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CONVERSATION
Archie's wit and wisdom: quips, anecdotes, and the like (as the Duchess would say).
You do have a sense of humor, Horatio! Your "distances-we-travel" speech gets
the biggest laughs in the whole series! What? You weren't joking? Oh ...


While Archie might not cause Groucho Marx any sleepless nights, he does have a sense of humor. And he also has a style uniquely his own: a tendency to state the obvious, but in an insightful way. Presented here for your pleasure are some of the more notable Archieisms.

A word of warning, though: wavs do not like me. I've never been able to get one to work properly. So I'm afraid I have to present the Archieisms the old-fashioned way ... However, wavs of these and more can be found on some of the Jamie Bamber fan sites listed on the Further Dissertations page.


Archie the smartass

Archie at his most perceptive

Archie at his goofiest

Archie at his most despairing

Archie at his most forceful

Archie the noble friend




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ARCHIE THE SMARTASS


* "Welcome to Purgatory!"
(The Duel)
Welcoming Horatio aboard the Justinian.


* "It's difficult to say who smells worse, the men or the beasts in the manger."
(The Duel)
Giving Horatio a tour of the Justinian.


* "His majesty's ship of the line Justinian, known elsewise among her intimates as the good ship Slough of Despond."
(The Duel)
Introducing Horatio to the other denizens of the Justinian's midshipman's mess.


* "What is this? Gentlemen, it appears we have a stranger in our midst. No, no -- it's Lieutenant Hornblower. From top to toe a new man!"
(The Wrong War)
A bit of teasing about Horatio's new uneeform.


* "The word 'shambles' might be more appropriate."
(The Wrong War)
Observing General Charette's royalist Frog troops, which Horatio has charitably described as "a little disorderly."


* "Your men look very fine, Major. Almost too good for battle."
(The Wrong War)
A rather unprovoked comment on Major Edrington's spiffy Lobsters.


* "You see, Horatio? Had you been rich enough to buy a commission as well as a new uniform, you could have joined the army instead."
(The Wrong War)
After Major Edrington has informed them that they are to kindly address him as "My Lord," as he is in fact the Earl of Edrington.


* "From Acting Lieutenant to commander of a dung cart in no more than a step. My career is looking up!"
(The Wrong War)
After Colonel Moncoutant unveils the "transport" for the artillery.


* "As a fighting man or as a captain?"  
(Mutiny)
A possibly rhetorical question prompted by the newly arrived Mr. Bush's admission that he knows Captain Sawyer's "reputation" -- a reputation for past heroism in battle that ill accords with the present chaotic state of things on the Renown.  Archie's not the type to let "safe" banalities pass untweaked.  


* "I don't think I much care for your tone, sir!"  
(Mutiny)
A naughtily accurate mimicking of the stolid Mr. Bush.  From a strictly metaphorical standpoint, I suppose Archie always was a bit "snottier" than Horatio ...


* "I remember when you used to be scared of heights, Mr. Hornblower!"  
(Retribution)
Nyah nyah nyah.


* "Not quite twenty."  
(Retribution)
After one of the Renowns is shot by the Free Army of rebel slaves, just as Horatio is urging retreat on the grounds that "we're only twenty men."  Doesn't seem like much just typed out here, but it's all a matter of tone and facial expression -- trust me on this!


* "Very possibly, but we thought you could use the company."  
(Retribution)
In response to Horatio's query, "Are you out of your mind?"


* "You're Clive, you great fool."  
(Retribution)
Not completely dead, and far from losing his wits: his response to Dr. Clive's somewhat condescending question, "Who am I?"


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ARCHIE AT HIS MOST PERCEPTIVE


* "They aren't bad men for the most part, provided they're kept busy."
(The Duel)
Speaking in particular of Styles, Matthews, and Oldroyd -- who at first appear to be a rather nasty lot. But Archie is correct: in time these men will become the bulwarks of Horatio's division.


* "Something's going on, Horatio."
(The Duchess and The Devil)
Even Archie in his weakened state is not unaware of Hunter's plotting.


