by Michele

The Painful Truth




`He's given up.. He wants to die... There's no use
thinkin' of `im....'

`What sort of a mid-ship-MAN is THAT??'


Words hurt. Words can steal a man's hope.

Words can destroy a soul.

Hunter. I am frightened of him. It is clear he despises me, and
holds me in the lowest regard.

As well he should.

For even my friend has passed judgment and sentence on me.

My friend... my brother....



`What I heard was, he had a fit, Mr Kennedy, during a night
attack... And YOU had to knock `im down in order t' stop him
the rest of you killed...'


I cannot believe it. I cannot believe what I have heard.... It was
him. It - was - HIM!!!

It was Horatio who put me here...

It was Horatio who made me to lie in the parching, merciless sun, in
that doomed boat.. with no water, no food, no weapon... and no hope.

It was Horatio who decided I was enough of a threat to the Papillon
raid to strike me down, so that the others would not be given away.

Oh merciful heaven... I must have had a fit....

I do not remember it.. ANY of it... only Simpson.. and Horatio coming
in, and then... I was in the boat...


Wanting to die.... Praying to die....

And then, I was a prisoner.

And it was my friend who put me here.....

And now, he dares play the hero, and the caring, noble commander! He
dares say `I will not leave one of my men behind...' HA!
Were I one of his men, he might even care. But I thought I was MORE
than that! I thought I was his FRIEND!

All that we endured together.. Simpson... battle... privation...
danger... I thought our bond was great. I thought our destinies
forever tied together. I thought...

I thought he might save me. I thought he might protect me. I
thought the presence of my friend -- my brother -- might help me to
summon up the strength to make me want to live again.

But what comfort have we now??!? By heaven, I'll hate him
everlastingly that bids me be of comfort any more!*

He hit me. He struck me down. He saw my weakness, and my unfitness
for duty. He saw me not belong in a man-o'-war. He saw me
endanger the mission -- and endanger all their lives.

He saw what I REALLY am.

And he took action. What a surprise -- Horatio Hornblower took
ACTION! He took command. He took it upon himself to decide who
should live, and who --

...and who might die....

For the good of the service. Oh yes. For the good of the service.

I mean nothing to my `friend' -- NOTHING!! I am not even as
a common sailor to him! I am not even one of his men! I do not care
what he says to Hunter -- I do not care for his grand gestures as to
not leaving one of his men behind. We go together. Oh yes. Kennedy
will slow us down. Kennedy ALWAYS slows us down! Kennedy is good
for NOTHING....

Nothing except endangering the men. And interrupting the career of
the great Horatio Hornblower.

I will see it -- he shall somehow make his mark, even here! And I
will be left behind. As before. I will ALWAYS be left behind. He
is an Acting-Lieutenant. I am not even, any longer, a mid-ship-
MAN... I am merely a prisoner who no longer has even the man I
believed my friend...

He struck me down.. He abandoned me and left me for a prisoner... or
for dead.

And now he wants to salve his conscience by saving poor little Archie
Kennedy... He wants to do his precious duty....

He cares NOTHING for me. He is merely embarrassed -- embarrassed
that he lost `one of his men' on a mission, embarrassed that
he had
to take action to save the others from an inferior, worthless
officer -- and embarrassed to be associated with me!! My pain means
NOTHING to him! What I have endured... the years of loneliness..
torture... abandonment...

He is embarrassed by me... I can hear it in his voice, and I can see
it in his face....

This... this was the most unkindest cut of all....**


I had been lying here.. unable to carry myself out-side.. listening
to them. And, just for a little while, feeling a part of things.
Matthews and Styles -- bless them, they defended me to that Hunter!
And so did Horatio. And I thought, just maybe, I might be strong
enough to try again...

And then...

In the end truth will out....***

I know now that I am nothing more than an embarrassment and a
burden. Horatio would be better off without me. They'd ALL be
better off without me.

Poor Mr Hornblower.. The burdens of command, and the burden of the
weak and worthless Mr Kennedy.

I shall remedy his troubles... He will not have to worry about me.
The men will be able to escape -- surely with the great Horatio
Hornblower planning the escape it will not fail, as MY miserable
attempts did. And none of them will have to worry about poor, weak
Mr Kennedy....

None of them.. Not the seamen.. not Hunter... and not...
my `friend'....




*Richard II; III,ii
**Julius Caesar; III, ii
***The Merchant of Venice; II, ii

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