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 C.S. Forester: Ship of the Line 
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Post C.S. Forester: Ship of the Line
Just started re-reading this book since I acquired a copy at the book sale. All I can say is "poor Maria"! :cry:

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susan


Wed Jul 13, 2005 7:56 pm
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It's a long time since I read the series, but I do remember HH's aloofness, grumpiness and his poor regard for his wife.

If ever the TV programmes get that far, I wonder how they will deal with this aspect of HH's character. So far, I don't think they have portrayed him as CSF intended, but, then, I don't suppose that would make good TV viewing. :lol:

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Thu Jul 14, 2005 9:21 am
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HH does show loyalty and a degree of fondness towards Maria. However, most of his kind words to her seem to be said with the purpose of keeping her happy, not because he really means them. If she's happy, then he doesn't feel guilty about his negative thoughts and feelings about her and their marriage.

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susan


Thu Jul 14, 2005 8:55 pm
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In SotL, HH is particularly petty in his thoughts regarding Maria. He has found love, and sees it denied him by Barbara's marriage to Leighton, a bluff man with no imagination and too much influence in HH's opinion, and his own affiliation with Maria. He takes comfort in the poorness of Captain Bolton's bride and how comparable she is to his own wife, while comparing them both to the radiance that is Barbara. HH, to put it mildly, is besotted with Lady Babs.
To cover his state, he strives to say things to keep Maria happy, rather than hurt her feelings and cause her to have suspicions regarding his own desire for infidelity.
It's actually an interesting statement about how CSF saw his character interact.
Charity


Sun Jul 17, 2005 4:29 am
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HMS Charity wrote:
He has found love, and sees it denied him by Barbara's marriage to Leighton,

Later on in the book, HH admits to himself that he denied himself her love.

"She had been his for the asking, once. He had kissed her, clasped her. No matter that he had been afraid to take her—he slurred that memory over in his present indignation—she had offered, and he had declined." (Ch. 19)

(Funny thing...It just occurred to me that this is sort of what happened to Bolitho and Catherine. For whatever reason, Bolitho declined to continue their relationship once they returned to England and Kate ended up marrying Lacey Somervell.)

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Sun Jul 17, 2005 5:00 am
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susan wrote:
HMS Charity wrote:
He has found love, and sees it denied him by Barbara's marriage to Leighton,

Later on in the book, HH admits to himself that he denied himself her love.

"She had been his for the asking, once. He had kissed her, clasped her. No matter that he had been afraid to take her—he slurred that memory over in his present indignation—she had offered, and he had declined." (Ch. 19)

(Funny thing...It just occurred to me that this is sort of what happened to Bolitho and Catherine. For whatever reason, Bolitho declined to continue their relationship once they returned to England and Kate ended up marrying Lacey Somervell.)

I recall that passage in Chapter 19 and found it interesting that HH would long after that which he had turned down (typical male reaction in so many ways). But in the early pages, he truly is brutal in his personal evaluation of himself and comparing Maria to Babs.
As for the Bolitho/Catherine by-play, I've always been puzzled by the lack of Richard's follow up of the relationship after Signal-Close Action! He wonders if he will see her in London ... then nothing in the next few books about Kate at all. For that reason I found her reappearance in Honor This Day quite jarring in nature.
Charity


Sun Jul 17, 2005 5:16 am
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One bit that made me particularly sad is when HH is looking at himself in the mirror and admiring his new dress uniform, right before he and Maria go out to their dinner appointment with Leighton. He suddenly remembers that Maria is only wearing a cheap pair of cotton stockings and feels guilty. I know he has to look the part of a senior post captain, but you'd think he could have spared a bit of money to get her some nice silk ones at least.

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Mon Jul 18, 2005 11:28 pm
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Was he more well-heeled at that time? I recall he was always scraping around for money, although, as I said, I haven't read them for a while.

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Tue Jul 19, 2005 5:26 am
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>Was he more well-heeled at that time? I recall he was always scraping
>around for money, although, as I said, I haven't read them for a
>while.

I don't believe so. Remember, in "Flying Colors", that one of the packages he receives after he escapes was one of his presentation swords, which he'd had to pawn.

