Under a Renegade Flag (Part 10)
Our run in to Port-de-Paix took four and
hours! I raised a signal to the truck as soon as the
mainland hove into view...a signal asking for two pilot
gigs to help us berth, and for medical staff to be on
hand when we tied up! The last 10 miles I was able to
raise the glass and watch as the sun began setting over
the wooded slopes of the land! Half an hour later, and I
espied two boats coming away from the quayside and
heading in our direction!"Stand by aloft! Take in sail!
Reduce sail to lower main and mizzen! Prepare to hook up
to the boats! get two 6" manilas out through the
fairleads Mr Lester!"
"Aye Aye Sir!...Look lively lads! You heard the Cap'n!!"
Captain? Captain! I still couldn't get
used to the idea!
I supposed I would have too! We would need a major refit
before Squalus was ready for sea again! Then there was
the problem of Baptiste! He would want reparation for
the loss of the Zee Schwalbe! We did have Lasalle's
plundered monies to capitalise upon! However, I wanted
the crew to share in the proceeeds of that windfall! I
wanted everyman to be able to leave the ship if he
wanted to, a free man with money in his pocket! I knew
then, that those that remained, will have stayed because
they wanted to, and not because they felt pressured, or
from loyalty to Van Eike!
As we lost way, and the boats neared, I raised the
glass...and..gave the order to "come about" and ready
Squalus for the pick-up! Lifting my eyes to the
masthead, I saw the flag signal raised, then dropped
suddenly to the flag deck! I picked up the telescope and
raised it to my eye! The first boat was now about a mile
away!....And there.... in the stern sheets....
sat.....ANNA!!!! My stomach did a back flip!! At last I
would have her in my arms again! And.....whether the
crew liked it or not!! She would be in my arms!!! That
was a certainty!!!!
We lowered the Jacob's ladder over the side, and the
boat containing Anna, brushed against the barnacled,
copper sheathing. I looked down into the boat, Anna
raised her eyes to mine and a small smile of relief
passed over her face! I smiled back...I also noticed her
eyes were puffy from crying! My stomach did another
back-flip, what had she been crying for I wondered?? The
other boat was now hitched on, and the boats crew were
pulling for the quayside. Anna gathered her skirts
around her, and procededed to climb, one handed, up the
swaying ladder. I climbed over the gunwhale, and dropped
to the rungs of the ladder, reached down and held her
hand, hoisting her up, and inboard. I looked into her
eyes, they were red from crying, they were bloodshot!
Worry lines etched her face! She stepped into my
arms...I heard sounds of surprise from some of the crew,
but most stood in respectful silence as we embraced!
There was a single whistle, turning, I smiled at the
whistler, who reddened, then...the whole crew burst into
smiles and applause!!! I took her in my arms, and kissed
her deeply, and passionately!!!... There were more
noises of encouragement from the decks...I took her
hand, started walking aft, to what remained of the
"You have the ship Mr Jordan! Bring us alongside if you
please! I shall be in my cabin!"
"Aye Aye sir!" Jordan's smile reflected the attitude of
the whole crew! They were pleased to see that I had an
interest! Envious perhaps, but pleased!
"Oh Crees! I have so much to tell you! I 'ave been so
worry for you! What 'appen?"
"Wait until we get to the cabin and I'll explain Anna!
It's lovely to see you! To hold you!!"
"But the Capitaine cabin Crees! What 'appen to monsieur
Van Eike? 'E is not 'ere?"
"No Anna! Unfortunately, we suffered casualties...and
Captain Van Eike was killed in the action!
We arrived at the wreckage of the Captain's
quarters...at last we were alone. Anna melted into my
arms, I held her so tightly, her head against my
shoulder...then suddenly she started to sob! She cried
from a depth that I found very distressing!
"Anna what's wrong?"
"Oh Crees! I can waiting! You tell me of the battle
first! "Le Cochon"? Did you find 'im?"
"Aye Anna! We found him!! And his ship is destroyed!! He
will trouble us no more! In fact, I'm sure he's dining
with Davy Jones as we speak!"
"'oo is this Davy Jones Crees? Is he a friend? How will
'e not bother us more?"
I laughed. "Davy Jones is an unfortunate sailor, who
drowned, and now lives at the bottom of the ocean!
Sailor's stories say that sometimes he comes to the
surface, and takes unwary sailors to a watery grave! He
dwells on the ocean floor beside his sea-chest!"
"'E is Morte Chris?...'E is ...'ow you say? ...Died?"
"I think so Anna! I could not murder him in cold
blood...so I turned him loose...he would have a 40 mile
swim...but, I think he will have been a good meal for a
"Tell me Anna? Why are you crying? What has happened?
Are you ok? Have you remained safe?" My heart thudded in
my chest as I awaited the answer!
