Part 61

Part the Sixty First: A Surgeon Is Pressed
  
“Avast!” Sanders commanded the crew in the rigging of the Raging Gale.  “Strike sail!” With that, the men above her in the rigging loosened the sails to slow the ship down quickly.

 

“Cast at the ready!” Osei commanded as the Gale came close to the pinnace.  “Take in your lines when there is purchase!  Arms to the fore!”

 

The anticipation of the storming of the pinnace took less time than the actual deed itself.  The first crew encountered by the frenzied attackers from the Raging Gale got no chance to surrender; the survivors were able to plead for mercy only after first watching the butchery of the rest of their mates.

 

With the pinnace secured, Captain Sanders came aboard and demanded, “Who be the captain of this ship?”

 

Only one man stood up, a gentleman with spectacles and thin graying hair, and addressed Captain Sanders.  “You wish to speak to the captain of this vessel, I assume?” he asked.

 

“Aye,” said Captain Sanders, keeping her blade level at the man.

 

“Then you have lost the opportunity,” he said.  “That man over there was the captain of the Suzanne, before losing an arm to cannon fire.”  He pointed to a body with its right arm blown off.

 

Sanders nodded and looked around.  “Your quartermaster, then?”

 

“Last seen, he fell as your vessel raked the prize this crew had claimed.”

 

Hope was amazed that this man seemed so brave in the face of the threat the Gale presented, not worried that his blood would be added to that which was caking on his coat as he spoke.

 

“And your position, then?” Sanders asked him.

 

“I am Marcus Samuels, at your service and mercy,” he said with a slight bow.  “And I presume unless your needs are met, that I am likely to be with you from now on.”

 

Captain Sanders started to laugh.  “And what makes you so sure that you are not going to be seeing the Lord this day, Mister Samuels?”

 

“Madame, my equipment, if I may,” he said as he slowly reached for a leather case from under two corpses on the deck.  When he rose back up, he calmly opened the case and presented the content for Hope to see.

 

Abigail’s laugh drained quickly.  It was slowly replaced by a smile when she removed from it a bone saw.  “How long have ye been a surgeon, Mister Samuels?” she asked.

 

“Studied at Corpus before practicing in Boston for twenty years, madam.”

 

“Corpus Christi College of Cambridge?” asked Hope.

 

“Oh, ye know it as a good school?” Sanders asked Hope.

 

“One of the best,” she replied.

 

“Does the young lady’s word vouch for my credentials?” Mister Samuels asked.

 

“We’d have ye as surgeon even if ye only were a hog butcher for a month before, our needs being what they are,” said Sanders.  “Ye’ve earned a place aboard the Raging Gale so long as ye practice as our surgeon.”

 

Mister Samuels sighed.  “Talis est meus fortuna in vita,” he said as he was escorted aboard by Bentinck and Campbell.

 

Sanders looked at Hope.

 

“I was never taught the classics,” Hope offered.  “I never studied Greek.”

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All content Copyright © 2008 James Ryan
 

 

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