Chapter 17 - Church, More Plans And Buying Horses
Sarah and I were the last to come drifting back to the ship Saturday evening, I suppose because we had no children to be worried about. That’s a subject we discussed while we were on our little sabbatical. She didn’t really want to be with child during our travelling time; still, we’d been married long enough that she was a little concerned. I told her that I would love her if she had a dozen children or none, but that it was likely that the Lord was simply looking out for us while we were getting established in life. We didn’t really need an extra concern just yet and, thankfully, she didn’t have to deal with morning sickness at sea, like a couple of the English women did. She admitted that she was very thankful for that. I think I calmed her fears some, but I’m sure the issue remained on the back of her mind, as it’s a concern with most young women until they have their first child.
It was a sultry evening and everyone was seated on barrels and crates on deck trying to get a little of the breeze that was beginning to pick up, even what crew was aboard. The sky was getting cloudy and we all knew that rain was probably on its way. When Mama said something about it, the captain laughed and said, “I used to have a sailor from Cape Charles, Virginia, who’d look at clouds like that and say, ‘Yessir, it’s a puckerin’ up ta rain!’ I always think of him at times like this.”
We chatted a while as two of the crew smoked their pipes and some of the others sat whittling. The captain told us that he’d planned on asking us all to mass the following morning, but he expected rain and didn’t feel like walking the three blocks in the rain. “It’s just a little frame church that caters mostly to sailors and dock workers. There aren’t too many Catholics living in Charleston yet, though that may change someday.” he explained.
“That would have been nice,” said Etienne, “obviously, we haven’t been to mass since we left Calais.”
“When we don’t have passengers, we often have a little non-denominational service below deck on Sundays. At those times, it’s only the four of us and maybe a half-dozen of the crew, but it’s a reminder that there’s more to this world than just sailing and working and making money. Would you like to do that tomorrow morning?”
“I think that’s an excellent idea!” I said.
“As do I.” Etienne agreed.
“Crew, you’re invited.” said the captain. Three of the 10 nodded their heads as if they meant to be there. “Is 10 o’clock alright with everyone?” We all nodded yes.
The breeze had been steadily picking up over the previous half-hour and the clouds were growing darker when Evangeline said, “Let’s get the children inside before the bottom falls out of one of those clouds.” We all agreed and began to go to our quarters. The crew stayed put, but they didn’t have far to go. Anyone who needed to go to the head did so and then we settled into our little den. We left our door open for the light. Eventually the rain came and the crew went to their quarters, including the men on rat duty. I lit a candle and we sat and talked about everything under the sun while Philippe and Charisse played one of the games Mama had gotten. The other one she’d left in the captains quarters for Friedrich and Angelina. Soon after dark, a mist began blowing in the door and the candle began flickering more, so I closed the door and opened the little window. It was close enough the overhang of the deck above that no rain came in. “No need for the men to swab the deck tomorrow.” I remarked.
At normal breakfast time the next morning, Friedrich knocked on the door with breakfast from the pub near the boat. He wouldn’t take anything for it, saying that his father had told him not to do so. It was still raining, but not heavily as he trotted to his own quarters with his family’s meals. We learned later that the captain had treated what crew was on board, also. After we all ate, we stood under the overhang outside the door and, using a pan set on the top of a barrel, rinsed our faces and washed our hands. We then went back inside to wait until time to go below. We noticed the hatch was open, but an old sail had been rigged so as to keep the rain out, so the hatch lid wouldn’t have to be closed.
Just before 10 o’clock, we went below and found six small barrels turned on end in a circle and three of the planks spanning them so as to make three benches. Friedrich was sitting there already, so we assumed it was his handiwork. As we sat talking with him, the captain and the three crewmen from the prior evening came down. A moment later, Evangeline and Angelina joined us. The captain asked one of the sailors if anyone else was coming and he answered that the first mate was coming in a minute, which he did.
The captain then asked if anyone had anything that they’d like to say or sing. One of the sailors spoke up and said that he’d like to sing the Gloria Patri. He said that he realized that it was a song used to end services, but it was one of his favorite songs and he saw no reason that a service couldn’t be opened with it the same as being closed. The captain agreed. So, in a beautiful baritone voice, he sang the words:
“Glory be to the Father, and to the Son:
and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be:
world without end. Amen. Amen.”
