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The Daily Aubrey-Maturin: The Nutmeg of Consolation (Book 14), Chapter 8 (pg. 4655-4698)

Your daily dose of off-topic shenanigans

sea with trees on rock against cloudy sky, Rock Islands, Palau
Rock Islands, Palau
Photo by Anthony ASAEL/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

NB. So, clearly, we (the royal we) have fallen well short of our 6600-page goal by the start of the season, getting through only about 4700. The 100 page-per-day pace was becalmed a few too many times, much like it would happen regularly to Aubrey & Co. But, by popular demand of me, myself, and I, we shall persevere, and see this mission through! Not that anyone really reads this other than my parents. Hi parents!


The Surprise sets sail for Australia, looping around New Guinea and the Great Barrier Reef to arrive in Sydney Cove, which is still just a run-down penal colony.

On the way, they happen upon an island (best guess: one of the Sonsorols in Palau), where they find the entire population killed off by smallpox, save for a couple small kids, whom they rescue. Maturin ensures they all follow strict quarantine protocols, burning clothes, shaving heads, and disinfecting everything with vinegar and only allowing those to stay (briefly) on the island who bore scars of the pox from earlier in their lives (obviously this is well before the vaccine was invented, though using cowpox to confer immunity was known by this time). Timely reading, this, with the growing monkeypox epidemic now, too.

In any case, they eventually arrive in Sydney Botany Bay, where the governor treats them to a fancy dinner. Aubrey misses it on account of food poisoning, but Maturin and Pullings attend, finding it largely offensive in both mannerisms and discussions. Maturin especially gets upset with the constant besmirching of his fellow Irish separatists, and eventually comes to blows with a Captain Lowe. Maturin being a bit of John Vick, runs the dude’s shoulder through with his sword. An attack on the King’s man ... oh dear!


Wishing quick recovery!



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