Forsooth, where to start after last week’s sorry escapade saw the confiscation of Milady Wells’ book, just at the first steamy bit too? Perhaps with the fact that Flint should not have stolen the Discovery?
Heavens, the officer’s room was too small for a start. I do not know how Captain Scott managed.
Such a relief to know one could rely on Nathan and Myrtle to retrieve said tome though. That the police officers certainly loved Milady Wells’ steamy tale. And…of course, to be back aboard our own ship, today in Whitby– another sea-faring city- where the aptly named, given his fate, Captain Cook learned his trade.
Even better to be able to say to you today we have another guest, Milady Elin Gregory, here all the way from..er…Wales. Well, at least she did not have to slog too far. She is going to discuss her book On A Lee Shore…if you can imagine it, about pirates no less.
Felicitations on seeing you in our little stopover today here in Whitby, a charming historical port in England. Can you tell us something about your journey from your homeland?
Your invitation, Milady, welcome though it was, did pose a bit of a problem. Namely how to travel. From the dampest depths of Wales to windy Whitby is quite a trek. I hadn’t realised that I would be fetched so made my own arrangements. Imagine my shock when Flint and his band of scallawags turned up on my doorstep. Poor souls. I think they were uncomfortable so far from their ship and one or two showed signs of altitude sickness, but a speedy return to sea level cheered them up.
Less cheering to them was the presence of my own means of transportation. There appears to have been no love lost between Flint and the crew of the pirate sloop Africa who had come in reply to my summons.
“What, madam, is HE doing here?” Griffin snapped in regard to Flint. They say women are catty but in my experience men can be equally standoffish to their peers. I explained but Kit too seemed uncomfortable with the idea.
“I advise you most sincerely not to trust yourself and your health to Flint’s crew,” he said. “They are notorious lechers. You would be much safer travelling with us.”
Indeed I would since Kit only has eyes for Griffin and vice versa and any of the other men who offered me any violence would find himself triced up to a grating in short order.
But I decided that to refuse Flint’s offer showed a very poor faith in your ladyship and I embarked with little anxiety that my belongings would be rifled, and even less that my person might suffer some indignity – even the most desperate pirates have standards.
Oh, absolutely. And it was noble, given our own unusual circumstances this week, of the Africa to come to your aid. Still, it was worth it? Flint ’s pirate crew are making you welcome I trust?
Most definitely worth it. A partial circumnavigation of the shores of our fair country is always welcome, and since the Africa shadowed us every nautical mile of the way, Flint and his helmsman were on their mettle. The voyage was fast and, for the most part, easy. When the weather grew squally off the coast of Norfolk I retired to my cabin – most comfortably appointed. The crew were very patient with my questions.
How gratifying we just must hope he meant his gun although since there is not one aboard… You have brought me a pleasing little gift I see?
For you personally, Milady, a very practical gift, newly minted and almost direct from the mines of Potosi, with only a short stay in the hold of a stately Spanish galleon, now a little less stately and much higher in the water.
For Flint and his men rum, sugar and lemons and a lesson from our sawbones in how to brew a drink that is sovereign against scurvy.
Gracious, so long as it not from gunpowder, I am sure they will drink it. Though Taliano will drink it anyway. Such kindness though and after last week, something very practical for making an escape and bribing the law. Now, Elin, you have seen all the charming members of the club. Can you tell us why they should each of them spend the week reading your book?
Curiosity! We all enjoy reading books about our own professions and thinking “well, I wouldn’t do it that way!” I’m sure they will enjoy nothing so much as an opportunity to criticise the Africa, her sailing qualities, her captain and crew. Also – well, one never knows, but it just might be that one or two of your book club members might give a wistful sigh for the love story. Pirate was the only profession where a man who loved other men might express his love, might even be able to enter into a properly documented and legalised union where they pooled their resources and saw each other through better and worse until called by Davy Jones. So sad that it has taken so many years for that opportunity to come again.
To be truthful Elin, between you and me, I don’t l know if any of the men would sigh wistfully over Taliano, or desire him to sigh over them, his hair is so dreadful for a start, but what is it they say about beauty being in the eye of the beholder, so one never knows.
While I think I have cured Flint of eyeing other women, he is still a great one for eyeing everything else. He calls it booty. Is there anything I should do to disabuse him of helping himself to other people’s boats and their contents? I mean he keeps saying it is for me….
No. Once a pirate always a pirate. What you can do is prevent him from ruining the other ship owners. Suggest that there’s better sport in taking a little then letting them sail on. That way he can rob them next month as well.
How True. Mayhap we will even return to Dundee. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mamas-Kitchen/431002043619495?fref=ts”>Mama’s Kitchen</a>
most thoughtfully provided our fare today, largely because the pirates eschew the culinary arts for cutlass waving, drinking and frolicking on shore with wenches. Do you have any tips for making them try at least to help my maid, Susan, in the galley? It is such a task and she gets quite fraught.
