Chapter 10: Filios de Libertatam
It began to rain as we approached the New England seaboard. Though I maintained a dignified Indifference to Neptune’s fury, I was not so rash when it came to dealing with a custom’s official just then. I knew those rogues were dotted about the Harbor at Boston like mold on a fine wheel of cheese and would not hesitate to impound both my cargo and my Person.
Instead, we put in at a cove near Portland, a mere eight miles from that wretched farm where my life had begun. We anchored just off the coast, and the rain washed down upon us in a Ferocious tempest, as Timothy and I navigated the small schooner of loads of tea, back and forth from the ship to the beach-head. So it was that under the cover of darkness, and amidst a terrifying New England squall, we lads unloaded our cargo in the darkness and arranged it carefully in a small wood.
Whilst we unloaded the Cargo, my mind began to play with the various scenarios for exchanging our tea for coin. Portland was no great place for commerce, but I imagined that there must be some lovers of liberty who would not disdain to purchase Dutch tea at the right price. I sat Timothy down, and explain’d to him that it would be incumbent upon him to approach the taverns along the main road to inquire whether any of the tradesman wished to purchase a cargo of Dutch tea at a reduced price.
“Will you not be coming with me?”
I shook my head, “No lad, t’would be better for you to go alone. The sight of your leg will endear even the harshest pirate to you. Whereas if they see a splendid gentleman such as myself, they will surely imagine I am an agent of the Crown.”
Timothy acceded to my wisdom in this respect, though I could tell the boy was not half pleased to be given this much responsibility. Portland was then, and remains, a town of very small beer. And after seducing a place like London, I felt confident that it should require no great effort to seduce the local merchants into completing my scheme. There was along the harbor a row of taverns, and dry good stores, and I instructed Timothy to begin at the first Tavern, and go along until he found a willing buyer.
I could tell the cripple was nervous about this. Though he had a manner of speaking that implied a certain confidence and willingness to defy authority, he was a detestable coward and shrunk from action like a malnourished savage before an English cannon. I tried to console him, and explain to him that I would be waiting for him just outside. Timothy accepted my assurance, and hobbled off into the Three Crowns, a tavern on the edge of the harbor.
My mind had already begun to play with scenarios of my wealth. I would immediately send for my mother, and install her and my brothers in a fine house. I would repay the kindness of the Dowager, and buy for myself a fine house in Boston. It was only then that I realized that the Lady Harriet had likely given birth to my son, and together we three should establish ourselves in Boston. I would invest in banks and command armadas of tea ships, and spice ships; I would purchase salt mines, and gold mines, and sugar plantations in Barbados. In fact, all of those things that today I have were then fully Formed in my mind.
Timothy had been within the Three Crowns for a scrap of time, and I began to think fortune had been quick to respond to our request. But just at that moment, I saw a Constable come into view, and rush into the tavern. Moments later, Timothy was brought out, the constable having him secure by the top of his collar, and I watched as Timothy pled and cried in a most undignified manner.
I hid my body behind a tall elm tree, so as to avoid Detection. This was a most inconvenient turn of events. At first I was determined to allow young Timothy to pay for his stupidity. But my better angels soon prevailed; and this is a point worthy of some elaboration. I have heard it said by those calling themselves gentlemen that George Sperryhawke is a faithless opportunist. They have said that I will do anything for profit, that I am a servant of profit, and that I would betray my own mother for a shilling. Tut. Let this episode demonstrate my true character, which values loyalty above all things: so long as there is no Injury from protecting a friend, or better still some form of Profit to be derived, you may be Sure that George Sperryhawke shall remain faithful & True to the bitter end.
But how to extract Timothy from the clutches of the Constable? Smuggling is of course a rather serious offense, and I did not half like the thought of Timothy on the gallows. He was a very weak creature, and would surely give over my name and description at the slightest hint of punishment. And then suddenly a most ingenious Idea occurred to me, and it took me not a second to know that it was the right course of action.
I have known men who suffer from a form of mental illness that can only be described as insanity, in which, when they conceive of doing a certain thing, all of a sudden, from the bowels of hades rise up voices, and apparitions, that begin to conduct a sort of mock parliament, wherein a thing is turned over, and reasons for doing the thing are put forward, and reasons for not doing the thing are then put forward. Men operating under such a sickness should be confined to an asylum. God does not put an idea into my head unless he wishes for it to be accomplished. I have been fortunate that when God intends me to do a thing, he puts the idea in my head. When God does not intend a thing, he does not put the idea in my head.
I returned to the Cove, took the sloop back to the Isabella, and dressed myself again in the robes of Lord Marbury, and then doubled-backed to Portland. I strode confidently into the Constable’s gaol, assured that no low constable had ever seen a man dressed in such finery.
“Yes good sir, I am the Lord Marbury, private secretary to his Sir Francis Bernard, governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. I have knowledge that a certain tea smuggler called Timothy van Rosenvelt has been active in these parts, and I am on Orders to obtain his body, and bring him to the Lord Governor where he is to be extradited to England to stand trial for offenses against His Majesty King George.”
“van Rose . . . Roser . . . Timothy, you say?” called the constable. “Why I have only just this morning detained a smuggler by that name.”
The constable took out a ledger, “let’s see here, Timothy van Rosen . . . Roser . . . Roosevelt,” it was obvious this constable was scarcely literate. “Timothy Roosevelt?”
“Ah yes, the same. Timothy Roosevelet. He is an agent of Black George.”
“Very good sir, if you would then place him in my custody, I assure you the Lord governor and the King himself would be most Pleased with your assistance in this matter.”
“I see,” said the constable, who appeared not entirely persuaded by my regal performance. “and I beg your pardon sir, but how am I to know you are who you say?”
“Sir do you not seen the finery of my clothes? Do you not read here the coat of Arms that proves I am of the House of Bedford, that my grandfather is the first minister in the King’s employ?”
“Yes I’m quite sure of that -- but have ye a writ of some sort?”
“Of course!” I said, before realizing that it would be most dis-believable if I were not then able to produce such a document. It seemed to me by this man’s inability to pronounce the letters upon the page that he was not literate. I reached into the vestment of my robes, and suddenly clasped what felt a large sheaf of paper. I removed it from my coat.
“See here sir,” I said, and turned over the options contract from that scoundrel Mr. Phipps. “This is my Writ, signed by the Lord Governor Sir Francis Bernard himself, as you can see from his Seal.”
Now was the moment of Great Truth, for if this lad was literate, he should see most clearly that the papers I handed him were no Royal Writ, but instead were the basest options contract that have ever been issued on the London Tea Exchange. And yet, with its great red Seal done in Wax, and its large and impressive Letters, it looked very official indeed.
The Constable took up these papers, and examined them -- or else pretended to examine them. For in a moment, the Constable made known his want of literacy, and nodded his head “I see sir, and we should of course be glad to cooperate with His Majesty’s orders!”
The Constable thence retreated into the rear, and returned not a few moments later with Timothy by the scruff of his neck.
“Aye, that’s the lad,” I said, looking Timothy up and down.
“I’m surprised a cripple such as this could have come to the attention of His Majesty,” said the Constable.
“Aye, he is one of Black George’s companions,” said I, recalling my conversation with the fat coachman, “and if he knows his business, he will turn over his commander to the Lord Governor, or else surely swing from the gallows!”
I signed a piece of paper to ensure the Constable were able to prove that I had secured his prisoner for the Governor, and together we exited the Constable’s office, and put out back into the street.
“Fool!” I shouted, and boxed Timothy about the ears as soon as we were out of sight of the Constable. “You are lucky my boy I did not abandon you, as was my right.”
“But Mister Sperryhawke, how was I’s to know they’d call upon the constable?”
“They would have hanged you, and it would have served you right. What did you do? Did you approach a lawman and ask if he’d like to buy some illegal tea?”
