Charlotte's Family was a 7th grade school project, and my very own sequel
to The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle.
I highly suggest you get a copy and read it beforehand.
By Kate Gold
Sequel to: The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
Charlotte was a 13 year old girl, which was being educated at the Barrington School for Better Girls, and was to travel over the summer of 1812 to Providence, Rhode Island via the feared ship, the Seahawk to her home and family. She was to have 2 other families take the voyage with her, but they claimed to have sick children at home, and she finds herself alone.
Charlotte grew up learning good manners and refined character in her fancy home. On the ship, as passenger, she soon became a friend to both highly proper Captain Andrew Jaggery as well as lowly old black crewman, Zachariah. For these men, she kept herself well kept, often brushing her hair, her best feature, and trying not to soil her nice white gloves.
Growing closer to the wild crewmen and their stories, as she reads them her good books of virtues and biblical scripture, Charlotte finds herself helping the men out. One day, she finds herself going into the forecastle, a place she has never entered as the crewmen live here, to get a needle for Ewing from his chest.
Soon, Charlotte finds a round robin, pistol, possible stowaway in the room, and goes to report this to Captain Jaggery, who told her to watch the crew as to predict any mutiny, if it were to come. He calls “all hands” and quickly the crew appears armed with knives and pistols, along with a stowaway, one- armed Cranick, the leader of the riot. Cranick is killed by the blow of one of Captain Jaggery’s muskets, and falls to the deck, his final breath given. As well, Charlotte’s friend, Zachariah, is given 50 lashes and the next day dumped into the sea dead. Horrified, as he is whipped, Charlotte tries to intervene and accidentally whips the Captains face, making him very angry at her.
Later, she goes out with sailor clothes on, which Zachariah had previously given her, and joins the crew, by proving she can climb to the royal mask, a task that takes her half an hour, and a crewman a few minutes. Still raged, Captain Jaggery tells her to do a dangerous task, one that could end her life, but she manages to complete.
Then, they run head on to a hurricane, where she cuts off her prized hair and in which she nearly dies once more, this time only to be saved by a creature, resembling Zachariah , although the man had died. After many hours of endless work, she is able to sleep, and wakes up almost 12 hours later to find she was to be left alone. The captain believes she killed his first mate, Mr. Hollybrass, who was found dead on the deck, with her protective dirk in back and precious handkerchief in hand.
She fines herself sent to the brig, the ships jail, where she finds old Zachariah, who managed to survive in the dark brig by a bit of food and water a crew member would send when he could come down. At her trial, she is sentenced to a hanging in only 24 hours, and she realizes it was Captain Jaggery who murdered the man, who “was a threat”, and they try to get into his musket cabinets with a key, in a place only Charlotte, and the Captain himself know. Unfortunately, Keetch spoils the plan, and Jaggery is determined to kill Charlotte, but falls to his death from the Seahawk to the sea granting Charlotte captain.
When she arrives home with short hair, rough hands, tattered clothes and tan skin, her family thinks she is crazy. Her father who read her journal and shared parts of it to her mother, confines her to her room for weeks, where Charlotte appears to read more books on virtue. Then, the night before the Seahawk is to leave the docks of Providence, she once more puts on her sailor suit, climbs from her bedroom window, and goes to the ship, where she finds Zachariah, and goes to join the crew once more and her true home.
Like I was terrified when I saw the figure of Zachariah, he seemed scared of what was me, in the dark night. He walked out to the gangplank, where I stood, and felt my cheeks. I had to admit, they had turned dark, and rough, which my mother had noticed. She was used to a girl’s soft pale skin hidden in the shadows of a bonnet and pretty long hair placed neatly into braids.
Then, he took my hands, my rough, calloused, unladylike hands, that pulled me back to my trial, and I heard Captain Jaggery sputtering “ an unnatural girl, dressing in unnatural ways, doing unnatural things” I shivered. Why had I come back? I wondered as I came back to Earth, back to the Seahawk, and heard Zachariah’s voice, as a smile broke out on his face. “I am so glad you chose to return, and would love to here about your home and family, when lets say, you visited them.”
