By Dudley Pope

The youngest captain in His Majesty's army, with a name for touchdown very unlikely assignments, Lord Ramage is dispatched to the Caribbean islands of Martinique and Diamond Rock. The venture turns out humdrum: barricade the French inside fortress Royal. yet despatched to sea within the Juno with a group grown stressed and undisciplined lower than the previous commmand of a inebriated, Ramage realizes his vssel will not be as much as conflict with the French.

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The shortcomings of her past Captain have been evidently universal wisdom. a place of hassle in a single of the dozen ships of conflict anchored at Spithead was once continuously attention-grabbing gossip for the seafaring people dwelling at Portsmouth or Gosport. “Took the recent grasp out final evening, sir,” the boatman acknowledged conversationally, elevating his voice opposed to the wind and the slop of the waves. Ramage nodded. “There’ll be extra company for you this present day or day after today, in case you maintain a pointy lookout on the Steps; 4 lieutenants, a few midshipmen, a health care provider, Marine officials …” The boatman grinned his gratitude: wisdom that exact officials have been anticipated helped with the ideas: it flattered a tender lieutenant to inform him that the captain had pointed out he was once due. you may often inform a lieutenant’s seniority—the extra junior the bigger the end. He watched the younger Captain out of the nook of his eye, puzzling over if he dare ask a question or , yet made up our minds opposed to it: these eyes seemed as if they can offer you a really chilly stare. He contented himself with a grunt to the boy that he sought after the mainsheet easing as they bore away for the previous couple of hundred yards to around one other anchored send prior to luffing up along the Juno. Ramage had already started his survey of the Juno. Her yards weren't sq. and there have been boats mendacity along on the larboard gangway, rather than being streamed astern. The paint-work regarded in reasonable even though, which was once lucky seeing that there has been no time to do something approximately it sooner than crusing. The black hull and sweeping sheer have been proven off well by way of the light yellow strake slightly under the gun ports. She used to be one in all Sir John Willams’s designs, and he had a name for development quickly ships, although Ramage had heard a few captains grumble that they have been particularly gentle and apt to heel much in a robust breeze, making it exertions for the gunners. because the cutter drew closer he observed a few marks at the black hull ahead, which confirmed that the ship’s corporation threw buckets of soiled water and garbage over the facet rather than going basic to the pinnacle and decreasing the buckets good down prior to beginning them. in the hour he might have males over the part with scrubbing brushes. The extra he observed because the cutter closed the gap, the extra livid he turned; the send used to be completely ignored. Seamen have been lounging concerning the deck as if they have been at the Gosport Ferry, and he may well see the hats of a bunch of officials gossiping at the quarterdeck. they're in for a surprise in a minute, he idea grimly, once the sentry demanding situations, in truth. “What send? ” got here an informal shout, and Ramage nodded to the boatman to make the time-honoured solution that will inform every body on board the Juno frigate that her new Captain used to be within the boat. “Juno! ” the boatman bellowed, as he glanced at Ramage and risked a wink. For years the previous boatman were taking officials out to each form of send of struggle, from tiny sloops to 98-gun ships-of-the-line. greater than many junior officials he may perhaps look at masts, yards, sails and hull and inform greatly a couple of ship’s officials.

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