The last time the Good Captain had taken the time to talk to an old man who crossed his path it had turned out to be a very important meeting that would have ramifications for the rest of his life. So when he saw the man sitting on the cobblestone path way between Nancy’s and home he didn’t hesitate to ask the man his story.
He was an old weathered sailor, grey scruffy hair poked out from the hood of his long black jacket, at a quick glance it was not immediately obvious where the hair ended and the beard began. Very little could be seen of the man’s clothes under his jacket but a pair of black boots could be clearly seen sticking out from below.
“Wha’ be ya tale ole scallywag?” The Good Captain asked as he crouched in front of the old man.
The old man appeared hesitant at first but as he looked into the Good Captain’s eyes he must have seen something that changed his mind and he began speaking his story.
“Well…Th’ year was…”
Immediately after hearing the year in which the old man’s story started the Good Captain knew there was more to the story than he first expected. A story more than a century and a half in the making.
“Come wit’ me t’ th’ manor ‘n tell me yer tale.” The good Captain said offering his hand to the old man as an assist to stand.
During the short walk to the manor barely a word was spoken, the old man deciding his story was not one to be told while walking and the Good Captain deciding not to ask for it to be told until the arrived at home.
Once their drinks were poured and the two men were comfortably relaxing the old man continued his story.
“A letter it did come from th’ Queen, she didn’t care that we were pirates aboard th’ scummiest ship upon th’ ocean. Th’ cap’n he did tell me that we be sailin’ th’ seas in search o’ th’ American gold. We’d be firin’ no guns, unsheathin’ no cutlasses, blastin’ no cannons ‘n sheddin’ no tears. But now I be a broken pirate, th’ last o’ Bradford’s Privateers”
History books told of Bradford’s journey’s, told of tales torrid and true, the Good Captain thought he’d read or heard them all but obviously there was at least one more to hear.
“Twenty brave pirates made up th’ Scottish Legend’s crew.” The old man continued his tale. “ Th’ Scottish Legend she was a bit o’ a sickenin’ sight whether she be upon th’ sea or moored t’ th’ dock. She rode bow down into th’ waves, she’d forever list t’ th’ starboard side ‘n every sail was dirty, stained ‘n ripped.”
“I bet ye’re glad ye’re in Sherbroke now!” The Good Captain replied.
The old man nodded and continued. “On th’ King’s birthday we did set sail, only ninety one days ’til we hit th’ shores o’ Montego Bay. Every day we fought that ole girl against th’ sea. Calm waters we seeked fer long ‘n hard but bad weather followed us all th’ way. We worked like mad mens all th’ way ne’er restin’ fer a day.
“God damn it all!” the Good Captain said in reference to the ship’s luck.
“Five days we spent upon those Montego Shores, drinkin’ cider ‘n restin’ our bone weary souls. Then on th’ ninety sixth day we did set sail once again, our hulls were stocked our crew refreshed, even th’ weather did give us a break.
Several more days a sea ‘n we found ourselves lookin’ at a bloody great Yankee ship, th’ ole lass she was sittin’ low in th’ waters ‘n we knew fer sure she was our final goal. Th’ decks where lined wit’ Yankee men, defendin’ thar ship, defendin’ thar cap’n. They had no idea we sailed in peace. They had no idea we were prepared t’ be firin’ no guns, unsheathin’ no cutlasses, blastin’ no cannons ‘n sheddin’ no tears. They had no idea we only planned t’ loot thar gold.”
“God Damn Them All!” The Good Captain replied.
“They fired thar cannons afore we were in range, our choices were few ‘n we had no choice but t’ return fire. A quick decision was made ‘n wit’ our own four pounders we took them t’ task. They fled our cannon fire. She was a broad ‘n fat ole girl, loose in her stays ‘n sloppy on th’ water, even worse than our own vessel. But it still took us more than a day t’ catch her.
“When at last we stood but two cables away th’ fight was on, we had nothi’ t’ loose. Our cracked four pounders made an awful din as they blasted thar way toward th’ ship. Cannon ball after cannon ball blasted back ‘n fourth between th’ ships. But then one fat yankee ball did stove us in, smashin’ th’ hull ‘n disablin’ our ship.”
“God Damn Them All!” The Good Captain replied.
“Th’ Scottish Legend shook ‘n pitched t’ her starboard side. Our crew they were rocked ‘n thrown wit’ th’ ship, even Bradford was smashed like a bowl o’ eggs. As I clutched t’ th’ bow rail o’ th’ ship I watched th’ main-truck as it carried o’ both his legs.
“So here I sit in me hundred ‘n…” the old man’s words were little more than a mumble as me made mention of the exact figure. “…th year. It’s now been more decades than I can remember since we limped away from that harrowin’ scene, but it still feels t’ me like ’twas yesterday.”
“Thar shall be no more sleepin’ on th’ streets fer ye me bucko. Thar shall be no more layin’ low in th’ shadows. From now ’til yer dyin’ day ye shall ‘ave yer every wish tendered t’ under th’ roof o’ this here castle.” The Good Captain reached out with his right hand to shake the hand of the old man as he spoke honestly and with compassion.
Previous Pirate Story here.