I finished editing that first book and sent it as an attachment to the nice ranger at Cape Lookout who helped me with my research so long ago. He was, as you might guess, surprised to hear from me and happy to be reading the pages at last.
Most of those pesky adverbs are removed but there remain two gaping plot holes to fill.
In the meanwhile, as I wait to hear from my agent about the Civil War book, here's another taste of the first (and unpublished) Elizabeth. She's reading a copy of a recently discovered journal, supposedly written by Eliza, Blackbeard's 13th wife . . .
Note -- Blackbeard's real name was Edward Tache or Thatch. Eliza is only 14. She lives in Bath (NC) and the date is ca.1717.
Elizabeth fixed herself a sandwich with bread and cheese she’d put in the mini fridge and ate it slowly while continuing to read about Eliza and Edward Thatch. Evidently the reformed pirate had been as smitten by the young girl as she by him and there were “chance” meetings, always without the knowledge of the governor or Eliza’s foster parents. Eliza grew more and more reckless; she hinted at “kisses and sweet caresses that left my limbs all weak.”
She also recorded a final quarrel with John Martin. John Martin, having seen Edward about the Town, and having heard that he is engaged in the Purchase of a Plantation on Plum Creek, has said to me (all unknowing of my growing warm Friendship, nay Love, for the Man he calls “that Devil’s Brother Blackbeard,) John Martin has said that honest Men should rise up and drive th’ Pyrates from Bath Town. I can scarce believe that at one Time, not so long ago, I thought John Martin handsome and hoped that he should declare his Suit.
Finally there was an entry, written very small and smudged: Edward offer’d to show me some of th’ Goods and fine Things he has safely stored in a nearby Warehouse. ‘Twas th’ Night for prayer Meeting and, may God forgive me the Lie, I whisper’d to my dear foster Mother of a female Indisposition and was given a Cup of Catnip Tea and bade to rest. As soon as they had gone, I slipp’d out th’ Door and down th’ desert’d Street (for all godly Folk were at the Meeting and th’ ungodly in the Taverns) to th’ Warehouse Edward had nam’d.
He was waiting there with a dark Lantern and, holding to my Hand, led me down a narrow wooden Stair to th’ underground Vault where his Goodes were store’d. Here he show’d to me Chests of Spices and Cocoa, sundry Bales of fine Silks and Sattins and then, with a great Show of Secrecy, took me to an inner Room whose very Entrance was hidden behind empty Hogsheads.
Herein he told me, were his greatest Treasures and indeed, here were several Caskets of Jewels, Plate, and some stout leather Bags, fill’d with gold Dust and gold Coins of many Nations. We sat at our Ease on a low Couch while he told me of these Coins -- the Pieces of Eight of Spain, the Louis d’Or of France, even some odd coins with strange Markings, th’ which he said were from the East Indies.
And then he spoke of Love and said, “I have shewn these Goods to you that you might know how well I can provide for you. I would make you my Wife, but that I fear your Uncle would not easily consent.”
My Heart leap’d at this Profession but I knew what he said to be True. My Uncle would never agree to such a Match. “What shall we do, my Edward?” I ask’d., laying my Head on his broad Chest. “There is a Way . . .” and he whisper’d in my willing Ear what Event might cause my Uncle to allow, nay, e’en to demand that we be wed. I laughed to think how simple was th’ Answer.
And so I am come back to my Home, a Maid no longer. And all in less Time than a Prayer meeting. I think it no Sin for we have but anticipat’d our vows, as have many. Anyone who can count to Nine knows how common is this Lapse.