Title: Morning Constitutional
Description: open to all 'Rose' Crew!
James Denton - November 23, 2011 02:19 PM (GMT)
Date: 21-st of June 1719
Place: Aboard HMS “Rose”, in the open sea, on the way to Hispaniola
Four bells had just rung out - two ringing chimes - when Midshipman James Denton emerged from belowdecks, gaining the fresh air of the early morning with some relief. In the warm, tropical summer, the atmosphere beneath the decks was distinctly sultry. He was only glad that he didn't have to sleep in such close confines as the sailors; midshipmen might not warrant much space, but at least they slept in slightly more comfort than most of the crew. Aiming a polite salute in the direction of the Officer of the Watch, he headed for the lee side of the quarterdeck, avoiding a few sailors of the morning watch - engaged in some activity he couldn't quite fathom - with a nod of his head as he did so.
In the years since he'd first set foot aboard a ship of His Majesty's Navy, it had become James' custom to walk the deck when he first awoke. To that end, he made sure to awaken well before he was due to go on watch so that he could indulge himself (whatever else one might say about the Navy, it certainly taught you to snatch sleep when you could, and to be alert almost instantly upon awakening). It was a chance for him to take in the beauty of the ship he served aboard - and to him, every ship was a beauty in her own way - and to observe the actions of the crew without having to be directly involved.
The day looked like it was going to be a hot one, the heat of the sun already apparent even with the golden globe just slipping over the edge of the distant horizon, but the wind was stiff, the Rose
running before it sweetly, water bubbling underneath her bow happily as she leaned into the gentle swell. There was little else, James decided as he paced along, quite so pleasing as a well-looked after ship. The Rose
was one such ship, and, adored by her Captain and most of her crew, she made sure to look after those aboard her. Those who said ships had no souls clearly had never spent much time aboard them; even James, with his generally pragmatic, down-to-earth view of life, was quite convinced that every ship had a personality. Subtle, perhaps, but there, and that was whyevery ship required unique - and careful - handling.
Lacing his hands together behind his back, James came to a halt beside the ship's rail and turned to look out across the ocean, enjoying the cooling feeling of spray being gently blown into his face. Impeccably dressed, as ever, in a white shirt and dark trousers, his boots having been polished only the evening before, he looked the quintessential picture of your British Midshipman, a fact he was well aware of. It was something he strove towards, in fact, his determination to be quite the best midshipman that had ever trod the decks taking him through many difficult patches in the four years he'd been aboard ship. Only two of those years had been as a midshipman - prior to that he'd been a captain's servant - but the knowledge that he would become one had always been there, as was the knowledge that, after serving well - as he was quite determined he would - for the requisite amount of time, he would advance to the rank of Lieutenant.
There was something very comforting to James about the rigid structure of the Navy, and while others his age chaffed at the restrictions put upon them by rules, orders and customs, he positively embraced those restrictions. Having one's life very carefully delineated made things so very much easier. Even if, he would admit, it had the side affect of making one rather lonely.
New aboard the Rose
, having come aboard at her last stop into a port, a replacement for a previous midshipman who had come to an unfortunate end, he was finding himself rather isolated from the majority of the crew, most of whom had weathered more than a few trials together. He was a newcomer, an outsider, and though no-one had been rude, he was still very aware of his position. His awareness of his rank, too, and his natural difficulty with being gregarious had hampered him somewhat as he'd attempted to settle in, and so he found himself rather alone. He allowed it to bother him little, however, turning his attention to his duties and away from emotions in his customary fashion.
Still, however much he enjoyed the silence of the early morning and the joyous feeling of the sights and sounds of a beautiful ship, James would admit that he would not object to some company. Turning away from the rail and his gazing across the sea, he resumed his solemn walk upon the deck, back and forth, back and forth along the lee-side, expression quietly thoughtful.
((I hope this is okay for my first post here. It got rather longer than I meant; I think he is going to be a rather rambling character!))
