Sunday, July 08, 2007


Lizzie drew back in horror -- the pirate ship was within yards of the Demeter. She could see the terrifying crew, a band of cutthroat rebels, not one fit for a gentleman’s home. None of them acquainted with the finer things in life, helpless to deal with a standard array of forks, let alone the intricacies of the oyster fork’s maneuvering. No, they were brigands through and through, Lizzie thought, untamed, unmanageable and uncompromising. She very nearly swooned, and as we all know, Lizzie is not a swooning sort of woman.

At the front of the deck of the pirate ship there strode a woman dressed all in black, save for a plume of deep purple. It could only be she, Black Ethel, the scourge of the Atlantic. Through the mists of the evening and the smoke of canon-fire, Lizzie squinted her eyes to get a better look at the legend. If only I had a spyglass, Lizzie cursed. Suddenly she remembered that they were in fact in the captain’s cabin. If there was an advantage to being kidnapped, surely this was it. She began to rummage through the drawers she had neglected while moping over their fate or exploring the open decks. There was a treasure trove here!

In one drawer she found a wonderful adventure book (“I must read this to Alice when things get back to normal!” she thought), several gold doubloons in rather sad neglect, something that looked suspiciously like a monkey’s paw, a kind of gold bug, some pale greenish liqueur, several rolled up scrolls of parchment that might have been maps or directions of some kind (indeed, one looked like it could have been a piece of skin -- Lizzie abruptly dropped that item as soon as she made that realization) and in the last drawer, alas, only thimble.

But there was still the cabinet to explore, and in the second compartment (after jiggling the lock free -- well, desperate times called for desperate measures) Lizzie found what she needed, the captain’s spyglass. Employing it at once, she ran to the porthole and peered out. The sudden closeness of the pirates gave her a shock, but she quickly recovered once the glass was withdrawn to show the pirates still a good distance away.

Lizzie drew the glass once more to her eye and set a curious eye upon the captain. A woman, indeed, she was, but a woman like none Lizzie had known. While Lady Montague was certainly a woman to be reckoned with on any playing field of fine society, here was a woman who could be her match -- no doubt on any field of play. From the tip of her tricorne hat to the heel of her black leather boots, Ethel was a scalawag of the worst sort, that much was clear. But there was even more to it. She had a fiery eye that Lizzie could not help but admire, a gaze that many a weak man would quail before. She pitied the men who had to face that pirate queen, but not very much -- for only the weak would not match her steely eyes and they would be better off dead.

Heavens, thought Lizzie, I am condoning a pirate!

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