III. The Unconscious Captain
Leftenant Wailand saw Captain Suffolk's pistol discharge its
ammunition and, at the same time, receive a clubbing blow to the back
of his head. The shot laced through the rebel leader's body, ripping
apart flesh and discharging blood about the deck. Wailand's main
concern was that the Captain was down. He rallied his men behind him,
and, in short order, the Americans and the rebels quickly separated
themselves, falling into the old European battle plan of lining up
against one another and seeing what happened. Once all of the
Valiant's men had joined the American's side, the rebels quickly
surrendered, not wishing to die in the ranks of the unheroic, and the
Captain Darling had them all placed into the brig, and summoned
ship's doctor, a man who believed in leeches and valium, to inspect
"No, 'tis nothing serious the matter with 'im." The
pronounced. "He's just been bashed about the 'ead some. He'll
recover, given enough time."
Captain Darling sighed, and then turned Wailand. He knew there
bit of explaining to do. "Leftenant, I assume you are curious as to
the reason we have most recently suffered under a mutiny?"
Wailand scratched behind his ears, and then conked his hand
side of the head, trying to get of the ringing plaguing his
ears. "Sir, I would be most obliged if you would divulge that
information to me."
"Very well...." Captain Darling said, and began his
"The trouble began, I suppose, a number of months ago,
Animus was in port at Philadelphia, preparing to set sail for
England. Some of us believed that it was a mission worth undertaking,
while others thought we should have nothing more to do with any
nation on the wide Earth. This belief was espicially prevelant in the
Quaker element in the town. Many of the crew were taken aside, spoken
to, and, I suppose, counseled not to aid the English in any sort of
way. At the time, I thought it was little more than bad blood left
over from the Revolutionary War.
"As it turned out, I was wrong. Our first day on the seas,
often took to drinking and fighting. I recognized at once that the
morale was low, so I forbade the drinking of ale on pain of
strapping, and increased the workload for each man aboard. I reasoned
that since they would be active, having something to do, would not be
of the mind to think too much of moaning and complaining. The more
experienced sailors understood this at once, and kept their opinions
to themselves thoughout the rest of the voyage.
"However, there was one sailor who didn't like anything
going on, and wouldn't stand for it. He was Ship's Mate Stemsley. His
job was to do whatever needed done...he was a young lad from
Connecticut who didn't really seem as though he belonged on a sailing
ship. I was determined to make a sailor out of him, and he was
determined to make an ass out of himself on every occasion.
Strangely, he became popular among the members of my crew. I could
not rightly understand it.
"I did my best to keep things relatively civil for the
months of our voyage, until we got our first glimpse of a British
sailing vessel, that is, the Valiant. Stemsley's first action was to
mount a cannon and to fire it at your ship. His aim was poor, and he
missed. I heard cheers and yells from the crew, and I knew at once
that this action could not be permitted. As soon as I tried to
reprimand him, some men raised a black pirate flag up (never mind
where they acquired it, for I do not know that for myself), signaling
that the ship now had no nationality. I suppose the rest of the story
you know for yourself." Darling finished, tousling his wavy hair, his
eyes set on the horizon.
Wailand considered the matter, and found that he did not know
do, or, even if he did, it was not his pervue to issue orders.
Suppose the captain woke up anytime now? Suppose he never did?
Wailand was a fighting man, not a man of reading, and he could only
think of one thing to do. "Well, sir, thank you for telling me your
story." He paused. "If you will be so kind as to come on board the
Valaint, I believe that we may be able to sort this matter out like
"Certainly, sir." Darling said, and finally holstered
There was a lot that need sorting out.
