quotes_may5_2020.htm

(May 5th to 16th)



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 little torpedo boat of Blue Fleet – has disguised itself as a destroyer of Red Fleet, moved in close, through a crafty stratagem, to two massive Red Fleet cruisers, and ‘torpedoed’ them, putting them out of action.


…After two hours of rooting through this desolation at an average rate of five miles an hour, his eyes were cheered by the sight of one white buoy in the coffee-hued midstream…

‘About seven feet, isn’t there?’ said he. ‘That must be the tail end of the shoal. There’s four fathom in the fairway. Knock that buoy down with axes. I don’t think it’s picturesque somehow…’

   

This is from “Judson and the Empire”, in Many Inventions.

Lieutenant Judson, RN, commander of a flat bottomed gunboat, has been sent up the West African coast by his Admiral, following reports of trouble in a Portuguese colony. As an initial precaution he plans to disable the colony’s much larger gunboat, by wrecking it on a shoal in the river. This will leave him with the initiative in any later trouble.


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…

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