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The Daily Aubrey-Maturin: The Nutmeg of Consolation (Book 14), Chapters 6-7 (pg. 4595-4654)

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HMS Royal George
HMS Royal George founders at Spithead, 29th August 1782
Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

CHAPTER 6

The chase is on between the Nutmeg and the French warship Cornélie, which is operating well below par. Jack’s plan is to lure the much bigger and heavier (and still more cannoned) frigate into some narrow and shallow channel to level the playing field and fight it out in close quarters, but they are not really falling for his ruse and are keeping their distance.

And in fact it’s them who steal a march briefly thanks to some inclement weather, using that as cover to sneak closer and get in a few broadsides. The chase is now truly on, and not necessarily to Jack’s advantage anymore. But just when it looks like the tables have truly turned, the fighting pair run into the Surprise, its consort, and a couple captured prize ships. Oh how the turntables!

The Cornélie quickly turns and runs away, but founders not long after, with the Surprise and the Nutmeg rescuing most of its crew from the water.

CHAPTER 7

Everyone’s reunited, and it feels so good. But then it’s back to the task at hand, and the group have to go their separate ways, with the Nutmeg, not commanded by Fielding, going back to Batavia and the Surprise, now commanded by Aubrey once again, heading down towards Australia.

Oh, and Aubrey buys the Surprise from Maturin, a symbolic as well as necessary move thanks to the latter’s bank recently going belly up and losing all his moneys.


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