1. Who commands Surprise and what is the ship doing at the beginning of the novel?
Captain Jack Aubrey commands HMS Surprise a British ship of war. The ship puts into port at Gibraltar after a prolonged series of adventures in the Mediterranean.
2. With whom does Aubrey meet in Gibraltar and what is the rumor about him and Mrs. Fielding?
In Gibraltar, Aubrey meets and entertains the Fieldings, a couple with whom he has had prior dealings including giving the beautiful Mrs. Fielding passage aboard his ship. That passage had started a firestorm of rumors that Aubrey and Mrs. Fielding were conducting an illicit affair.
3. How does the dinner engagement affect the rumor? What other rumor about Maturin and Mrs. Fielding is circulating?
The dinner engagement quashes such rumors about Aubrey and Mrs. Fielding; however, it has also been widely and incorrectly rumored that Aubrey's particular friend and the surgeon of Surprise, Stephen Maturin, conducted an illicit affair with the hapless Mrs. Fielding.
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