• "A solid and sentimental entry in an underrated series."—Kirkus, starred review "Jacky is a strong, clever protagonist who uses her skills to stay safe and hidden and hopes to be reunited with her love, Jaimy Fletcher."—VOYA
Wild Rover No More: Being the Last Recorded Account of the Life & Times of Jacky Faber (Bloody Jack Adventure Series #12)by L. A. Meyer
Jacky Faber is framed as passing confidential U.S. information to the British. Forced to flee Boston, she goes undercover as a governess for a prominent Puritan family. When outed by a nosy postmaster, she deserts the respectability of her position, dons a leotard and slippers, and poses as a Russian tightrope walker in a traveling circus.… See more details below
Jacky Faber is framed as passing confidential U.S. information to the British. Forced to flee Boston, she goes undercover as a governess for a prominent Puritan family. When outed by a nosy postmaster, she deserts the respectability of her position, dons a leotard and slippers, and poses as a Russian tightrope walker in a traveling circus.
But the law soon catches up with her, and prospects do not look good. Through her many adventures, Jacky has always found the ingenuity to escape dire situations, but this time it looks like Puss in Boots has run out of lives . . . and her happily-ever-after will be cut short at the foot of the gallows.
• "A solid and sentimental entry in an underrated series."—Kirkus, starred review "Jacky is a strong, clever protagonist who uses her skills to stay safe and hidden and hopes to be reunited with her love, Jaimy Fletcher."—VOYA
Plucky piratical orphan Jacky Faber relies on luck and skill to avoid hanging—yet again—in this 12th and, sadly, final book of the stellar Bloody Jack series, published posthumously. The 19-year-old previously fled Boston and foreswore men after she was publicly whipped by her (disguised) love interest, James "Jaimy" Fletcher (Boston Jacky, 2013). Here, she returns to the city only to face false charges of treason. Setting sail, she first lands in nearby Plymouth and serves as governess to a bloodthirsty Edgar Allen Polk (the future poet Poe), then joins the circus—a logical if belated career move. Thanks to her prior extraordinary but well-plotted encounters with rogues, royals and other historical figures of the turn of the 19th century, Jacky has friends and enemies everywhere (and mentions nearly all of them in her nostalgic moments), and she soon faces the hangman with trademark gallows humor. Jacky is a complicated protagonist, unchanging—always stubborn, entrepreneurial, flirtatious and quick to cross-dress—and in constant motion, and she's a shameless self-promoter (with help from her publisher and friend, Amy Trevelyne), marked with scars and tattoos, who now needs anonymity. Meyer adheres to his effective and enjoyable formula, offering an impressively accomplished heroine, suspense as taut as a hangman's rope and a satisfying conclusion. A solid and sentimental entry in an underrated series. (Historical fiction. 14 & up)
Gr 7 Up—The final book in the "Bloody Jack" series is as full of adventure, and misadventure, as the last 11 tales of the life of Jacky Faber. When the British naval officer, businesswoman, and former pirate is accused of being a traitor to the United States, Jacky is forced to flee for her life. She disguises herself as a governess and a Russian tightrope walker, all with the help of the many acquaintances she has made during her far-flung travels and her diverse talents and skills. Jacky's on-off relationship with Jaimy Fletcher is finally resolved and all loose ends are tied up by the end, with a few twists along the way. Fans of the "Bloody Jack" books will enjoy Jacky's finale, although its dangers and locations are less exotic and extreme than previous adventures. Now 19, she is as popular with men as ever, so references to compromising situations and nudity are frequent, though not explicit. The humor, outrageous situations, and lovable characters keep the protagonist's stories fun and engrossing and are a great recommendation for readers looking for strong female characters and fun historical fiction.—Marian McLeod, Convent of the Sacred Heart, Greenwich, CT
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Miss Clarissa Worthington HoweThe House of the Rising SunNew Orleans, Louisiana, USA
My dearest Jacky, It is my fondest hope that this letter finds you in the highest of spirits and in the very pink of condition, you sweet little thing, you. You are surprised by my return address up there above? Well, dear, I felt it was a perfect place for me to go—my daddy will never find me here. Thank you for introducing me to Mademoiselle Claudelle de Bourbon on my previous visit here, for through her I find I have entry to a very sporting class of people. Mam’selle is well and great fun, of course, and sends her love and affection. And do not worry, I shall not again fall into dependence on those substances she is so eager to provide—no, I am older and far wiser now. Is your Mr. Fletcher here by my side? Oh, you silly thing, don’t you know that was an elaborate little joke? It was just a game. You do realize I had to pay you back for my loss of Randall, don’t