Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Libby Boswell weighs in with more backstory.

I suppose ye could say that rum had been me undoin. Oh to be sure, tis easy to blame the drink, not the drinker, but really this time I make me case. Many months I spent t’ the workhouse, before I figgered out how things were run, and where best to gain some lever-edge. And when I finally had me a nice system, what with the ‘elp of one bailiff and a headmistress, we had a right lucrative trade going in contraband rum, to foist on any jacktar unlucky enough to run afoul of it.

We had a deal with the keeper of the Sotted Swine, down by the docks, to store the stuff upstairs, and sell it to the very thirsty and very desperate. Considering the peripatetic nature of our supplies, one would have to be rather both, thirsty and desperate, and e’en then you wouldn’t want to use a metal tankard.

Having just concluded a very lucrative deal to switch several barrels of Ol Rotyergut, for some pilfered good Barbados dark, we were celebratin., and havin a right good knees-up. Sadly, I ignored me own advice about drinkin the profits and whilst doin a hornpipe to the rather tortured fiddle of a semi-sober Irishman, and regrettably I were on a rickety table, when I heard again that VOICE.

"Belly up lads--drinks on Mad Peg!" "What?!!!"

Dame Fortuna can be a real bitch sometimes. Now, the fact that wee Violet and her crew of mates, newly pirates all, should pick this particular ale hell, this particular night while I was as drunk as David’s sow, and enter it ought not to have caused such a stramash. But it did. In shock at hearing Violet's voice again, I lost me shoe, which knocked out a largish sort offn’ a Bristol merchantman, and he knocked over a column what were rather dubiously supporting the paper thin floor above. Caught mid kick wi’ only one shoe, me table crashed over backwards into another column.

The resulting noise, what with the shouting of the Assize men, come to raid the tavern, the subsequent collapse of the ceiling, rum barrels all a-roll, and the shouts of ‘Pirates! Pirates!!! Take Them!” as Violet and Mad Peg were spotted meant that I was now under part of a rotted wooden floor, amidst the wreckage of ‘alf a hogshead of Rotyergut (and inexplicably a large jar of fishpaste), and weltering in me own gore.

When I came to the next morning, and rose tottering from the splinters, to the yowling of some six dozen cats who were somewhat nonplussed to see their break-fast suddenly grow legs and leave, it were to find meslf taken up for being a definite public nuisance and possible vagrant. Since I couldn’t explain the smell, my presence in a recently collapsed building or give a coherent answer as to where I ought to be, I was summarily headed for Newgate.

Enroute however, as a possibly familiar street doxy distracted my guard with a well-placed chamberpot, I managed to slip me irons—thanks to the oils from the fish paste--, and get instead loaded with a group sent off for extended indenture to the colonies.

And so, reeking and reeling, I said good riddance to Mother England, and prepared meself for what fresh new hell this voyage might produce-- but vowing to avoid demon rum at all costs.

--Libby Boswell

1 comment:

Douglas E Powell said...

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Douglas E Powell