Part 108

Part the One Hundred Eighth: Hope Spies a Piece of Her Treasure



Hope felt a rush as she started to walk through the middle of Cayonne’s market. 


She took in the sights as she strolled among the vendors.  Each merchant was presenting wares in carts, on tables and even blankets on the ground, with goods ranging between enticing trinkets and frivolities to medium quality staples.  Among the throng of sailors in port going from merchant to merchant between casks of peppers and baskets of guavas were servants of the locals, who were cleaner than the seamen but badly outnumbered by them. 


“Eh there, jeune homme,” said one of the sellers.  “You there,” he said to Hope’s back.


When Hope turned to face him, his ruddy face blanched as he realized his mistake.  “Uh pardon, jeune dame.”


“Do I look that so like a boy to you?” Hope asked.


“Well, you get a bath maybe, then it be less of a mistake to make, no?  And when you’re cleaned up, if you have one of these to wear, you might not only avoid being mistaken for a man, but drawing them to you as well,” he motioned his hand over spread out pieces of jewelry before him.


Hope’s eyes turned to the pieces the jeweler had spread out, her gaze fixing intently on one item.


The merchant picked it up.  “Lovely, isn’t it?” he said.  “Offered to me by a sailor this morning, part of a beautiful selection.  Notice the way the pearls are linked by gold loops like a chain of dew drops.  I bet they would be lovely on that neck of yours.”


Hope smiled as she looked at the necklace.


“If I didn’t know better, they may be just the right length to be perfectionnez pour vous.  They should sit at just the right point on you-”


At that Hope broke out in laughter.


The seller seemed confused, and waited for Hope to stop laughing.


“Madame, are you-”


Hope again burst out laughing, drawing a few stares from some of the shopper around her.


When she finished, the merchant asked, “Is there something-”


Hope broke out yet again in laughter, this time going at it for so long she nearly fell over from lack of breath.


When the laughs subsided, the merchant asked angrily, “And just what is cette grande plaisanterie, Madame?”


“Th-this piece,” Hope tried to talk before the next bout of laughter hit.  “I should say it should fit me.”


“And how would you know this?”


“Because- because I had it with me on the way to the New World before I was taken by pirates!”


The merchant’s anger subsided as he asked, “And finding it here makes you laugh how?”


“It’s the irony of it, good sir, to find it here.”


“So… does this mean you will be attempting to buy it back?”


Hope clinked the coins in her booty sack.  “Nay, for I was well paid for it,” and with a casual turn started to walk away from the confused looking merchant-


-and straight into the chest of a gentleman with harsh features.  Hope barely had time to realize that she had run into the man before he gave her a look.


A look that threatened considerable violence at any second…


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All content Copyright © 2009 James Ryan

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