said that she would kill herself if I left. I don't want to
be held responsible for my dear lady friend's demise, but I was hard
pushed to dissuade her from this foolish course of action. I may
even concede to her demands if she persists in this stupid pretence,
the fool I am. I do fear that I have a more of affection for her
than a friend should, and that I care if she ends her existence as a
result of my actions. If only I could suppress my emotions so wholly
as my father appears to. Years of naval discipline have seen him
become devoid of feeling. To me he seems in a constant state of
misery and depression. I fear he will never be truly happy.

9th May 1836
This morning I had the pleasure of receiving a reply to my
correspondence to Mr Lepsuis. He writes telling me that he is
pleased that I have an interest in his passion for history, and
would be pleased to have my company for the time he is in London,
which is till the end of the month. I personally am very excited by
this trip. I told my parents that I was going to London to visit a
school friend. They had no objection to that.

10th May 1836
I am writing this while sitting in a small hostelry, waiting for the
horses to be changed, because one of the horses went lame on our way
here. I say we, as Isabelle, who has forced her presence on me for
this journey, accompanies me. She tricked me. She pleaded with me
that before I left to come and say goodbye to her. Of course I
agreed, but the cheek of the girl. When I pulled up, she was waiting
there to greet me dressed in her travelling clothes. While we were
talking unbeknownst to me she had her travelling case put in the
coach buy her servant. Then when I climbed back into the coach she
climbed in after me and refused to get out. Isabelle sat there
stubbornly saying she wouldn't let me take off without her, and that
she didn't care what people thought, she was coming with me.
I tried to persuade her otherwise, but she is an obstinate, proud
girl who never will admit defeat even if she knows she's wrong. I
don't know why, but I let her come. I always seem to be the one who
gives in to her demands. She can manipulate me so easily. I don't
know why I always do it. Maybe its because I feel that if I don't
give in I will hurt her? Well let's just see what happens `time and
unforeseen occurrences befall us all'.

11th May 1836
Today was a complete disaster. We didn't arrive in London till late.
The only place with vacancies only had one room, and that
impertinent proprietor assumed we were married, or eloping. I put
him straight on the matter, yet Isabelle was no help. It was even
harder to convince him of my sincerity with her making eyes at me.
We finally sorted it out though. She would sleep in the bed. I would
sleep on a mattress, on the floor. I have sent word to Mr Lepsuis
informing him of the `situation'. I hope he will be understanding
and civil about the matter. One last comment, Isabelle talks in her
sleep. It is abominably annoying!

12th of May 1836
This morning at around seven thirty I received a written reply to my
letter. Apparently Mr Lepsuis has gone off to Egypt and that he says
if the `young lady' and I wish to follow we are to board The
Evanescence, a ship bound for Egypt. Mr Lepsuis has kindly reserved
tickets for us. Although my father or I will have to pick up the
bill. It leaves in two hours, but I fear we will not reach it in
time, for Isabelle seems to be taking a century to get ready.

We are finally onboard The Evanescence. I realise now why the
tickets were so reasonably priced. The accommodation isn't exactly
luxury; the food is definitely not gourmet and some of the crew look
extremely rough. One of them approached me. He an older, grey-
haired, bulky, pot faced man and was accompanied by a younger man
who I later came to learn was his son. He inquired of my name, and
then proceeded to tell me how he had served under my father. It
always seems that someone has served with or under him at sometime,
but this sailor, Styles I believe his name was, got excited when
Isabelle told him whom her uncle was, and started off on some story
involving a ship called the Hotspur and some steward. I was ready to
dismiss this sailor, but some of the stories he told us about my
father were rather interesting.

13th May 1836
I have now spent my first whole day at sea. It has not been the most
pleasant experience with Isabelle chattering in one ear, and
miscellaneous sailors telling tales in the other. I'm sure
these `honest tars' only mean well, but it is sorely trying my
patience.

As Isabelle and I were the only paying passengers aboard the vessel
we had somewhat been spoilt by the crews attentions. We had a
surprise when it came time for dinner. The crew had decorated the
main deck and set out a table and chairs. While we ate our meal
under the open sky, twilight just about creeping in, we were
serenaded by several of the crew. It's amazing how resourceful these
hardened sailors can be. After our meal the table etc. was cleared
away and some of the crew put on a display of what might be
considered dancing. Over all it was an enjoyable evening. Though I
am sure that Isabelle thought that I had presumed to arrange the
whole thing. Isabelle and I took the last dance of the evening. I
was shown up. I have unfortunately developed my father's lack of
dancing prowess, which seemed to be an object of mirth for the
watching crew.

