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    Mark Arbour
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Odyssey - 9. Chapter 9

May 9, 1797

           

“His Lordship will see you now, my lord,” the secretary said politely, as he led Granger down the corridor to Spencer’s office. Granger matched the man’s pace, and focused his energy on maintaining his outward appearance, which was most definitely at odds with his internal rumblings. His stomach was churning with both anxiety over this latest meeting with Spencer, and over the damage he’d done to it with his excessive drinking last night. There had been a big party at his parents’ home to celebrate his introduction into the Lords, and Granger had spent the night toasting and drinking with his friends and peers. Spencer had been there, of course, with his lovely wife Lavinia, but he hadn’t stayed very late, and he didn’t seem to drink all that much. Granger, on the other hand, had stayed up very late indeed.

The secretary ushered him in and closed the door behind him. Granger was surprised to find Lord Howe there as well. “Welcome, Granger,” Spencer said cheerfully.

“Granger,” Howe said simply, and nodded.

“It is a pleasure to see you both,” Granger said, bowing politely.

“I was worried that you would have difficulties making our appointment after your soiree last night,” Spencer teased.

“I fear I am a little worse for the wear, sir,” Granger said with a weak smile.

“Are you well enough to travel to Portsmouth?” Howe asked.

Granger looked to Spencer, confused. “Howe has been appointed as the representative of the Crown in resolving this mutiny. He is travelling to Portsmouth to deliver copies of the bill…”

“And as I am an old man, I could use some help in persuading these delegates that this thing is over,” Howe interjected, finishing Spencer’s sentence.

“I would be happy to accompany you, sir, if you think I may be of assistance,” Granger lied, hiding the dread he felt inside. He dreaded the trip to Portsmouth, one that would take him away from his home and his ship, and send him off in a stuffy coach that would undoubtedly lurch over the bumpy roads. His stomach grumbled, as if to register its negative vote on the whole venture. He further dreaded immersing himself in this unpleasant affair, where he would be meeting with admirals who thought him impertinent, and captains who thought him an upstart, and he would have to try hard to hide his feelings toward them, his impression that they were old and incapable of the roles they were trying to fulfill. And he would further have to exercise extreme diplomacy lest they see that he felt that their inattention to their crews and conditions had been at least partly responsible for the whole nightmare.

“The press is printing them as we speak. I suspect they will be ready at noon,” Spencer said. “That gives you a few hours to prepare your departure.”

“I propose that I pick up these pamphlets and then retrieve you, Granger,” Howe said. “Expect me to arrive at Portland Place at half past noon.”

“Perhaps Your Lordship would care to dine before we leave?” Granger asked.

“I think we should get started. I have no wish to spend all night in a carriage,” Howe said gloomily.

“Then instead, I will prepare some food for us to take along,” Granger offered.

“That should work out splendidly,” Howe said. Granger stood there for a moment, waiting for them to say something else, but as there was nothing but silence, he recognized that he was being dismissed.

“Then I will wait on you at 12:30,” Granger said. “Gentlemen,” he said, bowing, and then turned and left.

He went back to his house and instructed Winkler to pack up his things, instructed Cheevers to pack up some food for them, and then took a short nap and a long bath. He explained what his plans were to Caroline, who was having a rougher morning than he was, what with the aftermath of the party combined with the normal ravages of her pregnancy. In the end he was able to get himself ready just in time to greet Howe, and load their foodstuffs and his trunk onto the carriage.

Granger took out some of the delicacies that Cheevers had put together for them and served himself and Howe. “I appreciate you coming along with me, Granger,” Howe said, unbending a bit.

“I am happy to help,” Granger said, with a little more sincerity than he’d had this morning. “To be honest, I am not sure that I can add much. Last time I was there, I felt as if I was most unwelcome.”

“I’m sure this has been tough on Bridport,” Howe said. “He really doesn’t have the ability to solve the problem himself, and he was facing a most obstinate government.”

“I suspect that having me there must have seemed as if outside people were interfering in a Channel Fleet affair,” Granger noted.

“That is probably not the case for Bridport, but it may very well be the case for the others. Gardner and Colpoys are good admirals, but terrible diplomats. Both of them have done nothing but add fuel to the flames.”

“That is unfortunate,” Granger said.

