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Ebook Frank Mildmay or the Naval Officer by Frederick Marryat read! Book Title: Frank Mildmay or the Naval Officer
The author of the book: Frederick Marryat
Language: English
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 21.70 MB
Edition: McBooks Press
Date of issue: September 1st 1997
ISBN: 0935526390
ISBN 13: 9780935526394

Read full description of the books Frank Mildmay or the Naval Officer:

Marryat, the father of nautical/naval tales, wrote this book, his first, while still serving in the British Royal Navy. It was such a success that he left the navy (where he had been for long enough) and went on to write 21 further novels.

I have wanted this book for some time, as I wanted to discover how he did on his FIRST book--if his writing and story telling style were as good as his later works etc.

As I read this I marvelled at his ability to use the English language and tell a great and compelling story.

All through it, in fact, clear until the end, I kept thinking that I didn't like the main character much, Mr. Frank Mildmay--he's just too much like another literary character that I don't love, Tom Jones. They have many of the same vices. As I was upset with Mr. Tom for getting the lovely and virtuous lady at the end when he did NOT deserve her, I was upset that it looked like the same would happily occur for Mr. Frank as well.

However, I was very delightedly surprised and touched by the ending to this book, as I was not with Tom Jones. I still think Mr. Frank was a scallywag but Mr. Marryat wrapped it all up in a very satisfying way.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I'm glad it's mine and I'm glad I read it. It had some great moments and some great thoughts on things like education and self-education and being honorable--which Marryat uses as a theme throughout his novels.

One of the things I appreciated about this novel was the slow growth of the character. He had wonderful, faithful parents who did their best to instill religion and morality into him at a young age, but being thrown off to boarding school at 7 years, and a horrible boarding school at that, left him with a very imperfect education that tended up completely the reverse of what he had received at home. Being there from 7 to 13 hardened him to good feeling and then being placed in a naval ship with, as he describes, 300 men whose only religion was to wear a cleaner shirt on Sunday didn’t help matters. All the same, at times in his life he is blessed with grace and he knows it, and he vows to reform and falls quickly again into vice. It’s a process that goes on the entire book and while one wants to be thoroughly disgusted with him and wonders why he can’t keep his resolutions, one doesn’t succeed because, although he may be a scamp, he’s no different from the rest of us. Life is a process.

This edition, from McBooks Press “Classics of Nautical Fiction” was a nice book but it was supposed to have footnotes (which it had, perhaps two) and why bother with that when there were many, many Latin and French phrases left unexplained? I did appreciate the glossary and the two ship diagrams in the back.

There was much more language in this book than Marryat’s others—even if it’s written with a dash in between parenthetical letters it gets annoying. Notwithstanding, I’m sure he still spared us much of what the language aboard a ship was.

Some highlights...

Aboard his first ship, at age 13 or so, and having already fought with the oldest midshipman, the captain gives Frank this advice:

“You are,” said the captain, “like a young bear; all your sorrows are before you; if you give a blow for every hard name you receive, your fate in the service may be foreseen: if weak you will be pounded to a mummy—if strong, you will be hated. A quarrelsome disposition will make you enemies in every rank you may attain; you will be watched with a jealous eye, well knowing, as we all do, that the same spirit of insolence and overbearing which you show in the cockpit, will follow you to the quarter-deck, and rise with you in the service. This advice is for your own good; not that I interfere in these things, as everybody and everything finds its level in a man-of-war; I only wish you to draw a line between resistance against oppression, which I admire and respect, and a litigious, uncompromising disposition, which I despise.

Thoughts on being tyrannized over and how it develops character:

A mistaken notion has long prevailed, that boys derive advantages from suffering under the tyranny of their oppressors at schools; and we constantly hear the praises of public schools and midshipmen’s berths on this very account—namely, “that boys are taught to find their level.” I do not mean to deny but that the higher orders improve by collision with their inferiors, and that a young aristocrat is often brought to his senses by receiving a sound thrashing from the son of a tradesman. But he that is brought up a slave, will be a tyrant when he has the power; the worst of our passions are nourished to inflict the same evil on others which we boast of having suffered ourselves. The courage and daring spirit of a noble-minded boy is rather broken down by ill-usage which he has not the power to resist, or, surmounting all this, he proudly imbibes a dogged spirit of sullen resistance and implacable revenge; which become the bane of his future life.

Reflecting on his duplicity:

I had no sooner laid my head on my pillow, than I began to call myself to a severe account for my duplicity; for somehow or other, I don’t know how it is, conscience is a very difficult sort of gentleman to deal with. A tailor’s bill you may avoid by crossing the Channel; but the duns of conscience follow you to the antipodes, and will be satisfied. I ran over the events of the day; I reflected that I had been on the brink of losing my Emily by an act of needless and unjustifiable deceit and double-dealing. Sooner or later I was convinced that this part of my character would be made manifest, and that shame and punishment would overwhelm me in utter ruin. The success which had hitherto attended me was no set-off against the risk I ran of losing for ever this lovely girl, and the respect and esteem of her father. For her sake, therefore, I made a vow for ever to abandon this infernal system. I mention this more particularly as it was the first healthy symptom of amendment I had discovered, and one to which I long and tenaciously adhered—as far, at least, as my habits and pursuits in life would allow me. I forgot, at that time, that to be ingenuous it was necessary to be virtuous. There is no cause for concealment when we do not act wrongly.

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