We have to remember that Hornblower's very career depended on presenting the right physical appearance. Then, as now, admirals and generals look with disfavor upon slovenly-dressed officers.

Ron Wanttaja


Tue Jul 19, 2005 2:39 pm
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Mil Goose wrote:
Was he more well-heeled at that time? I recall he was always scraping around for money, although, as I said, I haven't read them for a while.

As Ron said, HH was not well-heeled at that time. He had drawn upon his back pay from a two-year commission in Lydia (Beat To Quarters) to purchase his new uniform, a few books about the Peninsula Campaign and to pay each man from the Lydia a guinea each, leaving him nothing to spare for cabin stores until he pawned the 100-guinea sword two or three days before sailing.
While it was sad that he couldn't provide better for Maria, his career demanded that he be outfitted for six months, at least, each time he left port, no small sum involved in doing that.
And given the cost of silk hose, it would have been difficult to afford a pair specially for her, and I doubt she would have fit into a pair of HH's
Charity


Tue Jul 19, 2005 4:34 pm
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I do understand that dress and the items HH needed to keep up the appearance of a "proper officer and a gentleman" were very important. It just rubs me the wrong way that he is being so critical of her appearance when she is doing the best that she can with what she has.

I have a feeling that if HH had the chance to buy something for Lady Barbara, he'd find the money somehow.

I don't think it's unheard of that officer-husbands would try to scrimp a little bit to provide nice things for their wives/families. After all, wasn't a wife's appearance a reflection of the officer's status as well?

When I have a chance, I'll check my copies of the Wynne diaries to see if Betsey Fremantle comments on this sort of issue.

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Tue Jul 19, 2005 5:37 pm
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susan wrote:

When I have a chance, I'll check my copies of the Wynne diaries to see if Betsey Fremantle comments on this sort of issue.



Yes, that will be interesting. Regrettably, I've never got round to reading much of my reprinted copy. I look forward to hearing her comments, if any. (PS on the recent Nelson celebrations on TV was a Mr Fremantle whose ancestor was Thomas)

I really have to laugh at his debate; its a classic case, as I see it, of the chaps v. chappesses.

They justifying their reasons why they should not be treating her to something, when he has spent all the money on himself.

Yes, yes, chaps, I fully appreciate appearances were/are everything in getting on in life, but behind every successful chappie is a woman putting him there, and she cannot in cotton stockings. :lol:

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Tue Jul 19, 2005 6:51 pm
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susan wrote:
I do understand that dress and the items HH needed to keep up the appearance of a "proper officer and a gentleman" were very important. It just rubs me the wrong way that he is being so critical of her appearance when she is doing the best that she can with what she has.


Certainly! That's part of the conflict here...the person who has control of the purse strings internally complaining that his spouse doesn't spend enough on her appearance.

The best characters in fiction echo the reader's life, somehow. Most of us have probably been in a relationship where one partner thought that a certain expensive item was a necessity, while the other considered it a luxury. It makes HH seem more "real" to us....

Ron Wanttaja


Wed Jul 20, 2005 2:26 pm
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In case anyone is unaware, this was the price of silk stockings in 1785.

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Wed Jul 20, 2005 2:58 pm
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Mil Goose wrote:
Yes, yes, chaps, I fully appreciate appearances were/are everything in getting on in life, but behind every successful chappie is a woman putting him there, and she cannot in cotton stockings. :lol:


Indeed, she cannot in cotton stockings. And HH's diatribe with himself is almost worth the price of the book. Had he set aside a few pence for his wife's comforts, perhaps she would not have displayed such a dowdish appearance.
I did get the impression from the book that Maria, while no classic beauty, wasn't going to get kicked out for eating ship's bread in bed.
She was plain looking in plain looking attire, plus she had delivered two children and was pregnant with a third in "Ship of the Line" so Horatio should undoubtedly have given her some leeway in the radiance department. And how she looked to someone like, say, Captain Bolton, we are never treated to know. Perhaps he saw her as something more than Horatio did.
Forester never tells us, but it might be interesting to know if Horatio fantasized over Barbara while lying in bed with Maria. :twisted:
Apologies if this is too off-topic or off-color for the thread, so edit away if necessary.
Charity


Wed Jul 27, 2005 1:05 am
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