you? So now we’re all even—Polly Von can have both Randall and my part in your little play. That was amusing, but time for me to move on. And the very idea of me, Clarissa Worthington Howe, being married to a very junior British naval officer—oh my dear, it just could not be. Oh, I mean he was most pleasant company on our way down to New York. We had many fine promenades on the deck as night fell, but I did find him a bit gloomy. I suspect he is still mooning over the loss of his pwetty widdle Jacky Faber. Oh well, he’ll get over that. But oh! Oh! Oh! If you could have just seen the look on your face when our ship pulled away from the dock and you came running down to find James looking out to sea and me with my arm around his waist. Joy! I must say my timing was perfect! It was as perfect as that scene you staged back at Dovecote when I pulled up in my coach to find you and Randall rolling around on the grass, Randall above and you below, with your skirts up around your waist. Turnabout is fair play, right, Jacky? Anyway, dear, thank you for introducing me to New Orleans, as the place suits me. I have taken rooms here at the Rising Sun, as it seems to be the center of all activity in this city, and I have found employment as a singer. I did have to post a bond with Madame Babineau, considering my past behavior here at the Rising Sun, silly stuff that I can scarcely recall. Anyway, I gave her a check in the amount of $500, written on the account of FaberShipping Worldwide, and she seemed pleased. You have probably noticed that one of your cunning little packets of checks is missing. Is it not the most wondrous thing, Jacky? I write out the amount and sign your name . . . I will try to be careful with it. Thank you also for teaching me to play upon the guitar. With my good soprano voice and my beauty, of course, I am quite the hit. Could I be becoming you? Heaven forbid . . . but, possibly . . . a well-bred, cultured, and beautiful version of you, maybe. You have shown me the way, Jacky, and I thank you for it . . . and for the loan of your guitar. I’m sure you’ll find another one soon. As for my beauty, my fame is spreading. I am performing in several theatrical productions and do not lack for money nor notice. As a matter of fact, I am to be escorted to a grand ball tonight by a General Jackson—do you know him? He is friends with the Lafitte brothers, both of whom send their regards in hopes of seeing you again very soon. They were most emphatic on that. And while we’re on the subject of my beauty, if I were you, I would not go looking for the painting that Spanish boy did of you, as I have borrowed it, also. It has been beautifully framed and now hangs over the bar at the Rising Sun and is admired by all. The Lafitte brothers and I, together with Andrew, were just minutes ago standing in front of it, and all toasted you most warmly—the resemblance is simply amazing. I swear Mam’selle kneels in prayer before it every day. I cannot imagine why it upset your Mr. Fletcher so. After all, we have always known of your . . . exhibitionist tendencies. Mr. Fletcher . . . Oh, yes, you will probably want to know about him. We parted at New York and he took ship for England, while I continued on to New Orleans. I believe he will try to regain his commission in the Royal Navy, and I say good luck to him. Actually, I think he still loves you, poor man. I did, of course, intercept a letter to you that he had placed at the Pig, wherein he suggested a meeting of reconciliation between the two of you. Silly boy. I just could not allow that to happen. I enclose that letter with this one so that you might enjoy. Your piratical friend Flaco Jimenez was in New Orleans last week. I believe he came because he had heard I was here, and he showed me an excellent time. The Lafittes do not know all of the low dives in this town, but Flaco is familiar with all of them. He asks after you, of course, but has invited me to go a-roving with him. He might even give me my own ship. I must say the offer is most enticing and I might do it someday . . . The dread Pirate Howe—it has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? The night is very pleasantly warm and the air is heavily laden with the perfume of tropical flowers, and, oh, I do believe Andrew is here to escort me to the ball. Till later, Jacky. Keep well. I do love you, you know, in my own way. I used to think you were something nasty stuck to the bottom of my shoe, but I have changed my mind on that. Since you have come into my life, you have been ever so much fun. Sincerely, Clarissa Worthington Howe
