O'Pinions & O'Bservations O' O'Bscure O'Briania


Return to Main Page

The Letter of Marque

From: Bob Fleisher
Sent: Wednesday, October 09, 2002 1:48 AM
Subject: Group-Read Letter of Marque

Does anybody think they have a reasonably clear idea of what Sir Joseph Blaine looks like? I've always visualized him as old-ish, thin but somewhat spry, something like the late Wilfred Hyde-White, but early in LOM his face is described as large and round. Is he supposed to be big and middle-aged? I know he's presumably still of an age to contemplate marriage.

On another subject, there's a discussion, also early in the book, of the chase of the Azul by the privateer Spartan, and I can't seem to visualize the geometry. The Surprise, duded up to look like the Azul, comes on the stern chase at night, and Jack realizes that the Azul is firing three guns at the Sparta, who is following directly in her wake. But one of the guns is apparently on the quarterdeck. As I understand it, the quarterdeck is below the level of the poop deck, so how could a quarterdeck gun be firing directly astern at a target--wouldn't the poop deck be in the way? Not to mention the mizzenmast.

In general, I have mixed feelings about LOM. It's very exciting--lots of things going on, pretty much nonstop. But it feels contrived to me, as though O'Brian were making it up to Jack for the turn he played on him in Reverse of the Medal. Everything works out _too_ well; it seems just a bit too pat for me.

One more thing. After the spectacular prize-taking in the Spartan affair, the point is made that, barring disaster, Jack now has enough money to last him the rest of his life, particularly as the great lawsuit is conveniently decided in his favor. That situation holds, as best I recall (the books are not at hand), until Yellow Admiral, at the start of which he's suddenly on the brink of poverty, having to sell off property and worried about his future. Did I miss something? All I recall by way of explanation is something in passing about condemned prizes, but what prizes would there have been at that time in the war, and when was he supposed to have taken them? YA is my least-favorite book in the canon, poorly plotted to my taste, and this sudden poverty seems to me particularly contrived.

Bob Fleisher
Houston, TX


From: Gerry Strey
Sent: Wednesday, October 09, 2002 8:37 AM
Subject: Re: Group-Read Letter of Marque

As best I recall, Sir Joseph is described as pale-faced (was glabrous the word POB used?), and somehow or other I got the impression that if he is not actually obese, he is at least flabby.

As for Jack's changes in fortune, I too find them unconvincing. I wonder why POB needed to add these financial fluctuations in the latter books. I have to admit that from Commodore onward I have found the books to be disappointing, and have not reread them, but I can't recall what significance Jack's money problems had on the plots, other than adding an element of distress and unease.

Gerry Strey
Madison, Wisconsin


From: Don Seltzer
Sent: Wednesday, October 09, 2002 8:47 AM
Subject: Re: Group-Read Letter of Marque

At 1:48 AM -0500 10/9/2002, Bob Fleisher wrote:

On another subject, there's a discussion, also early in the book, of the chase of the Azul by the privateer Spartan, and I can't seem to visualize the geometry. The Surprise, duded up to look like the Azul, comes on the stern chase at night, and Jack realizes that the Azul is firing three guns at the Sparta, who is following directly in her wake. But one of the guns is apparently on the quarterdeck. As I understand it, the quarterdeck is below the level of the poop deck, so how could a quarterdeck gun be firing directly astern at a target--wouldn't the poop deck be in the way? Not to mention the mizzenmast.

Among warships, a quarterdeck and a poop deck were generally found only on ships of the line, and very rarely on frigates or smaller vessels. Among merchant ships, both decks would likely only be found on larger passenger carrying East Indiamen. A smaller ship such as the Azul would have only a quarterdeck.

In general, I have mixed feelings about LOM. It's very exciting--lots of things going on, pretty much nonstop. But it feels contrived to me, as though O'Brian were making it up to Jack for the turn he played on him in Reverse of the Medal. Everything works out _too_ well; it seems just a bit too pat for me.

One impression I had of LOM was that it was borrowing much from Post Captain. I sometimes mix up the Bellone and the Spartan, and the cutting out of the Fanciulla/Diane from a Channel port. And in both books, Jack starts out with financial troubles that are resolved by the end, while pursuing his goal of being appointed Post Captain.

Don Seltzer


From: Howard Douglass
Sent: Wednesday, October 09, 2002 6:07 PM
Subject: Re: Group-Read Letter of Marque

Gerry wrote:

As best I recall, Sir Joseph is described as pale-faced (was glabrous the word POB used?), and somehow or other I got the impression that if he is not actually obese, he is at least flabby.

But glabrous doesn't mean pale, fat OR flabby. Thus the OED:

glabrous (_________), a. [f. L. glaber without hair, smooth, bald (see glad) + -ous.] Free from hair, down, or the like; having a smooth skin or surface. Now only as a scientific term.

Howard
Who is somewhat glabrous himself


From: Ted
Sent: Wednesday, October 09, 2002 7:08 PM
Subject: Re: Group-Read Letter of Marque

I seem to remember this discussion about what Blaine looked like from a few months ago & I'm not sure we reached a general conclusion. For myself I always pictured him as a stoutish man.

Not sure that all ships, especially Frigates & below had poop decks.

This sudden poverty has been noted here before. Maybe its suddeness had to do with who was doing POB's editing?

Ted


From: Don Seltzer
Sent: Friday, October 11, 2002 10:17 AM
Subject: GRP:LOM Barking up the wrong tree

POB generally used contemporary sources, but may have occasionally been misled when he relied on Admiral Smyth's Sailor's Word Book, which was published in 1867. The numerous references to the Azul as a"barque", and "barque-rigged" are an anachronistic slip. In 1813, such a vessel would have been spelled bark.

Another anachronism repeated throughout the canon is referring to the "last dogwatch" instead of the second dogwatch. This is a RN usage that became popular in the 20th century.

Don Seltzer


From: Don Seltzer
Sent: Friday, October 11, 2002 2:57 PM
Subject: GRP:LOM Scavenger Hunt

In the early chapters of M&C, POB used a simple literary trick involving his three main characters, which has been previously discussed.

In LOM, he employs a similar technique/trick regarding Jack and Stephen. Be the first to spot it and win 5 minutes of eternal fame, courtesy of Charlezzzz.

Don Seltzer


From: Alec O' Flaherty
Sent: Friday, October 11, 2002 4:29 PM
Subject: Re: GRP:LOM Scavenger Hunt

He put them on a ship together?

Alec


From: Vanessa Brown
Sent: Friday, October 11, 2002 4:50 PM
Subject: Re: GRP:LOM Scavenger Hunt

Hmmm, the only 'trick' that comes to mind in M&C is that each of the three central characters starts off his morning by muttering "Christ". I dont have the passages to hand, but I believe Dillon is singing as he shaves, Stephen is desheveled and heartsick on his hilltop home, and Jack has been suddenly awoke in his cabin.

Now, I havent come across anything so neat as that in my reread of LOM (of course I have only just made my way into the 2nd chapter). But there is a link between Jack and Stephen.

They have both suffered a cruel blow, lost the love of their lives. Jack mourns the Navy, Stephen mourns Diana. Both men are stoicly going on about their business, but both are susceptible to sudden pains of loss.

Surely Don had something cleverer in mind, him being an uncommon deep old file, but might I perhaps get partial credit, or an "E" for effort, at least?

Vanessa, frowsty and dissolute.


From: Don Seltzer
Sent: Friday, October 11, 2002 6:58 PM
Subject: Re: GRP:LOM Scavenger Hunt

Vanessa, you are halfway there, and only need to backtrack a little. Don't look for anything overly clever, just a simple, but neat little touch.

I only noticed it because POB made a point of it in his notes.

Don Seltzer


From: Vanessa Brown
Sent: Saturday, October 12, 2002 12:45 AM
Subject: Re: GRP:LOM Scavenger Hunt

OK, each character is introduced with a similar phrase ...

"Ever since Jack Aubrey had been dismissed the service..."

and

"Ever since Stephen Maturin had become rich..."

Then POB goes on to describe the effect these recent reverses have had on their respective lives.

If it ain't that I give up and beg to be let in on the secret.

Vanessa, who seems to be the only lissun playing this game anyhoo.


From: Don Seltzer
Sent: Saturday, October 12, 2002 9:27 AM
Subject: Re: GRP:LOM Scavenger Hunt

We have a winner! Vanessa may apply at Kelly's in Doylstown for her prize. Even before he began writing LOM, POB wrote in his notes that he wished to start chapter 1 with "Ever since SM had become rich..." and chapter 2 with "Ever since JA had been dismissed...". **

In the final version, both passages were in the first chapter, with the JA first (making for a stronger opening, IMHO).

In addition to her 5 minutes of fame, Vanessa will also be receiving a copy of this page, so that she may review the other related notes that POB made.

Next contest, on Monday, will be Guess the Alternative Endings.

**The POB notes are provided through the courtesy of the Lilly Library, Bloomington, IN

Don Seltzer


From: EB
Sent: Saturday, October 12, 2002 6:23 AM
Subject: Re: GRP:LOM--Pergolesi

"Polly, an enchanting young person whose black hair and blue eyes brought Diana even more strongly to mind, played some variations on a theme by Pergolesi...."

A midi file of a canzonetta by Pergolesi:

http://www.karadar.com/Dictionary/pergolesi.html

A movement from his Stabat Mater:

http://stage.vitaminic.com/main/chamber_works/singles

He seems to have gotten left out of the "Evenings With the Captain" CD's. Perhaps there will be another volume.

Edmund


From: Don Seltzer
Sent: Monday, October 14, 2002 9:24 AM
Subject: GRP:LOM Are Endings Really So Important Contest

LOM ends with the Surprise going to Sweden, the reunion of Stephen and Diana, and one of the happier endings in the canon with a scene almost literally out of an Italian opera.

But POB's notes indicate that very early on, he was considering a very different tragic end, perhaps the final book in the canon, and wrote down a few lines about two alternative endings.

Beginning with the final setting in Sweden, how would you end LOM? The prize is 15 minutes of fame to each of the two answers that match POB's ideas.

Don Seltzer


From: Gustaf Erikson
Sent: Monday, October 14, 2002 9:28 AM
Subject: Re: GRP:LOM Are Endings Really So Important Contest

Stephen dies of the laudanum overdose and Jack blames Diana.

/g.


From: Gerry Strey
Sent: Monday, October 14, 2002 10:56 AM
Subject: Re: GRP:LOM Are Endings Really So Important Contest

I'd have Diana fall down the tower and be killed, or if you feel that that (IMO) undeserving female rates a more glamorous death, crash her balloon (but the horse survives).

Gerry Strey
Madison, Wisconsin


From: Charles Munoz
Sent: Monday, October 14, 2002 11:14 AM
Subject: Re: GRP:LOM Are Endings Really So Important Contest

Stephen and Diana fly away in a red balloon, singing, sipping laudanum together, and are last seen over Lapland, flying north. They are flying still and sipping yet.

Surprise sails out through the Kattegat and heads north after them, and grounds on a floating island, the back of Monstro the Whale. The officers and crew set up a cricket pitch on her huge back and are last seen playing, playing, playing as they pass through the ice fields. They are playing forever, in a game of stupefying boredom. The rum will long since have run out, and Saint Famine is their only audience, crying out, "Well played, oh, well played. Hor, hor, hor."

When Britain again has need of them, it is rumored, they will float and fly back; Stephen and Diana will require a divorce, Jack will hopelessly demand his back pay. Britain will turn to some obscure Australian actor in her moment of greatest despair, and will make him Lord Mayor of London.

Charlezzzzz


From: Bob Fleisher
Sent: Monday, October 14, 2002 11:22 AM
Subject: Re: GRP:LOM Are Endings Really So Important Contest

If O'Brian really thought about ending the series with the tragic ending to LOM, I suspect he planned to crash both Stephen and Diana in the balloon. It's always seemed to me that there was a great deal of lead-up to the balloon, and not much payoff.

Bob Fleisher
Houston, TX


From: Katherine T
Sent: Monday, October 14, 2002 1:26 PM
Subject: Re: GRP:LOM Are Endings Really So Important Contest

I agree with you and Gerry about the balloon. It was foreshadowed from the very beginning of the book, and then all the air leaked out before it ever got off the ground.

Katherine


From: Batrinque@AOL.COM
Sent: Monday, October 14, 2002 2:01 PM
Subject: Re: GRP:LOM Are Endings Really So Important Contest

Why do I see a falling balloon featuring in here, bearing -- perhaps -- Diana and Stephen?

Bruce Trinque
4137'52"N 7222'29"W


From: Rosemary Davis
Sent: Monday, October 14, 2002 2:26 PM
Subject: Endings, not happy

Stephen kills Jagiello in a duel and is seriously wounded, having to operate on himself. Jack refuses to allow Diana on the ship to nurse Stephen, so she has to follow in her balloon, and elopes with the balloon (pilot? who drives those things?) Then POB said, wait, I've used that one before...-RD, which obviously the real unreal ending has been revealed, but I like Charlezzzzz's the best.

If they suspect me of intelligence, I am sure it will soon blow over (TFOW, p.184)


From: MMarch5235@AOL.COM
Sent: Monday, October 14, 2002 3:05 PM
Subject: Re: GRP:LOM Are Endings Really So Important Contest

Jack is slowly expiring in the lantern light between 2 cannons. A concerned Maturin bends over him."Kiss me,Steven",murmurs Aubrey, as his life fades.

Marion


From: Don Seltzer
Sent: Monday, October 14, 2002 3:52 PM
Subject: Re: GRP:LOM Are Endings Really So Important Contest

We have some fine imaginations among the lissuns, and even a few that think like POB. Among the entries submitted so far, we have one winner. Another is not quite correct, but is pointed in the same direction.

Don Seltzer


From: Marian Van Til
Sent: Monday, October 14, 2002 4:50 PM
Subject: Re: GRP:LOM Are Endings Really So Important Contest

Bob Fleischer wrote:

If O'Brian really thought about ending the series with the tragic ending to LOM, I suspect he planned to crash both Stephen and Diana in the balloon. It's always seemed to me that there was a great deal of lead-up to the balloon, and not much payoff.

You mean, instead of a lead-up, O'Brian couldn't get the lead out? It went over like a lead balloon?

sorry

Marian


From: Bob Kegel
Sent: Monday, October 14, 2002 4:50 PM
Subject: Re: GRP:LOM Are Endings Really So Important Contest

Stephen is killed in a duel with Jagiello, after leaving his fortune to Sophie. Diana, conscience-stricken, takes off in her balloon, never to be seen again. Jack unable, and unwilling, to fritter away his wife's new fortune, settles down to life as a country squire.

Bob Kegel
4659'18.661"N 12349'29.827"W


From: Rowen 84
Sent: Monday, October 14, 2002 4:57 PM
Subject: Re: GRP:LOM Are Endings Really So Important Contest

Stephen dies from the fall down the stairs?

Rowen


From: Gerry Strey
Sent: Monday, October 14, 2002 5:17 PM
Subject: Re: GRP:LOM Are Endings Really So Important Contest

Yes, and doesn't Stephen have a strange, surreal vision or dream of Diana in a balloon that seems to suggest death or disaster?

Gerry Strey
Madison, Wisconsin


From: Rowen 84
Sent: Monday, October 14, 2002 5:22 PM
Subject: Re: GRP:LOM Are Endings Really So Important Contest

Stephen dies of the fall induced by the laudanum overdose. Jack blames Diana, insults her. Jagiello is compelled to defend her honor. Jack kills/seriously wounds Jagiello. Diana throws herself from the basket of the balloon and falls to her death, leaving one nasty letter for Sophie with accusations and information about Jack's peccadilloes, and another guilt-inducing note for Jack. Jack, overcome with remorse and grief for Stephen, and then battered by Diana's viciousness, but unaware of the contents of her letter to Sophie, sails back to England. On the way a French ship is encountered. Jack hastily scribbles a letter to Sophie as they close for the battle. The French attempt to board; Jack takes foolish risks because of his fey mood, throws himself into the pitched battle, and, although they win, is mortally wounded (mortal, because there is no Stephen around to 'roust out his brains and set 'em to right'). The incriminating letter reaches Sophie, together with news of all the deaths. Sophie swoons, recovers to read Jack's last letter to her, and then Diana's accusations, then sings the final, haunting aria as she plunges the letter opener into her breast and dies. After the final curtain all the principals and the conductor appear on stage to tumultuous applause.

Rowen


From: Marian Van Til
Sent: Monday, October 14, 2002 6:53 PM
Subject: Re: GRP:LOM Are Endings Really So Important Contest

Rowen, that's awful! Have you no heart? Clearly you've been listening to too much Verdi; or Puccini; or Glinka; or someone else not worthy to kiss Mozart's shoes; or Handel's sandals! Big moneymaker *you'd* be as a novelist!

Marian


From: Don Seltzer
Sent: Monday, October 14, 2002 7:13 PM
Subject: Re: GRP:LOM Are Endings Really So Important Contest

I am just overwhelmed by the imagination behind these entries. I am sorely tempted to leave the contest open just to see what comes in overnight, but the truth is that we now have both winners.

POB wrote "I might have DV reduced to exhibiting herself in balloons. SM arrives, says (though terrified of heights) may I come too? They rise very high float away and away above sea above ice beyond all recall"

Charlezzzz wrote:

Stephen and Diana fly away in a red balloon, singing, sipping laudanum together, and are last seen over Lapland, flying north. They are flying still and sipping yet.

and much more that POB certainly intended, though he didn't actually jot it down.

On another sheet, POB wrote "Thought for -another book-(crossed out) an ultimate naval tale. SM, in Baltic, finds DV, perhaps neglected by Jagiello, perhaps ill-used. Fights Jagiello - Jagiello and is killed"

Rosemary Davis was close, but it was Bob Kegel who suggested

Stephen is killed in a duel with Jagiello, and some fanciful stuff that POB never got around to putting on paper.

Charlezzzz may repair to Kelly's to withdraw 30 minutes of fame, retaining half for himself and forwarding the balance to Bob. Both will receive a copy of the relevant pages for further study.

Rowen deserves some sort of Honourable Mention.

These notes are provided through the courtesy of the Lilly Library, Bloomington, IN.

Don Seltzer, off to set up the VCR for the first episode of The Ship


From: Charles Munoz
Sent: Monday, October 14, 2002 7:21 PM
Subject: Re: GRP:LOM Are Endings Really So Important Contest

on 10/14/02 8:13 PM, Don Seltzer at dseltzer@DRAPER.COM wrote:

Charlezzzz may repair to Kelly's to withdraw 30 minutes of fame, retaining half for himself and forwarding the balance to Bob. Both will receive a copy of the relevant pages for further study.

Done and done. My half hour begins tomorrow at noon. Bob's half hour has just concluded to tumultuous, though secret, applause.

Rowen deserves some sort of Honourable Mention.

She may, when she comes to Doylestown, feed the alligators.

Charlezzzzz


From: Rowen 84
Sent: Monday, October 14, 2002 8:20 PM
Subject: Re: GRP:LOM Are Endings Really So Important Contest

Thank you kindly, Don! I'm just pleased you didn't write "dishonourable mention"!

And what joy, Charlezzzz! Allie and I are old friends and it will be a delight to renew our acquaintance. I'll be sure to bring along only the very best Iowa beef for them.

Rowen, choosing to ignore the less delightful implication of "feed the alligators


From: Don Seltzer
Sent: Thursday, October 24, 2002 8:58 PM
Subject: GRP:LOM A Tentative General View

POB began writing LOM in January, 1987. On the 16th of that month, he wrote down a one page "tentative general view".

The introductory chapter of 9000+ words was noted as done.

Ch. 2 has Jack and Stephen at sea, with Stephen explaining the situation.

Ch. 3 has gunnery exercises and general scenes of life aboard. A prize is taken and word received of the privateer Spartan.

Ch. 4 The sound of a battle is heard, and the Spartan taken. The Surprise returns to Shelmerston with prizes.

Ch. 5 Stephen meets Sir Joseph in London and learns that Jagiello is dead, and Diana living in poverty. He heads for Sweden.

Ch. 6 Stephen and Diana reunite, Stephen has his drug horrors and Diana shows kindness.

Ch. 7 With either Babbington or another old friend such as Heneage in nominal command, Jack has his successful attack on the French.

At this point, POB decides on another approach.

"No: a less improbable sequence is that SM should learn of the proposed attack from Blaine or that he should prompt it; that he should rejoin JA, participate in it. Then to Sweden in the Surprise, there be reconciled, and there be joined by JA in repaired Surprise ready for South America."

With this modified plot line, chapters 5 on are revised as follows

Ch. 5 At London meeting with Blaine, Stephen learns of the possible mission for Jack, and of Diana's balloon flights. No Jagiello; something about list of dead, Jag., French agent, Wray.

Ch. 6 Stephen joins Jack for the battle.

Ch. 7 To Sweden and Diana.

Ch. 8 Scene with Jack and Sophie, talk of reinstatement, meeting with Melville, problem of accepting a free pardon. "Qu. would he in fact?"

Ch. 9 The Surprise goes to the Baltic.

These notes courtesy of the Lilly Library, Bloomington IN

Don Seltzer


From: Katherine T
Sent: Friday, October 25, 2002 9:49 AM
Subject: Re: GRP:LOM A Tentative General View

In these notes or any others that you have seen, does POB ever refer to a Jagiello-Cherubino connection? Could he have spared Jagiello's life just for the sake of the delightful "Ah, tutti contenti saremo cos" scene?

Generally, I was wondering to what extent the Dryden quotes and other literary allusions are part of the books' structure or whether they were thrown in as a relish.

As always, thanks for posting these notes.

Katherine


From: Marshall Rafferty
Sent: Saturday, October 26, 2002 9:22 PM
Subject: GRP:LOM Ship-rigging again

This isn't a proper Group Read or POB question (I'm not even reading LOM just now), but another vessel/rigging question.

LOM once again mentions the "ship-rigged sloop."

Would there be advantage gained by having all square sails on what I assume is the relatively small hull of a sloop? For that matter, would a sloop likely have three masts?

I came upon yet another rigging-related site:

http://www.geocities.com/cutthroadisland/ShipDescrip.html

but this "ship-rigged sloop" business still has me befuddled.

Marshall Rafferty

________
At, or about:
4740'54"N. 12222'8"W.


From: Mark Iliff
Sent: Saturday, October 26, 2002 10:53 PM
Subject: Re: GRP:LOM Ship-rigging again

In the RN of the period, "sloop" meant that the vessel was commanded by a Master & Commander... irrespective of rig. The civilian meaning of "fore-and-aft rigged with a single foresail" did not apply in the navy.

Mark Iliff
5127'46"N
57'42"W


From: Marshall Rafferty
Sent: Saturday, October 26, 2002 11:53 PM
Subject: Re: GRP:LOM Ship-rigging again

On Sun, 27 Oct 2002 04:53:53 +0100, Mark Iliff wrote:

In the RN of the period, "sloop" meant that the vessel was commanded by a Master & Commander... irrespective of rig.

Ah, right you are! A little digging on my part reveals that even a ship of the line could be designated a sloop when so commanded for troopship or storage duties.

On the other hand, that almost makes the reference "Yet she was still a frigate, and for her there would be no glory in capturing anything of nominally inferior rank, such as the heavier post-ship and any of the sloops, ship-rigged or otherwise" seem to imply that in this context "sloop" refers to size, not command; but I may be reading "nominally inferior rank" wrong.

I see on more reading that this entire sloop business is a bit muddled.

Marshall


From: Jebvbva@AOL.COM
Sent: Sunday, October 27, 2002 2:36 AM
Subject: Re: GRP:LOM Ship-rigging again

Seems clear to me- the ships in question were all troop or storage ships, hence commanded by a master and called sloops even if they were of first rate size.

John B


From: Marshall Rafferty
Sent: Sunday, October 27, 2002 12:49 PM
Subject: Re: GRP:LOM Ship-rigging again

I'm sure you're right; however, at the risk of belaboring the point, I'll mention that the passage was referring to the taking of French or American vessels.

Would they have followed the somewhat idiosyncratic RN designations?

Marshall


From: Ted
Sent: Sunday, October 27, 2002 4:50 PM
Subject: Re: GRP:LOM Ship-rigging again

No doubt someone more expert will correct me, but I believe the RN did have ship rigged sloops of about 16-18 guns, rather like a minature frigate. Of course a brig of 18 guns would also be a sloop, just not a ship rigged sloop.

The French certainly had Covettes of that sort & perhaps the US Navy too?

Ted


From: Don Seltzer
Sent: Monday, October 28, 2002 10:01 AM
Subject: Re: GRP:LOM Ship-rigging again

At 8:50 AM +1100 10/28/2002, Ted wrote:

The French certainly had Corvettes of that sort & perhaps the US Navy too?

The American navy generally followed the same classification scheme as the RN. Sloops of war were either 2 masted brig-sloops, or 3 masted ship-rigged sloops, typically of about 14 - 18 guns. In a slight departure from the RN, these were commanded by "Masters Commandant". The sloops of the USN had phenomenal success against their RN counterparts.

The French navy had slightly different catagories, and referred to the larger ship sloops and also the 20 - 22 gun "Post ships" as corvettes.

Don Seltzer


From: Alec O' Flaherty
Sent: Sunday, October 27, 2002 4:58 AM
Subject: GROUPRead: LOTM; Music question

Perhaps one of the many music buffs here could help me.

Page 240 ~Harper.

Stephen is contemplating his evening with Blaine...

'And from this he moved to the opera, where they had heard a truly brilliant performance of La Nozze de Figaro, brilliant from the first notes of the overture to what Stephen always looked upon as the true end,before the hurlyburly of jovial peasants-the part where from a deas silence the dumbfounded Conte sings 'Contessa perdona, perdona, perdona.....together with the Contessa's exquisite replyand the crowd's words to the effect that they would now live happily ever after-'Ahi tutti contenti saremo cosi'- but never quite to his satisfaction.

Then to the last Paragragh of the book

.'and there the amazed foremast hands saw a blue and gold coach and four,escorted by a troop a cavalry in mauve coats with silver facings, driving slowly along the quay with their captain and a swedish offivcer on the box,their surgeon and his mate leaning out of the windows,and all of them, now joined by the lady on deck singing 'ah tutti contenti saremo cosi'.....

Are there any musical undercurrents or themes here which someone, like me, sadly ignorant of all things operatic might have missed?

Recently in his excellent notes Don indicated that POB had determined to finish the series much earlier than 'Blue at the Mizzen' and he mentioned what was intended to be the final book?

Was it LOTM-the final paragragh certainly has a ring of 'thats all folks' to it.

alec


From: Don Seltzer
Sent: Sunday, October 27, 2002 11:12 AM
Subject: Re: GROUPRead: LOTM; Music question

Very early on, POB considered a few alternate endings to the book that would become LOM, including an unhappy conclusion to the canon with a duel between Stephen and Jagiello in which Stephen would be killed.

I don't think that he ever seriously pursued this plot line, and all of his other planning notes show a happy reconciliation. The inclusion of the Figaro opera is almost certainly intended as a musical foreshadowing. On one page, in which he outlines the chapters yet to be written, he refers to the reconciliation of Stephen and Diana as "Contesse perdona".

The short description of the final chapter is as follows:

"SM & DV - balloon - overdose - fall
delirium - explanation - reconciliation -
the ship - tutti contenti"

Don Seltzer


From: Alec O' Flaherty
Sent: Sunday, October 27, 2002 6:01 AM
Subject: GROUPRead:TLOM-Sethian Mutiny

In his handling of the Sethian Mutiny Jack shows great skill in the art of man-management and in the use of acceptable compromise.

I have often tried to figure out if there is any other theme or message to be taken from this episode, but without much success.

Somehow, I feel that O Brian may have intended something by his use of the concept of covering something up so you can't see it. But that still everyone knows it's there.

Maybe the importance of perception over reality-but somehow I just can't get there. Maybe it's because there is no place to go?

alec


From: Alec O' Flaherty
Sent: Sunday, October 27, 2002 3:37 AM
Subject: GROUPRead: LOTM. Duhamel drowned

I know that O'Brian arranges to have people we like 'knocked on the head' from time to time. Maybe by way of a wake up call-'this is war and our heroes do get killed.'

But one death that always seemed to me to be strangley contrived was the drowning of Dumamel.

He had paid his dues. Returned the Blue Peter. Set up Wray and Ledward. Stephen had greatly compromised Dundas and Duhamel was to sail out of the books never to be seen again.

Yet O'Brian felt the need to send him to the bottom of the ocean, dragged down by the weight of his gold, his bankroll to a new life across the ocean.

Nah, I never understood that one.

alec


From: Rick Ansell
Sent: Sunday, October 27, 2002 2:34 PM
Subject: Re: GROUPRead: LOTM. Duhamel drowned

I always had my suspicions about that one. It was _so_ contrived that I felt it could be a 'cover story' and that the it was cooked up either to;

a) Give Duhamel a 'clean start' for his new life in Canada.
b) Give Duhamel a 'deeper cover' for his new career as a _British_ agent.
c) Cover up his demise as someone 'to dangerous to live' - he was certainly a potential danger to Stephen, had he 'turned' again.

I would not have been surprised if Duhamel had turned up again in a later book, perhaps working from Canada against the US.

On the other hand 'accidents do happen' and POB may have intended to convey this, as well as the fact that Stephens humourous 'dips' were in fact potentially very dangerous.

Rick
--

"Contrary to popular belief, penguins are not the salvation of modern technology. Neither do they throw parties for the urban proletariat."
- nicked from M Malthouse


From: John Gosden
Sent: Sunday, October 27, 2002 7:20 PM
Subject: Re: GROUPRead: LOTM. Duhamel drowned

Hear hear! It seemed to me a piece of gratuitous misery, that a man who had "paid his dues" and had no further part to play in the plot should be disposed of out of hand - and so miserably.

--
John R. Gosden
7*51'59"N / 98*20'28"E


From: Alec O' Flaherty
Sent: Monday, October 28, 2002 4:44 AM
Subject: Re: GROUPRead: LOTM. Duhamel drowned

Thanks Rick --Mmm food for thought there Ok

Much and all as I would like to agree with options (1) or (2) above, I can't find the slightest hint that this might be the case.

In fact the worrying line for me is Stephen's - 'I should not have mentioned his name had he being living.'

Because to tell the full story to Jack and give it meaning the name Duhamel had to be used.

My feeling is that in innate intelligence instinct of O Brian felt then that Duhamel could not live following the disclosure of his name so he had to go.

The only crumb of hope I get (and this is a pretty small crumb) is that it is certainly usual for Irish Catholics-(and I would guess Catalan Catholics too ) to make reference to the fact that a person is dead at the first mention of their name to a third party who clearly cannot know.

