"...I trusted in the Almighty… I knew I could only be killed once,
and I had to die sometime."
-Anne Bailey, 1823

Thursday, August 26


August 26.
'Tis with great pleasure we finally settle in with pen at hand, a deep well of ink and fond memories to share. The soft strain of beautiful music fills our heart, our head and indeed our very soul, at least in memory. A dear friend, Mr. Carroll Ross who is "Among Good Company" hath graced us with "Music for a Convivial Gathering." Aye, ‘tis truly the very music one hears in the places convivial folks gather. We recall well the tune, Bring in the Punch Ladle, played by Mr. R’s companions Mr. & Mrs. Duffy and their friends. Aye, it assuredly does reckon back to many a most hospitable eve such as Martins Station some months back and other nights, some more memorable than others!
So ‘tis while these soft strains sounding in our heart, we open an odd and much stained and torn letter.

“My Dearest Cousin,

One can only pray this missive find you well though I dare not sign my full signature. You’ll know this humble writer by a shared recollection of a daring eve we shared as girls on the Mersey Docks. Together we huddled giggling behind a hogshead of Rum whilst soul drivers scoured the docks for children no one would miss. Foolish girls were we, who’d run off from our mums for but a peek at the massive ships and their hideous cargos. Were it not for you dear Anne and your wildness we’d for sure have been aboard that hateful descendant of the ship “Blessing,” full to swellin with her human cargo. Never in my dreams before that night would I have dared your brave ways, and as you recall the dire events of that fateful night, you’ll know dear cousin, from whom I took the inspiration which hath lead me down this treacherous and dangerous path.”

(this last bit is scratched through with pen knife and we were barely able to discern her words)

Dearest Cousin, I beg ye not take to heart any concern of which you could be responsible for the wickedness of which I am now accused. For this life I chose for myownself. Had I been but half as daring and strong as you, perhaps I’d not fallen for the silver tongue, silk fashions, and cruel lies of a sailor on leave.For sure and weren’t you always tellin me to stand up for myself, well now dearest cousin ‘tis for that very thing I’m now standin trial upon the new Governors own graces. But my story didn’t start in this dank hole, ‘twas only a short time past whence a bonny lad with his honey words and promises did convince me to hie away my locks, aye wrap them entirely within a turban, not to be seen, but nights alone with the witless man to whom I’d sold my very soul.
Upon his tender words and promises stowed away I did, within the good ship Wespe, only to find myself hoodwinked into dare I say the word… Piracy!
And not alone in such deceit was he, for many a poor lad (and lass!) were brought upon these ships by hook and by crook, forced in cases, bribed in others to throw their lot in with the bilge rats!
T'was not long afore I was discovered a hidin, and brought topside from the hold, I presented myself as though I were any other lad brought on to run the lines and rigging. Made myself quite useful too, aye, fetch, carry, tote, I did as instructed without question. Time passed and amongst the men I passed as but another.

T'was only but a fortnight since these very words I write whence the trouble came upon us. For little did I know the good ship Wespe was but one of many on the sea with intent to take plunder from the ships and shore of Paynetown. Indeed fair cousin, timidity was never my course, yet I can hardly account for the very wickedness which took hold once challenged! For, t’was during a raging storm whence the captain launched the attack, Ack, good cousin you cannot imagine the very sickness which did fill my soul once realizing t’was a fight for my very life.

A pistol was produced, but was of no use, what with the rain pouring upon us! Captain Dollinger commanded the vessel with mastery, yet aground she became set. Once my toes hit sand I began to run with all my might toward the assembled troops of the Kings own.
Dearest Cousin, I beg your forgiveness for as reached these men, I did not surrender myself and reveal my womanly status. Nay, cousin it was with vigor I joined the shrieks and shouts of the pirate lads with whom I’d served. Moments into the fray that silly boy, that one who offered much in word, yet none in deed was lying face up in the sand, blood pouring from gaping wounds.

