Lord Clonfert

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Lord Clonfert is a character who appears in The Mauritius Command as an English naval officer. He is described as an Englishman whose family holds an Irish peerage.

SPOILER WARNING:  Plot or ending details for "Mauritius Command"  follow.

Clonfert first appears in The Mauritius Command as the Commander of the sloop Otter. He takes part in the successful action on La Reunion and is rewarded by Commodore Aubrey, who promotes Clonfert to the command of the post-ship HMS Nereide.

O'Brian depicts Clonfert as showy dandy who is well-liked by his crew. In spite of his popularity, Clonfert is inwardly self-consciousness, and broods over past disappointments. He has a tendency to exaggerate his past achievements and constantly compete with his contemporaries.

Aubrey's relationship with Clonfert, who was once senior to Aubrey in the navy, is awkward and sometimes tense. The two had served together as lieutenants in HMS Agememnon, where Clonfert's poor conduct during a cutting-out action against a French privateer had caused Aubrey to silently question Clonfert's courage. Clonfert resented Aubrey's later successes, his favor with the Admiralty, and his promotion to post-rank ahead of him.

Later in The Mauritius Command, Clonfert is severely wounded in the face and neck during the Battle of Grand Port, and is compelled to surrender HMS Nereide to the French after a long and fierce fight. This humiliation, together with his rival Aubrey's eventual success in the Mauritius campaign, is too much for Clonfert's fragile psyche to absorb, and he dies of his wounds after suicidally removing his neck bandages and bleeding to death.

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