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Morning at the Asclepia II (1)

Jack Aubrey stared out at Boston Harbor from his window at the Asclepia hospital. He heard his door open behind him; and in a reflection in the glass, he saw Stephen Maturin. "Stephen, how are you this morning?" Jack cried as he turned, his friend's face nearly shining in rare, evident pleasure.

"Jack, I have been, that is to say, we have been invited on an excursion to the State of Maine. Or perhaps I should say 'the Province of Maine', a geographically detached dependency of Massachusetts lying to the north. Oh, Jack, there may be eagles and bears and even moose. The Cuviers have never seen a moose"

"This moose is a prodigious great bird, I collect?"

"No, something of a large, semi-aquatical deer, with grand antlers. Your arm has quite healed enough for you to profit from the exercise and air. And you would be permitted to shoot, to hunt. But, Jack, we would have to give our paroles not to attempt escape while we are away from Boston. Would that compromise any principal of yours?"

"Never in life. It would only be for those few days, after all. But tell me, Stephen, would there be no restrictions upon this shooting of which you spoke? Are there not perhaps regulations against the hunting of, say, this moose?"

"Come, Jack, there is not a limit to moose."

© 2005 Bruce Trinque