Part the One Hundred Fifth: The Blue Dolphin
“That’s not going to fall on the town, is it?” Hope asked Zoutman as she pointed upward.
He looked at where she pointed and laughed. “I hope not,” he said, “though it doesn’t look like it’s moved since the last I was here.”
She looked again at it, the way the walls rose ominously out of the plateau above Cayonne like the fins atop a shark. The barrels of guns overhanging the edge of the wall looked many times the size of the four pounders the Raging Gale used, even at the distance Hope was seeing them from.
“Nu, I don’t think Fort De Rocher is going to fall on us before we spend our booty,” said Zoutman, “unless you decided to hold on to all of it for the rest of your life.”
“How do you mean?”
“Well, what are you going to spend it all on, your share?”
“You mean… by the time this is over,” Hope asked, concern creeping into her voice, “you intend to be broke?”
“You’ve been below decks, and seen how much room we have to stow our own gear, ja?”
“So because you have no room to keep it, you just throw it all away?”
“I can’t speak for every man,” said Zoutman, “only myself and those I’ve known, but among us there’s only two ways to look at treasures you have: Enough or not. If it’s not, you spend it all to celebrate that the sea has not claimed you, and if it is, it’s time for the roving to end and start anew.”
“So what makes it enough?”
“That’s for every man to decide. For me… Well, I haven’t decided that yet.”
Hope just shook her head at Zoutman’s punctuating smile as they went into the inn with a wooden dolphin painted blue hanging over the door, along with the rest of the crew.
They stayed close to each other as they made their way to the table in the corner where Campbell had placed himself. To either side of him were van Herck and three other stout men to deter any trouble, aided by the half-cocked flintlock pistol to Campbell’s left. Also before him were a strongbox with a latch and a quill and ink bottle beside opened paper used for notations.
Hope noticed Charity walking away from the table, her expression neutral as she departed. Hope tried to stay out of her sight, succeeding in avoiding her as she walked out of the Blue Dolphin.
“How did she get a share?” Andrews asked as he watched Charity leave the room.
“The captain gave her a portion out of her own shares,” said Garland, “on account of her assistance in a few fights. I assure ye, not a man here lost a peso to her; only Captain Sanders’ due was affected.”
Hope tried not to feel bad for avoiding Charity as she watched some of the crew grumble about her. What flashes of sympathy she felt did not make her go after Charity or speak up in her defense before the booty was distributed, allowing Hope to just stand back with the rest of the men and watch her go.
Hope’s success ached more like failure the better she got at it…
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