As it was, it was clear that I would have to accomplish this myself, and that I was to have no help from the cripple. I ordered him back to the ship so that his presence did not become noticed by the constable. I left the main sqauare of Portland, and wandered down along the road beyond the harbor racking my brain for a better way to unload our tea. I came upon a very lonely looking tavern just at the edge of the peninsula. A one story shack of pine, done up in very shabby gray paint with a yellow trim about the doorframe. I entered upon the tavern, which was empty save two wretched looking peasants standing about the proprietor. They gave me a startled look, no doubt unaccustomed to seeing so regal and eminent a figure grace the premises.
I nodded kindly, to let them know I meant them no injury. The proprietor was a roguish looking fellow; long, greasy strands of hair atop an otherwise balding scalp; a hollow face, with only three or four visible teeth worn down to yellow nubs.
“What you like?” he asked, and gave me a strange look that suggested he was not used to strangers in these parts.
“A glass of bitter,” I said and by my glance made him know that I found him a disgusting specimen. I sat near the assembled Company, but with enough distance so that they should continue their conversation without fear of censure. Soon enough they resumed their discussions.
“So Mr. Richard tells me that the cow ain’t no good for birthing no more,” said the Farmer. “She’s only good for milking, so he’ll sell her cheap you see. Well you know that old Bethany up and died only two season ago, and me wife and I we been having to beg our milk from Miss Devonshire, who ain’t got nothing but that dried up beast Delilah who ain’t much good for milking no how.”
“So we does the deal, and rather than pay Coin, I agrees to fix his fence -- and it takes me two whole weeks, and I have to use my own nails -- and then he hands over the heifer, and the deal is done like, and me wife is happy cause now we can get our milk whenever we like, and don’t have to go begging to no Miss Devonshire.”
I sipped at my bitter, and was not slightly amused by this peasant’s tale.
“But then you see one day I’m out milking old Daphne, and she’s got herself a great bulging tummy. And at first it scares me that she’s got sick or something. But that’s not what happened. Why she’s got herself pregnant! Well, that’s not so bad a turn of luck. You get yourself a worn out cow for fixing a man’s fence -- even though you gotta use your own nails, it’s still a good arrangement for a milking cow -- but then turns out she’s no cow but a springer, why that’s a deal!
“But then you know what this Mr. Richard does? So he hears that old Daphne got herself pregnant, and he comes over to my farm, and tells me the deal was no good, and now he wants either 3 pounds six shilling, or else the first born calf, cause he says the calf is as good as his. He tells me it was some sort of mistake -- no stealing on either of us, but simply a mistake, and now we needs to correct it.”
“But dammit then! I know it was a mistake, but what’s that got to do with me fixing the fence for the heifer? I didn’t tell Daphne was only good for milking, it’s he who tells me.”
“But Mr. Richard tells me his son is some kind of attorney. Says his son knows all about cow law. He says that’s his specialty or something. He says this boy says it’s a clear example of mistake. And he keeps saying that. He keeps saying its a mistake, like I don’t know that! Don’t take no lawyer all high on himself to know it’s a mistake. And he says if I don’t pay him either Three pounds Six shillings, or promise to hand over the first calf, he’s gonna bring me into the court, and have the judge tell me to pay him either 3 pounds six shilling, or promise to hand over the first calf.”
“And so I ak’sed him what about the fence? What about that fence I fix’d with me own nails? I tell him that if he’s aiming to take the calf, then I’s aimin’ to take back the nails from the fence.”
“And he says no,” cried the Farmer. “He says the fence is fixed, and that’s part of the deal. So he thinks this heifer is worth a week of work fixing a fence, plus nails, plus three pounds six shilling, or else a promise to hand over the first calf. That’s the price he said. That’s the price for a heifer.”
“Pardon me fellow,” I said, “I don’t mean to interfere with another man’s business, but tell your adversary that it is written in the second book of Moses that ’For all manner of trespass, whether it be for ox, for ass, for sheep, for raiment, or for any manner of lost thing, which another challengeth to be his, the cause of both parties shall come before the judges; and whom the judges shall condemn, he shall pay double unto his neighbor.’”
My comrades looked perplexed by my learning.
