March 6, 2005: If you could change one person’s mind about something, who and what would it be?

I once attempted to change one man's mind and failed, and the result was a very great amount of death and disaster. That man was Lord Edward Fitzgerald, when I tried to persuade him that revolting against the English was a bad idea. We could not win; a revolt would merely destroy most of the sympathy we had in England and thus delay any possible independence for a century, after of course all the deaths, and those that survived being vulnerable to traitorous informers, which I already knew to surround Lord Edward, but he would never believe me when I said so. I spoke with a passion I had previously been convinced I no longer had, but it was not enough. He would not listen; he attempted to draw my attention, saying "Look, there's a redbreast in that yew by the path."
He was a hopeless idealist, and a very radical one. And he could not budge an inch, could not accept that the world was a certain way and he could not change that. The more time passes, the more I become convinced that when men are that blinded, they are always dangerous, even if their ideas are right and their intent benevolent, which they often are not. I loved Lord Edward, but I could never follow a man like him again.

March 13: On Dissatisfaction

What in your life are you the most dissatisfied with, and why?

The feeling that I have not accomplished much.
This recently came home to me when I met with a small group of men from the Royal Society. When one of them received an inheritance similar in size to mine from my padri, he used it, as I did, to purchase a ship, but this ship was one which made voyages devoted to natural philosophy. When I thought of all the discoveries these men have made, the dream they are living, I felt positively envious.
I sometimes think if Jack were to stop sailing for some period of time I should take the Surprise and go sailing on her in a similar manner, perhaps taking Christine and Edward with me should she accept my proposal, or even if she should not. But as long as he is on a King's ship I must stay with him, submerging my longings.

March 19: So I've been told before

Take the quiz: "Which Random Irish Gaelic Phrase Are You?"

Ta mo bhriste tri thine - 'My trousers are on fire.'You're a few bricks short of a load, aren't you? You're probably not allowed to use sharp objects and you should be locked in a rubber room. With Rubber rats. Rubber rats? I hate rubber rats. They drive me crazy. Crazy? I was crazy once. They put me in a rubber room. With rubber rats. Rubber rats? I hate rubber rats... But I still may be allowed to doubt it, especially as in fact according to the results I could have just as easily been "Pog mo thoin."
Back when I was best at Gaelic, when I was very, very young, I think neither phrase would apply to me. I forgot the language so completely when I was older when I heard it spoken again I had trouble understanding it, though it grew surprisingly easier when I wasn't concentrating. Speaking it with Padeen has got me back into practice, yet I still often have trouble with individual words.

Buffy Sharpe(né Summers): (tilts her head, raises an eyebrow) You know, now, if your pants are on fire, it means you're lying about something.
Stephen: And just what am I lying about, Mrs. Sharpe?
Buffy: (shrugs, grins) Dunno. You tell me. 'Course, I can't expect you to tell the truth, in that case. (grins) It's a pickle.
Stephen: You accuse me of lying and then admit you have no basis on which to do so. This is not proper, Mrs. Sharpe. Be aware that while normally I would not call out a lady, from what I know of you, it is very possible I might consider you an exception.
Buffy: (rolls eyes, grinning) Geez, take a pill. It's a joke, Doctor. Joke. You have heard of those, right?
Stephen: (still disgruntled, probably more so for having been made a fool of) It is not a very good one. Still, I will take your current condition* into consideration and refrain from further response.
Buffy: My CONDITION? I don't need any condition to be a smartass, I'll have you know! It comes naturally.
I could break out the puns, if you want!
Stephen: Please do not. I get enough of puns from my particular friend Jack Aubrey, thank you very much.
Buffy: (shakes head, grinning) Poor confused Doctor. There's no such thing as enough puns. It's like art. A pun is worth a thousand words.
TribalKittyKat: Thats very amusing! Ah, Padeen, I like Padeen alot. He seems like a good natured fellow. Pants on fire is slang for lying, although I don't believe you are:)

*Buffy was pregnant at the time of this exchange.

March 20: On Port Mahon

What's the scariest thing that has ever happened to you?

