A Tall Ship Tale #8: A Striking Woman

Thus, continues the wonderful tale by Paul de Anguera.

Francois, architect of the H.M.S. Legume’s GAG levitation apparatus, was in his cabin drafting a new edition of the unloved Brotherhood’s manifesto, which he planned to entitle “The Flying Brothers Carry Mars Off.” But his concentration was broken by a novel and most welcome sound. “A womeeeen’s voice!” he exclaimed. He threw down his pen and hurried out to the deck. Apparently the Brotherhood was not a celibate order!

Emma stood by the rail, eating sugar cubes with Almo. She was tall and lovely, and had excellent teeth. Her complexion was remarkably pale; but perhaps this was just a seeming caused by her severe black outfit? The Transylvanian Alps through which the ship was gliding made a romantic background to the scene.

As he admired her, she in turn began to eye him speculatively. Resolving to seize the moment, and the woman, he stepped forward and took her into his arms. “Where haf you beeeeen all my life?” he cried joyously, as she returned the embrace — with remarkable strength — might he have been a little vain, he wondered faintly — shocking, really, he must iron it out — but he felt so light-headed and rather drained by it all. She left him propped up against the main mast with a hickey that he would not soon forget.

She returned to Almo; but he dropped the sugar cubes and backed carefully away. Just then, the First Mate strolled up. “Ah, a new arrival! Care for a tour of the ship?” he offered. Emma took his arm demurely.

Almo burst out, “Sir! You mustn’t go with her. Look what she did to Francois!” And he pointed shakily at the limp figure sprawled against the mast. But the First Mate was unconcerned, remarking:

“It’s the fast Gaul that slakes the damsel’s lack.”

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