The Gunroom discussion

69 views
1823, a new book, HMS SURPRISE returns to sea

Comments Showing 1-13 of 13 (13 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Alan (new)

Alan Lawrence | 18 comments Which it’s the HMS SURPRISE adventure of all the world!
‘THE MASSACRE OF INNOCENTS - The Continuing Voyages of HMS SURPRISE’

“The public saloon of the Feathers tavern, off the Strand and within the Liberty of Westminster, a very dimly illuminated room even approaching the top of the day, was filled with the drifting smoke from Mrs O’Donnell’s faltering efforts to rejuvenate the smouldering logs on the stone flags of the hearth, near to which, in a much creased green leather armchair, sat a nondescript man of large stature and indeterminate age, dressed in even less determinate and somewhat crumpled attire; slumbering fitfully; coughing occasionally, but resisting persistently any inclination to fully wake or shift despite the rising clamour and bustle of the growing preparations for the customary midday clientele.”
So begins this new nautical tale.
The publisher’s website with more information and which includes a sample chapter is:
www.mainsailvoyagespress.com


message 2: by Pete (new)

Pete Almquist | 14 comments That may be the longest sentence I've ever heard of...


message 3: by Gerry (new)

Gerry Garibaldi | 8 comments Once this writer gets a sentence in his teeth, he doesn't let go.


message 4: by Alan (new)

Alan Lawrence | 18 comments The dawn had been quite exceptional, a glowing red orb, rising above the haze, throwing a pink blanket over a sea quite devoid of any ripple, slowly turning orange, and finally yellow whilst burning through the few wispy cloud remnants lingering over the clearing mountain extremities of Candia off the larboard bow, the summit of Mount Ida prominent. With barely the slightest zephyr of wind to rustle the sails, and the temperature already promising much greater warmth to come later in the day, but with no respite of a cooling breeze in prospect all aboard anticipated another smouldering day.

The start of chapter seven - Alan


message 5: by Alan (new)

Alan Lawrence | 18 comments ‘Amidst the rolling waves of oceans comes the lovely thought of you,
Through the soughing of the breezes and the sparkle of the dew,
In the shining light of morning and the blackness of the night,
Come wondrous recollections and dreams of past delight.
In the horror of bitter struggle when my heart is gripped with fear,
When my soul seems lost in darkness, blind and frantic; you are near,
Giving faith and courage to carry me o’er the steepe roaring sea,
In the bleakest of moments you shine bright in my memory,
Bringing rays of sunshine, my tired hopes restored anew,
I cast aside the darkness and cherish the lovely thought of you.’

Wonderful poetry too to enjoy. Alan


message 6: by Alan (new)

Alan Lawrence | 18 comments Simon had joined them already and so led the Admiral, Pat and Zouvelekis following, down to the makeshift sick bay on the lower deck. In the gloom, as eyes adjusted, they could make out near seventy or so people lying or sitting on blankets on the deck, no Psariot wishing to avail themselves of a hammock. Morton was passing amongst them with water and a thin gruel, their wretched stomachs incapable of more. Simon led the way, Kanaris with him, the Admiral pausing and stooping to greet his fellow Psariots with a few gentle words to each in turn as he moved slowly from one to the next, occasionally draping a slipped blanket back over the shoulders of those too weak or distraught to do so and speaking softly with others, his kindly words bringing a weak smile from some of them, tears from others. He moved down the line, his face more grim with every step, his voice now faltering, and as he neared the last of his fellow Psariots the Admiral unexpectedly fell to the deck, to his knees, with a low shriek of exclamation and seized into his arms a slight woman of about fifty who had been sitting up on her blanket, crying to herself. He hugged her tightly, the two sharing quiet and emotional words of mutual surprise, of greeting and of desperate consolation, the woman now sobbing profusely and Kanaris in silence, still holding her close, her head buried in his chest: her body was wracked with shaking and her distress audible throughout the length of the deck. Pat and his companions held back, a respectful few yards away, staring at this unexpected and tearful reunion.
‘It is his aunt,’ Morton whispered. ‘She was pulled from the water by Barton, in the barge, after swimming out two miles or more.’
Another minute passed and the Admiral rose slowly and with some difficulty to his feet, turning towards Pat, plainly trembling with emotion and the streaks of tears evident on his cheeks. Without a word, Kanaris stepped forward and simply grasped Pat, without ceremony, enveloping him in a fierce bear hug, his voice quite failing him, though no words were necessary: his gratitude so obvious. For a near minute he stood in tight embrace before gathering his composure and stepping back, nodding silently to Pat, still quite unable to speak.
‘Come, sir,’ said Pat gently. ‘We will take coffee in the cabin. My officers will arrange the transfer of your compatriots directly.’

