Saturday, 13 September 2014

Past history

  When I get peevish about it, please remind me that some of my favourite writers use this expression. I'm reading "Master and Commander" for about the fourth time and find that early on, when Captain Aubrey is trying out his new command, the brig Sophie, he considers consulting her log to learn her "past history". This appears to be Patrick O'Brian's rather than Aubrey's phrase and I would like to change the paragraph slightly to make it seem like subtle characterisation: though JA was never less than a brilliant seaman, he was not always in total command of his words.

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