sharpiefan: Line of Age of Sail Marines on parade (Marines on parade)
[personal profile] sharpiefan
"Good morning, Oakes," he said to the Marine sentry at his door, and "Good morning, gentlemen," as he stepped onto the quarterdeck. In the general chorus of "Good morning, sir," hats flew off and immediately afterwards a dozen waistcoats partly vanished under close-buttoned coats.


The Marines were already drawn up far aft, near the taffrail. The midshipmen inspected the hands in their divisions, tried to make them stand up straight and soldierly and stop talking and then reported to the lieutenants and the master; the lieutenants and the master inspected them again, tried to make them stop staring about and hitching up their trousers and reported that the men were 'present, properly dressed and clean' to Mowett, who stepped across the deck to Captain Aubrey, took off his hat and said, "All the officers have reported, sir."

"Then we will go round the ship, Mr Mowett," said Jack and turned aft, to where the Marines were standing as straight as ramrods in their scarlet coats: their cross-belts were brilliant with pipeclay, their muskets and sidearms shone again, their hair was powdered to a turn, their leather stocks were as tight as stocks could well be and allow a little circulation of the blood; and although awnings had been rigged, the eastern sun, not yet as its height, beat on their backs with shocking force. They might not be beautiful, but they were certainly suffering. Accompanied by Howard, his sword drawn, and by Mowett, he passed along the rows of faces, many of them nameless to him even now and all of them impersonal, gazing out beyond him, wholly without expression.

"Very creditable, Mr Howard," said Jack. "I believe you may dismiss your men now. They may put on their duck jackets and wait quietly under the forecastle until church."


When the barge was a little nearer he said to the Marine sentry, "Trollope, hail that boat."

The Marine was on the point of saying, "But it's our own barge, sir," when a glazed, disciplined look came over his face: he shut his mouth, drew a deep breath and called, "The boat ahoy."

All (unless I mistake myself) from Chapter Nine of The Far Side of the World