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I honestly haven’t been up to writing on religion.  So here is a fun excerpt from Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian! Captain Jack Aubrey has come to fetch Dr. Stephen Maturin for a fancy soirée at the commandant’s place.

“Must I put on silk stockings?”

“Certainly you must put on silk stockings. And do show a leg, my dear chap: we shall be late without you spread a little more canvas.”

“You are always in such hurry,” said Stephen peevishly, groping among his possessions. A Montpellier snake glided out with a dry rustling sound and traversed the room in a series of extraordinarily elegant curves, its head held up some eighteen inches above the ground.

“Oh, oh, oh,” cried Jack, leaping on to a chair. “A snake!”

“Will these do?” Asked Stephen. “They have a hole in them.”

“Is it poisonous?”

“Extremely so. I dare say it will attack you, directly. I have very little doubt of it. Was I to put the silk stockings over my worsted stockings, sure the hole would not show: but then, I should stifle with heat. Do not you find it uncommonly hot?”

“Oh, it must be two fathoms long. Tell me, is it really poisonous? On your oath now?”

“If you thrust your hand down its throat as far as its back teeth you may meet a little venom; but not otherwise. Malpolon monspessulanus is a very innocent serpent. I think of carrying a dozen aboard, for the rats–ah, if only I had more time, and if it were not for this foolish, illiberal persecution of reptiles… What a pitiful figure you do cut upon that chair, to be sure. Barney, Barney, buck or doe, Has kept me out of Channel Row,” he sang to the serpent; and, deaf as an adder though it was, it looked happily into his face while he carried it away.

Oh, Dr. Maturin! He is not a person I would want to make peevish! He does like to torment Capt. Aubrey at times. But he’s got a softer side. As we see, he loves animals… and they love him. (I just love the image of the snake looking happily into his face!) And he does have a true fondness for, and patience with Aubrey, even when Aubrey sticks his foot in his mouth, does something stupid, or gets into trouble… which happens pretty frequently.

As I’m learning from the 2nd book in the series, Post Captain, Maturin has a surprisingly soft side for ladies too! He makes efforts to spruce up his appearance and everything! Unfortunately, so far, the ladies often regard him much as Aubrey does: as a good friend and a trustworthy confidant. Poor Maturin!

Can you tell who my favorite character is?

I do love Aubrey too. He can be rather a clueless ass at times… but he knows, and regrets, that he can be a clueless ass. And well, it’s hard not to love Aubrey. He can be dead serious… and he can also crack you up. He’s a very open, honest person, nearly incapable of lying or being intentionally mean to anybody.

The characters are definitely one of the greatest things about this series.


Thanks to Julie and her book club, I am currently reading Inferno by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.

It’s a modern retelling of Dante’s Inferno.  Even better, the main character and narrator is a sci-fi writer who died in a freak accident during a sci-fi convention.  So as he explores Hell, he keeps trying to make sense of everything in sci-fi terms.  It’s hilarious!

I only just started reading it, and I’m pretty hooked.  It’s good crazy fun.  And suitably disturbing for a story about journeying through Hell.

This book is just what the doctor ordered.

Off to read some more before bedtime!

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