It's been longer than I'd hoped since I last posted an excerpt from the Stone Island Sea Stories here. This one is from the second chapter, "Plans for the Future," of Darnahsian Pirates: The Third Stone Island Sea Story.
Cover art for the first three Stone Island Sea Stories
Here's the excerpt:
“We’ve received orders, ma’am,” added Hotchkiss.
“And they would interfere with what Edward and I might decide for our future?”
“There is that possibility, although I doubt the naval orders would have much effect. We simply sail to London and testify at John Sollars’ trial,” said Pierce.
“There’s the bit about being available for Lord Nelson’s funeral.”
“Aye, that too.”
“But how does that concern plans you and I might make, Edward? Surely a month or two involved there would not matter.”
“We have also received other messages. Another voyage appears to be in the offing.”
“But you are not certain?”
“The missives were not direct,” stated Hotchkiss. “But they hint at things that cause me to refrain from establishing a firm date of marriage with Sharon.”
“And conversely for me, they bring forth a certain urgency in the matter of our future?”
“But this past evening, did I not indicate my willingness to be with you? I feared you would not want me.”
“Oh, my dear, that part has been settled. Still, I have not asked, nor have you answered the particular question of which we speak. As well, it is a query I’ll not directly put forth in the company of others. Nor would I expect your answer, other than in a more private moment.”
“I know what the question is, my dear, and I hope you know what my answer would be.” Evangeline smiled, reached for his hand and gently squeezed it.
Gertie stifled a giggle. “Perhaps we shouldn’t be here, Mr. Isaac?”
Hotchkiss reddened slightly. “Perhaps not.”
“No, Isaac, it is all right,” continued Pierce. “Today we must discuss other items that revolve around that question and its expected reply.”
“But haven’t you somehow asked it now, Mr. Edward? And you’ve answered it as well, Miss Vangie.”
“Goodness, I suppose I have,” Evangeline said. “If you have asked, and I have answered, what else remains, other than to set a day?”
“But surely, my dear, you are grounded enough to realize that other considerations enter in.”
“Face the facts, dearest, you are still in mourning. We need to wait until that period is officially over. Propriety, you understand.”
“True, but I’ve only another six weeks.”
“And there is the boy.”
“Glenn Lewis?” Evangeline’s eyes hardened as her maternal instincts came to the fore. “What about him? I most certainly will not give him up!”
“Indeed, I would not ask you to.” She warmed noticeably at Pierce’s words. “I would give you up, rather than see mother and child separated. Should things work as I hope, I would be honored to consider him my son.”
“Why bless you, Mr. Edward!” Gertie added, “I could see he liked you, sir, even in the short time with him last night.”
“Edward has always had a way with young ones, although more often than not, they were pups, kits, calves, or foals,” laughed Hotchkiss, his comment easing the tension built up over the last moments.
“My concern lies more with the family of your late husband. Surely as a member of that family, Glenn Lewis is of some importance to them. Would their plans for his future run contrary to ours?”
“I have never given it much thought, my dear. Perhaps a mother’s instinct overlooks such matters.”
“But practically speaking, we cannot overlook them. If there is a second voyage, I believe you would wish to journey to join your father. I hope you would travel as my spouse or my intended spouse. Yet, you would not voyage without your son, and if that is the case, I would sail without you.”
“Honestly,” she said, “I’ve heard naught from Kenneth’s family. I sometimes think they did not approve of me.”
Pierce felt indignation rise within. Although raised within and used to the stratification of society, he had also learned that it could be bridged with understanding and openness. Had Kenneth Carlisle’s family disapproved of Evangeline because of a difference in wealth, social standing, or heredity? Did they object to her non-British ancestry, or that the marriage had been one of necessity, in effect, trapping their son?
“I’m so sorry to hear that,” he said. “But it is their approval we need. We must know of any plans they have regarding the lad’s future. How will they react, do we sail for Stone Island and take the child with us?”
“Oh, I knew you wouldn’t allow the tyke to be parted from his mum.”
“Indeed not, Gertie. I’d rather give her up than see her parted from her child.”
“Bless you, Mr. Edward!”
“But need we worry his family will object? Having not been in touch, could they have much interest in the lad?” questioned Hotchkiss. “Perhaps a letter would be in order, stating our plans, and asking them of any determination regarding his future?”