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The Nutmeg of Consolation

From: Charles Munoz
Sent: Monday, December 23, 2002 9:41 PM
Subject: RG: Nutmeg, a mystifying conversation

Spoiler follows...

In Chapter 7 of Nutmeg, there's a conversation that might puzzle some of us.

At dinner aboard Nutmeg, two French naval officers -- prisoners -- are present when Nelson is mentioned. The grumpy Horse-Flesh Goffin says it ain't civil to mention Nelson in the presence of the guests.

"Oh, never mind us, sir," says one of the French, "Our withers are unwrung. We have Dugay-Trouin, to name but one."

"Dugay-Trouin?" says Goffin. "I never heard of him."

Jack cuts things short, toasting "To Dugay-Trouin, and may we never meet his like."

A most unlikely conversation.

It is possible (but unlikely) that the British officers never heard of D-T, who had died nearly eighty years earlier, but he was such a successful French captain that by 1709 he was reported to have captured 300 merchantmen and 20 warships or privateers. (Even better than Jack, wasn't he?) And in 1711 he captured Rio de Janeiro and collected a heavy ransom. (Much better than Jack.) As a reward for his services Duguay-Trouin was ennobled by Louis XIV in 1709 and commissioned a lieutenant general in 1728. The French have been naming ships after him ever since.

Can we assume that Jack and his officers are unfamiliar with the name? Maturin might be. But one of the French ships which escaped at Trafalgar was the Dugay-Trouin, 74. She was captured by the Royal Navy at Strachan's Action on 3 November 1805 and went into service as HMS Implacable. For Jack not to know the history of the Implacable? Impossible.

Since it's well known that POB never nods, we have to assume that Jack was being extremely polite to the young French officers, pretending to worry about ever meeting such a great French sailor. Can there be another reason?

You can google up a photo of the ship: she lasted until shortly after WW2. The British, who cdn't afford to keep her up, offered to give her back to the French, who cdn't afford her either. She was scuttled.

Charlezzzzz


From: Batrinque@AOL.COM
Sent: Monday, December 23, 2002 10:02 PM
Subject: Re: RG: Nutmeg, a mystifying conversation

Several photographs of construction details of the Dugay-Trouin (in her guise as HMS Implacable) can be found in C. Nepean Longridge's "The Anatomy of Nelson's Ships" (despite the title, this is principally a guide to scratch-building a model of HMS Victory).

To think that this survivor of the Napoleonic Wars -- even if she was a French survivor -- was destroyed midway through the 20th Century for reasons of economy ... well, it makes me shudder.

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


From: Marshall Rafferty
Sent: Monday, December 23, 2002 11:14 PM
Subject: Re: RG: Nutmeg, a mystifying conversation

Maybe I'm mis-reading, but to me this says that Jack *is* familiar with both the man and the name. He doesn't say "May we never meet him."

One could almost infer a small dig at the French, as if they no longer have his like.

Marshall (I could go into a rant here about wrapping, but I won't)


From: Bob Kegel
Sent: Tuesday, December 24, 2002 11:09 PM
Subject: Re: RG: Nutmeg, a mystifying conversation

On Mon, 23 Dec 2002, at 21:41:35 Charlezzzzz wrote:

Since it's well known that POB never nods, we have to assume that Jack was being extremely polite to the young French officers, pretending to worry about ever meeting such a great French sailor. Can there be another reason?

Well, it certainly couldn't be that one of the Frenchmen was sitting there with a large knife ...

You can google up a photo of the ship: she lasted until shortly after WW2. The British, who cdn't afford to keep her up, offered to give her back to the French, who cdn't afford her either. She was scuttled.

I saw newsreel film of that. She went down in mid-Channel with the Union Flag and the Tricolor flying. Sad.

