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The Daily Aubrey-Maturin: Post Captain (Book 2), Chapters 4-6 (pg. 489-593)

Your daily dose of off-topic shenanigans.

Third view of Toulon: view of the old port from the side of the food stores.
Toulon harbor, 1756
Photo by Photo 12/ Universal Images Group via Getty Images

CHAPTER 4

Thankfully, the costume regency drama is over, though instead we get Aubrey in a different costume altogether, as he an Maturin slip over the French-Spanish border and the Pyrenees while disguised as a literal bear. Good thing Stephen King isn’t the one writing this novel.

You see what happened was that after fleeing from his creditors, Aubrey (and Maturin) land in Toulon, France, where they visit with their old pal Captain Christy-Pallière — and by pal, I mean the dude who captured them in the previous book — and they have a good laugh about all that and get drunk over old war stories. Meanwhile, Maturin hangs out with CP’s doctor pal, Dr. Ramis, and he turns out to be one of Maturin’s informants. Steve-o almost slips up while spying on the French navy (i.e. gets spotted acting all suspicious), but when CP mentions this to Aubrey, he laughs it off because he doesn’t believe Twitter rumors either.

Anyway, it the middle of the night Maturin gets a secret note, tipping them off Napoleon restarting the war. Suddenly, they’re in the middle of enemy territory, and have to escape. Clearly, a bear disguise was the only way to go. Not the bees?

Eventually they make it Maturin’s CASTLE in Catalonia, which Aubrey just takes in stride because that’s not weird at all. Then again, he’s drugged out of his mind for a couple weeks after picking up some sort of fever from his adventures disguised as a bear. Maybe this is all just a fever dream of a dying man, much like Top Gun 2.

CHAPTER 5

Spain’s staying out of this war, which allows our heroes to eventually make it down to Gibraltar, sans any silly disguises. Here they catch a merchant ship to London, but that ship comes under attack from a privateering French ship. They’re captured, but shortly thereafter, recaptured by friendlies. Lucky Jack’s back!

On the merchant ship, they run into their old shipmate Pullings (aka James D’Arcy from the movie), who’s gone private (seen as not so honorable) during the brief period of peace. Small world!

CHAPTER 6

Now back in London, Jack is told the bad news: they’re late to the (war) party, and the admiralty’s fresh out of ships to assign. Still he begs for anything that floats, over any cushy desk job (a dead end as far as his sailing career’s concerned) they might give him, so eventually he gets assigned an experimental ship called the HMS Polychrest, the “Carpenter’s Mistake”.

It’s a terrible and laughable assignment, especially as now he has to go serve under Admiral “How’s Your Wife, Sir?” Harte again, and only on patrol duty in the Channel (no prize-taking), but it is a ship, which is better than not having a ship at all. Jack chooses this Navy assignment over a sweet job offer in the private sector, because he’s a man of honor blah blah blah.

Before all that, we do get a brief return to Jane Austen-land as well, but only so far as to determine that Sweet Sophie still likes Captain Jack, even though she’s betrothed to someone else, and that both men still like Ms Hard To Get Diana, and she’s still more than happy to play with their emotions. Worrrrrrrmm.


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