“What’s that?” rejoined the dairy farmer. “You say its Moses? Moses from the Bible?”
“The same,” said I, “Tis the Law, higher and greater than any law known to Mr. Richard’s son, the attorney’s clerk.”
“And you say if I’s get to the judge, he gonna give me twice the price? He gonna make Mr. Richard pay me twice the price o’ the heffer?”
“Indeed. This is clear example of two men claiming rights to the same property, namely, the unborn calf. Thus, you must take your action to the judge, and whosoever the magistrate rules the calf belongs to, that other man shall then pay twice the value of the calf to the other party, for breach of trust and oath.”
“You some sort of King then?” asked the man with the milking cow that turned springer. But before I could answer, the barman interjoined.
“What’s your business here?” asked the Proprietor, tapping his revolting finger nails on the top of the bar.
“Oh nothing in particular. I am merchant, dealing in tea and tallow.”
“Tea you say?” repeated the Proprietor, who gave his patrons a mischievous look.
“Mr. Wooster,” said the farmer to the Proprietor, “you’s dealing in Tea yourself, ain’t you?”
“Is that so? I am pleased to make your acquaintance, Mr. Wooster. And I suppose while we’re on the subject,” I looked about me to demonstrate that I was not an agent of the law, “do you happen to know where I can purchase Dutch tea?”
The reader may easily enough deduce my Logick in this business. It occurred to me that there was no such illegality as I could see in asking where to purchase Dutch tea. Thus by seeking to purchase rather than to sell, I might better ascertain the sort of man with whom I could discuss the business.
“There be some men here who may sell the Dutch tea,” rejoined Mr. Wooster in a low whisper. “What did you have in mind?”
“A rather large quantity.”
I looked about me, “fifteen tons.”
Mr. Wooster did not wince at this Suggestion, but continued wiping down the long sheet of wood, nodding. “Tis a large sum, but may be possible.”
“And what should I expect to pay for such a sum?”
Again the proprietor nodded at my inquiry, and soon made an offer “It may cost you as much as five hundred per tonne.”
“That’s a fair price,” I said.
Mr. Wooster then bid me to follow him downstairs where he had carved out a cellar. He carried a lantern, and in the wet cellar, a ceiling no taller than four feet, he showed me what should have been, but for my experience in London, a rather large quantity of contraband.
“That’s fifteen tonnes?”
“That is ten Tonnes.”
I examined the floor of the Cellar, and noted that it was not even half-way full of Chests.
“And you will sell this to me at five hundred per tonne?”
“Indeed,” said Mr. Wooster.
“Very well, I accept.”
“And how do you plan to pay? Guineas or Spanish silver?”
“Hogell-wash, I will pay you with a Note, drawn on the Full faith and credit of the Isabella, Captain Dobbin presiding.”
“Mr. Sperryhawke, I cannot accept a Note from you for all this merchandise.”
“Come now. Surely a man dealing in sums as large as these does not deal in dirty Coins, like some petty Drover.”
“Well of course I deal in Notes,” protested Mr. Wooster, who then produced a large chest from the Corner of the cellar, and opened it with a skeleton Key. “Tis my bank here, Mr. Sperryhawke. Contains Bills of Credit, and Exchange, and bank Notes, and Promissory Notes, and commodity Notes, Insurance Contracts and Tenor Notes, from all over the Colonies. I have here a Note for one-thousand pounds, drawn upon the Land Bank of Massachusetts, and secured by ten-thousand acres of farmland in Marlborough. And Here, here is a Note for Five hundred pounds, drawn upon the Credit of the Hudson Bay Company, redeemable in beaver Pelts. I have a bundle of Receipts here from the Charleston Tobacco Exchange, each redeemable for a hundred pounds of Tobacco. And these Tenor Notes are not good for Specie anymore, but they can be used to satisfy Tax debts with the Massachusetts Treasurer.”
“Just as I thought,” I said, and perused his mélange of credit instruments. “An impressive and stately collection indeed.”
“But Mr. Sperryhawke, we are not Kin, and have only now just become acquainted. I cannot say as I’ve heard the name Sperryhawke before today.”