Bob Kegel, wishing a Merry Christmas to all
4659'18.661"N 12349'29.827"W


From: Charles Munoz
Sent: Monday, December 23, 2002 10:07 PM
Subject: RG: Nutmeg: the two-children theme

Spoiler follows:

One of POB's oddly duplicated effects is the rescue of two children by Steven, who does it twice.

There's an inverse of this theme in Nutmeg, Chapter 7, in Fielding's story of the she-bear with two cubs. It's a truly sad story, and seems to stand alone without tying in to the novel. The bear's cubs are shot by seamen; the bear is wounded. She tries to feed them, tries to raise them up, goes off and comes back, and moans, licking their wounds. Goes off again, comes back again, and is finally shot by the sailors. (It is, for me, one of the saddest bits in the canon, and it's "inserted" rather than "necessary" to the plot.)

Some Lissuns may find this a reflection of an event in POB's early life.

Charlezzzzz


From: Sam Bostock
Sent: Wednesday, January 01, 2003 9:42 AM
Subject: GrpRd Nutmeg: Kesegaran

I thought last month's group read was fascinating - I hope we can have a discussion of a similar quality this time around.

Unfortunately, due to the recurring loss of the paper I make notes on while reading, I have little to ask. However,

Did any other readers remark that the name of the female Dyak warrior, Kesegaran, is amongst those of the sultan's titles in 13GS? Stephen says in Nutmeg 3:

'Kesegaran mawar, bunga budi bahasa, hiburan buah pala' (HC p80)

In 13GS, these are translated as

'Flower of Courtesy, Nutmeg of Consolation, Rose of Delight' (p199)

The last one in Malay, hiburan..., Stephen translates as nutmeg of consolation, so they are not in the same order. The question is, lissuns, what is a translation of Kesegaran's name? A clue is given earlier in Nutmeg:

'Furthermore, the lady, whose name is Kesegaran - no remarks, Jack, if you please: a modest downward look, no more' (p29)

So is Kesegaran Flower, Rose, Delight, or Courtesy? Which would bring forth a remark from Jack? Delight?

An additional question: On page 231 of Nutmeg, Stephen admits that the smell of his cigars made the gunroom 'more like a pot-house at dawn than was altogether agreeable.' What is a pot-house? Presumably 'pot' is not being used in it's modern meaning here, but is it a reference to another drug? Another word for an opium den perhaps? I find that a pot-boy is an assistant to a publican, so is a pot-house simply a pub?

Happy New Year to all lissuns, new, young and old.

Sam.


From: Adam Quinan
Sent: Wednesday, January 01, 2003 9:58 AM
Subject: Re: GrpRd Nutmeg: Kesegaran

so is a pot-house simply a pub?

Yes, from the pot of ale that one would consume in such an establishment. A cheap pub might have vessels made of tin in which case it might be a tinpot sort of pub.


From: Charles Munoz
Sent: Wednesday, January 01, 2003 2:11 PM
Subject: Re: GrpRd Nutmeg: Kesegaran

on 1/1/03 9:42 AM, Sam Bostock at pobsambostock@YAHOO.CO.UK wrote:

So is Kesegaran Flower, Rose, Delight, or Courtesy? Which would bring forth a remark from Jack? Delight?

I suppose Jack's face was getting rosy and he was beginning a big grin while he was working on "Kiss her again." A dangerous clench -- not only a vile one.

Charlezzzzz


From: John Gosden
Sent: Wednesday, January 01, 2003 8:30 PM
Subject: Re: GrpRd Nutmeg: Kesegaran

Sam Bostock asked:

what is a translation of Kesegaran's name?

Kesegaran comes from segar, healthy. Segarkan is to invigorate, (Malay forms verbs from from adjectives by adding -kan) and kesegaran is the noun formed from the same adjective, so it would mean health or vigour. Kesegaran mawar is Vigour or Health of the Rose, which doesn't mean anything much. I suspect (may the gods of the list forgive me) that Homer (= POB) nodded, and what he meant to write was Kegemaran mawar, which is Delight of the rose, or Rose Delight.