Marina Costa - November 27, 2011 03:54 PM (GMT)
All the fuss about them as heroes in Port de Paix had been nice, albeit tiresome. And more tiresome than ever the necessity for Marina to remember the meager knowledge of French from the monastery… well, not that she hadn’t got plenty of opportunities to practice it here. She had been the happiest that the town had a Catholic church, while in Kingston there was only an Anglican one, and the perspective to go back there - or, even furthermore, to attend a festival - was a happy one.
Now they were back at sea, and these were good news. She liked more the open sea than the busy towns. She was standing watch, and this was nothing difficult for her. Standing watch was something she used to do alone since she was ten, after accompanying her father or uncle for two years during their watches. As long as one had good eyes and knew what to look for, nothing more was requested. She wasn’t easily distracted, and now the weather was nice enough to not make her worry at all. No clouds, no mist (well, difficult to have mist here in the Caribbean, how it happened rather often in the Mediterranean and even during the crossing of the ocean), it was a nice morning, and they were heading to Port-de-Paix again.
She saw one of the new midshipmen, barely arrived aboard a few days ago. He seemed a nice boy, and she had helped him once with keeping the navigational instruments – well, they had actually learnt from each other, but she hadn’t succeeded to befriend him… yet. In her opinion, it was just a matter of time. Most midshipmen had been her friends, because they saw “Martin the sailor boy” a lad about their age or younger – she said she was nearly sixteen – always ready to help them, and asking pertinent questions about what she wanted to learn.
”Good morning, Sir! How are you this morning?” she asked politely.
James Denton - November 28, 2011 10:49 AM (GMT)
He'd been aware - if only because he disliked not being aware of things going on around him - of the crewmember standing watch, and had been careful to avoid the man as he walked; it wouldn't do to get in the way of someone actually on duty when he was doing nothing more useful than enjoying the early morning. This peripheral awareness, however, hadn't managed to prepare him for the fact that the sailor might actually wish to speak to him, and so he blinked owlishly at Costa for a moment before he got over his surprise enough to actually form a response.
"Oh, good morning," he began, his cheerful tone not an effort, as to him it really was a good morning (and, by the looks of it, it was a good morning to Costa as well), fixing the sailor with a steady, assessing look. There was nothing particularly unusual about this for James tended to watch whomever he was interacting with very carefully, evaluating their every word and action and using his careful observation to then guide his words and actions.
Some people found it a rather distressing habit of his - generally those who didn't know that he applied such serious consideration to absolutely everything in life, from saying 'hello' to cleaning his pistol to working on navigational problems - thinking that his intense focus upon them meant that he was about to do something peculiar or aggressive to them. When he was younger James had never noticed when his direct gaze was making people uneasy, but now he'd managed to work out that such frank observation tended to make people uncomfortable, and so did his best to observe people more subtly. Being surprised into conversation, however, had put him off-balance, and so he'd reverted to his default of 'obviously assessing'.
"I am very well," he continued, a genuine smile tugging at his lips as he gestured with a careful hand at the scene surrounding them, taking in sky, sea and ship in a single controlled motion. "It would be very hard to be anything but well on a day like today!" Hoping that he hadn't misjudged Costa's mood - or that would make everything rather terribly awkward - he added, "And how are you? Anything interesting on your watch?"
Polite conversations? He could do this! Especially when the person he was conversing with wasn't someone particularly intimidating. He might not know Costa well, but he had an idea that they were about the same age, and he'd been very pleasant when they'd been checking the navigational instruments together. The politely friendly and helpful air he'd been perfecting ever since he was seven and realising that his entirely serious, direct and not particularly friendly air was the reason he had no friends was by now both almost comfortable and pleasant.
Marina Costa - November 29, 2011 12:12 PM (GMT)
The midshipman answered cheerfully, and Marina didn’t blink under his scrutinizing look. As nobody else had suspected, in more than one year, that young Martin could be somebody else than she pretended being, she wasn’t worrying about this. She felt safe aboard.
