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 19th August; Salty Dog, Forenoon watch (starbowlins)
Albert Savage
 Posted: Dec 8 2015, 06:27 PM
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Master's Mate, HMS Terpsichore
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If he was even ten years younger, Albert would have joined the hands who were splashing each other in the water. The protection afforded by the old storm sail and its buoys gave confidence to the lads who could not swim and kept those who could swim from making a run for it. Judging by the chatter, laughter, and occasional oath, the swimmers - and bathers, Albert added - were making the most of the opportunity. It wasn't often that treats such as this were allowed.

The white-haired master's mate leaned against the bulwark and let his gaze drift across the bustling harbour. This was only his third visit to Gibraltar. Funny how all three calls to this port had been with this very ship. The place had scarcely changed in the year since he'd been here last, on the way home from the East Indies. It was still not a place he felt he could ever become familiar, however. Not like Jamaica or Antigua, or even Saint Kitts. The lines on his face deepened as he grinned. Given a choice, he would be back on the Leeward Islands station, for he knew those waters intimately.

Here, he was about as much use as a landsman when it came to knowledge of the sea and coasts. But that was the way the Navy worked, as he well knew. A man could hardly hope to spend his whole career where he wanted. Or how he wanted, at that. Captain Ayscough had told him that right at the start. Well. Strictly speaking, the lesson had come from Captain Wilkinson first but Ayscough and Yeo had basically repeated it to the young and ambitious midshipman Albert had once been. Those years in Swan were still among the best, in his opinion. Only dearer were the two years he'd commanded Busy.

He sighed and felt his smile fade away. If only he had made post. But with his untrustable origins and his lack of an influential patron, this was his lot until he retired from the sea for good. Not even a lieutenant's berth! He had never been bitter about it but it still had the power to rankle. Part of it, he supposed, was simple bad luck. If he had been present at even one fleet action, wherein he might have distinguished himself, things would probably have been different. But... bad luck. The one thing any true sailor feared.

Of course, Albert reminded himself, even if he was ten years younger, he could not join the hands in their swimming. They all knew what he had been and treated him accordingly. It would be rude of him to presume that he'd be welcome amongst them while they were at play. He contented himself with being amused at their antics and the ribald song that the fine-voiced Josiah Murray had launched into. Terpschicore was anchored far enough from any other ships that it did no harm to let Murray carry on. Unless of course Mister Bush took exception to Murray's choice of ditties. Aside from the captain, the Premier's word was law, as Albert himself well knew, having held that post himself in years past.

A glance aft, at the quarterdeck, reassured him that no official notice was being taken of the lads in the water. Then again, they were on harbour watch, so that there was an officer on deck at all was a trifle surprising. Officers had their own pregoratives though, as Albert well knew. It had to be a touch cooler topside than below, anyway. Shrugging, the old sailor turned his gaze outboard and down, to the large manmade pool in which the previous night's libertymen were making playful, spirited attempts to drown each other. Oh to be as young as that again.

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Patrick O'Neill
 Posted: Feb 4 2016, 08:30 PM
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Passed Midshipman (Master's Mate)
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Patrick had only joined the ship a short while ago, and was still finding his way in this new home. His fellow Master's Mate, the older Savage, had been a big help though.

The young Irishman had found a short respite, and found himself with a little free time. He might join the lads that were swimming shortly. He hadn't made a decision yet, but he figured he'd make it once he was on deck.

Here he found Savage standing at the railing. O'Neill approached him, and came to a halt next to the man. "Will you not be taking a swim, Sir?" the Irishman asked.
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Albert Savage
 Posted: Feb 4 2016, 09:35 PM
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A swim. He had the ability to swim, after a fashion, but he was not about to spoil the hands' enjoyment of the water by joining them. Accordingly, Albert shook his head.

"No, I'll not be welcomed by the lads down there," he replied. "I'm too old by half for that sort of waterborne foolery anyway, lad."

Judging by the question, though, he had a suspicion that O'Neill intended to take a dip himself. He was wlecome to it, for all Albert guessed the reaction to him would be much the same as if it were Albert himself going to swim.

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Patrick O'Neill
 Posted: Feb 5 2016, 11:41 AM
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"Forgive me ignorance, sir, but why would they not welcome you?" the Irishman asked. He'd heard some rumours during his short time aboard, of course, but had decided not to put much mind to them.

"Swimming's something for all ages, sir! It keeps you strong!" the irishman said, smiling. He'd been born near the sea, and had been swimming almost before he could walk.
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Albert Savage
 Posted: Feb 5 2016, 03:41 PM
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Despite himself, a ghost of a smile creased Albert's weathered face. "Were you a foremast hand, lad, would you wish an officer to disturb your leisure time, even if that time is being enjoyed in the water?"

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Patrick O'Neill
 Posted: Feb 5 2016, 08:29 PM
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"I think I understand you, Sir. So it would not be appropiate for me to take a swim then? You see, I was a Mid in Northampton, so I was, and after I passed my examinations there weren't enough vacancies for Lieutenant so I was assigned to Terpsychore as a mate" O'Neill explained. He was starting to understand, though.
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Albert Savage
 Posted: Feb 5 2016, 09:14 PM
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Northampton. Captain MacFarlane. A good sailor, to all accounts, though Albert had not met the man himself. The Scotsman had made post not long after Busy had paid off, if memory served.

