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.'
'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
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)
--- Silver Xpress Mail System 5.4H1
* Origin: "And furthermore, 'Don't call me brother.'" (1:124/9005)