We all said “Amen” and thanked him for the hymn. Then the captain offered a prayer, thanking God for a safe voyage, a good family, a good crew, a good group of passengers, new friends, for sending His son Jesus to pay for our sins that our souls might be saved from eternal hell and lastly, for the miraculous healing of Angelina. He closed with the words, “This I ask in the holy name of Jesus, your son and our holy savior, Amen.” I was surprised that he didn’t include anything that might be deemed “Catholic,” but I guess he was trying to keep the service non-denominational as he mentioned.
He then asked if anyone else had a song, a word of faith or thanksgiving or a scripture they’d like to share. Little Charisse said that she could recite the Lord’s Prayer and the captain told her that would be wonderful. She recited the following:
“Our Father who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be thy name;
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.”
Hallowed be thy name;
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.”
“Thank you, that was perfect, Charisse, and your English was excellent.” said the captain. “For those who don’t know, the Catholic version is a few words shorter than the Protestant version. Anyone else?”
Nearly all of us had a hymn, a recitation, a prayer or some episode in our life where the Lord had intervened. Finally, the Captain had Friedrich read the “Sermon on the Mount” from the English Bible and we discussed it for a few minutes, particularly any part that seemed unclear. After about an hour he said that we should probably close. He then recited John 3:16:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Then he asked, “Does everyone know the ending song that starts with ‘Praise God, from whom all blessings flow?” When we all nodded “yes,” he began singing and we joined in:
“Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!”
He then raised his hand and recited the benediction from Numbers 6:24-26:
“The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.”
We all said “Amen.” and stood up to leave. I shook his hand and thanked him for the service, as did the rest of us former passengers. The sailors, more accustomed to such things, gave him a nod and left. We were standing around chatting and the children finally sat down, probably from boredom, then Mama and the other women sat down. When we men realized that we were the only ones standing, we laughed and sat down, too. The women were talking about what they might get to take to the new place to cook and Mama was questioning Evangeline on a couple things she’d fixed during the voyage. Evangeline told Friedrich to take the children to their quarters and get out the new game for them.
We fellows were talking about what we’d do to start creating a home on the new property and the captain was doing what he could to help. He told us that the sails he’d give us wouldn’t be water-proof like the ones he collected water with, as there wouldn’t be time to wax them. He suggested that we use either lard or beef tallow to water proof any canvas that we need in the beginning, as it would be quick to do. He thought it best to get a five gallon keg of whichever we used, since it would require a lot to cover two canvases. Plus, he reminded us that we’d need grease for cooking anyway. He said that the side-walls shouldn’t need to be water-proofed, nor the ends. He then suggested how to “build” a large tent using as many trees as possible for posts. He told us that he’d give us some extra sails too, since he had some that were probably too worn to even cut down and re-use. He suggested that they be used for side-walls or extra lean-to’s to cover horses or equipment.
He also suggested that Etienne get hammocks for himself and his family, as copperheads and rattlesnakes don’t usually climb, though they can if they’re determined. Blacksnakes can climb, he told us, but reminded us that they aren’t directly poisonous, though their bites could get infected. He mentioned that if we made the tent as he suggested, the hammocks could be hung side to side.
The captain mentioned that there was a spot near the port entrance where empty ships would sometimes throw their ballast rocks and take on bricks made in Charleston to replace them. Then, if they had a way to get new ballast in England, they would sell the bricks and get free rock to replace them. The only problem was that local people and other ships knew where the ballast dump was and helped themselves to it. As a result, sometimes, you could only reach the piles at low tide.
“That’s something to remember when we’re building pilings for your cabin, Etienne.” I said. “I was thinking that termites might work their way up through the vertical mortar joints in brick pilings. However, if you could have even one layer of stone that spanned the whole width of the piling, it would force any termites to either stop or come to the outside where they can be seen and destroyed by chickens or a determined child or man of the house.”
“That’s worth considering, Samuel. Also, The innkeeper told me of a brickyard that also sells sand and quicklime. I wonder if I wouldn’t be ahead to have the brick, sand and quicklime delivered, since I won’t be getting that large of a wagon. We should be able to figure out roughly how many brick we need and the supplier should be able to figure out how much of the other is required.”