“But you are familiar with Captain Dobbin, and the Isabella?”
“As I said, I am his Agent, and indeed, his partner. My word is his Word, and I am also an Ordained Minister. Thus my Bond is secured not only by Captain Dobbin, but by the Risen Christ.”
“All the same, your Reverence,” replied Mr. Wooster, placing his finger to his lips. “I must at the very least have half of it in Silver.”
“Wooster, do you suppose that I am carrying several thousand pounds of silver in my Waistcoat?” I laughed. “Let us not behave as Bandits, and demand such a weight of Gold, and such a weight of Silver. Notes, Mr. Wooster. Let us deal in Notes. But to put your Conscience at ease, I will personally insure the Note for you.”
“Ensure the Note?” asked Mr. Wooster.
“Indeed!” I cried. “I will give over a Note, for Five-thousand pounds. And I will also Insure that Note in the event Dobbin defaults on payment, or you are otherwise unable to exchange the Note. And in this way, your redemption of the Note is assured, as drawn upon the revenue of the G.S. Shipping Company, of Boston. And London.”
Mr. Wooster considered this arrangement. “The G.S. Shipping Company you say?”
“Indeed, we have interests all over the globe. Our agents trade from London to Sir Lanka, and are in partnership with several gentlemen from the East India Company, and several Dutch trading houses besides.”
Mr. Wooster considered this proposal, and looked me over with a careful eye. I could sense his desire to complete the transaction would outweigh any concern he might harbor.
“Very well, so long as it is insured.”
“Excellent,” I remarked. “Now have you some parchment and a Quill to render the Note fully legal and Proper?”
Mr. Wooster gave me over the necessities, and I proceeded to produce a Note, as I read the words aloud:
Now Commeth to this Transaction a Mr. James Wooster, Esq., and the Most Rev. George Sperryhawke, ordained Minister, and acting agent for the firm of Captain Dobbin, and drawn on the credit of Isabella, and agree Under penalty of Law, that the Sum of Five-thousand pounds is Due and Owing to Mr. James Wooster, and that Mr. James Wooster may demand the sum of Five Thousand gold sovereigns, as payable at 5% per annum, and recorded this Day, the 9th of October, 1764, in the County of Kennebec.
Then I produced the Ensurance:
It is agreed that the Most Rev. George Sperryhawke, as principal of the G.S. Shipping Company of Boston and London, has personally and fully, guaranteed payment on the Note herein incorporated, dated the 9th day of October, 1764, in the County of Kennebec, for the sum of Five-thousand pounds, payable at 5% per annum. And it is furthermore sworn that in the event payment is not made on the aforementioned Note by the payor of that Note, payment may be obtained from the Most Rev. George Sperryhawke upon all Proper proof of default.
After the Notes had been exchanged, I double-backed on the Proprietor. “Now, would you be interested in replenishing your stores?”
“I don’t take your meaning?” said Mr. Wooster. “Speak plain.”
“I have at this moment another Fifteen-tonnes of Dutch dargiling.”
“The tea you just now purchased from me?”
“No. I have another store of Tea, that I have only now just brought from Holland.”
“The same. 500 per tonnage.”
“For illegal Dutch tea? That’s outrageous.”
“I just now paid you 500 per tonnage for your Dutch tea.”
“But Mr. Sperryhawke, if I were to pay 500 per tonnage, I should not make any profit when I re-sell the merchandise.”
“Wait a bit on that. I see here that your Stores are capable of holding perhaps 30 tonnes of Tea?”
“I often have more than that amount.”
“Indeed. It’s quite impressive. And what if I resold you back your own tea, at a loss?”
“How do you mean?”
“I have just now paid you five thousand pounds for ten tonnes of your Dutch tea. I would be willing to sell you back that tea for 4000 quid, netting you a profit of one thousand quid, if you also agree to buy my tea at four-Hundred per tonne. You can then sell all Twenty-five tonnes at five-Hundred per tonnage, and pocket 2500 pounds on the exchange. You’d be making an excellent profit.”
