Part the Twentieth: Captain Sanders Exposes Herself
“For two years Edwin and I were happy aboard Captain Dyck’s vessels,” Sanders recalled in the dancing candlelight. “He was a fair man-“
“Vessels?” Hope interrupted.
Sanders sighed with enough of a grunt to let Hope know that this was to be the last interruption allowed for now. “Yes, vessels; when he would claim a prize that suited him better than the ship he was on, he would take her and leave behind the other. Many a buccaneer does that if they be finding a craft more their taste.
“I learned this and much else from Captain Dyck and Osei as we plied the seas. Every chance I got, I would ask the captain and the quartermaster how they did what they did, and why, and about every piece of coastline and port of call. And as they thought me a young lad looking to apprentice, they did give me their confidence. And every quiet moment I had with Edwin made the voyages special; no woman could have asked for more as we sailed the Spanish Main. We would be taking letters of marque where we could, and plying our trade for ourselves when we had to. We’d raid treasures from the Spanish for most of it, and now and then English, Dutch and French ships, depending on who we paid to get license from or more often who we ran into.
“Would that I could have done more before then, how much better it would have been had I not had to bite me tongue. Oh, not that Dyck was a bad captain, but there were times I wanted to show more of what I knew, how things could be done to make a better way of it. But I feared letting me secret slip, and so Edwin listened to me discuss me ideas as he held me in his arms, after we stole a moment to be together…”
Hope watched Sanders eyes linger long on the scabbard; she felt the captain was too busy in remembrance to realize that she was still there.
“So what happened?” Hope found the courage to ask.
Sanders sighed. “We spotted a prize two weeks east of Campeche, a galleon that was low. She looked to be a great prize, almost as though she were part of the treasure fleet. We came in hard upon her and hoped to scare her into surrender, but she opened up on us. Captain Dyck was not about to let this one go, not after being challenged by her, so we made our way quickly and readied to board her.
“As we did that, their musketeers opened fire, and they hit one of the grenadiers beside me. His wick caught me shirt, and in a panic I had to remove it. In the panic and fearful of being burned, I removed everything.
“And at that it seemed both ships were suspended in time, for now me exposed bosom was a’ flapping in the air. I knew me secret was out, and that me days at sea were about to come to an end…”
All content Copyright © 2008 James Ryan