‘Thank you, Stephen. Had you told me that there was always a tomorrow, I think I should have thrust your calendar down your throat.’
The Commodore, Patrick O’Brian (via currentboat)
‘Good morning, Killick,’ said Stephen. ‘Where’s himself?’
‘Good morning, sir,’ said Killick. ‘Which he’s still on deck.’
‘Killick,’ said Stephen, ‘what’s amiss? Have you seen the ghost in the bread-room? Are you sick? Show me your tongue.’
When Killick had withdrawn his tongue, a flannelly object of inordinate length, he said, paler still, ‘Is there a ghost in the bread-room, sir? Oh, oh, and I was there in the middle watch. Oh, sir, I might a seen it.’
‘There is always a ghost in the bread-room. Light along that pot, will you now?’
‘I durs’nt, sir, begging your pardon. There’s worse news than the ghost, even. Them wicked old rats got at the coffee, sir, and I doubt there’s another pot in the barky.’
‘Preserved Killick, pass me that pot, or you will join the ghost in the bread-room, and howl for evermore.’
The Mauritius Command, Patrick O’Brian (via verecunda)
‘It was about tea, which they did not choose to pay duty on. They called out No reproduction without copulation and tossed it into Boston harbour.’
Jack frowned, considered, and said, ‘Well, in any event they accomplished little or nothing at sea, that bout.’ He passed on to the necessary allowance for dip and refraction to be made in working lunars, matters with which he was deeply familiar; but as he tuned his fiddle that evening he said, ‘Stephen, what was the Americans’ cry in 1775?’
‘No representation, no taxation.’
‘Nothing about copulation?’
‘Nothing at all. At that period the mass of Americans were in favour of copulation.’
The Thirteen-Gun Salute, Patrick O’Brian (via currentboat)
You will have to stand up. Steady, now - clap on to the cheek-bolt. There! ’ He pointed to the cap, a dark, worn, rope-scored, massive block of wood that embraced the two masts. ‘We cut it out of greenheart in a creek on the Spanish main: it is good for another twenty years. And here, do you see, is my relic.’ On the broad rim of the square hole that sat on the topmast head there were the initials JA cut deep and clear, supported on either side by blowsy forms that might have been manatees, though mermaids were more likely -beer-drinking mermaids.
‘Does not that raise your heart?’ he asked.
‘Why, ’ said Stephen, ‘I am obliged to you for the sight of it, sure.’
‘But it does raise your heart, you know, whatever you may say, ’ said Jack. ‘It raises it a hundred feet above the deck. Ha, ha - I can get out a good thing now and then, given time - oh ha, ha, ha! You never smoked it - you was not aware of my motions.’
When Jack was as amused as this, so intensely amused throughout his whole massive being, belly and all, with his scarlet face glorious and shining and his blue eyes darting mirth from their narrowed slits, it was impossible to resist. Stephen felt his mouth widen involuntarily, his diaphragm contract, and his breath beginning to come in short thick pants.
The Mauritius Command, Patrick O’Brian (via currentboat)