Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Close Quarters - post II

If the first book was all about hate, humiliation and regret. Then the second book is about love and peace with the narrator falling head over heels for a young woman while the entire crew celebrates peace against France.

The peace is announced by a fellow English boat that is heading to India. Because the wind has dropped to almost nothing the boats pull up aside each other and the captain and Talbot are invited to lunch with the fellow captain Sir Henry and Lady Somerset. They introduce their protégée who wows Talbot who is still suffering from a head wound gained firstly in a storm and then again as he volunteered to fight on the gun deck when the crew thought the advancing English ship was in fact French.

For most of the time Talbot is suffering from concussion and he seems to forget himself on regular occasions becoming over familiar with the captain and the officers and then declaring love to a girl he has known for just a few hours. But he becomes determined to get the girl transferred to his cabin.

That night the two boats lie alongside each other before being parted as the wind returns and Talbot finally collapses and is sent to bed. When he awakes the boat with Sir Henry, Lady Somerset and the girl have gone and the story then returns to more mundane matters like life and death as the crew struggle against storms without much of their sails.

Where the story goes from here is not quite clear unless as you suspect slightly the young woman did indeed get transferred to his cabin and no one has yet told him about it? We shall see tomorrow…

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