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29 October 2014
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To The Ends Of The Earth
Episode two - Close Quarters

William Golding's 'To The Ends Of The Earth'


Episode Two: Close Quarters

Tensions grow within the close confines of the ship. The safety of the increasingly dilapidated hulk is by no means assured and the situation is worsened when the foremast is damaged.


The ship is becalmed in the doldrums. The shape of another vessel is sighted in the fog. The assumption is that it is French, and excited preparations are made for imminent engagement, but to the disappointment of all those who were hoping for the thrill of battle, the other ship - the Alcyone - turns out to be English.


From the commander of this ship it is learned that the war with France is over. The two ships are fastened together and passengers from each vessel introduced to each other. A ball is planned and preparations generate much excitement.


Talbot meets Marion Chumley, with whom he falls instantly in love. They flirt and his hopes are raised. But Deverel, again drunk, also pursues her.


When the time comes for the ships to part, Talbot is distraught at the thought of never seeing Marion again. With the Alcyone gone Talbot can only pine. The troublesome Deverel has also gone, exchanged for one of the Alcyone's officers, Benet, who is handsome and urbane and something of a risk-taker.


Edmund takes against him, growing closer instead to the more cautious Summers. The sea is up again, and gloom and terror pervade the ship as there is now a serious danger that it will break apart.


A rivalry begins between Summers and Benet as to the best method of preventing the ship from disintegrating. Benet has become Captain Anderson's favourite and his plan is adopted.


The radical thinker Prettiman has had a bad fall in the storm and is tended by an unlikely nurse in the shape of the severe governess, Miss Granham.


Talbot sails on, wondering if he will ever see Marion again.



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