This is difficult to write about, moreso than everything I have written here already. Even so, I have referred to the incident in a previous answer, but to write a whole entry about it is another matter.
Some years ago, when I was doing intelligence work in Spain, which at the time was allied with France, my identity was betrayed to the French and I was arrested, taken to Minorca, and, when I would not answer their questions, subjected to various methods of torture. What exactly they did to me I do not care to relate. Suffice to say I have neither before nor since experienced such a quantity of terror. A good deal of my terror was not just the physical pain, but the fear that I would speak, and bring a cause dear to my heart to ruin. I did not expect to get out of the situation alive; people like my captors do not leave evidence of their activities if they can help it, but I desperately did not want to die there. As I said in the previous entry, I longed for Jack, but I was terrified also he would only end up in my situation, and I would sooner have died a far more painful death than they could have inflicted before I let that happen.
I remember when Jack and the others burst in, freed the prisoners, and set fire to the buildings, the tumble of emotions I endured, once I was sure it was them and I was not hallucincating, which I had been doing by that time, was equally painful. I thought I might die of relief and gratitude, of joy and love. They carried me away because I could scarcely crawl, and I am still amazed to consider how completely safe I felt, like a child.

March 26: On What is Most Vital for Life

What is so important to you that without it, life would not be worth living? Why?

There have been three times in my life where I have been convinced I would not want to go on living, and two times where I proved right in my theory, at least for a good length of time. The first time was when the United Irishmen fell, and I was cut off from virtually every connection to the world I had. I looked around at the world and saw nothing in it whatsoever to live for. I was close to defying my beliefs and ending my life myself when I met Jack. He bonds with his fellow men much quicker than I, but in that case we both grew to love each other at what was the most frantic pace even for him, and I found myself no longer wishing my life over. When I met Diana and she made me painfully alive, my recovery was complete.
The second time was after I had been forced to give up on Diana, and had been seperated from Jack for virtually two and a half years, working to turn Spain against France. Constant contact with nothing but men I could not even trust, let alone care for, and many dirty deeds later there was an odd isolation from Jack even when we were at last together and on the sea, which I cannot entirely account for. I think it may be partly that I did not want to feel again, for fear of only being hurt, and partly because I felt I had turned into a creature who would contaminate a man as pure as Jack. By the end of our first mission my disinterest in almost everything in the world had become violent, and I turned to a man called McAdam for a diagnosis. He declared me in the early stages for spiritual death, though he did so in an insulting manner, and suggested lust could pull a man out of my condition. He refused to use the word love, and there I think he was wrong, for it was love in the end that cured me. Not just for Jack or Diana either, though that helped, but love for the natural world, for all living things, on that island in the Antartic.
The third time was when I met again with Diana and discovered I could not love her, and my first thought was my love for her was my reason for living. But there I was wrong. I loved other people and things, and when I still thought her lost and my life was in peril, I still found a will to live.
So my answer, gained purely from practical experience, is not Diana, and not even Jack or Brigid, hard as it sounds, but the ability and the will to love.

TribalKittyKat: Very, very true, Doctor!
Flora the Bear: Not even Jack, my dear doctor!? Oh, he'd be sad to hear that, I'd think. Ah, well, maybe he won't mind. But really, what would you do without him?
Stephen: I do not know at all, but I must conclude I would somehow survive.
Flora the Bear: Fair enough. Let's not think about it.
Jack Aubrey: I wish you would say, my dear, when you are having a hard time. Sophie and I worry about you, you know. You are too close sometimes, with your personal affairs. You would do better to say what is the matter, than to keep to yourself as you so often do.
Stephen: In many cases, joy, it simply is not possible to speak. Most of what troubled me at Mauritius was the result of long intelligence work which I could not talk about. And at other times, I must deal with my troubles on my own, and if you cannot aid me, what is the point of burdening you?
Jack: The intelligence matters are all very well and good, so I suppose you're excused for Mauritius. But as for the other matters, you cannot know what aid I can give till you ask, now can you? And as for burdening me, you must know by now that your problems become my problems, whether you will speak of them or not, for your dark moods affect me so, my dear. It would be a great comfort was I allowed to help, or at least try.

April 3: On Ill Behavior

If you could do one totally irresponsible or even bad thing with absolutely no consequences, what would it be and why?

