He has always admired Captain Pellew, far more than he knows how to express. "He's a good captain," is high praise indeed, but not sufficient.
And yet --
Something in the fire and recklessness of Captain Foster draws him, more than simply the exaltation of power. His mouth tastes of impetuousity and lightning. Pellew is cautious; Foster throws himself into battle and into bed spontaneously. The young acting-lieutenant blushes at nudity. Foster assures him that it won't affect his examination.
Afterward, pulling his breeches on, Hornblower doubts whether emulating Foster would augment his career. But it had been a splendid evening.
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