Part the One Hundred Fiftieth: The Frustrating Smile and the Songs Sung
“Are ye readying to play soon?” Sanders asked her musician as the Raging Gale slipped with the tide through the inlet, far steadier than she was when she entered, now that the repairs were completed.
“When were you going to tell us?” Hope asked.
“And what be that now?”
“When were you going to tell us about getting a license, and how we could use that to stay ahead of De Colera… And you’re smiling that way again.”
Abigail said nothing as Hope watched her face.
“See? There, that smile you make when you reveal that you had thought this all out and are enjoying watching the rest of us finally catching up with you.”
“I don’t have any idea what you mean,” Abigail said before she took the tiller to edge the Gale to starboard.
Hope stepped closer to her so that Samuels and Campbell would not overhear her say, “You know perfectly well what I mean.”
“Not a whit, sorry.”
“You could have suggested to them well before now then that we get a commission, but you let them argue it out. There was almost a fight over the matter before you made that option clear to them.”
“But I didn’t suggest it,” said Abigail softly before she yelled, “Full sail!”
“Very well, you didn’t, I did. And you sat back the whole time waiting for me to say something… And you’re smiling again. That’s getting irritating.”
“If ye have something to say that can’t wait until we set full on our course to Nevis, then say it. If there be reason we shouldn’t be in Jamestown, I’m sure to listen to it if you speak plainly.”
Hope wondered if Abigail was preparing to smile that way again regardless of her tact, so with a huff she left the quarterdeck and resumed her position before the mast.
Tuning her cittern took longer than usual; every time she imagined the slight upturn to Abigail’s mouth, the fret got twisted too far, and the note she plucked from the string was sour. By the time she got in tune, she plunged into a song so quickly she skipped singing the first verse.
She went full on and started with the second verse:
‘I am a prisoner far from home,
But if you’ll only steal the key,
I’ll take you were the grass grows green,
And make of you a great lady.’
She thought she saw Abigail look over the rail down on her, but wasn’t sure if her eyes landed on her purposely or not, and it was over so quickly she couldn’t tell if the captain was paying her mind.
Not that she cared what Abigail thought, but she decided to switch to a new piece anyway:
There was a ship that sailed
all on the Lowland Sea,
and the name of our ship
was the Golden Vanity
and we feared she would be taken
by the Spanish enemy
as she sailed in the Lowland,
as she sailed in the Lowland sea.
She expected more of a rebuke for another piece chosen in spite, and continued to play awaiting the scold.
And the session before the mast dragged on, Hope anticipating a conflict with Abigail at any moment…
All content Copyright © 2009 James Ryan