Trade Wind

Trade Wind by M. M. Kaye

Book: Trade Wind by M. M. Kaye Read Free Book Online
Authors: M. M. Kaye
paused and looked back at her over his shoulder with complete disinterest. “No, Miss Hollis. It is not I am sorry to disoblige a lady, but I’m afraid it is not possible for me to abandon my present plans in order to speed your restoration to the bosom of your family. And in any case I couldn’t get you there in time to prevent Captain Fullbright breaking the sad news of your tragic end, so a few more days of mourning are not going to hurt them.”
    “But I have just told you that you will be paid for your trouble, and I can assure you that I am not in the habit of making promises that I cannot keep.”
    “And neither am I in the habit of altering my plans. Miss Hollis.”
    “Except, I suppose,” retorted Hero, exasperated, “to suit yourself.”
    “Of course: and on this occasion it does not happen to suit me. But you may rest assured that we shall do our best to make your stay on board comfortable, and if it’s any consolation to you, the delay will at least give your looks a chance to improve before we reach Zanzibar. For if your loving relatives were to see you at this moment the odds are that they wouldn’t even recognize you—much less own you!”
    He grinned unfeelingly and departed, shutting the cabin door behind him and leaving his involuntary guest a prey to unprofitable emotions; not the least of which was wounded vanity.
    Even her detractors could never have accused Hero Hollis of being vain of her looks. But she had become accustomed to hearing herself referred to as a ‘beauty,’ a ‘goddess,’ or a ‘damned handsome young woman,’ and until this morning had seen nothing in her looking-glass to contradict any of these statements. It was somehow deeply humiliating to discover that in the eyes of this obstructive and unsympathetic Englishman she must appear not only unsightly but positively grotesque. And the fact that he looked upon this as a matter for jest added a final touch of indignity to the whole undignified and deplorable situation.
    Hero could only regret that she had been led to thank the man for saving her life, because now that she came to think of it she was not at all sure that the dreadful episode of her fall from the deck of the Norah Crayne —not to mention her present predicament and her damaged looks—could not be written down to his account. It was his inability to handle his ship in a storm that had resulted in the Norah Crayne being forced into a cross sea, and but for that she, Hero, would never have been swept overboard, or sustained these disfiguring injuries. Therefore the very least he could do to atone for all this was to take her to Zanzibar without delay. What did his own selfish private concerns matter when compared with the grief and despair that Aunt Abby and Cressy would be enduring? The anguish of poor Clayton, who would think her lost for ever, and the remorse of Amelia Fullbright? The thought that their sufferings were now to be unnecessarily prolonged, and by the very man whose criminal lack of seamanship had caused them, was insupportable.
    “There y’are, miss,” said Mr Potter, breaking in upon her angry musing. He deposited a brush and comb, the promised ointment and a pair of scissors on the desk, and remarked affably that if there was anything else she fancied she had only to give a shout and Jumah would attend to it: “You just tell ‘im what you wants, for ‘e speaks the King’s English as good as I does, and I can’t come ‘opping in and out meself. It’s still all ‘ands to make-and-mend, for the pore ole bitch got a fair batterin’ in that storm.”
    “The poor old…?”
    “The ship. The Virago , Fair catched it, she did. Foremast gone, spars broke, ‘atches stove in—”
    “The Virago ?” For some reason the name seemed vaguely familiar, and Hero was wondering where she had heard it before, when a snatch of conversation returned to her: ‘ He named her, so he should know .’ Captain Fullbright had said that.

Similar Books

Things Lost In The Fire

Katie Jennings

Words to Tie to Bricks

Claire Hennesy

Blood Redemption

Tessa Dawn

Plum Pudding Bride

Anne Garboczi Evans

Edge of Darkness

J. T. Geissinger