* "A fine thing to die in someone else's war."
(The Wrong War)
At this point Horatio is still a believer, but Archie already sees that the Muzillac mission is doomed.


* "They mean to kill us, Horatio!"
(The Wrong War)
Probably for no other line has Archie received so much grief. Yet it strikes me as just about the sanest thing anyone says in this entire episode. Especially considering Horatio's preceding remark: "You have nothing to fear from the enemy." Every time I hear that, I want to say, "Er -- 'scuse me, Horatio, but I don't think they would be your enemy if they didn't mean to harm you in some way ..."


* "It's not history that concerns me, Horatio.  It's the future."  
(Mutiny)
What a difference the passing years have made!  Just like at the bridge at Muzillac way back in The Wrong War, Horatio responds to Archie's justified concerns with a bit of noble illogic -- in this case opining that Archie shouldn't be so upset about Sawyer's behavior because the captain has "earned his place in history."  At Muzillac, Archie let himself be talked out of his (quite accurate) forebodings.  This time, he sticks to his guns and gets the last word.  


* "Acting Captain.  I tell you, Horatio, never was a man more aptly named."
(Retribution)
Speaking of the ineffectual Buckland -- some time before Buckland himself realizes his many limitations as a commander.  And is it just me, or is there an intentional parallel to Clayton's "Captain Keene, if ever there was a man more wrongly named" line way back in The Duel?  The connection to Clayton would not be out of place, given the later events of this episode ...


* "Poor Horatio.  So quick to give, so slow to accept the simplest gift."  
(Retribution)
On his deathbed, after performing the supreme sacrifice for Horatio.  Even in these dire circumstances, he can still read his friend like an open book.  But he's going to make bloody sure Horatio does accept this particular gift, because it is both simple and enormous: Horatio's future.


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ARCHIE AT HIS GOOFIEST


* "What do you think they'll do with him? You can't kill a king."
(The Duel)
Speaking of Louis XVI. Evidently Archie has never heard of Charles I ...


* "I killed two! Well, one, certainly ..."
(The Duel)
All excited after his first battle. We never see this gung-ho side of him again, although the self-deprecation is very much a constant characteristic.


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ARCHIE AT HIS MOST DESPAIRING


* "It must be something to walk in the sun with such a lovely woman."
(The Duchess and The Devil)
A comment about Horatio's walks with the Duchess, uttered just seconds before Archie's suicide bid appears (almost) to have succeeded. Is he being wistful or bitter?


* "It would be just like that."
(The Duchess and The Devil)
As it turns out, his suicide bid did not succeed. Which means he has to face the prospect of returning to the Indy as one more triumph in Horatio's career. Horatio assures him "it wouldn't be like that," to which Archie responds as indicated.


* "I panicked. I knew I was doing it, but I couldn't stop myself ..."
(The Wrong War)
Archie doubts his ability to lead the men after a sudden sniper attack. But don't worry; things only go up for him after this point.


* "Oh.  Well.  There's a precious sop for my conscience."  
(Mutiny)
Unable to prevent Sawyer from beating Wellard again, Archie insists to Horatio that they must intervene.  Horatio feels any action on their parts would just make Sawyer madder, but he tries to console Archie with a less than reassuring platitude: "You acted for the best."  Archie responds as indicated: biting sarcasm, but also deadly earnest.  


* "And I to have known you."  
(Retribution)
On his deathbed, though not quite dead.  Horatio is just on the point of saying how much he cares, but then he dons his armor once more and comes out with "I'm honored to have served with you."  I have no doubt whatsoever that Archie of all people knows how much even that admission cost Horatio emotionally, but I swear Archie still looks like he's about to cry.  He then responds as above.  "To have served with you" and "to have known you" ...  The contrast in characters, and the qualities they gave to each other, has perhaps never been more clearly demonstrated.


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 ARCHIE AT HIS MOST FORCEFUL


* "Belay that, Styles!"
(The Duel)
In response to Styles' observation of the new midshipman Hornblower: "There goes His Majesty's latest bad bargain." It will be quite awhile before we hear Archie speak with such authority again.


