Thursday, August 8

Lord Westlake

Lord Robert Seeley, a memoriam.

I knew my brother well. So when I say that I looked forward to meeting his shipmates on the Acasta as an adult (for they knew me as a young man) well, let me say I was both enthused and apprehensive. My brother was fond of adventure: almost too fond. So when he took up his post on the Acasta 10 years ago this year and spoke with wild eyes of the adventures he looked forward to having it made me more than a little sad that my place was to be in the Church. You see, as the second son of a Viscount it is customary to be "gifted" to the Church. This normally means the Church of England. However as my mother was a well born Irish woman this meant that the family was Catholic, so I was "gifted" to the Abbey of Meaux in Northern France. The abbey is beautiful and I really cannot say that I regret the time I spent there, but still, when listening to my brother speak of his adventures I cannot help but be a bit jealous. 

He was an imposing man at 6'2", shorter in fact than I (who stand 6'4") but still enough for it to be a problem for a naval career, in fact Captain Freymann initially denied his application. He won the Captain over but studying the tools and techniques of seamanship at his own expense. So while I studied Latin and Greek he studied the Sextant and Compass. 

He was a brave man who was always proud to stand on the Quarter deck with his shoulders square during an engagement. 

With the death of our father two years hence my brother acceded to the Viscountcy. It was a fine moment that explained to me in a letter where the announcement came in a letter from the admiralty addressed to Captain Freymann who announced to him that he was now a member of the lesser peerage and would henceforth be called: Sir Robert Seeley 11th Viscount Westlake. 

My brother was called to his reward suddenly two years ago. It was during an engagement and I am given to understand that he fought bravely. This called me from my French abbey to the property and responsibility of my families title. It took me some time before I was ready to meet my brother's shipmates and to see the ship my brother knew so well and was so proud of, and where he was taken from this world. What I found was not what I expected. You see my brother was a brave and adventurous man with no taste or patience for cowardice or hesitation. He has always been fond of Lord Nelson and his "straight at 'em" creed, but this meant he could be harsh for those less adventurous than himself...like me. But I found quite a different spirit amount the sailors of the Acasta. Not of cowardice of course! But rather a spirit of camaraderie and a bravery that prefers company than one that seeks glory for its own sake. On the Acasta on the contrary I felt welcomed and there was a willingness to teach me that quicken my heart to learning. These men know no fear and their bravery is addictive. This lead me to finally understand my brother's passion and lead me to make a difficult but ultimately crucial decision.

I am in the process of preparing myself and our family's affairs that I might make my formal request in the next few mounths of Captain Freyman that he might accept me in his crew to fill that place which my brother held with such dignity and pride.

No comments:

Post a Comment