'Furthermore, the lady, whose name is Kesegaran - no remarks, Jack, if you please: a modest downward look, no more'

This is a reference to her attire, not her name.

so is a pot-house simply a pub

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


From: Gerry Strey
Sent: Thursday, January 02, 2003 9:35 AM
Subject: Re: GrpRd Nutmeg: Kesegaran

Pot-house=tavern, by implication a lower class one.

Gerry Strey
Madison, Wisconsin


From: Ray Martin
Sent: Friday, January 03, 2003 11:11 AM
Subject: Re: GrpRd Nutmeg: Kesegaran

And a "Tosspot" is an idle habitue of such a pot house, (not to be confused with a "Tosser", at least not in polite company.

Ray@theBay

55 02" 38 N
1 28" 90 W


From: Don Seltzer
Sent: Monday, January 20, 2003 8:38 PM
Subject: GRP:NOC Bilgewater Bob

I've been putting together a few thoughts about NOC, and there is a bit of relevance to the mentioned review of "Bilgewater Bob".

www.casualsailor.com/PatrickOBrian.html

I think that BB has a few valid points regarding the plots of the canon, though I cannot agree with any of his comments on character development and "heart".

Plots are not POB's strong suit. They are generally simple, and not always well-paced. He takes situations that are ripe with wonderful dramatic possibilities, and deliberately deflates them. Why he does this, I do not understand. Perhaps he does not want events to overwhelm the characters and their relationships.

Now, about NOC.

The more I read NOC, the more disgruntled I am with the book. The plot is awkwardly divided into three pieces loosely connected. There is no strong "guest" character to create conflict as there is in most of the canon. And where is the underlying theme of human nature or relations to unify the story?

Some of my dissatisfaction arises from having seen POB's planning notes from the Lilly Library, Bloomington, IN. Books 13 and 14 were originally to have encompassed the story line that eventually became the four books TGS through WDS. TGS remained close to his original plan, only falling apart at the end. It should have concluded with the battle with the Dyaks and rescue from the island, perhaps by the Surprise. Instead, it was hastily concluded with an abrupt, shortened final chapter, perhaps because POB was pressured by a publisher's deadline.

Consequently, NOC had to begin with the unresolved conclusion to the shipwreck. The middle part of the book then became the pursuit of the Cornelie. The chase was interesting enough, but the premise of the chase seemed too contrived, with Jack and Stephen giving stiff speeches of explanation. The whole bit seemed to have been dropped in simply to provide some naval action for the book.

With the reunion with Surprise, POB inexplicably inserted a long recap of the events leading up to that event, almost as if he were starting a new book and had to provide such an introductory summary for the reader.

With the scene shifting to New South Wales, the plot continued to deviate from his original two book plan. Apparently POB read "Fatal Shore" by Robert Hughes at this time, and decided to include additional material about the social conditions of the colony and the plight of the convicts. The book stretched out, and again his publisher's deadline loomed. Falling by the wayside was a dramatic rescue of Padeen from a remote prison colony, complete with vicious guard dogs and an enraged Awkward Davies breaking chains.

POB also ran into problems with his original intention to create a serious falling out between Jack and Stephen over the issue of rescuing Padeen, perhaps leading to the destruction of their friendship. When he reached that portion of the story, POB backed off, remarking in his notes that it was inconsistent with Jack's character. Instead, POB watered down the confrontation, and created several excuses for Jack to be in a bad mood at the time. The restoration of Padeen to the Surprise is handled as accidental consequence of Stephen's injury, requiring no special moral stands by anyone.

With a plot fragmented by necessity to meet publisher deadlines, and no strong supporting character such as Fox from TGS to provide a unifying element, what is there that is special about NOC? The best that I can come up with is a general theme of repeated moral decisions no to abandon someone. Jack felt a moral obligation to Oakes and Miller in Batavia and would not abandon them (or injured Reade when switching from Nutmeg to Surprise). Stephen would not abandon Emily and Sarah, either on Sweetings Island or at the orphanage. And finally, the toned-down refusal to abandon Padeen.