Midshipman O'Leary of the HMS Valiant was nervous. He had been
assigned the task of assisting the doctor in keeping care of the
Captain. The ship's doctor at once pointed out that it would be
crucial to keep nutrients in the man's system. But he could not chew,
only swallow. So it was decided that the Captain would live off of
water until they reached port in Kingston, Jamaica. O'Leary then
sought out Jack the Rigger, the man who invented the clever way of
turning brine into water, and asked for a three month's supply for
the Captain. Then Jack harkened to a few of his shipmates, whereupon
buckets and buckets of water were drawn on board. Although he had
only invented two such purifying devices- in essence, they were cups
with detachable bottoms, since Jack had learned that the salt and
other less desirable things would sink to the bottom of a hot cup of
sea water. Then, all that needed done was to separate the salt from
the water, a task that Jack found somewhat quick and straight to
While Jack was working on his task, the ship's doctor, a man
Surrey named Wally Windsor examined the Captain. There definitely was
a significant lump on the back of the Captain's head, but no apparent
wound was given. He remembered that a long state of unconciousness
from which the sleeper does not wake was sometimes called a coma in
medical circles. However, Windsor did not move in those circles- he
had risen as high as acting Leftenant at his post. He was thirty-
eight years of age.
Elsewhere, below decks, Leftenants Lamsey, Wailand, Cook and
Donaldson were treating Captain Darling to the dinner promised by
their Captain. The officers had dove into their own supply of food to
deliver of course of beef, followed by fresh potatoes. Men on the sea
ordinarily had to satisfy themselves by eating mush when times went
sour, and hardtack or bread when times were good. Darling was
throughly enjoying the meal, despite the fact that a persistent itch
scratched the back of his thoughts.
Leftenant Donaldson was a prim sort of figure, a man whose
were not wasted on attractive show, but whose body bore little trace
of fat on it. He prided himself on keeping in excellent physical
condition, and, as such, he often won many of ship's private
contests. His face was not round, nor square, but a mixture of both,
giving his eyes the quality of alertness and sharpness about them.
His hair fell slightly above his eyes, combed onto one side of his
head; merely because of the way he looked, the crew took to him
immeadiately. He was speaking at the dinner table. "The only thing
for it, gentlemen, is for Mr. Lamsey here to assume to role of Acting
Captain until our own Captain gets well enough for command, and can
assume all the duties thereof."
"That would seem to be the rational course to take."
looking across the table at Lamsey. His stare made Lamsey
uncomfortable and forced him to answer.
"If that is what I am required to do, then I will fill
that post to
the best of my ability." Lamsey spoke quietly. He had the feeling
that people were deciding everything for him.
"Captain," Leftenant Wailand spoke curiously. "What
is to be done
with the prisoners?"
Darling's eyes flitted up from his meal and met Wailand's head
on. "Well, sir, the only thing for it is to continue our mission and
deliver the delegation of peace to London to see the King. I shall
have need of more...fashionable clothing, as your Captain pointed
"Very well." Lamsey set his silverware carefully
down on the
table. "Then we are agreed. The Animus shall head for England, while
the Valiant will make for Kingston."
"Agreed." Captain Darling said quietly.
George the Third had been on the throne of England for a good
years now. George III was born in 1738, first son of Frederick,
Prince of Wales and Augusta. He married Charlotte of Mecklinburg-
Strelitz in 1761, to whom he was devoted. George was afflicted with
porphyria, a maddening disease which disrupted his reign as early as
1765. He succeeded his grandfather, George II, in 1760 (Frederick,
Prince of Wales, had died in 1751 having never ruled). George was
determined to recover the prerogative lost to the ministerial council
by the first two Georges; in the first two decades of the reign, he
methodically weakened the Whig party through bribery, coercion and
patronage. Prime Minister, William Pitt the Elder was toppled by
Whigs after the Peace of Paris, and men of mediocre talent and
servile minds were hand-picked by George as Cabinet members, acting
as little more than yes-men. Bouts with madness and the way he
handled the American Revolution eroded his support and the power of
the Crown was granted again to the Prime Minister. The Peace of Paris
(1763) ended the Seven Years' War with France, with the strenuous,
anti-French policies of the elder Pitt emphasizing naval superiority
in the colonial warfare. Great Britain emerged from the conflict as
the world's greatest colonial power. England thrived under peacetime
conditions, but George's commitment to taxing the American colonies
to pay for military protection led to hostilities in 1775. The
colonists proclaimed independence in 1776, but George obstinately
continued the war until the final American victory at Yorktown in
1781. The Peace of Versailles, signed in 1783, ensured British
acknowledgment of the United States of America. The defeat cost
George dearly: his sanity was stretched to the breaking point and his
political power decreased when William Pitt the Younger became Prime
Minister in 1783. By the year 1790, George III was little more than a
However, he had not completely lost all of his faculties. He
robes and wigs fitting to his royal position, that of King, while his
power had been scraped away to little more than a kindly observer.