So on page 45, I would have expected Stephen to say- 'I will tell you this, Jack: the Frenchman was Duhamel, God rest his soul, with whom we had so much to do in Paris.

But then there is there is Dundas- who surely would relate the sad drowning to Jack at some stage in the future-unless the man that drowned was not Duhamel at all- but ???

Methinks me grasp at straws. hehehe

alec


From: Alec O' Flaherty
Sent: Monday, October 28, 2002 5:05 AM
Subject: Re: GROUPRead: LOTM. Duhamel drowned

Sorry Rick I was so busy listening to myself that I forgot to say that I like your Option 3. And it's the one I'm settling on (for the present!)

thanks again

alec


From: Alec O' Flaherty
Sent: Monday, October 28, 2002 6:34 AM
Subject: Re: GROUPRead: LOTM. Duhamel drowned

Guess I appear to to flogging a dead horse here-but it's a Bank holiday here and I've got a little spare time.

SM Page 322/3 While captured and travelling by coach-Duhamel ill

'He(Stephen) could at the same time put an end to Duhamel, for he had also renewed his store of sudden death and in one minute file he had enough to deal with fifty Duhamels and plenty to spare; but with this escort it would serve no good purpose and in any case he had never, as a physician, intentionally injured any man: he doubted that he could bring himself to do it, whatever extremity.

Is there a hint here that if at some stage Stephen was acting in a capacity other than that of 'physician' and that it served 'good purpose' that he could do the deed?

Of course the 'physician' exemption was need here because he had recently dispatched the two French spies in his capacity as an intelligence agent

In 'The Commodore'(108/109) Stephen relects again on Duhamel(who gave an accurate pistol) but gives no further hint as to his fate, but does use the words 'whom he had thoroughly liked'.

So on balance I have come to the conclusion that if Duhamel was dispenced with by English intelligence-Stephen was not complicit.

But maybe Blaine could have been, in what he might have seen as Stephen's long term interests.

BTW Rick -what is your'e personal view of Duhamel's death?

alec


From: Don Seltzer
Sent: Monday, October 28, 2002 9:27 AM
Subject: Re: GROUPRead: LOM. Duhamel drowned

In POB's planning notes*, Duhamel's name comes up frequently as a possible means by which Wray's treason would eventually be exposed. IIRC, "Stephen's French agent friend" is mentioned as early as the notes for the books to follow IM, about the same time that POB decided to make Wray a traitor. By the time of ROTM, POB is considering the possible ways for Duhamel to come forward, and also the return of the Blue Peter. He seems to struggle a bit in coming up with a scenario that satisfies him. There is no hint, however, of Duhamel's ultimate fate.

Why does Duhamel drown offstage, between books? POB doesn't say, so I can only speculate. In LOM, POB wanted Wray's guilt exposed, but not in a manner that would easily allow for Jack's reinstatement into the RN. POB wanted to eliminate the possibility of Duhamel testifying on Jack's behalf, hence the exile to Canada. Perhaps between books, POB decided that even that solution was not good enough, so he invented the Frenchman's unfortunate demise, throwing in the extra touch of drowning by gold, to make a further point about wealth.

*The POB notes are provided through the courtesy of the Lilly Library, Bloomington IN

Don Seltzer


From: Charles Munoz
Sent: Monday, October 28, 2002 9:34 AM
Subject: Re: GROUPRead: LOM. Duhamel drowned

on 10/28/02 9:27 AM, Don Seltzer at dseltzer@DRAPER.COM wrote:

Perhaps between books, POB decided that even that solution was not good enough, so he invented the Frenchman's unfortunate demise, throwing in the extra touch of drowning by gold, to make a further point about wealth.

It began with Dillon, of course, but as book followed book, POB became a savage god toward his creatures; he killed them more and more easily.

Charlezzzzz


From: Alec O' Flaherty
Sent: Monday, October 28, 2002 9:54 AM
Subject: Re: GROUPRead: LOM. Duhamel drowned

Don wrote:

SNIP

POB wanted to eliminate the possibility of Duhamel testifying on Jack's behalf,hence the exile to Canada. Perhaps between books, POB decided that even that solution was not good enough, so he invented the Frenchman's unfortunate demise, throwing in the extra touch of drowning by gold, to make a further point about wealth.

You come very close to eliminating our (well Rick's) little conspiracy theory which I've grown quite attached to.

Me, I'm going to hold on the grassy knoll and smoking gun scenario.

Or even the knocked on the head and shot around the ankles theory: with Blaine looking at Duhamel's gold on his desk and mumbling -'all for the good of the country, all for the good of the country.'

alec


From: Susan Collicott
Sent: Monday, October 28, 2002 1:02 PM
Subject: Re: GROUPRead: LOM. Duhamel drowned

In my brain, I like to think the Dumamel staged his own death, so as to throw the hounds off the scent.

He would have quite a few people interested in his existence or non-existence. Some to the good, some to the bad.

So I think he staged his own death - sent a corpse (easily acquired) to the bottom weighted with rocks, himself escaping on another ship with his money. Probably not to the original destination, either.

He would have had to completely trusted Stephen - and he wouldn't have, being an intelligence agent himself.

So he stages his death, buys an estate in Sweden, and lives his life out in calm contemplation of little joys.

Susan (and that's how her brain stays happy)


From: Alec O' Flaherty
Sent: Monday, October 28, 2002 2:53 PM
Subject: Re: GROUPRead: LOM. Duhamel drowned

Susan-For a while there you probably thought that I was going along with Rick's theory.

Me go along with Silly old Rick's idea of a British 'dirty trick'? Perish the thought.

Yep Duhamel and his progeny went on to do very well in Sweden.

Not many people know this but a direct descendent of his(lets call him Bjorn) starred in the Band ABBA whose song Waterloo(in praise of Nelson) won the Eurovision song contest in the early 1970's

http://www.lyricsxp.com/lyrics/w/waterloo_abba.html

Alec


From: Rick Ansell
Sent: Monday, October 28, 2002 3:27 PM
Subject: Re: GROUPRead: LOTM. Duhamel drowned

BTW Rick -what is your'e personal view of Duhamel's death?

Blaine, dead or alive, but probably dead.

Duhamel was doubley dangerous as he knew of M. Talleyrands contacts with the British.

Stephen would have suspected, of course, even if it _had_ been an accident, and would have enquired no further in order to preserve his doubt over an ugly act. Blaine would have allowed Stephen his opportunity for self deception.

Remember that, in one book (I forget which), Stephen is concerned that he might meet a like fate were his usefulness to end.

But we, like Stephen, will never know for sure...

[Screen fades to black. Blaine speaks: 'so Sir, how far can we trust His Majesties Francophone Americans?']

Rick


From: John Gosden
Sent: Monday, October 28, 2002 11:34 PM
Subject: Re: GROUPRead: LOM. Duhamel drowned

the Band ABBA whose song Waterloo(in praise of Nelson)

???????????????????????????????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

--
John R. Gosden
7*51'59"N / 98*20'28"E


From: Ted
Sent: Wednesday, October 30, 2002 1:12 AM
Subject: Re: GROUPRead: LOTM. Duhamel drowned

Hear hear! It seemed to me a piece of gratuitous misery, that a man who had "paid his dues" and had no further part to play in the plot should be disposed of out of hand - and so miserably.

I wonder if this is one time when POB shows a little cruelty? I can think of one or two other instances in other books too. Or maybe he is showing realism in that the real world does not seem to much care about paying dues & fairness?

Ted


From: Alec O' Flaherty
Sent: Monday, October 28, 2002 11:48 AM
Subject: GROUPRead: TLOM-That exploding digester

Inspired by Charlezzzzz pudding story I decided to check back.

page 62/63

A crash somewhere forward,not unlike the firing of a twelve pounder,interupted him.....'

snip

'Oh sir, if you please' cried the tall, pale frightened midshipman at the cabin door. 'Mr Cornwallis's duty,but the digesting machine has burst.'