“Purchase back my own Tea at Four-thousand?”
“That’s right, along with another Fifteen Tonnes, fresh from Amsterdam. So that’s 25 tonnes in Total, at 400 per tonnage, for a grand total of 10,000 pounds.”
“And you say that five thousand of that comes from me returning your Note?”
“That’s correct. You give me back my notes for 5000 pounds, along with my Insurance. And then you also give me another 5000 pounds, half in silver, half in Notes.”
“Hogell-wash, Mr. Sperryhawke! You only paid me in Notes!”
“Ah yes, but recall that I insured the Note. Are you prepared to Ensure these Notes?” I said, picking through and reading from the Notes in Mr. Wooster’s chest. “Think long and hard before you agree, for it is a terrible contract indeed. You would have to personally guarantee the integrity of this Mr. Elderbridge de Valois.”
“Where is this Dutch tea?” asked Mr. Wooster, who seemed eager to complete the sale. “Have you a sample with you?”
I produced a sample of the tea, which I had wrapped in paper. Mr. Wooster put his Nose to the Tea, and inhaled it vigorously. He then tested the durability, and texture of the Leaves, and was pleased with the quality.
“But Mr. Sperryhawke, I simply haven’t 2500 in specie.”
“How much specie have you?”
“900 in Spanish silver.”
“Very well, I will take the 900 in Silver, and the rest in Notes. But in that instance, I must increase my price to 420 pounds per tonne.”
“Absolutely not,” said Mr. Wooster.
“But Mr. Wooster, the price of this Tea comprehends not only the tea itself, but also the assurity of my redemption on your Notes. You are asking me to take a very large Risk in accepting these Notes. As you have not heard the name of Sperryhawke, nor have I heard the name of Elderbridge or Valois.”
Mr. Wooster stuck his tongue deep into his cheek and pondered my argument. “I shall give you 410, and not a shilling more, Mr. Sperryhawke.”
Of course I was to accept, but I twisted up my face in a most disagreeable expression so as to make him think he was getting the better of the bargain.
“Very well,” I said.
Mr. Wooster then returned my Note to me, along with the Insurance. He then sifted through his bank, and handed over 900 in Spanish silver, along with two Notes, one drawn on the Land Bank of Massachusetts, and another from the Hudson Bay Company, issued by Monsieur Elderbridge de Valois, totaling Four-thousand and Three-hundred pounds.
“Excellent!” said Mr. Wooster after our business was concluded. “Now let us go and see your stores of Tea, Mr. Sperryhawke.”
The two of us set off down the dirt road towards the wood, and the proprietor Mr. Wooster regaled me with rather a deal too much of melodrama about his interest in Dutch tea. He was I then learned connected to the commercial and political brotherhood of the Sons of Liberty; this being my first introduction to that outrageous gang of charlatans, I was then aware that these Men were chiefly known by their Shiftiness. And the Reader may be sure that the rest of the Brotherhood’s integrity was on par with this wretched tavern keeper Mr. Wooster.
“English Tea is an assault on our liberties,” said Mr. Wooster as he dislodged a piece of food from his teeth. “I regard anyman who drinks English tea as a traitor, and a thief!”
“Indeed,” I assented, not interested in another discussion on the political status of Tea. “Tell me though, how much time shall it require to unload this Tea on the marketplace?”
“Fifteen tons?” asked the Proprietor, and considered this for a moment. “No more than a few weeks. I have eager buyers in every town for a hundred Miles, in Yarmouth, Boston, Newburyport, Northampton, and Dedham.”
“And what about for sale in the other colonies? Have you trading partners in New York, or Pennsylvania?”
Mr. Wooster shook his head, “Nay, it is a great deal more dangerous to trade across the boundaries. And besides, Black George controls the trade to New York. He does not allow the Brotherhood to trade south of Hartford. But in any event, it is not the authorities or Black George that cause us Trouble. Tis’ the great merchants in Boston, who resent our dealing with the Dutch.”
“Why is that?”
