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Vindication
by Jan

 

Note: The following fragments were found in a sea-chest in an attic in
Cornwall, and appear to be a personal account recorded by an officer
present at a certain trial. The transcript excerpts are written in
another hand. Authorship cannot be verified, and the entire incident is
of dubious authenticity.

 

Partial transcript:

Dr. Clive on the stand, being questioned by Commodore Sir Edward Pellew,
Viscount Exmouth:

Clive announces his diagnosis that Captain James Sawyer was unfit for
command was worthless and given under duress.

Clive: "In the heat of battle..."

P: ...the decision was made to detain the captain.

C: Yes.

P: By whom?

C: By Mr. Hornblower.

P: Mr. Hornblower? Why not Mr. Buckland?

C: You will have to ask Mr. Buckland.

P: I intend to. But for now, Dr. Clive, would you please describe the
precise circumstances under which you made your diagnosis? This was, I
assume, after the ship had run aground and Captain Sawyer had been found
cowering under the stairway to the quarterdeck.

C: He... had taken shelter there, yes.

P: After ordering his ship to fire on a fort from an angle from which it
was physically impossible to reach the target, and ignoring his first
Lieutenant's warning that the ship was about to run aground, Captain
Sawyer took cover while his ship and his men were being shot to pieces
by enemy fire?

C: Yes, sir.

P: Is this characteristic of Captain Sawyer's behavior, in the ...
(checks papers) 15 years you served with him? Hiding during battle?

C: No, it was not.

P: Can you account for this behavior in any way ... that does not include
mental incapacity?

C: I do not follow you, sir.

P: Would the Captain behave in this manner if he were in his right mind?

C: I would not presume to judge --

P: I believe that as ship's surgeon, it is your duty to ensure that the
Captain is fit for command, is it not?

C: Yes, sir.

P: Is this not a matter of exercising professional judgement?

C: It ... might be so described.

P: Very well, then. Please describe the exact situation. You say your
decision was made under duress. What duress? Was Mr. Hornblower
threatening you with a weapon?

C: No, sir.

P: Was anyone?

C: No, sir.

P: Was Mr Hornblower threatening you in any way?

C: No, sir.

P: Then why did you state that you were under duress? Was he threatening
anyone else?

C: No! The Captain was --

P: Yes? Captain Sawyer was -- what?

C: (unintelligible)

P: Speak up, man!

C: Captain Sawyer was about to shoot Mr. Hornblower.

P: Why?

C: He wanted to get the ship off the shoal.

P: Mr. Hornblower wished to get the ship afloat?

C: Yes.

P: So that she could move out of range of the shore battery?

C: Yes.

P: And because Mr. Hornblower was attempting to save the ship, Captain
Sawyer threatened him with a pistol? Is this the duress to which you
referred? Duress imposed not by Mr. Hornblower, but by Captain Sawyer
himself?

C: Yes.

P: I would like to be perfectly clear on this point: At this time, did
Mr. Hornblower in any way whatsoever act against the Captain? Did he
attempt to seize the pistol?

C: No, sir.

P: What did he do?

C: He asked me -- repeatedly! -- if Captain Sawyer was fit for command.

P: What did Captain Sawyer do?

C: He pulled the trigger.

(astonishment in courtroom)

P: But we see Mr. Hornblower here, unharmed...?

C: The pistol was not loaded, sir.

P: Not loaded?

C: No, sir. Captain Sawyer had fired it earlier and forgotten to reload.

P: Was this ... forgetfulness ... typical?

C: Not at all.

P: And after Captain Sawyer made this murderous attack upon Mr.
Hornblower -- what did you do then?

C: I declared the Captain unfit...

P: And you now wish to rescind that decision? For what reason, sir? A
Captain who runs his ship aground, commences an attack upon an impossible
target, hides beneath a stair, then attempts to kill the one officer who
is taking the only action possible to save his ship -- a yes or no answer
will suffice, Dr. Clive: are those the actions of a rational man?

