Excerpt: Triangle: A Memoir of Black Caesar
Cassine, Ile de la Tortue, 1712
The sweet, sharp smell of smoke from the boucan mingled with a thick morning mist that veiled the small cove at Cassine. Collin was startled from his languor near the breakfast fire by voices that hailed through the thick fog. He hadn’t at first recognized the one to be Israel Hands, but Revenge, though unseen, was now anchored in the mist-shrouded cove. Grace a Dieu, bearing Teach and his crew, would not be far behind.
Collin, Henri, Oguna, her young assistant, Abana, and the crew of Grande Maronage had spent nearly a week hold up on Tortuga. LeFavre was surprised, even elated to see them. Of course he recognized Henri right away and tried to convince him to fight, but Henri refused, not needing the money and not much liking the sport. It took longer for LaFavre to remember how it was that he knew Collin, but when he’d done suggesting that Henri owed him for the man he’d killed years before, he remembered that Collin had come with Teach and Rogers, hunting treasure. He asked how Teach was doing and Collin explained that he and Henri were waiting for Teach to arrive, that his ships, Grace a Dieu, and, Revenge, had fallen behind in their voyage from Africa, caught up in a storm that swept them off course.
While they bided their time at Cassine, Henri had been able to recruit sixty buccaneers to go with them to Chateau Verettes at Port Mara, across the channel, the next stop on his voyage of vengeance. For his part, Collin had spent the time healing from his wounds, under Oguna’s, mystical care. By demonstrating the powers of Obeah on him, the Dyula witch had built a large clientele among the bucaneers, who suffered from all manner of disease and injury.
Collin Aldworth’s Journal, May, 1712
This day has caused me to wonder, for the first tyme, how Henri and the other Africans of his crew see me. Am I truly his friend, or am I one of the ‘whyte jackals” he so viciously hates? One that, perhaps, he tolerates on the basis of some long passed indebtedness.
We returned to the ships, all but empty handed. I could only wretch over the side of the boat as we rowed to our ship. I wretched until there was nothing left inside. I am dizzy from the knock on my head and sick from all I have seen. I know, in spyte of all the rhum the world may offer me, I will never erase the images of this day from my mynde. And now I have seen both sydes of the savage evil of this trade in souls, both the offense and the retribution. Only God can sayve us from this evil, this Devil’s Triangle in which we live.
Cassine, Tortuga, 1712