The same sort of shop talk and banter in the wardroom, which trims and polishes human edges; the same fellowship of a world apart. Securely ready the British fleet waits. Enough drill and not too much; occasional visits between ships; books and newspapers and a lighthearted relaxation of scattered conversation in the mess. One wardroom had a thirty-five-second record for getting past all the pitfalls in the popular “Silver Bullet” game, if I remember correctly.
Seaplanes cut practice circles over the fleet and then flew away on their errands, to be lost in the sky beyond the harbour entrance. With their floats, they were like ducks when they came to rest on the water, sturdy and a little clumsy looking compared to those hawks the army planes, soaring to higher altitudes.
The hawk had a broad, level field for its roost; the duck, bobbing with the waves after it came down, had its wings folded as became a bird at rest, after its engines stopped, and, a dead thing, was lifted on board its floating home with a crane, as cargo is swung into the hold.
On shipboard there must be shipshapeness; and that capacious, one-time popular Atlantic liner had undergone changes to prepare it for its mothering part, with platforms in place of the promenades where people had lounged during the voyage and bombs in place of deck-quoits and dining-saloons turned into workshops. Of course, one was shown the different sizes and types of bombs. Aviators exhibit them with the pride of a collector showing his porcelains. Every time they seem to me to have grown larger and more diabolical. Where will aerial progress end? Will the next war be fought by forces that dive and fly like fishes and birds?