C: (no answer)

P: Dr. Clive? (no answer) Gentlemen (to other captains) -- have you any
further questions for this witness?

 

#######################

 

Pellew strode out of the courtroom into the blasting Kingston heat,
mentally reviewing the afternoon's testimony. He had pressed Clive hard,
hoping for a crack in the impenetrable wall of equivocation -- and he had
found it. But showing Clive up for a weakling and a drunkard would not
be enough. He needed clear, incontrovertible evidence which might not
even exist, and whose existence would require the sort of investigator
not likely to be found here in the remote fringes of the kingdom.

Regardless of the heat, he decided to walk to the inn where he had rooms
and eat a light supper. He had no appetite in this climate, but knew his
brain would not thank him for neglecting his body.

He saw Clive scurry ahead of him and disappear into a tavern. Would
there be any benefit to recalling him for testimony tomorrow, and letting
the other captains see him green and hung over? Perhaps.

First Lieutenant Buckland was to testify next. What of Buckland? Pellew
had seen fear before, and smelt it, and the Renown's first lieutenant bid
fair to clear the courtroom with the stench. He was terrified -- and
like a drowning man he would clutch at anything, and take down the man
who had saved him in Samana Bay.

There was Hammond's scapegoat, if one were needed. Buckland had been in
command. Whatever suggestions he might solicit or accept from
Hornblower, the decision to act was still his decision, and his
responsibility, and he had not the guts to accept it. Buckland should
never have been First aboard a ship of war. However pitiable he might be
as a human being, culling him out would be a boon to the Service.

And what of Bush? From his conversation with the Second Lieutenant,
Pellew saw Bush as a man with no great imagination who at least had the
capacity to recognize brilliance ... and who did have the mettle to take
personal responsibility for any and all of Hornblower's ideas that he had
approved. A good man, William Bush, with a solid record of service. A
good officer, worth half a dozen Bucklands.

And Kennedy ... It was distressing to recall that interview, Kennedy's
flushed, feverish face, his obvious battle with pain as he answered
Pellew's questions clearly and completely. Kennedy's only question had
been what was likely to become of Hornblower; he had not asked about
himself. A bullet in the lungs, Clive said. Inoperable. Another loss
for Hornblower, and the Service. Barring a miracle, Kennedy was not
likely to survive the trial anyway. If he --

Pellew refused to pursue the thought. Kennedy would have followed
Hornblower's lead throughout this mess; he always had, always would.
They were closer than brothers. It had been Hornblower's tutelage in
mathematics that had brought the Acting Lieutenant through his
examination, just as it had been Kennedy's selfless valor that brought
his friend alive from the bridge at Muzillac. Pellew had looked forward
to watching the two of them moving up together as Nelson and Hardy had,
and he damned the streak of ill fortune that now blighted that dream.

He had deflected Kennedy's question with noncommittal optimism. But if
Kennedy knew how things truly stood ... he was an intelligent young man;
he might already have discerned the direction the trial was taking. He
was at death's door anyway. He had once been willing to lay down his
life for his friend ...

//And all he has to leave behind is his good name. Would you ask him to
give even that?//

It was an unworthy notion. Kennedy had family who would be grieved by
his death. Why even think about what it might do to them to see their
son and brother branded a mutineer? But Kennedy had no wife, or
children; Buckland did. They could not help that the man they depended
on was an incompetent coward.

But Kennedy was dying, slowly and painfully, a brave young man, a former
Indefatigable who had served his ship and his captain faithfully. He
deserved to die with honour... just as the Indy's other former
lieutenant deserved to live with honour. //Kennedy would do it, though.
I know he would?//

//I cannot ask it of him.//

Disgust with himself at the course of action he had sunk to considering
drove Pellew into the public room of his inn. He would have a single
drink, and then he would see what sort of medical or scientific gentlemen
Kingston Port had to offer -- and then he would go and tell Hammond that
the only sane course of action was to dismiss mutiny charges, consider
Hobbs a toady who had grown soft under Sawyer's favoritism and charged
mutiny to cover the ship's lack of discipline, and make much of Captain
Sawyer's glorious end facing the Spanish foe. Whatever the circumstances
that led to it, heroic death in battle was the proper sort of end for
Nelson's own, and Sawyer had achieved that, at least.

