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  • "'Boat your oars,' said Jack. 'Clap on to the halliard — no, the halliard. God's death — haul away. Bear a hand, Stephen. Belay. Catch a couple of turns round the kevel — the kevel.'

    "The scow gave a violent lurch. Jack dropped all, scrambled forward, caught two turns round the kevel and slid back to the tiller. The sail filled, he brought the wind a little abaft the beam, and the scow headed out to sea.

    "'You are cursed snappish tonight, Jack,' said Stephen. 'How do you expect me to understand your altumal cant, without pondering on it? I do not expect you to understand medical jargon, without giving you time to consider the etymology, for all love.'

    "'Not to know the odds between a halliard and a sheet, after all these years at sea: it passes human understanding,' said Jack.

    "'You are a reasonably civil, complaisant creature on dry land,' said Stephen, but the moment you are afloat you become pragmatical and absolute, a bashaw — do this, do that, gluppit the prawling strangles, there — no longer a social being at all. It is no doubt the effect of the long-continued habit of command; but it cannot be considered amiable.'

    "Diana said nothing: she had a considerable experience and she knew that if men were to be at all tolerable they must be fed..."
    --Patrick O'Brian, The Fortune of War, p. 272

    February 6, 2008