What’s this!? Another letter? Why yes, and by the style of hand one might speculate it to be from dear Cousin Z! With trembling hands the letter is turned over to reveal a splash of red wax with the initial Z. Indeed! ‘Tis from my dearest cousin!
I pray you forgive the dire nature of my last letter, sent in August. I fear it may have caused you pain to believe I had perhaps gone to my final resting place at the hands of a petty Governor.
Nay, cousin, do not fear, for as you can well discern by my strong hand; I am quite well and very much alive.
T’was questionable there for a time, indeed, I did quite fear for my life as the day of my hanging drew near. I’ll not trouble you too much to detail the horrid nature of my imprisonment, but suffice it to say I shall never be captured again! Better dead than to be forced to withstand the daily (and nightly!) horrors I’ve experienced.
But all was not lost, for there was one with whom I was able to find some small solace. A young mop haired guard, smooth of cheek and tender of heart, who found himself quite distracted in his guard duty.
Oh my dear one, ‘tis truly a miracle I dinna find myself truthfully in the unhappy and delicate condition I had pled to the judge and Governor! Cousin, I tell you by the 24th day of my captivity I was beginning to fear the day whence it would be discovered (OR NOT!!) a wee babe would suffer consequence of it’s mother’s recklessness. Soon my fear took shape to the point of action, for I could not wait even one more day for the decision of the hangman.
The fair lad I mentioned was quite enamored and I found it was quite possible to slide my left hand to that which was desired, by distracting with my right until a solid form took shape, as I lifted gently from his pocket the key to my survival. Forgive me cousin, for I was forced to give the young lad quite a thump upon his head to ensure my retreat from the stinking cell within which I had been retained. Once free from the walls of my cell I paid my respects to those who had not been so lucky, a glass lifted to their spirits.
Ah dear cousin, how well we did fall in with this crew. Upon arrival within our temporary camp along the river we encountered a dear dear gentleman who presents himself as an honest trader; Mr. B who sells fine wares, most with the blood stains removed. And the Widow Black too with her coffeehouse, a fine and honest businessperson she is I can tell you. Of course she has no control over who enters the coffeehouse and what commerce may be conducted within it’s confines. Sure and doesn’t she make the finest coffee ya ever had? Of course she does.
And there was Remington, dear Remi, Cousin I’m sure you’d be quite mad about such a young lad as he, most useful he is too! Indeed nary a dish was wantin for the wash water. Though he did slack a bit on the Lords day, leaving our dear Captain Dollinger to act the scullery maid, and that after the waffle man had made fine waffles all morning! No doubt dear Remi shall pay for his late sleeping. Aye, the camp was well filled with ladies and even an apothecary to treat any wounds, ailments or perfidy which might have been visited upon crew or guests. There too was another fine gent whose presence was not oft seen. A well dressed fellow Mr. K, indeed just the very type one would wish to be entertained by at a fete or grand ball, presented by day as a Navy artilleryman, and rogue by night!
But Cousin, dear cousin we leave last for our description; the Captain, who has been but briefly mentioned previously. Captain McCrary, master of seas, rivers and great lakes, plunderer of women and treasure.
He who is known far and wide, for his reputation (well deserved) does for certain precede him. Upon the Captain’s mercy we did fall, pleading to join the sanctuary and protection of his crew. Our fate in his hands, he put to test our skills, talents and abilities. To gain the right to belong, one must be willing to give all to the crew. The captain demanded of me that I make the most of my two best talents in luring in a rival crew and their suspected savage allies. The crew loaded into several boats and off to a nearby island we quickly disembarked.
I, to the front most of the isle; to plead, beg, cry and display most or all of my feminine wiles, to entice the enemy into our waiting hands and muskets! The crew and captain at my back, I presented myself as quite a pathetic and pitiful creature, crying and begging for a gentleman to “please, please save me,” whilst my loaded, cocked and ready pistol was snuggly stowed within my basket at my arm. Alas t’was to no avail, the cowardly bastards refused to come within range of my pistol. (Forgive me dear cousin, my wicked words, I beg you quickly forget such hard words.) Though it was not long afore the fight was on and bravely the Great Lakes River Pyrates did fight!