I have in fact done a few "bad" things and sucessfully avoided the consequences, though in the case of many of them, "bad" is a matter of opinion. Deeds that are truly "bad" by general agreement are more difficult to come by.
Irresponsible deeds I have avoided as best I could, but there are times I have slipped. Both Jack and Diana likely in the end have known more about my work than was strictly necessary for them. I think I might have told them more, if then I could do so without consequences. Certainly I felt the temptation to with Diana at least once, and I hated the concealment from Jack very often, and I believe he did likewise. Perhaps even now it would be something of a relief to unburden myself to him, relieve my mind of names that despite their age still must be kept secret, confess to all the crimes I have committed, both those merely called crimes by law and those which morality can call nothing else. But even if I could do so without risk of consequences, either practical or in what he would then think of me, I should find it very difficult.

April 10: On Possessions

What is your most treasured possession and why?

If it is indeed a virtue to be unattached to physical possessions, then I have at least one virtue to my name, or at least used to. Since I inherited a fortune in gold I have been very attached to it, as I have acknowledged at times when it thought it lost or in danger. Yet I find myself loath to admit that I value it above all other material possessions.
At certain times I have kept a diary, and that I freely admit I have valued. The very keeping of it often was imprudent, though at other times I was careful not to write anything involving my intelligence work. One diary, which I have taken with me when fleeing a burning ship, along with my writing case, fell into the hands of the Americans, and while it was thankfully coded so they could not understand it, explaining the code provided at least one dangerous moment. I ended up leaving that diary in a hospital in Boston when Jack and I were unexpectedly forced to flee the city, and as I had stopped writing in it then, I was in Halifax before I suddenly remembered it. The proprieter of the hospital, a very good man, eventually sent it back to me.
However, there have been a few dark times in my life where I dared not keep a diary, even one which left out certain aspects of my life, and I discovered my attachment grown distressingly to a bottle of laudanum or case of coca leaves, or even both. I remember once particular incident where I was not taking laudanum, but the loss of all my coca leaves to the rats caused very unpleasant consequences, both for me emotionally and for the ship practically. I have also found myself grieved to lose a cello, but such feelings have unusually subsided after its replacement.
If, however, this question may be extended to more abstract possessions, then my friendship with Jack is far more valuable to me than any material thing, or non-material thing for that matter.

April 17: On Trading Lives

I would like to spend some time in the shoes of a more sucessful natural philosopher, though I have no preference as to which one. Then I could have an enjoyable and productive day making discoveries, provided that the day in which we trade places is one where he is already in a place where such activity is possible.
But then, which of us would take credit for my findings? I had made them, but while living his life, and would I retain my own identity?
Also, this would have to be when I was not at sea. Even on land, it might be better if the man I traded places with had at least some medical knowledge.

Sophia Aubrey: Very interesting choice, my choice, I think had some good points behind it:)
Kit McClellan: You ... you .. you are Dr. Stephen Maturin??
But he's fictional. Wait I met a dead woman. ...
You are Dr. Stephen Maturin?
I wanna be like you!
ooc: Problem is, the mun has no clue what he does not knowing the fandom. And the pup's refusing to choose someone else for the challenge.:|
Stephen: I have observed fictional characters, people from different times, and even gods from classical mythology in this place. Though you are the second person this week who wishes to be me or be like me. I cannot understand it.
Kit: Hmmm. This is a strange place isn't it?
Oh, you get to travel to far away countries and you study animals and plants and such. And you help people. Your's must be a very interesting live.
Stephen: You are young, are you not?
Kit: I'm almost fourteen!
Sophie: Awww... how precious!
Kit: You are ... you are ...
Sophie: :)
Kit: Wow.

April 24: On My Worst Flaw

Which of my numerous flaws in in fact the worst one is a matter of opinion. I am prone to vice, especially with regards to drugs, I am not very skilled socially, and I am often given to temper. The latter two would likely be what most people would regard as my worst flaw, however, I do not.
To me my worst flaw is my want of courage. Not courage as most people think of it, or as Jack would think of it in most cases, that is, courage in battle. The few times I have not spent the entire engagement in the cockpit I have found myself behaving couragously enough, and I have been out enough times that I do not fear meeting anyone in cold-blooded combat. But it is easier not to be afraid of fighting when one is good with a pistol and with a sword, even when one is out of one's element.
I want courage in other facets of life, in emotional facets. I often cannot face up to my own feelings. I do deeds which I desperately ignore the enormity of afterwards, often with the use of drugs. I have denied my addictions to them to myself. Even when I admit things to myself, I often cannot bring myself to admit them to others, no matter what the circumstances, or let others see what I am truly like. I hide myself behind a mask, or literally behind blue spectacles. Some of this is for legitimate practical reasons, when it comes to my intelligence work, but when Jack and I came to odds over Diana, and I refused him an explanation, even though I called him out for saying I was a coward, he was right in that I was one.

