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Preparing to sail

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Preparing to sail

Post  Thomas Crozier on Tue Dec 23, 2008 5:05 am

[Thursday 18 May, the day after preparations for Leaving Lisbon]]

Crozier had decided to return to the Terpsichore early in the morning, for although the task of replenishing his stores was complete, there was still the question of where their guests would sleep, and although one of the junior officers might easily be persuaded to swing his hammock elsewhere, Crozier felt it would be a professional courtesy to offer Doctor Maturin his own cabin. The doctor would be right across the wardroom from his patient and his French friend, and it would be comfortable for all three of them. With the help of one of the carpenter's mates (Taylor, who owed the surgeon some gratitute for the preservation of his arm two years ago), Crozier was having his own cot moved into the very narrow dispensary.

"And my sea chest there. Perhaps you can move my desk out into the sickbay for the time being. No no, not the table! Does that look like a desk, William Taylor? Oh I see, I apologize, thank you. I wonder if - no, Bridgens, leave that in my cabin, and the little washstand and mirror. Just my personal things. Be careful of that shelf! I never noticed how cramped this room is."


Last edited by Thomas Crozier on Wed Dec 24, 2008 1:13 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : link)

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Thomas Crozier
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Re: Preparing to sail

Post  Jonathan Padstowe on Tue Dec 23, 2008 8:38 am

Padstowe put the final touches to his best uniform coat, flicking a flecking of dust from the fine black velvet collar. He may be an invalid, yet he was to be an invalid under the scrutiny of the Royal Navy - or to be exact, the Opposition - and would be damned if he let the side down with a a poor turn-out.

Satisfied at last, he unsteadily turned away from the mirror, Senhora Santana supporting him, and gave Stephen a weak smile.

"Will I do?"


Last edited by Jonathan Padstowe on Tue Dec 23, 2008 8:50 am; edited 1 time in total

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Jonathan Padstowe
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Re: Preparing to sail

Post  Guest on Tue Dec 23, 2008 8:47 am

Stephen smiled back. "Absolutely, Captain." He himself looked bruised, tired and battered, his right sleeve pulled lower to hide the bandage on his hand, giving him a lopsided look. But he was clean at least, and wearing his uniform coat, his wig having been shaken and perched on top of his head.

He had accomplished all his work for the morning (he hoped, with a weary flash of anxiety) - first to Headquarters, to deliver the explanatory paperwork Padstowe had completed, as well as to hide in one drawer separate anonymous tips regarding the final names on his list as possible French informers, in code, and one regarding a suspected group of smugglers in the city, in a disguised hand. And then on the Belem, where he had in fact been very touched by the prisoners' regard for their Captain (Aucoin had been tearful), but also, surprisingly, for himself.

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Re: Preparing to sail

Post  Guest on Tue Dec 23, 2008 8:56 am

In the hot space under the roof, Raoul put aside the civilian clothes he had assumed since being paroled and dressed himself in the grey uniform of the 3ieme Hussards. His boots were as well polished as he could achieve, someone had managed to remove most of the traces of Thierry's blood, and although he did not have his shako, he felt that he would be able to step onto the deck of His Majesty's frigate Terpsichore in his true colours. Over the dolman he slung his sword belt, and the sword Captain Padstowe had returned to him, and swung the pelisse from the shoulder. No doubt, if there was anything wrong, one of his travelling companions would tell him before allowing him to walk down to the dockside.

He would not be sorry to leave Lisbon, but he did regret that he had to leave the last of his men here. Thierry might be allowed to return to France, but for the others, the future was more bleak that he might have hoped at the beginning. If the British attack on Oporto succeeded, there would be even less hope of arranging for the exchange of any of them, and for Corbeille, Broussard, and poor young Aucoin, the best they could hope for was a prison in England, the worst, the hulks. But if anything could be done for them, Dr Maturin would do his best. He had been moved by their gratitude, and would not abandon them.

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Re: Preparing to sail

Post  Jonathan Padstowe on Tue Dec 23, 2008 9:00 am

Padstowe's smile widened a little more, but the Senhora was still not happy. She he had not been happy since they announced their intentions to leave yesterday evening.

"He is too pale by far!" she clucked, tweaking the corners of his neckcloth. Were those tears that made her eyes look unusually moist? "He should not be travelling, even by sea - he can barely walk as it is! You are all foolish, foolish boys for going so soon back to your war."

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Re: Preparing to sail

Post  Guest on Tue Dec 23, 2008 9:04 am

"I expect he will return to his pink self as soon as we come within sight of his army, Senhora," Stephen said in Portuguese with a smile. "He is foolish, like all young men, but I think he will be happier with his comrades than with a miserable old doctor looking after him; his friends will persuade him to eat as I have not been able to, and he will gain strength and colour again."

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Re: Preparing to sail

Post  Jonathan Padstowe on Tue Dec 23, 2008 9:18 am

The senhora just shook her head violently.

"Silly, silly boys!" she murmured, the edge of her voice breaking as she smoothed down Padstowe's lapels. The captain swallowed awkardly, and took her hand in his.

"You have been most kind, Senhora Santana, and most patient with a silly boy like me. I promise that I shall try not to do anything too silly too quickly, and that I shall write. As often as I can."

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Re: Preparing to sail

Post  Guest on Tue Dec 23, 2008 9:23 am

The others were in Padstowe's room on the ground floor, with Senhora Santana fussing about the Captain - very like a mother hen, Raoul thought. He stood back, in the hallway, where his hated uniform would not upset her. She had been kind to him, almost as kind as to the doctor, but she would probably not like to remember that he was, after all, French and the enemy.

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Re: Preparing to sail

Post  Guest on Tue Dec 23, 2008 10:02 am

"Or I will worry, Captain, you know that I will worry. And the ships - oh, such stories I hear, and however will you cope with them tossing and tipping and God knows what else - wet and cold too, I'll wager - you keep him wrapped up warm, Senhor Doctor!"

"I will, sure," said Stephen. "I will take perfect care of him, never fear; I am a naval surgeon, and I find a ship the perfect place for recuperation: routine, rest and plenty of food on such a short voyage as this. But we really must be away, my dear - I am assured of the existence of tides, and we must never miss the ship." He leant in and kissed her on both cheeks with a Mediterranean ease.

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Re: Preparing to sail

Post  Jonathan Padstowe on Tue Dec 23, 2008 10:47 am

Santana accepted the doctor's kisses bravely enough, but then she turned to Padstowe, broke, and pulled him down into her ample bosom for an embrace that very nearly crushed the breath from him completely as she kissed his cheeks and told him to take care, take care for God's sake in all he did!

Padstowe, surprised and still weak, assured her that he would, that he would miss his dear senhora - and looked up at Maturin in desperation to aide him, only to catch sight of raoul standing in the doorway. The Englishman's face went scarlet to match his coat.

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Re: Preparing to sail

Post  Guest on Tue Dec 23, 2008 11:16 am

Raoul nodded to the two men, and then smiled down at the woman, who was staring at him as if she had not seen him before. "My thanks - obrigado, senhora." At least she would not kiss him, he thought, as she studied him for a moment. "Obrigado, sehnor", she replied.

"Are we ready?" Raoul asked, settling his saddle bags on his shoulder.

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Re: Preparing to sail

Post  Jonathan Padstowe on Tue Dec 23, 2008 11:24 am

"Yes."

Their belongings were already loaded to the wagon, and Padstowe shifted his sword, perhaps somewhat nervously. The advisability of wearing a sword when one could hardly stand for any length of time by oneself was debatable, but he felt wrong to be in uniform without it.

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Re: Preparing to sail

Post  Guest on Tue Dec 23, 2008 11:25 am

Stephen thanked Santana for a final time, and shifted his leather satchel, waiting to hear the familiar rustle of papers, to offer his arm to Padstowe.

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Re: Preparing to sail

Post  Jonathan Padstowe on Tue Dec 23, 2008 11:29 am

With the help of Santana Padstowe transferred his weight to Stephen, who was supporting his right arm, his left once more bound up in a sling. Together they hobbled out to the wagon, where the driver offered to help lift him up onto the back.

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Re: Preparing to sail

Post  Thomas Crozier on Tue Dec 23, 2008 12:06 pm

At the wharf Crozier was pacing restlessly, keeping one eye on the ship to make sure she was not about to sail without him and another eye on the street to watch for the passengers' arrival. All hands aboard were busy with the final tasks of preparing to sail, but a lookout had been instructed to watch for his signal and to send a boat as soon as the visitors arrived.

Having already made a slight fool of himself in front of Doctor Maturin, Crozier was not quite as nervous as he might otherwise have been. He was, however, full of anticipation and a pleasant sort of impatience as he looked at his watch for the sixth time, in spite of the large clock he had just been staring at on the wall of the building opposite.

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Re: Preparing to sail

Post  Guest on Tue Dec 23, 2008 11:59 pm

As they reached the dock Stephen saw a familiar figure waiting for him, and he asked Padstowe and des Sablières to wait for a moment while he greeted his colleague, as Padstowe should not be kept standing waiting for a boat to come, but could spend those minutes waiting in the wagon instead.

"Mister Crozier!" He said, waving shyly with one hand and keeping his wig to his head with the other as he slid down from the back of the wagon, leaving his knapsack and bindle.

