He wondered did he look the part. In clothes taken from tramps he had walked from London to Dover. As night time fell across the port he started looking for a berth. He was careful to avoid the navy’s ships, they always needed men, but he was planning a one way trip to France. At last spotting a neglected merchantman. Jeb with his last drink purposely spilled over his beard, staggered slightly as he passed the crafts boarding plank. “Did he need a berth”, “certainly”. Terms were agreed, then a rummer of ale taken to seal the deal.
At La Rochelle, Jeb slipped ashore. The most tedious part of his journey now began. Four days of miserable walking should see him reach Paris, and his contact Madam Thible. He prayed to god that her charge was still alive, for the news from Paris was dire.
Jeb knew the child straight away, the golden locks, the blue eyes and finely chilled aristocratic features. Layers of grime along with filthy clothes would hide much. But the upright walk would have to go, if they were to reach Honfleur alive. Then board a craft for England, where he would hand the child over.
This story is dedicated to Mr Thompson, a fine teacher who in 1963, encouraged me read and copy out, ‘A Tale of Two Cities’. Until I met Mr Thompson, english lessons at school were a hated subject.
I managed to write the first paragraph yesterday. Then I experienced that dreaded thing called writers block. Thank heavens that today, coffee in Skipton allowed me to complete this story.