Don Seltzer


From: Ted
Sent: Monday, January 20, 2003 8:49 PM
Subject: Re: GRP:NOC Bilgewater Bob

Very interesting post Don. I suppose without the 'might have been' library notes NOC would not appear in such a poor light?

I'm actually glad POB did not have Jack & Stephen fall out for good over the rescue of Padeen. In any case as POB said & as we have discussed on here before Jack would not have suddenly become a 'letter of the law' prig over Padeen, it would have been pretty unrealistic.

Ted


From: Pawel Golik
Sent: Tuesday, January 21, 2003 4:18 AM
Subject: Re: GRP:NOC Bilgewater Bob

On Tuesday 21 January 2003 02:38, Don Seltzer wrote:

With a plot fragmented by necessity to meet publisher deadlines, and no strong supporting character such as Fox from TGS to provide a unifying element, what is there that is special about NOC? The best that I can come up with is a general theme of repeated moral decisions no to abandon someone.

There is also a renewed attention to Stephen's Irish background as a source for conflicts, first with the Sowerby episode, and then of course with the whole New South Wales plot. I believe it's the first book since M&C where Stephen's Irishness is so central to the plot (the rest of the Canon being a bit more concerned with his Catalan roots). Also I see Sarah and Emily as foreshadowing the child-related theme in the following books (details withheld to avoid spoilers).

And, very much like 13GS, this is very much a Maturin/Aubrey novel, not Aubrey/Maturin as some earlier in the Canon.

Pawel


From: Linnea
Sent: Tuesday, January 21, 2003 9:21 PM
Subject: Re: GRP: NOC Bilgewater Bob

Yes, very true. And it really strikes me for the first time that Stephen's Irish/Catalan roots point to his dual roles as intelligence agent/physician, and so many other dualities in his nature: concern for the least detail with his charges, human or animals, and yet cold-bloodedness if need be; his clumsiness at sea but his deftness with a needle/sword/lancet/carving knife; and so many other characteristics.

~~ Linnea


From: Tharp, Katherine
Sent: Thursday, January 23, 2003 12:11 PM
Subject: GRP:NOC

What sticks in my mind about this book, which I haven't read recently, is something fairly trivial that made a big impression on me. It was a sense of relief at how clean and dry and fresh-smelling the Nutmeg was.

With the reek of putrid bilge along with the stench of unwashed bodies, livestock, the cooking smells from rancid beef, suet pudding -- maybe even brussels sprouts -- the atmosphere below decks on most ships must have been unimaginably vile. And just thinking about mold growing on the beams gives me the creeps. I thoroughly approved of Stephen's insistence on freshening the water daily once they were back on the Surprise. The extra work would be well worth it in my opinion, and I would have been happy to man the pumps for an hour in the morning knowing how much better my coffee and biscuits would taste in relatively fresh air. Of course, I know most of the sailors would not have agreed with me. I guess after you got used to it, the ship would simply smell like home.

Katherine


From: Susan Collicott
Sent: Thursday, January 23, 2003 12:24 PM
Subject: Re: GRP:NOC - smells of ship, town

Katherine's note reminds me of something I wanted to ask the sailors. In books, one always reads about how port towns would sometimes "reek" and that they had a "stench". This, from people who lived on ships as described below! Was it just that there were different sorts of smells? Or were these towns even more odiferous than belowdecks? Or *what*?

Thanks,

Susan somewhere in Seattle where the sun is actually out!


From: Kyle Lerfald
Sent: Thursday, January 23, 2003 1:21 PM
Subject: Re: GRP:NOC - smells of ship, town

Well, after months of smelling nothing but sea-air, my shipmates, and JP-5, vegtable rot and sewage dumping did have a unique and unpleasent odor.

