La Capitana Arena's Good Advice.

Wednesday, June 21, 1719

I took the hand she held out to me, an' she pulled me up. She let go an'  started up the beach towards her ship, without sayin' nuthin'. She din't need to, she expected to be followed.

 I followed her with Sir Percival on me Shoulder. His fur was soft, so holdin' him din' t  hurt any worse than if I din't hold him. I had to keep him safe. Iffen he wanted down, I woulda let him, but he din't.

We wus already friends, but after that day, we wus family. On the ship, he wusn't  just that  @##$%^^&^ cat, he was Jimmie's @##$%&^  cat.

La Capitana led me up the gangplank of her ship, and down a hatch. We went in a door, and there was a full surgery down there! It wus almost a hospital, small though it wus.

La Capitana pulled an iron bar across the door that fit in a slot on the other side.

"We won't be disturbed now." She said.

I walked over to a bunk that was built inta the wall, an' dumped Sir Percy on it. He curled up an' licked his wounds.

Another woman wus in the surgery wif us. She was tallish, brown hair. It was short an loose at her shoulders, like mine. She wore a sailor's long pants and a long rough made man's blouse.

She had a surgeon's leather apron over it all, but it din't nowhere near hide that she wus a woman. A bit heavy in the top sails she was.

A woman surgeon, I coudn't believe it!  I never seen one afore.

" I'm Doctor Lucinda Britwell. Put this shirt on, and I'll examine your wounds."

She handed me a man's long sleeping shirt, and I started to pull it over me clothes.

"No lass, " La Capitana smiled.

"You have to take those filthy clothes of yours off, and you'll have to bathe. The dirt on you could start a garden!"

She waved her hand towards a big scoop shaped brass tub. I went over to it, and dipped my hand in the water and smelled it. Salt water.

This bath wus gonna hurt some.

"The salt in the water will help heal the burns, and keep them from infecting."  Doctor Britwell said.

I tore off me clothes and climbed in the tub. Cool, but not too bad. The doctor handed me a lump of strong smellin' soap an' a sea sponge. I started scrubbin'.

She took another lump of soap to  me hair and an' rubbed it in.

"How'd ya get to be a surgeon, ma'am?" curious I am, more'n whut's good fur me, I wager.

"I prefer to be called doctor,  though I never went to school for it. I worked along my father in his surgery in London. I learned everything I know from him.

"My mother died when I was born, and he had no son to teach, so he taught me. No school would take me, though he could afford it."

La Capitana put some towels and a pile of clothes on a low bench beside the tub.

"When my father died, no surgery or hospital would take me, except as a nurse to clean wounds and bind broken limbs. I kept up my father's practice as best I could with the money my father left me."

"It was there that it was my great luck that I found her."

La Capitana told me as she handed me a towel and helped me climb out of the tub.

" Here are some of the clothes that my son the cabin boy have grown out of. Put them on, and we'll talk." she said.

When I was dry and dressed, my wounds attended to, the doctor left. La Capitana barred the door.

"Are you on the Pink Daffodil by choice or misadventure?"

"I  was kidnapped from the docks at Liverpool. I went down there to see me sweetheart, the pub owner's son . I wus in boy's clothes so that I wouldn't get jumped in the night, an' I wus kidnapped fur the Pink Daffodil."

" I see. What are you planning to do now? Staying on the Island won't be healthy for you. That was the chief's grandson that you scarred for life."

"I.. I was hoping to ship with you, Ma'am, uh.. Capitana."

"We already have a cabin boy, my son. We don't need two. I can't train you to be a seaman, because my crew would make your life a living H***."

"The good Doctor and I are the only women, the rest are hearty seamen, true pirates. Are you still pure lass?"

"Pure?"

"Have you lain with a man?"

"No Ma'am. I wouldn't let me sweetheart do nothin' till we were married. That won't happen now."

"Well, If you joined this crew, you would lose your maidenhood within the first hour, and not by choice either.  I couldn't protect you. They would peg you as a female straight away. Even Lucinda and I lock ourselves in at night."

" I grew up in the rough streets of Liverpool, ma'am, I can take care of meself." I told her.

"Maybe on land, you can. On a ship on the high seas, there's no place for you to run. Not even the crow's nest would be safe for you. Me son likes it up there, and he's a lusty lad of eighteen."

"Does that mean I can't stay here, Ma'am?" I said sadly.

"That's exactly what it means lass. What's your name?"

" Janey Shrike, ma'am, Jimmie on the ship."

"Well Janey, if Bottoms' sorry crew hasn't seen you for a girl by now, they  probably won't for a while longer. You've already proven that you can defend yoirself.  As soon as you reach Europe again, get off, no matter where it is."

"Yes ma'am,"  I said, as I hung my head.

A sharp rap on the door, and La Capitana  went to let The doctor in . She carried a woven basket of provisions for my journey back to "The Pink Bathtub" as La Capitana called it.

I put the clothes La Capitana had gived me inta the basket on top of the food. I picked up Percy  and waited at the door while it was opened.

La Capitana walked with me down the gangplank, and left me on the beach.

I made my way back to the Daoffodil.

 

The End

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