* "Styles, let's have less griping!"
(The Wrong War)
Mind you, I don't blame Styles one bit. I know I wouldn't be able to shovel out the contents of a dung cart with a big smile on my face. But really now -- forking the stuff onto Archie's lovely boots is taking civil disobedience just a bit too far, if you ask me.


* "Keep your head or you will lose it!"
(The Wrong War)
Counseling Oldroyd, who is having a panic attack much like the one Archie himself had experienced earlier in the episode. Yes, by this point he's definitely finding his feet again. (Now if only he can keep them out of airborne dung cart cargo!)


* "Sir, Randall!  You call him SIR!!!"
(Mutiny)
Admonishing an obstreperous rating who has been giving Wellard a hard time.  It takes no Sigmund Freud to deduce that Archie's anger is not only on Wellard's behalf; his own unpleasant experiences as a midshipman are probably at least as much of a factor.


* "You keep pre-var-i-ca-ting!"
(Mutiny)
Fed up with Dr. Clive's refusal to outrightly declare Sawyer unfit for command.  I don't know about Clive, but I sure wouldn't want to get on the bad side of someone with such immaculate diction!


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ARCHIE THE NOBLE FRIEND


* "Your first command. My congratulations."
(The Duel)
Horatio has just been given command of the prize ship Marie Gallante. Archie having some seniority could very reasonably have expected to be given this command himself. But although it appears to take him a little effort, he suppresses any envy and instead commends Horatio's good fortune.


* "My word on it, Horatio."
(The Duchess and The Devil)
Horatio has hauled Archie back from the brink of self-destruction, and Archie now takes his first step toward returning the favor: he warns Horatio that "The Duchess" is in fact an actress named Katherine Cobham. Horatio tells him he's "raving," and Archie responds in the calm manner above. All this talk of giving one's "word" will prove significant later in the episode.


* "Tell him, Horatio."
(The Duchess and The Devil)
After Hunter's failed escape attempt, Don Massaredo demands to know who is responsible. Horatio keeps insisting that it was him, to the Don's open skepticism. Massaredo says "Mr. Kennedy is a friend, is he not? He will tell you that I am not afraid to be cruel. One last time: who is responsible?" Archie, knowing full well what punishment awaits Horatio if he persists in taking the blame, makes this whispered entreaty.


* "If Mr. Hornblower has given his word, that holds good for me."
(The Duchess and The Devil)
Horatio has given his parole and that of his men that he will return to prison after rescuing the survivors of the Almeria shipwreck. Captain Pellew points out that the men are under no obligation to honor a promise not of their own making. Archie's response -- and he is the first of the men to speak up -- is as indicated.


* "It's no good, Horatio; she's gone."
(The Wrong War)
At last Archie is able to repay the debt from The Duchess and The Devil: the bridge at Muzillac is about to blow, but Horatio is in hysterics over Mariette's dead body. Archie races across the bridge. Although he is clearly petrified, he is not oblivious to Horatio's pain: he speaks quietly and gently -- and just urgently enough to recall Horatio to the reality of the situation. They make it back with seconds to spare; well done, indeed.


* "Concentrate on the task at hand.  It'll help to keep your mind off the pain."
(Mutiny)
Offering support the only way he can to Wellard, who won't be sitting down any time soon after being punished by Captain Sawyer.  This is a very understated but intensely moving scene, for you know exactly what Archie is leaving unsaid: "I've been there too, pal."


* "I alone pushed him.  I alone pushed Captain Sawyer into the hold."  
(Retribution)
It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done ...


* "Please take what I offer.  Just take it and say goodbye."  
(Retribution)
On his deathbead -- still not quite dead, though getting closer.  Horatio is an excellent fellow, but God help anyone who tries to do him a favor - especially one at "such a dear cost."  Archie probably understands this better than anyone ...


* "You see?  Better already."  
(Retribution)
Last words.  One final effort for Horatio, then alas -- completely dead.  


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