Kyle


From: Jebvbva@AOL.COM
Sent: Thursday, January 23, 2003 4:42 PM
Subject: Re: GRP:NOC

When I first started working o nuclear submarines(way back) the old diesel sailors would laugh at the new boys, taking a shower every day. In the diesel sub navy, water was very scarce and the diesel fumes would invade your clothes, clean or not and get into your very pores and hair. In addition, you had the mold and dampness and other smells trapped in that tube. On the 'nukes' water generation was not a problem, though on long voyages, without surfacing, air regeneration caused problems, even with the 'scrubbers' they had. i sat in on a sub doctor's meeting one day where they discussed the inadvisabilty of operating while underway, except in emergency. they felt the sepsis was so bad, that theyurged putting an appendicitis case for example, in the reefer and keeping him cold, rather than operate. I never heard of the early boats ever leaving patrol and surfacing for emergency evacuation.( and they were underwater for 60 day periods)

John B


From: Gary W. Sims
Sent: Friday, January 24, 2003 4:31 PM
Subject: Re: GRP:NOC

From: Jebvbva@AOL.COM

they urged putting an appendicitis case for example, in the reefer and keeping him cold, rather than operate.

Hmm? To keep him fresh for the autopsy?

Gary
Who finds the pragmatism of surgeons chilling


From: Charles Munoz
Sent: Thursday, January 30, 2003 11:33 PM
Subject: GR Nutmeg: Maturin and the Rats

We've identified a number of places in the canon where POB shows animal behavior that mimics the behavior of his characters; the easiest to recognize, perhaps, is when Yardo the Parish Bull is on stage and the cow has nothing to say to him.

Poor Yardo, and poor Jack, who is in a similar situation with Sophie.

Here's another animal analogue, described in Maturin's own words (Chapter 8).

"The ship's rats...had become slaves to the coca. [The leaves that Maturin had been chewing.] Now...they are deprived of it, all the mildness, lack of fear, and...complaisance is gone. They are rats and worse than rate: they fight, they kill one another, and were I to unblock my ears I should hear their harsh strident screams. ... I too feel my lack... I should be sorry to be reduced to the state of the two animals I see but do not hear in the corner by my stool -- do not hear, so that their frenzied, tight-locked battle has a horror of its own -- yet man (or at all events this particular man) is so weak that if an innocent leaf can protect him even a little then hey for the innocent leaf."

Maturin is without his leaf. Killick says: "I don't know what has come over him, such a mild-spoken cove. He slapped Sarah and Emily till they howled again, and he checked Joe Plaice something cruel... [He checks Jack, he checks Martin, and at the end of the chapter his words to the prostrate Colonel Lowe, Maturin's sword at his throat, are] , "Ask my pardon or you are a dead man. Ask my pardon, I say, or you are a dead man, a dead man."

If I were directing the movie of this scene, I'd require the short, rat-faced actor playing Maturin, to cry these words in a harsh strident scream.

Charlezzzzz


From: John Finneran
Sent: Saturday, February 01, 2003 7:19 PM
Subject: GRP: Nutmeg: Stephen's Shadows

Back on 1/20/03, Don Seltzer wrote

>what is there that is special about NOC? The best >that I can come up with is a general theme of repeated moral >decisions no to abandon someone

Another theme I see developed throughout the book is what may be called Stephen's reunion with his shadow selves.

By "shadow selves" I am referring to Martin and Padeen - characters in their own right, of course, but also in some ways reflections of Stephen (and pay no attention to the fact that I've just reversed metaphors and gone from shadow to light...).

Beginning with Martin:

At the book's start he is in the Surprise, far away from Stephen. During the course of events, there is some foreshadowing of their coming reunion (e.g., "How I wish Martin were here: or rather that we were there, east of the Passage," says Stephen (p. 100)) and they eventually reunite.

