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Sunday, June 13, 2010

No Communication from Bob

Well, that's as I had it from one that knows—Bob Loveday of Overcombe—one of the "Victory" men that's going to walk in the funeral.  (The Dynasts, Part I, Act V, Scene VII)

The Dynasts is an verse drama Hardy composed in parts 20 years after the publication of The Trumpet-Major, but he makes a reference to Bob Loveday in the drama.  The Lovedays wait for news from or about Bob but no information is forthcoming.  Lieutenant Lapenotiere, commander of the HMS Pickle, was given the honor of relaying the news of the victory over the French, as well as that of Nelson's death, to the Admiralty in London.  Lapenotiere was delayed in his mission due to a hurricane that further destroyed the Combined Fleet, not leaving until October 26, 1805.  He landed at Plymouth on the morning of  November 4th and made the trek to London, arriving early in the morning of November 6th.  News spread all that day in London and news of the victory and the death of Nelson first appeared in The Times on November 7th.  The Lovedays first received news of Bob in December, a shipmate assuring them that he was alive and well, and engaged, news which causes Anne to faint.

The Victory arrived in England December 4, 1805, though the Loveday hear nothing from Bob until a short letter in January acknowledging his participation in the funeral of Lord Nelson.  Though Anne and John read newspaper accounts about the battle and survivors, only the names of officers were included in the death notices.  Nevertheless, Bob, as fits his flighty personality, is negligent in contacting his family.

The above painting is Funeral procession of Admiral Lord Nelson, from the Admiralty to St. Paul's, London, January 9, 1806 by Augueste Charles Pugin (1762-1832)

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