In the late summer of the year eighteen hundred and nine, we were just back from a fine Caribbean cruise on the Nancy B. Alsop, my lovely little two-mastedGloucester schooner—sixty-five feet in length, thirty feet in the beam—a fore-and-aft rig, and as sweet a sailor as ever did cleave an ocean wave. We angled in on a light, fair breeze toward our usual dockage on Boston’s crowded waterfront. As we headed in, I noticed that the Morning Star, the larger of Faber Shipping’s two dories, was not moored in her usual spot. Solomon Freeman probably had her out on the bay, hauling traps, but the Evening Star was tied to the floating dock. I noticed also that the mighty British frigate HMSShannon was moored alongside Broad Wharf. Well, fine. I am done with all that—the British Navy, BritishIntelligence, young British officers, be they navy, or cavalry dragoons, or whatever. And that is for certain, as sure as my name is Jacky Faber. Though born in England, I sail under American colors, and my company, Faber Shipping Worldwide, is based in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. I am a free woman of nineteen years, and I owe no allegiance to any man, having vowed to live single all my life. My business thrives, and my many employees are happy with their lot, as I am with mine. I prosper and I am content. After seeing the Nancy B. properly tied up, with her crew and passengers sent off to wives and sweethearts and other pursuits, I am headed back to the offices of Faber Shipping Worldwide to exchange reports of a business nature with my very able friend and lawyer Mr. EzraPickering. On the way there, I reflect on our latest cruise:
On this trip, I had taken along Joannie Nichols, my fourteen-year-old ward and fellow Cheapside orphan, and she purely reveled in every minute of it, knowing full well she would have to go back to the Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls upon our return. She is most unwilling to return to those hallowed halls, to be sure, much preferring a life on the open sea, as do I; but she has made many friends there now, so it will not be so hard on her this time. I no longer permit Joannie to bundle with Daniel Prescott, another member of my crew and her long-time beau, as I perceive her to be now fully grown and capable of getting herself into trouble. No, she is kicked upstairs to sleep in my cabin with me, as I need the nighttime company to ward off the nightmares and she needs to watch herself, for Mistress Pimm accepts only certified maidens in her school. I should know, having been closely grilled by Mistress on that very topic more than a few times in the past. Yes, Mistress, no longer your student but still a maiden, and I shall remain forever so. Davy Jones is also on this trip, as well as his dear wife, Annie. So, with Joannie, Jemimah, Annie, Dorothea, and me, this was quite the petticoat crew. But I don’t care—it’s my ship and I’ll do what I want with her. All in all, it has been an enjoyable cruise, and more and more each day, I am liking my new life free of males. In addition to the others, I have my son, Ravi, by my side as ship’s boy, both of us filled with joy at our reunion. After a few trips across the Big Salt on my brigantine Lorelei Lee—to prevent him from being retaken by the Boston authorities and tossed back into that wretched boys’ reformatory—he pronounces himself “a true son of the sea, Memsahib, a sailor man skilled in many useful things. The clever Sinbad has not a single thing on sailor boy Ravi.” He, too, must return to school soon, now that we’ve docked in Boston, but in the meantime delights in showing his fellow Lorelei ship’s boys around the town. They are told they may eat and drink their fill at the Pig and Whistle, but are warned against visits to Mrs. Bodeen’s fancy house. Don’t tell me I don’t know ship’s boys, as I once was one. Ah, yes, a lovely cruise, and one enjoyed to the fullest by Dorothea and Mr. Sackett, she being a former classmate of mine at the Lawson Peabody and he being a teacher at the same school. The two had been tossed out on their ears for the crime of marrying each other. Both are dedicated scientists and were in absolute glory over the richness of the fauna we had found in the warm waters of the Caribbean. Joannie and I delighted in getting back into our swimming suits and diving for specimens, as well as for dinner. Yes, plenty of lobsters, fish, and shrimp for our cook, Jemimah Moses, to work her magic on, but no more riches from the wreck of the Santa Magdalena, which had once yielded so much in the way of Spanish gold for the treasury of merry England . . . and for me. We look forward to more such voyages in the near future, and the Sacketts pronounce themselves delighted. I even plan a crossing of the Isthmus of Panama to explore the west coast of this continent. How I will accomplish that, I do not know. I do know, however, that I will not attempt to sail through Tierra del Fuego, down at the tip of South America, for I have heard too many stories of that fierce wind-blown passage. Plus, I do not like the cold. Perhaps with the help of my leather-bound illustrations of their specimens, it is to be hoped that Mr. Sackett willfinally gain a position on the faculty of the college inCambridge, and maybe I will see some of the back rent they owe me, they being as poor as church mice. Hey, my illustrations worked for Dr. Sebastian back at the Royal Society in London; why not in New England? If not, the Sacketts will continue to travel with me, as I enjoy their company and their boundless enthusiasm for science and nature, and I have learned much from them as well. Think of it as paying tuition, girl. You never know when it might come in handy. And so it is with no small measure of pride that I stride into the offices of Faber Shipping Worldwide. Long may it prosper.
