I had bought another brig.
The modest fishing boat I had stolen before I got back home to the Manor was not fit for a long journey around the continent.
I still haven’t decided what to call my new brig. Perhaps it was a blessing and a curse that the Tyrant had sunk to Davy Jones’s Locker. Too many captains circling like amateurs in the Atlantic would recognise her as a pirate ship.
This new brig however… I still didn’t know what to call her, or whether I was going to keep her. It wasn’t manned by fearless pirates, and the weaponry aboard was quite modest – much opposed to the Tyrant in that she was equipped with barrels of pitch, mortar and at least thirty cannons.
My new brig had about half the number of cannons and nothing else.
The crew I had hired were not pirates. They were plain, simple sailors with little experience.
The girls seemed to be enjoying themselves. Kitty enjoyed singing along with the shanties of the deckhands, and she had quite a few memorised. It was impressive, when I put her to bed and she sang along with me – accented and in tune.
Ginny spent most of her time in the lookout post, next to the actual lookout, calling out random sailor cliches like “Land, ho!” or “Ahoy, ye scruvy dogs!”
Obviously, her mother had taught her well.
There was a simple punishment if the girls misbehaved – I’d lock them in my cabin for about an hour and they’d come out sombre and apologetic.
Des, however, spent a lot of her time pensively sitting by. She looked a bit unnerved with journey at sea, though she didn’t get sick.
Today, as I was at the wheel, watching the open sea, she sat at the helm next to my post, her knees tucked under her chin and her arms wrapped around her legs.
“Are ye alright, Dessy?” I asked.
“Mm, mm,” she said.
“No, dad,” she mumbled.
I looked at her briefly, “Why don’t you join Ginny in the look-out post? I’m sure there’s some beautiful things t’see, and some random slogans t’shout out.”
“Dad…” she said, “Does mum hate us?”
“What? Jaysus, Dessy, no,” I said, turning the ship in shock. I set it on course again, “What brought that on?”
“Well… she just walked out and was gone. She didn’t leave us a note or a message or anything. It’s like she didn’t care, Dad.”
“It’s not easy bein’ your mammy, Des.”
She looked up at me, “What’s that suppose to mean?”
“It’s been a tough goin’ for her, Dessy. She raised you three practically on her own, and with the help o’ your Aunt Georgia. And… some things. Some things’ve upset her, Dessy. Recently.”
“That thing about her thinking you were dead?”
“And the mis… miscarri… something.”
“What does that word mean, Dad?”
“Erm…” I gave her a confused look. How the hell was I going to explain that? “basically, Dessy… Your mammy was goin’ t’have a babbie. A little brother or sister for ye. But… the babbie… the babbie died before he or she could come.”
“But she never knew that baby. Why would it upset her, Dad?”
“It just does,” I paused thoughtfully, “I don’t really know how to explain it t’ye, Des, I don’t. It’s a strange and close-at-heart thing. She didn’t need t’know that babbie. She just had t’know that it was hers and she never got t’love him or her, like she loves you and Ginny and Kitty.”
“Do you… do you feel upset about it, Dad?”
I looked at her again, furrowing my brows, “I… I don’t know, Dessy.”
Des paused a while, watching as Kitty danced on-deck to a shanty about William Taylor.
“Did you always know how to sail, Dad?”
“Hmm? No. I learnt at a young age.”
“Young like me?”
I scoffed, “No, no. A bit older than ye. Young like… Zoe, Brynna and Queenie. It was a long time ago.”
“How long ago?”
“Nearly thirty years, I think.”
“Wow,” she said, “Dad, you’re old.”
I laughed, “Oi, I’m not that old!”
“Who taught you?”
“Who taught you to sail? Was it your dad?”
I paused, my smile fading, “No, Dessy. I ne’er knew my father.”