By Alexander Kent
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Browne leaning over the fat shoulders of Smith, Neale’s clerk, and murmuring about some item or other. Aboard the three frigates of Bolitho’s small force the first lieutenants would in turn be wondering at the outcome of this meeting. What would it mean to each of them personally? Promotion, death, even a command if their lord and master should fail. The clerk straightened his shoulders and silently withdrew from the cabin. Bolitho listened to the sluice of water around the rudder, the faint tap, tap, tap of halliards, and a restless step of a watchkeeper overhead.
A clean, smart ship, with a captain who would stand no nonsense. It seemed incredible that Pascoe should be the senior lieutenant. His nephew’s dream had come true. Bolitho tried to find comfort there. He would have been the same, or was there still the other memory, the stain which had left a lasting mark in this ship? A TRADI T ION OF V ICTORY 49 Allday murmured, “All these smashers, sir. ” Bolitho paused on the forecastle, his palm resting on a worn handrail. ” Allday glanced around the pitching deck.
He waved his hand to the quarterdeck. ” He sounded defensive. Bolitho looked at him. ” When Emes did not even blink, he imagined he as yet knew nothing of his orders. ” He sounded relieved. ” Bolitho nodded and walked slowly along the gangway, his ears searching for lost voices, his eyes catching brief pictures of almost forgotten faces on the strangers around him. A clean, smart ship, with a captain who would stand no nonsense. It seemed incredible that Pascoe should be the senior lieutenant.
A Tradition of Victory by Alexander Kent