Part the Ninety Sixth: Charity Admires Abigail
“You ran in here rather quickly,” Charity said to Hope. “Les problèmes d’estomac, they are back?”
Hope just looked out the window, not turning to face her. “I had never seen a surgeon save a man’s life before by removing what was left of his limb. It was rather shocking.”
“You get used to it,” said Charity as she stood next to her. “Sailors learn how to take what comes to them aboard ships, and enjoy what they prefer with abandon when ashore.”
Hope nodded as she looked out the window at the last pale light of the sun. The colors of the sky were deep red and purple, almost regal in their layering atop each other.
“I think Abigail showed considerable talent in executing her plan, don’t you?” Hope asked, desperate to change the subject.
Charity took a second to reply. “Le Capitaine, you mean? I never think of her by her first name, sorry.”
“She seemed very pleased with how her plan worked out. Offering just enough challenge to draw the other ship close by, making them believe that if they boarded us we’d be easily picked off, then surprising them as they boarded; masterful.”
“Oui, she is brilliant as a captain. I’d hope if given a chance I could sail with her, formally.”
Hope looked at Charity. “Had you thought of asking to sign the Articles?”
“I do not know if she would have me. As you know her better than I, would she be willing to have another woman as an active member of this crew?”
Hope considered Charity’s question without answering her, thinking about what Abigail had said back on the night her secret was revealed. She also considered how Abigail looked at her during her assault against the Spanish.
“I think she may be willing to consider all the possibilities,” Hope finally responded.
“My hope is that she would be amenable to such an arrangement,” Charity replied. “She has great qualities as a captain, and runs a good ship.”
“Yes, I have to say, once I became crew this venture became much more bearable.”
“Bearable? It’s an adventure to embrace! The stirrings one gets from going on the account are incomparable. I’m surprised at you, ma cherrie.”
“Oh?” asked Hope.
“It is inconceivable that you could have so little love of a life handed you. It is so strange how someone who is so blessed could be so depressed.”
“Yes, in what you have. Opportunities, talents, beauty. Especially beauty, as you are quite blessed in that.”
“Please don’t tease me like that. You’re not masquerading any more, so you don’t need to reuse the words your lover showered you with to help you pass as a man.”
“Ah, my lover. She was not half as eloquent as you, nor was she half as beautiful.”
“She…” Hope mouthed as she felt her foot move an inch before it rooted itself directly into the deck…
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