Since observing was the only task left to him, that was the task he
performed well. He enlisted couriers and messengers to inform him of
what was happening throughout the land. If he couldn't control his
country, he damn well would keep abreast of all the myriad changes a
vast Empire underwent.
George the Third sat in his palatial gardens, reading a prayer
and wondering what his father, Frederick, would have said to him if
he were still alive. Only God held that answer. George knew well
that, in times past, there had been 'Divine Right of Kings',
something he longed for. The people did not elect their King, they
could only satisfy themselves by employing the nation to the tasks he
commanded. He scowled when he thought of how those rats in Parliament
had completely made a fool out of him. He suddenly yearned to find a
copy of King Lear.
His wife, Charlotte, approached into the gardens, seeking out
husband with a watchful heart and a careful eye. "My lord..." She
called out faintly, to which George, absorbed in his thoughts,
started up from the bench he sat on and rushed over to his wife,
hugging her with all the strength in his arms. "Did I...startle you,
my Lord?" Charlotte said quietly, her face almost falling into her
"No, no!" George said happily, a smile lighting his
face. "I would
never turn you away nor tell you not to startle me for anything. I
love you, my dearest, and no amount of mine own solitude can change
Charlotte smiled into George's expensive, royal shirt. She
quiet woman, someone who was very devoted to her love, because he was
devoted to her, in all respects. She had endured his fits of madness
and she thought perhaps, there would more to come. But she would
endure those as well, as long as she could remain at her side. "I am
glad...to be able to be with you."
"Dearest, let us sit and talk of days past where men were
the field, and where flowers grew abudantly in England..." He trailed
off, and lead her back to the bench, where his prayer book was. He
looked at the prayer book and somehow thought it now more pale, less
significant than once it had been. He would also talk of a time when
flowers would be planted and grow again in England, if he had his way.
Leftenant Lamsey was surveying a map of Jamaica. On the east was the
province of Surrey, named after a region in England, with the port of
Kingston and Port Antonio calling out for incoming ships. The middle
region was named, expectably, Middlesex, which had on its western
border Discovery Bay, the place Columbus landed on May 5, 1494. The
third province, this being the westernmost of Jamiaca, was named
Cornwall, again, an English machination. There were not many inland
towns in Jamaica, for the simple reason that it was a hot,
unseasonable place filled with black-a-moors; perhaps English
settlers would have been more bold in their colonization if a race of
Caucasian peoples lived on the island. As it stood, however, many
things about Jamaica were far too strange from their own homeland to
warrant settlement en masse.
Lamsey, armed with a ruler and a compass, was plotting a course
Kingston. It would be a simple task- merely head southwest, a little
leaning towards the south side of the degrees, and they would find
the easternmost tip of Jamaica, and, afterwards, they would sail due
south a slight ways and then due west, passing Port Morant and Morant
Bay (which were, incidentally, two separate towns) until the ship
would pass a little sliver of land, and, after navigating about it,
would sail east again until they reached Kingston. It would have been
easier simply to sail straight on into Port Antonio on the northern
side of the island, but the orders given to the ship called for a
Leftenant Lamsey looked up from his maps and squinted his eyes.
of the cargo they were carrying...a number of cows, a lot of grain,
to be sure, and, sealed away in a large burlap sack, potato seeds. It
seemed to him that they were, for the most part, running a charity
mission for the poor, starving inhabitants of the island. He would
only have to satisfy himself with asking the mayor of Kingston what
possible reason they could have for being sent on such an odd mission.
He then sat down in a nearby chair and browsed through a copy
little book called "Common Travelling Diseases"- all entries had been
carefully listed alphabetically. He noted espicially malaria and
yellow fever, since below each disease was the name of place where it
might be found; those two entries listed Jamaica, one among many
Leftenant Donaldson strolled in confidently through the open
which Lamsey had forgotten to close. "Mr. Wailand's compliments, sir,
and he wishes to know if we are to get underway."