”Indeed, Sir. This beautiful sunrise has cheered up everybody who watched it. And the perspective that in Port de Paix there will be a festival waiting for us to join the festivities is even more exciting.”
It had been nothing interesting during the watch, and she answered promptly:
”Not today, Sir. The sea is quiet, the weather is fine, and no ship in sight. Don’t you think we have frightened the pirates enough for a while?”
She was cheerful as she usually was, and optimistic. The fact that her interlocutor hadn’t witnessed the pirate-hunting adventure didn’t diminish her enthusiasm. Of course, she was perfectly aware that some midshipmen or even warrant officers were wary of “fraternizing” with common sailors, but as long as the proper respect was kept, others were friendly enough. She had, during this year, enough friendly officers to learn from… What if she succeeded to befriend him, too?
”Where are you from, Sir, if I may ask? And do you celebrate there Saint John with bonfires too? I had seen such celebrations both in the Greek Islands, on the Venetian coast and more to the south, in Sicily” she asked with curiosity, the holiday being what caught her attention the most.
James Denton - November 29, 2011 01:35 PM (GMT)
The fact that one of their main reasons for stopping off in Port de Paix was to attend the festival of St. John's wasn't something that James had forgotten, but it had been something he hadn't been considering very much. He quite enjoyed the festival - one of the things that had charmed him most about the Caribbean was the sheer joy most people put into celebrating - but always spent some of his time during it - or during any festival, really - being coerced into social situations that usually served only to make him really uncomfortable (similarly, the fact that much of the religious basis for festivals got forgotten about served to cause him conflict, James not at all sure if that was really a very good thing).
Last year's St. John's festival he remembered vividly, the Fowey having put in for a few days to allow her crew to celebrate. He'd been perfectly happy watching the festivities from the side, gaining a great deal of enjoyment from watching other people make a fool of themselves, when one of his fellow midshipman had appeared by his side and dragged him into the dancing, refusing to take no for an answer. That hadn't been too bad, except for the fact that the girl James ended up dancing with wanted to take their dance somewhere more... private, the offer made with a leer that left little doubt as to her intentions.
James had beat a very hasty retreat at that point, to the sniggering of everyone in earshot.
"The festivities will be very exciting, I'm sure," he said, putting enough lightness into his tone that most people would take his words to mean that he, too, was equally excited. It wouldn't do, after all, he was quite certain, to suggest otherwise, and explaining his mixed opinions towards the various festivals would take rather awhile and probably result in Costa never wanting to talk to him again, which James was trying to avoid. Being sociable might not always come easily to him, but he didn't dislike people, and was looking for some connections to make aboard ship.
Quirking a grin at Costa's next words, James nodded in acknowledgment, though he was silent a moment longer as he formulated an answer, not wanting to speak before he'd figured out his sentences. "That's a good point, though I suspect at some point they'll be back for revenge. It was the talk of all of Kingston when I was there before coming aboard the Rosethat their Captains had been captured, and I can't think the pirates are very happy about that. It doesn't do their reputation much good, after all..." James was quite certain, given his opinion that all pirates were clearly cowardly louts who had limited brains and lacked the courage to stand up for something they believed in (other than themselves, because all pirates were only out for themselves, right?), that most pirates wouldn't even want to sail with a Captain who couldn't keep himself from being captured. Piracy was all about profits, and... pillaging and... things like that, none of which happened if your Captain was getting locked up.
Returning his attention to Costa as he continued speaking, James drew his mind away from the difficult and hypothetical contemplations of what pirates thought about and wanted (James had a hard enough time understanding his own mind, yet alone trying to put himself into the thoughts of others, and his limited imagination meant that he tended to think little of people who had radically different views from his own) in order to attend to his words.
