Finn kicked at the rat, which was the size of a small cat.
He had been aboard the hulk for a couple of weeks now, witnessing the horrors and privations of his fellow inmates. The weak didn’t last long.
Thankfully, he was allowed to stay in the company of Daniel and Jonathan Plowman. Otherwise, the situation would have been unbearable.
The guards were brutes. Plus, they were plain ignorant.
These men, if you wished to call them that, took pleasure in treating the prisoners badly. Run afoul of one of these louts and you risked getting your head beat in.
One prisoner had gotten in an argument with a huge guard the day before. He disappeared overnight and Finn hadn’t seen him since.
Theguards weren’t so stupid that they couldn’t be bribed, however. Plowman had promised one of them some free grog which was aboard one of his ships in exchange for a quill and some paper.
“You know what will happen to you if I don’t get my grog, mate”, said the guard as he handed them over.
“No doubt, friend. But you must know I have friends on the outside”, said Plowman.
“Nice fellow. Some mother’s son, hey Jon?”, said Daniel.
“Barely”, said Plowman. “Here you go, Finn. Write your girl. As part of the bargain, that dunderhead agreed to post it.”
“Thanks, Jon. Much obliged,” said Finn.
He began to write:
How is my tender friend? My soul is anguished to be apart from you.
We are separated by a great sea. Yet, that same sea was made by our Creator, who rules the waves.
In my present state, I think it best to get right to the point and tell you that I myself am being tossed about by the billows.
I presently make a hulk in Baltimore harbor my home. It is a wretched place. But dear soul, the Lord is with me.
He has given to me through the efforts of my new friend Jonathan Plowman the materials needed to communicate with you. Oh, how I wish it were face to face.
I can picture in my mind the walks by the castle, arm in arm. It seems that in His Providence it may be some time before I can have that pleasure again.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, whom we both love with all of our hearts, told us that He has sent us out as lambs among wolves. I reside with them now.
In a place such as this, where death is in the air, there are open hearts. In this respect, God has used me to plant a seed here for His Gospel.
The guards here are foul beings. Yet, Jesus Christ has even given me a concern for them.
Some I have been able to tell of His love. Mostly I receive in return venom and blasphemes.
However, one or two have have given me a hearing. These have begun to engage in some reform, even to the point of some kindnesses to me.
Our Lord has also comforted me with the presence of my dear cousin Daniel and of course Plowman. Without them I would be hard pressed.
My copy of the Bible, which I keep in my jacket has been a great comfort to me. It has been difficult to read in this dark place, but there have been moments where it has been possible.
My imprisonment is not just. But I leave that to God, who has said that vengeance belongs to Him.
I am in much prayer that in some way He will effect my release. It is my daily hope, especially that I can endeavor to meet up with you again.
Our sufferings in this world are great, but His kingdom is what is the important thing. May His will be done.
I must take my leave of writing now. I bring you before the throne of grace every hour and ask that you continue to do the same for me. Remember your friend and brother in this place.
To Him be the honor and glory, forever.
With heartfelt love,
Tears welled up in Finn’s eyes as he folded the letter. Yet, there was a certain joy, too.
Perhaps some good would come from this imprisonment. He certainly had been closer to God due to it than he had been in many years.
“Hey, cousin, does your true love have a sister?”, said Daniel.
“No, sorry Daniel. She is an only child. You are not much of a prospect at this point anyway, are you.”
The guard returned. His face was like that of an angry dog.
“Damned captain. Won’t let me have my shore leave”, he said.
“Here’s my friend’s letter”, said Plowman. “Please post it when you do get off this ship. Remember, there’s some spirits in it for you.”
“To hell with the letter and your grog”, said the guard. He ripped the letter into small pieces, which lay on the floor.”
“You …”, began Plowman. He was stopped by a tug at his arm from Finn.
The guard marched away.
“Sorry, friend”, said Plowman.
“It was one of my finest , too”, said Finn.
This blogger is participating in National Novel Writing Month, which began on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000 word plus novel in 30 days. This is an excerpt of his endeavor.