Part the One Seventy Fourth: The Results of the Captain’s Examination
“Ye found nothing further beyond these?” Abigail asked as she examined the booty Garland had found in his sweep. Neither Hope nor anyone else found anything beside feed grain, and yet here before her was a large leather satchel filled with silver bullion
“I’m not sure he knew he had this,” said Garland. “It was buried deep within the grain in a barrel that felt heavier than it should have, so I spilled it open and found it that way.”
“So we can add to Jean Herbert’s failings his carelessness in assessing his prizes. I imagine that his last prize was badly outgunned and outmanned and gave up without firing a shot. Mister Osei, what of the new lads?”
“All said the same when asked, willingly,” he replied. “Their ship ran before the wind well, but could not change heading without being becalmed as she took to a new tact. And once under way, she needed the wind at her back to bring her up to full sail.”
“Mister Follard?” she asked.
“She has a wide keel,” the master carpenter replied, “which makes her more stable than we are, hence the larger number of guns. Against her, she does not change course easily, as noted, nor does she have more space below deck than us.”
“So we’d be having to sail on up to our prey and hoping to get the first blow in,” Abigail said more to herself than anyone else, “and then trying to board in that pass before she can rally and fight us off. We’d need fair winds too often to make a proper go on the account. Mister Follard, Osei, once Mister Campbell has seized everything of value from her, arrange for her scuttling. Have her burned to the water line, so that she’ll not tempt bad sailors to put foolish trust in her.”
Charity turned to Hope and said in a low voice, “See? Did you not do much the same as she did?”
“Please, say no more on this,” she replied as she made her way over the gangway back to the Gale while the scuttling crew was being assembled.
“Because it-” Hope stopped herself to say in a lower voice, “Because it feels like mutiny.”
“Absurdité. I know you would not do that, nor would I put you up to it.”
“Then why go on about it?”
“Perhaps I am trying to get back your good graces with extreme compliments,” said Charity. “After all, who but your friends would suggest that you become a captain?”
Hope wondered if Surgeon Samuels had ever really considered her a ‘friend’ in any sense of the word, and what were behind his words to her…
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