FannyFae: My dear friend...if I may refer to you as that. I have neér found you to be a coward, nor have I known you to be anything other than completely forthright. As for your weakness toward vice and drugs, all of us have daemons with which we do battle. Given your life experiences, and given how you ever-so-bravely met these things head on, I can tell you for myself that you have my admiration. I cannot fault you for being human. You are beautifully that.
I would ask you, Doctor, if you would do me the honour of being present at my wedding. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to have a man whose friendship and words of wisdom that have meant so much share this blessed day with us. Please do acccept. It would mean so much.
Stephen: Of course I accept. I shall be honoured.
FannyFae:(smiles) Thank you.
Sophie: I felt so very unattractive as you two fought for Diana's affection, anyway, I do not believe you are a coward, Doctor, thats just what Jack says when he can't think of much more to say!
Stephen: Please believe me, Jack always wanted you more than he wanted Diana, even if it took him time to realize. You were always his first choice. During the time he was truly interested in Diana, he believed he could never marry you, because he did not expect for you to wait until he was out of debt.
Sophie:(smiles and blushes) That makes me happy, you always know how to cheer me up (smiles)

(private journal entry, locked to all other muses)

It is interesting how a person can deny a thing and then prove it with his or her words in the same breath, but I have just run across a more unusual case. In response to my earlier entry on cowardice, FannyFae insisted she did not see me as a coward, or anything besides completely forthright. Then she promptly invited to to her wedding with a certain Mr. Ringo.
Granted, I could not have spoken to her earlier about something I did not know about myself. I had thought her a fine woman from the start, and when she called me friend, I was glad. If I had something of a fascination, that would hardly be surprising, given I had never met a woman who lived and behaved with her independence, not even Diana. The sudden cold clench in my chest that accompanied her words was completely unexpected to me. Keeping it concealed was ridiculously easy, I accepted the invitation without a sign of it, and she must now never know I felt any distress on hearing she was to be married. So much for forthrightness. But she cannot even know I have anything to conceal from her, so her opinion will not change.
I ought not to regret. These feelings are not as strong as they had been for Diana in the past; it is more a longing for a possibility that will never be now. She will be married in six day's time, and I believe by then I will be able to attend her wedding and wish her well with no unhappiness left in my heart, if her husband is a good man, though if I find him otherwise, matters may be different. Even if my feelings had been given time to develop further, it probably would not have been wise to let them. Even on the off chance that she would find me attractive, could I have truly avoided pinning her down, which I would be loath to do? I did not pin Diana down, but she despite it all was a product of her society; she could live with the most basic requirements of a married woman in it, at least most of the time. I most hope Mr. Ringo will be a more liberal husband than I would be. And no matter what else, she would have had to share me with Jack. I do not know if she could have accepted that, and I certainly would never demand it of her. It is better she marry someone else.
I have not touched my laudanum for some time. I do not know if I will need it tonight. If I do, I will not take too much: 100 drops perhaps, 200 at most.

April 30: On Trust

They had been married two days when Diana asked him if he trusted anyone. "I'm not going to ask you to trust me yet, though I hope you will soon. But surely you trust Jack?"
Stephen had meant to say yes. But all he could say was, "If I do trust anyone, it would be Jack."
But did he trust Jack? He wondered about it all through their subsequent passage down to the Mediterranean, through his excursions on shore and his hurried passage back to Minorca, where he found his friend closeted up with Mercedes and most unwilling to depart. Depart they had to, of course, with harsh words on both sides, and in his anger after, amoung his thoughts was, "Of course I cannot trust Jack; I cannot even leave him alone for more than a few hours without him getting into an ill situation; it was lucky that it was only intended adultery this time." He quickly amended that thought to remind himself he could leave Jack alone at sea, but that was, after all, what he had done; Jack had been disobliging enough not to stay at sea where he would be safe.
He repented the thought completely later, as unfair and uncharitable, when both their anger had died, and they played before Stephen went ashore again. Pullings came in to say the cutter was ready. He left the cabin, Stephen moved to follow him, but suddenly Jack grabbed Stephen and kissed him. "It had been a long while since I kissed anyone," he mumbled by way of explanation, but he did not seem satisfied with that, for when Stephen began his journey down the side of the ship, he felt Jack reach out to shake his hand. It was not a time for protesting, or even for being adverse, so Stephen shook that hand, belonging to a man who had rushed him here, increasing the ill will of his crew in the process, and Stephen knew would wait anxiously for him, neither eating nor sleeping until he could greet him and welcome him back with a bear hug, and then thought, "Of course I trust him. How can I not?"

