"Well, I think that he's got Simpson and Kennedy and the
beat all to 'ell, that's what I think."
"The ship's cat has got Simpson beat. That's not sayin much."
"Ah, come on, 'e's smart, real smart. I'd bet that `e's
than the Cap'n."
"'E's smart, but `e's still a lad."
"'E's an officer, no matter wot `is age is. And don't
"Officer's ain't always wot they's cracked up to be, that's
if you ask me."
"Yeah, well, `e is, an that's a fact. you saw `im on that
ship. `E saved your sorry arse, `e did."
"Can you imagine if `e didn't get `is Lieutenant's coat
that? `Ell to pay. E's the best the Cap'n's got, and that's no lie. E
knows it, too. You seen `ow `e treats `em, jus like `e was `is son."
"Cap'n knows that `e's got a good one there. Knows that
anything `appens to `im, Mr. `Ornblower would `ave to run things."
"You don't know that. Lieutenant Bracegirdle knows wot's
"Sure, but `e ain't got that spark the Mr. `Ornblower's
got. You can
see that a mile away. Anyone could see that."
"Right you are on that one. `E's got the goods, and there's
arguing that one"
"I bet `e gets `is Broad Pennant before `e's done. E will,
my words on that."
"And you'd like to still be sailin with `im when `e hangs
the mast, wouldn't you?"
"Course, you'd `ave to do the `angin for `im. `E won't
those masts then. `E don't like to do it now."
"Too right on that one. But who else would you rather
be with, eh?
Tell me that. `E's the chinks and there's no two ways about it."
"Well, it's just bloody unfair, that's all. He gets another
commendation every time he belches, for the love of God. It's getting
a bit tired, don't you think?"
"That combined with the fact that Pellew thinks the sun
sets on his head gets a little hard to take in my mind, thank you."
"It's not like he's the only officer on the damn ship,
I mean we are
here, are we not? Correct me if I'm mistaken in this, gentlemen."
"To hear the crew talk, he's the living and breathing
embodiment of a
rabbit's foot, a horse shoe and four leaf clover all rolled into one."
"Have you ever seen his division lord over the other ratings
they're Hornblower's lads and they aren't? I would have thought that
would lead to fighting, but the other men seem to accept that they're
bested in some unspoken contest that we're unaware of."
"Not to mention that we've also been bested in this unspoken
competition. Have you noticed that we are all decidedly second class
when he's about?"
"You're too right about that, old man."
"And have you ever seen them dance attendance on him?
`What can we
get you, sir?' Is there anything else, sir?' God, you'd think that
he was their father, mother and minister all rolled into one, let
alone their officer."
"Pellew's attitude is the one that galls me the most.
It's as if we
were just place fillers. Bloody ciphers beside his lordship, for the
love of God."
"I swear, if Hornblower farted, Pellew would declare it a symphony."
"Have you heard the latest? The Admiralty, in their wisdom,
decided that he's to be granted his full commission after that little
adventure with the fire ship. Never mind that he failed the
examination. They've decided that he's a full Lieutenant and so he
"Well, they could hardly break him back to Mid after saving
fleet, you know. Give some credit where it's due."
"As if anyone of us couldn't have done the same thing
"Well, perhaps, but I point out that he is the one who
manage to do the deed."
"Don't tell me that you side with Saint Horatio, do you"
"May I remind you that you are speaking of a fellow officer
to the best of my knowledge, never acted with less than
professionalism and honor. You are being a bit unfair here, you know."
"Oh, please. And whose side are you one?"
"I think that it would be a good idea to host a dinner
his promotion. This evening would be suitable."
"Yes, sir if you wish."
"If I wish? That's damning with faint praise if ever I
heard it. Are
you saying that you have some sort of reservations? Whatever would
they be, might I ask?"
"Well, sir, permission to speak freely, sir?"
"Of course you've permission. What on earth is on your mind?"