“And as you know, the Channel Fleet tends to be the last depository for us old, worn-out veterans, a place where we can use our experience to protect the nation. That theory ignores the more moribund ideas that tend to come from old age and experience, but then again, there is much at risk, so a more cautious approach is probably warranted.”

“So since the Channel Fleet is the last redoubt against a French invasion, you’re suggesting that a more conservative strategy is required, as opposed to the Mediterranean, where a bit more dash is acceptable?” Granger asked.

“Just a bit more dash,” Howe allowed, grinning at Granger. Granger pondered his words, and it bothered him that he hadn’t really figured that out before. It made complete sense that England would keep her older, more experienced admirals and captains close to home, both for their benefit and for hers. There would be no gambling, no throwing of the dice on a wild plan, with the Channel Fleet.

“I think it is perhaps a good thing that I have served most of my time in the Mediterranean, then,” Granger joked.

“I think you may be right,” Howe allowed, and laughed a bit. They ate in silence for a bit. “I am wondering if I may impose on you for a favor.”

“If it is within my power to help you, sir, I will gladly accommodate you,” Granger responded.

“You once took one of my nephews and turned him into a fine young midshipman, one that we were sad to lose at such a young age,” Howe said.

Granger nodded, remembering Ballvin, a midshipman who had all but worshipped the ground he’d walked on when he was a lieutenant. Ballvin had been to Granger what Granger had probably been to Travers, only Granger never had sex with Ballvin. The young man had died in a battle with a French frigate, and had died quite bravely. “His loss was a tragedy for England,” Granger said.

“Thank you,” Howe said, and paused, as they both remembered the dead young man. “I have another nephew who wants to make his career in the Navy. He is Oliver Scrope, and seems to be a bright lad. I am wondering if you would take him aboard Bacchante as one of your midshipmen.”

“I would be happy to oblige Your Lordship. How old is this young man, and how much service has he had?”

“He has just turned 14, and has not yet been to sea,” Howe replied. That last phrase meant that he’d probably been carried on ships’ books without actually serving, a common practice, and one that had helped Granger achieve early promotion.

“I’m sure he will be a welcome addition to the ship,” Granger said, formalizing the arrangement. He’d just gotten himself a new midshipman. “Since it is to be a long voyage, a better question may have been whether he played a musical instrument.”

Howe laughed at that. “I am told he is competent with the violin.”

“That may help liven up an otherwise boring evening,” Granger joked. “What are we to do at Spithead?”

“We are to meet with the delegates and present the copies of the bill, and hope that is an end to things. I am there because they know me, and presumably trust me. Your mission is to be a bit tougher.”

“Sir?” Granger asked.

“I am tasking you to go out to the London and try to save Bover’s skin, as well as Colpoys,” Howe said. “You can reason with the men. There is to be no retribution for this action.”

“I will do my best,” Granger said dubiously. “How am I to respond to Admiral Colpoys when he directs me to mind my own damn business?”

Howe laughed again. “You are taking him orders to strike his flag. I think he will be docile. And his flag captain is junior even to you.”

“He’s striking his flag?” Granger asked, amazed.

“As I said, he has not handled this well, and it is not a good commentary on his abilities as a fleet commander. Spencer has a high opinion of him, and he is technically and administratively competent, so they will find him a position that will serve him and England well.”

“I am glad of that,” Granger lied. He didn’t see those skills in Colpoys, and thought England would be best served if the admiral retired to the country and never set foot in the Admiralty again, but he kept his mouth shut.

 

May 10, 1797

 

“Boat ahoy!” came the cry from the London.

Granger cleared his throat. “Captain the Right Honorable Viscount Granger,” he shouted. He half-expected them to order him to stand off or even possibly to be met by a warning shot, but the ship showed no signs of animosity. The boat hooked on to the London’s main chains, and Granger scrambled up her steep sides. He was almost surprised to find himself greeted by the standard naval flourishes, with four sideboys in attendance and bosun’s whistles as prescribed.

“Welcome aboard, my lord,” Captain Edward Griffith said cordially. He was Colpoy’s nephew.

“Thank you, Captain,” Granger said just as cordially. He was aware that there were men all around him, eavesdropping shamelessly. In Bacchante, one of the petty officers would have chased them off, but here discipline was in such disarray, they were allowed to remain. “I have come to deliver dispatches to Admiral Colpoys, and to assist in the resolution of the recent problems aboard.”

