clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Daily Aubrey-Maturin: H.M.S. Surprise (Book 3), Chapters 7-8 (pg. 1066-1146)

Your daily dose of off-topic shenanigans

Bombay India Engraved by Willmore after T Allom.
Bombay harbor c.1800
Photo by Universal History Archive/Getty Images


We’ve arrived in India, Bombay to be specific, where hundreds of ethnicities mingle cacophonously in the stifling heat. Maturin’s obviously loving it and goes “native”. Aubrey’s also loving it, because there’s an abundance of material in the harbor to help him fix up his boat. He works his crew harder than at sea to get them to repair the ship that barely made it here from the Cape. And they’ve still got to get to Malaysia, and then back home — and Jack certainly wants to get home to Sweet Sophie, who continues to wait patiently even as her two younger sisters have now both married, as we learn through letters.

Meanwhile, Maturin scopes out Diana’s house because he’s still obsessed, and learns that she’s still with Mr. Canning, who, as it turns out, is still married back in England. In fact, Mrs. Canning’s coming to India to kick his ass. LOL. Stephen sees this as the golden opportunity to finally pop the question, and of course Diana shoots him down, confirmation shot and all, John Wick-style. Poor Steve-o.

Suddenly, there’s news that French admiral Linois may be somewhere in the Indian Ocean and the Surprise springs into action — though not before Maturin has to go bury a friend he had made during his weeks onshore, a young local named Dil. RIP Dil.


Turns out Linois’s gone, and the only sail they find belongs to the Seringapatam, an (East India) company whaler. Maturin’s in low spirits following his double-heartbreak; Jack tries to cheer him up with a version of Leo’s “king of the world” move on the Titanic, except way up high in the topsail. Surprisingly, it works. What a good friend.

Stephen then has some medical matters to attend to as well, as the envoy, Mr. Stanhope was fallen ill, again, and this time it’s really not looking good. They find a spit of land to try to perform some sort of emergency operation on him, but he dies in the night.

Jack reflects on the utter waste of time that this whole trip has been. This entire meeting could’ve been an email, he’d cry out in 2022.





Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the We Ain't Got No History Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Chelsea news from We Ain't Got No History