Since this is a community that seems to require a large amount of honesty which I admit I am not used to, I will also confess that in the past I have performed certain services for British Intelligence, all in the way of overthrowing the tyrant Napoleon Bonaparte. Now that he is overthrown and I have performed a last service in aiding Chile's independence, my services in this area are likely to end. But however connected to the Royal Navy or attached to certain Englishmen I may be, England is certainly not my home. If I have any home on land, it is Catalonia in Spain, my mother's land, though my father was Irish. And in truth, my home now seems to consist only of Jack Aubrey.
I have never been a leader in my life, and being one has never held much appeal for me. I have watched Jack alternately thrive and grow emotionally strained over his position as a leader, but I highly doubt I would find much thriving were I in his place.
I have been a follower. Certainly I have followed Jack around the world and back, and at times in my life, I have supported various causes and followed various leaders. But it is not a role I relish. After the disastrous end of the United Irishmen, I temporarily gave up on the idea being a follower for any cause at all, and the dislike has never left me entirely. Perhaps if it were not for my respect for Sir Joseph Blaine, I would not have worked covertly for the overthrow of Bonaparte for so long a time, since I have no attachment to British Intelligence itself, especially after watching it be manipulated by Wray and the Duke of Habachtsthal so easily. I have a mild attachment to the Royal Navy, but when it comes down to it, my loyalty is merely to Jack. If I am indeed a follower in life, it is of individual men.
That has depended largely on the nature of the problem. Professional problems I have always dealt with as soon as was possible, whether they were in the medical line, where I would be necglecting my duty if I didn't, or in the line of intelligence, where time is often of the essence. But personal problems are another matter. I am afraid I put off dealing with those, often with the use of opium, or even with the use of the sea, where the problems of land often vanish, but only until one receives a letter or reaches land again. Though it is well enough not to worry oneself about what one cannot control while at sea, personally or professionally.
My godfather, Colonel Ramon d'Ullastret i Casedemon, God rest his soul. It was he who truly raised me, more then any other man, as my parents died fairly early and in Catalonia, being one's padri is taken very seriously. It is from him that I derive my faith, it was while accompanying him on his hunting trips that I first developed a love for flora and fauna, and it was from his passionate wish for our country's independence that I developed mine, and by extension my wish for Ireland's independence, and perhaps even by further extension my hatred for oppression of all kinds.
To me he will always be one of the finest of men, and he was a fine leader also, to near the end of his life, where I found him commanding a garrison in the Baltic. Interestingly enough, the more I hear of Jack's hero Lord Nelson, the more similarities I note between the two leaders. They have the same unlimited courage, they inspire the same unwavering loyalty in lesser men, and they also possess the same flaws of vanity and ambition. Perhaps these are the marks of a great leader.
Over the course of my years as Lucky Jack Aubrey's surgeon, I am quite certain I have gained more then that as my share of prize money. However, I have never paid much attention, as the amount of money this have given me at any one time has merely been enough to live on, and I have always lived minimally. However, when my godfather died, I inherited a fortune from him which I believe to be the equivalent of much more then the above mentioned sum. I may have spent the equivalent to 2,000 dollars shortly after coming into my inheritence on buying the Surprise for Jack, but the immensity my fortune was enough that I did not concern myself to pick up the sum I paid in English pounds for her. Nor was I able to keep track of how much money was spent fitting and manning her as a privateer for Jack, who had been struck from the list and whose financial affairs were too involved at the time. I also was ready to expend great amounts of money before this in an effort to save Jack from being dismissed the service, but in vain.
Since then, I am afraid I have become rather stingy when it comes to money, often attempting to save pennies that I would not have bothered with had they comprised a greater part of my fortunes. I suppose if I were given an addition to it, it would join the rest in the bank.
I drank with my godfather as a youth, and I assume that at least once during those times and probably more then once I could be termed drunk. Not much, however happened. My memories of this are very pleasant, and are always accompanied by a remembered sensation of warmth, which is an effect of alcohol.
As an adult, I am surprisingly uneffected by alcohol, and I believe I have been the only sober person left in the wardroom on many an evening. There is an odd sort of amusement in this. I have never been blindingly drunk, though I have been affected to similar extremes by other drugs, and I have once or twice been in an emotional state of mind that I have afterwards imagined might be much like being blindingly drunk. No good has ever come of this, though sometimes a temporary relief. But there have been times in my life where without that relief, I could not answer for my sanity, so perhaps that might be a good reason.