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The Daily Aubrey-Maturin: The Commodore (Book 17), Chapters 6-7 (pg. 5497-5547)

Your daily dose of off-topic shenanigans

18th-century Parliament papers on show
The original 1806 Foreign Slave Trade Abolition Bill on show at the House of Commons in London in 2007
Photo by Stefan Rousseau - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

CHAPTER 6

Maturin & Co find Aubrey and the rest of the squadron and rejoin, though it’s all a bit awkward since everything’s new and big and not quite so cozy anymore, and there are a lot of egos to massage from the other captains under Jack’s command, especially Thomas of the Thames (say that ten times fast).

Jack’s mood isn’t helped by the poor gunnery on show from all hands either (except the veterans from his many previous commands), and there’s trouble on the home front, too, or at least rumors of trouble that Killick, Jack’s long-time steward is spreading.

CHAPTER 7

Having crossed south of the required parallel, Aubrey opens his sealed orders and learns that the mission to disrupt the slave trade is only a cover for the real action: trying to stop the French invasion of Ireland.

But of course Aubrey wants to make a good show of the ruse as well, and finds that one of his midshipmen, Whewell, has some first-hand knowledge of the geography of the area and the methods employed by this now illegal trade (as of 1807 in Great Britain), so he gets debriefed throughly — and also promoted to lieutenant after a Lt. Gray dies from a sudden infection.

As they get closer, they encounter and capture the Nancy. Everyone’s suitably horrified and set about taking the slaves back to freedom in Freetown.


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