It has been my most singular joy this past age and more, to journey with Lucky Jack Aubrey and the good Doctor and to share their tribulations and their triumphs as they endured betrayal, shipwrecks, bereavement and battle intertwined with the most prodigious good fortune but sadly, our journey is coming to an end. Patrick O’Brian died a couple of years ago and Aubrey and Maturin died with him. And so, when I complete the two books on my nightstand, never again will I experience with Stephen the delight of a well-executed trephining nor hear the Commodore’s booming voice reading the Articles of War and when I turn that last sad, page by the Shakespeare of the Sea I will close the book on one of the finest chapters in English literature.
You can keep your truths, universally acknowledged; the sordid tales of the petty squabbling of the Bennet sisters do not rise to the significance of a single pudding from a single meal at the table of Captain Jack Aubrey.
“The French may say what they please, and Apicius, with his slave-fed Moray eels, was no doubt very well;, but, it seems to me that civilization reaches its very height in the glistening, gently mottled form of just such a pudding as this, bedewed with its unctuous sauce.”