HMS Indefatigable,

Portsmouth,

ENGLAND.

Dear Edward,

                        Forgive my poor writing dear brother for I am writing this letter in trying circumstances. I would have postponed scribbling this missive however we sail on the morning tide so if it is not written now it never shall be. However, for one thing, I am writing on a ship, in weather that is making Horatio look distinctly green, even at anchor, and for another thing, I feel I must confess, I suspect I am slightly worse for wear after the quantity of rum that was drunk last night in the wardroom. Come to think of it, that may too be what is giving Horatio such as unpleasant caste. Poor Horatio… he doesn't look at all well, in fact he looks quite remarkably similar to the way I feel.

            Anyway, enough of my feeble excuses. My inebriation is no ones fault  but my own and I should not be wasting good ink complaining on it, instead I should be informing you of how such behaviour came about before you suspect me of becoming  the drunken lout I suspect father feared I might be. Pass on my regards to him by the way, and information you feel pertinent. I would have written to him myself but for one thing I fear I do not have the time, and for another I suspect he should struggle to read my writing and would be less forgiving about its causes.

            Forgive me, I shall ramble no longer and instead pass on my good news. You see Edward, this scrawled note comes to you from the pen of Commissioned Lieutenant Archibald Kennedy! Yes, you read that correctly, and I suspect several times! A board was convened in Portsmouth and Captain Pellew saw fit to put forward my name. I confess I was a nervous wreck on the day before, everywhere I went about the ship, people fired questions at me and then debated answers until I was no longer sure of my own name. However despite telling Horatio several time that, I wasn't going, come hell or high water, go I did and stood my ground preparing for abject humiliation of one kind or another. Yet the strangest thing happened, despite being stood in a somewhat foreboding room of Admiralty House in front of three equally foreboding Captains, as each question was asked I felt I was stood on the deck of  the Indy, so clear was each situation in my mind! So it appears the inquisition helped for I was recommended for promotion, a recommendation that fortunately Captain Pellew took. So celebrations abounded in the wardroom last night, with frequent toasts being made to; the king, myself, Captain Pellew, Horatio, Mr Bracegirdle, Mr Bowles, Norie (of Norie's Seamanship), The indy, The board and I believe several others. A good time was had by all, until this morning at least.

            So I go now on my merry way, to purchase my new uniform and to post this to you. I hope that it at least makes some kind of sense.

            Pass on my love and regards to the family, father and your wife and children and apologise for my failure to visit. I shall attempt to do so next time I am back at this foggy green isle, though I do not know when that will be…

Regards,

Archie.

(Lieutenant,HMS Indefatigable)

P.S. Sorry! Couldn't resist! I am still not quite used to this and keep doing 'double takes' when called 'Lieutenant Kennedy' so I thought it necessary to practice!

***

The Cabin next door,

The Indy.

H'ratio,

            I know this seems a little odd, but it would be difficult and embarrassing for both of us were I to say this out loud. You are on watch now, otherwise perhaps I would have saved this until I had time to speak to you , however we both know that life aboard ship is a busy one, and even the most well meaning of us do not get everything done that we might like.

            I apologise, I am waxing lyrical, no doubt due to the rum, I must get some sleep before my watch or Captain Pellew will have my head. Anyway, to return the matter at hand. I just wanted to thank you H'ratio, for all the encouragement and help you gave me in the preparation for the exam and the kick you gave me out of the cabin door this morning. Thank you for being there as a friend through…. everything I feel I do not need to name here and now.

            So… that was it. Difficult to express both in words and writing, but important nonetheless, THANK YOU! For if it were not for you my circumstances, would like as not, be a little different to those I find myself in now. And for that, my friend, I am eternally grateful…

Lt. Archie.

(from top to toe a new man!)

***

The Indefatigable,

Gibraltar Harbour,

Gibraltar.

Dear Father,

                 Thank you for your kind words of congratulation regarding my promotion. I am slowly becoming used to the loss of my white collar patches and my new coat but I feel it may take a little longer for the idea of being a Commissioned Lieutenant to settle in my mind.

                The Indefatigable has once again been serving with the Channel Fleet, patrolling for both French and Spanish ships. We succeeded in capturing two vessels and I was given command of the second vessel and sailed her back to Gibraltar. I was most fortunate to encounter no other vessels and now I shall receive a sum of prize money for which I am grateful. I also suffered a minor injury during an earlier battle with a frigate, a minor splinter to the leg, from which I have since fully recovered.

            Mr Hornblower is well and sends you his regards. He commanded the first prize vessel back to Gibraltar so it has been a while since I saw him last. However we both returned to the Indefatigable today and have been granted leave to go ashore which is no doubt when I shall post this letter.