After I give an affectionate wave of greeting to Miss Chloe Cantrell, who sits at the reception desk poring over invoices and accounts, she shows me into the office of Ezra Pickering, Clerk of Faber Shipping Worldwide. “So good to see you back, Jacky,” says he, rising from his desk and holding out his hand. “I hope you had a pleasant journey.” He is, of course, impeccably dressed and groomed, as well he should be, being a prosperous young attorney—made prosperous, in large part, because of the primarily legal business doings of Faber Shipping. “Most pleasant, thank you, Ezra,” I say, taking his hand and a chair. As usual after a cruise, I pass over to him my ship’s log and any diplomatic pouches I might have been handed by foreign embassies. There is only one this time. From Havana. He takes his own chair, and we begin our meeting. “I perceive that you have been rather restless of late, Jacky. You have taken three trips to the southern waters,” he says, picking up a sheaf of papers, “since—” “Since I was bound to the courthouse whipping post, my back bared, and administered twelve strokes of the rod for the joy of the mob? And you wonder why I prefer the sea to the land?” “Well, I believe that situation could have gone much worse.” I reserve judgment on that with a solid humph. “I hope that Amy Trevelyne is well?” I ask, with raised eyebrow. Ezra has been well-mannered in pursuit of the shy Miss Trevelyne for some time now, but she has proved elusive, saying only, “I am not yet ready for that sort of thing.” She has forgiven me for some depredations against propriety and common sense on my part, and she is once again my dearest friend, in spite of the differences in our temperaments. I greatly enjoy my stays with her at dear oldDovecote between voyages. “Yes, she is well,” he says, and gives me his little half smile. “And she avidly looks forward to your next visit.” Then we get down to business in earnest. “Ahem. Revenues are up. The fishing fleet is doing well, as are the Emerald Playhouse and the Pig and Whistle Inn. We were able to sell the cargoes of your last two cruises and expect no difficulty with this latest one. We must keep the rum distilleries supplied with ample molasses, mustn’t we? Your fire brigade, the Shamrock Hose, Ladder, and Pump Company, under the able direction of Arthur McBride, are dashing about putting out fires and signing up new insurance subscribers every day. He has become quite the local hero.” “Hardly surprising,” I murmur. “And, since Pigger O’Toole’s gang of scofflaws has been cleared out of Skivareen’s, all outstanding indentures for passage on the Lorelei Lee are now paid up, thanks largely to the fists of John Thomas and Smasher McGee.” “Good lads.” “And the Lee herself is due in with another load of passengers. The trouble between the rival gangs has quieted down, so there should be no trouble disembarking the Irish families.” “Wonderful news,” I say. “I shall delight in seeing the rest of my friends yet again.” “Ahem. Well, on to expenses,” he says briskly, handing me a bundle of bills covered with numbers, causing my eyes to cross in boredom. Seeing this, he goes on. “I’m pleased to report that all these annoying invoices have been paid, as has this check for five hundred dollars written on your account and made out to a Madame Babineau at the Rising Sun in New Orleans. I had to cover that, even though I did not recognize your signature. I did, however, close out that account so that no more withdrawals can be made from it. I hope I did right?” “Yes, you did, Ezra, and thank you,” I say, pulling out a letter from my vest and handing it to him. “This will explain.” I flip Clarissa’s New Orleans letter across his desk. Never hide anything from your lawyer, I always say . . . Ezra takes it and reads. When he is finished, he folds up the letter and looks off, plainly considering something. “Very interesting and, indeed, it does explain much.” “It certainly explains why I have chosen to live single all of my life. If it does not, here is another letter that I received after that. It is one that certainly threw the latch on my heart for good and ever. It is from Cavalry Major Lord Richard Allen. When last I saw that gallant officer, he was being carried off the field at the Battle of Vimeiro, grievously wounded. I got it several weeks after Miss Howe’s chatty little note.” I toss over the letter bearing the coat of arms of theSeventh Dragoons at the top. He takes it up and reads . . .