“They say it lowers the price of the product. They accuse us of flooding the market with the cheaper Dutch, which brings down the price of the English tea.”
At last we reached the Wood, and found Timothy standing guard over the stores of Tea. I ordered him to produce for inspection and Timothy tore off the tarp covering the tea chests. Mr. Wooster was then giddy with excitement, and he took no great Time in discerning that the business was on the level, and that he would accept Delivery just then.
“We can do business again, Mr. Sperryhawke. Anytime you have a load of this Dutch, we can do business.”
We shook hands, and I ordered Timothy to assist Mr. Wooster is loading the chests of Tea onto his wagon. When he was finished, he bounded off down the narrow road towards Portland.
“How much did you receive?”
“A thousand pounds,” I said, not yet ready to bring Timothy into my strict confidence.
“Tis rather a low price, my Lord?”
“Don’t you bother your head about that,” I said.
“Now what is to be done with the Ship?” asked Timothy, staring out from the beach at the Isabella.
“What do you mean? We shall sail it for Boston.”
“But the Isabella is a well known ship, Mr. Sperryhawke. The other merchants in Boston will know it by sight, and inquire as to Captain Dobbin’s whereabouts? They shall wonder how it is that you have come into possession of so famous a ship.”
I had not considered until that moment that of course, Dobbin was likely dead, or else chained in the service of the King. Appropriating the ship was not theft by any means, and yet my conscience is stricter than any natural law. It would be the height of injustice to keep the ship for myself, or else sell it.
“I suppose we’d better dispose of her, Sir.”
“But the ship, tis worth, why, I have no idea what it is worth, but it’s surely a lot?”
“Aye, Mr. Sperryhawke, tis worth a packet. But I fear all sorts of mischief will follow if we try to retain ownership. Too many questions will be asked. Far too many questions.”
I looked about the Ship, and determined that Timothy was correct. The ship could not leave Portland. I ordered Timothy to strip the Isabella of all its movable fixtures of Value; the sails, the nautical instruments, the heavy sea-Chests. All of these items could be exchanged for ready specie in Boston. Once our work was complete and the fixtures were safely on shore, I took up an axe, and began tearing out a Large hole in the hull.
It grieved me mightily to be tearing into the Hull of the Isabella. I felt as though I were chopping up the Captain himself with that gruesome weapon. At last I had carved out a hole not smaller than 2 feet by 3 feet, and the water began to seep in; first slowly, then more quickly, and soon, the whole of the floor was covered in the frigid waters of the Atlantic.
“Let’s be off,” I said. Timothy and I put into the sloop, and rode back to the beach as the Isabella began to waddle, and its bow soon began to dip beneath the bosom of the ocean. I stood on the shore with my cabin boy, watching the Isabella sink into the darkness of the sea.
“It is done, Timothy. The deed is done!” I said and put my arm around the deformed bastard. “Now, let us be to Boston.”
And so it was in the autumn of Sixty-three, I first became a gentleman of means, and took my first step in that Society that would one day look upon me as her greatest Champion.
And we had not even herbs or rushes to disguise the sight or odor-GS.↩
And yet I will confess that the Jealousy so consumed me that I contemplated suicide on more than one occasion I assure you.↩
This was the first and last time I ever allowed a pun be made upon my name-GS↩
Albeit coupled with sexual Prowess-GS.↩
My father was conspicuously absent, no doubt ashamed to behold his Son who had so courageously chastised him for his sloth-GS. ↩
And I recall being cheered on in this by several of the loveliest ladies of the Inn—GS.↩
The Purser was responsible for selling men those small goods & foodstuffs onboard the ship. He was generally thought to be a cheat by the crew, as he often was—GS.↩
It is true that Calvinists do not enjoy weekly Communion, but Dobbin seemed ignorant of this fact. My taste in church matter has always been High, and Romanish, and so I insisted that the men receive the Eucharist each week-GS.↩
And yet not even a mortal strain of malaria obstructed me from full-filling my charge -- I acquired a ninety-year lease on all Cumin & nutmeg grown on the Island, at half the price those now dead pygmies had originally requested. ↩
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