After leaving Gibraltar I arrived at Heathrow and had a next-day flight back to the U.S. I decided a trip to Trafalgar Square would be a fitting finale to my historical pilgrimage and arrived at Piccadilly Circus on the Tube around 10:30 p.m. with only my I-Phone for a camera. As I watched the tourists climb on the lions surrounding Nelson, I wondered how many of them knew much about the man up on the column and how many of them would preserve his memory.
For me, this journey’s end rounded out a welcome diversion, but more importantly, my trail of the immortal memory brought home the lesson that Richard Snow articulated in his 1991 review of the Aubrey-Maturin series for the New York Times. He wrote that the best of historical fiction, “reminds us . . . of the most important of all historical lessons: that times change but people don’t, that the griefs and follies and victories of the men and women who were here before us are in fact the maps of our own lives.” How true.
From henceforth every October 21 I will make a special effort to remember and toast, “The immortal memory of Nelson and those who fell with him.”