Griffin won’t have a woman on his ship normally – it causes too much aggression among the men. Instead we have Pollock, an excellent cook, who coerces anyone who doesn’t seem to have enough to do into helping him in the galley. Perhaps she could bribe them? Access to the sugar barrel?
An excellent idea. Milady Gregory, you may return here. Whitby is the most charming place, what sites do you intend visiting here when you leave our ship? Provided of course, you first sign a disclaimer that you never saw me, or Flint?
Whitby has long been on my list of places to visit. Partially because of the long and interesting history of the place and partly because of the Dracula connection which has led to the town being absolutely THE place to goth watch. Eyeliner, black nail polish, purple lippie, black lace and leather abound – some of these young things are so cool they are icy. Also, if you go at the right time of year there’s a jolly good folk festival.
But mostly I would like to walk up the 199 steps to the Abbey and look at the view. Perhaps you would care to walk with me? If your own men are too busy we can impose on Griffin and Kit to accompany us. They are both good sports as well as being pirates.
Well, I might Elin, provided Flint is not about to steal another ship. I must say your blurb is most interesting in that unlike Kit, Flint has never obeyed any rules.
ELIN GREGORY. On a Lee Shore.
“Give me a reason to let you live…”
Beached after losing his ship and crew, and with England finally at peace, Lt Christopher Penrose will take whatever work he can get. A valet? Why not? Escorting an elderly diplomat to the Leeward Islands seems like an easy job, but when their ship is boarded by pirates, Kit’s world is turned upside down. Forced aboard the pirate ship, Kit finds himself juggling his honor with his desire to stay alive, not to mention his desire for the alarming–yet enticing–captain, known as La Griffe.
Kit has always obeyed the rules, but as the pirates plunder their way across the Caribbean, he finds much to admire in their freedom. He deplores their lawlessness but is drawn to their way of life, and begins to think he might just have found a purpose. Dare he dream of finding love too? Or would loving a pirate take him too far down the road to ruin?
There was no question of standing to fight. Outgunned and outnumbered, the only thing the Hypatia could do was run. So run they did, the crew hurling themselves in all directions in response to the master’s shrieked orders.
Kit joined them, kicking off his shoes to scamper up the rigging. The wind tossed his hair across his face and plastered his shirt to his back as he raced Forrest to the top. A quick glance back made his breath catch. The two ships were coming apace, a brigantine much larger than Hypatia and the other, closer, sloop rigged with a huge spread of white sails. The black flags were more apparent now, and Kit’s heart raced as he edged along the footrope.
“Have a care, Mr. Penrose, sir,” Forrest said as he too reached the yard. “Go back down, sir, do!”
“I know what I’m about, thank you, Forrest,” Kit said, and when he leaned to reach the reef lines with as much agility as any of them, the man grinned and left him to it.
The sails filled with a crack, and the Hypatia met the next wave head on. Kit looked back at the pursuing sails, calculating distances and speeds. As he watched, the tan sails of the brigantine were obscured by a puff of white smoke. A relieved curse ripped from Forrest’s lips as a spout went up well astern.
“That’s it,” he said. “Them devils’ll not catch us now.”
They both whooped their approval, and Forrest shook a fist. “You’ve no fancy to be a pirate then, Forrest?” Kit said with a laugh.
“Me, sir? No fear, sir,” Forrest said. “There’s only one way that can end, and I’ve no desire to be turned off—God a’ mercy!”
A gun had boomed again, this time from the sloop. Forrest and Kit stared in horror at the wreckage of blood, flesh, and splinters that had exploded from where the master had been standing at the tiller. Hypatia shuddered and lurched, shaking Kit loose. For a sickening moment his legs swung free over the chaotic deck, before he hooked a toe into the footrope and clung to the yard to get his breath back. Below he could see Captain Dorling wringing his hands while Uttley hung over the stern, either retching or trying to see the damage.
Forrest cursed again. “He’s going to strike,” he muttered. “The captain’s going to strike.”
Kit envied Forrest the ease with which he swung hand over hand down the shroud. He followed, muscles protesting at the effort, jumped the last six feet, and ran aft.
The sloop and brigantine were approaching fast.
“Black flag,” Dorling shouted as Kit reached him, “so we have a chance. Strike the flag, strike it, I say. It’s La Griffe—once he flies the red flag there’s no mercy. Get the colors down, damn you.”
There was a shout from one of the hands as the tattered rag of black flapping from the brigantine’s main mast dipped and began to lower. On deck Kit could see a flash of red and gold, but Dorling was already scrambling to lower the ensign himself.
If Dracula doesn’t take a fancy to her, you can find Elin here.