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Master and Commander (2nd Page of Discussions)

First Page of Master and Commander Discussion

From: Batrinque@AOL.COM
Sent: Monday, September 17, 2001 3:08 PM
Subject: Re: I need a break

In a message dated 9/16/01 11:58:25 PM Eastern Daylight Time, jim-jill@JUNO.COM writes:

My major discovery on the 3rd reading of MAC was that Stephen is not portrayed as nautically challenged. Clumsy, yes, but quite knowledgeable about sailing. He is actually askng why don't they do this or that during the battle they are witnessing from the Rock: pg. 400: "Why do they not make sail and bear up?" The later Stephen would not (could not) ask that.

An excellent observation, Jill. I confess that as many times as I have read M&C, I had really recognized that aspect. I think this is another example of how POB, like many other authors of series fiction, did not arrive at his final conception of the central characters in the first volume. Like Stephen's intelligence activities, it seems that his perpetual nautical incapacity was a later creation.

Bruce Trinque
41*37'53"N 72*22'51"W


From: Batrinque@AOL.COM
Sent: Monday, September 17, 2001 3:14 PM
Subject: Whoops Re: I need a break

I meant to say:

An excellent observation, Jill. I confess that as many times as I have read M&C, I had NOT really recognized that aspect.

Bruce Trinque
41*37'53"N 72*22'51"W


From: Ray McPherson
Sent: Monday, September 17, 2001 7:22 PM
Subject: Re: I need a break

Bruce and Jill,

(It took me a bit of time to find the page.)

What about on page 313 of the Norton edition;

'Well then sir,' said Mowett, pointing over the grey hissing sea to his right in the general direction of Barcelona, 'that is what we call a lee shore.'

'Ah?' said Stephen, with a certain interest lighting his eye. 'The phenomenon you dislike so much? It is not a mere prejudice - a weak superstitious traditional belief?'

One of the things about Stephen is that he likes to parade his nautical knowledge to acquaintances who know less than he does. (Now here I'm getting a bit ahead of M&C). But he often confuses port and starboard, windward and leeward, and "by and large." He is a bit of an intellectual snob, but I love him for it.

Ray McP


From: Ray McPherson
Sent: Monday, September 17, 2001 8:02 PM
Subject: Re: I need a break

Hi Jill,

I've been rereading M&C trying to look at it from a more critical point of view. But I get so hung up in the story that I forget to "study" it. I have dogearred some pages containing phrases that knock me out. One was on page 195 of the Norton edition wherein he was chastising the midshipmen for not keeping up with their journals. POB writes: "But he did not seem convinced and desired them to sit down on that locker, take those pens and these sheets of paper, to pass him yonder book, WHICH WOULD ANSWER ADMIRABLEY FOR THEM TO BE READ TO OUT OF FROM." What tortured syntax!!!

Ray McP


From: Marian Van Til
Sent: Tuesday, September 18, 2001 5:33 AM
Subject: Re: I need a break

Ah, this has come up before, though I confess I certainly don't remember all the comments about it. I can picture O'Brian writing this with a hint of a smirk. Tortured? But we know *exactly* what he means.

Marian


From: Charlezzzz@AOL.COM
Sent: Tuesday, September 18, 2001 5:44 AM
Subject: Re: I need a break

A sentence ended with four prepositions. Doesn't Churchill have one somewhere, also about a book, that ends with six? Funny, allusive POB.

Charlezzzz


From: Ray McPherson
Sent: Tuesday, September 18, 2001 7:51 AM
Subject: Re: I need a break

There is another oddity on page 251 (Norton) that I don't remember POB using anywhere else. He writes

" '. . .a round called the sardana; and if you will reach my your fiddle I will play you the air of the one I have in mind. Though you must imagine I am a harsh braying hoboy.' PLAYS."

The change in tense brought me up short.

Ray McP


From: Jim McPherson
Sent: Tuesday, September 18, 2001 6:43 AM
Subject: Re: I need a break

A favorite Churchill story is about him being criticized for ending a sentence with just one preposition - whereupon he allowed that the criticism was "an execrable solecism up with which I will not put".

Jim (amateur grammarian)


From: Batrinque@AOL.COM
Sent: Tuesday, September 18, 2001 3:58 PM
Subject: Re: I need a break

In a message dated 9/18/01 1:29:23 PM Eastern Daylight Time, raymcp999@YAHOO.COM writes:

Sorry Marian--I'm a relative newcomer to the gunroom. It seemed tortured to me because I could imagine Jack saying it but could not imagine POB writing it. Maybe it should have been in quotes.

My impression is that POB was indeed conveying Jack's words to the hapless midshipmen.

Bruce Trinque
41*37'53"N 72*22'51"W


From: sue reynolds
Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2001 9:59 AM
Subject: M&C Groupread--the last battle sequence

My friends, I just finished rereading M&C recently, and my chief complaint is that I still don't understand the fight between the French and the British in the last thirty pages or so. Why did they allow Jack to pass intelligence on the French fleet to the British commander? Whose side were those Spanish ships on? Could the fast ship going between them actually get them to wipe each other out? (Why didn't this happen in other battles? Is that why Nelson won at Trafalgar?) Am I correct in thinking that the French and the British were both at Gibraltar refitting their ships at the same time? Wotthehell is going on?

On the other hand, the end of Jack's courtmartial is a delight.

Sue Reynolds, terminally bewildered. Could some kind lissun take me by the hand and explain where everyone is and what they are doing during the sea battles? Thank you.


From: Gary W. Sims
Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2001 1:03 PM
Subject: Groupread M&C: DIllon's Demise

I confess that I don't much like Dillon, may he rest in peace.

From our first acquaintance on page 55 of the Norton paperback:

"[...] he said. 'Is the Captain on deck?'

'Oh no, sir, no,' said the marine. 'Breakfast only just carrying in this moment. Two hard-boiled eggs and one soft.'

The soft-boiled egg was for Miss Smith, to recruit her from her labours of the night, as both the marine and Mr. Dillon knew well; but the marine's knowing look met with a total lack of response. James Dillon's mouth tightened, and for a fleeting moment as he ran up the ladder to the sudden brilliance of the quarter-deck it wore a positively angry expression. [...]"

Personally, I rather liked Miss Smith without closer acquaintance. As well as the cheerful notion that she requires sustenance, and the happy acquiescence of the ship's community in her role. But not James Dillon. No. From the first, we have a priggish young man, given to judging his betters against a standard by no means universal. This is an adept and completely unremarked precursor to the later attitude of Dillon toward Jack.

And the skill of POB lies in his consistency, not merely this surely intentional hint of things to come. For people like this are often given to acting self-satisfied to the point of rousing distaste -- while internally they judge themselves inadequate in all things. And POB may or may not have been intentional in making this correlation. It may have been merely intuitive that he made a man so insecure as Dillon the choice for this role as Prig of the Fleet.

Of course, his insecurity was intentional as well (it's merely the correlation of the two that may have been intuitive). Later, we have Dillon terribly grieved at the choice to let a fellow Irish rebel remain undetected after the man threatens Dillon himself with denunciation. Mind you, he already had decided not to reveal the nasty fellow. Made every effort to keep the Sophie from the encounter in the first place. So he's made his decision long before the confrontation. A confident man would have scorned the man's loss of honor, his unnecessary use of a demeaning threat when past companionship had guaranteed safety. But Dillon is not confident in himself. His self-doubt is at least as bad as Hornblower's and lies in a more fatal place: his honor.

His anger at himself surfaces as anger at Jack, and puzzles Jack extremely. This fuels much narrative, and after many pages we reach the finale for Dillon on the deck of the Cacafuego. Jack looks on Dillon fallen, and

"[...] thought he was only hurt; but turning him saw the great wound in his heart."

What a lovely symmetry of physical with metaphorical.

Gary W. Sims, Major, USAF(ret)
--------------------------------------------
Admiring the author if not all his creatures
At or about 3442' N 11808' W


From: Gary W. Sims
Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2001 12:33 PM
Subject: Re: M&C Groupread--the last battle sequence

From: "sue reynolds"

[...] my chief complaint is that I still don't understand the fight between the French and the British in the last thirty pages or so. Why [...]

My impression is that POB was working closely from contemporary reports in writing the descriptions in M&C. And doubtless later as well, but here particularly we see that Stephen is playing a role that an actual non-combatant played in the real engagement of Speedy, while in later volumes POB is careful to limit Stephen's role to his matured character.

Another little bit of evidence: we have Jack picking up a severed backstay of the Cacafuego and taking it to a capstan. POB's casual narrative inclusion of the fact does not provide any explanation of what this might have accomplished. At first read, many moons (nay, solstices), gone, I thought his intent was to help bind the two vessels together, where the Cacafuego's guns could not sweep the Sophie's deck because they could not be depressed so low. But right after that Jack orders the two vessels poled apart so that the Caca's cannot board Sophie.

That sort of confusing detail is very likely in a contemporary account. Perhaps Cochrane did have the vessels held together, but with lines they could extend at will to prevent an easy passage between the two vessels. Perhaps, he did it, and then saw the new threat and freed the line but forgot to mention it. Or perhaps the intent was obvious to someone versed in the vessels and as familiar with the form of battle as most contemporary readers would have been.

Sue Reynolds, terminally bewildered. Could some kind lissun take me by the hand and explain where everyone is and what they are doing during the sea battles?

Eagerly awaiting the answer. Haven't got to those last pages yet on this pass, so I have no recent memories of the text to fuel speculation at all at all.

Gary W. Sims, Major, USAF(ret)
--------------------------------------------
Amazed the fog of war still lies over these engagements
At or about 3442' N 11808' W


From: Charlezzzz@AOL.COM
Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2001 1:26 PM
Subject: Re: M&C Groupread--the last battle sequence

In a message dated 9/19/01 5:08:54 PM, simsgw@CS.STANFORD.EDU writes:

Another little bit of evidence: we have Jack picking up a severed backstay of the Cacafuego and taking it to a capstan. POB's casual narrative inclusion of the fact does not provide any explanation of what this might have accomplished.

One of the first things I learned going aboard my first ship, a carrier, was that a "real sailor" automatically straightens up any little shipboard mess he comes across. If it's loose, secure it. And so I did (usually.) That's what Jack was doing--an automatic sailorly reaction while bigger things were going on.

Charlezzzz, remembering how, when a ship meets its first swell past the sea buoy and takes its first roll, loose doors slam, loose tools fall off work benches, loose books fall off racks. Slam, bam, wham, and people run to secure things that they shd have secured before sailing, the grass-combing lubbers.


From: Gary W. Sims
Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2001 1:52 PM
Subject: Groupread M&C: An echoing view of Dillon's

Speaking of Dillon's demise reminded me of this earlier scene in the gunroom. Dillon is in tearing high spirits (after the encounter with the gunboats I believe) and from page 323 of the Norton paperback:

"[...] 'What a relief it is, to be fighting with king's ships again, rather than these damned privateers,' he observed, propos of nothing, when the young men and the purser had withdrawn.

'What a romantic creature you are, to be sure,' said Stephen. 'A ball fired from a privateer's cannon makes the same hole as a king's.'

'Me, romantic?' cried James with real indignation, an angry light coming into his green eyes. [A very angry man, our Dillon, but most especially in matters touching on his sense of self.]

'Yes, my dear,' said Stephen, taking snuff. 'You will be telling me next about their divine right.'

'Well, at least even you, with your wild enthusiastic levelling notions, will not deny that the King is the soul fount of honour?'

'Not I,' said Stephen. 'Not for a moment.' [...]"

A charming ambiguous withdrawal from the field of battle from Stephen, when it became evident that any further debate would wound his friend. One might think this reverence for kings a strange attitude in an Irishman, but in the various Celtic cultures it's a recurring division of the spirit. A great sense of 'we're as good as any in the next dale' pervades these peoples -- accompanied by a strain of romantic reverence for great heroes and heroines. And what are Kings and Queens but heroes and heroines incarnate? (Sadly that makes the feet of pottery too often evident, but...)

And how like the insecure Dillon to find justification and nobility for his own acts in the grace of a king. Even a king not his own, for all love.

As we struggle in the Gunroom to leave the events of last week to the world on deck, a passing parallel lies in this account. Like Dillon, many people are puzzled to know what response is noble as well as effective when pain is caused not by Kings avowed, but by their privateers, secretly commissioned and renounced when exposed.

My own views have been imposed on your company too much already, so I'll just say that I agree with Stephen and find their balls no more penetrating than a king's, nor less.

Gary W. Sims, Major, USAF(ret)
--------------------------------------------
No great fan of kings, but no ready regicide,
and willing to let rule if they let live
At or about 3442' N 11808' W


From: Rowen84@AOL.COM
Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2001 7:35 PM
Subject: Re: Groupread M&C: DIllon's Demise

Excellent post, Gary, thank you for your insights. I confess, I'd never made the connection with Dillon, the prig of the hard-boiled egg scene, and Dillon, the prig who turns his nose up at Jack when he thinks he's interested a bit too much in prizes or might be 'shy'. Yet there he is, from the moment we meet him, his essential character naked for all to see.

I am amazed, amazed, at how often POB makes use of such foreshadowing parallels, and how often I have failed to notice them until some wise lissun kindly directs my attention.

These new insights make each reread another delight, if not almost another book at times and make me look forward to seeing what new ideas appear in each day's Gunroom posts.

My thanks, sir.
Rowen
(and have we ever inquired whether this 'Miss Smith' is related to Jack's 'Miss Smith'?)


From: Eric A. Ladner
Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2001 8:53 PM
Subject: Re: M&C Groupread--the last battle sequence

At 10:59 AM -0700 9/19/01, sue reynolds wrote:

Am I correct in thinking that the French and the British were both at Gibraltar refitting their ships at the same time?

I was confused by this, too. As near as I can make out, British Gibraltar and Spanish/French Algeciras were on opposite sides of the same bay. Talk about hard-to-live-with neighbors!

- EAL


From: Gary W. Sims
Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2001 11:50 PM
Subject: Re: Groupread M&C: DIllon's Demise

From: Rowen84@AOL.COM

(and have we ever inquired whether this 'Miss Smith' is related to Jack's 'Miss Smith'?)

We have not! Not that I remember that is. Clearly, a kindred spirit if not more. Did anyone catch sight of the back of her dress? Was it grass-stained at all? Or was that another cheerful soul I'm remembering...

Gary W. Sims, Major, USAF(ret)
--------------------------------------------
Certain le joie d'amor is not a modern invention
At or about 3442' N 11808' W


From: rxbach
Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2001 5:36 AM
Subject: Re: Groupread M&C: DIllon's Demise

Gary Sims replied:

We have not! Not that I remember that is. Clearly, a kindred spirit if not more. Did anyone catch sight of the back of her dress? Was it grass-stained at all? Or was that another cheerful soul I'm remembering...

Now where do you suppose the said Miss Smith would have found *grass* on board ship? Some other method of "detection" must needs be employed in this case....

(Amanda was, no doubt, the one with the seven-week private smirk, not the grass stains.)

Marian


From: Dick Elliott
Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2001 6:12 AM
Subject: M&C Groupread--the last battle sequence

You might try some of these wargamer sites........they give some diagrams, etc of the battle.........

http://www.wargamer.com/aos/alg_bay-algbay.asp

http://cfa.napoleonicwars.com/cabritapointscenario.htm

Dick Elliott
30.00 N, 95.42 W


From: Martin Watts
Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2001 6:56 AM
Subject: Re: Groupread M&C: DIllon's Demise

And if Miss Smith had been ashore I'm sure someone was detailed to remove any evidence from her clothing. Probably a grass-combing [lubber].

Given this insight I am prepared to recognise the Mediterranean Miss Smith as the older and more abandoned sister of the Halifax Miss Smith.

Martin Watts
50 45' N 1 55' W.
The Borough and County of the Town of Poole


From: Ray McPherson
Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2001 9:43 AM
Subject: Re: Groupread M&C: An echoing view of Dillon's

"Gary W. Sims" wrote:

Speaking of Dillon's demise reminded me of this earlier scene in the gunroom. Dillon is in tearing high spirits (after the encounter with the gunboats I believe) (snip)

I think Dillon is looking for death in battle as a relief from his personal misery.

Ray McP


From: Jerry Shurman
Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2001 9:53 AM
Subject: Re: Groupread M&C: An echoing view of Dillon's

At the end of the Cacafuego action, isn't the moment where Jack sees Dillon's body phrased something like "saw the wound to his heart"? With all that has gone on between them, there are several ways to read that.

-Jerry


From: Ray McPherson
Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2001 9:58 AM
Subject: Cacafuego

Was there a real ship named Cacafuego? What is the translation?

I won't tell you what my guess at a translation would be.

Ray McP


From: Charlezzzz@AOL.COM
Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2001 10:07 AM
Subject: Re: Cacafuego

You wd be quite correct in yr translation. Cacafuego not likely to have been a formal name, but was a nickname given to many Spanish ships.

Charlezzzz, thinking hw unpleasant it must have been to be shot at by a cacafuego


From: Paul B.
Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2001 10:29 AM
Subject: Re: GRP M&C Drinking habits and medicine: WAS What did Jack know and when did he know it?

In a message Sent: Thursday, 20 September 2001 Reinhard Gloggengiesser wrote:

Does anyone on the list know anything on the background of POBs decision to give medical practices such a prominent place in his books? It seems very unique to me when compared to writers such as Forester or Pound.

Once POB had determined the character of Maturin, he was highly constrained in what he could do.

Stephen is an Irish Roman Catholic, and as POB often points out, it was impossible for a Roman Catholic to become a King's Officer, without, like Dillon, maintaining a pretence with all the implications for one's self respect that we observe in Dillon. So very few possibilities were open to Stephen if he were to accompany a ship's captain on reasonably equal terms. A surgeon provides an excellent opportunity for POB to display his virtuosity in matters historical. But a ship's surgeon did not carry sufficient status. In order to convince us that Stephen could treat with Jack on reasonably equal terms, POB makes him a physician, and a distinguished one at that. But POB really had very little choice in the matter

Paul


From: Patrick Tull
Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2001 12:43 PM
Subject: Re: Cacafuego

Of course. She was a Spanish Fireshit.

Patrick ( T )


From: William Nyden
Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2001 12:59 PM
Subject: Re: Cacafuego

I always thought Cacafuego was the aftermath of a dish of chips and salsa made with habanero chilis.

--
Bill Nyden, tenderly
a Rose by another name
37 25' 15" N 122 04' 57" W


From: Niall Kelly
Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2001 2:58 AM
Subject: Re: [SeaRoom] on-topic and off-topic

I stand to be corrected, but I think that POB here was retelling the story of Cochrane's capture of his frigate whilst commanding the Speedy. If I recall correctly, he did indeed leave just one man on the wheel, and I think it was the surgeon.

I am not sure about this, as I am away from home, and don't have the books to hand.
--
Niall Kelly
Copyrighted 2001 by Niall Kelly . To subscribe, email SUBSCRIBE SEAROOM-L to MAJORDOMO@LISTBOX.COM To contact Sea Room, see www.sea-room.com or email johnberg@mindspring.com


From: Gabriel Diaz
Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2001 1:42 PM
Subject: Re: Cacafuego

The correct name is "Cagafuego", "Cacafuego" is not spanish.

And yes, it means "fire-shitter"


From: Susan Wenger
Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2001 5:49 PM
Subject: Re: AW: [POB] Drinking habits and medicine: WAS What did Jack know and when did he know it?

losmp wrote:

POB's father was a medical man.

Also: POB was sickly as a boy. Asthma? Tuberculosis? It limited his opportunities, and he spent a lot of time restrained from youthful activities, sports, group education. He studied a lot of medical sources, hoping to find something the doctors were missing in his own treatment.

- Susan


From: Jean A
Sent: Friday, September 21, 2001 12:10 PM
Subject: Re: M&C Question, for all love...

Trying again.)

(Still catching up with three weeks' mail)

One Sept. 17, Pawel wrote: (quoting from M&C.):

"'Castlereagh hanging at the one masthead and Fitzgibbon at the other,' thought Stephen, but with only the weariest gleam of spirit."

Stephen is referring to Lord Castlereagh's role in the United Irishmen's rebellion in 1798.

Castlereagh was the nephew of the Viceroy, Camden, and on his personal staff at Dublin Castle.

In Thomas Pakenham's "The Year of Liberty -the History of the Great Irish Rebellion of 1798" he writes of Castlreagh:

"...the Viceroys' nephew, the protege of Pitt himself, Irish-born, Cambridge-educated, brilliant, icy, twenty-nine year old Lord Castelreagh."

Castlereagh was actually related to the Fitzgeralds, to Stephen's "cousin", Lord Edward.

Pakenham writes of his comparative moderation, compared, that is, with others in the government. in dealing with the rebellion. ( The accounts of what happened, the atrocities that were committed on both sides, is sickening.)

In a couple of months, 30,000 people were killed.

In 1800, and so, presumably, within Stephen's ken, Castelreagh was also instrumental in the dissolution of the independant Irish Parliament, and the resulting Union with England.

(This is another story, in which bribery and corruption played a well-known role. The peers who were created at this time were known as "Union Peers.")

Castlereagh distinguished himself, if I remember ( I don't have any references at hand) in the European negotiations after the defeat of Napoleon.

He committed suicide.

Daniel O'Connell is quoted as saying that "he could not, under Heaven, apprehend how it was that they forgot to charge against Ireland the price of the razor with which Castlereagh afterwards cut his throat."

I have not found any references to Fitzgibbon, but suspect that he was, perhaps, an informer, like Major Sirr, whom Stephen also mentions perjoratively.

Jean A.


From: Barney Simon
Sent: Monday, September 24, 2001 4:02 AM
Subject: Re: M&C Groupread--the last battle sequence

As near as I can make out, British Gibraltar and Spanish/French Algeciras were on opposite sides of the same bay. Talk about hard-to-live-with neighbors!

In deed, there is a Spanish naval base across the bay from Gib. I think the town is LeLinea, I was here in May, how fast one forgets... The road from Spain to Gibralter crossed the military runway, so as you drive onto the rock, be sure to look _all_ directions. ;)

Barney


From: Susan Wenger
Sent: Monday, September 24, 2001 6:10 AM
Subject: groupread:M&C:setting the series

O'Brian launched the Aubreyad at the request of a publisher who was looking for a naval series that would capitalize on the Hornblower tradition. O'Brian must have had the very thoughts he set out on page 43 of "Master and Commander," putting these words into Stephen's mouth on deciding to take on the voyage:

For a philosopher, a student of human nature, what could be better? The subjects of his inquiry shut up together, unable to escape his gaze, their passions heightened by the dangers of war, the hazards of their calling, their isolation from women and their curious, but uniform, diet. And by the glow of patriotic fervour, no doubt. . . a ship must be a most instructive theatre for an inquiring mind.


From: Nathan Varnum
Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2001 3:29 AM
Subject: Group Read: M&C: Writing styles

At the bottom of page 77 of Norton's M&C, the Sophie has just returned from JA's trial run in her and a the cutter is taking Jack to see Mr. Brown. Some of the seamen are talking:

'And short time for dinner, as will never be made up,' said a low voice in the middle of the boat.

'Silence,' cried Mr. Babbington, with as much outrage as he could manage.

'Mr. Brown,' said Jack, with an earnest look, 'you can do me a very essential service...'

This abrupt change in subjects, scenes without the customary chapter or space divider, caused me a bit of confusion during my first read of the book. POB uses this often and I first grew accustomed to, and then began to like this convention.

I like it because it keeps you on your toes. It forces you to read properly. I sometimes miss nuances that many of you refer to because I read in the naval way - lose not a minute, we must leave with the tide.

I just finished my first Jane Austen book (Pride & Prejudice) and she uses a similar but slightly different method. The book is written using third-person - most of it following one person, Elizabeth. However, JA occasionally turns it to an omniscient third-person and looks into the actions, thoughts of other characters.

Again, this requires you to attend. It is easy to lose the thread of the passage and I caught myself being amazed at Elizabeth's omniscient knowledge of others' thoughts, before realizing I had once again missed a shift in viewpoint and that it was the narrator, not Elizabeth who was all-knowing.

Which I greatly enjoyed the book and look forward to more.

Nathan


From: Jim McPherson
Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2001 6:53 AM
Subject: Re: Group Read: M&C: Writing styles

This habit of POB's has caused me quite a bit of confusion. It feels like a sudden swap to the next space warp. Only I hafta warp back and reread it to make sure the typesetter wasn't drunk and dropped a page of the manuscript and the dpg ate it.

I'm still not sure about that dog.

Jim (could we cast Patrick Stewart somewhere?)

=====
James McPherson
33* 47' 30" N
116* 32' 10" W
675' above sea level


From: Gregg Germain
Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2001 7:07 AM
Subject: Re: Group Read: M&C: Writing styles

Bothered me, too. But upon re-reading I noticed that every leap in time was forshadowed. Took a bit of getting used to and it was my first lesson (but only the first) that with POB you need to read EVERY word.

=====
Gregg Sailing Master, Artillery Capt., Glover's Marblehead Regiment (GMR)


From: Isabelle Hayes
Sent: Monday, September 24, 2001 11:20 PM
Subject: Re: Group Read: M&C: Writing styles

I think Nathan has articulated an aspect of POB's and JA's art very well, and agree that such changes in subject and scene are some of the most fun a reader can have.

And now we Janeites have proof that a male of the species can "get" her.

Isabelle Hayes


From: Nathan Varnum
Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2001 11:40 AM
Subject: Re: Group Read: M&C: Writing styles

I feel like I've been caught eating quiche :). How 'bout those Bears....

Nathan, who figgered if JA is good enough for POB, she must be good enough for me


From: Gregg Germain
Sent: Wednesday, September 26, 2001 4:02 AM
Subject: Re: Group Read: M&C: Writing styles

Yeah really. So I'll take care of THAT (for myself anyways)...... ;^)

Yeah ok so Emma was good because of Gweneth. But really it failed the "Fighter Pilot's Movie Greatness Test":

You rate a movie by the amount of skin, ordnance, and morts. ;^)

=====
Gregg
Sailing Master, Artillery Capt., Glover's Marblehead Regiment (GMR)


From: Mary Arndt
Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2001 11:47 AM
Subject: Group Read M&C

On page 177 of the Norton edition, Stephen and Dillon are having their wine fueled discussion of past times and present irritations:

He came down in half an hour, and as he stepped into the cabin he said, as though he were catching straight on to an interrupted conversation, "And then, of course, there is that whole question of promotion. I will tell you, just for your secret ear alone and although it sounds odious, that I thought I should be given command after that affair in the Dart; and being passed over does rankle cruelly." He paused and then asked, "Who was it who was said to have earned more by his prick than his practice?"

"Selden. But in this instance I conceive the common gossip is altogether out; as I understand it, this was the ordinary operation of interest. Mark you, I make no claim of outstanding chastity - I merely say that in Jack Aubrey's case the consideration is irrelevant."

Dillon seems to be implying that Jack was promoted (while he himself was not) because of his extracurricular activities. Jack believes he owes his good fortune to his old friend Queeney who is now the Admiral's wife. Surely the "common gossip" would not be implying that Jack's affair with Mrs Harte got him promoted. That doesn't seem very likely. What does this passage mean and who is Selden?

Mary A
4236'53" N
7120'43" W


From: John Finneran
Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2001 5:30 PM
Subject: GRP: M&C: Not a Typooo...

...or at least I hope it isn't; and, in any event, even if PO'B didn't actually write it this way, he never changed it when the proofs came back to him, which is sort of like the same thing, almost:

This is from pp. 186-187 (Norton pb.): Jack and Stephen are at a party, and Stephen's been drinking a bit, and we can assume that he's just beginning to become pleasantly intoxicated, and here's the (beginning of the) sentence:

"After this both he and his attention wandered; holding a glass of arrack-punch, he took up his stand next to an orange-tree, and he stood loooking quite happy..."

You see? Stephen was "loooking" with three o's!, which is, I think, exactly what Stephen would be doing in that state: looking at things just a bit longer than normally: loooking, in other words.

'Tis a very goood use of creative spelling, IMHO.

John Finneran


From: Susan Wenger
Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2001 4:09 PM
Subject: GRP: M&C: Not a Typooo

A man who would name a horse potoooooooo would steal the pennies from a dead man's ii


From: Don Seltzer
Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2001 6:04 PM
Subject: Re: GRP: M&C: Not a Typooo...

It would be a small delight if so, but unfortunately not. Apparently the typooo crept in the later Harper-Collins/Norton editions. The 1970 Collins edition has it as plain old looking.

Don Seltzer


From: Ruth A Abrams
Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2001 7:06 PM
Subject: Re: Group Read: M&C: Writing styles

Nathan Varnum wrote:

I feel like I've been caught eating quiche :). How 'bout those Bears.... Nathan, who figgered if JA is good enough for POB, she must be good enough for me.

Genius knows no sex.

Ruth A., who once heard the POB canon described as "boy books."


From: Gary W. Sims
Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2001 10:57 PM
Subject: Re: Group Read: M&C: Writing styles

Well, that's a little harsh, Ruth. We do know some. We just tend to drift off in deep thoughts and miss more of our opportunities than our friends could wish.

Gary W. Sims, Major, USAF(ret)
--------------------------------------------
Pondering impregnable truths
At or about 3442' N 11808' W


From: Nathan Varnum
Sent: Wednesday, September 26, 2001 3:43 AM
Subject: Re: Group Read: M&C: Writing styles

Ruth, in this comment I see high praise, indeed. Thank you for giving men the benefit of the doubt.

Nathan


From: Michael R. Ward
Sent: Wednesday, September 26, 2001 5:49 AM
Subject: Re: Group Read: M&C: Writing styles

Speak for yourself. I'm pretty bright and ... , oh, never mind.

Mike, from a long line of geniuses.

40 05' 27" N 088 16' 57" W


From: Marian Van Til
Sent: Wednesday, September 26, 2001 6:01 AM
Subject: Re: Group Read: M&C: Writing styles

Dull life that Genius leads.

Marian


From: Ray McPherson
Sent: Wednesday, September 26, 2001 8:09 AM
Subject: Re: Group Read: M&C: Writing styles

Pooooor Genius.


From: Susan Wenger
Sent: Wednesday, September 26, 2001 11:47 AM
Subject: Groupread M&C: Dillon's Demise

"Gary W. Sims" wrote (2 weeks ago):

The soft-boiled egg was for Miss Smith, to recruit her from her labours of the night, as both the marine and Mr. Dillon knew well; but the marine's knowing look met with a total lack of response. James Dillon's mouth tightened, and for a fleeting moment as he ran up the ladder to the sudden brilliance of the quarter-deck it wore a positively angry expression. [...]"

Personally, I rather liked Miss Smith without closer acquaintance. As well as the cheerful notion that she requires sustenance, and the happy acquiescence of the ship's community in her role. But not James Dillon. No. From the first, we have a priggish young man, given to judging his betters against a standard by no means universal. This is an adept and completely unremarked precursor to the later attitude of Dillon toward Jack.

I agree with the gist of Gary's post, but I'm not sure about the above part. My impression was that Dillon was not so aggrieved by Miss Smith requiring sustenance, but more by the smarmy marine for smirking and gossiping about goings-on in the captain's cabin.


From: Susan L. Collicott
Sent: Wednesday, September 26, 2001 12:09 PM
Subject: Re: Groupread M&C: Dillon's Demise

What bothers me about this passage is the sentence that says the look met with a total lack of response. And yet immediately after that sentence, James' mouth tightened - isn't that a response? -S


From: Gary W. Sims
Sent: Wednesday, September 26, 2001 2:12 PM
Subject: Re: Groupread M&C: Dillon's Demise

From: "Susan Wenger"

My impression was that Dillon was not so aggrieved by Miss Smith requiring sustenance, but more by the smarmy marine for smirking and gossiping about goings-on in the captain's cabin.

I hadn't considered that Susan. It is possible, but officers are rarely reticent about correcting a rating who steps over the line. The tight mouth and unvoiced anger sound like he's responding to something about which he dare not speak his mind.

Have to think about it, but we're late for an appointment just now. Maybe this problem of overly familiar crewmen was a standing one? And he did not want to attempt another futile correction when he's due to leave the ship? Ah well, something to think about while driving...

Gary W. Sims, Major, USAF(ret)
--------------------------------------------
At or about 3442' N 11808' W


From: Susan Wenger
Sent: Wednesday, September 26, 2001 3:13 PM
Subject: Re: Groupread M&C: Dillon's Demise

Actually, this doesn't detract at all from your "prig" post. I think you hit on something I'd missed earlier - the real flaw in James' essential nature. Whether he was priggish about Miss Smith or priggish about the marine, the "fleet prig" label is a good one.

- Susan


From: Mary S
Sent: Wednesday, September 26, 2001 2:48 PM
Subject: Re: Groupread M&C: Dillon's Demise

In a message dated 9/26/01 4:08:26 PM Central Daylight Time, camel@serv.net writes:

What bothers me about this passage is the sentence that says the look met with a total lack of response. And yet immediately after that sentence, James' mouth tightened - isn't that a response?

Perhaps the marine caught his eye, looked "knowing," but was met by James' stone face.

THEN, to himself, after the marine looks elsewhere, James tightens his mouth.

That's how I'd read it.

Deeply, obstinately ignorant, self-opinionated, and ill-informed,

Mary S
35 58' 11" N
86 48' 57" W


From: Mary Arndt
Sent: Wednesday, September 26, 2001 5:46 PM
Subject: Group Read:M&C James Dillon

I had not thought to think of the term "prig" in connection with Dillon, but it certainly seems to fit. He not only disapproves of Miss Smith, but he disapproves of Mr Marshall as well. I gave up on Dillon entirely when he threatened Marshall, who is a good seaman, a very competent navigator and a kind man.

Dillon seems to be a useful contrast to Jack Aubrey, who shares some of Dillon's traits and had a great deal of esteem for Dillon. They are both very competent seamen and have a gift for fighting sucessful actions against stonger opponents. Competence and Zeal combined. The difference is that while Jack will regretfully tend to his duty, such as protecting his convoy, and will decline an optional action if he does not really think he can win or if the costs are too high, Dillon wants to go ahead no matter the consequences and thinks of Jack as cowardly for not wanting to risk his men in a foolhardy attack of the more powerful Cacafuego. Jack clearly is a better leader because he has a care for his command that Dillon lacks.

Stephen has to point out to Dillon that it is easy for a welthy man to snear at another for lusting after prize money. Dillon's envy of Jack for getting a promotion when he did not is understandable, but not quite up to heroic standards. Jack has a more generous spirit and throughout the series, despite many disappointments and troubles never gives way to despair the way Dillon does.

Mary A
4236'53" N
7120'43" W


From: Mary Arndt
Sent: Wednesday, September 26, 2001 5:58 PM
Subject: Group Read M&C: The Crapulous dawn

One of my favorite scenes in M&C is the aftermath of Molly Harte's route. Pg 189

"What air was moving came from the westward-an unusual wind, and one that brought all the foul reek of the tanneries drifting wetly across. But it would serve to help the Sophie down the long harbor and out to sea. Out to sea, where he could not be betrayed by his own tongue; where Stephen could not get himself into bad odour with authority; and where that infernal child Babbington did not have to be rescued form aged women of the town. And where James Dillon could not fight a duel."

The next page and a half amuses me greatly, but I wonder about the quoted paragraph. We know what kind of trouble Babbington was capable of and we witnessed Jack's disgrace. Later we find out what Dillon's duel was about. Do we ever find out what Stephen did to get into bad odour with authority?

Mary A
4236'53" N
7120'43" W


From: Mary Arndt
Sent: Wednesday, September 26, 2001 6:06 PM
Subject: Group read M&C: Araby left at the post

on page 89, Jack is going on about the marvelous smell of bacon and describes it as "Araby left at the post" Can anyone explain to me what this means? It reminds me more of a horse race than breakfast!

Mary A
4236'53" N
7120'43" W


From: Kerry Webb
Sent: Wednesday, September 26, 2001 6:43 PM
Subject: Re: Group read M&C: Araby left at the post

I read this as a reference to Lady Macbeth's "All the perfumes of Araby will not sweeten this little hand". Jack is saying that the smell of breakfast has fabled perfumes beaten by a mile (or six furlongs at least).

Kerry

=====
Kerry Webb
Canberra, Australia


From: pete almquist
Sent: Wednesday, September 26, 2001 12:27 PM
Subject: Re: Group Read M&C

sure it was that queenie was the object of jack's attentions during that early time of his life. and it always seemed to me that she was probably jack's first roll in the sack as well as his teacher in the three r's...


From: Thistle Farm
Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2001 4:01 AM
Subject: Re: Group Read M&C

Never in life! Queeny!? No no no, wasn't it the dairy maid that his father eventually married?

Sarah


From: Mary Arndt
Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2001 4:47 AM
Subject: Re: Group Read M&C

I'm with Sarah on this one. I thought it was the dairy maid. It never crossed my mind that Jack had had *that* sort of relationship with Queenie.

Mary A


From: Amanda Dunham
Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2001 8:13 AM
Subject: Re: Group Read M&C: The Crapulous dawn

Do we ever find out what Stephen did to get into bad odour with authority?

I believe that was Stephen's refusal to shake hands with Admiral Harte. Or, more accurately, his refusal to shake two fingers...

--
Amanda Dunham
The List Sin Eater, not the Amanda in the UK ;-)
37* 33' 22.93" N NAD 27
122* 19' 51.46" W Clark 66
+81 ft Mean Sea Level


From: Mary S
Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2001 7:08 AM
Subject: Re: Groupread M&C: Dillon's Demise

How could he correct him just for looking "knowing?"

