We sat together until late into the evening! I had set kindling in the grate and we had a blazing fire! I fetched some French Cognac from the cellar, and, we reminisced! Thoughts of the whereabouts of Lasalle…thoughts of revenge, thoughts of our baby, thoughts crowded in on me! So much so, that time after time the Doc had to nudge me, Saying….”Captain? Captain! You didn’t hear a word I said did you?”
I replied in the affirmative, knowing immediately that I was prevaricating! I was worried about Anna and our baby! Nothing could keep those thoughts from crowding in, even though I tried to think of what I could do to serve retribution upon the pirate and slaver crew!
I was shaken from my reverie by the Doc once again nudging my arm.
“Captain? I think it’s time for us to turn in! Nothing more can be served by us staying awake tonight! Lady Anna will sleep the sleep of the innocent until morning I am sure sir!”
“Yes Bones I know! You go ahead! I shall stay until I know she is going to be ok!”
He rose from his winged chair, setting his brandy glass upon the mantle, he placed a hand upon my shoulder!
“Captain! You need your rest too sir! I think, as your physician, I should recommend sleep for you too!”
“Ok Bones! Don’t carp!! You’re like a washerwoman!…..”
I trailed off as we heard a slight bump upstairs in the bedroom! Anna? I ran from the room, mounted the stairs three at a time and crossed the landing. I softly opened the door, I could see in the dim, starlight filled room, the shape of Anna sitting upon the edge of the bed!
“Doc? Doc? Fetch a lamp man! Quickly!!”
I crossed to the bed. Anna was holding her head in her hands!
“Crees? Crees? What ‘as ‘appen? I feel sick!”
“Anna my love! You have been asleep! The Doc has tended to you! All is going to be alright! We were a little worried about you, but now the Doc has researched the problem, all will be well!”
I knew I was lying, but felt I had no other choice!
“Crees! What of our baby? I see the bleed! Is baby ….?”
She stopped in mid sentence!
“Anna! We’re sure…..”
With that there was a soft knock on the bedroom door, and, carrying a large oil lamp, the Doc entered!
“Lady Anna? With your permission, and yours Captain, I would like to do a further examination! To check that the bleeding has stopped completely, and that things are progressing as well as they can be! After which my Lady…I want you lying with your feet in the air for a while! Most uncomfortable I acknowledge, but extremely necessary I assure you!”
“Ok Bones! Do what you have to!” I said with feigned indifference!
“Captain sir! Please leave the room whilst I do the examination! My ethics morally demand it!”
“Very well Bones!!! If I must!!” I angrily stomped from the room in a childish fit of pique!! After all, she was my wife!!!
Half an hour passed! More cognac passed my lips! My vision was getting a little blurred! Then, I heard the bedroom door shut and the Doc start to descend the stairs!
I ran from the room, almost falling over in my haste, and partial inebriation!
“Well Doc?” I asked.
“Well Captain! I think we have saved the day! There has been no more bleeding! Lady Anna’s temperature seems to have receded! Her forehead and under her arms are pretty normal for body heat now! I trust the peak has been passed, but we must still be vigilant! The baby is still in a precarious situation…but, with God’s help, I think they will both make it through this!”
“Doc! I could kiss you!” I said, putting my arm around his shoulder!
”Ahem!!!….Err…Captain! With all due respect sir! I would not wish you to do that! You may shake my hand, if, and when, all becomes normal!”
“Alright Bones! I will certainly do that! Is Anna asleep now? Can I see her?”
“You can sir! But please don’t stay long…she needs to rest! And….(harrumph)…Captain….No demands please!”
I turned angrily upon him, picking up a long wooden ladle, I strode towards him! He quickly darted around the table, circling in time with me…trying to avoid my anger!
“In Damnation’s name Crossley! What do you think I am? A monster?”
“Captain? Captain sir? See reason! I am only protecting Lady Anna’s interests!! Please Captain!!”
“Lady Anna’s interest be damned! I’ll have your hide man for inferring that I would take liberties with a sick wife!”
“But Captain sir! It is my duty as a physician to point out the fact….!
He left the rest of the sentence unsaid, as I lunged across the table, missing him by inches!
I heard the front door suddenly open… I ran to the doorway and looked out! Moses was standing in the doorway leading to the gardens, his eyes wide with shock!!
”Cap’n suh? Cap’n!!! What yo do suh? What wrong suh?”
“Nothing Moses! I was just about to give the Doc here a lesson in civility and subordination”
“Yo stri’ ‘nother Officer suh?”
“No Moses! I wouldn’t strike another officer! Leastways until I could catch him!!!”
I realised that suddenly they had both started to laugh uncontrollably! I looked at them puzzled??? Moses pointed to my hand! I looked down…I had been about to attack Crossley with about three inches of broken ladle handle! I too burst out laughing!!! We were still chuckling as we sat down to consume some more of the Late M. Baptiste’s excellent cognac!!!
“Oh Anna! I feel so helpless!” I whispered to myself, staring deeply into the firelight!