Sophie: Oh, I need to stop reading about my husband with... others.(she sighs) Trust is a very interesting issue. I trust Jack...mostly, but reading this makes me doubt it even more(it's not your fault my dear, I trust too easily).
Stephen: Strictly speaking my dear, he did not getting around to actually being with her, or even to kissing her, as we must conclude from his words to me later.
Sophie:(sighs quite relieved)
Jack: Come now, ye shouldn't assume that just because I chose to stop in at the Crown and pay a visit to an old friend (I've known Mercedes longer than even you, you know), that I was up to anything untoward. I do try to keep myself out of trouble, it just don't work sometimes, particularly on land. You can trust me with anything at all, dear, so long as we ain't on land, ha!
Sophie: Please TRY your best, my dear!
Jack: But I do, Sophie, love, you know I do.

Accurate, but I don't entirely understand it

I am: 20% Republican.

"You're probably one of those people who still thinks that getting a blowjob is not an impeachable offense."

Are You A Republican?

I believed more in the ideals of Republicanism in my youth. I have written earlier of my loss of faith in the goodness of people, and when I lost that faith, I came to the conclusion that how leaders are chosen is irrelevant; what matters is merely who they are and what they do.
However, I failed to understand most of the questions of this examination, and furthermore, while I believe "blowjob" is some sort of sexual term I have no idea what an "impeach" is, though it is clearly some type of punishment. I assume my toleration for unorthodox sexual acts is assumed to be Republican by whoever wrote this examination, who might associatie republicanism with depravity.

Sophie:(Sophie blushes and begins to giggle)
FannyFae: (Gives Stephen a frank, yet confused look.) Do you mean to say that you consider fellatio to be an unorthodox sexual act? As for Republicans, according to some, they only have any kind of sexual encounter at all once every seven years, on a prescribed day of the week, and all sorts of proscriptions that must be adhered to. One of the most bizzare ones is that it must be after evening prayers, with all lights off and with both man and wife fully clothed and eyes closed. The perfect Republican ideal toward sex is to be able to do get through the entire encounter without touching the other person or themselves.
I am very glad I do not consider myself to be a republican.
Stephen: Is indeed a blowjob fellatio? And I never said I considered it to be an unorthodox sexual act, but I am aware a number of people do so, especially in prudish English society.
And I assure you, Republicanism is not at all like that! In fact, it is marked by its members often being indifferent to sexual acts that would offend certain other people. I can go into details with regards to one certain French lady I knew, a true believer in the Revolution and the Republic, who alas, was betrayed by what she had such faith in, and met her end on the guillotine, but I will not. That ought to be obvious by my only being 20% Republican due to this blowjob not offending me.
FannyFae: (Laughs) Proper English society can at times be filled with anal-retentive Huns, Stephen, so I am not surprised that they would find such a thing to be unorthodox sexually.
I'faith, you must know a much more entertaining variety of Republicans than I do, for they really are very prudish to the extreme here. I took the same test and turned out to be 2% Republican, and even that shocked me.
Stephen: My dear, can we be talking of the same thing?
FannyFae: Perhaps we are not. (sighing) I can never be sure.
Stephen: Hmmmm. Am I correct in believing you reside in the Americas? Perhaps you are referring to the political group there, who supported their president in his most recent war. But while my knowledge of American politics is limited, and I have never been in the southern part of the country were I understand they are concentrated, they did not strike me as the type to carry their sexual mores to such absurd requirements. Indeed one powerful Republican I met allowed his sexual behavior to be ruled by his animal spirits, to the unfortunate detriment of those women who were in his power.

May-July 2005