She gave brief thought about the comments the music master her father had hired, and what he would have said about the piece. She held poor thoughts of this man, his wig sitting atop his head in disarray as he kept saying, “Plus doux, pas aussi rapidement,” needing to stop and translate every three comments, despising and loathing those lessons. For the first time, she was playing music without a sense of futility.
She started up, trying to put together another fantasy before anyone noticed that she wasn’t playing. This time she tried something softer, not as fast as the last one. She put fewer notes into each bar, keeping the cords simpler as she set the piece, trying to make it easier to remember. The first run through the piece worked well, and the second one was note-for-note the same as the first this time.
As she started the third run-through, Andrews’ deep voice rang out with unexpected lyrics that fit the melody:
As she walked past the jailhouse door,
She spied a man with head hung low,
And all because of bolts and bars,
His homeland he would never know.
‘I am a prisoner far from home,
But if you’ll only steal the key,
I’ll take you were the grass grows green,
And make of you a great lady.’
She stopped playing altogether after that verse, and he continued on while she stared agape at his running with her tune:
‘I cannot go, I will not go,
And be your great lady,
For you have got a Scotland wife,
And you’ve got babies three.’
She’s done to her father’s stable,
She’s done to her mother’s till,
She’s got the jailhouse key so large,
And she’s galloped o’er the hill.
And as they galloped o’er the plain,
It was “my dearling dear,”
But as they came to Scotland,
Well changed was this cheer.
“And are we now trying to replace our musician, Mister Andrews?” Sanders asked as she came down from the aft deck.
He stopped and picked up the holystone he’d put down. “I just be getting into the song,” he replied. “It’s a favorite of mine.”
“You mean that…” Hope started to gasp out, “that’s a real song?”
“You didn’ know, then?” asked Andrews with an evil smile.
“Mayhaps if ye were still tending to the decks,” the captain replied, “that’d be one thing. I be as found of a set of rounds as any seaman, once you’d finished with the detail.”
“Aye,” said Andrews, giving a quick look at Hope reminding her of a fox that lost a chance at a hen.
“I’m surprised at ye, Mister Andrews,” said the captain sarcastically. “I’d think if any man here were to sing about Scottish rogues seducing young ladies and leaving them to die, ye’d be the last to do it.”
Hope gave a slight gulp at the coincidences involved, aghast at how they all lined up against her…
All content Copyright © 2008 James Ryan