Anne tried desperately to crawl out of the grave she’d now dug for herself.
“But Captain!” She protested with more than an edge of desperation in her voice, “I didn’t mean too!”
Only moments before had Anne blundered into a game of Towers that Captain Frobisher was about to win. Now Captain Hawkyns and Captain Drake were splitting the money that Captain Frobisher didn’t have. Anne picked herself up from amid the blocks she had toppled over with and scooted away from her irate employer.
“I don’t care!” Captain Frobisher roared. Anne dashed in between the other captains, using them as a buffer. She wondered why she had let the Captain into the wine so early in the morning, even if it was a festival day. “Get back over here!”
Anne slowly trod towards her captain, ready to duck and cover or run as fast as her legs could carry her. Captain Frobisher had lifted men bigger than her clear over his head and tossed them off the ship. “It is a festival day, Captain.” Anne said hopefully, “Mayhap we can simply forget about this?” It was a stretch and Anne knew it.
“Certainly not.” Captain Frobisher insisted. “I’m revoking your land privileges and you’re going to get ten lashes.”
Anne steeled herself. She could take a whip so long as the captain didn’t find out she was a girl. “Administered by whom?” She couldn’t help the quaver in her voice.
Captain Frobisher looked at Anne like it was the most idiotic question in the world. “Me!”
Flailing around for words Anne sputtered out “But you can’t!”
“What do you mean I can’t! I’m the captain! You’ve got to learn to take punishment like a man, I’ve been much too lax on you.”
Anne looked to Hawkyns and Drake. Hawkyns seemed ready to jump into action, but as always he waited to see what Anne would do. Anne had told him in no uncertain terms that she could take care of herself.
“What?” Captain Frobisher was already starting to walk away from the towers. “Come on, I haven’t got all day.”
Anne tried to find an excuse, “It’ll ruin my shirt!” Was all that she could come up with?
“That doesn’t matter- you don’t need it anyway, Andrew!” Captain Frobisher stared at Anne with annoyance. “Just take it off now!”
“Why not?” Captain Frobisher pulled at Anne’s arm. “You’re not going to get any blood on it. Act like a man, Andrew!”
“I’m a girl!” Anne blurted. Everything seemed to stand still for a moment.
Captain Frobisher blinked. “What?”
Anne looked to Drake, who looked astonished. Then she looked to Hawkyns, who looked a little surprised. Then she looked back her Captain, who looked skeptical. “I’m a girl, Captain.”
“You lied to me!”
“Not technically.” Anne wheedled. “I never said I wasn’t a girl.”
“I distinctly told you girls are bad luck on ships!” Captain Frobisher protested.
Anne nodded, “But you never asked if I was a girl.”
“Naturally I assumed you’d be a boy!”
“Martin.” Hawkyns interrupted. “Do you recall my cabin boy ‘Bob?’”
Captain Frobisher gaze Hawkyns the same annoyed look he had given Anne moments earlier. “Of course! Rather rubbish of you keeping a girl on board.”
“I had my reasons.”
“We all knew your reasons.” Anne couldn’t help herself. Hawkyns gave her a cautioning glance.
“Glass houses, Anne.”
“WAIT!” Frobisher burst between the two. “Anne-Drew.” He looked at Anne in shock. “That’s a boy’s name!”
Captain Hawkyns rolled his eyes and stepped in between the increasingly outraged Frobisher and the petrified Anne. “Oh, come now, Martin.”
“You’re not just getting a whipping!” Frobisher yelled. “I think a good old fashioned keelhauling is in order.”
Hawkyns put his hand protectively on Anne’s shoulder. “As Anne’s father, I take responsibility for her actions and forbid you to touch her.”
Anne and Frobisher looked at Hawkyns in disbelief. “Father?” In reality, thought Anne might have played her cards to gain a little from each Captain by teasing how they might be her father, she had no idea which of these famous captains her father was.
Hawkyns’ pulled a piece of paper out of his doublet and handed it to Anne. “That is my signature, isn’t it?”
Anne glanced at the paper,
I, Father Peter of the church of England, do provide witness to the baptismal and christening of this child, Anne Drew, born to John Hawkyns, Captain, and Fanny Drew, a most common woman, on the seventh day of September anno domino 1556. While this child is not of a legitimate union, both parties do recognize parentage and accept responsibility of this child and do claim the child to be their own.
Fanny Drew John Hawkyns
“While your mother might have had copies of this particular letter.” Hawkyns raised an eyebrow at Anne, who almost blushed from embarrassment. “I do claim you as my child, since it seems that you finally have gotten yourself into a scrape you can’t get out of.”
“John!” Captain Frobisher sputtered, trying to make sense of everything that he had learned in the last three minutes. “This doesn’t make any sense!”
“What doesn’t make sense Captain?” Anne asked exasperatedly. Hawkyns gave her a look that told her to let him do the talking.
Frobisher looked at the ground in an attitude of deep thought. “Wait…” He said as he put two and two together, “You’ve been a girl this whole time.”
“How many people knew?”
“Everyone but you Captain.” Anne grumbled. It hadn’t been her plan.
“Am I really that thick?”
“Come along Anne.” John Hawkyns held out his hand to his newly recognized daughter. “Let’s go get your things from the ship, you need to get some women’s clothes.”
“I don’t own any.” Anne winced at the thought of losing the freedom that trousers and a doublet had given her. “What about the Captain?”
“He’ll work it out eventually.”
Anne looked over her shoulder at the dumb-struck Captain Frobisher. To be honest she didn’t have much of an understanding of what just happened either. Still, something inside of her leapt with joy that she belonged to someone.
However, something inside her said that her adventures had only just begun. She’d need to keep her boy clothes around just in case.