Jonas began his tale. “I’ve been around a lot since I left. Various crews. Various ships. Various ports. Never been an easy life – you know Captain. You boys too by the look of you. You look like you live on the sea.” Anthony and Lucas nodded. Frankie elbowed Lucas in the ribs for agreeing with him. “I picked up some new crew in Plymouth. Bought and sold various goods. Got in a few scrapes. Met a fellow who didn’t like me talking to his girl and he gave me my new face. The face gave me a new reputation for being a bad seed. People steered clear. People just gave me whatever I wanted – no more bartering or struggling. They took one look at my face and knew I meant business. Never once have I had to resort to using violence to get what I needed.”
No one had seen the dark man looming there in the shadows. The men started, Frankie moved behind her brothers in fear and the Captain reached out his arm to protect his wife. “So this explains a lot. I should’ve been looking for a girl. I tell you lass, there are not many boys who would have put up with what you did.” He looked at Frankie with something close to respect.
The Captain and Pete waited on the harbour front for the brothers. They weren’t far behind them.
“You know where Frankie is? You’ve seen her? Is she alright?” They both garbled together.
“Shhh,” the older men hissed, looking around them. “Come with me quickly,” said the Captain. “Pete, stay here and make sure nobody’s following us. You know what to do.” Pete nodded darkly and made himself disappear into the shadows. The Captain set off at a brisk pace up the path to his cottage. The younger boys followed blindly, wondering how the older man was coping with the steep incline better than they were. “Can you tell us anything, Sir?” Lucas puffed.