If he were to say "wipe that look off your face, Marine!" he just calls attention to the matter - and invites the answer "what look, Sir?"

I would think the "total lack of response" a better answer to the problem. Yes, I've heard there is an offense called "dumb insolence," but that is not precisely the case here.

gluppit the prawling strangles, there, [FoW8]

Mary S
35 58' 11" N
86 48' 57" W


From: Gerry Strey
Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2001 5:24 AM
Subject: Re: Groupread M&C: Dillon's Demise

I've always read this passage as Dillon's being angry because he sees the captain's behavior in bringing his inamorata aboard as detrimental to discipline and the dignity of the service. The Marine's "knowing look" is evidence of both.

I've alway liked this passage--it is so incongruously domestic.

Gerry Strey
Madiosn, Wisconsin


From: Susan Wenger
Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2001 5:35 AM
Subject: Re: Group Read M&C

Jumping the gun a bit to Post Captain: Jack was "crushed" by his failed affair with Molly Harte. I believe he thought he loved her.


From: Gerry Strey
Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2001 5:47 AM
Subject: Re: Group Read M&C

I think it was rather audacious of POB to make Queeny Jack's governess/cum nursemaid. He had not only to invent a fictional relationship for a real-life character, but to alter that character's life and personality significantly. Queeny didn't marry Lord Keith until around 1810, and was not a young woman by the standards of her time, being around 40. She was not the sort of person who would have uttered that flippant phrase about taking Jack into her bed when he had nightmares (at the age of 10 or so); in fact, she was rather a grim and censorious personality.

Gerry Strey
Madison, Wisconsin


From: Marian Van Til
Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2001 12:30 PM
Subject: Jack & Queenie (was: RE: [POB] Group Read M&C)

Good point, Gerry.

And I steadfastly disagree with any who think that O'Brian meant to imply that Jack and Queenie ever had a sexual relationship. I'd like to see the passage(s) that can be used to justify that interpretation. Certainly the comment Gerry cites can't be used in that manner. Jack was a young motherless boy and she a combination of mother/older sister/friend to him -- though O'Brian shifts Queenie's age to the extent that she's less than 10 years older than Jack (I don't have an exact reference to the passage where their ages are mentioned; as I recall POB cites the age difference twice, and isn't completely consistent with it.)

Marian


From: Jim McPherson
Sent: Friday, September 28, 2001 5:55 AM
Subject: Re: Group Read M&C

When I first read about Queenie I expected some hanky-panky, but POB is much too sophisticated for such obvious tomfoolery.

I think Queenie was Jack's first adolescent, mind destroying crush. The one we all get before we even know which end it goes in, and think it might kill us.

Some of the more socially inept of us even have more than one :-)

Jim (wallowing in a sty of pubescent nostalgia)

=====
James McPherson
33* 47' 30" N
116* 32' 10" W
675' above sea level


From: Don Seltzer
Sent: Friday, September 28, 2001 8:18 AM
Subject: [GRP] M&C: The real Heneage Dundas

I originally posted this to sea-room last year, but it is appropriate to both the M&C discussion and the current thread on Heneage Dundas.

The character of Heneage Dundas, friend of Jack Aubrey, makes a brief first appearance at the end of M&C as commander of the sloop Calpe at Gibraltar. He is based upon the real George Heneage Lawrence Dundas (in later books, POB fictionalizes his relationship to Henry and Robert Dundas, First Lords of the Admiralty). Sifting through the Naval Chronicle, I have gathered the following information regarding his career at this time.

Just before the beginning of M&C, in February 1800, Lord Thomas Cochrane was a junior (5th?) Lt. aboard the Queen Charlotte, Lord Keith's flagship. Heneage Dundas appears to have also been aboard the Queen Charlotte in February, junior to Cochrane. Upon Cochrane's promotion to Commander of the Speedy, George Heneage Dundas moved up to 5th Lieutenant of the Queen Charlotte. A month later, the Queen Charlotte was accidentally destroyed by fire (Lt. Dillon provides an eye witness account in M&C). Dundas distinguished himself during this disaster, earning a mention in the Naval Chronicle:

"Mr. John Braid, Carpenter of the Queen Charlotte, reports, that about twenty minutes after six o'clock in the morning, as he was dressing himself, he heard throughout the Ship a general cry of "Fire" - On which he immediately run up the fore ladder to get upon deck, and found the whole half deck, the front bulk-head of the Admiral's cabin, the main-mast's coat, and boat's covering on the booms, all in flames; which from every report and probability, he apprehends was occasioned by some hay, which was lying under the half deck, having been set on fire by a match in a tub, which was usually kept there for signal guns. - The main sail at this time was set, and almost entirely caught fire; the people not being able to come to the clue garnets on account of the flames.

He immediately went to the forecastle, and found Lieutenant Dundas and the Boatswain encouraging the people to get water to extinguish the fire. He applied to Mr. Dundas, seeing no other Officer in the fore-part of the Ship (and being unable to see any on the quarter deck, from the flames and smoke between them) to give him assistance to drown the lower decks, and secure the hatches, to prevent the fire falling down. Lieutenant Dundas accordingly went down himself, with as many people as he could prevail upon to follow him; and the lower deck ports were opened, the scuppers plugged, the main and fore hatches secured, the cocks turned, and water drawn in at the ports, and the pumps kept going by the people who came down, as long as they could stand at them.

He thinks that by these exertions the lower deck was kept free from fire, and the two magazines preserved for a long time from danger; nor did Lieutenant Dundas, or he, quit this station, but remained there with all the people who could be prevailed upon to stay, till several of the middle-deck guns came through that deck.

About nine o'clock, Lieutenant Dundas and he, finding it impossible to remain any longer below, went out at the foremost lower-deck port, and got upon the forecastle; on which he apprehends there were then about one hundred and fifty of the people drawing water, and throwing it as far aft as possible upon the fire."

The Queen Charlotte eventually blew up with the loss of more than 600 people, including the Captain and her first Lieutenant. Dundas survived, and was promoted to Commander the following December.

In July 1801, Admiral Linois's squadron sailed into Algeciras, with the recently captured Cochrane aboard as prisoner. Commander Dundas of the Calpe immediately sailed from Gibraltar to warn Admiral Saumarez off Cadiz. During the ensuing battle, while Cochrane watched from Christy-Palliere's cabin,

"The Hon. Captain Dundas, of his Majesty's polacre the Calpe, made his vessel as useful as possible, and kept up a spirited fire on one of the enemy's batteries."

--Rear-Admiral Sir James Saumarez

Dundas also sent one his sloop's boats in the unsuccessful attempt to rescue the grounded Hannibal. The little Calpe participated in the chase of the French-Spanish squadron several days later and assisted in the capture of the French St. Antoine.

"My thanks are also due to Captain Holles, of the Thames, and to the Hon. Captain Dundas, of the Calpe, whose assistance was particularly useful to Captain Keats in securing the enemy's ship..."

--Rear-Admiral Sir James Saumarez

News of this battle reached the Admiralty at just about the same time as Cochrane's report, delayed by Manley Dixon at Port Mahon, of the capture of the El Gamo by the Speedy. Both Dundas and Cochrane were promoted to Post Captain in August, 1801.

Now comes some confusion. In Syrett & DiNardo, Cochrane is listed as having been posted on August 8, one day before Dundas. In his autobiography, however, Cochrane complains about being unfairly posted just after Dundas, whom he argues, was being rewarded for an action which occurred after Cochrane's capture of the El Gamo. A navy list of this time seems to bear him out; he is listed junior to Dundas. Apparently the ensuing letter compaign of his father, Earl of Dundonald, and others of influence managed to retroactively advance Cochrane past Dundas on the post list.

Don Seltzer


From: Ray McPherson
Sent: Friday, September 28, 2001 11:24 AM
Subject: Re: [GRP] The Hannibal

Dundas also sent one his sloop's boats in the unsuccessful attempt to rescue the grounded Hannibal. The little Calpe participated in the chase of the French-Spanish squadron several days later and assisted in the capture of the French St. Antoine.

This battle in M&C confuses me though I have read it more than once. The Hannibal is grounded during the first part of the action while Jack watches from the cabin of the Desaix with Captain Palliere. Then (on page 387) some boats came from shore to aid the Hannibal, but who were they? Captain Palliere does not fire at them so I thought they were French or Spanish. Later the Hannibal shows up with Saumarez' squadron. Who did what to who and who got the 2 dollars?

Ray McP


From: Don Seltzer
Sent: Friday, September 28, 2001 12:54 PM
Subject: Re: [GRP] The Hannibal

Gibraltar Bay is a round body of water about 5 or 6 miles across, opening up to the Mediterranean to the south. It is sufficiently wide that it could be occupied by both the British and Spanish on opposite shores out of cannon range. The British occupied the peninsula of Gibraltar, which formed the eastern boundary of the bay. The Spanish fortications and anchorage were on the western shore, at Algeciras, in plain view of the British naval base across the water.

When Admiral Linois arrived with his squadron, he chose to anchor under the batteries of Algeciras rather than continue on through the Straits of Gibraltar. Commander Dundas of the Calpe, anchored on the British side, set sail to warn Admiral Saumarez's squadron which was blockading Cadiz in the Atlantic. When Saumarez arrived, he immediately attacked the French ships anchored in the shallows of the western side of the bay, hoping to repeat Nelson's victory of the Nile. He did not have Nelson's luck, however. The wind died, and the Hannibal ran aground.

When the French took possession of the Hannibal, they did not have a French flag with them, so they raised the British ensign upside down as a sign of capture. This was observed by the British naval dockyard only 5 miles away across the bay, and misinterpreted as a distress call from the crew of the Hannibal. Many of the dockyard force gallantly manned boats and rowed across the bay to aid their comrades, only to be neatly captured by the French forces on board.

Which its all true, and happened just as POB described.

Don Seltzer


From: Ray McPherson
Sent: Friday, September 28, 2001 9:57 AM
Subject: Re: Group Read M&C: The Crapulous dawn

Do we ever find out what Stephen did to get into bad odour with authority?

Methinks the reason he is in bad grace is for being drunk and crude at the party. Speaking of his crew he says: "Oh, yes, yes! The rest of them are certainly coming ashore--they are lining the rail in the shore-going rig, with money in their pockets, their eyes staring out of their heads and their pricks a yard long."

And then as the embarrassed ladies hurry off: "You needn't hurry, ladies--they won't be allowed off the sloop till the evening gun." (See page 188.)

Ray McP


From: Rowen84@AOL.COM
Sent: Friday, September 28, 2001 10:10 AM
Subject: Re: Group Read M&C: The Crapulous dawn

No, those were Jack's comments, not Stephen's; but Stephen's perhaps, was earlier on p. 186 in his meeting with Harte. "Civil insolence" it is called there.

Rowen


From: Marian Van Til
Sent: Friday, September 28, 2001 11:54 AM
Subject: Re: Group Read M&C: The Crapulous dawn

I'm not getting your reasoning, Ray. *Jack,* not Stephen, makes these remarks (Stephen regrets Jack's saying it, though remains silent about it).

Marian


From: Mike French
Sent: Friday, September 28, 2001 12:59 PM
Subject: Re: Group Read M&C: The Crapulous dawn

Please forgive a pedant's first post, but surely it is Jack who is so crude at the party? Stephen is a worry because he is a very strange creature; not only a warranted surgeon but the particular friend of the Sophie's commander. In his naivety I feel sure he would make mistakes which would look very like giving himself the most terrible airs.

Mike French
Friend of the Polychrest


From: Ray McPherson
Sent: Friday, September 28, 2001 3:54 PM
Subject: Re: Group Read M&C: The Crapulous dawn

Welcome! Post more! I really did mean Jack NOT Stephen. The dog must have been bothering me. :-)

Ray McP


From: David Dunn
Sent: Friday, September 28, 2001 2:35 PM
Subject: Re: Group Read M&C: The Crapulous dawn

One thing interesting about this passage is how POB worked a rather old joke into his story: see http://www.snopes.com/college/embarras/shortage.htm

DJD


From: Ray McPherson
Sent: Friday, September 28, 2001 10:50 AM
Subject: Re: Groupread M&C: Dillon's Demise

By the time of Dillon's death, I believed that what drove him throughout was self-loathing. He's an Irish partisan who joins the British navy, a Protestant who turns Catholic, a Catholic who takes the naval oath against Catholicism, a first lieutenant who commits a court marshallable (I made that word up) offense by changing course without order, and a pompous sole who lies about the presence of Manon aboard the Christopher James.

I think what Dillon hated most about Jack was Jack's comfort with and command of himself. And, of course, that Jack was a Commander.

Vat denk je?

