The Supply Deck of a Ship

Treasure on the Southern Moor; Chapter 5: Cleaning the Southern Moor; Pgs. 124-126

.     “And what is below us,” asked Adrianna. Her eyes looked down the open-shuttered hatch.
.     “The supply deck,” said Adrian. “Here, let me show you.”
.     He led her through the hatch in the floor and down a short flight of stairs to the next deck below. The light grew far less bright and far more mysterious. Some dim light filtered through from hatches above and let in duller shafts of sunlight that flitted to the floor. The only other source of light came from a few lamps lit throughout by those cleaning this deck, casting a murky yellow haze that flickered.
.     Adrianna also noticed that the roof was lower, and if she jumped, she could touch the ceiling with her fingertips. Running from bow to stern was a sort of path that cut its way through the supplies, stacked in wooden crates and other bundles. “It’s stuffy in here,” she whispered as she looked about, and her voice cut the silence.
.     “Just think how much stuffier it was in the storm, with all the hatches closed and the ship rocking as if it was going to capsize. But,” Adrian continued, “none of us had it nearly as bad as poor Jemmy Ducks. He lives on the floor below us right by the stable.”
.     “Does anyone live on this floor?” Adrianna asked.
.     “There are three small cabins near the bows,” said Adrian, “where the cook, carpenter, and cooper sleep. Other than that, this entire floor is just for stores and supplies. The replacement stove is over there, in case the first one is ruined somehow.” He pointed. “Here is extra dirt for the herb garden; we passed it in the forecastle. Many of the plants have died in the storms, but some have survived. And over there are the barrels of tea leaves. And that’s where we put the apple barrels. The water supply is over there, though we will need to refill most of those barrels when we reach land. One of them sprang a leak in the beginning of the storm when the barrel rolled right into the point of an axe, and though Mr. Perkins did his best at fixing it, we had already lost all the water from the barrel. The axe will be used on the livestock when we are ready to butcher them.” He continued leading Adrianna forward as he spoke. “Here are the other food bins, and over here is where I found spare rope the day Dick fell overboard. You can see most of our rope is used up, though we can obtain more in Spain or Portugal.”
.     “Oh, do stop,” said Adrianna as she put her hands to her head. “There is so much to sailing, and you’re making my head feel all swimmy!”
.     “That’s just what I thought on the first day of the storm,” said Adrian. “And I haven’t shown you the knives and sharp implements of the cooks that I almost fell into, or the tar barrel, sailor tools, fishing gear, washing supplies, or anything and everything that might be needed at sea.”

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The Gun Deck of a Ship

Treasure on the Southern Moor; Chapter 5: Cleaning the Southern Moor; Pgs. 120-124

