By: DAVID RICE Re: Patrick O'Brian quote From _Post_Captain_ by Patrick O'Brian _- Jack: '

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By: DAVID RICE Re: Patrick O'Brian quote From _Post_Captain_ by Patrick O'Brian ___----------------------------------- Jack: 'However, I have also been reading it [the Bible], these last few days.' Stephen: 'Ah?' 'Yes. I may preach a sermon to the ship's company next Sunday.' 'You? Preach a sermon?' 'Certainly. Captains often do, when no chaplain is carried. I always made do with the Articles of War in the Sophie, but now I think I shall give them a clear, well-reasoned--- come what's the matter? What is so very entertaining about my preaching a sermon? Damn your eyes, Stephen.' Stephen was doubled in his chair, rocking to and fro, uttering harsh spasmodic squeaks: tears ran down his face. 'What a spectacle you are, to be sure. Now I come to think of it, I do not believe I have ever heard you laugh before. It is a damned illiberal row, I can tell you--- it don't suit you at all. Squeak, squeak. Very well: you shall laugh your bellyful.' He turned away with something about 'pragmatical apes- simpering, tittering' and affected to look into the Bible without the least concern; but there are not many who can find themselves the object of open, whole-hearted, sincere, prostrating laughter without being put out of countenance, and Jack was not one of these few. However, Stephen's mirth died away in time--- a few last crowing whoops and it was over. He got to his feet, and dabbing his face with a handkerchief he took Jack by the hand. 'I am so sorry,' he said. 'I beg your pardon. I would not have vexed you for the world. But there is something so essentially ludicrous, so fundamentally comic... that is to say, I had so droll an association of ideas--- pray do not take it personally at all. Of course you shall preach to the men; I am persuaded it will have a most striking effect.' 'Well,' said Jack, with a suspicious glance, 'I am glad it afforded you so much innocent merriment at all events. Though what you find...' 'What is your text, pray?' 'Are you making game of me, Stephen?' 'Never, upon my word: would scorn it.' 'Well, it is the one about I say come and he cometh; for I am a centurion. I want them to understand it is God's will, and it must be so--- there must be discipline--- 'tis in the Book--- and any infernal bastard that disobeys is therefore a blasphemer too, and will certainly be damned. That it is no good kicking against the pricks: which is in the Book too, as I shall point out.' 'You feel that it will make it easier for them to bear their station, when they learn that it is providential?' 'Yes, yes, that's it. It is all here, you know' tapping the Bible. 'There are an amazing munber of useful things in it,' said Jack, with a candid gaze out of the scuttle.... ... Jesus can't perform tricks in front of skeptics (Matt 13:58 Mk 6:5-6) * Shy.David@EdenBBS.com --- Silver Xpress Mail System 5.4H1 * Origin: "And furthermore, 'Don't call me brother.'" (1:124/9005)

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