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Crossing the Line, or Seamen Dressed as Mermaids

So I was attempting to fill in the looooong week I will have to wait until bbcphile posts the next chapter of "Harboured and Encompassed," which I assume you are all reading too, and if you aren't, go read it RIGHT NOW!!! (It's on following_sea. You all knew that, right?)

Right. So to partially satisfy my longing, I looked up the Maritime Museum Caird Library, which of course you know is where Library!Horatio is interning. Then I rummaged around the website, and at I saw this:

And this:

And I thought you all would like them. They make me think of the mentions of "Crossing The Line" in the Aubrey-Maturin books and in Sharpe's Trafalgar.

(Speaking of which, have you read that last book? Sharpe, bless him, happens to be on his way home from India to England when he gets caught in the Battle of Trafalgar. He meets Nelson beforehand. It's adorable.)
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Mr Midshipman Hornblower

I'm reading it. I love it. I think the movies did a really good job with their adaptation. The best lines - like Captain Keene's epic Shaming of Simpson - are lifted straight from the book. (Except for Archie's lines, of course, which are much better than their non-Archie book versions.) Horatio is as geeky, gangly, and over-dramatic as the boy we all love from fan fiction.

The funny thing is that, by this point, I've read so much Hornblower fan fiction that reading the original feels like reading another fanfic. "Ooh, more Justinian fic! I love it!" It gives those extra fanfic-y details, like the fact that Horatio (and Archie of course, since they're only six months apart as we all know) really were the youngest midshipmen in the berth - Hether and Cleveland were much older. It's just that the author inexplicably got some of the names wrong, and forgot to mention Archie. I'm sure he was really there.

I do have to admit, though, that I don't think teenage Horatio would have been quite so wrapped in dramatic adolescent suicidal gloom if he'd had a certain smiling ball of sunshine by his side. If Archie were there, that kill-or-be-killed instinct would be better explained by the desire to protect Archie as well as himself. lemurling explored this really well.

Anyway, I haven't read the series in at least two decades, so it's nice to go back to it!
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Gen recs, free ebooks for Hornblower and more

So, this afternoon I was chatting with a friend in our church library. Husband was on the sofa nearby, holding our sleeping toddler, and the other two kids we had with us were off in the game room.
"Have you had any time to read lately?" she asked.
"Well, yes, actually I've been reading quite a lot of Napoleanic-era naval fiction..."
"Oh," she asked brightly,"You mean like Hornblower?"
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I have just discovered another nice thing about having children. My two sons saw me dumping black polish on the scuffed grey toes of my black-booted feet (and dripping it liberally on the balcony floor, but that is besides the point). 3-year-old son was fascinated by my decrepit battery-operated spinning polisher thing, so I handed it over, and found a buffing brush to work on the boot legs while he did the toes. 7-year-old son relieved me of the brush, and I luxuriously sat back and read LJ while they industriously set to work all over my boots (and occasionally jeans). "Look Mommy, all shiny now!"

My own personal shoeshine boys! (And my oddly foreshortened legs. Oh well.)

Happy almost-Winter Solstice! Tomorrow for the solstice my kindergarten kids will make traditional tang yuan - soft, round little balls of glutinous rice flour dough, cooked dumpling-style in sweet soup - basically sugar water. Perhaps they'll also have fillings of very sweet black sesame paste. They are not my favorite Chinese treat - too sweet and gummy for my taste - but rolling the little balls will be fun.

six bells

So I finally went ahead and got the "Ship's Time" app, which chimes out the bells every half hour. I really like it. It helps me keep track of time. And it enabled the following conversation in my home:

Son, age 7: "Mommy! Six bells!"

Me: "So what time is that?"

Son: "It's....eleven o'clock!"



You know you may be just slightly obsessed with all things AoS when you happen to look up "weevil" and realize they are very likely the same pointy-snouted little insects that have gotten into your dry pasta, and you feel kind of excited to see them. It may even cross your mind to taste one, just to see what sailors had to deal with, but you very firmly discard that notion. And resolve to rinse the pasta very well before you cook it. You certainly won't throw it away just because of a few weevils.
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Happy Chinese Moon Festival!