Rev. Nathaniel Martin is Stephen's surgical assistant, his particular friend, and shares his interest in naturalism. More, he is largely an extension of the comic aspects of Stephen: Stephen is lubberly, Martin is more lubberly; Stephen is devoted to wildlife, Martin is even more so. In a word, Martin is largely a caricature - and as caricature he plays his role well, producing some nice comic effects, often in conjunction with Stephen.

But he's not entirely a caricature:

PO'B tends to show vast depths of personality in even very minor characters, and in Martin I think that PO'B has shown depths by the use of some very subtle techniques.

Consider: what do we think of Martin? It seems to me from reading Gunroom posts over the years, that opinion tends to be that Martin may be a good person, largely, in his own ways, but there's also something vaguely -- offputting about him. This is my own impression as well. And we might wonder why we think this.

On the evidence, there's much to be said for Martin: he's intelligent, unselfish, caring, responsible, sincere. On the negative side it's more difficult to pinpoint exactly what's so unappealing about him; if we tried, we could come up with some actions and/or personality traits that would seem to justify this feeling, but I don't think this would get at the true heart of the matter: for the fact is that the negative aspect of Martin is largely irrational - or perhaps "non-rational" is a better word - almost instinctual: we might say he casts off some bad vibes. There's almost something of the Jonah about him.

This "bad vibes" aspect of Martin is never stated directly, but I think that we can infer it from the reaction of others to him. Martin suffers a great deal of rejection in his life (recall his first captain who was eager to give him up when he asked for leave), much of it seemingly inexplicable. For Jack and his crew, this instinctual aversion is in conflict with a rational appreciation of Martin's good qualities. By contrast, animals, with their highly developed instincts, sense Martin's negative vibes acutely, and do not have the faculties of reason to counter-balance their reactions, so they constantly reject Martin in the most unambiguous ways, by kicking, biting, scratching, and pecking him away.

All of which brings us to the platypus scene. The platypus, by all rights and precedents, should have stung Martin, but instead stings Stephen. If Martin has something of the Jonah about him, Stephen has taken on something of the Sin Eater in this scene (i.e., he suffers for Martin's sake).

And this is even more the case with Padeen.

Now Padeen, in my opinion, is a much more interesting character than Martin. Like Martin, Padeen is a medical assistant to Stephen. Padeen also shares Stephen's Irish background, but the more interesting links go back to Patrick O'Brian himself.

I think it's correct to consider Stephen as being (in large measure) PO'B himself; whereas Padeen (the name means Little Patrick) is an imaginary character who is in many ways the opposite of PO'B: PO'B was a small, frail man, but a master of words; Padeen is large and powerful, but largely inarticulate. But Padeen possesses certain traits that we might imagine the real PO'B wished for: Padeen protects Stephen (recall how he fended off the madman in Desolation Island), he expresses sympathetic emotion freely (recall how he wept openly when he first saw a sailor being whipped for punishment), and

***spoiler alert ****
he is able to cure Stephen's ailing daughter.
***end of spoiler ****.

We saw in The Letter of Marque Stephen and Padeen's fortunes trending in opposite directions: Padeen became more addicted to laudanum and Stephen became less, and 13 ends with what seems a very happy ending (Ah tutti contenti) for Stephen (as well as Diane and Jack), but utter disaster for Padeen, who has been arrested and put into chains.

Nutmeg shows the old processes in reverse: Stephen is now Padeen's protector, and in the climactic platypus scene, Padeen achieves his freedom at last, but nearly at the cost of Stephen's life.

John Finneran


From: John Finneran
Sent: Saturday, February 01, 2003 7:19 PM
Subject: GRP: Nutmeg: Conspiracists Take Note

We've occassionally heard the theory that PO'B's later books were so different from his earlier ones that they couldn't have been written by the same person, but were written by an unacknowledged ghost writer, either in whole or in part.

I can't say I hold to this theory myself, but if I did, just as a thought exercise, I might find the following bit of Nutmeg to be of particular interest:

Stephen, Martin, and Paulton are discussing the novel Clarissa.

