Midshipman George Gilbert will sit down|
to write out his recollection of the voyage,
calling it long, tedious and exhausting.
He will die of smallpox the next year.
William Ellis will sell his smuggled journal
to a publisher, and so ruin his career
in the British navy. He will die in a fall
from the rigging of a French ship in Ostend.
Zimmerman will return to his homeland and
publish his account of the voyage in German.
James King will command a 500 ship convoy
to the West Indies, catch malaria, and die
in Nice. Trevenen, serving in the Russian navy,
will be killed in action against the Swedes.
Riou will die in the Battle of the Baltic.
Webber will be elected to the Royal Academy
on the strength of his illustrations
of the voyage. Bayly will become Head Master
at the Royal Naval academy. William Bligh
will attain the rank of Vice Admiral
and fame as the target of two mutinies
and the villain of 3 major movies.
David Nelson, in charge of the breadfruit
on the Bounty, will be set adrift with Bligh
by the mutineers, and die of exposure and
starvation. Williamson will be court-martialed
for cowardice during the Battle of Camperdown.
I want to tell you everything
but how can I proceed
when I know so little. I want
to put an end to this text, but this series of events
has no particular ending.
These men have now reached home, a point of divergence
for each individual, each life spinning off, twisting to
accommodate its own incongruent conditions, and meeting
always an unexpected but inevitable end.
The events at Nootka are only a brief merging of
bodies at a certain co-ordinate, to be followed
by a scattering, and other mergings and scatterings
of material and personality, the segments of a
rhythm, a pulse, generating and broadcasting waves in
every direction, to interfere and merge in patterns
beyond our present focus, just as these lines will
interfere with the words and images already in your mind, to
emerge as shapes and shadows and sounds that I will never perceive or imagine.