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[personal profile] esteven
'Jack,' he said, as they walked along the rim of the crater to a point where they could hail the ship, 'did you reflect upon Ganymede at all?'
'Yes,' said Jack. '1 was up with him all last night, and should be this night were it not for the Sultan's visit tomorrow. Such an endearing little pale golden body as he peeps out - he is easily my favourite. But I shall still have him almost all night, once the Sultan is done with.'
'Shall you, though?' said Stephen, looking at his friend's pleased, well-fed face, rather more florid than usual from the Sultan's wine; and after a pause, 'Brother, can we be talking of the same thing?'
'I should hope so,' said Jack, smiling. 'Jupiter is in opposition, you know. Nobody could have missed his splendour.'
'No, indeed: a very glorious sight. And Ganymede is connected with him, I collect?'
'Of course he is - the prettiest of the satellites. What a fellow you are, Stephen.'
'How well named. But I meant another Ganymede, the Sultan's cup-bearer. Did you notice him?'
'Well, yes, I did. I said to myself, Why, damn my eyes, there is a girl. But then I remembered that there would be no girls at a feast like that, so I returned to my excellent haunch of venison, no bigger than a hare's, but uncommon well-tasting. Why do you call him Ganymede?'
'Ganymede was Jupiter's cup-bearer; and I believe their connexion, their relations, their friendship, would now be frowned upon. But I use the name loosely, as it is so often used: I mean no reflexion upon the Sultan.'

(chapter six of TGS)

I feel O'Brian has never led his readers up the garden path so well. :D It is easily my favourite piece of conversation.