"Sir, I fear that there seems to be some resentment directed
him. It seems to me that it is based largely on simple jealousy. I
could be mistaken, of course, but it might not be a good idea to push
this right now."
"Jealousy? Indeed. Well, if that's the case, I would suggest
anyone suffering from that particular affliction might do well to
find a quick cure. The dinner will take place at seven bells this
evening. Please pass the word, if you would be so kind."
"Sir, if I may. I believe that some of the other officers
think that there is favoritism at work here and that he has been the
beneficiary. I've heard things, gossip really, that would indicate
"I see. And, in your opinion, is there any validity to
you've heard expressed among the officers?"
"Sir, it does appear true that he does receive the lion
opportunities to make a name for himself and he does seem to be on
the receiving end of quite a bit of praise. Forgive my saying so,
"Has it occurred to anyone that perhaps the praise and
opportunities are both earned?"
"It's true that he's a hard worker, sir."
"And has twice the brain and creativity of any man jack
myself included. I would also point out that he has been wounded,
been a prisoner and has Captained a quarantine ship which only, by
the Grace of God, didn't succumb to plague."
"Yes, sir, that's all true, certainly."
"He also commands loyalty from his men like no one else
short of Nelson himself. You've seen this yourself countless times.
Am I not correct?"
"I would never deny that, sir. I would agree, in fact,
but he is
still quite young whereas some of the older man are concerned"
"Would do well to attempt to reach the standards set by
I've watched him make his way around the ship as he goes about
business. He never seems to hurry unless some emergency causes the
need. He just walks with a sureness that gets him from place to
Never raises his voice, either. The others all yell and shout
curse to make their wants known. He just speaks in his normal voice
and somehow the men"even the ones who aren't his, just jump to as
though a lash was about to land. Oh, he knows the words, has even
been known to use them on occasion, but rarely. Doesn't seem to need
them, doesn't even seem to like them. He just asks, even
says `please' and `thank you' and then expects his request to be
fulfilled. The damnedest thing is that it always is.
He gets along with almost everyone, but has almost no intimates.
Kennedy, sure, thick as thieves, those two. Pellew. Is he a friend?
Probably not, he's the Captain and doesn't have friends, at least not
on board. That would be foolish, and Pellew is no fool. He likes to
talk to Hornblower, though, you can see that. They play whist
together with Bracey and one of the Mid's. I've even heard that the
Captain asks the boy in for a game of chess once every week or
two. `Heard him telling Chadd, before the poor bastard was killed,
that Hornblower was the only one aboard who could give him a good
Christ, they'll be having tea parties before you know it.
Kennedy will likely benefit from the fallout of being in the
trailing in the wake of the fair-haired child.
Poor boy from Kent, indeed. He'll end up with a bloody star
chest before he's through. Pellew will see to that, Damnit.
"Well, gentlemen, to the King."
"To the King." "The King."
"And to our new Lieutenant. Mr. Hornblower."
"Mr. Hornblower." "Here, Here."
"Ah, a decent vintage, my compliments to the French, may
they rot in
Hell, but may they first allow us to capture more of their wine."
"I'll second that, if you don't mind."
"I'm sure that we can count on Lieutenant Hornblower to
liberate some reasonable brandy for us, gentlemen, wouldn't you say?"
"I fear that he will put us all to shame before we're
unless I miss my guess."
"Which will leave us with more time to practice our whist
I dare say."
"My compliments to your steward, Captain. The veal is
I may say so. Thank God that we still have the benefit of fresh meat."
"Yes, well, that won't last for much longer, gentlemen.
received our orders this afternoon. We'll be well away by this time
tomorrow. I was planning on telling you all with the cheese course
this evening. The supplies were all finished loading today and
there's nothing to delay us. We sail with the land breeze in the
"Might we inquire where we'll be off to this time, sir?"
"No, you may not. You'll learn when you need to know and not before."
"Of course, forgive me, sir."
"Gentlemen, as we are sailing at dawn, I would suggest
that we call
it an evening so that we might all make our final preparations and
that we might all be rested for the morning. Good Evening."
"Yes, sir, thank you."
"Mr. Hornblower, would you wait just a moment, if you please?"
"Did you bloody believe that? Thanks us for our time,
with the staff and has his boy stay behind for a nightcap. Bleeding
"They're likely just having another game of chess."
"Is that what you think?"
"Jesus, Jonathan, you're not actually suggesting that"
"No, of course not that. Give me some credit, will you?
pointing out that the favored son has retained his position for yet
"You're going to hang yourself with that talk. Every Captain
favorites; you know that as well as I do. You'd do well to keep a
tongue in your head."
"I always do."
"Well, if you're so unhappy here, you could simply request
transfer. Perhaps you'll be the fair haired boy on your next ship."
"Small chance of either happening. If I were to request
the Admiralty would ask why, not to mention the Captain. And the
thought of being anyone's favorite is a tightrope I'd rather not
walk, thank you. Too easy to fall of and break your neck."
"Than rather than complaining, you might want to thank
the lad next
time you see him for relieving you of the awkwardness of having to
say no to the Captain."
"Oh, do shut up."
"Knight to King four."
"Forgive me, sir, but that would be a mistake. You're
in a bit of
trouble over here. My Bishop will have your Queen if you do that."
"So he shall, hiding over there behind that pawn. Right.
"I'm afraid that's check, sirand mate."
"Damn, you've been practicing, Lieutenant. Would you care
brandy? It might be my only hope."
"Thank you, sir, no. I should get some sleep, if you'll forgive me."
"Yes, of course. Sounds like good advice for both of us."
"Good night, sir, and thank you, dinner was a pleasure."
"You're welcome, Mr. Hornblower. And Mr. Hornblower"
"Congratulations on your commission. Believe me, you were
the talk at
the Admiralty this week. Several Captains even went so far as to
inquire if you were available for transfer. I took the liberty of
telling then that you weren't. I hope that was the correct answer."
"Yes, sir. Of course it was. If I may say so, serving
with you is
one of the high points of my life. I have no desire to leave the Indy
"Yes, well, but you will, you know, likely in a year or
you're ready you will move up to a ship of the line and from there to
Commander of your own ship. It's inevitable. You know that as well as
I do. I shall be sorry to see you leave."
"And I shall be sorry to go, sir. More than I can say."
"And I shall to be sorry to lose you, but it will be for
the best. I
told you after the Papillion, I saw something in you. I know now that
I was right."
"Sir, I'm honored, more than I can say."
"Yes, well, get some sleep. You'll need it the next week.
"Who goes there? Oh, forgive me sir. Didn't recognize
you for a
"No harm done. I was just taking a walk before turning in. All quiet?"
"So, did you hear that the Captain has plans for his nibs
of the Mids heard them talking through the skylight. It seems that
he's in line for a transfer to a ship of the line, likely after this
voyage. From there it's just a short hop to command of his own ship."
"Well, with all respect, sir, he's probably about ready for it."
"He's nineteen bloody years old."
"Yes, sir, but that's not the point, now, is it?"
"Are you saying that you'd be willing to sail with the
your life to him?"
"Well sir, I think that I would, now that you mention
respect, I think that I'd rather be with him if I couldn't be under
Pellew. He just knows how to go about things, you know?"
"Ah, yes. The good luck charm of the blockade fleet, or
"Well, sir, he does seem to get himself and his men home
"Begging your pardon, sir, but I would suggest that you
"What are you implying, Mister?"
"Sir, forgive me, but you seem to have too much spirits
and may regret continuing with this conversation, should you decide
"You think that I'm drunk?---Fine, but this isn't the
end of this.
You may mark my words on that, my good friend. He's going to be
"I've a friend who's an officer on Renown. He told me
looking for a new Lieutenant to replace that one who was killed last
week. This isn't the end of this by a long shot."