Major Lord Richard AllenSeventh DragoonsKingston, JamaicaAugust 28, 1809
Miss Jacky FaberThe Pig and WhistleBoston, Massachusetts, USA
My dear Jacky, Yes, Prettybottom, I am back from the dead and back on the line. I cannot thank you enough for seeing me into the care of the very competent Dr. Stephen Sebastian and his delightful family. I am quite sure I would now be bothering the imps of hell if not for your efforts. You can see from my address that I am back in harness, and with a promotion to boot for showing “conspicuous bravery” in holding that breastwork at Vimeiro. I was also given a nice medal. I asked that you be awarded one, too, since you also were there, but they would hear none of that. Surprisingly, though, Old Nosey spoke up on that one, saying, “The girl was most valuable both in Portugal and Spain and certainly deserves something for her service,” but nothing came of it. I think the only reward you will receive is being once again reassigned to his staff when he returns to Spain as Lord Wellington. Best lie low, Jacky, if you want to avoid that singular pleasure. I have heard you are back in Boston, and I do hope you will meet up with your Lieutenant Fletcher, Royal Navy. That would be a good thing, as I found him a fine man and entirely worthy of you . . . should I ever let you slip from my grasp. I myself have had a rather pleasant time of it—travel-, career-, and romance-wise. It went down like this: Last month I was selected to lead a delegation of politicos to New Orleans to confer with American officials there to try to lessen the tensions that are growing between our two countries—maybe they thought a “Real British Lord” would impress the colonials; I don’t know. But I certainly put on the Aristocratic and Arrogant Young Lord act for them, and I hope they appreciated it, and I further hope it did something to avoid a stupid war. But if it comes down to a conflict, what will you be, Jacky—British or American? Hmmm . . . I hope you never have to choose. But on to more pleasant things . . . much more pleasant things. After the political business of the first day was done—thank God; dreadfully boring stuff—our party was shown to a very active gambling and sporting house for some predinner drinks. We were standing at the bar and toasting kings and presidents and such, when the bell for four o’clock was chimed. Then one of the comely young things the place seemed to be full of advanced to a spot behind the bar where hung a silken cord that was attached to a set of velvet draperies, which apparently concealed something of interest to the crowd. I guessed this was a sort of ceremony that opened the night’s festivities, and I was right. The girl pulled the cord, the curtains parted, and a fine painting was revealed. The place gave a roar of approval. Oh, my God, Princess, how you have gotten around! Glasses were lifted and toasts were made to “The Venus de New Orleans,” “The Naked Maja,” and “The Girl with the Blue Tattoo,” and I must say, Prettybottom, you may rest assured, your front is every bit as pretty as your back. My gasp of astonishment was echoed even more forcefully by a young man who stood next to me. “My God—Jacky!” he said as his glass slipped from his hand and fell to the floor. I tore my gaze from the remarkably realistic painting of you, wearing nothing but a tattoo and a smile, to look upon him. “Do you know her, Sir?” I asked. He is a newly minted Royal Navy Lieutenant named Raeburne, I believe. “Y-yes, Sir,” he replied. “W-we served together on HMS Wolverine.” “Ha! You dog!” I said, clapping him on the shoulder. “I have read that book. So you are the midshipman RobinRaeburne of that little epic and have seen that holy blue tattoo in the flesh, or, rather, on the flesh, as it were?” He could only nod. “Well, young fellow, my congratulations. It might interest you to know that she now has another tattoo stitched onto her lovely hide, it being a golden dragon, and it lies—” I was interrupted on this discourse of your various comely parts and the decorations thereon by a very beautiful young woman who had come up beside me bearing a fresh glass of champagne, which she demurely offered to me, saying in a very soft and charming accent . . . “Please accept this, Lord Allen,” she murmured, her eyes modestly cast down, “for I know we share a mutual acquaintance with my very dear friend Jacky Faber, pictured so gloriously there. My name is Miss Clarissa