Hammond would not accept it.

Hammond could go to hell. Hammond was *not* presiding over the
proceedings, and his self-important proclamation of how things must go
was nothing more than a lot of sound and fury, signifying very little.
Captain Hammond might resent the fact that Pellew had been made Commodore
and he had not, but that gave Hammond no special privileges -- quite the
opposite. Whether or not he would feel strongly enough about the slight
to become an active impediment to Pellew's own career was another matter
-- he did have friends at Court -- but Hornblower's life was worth that
risk.

But real evidence would be better still. If only the laudanum that
clouded Sawyer's judgement left some detectable alteration in his brain
... and if only this were London, where one might find a physician or
anatomist who could tell him if that were the case. But such gentlemen
were not to be found hanging about the portside inns of Jamaica...

He pushed through the door to the barroom, and discovered that the
Almighty possessed both mercy and a sense of humor.

 

#######################

 

Case Notes:

I think that there is no worse patient than one who is unwilling to
direct his full purpose toward living.

It is as well that the gentleman I came to meet has been delayed;
circumstances have placed me in the center of a pretty problem, but one
that, God willing I may help move toward resolution. Whilst waiting for
matters to be arranged so that I may do so, I will set down the
circumstances for my own reference.

I am faced with a seriously wounded officer, cousin to an acquaintance I
met under similarly perilous circumstances. This young man has been shot
in the abdomen, the ball passing upward and lodging in the liver. The
missile has not been removed, however (!) because the surgeon who
diagnosed him believed that the ball had passed through his lungs. While
it is true that he had expelled a quantity of blood, close questioning of
both the officer and a friend who was there at the time revealed that my
patient had neither coughed nor vomited this blood. He had, however,
stumbled and fallen after he was shot, and had deeply bitten his tongue.
I am convinced that this was the source of the effluvia. Unfortunately,
due to the pain caused by any movement of his abdominal cavity, he has
not been breathing deeply; this inaction resulted in a lung infection.

Either the wound or the infection might well be fatal, but this officer
is young, strong, and possesses a tremendous will. I am nearly certain I
can save his life, if I can remove the pistol ball that is causing a slow
haemorrhage of the liver. A secure bandage and his sturdy constitution
should, God willing, do the rest.

But he will not let me operate. He has, however, asked me whether I can
'patch him up enough' to permit him to testify.

Under other circumstances, I would say this patient was not in full
command of himself, but Lt. K is quite the opposite. He has warned me
that if I proceed with the surgery, he will demand time enough to make a
formal statement, before witnesses, in the event he does not survive the
surgical procedure. Due to the circumstances, I feel fairly certain
what he wishes to set down, and I must *not* allow him to do so... if he
did, I do not believe he would survive the procedure. His only purpose
at this moment is to protect his dearest friend, whose life may well hang
in the balance of the trial underway here. He seems to feel that one of
them will lose his life, and he is determined that if this is the case,
he will be the one to make that sacrifice. His exact words were, "I
should hate for you to waste your effort, Doctor. I would rather die
this way than hang, but I will not let them kill him."

His purpose is noble; his friend is deserving of such loyalty. And
neither of them is deserving of this inhumane ordeal.

Damn the idiocy of Naval law that hands over absolute authority without
any check upon its exercise!

 

#######################

 

Following day: First Lieutenant Buckland on the stand

Pellew: Did you intend that Mr. Hornblower would not survive?

Buckland: I do not send men to their deaths, sir!

P: That is a lie, sir! Any man who commands in wartime sends men to
their deaths, and unless he is a fool he is well aware of that sad duty.
But it is one thing to do so of necessity, and quite another to do so out
of malice.

B: Commodore, I protest!

P: Do you dispute Mr. Hornblower's testimony? Did you or did you not
present him with an "opportunity" to volunteer? Did you or did you not
refuse the offers made by other officers to assist Mr. Hornblower or
perform the duty in his stead, including, if I am not mistaken, Mr.
Bush's claim that he had seniority?

B: I did not see the need --

P: And why in God's name, with three captured ships to bring into port
and a desperate shortage of officers, did you send one of your three
remaining lieutenants to perform a task that could have and should have
been carried out by a rating -- or more properly by several ratings? Why
did you --

B: I had every confidence in Mr. Hornblower's ability --

P: If you will *kindly* allow me to complete my question, Mr. Buckland!

B: My apologies, sir.

P: Now, then. I have sworn testimony from both Mr. Bush and Mr. Kennedy
stating that, had they not, in the confusion, missed their boat back to
the Renown and determined to assist Mr. Hornblower, he would have been
killed by the rebel forces before he was able to set or detonate the
charges. If he had been working alone, per your orders, your mission
would have failed. Now, before you give me any further humbug, *will*
you explain to me why you waited until the evacuation was nearly complete
before ordering these charges set? Why did you not have men attend to
that task while you were evacuating the Spaniards?

B: (stares blankly at the Commodore)

P: Well? (waits for response. no response.) I can think of two possible
explanations. One is that you are simply incompetent and did not
conceive that you could accomplish both tasks at once. The other is that
you were attempting to ensure that Mr. Hornblower would not reach
Kingston alive, and I must tell you, Mr. Buckland, that His Majesty's
Navy has no place for officers who would conspire with the enemy to kill
their own men!

B: I did not ... I must plead incompetence, sir.

P: Even if I accept your explanation, it is possible that both surmises
are correct, because I also wonder at your motives. You were in command
of the Renown. You knew that some elements of the crew who were not in a
position to observe Captain Sawyer's difficulties would perceive your
assumption of command as mutiny. You must have expected that the
question would arise once you made port. I wonder, Mr. Buckland, whether
you did not imagine it would be easier to divert accusations of mutiny to
Mr. Hornblower if he were not alive to defend himself

B: I had no such intention. Never!

P: I have listened to your testimony for quite some time now, and never
before have I heard such a mass of pusillanimous evasion. You gained
command through Captain Sawyer's misfortune, you vacillated whether to
complete your mission until you were convinced by your subordinates to
attempt a bold stroke, you nearly destroyed their chances of success by
alerting your enemies to their presence ... you were rescued time and
again by the wit and initiative of your junior officers, and then you
rewarded those men by deliberately placing them in unnecessary peril. I
pity Captain Sawyer, I truly do. First to be suffering from a grievous
illness --"

 

Hammond interrupted him, as Pellew knew he would. "Forgive me,
Commodore, but we have not established beyond a doubt that Captain Sawyer
was so afflicted...

Pellew refused to let him seize command. "I believe Dr. Clive's
testimony clarified that issue, Captain. Gentlemen, do you have any
further questions for Mr. Buckland?"

Thankfully, they did not. "Very well, then," he continued. "I was
fortunate enough to encounter a medical gentleman yesterday who may be
able to assist us in clarifying the matter of Captain Sawyer's fitness.
The gentleman is a physician as well as a naval surgeon, author of a
standard text on diseases of seafaring men. He was once offered a post
as attending physician at the Admiralty, which he declined in order to
continue his career at sea. He has served as a ship's physician for many
years, and is also a recognized anatomist. It was in the capacity of an
eminently qualified expert witness that I authorized him to conduct an
autopsy on Captain Sawyer's remains --"

Hammond blanched. "Oh, my God! You -- you let someone cut him up!"

What ailed the man? He'd surely seen enough cutting in his years on the
quarterdeck! "I assure you, Captain Hammond, he was quite beyond pain,
which is not true of the officers who served under him. And since the
entire purpose of this enquiry has been to determine whether Captain
Sawyer was capable of commanding his ship, it behooves us to use every
means at our disposal to make that determination, do you not agree?"

He met Hammond's eyes implacably, knowing that if they had not been
sitting in these formal circumstances Hammond would be calling him out
this minute... and a part of him wished that Hammond would forget the
penalty for issuing a challenge to a superior officer. But Black Charlie
only nodded, with a glare as dark as his name.

"Thank you, sir. To that end I would like to call Dr. Stephen Maturin to
the stand."

Amid a murmur of surprise, the doctor made his way to the witness stand
and was sworn in. Pellew, remembering the physician's untidy personal
habits, had set Matthews to make him presentable. The bosun had managed
to find a blue surgeon's coat somewhere, originally intended for a man of
slightly larger stature. The cuffs had been neatly turned under, but the
rest of the garment was a bit too long. Combined with a hideous wiry
wig, it should have made Maturin look mildly ludicrous, but the effect
was the opposite; the man's natural dignity and seriousness of purpose
somehow transcended such inconsequentials.

Maturin took the stand with the air of a frigate tackling a two-decker;
Pellew had apprised him in no uncertain terms of how things stood, and
they had not had time for a consultation before this day's proceedings
began. But Pellew had met the doctor's pale grey eyes as he was taking
his oath, and the faint nod he received did much to relieve his
trepidation.

"Thank you, Dr. Maturin," he said. "We appreciate that your time is
valuable, and I propose to waste none of it. You have read the
transcripts of our proceedings to acquaint yourself with the central
issue of this court, have you not?"

"Yes, sir, I have," Maturin said.

"And have you been able to complete an examination of Captain Sawyer's
mortal remains?"

"I have, sir."

"Very good. Based on this information and your own expert knowledge,
have you any opinions on the matter at hand?"

"I have," Maturin said. "And I believe there are two issues involved, in
the medical sense: the question of addiction, and the question of
fitness for duty. I have made something of a study of the effects of
opiates, and it is my opinion that, judging from the doses Captain Sawyer
was in the habit of taking, he was almost certainly addicted to laudanum,
and this condition might well have affected his ability to command."

Pellew heard a muttered oath from Hammond, but he was watching Clive; the
Renown's physician flushed scarlet.

Dr. Maturin had not finished, though. "Due to the length of time since
Captain Sawyer's death, it is impossible to say, one way or another,
whether he had reached a stage where this addiction caused permanent
changes in his brain. Such changes are still largely a matter of
conjecture, and there is not enough evidence to say with certainty if
they actually occur."

"It sounds to me as though you are saying you have no physical evidence
that sheds light on the matter," Hammond put in. "I could have told you
that myself."

"I did not say that." Maturin's voice was suddenly a surgeon's knife.
"Jesus and Mary, can you not understand that for such a man to become so
dependent on a pain-killer, there must be *pain* -- there must be a
*reason?* James Sawyer was dying."

The murmur in the courtroom rose to a babble. Pellew slammed his gavel
down, shouting for silence as he had done so often on the deck of the
Indefatigable. And, naturally, the roomful of Navy men responded as
though they were aboard ship. "Please continue, Doctor," he said into
the sudden quiet.

"I shall. But I would first like to say that Dr. Clive was in no way
negligent in his treatment of this case. He is trained as a ship's
surgeon, not a physician; I believe in matters of amputation he may well
be my better. But he is no diagnostician. I have examined another of
the Renown's men and found him mistaken in that case as well. In any
event, it would not be reasonable to expect him to diagnose dementia.
Indeed, he could not have confirmed a diagnosis on this patient without
killing him first."

Pellew did not have patience for Irish drama. "And that diagnosis,
Doctor?"

