“If I may be so bold,” Hope asked Abigail later that day when the two retired to the captain’s cabin, “what was it Charles did to be treated that way?”
“Ye played well before we got to the French,” was all Abigail said as she kept her back to Hope, making sure the French charts fit with the rest of her maps and rutters below her hammock.
“Did you not hear my question?”
“Now, this one should just go in here,” Abigail said as she fitted a smaller rolled chart inside a larger one before placing both in their slot.
“And why do you never acknowledge a question you don’t want to answer?”
“I say we be looking at clear skies tomorrow, the way the sky reddened at dusk.”
“Very well!” Hope cried. “I shall say nothing but ask the question I want answered every time I open my mouth until I get an answer!”
Abigail sighed as she turned to face Hope.“Sink me, ye found yer ballast at the damndest of times, did ye?”
“I must know: What did Charles de Normandie do to merit such a reaction?”
Abigail took a deep breath as she stared at the beams on the cabin’s ceiling. “That, Hope, I don’t think I can tell ye.”
“And why not?”
“Because in me past, were I to be in such a position as that, sharing those facts would have led to a horrid fate. And I’m not willing to see that fate meted out to anyone.”
“But that reply doesn’t make any sense to me,” Hope said, shaking her head.
“And I be hoping that should be enough. Do not press me on the point.” Abigail added in a softer tone, “With any luck they may find being on the account distasteful, more likely Akua. I be willing to allow them both off without invoking the Articles if need be to-“
“Why does he have to leave?” Hope asked.
“’Twould be better for all if they both left. That make us less likely to be in a situation- But I best belay that-“
“But why?” Hope asked with rising agitation. “You have other Frenchmen serving aboard the Gale, and Charles proved himself as a fighter when he came aboard. He’s been nothing but civil to everyone, and I have no complaints regarding his attentions-“
Hope stopped herself after the words left her mouth; she wasn’t sure who was more surprised to hear her say that, Abigail or herself…