Paulton says, "Sir, I honour your judgement. But when you spoke Clarissa, did the name of Richardson slip your mind?"

Stephen replies, "It did not. I am aware that Samuel Richardson's name appears on the title-page. Yet before I read Clarissa Harlowe I read Grandison. to which is appended a low grasping ignoble outcry against the Irish booksellers for invading the copyright. It is written by a tradesman in the true spirit of the counting-house; and since there can be no doubt that it was written by Richardson, I for my part have no doubt that Clarissa, with its wonderful delicacy, was written by another hand. The man who wrote the letter could not have written the book. Richardson as of course you know was intimately acquaintainted with the other printers and booksellers of his time; and it is my conviction that some one of their dependents, a man of singular genius, wrote the book, perhaps in the Fleet, perhaps in the Marshalsea."

(p. 253)

So the man whose name appeared on the title page of Clarissa wasn't its true author; and what's the name of O'Brian's next novel after Nutmeg -- Clarissa Oakes! (Or at least its O'Brian's name that appears on the title-page.)

And as for why the title change from Clarissa Oakes to The Truelove -- all part of the great cover-up, of course.

John Finneran


From: Alec O' Flaherty
Sent: Saturday, February 01, 2003 7:49 PM
Subject: Re: GRP: Nutmeg: Conspiracists Take Note

Haha

Brilliant stuff as usual John

And whereabouts does Spotted Dick Richardson's name start to evolve?


From: Don Seltzer
Sent: Saturday, February 01, 2003 10:47 PM
Subject: Re: GRP: Nutmeg: Conspiracists Take Note

Are there really some lissuns who subscribe to this conspiracy theory, or are you just having some fun with us, John?

But having seen the planning notes* for TL/CO in POB's own handwriting, I have no doubts as to the author. And this is an appropriate time to repeat the circumstances which led to this "extra" book.

NOC was to be followed up with a book that would quickly take the Surprise to South America for various intrigues, and then home to England. But POB ran into some plot difficulties for the ending of NOC, particularly with the conflict of Stephen and Jack over the rescue of Padeen. In order to explain Jack's uncharacteristic unwillingness to bend some rules, POB invented several distractions and annoyances, including friction with local authorities over the smuggling of convict girls aboard the Surprise.

It then occurred to POB that it might be fun to have one remain aboard, to see how "The girl promiscuous, an extreme eagerness to please and be liked" would be received in the small closed community of a ship on a long voyage. It also led to a solution to a plot problem that POB had been pondering for several books - how to unveil the Ledward-Wray-Duke of H conspiracy.

TL/CO often seems to be a disappointment to readers upon the first reading. I remember that I kept looking for the naval actions, which never developed. Only in later readings did I come to appreciate that Clarissa and her unintended disruption of the social fabric of the ship's community was the story. It is really a nicely contained story, and not one of POB's lesser efforts in my opinion.

*Courtesy of the Lilly Library, Bloomington IN.

Don Seltzer


From: Don Seltzer
Sent: Saturday, February 01, 2003 11:02 PM
Subject: Re: GRP: Nutmeg: Stephen's Shadows

Great insights, John. You've got me rethinking the whole Stephen-Padeen relationship.

From POB's earliest notes for TGS*, it is apparent that one of the key plot elements was for Stephen to travel to New South Wales to be reunited with Padeen and free him from his captivity. Probably a moral imperative.

In a later book, doesn't Stephen attempt to play matchmaker between Padeen and Clarissa? Does this suggest Padeen as a surrogate for Stephen's own desire for Clarissa?

*Courtesy of the Lilly Library, Bloomington IN.

