Aubrey vs. Hornblower

Inspired by finishing the Patrick O’Brian series and opening Flying Colours in which Hornblower has an embroidered nightshirt and spends all his prison time worrying what people think of him rather than planning escape.
My money is on Jack Aubrey. Horatio is a wimp.

They are both prepared, BTW. :slight_smile:

What’s the competition? Gayest captain?

That would be Captain Jack Harkness.

Presentation sabers at six feet. :slight_smile:

I would say that Jack is the captain Hornblower would like to be. Cheerful, confident, not a trace of introspection.

I can imagine Jack saying something like “And that Hornblower fellow was there. Good seaman, they say, seen a lot of action. But, Lord, Stephen, what a dismal chap to have dinner with.”

Methinks ye misspelled “Sparrow,” matey.

I laughed out loud at this. I think you’ve got it pegged precisely!

Read other books, CP – Flying Colors was the last of Forester’s initial Hornblower trilogy. And I think you’ve mischaracterized him – he didn’t spend all his time worrying. Hornblower was an action guy.

You’re mistaken – Hornblower LIKES his introscpection, and would be morose if you took it away.

My money’s on Hornblower any day. He might not be an ideal companion (although he’d do his damnedest not to let you know), but he can sail rings around anyone else.

That’s another thread, “Who’s the Most Sissy Captain?”

I read all the Hornblower novels first. Then when I read Master and Commander it seemed like O’Brien was going out of his way to emphasize that Aubrey was the exact opposite of Hornblower in every way, even trivial details like Hornblower was tonedeaf so Aubrey was shown to love music. It made Aubrey seem like he wasn’t so his own person as he was the Bizarro Hornblower.

Well, Aubrey’s certainly no slouch in matters of seamanship or gunnery.

Hmmm… given how morose he is anyway, I’m not sure you could tell the difference.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read Hornblower. Heck, it’s been longer than usual since I’ve reread Aubrey/Maturin. But my recollection is that Hornblower, while a brilliant officer, was always filled with self-loathing and doubt. You could respect him, but not love him. Jack was always loveable, while still being as taut a captain as you’d ever want to sail the Main with.

Interesting true story about Forester, author of the Hornblower novels, which reflects greatly to his credit: he essentially got Roald Dahl (“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” among many others) into writing.

Dahl was a fighter pilot during WW2, and was badly injured in a crash. He fought on until his lingering injuries forced him to stop, and then he was posted to Washington as an attache.

At the time, the US was not yet in the war. Forester, who was in the US, wanted to write a story about air combat, but of course knew nothing about it - people who did were rare in the US at the time. Someone intorduced him to Dahl.

They had lunch together, and Forester asked him to describe what combat was like. Dahl found this very difficult. So instead, he agreed to write a few notes and anecdotes. This became the story “A Piece of Cake”, which was Dahl’s account of his accident. Forester liked it so much he passed it on to a magazine unaltered, gave the cheque to Dahl, and promoted and encouraged Dahl to write.

That’s an interesting story, Malthus. I used to participate in a listserv where Forrester’s son hung out sometimes, and let’s just say it’s nice to see a story that reflects well on him as a person.

I take it they did not get along?

Not so much.

I’ve read them all, I thought I was starting “The Happy Return”, confusing the British and American titles. :slight_smile:

Hornblower is afraid of heights, and Aubrey drags his [Marturin]Fat Arse[/Marturin] so high up into the rigging so that the Midshipman there is terrified that the main top will collapse. :slight_smile:
In The Happy Return, Hornblower loathes gaining weight, and Stephen constantly berates Jack for being fat.

Hornblower was good at dissembling, not revealing his inner state. We don’t only have his word for it – Bush confirms this in “Lietenant Hornblower”, the only story told from someone else’s POV. You probably couldn’t tell the difference – but not because he appeared to be morose.

There is a short story, I believe, where Hornblower must lie to stop Napoleon breaking free. He tells a French officer that Napoleon died in exile, and is mulling over how is honor is unimportant compared to world events, and how he must resign his commission since he is no longer a gentleman. Of course, Napoleon really did buy the farm, and his honor is saved.
I cannot help but wonder how Jack would have handled that.

But my final judgment as I’ve mentioned in another thread is that Hornblower would take on the French fleet with Seaman Brown, a whale boat and two flint lock pistols. Jack, on the other hand, started his water overboard fleeing from that ship of the line I never can pronounce, let alone spell. :slight_smile: