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by Jonathan Scott and Stephen Boyd


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About the Story

It was the autumn of 1854 and for you, Captain Alonso Catchpole, life could not have been more uncomplicated. You had a feeling that all that would change as your employer - Lord Alquith, the Earl of Sandbourne - had summoned you to his mansion under mysterious circumstances. A flotilla of Lord Alquith's ships had set off for Latin American some weeks before this and yours, the "Inferno", as the only available ship of Alquith's fleet. You walked into the Earl's study with the humility that one would expect a sailor to express to his master, and His Lordship invited you to dine with him. An unusual request, you considered, but one which you were obliged to accept. After dinner, you both retired to the drawing-room, a long five-bay room with a robust white chimney piece. The flat fluted Ionic columns punctuated the plaster panel walls and set off the compartmented ceiling excellently. Paired mahogany doors led off to the east and to the south, the doorcases bearing console brackets supporting architrave over rococo frieze.

"The reason I have brought you here is quite simple, Catchpole," explained Lord Alquith peremptorily. "I require you to deliver a confidential cargo to Disco in Portugal at once. Unfortunately, all of the sailors in my employ are now only returning from Brazil. I would ask you, therefore, to elicit the number of crewmen that you require. I have requested Shottford, my trustworthy son-in-law, to acquire for you a recommendation for a first mate from one of his associates in Plymouth. l believe the man in question is now in Sandbourne. Here is a map or sea-chart showing you the location of Disco. Now, if you excuse me, I shall smoke a pipe for a few moments then I must leave urgently."

And so, as the great man reclined back in his elegant armchair, you thought of your quest in detail, uncertain of the reliability of you crew, hoping that the unthinkable would not occur, that you never have to expostulate that dreadful word... MUTINY!

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This is version 3 of this page, edited by Eq on 27 May 2013 at 4:50pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item - Delete This Page