Maturin consulted a notebook and cleared his throat. "Captain Sawyer had
exhibited excitability, personality changes, memory lapses, confusion,
and delusions. Dr. Clive's medical log also reveals that he had been
suffering from severe, occasionally crippling head-aches, the original
complaint for which he was given laudanum. The incident of the attack on
the fort in Samana Bay is particularly significant: if a seasoned
warrior such as Captain Sawyer made such an egregious error regarding the
angle and elevation of his cannon, it seems clear that he had lost
significant spatial perception -- an ability critical to the conduct of
an artillery barrage. In light of this loss of function, a loss that
would also have affected his sense of balance, I believe that the
Captain's fall into the hold was in all likelihood exactly what his
officers have been saying all along: an accident."

Pellew let himself look at Hornblower, finally; he had not been able to
until now, and he found those great dark eyes trained on his own face.
Hornblower did not say aloud /I tried to tell you,/ but Pellew nodded,
and in that moment of absolution it seemed they released a pent-up breath
simultaneously. The Commodore felt a great weight lift off his heart as
the younger man's shoulders relaxed.

Collins, who had been silently watching all along, finally spoke to the
witness. "And you found a cause for all this, sir?"

"Yes, sir, I did. A cause that explains all the symptoms. Captain
Sawyer was suffering from a brain tumor in his left temporal region.
Given its size and location, I find it amazing that he was able to
function at all, let alone command a ship of the line."

"You claim he had a tumor," Hammond objected.

Maturin turned an almost reptilian stare on the officer, his demeanor
suddenly arctic. "I beg your pardon, Captain. If you care to discuss
the matter of my veracity at another time and place, I will be at your
disposal."

//By God, he's challenging Hammond!// Pellew marveled at Maturin's
temerity. But the Doctor had a prickly nature, and, if rumor was
correct, had proven himself in duels more than once. Pellew held his
breath, waiting for Hammond's response and hoping he would retract what
had been a blatant, unnecessary insult. //We have no time for these
squabbles, damn it!//

As though he'd heard Pellew's mental protest, Maturin shook his head.
"At the moment I feel this business is more pressing. However, you need
not trust my word alone. By order of Commodore Pellew, your own ship's
surgeon was present at the autopsy," Maturin said. "As were surgeons
from the vessels of the other members of this bench. They can verify
that *this* --" He removed a small stoppered jar from one pocket of his
coat -- "was removed from the brain of Captain James Sawyer at
approximately one-thirty this morning. Commodore Pellew's surgeon made a
detailed sketch of the anatomical location, should you care to see it."
He held the jar toward Hammond, who recoiled slightly.

Pellew was able to keep the smile off his face, but he was afraid a trace
of it crept into his voice. "You would then say, in your best medical
judgement, that Captain Sawyer would have been unfit to command the
Renown?"

"He would have been unfit to command a rowboat!" Maturin snapped. "Add
to that the laudanum, which would mask some symptoms and exacerbate
others ..."

He sighed, and his indignation seemed to drain away. "Gentlemen, my own
Captain fought in the Battle of the Nile, and counts among his friends
officers who served there under James Sawyer. From all I have heard of
him, he was a great man and a splendid captain, stern but fair, an
inspiration to his men. I am quite certain that in his full health he
more than earned the loyalty given him by Dr. Clive, Mr. Hobbs, and the
other men who had served with him so long, through so many battles. It
is fully understandable that these men would not wish to do anything that
might reflect badly on their captain. The changes his illness wrought
would have come so slowly that they might not have even realized how
profound those changes were.

"But those officers who were more lately come to Renown were perhaps in a
better position to perceive his illness, and, when his condition
deteriorated to the point that it endangered the ship, do what they had
to do to ensure that their Captain's ship was preserved and his mission
fulfilled. Given what I have heard of Captain Sawyer's devotion to duty,
I suspect he would have passed command to his lieutenants if he had been
in any way aware of his own incapacity. Sadly, he was not."

Pellew found himself spellbound by the lilting voice. He held his
breath, seeing where Maturin was headed.

