We were so busy after we borrowed Black Jack’s ship, The Sword and the Lion, that I hadn’t really been able to sit down and have a personal discussion with Jacob. Of course, when I say borrowed, I mean that we stole his flagship right out from under him and changed the name to the West Wind. I knew Roddy, quite well, of course, we grew up and were tutored together, along with William, the son of a prosperous plantation owner, and Wendy. Her father andRoddy’s were both wealthy merchants who had connections on practically all of the Islands. But Jacob was an enigma to me. He arrived on Saint James Island along with his family just after I left for my 3-year education in London.
I invited Jacob to join me for tea one afternoon in West Wind’s War Room; that’s what I call our newly constructed meeting room. I had Mimi, my annoying, skinny as a rail cabin girl deliver a pot of tea and some molasses biscuits just before Jacob arrived.
“What else can I bring you, Lady Katherine,” Mimi asked in her ear-splitting, high-pitched voice.
“That will be all, Mimi. Why don’t you take the rest of the day off?” Or the rest of the year? Century?
Jacob arrived shortly after Mimi left. He’s a good-looking lad of 16 years in spite of that perpetual lopsided grin. Long, tousled, corn blonde hair caps a slender, but muscular body.
He tucked his head slightly down. All that I’ve come to expect from him in the way of respect for a lady. He stood for several seconds before I put my hand out and said, “You might be more comfortable in a chair.”
“What be it about, Kate?” he asked as he pulled out a chair and sat down.
“It’s about having tea and biscuits and getting to know each other a little better.”
“Oh.” A sigh of relief. “I thought, maybe you was mad at me.”
“No, Jacob, I was just wondering where you and your family were living before you came to Saint James, and maybe a little about your family. Whatever you might want to share.”
“Sure, well, we come there from out in the Leeward Islands, Antigua. Pa worked for a blacksmith in Saint John’s.”
“How did you come about moving to Saint James?”
“It be your pa’s fault. I don’t mean nothin’ by that, o’course.”
“What I mean is your pa come to Saint John’s on business quite a bit, and one day he throwed a shoe on a horse he kept there in the stable. Well, the man what owned the smithy weren’t around, so me pa took care of him. He told pa that he liked his work and said he needed a good smith on Saint James. Tole him he could have the shop after one year of paying rent on it. Pa liked him. Said he never talked down to him, and he was an honest man. After a year, your pa brought over a deed for the shop, an’ the two of ‘em got drunk together. It was good of our pa, but if we’d stayed on Antigua, Ma and Pa would still be alive.”
I couldn’t speak for a few minutes. Neither of us did. We sat and sipped tea and munched on the biscuits as we stared at the tabletop. I finally got the nerve to say something again. “I know you loved them, can you tell me what your mother was like?”
Jacob’s face brightened almost immediately. That lopsided grin returned and he said, “Ma was beautiful. You look a lot like her, ye know. She was tall and slender, though, not a runt like you. Pa said cause of her red hair, she had fire on her head and in her belly. She did have an Irish temper an’ she wouldna take nothing from nobody.
“I happen to be five-feet, four, and I do anticipate that I shall grow several more inches,” I said. “I do not plan on stopping until I reach five-feet, seven. That is what my mother was, and that is what I shall be.”
Jacob had the nerve to laugh at me. “Yer ma was a beautiful lady. She and my ma coulda been sisters, tall, slender, red hair and blue eyes.”
“Yes, well, mother did have a bit of an Irish temper, too. I didn’t inherit that, however.”
He had the nerve to laugh at me, again. “Aye, an’ pigs kin fly.”
We talked of other things that afternoon, and laughed. It felt good to step away from Lady Katherine and mingle, but I knew that even as Captain Kate, I would have to keep a certain distance.