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January 1793.
The british fleet lies at
anchor at Spithead.
Ships and men rot in idleness.
Across the channel,
revolution in France is sweeping away
the old order.
- Shore boat, ahoy!
- Aye, aye!
You'll be all right!
Welcome to purgatory.
Mr. Eccleston, sir.
- Come aboard, sir.
- Your name?
H-h- Horatio Hornblower, sir.
Eccleston, first lieutenant.
Mr. Chadd, lieutenant of the watch.
Did you bring your dunnage
aboard with you?
My seachest is coming
aboard for'ard.
I'll see it's sent below,
where you should go too.
Get out of those wet clothes.
Yes, sir. I mean, aye, aye, sir.
Mr. Kennedy,take Mr.Hornblower down
to the midshipmen's birth.
Aye, aye, sir.
Mind your step.
Difficult to say
who smells the worst,
the men or the beasts in
the manger for'ard.
One gets used to it.
Watch your head.
There goes His Majesty's latest
bad bargain.
Belay that, Styles
unless you want
to find yourself at the gratings.
Aye, aye, sir.
They're not bad men for
the most part,
provided they're kept busy.
But this, endless waiting
most of us have been here
six months already.
Discipline, you see?
Things will be different once
we transfer to a fighting vessel,
I don't doubt, but who knows
when that may be.
Our only hope is that the
unpleasantness in France
might come to something.
You've heard the latest rumours,
of course?
that Louis was captured just
before Christmas.
What do you think they'll do
with him? You can't kill a king.
It's as my father explained
to his gillie
Perhaps some of these people
have missed the odd meal or two
but lopping the heads of the nobility
isn't going to fill their bellies,
is it?
Still, that's Johnny Crapaud for you.
Well, allow me to introduce
the midshipmen of His Majesty's
ship of the line, Justinian
Known elsewise to her intimates
as the good ship
Slough of Despond.
What's this, Archie?
Another mess mate, gentlemen.
And whose pretty rear did you neglect
kissing to find yourself
among the fleet's forgotten, eh?
-Well, speak, Apparition!
-My name is Hornblower.
What an infernal piece of
bad luck for you.
How old are you, Mr. Hornblower?
Seventeen, sir.
Seventeen, sir! You hear
that Cleveland?
If you wanted to be a seaman, boy,
you should have started at twelve.
I doubt he even knows the difference
a head and a halyard.
No, but I'll make sure it's the first
thing I look up in...
in Norrie's Seamanship.
Now, gentlemen, if you will
excuse me.
- Seasick!
- Seasick in Spithead!
Your pardon, sir.
There. Just lie quiet until you
feel yourself again.
The captain's coming aboard.
Captain Keene...
if ever a man was wrongly named.
He looks frailer by the day.
I must thank you for your
earlier kindness, Mr
You mustn't mind Hether
and Cleveland.
It's just their way till they
get used to you.
Present arms!
Your father writes that
you are a solitary boy.
Well, on a vessel of over 800 souls,
you are unlikely to find either time
or place for solitude.
How is the good Doctor Hornblower?
Well, I trust?
Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.
He said to be sure to thank
you for accepting me
in Justinian as midshipman, sir.
One good turn deserves another.
Your father is an excellent
Yes, sir.
The son of a doctor! Ha!
You'd have done better to choose
a lord for your father
if you wanted to make a career
in His Majesty's navy.
How far did your education go?
I was a Grecian at school, sir.
-Speak up.
-I was a Grecian, sir, at school.
You construed Xenofot, then,
as well as Cicero.
Yes, sir. But, not very well, sir.
You'd have done better if you knew
about sines and cosines.
Better still if you could foresee
a squall
in time to get t'gallants in.
We have no time for ablative
absolutes in the navy.
-No, sir.
-Obey orders, do your duty,
and no harm will come to you.
That will do.
Ah, the Indies, now that's
the place, Horatio
Clear blue skies, and


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