quotes_apr23_2006.htm

(April 23rd to 29th)



Format: Triple

…Precisely over the flagstaff I saw Two Six Seven astern, her black petticoat half hitched up, meekly floating on the still sea. She looked like the pious Abigail who has just spoken her mind, and with folded hands, sits thanking heaven among the pieces. I could almost have sworn she wore black worsted gloves and had a little dry cough…’

  

This is from “Their Lawful Occasions”, in Traffics and Discoveries. There is a naval exercise at night in the Channel, based on a simulated battle between Red Fleet and Blue Fleet. Two Six Seven – a torpedo boat of Blue Fleet – has disguised itself as a destroyer of Red Fleet, moved in close – through a crafty stratagem – to two Red Fleet cruisers, and ‘torpedoed’ them, putting them out of action.


…Usually she was elbowing fidgeting and coaxing her steadfast way through gray, gray-blue, or black hollows, laced across and across with
streaks of shivering foam; or rubbing herself caressingly across the flank of some bigger water-hill. It was as if she said: ‘You wouldn’t hurt me surely?

   

This is from “Captains Courageous”. First of the fleet, the We’re Here has filled her hold with cod, packed down tightly, and is now heading for Gloucester with all speed. After weeks of fishing on the Grand Banks, Harvey is discovering that headed west by south under home canvas, she is a different boat.


The two huge triangular mat sails, with their seventy-foot yards, had followed the cargo, and were fitted to the stripped masts of the steamer…But if she had been forlorn before, this new purchase made her horible to see. Imagine a respectable charwoman in the tights of a ballet-dancer rolling drunk along the streets, and you will come to some faint notion of the appearance of that nine-hundred-ton well-decked once schooner-rigged cargo boat.

   

This is from “The Devil and the Deep Sea” in The Day’s Work. An old British cargo boat has been pearling illicitly in Malay waters. She has been caught by a local naval patrol, and badly damaged by a shell. The crew have succeeded – by mighty efforts – in getting her moving again, though she is still almost a wreck. They plan to get revenge by sinking her in the path of the naval patrol. On the way they have captured a local pirate craft, and used her sails to boost their speed…

Leave a comment