“We are quite capable of handling our own affairs, my lord,” Griffith said coldly.

“That I am here, Captain, suggests that Their Lordships of the Admiralty are not as confident of that as you are,” Granger observed, with just as much frigidity. “If you will please lead me to the admiral’s cabin, I would be obliged.”

“Right this way, my lord,” he said grudgingly. Granger followed him, aware of the intense curiosity his arrival had generated. He found the admiral seated in his cabin.

“So you’re back again, my lord?” Colpoys asked Granger flippantly, and motioned him to a chair. That he didn’t even bother to stand to greet Granger irritated Granger greatly, but he assumed it was these same diplomatic skills, or lack thereof, that had helped spark this latest crisis. Granger merely handed Colpoys his orders, and sat as he was bidden.

“I bring you dispatches, sir, and I am to assist in resolving the current problems aboard this ship.”

“We don’t require your assistance, my lord,” the admiral growled.

“Begging your pardon, sir, but perhaps you would prefer to read your instructions before we broach that issue?” Granger offered politely.

“Hmph,” he said, but tore open the envelope and began to read the letter from the Admiralty. Granger watched as his face grew ashen in shock, then red in anger.

“What is it, sir?” Griffith asked.

Colpoys looked as though he was first going to scowl at Griffith, then that he was going to eject Granger from his cabin, but in the end, he sighed. Granger hid his disgust at this sign of weakness. “I am to strike my flag no later than the 14th of this month, and report to London directly after that.”

“Surely not, sir!” Griffith objected. His shock and horror were no doubt due to the slap to his uncle, the admiral, but also to the significance for his own career. He’d been appointed as captain of the London because Colpoys was her admiral, but now that he was to leave, the London would be much too large a command for a captain of his limited seniority. He’d have to beg the Admiralty for a ship, and after what had transpired aboard the London, it may be difficult to convince their lordships that he was capable of command at all.

“It is here, written quite clearly, unlike most of the directives I have received from Spencer,” Colpoys growled as he re-read his orders, and then seemed uncomfortable at having let his real emotions show for Granger. He channeled all of his anger and outrage at Granger, as he turned his attention back to him. “But as I am still the flag officer on board this ship, I do not require your assistance. Good day, my lord.”

“As you wish, sir,” Granger said, and rose. “I will convey to Lord Spencer that I attempted to implement his orders, but you overrode them.” He turned to walk from the cabin.

“Alright, Granger,” Colpoys said, stopping him. “You think that you can save Bover’s skin? You go right ahead.”

“Captain Griffith, I have need of your cabin so I have a place to meet with the delegates and the officers in question,” Granger said to Griffith. “I would be appreciative if you would show me the way, when you are available.”

Colpoys gave him a truly evil look, but Griffith was more agreeable, especially now that it appeared he was to be kicked ashore as well. “I am at your disposal, my lord.”

He led Granger up to his cabin, which was as large as Colpoys’, only much less ornate. Granger situated himself at the head of Griffith’s dining table. “I will need someone to take notes and record testimony,” Granger said.

“Is this to be a court-martial, my lord?” he asked nervously.

“No, Griffith, only an inquiry,” Granger noted. “I assume it would not trouble you if I helped myself to a glass?” Granger nodded at Griffith’s bar.

“No, my lord. Of course not,” Griffith said, truly unhappy that he had been exposed as a bad host. In no time at all, a secretary appeared, and Griffith poured Granger a glass of wine himself.

“I think I am ready to begin,” Granger announced.

“Who would you like to interview first, my lord?” Griffith asked.

“You, Captain,” Granger said. Griffith seemed nervous about that. “This is your ship.”

“Certainly, my lord,” Griffith said, frustrated.

“Can you tell me what happened?” Granger asked. “You are not on trial here. I am just trying to get enough information so I can appeal to the delegates to spare Lieutenant Bover.”

Griffith nodded, and seemed to relax a bit. “A party of delegates approached the ship, demanding to be allowed to come aboard. The admiral didn’t want to deal with them, and based on the instructions we received from the Admiralty on not tolerating mutiny of any sort, it seemed the right thing to do.”

“So you refused them permission?” Granger asked, to prompt him.

