Jimmie Shrike

 Sunday, June 18, 1719

Whut will I do, whut will I do?  I thought the slums of Liverpool wur bad, but this.. this ship is the worst!

 I write in the little diary whut was me only birthday gift  from me poor  abandoned mum. She Says, Janey me girl, don't get mixed up with those scum offa the ships in the port. But what does I do? I get   stuck on  a ship with those very same scum, from that very same port!

I am just gone fifteen, and me first suitor is the pub owner's son whut lives down at the pier. It would be right dangerous to go out at night dressed like a girl, so I dressed up like a boy.

Me neighbour's son is the same size as me, and he's only twelve. I stole a pair of his breeches and a tunic, offa his mum's clothes line. I waits till past midnight, and away I go to the pub on the pier to see my sweetheart.

Skinny I am, no figger yet to speak of. I was supposed to be a boy, I think. I don't even have the woman's thing every month yet. I blush as I write this.

Anyway, I was just enterin the back door of the pub, when I was grabbed from behind and a filthy rag stuck in me mouth. I struggled, and kicked, but I was picked up and pushed into a big burlap sack that smelled of grain.

I was hit many times with a stick, or something, until I was hit in the head and knew no more. I woke up on the ship with a pail of sea water being thrown over me.

"Wake up, lad, yer got work ter do! Iffen yer don't wake up, I'll throw yer overboard!"

I opened me eyes to see that all but me head was still in the sack. That was a lucky thing, because even though my boy's clothes are thick and rough, soaking wet someone might be able to tell I'm a girl.

I was kidnapped, so I was! I don't know what to do!

"I'm awake, I'm awake! "

I yelled, so I did. I spoke deep, so's he would think I was a boy.

The Cap'n asked me name, and I told him Jimmie. It 's me neighbour's name.

I been doing the chores, and trying to keep outa the clutches of the cap'n, whut keeps swearing and yelling at me.

He tried to grab at me, and he been watching me close. I was climbin the riggin this afternoon, and he didn't take his eyes offa me. Iffen anybody finds out I'm a girl, I'll be in big trouble.

We've had no wind the last few days. A female on a ship is bad luck, everbody knows that!  If the cap'n finds out I'm a girl, he might just throw me overboard, or worse!

The End

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