So just what does Archie do in C. S. Forester's novels, anyway?
Truth to tell, not a hell of a lot. So far as I know he appears in just one book, Mr. Midshipman Hornblower, and there so sparingly that I can't remember if he even has a first name. Which, me being the rigorous researcher that I am, I will take as conclusive proof that he doesn't.
In fact, the excerpt below must be considered his high point in the saga. This may prove painful, but I feel it is important for us to understand from just what humble beginnings Archie sprang -- if only to appreciate how far he's come since then. So without further ado, here follows "Midshipman Kennedy's" big scene in Mr. Midshipman Hornblower.
(NOTE: any resemblance to the Archie we all know and
love would be ... a tad disturbing, in my opinion.)
Midshipman Hornblower was walking the lee side of the quarterdeck, as became his lowly station as the junior officer of the watch, in the afternoon, when Midshipman Kennedy approached him. Kennedy took off his hat with a flourish and bowed low as his dancing master had once taught him, left foot advanced, hat down by the right knee. Hornblower entered into the spirit of the game, laid his hat against his stomach, and bent himself in the middle three times in quick succession. Thanks to his physical awkwardness he could parody ceremonial solemnity almost without trying.
"Most grave and reverend signor," said Kennedy. "I bear the compliments of Captain Sir Ed'ard Pellew, who humbly solicits Your Gravity's attendance at dinner at eight bells in the afternoon watch."
"My respects to Sir Edward," replied Hornblower, bowing to his knees at the mention of the name, "and I shall condescend to make a brief appearance."
"I am sure the captain will be both relieved and delighted," said Kennedy. "I will convey him my felicitations along with your most flattering acceptance."
Both hats flourished with even greater elaboration than before, but at that moment both young men noticed Mr. Bolton, the officer of the watch, looking at them from the windward side, and they hurriedly put their hats on and assumed attitudes more consonant with the dignity of officers of holding their warrant from King George.
(c) 1950 by C. S. Forester
Um ... yeah. Whatever.
Well -- it took a few decades, but eventually Archie would come into his own, thanks to two men named Andrew and one named Jamie. And he himself would even acquire a first name.
The saga continues on the Chronology page ...