We have a treat for you. One of our reporters was able to secure an interview with the infamous pirate, Irish Red. Because of the interview format, the article is a bit lengthy. We hope you will read the entire piece for we anticipate interviewing a hero of the Royal Navy for contrastive purposes. As always we appreciate your time and support.
Tattler: So, Miss . . . uhm . . . Red, how does one normally address a pirate?
Miss Red: Mr., Mrs., or Miss, depending on one’s marital status is usual. However, I must remind you that I am not a pirate.
Tattler: Ah, my apologies. However, according to a spokesperson from His Majesty’s Royal Navy you “habitually, without authority and by violence sieze or interfere with ships and property of others on the sea.”
Miss Red: “The spokesperson is incorrect. I have letters of marque from the United States which permit me to attack and subdue any ship perceived as an enemy to that country—specifically the ships of Britain and her allies.”
Tattler: Have you those letters of Marque with you?
Miss Red: I did not imagine I would need them for an interview. You’ll have to accept my word.
Tattler: Tattler: (aside to our readers) I doubt very much that anyone would take the word of a person reputed to be a pirate. (To Miss Red) I return to the question of correct address for persons in your profession?
Miss Red sighing heavily: In formal situations such as this interview you may address me as Miss Red.
Tattler, chuckling: Oh come now, surely your surname is not ‘Red.’
Miss Red: Believe what you like, but address me as Miss Red, please.
Tattler: As you wish. Miss Red, how did you come to Captain the ship Erie Mist.
Miss Red: My adoptive father was Captain before me. He taught me his trade, and when he passed I became Captain.
Tattler: It is unusual for ship’s captain to be a woman.
Miss Red: Unusual yes but not unheard of. In the past century there have been more than nine women who distinguished themselves as ship’s Captains. Anne Bonny and Mary Read come immediately to mind.
Tattler: I’ve heard of them, but were they not pirates?
Miss Red: That is how history has labeled them. However, history is written by men. I firmly believe these brave sailors were vilified because they were women who excelled in a profession dominated by men. The myth that women bring bad luck aboard ship is also perpetuated to suppress the wishes of women who long to captain ships.
Tattler: Those are fascinating beliefs, Miss Red, but difficult to prove.
Miss Red: I need not prove my personal beliefs. What you think of them is a different matter and of no great import to me.
Tattler: Really. Then tell us please, what is of import to you?
Miss Red: God, family, country, truth and justice.
Tattler: You do not mention love of a man and woman for each other, which is of great interest to many women.
Miss Red: I have not encountered such, and so cannot comment on it.
Tattler: Hmmm. Please recount one of your more interesting adventures for us.
Miss Red: That may take some time. And most of my ship’s encounters are rather boring.
Tattler: This interview will be presented in print, Miss Red. Our readers enjoy having as much of the story as possible.
Miss Red: One incident sticks in my memory. During the recent war between Britain and the United States, the Erie Mist came upon the Wanderer—a British ship of the line, carrying troops to New Orleans in the Louisiana territory.
The Wanderer had us outgunned by about ten guns and was much larger. Size worked to our advantage in the battle. We outmaneuvered the Wanderer and were able to land a number of shots that destroyed its main mast and started fire in its powder magazine. When the magazine finally exploded, a number of the Wanderer’s crew were killed. We took on all survivors. Their leader—I believe the man was a Lieutenant chose to fight. He was attempting to overtake the Erie Mist. He and his crewmen were defeated. Many privateers in my situation might have hung the entire lot. I gave those men the opportunity to swear allegiance to me and join my crew, or be stranded.
Tattler: Did all of them accept your offer?
Miss Red: Many of the conscripted sailors did. Those ‘regular’ sailors and all the officers elected to be stranded.
Tattler: That was generous of you, to leave your enemy alive. Did you not fear reprisals once they were rescued?”
Miss Red: The ocean is a large place. While repeated encounters with the same ship are possible when at sea, they are not common. Any reprisals would come when the Erie Mist is docked. Fighting on land is very different than on ship. There is usually some place to escape to if the fight does not go well.
Tattler: So you would turn coward and run away if you thought you were losing the battle?
Miss Red: Hardly. Seamen, regardless of rank, are highly skilled fighters and will battle to the final breath.
Tattler: How would you rate your crew?
Miss Red: The best on the seas or on land.
Tattler: And they are loyal?
Miss Red: Because I treat them fairly, yes. Most mutinies come about because the captain or his representatives cheat and lie to the crew as well as employ extreme cruelty for small infractions. Now I regret I must leave. I have another engagement at some distance to the north and must be on my way.
Tattler: You have been a fount of information about non-naval shipboard life and thinking. Thank you for permitting us this interview.
Irish Red is the alter ego of my heroine in Wait for Me, a novella that is part of the Bluestocking Belles’ boxset Storm & Shelter, currently available for pre-order.
About Storm & Shelter: When a storm blows off the North Sea and slams into the village of Fenwick on Sea, the villagers prepare for the inevitable: shipwreck, flood, land slips, and stranded travelers. The Queen’s Barque Inn quickly fills with the injured, the devious, and the lonely—lords, ladies, and simple folk; spies, pirates, and smugglers all trapped together. Intrigue crackles through the village, and passion lights up the hotel.
One storm, eight authors, eight heartwarming novellas.