Ray McP


From: Rowen84@AOL.COM
Sent: Friday, September 28, 2001 11:20 AM
Subject: Re: Groupread M&C: Dillon's Demise

In a message dated 9-28-01 1:51:01 PM, raymcp999@YAHOO.COM writes:

He's an Irish partisan who joins the British navy, a Protestant who turns Catholic, a Catholic who takes the naval oath against Catholicism, a first lieutenant who commits a court marshallable (I made that word up) offense by changing course without order, and a pompous sole

Brought aboard, no doubt, from one of those fishing boats. Or does this link us back to the 'Outback' thread? "Serve with tartar sauce, a green salad, and a nice white wine?"

Rowen


From: Ray McPherson
Sent: Friday, September 28, 2001 4:20 PM
Subject: Re: Groupread M&C: Dillon's Demise

At that Jack's face would turn red and his eyes squeeze shut and he would roar with laughter!

Ray McP


From: MMarch5235@AOL.COM
Sent: Friday, September 28, 2001 11:20 AM
Subject: Re: Groupread M&C: Dillon's Demise

In a message dated 9/28/01 11:50:38 AM Pacific Daylight Time, raymcp999@YAHOO.COM writes:

a pompous sole who lies about the presence of Manon aboard the Christopher James.

I think what Dillon hated most about Jack was Jack's comfort with and command of himself. And, of course,

No way a pompous sole can command hisself.


From: Barney Simon
Sent: Friday, September 28, 2001 7:07 PM
Subject: Group Read M&C: A parting shot from the stern chasers as M&C falls behind

What was the critical reaction to the book? Was there resentment and hostility to POB 'moving in' on the HH readers?

Barney
at home in NYC for the weekend.


From: Don Seltzer
Sent: Sunday, September 30, 2001 4:42 PM
Subject: Re: [GRP] M&C: A parting shot from the stern chasers as M&C falls behind

"...history permeates the very substance of the book. Patrick O'Brian's sophisticated sea story belongs to the blue-ribbon category. It re-creates with delightful subtley, the flavor of life aboard a midget British man-of-war plying the western Mediterranean in the year 1800, a year of indecisive naval skirmishes with France and Spain... The author's easy command of the philosophical, political, sensual and social temper of the times flavors a rich entertainment."

- New York Times Book Review, of M&C

Don Seltzer


From: Marian Van Til
Sent: Saturday, September 29, 2001 1:32 PM
Subject: Re: Group Read: M&C: Writing styles

Gary W. Sims, Major, USAF(ret)
--------------------------------------------
Pondering impregnable truths
At or about 3442' N 11808' W

Yesterday it was "Eh, what's up, Jack?" Today its "imgregnable truths"; and "clippers and huge ships." Somebody please stop this vile man before he shoots again!

Marian,
confirming Gary's thought: he definitely ought to be wearing a scarlet P on his chest; but it dooesn't stand for Political.


From: Gary W. Sims
Sent: Wednesday, October 03, 2001 12:48 AM
Subject: Groupread: M&C -- As we bid farewell

As M&C sinks below the horizon, some quick passages I never got to admire on-line or ask about in one case (all page numbers from the Norton paperback):

~-~-~-~
P. 186: Molly Hart meets Stephen for the first time:

" 'I am very happy to see you here, sir,' said Mrs. Harte, instantly prepared to dislike him very much indeed."

Mere sentences later, Stephen snubs an arrogant Harte adroitly, with a "civil insolence [that] so exactly matched his welcome that Molly Harte said to herself, 'I shall like that man.'

The relationship in that marriage instantly lies before us.

~-~-~-~
P. 312: Stephen staring at the wake distractedly, his mind on the recent troubles in Ireland I believe:

" 'Sir, sir,' said Mowett, 'you are getting wet.'

'Yes,' said Stephen; and after a pause he added, 'It is the rain.' "

After a pause, mind you. He has considered the problem Mowett descried, and concludes after consideration that... Now even for a professor that would be considered distracted.

~-~-~-~
P. 318: After Stephen mentions people being torn between loyalties, Jack insists:

" [...]' You can only have one King. And a man's heart can only be in one place at a time, unless he is a scrub.'

'What nonsense you do talk, to be sure,' said Stephen. 'What "balls", as you sea-officers say; it is a matter of common observation that [...]' "

"Great balls of fire" seems an unlikely source for Stephen's comment, and the coarser expressions are not normally used in the form "what balls." At least not in my experience.

Reading this, I always wonder, is there some other expression that Stephen is garbling here? Or did sea officers of that time indeed feel the recurring need to derogate their adornments? Perhaps, in the stress of warfare, they were getting in touch with their feminist side?

~-~-~-~
P. 342: Mercedes tries on her reward:

" She [...] lowered her bosom, the diamonds winking in the hollow, down toward him, saying, 'You like him? You like him? You like him?'

Jack's eye grew less brotherly, oh far less brotherly, his glottis stiffened and his heart began to thump. 'Oh, yes, I like him,' he said hoarsely.

'Timely, sir, bosun of the Superb,' said a tremendous voice at the opening door, 'Oh, beg pardon, sir...' "

His glottis, hmm? And the unashamed choice of name for the bosun. If he were telling this story orally, I believe POB would wink at us at that point, or at least exhibit a wry smile. The unspoken thought: "Yes, I know it's a easy chuckle, but it's charming anyway, isn't it?"

~-~-~-~
P.348: A final gathering before they sail:

"[...] into the music room, Molly Harte to sit looking beautiful by her harp and the rest to arrange themselves on the little gilt chairs.

'What are we to have?' asked a voice behind him, and turning Jack saw Stephen, powdered, respectable apart from having forgotten his shirt, and eager for the treat.

'Some Boccherini -- a 'cello piece -- and the Haydn trio that we arranged. And Mrs Harte is going to play the harp. Come and sit by me.'

'Well, I suppose I shall have to,' said Stephen, 'the room being so crowded. Yet I had hoped to enjoy this concert: it is the last we shall hear for some time.'

'Nonsense,' said Jack, taking no notice [...]"

Whether I picture Stephen with no shirt under his waistcoat at all, or merely wearing one that's seen too many dissections and resections for civility, the echoes of their original meeting enchant me. Though I must say, I resent Stephen continually objecting to the only musical talent I possess myself: beating the time on my knee. Incorrectly.

~-~-~-~
P.387 And finally, though not the last good scene in the book, I love the scene too lengthy to type in full where boats have put off from Gibraltar hoping to aid the Hannibal, thinking her in distress. In fact, she already has been taken by the French, but is flying the British ensign inverted rather than a French flag.

Palliere wonders to Jack: 'You do not suppose they mean to retake the ship, do you? What ARE they about?' And Jack, who realizes the misunderstanding, hopes to minimize the harm by inviting Palliere to fire: 'But certainly if you put a shot across the bow of the leading cutter [they will realize it's hopeless and turn back].'

A gun is laid and then: 'But come,' said Captain Palliere, putting his hand on the lock and smiling at Jack, 'perhaps it would be better not to fire.' Which allows the rescue mission to reach the captured Hannibal and be captured themselves, as pretty as you please.

Lovely interplay between two knowledgeable captains.

One of my favorite volumes. M&C shows the rough lashings here and there of a prototype, but it's well done to say the least. All the fine elements of POB are exhibited, and fortunately, he did not have a small-minded obsession with consistency that prevented him making some interesting changes in the character and circumstances of Jack and Stephen in later books.

Gary W. Sims, Major, USAF(ret)
--------------------------------------------
Well into Post Captain for the umpteenth time
At or about 3442' N 11808' W


From: Rowen84@AOL.COM
Sent: Wednesday, October 03, 2001 10:44 AM
Subject: Re: Groupread: M&C -- As we bid farewell

Wonderful post, Gary! Thanks for sharing those gems with us. The family jewels, so to speak? ;-)

As to the puzzle you mention below, I read it as Stephen meaning "What arrogance you have to propose such nonsense..."

Rowen
-----

In a message dated 10-3-01 1:12:56 PM, simsgw@CS.STANFORD.EDU writes:

'What nonsense you do talk, to be sure,' said Stephen. 'What "balls", as you sea-officers say; it is a matter of common observation that [...]' "


From: Martin Watts
Sent: Wednesday, October 03, 2001 12:10 PM
Subject: Re: Groupread: M&C -- As we bid farewell

The fuller expression would be "What a load of balls."

Viewers of "Yes Minister" or "Yes Prime Minister" may recall the synonymous "Round Objects" ("Who is Round and why does he object?") and "CGSM" ("Consignment of Geriatric Shoe Makers" ("Load of Old Cobblers")).

Martin @ home:
50 44' 57" N
1 58' 34" W


From: Adam Quinan
Sent: Wednesday, October 03, 2001 2:30 PM
Subject: Re: Groupread: M&C -- As we bid farewell

The use of the term "balls' to mean that a statement was nonsense or stupidity was common in my young day 2nd half of the last age in England. We occasionally waxed technical and used terms such as testicles or bollocks.

Whether it was common usage in the Royal Navy of 1801 I don't know.


From: Susan Wenger
Sent: Wednesday, October 03, 2001 2:45 PM
Subject: Re: Groupread: M&C -- As we bid farewell

"Gary W. Sims" wrote:

One of my favorite volumes. M&C shows the rough lashings here and there of a prototype, but it's well done to say the least. All the fine elements of POB are exhibited, and fortunately, he did not have a small-minded obsession with consistency that prevented him making some interesting changes in the character and circumstances of Jack and Stephen in later books.

I nod my head in admiration for Gary's point. Sure, there were inconsistencies in the later books. Some came out of the growth and development of the characters, and changes in the characters that were unpredictable from their introductions but not impossible over time. Some were errors. However, I think Gary is totally in the right of it: POB's very real NEED to tell the story of what happened was admirably unhampered by the hobgoblins of little minds.


From: Gary W. Sims
Sent: Wednesday, October 03, 2001 7:15 PM
Subject: Re: Groupread: M&C -- As we bid farewell

From: Rowen84@AOL.COM

Wonderful post, Gary! Thanks for sharing those gems with us. The family jewels, so to speak? ;-)

Why, Rowen, would I expose my arrogants to public critique?

As to the puzzle you mention below, I read it as Stephen meaning "What arrogance you have to propose such nonsense..."

Now that is a plausible meaning. Just the sort of triple entendre Stephen loves.

Gary W. Sims, Major, USAF(ret)
--------------------------------------------
Flinging great arrogants of fire
At or about 3442' N 11808' W


From: Pawel Golik
Sent: Friday, October 05, 2001 3:02 PM
Subject: Reporting back on board (and some thoughts on M&C)

Reporting back after a trip to Europe - I attended a conference in the beautiful (if trampled by tourists) city of Venice. Also had a few days to visit the city - was surprised to see that with all the glorious naval history of the Venetian Republic there is so little of it to remind us. The Maritime Museum is a sad little affair, didn't see any replicas of historical ships.

But I saw an Italian edition of TMC on sale at the street newspaper vendor stall. Didn't have the Geoff Hunt cover art we are used to, but looked nice nevertheless and stood out among the third rate detective novel that are the usual fare in such places.

Now I'm catching up with Gunroom, somehow it's broadsides didn't sink my mailbox (I didn't go nomail, trusting my large harddrive). Good to read all the insights into M&C. It is a very different read the second time, when one knows that there is the entire Canon to follow it. Still I think that the best way to convert a novice to POB is through PC (especially if dealing with someone who isn't a naval history buff).

Leaving out important happenings between the lines (chapters, volumes etc.) is one of the most striking characteristics of POB's writing, in M&C it is even more prominent than later in the Canon. For example, we have the awkwardness of the crew and Jack getting to know each other on their first voyage described in detail, then we jump in time, and the men are already well trained and loyal to Jack. In later volumes the process of forming a relationship with a new crew would be described, here we just get to see the results. It is also interesting to see how the gunner's surgery by Stephen is described only in retrospection, we know he'd be attempting the trepanation, and then several pages later there is only a passing mention that the gunner is alive and well. It is intersting to see how the later books fill up this gap, when the surgery becomes a legend among the Surprises who follow Jack and Stephen on their subsequent commands.

All this makes M&C probably the most difficult read in the Canon. Neither worse, nor better, but definitely a bit different and harder to follow.

Now on to PC!

Pawel --
Pawel Golik
http://www.gen.emory.edu/cmm/people/staff/pgolik.html
Currently at 33*48'53"N 84*19'25"W
Home is at 52*12'25"N 21*5'37"E


From: John Finneran
Sent: Saturday, October 06, 2001 8:12 PM
Subject: GRP: M&C: L is 'ell

(Behind on the Group Read, and still commenting on Master and Commander...)

PO'B was born in 1914, which would have made him 55 when M & C was published (1969), so it was no doubt something of a personal joke when he inserted into M & C some disparaging comments on turning fifty.

