By Patrick O'Brian
To the satisfaction of thousands of Patrick O'Brian lovers, this is the ultimate, partial installment of the Aubrey/Maturin sequence, for the 1st time in paperback.Blue on the Mizzen (novel #20) ended with Jack Aubrey getting the scoop, in Chile, of his elevation to flag rank: Rear Admiral of the Blue Squadron, with orders to sail to the South Africa station. the following novel, unfinished and untitled on the time of the author's loss of life, might were the chronicle of that challenge, and lots more and plenty else along with. the 3 chapters left on O'Brian's table are offered the following either in published version-including his corrections to the typescript-and a facsimile of his manuscript, which matches a number of pages past the top of the typescript to incorporate a duel among Stephen Maturin and an impertinent officer who's dating his fianc?e. after all we'd relatively have had the complete tale; as an alternative we've got this evidence that O'Brian's powers of statement, his humor, and his knowing of his characters have been undiminished to the tip.
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At present the place was singularly quiet, almost motionless, and since a salute was rarely returned without a good deal of bus tle, the silence made all hands uneasy. It was known throughout the service that an unreturned salute was practically a casus belli. In any event it was the gravest insult and one that put an end to all c o m m u n i c a t i o n with the shore. And to fire a salute without assurance that it would be returned was strictly forbidden. T h e question did not often arise, but in this case the atmosphere was so u n c o m m o n that J a c k did not intend to run the risk.
A pause, and he went on, 'I do not like to ask a polit ical adviser to c o m e out in this blow - the doctor physicked Prince William, did he not? I am told he is very well with His Highness. ' 'Very good, sir.
Just so: thank you, Stephen. ' 'Just so. ' 'Indeed you do: thoughtful, contemplative and, as you say dead sober. Now it just happened to cross my mind that was you to take them all to the cathedral, where I have no doubt the Legate will be pontificating, as is but right and proper, and if they were to be perfectly neat, fit to pass an Admiral's inspection, most uncommon solemn and pious, if you understand me, and was they to sing out good and hearty in the right places, it might tend to create a good impression, and persuade his Holiness that we were not all a band of gin-sodden raparees, given over entirely to whoredom and things I do not like even to mention.