“We did. They tried to come aboard anyway, and the marines were preparing to stop them, when some of the men began to train one of the guns on the foc’sl aft, to aim it at the quarterdeck. Lieutenant Bover intervened, ordering them to stop at once. They obeyed orders but for one man, impudent scum, who actually had the nerve to dare Bover to shoot him. I think it was too much for Mr. Bover, for all of us, who had endured so much from that man in particular, and some of the others. The man began to move the gun again, and when he refused to stop, Bover shot him.”

Granger kept his face impassive, even though internally he was amazed that this had happened, and even more amazed that Bover was one of London’s more popular officers. He wondered what the unpopular ones were like. “Horrible,” he said. “What happened next?”

“There was a riot. The men charged the quarterdeck, and it ended up that one delegate, three sailors, three marines, a midshipman and an officer were wounded. After that, the marines sided with the mutineers, and all of the officers except me, the admiral, and Mr. Bover were sent ashore. The crew held a court-martial for the Admiral and Mr. Bover, a hideous thing,” he said with a sneer, “and found them guilty. Some of them wanted to hang them on the spot, but the delegates intervened.”

“So that is how it stands now?” Granger asked, unable to hide how stunned he was. He hadn’t known about all the other casualties, only about the one man whom Bover had shot. He hadn’t known that there was a riot, and that the crew had seized complete control of the ship. He hadn’t known that there was this impromptu and illegal court-martial, and he certainly hadn’t known that Colpoys and Bover had a death sentence hanging over their heads.

“No, my lord,” Griffith said sadly. “One of the wounded men has died ashore of his wounds, and we’ve received a summons for me, Admiral Colpoys and Lieutenant Bover to go ashore tomorrow to answer for his death before a civil trial.”

Granger’s mind rebelled against that at first, but then he mulled it over. “That may end up being a good thing.”

“My lord?” Griffith asked, surprised.

“If a civil jury acquits them, it will put this whole thing to rest.”

“But how can that be done? Surely the jurors will find sympathy with the dead man.”

“Find out if there are any men aboard who are willing to testify on Bover’s behalf. Anyone who is willing to go out on a limb for him. Can you do that?”

“Certainly, my lord,” Griffith asked.

“Then, if you will, please send Lieutenant Bover back to see me.”

“That may be difficult, my lord,” Griffith said nervously. “He is under arrest.”

“Can you have the leader of the mutineers sent back then?” Granger asked.

Griffith nodded, and left him alone. It only took a few minutes for a seaman to enter the cabin. He approached Granger respectfully. “Good morning, my lord. I am John Fleming, able seaman.”

“Good morning, Fleming,” Granger said affably. “Are you in charge here?”

“No, my lord. This ship is being managed by the delegates, pending the return of her officers,” he said respectfully. “I’m just the delegate sent in to meet with you.”

“The one brave enough,” Granger said with a smile. There was no point in making Fleming hate him, and Granger suspected that now was a good time to use his charm.

“I’m not sure that’s it, my lord, but thank you,” Fleming said, grinning back.

“I was sent by their lordships of the Admiralty to try to defuse this situation. As you know, the Seaman’s Bill has passed, and it looks as if this whole affair will soon be over.”

“That’s the news we got as well, my lord. And my lord, I’d like to thank you, on behalf of all the men, for standing up for us in the Lords.”

“You’re welcome,” Granger said. He was trying hard not to like this Fleming, but he was acting just as a respectful seaman should act, and seemed like nothing of a mutineer. “I met with Captain Griffith, and he has relayed the events as he witnessed them,” Granger noted. Granger recited what Griffith had told him.

“That’s right, begging your pardon, my lord. It wasn’t that we wanted to cause a ruckus like that, but we pledged our solidarity with the others. We all know about the Culloden, and we know that if we don’t stick together on this thing, those of us who are delegates will be the first to hang.” The affair of the Culloden was a black mark on the Admiralty, as far as Granger was concerned. The Culloden was a leaky and unsound ship, and in 1793, her crew had risen up rather than take her back out to sea again. That mutiny was resolved by Captain Pakenham, who promised that the men wouldn’t be punished. That had been disregarded by the Admiralty, and five men had ended up hanging for the event.

“I can see why you would be concerned,” Granger allowed.

