Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Chapter III Jacques Peuchet 1697

With a keen sense of foreboding, Jacques walked up the gangplank to his ship. Most men would have pooh-poohed their wife’s pleas to stay home and not go asea, citing some dream or ill-feeling portending a catastrophe at sea. But Elodie had a gift, a curse some would say, of foretelling future events from her dreams. He wanted to stay, especially after their love making last night. He reasoned that it was their intimacy which had influenced her dream and so, couldn’t be relied on as a true prophetic dream. Not only that, but this trip would be a chance to make a new and better life for him an Elodie. This trip was to supply the French troops in New France fighting the English and the Indians in King William’s War. His King, Louis XIV, had intimated that he would make land grants to the sailors on this voyage, enabling France to strengthen the French settlements in New France. It was an opportunity that Jacques felt he couldn’t pass up. He admitted to himself that never on any of his previous voyages had his wife had any reservations about his sailing. He argued with himself and so with a heavy heart he overcame his gut feeling and convinced himself that all would be well.

This decision would haunt him for the rest of his life.

In the early morning hours, just after dawn, his ship the, St. Honorat 1, hoisted sail and set a course for the Strait of Gibraltar. With favorable winds and calm sea, the captain estimated arriving in New France in 10 to 13 days.

Jacques enjoyed the life of a seafaring man; the camaraderie of his mates, the task of keeping an ocean vessel in top trim, making sure everything was in good repair. He also loved the solitude of the hours at sea. Mesmerized by the endless horizon, the undulating waves, the birds following when they neared land, the sea creatures appearing from time to time such as dolphins, and whales, spiked his imagination and kept his mind full of bountiful dreams. The best time for him when he was at sea was when it was his watch in the crows nest. It was like being cast into another world. He was still a part of the ship and crew and yet he felt as if he were alone in the world, floating above the seas like a bird gliding on the air currents. It was at these times that thoughts of his wife of just one year, Elodie, would flood his reverie. He would recall every line and curve of her form. Her face was as clear in his mind's eye as if she were lying on top of him staring into his eyes with a deep tenderness that always melted his heart; He had become a different man since he had met her. With the arrival of their daughter, Marie, three months past, his thoughts had migrated to more family oriented ideas. He didn’t want to be separated for long months from his girls, his family. The chance to own a sizable plot of land in the new world gave rise to thoughts of farming and a large family. Yes, he was ready to settle down and be a family man.

Three days out, and in the crow's nest for his mid-watch from 1000 to 1400, he was lulled by the rhythm of the wave tossed ship into a familiar day dream; He and Elodie spooning together in prelude to the sensuous love making that always followed. The morning's red sky had given him pause earlier, but there didn’t seem to be any foul weather that he could see. Besides, it wouldn’t be natural to have a voyage across the Atlantic without a storm to contend with. 1100 and the sky was clear for as far as he could see, except way off to the east there appeared to be some darkening along the horizon and maybe those were clouds looming above the dark line; No, nothing to worry about yet.

Reaching into his vest pocket for his tobacco pouch, Jacques felt something else. He pulled out a small, tightly wrapped packet that must have been wedged in a fold beneath his tobacco. A packet of parchment, tied in a bow with black fishing line. His lips curled up into a smile, realizing that Elodie had put a little gift in his vest. Unwrapping the packet, he recognized the smell of nougat, a favorite of his. He was happy to see that that was in fact what she had sent along for him. The inside of the parchment had some writing on it. He popped the chunk of nougat into his mouth and sucked rather than chewed the succulent morsel so as to savor it for as long as possible. He then smoothed out the paper and read:

I close my eyes and see your face

Looking up to mine from your pillow.

When I need to fill that space,

I close my eyes and see your face.

When our limbs are tatted lace,

And the bed begins to billow;

I close my eyes and see your face

Looking up to mine from your pillow.

This poem, the succulent sweetness in his mouth, and the rolling waves all served to entrance Jacques and he recalled their love making on the night before he sailed. She had scented her hair with lilac water and when he slipped into bed behind her and spooned her shapely bum, he could smell the essence in her long coal black hair and it aroused him. Lightly kissing and flicking his tongue along the back of her neck he placed his hand on her thigh and gently brushing his hand against her skin he thought of the silky feel of cream. His hand slid slowly up her thigh and inched forward toward the apex of her womanhood. She nuzzled her encouragement against his engorged manhood and he was emboldened. Ever so slowly he proceeded to touch every inch of her flesh, raising goose bumps in his path and arousing low moans of pleasure from her throat. She turned to face him and he lay on his back as she mounted him and took him into her with delicious slowness. He opened his eyes to see her looking into them with lustful adoration and the slowness gave wave to faster and faster motion; rolling, bucking, rocking. Thunder rolled in his head and as he erupted inside of her ,lightening exploded in his shuttered eyes and he could feel a wetness against his face…his eyes flew open and instantly he was aware that he was being tossed and slammed against the railing of the crow’s nest, driving rain was being whipped against his face. It was all he could do to hold his place and not fall from his perch to the deck far below! And from out of the darkness a huge crunching sound reached his ears and he felt an unnatural buckling of the ship. The bow and stern were buckling toward each other and the crew was wildly yelling at first unintelligible sounds and finally he could make out the words; leviathan ramming!!, leviathan ramming starboard!!! Then a huge snapping, cracking and the mast that held the crows nest began to list and in an instant Jacques was in the roiling sea, gasping for air as he bobbed wildly, helplessly groping for some flotsam to hold on to so that he didn’t make an untimely visit to Davey Jones’ locker. Finally he recognized the feel of the railing against his rib cage and slowly understood that he was in fact still inside his perch. He wrapped his arms around the floating mast and held on with all the energy he could.

Floating, bobbing like a cork he rode out the storm and found himself washed up on some shore in the murky darkness. He called out for his shipmates, but the only answer he received in reply was the crashing waves against the rocky shore and the whistling wind mocking his shouted voice. In time he collapsed in exhaustion. As he slipped in to unconsciousness he thought; you were right, my Elodie.



Blogger tumblewords said...

Wow! What a tale - full of story!

11:51 PM  
Anonymous gautami tripathy said...

I say, I like that! Still thinking about it...

10:29 AM  
Blogger PEA said...

Happy Halloween dear Rel:-) Hope your day is filled with lots of treats! I've just finished catching up with your last few posts...always such a pleasure to read!! This story here held me spellbound from start to finish...Rel, I've said it often and I'll say it again...you have the heart of a true writer my friend! xox

12:26 PM  
Blogger Churlita said...

Is it hot in here, or is it just me?

3:04 PM  
Blogger Rowan said...

Another chapter - excellent. You are good at creating pictures with words! I'm looking forward to to finding out what happens next.

3:27 AM  
Blogger Shameless said...

Nice. Makes me want to read more! :-)

5:36 AM  
Anonymous UL said...

almost missed this one, glad I caught it now, beautifully told...loved the historical play.

9:05 AM  

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