Worthington Howe.” To make a long story short, Miss Howe and I have been enjoying each other’s company for some weeks now. I get up to New Orleans when I can, and she has come down to visit me in Jamaica. I can tell you, my reputation has certainly been enhanced by squiring that one about Kingston. She does turn heads. Clarissa’s family—Clarissa’s very rich and powerful family, from which she had been estranged—has made overtures concerning reconciliation, and she plans to go to Virginia in the spring and wishes me to be by her side. As a rather impoverished lord of a poor estate, I have little more to offer than my title and a rather nicely turned leg, but still, it seems to serve. So, having cleared it with my commanding officer, I intend to go and ride to the hounds in OldeVirginia. I shall show the colonials how it is done, by God. Well, I must end this letter, as Clarissa and I are off to the races, and then to a play this evening in which she has a part. She lies, in fact, curled up next to me here in my rooms as I pen this and wishes me to tender her most warm regards as well as a heartfelt kiss. See, she has donned fresh lip rouge and leans over my lap to plant a kiss for you here on the letter itself. See, there it is. Then she places one on my cheek as well, which I find equally warm and welcome. Before sealing up the letter, Clarissa has taken it from me and taken up the pen. Between the impressions of her upper and lower lips, she has drawn a very sharp tooth. Ah, the merry repartee between dear friends, how utterly charming.
I remain your dear friend and most ardent admirer, Richard
“You can well imagine my reaction to that one, Ezra.” “Umm. The word volcanic comes to mind. And the letter is rather the worse for wear.” “Indeed.” I slip back into remembrance of that particular time . . .
“GODDAMITTOHELL, ANYHOW!” I bellowed as I crumpled up that letter and flung it against the wall. “First she takes Jaimy, then Flaco, and now Richard! Must she have them all? I can’t stand it, I just can’t stand it!” “Now, Miss,” said my good friend John Higgins, who was attending me in my state of towering fury and attempting to calm me. I stood quivering, with arms held to my sides, fists and teeth clenched, and face in a grimace of absolute rage. “Please sit down and let us discuss this situation. Please, Miss, you will injure your mind and bring on brain fever. You must be calm. Here, a glass of wine with you. There, that’s better. Have another sip.” I did sit then, and attempted to quiet my heaving chest. “What I am going to do, Higgins,” I said, more quietly now, “is outfit the Nancy B. for a cruise down the southern coast, deliver a cargo, then put in to New Orleans and kill that scheming bitch in the most gruesome way possible.” “Now, Miss, I know you do not mean that—” “Yes, I do, Higgins,” I retorted. “I befriended her, helped her out when she was in need, shared my bed with her, introduced her to my friends, gave her shelter from the storm, employed her in Faber Shipping Worldwide, and now I find I have clasped an asp to my bosom! And if Richard marries her, I shall have to call her Lady Allen! Oh, God, not that! I can’t stand it. I just can’t stand it!” I stood and collected myself, then said to Higgins, “After that, I shall ready the Nancy B. for a cruise to the South Seas. Faber Shipping already has routes into the Oriental spice trade, and the Lorelei Lee is prospering in bringing Irish workers to New York and Boston. When I get back, I will load more armament on the Lorelei Lee and take her out on the broad ocean, and woe to any person, any company, any nation, and any vessel that dares to interfere with my trade. If need be, I shall turn pirate, and to hell with all of them!” I paused for a shaky breath. “And I will tell you this, Higgins,” I continued, “I am done with love and the false love of young men. I will live single all my life, and this time I mean it. Do you know what love is, John? Do you? I will tell you: It is humbug . . . Humbug and nothing more! I have hardened my heart and will have nothing more to do with it, and I vow to become the most ruthless, heartless, determined businesswoman on this globe. Faber Shipping Worldwide will prosper and will cover the world, and I will rule that empire. We will sail in three days. If you want to go with me, you are most welcome. As for now, John, good day, as I want to be alone.” I seethed . . . I fumed . . . HUMBUG!
