Hornblower and the "Hotspur" (Hornblower Series)
C. S. Forester
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April 1803. The Peace of Amiens is breaking down. Napoleon is building ships and amassing an army just across the Channel. Horatio Hornblower-who, at age twenty-seven, has already distinguished himself as one of the most daring and resourceful officers in the Royal Navy-commands the three-masted Hotspur on a dangerous reconnaissance mission that evolves, as war breaks out, into a series of spectacular confrontations. All the while, the introspective young commander struggles to understand his new bride and mother-in-law, his officers and crew, and his own "accursed unhappy temperament"-matters that trouble him more, perhaps, than any of Bonaparte's cannonballs.
from it. He was still engaged on this work when he became aware of the innkeeper whispering hoarsely at his side. “Begging your pardon, sir. Begging your pardon.” “Well?” “The Admiral’s compliments, sir, and he would be glad to see you when you find it convenient.” Hornblower stood sword in hand, staring at him in momentary uncomprehension. “The Admiral, sir. ‘E’s in the first floor front, what we always calls the Admiral’s Room.” “You mean Sir William, of course?” “Yes, sir.” “Very well.
aching eyes, revel in the thought that no further decisions would be demanded of him for an hour or two. Then he recalled himself in momentary surprise. Despite those visions he was still on the quarter-deck with all eyes on him. He knew what he had to say; he knew what was necessary — he had to make an exit, like some wretched actor leaving the stage as the curtain fell. On these simple seamen it would have an effect that would compensate them for their fatigue, that would be remembered and
bold headland of Point Matthew. There was another pair — a whole cluster. Could it possibly be that a group of coasters was trying to run the blockade into Brest in broad daylight in the teeth of Hotspur? Hardly likely. Now there was a bang — bang — bang of guns, presumably from the field battery, invisible over the farther ridge. Behind the coasters appeared a British frigate, and then another, showing up at the moment when the coasters began to go about; as the coasters tacked they revealed
honestly implying that Hotspur was too preoccupied with her duty of watching the Goulet, but the others misinterpreted the speech. “No, sir, not with —” Bush broke off what he was saying before he became guilty of mutiny. He had been about to continue ‘not with Admiral Parker in command’ but he had more sense than to say it, after Hornblower’s meaning had become clear to him. “One eighth’d be nigh on a thousand pounds,” said Prowse. An eighth of the value of the prizes was, by the
mere precaution, or had it been a tactful way of calling his captain’s attention to the situation of the ship? His present manner and bearing gave no hint of the answer. Hornblower had studied his officers carefully since Hotspur was commissioned; he was not aware of any depths of ingenuity or tact in Poole, but he freely admitted to himself that they might exist, unobserved. In any case, he must allow for them. He sauntered down the quarter-deck. “Thank you, Mr Poole,” he said, slowly and very