Part the Sixty Eighth: Going Off the Account
“No water?” Hope asked two days after the counsel as she took dinner, seeing only rumbullion offered.
“It went bracken on us,” said Owen as he handed her hardtack. “It was not one of Soubise’s best casks.”
“Je l’ai entendu,” said Soubise, turning around. “The wood I had, she was not ideal for the task. When we head for repairs, we must go to a real port, not le Cay next time.”
“Understood,” said Owen. “I be thinking if we get enough from one good ship, we be ready to call the articles dissolved.”
“How so?” asked Hope.
“It be at the end,” said Owen, “the part on getting the equivalent of a thousand doubloons per member, at which point we’re able to discuss an end to the venture.”
“Oui,” said Soubise. “Some time ashore would be ideal.”
“How long?” Hope asked, trying not to show how anxious she was at the thought of the voyage ending.
“Until it be time to go forth again,” said Owen. “One can only stay away from land for so long, until one feels the need for the sea.”
“How often does that happen?” Hope asked.
“Wanneer u brak bent,” said Bentinck as he pounded his hardtack on the deck.
“Yes, when you’re broke,” said Owen between laughs. “But I think it be likely to go back out before then for some of us.”
“With the same ship?” asked Hope. “Under Captain Sanders?”
The men around Hope took a moment to answer. Bentinck answered first with, “Well, it was a surprise, when Johan Smyth became Abigail Sanders. Up until then he was an able seaman with a desire to learn and do, and after that she became a good captain.”
“Oui,” said Soubise. “Unusual, but in the end the experience was worth it.”
“But knowing who she is now, would you still go with her?” asked Hope.
“If she was but just any woman, no,” said Owen. “But she’s Abigail Sanders.”
“Ja,” said Bentinck. “Her name means something now, so if I be in port and hear she’s taking a crew on the account, I would.”
“How long would she stay ashore?” asked Hope.
“I know not,” said Soubise. “This be her first captaincy, that’s a question she should answer.”
“Who should answer for whom?” Charles asked as he took a spot on the deck opposite Hope among the other men.
“Would you serve with a woman, de Normandie?” Owen asked.
“That is a question ces’t peu commun,” Charles replied with surprise.
“If Captain Sanders were to go to sea again,” Hope asked, “would you serve under her by choice?”
Charles looked at the deck. “It would be interesting to consider,” he responded, “should she be seeking crew for her vessel. Mind you, it would depend on some circumstances.”
“Such as?” asked Soubise.
“If there be a musician aboard with her, I might. Having one to help the day go by would be un grand arguement for going back out with her, no?”
“To the musician,” said Owen, raising his rumbullion. “Your playing has made the rest of the journey go well.”
“Aye,” said Soubise and Bentinck.
“You all honor me,” said Hope, trying not to have her eyes linger on Charles-
“Sail!” called Bosfelt. “Sail, to broad starboard!”
All content Copyright © 2008 James Ryan