Desolation Island (Aubrey/Maturin)

By Patrick O'Brian

"The courting [between Aubrey and Maturin] concerning the neatest thing afloat....For Conradian strength of description and sheer pleasure there's not anything in naval fiction to overcome the strict chase because the outgunned Leopard staggers via mountain waves in icy latitudes to flee the Dutch seventy-four."―Stephen Vaughan, Observer

Commissioned to rescue Governor Bligh of Bounty popularity, Captain Jack Aubrey and his buddy and health care provider Stephen Maturin sail the Leopard to Australia with a carry choked with convicts. between them is a gorgeous and hazardous spy―and a treacherous disorder that decimates the staff. With a Dutch man-of-war to windward, the undermanned, outgunned Leopard sails for her lifestyles into the freezing waters of the Antarctic, the place, in mountain seas, the Dutchman closes...

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Yet now, rather than his traditional mild blue, he had a black coat on. 'I wonder,' inspiration Jack, 'whether it is only a wierd likelihood, or even if we killed a few relative of his? His boy, probably, expensive God forbid. ' The seventy-four used to be gaining somewhat now, and within the powerful final mild - for the night was once for much longer down right here, and the 2 ships had run good away from the gloom of the north - Jack can make out the character of these extraordinary triangles. there has been one other on the foretop-gallant now, and it used to be a storm-staysail, suspended by means of its tack. 'If you please, sir,' acknowledged a midshipman, younger Hillier, 'the bosun says all is stretched alongside, and can he have a celebration. ' A tidy social gathering it can need to be, for Jack's plan used to be to complement the backstays with hawsers, no much less, in order that the immensely reinforced masts may possibly endure a very good press of sail with a following wind, the tension being transferred to the hull; yet to bowse the large cordage so taut that it is going to serve its place of work known as for a so much unusual strength. as soon as, whilst he used to be 3rd of the Theseus, that they had set the mainsail in a rush to claw off the Penmarks, and a south-wester blew so difficult that 200 males have been had to haul the sheet correct aft: he didn't have 2 hundred legitimate males, yet he did have a bit extra time than the captain of the Theseus, with the breakers below his lee. None to waste, even if, with the seventy-four in simple terms 3 miles away, and operating off the mile in precisely 5 mins: and specially, no time to screw up - a mast misplaced during this sea was once convinced destruction. 'A burton-tackle to the chess-tree,' he known as, loud and transparent. 'Lead aft to a snatch-block quickly to the aftermost ring-bolts and ahead loose. glance alive, there, glance alive. gentle alongside that snatch-block, Craig. ' Order got here from obvious confusion in 5 mins: the half-drowned bosun's celebration scrambled in from the chess-trees; and the full ship's corporation crowded into the waist and alongside the gangways, status via the cablets that have been to behave as horizontal falls, operating with a threefold energy. 'Silence fore and aft,' cried Jack. 'Starboard, tally on. on the observe, now, and all jointly cheerly: like a bowline. Ho, one. Ho, . Ho, belay. Larboard, clap on. Ho, one. Ho, . Ho, belay. ' So it went, on each side: brief sharp pulls aft from the chess-trees, ahead from the snatch-blocks, and the hawsers tightened calmly, tighter and tighter but, a so much cautious balancing of forces, until eventually the wind sung an identical observe in every one, and every pair was once iron-taut, helping its mast with impressive power. 'Belay,' cried Jack for the final time. 'Well fare ye, lads. Are you prepared, Mr Lane? ' 'Ready, aye prepared, sir. ' 'Cast off all. Maintopgallantsail, there. ' The backyard rose up; the mast took the tension with no groan; the Leopard's bow-wave grew better nonetheless together with her expanding velocity. Now the spritsail topsail undefined, whereas to ease her plunging they hauled up the mainsail, giving the entire wind to her forecourse: she sailed more uncomplicated but, with out slackening in her velocity, essentially outrunning the Dutchman, even if he had shaken out his foretopsail reef.

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