Stephen writes in his diary (p. 181, Norton pb): "It is odd -- will I say heart-breaking? -- how cheerfulness goes: gaiety of mind, natural free-springing joy. Authority is its great enemy -- the assumption of authority. I know few men over fifty that seem to me entirely human: virtually none who has long exercised authority. The senior post-captains here; Admiral Wayne. Shrivelled men (shrivelled in essence: not, alas, in belly). Pomp, an unwholesome diet, a cause of choler, a pleasure paid too late and at too high a price, like lying with a peppered paramour."

More directly, there's "the unnatural death of Henry Gouges (had said, 'Ha, ha, mates, I am fifty years old this day. Oh dear,' and had died sitting there, still holding his untasted grog)" (p. 153).

Fortunately, things do get better eventually. Sorry I don't have the exact passage at hand, but PO'B return to this joke again in one of his last books (The Hundred Days possibly?) with the statement, "Eighty-five is a wonderful age" (quotation from memory, and is approximate, but the age was PO'B's own at the time).

John Finneran


From: John Finneran
Sent: Saturday, October 06, 2001 8:12 PM
Subject: GRP: M & C: Picking Up Where We Left Off...

Many people have noted the similarity of Jack and Toby of The Unknown Shore to Jack and Stephen of Master and Commander and the rest of the Aubreyad.

This is no accident, of course; and I noted a few places in M & C, where PO'B subtly alludes to TUS.

First, as you'll recall, when last we left our heroes, Jack and Toby (at the end of TUS), they had arrived in a fashionable room, with various lords and ladies lounging about, and descriptions of expensive furniture blocking them in, notably "two gilt chairs", which Toby upsets in his eagerness to rush to Georgiana (TUS, p.313, last page).

M & C picks up right where TUS left off:

Our heroes, now named Jack and Stephen, are again in a fashionable room, this time "[t]he music-room in the Governor's House at Port Mahon, a tall, handsome, pillared octagon", again with many local notables, and again the gilt chairs, now "rows and rows of little gilt chairs" (M&C, p.7, opening page); and again the order of this scene would be, at least metaphorically, upset by the actions of Toby (Stephen).

TUS ended with Samuel Johnson (though not identified) in the room. In M & C, when Jack meets Stephen for the second time, he (Jack) notes how he was unable to learn Latin: "It was the same with Latin when I was a boy: and how old Pagan used to flog me." (p. 16); which, it seems, is a parody on Johnson's statement of how he did learn Latin: "My master whipt me very well. Without that, Sir, I should have done nothing." (from Boswell's Life of Johnson, with the assistance of Google).

Finally, and on a related note, at one point Jack and Stephen are speaking of Dr. Johnson, and Stephen says, "What is more, he occupied the most vivid dream I ever had in my life, not a week ago. How strange that you should mention him today." (p. 147) We're given no further indication of what this "vivid dream" was; but I like to think it was Stephen dreaming he was Toby (thus incorporating TUS, and, by extension, also The Golden Ocean, into the Aubreyad) and of speaking with Johnson, and then taking Georgiana by the hand, and going off with her to speak of bats.

John Finneran


From: Charlezzzz@AOL.COM
Sent: Tuesday, October 09, 2001 8:26 PM
Subject: GRP: M&C, and John F has solved a great puzzle

Finally, and on a related note, at one point Jack and Stephen are speaking of Dr. Johnson, and Stephen says, "What is more, he occupied the most vivid dream I ever had in my life, not a week ago. How strange that you should mention him today." (p. 147) We're given no further indication of what this "vivid dream" was; but I like to think it was Stephen dreaming he was Toby (thus incorporating TUS, and, by extension, also The Golden Ocean, into the Aubreyad) and of speaking with Johnson, and then taking Georgiana by the hand, and going off with her to speak of bats.

Remarkable, John. I have long pondered on this unconsummated reference wch POB clearly left hanging. But, never having had any solution to propound, I have held off even pointing it out to the Gunroom. And here you sail up with a most convincing answer to the problem: this is POB's innest of in jokes. Congratulations.

Charlezzzz, venturing to point out that the "most vivid dream" may refer to a youngish man's sexual dreams, wch may give us a hint that a "discussion of bats" may have led to a different kind of conversation. Vive Toby! Vive Stephen! And vive JF's continued insights.


From: Lois Anne du Toit
Sent: Tuesday, October 09, 2001 11:56 PM
Subject: Re: M&C Stephen's sealegs - was Re: Group Read PC: Stephen's blunder

Steve wrote: "Stephen is much less the incompetant seaman than he is later in the series: his sealegs improve steadily through the book and right at the end he makes some pretty knowlegable observations about the ships during the battle of Algeceras. POB hasn't yet decided on SM's incompetence as a running joke."

A fine post, Steve, most prodigious fine. A glass with you, sir!

A pity to pick just one point out of it, but perhaps I enjoy an odd perspective on the above issue, having read M&C only AFTER I'd already met (and come to love) Stephen in a couple of the later books in the Canon. I believe you have the right of it: I was absolutely dumbfounded at Stephen's relative lack of lubberliness when I first read M&C.

London Lois - which her books arrived yesterday - huzzah! - and she started on her VERY OWN COPY of M&C last night, weighing anchor upon a voyage bound to be both satisfyingly long and prodigious enjoyable, sure.

51 29' 00" N 000 11' 00" W


From: Steve Turley
Date: Tue, 9 Oct 2001 10:18:30 -0700
Subject: Re: Group Read PC: Stephen's blunder

I've seen the "Group Read" header on several posts - can someone clue me in on the rules for this?

I just finished M&C this morning and was particularly watching for any foreshadowing of his intelligence role. There was none. He does ask to be set ashore near Barcelona and stays for several days, during which he picks up the local gossip and news of the Cacafuego, but it didn't seem that intelligence was his primary motive. He also keeps his ears open and reports what he hears to Jack - eg the discussion he overhears between two locals on Minorca that was mentioned yesterday.

Some more thoughts on M&C... This book seems to be less of a "series" than the others; it is self-contained and complete. This makes sense if, as I suppose, it was written before POB conceived the idea of a series. Stephen is much less the incompetant seaman than he is later in the series: his sealegs improve steadily through the book and right at the end he makes some pretty knowlegable observations about the ships during the battle of Algeceras. POB hasn't yet decided on SM's incompetence as a running joke.

And this is the only book that has three main (male) characters. The opening scene of the book has Jack, Stephen and Dillon all exlaiming "Christ!" at roughly simultaneous moments - a very nice way of tying the three men together.

Much more political discussion in this book than in any other. Stephen and James have long talks about their history and politics; we never see Stephen so self-revealing again.


From: Lois Anne du Toit
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2001 12:17 AM
Subject: M&C - coffee vs chocolate

Hope the listswains will bear with some belated thoughts on M&C in this and following despatches - I'll soon catch up to the Group Read, but till then ....

Refs to the Norton hardcover ed. [BIG GRIN]

p 14-16 JA wakes up, heads straight for the naval outfitter's to acquire his precious epaulette, then meets SM as he quits the shop. "May I propose a cup of chocolate, or coffee?" says SM and JA accepts, admitting he has not breakfasted. We may be sure, from what we learn of SM's circumstances, that he too has not broken his fast, at least not in any substantial way. Now, in later books, these are two true-believing, card-carrying coffee hounds of the first water who despise chocolate for the grass-combing, double-poxed beverage it is. Yet what do they order? CHOCOLATE!! Since HH was a coffee hound too, was POB going another step in portraying JA as utterly unlike HH via this incident?

London Lois

51 29' 00" N 000 11' 00" W

Lois Anne du Toit
lois@glomas.com

"Man is the only animal that both laughs and weeps for man alone is struck by the difference between what things are and what they ought to be."

(William Hazlitt)


From: Lois Anne du Toit
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2001 12:19 AM
Subject: M&C - Maturin vs Stephen

Norton h/c ed.

pp15 - 18: in the narrative, SM is "Maturin" or even "Mr Maturin". When we next meet him at the beginning of Ch 2 (p34) he is become "Stephen Maturin" (the first time we hear his first name) and by p36 he is "Stephen": whereas JA is "Jack Aubrey" at first mention and then "Jack" thereafter. A narrative device reflecting JA's growing liking for SM?

London Lois

51 29' 00" N 000 11' 00" W


From: Lois Anne du Toit
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2001 1:39 AM
Subject: M&C: instant friendship between JA and SM

Norton h/c ed. p34ff the "instant friendship" of JA and SM: having followed The Gunroom's discussion of this phenomenon last month, may I offer this thought: while the liking was real enough, we should be wary of believing that actual, warm friendship had sprung into instant full bloom.

From JA's perspective: the meal at The Crown was particularly bibulous [p36 "gathering the empty decanters over to his side of the table"; p37 "Jack filled their glasses (how the tide went in and out)"] and, even before it began, JA was a little "heady" what with the joy of his promotion and the added dimension that, for the interval of dinner, at least, he was not an awful authority figure: p33 "Yet as he walked off to his meeting at the Crown - to his meeting with an equal - there was a little greater eagerness in his step than the mere Lieutenant Aubrey would have shown." Small wonder, then, that he is overcome by an impulsive liking for his companion.

He repents of it the next morning, though: p50 "'A guest I know nothing about, in a very small brig I have scarcely seen.' He pondered gloomily upon the extreme care that should be taken with shipmates ... " So it seems that the question "does drunk agree with sober?" might not, in his case, necessarily be answered in the positive, and that this "instant friendship" is not perceived by Jack as being "for real". Indeed, he feels the gloomiest forbodings, not unnaturally, in view of Stephen's behaviour at the concert.

On SM's side, things are (predictably) more complex. Primo, there is his desperate personal situation, cast adrift without means, cut off from Spain by the war, sleeping rough - what must the impact of a large and bibulous meal have been upon him? Small wonder he took Jack's offer of a job (pp37-38) seriously - when you reflect upon it, it is an instance of uncharacteristic obtuseness in Stephen to have overlooked the bantering tone, the general jocosity of the situation ...

Secundo, he was clearly upset about his surly treatment of Jack the previous evening: cf his reaction when Jack begs his pardon: p15 "'My dear sir,' cried the man in the black coat, with an odd flush rising in his dead-white face, 'you had every reason to be carried away ... May I propose a cup of chocolate, or coffee? It would give me great pleasure.'" This desire to repair the damage would have made Stephen the readier to respond to Jack's friendly overtures, and goes a long way towards explaining why he opened so much of his past to Jack to avoid giving an impression of "a most repulsive or, indeed, a morose reserve" (p36).

As for Stephen's "morning after" reflections (p52ff), he is unsure whether the job offer was serious or not: "'We had dined extremely well: four bottles, or possibly five. I must not expose myself to an affront.'" Unlike Jack, however, he retains a pleasant emotion for his dinner companion: "'Yet he was such a pleasant, ingenuous companion.' He smiled at the recollection."

No, upon the whole, no instant friendship: and probably a firmer foundation for one in Stephen than in Jack.

London Lois

51 29' 00" N 000 11' 00" W


From: Lois Anne du Toit
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2001 1:49 AM
Subject: M&C: Jack's mathematical ability

I hadn't realised before that the Jack of the beginning of M&C is a creature with little numeracy (p44 "... what with having dined extremely well and not being good with figures at any time ...") and didn't consider himself much of a navigator - p25: "'What's the master's name, Mr Williams?' 'Marshall, sir, William Marshall. A prime navigator, I hear.' 'So much the better,' said Jack, remembering his own struggles with the Requisite Tables and the bizarre conclusions he had sometimes reached." This, together with his memory of his mathematical struggles in boyhood (pp50-51), creates an impression far different from the JA of the later books.

Again, HH was a brilliant mathematician and navigator: was POB's initial intention to make JA HH's opposite in this aspect as well?

London Lois

51 29' 00" N 000 11' 00" W


From: Lois Anne du Toit
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2001 2:03 AM
Subject: M&C - meeting Killick for the first time

Norton h/c ed. p50 "... the nervous presence of the gunroom steward (the former captain's steward had gone over to the Pallas) hovering with what had been Captain Allen's invariable breakfast - a mug of small beer, hominy grits and cold beef."

Passing hastily over Capt. Allen's taste in the article of breakfast, ain't it amazing that this nervous figure is actually Preserved Killick? as we discover on p57: "'Your coffee's up, sir,' said the steward. 'Thank you, Killick...'"

London Lois

51 29' 00" N 000 11' 00" W


From: Lois Anne du Toit
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2001 4:59 AM
Subject: M&C - the chasers - why not 9 pounders?