15th May 1836
As you may of noticed yesterdays entry is missing. This is because
last night before I had written my entry for that day. We were hit
by a fierce storm. The ship was battered terribly. In the cabin
where I was sleeping it felt as if someone had picked up the ship
and was shaking it violently. This incessant motion caused me great
discomfort. It felt as though my stomach was churning more than the
sea. Although I was suffering some discomfort my worry was for the
safety of my travelling companion. So I dressed and decided to check
on her, but to my amazement I found Isabelle awake standing there in
trousers shirt and jacket. Garb wholly inappropriate for a young
lady to be wearing. Although, from my previous experience Isabelle
neither cares about nor conforms to other people's views. When I
enquired as to her countenance she replied that she was fine, and
that she had dressed because she wished to go on deck to see what
was happening. I of course tried to dissuade her from such an
action. Yet in her own special way she talked me into going up with
her and then claimed it was my idea.
We obtained some waterproofs and went out on deck. Only to be first
nearly blown away in the gale that was howling around us, then
practically thrown off by the lurching of the ship. If that was not
enough we had to suffer the constant barrage of water from the waves
washing over the deck and the rain pelting down with such force that
it stung my face terribly. The instant we were out on deck we could
see that the ship was in dire straights and that it was being
battered into a hulk by the storm. The ship was barely afloat. The
storm seemed to keep going for hours. Each time it looked like it
was dying down it instead went up a gear. When it finally did abate
the damage that had been done to The Evanescence was clear.
A solemn captain told us that the ship was likely to sink and that
we should gather up -the bare minimum of - our belongings and get
into one of the lifeboats. Fortunately I had bought only a few items
and they were quickly gathered up. Isabelle put all her belongings
inside her bed sheet and tied it into a kind of bundle, so as to
save on weight. We were placed into one of the smaller boats and
told that the captain and one of the other seamen would join us, but
they never did. The ship sank soon after we had abandoned it and we
were left on our own.

Now I have got up-to-date I will tell you of our current situation.
Isabelle and I are alone in a small boat, in the middle of nowhere,
surrounded by water with only the smallest of provisions. We are in
dire straights indeed. If I do not die of hunger and thirst I will
die from Isabelle's constant ministering. She has decided to take
charge and believes that she can navigate back to civilisation using
a watch a compass and a makeshift sextant. I fear that her efforts
will be in vain and that we will die before we reach any form of
help, but at least Isabelle has made some worthwhile gadgets. She
has spread out a sheet as a kind of a tarpaulin so that we are
sheltered from the sun, and that if by chance there is a light
shower we might catch some drinking water. She has also made a
makeshift fishing line using an old broach pin and her hair ribbons
tied together. So maybe we will live just long enough to see hope
fade.

16th May 1836
It has been our first whole day adrift in this desolate sea with
nothing but the sky, and each other for company. Isabelle has put
herself in charge of `rations' and if we only eat the portions she
dishes out I will be a skeleton in no time.

17th May 1836
Another day gone and we still have not sighted ship, nor land, and
as we are the only two people in this small boat I cannot avoid
Isabelle. We have talked about almost everything under the sun and
there are no more topics to cover, but there is nothing else to do
but talk.

18th May 1836
It seems that my diary entries are becoming shorter everyday. For
there is nothing to write about, only to report that we have still
not been rescued in one form or another. I fear that no one yet
knows of our misfortune, and that if they do know that we are in
difficulty, they think us dead.

19th May 1836
Our meagre rations are nearly gone. Only a small almost negligible
amount of food remains. The water is nearly gone and what there is
left is stale. I have offered to go without so that Isabelle may
have my portion, but she has stubbornly refused my offer. After
these few days together my feelings of affection have grown and I to
see such a vibrant strong lady so weak from our ordeal pains me. It
makes me think, if only things were different we may have a future
together, but fate has conspired to keep us apart. Either we will
perish in this lonely open sea or we will be rescued only to be torn
apart by my parents.

20th May 1836
Today the sky has mirrored my mood. As things become more desperate,
my companion weaker and my lips more parched so the sky darkens,
bringing with it heavy storm clouds and a firm wind. If I had eaten
anything in the last day I am sure it would have resurfaced by now.
The tumultuous sea with its waves rising and falling have began to
toss about little boat about mercilessly. I fear that our fragments
of hope that is kept alive by our clinging on to the lifeboat and
end each other will be dashed to pieces by the approaching storm.
Maybe it is the same one come back to finish its job, a punishment
for disobedience.
As I hold Isabelle tenderly in my arms, she clings to me in return
we are both afraid that we will be thrown from the boats stern in
which we cower. The sound of thunder can be herd rumbling in the
distance a preface to the inevitable merciless tempest with it's
driving rain, tumultuous winds and blinding lighting.

After the storm
Time has lost all meaning. I don't know how long the storm persisted
for, it seemed like forever that we were forced to hold on for dear
life as we were drenched and battered by all Mother Nature had to
throw at us. It seemed Neptune tried his hardest to drag us to his
domain, but by some miracle we survived. I sent up a silent prayer
of thanks for our preserved existence, wondering why we had been
spared.

21st May 1836
A sail! We have sighted a sail on the horizon. Oh my heart leaps
with joy at the mere prospect of rescue. I do not care if they are
pirates and smugglers, if only they will spot our small craft.
Isabelle has made a flag out of one our remaining oar (the other
having been swept overboard in the storm) and a spare white
petticoat, which hopefully will aid in our detection. They are
surely too far away to hear our shouts, yet the ship has come about.
A glint of sunlight on a glass confirms that someone with a keen eye
has spotted us waving and yelling for all we are worth.

I have never felt so relived to see a strangers face before. To no
longer be destined to starve to death in a floating tomb of a
lifeboat. Even Isabelle with all her dismissive bluster was clearly
overjoyed at our fortuitous rescue. The Captain of the Pennyroyale,
a French merchant by the name of Montilais, has been most
accommodating. After picking us up we were treated with respect and
kindness, and given a hearty and much appreciated meal before being
shown to the best quarters on offer. Captain Montilais say's he will
drop us off when he next reaches port and that meanwhile we are at
liberty and may make ourselves at home.
---

Sarah T