"Crees! It is my papa! 'E is died! When you tell me to
make sure 'e 'as not able to follow you, I go to ze
'ouse, I cannot find papa! I look...'ow you say?....all
over! I cannot find 'im! Then, in le petite maison (she
blushed) where we 'ave L'amour, I find a letter....is in
Anglaise! I bring it for you!"
This was indeed sad news for Anna!
" I try to read, but cannot really un'erstan' all Crees!
I find papa in the...ow' you say?..the under-floor
"The basement!" I replied.
"Oui!! Le basement! He was 'anged 'imself Crees! It is
She burst into uncontrollable sobs! I drew her into my
arms, and held her against me.
"When was this Anna?"
"Is the same day as you sail away Crees! We 'ave bury
'im in the Jardin du Maison....er....the house grass
piece? Oui! The grass piece!"
I smiled at her pidgin English....but I wondered how I
could console her?
"Anna....wait! I will read the letter!"
I read the piece of parchment that had been wax-sealed!
Baptiste knew of our foray against Lasalle!!! He had
learned of the destruction of the other two ships of the
pirate fleet! He understood we had left, and rightly
guessed we were about to engage Lasalle and his one
remaining ship! The letter went on to admit his
complicity in the slaving trade, his trading white women
to the Arabs, his merchanting of pirated wares! Finally,
he added that, as of the moment we sailed to engage the
pirate vessel, he knew that his enterprise had come to
an abrupt end! He was ruined! His involvement in the
heinous trading would be common knowledge amongst his
peers and among the Islands! He went on to reveal even
more shocking details...of child slavery!! Children as
young as five years of age were committed into slavery
with the Arabs....those under five were slaughtered!"
I shook with rage as I read the damning letter! What did
I tell Anna?
I continued reading!....The letter contained his wishes
for his final resting place after his death...a request
for forgiveness, and, a statement of attorney giving all
his worldly goods to his surviving daughter Anna
Baptiste! This included the family house, some
properties on other islands, a large plantation on
Garouba...and finally...and most repugnant....the
ownership of some seventy slaves working that
I folded the letter, and stood in muted anger!
"Anna! Your father did not wish to live on! Knowing his
business interests were being destroyed by our ridding
the seas of Lasalle! He was involved in some very shady
and repugnant deals! However, he wanted you to know that
he loved you, and, has left provision for you in this
letter! He asks for your forgiveness....but felt he
couldn't go on! But, he wanted you to know how much he
loved you...and....he knew you loved him!"
"Oh Crees...I love 'im too! Muchly!....I love you too
Crees! Mon Cherie! J'adore!"
She raised her eyes to mine...her lips quickly
followed...we held the kiss for what seemed an eternity!
"Crees! I 'ave somethin' else I 'ave to
"Shhhh!" I cradled her...her silky hair cascading around
my arm, "Shhhh!"
"Crees! I love you so much!! I am afear what I 'ave to
"What is it Anna?" There was more? More bad news I could
"Crees!....We make l'amour oui?....and Crees...we make
l'enfant! 'Ow you say? We make le petite one!!"
"A baby Anna? You are going to have a baby?"
"Oui mon amour! I am going to 'ave a baby!!"
I was stunned! A baby!!! I was going to be a father!
A Baby?? Ababy?? A BABY!!!!
I was stunned and surprised all in one! I was also
ecstatically happy suddenly! I hugged her, kissing her
"Anna! You have made me so happy! So proud! I want you
to be with me forever! I want us to be together!I want
to show our baby to the world!!!"
I looked into her eyes....I saw her answer plainly
"Crees! I want us to be together alway too! We can watch
our baby grow together 'ere! We 'ave all we need! Say
you will be need me Crees!"
"I need you Anna! More than anything in this world! I
would be honoured if you would be my wife! Someday! Not
necessarily now! But, I want you for my wife!"
She flung herself into my arms, and we held each other
for what seemed an eternity!! What now? What about my
crew and Squalus? A BABY!!!!!
Anna whispered in my ear, when we took time out for a
"Crees...I want stay with you tonight? I want to be 'ere
with you tonight!.... On ship!!"
I had decided to call the crew to muster on the upper
decks before sundown, and I felt I should ask them,
firstly, what their individual futures were, and
secondly, did they want us to now register as a
privateering vessel, and thirdly, did they have any
objection to Anna staying aboard tonight! Although this
was entirely up to me now, as Captain, I felt it was
only common decency to ask my crew. A sailor has many
superstitions, among them is the bad luck brought about
by having a woman aboard a ship!!
I took Anna's hand, and we went on deck!
"Mr Jordan! Clear the lower decks if you will! I wish to
speak to you all!"
"Aye Aye Sir!" came the reply, Jordan slipped away to do
my bidding. Ten minutes later, and the crew, well....
nearly all of them, were on deck to hear what I had to
I cleared my throat nervously.
