Repairing a Sailing Ship

Treasure on the Southern Moor; Chapter 8: Repairs and a Rest; Pgs. 209-212

.     The cook had come out of the galley, and those aboard ship had sat down to eat. In the distance, they could see the boats at the shoreline, and the hired crew had all left to gain materials and more supplies. They would soon be coming back with loads to work with the ship.
.     “How long do you think the repairs will take?” asked Adrian as he lifted his wooden cup to his lips.
.     “Not long,” said Mr. Toller. “We should be out sailing in another few days.”
.     “And what land are we headed to next?” asked Jemmy Ducks.
.     “All depends for certain,” said Mr. Toller, “yet the Canary or Cape Verde Islands will probably be next on our way to where we are sailing.”
.     No one else said much as they looked out at the shore, with the ship swaying gently under them, turning around its anchorage. It was always a surprise over the next few days to see where it pointed in the morning after turning throughout the night.
.     After breakfast, the crew was soon busy afoot with pulling more canvas and rope out from below and hoisting yard and rigging and bringing their own tools out from the supplies to be ready when the Portuguese came. And before they were finished preparing, Captain Underwood was back with the first set of help to lend a hand, and he stayed aboard and let others depart with more of the ship’s boats to bring more hands aboard the Southern Moor.
.     Mr. Toller continued about his normal work to stay out of the way of those making repairs, and he inspected the chip log with Mr. Thrussell. Adrian and Adrianna could not be of much help either, as there was already a great many people aboard ship, and they remained in the captain’s cabin for the day, mending the mattresses and other items that had been torn or broken by the traitors. The main deck had become crowded, and only the doctor and captain could speak to the Portuguese as they were the only loyal ones aboard who knew their language.
.     “Do you think we will have to replace the crew with all Portuguese-speaking people?” asked Adrianna, pausing from her work for a moment as she looked out the stern windows of the captain’s cabin at the sunlight upon the waters. “I would think it would be hard to communicate with them.” As she spoke, she saw a fish splash from somewhere ahead in the waters and cause tiny ripples to flow out in circles.
.     “That is if we can replace the whole crew,” said Adrian. “We might just have to sail shorthanded. And we may run into storms on the way back.”
.     “Storms are such a nuisance,” said Adrianna, biting off a needleful of thread as she held her mattress in her lap. The slashes the pirates had given it ran up and down near the seam. “Was Mr. Northrup really a pirate?” she asked, wanting to turn the conversation away from bad weather. The prospect of more storms didn’t give her pleasant thoughts.
.     “Either that or very much near it,” said Adrian. “I heard Father once say that he knows of nearly every coin, and his former journeys that he has spoken of were never to any particular country. Father said he probably was pirating treasure along many sailing routes.”
.     “He was beastly,” said Adrianna, “telling us he had Father locked in irons and threatening to set fire to the ship. You’re the hero of the crew, Adrian, rushing upon him the way you did.”
.     “I only did it by accident,” Adrian admitted again, “when I slipped from the hatch above. But I say – Mr. Thrussell knows all there is to know about sword fighting, and I’m still sore from where his flat hit me.”
.     “I thought you said that it didn’t hurt much,” said Adrianna.
.     “Well, maybe a little more than I let on,” said Adrian, “but it was still wonderful. He says he will show me more later.”

Audio Continuation of Story; Pgs. 212-214

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Assessing Things Landward

For those who love Treasure on the Southern Moor. . .

