Part the One Hundred Twenty Seventh: The Bermuda Rig Sloop
“Are ye ready to resume?” Abigail asked Hope the next morning.
“Yes, thank you,” said Hope as she finished dressing, adjusting her chemise before picking up her cittern. “Again, I apologize for not being able to go on yesterday afternoon.”
“So what do you think it was that caused un tel revers?” Charity asked, thrusting her shoulders back and forth to loosen up her back.
Hope considered for a moment how to answer her question, what could be said without throwing the cabin into a fit, whether any part of what she could say would do such damage.
Her eyes fell on Abigail, and a solution.
“I think it will be fine weather today,” she said. “The air today just feels fresh, doesn’t it?”
“Aye, that it does,” said Abigail without showing any reaction.
Hope looked over her shoulder at Charity, who stopped flexing her shoulders. For a brief moment, she looked ready to challenge Hope’s aversion-
“Sail! Sail!” came the cry from on deck.
Abigail grabbed her sword and said, “It be an early morning for us.”
Hope came on deck, Charity behind her, to see the Gale’s prey, a sloop coming towards them from the east. Abigail was up in the shrouds, her arms wrapped in the rigging as they held her spyglass to her eye.
“Very interesting,” she said as she climbed down. “Do we still have those colors that look like they could be Dutch?” she asked Osei.
“Aye, I’ll have them run up,” he said before he tended to the task.
“What is it?” Hope asked.
“She’s a smuggler,” Abigail replied. “Her crew were changing her colors from Spanish to French when I watched them, one coming down while the other went up.”
“And we are to be Dutch for what reason?”
“Because of all the peoples at sea here, the Dutch are less willing to go after smugglers than others. They be a people more driven by pursuit of trade than any others, and less likely to be offended if ye had a cargo for a colony not from the homeland.”
Hope took too long to reply, so to ask the next question she followed Abigail up to the quarterdeck. “But I do not understand the need for this disguise.”
“She’s a sloop with a Bermuda rig, and with smugglers aboard more than likely crewed by good seamen. The Gale may be fast, but such a boat as that could well keep out of our reach if we announce ourselves too soon.”
Hope started to leave the deck and resume her position, but Abigail stopped her with a hand on her arm.
“No, don’t play,” said Abigail. “I be thinking… You and Charity, ye be about the same in your lines and trim, aye?”
Hope blinked a few times before said, “We could be.”
“Then get to the cabin and get out two of your dresses. Pick one for her she best fits in.”
“We’re going to be receiving some gentlemen.”
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