Don Seltzer


From: Rosemary Davis
Sent: Sunday, February 02, 2003 3:23 PM
Subject: laughter

Thanks to Edmund and Jan, who each made me laugh out loud amidst the rather grim news. And to John Finneran for two posts with lots of food for thought. A flower on each of your heads! Another SPOILER

S

P

O

I

L

E

R

interesting thing about the platypus incident is that not only does Stephen rescue Padeen after he is stung by the platypus, but as a result, Padeen is in turn rescued (by being allowed to come on board ship and thus escape his captivity). Layers upon layers... -RD

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


From: Rosemary Davis
Sent: Sunday, February 02, 2003 3:25 PM
Subject: error in my previous post!

I meant, of course, to say SPOILER

S

P

O

I

L

E

R

that Padeen rescued Stephen. Oy. -RD

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


From: Mary S
Sent: Sunday, February 02, 2003 8:41 PM
Subject: Re: GRP: Nutmeg: Stephen's Shadows

Wow, John, excellent post!

> 13 ends with what seems a very happy ending (Ah tutti > contenti)

Just wondering if Ms. Wenger's opus has a scene with people singing

Ah tutti frutti!

he he, as alec might say

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


From: John Finneran
Sent: Monday, February 03, 2003 12:28 AM
Subject: Re: GRP: Nutmeg: Conspiracists Take Note

I wrote:

> >We've occassionally heard the theory that PO'B's later books were so > >different from his earlier ones that they couldn't have been written by > the > >same person, but were written by an unacknowledged ghost writer, > either in > >whole or in part.

and Don asked:

> Are there really some lissuns who subscribe to this conspiracy theory, > or are you just having some fun with us, John?

I have seen the ghost-writer suggestion seriously raised, not about Clarissa Oakes/Truelove, but about The Hundred Days and Blue at the Mizzen, certainly on Norton's on-line forum, though I don't recall whether anyone advanced the theory in the Gunroom.

John Finneran


From: Susan Wenger
Sent: Monday, February 03, 2003 3:33 PM
Subject: Re: GRP: Nutmeg: Stephen's Shadows

As a matter of fact, it DOES.

page 82. The Orkneymen are hoisting the sail, with their chant: "A wop bop a looma, a wop bop bop"

- Susan, thanking you for asking


From: Rosemary Davis
Sent: Monday, February 03, 2003 8:06 PM
Subject: Padeen and Stephen - SPOILERS

John Meyn (the shining AOL knight) said, apropros of my previous error, that

S

P

O

I

L

E

R

Padeen also rescued Stephen, indirectly, by weaning him off of laudanum (by weakening the tincture with brandy). Of course, this was also one of the causes of Stephen's fall from the stairway; he had taken full-strength laudanum for the first time since Padeen had been stealing his. But this did result in the end of his addiction. And when Stephen's addiction ended, his sexual drive increased, resulting in Diana's pregnancy and the birth of Brigid. So not only did Padeen later bring Brigid out of herself; he was indirectly responsible for her very existence. Interesting stuff. Thanks, John! -RD


From: Alec O' Flaherty
Sent: Monday, February 03, 2003 8:44 PM
Subject: Re: Padeen and Stephen - SPOILERS

I was assuming that Laudanum was somehow derived from the word praise- so i looked it up-

LAUDANUM, originally the name given by Paracelsus to a famous medical preparation of his own composed of gold, pearls, &c. (Opera, 1658, i. 492/2), but containing opium as its chief ingredient. The term is now only used for the alcoholic tincture of opium (q.v.). The name was either invented by Paracelsus from Lat. laudare to praise, or was a corrupted form of " ladanum " (Gr. \J]oavov, from Pers. ladan), a resinous juice or gum obtained from various kinds of the Cistus shrub, formerly used medicinally in external applications and as a stomachic, but now only in perfumery and in making fumigating pastilles, &c.

And then there is this from M&C (from the archives)

Stephen is upset about waking from a sweet dream and about finding that his coat is stained by last night's dinner. Surprised that he is upset, "for a moment his mind dwelt on the theory of counter-irritants, Paracelsus, Cardan, Rhazes."

Wheels within wheels

alec



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