If It Weren't for Sir Percival

Sunday June 18th, 1719

As it is my self-appointed duty, I held Lord's Day Service in the far reach of the hold this morning.  I built me a pulpit by stacking two kegs of nails.  Yet in spite of my many encouragin' invites to the wayward souls on board, my congregation was limited to but three. 

There was young Ben from Barbary, a skittish lad who I think feared for his life, this being his first voyage on a privateer's vessel.  The Capt'n had pressed him to service after we had salvaged then scuttled a Spanish merchant ship off the coast of Africa.   The lad was cursed with good looks and fair skin and I fear some of the more randy blokes are beginin' to take a likin' to him

Also there - well, nearly there - was the old Dutchman, Hans.  A good man in his day, a mate of the Capt'n's from when they were boys back in Liverpool.  Hans is quite the master seaman in the few hours that he's aware that he's still alive.  But the problem is that he gets mighty lonely for the old country and starts to drown his sorrows in rum.  So the old boy slept through my preachin' and singin' waking only now and then for a belch and an occasional "Amen."

Thus I fear my only penitent this morning was the ship's cat, grand and grouchy Sir Percival.  An amazingly nimble mouser for a feline of such overfed girth, a creature so foul a spirit that I swear the old fella grins when he catches you with his claws.  Yet that dusty, gray cat with one blue eye and one green, does give me a good listen on Sunday mornings.  If it weren't for Sir Percival I fear the Lord's calling on me to preach the Good Book would be all for naught.

Services ended with Hans throwing up his breakfast, causing Barbary Ben to pass out, and Sir Percival headin' off in pursuit of a poor mouse who peeked his head out from some sacks of barley at jus' the wrong time.

I kept my encounter with the ghost to myself, though I did give it a mention to Percival, figgering if I told him I'd be less likely to let it be known to someone else.

Jonny Roe

Souls saved this day.  Once more, none.

The End

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