Study Guide

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party Part 3, Chapter 16

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Part 3, Chapter 16

  • Goring's not done yet though—he writes another letter, dated May 31, 1775, to his sister and his mother.
  • With this letter, he's enclosed a bunch of letters from the other men, so that Shun can pass the letters on to their loved ones.
  • He would also like Shun to pass word onto Liz about how heroic he was in that last battle. (Hey, he may not be home, but that doesn't mean he can't still use a wing (wo)man.)
  • He'll also be able to receive letters soon since they'll be in Cambridge the next few days.
  • Then he describes what happens after the battle.
  • The Captain congratulates them for their success, and then he, Shem, Sally, and Octavian visit John in a house, where he's surrounded by ladies tending to his wound.
  • John says that his leg will be cut off (it's dead already—he can't feel it), which he's scared about; he also wants to beg forgiveness from the Captain for being such an idiot.
  • Goring says he's sure the Captain will grant him this since the Captain is the kindest man ever, but he also tells John that they were all in that ditch, so no one should really judge him for going off the deep end.
  • The men say bye to John and go back to Dulwich.
  • On the way back to Dulwich, Octavian tells Goring how grateful he is to Goring because he would have been blown to pieces if not for Goring.
  • Goring mentions that Octavian was planning to become a martyr and kill himself the other day, but Octavian looks ashamed, which prompts Goring to comfort him.
  • Goring tells him not to worry about it, that Octavian's actions ended up saving John.
  • There's a little bit of a back and forth between the two of them, with Octavian trying to say thank you and Goring trying to brush it all off as nothing anyone else wouldn't do.
  • They walk toward the shore, where they see kids playing with a bunch of entrails from dead fish and dead sheep (some of those sheep didn't survive that trip across the channel, we guess).
  • The kids run up to Octavian, and Octavian teaches them the parts and organs of the fish and which of the entrails are actually from sheep.
  • The kids are interested in Octavian even though they're a little wary of the fact that he's dark-colored.
  • Octavian—born teacher that he is—even tells them the names of all those parts in Latin and Greek while answering all their questions about gills.
  • Goring can't imagine what happened to Octavian in his past; he fears even thinking about it.
  • He does know that they had the most pleasant evening though, with the kids and Shem throwing entrails at each other.
  • One boy even takes some of the entrails, wraps them around his neck, and walks into the sea like the sea is welcoming him.
  • Meanwhile, above them, Goring describes the last rays of the sun receding like "Judgment Scrolls across the Horizon."

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