King, Ship, and Sword
(Lewrie – 16)
To'The Immortal Memory'
Therefore I cast mee by a little writing
To shewe at eye this conclusion,
For conscience and for mine acquiting
Against God and ageyne abusion,
And Cowardise, and to our enimies confusion.
For foure things our Noble sheweth to mee,
King, Ship, and Swerd, and power of the Sea.
Then come to us, gracious Peace; grasp the
cornspike in thy hand, and from the bosom of thy
white robe let fruits pour out before thee.
Book I, X 67-66
Sullen, too, was the general attitude aboard
Oh, there'd also been the delivery of a pair of Russian nobles to somewhere as close as possible to St. Petersburg… one of whom had tried to kill their new captain as they were being set ashore, an attempted murder right by the entry-port… all over a London whore, of all things!… And for certain the younger Roosky was love-sick mad, but what could be expected of
Out of the Baltic at last, and there'd been their own British Expeditionary squadrons under Vice-Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, and Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, and they'd been just in time to take part in the glorious Battle of Copenhagen and squash the Danes like so many roaches round the galley butter tubs!
All downhill from there, though; first cruising in the Baltic 'til midsummer, watching first Vice-Admiral Parker go home (in a bit of disgrace, the hands had heard-tell) then Nelson departing for his always fragile health, and, at last, a spell of re-victualling and repairs at Great Yarmouth, where the adventures had begun, and a spell of shore liberty. After that,
In a thin and fine mist on this particular morning, a cold early-October rain was falling and dripping in great dollops from sails and rigging, over a grey and dingy-white-foamed sea that chopped and hissed and imparted to the frigate a slow and queasy wallowing roll. And the wind… if freed,
'A thouroughly miserable day, and I wish ye joy of it, Dick,' Lt. Fox said with a grin and a roll of his eyes.
'Worse things happen at sea, Jemmy,' Lt. Farley replied as he formally doffed his hat, a second-best and much-battered old thing with its gilt lace gone verdigris green. Fox's wasn't a whit better.
'Just thinking that, in point of fact,' Lt. Fox quipped. 'So, the usual… wind's still Nor'westerly, we're beam- reaching, as anyone can clearly
'Scrambled eggs, cheese, and biscuit, speaking of
'Hasn't said yet,' Lt. Fox replied, letting a yawn escape him. 'Damme, I was hoping for hot porridge. Do we drill on the artillery, I'd prefer a steadier point of sail.'
'Aye, this roll'd be a bugger,' Lt. Farley agreed.
'Well, I leave you to it, Dick,' Fox said, cheering up.
'I relieve you, sir,' Lt. Farley said with another doff of his hat, and the Second Officer, along with his Midshipmen of the Watch, and the Starboard Watch of the quarterdeck and Afterguard, were scrambling below, some to their breakfasts, some to the uncertain warmth of the gun-deck.
Right aft, and just below the quarterdeck in the great-cabins, Captain Alan Lewrie was shaving… or trying to. It