.     “Come along,” said Adrian when they finished. “We’re done with the prow. Let me show you more of the inside. You still haven’t seen the majority of it, and I have only seen it briefly while I was being tossed about as though in one of the sailor’s hammocks.”
.     Once their eyes adjusted to the dimmer light, they walked down the short hall, past the two cabins. “These are the chaplain’s and doctor’s quarters,” said Adrian as he pointed to the cabins. Past the front doors of the cabins, they walked around the stretched-out hammocks, a little further aft but still under the forecastle. The pole of the foremast was near the center of this area. Shafts of sunlight came down through open shutters above, though dimmer below the forecastle than in it, and a dim yellow light spread out from two lit lamps. It gave a slight glisten to the floor that had just been cleaned. No one was currently in any of the hammocks, though several chests aligned the walls where the sailors kept their belongings.
.     “We’re under the forecastle here,” said Adrian, “near the bows and in the belly of the ship. Yet there are more levels below us. This is called the gun deck, and as we begin to move aft, you’ll see why.”
.     Adrianna looked up warily. “Is it safe?” she whispered.
.     “Oh, yes,” said Adrian, “just wait until we’re under the waterline.” He looked keen. “Then you’ll really feel the weight of the ship above you. We’re as good as in the open air here.”
.     An open doorway at the end of the rest of the hammocks led further aft, and through this threshold Adrianna found the room to open up and expand widely from port and starboard. Many a sailor and soldier were about. They ran into Dick just past the doorway. His rusty red hair was slightly askew, and he nodded a brief acknowledgment.
.     “Isn’t the quiet nice?” Dick asked. “I fancied I was pretty near deaf when I woke up this morning without the cracking and snapping of the ship. And you might want to stay around to watch this! They’re about to test the cannon.”
.     Down along the vast room that expanded below the main deck, on either side along the walls, could be seen the cannon that were spread out and pointed out of little square holes in the walls, widely and evenly spaced. Shafts of light could be seen beaming in from these holes and dancing on the ceiling. There were eight of these holes, four on each side of the ship, and eight cannon to go with them.
.     “What are those open windows?” asked Adrianna. “I don’t remember seeing them when we were in Plymouth.”
.     “Gun ports,” explained Adrian. “The ports were closed during most of the storm and when we were looking at the ship in Plymouth, but they’ve opened them again now.”
.     The roof was high enough that a grown man could stand on the gun deck, and several shafts of light were also beaming in from open shutters from the main deck above. Several sailors were walking about, some cleaning and others attending to orders given by Mr. Heath, the master gunner. Captain Underwood was down inspecting the deck, looking over the powder kegs (a couple were found to be moist – a great nuisance at sea) and muskets, and he was preparing to observe the cannon reports. The cannon were oiled and checked for operability, and the ramrods were cleaned. They had been hoisted by ropes to stick out of the sides of the gun ports, and the soldiers would fire from one side before loading and firing from the other, allowing two soldiers to each cannon.
.     “Are you ready to load the port side?” Mr. Heath asked the captain.
.     “Yes,” said the captain, and then he shouted, “Load on Port!”
.     “Load on Port!” Mr. Heath echoed the command, for in war, the captain would most likely be above on the quarterdeck, and the master gunner would have to translate the command to his men.
.     The soldiers were quickly loading the cannon with their thick ramrods, and Adrian and Adrianna plugged their ears as the first volley sounded. Loud explosions rumbled in their chests and filled some of the gun deck with smoke, but only for a moment before it flitted through the open shutters and ports and dissipated out at sea.
.     “That was quick,” said Adrian as he saw his father smile approvingly.
.     Mr. Heath had the soldiers run to the other side upon the command to load on starboard, and the cannon was quickly loaded and fired when the captain gave the command, “Fire!” The smell of sulfur filled the air.
.     “It smells awful,” said Adrianna.
.     “Perhaps it just takes getting used to,” said Adrian, “like fireworks. You love the smell of fireworks.”
.     “I don’t think I shall ever get used to it,” said Adrianna. “The cannon powder smells different from fireworks. Shall we go below?”
.     “In a minute,” said Adrian. The soldiers were pulling the muskets out of the magazine and showing them to Mr. Heath for inspection, the captain watching. Sunlight was coming down through the shutters to gleam upon the flintlock muzzles. The smell of the explosions drifted away and soon the swords were pulled out and the blades checked.
.     “Oh, come along,” said Adrianna.
.     “Very well,” said Adrian, “Let’s explore the rest of the ship.”
.     When he and Adrianna walked aft, they could see several powder kegs lashed to the floor against the walls in case of emergency. In the middle of the room was a separate small enclosed closet where the weapons were stored, known as the magazine. Toward the stern of the ship was another set of walled-off doors, each leading to a separate cabin.
.     “That’s where Mr. Allen, Mr. Heath, and Mr. Thrussell sleep,” said Adrian. “And of course, right above them is the bottom floor of the aftercastle, where Mr. Toller and Mr. Northrup sleep. They all have their separate rooms.”

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A Chat at the Inn – Part 2

Treasure on the Southern Moor; Chapter 1: The Voyage; Pgs. 22-26

.     “So,” said Mr. Underwood at last, “I could look around here . . . try to find a captain willing to-”
.     “That would not do, I fear,” interrupted Captain Horne. He hesitated, something on the tip of his tongue. But for some time, he did not speak it. Finally he added quickly, “I would not trust this journey with anyone except my most trusted friend.” He went on even quicker, “And there is little time, for the longer we wait, the longer the chance that the gold will be found by someone else. Alas, that my men and I could not bury the treasure to be dug up at the best convenience! We had no time, for we were already behind our schedule, and as it is, this was the last day we could have arrived here before my entire crew and I would have been dismissed. Even so, we almost did bury it, and the vote to go back was only the majority by one. As already noted, I leave harbor tomorrow, headed for the Americas. I’ll be shipping tea, along with other goods. In any case, there is nothing for it now but that you find it and bring it back.” He gave the last sentence as an afterthought, and his speech slowly died away.
.     “Captain again,” whispered Mr . Underwood, “It has been many a year . . . But no,” he added. “What about Adrian and Adrianna?”
.     “Take them with you,” Captain Horne suggested. “They should be a help on deck.”
.     Mr. Underwood hesitated. For many moments the two became silent, Horne expectant and Underwood reluctant. The rainfall continued to beat upon the windowpane. Booms of thunder were growing sparser, but they still would rattle the walls every now and then. Murky lamplight glinted off the golden coins. Underwood could hear someone snoring in the room right above him. He finally spoke, “I do know of a ship, brand new, that does not have a crew yet. I personally invested in its make and was planning to sell it. It could do the job, I suppose.”
.     “Does it have a name?”
.     “No,” said Underwood, “it was just recently completed, but what about crew?”
.     “Aye,” said Captain Horne, “Crew is another problem. We would have to find them all tonight. But first I need your answer. I will need help finding the others, but I know I have found the captain.”
.     “I suppose you have then. Very well,” said Captain Underwood, “I’ll go. And now,” he continued as though he had not just made a great decision, “how do I know where it is? I presume you have a map.”
.     “Right here,” said Captain Horne. He scooted the gold coins and other treasure to the side of the table and grasped back into another fold of his clothing. This time, when he pulled it back out, he held a folded piece of parchment. Slowly, he unfolded it on the table. “Don’t worry,” he added when he saw his friend’s eyes looking warily at the water stains, “I have two more copies in locked chests, one on the ship and one in my room here (though I don’t expect to get any sleep tonight).”
.     They both looked at the map for some time, “It was in this harbor, here, that we sunk them,” said Captain Horne as he pointed. “We met the pirates here, and when they found that they were outgunned, they retreated around point into harbor, like so.”
.     “So here is where the pirates fell?”
.     “No, here,” corrected Horne, “in this narrow inlet that connects to this larger inlet, in an inlet of an inlet, if you get my meaning. We dismantled sail, mast, and rigging, so that the surrounding hills and ridges hide the spot quite nicely, not mentioning the forests. It is a mountainous area of jungle. As noted, the exposed chests are under about two fathoms of water, some half buried in the sand. The hull of the vessel split open from running aground and our repeated assaults. Their cargo hold must have been on their bottom deck. Many of the chests spilled out, though we saw more in two sunken chambers of the ship. It will be tricky diving, but ropes and hooks should do most of the work.
.     “And of course,” he added hastily, “the money is to be split fifty-fifty between us, giving very handsome sums among the crews as well.”
.     “Yes, yes,” said Captain Underwood, “no question about that. But what if the treasure is gone?”
.     “Then each of us pays half the cost for the trip,” said Horne. “The money I have brought back can help with advance payments.”
.     “Agreed,” said Underwood, “and now for crew. Where do we start? There is much preparation to do, and it will take dogged work if we are to have the sails ready by two in the afternoon. That gives us about twelve hours.”
.     “I was hoping you would have some leads regarding crew,” said Captain Horne.
.     “I might,” said Captain Underwood. “I could start with a couple places here in town, though I expect people to be rather grumpy at this hour of the night.”
.     “No time for that,” said Horne as he swiftly scooped up money and map and put them back away. “They’ll perk up when you show them the gold. The handfuls I have brought back will help motivate them. They only need to be trustworthy, as every member of my crew is.”
.     “Then let us be going,” said Captain Underwood as he blew out the lamp with one whiff of air. “Every moment is of the essence.”
.     Captain Horne followed him. “My own crew is making the rest of the preparations for my coming voyage,” he said, “so I can be of some aid. Two in the afternoon would be the latest I can start, and I will have an hour of inspection before, but that still leaves time. I can sleep when the voyage is underway.”

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A Chat at the Inn

Treasure on the Southern Moor; Chapter 1: The Voyage; Pgs. 19-22

.     “Come in; come in,” said Captain Horne in a whisper, “though I find it strange I am letting you into this place for a change. It should be the other way around, Captain.”
.     “It’s just Samuel to you, Jim,” said Mr. Underwood. “I gave up that line of work long ago. Is there any supper left?”
.     “More like breakfast,” replied Captain Horne. “It is rather late. But I think the keeper kept something warm on the back stove in the kitchen.”
.     “Old Bill,” said Mr. Underwood. “Bless him. I’ll have a look.” He left the room, and Captain Horne sat down at the table closest to the fire, pulling up a lamp to light the table’s surface. It was only a moment before Mr. Underwood had returned, holding an iron skillet with a closed lid.
.     “Supper and breakfast,” said Mr. Underwood hurriedly. “There is leftover trout and fried eggs and mushrooms. Would you like some?”
.     “No, thank you,” said Captain Horne. “I have had mine. And now,” he continued as Mr. Underwood sat down opposite him, “for the reason of this meeting.”
.     Captain Horne paused a moment as he sat back, and Mr. Underwood prompted, “Go on.”
.     “Well,” said Captain Horne decidedly, “as I said, we ran into pirates.” He paused as he looked into Mr. Underwood’s eyes, almost expecting some kind of response. “Pirates, Samuel, I say pirates – people who rob treasure and gold.”
.     Mr . Underwood hesitated. He bowed his head and said a silent prayer and then was busy picking up his utensils and looking over the cooked food. “Did you find any?” he asked mildly as he began eating.
.     “Chests upon chests of it,” Captain Horne said with a glint in his eye, knowing he had sparked his friend’s interest. “We counted over two dozen chests, and we know there is more hidden in other chambers of the hull.” He spoke as though finding such wealth was an everyday occurrence.
.     “How do you know gold is inside?” asked Mr. Underwood, but his eyes were lit with wonder despite himself.
.     “We opened a few of them,” said Captain Horne. He thrust his hand into a fold of his clothing and threw a handful of something onto the tabletop. It clattered and clanked as it hit the table, and in the lamplight, what lay before the eyes of the two friends was undoubtedly solid gold coins, glittering back at them and sparkling as if on fire.
.     Mr. Underwood looked at the treasure for a moment in surprise; then he reached and picked up something he couldn’t see too well. Only once he had it in his fingers did he know it was a gem, a ruby, shining back the light as he held it up to the lantern. “But surely it is gone now,” he said. “That must have been at least a few months ago.”
.     “It’s a risk; that’s for sure,” said Captain Horne, “but my crew and I don’t think it is gone. Of course, we could not take it with us, for there was too much weight with all the cargo we already had on board. But we took the pirates, and they were allegedly the only ones who knew about it. The ship was wrecked in a small harbor, well hidden among mountains, and I would assume generally unknown, for there are much better and larger harbors to the north and south.”
.     “And natives?” prompted Mr. Underwood.
.     “We searched the land,” said Captain Horne. “It is clear there is no one for several miles in all directions. No one saw the wreck or battle, and we made sure to smash up the masts and rigging so as to not draw attention to the site. The deepest treasure is buried in about two fathoms of water.”
.     “It would take some time and skill hauling it out,” said Mr. Underwood.
.     “That it would,” said Captain Horne, “but not unprofitable.”
.     The two sat in silence for a few minutes. Mr. Underwood finished his meal, and Captain Horne looked about the room, sometimes at the walls, sometimes at the roof timbers, sometimes in the firelight (now just a dim red glow of coals), and sometimes into his friend’s eyes. The lamplight continued to burn, casting the room in a murky yellow.

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Sword Practice

Treasure on the Southern Moor; Chapter 8: Repairs and a Rest; Pgs. 207-209

.     “As a longtime clerk of ships that sail the seas,” said Mr. Thrussell softly to Adrian afterward, “I have learned a thing or two about swordsmanship. I saw the way you handled your blade with Winton Northrup back on the supply deck. Winton is clever with a sword, and if he had been given another moment, the contest would have ended quite differently I fear. It was well you did not meet him alone.” He paused before asking, “Would you like a lesson or two?”
.     Adrian, eyes lit with wonder, stood for a moment without speaking. “Rather,” he said at last, “or that is, I would like to learn if I could.”
.     “It is just the exercise needed before breakfast,” said Mr . Thrussell. “Follow me down to the magazine, and we can lend you one of the duller swords for practice.”
.     The master gunner was now departing with the captain to meet those who were hired for ship repairs the previous night. There were already many who could be seen gathering on the shore, and morning sunlight was beaming down on them from the ship. The seagulls were out and about, and many were perched on the remaining yards of the Southern Moor. The cook had caught a few of them, and it was them that were currently being cooked for breakfast, though it was some time in the cleaning.
.     Some were still continuing to sing while others had left off, attending to other duties. All of the shutters to the weather decks were open on such a fine morning, and the gun deck was rather airy and fresh smelling. Adrian stood right outside the magazine as Mr. Thrussell rummaged through the armament to find a dull sword.
.     “I think this will suit you,” he said as he handed Adrian the weapon, hilt first.
.     Adrian played with the feel of it a little, testing its weight as he tossed it from hand to hand. Mr. Thrussell eyed him intently, and as soon as Adrian seemed comfortable with the weapon, Mr. Thrussell lunged forward with his own sword, eyes glinting, bearing down upon Adrian’s blade. No more had metal hit metal when Adrian’s blade was twisted out of his hand and a slight sting felt at his side as the clerk swatted him with the flat of the blade.
.     “I say,” said Adrian, “but I did not even have chance to move away.”
.     “It is a tricky skill,” said the clerk with a smile. “Now stand, like so, with sword point up.” He demonstrated. “Toller might tell you of the Scottish way, with hilt held high and sword point down at an angle. Yet these are not claymores, and we are true Englishmen.” He began to lunge in different ways and show Adrian how to parry and block his attacks.
.     Time and time again, Mr. Thrussell twisted Adrian’s blade away, yet the clerk was very patient in instructing his mistakes. Adrian was sweating before the ship’s bell rang for breakfast, and his arms were sore and aching. His sides were stinging in several places where Thrussell had taught him with the blade’s flat.
.     “You have learned something,” said the clerk. “I am not sorry to teach you, though there’s a great deal more to be taught. Tomorrow, if we’re not too busy, we can practice again.”
.     “Did it hurt much?” asked Adrianna once Adrian had stepped onto the main deck. The plates and dishes were just being passed out.
.     “No, or that is, not much,” said Adrian. He sat down tenderly.

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Switching the Watch

Treasure on the Southern Moor; Chapter 8: Repairs and a Rest; Pgs. 203-204

.     Then the crew of the Southern Moor, hot and weary after the long day’s work, came back to the shore where their boats remained. Mr. Perkins and one of the loyal sailors had been tasked to guard them, and both of them looked as though they had just awakened out of a glorious sleep, yet no one reprimanded them as they had been up all the night before. They had been provisioned with some of the food they had recently purchased, which they must have consumed, for there was nothing left but crumbs.
.     “Poor Mr. Heath,” said Adrianna as she yawned. “It has been a long night and day, and he has been down near the stable guarding the prisoners for ever so long.” Her eyes drooped, and her feet dragged in the sand as they made their way to the ship’s boats on the shore. She felt as though she could drop off at any moment.
.     “We will relieve him as soon as we get onboard,” said Captain Underwood, and they pushed off.
.     The waters were calm, and they soon reached the ship, climbing up the rope ladders that still dangled over the side. The first thing done once the boats were hoisted up was to relieve Mr. Heath of his post. He came on deck, looking weary yet still alert.
.     “Nothing to report,” said the master gunner. “They’ve been a quiet lot for all that, though I expect that’s just because of the busy night they had before.”
.     Stars had leapt into the night sky, and a slight breeze was in the air. It was welcoming after the hot day’s work. A few of the lanterns were lit, and the night watch was set (Mr. Perkins and the loyal sailor took first watch, as they had already had some sleep on the beach).
.     “Now then,” said Mr. Thrussell as he looked over his journal. “It’s been a decent day’s labor.”
.     “And tomorrow,” said the captain, looking at the rundown state of the ship, “the true work begins.”
.     They retired for the night, Adrian, Adrianna, and the captain slipping into the captain’s cabin and everyone else crashing on their cots and hammocks (except the watch). Moonlight and starlight came in through the decorated stern windows, and the waters were calm. The children went to sleep to the lulling of the waves lapping against the Southern Moor.

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Repairing a Sailing Ship

Treasure on the Southern Moor; Chapter 8: Repairs and a Rest; Pgs. 209-212

.     The cook had come out of the galley, and those aboard ship had sat down to eat. In the distance, they could see the boats at the shoreline, and the hired crew had all left to gain materials and more supplies. They would soon be coming back with loads to work with the ship.
.     “How long do you think the repairs will take?” asked Adrian as he lifted his wooden cup to his lips.
.     “Not long,” said Mr. Toller. “We should be out sailing in another few days.”
.     “And what land are we headed to next?” asked Jemmy Ducks.
.     “All depends for certain,” said Mr. Toller, “yet the Canary or Cape Verde Islands will probably be next on our way to where we are sailing.”
.     No one else said much as they looked out at the shore, with the ship swaying gently under them, turning around its anchorage. It was always a surprise over the next few days to see where it pointed in the morning after turning throughout the night.
.     After breakfast, the crew was soon busy afoot with pulling more canvas and rope out from below and hoisting yard and rigging and bringing their own tools out from the supplies to be ready when the Portuguese came. And before they were finished preparing, Captain Underwood was back with the first set of help to lend a hand, and he stayed aboard and let others depart with more of the ship’s boats to bring more hands aboard the Southern Moor.
.     Mr. Toller continued about his normal work to stay out of the way of those making repairs, and he inspected the chip log with Mr. Thrussell. Adrian and Adrianna could not be of much help either, as there was already a great many people aboard ship, and they remained in the captain’s cabin for the day, mending the mattresses and other items that had been torn or broken by the traitors. The main deck had become crowded, and only the doctor and captain could speak to the Portuguese as they were the only loyal ones aboard who knew their language.
.     “Do you think we will have to replace the crew with all Portuguese-speaking people?” asked Adrianna, pausing from her work for a moment as she looked out the stern windows of the captain’s cabin at the sunlight upon the waters. “I would think it would be hard to communicate with them.” As she spoke, she saw a fish splash from somewhere ahead in the waters and cause tiny ripples to flow out in circles.
.     “That is if we can replace the whole crew,” said Adrian. “We might just have to sail shorthanded. And we may run into storms on the way back.”
.     “Storms are such a nuisance,” said Adrianna, biting off a needleful of thread as she held her mattress in her lap. The slashes the pirates had given it ran up and down near the seam. “Was Mr. Northrup really a pirate?” she asked, wanting to turn the conversation away from bad weather. The prospect of more storms didn’t give her pleasant thoughts.
.     “Either that or very much near it,” said Adrian. “I heard Father once say that he knows of nearly every coin, and his former journeys that he has spoken of were never to any particular country. Father said he probably was pirating treasure along many sailing routes.”
.     “He was beastly,” said Adrianna, “telling us he had Father locked in irons and threatening to set fire to the ship. You’re the hero of the crew, Adrian, rushing upon him the way you did.”
.     “I only did it by accident,” Adrian admitted again, “when I slipped from the hatch above. But I say – Mr. Thrussell knows all there is to know about sword fighting, and I’m still sore from where his flat hit me.”
.     “I thought you said that it didn’t hurt much,” said Adrianna.
.     “Well, maybe a little more than I let on,” said Adrian, “but it was still wonderful. He says he will show me more later.”

Audio Continuation of Story; Pgs. 212-214

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