"I'm from Southampton, a port town in the south of England." The easy cheer of Costa was serving to put James somewhat at his ease, and the fact that he didn't seem too bothered by James' careful consideration of his words also helped immensely. Though customarily James was very aware of rank - it having been rather drilled into him by his parents - his years in the Navy had taught him that though rank held the entire system together, it was also somewhat fuzzy and, with the position Midshipmen held as somewhere between a sailor and an officer, they were in a particularly fuzzy position. James probably held to rank more than others might, but at the same time he was sixteen and rather lonely, feeling very much on the outside of a group of people that had triumphed over pirates together, and the easy friendship that Martin Costa seemed to be offering could only be appreciated.
"The Festival of St. John is really different there, actually." As far as he could remember from his father's instruction, it hadn't been celebrated in England like it still was in many parts of the world (including Wales and Scotland) since the split with Rome and the Pope. He attempted to explain the differences, choosing his words carefully so that he neither insulted the festivals that Costa was used to - that his father would turn his nose up at and call 'almost heathen' - nor insulted the believes that he'd been brought up with, that saint's days should be days of religious contemplation, and possibly fasting. "It's not really a festival, and there's certainly no bonfires or big parties. It's much quieter, and my family used to fast on the day, while my father - who was a vicar - gave a special service in the church." The differences between England's saint's days and the Caribbean's saint's days still struck him even after two years in various parts of the tropical waters. "It's definitely more exciting, here."
Not wanting to spend the entire time sharing information about himself (that was considered self-centred, he was quite certain) James' next words were a question. "Are you from Sicily, then? Or Venice? How did you end up out here?"
((I am clearly incapable of not being really long-winded in my posts. I am sorry!))
Marina Costa - November 30, 2011 01:41 PM (GMT)
The midshipman seemed nice and the perspective of a shore leave during a festival was interesting for any seafarer. His boyish grin made him look a little like her own brother when he was around that age…
The imprisoned pirates were still the hot topic of the day, especially that the subject circulated lately widely both in Hispaniola and Jamaica. Possibly even in Bahamas people heard about the success of “Rose” and “Le Phenix”.
Marina had heard of Southampton.
“I remember Southampton on the map,” she said on a triumphant tone, then listening to his story quietly.
Fasting and praying were also nothing new for a girl who had spent four years in “Saint Mary” monastery in Cork.
”Praying and fasting are good as well, to obtain a favour with a saint. And a special service is held here in the church too. Everywhere, I guess. Only the people who have his name would like less if not allowed to party on their name’s day!” she smiled.
It was interesting, in her opinion, to have a priest as a father – because, as far as she understood, vicars were sort of priests too
“In the places where my father comes from, priests have families too, like your father does,” she explained. ”The priest and the mayor are the most respected in any community.”
She was talking about the Greek Orthodox priests, of course. And the boy wanted to know where she was from… as if she could name any place in the Ionian Sea!
”Yes, here is more exciting. And I am a Venetian citizen. I don’t have an exact island to call home, as I was born at sea, but Saint Mark’s lion was on the flag Colomba had. It took a shipwreck, and a British merchantman to fish me out and bring me to Cork. When I wanted to leave Cork, I signed with the Navy and here I am,” she told simply.
James Denton - December 1, 2011 02:11 PM (GMT)
Rather glad that he'd clearly managed to strike a successful balance in his description, James listened attentively as Costa talked, nodding in what he thought were the right places. "It is definitely important to remember the reasons behind a festival, even as we enjoy ourselves," he said, gravely voicing his thoughts aloud, as it seemed that Costa would be one to appreciate the sentiment.
"My father is actually a missionary now," he added, when he judged that the sailor had come to the end of his little tale. "He felt that was his true calling, rather than tending to his small parish, and so he is now in Jamaica. It was entirely a coincidence that I ended up in the Caribbean as well!" An odd coincidence, really, once one thought about it, but certainly not one that James minded. As his mother and siblings had also moved south with his father, it meant that when he had some shore leave in Kingston he was able to go and see them, something that he appreciated very much.
