Hood's Swashbucklin' Ship's Log
Reflections on Times Past
Captain Samuel Hood
Chapter Five - Miss Potter Comes Home
Well, I have taken Miss Potter back into my employment. We came to an understanding that the pilfering of my rum is to cease immediately and she must stay away from the fleet when they are moored at Portsmouth. I won't admit it, but it is nice to have her back. I did give her a bit of a raise in salary and she is now allowed to stay in a bedroom instead of in the basement. It can get rather nippy down there in the wintertime and the rats can be a bit bothersome during mating season. Noisy little buggers. If you've ever watched rats mating then you know what I mean. But that subject is for another time.
Let me see. I was recounting the time that I first met Captain Bligh. Captain Bligh was pretty much under the table during my conversation with him, but he kept mentioning the "Runnamokers". Runnamokers? I simply had to know, what is a Runnamoker? So I stood tall and asked the great Captain "what in the world is a Runnamoker?"
Bligh raised his head and looked me straight in the eye and said "buy me another rum and I'll tell ya". Well, I wasted no time and issued a request to the innkeeper for more rum. As the innkeeper dropped the tankard on the table, he looked at me and said "You keep an eye on the Captain, you hear. He can get a little raucous and randy in the wee hours. Why last week we had to pry him off of our bartendress's Nique and Unique." At that, Bligh raised his head and looked at the inn keeper and with a wry little smile and slight belch, said "I have beads and sparkling baubles for any woman who drops her top. You like it, the men like it and the women want the goods. So bugger off!" The poor innkeeper simply shook his head and walked away, murmuring something off color about the navy, drinking parties and dropping the top.
Hmmm, all of this talk about rum and dropping the top is making me kind of anxious. "Miss Potter, come here please".
Aaaarrrgghhh, now back to the story. About the time that the innkeeper disappeared from Bligh's table, two officers walked through the door of the Dog & Pony Pub. They stood at the entrance and eyed the crowd. Then one officer pointed to the table where the Raisonnable's officers sat and they began to make their way through the crowded room towards the table.
I excused myself from Captain Bligh and made my way back to our table to meet the two officers in question. Come to find out, they were Lt. Foley and Lt. Duff, both of the first rater Neptune. The two had heard that we were having dinner and drinks at this world famous pub and wanted to join the fun.
Lt. Foley was a likeable gent who loved the women but had a pension for putting his fingers in the wrong places. Lt. Duff was a fun loving officer and new all of the places in Portsmouth to get tanked and put to bed. These two officers had just returned from a two-year stint at sea where they engaged the enemy at Gibralter and off the coast of Madagascar.
With the addition of these two fine officers, we now had eight of the Royal Navy's roughest, toughest men to ever set sail. And not only did they know their way about a fighting ship of the line, they knew how to have a good time and made the whole pub feel a part of the revelry.
As the night went on, the atmosphere in the pub was reaching frenzy as these fine officers threw out beads and offered drinks to everyone in attendance. It was about 2300 hours when Master Bates says to the lot of us "Let's go to the Cock & Hen Pub for some hot toddies". This would mean that we would begin our now famous Pub Crawl down Canterbury, a street richly laden with Britain's finest and wildest pubs. The night was just beginning.
Just as we stood to leave, we heard someone yell, "Beware of the Oily Bog Pub, you can get a bad case of Jumpin Pellagra if you eat the lamb fries!" It was Captain Bligh shouting these words of wisdom to the exiting officers. I must say that his ranting scared the hell out of me and I was determined to pass on the Oily Bog Pub. Jumpin Pellagra. I've heard horrible stories about men who've been stricken with this malady and have stayed in the ships head for days until it passed.
Whilst walking down Canterbury, the ever happy and joyous Lt. Cochrane and Master Bates broke into song. I recognized the tune as one our favorites while at sea and would sing it whilst having evening grog. If I remember right, it goes like this:
"Friggin in the Riggin"
The Captain's daughter Mabel,
Whenever she was able,
She took the crew for a midnight screw,
Upon the galley table.
Whilst crossing the equator,
The crew they did elevate her,
She barred her ass on the topmost mast,
And dared us all to mate her.
God, I love that song! Well, you get the idea. It's a fun song and actually one of the cleaner navy tunes that I dare tell you. Hmmm, gives me an idea.
"Miss Potter, set yourself down at the piano and I'll sing you a song." Let's see, how about "There was a girl from Nantucket". He, He, He, that'll get her going. "And when we get done, you can play my pipe organ for me. I've missed that the past few months. Miss Potter, you are so talented."
Be sure to read the next spine tingling installment of naval combat and debauchery in Chapter Six "Back at Sea".