            I apologise for not visiting when I last returned to England but I am hoping to return home next time we dock in Portsmouth if that will be acceptable. I will inform you as soon as I have any idea of when that may be.

Regards,

Archibald.

***

The Wardroom,

HMS Indefatigable,

Gibraltar Harbour,

Gibraltar.

Dear Edward,

                        Again I must apologise for my poor writing, but I have just written to Father in my best scrawl and now my hand aches. First I must thank you for your congratulations and must ask you to thank Elinor for her marvellous picture of me in my new uniform. I must say that I feel she will develop  precocious talent for art, and she had a remarkable memory, for someone who has only seen her Uncle Archie once the likeness was uncanny.  Even Horatio was impressed and he has no appreciation for art in its finest form. Last time we had leave I took him to see a marvellous adaptation of 'Hamlet' however I got the impression that he didn't share my enthusiasm for it. Never mind, I do not  share his passion for Euclidean mathematics either.

            The Indy has been serving with the Channel Fleet running down French and Spanish frigates at every conceivable turn. I was injured most heroically in a brief spat with a frigate, from which they eventually turned and ran. No doubt after hearing my cursing! I took a small splinter to the leg, easily removed but quite painful at the time. Why is it I am always in close proximity to where the Frogs are firing??

            Despite the mishap we were in fine form and managed to capture two vessels, unfortunately not frigates, but reasonably sized merchant vessels. I was most fortunate to be given command of one vessel to sail back to Gibraltar while Horatio was given command of the second.

            The voyage back to port was reasonably uneventful and my prize crew, while small were all experienced sailors. So the voyage passed with few misdemeanours. A fact which in itself was surprising. The only mishap was when we tried to outrun a similar French merchant vessel while in Fog, only to discover that it was in fact Horatio and his prize crew. But I would rather have a bruised ego than become complacent and risk my crew. Oh dear, that sounded pompous didn't it?? Rank going to my head.  The upshot of this foray into command means that I have gained some prize money at last, and while I resolved to save it, or at least spend it wisely I have already purchased some new poetry books. Much to Horatio's disgust. Though I saw him spending some of his on a book of mathematical theorems so I do not think he has any right to criticise my purchase, though he may argue otherwise.

            We have both since returned to the Indy, and were joyfully reunited:

Me: 'Greetings, Mr Hornblower.

Him: Oh it's you. I thought it was Mr Bracegirdle. Damn that means I have to go and find him… do you know where he is?

            Oh yes, the life of a naval is officer is all camaraderie and romance (!)  He had since apologised for his rudeness, and explained that he had been having 'a bad morning' I did not press him further, but we have been granted permission to go ashore for a few hours this afternoon and a meal and a drink may persuade him to tell me what is bothering him.

Speaking of which I had better sign off soon since he is now pacing the room in an unrestrained attempt at chivvying me along to finish so that we can find something to eat. About time too…I'm famished.

Please give my love and regards to your family, I hope I shall see you soon.

Regards,

(Lt.) Archie.

P.S. Sorry…. I'll stop it soon.

***

HMS Indefatigable,

Portsmouth,

England.

Dear Father,

            I arrived safely in Portsmouth and reported to the Indefatigable on time, so my fears about being late were unwarranted. Please pass on my thanks to Mrs Clarke for the provisions she sent, they were much appreciated in the wardroom upon my return.

            I know it is not long since I saw you last but I am writing to inform you of a change in my circumstances. I have been reassigned to HMS Renown, a 74 gun ship of the line, under the command of Captain James Sawyer. Captain Pellew has been promoted to Commodore and it is his change in rank that has led to my reassignment. I will serve as fourth lieutenant, while Mr Hornblower will serve as third. This posting will give me increased responsibility and is a step up from serving on the Indefatigable. I am looking forward to the challenges that await.

Regards,

Archibald.

***

The Wardroom,

HMS Indefatigable,

Portsmouth.

ENGLAND.

Dear Edward,

                        There is no need to groan dear brother for I am not announcing my imminent return and yes I am aware that I have just departed from my visit and so to write to you again so soon is perhaps slightly odd. I am merely dropping you a brief note to inform you that any further communication must by addressed to 4th Lieutenant Archie Kennedy, of his majesty's ship, Renown! For Horatio and I have been reassigned to a 74! A ship of the line, under the command of CAPTAIN JAMES SAWYER no less! One of Nelson's own and a hero of the Nile!!! Horatio can hardly contain his exuberance, I have made no effort to try! A 74!!!! Although I think that we both feel a pang of sadness at leaving the Indy which has been our home for so long. However Captain Pellew is now Commodore Sir Edward Pellew so at least our reassignment comes from favourable circumstances.

