Part the One Hundred Fourth: An Account for Liberty
Despite her embarrassment at everything she had said, Hope had to acknowledge that she was in fact having a good time talking with Zoutman. She had to admit, though, that just the act of lying on the beach in Tortuga with the sun warming her was perhaps the best part of the experience.
That part ended abruptly as Hope heard Osei call, “Stand to assembly, smart,” drawing the crew of the Raging Gale to attend.
“And I was just getting comfortable,” said Zoutman as he stood, the sand in his beard making it a whitish tan.
Hope rose too, feeling the strain in her back caused by the careening as she rose. She tried to ignore the discomfort of having the sand pressed against her skin from lying face down, wanting to disrobe to remove the grit at the first possible moment when modesty would allow.
It was Sanders who addressed the assembled crew. “We’ll be having a shipwright come up to take care of her,” she said to her men, indicating the hull of the Gale behind them. “We came to fair price with him for the repairs, to be paid from the public stock, and still have enough after repairs and resupply for a further voyage. If all are in favor of it, what’s left right now would grant ye each a fair share from the remainder for a call on the port.”
“And how much can we expect if we do accept?” asked Goor.
“I hear Mister Campbell has nearly ninety dubloons for those who signed the articles and are entitled to shares.” She waited for the crew’s reaction to her accounting before continuing. “Aye, no rig run. Mister Campbell has copies of his accounting with him, and sent me his figures here,” she held up a folded paper, “if ye want to see for yourself before claiming yer booty at the Blue Dolphin. That’s where he be waiting to offer those shares ye earned.”
Some of the men and Charity did take up Sanders’ offer to check the figures. None of the men protested after having the sums before them explained by those who could read.
As Zoutman started on his way into Cayonne, Hope asked “Don’t you want to check his figures before we get there?”
“I trust Campbell well enough,” he replied. “And I’m anxious to get my liberty. You can’t imagine what it means after being at sea so long.”
Hope just looked at him askance before she finally kept pace with him.
“I think you never did a port of call, not being much of a sailor,” said Zoutman. “I’m willing to show you some of what there is to do.”
“There are things I’ll be doing and getting that I will want to be alone for. Personal things a man does by himself.”
“I don’t think you have to explain that to me, thank you,” said Hope.
He laughed. “If I had to explain to you all of that, now that would have been funny.”
All content Copyright © 2009 James Ryan