By Philip McCutchan
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Royal military Lieutenant St Vincent Halfhyde is assigned a moment in charge of the heavy cruiser Viceroy and ordered to a volcanic island that has lately surfaced within the north Pacific. The Admiralty hopes to say the island for the Crown and identify an outpost there, however the opposed Russians produce other principles and the wily eastern are ready to hold out their very own schedule.
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Additional info for Halfhyde's Island (The Halfhyde Adventures, No. 2)
Saluting Bassinghorn, he made his report: “From the Commodore to Viceroy, sir. Request the pleasure of your company for dinner at seven bells. ” Bassinghorn stared: a “request” from a senior officer was always to be regarded as an order, yet even so the juxtaposition of “request the pleasure” and “you will also bring” struck him as peculiar: something was in the wind. Recollecting himself he nodded at Mr Midshipman Runcorn. “Reply, Commodore from Viceroy. ” He turned his attention back to his ship-handling; the Viceroy proceeded smoothly inwards through the anchorage beneath the Halfhyde’s Island | 41 peaks surrounding one of the world’s most beautiful harbours; and within five minutes was sending out her lines to secure alongside and receive her bunker coal from lighters already coming from the coaling depot.
The men, naked but for white canvas trousers stained black with coal-dust, were laid flat on the open deck, and an awning was hastily rigged over them by hands detailed by Mr Pinch. Halfhyde looked down at them sombrely: the body hairs were matted, the skin drenched with 36 | Philip McCutchan sweat, the faces bloodless and still. On the orders of the doctor, seamen began fanning the bodies with their hats, and Halfhyde caught the doctor’s eye. ” “Very bad. ” The doctor shrugged, his own white drill uniform sweatdarkened and rumpled.
They were looking forward to a run ashore: here in Hong Kong the British sailor was king, ricksha boys competed for the honour of carrying him to his pleasures of wine, women, and song. Hong Kong was Portsmouth, Chatham, and Devonport in a romantic setting, transported to the Orient gay. On the bridge Mr Runcorn, Signal Midshipman, had his telescope to his eye, watching for further strings of flags or wagging semaphore arms from the Commodore: they duly came as a colourful hoist crept up to the signal yard, and Mr Runcorn consulted his Fleet Signal Book.
Halfhyde's Island (The Halfhyde Adventures, No. 2) by Philip McCutchan