Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chapter Seventeen Excerpt

The boat took them and their horses downriver, past the town of Fairfax, past Fredericksburg, past Tappahannock and to the shores of the Bay where they found a different vessel to carry them farther south. It was a sloop carting live hogs bound for the West Indies and the noise and smell made sleep all but impossible during the overnight voyage to Norfolk, where Hope declared herself done with boats.

They led their horses down the sloop’s gangplank and onto the wharf on the east side of town. The sun had not been up long and it burned crimson, surrounded by swaths of heavy clouds that reflected the color and turned the whole of the sky to flame.

“Gonna be bad weather for sailing,” the shipmaster said as the hogs were run from his sloop to an English brigantine moored down the wharf. “Hate to be out on the Atlantic right now. Big storms coming; you can smell it.”

Bull sniffed the air but only smelled hog and sweat and brackish water. He thanked the master, handed him some coins and then mounted his horse to follow Cocke and Hope over the docks to Market Square. Bull looked once over his shoulder at the score of brigantines and sloops riding the wharves and he wondered if any of them were bound for England or Ireland.

“Bull, let’s find an ordinary,” Cocke called to him, and Bull turned his back on the tall ships and urged his horse forward.

12 comments:

  1. "Red sky at night, sailor's delight, red sky at dawn, sailor's be warned." But you already knew that didn't you.

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  2. I learned it as "red sky at morning, sailors take warning."

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  3. Red at night, sailor's delight. Red in the morning, sailor's warning! Potatoes, Po-tah-toes! : )

    Okay, what are the "shoes" of the Bay? Is that a native term?

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  4. Scott: Shores, damn it. I was typing very late last night.

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  5. I learned that it's red sky at morning sailors take warning. But I do live here in the West Coast. Those strange East Coast people! Heheh. Just kidding, Anne. :)

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  6. Oh, nice excerpt, Scott. Lots of smells. :)

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  7. Scott - at first I thought it was a typo, then I thought "No, Scott's too good, it's not a typo, it's a linguistic thingy". Seriously, I dismissed the whole idea of a typo. You've just dispelled my illusions of your grandeur! Dangit!

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  8. Anne: I'm actually from the East Coast; I just live in Seattle now.

    Ivana: Yeah, smells are very important in this book. Smells and memory, just like Proust. I'm not kidding.

    Scott: I am pleased to have fooled you all this time! I have actually made up words in my last book. And I begin to like "shoes of the Bay." Hmmm...

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  9. If Italy can have its "boot" then can't your book have its "shoes of the bay". I picture them as little inlets shaped like shoes. : )

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  10. No, they're shaped like toes! The Bay of Piggies!

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