Circumstance Unrelated. Part XI – Pirates

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Amidst the backdrop of Napoleonic War raging across Europe, soldiers seek distraction from the horrors of the battle field. Major Grant is an officer of the British Army serving under Wellington in France. An officer, a gentleman and a connoisseur of female bottoms, Major Grant finds himself unusually captivated by a mysterious woman…..

I was travelling to Italy by boat and would work my passage. I no longer had the security of a red tunic, I did, however, still carry my pistol and sword.  The journey was pleasant and the crew a happy carefree crowd.  My decision to travel by boat allowed me time to recover and build myself up with sea air and hard work. Taking a seaward route also diverted me away from France that was now gripped in revolutionary ideas and the remains of Wellington’s army. My intended destination was the busy port of Livorno and this ideal site would allow me ten days march to Sienna ending my search for Eleanor.

 Having passed through the straits of Gibraltar some days since, the crew were called to a general alert. Some of the crew had been below engaging in a complex game of cards and ownership of two black girls who were frequently used for pleasure in all ways possible. Their black skin was new to me and I felt drawn to them. The sunlight breaking through the gaps in the ships deck down into the hold, danced off their sweat covered backs as they were passed about and used. Their full lips and large eyes drew to them, like jungle cats seen in a zoo; beautiful to look upon, however, very dangerous!  A ship had been following our smaller craft all the morning, and our usually cheerful captain became visibly nervous.  I asked one of the English speaking crew the nature of the captain’s distress. He was quick to inform me that our shadow was likely to be an African pirate and such a companion did not bode well for any of us.  By late evening the ship was upon us and hailed us to allow them to come along side.  I had ascertained that such a request precluded our destruction, should we allow it.

I quickly rallied the crew and told them to start throwing items of cargo on to the other ship’s deck and at the same time plead for mercy.  Two men were tasked with breaking the barrels of rum before throwing them, thus saturating the pirate deck.  As the ship came along side, the opposing crew hung from the rigging waving swords and bats. Their calling for our surrender was our cue to begin our only chance of survival.  Boxes, rolls of cloth and the all-important rum were thrown across the decks causing the pirates to laugh at our fear and fright.  With decks awash, I constructed a small grenade of wax cloth and powder.  Once lit, the burning ball was thrown and the result was instant. Flames spread across the deck and ignited the rigging sending tongues of flame up to the screaming pirates.  As we drifted away, our sails searching for every inch of wind, an explosion rocked our craft causing all about to fall.  In an instant, men were scrambling to the rails to view a large hole just above the water line.  I looked up at the pirate ship searching for any sign of a cannon, but there was none as the ship held not a single gun flap.  A large splash of water made me instantly look towards the rear of the flaming ship. A single deck gun was smoking having released its final shot. The pirates were desperate to bring us down regardless of their own safety. I soon realised that their fate was already written, for without their ship and only driftwood to cling to, they would surely drown.

We were now edging out of range and our aggressors could not pursue us.  We were unfortunately holed and taking on water, however, the crew appeared skilled in such matters. Spare sail, plugs and mallets were employed to seal the breach and with an hour we were once again temporarily water tight.  

 

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3 thoughts on “Circumstance Unrelated. Part XI – Pirates

    1. There are accounts of black slaves being moved up through Central Africa into North Africa and being traded in the Ottoman Empire. Tripoli was one of the main trading points for Barbary pirates, slaves being a key commodity.

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      1. It’s an interesting parallel because Grant is headed to Italy. The modern sex trafficking used to mostly from the Balkans into Italy but has shifted to mostly Africans.

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