Part 122

Part the One Hundred Twenty Second: Abigail Recounts Her Adventure




Hope watched the dawning sun light the hull of the Gale.


Unable to sleep after ‘giving her gift’ to Charity, she spent the rest of the night on the beach.  She reviewed the evening’s events and tried to make some sense of what they all meant, what she should feel and come away with.


The only things she got for troubling her head with it all were an emotional point of buoyancy where her fears and actions left her calmly neutral between them, and a night without sleep.  Too tired to decide how she should remember this day, she wearily found her way to her feet and started towards the ship’s encampment.


“Ye look as though you also made a night of it,” she heard someone say behind her.


Hope turned to see Abigail walking along the beach.  She realized how tired she was as she realized that her captain had come alongside her without warning, looking far too alert for someone who had spent all night out.


“Ye’ve been making the most of it ashore, I hope?” Abigail asked. 


“I’ve had a time of it,” Hope replied.


“Anything of interest happen?”


“I bet you had better luck,” Hope evaded the question.


“Aye, that I did.  I found a great deal of information that if we finish the repairs in a few days we may well take full advantage of.  Jean Herbert was ever so keen to say all, as full of ill grace as he was to share it.”


“Jean Herbert?”


“Aye, one of Governor D’Ogeron’s men, and a good privateer too.  He knows quite a bit about the lay of the land, and has a taste for feminine company.”


Hope stopped.  “You didn’t… tell me you…”


Abigail laughed.  “Oh, he asked.  He’d take not gold or other trade, and if he were not fond of gambling I would have nothing.”


“Gambling?  How did that help you?”


“We came to an agreement.  We had a few rounds of knucklebones; for every success I had, he would share with me some of what he knew, and for every one he had I would be more charming in my companionship, one article of clothing each time until I was fully his.”


“You were willing to do that just for information?” Hope asked, astonished.


“Not just any gossip.  Much of the trade in and out of Spanish ports nearby is quite regular, and of late has been good.  And with word he had of a recently found new gold mine in New Spain, some of the better known galleons he sighted I reckon may be heavily laden with that treasure.”


“And what did he get from you, dare I ask?”


“A smile and a good story to tell,” said Abigail.  “A little upset with frustration too, but I dare say that shall pass.”


“But this is so…” Hope stuttered.  “I thought you were better at…  I mean, how could you just go into… Do such a thing and leave your fate up to…”


“Ye seemed shocked and surprised by it?”


“But you’re usually a lot more in control of things.  And you left this all up to a game of chance!”


Abigail leaned in closer and said in a low voice, “Not the way I play knucklebones…”

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