⛵ ⛵ ⛵ ⛵...(Tour of "High Island")...
The smiles all faded away as the weight of the Captain’s words began to take hold of them…
“Seaman Able Seamen Wingsworld an' Veningart, rin doon an' fetch Warrant Officer - Surgeon Hack an' hee’s tools!
Th’ rest of ye men clear th' deck an' prepaur a scuttle of benches fur surgery an' bindin' stations!”
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[On the Silverton, North Atlantic…]
The rest of the day was a grisly one. With the beleaguered Vaillante bound securely to the side of the bigger Silverton, the gang planks were thrown down and under the aim of menacing muskets, the remaining crew of the French frigate slowly came aboard. First came the wounded, eight in all, three fighting for their lives as they wailed and cried in agony as they were carried aboard by their own French comrades and laid carefully on the makeshift surgery tables.
Next came the remaining sailors who carried the dead, wrapped in bloody sail cloth. These the Commander ordered to be laid in the forecastle and prepared for burial at sea.
Lastly came Captain Phillippe Bouchard, who walked up the gangway with a menacing scowl and fists tightly clenched at his sides. Climbing onto the main deck of the Silverton, he was met by Captain Joshua Slane. No salutes were exchanged and both eyed the other with the look of death and hatred that could not be put into words. But that did not prevent Bouchard from trying…
“C'est du piratage sur les mers! Vous êtes un chien parmi les hommes et un barbare sale qui a assassiné et mutilé sans motif valable! C'est un acte de guerre et vous vous y accrocherez!!" He shouted as he spat on the deck boards in front of the Captain.
The Captain turned around to Commander Galligan, “Who speaks th' French lingo oan board?!"
The Commander glanced about him as the crew, all holding muskets gathered about them, “Ah dunnae know Sairrr… Ahh dunnae knows of anyain who..."
“Ahh spick French!” A muffled voice from the group behind them rang out abruptly.
Both the Captain and the Commander turned around. There, the small, young Seaman- Able Seaman Bock stepped out and set the butt of his musket on the deck as he saluted.
The Captain raised an eyebrow at the revelation and then nodded to Galligan.
“Step-up cheil! Whit did thes officer jist say?" Galligan ordered.
“He said ‘att…”
“Hauld yer wind mucker! Ahh dornt give a fock whit th' Frenchman said! But Ahh dae want ye tae tells heem thes...he an' his crew ur noow prisoners of th' Royal Scottish Navy! Aw cargo of his sorry vessel noow belongs tae Scootlund!" The Captain said with grit in his voice.
Seaman Bock took a deep breath and then conveyed the message. The French Captain’s eyes burned with fire and he began to shout his protest and shake his fist in rage!
“Shackle heem! An’ takes heem doon ta brig!” The Captain said as he turned and walked away.
Commander Galligan swallowed hard at the consequence of what just transpired. He then turned to Bock and ordered the French Captain shackled. There was much commotion and many angry words expelled by Frenchman as he was quickly muscled off the main deck and down to the brig. The six unharmed French sailors also whispered and grunted angry insults as the crew shackled them as well and they were escorted below after their Captain.
“Ur we at war with France?!” Seaman- Carpenters Crew Ickied whispered to Seaman- Able Seaman Errislravenhill.
“Ah dunnae knows mucker...” She replied solemnly as she turned and looked about the main deck, “but thes is gantin... we lost nae mair than a wee coat of paint…"
Suddenly the familiar authoritarian voice of Warrant Officer - Surgeon Hack cackled in the air,
“Cut th' fockin’ chatter! Git me hot water! Ahh needs fower men ta assist haur in surgery, strong stomachs an' blurry vision is best!"
“Aye Sairrr!” Ickied replied quickly.
“Aye, aye Sairrr!” Errislravenhill added.
The crew was divided up into two groups. One to assist Hack on the main deck which was now a surgery area, and one to transfer the valuable cargo of the Vaillante to the hold of the Silverton.
Commander Galligan stood stoic on the main deck, supervising the work. His face was grim and he said nothing to anyone. No one was speaking, and if it were not for the crying and moaning of the wounded on the tables, there would be no sound at all on deck.
His mind was running in circles. Why did the Captain assault this small vessel with such fury? By all reckoning, Galligan didn’t recall the Vaillante throwing out all her sail cloth until after the Silverton did the same. Why weren’t warning shots fired? Surely the French Captain would have known he didn’t have the range in his guns to defend himself?
So many awkward questions and no good answers. His stomach turned in empty knots. None of this felt right…
Carrying up the crates and barrels of fresh food Seaman- Able Seaman At-Elvis was a welcome help as he had the strength of two men.
Seaman- Able Seaman Ishyculture and Andofzara followed with their own burdens as they made their way back and forth across the gangway.
“Sae France is at war with us?! Wa’ woods th' rest of th' French fire oan us if we lit heem gang?” Ickied continued to struggle out-loud as he tried to reason what had happened.
“Ah dunnae knows mate. But Gawd help us if we're nae at war wi' France!" Andofzara said grimly.
By sunset the last and most precious of the cargo was brought over the gangway, silver bullion. Eight crewman were assigned to stack and count all of it and when it was finished, everyone who stood there were amazed at the size of the booty…
“Potzblitz! Eighteen thoosain oonces of silvers!” Galligan exclaimed in amazement, “Thes isnae goin’ ta go missin' withoot being noticed..."
⛵ ⛵ ⛵ ⛵
Vocab fur lainlubbers:
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"Confused? Ascared? Seasick? Need a private chat with the Captain?" - firstname.lastname@example.org
References: Pictures from: www.freeimages.com, www.pexels.com, pixabay.com, steemit.com an’ www.google.com/maps. Data loosely interpretted froms: Wikipedia, an' sometimes finely crafted reit from th' author's extensiff personal experience an' such.