Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Living on the Water in the Winter

This description of life in the 18th-century British navy leaves me cold.  The second paragraph is especially well-written.

"Winter had come to the Bay of Biscay.  With the passing of the Equinox, the gales began to increase in violence, adding infinitely to the labours and dangers of the British navy watching over the coast of France; easterly gales, bitter cold, which the storm-tossed ships had to endure as best they could ...

"We speak about storm-tossed ships.  But those ships were full of storm-tossed men, who week by week and month by month had to endure the continued cold and the continual wet, the salt provisions, the endless toil, the boredom and misery of life in the blockading fleet.  Even in the frigates, the eyes and claws of the blockaders, boredom had to be endured, the boredom of long periods with the hatches battened down, with the deck seams above dripping water on the men below, long nights and short days, broken sleep and yet not enough to do."

--C. S. Forester, Mr. Midshipman Hornblower, "Hornblower and the Man Who Saw God" (ch. 5)

1 comment:

paul said...

i love the ocean, as long as i'm looking at it from a warm beach