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Memento Mori

A Contextual Note: This is supposed to go somewhere on page 276 of The Hundred Days, sort of right in the middle of the break at the top of the page. Jack has just learned that Napoleon is defeated and he is about to meet with the Commander-in-Chief. Stop now if you haven't read The Hundred Days.

Memento Mori

When the signal broke out demanding Jack's presence he was already standing by in full fig. No glory of uniform, no excess of lace or gilt, was too great for such an occasion. Killick, left for once with nothing to improve, tugged half-heartedly at a sleeve and then let him go with an oddly disconsolate air.

As Jack strode across the deck he was aware of a queer conscious look on the faces of some of the oldest Surprises, particularly the handful who had been with him since his first days in the Sophie. He was puzzling over it with a small, a very small part of his mind, when he was almost brought up short by the sight of Pratt sitting in the coxswain's place by the tiller.

At Pratt's word the barge pulled smoothly away from the Surprise exactly as it always had. Jack sat with a remote expression on his face. Nothing could take away from the sense of a gala occasion, from the great expanding warmth of joy and satisfaction, but he felt as if for a brief moment a small cloud had crossed the sun on a perfect festal day.

© 1998 J. Holland