Jack tries 12-pounders as chasers - they prove too much for Sophie. Is there some reason why he does not consider 9-pounders? (norton h/c p70-71)

London Lois

51 29' 00" N 000 11' 00" W


From: Marian Van Til
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2001 5:28 AM
Subject: A British captain eating hominy? (was: RE: [POB] M&C - meeting Killick for the first time)

Norton h/c ed. p50 "... the nervous presence of the gunroom steward (the former captain's steward had gone over to the Pallas) hovering with what had been Captain Allen's invariable breakfast - a mug of small beer, hominy grits and cold beef."

Interesting little passage. What part of the world is the ship in when this occurs? Is not hominy a North American food? Is it really likely that Captain Allen would be eating hominy grits for breakfast? (About as likely as 13th century medieval monks growing/eating corn, ala Ellis Peters in one of the Cadfael books I read the other day.)

Marian,
possibly misinformed


From: Gregg Germain
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2001 5:43 AM
Subject: Re: A British captain eating hominy? (was: RE: [POB] M&C - meeting Killick for the first time)

As I understand it, there's nothing special about hominy - isn't it just a ground up, common plant? The name might be different in different places.

Also, for quite a while people who lived in the South and ate hominy grits were British subjects, were visited by British ships etc.

=====
Gregg
Sailing Master, Artillery Capt., Glover's Marblehead Regiment (GMR)


From: Lois Anne du Toit
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2001 5:51 AM
Subject: A British captain eating hominy? (was: RE: [POB] M&C - meeting Killick for the first time)

Which the ship is in Port Mahon.

Capt. Allen is an American: p12 " ... all that Jack knew of him was that he was an American Loyalist ... " and p26 "'... all people from his [Allen's] own part - the country up behind Halifax.'" (refs to Norton h/c ed.)

I had thought of hominy grits as being Southern cooking rather than characteristic of the Northern States - but am merely an iggerant would-be Limey.

London Lois

51 29' 00" N 000 11' 00" W


From: Gerry Strey
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2001 5:48 AM
Subject: Re: A British captain eating hominy? (was: RE: [POB] M&C -meeting Killick for the first time)

Well, hominy is made from corn (Indian corn/maize), and I doubt it would be available in Majorca or even in England at the time. Perhaps the good captain, being American, had it sent from the states?

Gerry Strey
Madison, Wisconsin


From: Marian Van Til
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2001 9:53 AM
Subject: Re: A British captain eating hominy?

So it's not too strange that a Royal Navy captain would be eating them.

Perhaps not if he was an American Loyalist, as Allen was (thanks for the reference, London Lois: Capt. p. 12 " ... all that Jack knew of him was that he was an American Loyalist ...).

But strange if he was from where O'Brian says he's from: p. 26 "'... all people from his [Allen's] own part - the country up behind Halifax." Unless O'Brian discovered a Northern hominy grits tradition which has been most unstudiously ignored by historians and culinary artists alike.

Marian,
wondering what exactly "up behind Halifax" means


From: Gregg Germain
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2001 9:53 AM
Subject: Re: A British captain eating hominy?

Well if he was a sailor all his life, it's possible he put in to a Southern American port and tasted grits. After teh American War if Independence, he could have gotten a ready supply of the stuff - just ground up corn as someone said. Pickings might have become a little slim once the War of 1812 started ;^)

=====
Gregg
Sailing Master, Artillery Capt., Glover's Marblehead Regiment (GMR)


From: thekaines
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2001 12:36 PM
Subject: Re: A British captain eating hominy?

Marian wrote:

wondering what exactly "up behind Halifax" means

"Inland from"?

Clive


From: Mary S
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2001 1:19 PM
Subject: Re: A British captain eating hominy? (was: RE: [POB] M&C - meeting Kill...

In a message dated 10/11/01 11:09:36 AM Central Daylight Time, gregg_germain@YAHOO.COM writes:

So it's not too strange that a Royal Navy captain would be eating them.

Well, it kind of is, if he lived in or near Halifax Nova Scotia, as the text seems to imply.

There's a Halifax in North Carolina, but it's small, and well inland.

Certainly plenty of Loyalists moved to Canada after the Revolution, but, I would have thought, largely from Northern States.

For intelligence, there is nothing like a keen-witted, handsome woman, [DI 2]

Mary S
35 58' 11" N
86 48' 57" W


From: Jim McPherson
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2001 3:13 PM
Subject: Re: A British captain eating hominy?

Halifax has a big hill in the middle of it with a citadel on it. I spent 2 summers in HMCS Stadacona there and "up behind Halifax" sounds quite logical to me.

Jim (former naval person)

=====
James McPherson
33* 47' 30" N
116* 32' 10" W
675' above sea level


From: Adam Quinan
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2001 3:57 PM
Subject: Re: A British captain eating hominy? (was: RE: [POB] M&C -meetingKillick for the first time)

Loyalists came from many parts of the former colonies, even from those areas where grits would have been served. They were given free Crown land to settle and farm "up behind Halifax" ie. in the hinterland of Nova Scotia and Loyalists were also granted land along the north shore of Lake Ontario and round the Golden Horseshoe into Niagara.

In England, the word "corn" is usually applied to wheat, or other predominant cereal crop. I don't know whether Brother Cadfael was described as growing corn or maize.


From: Andrew McNeill
Sent: Friday, October 12, 2001 5:30 AM
Subject: Re: M&C - the chasers - why not 9 pounders?

Jack tries 12-pounders as chasers - they prove too much for Sophie. Is there some reason why he does not consider 9-pounders? (norton h/c p70-71)

An interesting question! I have, unfortunatley no idea, the first thing that lept into my mind was "Jack doesn't like 9lbers", but alas, this is not true! In Surgeons Mate, JA remarks about a vessel pursuing them with "Lovely long brass nines" as bow chasers which are "a destructive and effective weapon in the right hands" (paraphrasing no direct quotes.. pls don't shoot me).

So.. I dunno!

Andy


From: Batrinque@AOL.COM
Sent: Friday, October 12, 2001 4:53 PM
Subject: Re: M&C - the chasers - why not 9 pounders?

Perhaps the only reason is that Lord Cochrane tried 12-pounders as chasers in the Speedy (and of course achieved only failure). But as to why he did not then experiment with 9-pounders ... well, as I recollect Cochrane did not address the question in his autobiography.

Bruce Trinque
4137'53"N 7222'51"W


From: Don Seltzer
Sent: Friday, October 12, 2001 10:37 AM
Subject: Re: M&C - the chasers - why not 9 pounders?

Lois Anne du Toit wrote:

Jack tries 12-pounders as chasers - they prove too much for Sophie. Is there some reason why he does not consider 9-pounders? (norton h/c p70-71)

The simple answer is that this incident is taken from Cochrane's Autobiography, and Cochrane tried 12-pounders as chasers for the Speedy.

So why didn't Cochrane try 9-pounders? Perhaps they weren't available at the dockyard in Port Mahon. 9-pounders were in great demand as chasers and as light guns for the forecastle and quarterdeck of larger ships.

12-pounders were falling out of favor as newer frigates and the upper gundeck of ships of the line were armed with 18-pounders. So, quite possibly there was a glut of unwanted 12-pounders available.

Don Seltzer


From: TFAJr
Sent: Friday, October 12, 2001 8:00 PM
Subject: Re: A British captain eating hominy? (was: RE: [POB] M&C -meetingKillick for the first time)

Adam Wrote:

Loyalists came from many parts of the former colonies, even from those areas where grits would have been served. They were given free Crown land to settle and farm "up behind Halifax" ie. in the hinterland of Nova Scotia and Loyalists were also granted land along the north shore of Lake Ontario and round the Golden Horseshoe into Niagara.

Quite right!

One of the greatest contingents of Loyalists in the states, and the greatest contingents of Scottish Loyalists were from North Carolina. It is entirely possible that Allen was one of these, perhaps even probable. And it is highly probable that he did indeed come to know and love hominy grits in NC.

Here are some url about the little known but extremely important battle of Moore's Creek Bridge where the "Patriots" defeated the Loyalists (mostly Highland Scots)and changed the British strategy in the Revolution. http://statelibrary.dcr.state.nc.us/nc/ncsites/moores.htm http://www.nps.gov/mocr/

Pictures of re-enactment http://www.nps.gov/mocr/mocrevnt/index.htm http://wilmmag.wilmington.net/597/moores.html

couple of other interesting urls

http://archiver.rootsweb.com/th/read/NCSCOTS/2000-02/0949683141

Following is a rather lengthy explanation of Scottish migration into this area. Much is extracted (sometimes verbatim) from History of North Carolina by Hugh T. Lefler and Albert Newsome.

"The earliest, largest, and most numerous settlement of Highlanders in America was the one in NC in the years between 1732 and the American Revolution". The Highland Scots were the only large group to come to NC directly from their native land. As early as 1732 a few Scots had settled on the Upper Cape Fear and were enthusiastic about the "salubrious climat, fertile soil, and liberal government". In 1736 Alexander Clark, of Jura in the Hebrides Isles, brought a shipload of his fellow countrymen to the colony, where he found a "good number of Scotch." Three years later 350 Highlanders landed at Wilmington under the leadership of Neil McNeill and, according to tradition, left the town because the settlers made fun of their peculiar costumes and unusual language, and settled in the present Fayetteville region. The newcomers, pleased with their new location and future prospects, petitioned the Assembly in Feb. 1740, saying "If proper encouragement be given them, they'll invite the rest of their firends and acquaintances over." The Assembly, interested in promoting immigration, and probably prodded by Governor Johnston, who was a native of Scotland, voted to exempt the new settlers from all taxation for ten years. A similar exemption from payment of any "Publick or County tax for Ten years" was offered all Highlanders who should come to North Carolina in groups of 40 or more, and the Governor was requested "to use his Interest,in such manner, as he shall think most proper, to obtain an Instruction for giving Encouragement to Protestants from foreign parts, to settle in Townships within this Province."

The aftermath of the Battle of Culloden on April 16, 1746 created a situation that led to thousands of Scots to come to North Carolina. The clan system was broken up, estates confiscated, rents were increased, sheep raising was substituted for regular agricultue which threw many Scots out of work, and the Scots were forbidden to bear arms or to wear the costumes of their clans.

There was one way out of this unhappy situation, After Culloden, the King offered pardon to all "rebels" who would take the oath of allegiance to the House of Hanover and emigrate to America. Thousands hastened to take advantage of this offer, and there developed "a Carolina mania that was not broken until theh Revolution."

The French and Indian War (1754-1763) interrupted immigration to the colonies, but with the advent of peace, it was renewed on a larger scale than ever. Thousands of Scots came to America--from the Scottish mainland and also from the "Western Isles" of Jura, Islay, Argyleshire,Stonoway, Skye, Lewis, Lochabar, Ross, and Sutherland, as well as from other island groups. Between 1763 and 1769, the Scots Magazine mentioned four different migrations from Islay to North Carolina. From 1768 to 1771 some 1600 Highlanders came into the Cape Fear River, and in the summer of 1770, 54 shiploads migrated from the Western Ilses to the province. In 1772 Governor Martin wroth Lord Hillsborough, Secretary of State for the Colonies: "Near a thousand people have arrived in Cape Fear River from the Scottish Isles since the month of November with a view to settling in this province whose prosperity and strength will receive great augmentation by the accession of such a number of hardy, laborious and thrifty people."

the year of 1773 witnessed the heaviest emigration, approximately 4000 leaving that year, a godly portion of whom came to North Carolina, where they found "the largest and most important settlement of Highlanders in America." In 1775 Governor Martin estimated he could raise a Loyalist army of 3000 Highlanders, which indicates that there were probably as many as 20,000 in the province.

The Highlanders who came to NC were among the most substantial and energetic people of Scotland. Scottish journals referred to them as men "of wealth and merit," as "the most wealthy and substantial people in Skye," and the "finest set of fellows in the Highlands" who carried a least 6,000 lb sterlingin ready cash with them." In 1772-1773 migration, it was claimed that each person carried an average of 4 lb, and it was estimated that the 1500 emigrants from County Sunderland during these two years carried with them 7500 lb, "which exceeds a year's rent of the whole county". \

The Scots continued to use Gaelic, and in 1756 Hugh McAden reported that many of them "scarcely knew one word of English." But Gaelic gradually gave way to English, although there were survivals of the ancient tongue for more than a century.

Most of the Highlanders became farmers, and they were particularly important in the production of naval stores from the vast forests of lon leaf pines. Quite a number became merchants and, according to Governor Tryon, many of them were "skilled mechanics." Some likewise entered the professions and made distinctive contributions in politics, religion, education, and milatary affairs.


