Part the Fifty Fifth: The Carpenter Considers the Crew
Hope pondered her loyalty to her captain as she made her way forward. Even though she didn’t need to use the privy hole cut at the base of the bowsprit, the walk in the night air felt good.
She heard a grunt as she came closer, drawing her eyes to Master Carpenter Folard, who was making use of the privy hole. “Un moment,” he said after he grunted again.
“No, no, take your time,” said Hope as she looked out over the water.
“Merci. I fear my meal did not agree with me. I pray you fared better with it.”
“Oh, yes, thank you,” said Hope as she looked out bow ward to give Folard some small dignity.
“Mind you,” he said, “would that we had a decent cook aboard. It is a shame that those two were not the cook when they joined.”
“You mean, Charles and Akua?”
“Oui. And of them, there’s only one seaman between them. Charles and Master Osei do what they can with the Africain, but the lad’s never been aboard a boat as crew, only comme cargaison. I heard tell he was a disappointment.”
“How so?” Hope asked.
“Not much in the fields, and maybe never was meant to be taking on a man’s tasks back where he is from, says Osei. This according to what he found through talking with the youth dans sa langue maternelle. He might be better off ashore next safe port we go to.”
Hope took the chance and asked, “And your thoughts of Charles de Normandie? What of him?”
Folard gave a grunt as he considered his words. “Il semble capable,” he finally said. “Knows well enough and picks up on the ropes quickly. Keeps to himself below deck, though, doesn’t say that much about where he is from or what he did.”
“Not a word at all?”
“Only a few, but nothing that most men talk about when they go below and do not fall asleep right off. Some about ships he has been on, but nothing about ports he has visited or les femmes il a baisé, what most men talk about.”
“Do they, when it’s just them alone?” Hope asked.
“C’est pourquoi les femmes ne devraient pas aller à la mer,” Folard said in lower tones, trying to make it come out as a grunt while straining over the privy hole.
Hope looked out over the water trying not to let his words affect her-
“What is that light on the horizon?” she asked when she saw a dim glow to broad starboard.
“Maybe the moon?” he asked.
“No, the moon is over on that side,” she said pointing opposite where the glow was. “That right over there, what is it?”
Folard looked at the light and got up off the privy hole quickly. “Voile! Voile! Quick, get the captain!”
“What is it?”