“All we wanted was for the other delegates to be allowed aboard to make their case. When the admiral refused, some of the boys got really miffed and started to train a gun around. It wasn’t loaded, my lord, and there wasn’t even any ammunition near it.” And Bover should have known that, as London’s first lieutenant, Granger thought. Fleming seemed to sense that Granger was drawing that conclusion, and jumped in to defend Bover. “Mr. Bover is a good officer, my lord, and is well-respected by the men. He was just driven to the edge by the disrespect of those men.”

“You seem to be a supporter of Mr. Bover’s,” Granger said.

“As I said, my lord, he’s a good officer, and one I’m proud to serve.”

“As a delegate, you know that this is almost done,” Granger stated. Fleming nodded, waiting for him to go on. “It is my opinion that this trial must go on, and that Captain Griffith, Mr. Bover, and Admiral Colpoys must be acquitted.”

“So the men have some reason to forgive them, my lord?” Fleming asked.

That implied that forgiveness by the men of London was a requirement for them to return to duty and obey orders, but Granger chose not to split hairs over his terminology. “Something like that. Will you help make that happen?”

“Me, my lord?” Fleming asked.

“Yes, you,” Granger said, trying not to sound irritated. “If one of the delegates who is also Mr. Bover’s shipmate makes an impassioned plea for him, it may sway the jurors. They will know little of life aboard one of His Majesty’s ships, and will rely on testimony from someone like you.”

“If you say so, my lord,” Fleming said dubiously. He must have seen Granger’s brows furrow. Granger was starting to understand why Bover must have gotten so irritated. Granger was used to seamen obeying his orders without question, and without attitude. “I’ll do as you ask.”

“Thank you, Fleming. And now, can you arrange for me to meet with Mr. Bover?”

“Yes, my lord. And I’ll do my best to persuade the men to let Mr. Bover go ashore tomorrow.”

Granger hadn’t even thought that was an issue. “I appreciate your efforts.” Fleming stood up, nodded respectfully, and then left the cabin. Granger had to restrain his mind from wandering to the area it longed to go, to the place where he would condemn Spencer’s idiotic short-sightedness and stubbornness that had allowed this thing to blow up into a nightmare.

He was roused from his thoughts when an officer knocked, then entered the cabin. He was a bit disheveled, which said something about his treatment, but looked to be about 25 years old. He was handsome, with dark hair, and flashing dark eyes. “I’m Lieutenant Peter Bover, my lord,” he said respectfully.

“It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Bover,” Granger said, and surprised the man by extending his hand. He poured Bover a glass of wine, and motioned for him to be seated. “I’ve been sent by the Admiralty to try and save your skin.”

Bover smiled, a very engaging smile. “I must thank Your Lordship, but I fear that is quite a challenge.”

“I have a plan. You are to be tried by a civil court tomorrow.”

“I am told that is the case, my lord. My jailers have informed me that it is unlikely I’ll be allowed to leave the ship to attend the hearing.”

“Fleming is working on that, and has agreed to speak on your behalf at the trial tomorrow.”

“He has, my lord?”

“He appears to have a high opinion of you,” Granger noted.

“He is a good seaman, my lord. Most of these men are.”

“What possessed you to shoot that man?” Granger asked somewhat abruptly.

Bover grimaced. “It must seem like idiocy to you, my lord. I think it was just the frustration with being treated with disrespect, especially after running such an efficient ship. It seemed as if the entire order of things was being challenged, and that these men were advocating more than just fair pay and rations. When they started to pivot that gun, it was as if it was the beginning of a revolution.”

Granger studied him carefully. “Actually, Mr. Bover, that answer makes the most sense of any I’ve heard so far. I can understand how you feel. A personal observation, though. You are known to be well-regarded, especially by Admiral Cornwallis, and but for this, you have had an admirable career so far.”

“That is most meaningful, coming from someone as distinguished as you, my lord,” Bover said diplomatically.

“Thank you,” Granger said, and hit Bover with his charming smile. “I am optimistic that you will extricate yourself from this problem, and I hope that in the future, you will try to develop a bit more patience and forbearance.”

Bover grinned at that. “Those are wise words, my lord.”

“I am going to see what can be done to help make sure your trial turns out a favorable verdict. I hope our paths cross again,” Granger said, and extended his hand.

“As do I,” Bover said, letting his hand linger just a little longer than normal on Granger’s palm. Granger strode confidently from Griffith’s cabin and went below to meet with Colpoys.

“Are you done with your interrogations, my lord?” Colpoys asked snidely as Granger was led into his presence.

