Sweet Sorrow

Log of The Arthur:


26 April, 1701 The ship is again becalmed in southern seas. Master Mate Horace Blythe is brought up on charges of assaulting an officer and possession of contraband. He is sentenced to twelve lashes and ten days at the mast. Eleven contraband Negroes have been found aboard ship, five have died of disease and starvation. Six were added to the ship’s manifest. Blythe, Horace dead of the white flux.

– C. A.


An Excerpt: Triangle: A Memoir of Black Caesar

“By week’s end stormy winds and South Atlantic currents had carried the Arthur well north of her plotted course. She sailed through the Windward Passage, into the “Spanish Lake”, at last dropping anchor in the cul-de-sac of Playa Plata on the northern coast of French, Saint Domingue. With the ship at anchor, the squall line that had pushed her helplessly northward, passed by during the night. The crew of the Arthur woke to calm seas and an unseasonably cool April morning. When Collin ventured out on deck he found that a naval sloop was approaching the Arthur from shore, under the watchful eye of Captain Doegood and the Arthur’s starboard battery of four eight pounders. The approaching ship flew no flag, but as she drew near a voice with French accent hailed out across the aqua-marine water.

“Ahoy, zee Arthur! May we come along side, Captain?”

“Who be you, and for what purpose?” Captain Doegood hailed in return.

“I am Paul Arnaut, citizen of zese waters and friend to zee English. My purpose ees trade.”

… All during their voyage across the great sea Collin had been aware that this day might come. Even so, the reality of it caught him by surprise. It was beyond his power to change the outcome now, but he swore, in his boyish heart, that one day he would return to make it right, no matter what the cost. In the end it was beyond his power to save the boy. He could only stand, helpless, at the Arthur’s rail, watching as Arnaut’s massive crewman bound the boy hand and foot. He put Nwoye in the stern of the dory, beside Paul Arnaut, and rowed away. Tears of betrayal streamed from Nwoye’s eyes and Collin’s heart nearly burst inside him when Nwoye’s pleading cry drifted to him from across the water. “A h l w o e r t!”


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