“Etienne, if you have the money to spare, that would be a good idea. We can do everything we can to be ready for them, and you can ride to town and order it and they could deliver deliver it in a day or two. We’d need a water-proof sail to put over the quicklime, though, or keep it in our tent. We’ll need to keep it off the ground, too, so it won’t pick up moisture from the soil.”
“We’ll figure it out, Samuel. Let’s try to decide how many bricks to order. First off, how big of a cabin do I need if I don’t want to add to it later?
“How big are your quarters, Captain?” I asked.
“Well, they aren’t exactly ‘square,’ so to speak, but I’d say about 16 feet square.”
“Do you think you could live in a cabin that size if it had a loft?” I asked Etienne.
“I’m sure we could, but since it’s not afloat, it would be nice to have something a little larger.”
“What about 16 by 24 feet?”
“That would be much better. I could always divide off one end for a bedroom later.”
“Alright, to make things plenty strong, I’d suggest a piling every eight feet along the outside and down the middle. Does that sound reasonable?”
“Are you sure you need that many?”
“Maybe not to hold up the walls, but it will do away with any chance of your floors being bouncy once everything dries and shrinks.”
“Alright, then eight feet it is.”
“In that case, you need four pilings for each long side and the same number down the center, for a total of 12 pilings for one cabin. In 16 feet, what do you think the slope was on the ground your talking about, perhaps one foot in that distance?”
“I’d say that’s very close.” said Etienne. The captain nodded in agreement.
“So we should have the pilings 18” tall on the front side, which would make them 30” at the rear. Add another 18” for a foundation underground and you have for feet of piling. To allow for waste and other projects, figure on all the pilings being four feet. Now it takes three courses of brick to make eight inches of rise, so 48 divided by eight equals six, correct?” They agreed. To make a 12” piling requires 4.5 bricks per layer, so each eight inch section requires 13.5 bricks, but let’s call it 14. Are we in agreement? Alright then, six vertical sections times 14 equals 84 bricks per piling. Call it 100 for more waste and extra projects, times 12 pilings and we need 1200 bricks. Am I right or have I misfigured somewhere?”
The captain nodded in agreement. Etienne laughed and said, “It seemed to me that you were allowing for an awful lot of waste until you added “extra projects.” Then, I remembered that this is only for the first cabin, and I’m planning two, plus steps to the ground front and back, since we can’t use all wood, due to termites. Incidentally, wouldn’t 1200 bricks be more than a good team could pull, Samuel?”
“I would think so. A brick averages a little over six pounds, so we’re talking over three-and-one-half tons. It wouldn’t surprise me if they’d put four horses on it. Then we have the sand and the quick lime to consider. Maybe it would be better to order a portion of the bricks at a time and enough mortar makings to lay them. We could always lay the four corners first, then four more pilings and then the last four”
“That might be a good idea, Samuel.”
“It might be, indeed.” agreed the captain. “By the way, I mentioned the pine beetles to you, there’s something else that you should know. I can’t remember if they have something similar in Europe, but they have a large black and yellow bee that drills holes in exposed soft wood like pine and magnolia. They don’t bother the harder woods like oak and maple from what I hear, but they can ruin unpainted exterior soft wood on a building.”
“I wonder if whitewash would stop them?” asked Etienne.
“I’ve heard it does,” said the captain. “Anything to keep them from the raw wood.”
“Well, that adds another thing to be concerned about!” Etienne said with a laugh. Maybe I should just build a brick house and trim it in oak.” The captain and I both laughed.
“Are you two coming with me tomorrow to look at the horses the dealer has picked out?” The captain and I both answered affirmatively.
We were all beginning to get stiff from sitting, so we men arose and took a few steps to limber up a bit, The women stood too and we began drifting toward the hatch. The captain raised his voice slightly and said, “By the way my friends, the sailors should be back tomorrow evening. The next day, I’ll be moving the ship a ways down the harbor to the place where I pick up the pine lumber that I’ll be hauling to London. I thought I’d better tell you, in case it would affect any of your plans.”
“Thanks, captain, I’m sure that we can find something to do that day,” I said “maybe we’ll look over that pile of ship’s ballast if the tide is low enough.” Etienne agreed.