It's also called Mid-Autumn Day, but it still feels very much like summer. Tonight the moon is traditionally the biggest and roundest of the year. We are off to have barbecue at our neighbor's house, share mooncakes and tea, and gaze at the moon - or we would gaze at it if it weren't forecast to be covered in clouds from a semidistant typhoon. Perhaps it will peep out now and then.

(no subject)

I was browsing our church's library last week and found POB's Post Captain. Not bad for one of the few English-language libraries in our city, and a small private one at that! I've seen the movie and read a few fanfics, but this will be my first actual POB novel. Am only on page 17, and have already encountered mention of the Indefatigable, Aubrey singing a rather dirty-sounding song featuring out-of-work midshipmen asking passers-by, "Do you want my nice shining balls?," and Maturin stating: "I am with child to see a dew-pond."

Jacob Faithful, by Captain Frederick Marryat

In my current obsession with all things vaguely related to AoS and especially Hornblower, I've been exploring the books of Captain Frederick Marryat. They are so droll, especially when he talks about the antics of midshipmen. The current book I'm on, Jacob Faithful, concerns an orphaned river boat boy who's been sent to a charity school. The school bully is named Barnaby Bracegirdle! And the description of the school master reminds me of how a certain someone might have turned out if his father had sent him off to Oxford or Cambridge instead of sending him to sea...

"Dominie Dobiensis, as he delighted to be called, or Dreary Dobs, as his dutiful scholars delighted to call him... had, in the first place, written a work that nobody could understand upon the Greek particles; secondly, he had proved himself a great mathematician, having, it is said, squared the circle by algebraical false quantities, but would never show the operation for fear of losing the honour by treachery. He had also discovered as many errors in the demonstrations of Euclid as ever did Joey Hume in army and navy estimates, and with as much benefit to the country at large. He was a man who breathed certainly in the present age, but the half of his life was spent in antiquity or algebra...The Dominie was grave and irascible, but he possessed a fund of drollery and the kindest heart. His features could not laugh, but his trachea did. The chuckle rose no higher than the rings of the wind-pipe, and then it was vigorously thrust back again by the impulse of gravity into the region of his heart, and gladdened it with hidden mirth in its dark centre. The Dominie loved a pun; whether it was let off in English, Greek, or Latin. The last two were made by nobody but himself, and not being understood, were, of course, relished by himself alone. But his love of a pun was a serious attachment: he loved it with a solemn affection—with him it was no laughing matter.

In person Dominie Dobiensis was above six feet, all bone and sinews. His face was long and his lineaments large; but his predominant feature was his nose, which, large as were the others, bore them down into insignificance. It was a prodigy—a ridicule; but he consoled himself—Ovid was called Naso. It was not an aquiline nose, nor was it an aquiline nose reversed. It was not a nose snubbed at the extremity, gross, heavy, or carbuncled, or fluting. In all its magnitude of proportions, it was an intellectual nose. It was thin, horny, transparent, and sonorous. Its snuffle was consequential and its sneeze oracular. The very sight of it was impressive; its sound, when blown in school hours, was ominous. But the scholars loved the nose for the warning which it gave: like the rattle of the dreaded snake, which announces its presence, so did the nose indicate to the scholars that they were to be on their guard. The Dominie would attend to this world and its duties for an hour or two, and then forget his scholars and his school-room, while he took a journey into the world of Greek or algebra. Then, when he marked x, y, and z, in his calculations, the boys knew that he was safe, and their studies were neglected."

Sorry for how long this is - formatting is mysterious to me. But doesn't this read just like a Hornblower AU?


I've really only finally logged in to LJ so I can comment on all the wonderful fanfic I've been discovering over the last few months. I'm a reader, not a writer, which makes me appreciate those of you who share your writing even more! My current fandom obsession is Archie Kennedy and Horatio Hornblower, but a few months before that it was Richard Sharpe and Patrick Harper, and before that it was just anything Jane Austen. They all overlap, don't they? I am shy and still very much just figuring out how LJ works, so please forgive any faux pas. And any recs would be much appreciated!