Page 60. " and so I was sent off to the West Indies "


West Indies Action
Public DomainWest Indies Action - Credit: Nicholas Pocock

Captain Wentworth, the last man to command the fictional Asp, was sent to the West Indies in 1806 and saw success fighting both privateers and a French frigate.

This painting, Duckworth's Action off San Domingo, 6 February 1806, depicts just such an encounter in the West Indies. Painted by maritime artist Nicholas Pocock, it captures the moment when the British ships, under Sir John Duckworth, are engaging the French.

For more on the British West Indies, see here.

Page 61. " Never was a better sloop that the Asp "


A sloop was a single-masted ship used in the 19th century Royal Navy as a warship. It only had a single gun deck, and was therefore one of the smallest warships in use. It is distinct from the sloop-of-war, a catch-all term used to describe ships of different rigs and sizes.


Page 61. " I brought her into Plymouth "

Plymouth is an important English port city in the county of Devon and the point of departure for the Pilgrims who settled in what is now the United States (see Plymouth Colony).

Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikePlymouth - Credit: Gwyn Jones


Page 64. " I believe I have lived as much on board as most women, and I know nothing superior to the accommodations of a man of war. "
Man of War
Public DomainMan of War - Credit: John Fairburn

A British man of war, like that seen in this 1796 aquatint by John Fairburn, was a ship constructed and armed for battle. Mrs. Croft points out that the least feminine ship of them all, a battleship, was suitable for her.

Page 66. " I have crossed the Atlantic four times, and have been once to the East Indies, and back again; and only once, besides being in different places about home -- Cork, and Lisbon, and Gibraltar. But I never went beyond the Straights -- and never was in the West Indies. We do not call Bermuda or Bahama, you know, the West Indies. "


Cork, Ireland
Public DomainCork, Ireland - Credit: Valdoria

Mrs Croft regards this as a modest list, but it would have been very exotic to all the women listening: Cork in Ireland, Lisbon in Portugal on the west coast of Europe, and Gibraltar, which divides Spain and Morocco. 

Lisbon, Portugal
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeLisbon, Portugal - Credit: Osvaldo Gago

Bermuda, an island not far off the eastern seaboard of the United States, had been a British territory for about two hundred years when Mrs. Croft speaks about her travels.  And the Bahamas, made up of dozens of islands, are situated roughly between Cuba and the United States.


Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeGibraltar - Credit: Ian Monroe