Try this. Alan


message 7: by Alan (new)

Alan Lawrence | 18 comments Surprise approached her berth, the ship near silent now, sliding towards the quay, slowing as her way began to fall off, and a kedge dropped to the distinctive sound of its splash. There was barely a breath of wind, and the sound of her hull through the water, albeit now with the smallest ripple at her bow, was plainly audible, even on the quarterdeck, where Pat looked about him, and then over towards the town, and saw, to his astonishment, lining the quay, hundreds of Melcombe Regis people, familiar faces prominent amongst them: many former Tenedos crew, old hands from prior voyages, and new Surprise crew members too; for the most part standing together with their wives, sweethearts and numerous excited children. Suddenly the throng were roused as one, and broke into wild shouts of greeting, then cheering, all waving exuberantly, clapping and shouting, to greet Surprise, their ship, as they now considered her to be, their menfolk now her crew, come home.
Pat was standing near the wheel, very moved by the spectacle, a deep sense of gratitude for such a welcome swiftly arising within him, and a heartwarming feeling of well-being quite overcoming him. ‘Welcome home, Barton,’ Pat turned to his cox’n at his side, grasped and shook his hand with enthusiastic vigour, ‘welcome home.’

Try this! Alan


message 8: by Gerry (new)

Gerry Garibaldi | 8 comments Thanks for the post, Alan. The prose itself reminds me of long sea voyage.

Best,
Gerry


message 9: by Pete (last edited Dec 21, 2013 03:18PM) (new)

Pete Almquist | 14 comments Alan...please consult an editor. Respectfully, as a fellow Patrick O'Brian appreciator, your prose feels like wading through cold molasses.


message 10: by Alan (last edited Dec 24, 2013 01:28PM) (new)

Alan Lawrence | 18 comments It was gratifying to Pat to see all the activity happening, quite unbidden. ‘Simon, dear friend, ain’t it very like a homecoming?’ whispered an emotional Pat O’Connor.
‘You are of my way of thinking entirely, soul. I do not believe I had expected this ... this deep satisfaction. Though Dr Tripe at the Dock is a fascinating man, and a member of the Royal College - I have oft enjoyed the most cordial of hours with him in examination of his collections, his stuffed birds most particularly - and his wife, Mary, is the most kindly treasure, I admit I have long tired of that place.’ He gazed all about him at the ship. ‘She is remarkably beautiful, for sure. Never afore did I have the same pleasure in simply stepping aboard ship. But is she not now an auld lady?’
‘Old?’ Pat stared at his friend, ‘Old? She ain’t old Simon; only a scrub would say such a thing. You must never say that. Sure there are some who would say she may be old-fashioned, long past mark of mouth, and too puny to engage with her modern sisters, forty-fours and the like; that she is too small for the current age. These opinions have credence for the most part in those lubbers who have ne’er found themselves spitting out the salt air, wipin’ their eyes of the powder smoke when the shot is flying, or firing three broadsides in five minutes. She is but thirteen years old, and has been looked after tenderly, like a maiden aunt; handled gently like a risen pudding afore it reaches the table, since ever afore she was laid up for so long. No, she has a long life in her yet, our dear Surprise. I am cast down and mortified to hear you say such things, shame on you.’
‘I am so sorry, Pat, I use the term only as an endearment, akin to making the acquaintance of a long lost, auld friend, a dearly beloved, auld friend: one who perhaps had been thought lost and was found again, the pleasure being so much more in the finding, the return. Doubtless you are correct as to her longevity. Forgive me brother, I meant no other inference. I find I love the ship as much as you, and there you have my confession; coming from a mind of a generally scientific persuasion, though assuredly our dear Surprise now brings the nature of a philosopher to the fore. Give you joy of our homecoming, brother.’


message 11: by Alan (new)

Alan Lawrence | 18 comments Chapters One and Two in their entirety can now be downloaded from the updated website:
www.mainsailvoyagespress.com


message 12: by Doug (last edited Feb 07, 2014 01:55PM) (new)

Doug (chubberdog) | 16 comments ".....the summit of Mount Ida prominent. With barely the slightest zephyr of wind to rustle the sails, and the temperature already promising much greater warmth to come later in the day, but with no respite of a cooling breeze in prospect all aboard anticipated another smouldering day...."

Sorry, Alan, sails don't 'rustle', they fret, shiver, slat, etc., but rustle doesn't sit happily in my mind. it suggest a whispering. 'Ruffle' as a v.t. as in 'disturb' or 'destroy [the] smoothness' thereof would surely be more appropriate?

and...

"and the temperature already promising much greater warmth to come later in the day, but with no respite of a cooling breeze in prospect all aboard anticipated another smouldering day.."

I don't think 'temperature' can promise anything, it is a measurement, not a forthcoming event or period.... and " with no respite of a cooling breeze in prospect...would scan better as 'with no prospect of a cooling breeze to bring respite, all aboard...'

Pace

Doug


message 13: by h011yw00d (new)

h011yw00d | 3 comments There is ONE hardbound book available on amazon...for $2000!!


back to top