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Re: Preparing to sail

Post  Thomas Crozier on Wed Dec 24, 2008 12:30 am

Crozier smiled happily, and he was proud to see the doctor wearing a surgeon's uniform coat similar to his own. He waved at the Terpsichore and then crossed to the wagon to offer his help.

"Doctor Maturin, good afternoon! They'll just be sending a boat now. Can I do anything to help? How's your patient?" Having got used to the idea of traveling with the eminent doctor, Crozier's former shyness melted away to an almost giddy optimism. The late afternoon sky was roccoco blue and pink, the wind was blowing fair for their journey, the passengers had kept their rendezvous, and all was well with the world.

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Thomas Crozier
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Re: Preparing to sail

Post  Jacob Chase on Wed Dec 24, 2008 12:35 am

The sawbones had been ashore for a while. Chase lounged as much as he could within the confines of the jolly-boat and wondered boredly how much longer Doctor Crozier would take. The delay wasn't likely to make the captain very happy.

"Any signal yet?" Chicken Dyer asked, not troubling to look toward the docks himself.

Chase rolled his eyes. "Course there ain't been yet. Cox'n'll tell us when." Hopefully it would be soon though. He wanted to stretch his legs but couldn't.

"Shove off!" The coxswain barked. A relieved murmur passed through the boat as the seamen got ready to lever their heavy oars out. It was about time.

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Re: Preparing to sail

Post  Guest on Wed Dec 24, 2008 12:36 am

"Quite delighted by the idea of being away again, without a fortnight's wait and a month's riding. I have always said that if we could prescribe happiness we would see illnesses drop away, and it seems, sir, that you of all of us have found a way to do it," Stephen said, taking Crozier's hand with a grateful smile as they stepped out of earshot of the men in the wagon.

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Re: Preparing to sail

Post  Thomas Crozier on Wed Dec 24, 2008 12:45 am

"Oh!" Crozier replied with a flattered embarrassment. "Well... we were all lucky, eh? But it does seem that going to sea should make many men happy. Except those who are pressed away from their families and such, of course. Tell me his name again? And how is des Sablières? I hope he'll be all right, sailing with the enemy so to speak. But we've given him a cabin just opposite yours. Ah, here comes the boat."

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Thomas Crozier
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Re: Preparing to sail

Post  Guest on Wed Dec 24, 2008 12:50 am

"I myself have always associated a new voyage with feelings of happiness," said Stephen with a genuine smile at the sparkling water. "But I will confess that in this case I am even more eager to be away; Lisbon has not been a kind city." He darted a look back at the wagon. "His name is Padstowe; he is a Captain with the 50th, I believe. He does some work for General Wellesley, which is how we first became acquainted, but then this... And Capitaine des Sablières will be quite well, I am sure - I have absolute trust in the Terpsichore's wardroom."

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Re: Preparing to sail

Post  Thomas Crozier on Wed Dec 24, 2008 1:05 am

A look of concern flickered over Crozier's face. "I'm sorry to hear that - about Lisbon, I mean. Have you been here long? I've only been here for... two weeks, I think. No, less than that. But I've found it to be a charming city, delightful. And they're recultivating the botanical gardens. Did you know that French soldiers stole the plants as spoils of war? The very plants, for heaven's sakes. But I'm wandering now. Padstowe. And Wellesley! We have General Wellesley's horse on board! At least, the men say it's Wellesley's. And yours of course, too. They brought them aboard this morning. But do you know General Wellesley then?"

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Thomas Crozier
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Re: Preparing to sail

Post  Guest on Wed Dec 24, 2008 1:10 am

"The plants, forsooth? I am in Portugal as the General's physician, while my own captain is on half-pay without a ship..." A bright flush spread up Stephen's face. "The horses - I had no idea that horses would be sent up to Oporto by ship; I thought they would be taken overland by a messenger. I would not have so importuned you if I had known; I am ashamed to have caused such trouble."

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Re: Preparing to sail

Post  Thomas Crozier on Wed Dec 24, 2008 1:22 am

The General's own physician! Crozier stared at the doctor with increased admiration but said nothing on the topic, choosing to be discreet. "Oh, well the horses... never mind now. But have you ever seen horses on a frigate?" His eyes lit up in merriment. "I can tell you, it was quite a spectacle yesterday. By today, though, they were all old hands at handling horses. Yesterday everyone was terrified, since it was the general's horse and such a handsome fine beautiful fellow, frightfully expensive I'm sure."

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Re: Preparing to sail

Post  Guest on Wed Dec 24, 2008 1:26 am

Stephen darted a resentful look back at the wagon, but thought that it would be unforgivable to shift the blame. "I can only apologise, and I will apologise to your captain as well for causing such trouble. Horses on a frigate - would they pen with the animals? But in the General also had a stallion, and the captains' horses are mares, then..." He pulled at his earlobe, his flush darkening.

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Re: Preparing to sail

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