Treason's Harbour Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Describe the situation at the opening of Treason's Harbour.

Treason's Harbour opens as a group of British Navy officers gather off duty in the port city of Valletta. Great Britain and its allies were at war against Napoleon's French government and its territories. Much of the war was waged at sea while on land, espionage was a concern.

2. What is it like in Malta and why does that not cheer up the British officers?

The country of Malta is experiencing excellent weather, and the scenery was magnificent, yet the officers had difficulty enjoying the scenery. They were accustomed to life on the sea, but the war had left many ships damaged. As the ships were dragged onto land for repairs, the officers were similarly forced into unemployment.

3. Who is Mrs. Fielding and how does she and Ponto become friends with Aubrey?

Mrs. Fielding's husband had been captured by French hostiles. Lesueur leveraged this information and manipulated Mrs. Fielding into working as an agent for the French government. It was hoped she would seduce Dr. Maturin and transfer valuable information to the French. Mrs. Fielding was a language tutor as well as a musician and was well known due to her professional reputation. Since her husband's capture, she was always escorted by her rather large dog, Ponto. One evening when Mrs. Fielding was out unaccompanied, Ponto fell down a well. Captain Aubrey discovered Ponto and helped him to the surface, thus receiving great affection from Ponto and cementing a genuine friendship with Laura Fielding.

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