By Alexander Kent
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Extra resources for Stand Into Danger (The Bolitho Novels) (Vol 2)
Rhodes beckoned Poad to bring the wine jug. ” Bolitho smiled. “Different. ” Palliser’s voice cut through the conversation. “You will inspect the ship when you have eaten, Richard. Truck to keel, fo’c’sle to taffrail. What you cannot understand, ask me. ” He dropped one eyelid to the marine but not quickly enough for Bolitho to miss it. ” Bolitho looked down as a plate was thrust before him. There was little of the actual plate left visible around the pile of food. S TAND INTO DANGER 31 Palliser had called him by his first name, had even made a casual joke about the volunteers.
Bolitho could picture the anxiety on the quarterdeck. Should they disturb the meeting below their feet and risk Dumaresq’s displeasure? Or should they just note the strange sail in the log and hope for the best? ” He did not seem to raise his voice and yet it carried to the outer cabin without effort. It was Midshipman Cowdroy, a sixteen-year-old youth who Dumaresq had already punished for using unnecessary severity on members of his watch. ” He swallowed hard and seemed to shrink under the captain’s stare.
Dumaresq turned his back and stared at the glittering water which stretched to the horizon astern. “First we go to Rio de Janeiro. ” Bolitho caught his breath. The South Americas, and Rio was all of 5000 miles from his home at Falmouth. It would be the furthest he had yet sailed. ” They left the cabin, each immersed in his own thoughts. The far-off destination would mean little to the ordinary sailor. The sea was always there, wherever he was, and the ship went with him. Sails had to be trimmed and reset at all hours, no matter what, and a seaman’s life was hard whether the final landfall was in England S TAND INTO DANGER 59 or the Arctic.