Location: The Crowing Cock - a fictional tavern somewhere in the Caribbean
Time: the year 17... something
The sun has set, night has fallen. Along the quayside tar torches have been lit and flickering, shadowy lantern-light spills from taverns and chandlers' stores. The brothels, as always where seafarers gather, are busy about their trade, various 'ladies' (and a few 'gentlemen') are advertising their offered entertainment skills to interested passers-by. A variety of brigs, brigantines, sloops and luggers are at anchor, their sails either drooping from the yards and masts like last week's unwashed laundry, or furled, with rope and cordage neatly coiled. Some captains and ships' masters do not care about the state of their vessels ... pirates mostly, who simply acquire a new boat when their's show too much rotten timber and begin to leak. Other captains take pride in their ships, and value their crew. Time ashore is time to relax, however, and most seafarers make straight for a tavern...
Let's stroll along the quay to this particular tavern and 'eavesdrop' ...
The door to the Crowing Cock opens and in walks a man with a couple of blue ribbons tied into his shoulder-length black hair. (You can use your imagination regarding the nature of the sign hanging over the door to the Crowing Cock, depending on your age and blushability.)
News-sheet Writer (NW): Hola! Captain Acorne, over here! Please, do help yourself to the jug of ale I've purchased - or would you prefer something else? Rum? Brandy...?
Jesamiah Acorne (JA): [sits down, removes his three-cornered hat and puts it on the bench beside him] Thank you, Ma'am, ale will do nicely for now.
NW: I hear that you signed Governor Woodes Rogers' great book of amnesty a while ago. Was it easy or hard to give up being a pirate?
JA: [grins] Who says I've given up sailing 'on the account'? Nay, I'm jesting. Piracy in the Caribbean has had it's day. Once the fat-bellied merchants realised their profits were being plundered by the dozens of pirate vessels here in the Spanish Main, they soon sent in the Navy and pirate hunters to put a stop to the trade. Most of us saw the sense in taking King George's amnesty. A few didn't - Blackbeard, Charles Vane, Stede Bonnet. Jack Rackham - Calico Jack...
NW: Calico Jack Rackham sailed with two women pirates didn't he?
JA: [laughs] Anne Bonny and Mary Read? They weren't the only female pirates, you know, but they happened to be the only two who got caught. Jack were a friend of mine, he was a good chap, but let's face it, he was a pretty useless pirate. He should have signed that book and gone straight - but Anne stole his heart and his wits. He ended up swinging from the gallows. As did the others.
NW: What happened to Anne and Mary?
JA: Mary died in gaol, no one knows if it were from fever or childbirth. Anne? Someone paid a hefty bribe for her release. Where she ended up [he shrugs] well, I ain't sayin'.
NW: But you know where she is?
JA: How about a refill of ale?
NW: [takes the hint, changes the subject] You have your own woman, a wife?
JA: Aye, Tiola, She's my mainstay, my anchor, my calm sea in a storm. I'd do anything for her. Die for her if I had to. [thinks: but I'd never tell a soul that she's also a white witch.]
NW: You've had several adventures after taking amnesty - I heard a rumour that you are now an intelligencer, a spy, for King and Country?
JA: [taking a sip of his ale] Who told you that? 'T'ain't true. [grins] even if it were, I'd not admit it would I? And what king? James Stuart or George of Hanover?
NW: I've also heard it said that 'Trouble follows Jesamiah Acorne like a ship's wake'?
JA: [shrugs] I get into a few scrapes, aye. Mostly because other people want me to do dangerous things that they ain't prepared to do themselves.
NW: such as...?
JA: Well, I tangle with the Spanish quite often. We don't see eye to eye, me and those dons. They seem to have this ongoing need to do nasty things to me - like hang me with various nasty preliminaries.
NW: You were involved with the demise of Blackbeard, I believe?
JA: [lies] Not that I recall.
NW: And you had a tousle with some Barbary Pirates?
JA: Aye. The buggers kidnapped some children and my wife. I sailed after 'em.
JA: Found 'em, rescued the kids and my Tiola, and blew their ship up.
NW: Tell me about some of your crew? Likes and dislikes?
JA: Not many I dislike - those I don't get on with I soon get shot of. Bob Crawford were one, a lazy lubber who got on my nerves. He ended up murdered, though the person that did for him thought it was my throat they were cuttin'. Captain Henry Jennings is a friend, though he tends to get me into more trouble than a friend ought to. Claude de la Rue was my best friend and quartermaster - that's second-in-command aboard a pirate ship, we don't have Navy ranks such as lieutenants and such. I've been fond of most of my crew. Some are still with me, some ain't: Jansy, Toby Turner, Isiah Roberts, Skylark, Chippy Harrison, Young Jasper... Finch, my steward [grimaces] Gawd but he's a curmudgeonly old rogue! Drives me to distraction at times, but I don't know what I'd do without the old sod!
NW: And what about the women in your life?
JA: [laughs] Where do I start? Before Tiola I knew quite a few 'buxom wenches' ... well, truth to tell, I still do know several of 'em, but not in 'that' way, if you get my drift. Alicia was one of my first loves, but she's as trustworthy as a thief in a jeweller's shop. She was my sister-in-law for a while, 'til I killed my half-brother, her husband. Self-defence; he were tryin' to kill me. Then there was 'Cesca. The beautiful red-haired Senora Francesca Escudero. Don't be fooled by her married name, she's not Spanish. She always claimed to be English, but I never established whether that were true or not. I'm not even certain that 'Francesca' or 'Frances' are her real names. We had a few misunderstandings when we first met - on Hispaniola, at the time when rebellion was about to erupt. I'd been sent there by Henry Jennings to find a missing spy. Oh, and by a Dutchman to find his missing indigo and brandy. I ended up, finding 'Cesca. I'd probably have been better off, in the long run, if I hadn't found her.
NW: Is there anyone else special to you?
JA: Aye, a fellow called Maha'dun. An odd bloke, he has this skin condition that means he has to stay out of sunlight - I call him Nightm'n because of that. He can be as irritating as a bed full of fleas, but as loyal as a spaniel. There's no one else I'd rather have at my back in a fight. [laughs] But there's many a time I've been tempted to toss him overboard! Still, I'm afraid the tide's on the turn, time to get back to my ship, Sea Witch.
NW: I wish you bon voyage, Captain - any clue as to where you'll be sailing to next?
JA: [taps the side of his nose] One horizon or another, Ma'am - which one, depends on which wind is blowing and where the tide takes me...
|The Sea Witch Voyages have recently been acquired by Penmore Press USA and are in the process of being republished|
available from Amazon and other on-line stores
or order from your bookshop
|available now from Amazon|
|available now from Amazon|
|Available now from Amazon|
|Available from Amazon soon|
|an e-book prequel novella|
- how Jesamiah Acorne became a pirate
available NOW from Amazon
Voyage Six Coming soon
(probably early 2021)
This was the last interview,
I hope you have enjoyed the seriesNovel Conversations:Voyage End
... Drop Anchor
< Previous Guest
you'll find a list of guest characters
My thanks to all the authors who have taken part, and to Geri Clouston of IndieBRAG who initially sponsored the idea.