Babbington checks and returns(my words)

'Nobody dead '-and the surgeon says their scalds are of no consequence -will heal in a month or so-but I am very much concerned to have to tell you sir,that the pudding is spread just about equally over the cook and his mates and the deck-head. They thought it might cook quicker if they put a smoothing-iron in the safety valve.'

'It was a pity about the pudding' said Jack when they were back in the cabin......' hehe

I wonder what type of contraption this digester was. It appears to have been some type of early pressure cooker-

A visit to Google came up with this-

http://www.fis.uc.pt/museu/81ing.htm

The small print of the left reads-

'Papin's digester in bronze, with a lid which is closed and held in place by thick pieces of iron, which serves to soften matter with the help of rarefied water vapour. An iron oven with a little grill and a movable tripod into which lighted coals can be placed.'

This is a 'scientific' version but I reckon the pudding digester might not have been so much different???

alec


From: Martin
Sent: Monday, October 28, 2002 3:48 PM
Subject: Re: GROUPRead: TLOM-That exploding digester

Adam Hart Davis is just this moment using a replica of a Papin digester in his series "What The Stuarts Did For Us". He stuck half a shoulder of lamb in it. Apparently Papin demonstrated it for the Royal Society on 15th April 1682.

Martin
Martin @ home:
50 44' 58" N
1 58' 35" W


From: Adam Quinan
Sent: Monday, October 28, 2002 3:52 PM
Subject: Re: GROUPRead: TLOM-That exploding digester

And Adam Hart-Davis is the son of Rupert Hart-Davis who was POB's publisher in the 1950s. Do you think he lurks here?


From: Alec O' Flaherty
Sent: Monday, October 28, 2002 4:03 PM
Subject: Re: GROUPRead: TLOM-That exploding digester?Co incidence

Adjoined to What an unbelievable co incidence

Following my earlier post on digesters..

I just switched on the TV to BBC2 and there is an explanation on /illustration of Papin's Digester.

What are the chances of that happening?

It ois indded very strange for earlier todaty i decided to try and follow my dormant theory on the Sethians and the covering on the name Seth on the ship and the concept of perception and reality.

After two hours of reading and Googlng the single and only thing I had recorded on Word was- and this was Sethian related-

Coincidence" to a "believer" may be a method of communication or sign that communication occurs between the two dimensions--physical and spiritual (nonphysical).

"Coincidence" to a "skeptic" is simply a random or chance event. "Believers" (especially Seth fans--have another explanation for what is usually perceived as a random or chance event). All of these perspectives are based on "tests" that are NOT verifying to anyone outside that system of beliefs.

Strange day all round

Thanks be to God for Mandarretto

a


From: Katherine T
Sent: Monday, October 28, 2002 5:01 PM
Subject: Re: GROUPRead: TLOM-That exploding digester

A crash somewhere forward,not unlike the firing of a twelve pounder,interupted him.....' >

When I was a child, my mother had a very similar incident with a pressure cooker. It may have sounded like the firing of a twelve pounder for all I know. There were no casualties, but the kitchen ceiling was covered with stewed tomatoes. Evidently the safety valve had gotten plugged up. I wouldn't have one of the infernal machines. I can do enough damage with a microwave.

Katherine


From: John Gosden
Sent: Monday, October 28, 2002 11:45 PM
Subject: Re: GROUPRead: TLOM-That exploding digester

I can do enough damage with a microwave.

Think of the microwave bomb in "Under Siege"

--
John R. Gosden
7*51'59"N / 98*20'28"E


From: Alec O' Flaherty
Sent: Wednesday, October 30, 2002 8:21 AM
Subject: Stephen's laudanum

Minor Spoilers LOTM and after

I'm just trying to figure out something in my head.

Padeen started stealing laudanum and to cover up the theft he replaced the 'stolen' liquid with brandy. Initially anyway.

Are we made aware if he continues to do this. I just have this idea of Stephen drinking a supposed laudanum dose which is in fact composed largely(and presumably in ever larger percentages) of brandy.

And I'm having difficulty figuring out how he didn't smoke it?

In religion class in school whenever we asked a question that the Teachers did not know the answer to(or knew there was no credible answer to) their reply was-

'that is one of the Seven Great Mysteries'.

At least I think it was Seven.

There was no comeback to this answer as there was really no explaining any of these 'mysteries'.

We were advised that what we needed was a leap of faith!

alec


From: Skylarker
Sent: Wednesday, October 30, 2002 9:36 AM
Subject: Re: Stephen's laudanum

Hmm good question Alec,

I seem to remember Stephen thinking that the lessening effect of his daily dose was due to his body's increasing toleration of the drug.

However, as a man of medicine, one would presume that he would have smoked it earlier, or at least had his suspicions.

Having never taken laudenum I've no idea what it tastes of.

Does the brandy completely mask any opium flavour? If so, then additional thinning of the laudenum by Padeen's brandy top-ups would go un-noticed at the time of drinking. Any slaves to the poppy out there care to enlighten us?

Lindsay
51"13'N 04"25'E


From: Rosemary Davis
Sent: Wednesday, October 30, 2002 10:46 AM
Subject: laudanum

Well, laudanum is a tincture of opium, which is opium suspended in alcohol. Opiates taste extremely bitter and would (even in the increasingly small proportions created by Padeen's dilution) tend to be the stronger of the two tastes; but since the preparation already contains alcohol, it wouldn't seem as odd as it would if he were diluting it with anything else. I also recalled Stephen attributing this to his somehow developing a growing tolerance for laudanum; in effect, he was experiencing the equivalent of a reduction cure (where an addict's dose is gradually reduced, as opposed to "cold turkey" where it is stopped abruptly). -RD, friend of poppies, not to say slave


From: Alec O' Flaherty
Sent: Wednesday, October 30, 2002 10:54 AM
Subject: Re: laudanum

I fully understand the concept of Stephen being gradually weaned off opiates.

It was the ever increasing strength of brandy which I was alluding to. I would have thought a liquid which went from say 10% alcohol to say 80%/90%(now brandy) would not have fooled a physician.

But I take your point about the opiate being the predominant 'taste' and am happy to rest it there.

Thanks

alec


From: Bob Kegel
Sent: Wednesday, October 30, 2002 12:56 PM
Subject: Re: Stephen's laudanum

You're not alone. POB presents Stephen as pretty ignorant about addiction as well somewhat immune to its effects. Actually, he's immune to the clues, too. On page 200, he gives Jack a dose:

"Take a sup of this.'
'What is it?'
'Physic.'
'It tastes like brandy.'
'So much the better.'

On page 254, after he drops, and breaks his laudanum bottle:

" The cabin was filled with the smell more of brandy than of laudanum, and for a moment he stared at the broken pieces, perceiving the contradiction but lacking the time and mental energy to resolve it. "

Stephen didn't smoke it because POB didn't want him to. It was time shift the burden of laudanum from Stephen to Padeen, for purposes that will become clear in TTGS, and this was the method he chose. While it doesn't jibe with my observations of addictive behavior, perhaps POB had different observations.

Bob Kegel
4659'18.661"N 12349'29.827"W


From: Susan Collicott
Sent: Wednesday, October 30, 2002 1:09 PM
Subject: Re: Stephen's laudanum

I think the lack of mental energy - or lack of mental will to spend the energy - is an important point here.

Denial. Lack of will to do anything about something you suspect.

Haven't we all ignored an awareness of a problem? Decided not to process clues presented to us?

We're busy with other things that demand all our energy, our emotions, our skills. So other things slide.

