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by Katherine Pym
Category: Historical Fiction
Description: London 1661, the new King is on the thrown, but old religious beliefs and Medieval superstition still prevail. Twins, Emmatha and Edgar Torbet are victims of these beliefs and superstition.
eBook Publisher: Wings ePress, Inc., 2011 2011
eBookwise Release Date: March 2011
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [412 KB]
Reading time: 270-378 min.
Lessons waggled his furry brows. "True enough, we must be discreet in our dealings, and set sail without the priests knowing of our intentions, or alerting this here town's soldiers."
Quartermaster Hawkins said, "I'll go with the men, Captain. Meet you, later."
Captain nodded. They walked away from the market, leaving Hawkins and the seamen to take care of what was left of the unsold cargo.
Edgar asked, "How'd you get all the goods from these other ships buried without the priests knowing?"
"Why, just as you did. The men from the ship stored their cargo, didn't they? Thought it'd be safe until their ship was fixed."
Tweede asked, "Where are the men from those there ships?"
Lessons waved a hand in dismissal. "Gone off with other frigates didn't they?"
"So, not all ships coming to port were attacked by pirates?" Edgar asked.
Lessons laughed. "Nay, some slipped by."
"And you didn't take all the cargos, did you?"
"Couldn't take it all, now could I? That would be too bold. Someone would notice."
Tweede shook his head, while Edgar thought the man a right devious fellow. They traversed through the narrow streets and lanes to a tavern, where Lessons--in fluent Spanish--demanded a private chamber.
Edgar smiled. He was starting to like Lessons. Alone and without apparent assistance, the man may have captured extraordinary wealth owned by members of the Levant. As they walked into a chamber off the common room, Edgar asked, "How many cargos have you stored against this rainy day?"
Lessons laughed. "Four, maybe five. Two of them coming from Turkey country with spices, oils, and cloths, and the rest crossing from the Straits. One was a Dutchy ship."
Edgar's eyes widened. Lessons was quite the brilliant knave, for the owners of the goods played right into his hands. He took hold of several cargos and never lifted a finger.
They sat down at a table, and ordered wine, bread and cheese.
Tweede removed his hat and scratched his head. "Once the food arrives, you'll give us your answer, sirrah. Doesn't seem we've much time to dally in this here place." He returned the hat to his head and pulled it down round his ears.
Lessons nodded. "Aye, the papist priests are unruly fellows. They ain't very nice when riled, but I shall give you my answer, now."
"Aye?" Tweede clapped eyes on the man.
Lessons said, "I agree with your proposal, but I choose the ports a' call for the selling of the goods."
"Where do you want to sell it?" Tweede asked. He removed his hat and studied the inside of it. "Is there anyone in this here town that can remove nits from me hat? I'm all lousy."
Lessons said, "We'll go along this end of the Mediterranean and sell off the cargo where there ain't much by the way of Levant Company. I don't want all the goods we leave this port with accounted to a factor. It ain't good for me purse."
"For our purse," Tweede corrected.
"Aye, for our purse," Lessons agreed.
Edgar leaned forward. "But we must give some sort bill of lading to the factor wherein we finally lay anchor. Otherwise, we'll be the sorrier for it, won't we?"
"Aye," Lessons said, and all watched with interest as Tweede pulled out lice and nits from the inside of his hat. He crushed them between his fingernails, and flicked them away.
The maid entered the room with a platter of food, glasses, and a pitcher of wine. Edgar waited for the food and wine to be laid on the table, and watched as the captain continued to peer into his hat.
Edgar suggested, "Uhm Captain, soured wine poured on your hair and into the hat might take away the lice. Mayhap, you'll want to try that."
Captain sniffed. "What, and ruin me best hat? Nay, I shall not do such a thing." He flicked another louse away. "This will do just fine, laddie. Aye, indeed it will."
Lessons grimaced. "Be done with that lousy business, Tweede. 'Tis putting me right off me food."
Tweede returned the hat to his head. "Aright, then. Lessons, pour the wine if you please, and tell us of your idea to avoid the factors."
As Lessons splashed the wine into cups, he said, "We'll sell it all at the ports a' call I want, except for a bit or bob along the way. At Leghorn, we'll give the factor what remains, won't we? We'll tell him the very sad story of it all, along with those African pirates, your ship a' sinking, and we taking the Iberian ship to hold your promise to the Company."
Edgar smiled. "All will be a jumble in the hold, won't it? It'll be difficult to match the manifest with the goods, won't it? Very nice, Lessons. I reckon you are the veryest of rogues."
Tweede barked out a laugh and raised his cup. "Let us drink to our new venture. Tomorrow, we prepare to leave Malaga."