Aug 20, 2019 4:41 PM
Fabulous Rebecca encounters the Napoleonic wars
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"It wouldn't be any trouble to teach you, Miss Arden - only if you like - one does so rarely meet a music-lover at sea." This last is said with a pointed glance at Captain Harville.

(The second course was some sort of whitefish with lemon. It is being replaced by a roast). 

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Mmm, roast! "Music's my favorite thing in all the world."

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This is all the encouragement the Surgeon needs for a lengthy excursus on that time he saw Mozart performing in Vienna and could have died perfectly content right there in the theatre though really he thinks very little of the contemporary German composers and less of the French and doesn't she find American performers have no notion of taste? 

Captain Harville elbows him in the ribs. 

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"I tried for a bit to perform in America but it didn't work out. I'm not sure it has to do with anyone's taste though."

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"If it didn't work out, my dear, I'm sure it has everything to do with the audience's." 

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"It was my agent. I only got in front of a real audience one time."

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This leads to a lengthy discussion between Captains Harville and Morland about the cultural privations of life in the colonies. Emma is telling Kitty a story about an Indian sea monster with seven heads, all of them with terrible great fangs. 

(They take away the roast and bring out some Ambiguous Pudding).

 

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The ambiguity of the pudding will not stop Rebecca from having at it.

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And eventually it will be time to go. The Surgeon invites her over at 19:00 tomorrow, before her evening watch. 

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"I'll be there! Thank you."

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At 19:00 the next day the Surgeon will be enthusiastically tuning his cello! (It sounds a bit like a dead cat). 

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"Good evening! Do you have sheet music or will it all be by ear and memory -?"

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"I have some - it all depend on what want to sing, of course. I have some music for Haydn's Battle of the Nile, if you'd like, I've been looking forward to it but it does call for a female vocalist. Admiral Nelson performed it himself, you know, with the Lady Hamilton, her singing and him on the pianoforte." 

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"I know it! Does it translate well to cello?"

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"Not particularly! But we've already discussed the difficulties of getting a pianoforte at sea." 

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"Well, I suppose we'll figure it out!"

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His arrangement is actually quite good, condition of the instrument aside. 

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She's delighted to have someone to do music with!

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So is he!! 

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She stops midphrase.

"- monster," she says. And then she bursts out of the room, hollering about it at the top of her lungs. "I FELT A MONSTER, UNDERWATER, STARBOARD -"

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By the time she makes it to the upper deck, lots of things are happening at once. The merchantmen are at full sail and tilting hard to port, while the Clarence holds back to stay between them and the monster. Unfortunately, that puts the monster in a direct line with her stern, outside the spread of her guns. She'll have to pull around to hit the monster with a full broadside, and the wind is against them. Rebecca and Emma will have to hold it off on their own for at least half an hour before they can count on artillery support. 

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Rebecca gets into the air; it's not like the monster can't reach for her there but at least incidental rocking of the ship won't foul her balance and it'll have to reach farther. She starts freezing chunks as fast as she can.

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Something seems to be holding the monster in place. If she looks up, she'll be able to see Emma hovering a hundred feet or so above the surface of the water, pulling it into a massive current. It's taking all her strength to just to keep it in place. 

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Rebecca steers clear of Emma so the monster won't be able to get them both in one grab, and wheels around - she's not good at hovering - to get another angle of view. The monster is shaping itself against the current, getting narrower to cut water resistance and get to the ship, but hasn't managed to slice through the tide yet.

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Emma sees what the monster is trying to do and redirects the current to push against the monster's length, angling it away from the convoy. 

Another ship is visible in the distance. A series of flags start to run up the Clarence's mainmast. Rebecca probably isn't familiar with maritime signaling conventions; if she is, she'll see they spell out SEA MONSTER - AID REQUESTED. 

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