Treasure on the Southern Moor; Chapter 8: Repairs and a Rest; Pgs. 191-194

.     The sun had come over the horizon and was beaming its rays upon water and land. Splash, splash, splash was the sound the oars were making as Mr. Toller related the story of the previous night’s events. Captain Underwood listened with great interest to the tale that was given him, watching as the ship’s boat took them closer and closer toward the Southern Moor.
.     “Well, well,” the captain said at the end, “that is a different turn. We will have to be more careful for sure, and of course I do apologize for hiring them in the first place and for the danger it put you all in. There was such a short time before we had to set sail, and I’m only all too sorry our suspicions about Mr. Northrup were true. At least,” spoken with relief, “Adrian and Adrianna are safe.” He went on, with some strain, “yet we are shorthanded now, in addition to needing repairs.”
.     They had by this time come up to the side of the Southern Moor, and a rope ladder, or Jacob’s ladder, was dangling down to receive them. The captain was first to ascend, coming up onto the main deck, and was greeted by Adrian and Adrianna and then by the loyal crew.
.     “We have been up all night and have nearly died,” said Adrianna in her father’s embrace, yet she was so tired from the night’s activities that she didn’t sound nearly as frightened as one may have thought.
.     “And it wasn’t so bad,” said Adrian. “We made it out safely.” His face turned sickly as he thought of the soldier and sailor who hadn’t. “But not everyone did,” was all he said aloud.
.     “We have been narrowly saved from disaster,” said the captain. “And I can only thank you all for your loyalty and to the Lord for His protection. I have a word to speak with the traitors before we need to discuss our plans, for our plight is plain. How are we to sail with more than half the crew unable or unwilling to lend a hand? This will have to be discussed among us, and since we are so few and every one of you has proved your loyalty with your lives, it is my wish that everyone have a say in the deciding. Yet it need not be discussed now aboard the Southern Moor. I suggest we partake of the victuals Robert Moore has prepared, and afterward go ashore where we can discuss our situation over solid ground with a larger meal.” He looked around at the tired faces of the crew. “It also appears that an hour’s sleep before we depart would not be amiss.”
.     Mr. Moore was nearly done with preparing breakfast, largely consisting of porridge, and everyone readily agreed to the proposed plan and sat down to eat. “Going ashore to Africa at last,” said Adrianna as she took her bowl of porridge. Steam was still rising from it.
.     “Aye,” said one of the two remaining loyal sailors. He said no more, but started humming the tune of an old sea song. Adrianna remembered that he was a sailor who had lived his whole life on the rolling of the stormy sea and therefore did not think of land as most landsmen think of it. She wondered if he had ever before faced a mutinous crew and what had happened if he had. Yet even sailors have a desire to visit land now and then, and Adrianna caught the glint in the man’s eye as he looked out over the shores.
.     When the light breakfast was over, during which Captain Underwood had had a strained discussion with the traitors (and he could get nothing out of them that Mr. Toller had not already told him), the crew of the Southern Moor took an hour’s sleep before preparing to go ashore. There was some discussion about what to do with the prisoners, locked below in the stable, and it was finally decided that Mr. Heath with one of his soldiers would stay behind to guard them, making sure they didn’t make any movements toward attempting escape. Of course, their hands were securely tied, but one can never be too sure. Mr. Heath was chosen because he was reliable to stay awake even after the rigorous night before, and it was promised he would have much time on land the following day.
.     “The oxen don’t seem to mind the fresher air in the officer’s cabins,” said Jemmy Ducks with a laugh. “It will do the traitors well to spend some time down there.”
.     The departing party assembled on the main deck and said goodbye for the day to Mr. Heath and his soldier who stayed behind with him. Some of the ship’s boats were lowered.

Audio Continuation of Story; Pgs. 194-196

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Running Late

This is for those familiar with my book Treasure on the Southern Moor. To learn more about it, please visit my bookstore, or my Treasure on the Southern Moor site.

