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The Daily Aubrey-Maturin: The Surgeon’s Mate (Book 7), Chapters 3-5 (pg. 2263-2347)

Your daily dose of off-topic shenanigans.

East India Companys Packet Swallow, 1788.
The packet ship Swallow, with 18 guns, of the East India Company, 1788
Photo by SSPL/Getty Images


Aubrey, Maturin, and Diana set sail in the Diligence, a “packet” ship — i.e. the postal service. Their journey is fast and uneventful, except for the part where they are chased by a couple American privateers. The Diligence captain considers this a regular occurrence, but is surprised by their tenacity this time. They deduce that the ships must’ve been hired by Mr Johnson, who wants his mistress as well as his secret papers back. The Diligence is able to outrun the hunters thanks to some fog and some ice, with one of the Americans hitting an iceberg and thus ending the chase. You can never be too careful with those things.


Back in England, the boys bring news of their own victory and they are celebrated accordingly. Jack just wants to head home, which he eventually does, only to find that his estate is in financial disarray yet again, having been taking to the cleaners by some ill-advised scheme he signed up for before leaving.

Maturin helps him out by using his contacts in London to get Aubrey a good lawyer. The good doctor also delivers the intelligence he gathered in Boston to Sir Joseph, who’s obviously delighted — especially as despite the victory, the war(s) aren’t going too well for England, with resources stretched to the limit and alliances against Napoleon tenuous at best. (Waterloo isn’t for another couple years, in 1815.)


Stephen and Diana go to Paris, the former to deliver a talk at a natural sciences conference, the latter to stay there because she dislikes England. Stephen sets her up at a friend’s house, but leaves as he learns of a failure of a mission to help Catalonian Indepedence. Meanwhile, his speech at the conference was delivered just badly enough to dispel any rumors of him being a secret agent. Oh, and the wedding’s definitely off now.

Meanwhile, back in England, Aubrey receives a letter from Amanda Smith, his one-night stand in Halifax. She’s pregnant! Ruh-roh. Aubrey’s father is also causing trouble, becoming a full radical in Parliament.






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