Plus all that other stuff Bob says. :)

Susan (ignoring the clues from her grumbling stomach right now, because 10:00am is neither breakfast nor lunch so it can just WAIT)


From: Alec O' Flaherty
Sent: Wednesday, October 30, 2002 1:30 PM
Subject: Re: Stephen's laudanum

Thanks Bob and Susan -and only for Susan I wouldn't have known about Bob's post 'cos it never reached rainy Ireland! But I have since checked it out on the alternative archives.

The laudanum 'theme' is very much clearer in my mind now-thanks again to all.

alec

Who has now taken to diluting his Mandaretto with Napoleon Cognac. Yummy yummy.


From: Marian Van Til
Sent: Wednesday, October 30, 2002 4:13 PM
Subject: Re: Stephen's laudanum

As Susan suggested, I think most of Stephen's "ignorance" is willful; "denial," as we'd call it. But in this little passage above, which I remember reading recently in its larger context, Stephen is well aware of what he's doing -- but *Jack* isn't aware of it. Stephen is deliberately deceiving Jack because he knows that Jack doesn't like laudanum and has refused it from him the past. I've wondered each time I've read this how Jack would have reacted to know that Stephen was both giving him laudanum and lying about it.

Marian


From: Heather Robertson
Sent: Wednesday, October 30, 2002 5:09 PM
Subject: Re: Stephen's laudanum

Laudanum was an alcoholic solution, although I would presume that the alcohol was not brandy. But it would have helped to mask a small change in the flavour of the concoction. As for noticing that the effects of his 200 drops were more drunkeness than opioid, I couldn't say, but this sounds like an ideal way to withdraw: small reductions in dose with no psychological input (I'm cutting down, I must feel bad). Provided you can get over the alcohol problem afterwards of course.

But, as the wise lissun said, if you have a vague feeling that something is wrong, it usually gets ignored. I try not to ignore it; usually instinct is right and I'm about to ruin an experiment by daft omission of a crucial step. If I had a coin for every time I'd done that last, I could retire now!

Heather
off to the apothecary to pick up some laudanum for the mad cat, Branston Dill Pickle, who's fascinated with this typing thing


From: Don Seltzer
Sent: Thursday, October 31, 2002 9:55 AM
Subject: Re: Stephen's laudanum

In his notes*, POB has a half page of what appears to be dosage calculations, perhaps related to Padeen's gradual dilution of the laudanum supply by steady withdrawals replaced by an equal amount of brandy. I can't make too much sense of POB's arithmetic, but among the numbers are 20 litres, perhaps the volume of Stephen's carboy, and 125 ml, perhaps the small bottle which Padeen used for his thefts.

Using these shaky assumptions, if Padeen made repeated thefts from an otherwise untouched carboy and replaced with brandy, the concentration of the drug would gradually diminish to half of its original strength after 112 such withdrawals. Another 112 withdrawals to cut the concentration in half again, to 25% of the original. I don't know if Padeen stole daily, or every few days, but such a theft could go on for months.

Assuming that Stephen was also making steady withdrawals for his patients and his own use, Padeen's theft/replacement would dilute the supply more quickly. If Stephen's usage happened to equal Padeen's 125 ml theft, it would take only 80 such withdrawals to dilute to 50%, and 120 to 25%. After 144 withdrawals and thefts, the carboy would hold only 2 litres, of 10% strength.

Note to HRG: Calculated using iteration.

*Courtesy of the Lilly Library, Bloomington IN

Don Seltzer


From: Gustaf Erikson
Sent: Thursday, October 31, 2002 10:38 AM
Subject: Re: [] Stephen's laudanum

Don Seltzer writes:

In his notes*, POB has a half page of what appears to be dosage calculations, perhaps related to Padeen's gradual dilution of the laudanum supply by steady withdrawals replaced by an equal amount of brandy. I can't make too much sense of POB's arithmetic, but among the numbers are 20 litres, perhaps the volume of Stephen's carboy, and 125 ml, perhaps the small bottle which Padeen used for his thefts.

The LOTM mentions 13-gallon carboys. What are these litres of which you speak, eh?

Using these shaky assumptions, if Padeen made repeated thefts from an otherwise untouched carboy and replaced with brandy, the concentration of the drug would gradually diminish to half of its original strength after 112 such withdrawals. Another 112 withdrawals to cut the concentration in half again, to 25% of the original. I don't know if Padeen stole daily, or every few days, but such a theft could go on for months.

Wouldn't Padeen's dose become more and more diluted too?

Assuming that Stephen was also making steady withdrawals for his patients and his own use, Padeen's theft/replacement would dilute the supply more quickly. If Stephen's usage happened to equal Padeen's 125 ml theft, it would take only 80 such withdrawals to dilute to 50%, and 120 to 25%. After 144 withdrawals and thefts, the carboy would hold only 2 litres, of 10% strength.

Also LOTM: Padeen had become a 60 drops a day man. Stephen shocks Martin with his "moderate" dose of 2000 drops.

Note to HRG: Calculated using iteration.

A powerful tool, sir. A powerful tool.

/g.


From: Alec O' Flaherty
Sent: Thursday, October 31, 2002 2:05 PM
Subject: Re: Stephen's laudanum

Just to clarify my initial post . It was never to question the gradual weakening of the level of opiate . It was the concverse to enquire how the ever increasing level of brandy could go undetected- by smell and taste.

But I felt that BoB K's/Susan C's and Marian's posts yesterday dealt well with the issue. It was Bob who poiinted out that even POB was dropping hints (to the reader) -which Stephen should have picked up on. And the reasons why he didn't were well aired.

Thanks Don -once again(re-iteration?) for sharing some of the POB notes.

alec


From: Bob Kegel
Sent: Thursday, October 31, 2002 10:11 PM
Subject: Re: Stephen's laudanum

Whatever the notes say, in LOM he writes of " eleven-gallon carboys, each representing more than fifteen thousand ordinary hospital doses." POB also describes the "usual hospital dose" of laudanum as 25 drops. 15,000 such doses add up to a bit over 5 UK gallons, not 11.

125 ml equals 1927.454 drops, about a month's supply for "a sixty-drops a day man." Using these shaky assumptions, the 112 withdrawals Don calculated would take 9 years.

Stephen's poor grasp of mathematics appears to mirror POB's. No wonder he switched Stephen to coca where dosages may be expressed in vague terms.

Bob Kegel
4659'18.661"N 12349'29.827"W
(No iterations were harmed in the preparation of this message)


From: Ted
Sent: Friday, November 01, 2002 12:35 PM
Subject: Re: Stephen's laudanum

I always thought that Stephen's laudanum was the proper buffer any man of honour, strong sensibilty, & with too self enquiring a mind might require to make life liveable within the confines of his own mind.

To me one of POB's most telling passages is when Stephen is talking with the Scottish surgeon about the death of the spirit & by how many years this might proceed bodily death (actually it is mainly the surgeon talking to Stephen, after he is asked a question). Such sense & sensibility. Then later the man does something so crass that one cringes. Clever, hurt, bloke that POB.

Ted


From: Susan Wenger
Sent: Thursday, October 31, 2002 2:02 PM
Subject: GroupRead: Letter of Marque

We move on to "Thirteen Gun Salute" tomorrow.

