Patrick O'Brian — English Novelist born on December 12, 1914, died on January 02, 2000

Patrick O'Brian, CBE, born Richard Patrick Russ, was an English novelist and translator, best known for his Aubrey–Maturin series, a series of sea novels set in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars and centred on the friendship of English naval captain Jack Aubrey and the Irish–Catalan physician Stephen Maturin. The 20-novel series, the first of which is Master and Commander, is known for its well-researched and highly detailed portrayal of early 19th-century life, as well as its authentic and evocative language. A partially finished twenty-first novel in the series was published posthumously containing facing pages of handwriting and typescript. He wrote a number of other novels and short stories which were mostly published before he achieved success with the Aubrey–Maturin series. He also translated works from French to English, and wrote two biographies... (wikipedia)

I have 60 years of reading to draw upon: naval memoirs, dispatches, the Naval Chronicles, family letters.
In a day when, if you insulted a man it might cost you your life, you were probably more civil.
My wife and I have spent most of our lives in France, and we are both pretty well bilingual, my wife more purely than I, since as a little girl she went to school in French Switzerland.
On a ship, everything is enclosed: the people are right on top of each other and can't get up and walk away.
A freewheeling mind can conceive a virtually infinite number of sequences, but just how that mind picks out and stores those that may perhaps be used later to deal with a given tension, a given situation, is far beyond my understanding.

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