Part 23

 Part the Twenty Third: Hope Submits to Be Saved

Hope felt disconnected from herself the next morning.  She felt free of her body, watching from atop the mainmast as she saw herself reply to Captain Sanders’ question.

“Yes, that’s right,” said Hope.  “I wish to sign the articles.”

The captain continued to look her up and down as though she were still booty, deciding how valuable she was, before she asked, “Ye know what happens if ye do sign now, lass?”

“I understand that I join, that I am entitled to being a part of the crew, and all that that entails,” she said trying to hold up her head.

Captain Sanders rubbed her chin.  “And have ye considered the other side of the matter fully?  All that is bad of it?”

Hope didn’t answer right away.  From out of her body she wanted to cry out to her to consider.

“If ye be a member of this crew, ye be living by the articles, now,” Sanders continued.  “Which means ye be bound to the responsibilities of being on this ship, and not be heading back to your family in the Carolinas when ye want.”

Hope watched as her body nodded; she wanted to scream at her.

“Ye also know that being found to have signed the articles, ye be considered a pirate, which means that of caught by officials of whatever crown is after pirates yer life is doomed to be short.  Ye sign on, yer life be much shorter for certain.”

Hope watched intently as she edged herself on; tell this witch of a captain you’re joking, she urged herself; let her know the rumbullion is making you crazed; have her-

“I know,” said Hope, “and I accept all that knowing what will befall me should the worst happen.”

Hope felt herself falling right into her body like a damned angel cast from Heaven.  When she found herself inside her body again, she watched Captain Sanders pull the copy of the articles that were posted to the door of the cabin and ask, “Will ye need me to read them to you?  I be betting not, but I ask that of all prospective crew.”

“No, I can read them myself, thank you,” said Hope.

She took the weathered paper and read the articles:

I.     Every man shall obey civil Command as given by the Captain and Quartermaster in times of battle.

“Every man?” asked Hope.

“Truth be, yer the first woman to want to join,” said Sanders.  “I be not holding the sex of the articles against them, and they not be barring you.”

II.   Every man has a vote in affairs of moment outside of battle, and has equal title to the strong liquors, at any time seized, and may use them at pleasure, unless a scarcity makes necessary to withhold these from general consumption.

Hope started to protest the libertine grant of the articles, until she recalled how little water this vessel held.  Then again, living under such rules as these, it might well help to be perpetually drunk…

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All content Copyright © 2008 James Ryan


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