Thursday, August 4, 2005

Why "H.M.S. Impossible"

A quick click over at Google is sparse, but oddly satisfying:
Stephen Leacock’s Winnowed Wisdom relates the histoire of naturalist Charles Darwin, and his dealings with the scientists aboard H.M.S. Beagle, H.M.S. Unspeakable, and H.M.S. Impossible (off the Oesophagus Islands) as well. I’m pretty sure his tongue was firmly imbedded a-cheek. See here:
http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks03/0301361h.html
Mr. Peter Brooke (cities of London and Westminster) mentions, in the House of Commons Hansard Debates for 27 November 1998, his aunt’s maid’s brother’s national service in H.M.S. Abominable.
Mr. Brooke’s aunt named the other members of the class, of which H.M.S. Impossible is notable.

I actually worked with a Captain who, a true gentleman, has a terrific sense of humor, scholarship, and seamanship. He and I uncovered the elegant (if sometimes obtuse and loaded with tired nautical cliches) Patrick O’Brien-like Revolutionary War era novel by Lionel Peckeridge, H.M.S. Impossible. ("...two...three...") Okay, we were doing some mind-numbing deckwork and singing along to (I think it was)Adam Clayton’s remix of the theme to Mission Impossible and threw in a shout of "H.M.S.!" where "Mission" goes in the "vocals". We made up the other stuff, promising to actually write Peckeridge’s novel (sort of an Aubrey-Maturin Bored of the Rings) and become unearthily wealthy.

Ah, the dreams of youth.