I found "Letter of Marque" re-marque-ably funny, full of one-line zingers. On a serious tone, however, POB reflected several times in LOM about the writer's craft and tribulations: Possibly even the title was chosen with an eye to something that is written: a Letter?

p.17 (Blue Breeches): "The fact of the matter is, that I am an author" . . . and in answer to Stephen's civil enquiries he said that he worked mostly on tales of former times and Gothic manners. . . "But as for the number that you so politely ask after. . . I am afraid it is so small that I am ashamed to mention it: I doubt I have published more than a score. Not, mark you . . . that I have not conceived, worked out and entirely composed at least ten times as many, and on this very sward too, excellent tales, capital tales that have made me (a partial judge, I confess) laugh aloud with pleasure. But you must understand, sir, that each man has his particular way of writing, and mine is by saying my pieces over as I walk - I find the physical motion dispel the gross humours and encourage the flow of ideas. Yet that is where the danger lies: if it encourage them too vigorously, if my piece is formed to my full satisfaction, as just now I conceived the chapter in which Sophonisba confines Roderigo in the Iron Maiden on pretence of wanton play and begins to turn the screw, why then it is done, finished; and my mind, my imagination will have nothing more to do with it - declines even to write it down, or, on compulsion, records a mere frigid catalogue of unlikely statements. The only way for me to succeed is by attaining a near-success, a coitus interruptus with my Muse, if you will forgive me the expression, and then running home to my pen for the full consummation. And this I cannot induce my bookseller to understand: I tell him that the work of the mind is essentially different from manual labour; I tell him that in the second case mere industry and application will hew a forest of wood and carry an ocean of water, whereas in the first . . . and he sends word that the press is at a stand, that he must have the promised twenty sheets by return." Blue Breeches repeated his Greek remark (Oh that the false dogs might be choked with their own dung!") . . .

P.61 (Stephan): "You were telling me about your publishers."
(Mowett): "Yes, sir: I was about to say that they were the most hellish procrastinators - "
"Oh how dreadful," cried Fanny. "Do they go to - to special houses, or do they . . . "

P.179 (Martin): "When Mowett told me he meant to write a very ambitious piece called The Sea-Officer's Tragedy, based on Captain Aubrey's career, his victories and his misfortunes, I told him I hoped he would make it end happy. "I cannot possibly do that," says he. "Since it is a tragedy, it must end in disaster." I begged his pardon for disagreeing, but I had the support of the greatest authority in the learned world, Aristotle himself, in saying that although tragedy necessarily dealt with the doings of great-minded men or women, in a high and serious manner, it by no means necessarily ended unhappy: and I quoted the lines I have ventured to render thus: The nature of the tragedy's action has always required that the scope should be as full as can be without obscuring the plot, and that the number of events making a probable or necessary sequence that will change a man's state from unhappiness to happiness or from happiness to unhappiness should be the smallest possible, and desired him to observe that not only was the change from evil to good eminently possible in tragedy, but that Aristotle put it first."


From: Don Seltzer
Sent: Thursday, October 31, 2002 3:15 PM
Subject: Re: GroupRead: Letter of Marque

At 11:02 AM -0800 10/31/2002, Susan Wenger wrote:

POB reflected several times in LOM about the writer's craft and tribulations: Possibly even the title was chosen with an eye to something that is written: a Letter?

I wonder who did choose the titles, POB or his editor? In his notes, POB simply referred to Book XII. There is a suggestion, however, for a title that is in keeping with Aristotle's remarks on tragedy (see below).

The comments regarding the writing process and publishers seem autobiographical. I can see no purpose to the scene with Blue Breeches other than to needle his editor, and perhaps satisfy some deadline by padding out the first chapter.

p.17 (Blue Breeches): "...And this I cannot induce my bookseller to understand: I tell him that the work of the mind is essentially different from manual labour; I tell him that in the second case mere industry and application will hew a forest of wood and carry an ocean of water, whereas in the first . . . and he sends word that the press is at a stand, that he must have the promised twenty sheets by return."

P.61 (Stephan): "You were telling me about your publishers."
(Mowett): "Yes, sir: I was about to say that they were the most hellish procrastinators - "
"Oh how dreadful," cried Fanny. "Do they go to - to special houses, or do they . . . "

P.179 (Martin): "...The nature of the tragedy's action has always required that the scope should be as full as can be without obscuring the plot, and that the number of events making a probable or necessary sequence that will change a man's state from unhappiness to happiness or from happiness to unhappiness should be the smallest possible, and desired him to observe that not only was the change from evil to good eminently possible in tragedy, but that Aristotle put it first."

POB's early choice of title for this book was "Return to Grace".

Provided through the courtesy of the Lilly Library, Bloomington IN

Don Seltzer


From: Marshall Rafferty
Sent: Saturday, November 02, 2002 3:21 PM
Subject: Re: GroupRead: Letter of Marque

On Thu, 31 Oct 2002 11:02:48 -0800, Susan wrote:

p.17 (Blue Breeches): "The fact of the matter is, that I am an author" . . . and in answer to Stephen's civil enquiries he said that he worked mostly on tales of former times and Gothic manners. . .

And to stray (inevitably) there is yet another hint of Stephen's contempt for the neo-cults of druidism which recurs in the canon:

"'Is it perhaps a druidical dell, sir?' asked Stephen, smiling as he shook his head," as they go in their search for the bustards.

I'm thinking that this may mirror POB's feeling for fantasy writing in general. Did he ever read or mention LOTR? I would be surprised.

In some of his characters, and certainly in his short stories, he visits the dark places of the human psyche; but sprites or elves? I can't imagine him tolerating them.

Marshall


From: Robin Welch
Sent: Monday, November 04, 2002 12:14 PM
Subject: Re: GroupRead: Letter of Marque

And it's probably safe to guess POB would not have owned any of Mr. Kinkade's "paintings."

Robin (god it's embarrassing to find out Kinkade lives an hour away from here)


From: Greg White
Sent: Monday, November 04, 2002 3:05 PM
Subject: Re: GroupRead: Letter of Marque

Perhaps not sprites or elves, but Awkward Davies is surely an Orc.

Greg


From: Don Seltzer
Sent: Thursday, October 31, 2002 10:00 PM
Subject: GRP:LOM The Final Accounting

For several of his books, POB kept a record of page count and words per day output. For LOM, there is a sheet entitled "Book XII (A Return to Grace?)", dated 25 March 1987.

POB had begun writing in January, and this sheet shows his progress through the first five chapters by the end of March.

Chapter I was 20 manuscript pages and 9000 words, perhaps giving special meaning to the speech of 'Blue Breeches' who complains of his demanding publisher requiring twenty pages at once.

Chapter II, 11000 words
Chapter III, 14500
Chapter IV, 12500
Chapter V, 7000

By his own count, POB had 54000 words and five chapters written in just three months. He noted in the margin a possible Chapter IIIa to include the aftermath of the capture of the Spartan, covering the return with the prizes and the possibly meeting with the Constitution.

He then sets the barest outline of the final four chapters, filling in the word counts as he completes them.
Chapter VI was to be be 13000 or more, but came in at only 11000
Chapter VII was planned to be 12000, but was actually 8000, completed on 22 June
Chapter VIII was 11500, completed on 22 July
Chapter XI was 10000+, completed on 10 Aug 1987

His total count (including an apparent mistake in addition) was 98000+ words.

Provided through the courtesy of the Lilly Library, Bloomington IN

Don Seltzer


From: Don Seltzer
Sent: Sunday, November 03, 2002 9:44 PM
Subject: GRP:LOM The Nelson Letter

In chapter 1 of LOM, Jack is given a gift of a letter from Nelson, originally sent to Adm Russell. It is a rather ordinary, almost dull letter, but Jack accepts it as a valuable good luck ch arm. I was hoping to find some indication that POB owned this particular letter, but it seems not to be the case

In his notes* for this scene, POB wrote "Let N now an aged admiral call on or come up to JA to show his good will..." Jack and this unnamed admiral are to discuss their mutual dislike of the French. POB hoped to include a letter from Nelson that echoed this dislike, but apparently did not find one that would suit. He writes "Nelson's piece about hating Frenchmen was not in a letter: it was his words to an unnamed mid: but this mid, now older, might have quoted N in a letter to JA"

Instead, POB settled on selecting an actual elder admiral, Thomas Macnamara Russell, with a real grievance against the French from the previous war (the Hussar and La Sibylle 1783 action, as described). He then researched for a suitable letter. The letter is real, and was sent in October 1803.

*Provide through the courtesy of the Lilly Library, Bloomington IN

Don Seltzer


Return to Main Page