Dearest, worry not, but I myself was slightly wounded in the fray as a would-be assassin knocked me senseless. Thankfully, a member of the crew readily dispatched the red savage’s soul to Hell afore the mortal blow could be dealt. I was left with nothing too much but a lump upon the head and the red mark of his vile body upon mine, ack, cousin, I do swear I can still smell the stench of his grease upon me! Horrid!
The day’s work done, we returned to our camp and found the dear Mr. B’s delicious burgoo bubbling and smelling as a meal fit for a king. Indeed the meal was quite satisfying.
Later, as the time of the Grand Ball drew near the ladies of the camp and indeed many of the men, presented themselves in a new light, quite clean, proper and well healed. The race to the regency had presented several of the ladies with new gowns which were quite astounding and even Mr. Henderson was well turned out in a fine pair of trousers. Captain McCrary, Remington and Mr. B presented themselves quite well armed! Indeed, every member of the crew held some little surprise for any man who should dare attempt liberties with the Pyrate crew!
Off we set for the Grand Ball, which did not disappoint all who attended, though those better accustomed to dancing were perhaps a bit displeased. The fine Mr. K, looking quite dashing escorted my return to the pyrate camp, with one short but much enjoyed stop at the Navy Artillery camp. One does try so hard Cousin to maintain the countenance of a lady, and yet I fear I failed. In a feeble attempt at humor my wicked nature was quite audibly displayed. Though the gentlemen did laugh quite heartily, so perhaps my fears are unsubstantiated.
Soon Mr. K and I retired back to the Pyrate camp whereupon we discovered nearly all and every man of the 42nd Highland Brigade had also gathered upon the steep bank of the river. My escort faded into the darkness of the camp and the boys of the brigade did their best to entertain us. Ah, and so they did dear cousin, for there are a few lads amongst them one would surely consider entertaining! Though more as a catch and release, than on a permanent basis.
Dearest cousin, you’ll note my name again does not appear upon the end of this missive to you. For surely, I would never want you to be threatened by my wickedness. I fear I have acquired a skill most unsuitable for any lady, aye, as I’ve told you before; the slight of my hand has garnered a prize or two! Indeed, the highland lads gave up much the evening of the Grand Ball. Daggers, knives, and swords of all shape and size did pass through my hands. The grandest prize of all, you’ll nary believe, but truly I tell thee, the Captain’s own fine sword!
Yes, indeed the very Captain’s sword, made for him by the master sword and knife maker Mr. Glenn McClain! With a bump and caress it was out of his sheath and quickly into my possession. Cousin, you can hardly imagine his face as I laid it across my arm and offered it back to him, merely to show him the skills which he now commands. The snarl which crossed his lips turned to a glinty smile as he saw the income I would surly procure on behalf of the crew. Together, the remainder of the evening we did make many a mark pay for their attendance at the Pyrate party.
The following day we discovered many an item left within our camp, aye fine things lost over the dangerously high river embankment, as many as four or possibly five gentlemen experienced a last step which brought them into the cool waters of the Mississinewa. Our plan had worked perfectly!
As the sun rose, the Widow Black was piteously slow in procuring her lifesaving elixir and we found ourselves quite ready to go to blows. Were it not for a hidden stash of the miracle sustenance of early morning life, I fear dear cousin how the day would have begun. Tempers flared upon the new day, yet after a time the brew was perfected and our cups once more filled.
Battles raged once more upon the river, many lives were lost and yet Cousin we were most
fortunate to not only live through another beautiful day, we cleared the land and seas of our enemies, greedily took their weapons and plunder and set off to return to our camp none the less for the work.
Dearest, I know not when we shall ever see one another again, yet I beg you to keep me in your heart and in your prayers as you are in mine,
All my love dear Cousin,
Lest anyone be overly concerned for the fate of the pyrate Z, let it be known no actual thievery took place at the Pyrate camp on the banks of the Mississinewa River, further, all missing items were returned to their rightful owners.
For another perspective on Pirates of Paynetown visit the Pirate Surgeons Journal http://www.markck.com/pages/Piracy/Paynetown10/Paynetown_10_Ch5.htm