Part the Eighty Eighth: Charity Provides for Hope
“You do not seem yourself,” Charity said to Hope a few days later. Hope had just put her cittern down after Campbell rang eight bells.
“Is it obvious?” she asked.
“It’s most noticeable in your playing, the way it seems uneven.”
“I think most of them don’t pay as much attention to it,” Hope said as she nodded toward the rest of the crew. “I think they just prefer having the music to listen to, and not the sounds of the sea.”
“I always found the sound of the sea comforting, myself. I hear it, it calls on me to escape. It’s like the Sirens’ call was to ancient sailors.”
“I thought Sirens’ calls were supposed to make you ignore everything else, including all other music.”
“Ah, well,” said Charity, “some things are hard to ignore, like your playing today.”
“Harrumph,” Hope said as she moved a little to the side. Charity was using one arm to prop herself against the mainmast, and she did not want to be directly under her.
“I say what I do not to criticize, but to show concern. I pay attention to you a bit, you know.”
“Yes, I’ve seen you looking over at me during your duties. Every now and then, over your holystone as you swab the deck, I catch you giving me glances.”
“Better me than Andrews, no?” Charity asked as she tried to position herself over Hope again.
Hope looked up at Charity and sighed. Owen passed around tankards in his arms to everyone at watch’s end while the rumbullion came on deck.
“I also notice that face,” said Charity. “You seem ill-fond of the drink, no?”
“I have never been much for it straight. I find it too hard on my stomach.”
“Ah, oui, much like the night I was properly introduced as myself, no?”
Hope looked away in disgust as Charity took a spot on the deck next to her.
“If l’capitaine is right, and the way she does dead reckoning she should be, we will be in Tortuga in no more than three days. And the drink, she goes well with the taste of de tortue at least-”
“Ugh!” said Hope. “Ever since the leak, when we lost the water and dried meats and had to go to hard drink and catching and eating sea turtles, I have had nothing but stomach problems after every meal.”
“Ah, mon pauvre Hope,” said Charity as she rose, “would that I could find a cure for your distress.”
“How, by summoning up meats and water?”
“If I could do that, I would just wave my hand et dans un instant-”
“Sail!” Herbert called from the rigging of the mainmast. “Sail to starboard!”
The crew on deck dropped what they were doing to ready themselves. Other crew in the rigging scanned to look where Herbert pointed, each singing when he saw the prey.
Charity looked at both sides of her hand before she dropped her tankard and rushed to spy the possible prize…
All content Copyright © 2008 James Ryan