From: Lois Anne du Toit
Sent: Monday, October 15, 2001 5:37 AM
Subject: M&C - some nautical and non-nautical questions

Despite assiduous googling and searching of anything that might be attempted to be searched, the following remain obscure to me: the light of the listswains' wisdom upon these points will be much appreciated. Page refs to Norton h/c

p 116 JA says: "Come in or out, there's a good fellow. Don't stand in the door like a God-damned Lenten cock." ?? in some way a reference to the Lenten abstinence from meat?

p 121; "There were plenty of people on the little quarterdeck - the master at the con ... " What, pray, is the precise sense or meaning of "the con"? From use of the term "the con" in naval fiction set in modern times (eg "Mr X, you have the con") it appears to mean "the state of being in charge of sailing the barky" but this may be a false description "and a false description is anathema to the philosophic mind." (SM at M&C p151)

log book entries: eg p 152: "winds variable, SE by S, course S50W, distance 63 miles. - Latitude 4232'N, longitude 417'E, Cape Creus S76W 12 leagues." Here I have 3 questions: "course S50W means course south west, but the 50? Is it 50 degrees west of south? if so, why no ? - I note some consistency in the course bearing (if it is one) being written thus with no . Then again, does "Cape Creus S76W" mean that Cape Creus bore 76 degrees west of south, there being 90 degrees in all between south and west?

p146: JA's malapropism: "alas, poor Borwick." Has anyone ever discovered (or did POB ever reveal) why "Borwick" should have sprung to Jack's mind to be confused with Yorick? Was there some RN unfortunate by that name?

nightglass: I've cleverly mislaid my references to this, but it is a tolerably common term. It was surprising to me that telescopes c1800 could have been so fashioned as (apparently) to enhance vision at night: any description of what constituted the difference between the common or garden telescope and a nightglass would be most prodigious welcome.

London Lois

51 29' 00" N 000 11' 00" W


From: Don Seltzer
Sent: Monday, October 15, 2001 6:23 AM
Subject: Re: M&C - some nautical and non-nautical questions

At 2:37 PM +0100 10/15/2001, Lois Anne du Toit wrote:

p 121; "There were plenty of people on the little quarterdeck - the master at the con ... " What, pray, is the precise sense or meaning of "the con"?

A very old term meaning to direct the helmsman by giving steering orders. Early forms included Cun and Cond.

log book entries: eg p 152: "winds variable, SE by S, course S50W, distance 63 miles. - Latitude 4232'N, longitude 417'E, Cape Creus S76W 12 leagues." Here I have 3 questions: "course S50W means course south west, but the 50? Is it 50 degrees west of south? if so, why no ? - I note some consistency in the course bearing (if it is one) being written thus with no . Then again, does "Cape Creus S76W" mean that Cape Creus bore 76 degrees west of south, there being 90 degrees in all between south and west?

The mixed usage reflects the growing use of scientific instruments such as the sextant and chronometer to mathematically calculate position and direction. Wind direction, ship direction, and the bearing of an object in view were generally given as compass points (SE by S). Determining the direction of a distant point was by mathematically differencing the latitudes and longitudes and putting the result in degrees. Today, we would express that as degrees from North, either 0 - 360, or perhaps +/-180 from North. In Jack's time, the convention was to specify degrees from either North or South, and to use E and W instead of negative numbers. So, today we would call "S76W" as 180 + 76 = 256. "S76E" would be 180 - 76 = 104.

nightglass: I've cleverly mislaid my references to this, but it is a tolerably common term. It was surprising to me that telescopes c1800 could have been so fashioned as (apparently) to enhance vision at night: any description of what constituted the difference between the common or garden telescope and a nightglass would be most prodigious welcome.

A simple telescope only requires two lenses, but a regular terrestial telescope has three lenses, which results in an upright image. Each lens absorbs a fair percentage of light, which is usually not a problem in daytime.

A nightglass, or astronomical telescope uses only two lenses to maximize the light reaching the eye. The penalty is that the image is upside down.

Don Seltzer


From: John Berg
Sent: Monday, October 15, 2001 8:06 AM
Subject: Re: M&C - some nautical and non-nautical questions

More likely "conn" and fairly modern, it means the one and only officer who makes the decisions about ship actions. The Captain may arrive on the bridge and tell the Officer of the Deck that the Captain has the conn. The log would so record and the OOD would step to the side.

John


From: John Germain
Sent: Tuesday, October 16, 2001 4:04 PM
Subject: Re: M&C - some nautical and non-nautical questions

Hmm.

My understanding is that should the Captain or Master come up, the OOW shall report and should the C/M give "Carry on" the OOW remains in command.

If, at any time, the C/M *gives an order* (rather than making a suggestion to the OOW) then the C/M **has** command until he *specifically* returns it to the OOW.

The principle also applies to carrying a Pilot: once the request "Pilot, take charge" is made by the C/M, the OOW shall obey the Pilot's orders unless given a direct order by the C/M.

I'll have to do some digging to find my copies of "Bridge Management Procedures" & "Pilot, Take Charge", but "Practical Ship-Handling" is to hand and makes fascinating reading!


From: David Phillips
Sent: Wednesday, October 17, 2001 4:50 AM
Subject: GroupRead:M&C

OK, I'm *really* behind, but I had a ton of library books to get through before I felt I could start up with the group read (when Poul Anderson died, I went through everything of his that the library had.)

So, I'm finally reading Master & Commander (and not rationing my pages per day, until I'm caught up) and I reach the scene where Dillon is irritated by the smirk on the face of the marine guarding the Captain's cabin. Everyone knows that the softboiled egg is to revive Miss Smith from her night's labors.

IIRC, it was discussed that Dillon may have been a bit disapproving of Jack, having Miss Smith in his cabin.

However, Dillon was still on his old ship, getting ready to go to the Sophie. It was the captain of Dillon's old ship (the name of which escapes me, and M&C is at home) who was entertaining Miss Smith.

'Course, we may have completely dissected this by now, and I missed it the first time by. ;-)

--
David Phillips sasdvp@unx.sas.com SAS Institute, Inc., Cary, NC
If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much room.
RKBA! DVC 35* 46' 33.024" N 078* 48' 48.161.89" W


From: Rowen 84
Sent: Wednesday, October 17, 2001 1:40 PM
Subject: Re: GroupRead:M&C

No, the discussion did reflect that it was his old captain involved with the eggs, not Jack. You might have become mixed up because the discussion then talked about his disapproval of Jack for a number of other reasons, including his behavior with Diana, thinking him 'shy,' and thinking he was too interested in money. The egg episode showed a certain rigid quality to Dillon's thinking, a prudishness that foreshadowed his later disillusionment with Jack and showed us his essential character from the very beginning.

Rowen


From: Rowen 84
Sent: Wednesday, October 17, 2001 1:43 PM
Subject: oops Re: [POB] GroupRead:M&C

oops - I wrote Diana but I meant Molly Harte.

Rowen


From: Martin Watts
Sent: Wednesday, October 17, 2001 1:53 PM
Subject: Re: GroupRead:M&C

Molly rather than Diana.

How could anyone confuse those two?

Martin @ home:
50 44' 57" N
1 58' 34" W


From: Rowen 84
Sent: Wednesday, October 17, 2001 2:26 PM
Subject: Re: GroupRead:M&C

Both women, both with the same kind of behavior? ;-) [NOTE: this is a joke. Please , D&S Party, do not flame me that Diana is not a loose woman like Molly, etc, etc.!]

No, I didn't really confuse the two, just stuck in the wrong name because I was also thinking about the Diana/Stephen posts which I had just read.

You must have missed my 'oops' that was sent immediately after. I realized about the time i pushed the 'send' button that I'd typed in Diana instead of Molly.

Rowen


From: Rosemary Davis
Sent: Wednesday, October 17, 2001 7:38 PM
Subject: regressing to M&C

Yes, it is A Separate Peace, by John Knowles...

I had the same impression as David about the discussion of Dillon and the soft-boiled egg (i.e., that the reference on the list was to Jack, whereas it was actually to the captain of his previous ship). I joined the list at the very end of the M&C thread (and am just now rereading M&C in an effort to catch up with the group read), so that may have contributed to my confusion. Speaking of confusion, I love the bit in M&C where Jack proposes a toast of "confusion to the Pope" when dining with Stephen and Dillon, not knowing that they are both Catholics, and Stephen's response..."The poor gentleman has Boney on his hands, and that is confusion enough, in all conscience." Jack then graciously amends it to "confusion to Boney."

Thanks to Kerry and Marian for elucidating "root". (I now vaguely recall Gus McRae's use of it - it's been a long time since I've read Lonesome Dove.) Another H. Allen Smith fan on the list - all right! I thought I was the last of the breed.

-RD, slightly less confused
4244'8"N
8432'21"W


From: Lois Anne du Toit
Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2001 11:38 PM
Subject: M&C: Stephen's height

References to Norton h/c ed.

M&C p 266: "On his knees and with his chin level with the top of the table, Stephen watched the male mantis step cautiously towards the female mantis."

I've done a bit of practical experimentation, and I believe that anyone much taller than I (5' 6") would find that position unsustainable for anything more than a few seconds: I found myself uncomfortably bent at the waist. The table may, of course, have been uncommonly high: but it's more likely that a man taller than, say, 5' 7" or 5' 8" would sit on his heels rather than kneel in order to bring his chin level with the tabletop.

I have actually always visualised Stephen as being much like Nelson in build and was glad to have some slight and probably ill-founded reason to continue to do so.

London Lois

51 29' 00" N 000 11' 00" W


From: Marian Van Til
Sent: Friday, October 19, 2001 3:58 AM
Subject: Re: M&C: Stephen's height

Ah, but Lois, you can't have it both ways. As I recall, our resident Nelson expert, Colin White, said, when last we argued about heights, that scholars have concluded Nelson was 5' 7" (give or take a few millimeters).

BTW, if you haven't read Colin's book *1797: Nelson's Year of Destiny,* I (and many others here) recommend it to you.

Marian, who pictures Stephen at no more than 5'4"


From: Steve Ross
Sent: Thursday, December 06, 2001 8:27 AM
Subject: M&C: That gesture of negation and its significance

A minor curiosity, previously discussed in the Gunroom but, as far as I can tell, not since 1996:

When Jack and Stephen first get together for a cup of chocolate (pp. 15-16 in the Norton paperback), upon entering the coffeeshop Stephen is met with a discouraging inverted-pendulum "gesture of negation" from the proprietor. My first guess as to the significance of this was that the owner was telling Stephen that he had reached the end of his credit line, and most other readers seem to agree with this. Of course, Stephen and Jack nevertheless proceed to order chocolate, and get it, probably because his new friendship with a solvent RN officer raises Stephen's status in the owner's eyes. [there was a suggestion at one point that this secretive gesture might have been the first hint of Stephen's espionage activities; but that seems unlikely.]

Of course, as we now know, Stephen had spent the previous night "On a Steep Hillside," since his credit was indeed entirely used up. My question, however, is this: What is the significance of Stephen's next comment, "The posts are wonderfully slow these days"? Was he actually expecting a letter, or was he just "covering" for his embarrassment, since he would rather not admit to Jack how dire the situation really was?

(BTW interesting archives we have here . . . try searching through old messages using the keyword "pendulum" . . . or, I suppose, any keyword at all!)

--------------------
a complacent pragmatical worldly fellow (HMSS p. 196) . . .

Steve Ross
30 24' 32"N
91 05' 28"W


From: John Berg
Sent: Thursday, December 06, 2001 8:49 AM
Subject: Re: M&C: That gesture of negation and its significance

One can reasonably suspect that POB himself in his early days in France may have received the "inverted pendulum" when walking into shops who knew his custom. Even more specifically, POB talks of one time (I believe it's in the King biography when his royality checks from England where suddenly stopped by a new law that forbade exporting more than a certain amount of funds per year from England. He, too, knew the pain of waiting for a letter.

John


From:
Sent: Thursday, December 06, 2001 10:08 AM
Subject: Re: M&C: That gesture of negation and its significance

: What is the significance of Stephen's next comment, "The posts are wonderfully slow these days"? Was he actually expecting a letter, or was he just "covering" for his embarrassment

I believe he was covering his inability to pay-

Blatherin' John B


From: Robert Fleisher
Sent: Wednesday, January 09, 2002 9:10 AM
Subject: Chocolate in M&C

After Jack and Stephen first meet, and before POB settled upon their tastes as confirmed coffee drinkers, they share--or Stephen drinks (I don't remember which) a pot of chocolate. Would that be sweetened chocolate similar to what we're used to nowadays, or would it have been the unsweetened and presumably bitter drink of the 18th century coffeehouses? Ditto for the ships, like the Lively, that were chocolate as opposed to coffee drinkers.

Bob Fleisher
Houston, TX


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