Persuasion 200: The Taking of the Laconia, by Jack Caldwell — 38 Comments

  1. Wonderful chapter. You have made the tension palpable. I could hear , see & smell the battle. I am glad you had Wentworth retain some of his compassionate side (his feelings about the deaf lieutenant). He still hasn’t put Anne’s rejection behind him. But, if he’d had her to think of it might have made him less reckless (not quite the right word, but can’t come up with a better one at this time) and note cautious which could’ve cost him prizes or his life fulfilling Lady R’s fears for Anne’s future. At the end you can still feel his pain of Anne’s rejection and his pride and determination to treat her with his own rejection which will cost them another 7 1/2 wasted years apart.

    Thank you Jack. I am looking forward to your other chapters coming up.

    • No problem.

      Readers will note that Wentworth’s manner of speaking is more rough than it was when he met Anne. You see, there’s no place for polite conversation at sea, especially during battle. He’ll be his usual proper self back on shore.

      • Polite conversation (drawing room manners) during battle do not a live man make. He just wouldn’t have survived. Can you imagine…’Will you please put down your sword so I can take your ship?’. Nope. I sure can’t.

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed this chapter. You really know how to make history and battle scenes come alive here as you did in the Three Colonels. I love action adventure novels as much as I love Austen, so it’s a real treat to see the two genres combined. I was about to give up on this adaptation because Persuasion has never been a favorite of mine, but you drew me back in for the time being. I thoroughly enjoyed Wentworth’s voice in this chapter, and the chance to walk in his shoes. It was thrilling!

  3. I love naval battles, especially cutting-out expeditions! Nice work–the suspense you created for us readers was just right. Thanks for including this scene in the collection.

  4. Well, that was exciting! Really enjoyed that battle. I suppose I shouldn”t like that he called Lady Russel a witch–but it kind of felt good to read that. 🙂

  5. That was so much more interesting than I had anticipated! Sometimes with battle scenes my eyes kind of glaze over a bit, but I enjoyed this a lot. Thanks, Jack!

  6. Nice change of pace. Enjoyed the action and battle scenes very much. Men behave differently when among men, not their company manners, glad to get a glimpse of this side of Wentworth, a side Jane doesn’t share with us. Looking forward to Thursday installment.

  7. Very suspenseful and enjoyable read! Thank you! I am definitely not an expert on ships, sailing, or the geography of the Caribbean so I did do a little investigating to figure out what was what. Educational for me, so I appreciate that. Very touching bit at the end that though it had been a year since the broken proposal, somehow through force of habit (?) Wentworth thought about Anne’s approval, and then bitterly realized that he wasn’t likely to get it. Sigh!

    • How did Austen put it?

      “Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death (…) You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men.”

      Wentworth’s gonna be haunted by Anne until they meet again.

  8. That certainly kept my attention! And it was easily imagined with your details. Laughed at the “hysterical, half-naked, dark-skinned woman” passage and how he pitied the Bahamians after he put her ashore – not even knowing what she was saying as she cursed him! His thoughts about Anne and how she continues to be on his mind and he goes on a bender with those thoughts – telling! Looking forward to tomorrow’s entry. Thanks for this exciting chapter.

  9. You do the best fighting scenes! You brought out the dangers they faced in boarding an enemy ship where they are outnumbered, outgunned, and in full view of the shore. They were lucky to be able to lock all the privateers down below – and to have access to food themselves for the trip to Nassau.

    The ending was sad, with Wentworth still thinking of Anne first before he thinks of his family – and then remembering Anne’s rejection and getting drunk. I hope he doesn’t still get drunk after five or six years…

    THANK YOU for the great post, Jack!

    PS – what is a “jolly boat”? You don’t mean a Carnival Cruise ship, right? XD

    • A ship had several sizes of what you would call row boats. The largest was the captain’s launch. The smallest was often referred to as a jolly boat. I’m not sure how that name came to be.

  10. Loved reading about CFW as Action Man Fightin’ Freddie! I really enjoyed the change of pace here and I could see Ciaran Hinds (as he was in 1995, not as Aberforth Dumbledore or Mance Rayder!) climbing up on to the Laconia even as I read. Thanks for such an exciting chapter, Jack.

    Yes, I also wondered about the comment he made about Lady R. I’ve come across a few Royal Navy and ex-Navy men in the past and I can’t see any of them using the term “witch” in preference to the other one beginning with b!

    The very last part is heart-wrenching, though. The first person he thinks about telling of his likely promotion is Anne and then reality dawns, again. Only seven and a half years to go!

    Must go and read the next chapter now, as I see it’s been posted. A court martial? Surely not!

  11. I really enjoyed reading with your depiction of Wentworth’s heroics in capturing the Laconia, Jack. It’s suspenseful and riveting to know that he and his mates survived the night with very little loss of life on the British side. I’m off to read the next chapter now.

    • Aggression often reduced causalities because of the element of surprise. That, and the fact that guns could not hold multiple shots. Remember Nelson — “Never mind maneuvers — just go straight at them!”

  12. Loved this scene Jack! Also loving the photos too! My husband would die for the miniature portrait of your painting of “Fightin’ Freddie”. He is currently building a model ship to scale of the HMS Victory. Now off to respond to the next chapter and the ‘court martial’!!!

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