This scene seemed to invigorate my attack and quickly I grabbed up the only useful implement; an oar and charging into the Kings men, dearest Anne, I must confess only to you, I believe I killed one!

Yes, indeed, his musket drawn he took aim, and blessings from above, the foul thing refused to discharge, which I consider God’s divine provenance. Yes, cousin, indeed, if God saw fit to spare me, who does this new Governor think himself, I ask you! Once passed this man and his failed attempt to reign in my wildness, other men stepped forward. To them I did surely show a wretched and hateful side of myself!

But blast if one of them did not injure me and I was forced to take treatment. Ah yes dear cousin, as you imagined, the Good Doctor made quite a discovery! A woman! Yes, indeed a woman! Hid amongst the vicious scourge of the sea! Taking full advantage of the Good Doctor’s befuddled state I quickly scampered away and hid myself until much after dark. At which time a swim in the luxurious waters was too much to withstand and I joined the crew in my nearly natural state with but few clothes to lend decency.

The Captain, much distressed but willing to allow that I had performed as well or better than the lads of the crew granted me the right to continue on with his protection, provided I clad myself properly. As the new dawn broke clear over the water I found myself once more cinched into shift and stays as befitting a proper lady. The bearing of a lady provided just the disguise needed to once more join the captains and their crews as we took the town! Aye and take it we did, though the Kings men did not give in so easily!
Indeed, a man known as Jack Salt did think to assault your dear cousin, but I assure you cousin, his attempt was met with intent of my own. I’d not back down so easily as he had thought, nay neither he, nor his fine knife making friend, were prepared for the ferocity with which your own dear cousin did attack!
My fellows and I had much success that very day, taking the town, the old Governor was captured and killed by Captain Henderson of the Tantrum. The spoils split and shared betwixt us! The item of which I was most assuredly proud was the Governor’s own velvet coat, aye indeed dear cousin a fine prize t’was! And further Lieutenant Garland and Captain Henderson let loose of a large rum jug for my use. Though its use now is much in jeopardy. Dearest cousin, I beg you to know, I but wish I could confess sorrow for the acts and deeds of which I now stand accused. But lo! Dearest Cousin, oft rumours I’ve heard of your own madness. I beg pardon to give form to that which is said, perhaps out of your hearing, but cousin, no fool are you, you know well that of which they say.
Perhaps t’is madness, what comes upon us. Perhaps t’is the screams of many sisters held deep within us which when provoked rise up and take hold. Dear Cousin I know not what it is, nor from whence it comes, but surely you know that of which I speak. I’ll stand my trial and throw myself upon the new Governor’s mercy. Perhaps I’ll beg the belly as I suppose such a guise hath done it's trick in time past! Perhaps, given my delicate state the Kings man will take pity upon me…whether such a babe exists... or not!
My dear Anne I dare not write one single word more for fear this reach the very wrong hands, but do please know I have lived well and with daring. The spoils were worth every possible tomorrow!
Your loving cousin,

Ach! My heart cries out for this dear cousin of mine! The daring times on the docks of Liverpool, fair times within the warmth of our mum's hearth, the sweet curve of her cheek, and the spark in her hazel eye remains fixed in my memory as well with her wrathful tongue, her quick anger and vengeful spirit. Ah, this dearest cousin of mine, we are truly cut of the same cloth! We dare not reveal this dear cousin's name! Indeed, the name of this darling letter writer shall remain forever unmentioned as it may reveal a good bit more of the dear writer than would be wise, for one so involved in deep and desperate intrigues!
And so, we close our journal this quiet eve with memories of our dear cousin now heavy upon our hearts, and yet... with further recollection of our cousin's previous exploits, we find ourselves hopeful! Yes, dear ones, rest easy for our cousin Z has been known to get into and out of scrapes of a deadly nature before. We'll trust divine provenance and if that should fail, Z's own providential spirit! Yes, our spirits are raised once more with hope.

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