Sunday, April 29, 2007


Alice looked up at the ship wondering much the same thing as Lizzie: where were they bound? Who had wished them conveyed hence—and when would they be having breakfast?

Admittedly Lizzie had not been thinking the last thought, her appetite dampened by the unpleasant chain of events they had undergone, but surely soon she would be thinking of food, too, Alice was quite certain. Particularly once her stomach started to rumble; then no one would be able to think of anything else except perhaps growling dogs. I must be quite hungry, Alice thought, I am beginning to make very little sense.

Their kidnapper was continuing to speak. “We shall meet here the captain of this ship who will be responsible for taking you further. Indeed! Here he comes now --”

Lizzie had a moment of hope, thinking of the glorious men of the sea who had been celebrated in story and song from Captain Cook to Sir Francis Drake, fearless men who lived proudly and sailed courageously across the globe, heroes and honorable men. She shaded her eyes from the dawning sun’s rays and looked up the gangway to where the short squat man pointed. Alice, too, found her eye irresistibly drawn in that direction, holding her breath as she hoped that this ship’s captain would prove to be reputable, strong and, of course, be in possession of a well-stocked larder.

“Captain Bellamy! I have some cargo for you here.” The short squat man chortled with good humor at his own witticism. May he trip and stub his toe, Alice thought without a modicum of charity for his feelings. It was probably due to hunger, but it is quite likely that she was developing bad habits far from the comforts of home, a good hair-brushing and clean clothes. I shall never wear mourning clothes again, Alice promised herself rather rashly.

Lizzie, however, had kept her eyes trained upward and her attention fixed on the gangway as their new tyrant made his way down to the dockside where they stood. She must make a study of him for he would be there only avenue of escape, the squat man proving to be amenable to no appeals of any kind. They must not be allowed to leave England and safety for some foreign shore!

In the soft morning light, Captain Bellamy strode down the gangway like a man who knew his worth down to the penny. His fulsome brow arched beneath a captain’s hat of such elaborate styling from its crisp black lines to its stately plumage that it seemed to announce to the world a man of such repute that none could dare venture a word against his courage. Lizzie was pleased to see manly shoulders thrust below the epaulettes of his jacket, where its nine buttons gleamed jauntily in the dawning sun. His buff vest looked neat and trim and his boots, she saw as he stood majestically before them, were shined so well that she could see her face reflected in the smooth leather as she looked down. Here, surely, was a man who would take pity on two young women, ripped from the bosom of their family and thrust into the untoward company of brigands and ne’er-do-wells of a distinctly lower class.

Captain Bellamy cleared his throat, looked at the two young women, and then in a high-pitched voice burbled, “Wheh is my money, you heawtless bwigand?”

No comments: