Download The Complete Midshipman Bolitho (The Bolitho Novels, Volume by Alexander Kent PDF

By Alexander Kent

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On the lower gun deck, apart from the mass of seamen needed to work the double battery of thirty-two-pounders, were two lieutenants, Tregorren being in charge, and Mr Wellesley, the ship’s junior lieutenant, his assistant, and four midshipmen. The latter were evenly placed along the various divisions of guns, and were supposed to relay orders, fire independently if need be, and carry messages to the quarterdeck. Bolitho and Dancer shared the larboard side, and a sulky youth named Pearce and little Eden had the starboard battery.

The endless, unrelenting training on sail and gun took other tolls, too. Before they had even passed Gibraltar two men were lost 28 Alexander Kent overboard, and another died after falling from the main yard and breaking his back on an eighteen-pounder. He was buried at a brief, but to the new men, moving ceremony, his corpse sewn in a hammock and dropped overboard weighted with roundshot, while the Gorgon tilted steeply to a brisk north-easterly. Further strains showed themselves like cracks in metal.

To run out a bow chaser and fire one ball as near as he can. ” But the solitary crash of a forward nine-pounder brought nothing more than a rush of seamen from below decks in the ­Gorgon herself. The idling barquentine continued to drift, her forward sails almost aback, her big fore-and-aft canvas on main and mizzen shivering in a heat haze. The captain snapped, “Shorten sail and heave-to, Mr Verling! And send away the quarter boat. ” Calls shrilled and twittered along the main deck, and within minutes of the captain’s order Gorgon was going about, swinging her heavy hull round into the wind with every sail and shroud quivering and banging in confusion.

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