It was about noon, so the captain asked if we’d like to “go Dutch” at the pub by the ship, but none of us understood what he meant. He apologized and said he shouldn’t have used the term anyway, since he had a Dutch sailor and didn’t want to say it in front of him. “ It’s an English term the sailors use to mean everyone paying their own way. It was one of many terms using the word ‘Dutch’ that came into being during the tiff that Britain had with Holland over trade routes. Such terms always have a negative connotation. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Dutch have similar terms using the word ‘English’.” he said with a laugh.
We went across the wharf and ate dinner at the pub; not having to worry about being too free with the other person’s money, we ordered what we wanted. Still, no-one got overly extravagant except the captain, who ordered a large steak and some small servings of other items. Not being used to much seafood, Mama, Sarah and I ordered a couple of the fish that were listed, while Etienne, Maria and Evangeline ordered chicken pie. The children were allowed to order whatever they wanted, as long as they ordered only one dessert dish. Their orders were actually all side dishes, but all ordered custard and ate it first. It was all we adults could do not to laugh at them. I was surprised at the variety and quality of the food that day. The captain explained that whenever the pub owner’s mother came to town to visit, she helped cook at the pub a few days and we apparently caught one of those days.
After eating, we adults all agreed that a nap was in order, but we waited for Mama who went to speak to the pub owner after we paid our tab. She returned with a 25 pound flour sack about half full of something. “I bought our suppers already if everyone is up to plain fair.” We all agreed, asking what it was, but she wouldn’t tell us. “Captain, can you furnish the ale?” Laughing at her boldness, he assured her that he could. We all returned to our quarters and took our naps, even the children, which surprised me. I guess a full belly can do that to a person.
After a little over an hour, we adults slowly began to rouse. We pulled out our Bibles and read silently for a while until the children woke up, then we watched Philippe and Charisse play the game Mama had gotten as we chatted. Midway through the afternoon, Angelina came over carrying the game that Mama had left with her and asked if Etienne’s children would like to trade for a while, or even go back to her quarters, so they could play together. Etienne told them to go ahead if they liked, so they left. A few minutes later, the captain and Evangeline came to our door and asked if we’d mind some company. Naturally, they were more than welcome. Evangeline explained that Friedrich would keep an eye on the children and probably even play their games with them.
We talked away the afternoon until Mama finally asked if anyone was ready for supper. We readily assented. The captain looked at Mama and told her with a smile that the ale would be served in his quarters, if she’d like to bring her bag. When we arrived, the children were laughing as they played. Friedrich wasn’t playing at the moment, so the captain asked him if he would get us a bucket of ale. He left happy to have a task it seemed; maybe the children were getting on his nerves by that time. He soon returned with the ale and the captain had him set it in the middle of the small table. “Now, what do you have for us in that bag, Anna?” the captain asked.
“Biscuits, Muenster cheese and landjager sausage.” answered Mama. I hope everyone likes them. They reminded me of home.” I smiled remembering the landjager sausage that Uncle Walter and I used to stuff in our pockets before we went hunting. That’s how they got part of their name, in fact, due to so many jaegers using them on the hunt.
“Just how did you come up with those things from a pub?” asked the captain with a smile.
“Well, It was breakfast time, so they had biscuits made ahead. But I also heard a couple people speaking German in the back room, so I asked the pub owner if he had any German foods on hand that he would sell, and he offered me the cheese and sausage. I didn’t know until you said something that one of those voices was his mother.”
“Well done, Anna!” said the captain with a laugh. “I’d wager that everyone here will like their supper; I know I will. By the way, I have some fresh peach juice for the children to drink while we have our ale.”
With that, we all began to pull apart the flaky (but slightly dry) biscuits, put a piece of cheese and a piece of the sausage between the two pieces and eat them all together. The ale helped wash down any crumbs from the biscuits. The children and Friedrich enjoyed the peach juice with theirs. The captain said the juice had been pressed like cider and then weakened and sweetened a little. It was a new drink to me, but it sounded good. After eating, we adults chatted until nearly dark, while the children played with their games. Friedrich, being at a somewhat awkward age socially, moved back and forth between the two groups.
Eventually, Etienne asked who was going with him to buy horses and a wagon the following morning and the captain, Friedrich and I all volunteered. Evangeline suggested that she and the women and children accompany us for a distance until they were well beyond the wharf area and then they would window shop while we men did our horse buying. The other women thought that was a good idea. Evangeline explained that the place where the ship would next be docked wasn’t as nice an area and we’d better get in one last day of enjoying this end of town. “You men will just have to find us when you’re done.” she said, grinning.