Lamsey looked up, startled. Here it was again- people deciding
orders he was going to give before he gave them. "Very well, make all
preparations. I shall see to it personally."
Three months passed, and the Valiant sailed on the course its
Captain had proscribed for it, and eventually managed to settle into
Kingston harbor. Leftenant Lamsey saw to it that Captain Suffolk,
first of all, was carried away in a long cart and taken to the
nearest medical facility. Lamsey thanked God the Captain had still
survived. After that, all the cows and grain and the rest were
brought to Kingston, after which the mayor was summoned, and thanked
"Captain, uh..." The mayor stuttered, extending his hand.
"Actually, Acting Captain Lamsey." The Leftenant
said, shaking the
mayor's hand and then releasing it. "I'm afraid our Captain has
fallen ill of late. I am in command of the Valiant until he recovers."
"Very well, than I thank you personally for delivering
supplies. We did not expect you here so soon." The mayor rushed a
hand through his hair. "We were told it would be another month before
you would lower sail in Kingston."
Lamsey's eyebrows raised at hearing this. "Indeed sir?
receive a despatch from England?"
"Yes, a number of months ago. Since then, we have been
here...you see, the plague of malaria has taken some of our best
workers, along with some of our best field animals, and so, you have
now revitalized our island with these fresh supplies." The mayor
turned back towards Kingston City. "I can only hope that Doctor
Hornblower does well enough to stop that plague."
Lamsey connected it all together. It did make sense, now, except
the part about being one month early. Why wouldn't the High Command
simply assume a ship would take the quickest and safest course to its
destination? Every time he had something figured out, another mystery
turned up, tugging at his brain, telling him there was something much
more going on here. "Mayor, I should like to meet the Governor of
this land. Can an appointment be made?"
"Why yes! You may seem him directly! He is indisposed
at the moment,
and uh..." The mayor turned back and smiled. "Follow me, please, sir."
From what little Lamsey knew of the island of Jamaica, it had
settled by the Spanish, since Christopher Columbus, under Spanish
employ, discovered it in the first place. Then, William Penn had won
it by sea for the English, and they turned around and renamed
everything with British nomenclature, rather than Spanish. Since that
time, Lamsey recalled, Englanders had ruled the tropical island.
His first impression of the place was that it was very warm,
almost empty of people. There were places where people were crowded
in together, but he surmised the whole of the island was little more
a chunk of rock and grass, fertile land waiting to be used. He saw
slaves everywhere, and noticed something different about them as
opposed to the slavery he saw in Europe- these slaves were callow,
thin, and despondent. It was as if every one of them had some
indescribable sickness plaguing their bodies, and, finding no comfort
in their work, relegated their minds to the oblivion that comes with
After five minutes of walking, he pulled out a kerchief and
sweat off his forehead- the kerchief came away dripping wet. Lamsey
didn't realize how accustomed he really was to cold weather. Back in
England, in Scotland, and, the home of his ancestors, Iceland,
everything was rain, snow, and a little sunshine. In Jamaica,
everything was sun, sun, and more sun. It was maddening!
When Lamsey and the Kingston Mayor reached the Governor's mansion,
the Governor, a large, portly man with a thin, black mustache,
greeted them amiably. "Well, what may I help you gentlemen with?" The
Governor said after the introductions had been made.
"To be perfectly blunt, sir, I am curious as to why a
frigate of the
Royal British Navy would be relegated to a petty supply, instead of
patrolling our waters for possible invaders." Lamsey said, looking
the governor in the eye.
"Very well. I shall tell you what I know." The Governor
speak slowly. "Some time ago, as you may be aware, William Pitt the
Younger seized the reins of power from the maddened King George. That
is known. What is not known is that George is now recovering his
faculties and intends to reclaim control of England. As near as I
have been able to piece out, he is doing this through the Navy, Pitt
himself advocated some time ago. You have heard there are strange
orders and stranger happenings in the Royal Navy of late, haven't
Lamsey confessed that he had.
"Well...all I'm going to say is, watch your back, Leftenant."