View Full Version : Return to Sender - Chapter 12

07-20-2012, 01:42 AM
In the painting, Sean's ship sails out of foggy Boston harbor, beginning his voyage to Ireland. (I have neither the eyes, nor the talent to paint the intricate work on that small sailing ship. It came from a stencil, probably from Jack or Misterpaint.) Painted with AR2.5, using a mouse.

Chapter 12

When Dover, following his normal morning pattern, took the horses down to the stream for water, he noticed that the bite from the autumn winds was more intense than normal. To him, it was a sign that they were fast approaching the day when they would wake up to find themselves in the midst of a winter storm. He had seen too many men die because they were not prepared for the unexpected arrival of winter in mountain country. Dover had made his mental preparations long ago. Now, it was just a matter of putting them into action.
By the end of the day, Dover had moved all of his gear and belongings from the cave to the cabin. He hated sleeping under a roof, but there would be no choice this year. Stubbornly, he chose to spread his blanket as close to the door as possible, giving no more quarter than he had to.
As he had made his trips from the cave to the cabin, he had made it a point to double check the various caches of food and emergency items that Sean had scattered around the area in case of trouble. With all that done, Dover would continue hunting for meat for as long as the weather allowed. In his experience, there was no such thing has having too much food for the winter season.
Like Dover, Mariska and Senta were in tune with the changing of the weather. They had been making their own changes in the cabin. Realizing that the bitter winter would keep them penned up inside the cabin for long stretches of time, they each took turns going for walks close to the cabin. Keeping their conditioning up was important, but most of all, they needed to taste the fresh air, soak in the sunshine, and feel the wind on their faces as often as possible before those pleasures were taken away by the harsh winter conditions.
That night, after the boys were put to bed, the three of them sat by the fire, and talked of the coming winter. Dover told stories of his time on the frontier. Mariska and Senta told of life in their respective villages. Beneath all the conversation, each of their thoughts were focused on Sean, wondering if he was all right.

Back in Boston, the morning after meeting getting Ruppert to sign the damning document, I met with Captain Gage in Cohen's pub. "Captain, I have need of a fast ship, and a good captain to sail her. I now have ownership of the Galway. I would like very much to have you back in command of her. Before you answer, I need to explain what it will involve for you."
I motioned for Gage to follow me, and we went up the stairs into Cohen's residence, where there would be no prying ears to listen. After sitting at the kitchen table, I spoke. "What I am about to tell you is for your ears only. It is information you may need to know in order to perform your job as Captain, otherwise, I would not burden you with it. I left Ireland a hunted boy. There is a rich and powerful nobleman that wants me dead because I dared defy him. Recently I found out that he had my cousin murdered because he helped me escape. It is my intention to return to Ireland and settle this once and for all. Should I be successful, I will need you and the Galway to bring me home. If I am killed, it will be your job to see that my family is notified."
Looking hard into his eyes, I continued. "Before you answer, you must consider this. The Earl has ordered that anyone found aiding me, is to be killed. This much is to be shared with the crew. I'll not have anyone going on this voyage that does not understand that their life is at risk."
Gage smiled. "Everytime a captain or his crew heads out to sea, they put their life at risk. At least it seems that this time, it would be for a good reason. I'll take command of the Galway if you wish."
We shook hands, then I told him the rest of the deal. "If we are successful Captain Gage, when I return, I will turn over ownership of the Galway to you to do with as you please. Whatever cargo you can find to take to Ireland, and another to be brought back to Boston, will be sold, and the money to be divided. One quarter goes to you, the rest to be divided equally among the crew. Are those acceptable terms to you?"
"More than acceptable," he answered. "I am stunned sir. When do you propose to set sail?"
"Just as soon as you can find some sort of cargo for Ireland, let me know. I want to get underway as quickly as possible."
Rising to his feet, he shook my hand again, and said, "In that case, I best be about my business. You shall hear from me in short order."
It was over lunch with Chet, that I broke the news that Captain Gage had been hired to command the Galway. "That's great news," he answered. "How soon do we sail?"
A sad task it was indeed to give him the news that I knew he did not want to hear. "Chet, you won't be going. I'm sorry."
"But why,?" he pleaded. "You will need someone to cover your back, someone you can count on."
Grabbing him by the shoulder, I looked into his eyes and answered. "The truth is, you would be a danger to me in Ireland. Every time you opened your mouth, you would be identified as a stranger, and that would draw attention my way. If I'm caught, it's a death sentence waiting for me. My head, and most likely, yours too, will be on a post in the town square, just as it was for my cousin, who dared help me escape when I left Ireland."
I saw a protest building inside him, so I held up my hand. "No. I have no wish to have you involved in this, but what I can tell you, is that I have nothing more than a small chance of getting out of Ireland alive. Having a stranger along would make it almost impossible. Otherwise, I'd be glad to have you covering my back."
The disappointment was deep in his eyes, but he nodded his head in acceptance.
"Besides, I have need of your services here while I'm gone. I have a job for a man I can trust, and I hope you will take care of it for me."
His eyes brightened, as he replied, "Of course. Whatever it is, I will handle it for you."
I handed him an envelope. "Slip that inside your shirt before anyone notices it. Inside is five hundred dollars. While I'm gone, I want you to go to the country of the Mohegan tribe. There I want you to find a rancher or merchant that will take two or three cows out to the Mohegan people each week during the winter, to insure there is no starvation in the village this year. I'm counting on your finding someone reliable, that will be fair with the Indians. Make sure he understands that we will be following up with the Mohegans to be sure he has done what he has agreed to do. It will be your duty to ride out there once a month and talk to the Mohegan leaders to make sure everything is as we wished."
Before he could speak, I gripped his shoulder harder and said. "This you should know. My first wife came from this tribe. They fed and protected me my first winter in America. This is a solemn duty I give. I would only give it to someone I feel I can trust. My wife's father is a man named Tiganche. He's an important man in the tribe. Tell him that we live in Colorado, and that Mariska is well and happy. Tell him also that he has a grandson and that we hope to return for a visit in the next year or two."
Hearing those words of trust, swept away the darkness of disappointment. "Yes!," he exclaimed. "I shall not let you down. I will see that they are taken care of."
"Good. "I shall not worry then. The five hundred dollars will be more than you need, but spend what you must, to be sure the Mohegans are fed. Whatever money is left, you may use to for your own needs as required. I don't want it to be wasted, but I shall trust you to handle it responsibly."
Chet shook my hand repeatedly, until I finally forced it free of his grip. "Now, get on over to Blaine Thomas's office. He has a job for you that you can do in between your trips. It's a hard and dirty job, but it's a start in a trade. I shall expect you to do it well."
He fairly ran out the front door, yelling back over his shoulder, "And that I will. Count on it!"
Two days later, we set sail as I stood on the desk of the Galway and watched Boston disappear in the distance.
Would I once again see this city where I once started my life in America?
Would I ever see my wives and sons again?

Marilyn Anne
07-20-2012, 01:51 AM
It will be interesting to see how his trip goes. Nice illustration!

07-20-2012, 03:37 AM
You did a great job on the illustration and the story goes on pretty well and keep us all eager to read what next ...

07-20-2012, 09:35 AM
Marilyn - I most certainly appreciate your interest in the book and your kind comments. Thank you. :) :)

Caesar - Thanks a lot. Very much appreciated Sir. :) :)