"The sea is clearly in your blood!" He again quirked a smile as he wondered what growing up aboard a ship would have been like. He thought he might rather have liked it. Even as a young child, he'd frequently scampered off down to the harbour to watch the ships come in, or to pester his shipwright grandfather, who'd been remarkably tolerant about having a seven year old boy under his feet. It had been from his grandparents that most of James' desire to go to sea had come from, his parents being resolute landlubbers, and he maintained correspondence with his grandmother and grandfather that still lived (a patchy correspondence, it must be admitted, the mail service between Navy ships upon the Caribbean and England not being particularly efficient or reliable). "Is it very different here in the West Indies? I do not know very much about the part of the world you come from, I am afraid."
His education had involved some information about the Mediterranean, but most of it had been Classical History, and though James had always been an earnest scholar, going to sea when he was twelve had somewhat stunted his education in many areas. The Captain aboard his first ship had made sure to take the young boys aboard under his wing, but his interests had - understandably - been more in the direction of mathematics, navigation and management of a ship, while his geography had mostly been the passing on of personal tales, or in relation to the politics of the various European powers.
Marina Costa - December 5, 2011 06:53 PM (GMT)
They seemed to find common grounds of discussion, as the severity of the teachings she had got in the catholic monastery met mostly his own views.
”It must be wonderful to be a missionary,” she said with admiration. ”But Jamaica is mostly Christian. I thought the places where natives live are those where missionaries are needed.”
The answer was sincere and innocent enough because she didn’t know about the cruelties some missionaries had used in converting the “savages” to Christianism by force, and she hadn’t thought that most places where “natives” existed were… well… on the Spanish Main or in the American Colonies, not here. Besides, she didn’t realize that even in Jamaica, coloured people were secretly practicing voodoo, and that in some places in the North there were still Taino tribes left.
When he remarked that the sea was clearly in her blood, she smiled.
”Of course it is! And my mother had grown up similarly, she had been a captain’s daughter herself. I couldn’t imagine a land-locked life for me! I had tried it and not liked it at all… even if learning new things in the monastery was interesting.”
Yes, together with working twice as hard because she had to help in the kitchen and do chores others who paid for their education didn’t have to, after Mother Claire’s untimely death, and enduring also the bullying… But the midshipman wanted to know how different were the West Indies from the places she had known in the Mediterranean, and she smiled. She could say this…
”You saw Jamaica is different from England and I can say it is different from Ireland too. But still there are a few things the same everywhere in the world… Rich people and poor people, good and bad ones of all society layers, for example…”
She looked at him with an apologetic smile – surely this was not what he wanted to learn, but thinking about the Venetian and Greek islands brought to her random memories she tried to express somehow:
”Well, here is definitely much warmer than in England, and a little warmer than in the places I come from. The Greek islands are in the power of the Ottoman Empire, but there are rebels on each island… The people dedicate them songs… Turks forbade schools, but priests call the boys at night and their school time is lighted by the moon, not by the sun… Venice is different in itself, a city on sea channels… I think I could better answer concrete questions than list all the differences, Sir! But, what might be an interesting thing for a seaman to know, my father’s compass and most people’s there had only 16 sections, not 32,” she added, remembering that all the officers who heard it were interested.
James Denton - December 6, 2011 01:19 AM (GMT)
"Well, in the towns of Jamaica people are good Christians, and there missionaries aren't needed, but in the countryside it is rather different." James wasn't quite sure whether to be surprised or not at Costa's statement. He supposed that, for a sailor, it might not necessarily be common knowledge that some parts of Jamaica were not as civilised as the British Government would like their citizens to believe. "There are still some native Taino tribes left in the North of the island, and there are many descendants of escaped slaves outside of the towns. Many of them have not yet been taught the word and grace of God." It was a sad state of affairs to James, a good vicar-turned-missionary's son, that there were so many in the world still living a heathen life, untouched by the truth and majesty of God, and many of them not knowing the dire straits their souls were in.