Treasure on the Southern Moor; Chapter 2: A Rushed Beginning; Pgs. 33-36

.     Several oak trees surrounded the small brick house. Their wet limbs stretched over its roof as though reaching for the dry inside. Had it been early autumn, acorns would have been raining down around the house and hitting the slate and thatch roof with solid thuds. The roof was made of half slate and half thatch because Mr. Underwood had become a good deal poorer in the last several years than he had once been and only had money to put slate over those areas that always seemed to leak. The leaks had stopped, and as it was early spring and not autumn, there were no acorns hitting the roof. Plymouth had nearly forgotten autumn in all the recent storms and bad weather. It was spring they all longed for, and it was spring that was coming. The town of Plymouth was only a half-mile away from the Underwood’s house, down a short country road that snaked through the woods and led quite suddenly into the town streets. The country house knew nothing itself of the town, for it was well-hidden and out of sight among the several oak trees.
.     Adrianna Underwood was sweeping. She was sweeping because she had been brought up well and knew that a house should not be left until the floors were swept – and her father had told her to sweep them anyway. And she did what she was told to do because she had been taught how to behave well, and generally she did behave well, for she was that sort of girl. She was ten years of age.
.     This morning, she had risen at the crack of dawn. When she had, she found that the rain had lessened, only pitter-pattering on the roof and making a quiet splash on the puddles outside. The air was crisp, and she knew it was going to be a good day. I can’t tell you how she knew this, but if you have ever woken up in the early morning air into a diminishing rain and increasing sunlight and known what a good day it was going to be, then I’m sure you know what Adrianna felt like. She had washed and dressed as soon as she had risen, putting on her simple, peach-colored dress with a teal-colored sash around it. That had been hours ago. Now the rain was gone completely, and beams of sunlight had taken its place among the trees, spilling through bows and limbs and lighting in patches on the ground. A morning thrush was singing outside, and the smell of baking bread came out through the open door.
.     The truth is that Mrs. Underwood had died nearly ten years ago, right after Adrianna was born, and Mr. Underwood had then left sailing the high seas. He had settled down in Plymouth, though as no one knew much of where he had come from and as he had become poorer, many of the townsmen and women looked at him with suspicion. He was too poor to have servants and yet rich enough to have his own land, and therefore Samuel Underwood had to be looked upon as a gentleman, though no one knew where he had gained the money and status to own the land. Mr. Underwood made it a point not to speak much about his past years of sailing. The reason for this was that he knew that the life of a sailorman was generally not one of keeping estates and raising a family and having tenants and setting up city shops or anything else that might be regular in the life of an Englishman. All Plymouth knew was that Mr. Underwood knew a lot about ships and docks and rigging and sails and things that any respectable landsman (and especially townsman) would know nothing about.
.     Yet Mr. Underwood knew there was such a thing as the respectable gentleman that could be found on the seas, and there were some of his old friends that knew so, too, and remembered. Adrian and Adrianna did not remember a thing about sailing the seas, as Adrian was only one when Captain Underwood became Mr. Underwood, and Adrianna just born. They had grown up around the docks, though, and knew as much about ships in harbor as a sailorman does about ships out at sea.
.     “Oh, I do wish we had more time,” said Adrianna as she turned from the window, putting down her broom and looking forlornly about the room.
.     “Oh, come along,” said Adrian, not unkindly. He was packing a white canvas sack, the same one he had used to bring his father dinner the night before. “We haven’t time, and there isn’t any,” He fingered the inside of the sack, which had been drying in front of the fire for some time. It was only very slightly moist now.
.     “Are we really going away?” asked Adrianna for the hundredth time that morning.

Audio Continuation of Story; Pgs. 36-38

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Discourse with the Gamekeeper – Added Scene

This is for those familiar with my book Treasure on the Southern Moor:

.     Adrianna stepped below the main deck, descending down the ladder that took her to the middle of the gun deck. She would always see Mr. Heath there around that time inspecting the gun ports. Sunlight was filtering through the open holes and shinning on the freshly oiled cannon. Adrian used to always have to walk with her down this way especially after the three week storm. Yet, over the last couple weeks, she had ventured down by herself.
.     Once she stepped below the gun deck down to the supply deck, she was once more reminded of the night, seeming so long ago and yet still fresh in her mind when the loyal crew defended the ship against Mr. Northrup and his men. Most everything had been put back to its original place, but some of the barrels still formed a half barricade just to remind the faithful crew what almost befell them. Adrianna smiled at the molasses barrel.
.     The sounds of the crew members talking above were muted, yet the sounds of the creaking of the ship sounded louder and more threatening. Adrianna shuttered, as she always did, at thinking how it must have sounded for Adrian in the storm, when he would go down to the supply deck to fetch something for the cook or another crew member.
.     Then, lifting the hatch to the cargo deck below, Adrianna descended into darkness, down into the deep of the Southern Moor. She went quickly aft, feeling the ceiling with her fingertips until she caught hold of a lantern, which she promptly lit. Then, she continued her way aft past the pump house and toward the stable door. No matter how long they stayed aboard ship, Adrianna could never get used to the way the walls sloped outward on this deck. There was more ceiling than floor, and it always looked as though the ship would tip over at any moment, though it never did.
.     The stable door was unlocked, but Adrianna always knocked.
.     “Come in, come in!” said a voice from inside, and Adrianna knew it to be the gamekeeper.
.     “Thank you, Mr. Ducks,” said Adrianna. “May I see the ox?”
.     “I suppose you may,” said Jemmy Ducks, “yet remember what I said about getting too attached to it, ma’am. I hardly had the nerve to do my duty the first time I was gamekeeper aboard ship – I became such close friends with the animals.”
.     “I know, and I suppose you’re right,” said Adrianna. “Poor things,” she continued, “stuck down here every day and every night, without any hope of living in fresh sunlight again. Do you think?”
.     “I’m afraid we must eventually,” said Jemmy Ducks. “That is, after all, why they were brought with us, miss – to provide us with a few more square and honest meals, and I suppose the crew does need it.”
.     “But it’s nice to tend them in the meantime,” said Adrianna.
.     Then, in the far distance above them, they could hear the bell toll, and a very faint voice was calling out, “Land ho!”

To learn more about Treasure on the Southern Moor, please visit my bookstore.

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