"So in the end what you had aboard His Majesty's Ship Renown was a dying
Captain struggling to do his duty, a doctor doing his best to keep that
Captain alive and capable, a crew who sensed their leader was failing and
either deserted like rats or strove to protect him ... and officers
caught between duty to their Captain and duty to their ship -- two things
that should never, never have *been* two separate things. There is no
plot, there is no sin, there is only tragedy."

He closed his notebook and faced the bench squarely. "Gentlemen, there
were no mutineers aboard the Renown when she sailed into Kingston Port.
No mutineers at all. Only heroes ... and martyrs."

The room was silent. There were tears running down Clive's face now, and
Hobbs' was buried in his hands. And Hornblower... Dear God, the boy
seemed ready to fall unconscious. But he did not; of course he did not.
And he was not a boy anymore, but a man who had already discerned all
that Maturin had just spoken. Hornblower's face was immobile, his glance
downward. Knowing his former officer's sense of responsibility, Pellew
was certain he was counting the lives lost and blaming himself.

Pellew tore his eyes away. "Thank you, Doctor." He turned to the other
officers setting in judgement. "Well, gentlemen?" he asked under his
breath. "Do you want to drag this on further, or give Sawyer a hero's
death and be done with it? Do we need further deliberation?"

"I say it's over," Collins said. "I'll not be a party to hanging
innocent men."

"Thank you, Captain," Pellew said. "Hammond?"

"A tumor," Hammond muttered. "By God. I could have sworn..." He shook
his head. "You win, Commodore."

"The Service wins, Captain--" Pellew began, but was interrupted.

"If it please the court," Dr. Maturin said in a loud voice. All three
judges turned to him. "Gentlemen, may we have a verdict? I have a
patient who might just survive if I can remove a pistol ball from his
liver, but he has refused me permission to operate." He raked the bench
with a savage look that came to rest on Black Charley Hammond. "He
thought you might require a death."

//Kennedy.//

Pellew smashed the gavel down, missing its rest and denting the fine oak
bench. Hornblower jerked at the sound, and Maturin shot out of the
courtroom as though the devil were at his heels, never hearing the formal
words of vindication.

As to the others ... Clive was already leaving. Matthews was beaming at
Hornblower like a proud father, Styles grinning at his elbow. Hobbs
seemed thoughtful, perhaps regretting he'd ever brought the charge of
mutiny. That damned fool Buckland was staring into space like a man
struck insensible. His career was over, without a doubt. He might not
be dismissed from the Service, but neither would he be chosen by any
captain who examined his record. Set ashore on half-pay, and the Service
all the better for it.

And much the better for the officer saved. Pellew might have given the
task to another, but he stepped down from the bench himself to hand
Hornblower back his sword, and command him to bear it in the service of
King and Country. There was more he would do, later; at present he
wanted only to get his battered protege out of here and distract him with
dinner until Stephen Maturin could save the Indefatigable's other
alumnus. God knew it was presumption to ask for more luck, but if anyone
deserved it surely Archie Kennedy did.

Perhaps it would be better to take Hornblower over to the prison
infirmary first. Knowing his friend was safe would give Kennedy heart;
his own determination and Maturin's skill would do the rest. If all else
failed, Pellew thought, he would order Lt. Kennedy to recover. Then
chided himself for a sentimental fool, and herded Horatio Hornblower out
into the bright sunshine.

 

the end

 

Note: Official records show that Dr. Stephen Maturin was elsewhere at
the time of the proceedings in Kingston. Curiously, the available
records also vary on the identities of the Captains who reviewed the case
of the Renown, and even on whether the official proceedings were in fact
a mutiny trial or merely a board of inquiry. But it was long ago, and
those sailors long gone ... and we may bear in mind that Dr Maturin was
often officially listed as 'elsewhere' for reasons of National Security.

But it is a matter of historical fact that one Archibald Kennedy, Captain
in the Royal Navy, became Earl of Argyle following the accidental death
of the previous Earl, his cousin.

Truth has many faces, and sometimes she winks.