The door had been open while we were visiting and we’d noticed that most of the sailors had returned over the course of the evening. The captain said that a few always hold out until the last moment, so we could probably expect the rest of them the following evening. “I sometimes lose a couple more to the draw of the New World, though;” he said, “so I won’t know until Tuesday evening how many new sailors to hire.”
“You know,” said Mama, as Evangeline lit a candle using a lighter similar to mine, “tomorrow will come early, I think I’d like to go to bed.” We all agreed that was a good idea. So, we said our goodnight’s to the captain and his family and returned to our tiny apartment. There, we took turns going to the head and getting a drink of water before we made our “beds,” blew out the candle and drifted off to sleep. From their breathing, I could tell that Mama, Philippe and Charisse went to dreamland first.
We were surprised the next morning when Friedrich knocked on our door with breakfast. “Some of the sailors always come back broke and hungry,” he said, “so Mama’s back to cooking again.”
“You tell her thank you, Friedrich,” said Mama, I’ll start helping her with that starting tonight. What about dinner for them today?”
“Since she’s going with you today, she cooked some sausages that they can eat cold with bread. We’ll all come by in a little while, so we can go look at Etienne’s horses.”
“We’ll be waiting for you!” said Etienne.
About half-an-hour later, they came walking across the deck, so we joined them and began heading into the town. The ladies and the children stopped to look at the window of a millinery after a few blocks, so we four fellows walked on toward the horse trader’s place. The owner was cleaning a stall when we arrived and came out to talk to us.
“Good morning gentlemen, I see you came back. You haven’t bought any horses yet?”
“We didn’t even look around, sir. Mr. Atkinson said you were the best place in town, so we trusted his judgment.” said Etienne.
“That’s very kind of him; I’ll have to thank him for those kind words. In the meanwhile, we tried some horses out since I saw you last, 12 to be precise. Four teams will work as you like, but three of them aren’t totally comfortable with the left and right thing, but they’ll do it. One team works perfectly, despite not knowing one another and coming from separate owners. I don’t know if you’ll care for the colors, though, even though you said they didn’t need to match.”
“I was serious about that, sir, I really don’t care.”
“Alright,” he said with a laugh, “I’ll show them to you first.” Walking to the far end of the building, he pointed into a stall and said, “There they are!”
We all began laughing. “I can see your concerns, sir.” said Etienne, as he burst out laughing anew. There before us in a single stall were two geldings that looked fairly young, matched in height (about 15 hands it appeared) and well muscled and in a single stall, like two old friends. One was as black as the ace of spades, the other was probably the most purely white horse that I’ve ever seen in my life.
When we could finally quit laughing, the owner spoke again. “Both of these horses came from farms where they were the only horse, but both families had children so both horses were a little spoiled and loved on by the children, so they should be fine with children, if you have any.”
“Why did they sell them?” asked Etienne.
“Both farms had been bought as worn-out cotton land and the new owners just couldn’t get anything to grow on the land well enough to make a profit, so they sold out. One father put his family in a small apartment here and signed on as a sailor in order to feed them. The other family sold out and left for Pennsylvania where they have relatives.”
“And they found buyers for their land?”
“You can always sell land if the price is low enough.”
“I see. What a pity. Do the horses have names?”
Again, the stable owner laughed. “Well, they were named by the children, so would you like to guess what they are?”
“Since they were on different farms, I think we can rule out ‘Salt and Pepper.’ Therefore, I’d guess ‘Blackie and Whitey’.” said Etienne with a chuckle.
“I figured you’d get it!” the owner said, laughing again. “The black is six years old and the white is seven, if that makes any difference to you. They should give you many years of service. Since I can get a good price for each of them separately, I’m afraid I can’t give you any beak for the mismatch.”
“I expected that. Hitch them up, I d like to see them work.”
With that, the owner hollered, “Jimmy, hitch up the black and white team and hook them to the big log out back!”
