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    • Join Date: Apr 2007
    • Posts: 154
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    #1

    ship in company

    I thought I was finished with Joseph Conrad, but here I go again.

    I've come to believe that the phrase "ship in company", below, is some kind of special naval term. Comments, please.

    ‘It was in the early days of the war. What at first used to amaze the Commanding Officer was the unchanged face of the waters, with its familiar expression, neither more friendly nor more hostile. On fine days the sun strikes sparks upon the blue; here and there a peaceful smudge of smoke hangs in the distance, and it is impossible to believe that the familiar clear horizon traces the limit of one great circular ambush.

    ‘Yes, it is impossible to believe, till some day you see a ship not your own ship (that isn’t so impressive), but some ship in company, blow up all of a sudden and plop under almost before you know what had happened to her.

    I'm also concerned with the phrase within round brackets (parentheses). I don't understand, not even with regards to the context, why the "that isn’t so impressive" refers to "the seeing of a ship that isn't your own". I would be more comfortable if it would be an overall comment on the situation as a whole, i.e the "blowing up and plopping under". Like this:

    ‘Yes, it is impossible to believe, till some day you see a ship not your own ship, but some ship in company, blow up all of a sudden and plop under almost before you know what had happened to her, (that isn’t so impressive).

    Comments, please.


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
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    #2

    Re: ship in company

    This is a really tricky one!

    I feel the phrase in brackets could be implying either that the ship you see is not as impressive as your own, or that your ship is not so impressive, and more probably it is the latter.


    "Ship in company" = accompanied by other ships, either in convoy or in a group >> Photo Gallery : HMS Exploit (Birmingham) : University Royal Navy Units : P2000 Class (URNU) : Patrol Vessels : Surface Fleet : Operations and Support : Royal Navy [[ignore the misplaced apostrophe]]

    I'm going to miss these when you finally finish!


    • Join Date: Apr 2007
    • Posts: 154
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    #3

    Re: ship in company

    Hi Anglika

    It was exactly this I was looking for: "Ship in company" = accompanied by other ships, either in convoy or in a group".

    About the (that isn’t so impressive) bit, I see your point. Especially considering the previous description of the ship commanded by the "speaker":

    "So I’ll just tell you that the ship was of a very ornamental sort once, with lots of grace and elegance and luxury about her. Yes, once! She was like a pretty woman who had suddenly put on a suit of sackcloth and stuck revolvers in her belt."

    However, considering the context, I can't help having a feeling that it's a comment on something more particular, maybe something suggested previously. Well, I don't know. It's just a feeling. Sometimes i think that every single sentence written by Conrad would be a perfect subject for a twenty pages long literary paper.

    Well, Anglika, maybe you are going to miss all my questions, but I'm not sure I will.

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