The Golden Ocean

The Golden Ocean
О книге

The first novel Patrick O’Brian ever wrote about the sea – and the precursor to the famous Aubrey/Maturin series – is now available in ebook format for the first time.The Golden Ocean is the first novel Patrick O’Brian ever wrote about the sea. The novel shares the same sense of excitement and the rich humour of the Aubrey/Maturin novels, invoking the eloquent style and attention to historical detail that O’Brian readers admire so much.The protagonist of this story is Peter Palafox, son of a poor Irish parson, who signs on as a midshipman, never before having seen a ship. He is a fellow who would have delighted the young Stephen Maturin or Jack Aubrey… and quarrelled with them as well. Together with his life-long friend Sean, Peter sets out to seek his fortune, embarking on a journey of danger, disappointment, foreign lands and excitement.Written in 1956, this is a tale certain to please not only the many admirers of O’Brian, but any reader with an adventurous soul.

Читать The Golden Ocean онлайн беплатно




Patrick O’Brian

For Mary, With Love

‘GOOD-BYE,’ THEY WERE ALL CRYING. ‘GOOD-BYE, PETER. Good-bye, good-bye.’ And he meant to call out ‘Good-bye’ again to all of them, but the lump in his throat choked the cry to no more than a squeak.

‘Good-bye, Peter,’ they were calling still; and clearly came after him the voice of old Turlough, ‘Peter, come home soon, with your pockets full of the Spanish gold.’

At the bottom of the hill, where the turning came, he looked round and saw the handkerchiefs waving white on the hillside and he held up his hand to wish them farewell: and he watched the twinkle of their waving, though it swam in his eyes, until the bend of the road and the long stack of turf hid them all from his sight.

Then it was the soft green of the crossroads by Joseph Noonan’s cabin and the women waving their blue shawls, and he had to collect himself to smile and call back.

‘And let you bring us the King of Spain’s bright crown,’ cried Pegeen Ban behind him.

‘Well, it has begun,’ he thought; but although he had looked forward to this day so much, the reflection that the adventure was now beginning left him strangely unmoved. The pain of leaving them all was so much greater than he had ever expected, and it almost daunted him: it quenched all the excitement that had kept him from sleeping these many nights past; and it left him quite desolate.

He stole a sideways look at Liam, but Liam, in delicacy, feigned to be absorbed in the buckle of his reins, and he said nothing. They rode on in silence, with nothing but the creak of leather and the deadened thrum of their horses’ hooves on the soft and grassy road.

After a long while Peter said to himself again, ‘Well, so it has begun,’ and again he wondered that the words should feel so commonplace and flat. Perhaps it was because he was still on such familiar ground, he thought, looking up from his horse’s mane: when you start out on a great adventure perhaps you expect everything to change all round you at once, and there is a feeling of something wrong in going over the country you know so well. He looked round, and indeed it was the same country that he had seen every day of his life: they were coming across the bog of Connveagh now, by the inland road, and already the sea was far away on the right hand: on the left the blue mountains of Slieve Donagh and Cruachan ran up, smooth against the huge pale sky; and he knew that if he turned in his saddle he would see the far ash-trees that sheltered the Rectory of Ballynasaggart, where they would be sitting down to breakfast now. Before him the road ran on, faint through the dim rushes and the grass, to the sudden fall in the land where the bog of Connveagh left off and the Moin bog began; where the world stretched out, far and flat, to the edge of the sky, and over the Plain of the Two Mists there was a white haze never moving and not a single cabin, let alone a farm or a house, to be seen in the whole vast expanse—nothing but the pale flash of the water in the turf-cuttings and the shine of the creeping river.

It was a huge and a wild landscape, and one that a stranger might have found inhuman and desolate; but it was Peter’s own country, and he thought it no more saddening than the long cry of the curlews passing over behind them. And yet although it was so familiar, today he looked at it so hard that for a while he almost saw it with a stranger’s eye; but then the soft sea-rain drifted in across them and the distant country was lost in its fall.

It was not a cold rain; nor did it drive: they hardly noticed it weeping gently out of the sky, as it did for so many days in the year; but it matched with Peter’s state of mind and the song that Liam was half humming, half singing under his breath—the lament for the wild-geese, the exiles who never returned—and it made him, if anything, lower in his spirits than he was before.

They went on: on and on steadily through the small rain, and Peter was so wrapped in his thoughts that a figure leaping up at the side of the road brought the heart almost out of his mouth—a tall figure in a blue coat, springing out of a hole with a screech and flapping the sides of its cloak.

‘T’anam an Dial, omadhaun,’ cried Peter, quietening his horse; and, speaking still in Irish, he said, ‘What are you doing here at all, Sean? And have you no more sense than to be leaping out of a great hole, screeching and waving the sides of your cloak, which is not your cloak anyway but Patrick Kearney’s?’

‘You great fat thing,’ said Liam, frowning at his nephew. ‘What manners are these? Why are you carrying the shoes?’

‘I am coming too,’ said Sean with a grin, taking Peter’s stirrup-leather and urging the horse forward.

Вам будет интересно