"Aye, lad. They'd not take it kindly. That's the divide 'tween the quarterdeck and the foremast hands." The old master's mate shrugged his stooped shoulders. "S'pose you might swing it because you've not had a proper commissioned berth, but the likes of me won't be wanted down there, and that's truth."

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Patrick O'Neill
 Posted: Feb 6 2016, 12:19 PM
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O'Neill understood. "Then I think I shall stay 'ere with you, Sir" the Irishman stated. He shifted his stance a bit, and was now directly facing the salty dog.

"I do not mean offence, Sir, but I was won'drin' why an old man like yourself is only a Mate? Surely you have the experience and the knowledge to be a master? Or even an Officer?" the Irishman asked. He didn't know, of course, that the man had been a commissioned officer, and even a Captain of his own ship.
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Albert Savage
 Posted: Feb 6 2016, 03:56 PM
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Master's Mate, HMS Terpsichore
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"I could be a sailin' master, aye. Or even a lieutenant again, if there was a berth to be had. I've had a commission since 'Seventy-seven, lad, but no influence. A body without influence can only take what's available," Albert replied with a roll of his shoulders. "A man needing employment can hardly be too particular what he accepts for a berth. No more'n the way of the Navy, that."

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Patrick O'Neill
 Posted: Feb 6 2016, 04:18 PM
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"I see" Patrick said. "I cannot say I have much of that m'self. One can always hope, of course." the Irishman added. He was still young, and hoped he'd receive a commission soon enough. "For now, though. It is like you said. One takes employment any way one can" he confirmed.
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Albert Savage
 Posted: Feb 6 2016, 04:52 PM
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Being as young as he was, Albert reckoned O'Neill had a fair chance at impressing some admiral or even a post-captain who was powerful enough to make a good connection. Otherwise he was likely to end up like so many other lieutenants in the service, only lucky enough to have a ship on which to serve.

He allowed himself a smile. "Bein' at sea again makes for its own happiness, whatever a man's standing might be in a ship," he observed. "There's always something the sea'll teach you, lad, if you been afloat a single day or the whole of your earthly life."

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Patrick O'Neill
 Posted: Feb 18 2016, 12:06 PM
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"I will toast to that, Sir" the Irishman said. He'd never been as happy on land as he was at sea. And though he recognized the truth in what Savage said, he also felt a strong ambition to advance. He didn't mind being where he was for now, but he wanted desperately to outdo his father.

"Can ye tell me what it is like, to be in command of a ship? I've had prize commands, aye, but that's not the same as to command a ship of meself" Patrick asked. He felt he could learn a lot from Savage, and would not turn away any opportunity to do so.
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Albert Savage
 Posted: Feb 23 2016, 07:27 PM
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Master's Mate, HMS Terpsichore
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What was it like to be in command of a ship? Ah, what a question. To answer it required words that Albert wasn't sure he possessed. He leaned against the rail and gazed over the sparkling, vessel-filled harbour.

"Having a ship of your own isn't far off from a dream, lad. It's like a freedom you ain't gonna have anywhere or anyhow else. 'Ticularily in a flier like my Busy - a frigate's fine and stout, I'll grant you but there's naught can flit over the sea as a brig or sloop does. Being your own cap'n is grand, lad. No greater sort of responsibility, mind, but it's not to be beaten."

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Patrick O'Neill
 Posted: Mar 4 2016, 07:34 PM
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Passed Midshipman (Master's Mate)
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Patrick nodded along to what Savage was saying. He didn't know how to reply, so he decided to keep his mouth shut for now. All he could do was pray that he would one day have the opportunity to feel those things.
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Albert Savage
 Posted: Mar 4 2016, 09:08 PM
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Master's Mate, HMS Terpsichore
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Describing the life of a ship's captain, even in brief, had brought the memories of those two glorious years with Busy back in a flood. Albert leaned against the rail, gazing at but not seeing the antics of the men in the water. His vision was instead filled with the sight of Saint Kitts a point off the larboard bow, only just near enough to be recognised without the aid of a glass. He heard the familiar scraping voice of his premier, chivvying a couple of the younger hands to their stations for trimming the yards.

Busy skimmed over the light swell, running smoothly along with most of her canvas set and drawing well. It wasn't quite a soldier's wind but it was close. Albert had been lucky to get quite a few prime hands when he'd sailed so there was really no great need for him or Mister Baxter to be hard-nosed or do much chivvying along of anyone, aside from the green landsmen, of course. It helped that Busy had undergone a refit not long before being commissioned again. She handled beautifully in most weather and Albert still delighted in putting her through her paces.

They'd pass Saint Kitts with plenty of sea room. Captain Ayscough and St Lucia was working their way along the other side side of the island as per a mutual agreement. The plan was to join up again a few leagues to wind'ard of Montserrat and resume their patrol south toward Martinique. There were definitely advantages to having orders to carry out patrols at their own discretion. In some ways this was more of a pleasure cruise than an active commission. Albert lifted his gaze to the men working aloft, listening to their cheerful bantering across the yards, and a smile creased his weathered face. This... this was living.

Even if O'Neill had spoken, he wouldn't have heard. That the boy had said nothing meant that he might as well not be there at all.

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