Hornblower and the Crisis - An Unfinished Novel (Hornblower by C. S. Forester

By C. S. Forester

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They were packed together in an almost solid mass, but not quite solid; as the Princess leaped and bounded there was just enough play for everyone to bump against his neighbour or against a bulkhead, maddeningly, every second or two. Hornblower in the lower tier (which he had selected sensibly enough to avoid the poisonous upper air) had Meadows above him, a bulkhead on one side and Bush on the other. Sometimes the weight of the three bodies to his left compressed him against the bulkhead, and sometimes he swayed the other way and thumped Bush in the ribs; sometimes the deck below rose up to meet him and sometimes Meadows' vast bulk above came down to impress itself on him — Meadows was an inch or two longer than the cabin and lay in a pronounced curve.

That was the literal answer that had to be given. "And how much of that time were you close up to the Goulet? " It was a point tending very much to discount the one Meadows had made. " He could glance over at Bush and the others, but it had to be a glance of complete indifference; he must not prejudice the Court by a display of sympathy. He made his bow and withdrew. CHAPTER FOUR It was less than half an hour after Hornblower returned to the Princess that Baddlestone got the news, passed from one auxiliary to another as they wallowed waiting for a wind.

Burst out Baddlestone. "All I have is this hoy. " What about Maria, with one child born and another on the way? And — and — what about that promised post rank? Who would lift a finger for a forgotten near-captain in a French prison? Meadows was blaspheming, emitting a stream of senseless oaths and insane filth. "We've thirty men," said Hornblower. " exclaimed Meadows, the filth ending abruptly. Could they? Could they get alongside? No French captain in his right mind would allow it, would risk damage to his precious ship in the strong breeze that was blowing.

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