By Alexander Kent
Falmouth, September 1803: As Bolitho faces the awful fact of conflict at shut quarters, he'll be known as upon to expect the thoughts of the French fleet. however the clash has additionally taken on a private observe, reviving his vendetta with the French Admiral, Jobert, who as soon as commanded the Argonaute.
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Extra resources for Colours Aloft! (The Bolitho Novels) (Vol 16)
The HEIC was not known for losing time on a fast passage no matter for what reason. It hid Bolitho’s relief. He had been afraid that the Governor might demand one of his ships for the task; there were too few already without that. He continued, “This is unlike the blockades of Brest and the Bay. There, foul though it is for the ships involved, they can be relieved and sent to England for restoring or repairs in a couple of weeks. In the Mediterranean there is no such relief. Toulon is our main cause of anxiety; to watch the enemy and discover his intention will need constant vigilance.
He still sounded different, as if only half his mind was working on the news. ” Keen’s eyes cleared. ” Then he was gone. But it was to be news of a graver sort. As the other ship drew closer she was soon identified as the Barracouta. Bolitho took a telescope and joined Keen at the quarterdeck rail to watch as Lapish clawed his way to windward to draw closer to the squadron. There were men at work on her yards and several of her sails were patched. Even as he watched Bolitho saw a great mass of cordage being hoisted aloft, the work not even faltering as the business of sailing the ship went on.
The man was almost incoherent with rage and drink. Keen met his angry glare. “I am Sir Richard Bolitho’s flagcaptain. ” He felt his relief as he heard the marines scrambling up the side. At last. Inch had obviously withdrawn his own men before the squall. In another moment, he, Stayt and the others might have been overwhelmed. Most of the crew looked too drunk to be able to think, let alone take orders. Lieutenant Orde seemed unable to respond to what he saw, but Blackburn, his big sergeant, rasped, “Fix bayonets, Marines!