Part the Two Hundred Twenty Fifth: On Course, Then Off
Hope tried not to read something bad in Samuel’s expression as he found his way over to her.
Part of her refused to stay positive, though, as Osei continued to introduce the men he recruited from Bull Bay or Abigail’s rescue.
“ Michel de Barrrer and Georges de Flanders,” Osei introduced a pair, the former seeming very innocent when alongside the latter, who radiated a sense of danger in his angular expression.
“Enchanté,” de Flanders said with a leer as his eyes started to ravish Charity.
Hope started to smile inside as she imagined how that would be resolved…
“William Jukes,” Osei introduced a tiny, lanky man barely Edward’s size.
“What?” asked Charity. “Where did you find this… this farfadet? ”
“I’m sure Osei found a quality in this man that warrants his inclusion here,” said Hope, hoping she was right.
“If I may,” said Jukes, “I heard the man’s tale here,” he nodded to Osei, “about what you all went through, and I was struck by how similar it’s to mine. I was a survivor of a wreck, too, barely making me way clear of the ship from below decks before she capsized.”
“You were below when it happened?” Hope asked.
“Aye, in irons. For mutiny.”
“And they kept you in irons rather than do away with you? That seems odd.”
“Well, they thought, scare me enough, I might stay on as gunpowder maker, I guess.”
Hope shot a look at Charity, who sighed her apology.
Osei continued, “Alfred Mason,” introducing a broad shouldered gent. “Robert Mullins,” he continued as a man with very little hair and an eye patch gave a slight bow.
“Come on, man,” said Goddard to the last gentleman, edging him forward.
“Is there a problem?” Hope asked.
“Mister Charles Turley,” Osei introduced the angular gentleman. “A late addition, sponsored by Mister Zoutman.”
“I think he’s better off here than back there,” said Goddard. “And what he’s shared with me in confidence, as to his abilities I think he’d be a boon to us once he resolves his dilemma.”
“And that dilemma, pray tell?” Hope asked.
Turley looked at Osei nervously.
“For God’s sake, man,” said Osei, “I am not a Maroon. If you truly wish to go on the account with us, find your courage!”
“He’s the sole survivor of a crew that tried to take water on this island and were set on by the wild slaves,” said Goddard. “When calm, he’s a right good seaman.”
“Sir,” Hope addressed Turley, “if you are indeed as capable as your sponsor claims, then you must find peace with all men present, especially Osei.”
Turley swallowed and steadied himself.
“If I may,” asked de Barrrer, “I am curious as to the ship we will be sailing upon.”
“Ah, for that,” Hope said, “may I present Samuel de Cadiz.”
“Um…” he started to say, and Hope felt her insides plummet as though thrown from the top of a tower…
“Quoi, pas de navire?” Charity asked.
“Not a one,” Samuel said as he looked down in shame. “No one was willing to be involved in this venture. I tried with all sorts of persuasion, but I ended up with nada.”
“You mean we have a crew, but no ship?” asked Charity.
No one replied…
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