Part the Two Hundred Eighth: The Desperate Search for a Mitzvah
The contrasts struck Hope like round shot against the hull.
All around her, the denizens of Port Royal were doing their best to live up to their city’s reputation. True, there were three merchants and dockers for every hard drinking seaman and salacious sailor along Lime Street, though each one did his part to celebrate with enough verve on behalf of the other three. And despite their efforts to ignore the distracting debauchery, the merchants and dockers gave a slight smile to the celebrants when they thought no one was looking.
And every time she focused on one of the debauched, Robert Willis tugged her arm a little tighter in a protective fashion, as though guiding a horse through the paddock.
“It would help to know where your gentleman resides,” Robert stated as he looked from side to side to find people to avoid.
“It would indeed,” Hope said under her breath, trying to wiggle her arm lose by any means short of a quick dash to freedom.
“I couldn’t bear the thought of you here, amidst such wanton wickedness. Too easily can a woman fall if left unprotected from these dangers.”
“No chance of a man falling if he is among this as well?”
“Oh, aye,” he replied, “men too can fall to temptation. That’s why I enjoin my crew to stay to the dock, as I’d not be doing my work as a good Christian to let them stare on such as this.”
“Oh, you are a good Christian…” Hope noted as she looked down New Street.
“Eh? Odd thing to note, that.”
“We need to go this way,” she said as she tugged a little harder, not breaking free but leading him down the street.
Their pace was uneven as Robert struggled to give up the lead to Hope. As soon as he accepted that she knew where she wanted to go, he gave up trying to set the course.
Hope led him down New Street, took a turn at the corner and found what she spied. She placed her fingers on the mezuzah by the door, kissed her fingers, then knocked on the door.
A small man open it slightly and looked out. “Que?” he asked.
“Yes,” said Hope, “I’ve come here from Nevis, the house of de Cadiz. Word must have reached you that I was on my way here.”
“Jamestown, Nevis?” the porter asked.
“Yes,” Hope continued her bluff, trying to be as charming as possible. “The house of de Cadiz, surely you must know. I’m sure Samuel sent word on ahead.”
“Samuel de Cadiz,” he responded, before the door shut.
“This is no way to treat a lady,” said Robert, “no matter your faith.”
Hope desperately wracked her brains for what to do next, trying to find how to make this gamble pay off-
The door opened wider, and Samuel de Cadiz emerged, looking surprised.
“Darling!” Hope proclaimed and pulled him straight into her arms. She hugged him tightly as she whispered into his ear, “Get me indoors now!”
She felt Samuel’s hands grab her and whirl her inside, past the door frame into the main hall. She could hear Robert and the porter exchange a few words, but was too distracted by feeling his hands on her body…
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