“I sense you have suffered much, Jacky,” says Ezra, putting down that letter and picking up Clarissa’s again. “You may rest assured that the readings of those letters were not high points in my life. I sense that Higgins accompanied me on the last cruise to make sure I did not carry out my threat to kill the divine Miss Howe. Trust me, the Nancy B. went nowhere near New Orleans or Kingston on our last jaunt. Furthermore, you may also trust me when I say I shall suffer no more in matters of love.” “Umm,” he says, continuing to muse. Finally, he says, “There might be a complication here, a complication of an immediate . . . personal nature, Miss.” “How so? I believe I have my personal affairs in order.” I sniff primly. “Perhaps. May I direct your attention to a particular paragraph in Miss Howe’s letter? Yes? Very well, to wit: ‘Mr. Fletcher . . . Oh, yes, you will probably want to know about him. We parted at New York and he took ship for England, while I continued on to New Orleans. I believe he will try to regain his commission in the Royal Navy, and I say good luck to him. Actually, I think he still loves you, poor man.’” “So? I do not care where he is or whom he loves. Good luck to him. He is out of my heart and out of my life.” “Perhaps you noticed on your way here that HMSShannon is docked on Long Wharf?” “Yes, I did, but I am done with the British Navy as well, and British Intelligence, too. I am now a simple Yankee trader and proud of it. John Bull has no more claim on Jacky Faber.” Ezra opens a drawer and pulls out a slim white envelope. He passes it over and I see that it has Miss Jacky Faber written on the front. Suspicious, I let it lie on the desktop and give him a questioning look. He takes a deep breath, then says, “The newly reinstated Lieutenant James Fletcher is on the Shannon and requests an audience with you.” I shoot to my feet. “Wot? How . . . ?” “How did he get over to England and back in such a short time? My dear, you have been at sea various times over the past month or so, in, I believe, a state of high indignation. Ample time for him to go over and back if the winds were fair. As for his regaining his commission, he tells me he had help from a Dr. Sebastian and a Mr. Peel, who have influence with the First Lord of the Admiralty. His court-martial has been expunged from the record,” says Ezra, refolding Clarissa’s letter. “Powerful friends, indeed.” “I will not see him, and I will not read his lying words,” I say, picking up the letter and flinging it back onto the desk. “Perhaps if you knew that the Shannon is due to leave tomorrow for London, you might grant him his request. He is Second Mate, so he must go with her.” Damn! A complication . . . “And it must be noted that he was very lucky to find you in port, given your rather peripatetic nature of late. Perhaps you could chalk it up to Fate? Serendipity, even,” says Ezra, with a hopeful half smile. He is ever the skillful negotiator. I seethe, I fume . . . and then I say, “Very well. Although I don’t see the point of it, I will attend Mr. Fletcher in my rooms at the Pig and Whistle at five o’clock for what I promise will be a very short meeting. And tell him to leave his damned stick on the ship. You will take care of the diplomatic pouch? Thank you, Ezra. Will you be joining me when I go to visit Amy at Dovecote? Good, that will give me great pleasure. You may give those letters to her, as I have no further interest in them, and she will find them juicy grist for her literary mill. And give me his damned letter . . . Till later, then, Ezra. Adieu.” He hands it over and I snatch it up, fuming, and head for the Pig and Whistle. Damn!
Meet the Author
L. A. Meyer (1942–2014) was the acclaimed writer of the Bloody Jack Adventure series, which follows the exploits of an impetuous heroine who has fought her way up from the squalid streets of London to become an adventurer of the highest order. Mr. Meyer was an art teacher, an illustrator, a designer, a naval officer, and a gallery owner. All of those experiences helped him in the writing of his curious tales of the beloved Jacky Faber. Visit www.jackyfaber.com for more information on the author and his books.
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