            I have been granted a further two weeks leave, for which I must wait in Portsmouth waiting for the docking of the Renown. Horatio and I are about to leave to look for rooms and then…. To celebrate and say our farewells!!  I must say it will be strange not to rejoin the Indy but some men of our divisions are coming with us, including Styles and Matthews so it will not be a totally strange experience.

I must be away now, pass on my love to your family as I go onwards to my next adventure.

 Perhaps things are finally looking up for Archie K….

Regards.

Archie.

4th Lieutenant; HMS Renown

***

H.M.S. Indefatigable,

Portsmouth,

England.

Captain Pellew Sir,

                        I am writing to offer my sincerest congratulations on your promotion to Commodore and to express my regret that this means I now have to leave the Indefatigable.

I have learnt a great deal under your command sir, and I wish to thank you for the confidence you once showed in a Midshipman who had no confidence left in himself.

I wish you all the very best for the future.

Regards.

Lt. A Kennedy.

***

The Cabin Next Door, But not any more.

The Indy.

Portsmouth.

H'Ratio,

            I see you still have to collect your things after your watch. I have gone ashore with Mr Bowles to look for some rooms to see us through. Did not see Cpt. Pellew as he hadn't returned from the Admiralty and it was time to go, so left a letter expressing my thanks. Hope he didn't think I was too forward in doing so… Oh well, too late now I suppose, and I can always hope he'll forget. Well, I'll meet you in the Crown as soon as I've found rooms. Seems as good a place as any to celebrate… If you have any objections we can find somewhere else (esp. since there was all that singing last time we were in!)

A.

***

Portsmouth,

Engerland

England.

H,

   Gone for a walk to clear my head.

Don't think there can be any ale left in Portsmouth.

Why do I let you talk me into these things….

                                                                                    A.

P.S. Why is it, the only thing I can remember from last night was that noise you had the temerity to call singing??? Tone deaf or not there was no excuse for that racket!!!

***

HMS Renown,

Portsmouth,

Dear Edward,

            Well I'm back in England after sailing in the Channel. Didn't see much action despite being on a ship of the line. I think they see the size of the Renown and turned tail, with the Indy they tried to push their luck.

            The Renown is very…. Different to the Indy, in terms of both the ship and the crew and I find myself missing Captain Pellew, hard taskmaster that he was. However I am not alone for Horatio and many men from the indy transferred with me so t is not as bad as it might be.

            We are docking in Portsmouth to pick up a new 2nd Lieutenant, I forget his name. Unfortunately I don't think I will even have chance to go ashore and post this myself, I'll send it with one of the men. It is a shame as both Horatio and I can do with some time off ship, one of his men was killed the other day in… unpleasant circumstances and I was hoping he would have opportunity to go ashore and clear his head. Alas it is not to be.

Rumours abound that we are to set sail for the West Indies, one of the Middies, Wellard overheard the Doctor speaking to Mr Buckland. I am looking forward to it, what could be better for us all than a spot of sun in the middle of winter. I'll have to avoid the yellow fever and keep a weather eye out for hurricanes!!

Love and Regards.

Archie.

***

Horatio,

          It is difficult to write this as I am hurrying to finish before Doctor Clive returns. I do not know what to write but I want you to know that what I do, I do for the best. I fear no hangman now for all he can do is hasten the departure which the Spaniard on the Renown began. My only regret now is that I will not live to see you become all that you surely will be but again it was the Spaniard and not the court, who put paid to that dream.

          Please don't mourn for me Horatio, for while my journey is over, yours is just beginning. You have much to achieve and much to live for while I have achieved my  greatest feat - to save my friend, my brother, there is no greater honour than that.

          I know you don't believe but there are many things in heaven and earth not dreamt of in your philosophy Horatio and I will always be there when you need me, even if you don't realise, all the forces of heaven and earth could not keep me from watching your career, and from giving you a swift metaphysical kick when you need it! But there are others too who will be there more solidly for you when you need them. Horatio, for me, admit once in a while that you need someone who will listen, open your heart to let others repay the gifts that you so generously give. I have left Mr Bush with the meagre contents of my purse and it is my wish that you go out for a meal and become better acquainted - he is a good man h'ratio, don't push him away.

          I must away, please explain to my family that what I did, what I do now, is for the best, and tell my father, tell him I am sorry that I could not be the officer he wished me to be.

Thank you for everything Horatio,

Take care always,

Your brother,

Archie.

***

William,

Take care of him.

A.