"Men! You have done a splendid job, ridding the seas of
the scourge of Lasalle and his scurvy band! These
islands will be a better place for their absence! I wish
to give you the latest news and ideas I have. Firstly,
Mr Lester and Mr Richardson, the supply officer, are, at
this moment, below decks counting the proceeds recovered
from Lasalle! As you will understand, there is
absolutely no chance that any of these monies can be
returned to their rightful owners, so I am arranging for
each man to have an equal share of these prizes! (There
was a burst of applause, which lasted for a full minute.
I had to raise my hand to silence it!) each man will
have the same amount, including me!!! Secondly, I wish
to know what you all want to do about the Squalus? I
have the inclination, to register her in Jamaica as a
privateer, for this I shall need a crew! I acknowledge
many of you will want take your prize money and leave
for pastures new! I hold you to no contract! You are
free men, free to do as you wish! However, I will need a
crew to fulfil my desire to sail this ship against the
common enemies. I remind you, there are riches to be
had! Thirdly...and perhaps, the most personal
news...Miss Baptiste and I have decided to marry, we are
going to be the proud parents of a child, conceived in
love! I would like to take some time, whilst Squalus is
being refitted, to make arrangements! If you should
decide that you wish to remain as crew...then I shall
ask every man who stays... for a contribution from his
prize money, to help refit her! Those that decide to
leave, will naturally, be exempt! Oh....and
lastly...Miss Baptiste will be staying aboard for a
couple of days, to recuperate from the loss of her
father M.Baptiste, to whom this ship used to belong!
This ship is ours now men! I leave the decision to you!"
I turned, took Anna's arm, and proceeded
aft to the
I poured, with some reverence, two glasses of Van
Eikes's cherished Cherry Gin...I passed a glass to Anna.
"To us Anna! And to our baby!"
I clinked my glass aginst hers, and drank deeply...Anna
tried to sip hers, and immediately choked and
spluttered! I smiled...she blushed, and we tried again!
"Crees! I 'ave love you for long time! I can feel you
'ave love for me! Very deep love! I want for you, happy!
I want for you to be on ship you love too! We now 'ave,
ow you say?...mmm...Le maison grande?"
"Big house" I interjected.
"Oui! Beeg 'ouse! We 'ave the businesses interest in ze
islands! but...I want you to be 'appy! You are only
'appy when on the sea! I will wait 'ere for you
Crees...but I will be very lone? Is right....lone?"
"Lonely! Yes I know Anna! I will take time and we will
make plans! I may not have a crew yet!!"
I took her in my arms, she pressed herself against me, I
could feel the roundness of her lower belly pressing
urgently against me! Immediately my manhood became
aroused. As we kissed, her breath became short gasps, as
I raised my knee between her thighs....A sudden rap on
the door!! Bother and damnation!
It was Jordan!
"Excuse me sir, the crew have made me their spokesman!
They wish you to come on deck, where Moses will address
them, and he wishes to include you!"
"Very well Mr Jordan!" I looked nervously at Anna. She
smiled, I took her hand and led her on deck!
The crew were still assembled where I had left them,
below the mainmast!
Moses stood facing them on the steerage platform.
"Cap'n suh! Men! Yo hab gibben me da right to speak fo
yo all! I thank yo all for dat! Now...Cap'n Allen suh!
Dese men, dey wan' to sail dis ship agin! Dey wan' yo fo
de Cap'n...Dere be on'y two fella agin dat idea!
But...they 'ave bin 'suaded to join us!...Yessuh!! Cap'n
we wan' yo to take dis ship to sea 'gain as a
Private-man...we all ok to pay fo de refittin' an' we
unn'erstan' dat yo wan' some time wid de lady! I 'ave an
idea suh! My two womens fr'en ashore! I can 'range fo
dem to be 'elp fo Miss Baptiste suh! If'n she wan'
suh...dey will move in an' keep 'ouse fo yo both!" I
waited with bated breath...I looked at Anna...she was
smiling, and nodded in my direction.
"So yo see Capn! We not finish! Dis ship...she sail
agin!! An' she sail wid pride...she sail wid de same
crew...an' she sail wid de same Cap'n! An' suh?? Dese
men...dey wish you all to be 'appy suh....yo both
I strode to the compass...I knew I was blushing, not an
action that befitted a ship's Captain, or a privateer
for that matter!!
"Men! I thank you for your decision! I have been, and
will continue to be, proud to be your Captain, proud to
have you as my crew! Mr Jordan! break out the Grog! A
good measure all round! I would like you all to raise
your glasses, when they have been filled, to "The
Future"!!!".... The raised hats, and the chorus of
cheers, announced the arrival of "The Privateer"!!!