Clarissa: Chapter Twenty-Seven

The morning after the wedding, Roland and Clarissa made sure their trunks were packed and ready and then headed down to the marina along with Richard, as they were all boarded on the same ship as far as Malta. During the time that Roland Richard were together on the boat, they talked about how life had gone for the few years since they had last seen each other, and how they had been rewarded for their service to other regimes but would have been killed had they been caught by the French government. When they arrived at Malta, Richard disembarked and then returned to his duties, not knowing how many years he would spend in such diplomatic service but glad to be able to do so. By this time Roland and Clarissa were glad to have caught up and exchanged stories about the years, but were also glad to have some time to spend together as well.

Roland and Clarissa had a pretty regular pattern to their time traveling on boat when they were not exploring on land. They would wake up and enjoy plenty of cuddling together, then get up and enjoy breakfast, hold hands and talk while on the deck enjoying the sight of the rolling waves and anything they happened to pass alongside, before eating lunch, doing some quiet reading and more cuddling, and then having dinner, after which they would talk with the ship’s captain as well as other officers about the nature of this particular cruise, others like it, and the importance of good relations between the army and navy. Each night would end with them spending plenty of loving time together as well. Although there was as clear pattern to their behavior, they made sure not to keep it boring because they were able to find enough to do and enough people to talk to in order to keep things fresh during the weeks they were traveling.

It is not the purpose of this particular account to give a detailed examination of the places that Roland and Clarissa saw. Many of the places where they stopped were familiar places for the British flag to fly and were populated by at least temporary and sometimes longer-term allies of the British. Some of those areas, like Malta, would eventually fly British flags for a long period of time themselves. Some areas, like Minorca, had in the past. Others, like Corsica, would briefly be under British rule before being returned to the French. Still others, like places in Italy, were part of regimes that unbeknownst to them only had a short time remaining. Some, like Genoa, would lose their independent identity within years. Others, like the Grand Duchy of Tuscany or the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, would lose their independence but then regain it for a short while before becoming part of that geographical expression of Italy when the (currently almost landlocked) kingdom of Savoy-Piedmont united Italy together over the course of several decades.

And that is only to speak of the Italian areas, although they did also manage to see Greek and North African ports as well. Here the British had to deal with the Ottoman Turks, who ruled over these territories, some of them only nominally, and were as everyone knows an empire in serious decline. the British were, at least at the present time, under orders to avoid entangling themselves up in events that would threaten the peace of the region, and the power of a British frigate was enough to keep even the unruly pirate bases on good behavior. Roland and Clarissa got the chance to see a little bit of some of these areas but not enough to find themselves in any trouble, and before too long the ship was on its circuit back to Gibraltar, where Roland would return to his military service, having gained some familiarity with the Mediterranean world in which so much had been going on for so long in human history, while Clarissa would keep charge of the house while tending to her growing belly.

Unlike a great many people who do not recognize when they are living in the good old days, Roland and Clarissa knew that this honeymoon period was truly a wonderful experience, a time of travel, of excitement, and of comfort in each other’s love. They knew too much of the world to expect the good times to last, or at least in the same way, and also knew that there would be grave dangers that the two of them may have to face, but they relished the thought of facing them together. A great deal on this earth has to be faced from time to time by unlucky generations. Those institutions and identities that seem to be so solid turn out to be problematic and under assault from those who desire to disrupt existing authorities so that they may replace them without having the character or abilities to replace them well, and so spread misery and trouble all around them, as is the way of idealistic revolutionaries everywhere. Such difficulties do not seem to impossible to cope with, though, when one recognizes that one is a part of a larger story, with love in one’s home between husband and wife and parents and children, and where people have an honorable place in the larger world that allows them the chance to live decent and productive lives.

With one independent fortune between them, at least, Roland and Clarissa made the best of the situation they found themselves in. If they were not always to reside in Gibraltar, at least they could enjoy the time that they spent there. Regiments like the 69th Lincolnshire were sent all over the place, to three or four continents, and if camp life was often thought to be deeply monotonous in the worst of circumstances, so too the occasional fights were deadly. At times the camps themselves could be deeply unsanitary, but here too at least the officers had the best of the situation, although at times it was not as luxurious as was life in base. But a life does not have to be luxurious to be enjoyed, or to be a useful and enjoyable life.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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