The following is part of the back-story. It’s to acquaint you better with the main protagonist, 16-year-old Lady Katherine Cotswold; also known as Captain Kate, or when she’s playful and decides to don an eye patch, Kate-One-Eye. This fictional interview is not in the story itself. It was conducted in Port Royal, Jamaica by a writer for the London Gazette, recently arrived from London to give its readers in the homeland a taste of the Caribbean and American colonies. I witnessed the interview, but prefer to remain anonymous, for I have no desire to be on the wrong end of Captain Kate’s sword.
Lady Katherine, attired in a yellow dress with orange trim, modestly cut on top, had arrived first at the tearoom where the interview was to be conducted. She looked properly miffed that the scribe was late. I noticed her look up just as a doughy, middle-aged gentleman in an ill-fitting grey suit and spectacles stepped through the door. He looked around the room, and noticing that Lady Katherine was the only unaccompanied woman, surmised that she was the target of his interview. He stepped forward, and the following discussion ensued:
“Lady Katherine Cotswold, I presume?” He nodded his head slightly.
“Presume what you may, sir. I suppose you have a name?”
“Ah yes, please forgive me, Lady Katherine, as my letter of introduction said, I’m Archibald Peabody of the London Gazette. May I join you?”
She extended a hand toward an empty chair. “Please, good sir, do sit. It would be rather foolish for you to conduct an interview from across the room, now wouldn’t it?”
“Yes. Quite.” Mr. Peabody seated himself. “Lovely tearoom, strange name though. “Cranky Teapot?”
“You haven’t met up with the proprietress, yet. Her husband bought it for her on the condition he name it. Oh, here she comes now.”
Middle-aged, Madam Dunkle walked up to the table, her usual sour look on her face. “Lady Katherine, so kind of you to drop in today, it must be raining, eh? Or perhaps there are just no enemies about to swash and buckle?”
“Now Madam Dunkle, you know I was in for tea twice last week. But yes, I have been a bit busy.”
Madam Dunkle sniffed the air in a rather exaggerated manner. “Do I smell a scribe somewhere hereabouts?”
Mr. Peabody stood, and in doing so, he bumped the table, spilling Katherine’s tea. Quickly, he removed a kerchief from his pocket and made a botched job of trying to mop it up.
“Sit down, clumsy oaf, I have help to take care of such matters!” the proprietress said and signaled for a young lady to come and attend the table.
“Yes. Quite.” The scribe dropped back in his chair, red of face. “Sorry, Lady Katherine.” He mopped his brow with an area of dry tablecloth and looking up at Mme. Dunkle, said, “The name’s Peabody, Archibald Peabody, not Clumsy Oaf, and you may bring me a pot of tea with a spot of honey in it.”
“Humph,” she said as she retreated.
“Now, Lady Katherine, I perhaps should present you my papers, and . . .”
“Katherine will do, sir. Shall we get on with it?”
“Quite.” Mr. Peabody removed a pen and paper from a satchel that he had carried in and set on the floor. He then stated that he was sent to write articles for the Gazette. “King Charles somehow heard of my assignment and invited me to the palace to discuss your situation.”
“Why ever would he do that?”
“He was apparently quite upset at your father’s demise; I’m sorry for your loss. His Majesty is also a bit concerned about reports that you have taken to piracy.”
Her hand flew to her chest and her face formed a mask of horror. Then she laughed.
To Be Continued.