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Eating question

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Eating question

Post  Thomas Crozier on Mon Sep 08, 2008 6:12 am

As surgeon on a frigate, do I mess with the... gunroom? Wardroom? Whatever room where the lieutenants are? (What's the difference between the gunroom and wardroom anyway?) And will that snotty midshipman be there? And will our passengers be joining us?

Not that I'm planning to partake of any epic-length naval dinners... I've seen them, and they didn't really whet my appetite. *cough berry cough*

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Re: Eating question

Post  José Ramon Calderón on Mon Sep 08, 2008 6:13 am

You'd be in the wardroom with the lieutenants. *nods*

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Re: Eating question

Post  Thomas Crozier on Mon Sep 08, 2008 6:19 am

Cheers. And... Capt. Brandeson, the drunk one? Or does he stick with the marines?

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Re: Eating question

Post  George Thompson on Mon Sep 08, 2008 6:22 am

No - he's a commissioned officer; he's with the lieutenants too. Sir.

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Re: Eating question

Post  Thomas Crozier on Mon Sep 08, 2008 6:29 am

Is he still aboard, by the way? Or is there a new, more decent captain of the marines? And does everyone have a servant? Maybe you can be his. Then you can smirk and stifle grins at all of our inane conversations.

Is Branning still around?

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Re: Eating question

Post  George Thompson on Mon Sep 08, 2008 6:58 am

Branning's still around, somewhere. Think he's standing sentry on the spirit room at the minute.

And I don't know about waiting on Mister Brandeson... Does that Colonel Edrington want to borrow a Marine for a servant, while he's on Terpsy?

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Re: Eating question

Post  Guest on Mon Sep 08, 2008 7:04 am

I didn't bring a servant with me. I suppose a Marine would be able to help me with ... Um, well, that's very thoughtful, Thompson. I have discovered, seven days out, that I need a servant.

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Re: Eating question

Post  Thomas Crozier on Mon Sep 08, 2008 7:06 am

I'm sure you've had a servant all along, my lord, and simply didn't notice.

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Re: Eating question

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Mon Sep 08, 2008 7:07 am

Speaking as an officer's batman, how can you not notice if you've got a servant, or not? Sir.

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Re: Eating question

Post  Guest on Mon Sep 08, 2008 7:08 am

He is an earl. He is probably so used to being waited on, he does not see the actual servants any more. *grins wickedly at Edrington*

Or you could shoot yourself in the foot. Then you would need a servant to help you around.

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Re: Eating question

Post  Guest on Mon Sep 08, 2008 7:14 am

Thank you, Stephen. And Dr Crozier. I have given this two seconds' thought, and decided that I probably had one of the sailorss as a servant - this is just a change of duties. Probably I didn't take to him, and asked for a different servant, preferably a soldier.

And to return to the original question, do we (Major Findlay and I) eat with the lieutenants on a regular basis?

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Re: Eating question

Post  Guest on Mon Sep 08, 2008 7:17 am

You are welcome, my dear. I am always delighted to elucidate.

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Re: Eating question

Post  Thomas Crozier on Mon Sep 08, 2008 7:24 am

My thoughts exactly, Doctor Maturin. A glass of wine with you?

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Re: Eating question

Post  Guest on Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:00 am

I think the midshipmen generally eat together, except when invited to eat in the wardroom or with the Captain. Would that be in the gunroom? Senior warrant officers (surgeon, chaplain, master, purser) eat in the wardroom. Would the middies eat with the next rank down - like the Carpenter and the Gunner, in the gunroom? Or with Colonel Plum in the Conservatory?

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Re: Eating question

Post  Richard Bolitho on Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:07 am

Definitely with Colonel Plum in the conservatory. Wink

I would guess the middies eat in the wardroom, but I'm not entirely certain.

As to guests (such as Edrington and Findlay), they would most likely eat with the lieutenants unless invited to dine with the captain.

I suppose that means I have to invite you gentlemen to dine with me eventually. Hopefully we won't end up pushing peas around our plates again...

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Re: Eating question

Post  Ben Perkins on Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:13 am

And we can invite you to eat with us at some time, captain. Speaking of which, I have these plants...

Edit: Oops, I thought I was a naval surgeon for a minute there. Please ignore me.

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Re: Eating question

Post  Guest on Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:19 am

I shall look forward to it, Captain Bolitho. And I am sure Major Findlay will too. Pea pushing will remain an option, of course.

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Re: Eating question

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:26 am

I suggest ye have no peas for dinner.. then certainly you won't push them about Wink. *blinks* We eat on a table which is..... of questionable cleanness...Good is, our young bellies are not as tender as some of them old ones! *pause* senior I mean.
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Re: Eating question

Post  Richard Bolitho on Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:40 am

Yes, pea pushing shall have to be an option.

And doctor, if you have something to discuss with me concerning plants, please do come to my cabin sometime so we may talk.

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Re: Eating question

Post  Guest on Mon Sep 08, 2008 3:51 pm

Taken from Broadside: Life in Nelson's Navy

The officers were entitled to the same food as the men, but the normal practice was to elect one of their number to buy in food and wine for their mess. They paid for this from their own pockets, and it wasn't compulsory to join this system, although officers who opted out were generally not popular. They messed in the wardroom, or the gunroom on a frigate, and were waited on by servants (the servants were crewmen and boys, and not domestic servants. The captain had his own steward, who was a domestic servant). The officers were also supplied with fresh food from the chickens, pigs and sometimes cows housed aboard the ship, again at their own expense. The pigsty was usually placed in the forecastle, in the area that was eventuallly taken over for the sick berth. The chicken coops were often on the quarter deck. The captain could mess with his officers or dine alone, or he could 'keep a table', which meant that he would invite the officers to come and dine with him at his expense. The captain had his own cook and servants.

The midshipmen had their own mess in the cockpit, and by some accounts it was not a place for the timid of spirit. The midshipmen were also entitled to servants, although not as many as the senior officers, as befitted young gentlemen.

And, though I can't find any direct proof at the moment, I'm pretty sure it was customary for guests to be allowed to dine in the wardroom/gunroom with the officers, especially if they were commissioned officers themselves.

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Re: Eating question

Post  Thomas Crozier on Mon Sep 08, 2008 4:25 pm

Oh right, I totally forgot about mids eating in the cockpit! I do remember reading that and thinking it was a bit crazy - who'd want to eat down there? - though it also makes sense as to why the surgeon would sometimes use their table for operations during battle. (Eww.) And why Dr. Maturin and Higgins were sweeping food and things off the table to lay out the surgical instruments when they beat to quarters. I love you But, um, where is the cockpit? Maybe I'm confusing it with the orlop.

I didn't know midshipmen could have servants. Dear me, don't tell De Guarde! Unless it's just a fellow to stand behind his chair at occasional gunroom dinners.

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Re: Eating question

Post  Guest on Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:23 pm

Before we get down to the meal in the Great Cabin, I just wondered if why Naval dinners seem to have the 'servant behind the chair' routine? Is this just in the Captain's cabin or in the wardroom too? Is it for every dinner, or only 'special' ones? Do they stay there all the time? Can I say 'hello' to mine?

And, widening from the original scope of the question, does the same thing happen in the officers' mess on land? I assume not, since Cotton is getting the evening off, rather than spending it standing behind Vickery's chair (which would be rather like staring at the back of his own head Arrow ). In civilian life, the 'footman behind each chair' is limited to very formal dinners - most would have the servants serve, and stand back, waiting to see if someone wanted to summon them for an extra plate of peas.

So - is it because Captains are above themselves, and think any dinner they host is on a par with the grandest dinners elsewhere? Or because it has been found easier to have someone to hold the bottles, rather than leave them bouncing around on the table in a swell?

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Re: Eating question

Post  George Thompson on Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:28 pm

Every dinner, wardroom too, and no reason you couldn't, 'specially if you know him.

Land is different. A servant there is more of a personal servant - sort of a gentleman's gentleman approach, who happens to do waiting at table when required. Only there would be the Mess servants, even if the Mess is sitting under a tree to eat.

At sea, they're more like footmen, I think. There to serve food, and pour wine. And possibly to hold bottles, though there's no reason I can see why bottles wouldn't be put on the table.

Anyone else got any ideas here?

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Re: Eating question

Post  Guest on Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:38 pm

That makes sense - well, not actually makes sense, because there doesn't seem to be any need for the difference, and the Captain and the wardroom still need someone to bring the food in and out, and lay the table, clear up after them, including the washing up - the things the mess servants would do on land.

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Re: Eating question

Post  George Thompson on Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:43 pm

Probably the Captain's steward would do that. He might rope in the wardroom steward, though probably not one of the 'waiters' who are just seamen and Marines, in case they broke something.

And a middy would have a ship's boy standing behind him, not an adult sailor, by the way.

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