“For the time being, sir,” Granger said. “I am unclear as to what further censures the Admiralty plans.”

That allusion to censures, which had clearly included Colpoys’ being ordered to strike his flag made the admiral turn red with rage, and Granger stood there, holding back his smile, waiting for the man to explode. Somehow, he managed to keep himself under control. “I am sure we will discover that in good time. Good day, my lord.”

“Good day, sir,” Granger said, and left the London. He felt unclean, as if he were infected by this whole mutiny. He longed to be back in Portland Place, where he could take a bath and at least physically cleanse himself of this whole affair.

 

May 11, 1797

 

Granger strode confidently into the house that was now occupied by none other than Prime Minister William Pitt himself. He had interacted with Pitt often when he was in London, but had never worked with him directly. Evidently Pitt had come down to Portsmouth to see this matter finished personally. Granger had received a summons to appear before the great man this morning, and had taken pains to make sure his appearance was pristine.

A secretary stopped him briefly, and then led him back to the drawing room, where Pitt was evidently conferring with Howe. “Ah, Granger,” Pitt said. “Thank you for stopping by on such short notice.”

“I am always at your disposal, Prime Minister,” Granger said respectfully. “And how are you, sir?” Granger asked Howe. He looked exhausted.

“Quite fine,” Howe said simply.

“I am concerned about this trial today, of Colpoys and Bover. I’ve a mind to put a stop to it,” Pitt said.

“Sir, I think that would be a mistake. I’ve arranged for members of the crew to testify on behalf of Admiral Colpoys and Lieutenant Bover. I think they will sway the jurors, and convince them that those two officers acted correctly.”

“Civil authorities have limited jurisdiction here,” Pitt observed.

“That is more your world than mine, sir, but perhaps that gives us a safe way out of this if things go badly. We could forward the matter on to London, and proclaim that it wasn’t under the jurisdiction of this court.”

“A fall-back plan?” Pitt mused. “And where is the benefit?”

“If these men are acquitted, as I think they will be, then they will be able to return to duty with no question about their actions. I suspect they will retain the goodwill of the crew.” Granger knew that was a stretch for Pitt to understand, but Howe got it, because he understood the mind of the seaman.

“I agree with Granger, Prime Minister,” Howe said, validating him. Pitt pondered that, and let Howe’s words convince him.

“I expect you will be busy today, so perhaps you can join me for supper and relay the events as they unfold?” Pitt asked.

“It will be my pleasure, sir,” Granger said, and hoped he was right.

He was dismissed, and took that opportunity to head to the courthouse, where the trial was just beginning. Colpoys, Griffith, and Bover sat on a bench, looking quite resplendent in their full dress uniforms. They almost looked as if they were presiding over the hearing, so well did they comport themselves. Granger was mindful that his own arrival caused a stir. He moved toward the front of the room and sat behind the accused, to show support for them.

The trial was relatively uneventful but for two things. The first was Fleming’s testimony. He did a terrific job, and it was his closing statement that really swayed the jurors. He looked at them directly and spoke: “I am authorized to speak for the crew of His Majesty’s Ship London. Lieutenant Bover is a deserving, worthy gentleman, who is an ornament to his profession in every respect. I am here to say that if he is found guilty today by this court, I insist that whatever punishment that is meted out to him also be meted out to me.”

“Even if that punishment is death?” the judge asked, stunned.

“Yes, sir, even if that punishment is death,” Fleming affirmed. Granger studied the jury, who seemed impressed, and then flashed to Bover, who appeared visibly moved by such an outburst on his behalf.

Fleming was dismissed, and the thing should have been over, but the judge leveled his eyes on Granger. “Lord Granger, as you are here with us, this court would like to hear your views on this matter.”

Granger suspected that this was highly irregular, but he went with it. He also knew that he was something of a celebrity, and the judge was giving him a chance to put the power of his reputation to work to save these men. He strode up to the railing, and addressed the judge. “Your Honor, I must thank you for this opportunity to comment on the charges facing these fine naval officers. It is my opinion, having served on His Majesty’s ships for much of my life, that these officers acted correctly, following both the spirit and substance of the orders they were given. As you know, with the passage of the Seaman’s Bill, this whole episode, this whole mutiny, is almost resolved. It is in the best interest of His Majesty’s Navy, and indeed the country as a whole, that we put this matter behind us and focus on our real adversaries, who sit just across the Channel from us, eating their frogs.” That got a laugh from the spectators, as the concept of all Frenchmen eating frogs seemed to be a British national joke. “A negative verdict by this court may merely prolong this issue, and hinder the efficiency of His Majesty’s Navy as it works to contain our capable foes. I am hopeful that this jury will agree with me, and acquit these honorable gentlemen.”