“Yas, suh!” said the negro groom as he stepped inside the back door from where he’d been standing outside, just out of sight. He soon had both horses in harness and was headed out the back door of the stable. We followed. In the brick-walled enclosure between the two stable building lay a large log with a chain already around it. The groom hooked them to it and waited until we were all there.
“Let’s see what they’ll do, Jimmy.” said the owner.
With that, the groom made a clicking noise with his tongue, the two horses snugged up the chain, moved a little to the left, hunched their hindquarters and began pulling. After the log rolled slightly that direction and began moving forward, the horses straightened back to the direction they were originally facing and kept pulling. The groom let them pull nearly to the end of the lot, then said “Whoa!” without pulling on the reins. Both horses stopped immediately. “Have both horses logged before, or just the black?” I asked the owner.
“Both, I think, but not very much.”
“Then they’re quick learners.”
The owner told the groom to switch them, so the groom put the black on the right and the white on the left. Then the log dragging was repeated with exactly the same results. The groom started them again and took them down the center of the lot. When he said “gee,” the team turned a few degrees to the right. When he said “haw,” they turned back to the left the same amount. A few feet later, he said “go gee,” and the team turned as if they were turning a street corner. Then he said “go haw,” and they turned a ninety back to the left.
“I taught them that last move.” said the owner. “It comes in handy for city driving. They picked it up quickly.”
The groom returned the log to where it had been in the beginning, said “back,” and the team took a step back and stopped, releasing the pressure on the chain.
“Would you like to see them pull a wagon or buggy now?” asked the owner as the groom unhooked the chain.
“Let’s see what kind of used wagons you have first.” said Etienne. “If I find one I like, we’ll hitch to it.”
Etienne did find one he liked, one with all iron axles and springs under the seat. The owner said it was almost new, but the owner had traded it for a larger wagon to use hauling tan bark. The wagon showed slight wear on the tailgate and a tiny bit of staining like it may have been used for that purpose, but not enough that anyone would notice if they hadn’t heard the story. After hooking the team to the wagon, the owner told us to take it out for a drive, though he looked a little nervous after he said it. “Friedrich, you go with them, I don’t think my backside needs all that jolting around today.” said the captain with a smile. The boy pulled out the tailgate and laid it in the bed, then seated himself on the back of the wagon bed. Etienne took the right end of the seat, and the reins, and I sat beside him. He clucked a couple times with his tongue and the team started off at a moderate walk.
Out on the streets, they performed perfectly, even at a fast trot. The wagon seemed to run alright with no strange squeaks or grinding to worry about, just the normal rattles from a wooden wagon with iron tires on dirt streets. We saw the women and stopped a moment to chat with them. They said they’d be at the next store up for a while, so we drove on.
About a block down the street, three fellows were standing on a corner passing a bottle between them. As we passed, one of them hollered and said, “Suh, that’s a fine lookin’ team a horses ya got thayer!” With that, all three broke out in belly laughs.
Not turning his head, Etienne stopped the team and said, “Thank you sir. The man seated here with me is selling them to me and said they were a perfectly matched set. I’m blind, so I wouldn’t know. I appreciate you speaking up, it makes me more confident about his honesty.” With that, he drove on without ever looking at the men. Friedrich had his head turned away from them snickering very quietly. It was all I could do not to burst out in hysteric laughter. Etienne kept his head pointed straight ahead for a long ways as Friedrich and I finally burst out in unfettered laughter.
“Etienne, I didn’t know you had it in you. If you’ve never played cards, maybe you should. I never saw anyone keep such a straight face.”
Finally laughing himself, Etienne wondered what the men’s reaction might have been after we left. Friedrich spoke up, “I snuck a look and they were all standing there with their mouths hanging open, not saying a word.” He began laughing anew, as did we all.
Back at the horse traders, Etienne agreed on a price for the horses, harness and wagon, plus two saddles that he requested to be tried on the horses for fit. He also arranged to keep the horses there when needed, along with the wagon. The saddles were laid in the wagon, which Etienne backed into the space under the shed where he first saw it. The horses followed commands perfectly as he backed it in. The first groom and a second one unharnessed the horses and laid the harnesses in the wagon also, then checked the horses feet for stones and began to brush them down. Etienne slipped them both a penny (about a half-hour’s pay) without the owner seeing it. We collected the captain, who’d been sitting on a barrel watching everything, and went looking for our womenfolk. Copyright 2019