"My father finds it very fulfilling work," he added after a moment. Sometimes James regretted not following his father into the Church, for he was proud of his father's work and devoutly believed in the importance of true religion, but the sea had been a stronger calling, and it had been with deep consideration that James had turned away from the religious life. Not all of God's work was done by those in the Church, after all, and he'd quietly, and contently, come to the decision that being in the Navy and defending all that was the British Empire (with rather a great deal of moral naivety, James was truly patriotic) was his part on God's plan.
"Some things, indeed, never change." The best and the worst of humanity - and everything in between - did seem to be a constant, with disreputable rogues and caring helpers everywhere in the world. Again, James wasn't entirely sure whether to be surprised by Costa's observation or not: the man seemed to swing between thoughtful depths and naivety (it didn't occur to James that he, too, tended to do the same thing). Perhaps the monastery education he had hinted at had something to do with that.
"You are right, it is a foolish question to ask something so vague! Everywhere is so different, even if the people might be similar. You make it sound very," he paused as he considered the right word, "Poetic, though." James was young enough to have his imagination caught by rebels, and moonlit schools, and cities on the sea, and from the brief description he privately thought it sounded rather exciting... if possibly somewhere he wouldn't want to live himself. Not quite sure what specific questions would be good to ask (what questions would be considered too intrusive? what ones would be considered foolish? James didn't quite know, and wasn't certain enough of himself to experiment, either), he mentally skipped on to the next piece of information Costa offered.
"Does that make navigation less accurate?" Indeed interested by the differences in the compasses, James went straight to what seemed to him to be the most important question. Sixteen sort of made sense, he supposed, as it was half of thirty-two, but surely it meant that you weren't able to calculate one's course as accurately, in which case it didn't seem like a very good system.
Marina Costa - December 7, 2011 02:48 PM (GMT)
They talked about missionaries, and Marina, not knowing the details about coercitive methods used by some of them, agreed with him that their work must be fulfilling:
”I think it is, because God is pleased when more people pray to him,” she said simply, her thoughts being next focused on something else that she didn’t dare saying in the open.
Jesus and the apostles had preached to the heathens and turned them from their gods to the true God; but could she be sure that what Masaki, for example, called kami and she understood them as a kind of gods, weren’t actually the saints under different names? Could anybody swear that Allah the Turks bowed to wasn’t God under another name? What if they were, and then it was actually nothing wrong to be “heathen”, but men didn’t understand this, exactly how they didn’t understand that it was nothing wrong to be Anglican or Orthodox when they prayed to the same God, just in different ways?
She smiled when hearing that the midshipman found her words poetic.
”Sometimes it might be, Sir, but other times, pardon me, it is still Hell on sea. I guess you don’t want to hear about an ice storm which had caught us in the Black Sea, in January 1712…”
It had been, indeed, the worst storm she remembered… if not counting the shipwreck. That time in the Black Sea, she had been near dying of lungs fever, and it took one month after the fever left her until she got fully recovered.
