Part the Two Hundred Thirty Third: Les Deux Maarins Arguant
“So you two know each other, then?” Hope asked de Barrer and de Flanders.
“Oui,” said de Barrer, “we’ve been in the same crew for some while now.”
“Oui,” said de Flanders, “no matter what may come.”
“You sound like you’d rather not be in his company,” said Hope
“It’s more a matter of fate than choice,” said de Flanders. “It seems we are destined to always be aboard the same ship.”
“And yet you do not take direct action to address this,” said de Barrer.
“Because murder is the only course that comes to mind that would address the situation. And while I am not loathe to taking a life, I’d rather it not be dans ces circonstances.”
“So how did you two come together then?” Hope asked.
“He kidnapped me,” said de Flanders.
“Vraiment,” de Barrer replied, “as though I’d meant to.”
“So when you and your crew pressed me and the rest of my vessel into service, how should we have felt?”
“And we made it up to you in shares of what we seized, more than the value of the fish you had in your hold.”
“All of which seems to disappear à chaque port d’escale,” said de Flanders.
“I don’t see you taking up vows of poverty when we hit port.”
“After serving alongside you for so long-”
“Please, please!” Hope pleaded. “Can you two be civil to each other long enough for a moment?”
“I would not call it a kidnapping, mon ami,” de Barrer said to de Flanders. “Our ship was in far off waters, we were desperate for food and could have used a few hands, and so we encouraged your fishing vessel to join up with us.”
“Ah,” said de Flanders, “so when you threatened to ‘peau nous vivants’ if we said no, I misunderstood the spirit in which we were invited to join, then.”
“But did we not after we found our way to richer waters share the spoils with you for being with us?”
“The ones who did not need to be threatened to board those vessels we plundered, you mean.”
“And did you not,” de Barrer asked with a smile, “earn quite a share yourself in such ventures?”
“Which I intend to amass before I return to Ile Saint-Jean, where I will be a prominent citizen in Mont Carmel.”
“Can you explain then why you have gained and lost such a fortune many times over, and are no closer to become greatest riche citoyen du Nouveau France, then?”
“Am I required to explain my every action to all of you?” de Flanders asked the crew.
“No,” said Hope with a side glance to Goddard, “no, you are not. I can’t think of a single man here, or woman, who has not seen their purses go through fat and lean in the Sweet Trade. And if after Abigail’s deliverance, you believe it is time to head home with your share, I am sure Monsieur de Barrer will wish you well in your endeavors.”
“Ah,” de Barrer turned to de Flanders, “but could you really see yourself heading north back to that island?”
“Been there once,” said Mullins as he spat a piece of bone from his cod across the deck. “More than enough for me.”
Both of them stared at him…
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