Calls of ‘hear hear’ came from the spectators, calls which were silenced by the judge. After he had quieted them, he thanked Granger, and then bid the jury to deliberate. They did for only a brief time, and then returned a verdict of justifiable homicide, which was as good as an acquittal.

Granger, Colpoys, Griffith, Bover, and Fleming left the court and rode down to the docks in the coach Granger had hired. “Those were nice words, my lord,” Bover said.

“I fear they were not as convincing as those uttered by Fleming,” Granger noted.

“They were not, even though they were good,” Colpoys noted. “Thank you Fleming. That was well said.”

“Thank you, sir,” Fleming said shyly. He was acutely embarrassed and self-conscious at being in such confined quarters with his admiral, his captain, his first lieutenant, and a peer of the realm.

The carriage shuddered to a halt and they all disembarked. “Best of luck to all of you,” Granger said affably, and shook their hands.

“Thank you for your assistance, my lord,” Griffith said to him earnestly.

“As I recall, it was not welcomed at first. That was, perhaps, a mistake,” Colpoys allowed with a small grin.

Granger smiled at him, his most charming smile. “Thank you, sir.”

“I would appreciate the opportunity to call on Your Lordship at some time in the future,” Bover said to him, shaking his hand firmly.

“You will be most welcome, Mr. Bover,” Granger said. He watched as they entered their boat and then stood on the jetty, staring after them as they returned to the London. When they got there, the crew evidently showed their loyalty and appreciation to Bover by cheering loudly for him, cheers that echoed across the water and found Granger’s ears. He returned to report to the Prime Minister, and hoped that with this latest task accomplished, he would be allowed to return to London, and to his ship.

Copyright © 2014 Mark Arbour; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

A great chapter Mark. I love how your style just locks the reader into the scene. With so many questions looming, it may take until chapter 13 or 14 just to get out to sea. lol

But you can't get prize money anchored in port. There is Spanish gold to be had and frog legs to be skewered.

Well done Mark. I can't wait to see some answers. I honestly don't see Arthur making the trip. And such a move might just make him unstable enough to out the brotherhood. Poison might just be the mode of destruction. And if George was the target, Cavendish would do it without being asked. Hemlock.

Cheers.

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On 06/21/2012 12:24 AM, Daddydavek said:
Thanks for my Granger fix!
You are most welcome. I think I'll be able to get back into my weekly posting schedule, at least for a while.
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On 06/21/2012 01:49 AM, ricky said:
A great chapter Mark. I love how your style just locks the reader into the scene. With so many questions looming, it may take until chapter 13 or 14 just to get out to sea. lol

But you can't get prize money anchored in port. There is Spanish gold to be had and frog legs to be skewered.

Well done Mark. I can't wait to see some answers. I honestly don't see Arthur making the trip. And such a move might just make him unstable enough to out the brotherhood. Poison might just be the mode of destruction. And if George was the target, Cavendish would do it without being asked. Hemlock.

Cheers.

I think your estimate on chapters may turn out to be pretty close. We'll have to see.
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On 06/21/2012 02:16 PM, JimCarter said:
I appreciate the Granger fix as well. I hope your vacation went well.
I am enjoying myself, and decompressing, which is really nice. Thanks!
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That Howe would volunteer another of his nephews to Grangers care, is telling. It must have irked George to have to by extension also defend Colpoys who was probably the one who leaked to the papers. But then again, it did get him a full crew. Great chapter, thanks.

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Glad to see that Howe is going to send another member of his family off with Granger. This shows a great deal of confidence in him.

 

I am glad that Granger was able to prevail in the matter of the court marshall and action of the court on shore. This will help Granger make his self more appealing to his fellow officers...

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A very satisfying resolution  to the whole situation. George seems to have also impressed Admiral Clopoys, and received an acknowledgement that George was helpful to him.  Bovers seems to be interested in becoming better acquainted with George. 

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