When their talk got to the compass, his question if it made navigation less accurate made her regain a thoughtful, serious face:
”I think so. This was my greatest wonder when I saw Rose’s compass for the first time, but I grasped immediately its advantages! Especially for ocean-faring! I guess there in the Mediterranean, where the shores are to be seen more, it is also easier to correct precision after the lighthouses and other landscape elements, if necessary… and they didn’t need more directions!“
Then, she remembered Jamie Allistair’s words, explaining to the midshipman:
”One of the lieutenants who isn’t with us anymore had told my that the old Spanish and Portuguese maps used to show the same system, so probably it had been widespread in the Mediterranean. I can see why the captains of small vessels, without too much schooling and having learnt the ropes from their ancestors, didn’t know any better… and actually didn’t see any need to perfect their navigation instruments and skills. But some day I’ll go back and I’ll use what I learnt here…”
This had been her dream for many years; hearing it from herself now, didn’t sound as appealing though. She had the vague idea that now, since her priorities had changed and a little ship was waiting for her investment at the end of the war, here, in these waters, she might never get back to where the green Ottoman flag with a crescent moon towered over anything else, and where San Marco’s lion was becoming, with each year, more like a hungry wildcat. Exactly how Masaki couldn’t go home anymore, she wanted to spend her life with him, on the same ship, like her mother had done at her time…
James Denton - December 8, 2011 03:14 PM (GMT)
Costa's thoughts about religion would definitely rather have shocked James if he had chosen to mention them, for he was fairly conservative in his religious beliefs, though he was rather more tolerant than his father who had a great deal of distrust in anything that wasn't the Church of England. James, on the other hand, felt that differences withing Christianity were acceptable (if a little misguided) as being Christian was the important aspect, and precisely what type of Christian secondary in importance. Extending that same understanding towards those who didn't believe in Christ? Well.. that was far too accepting to James, and almost seemed to condone those incorrect beliefs!
He nodded in acknowledgment as Costa pointed out that his home wasn't always a delightful place to live. "The sea is ever fickle," he said in musing agreement. And wasn't that the truth? She could be as playful as a lamb one moment, with a gentle swell and sunny skies, and the next a raging storm, gale winds and hail battering at a ship. It never did to take the ocean for granted...
"That makes sense." He turned the idea of the compass over in his mind, considering navigating short distances within an enclosed sea. "The presence of landmarks on the shore would make a less accurate compass a workable instrument." He was very glad, however, that the British Navy - and all, modern, civilised places, though he would never say so out loud and insult Costa's origins in that way - used a thirty-two point compass. Accuracy, he felt, was very important, and something to always be striven for. Even if a method worked, people should always be trying to figure out ways in which things could be done more efficiently, more precisely, and better overall. "It is a good thing, though, that we do not try to sail across the Atlantic with such a compass. Ships would never get to where they were going!"
Deciding that attempting to introduce a new navigation system into the Mediterranean was a very sensible, if hugely ambitious, idea (it would make everything more accurate and efficient, which could only be a good thing, even if it never directly affected his life), James gave Costa an approving sort of look, which reduced the intensity of his observation somewhat. "You plan to return to the Mediterranean, then?" That was a suitable polite inquiry after such a hint was dropped, he was quite certain.
Marina Costa - December 9, 2011 08:18 AM (GMT)
Marina liked more the turn of the discussion when it went to sea events. The sea has always been fickle, and all the sailors knew this.”Indeed, she is fickle…”
But when he said that ships would never get to where they were going if having a compass with only 16 directions, Marina intervened:”Well, Sir, I agree with the part that it is better to have a more accurate compass; this is the technical progress, and it is well to be spread wider. But if you think that Marco Polo had no compass and he arrived to China and brought us silk and the compass itself, it is possible! And the Spanish and Portuguese ships after Christopher Columbus had the compass like my father’s, and they arrived to America to conquer it for their kings… I don’t know if your ancestors had the same type of compass when building the American Colonies and hunting for the Spanish golden galleons…”
She had heard enough stories about Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh. Another sailor would have been wary of expressing his opinions to an officer – even a young one like the lad she was discussing with – but she had never this problem. As long as she was polite, nobody had punished her for speaking her mind.
When asked about her plans to return to the Mediterranean, she smiled dreamily and answered:”Some day I will. And you will be a first lieutenant then, or maybe a captain of your own ship,”
she added with a smile.
It was true, in the circumstances now, the dream seemed farther and farther away. Nobody was waiting for her in the seas which had witnessed her birth, but someone was waiting for her in the Caribbean... for her and for the end of the war.
– THE END -