Rudyard Kipling
«A Fleet in Being»

Next day both Fleets were exercised at steam tactics, which is a noble game; but I was too interested in the life of my own cruiser, unfolding hour by hour, to be intelligently interested in evolutions. All I remember is that we were eternally taking up positions at fifteen knots an hour amid a crowd of other cruisers, all precisely alike, all still as death, each with a wedge of white foam under her nose; wheeling, circling, and returning. The battleships danced stately quadrilles by themselves in another part of the deep. We of the light horse did barn-dances about the windy floors; and precisely as couples in the ball-room fling a word over their shoulders, so we and our friends, whirling past to take up fresh stations, snapped out an unofficial sentence or two by means of our bridge-semaphores. Cruisers are wondrous human. In the afternoon the battleships overtook us, their white upperworks showing like icebergs as they topped the sea-line. Then we sobered our faces, and the engineers had rest, and at a wave of the Admiral’s flag off Land’s End our Fleet was split in twain. One half would go outside Ireland, toying with the weight of the Atlantic en route, to Blacksod Bay, while we turned up the Irish Channel to Lough Swilly. There we would coal, and wait for War. After that it would be blind man’s bluff within a three hundred and fifty mile ring of the Atlantic. We of Lough Swilly would try to catch the Blacksod Fleet, which was supposed to have a rendezvous of its own somewhere out at sea, before it could return to the shelter of the Bay. Rudyard Kipling «A Fleet in Being»