Part the Two Hundred Thirty First: The Review of the Compliment
The time was as good as any, Hope thought, after the run they had.
The first full day at sea had gone smoothly, as the crew put as many leagues between them and Port Royal as possible. The seamanship practiced by de Barrer, de Flanders, Turely, Goddard and Samuel got the most out of the sloop; she did best when they manned her lines, getting speeds that Hope could feel would have quickly put her over the horizon had the Gale tried to pursue her.
As for de Rojo, Jack and Edward (whom Hope could not break apart in her mind as she watched the two of them insist that one constantly be in concert with the other), Jukes, Mason, Mullins and Charity, they did what needed be done when called. The sloop obviously was not as responsive to their attention; though none were bad seamen, she did not show them as much attention as they worked her lines and trimmed her sails.
“The lady has favorites,” Hope caught herself softly saying to no one as she gathered her wits about her.
The boom was secured and the tiller tied as the crew prepared to eat.
Hope helped get the salted cod in the ship’s stores atop deck. She started to hand it out, using a long knife to cut pieces from one of the larger fillets.
“I don’t know how much wine is left,” she said as the crew gathered for their first meal together. “Abigail allows everyone to drink to their fill, though she also kept as much spirits as she could on hand for all. If there’s more demand for drink than we have available, I ask you to be equitable about it.”
“None of that, now,” Redhanded Jack said to Edward as the boy’s fingers cradled a jug of wine. “I don’t want you getting into bad habits, there.”
“Sorry,” Edward replied as he passed the jug to Jukes.
“There was far more wine than water aboard when we left Port Royal,” said Hope. “Best we know now who drinks what.”
“Our drink preferences are that important?” asked Jukes.
“Not as important as who is responsible for what tasks when we get to Santiago. If Abigail taught us anything,” she nodded in acknowledgement at Osei, “it’s that one needs to know what members of your crew do what well. And if we’re going to rescue her with as few losses as possible, we need to know well what each of us brings to the venture.”
“Another lesson from Captain Morgan?” Samuel asked. “How long were you two drinking together?”
“He talks volumes quickly when he has a pupil and a drink. And the best way to know what we are capable of would be to know each other better. Now, I am sure that Osei and Goddard got quite a bit from each of you, so I hope you won’t mind telling all of us what you shared with them.”
“I don’t think I can do that here,” said Mason.
“I said little as I presented myself with a quick drawn shot and a fast blade. Aboard this boat, doing that might be dangerous.”
“I see,” said Hope. “And the reason you said little else before now?”
“I needed to know your stand on highwaymen.”
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