I told him. I told him how I was so unhappy there, in those clothes, in that bed. In a world that I didn't belong in. I told him about my little brother Albert and his twin, Evelina, and how Father had spoiled them in the nursery with a tutor, Miss Van Rugoff. How our servants did so much for us and wouldn’t call me by my own name, like the men do here. They would never be my friend.
When I finished, I noticed that the entire crew was around me. And they had their mouths wide open at my very presence, I imagine. Keetch was the first to talk, to break the awkward silence. What he said was just like his sly, heartless self. “I don’t believe you. You come back, here, of all places, and you are brainless. You tell of a life with a fancy home and a family and many servants... but you turn that down! You choose to live on a boat, where you will never get a proper education for a fine lady for yourself.”
For a while, there was more silence, but then I spoke as calmly as I possibly could, “I don’t like that place. Here”, I placed my hand on the rail, and then continued. “This is my home. Plus, I need you guys. You are my family.
Soon, I heard three words from a small voice, “So are we” it said.
Chapter 2I looked down to see two children, which I recognized as my brother and sister. I had no idea what they where doing in the middle of the night awake and on a boat, this boat especially. The crew was as speechless as I, as I recognized their figures. Evelina began to speak, agnologing only me, and not even one of the big men around her, that I imagined looked anything but friendly to the 9 year old twins. Tears ran down her eyes as she spoke.
“Father. He had servants get us up in the night, and you were to be awakened too. Mother has died, and Father says you have poisoned her and have run away. We think she just went insane at your peculiar ways. “ There were many more gasps, including mine, then silence, once more.
All of a sudden, Barlow, one of the biggest of the men, asked how they had gotten here and what they expected to do and the sun was coming and the boat was leaving in a few short hours, for the sea, and it was not coming back. It was Albert, who answered this time, “Bridget, your servant. She said you would be here. We walked with an old map she gave us. We came all alone, Sister. You see, Father was going hysterical, and she said even a boat would be better than at our home, without a mother. Bridget also sent you your journal books in your old chest, along with food, that the cook prepared, just for us.”
The crew, all of a sudden started babbling, and in such a chaos that I couldn’t even tell who said what, but I knew just as well as the others that this was no place for children. They seemed to realize it too and started to cry. “Charlotte”, Evelina pleaded between tears, “We do want to know you, and never could if you were roaming the 7 seas on a boat. Listen, Sister. You have to let us come!”
The current captain, Kisk, said he would allow them on board, if everyone accepted, and they would pass some tests, to prepare for the journey. First, they would have to be fit for sailor clothes, and not wear the fancy outfits they wore now. Then, they would not be getting treats from the cook, so they would have to eat some hardtack bread- and keep it down. Also, my sister would have to get her hair cut short like mine, surely the toughest of all.
The tests they past and I’m positive by the looks on their faces that they were curious and excited. Back then, I thought that we would take the trip with ease, and my siblings would enjoy every minute. Now that I look back, I’m not so sure it became what we expected.
With us Doyle family making a surprise appearance, we decided we had many changed to make, on board. One thing that everyone knew is that our Father would never again approve of our being on a ship, especially this one. Together, we finished loading the cargo, and took off. By the time the sun rose, around 6:30 in the morning by land time, and 4 bells into the morning watch, land was a good many miles away. Now, we all could sit and think, well, everyone except for Keetch, who was nominated to steer the Seahawk, and report any problems if they were to arise. I was glad to let him go, as I fear he could stir trouble with many other tasks.
We sat, everyone unsure of who belonged where, especially the children. In the end, we decided that Zachariah and I were co- captains, Fisk was First Mate, and Barlow and Ewing would share Second. Generally our watches would stay the same, with minor changes as necessary. Indeed, it was odd, having so many in power, but we felt that it was only fair and we would have had everyone in these titles if it were possible. Little Albert and Evelina became known as The Twins, were to learn the ways of a ship, even though it would not educate them like proper children.
As for our rooms, all the men would stay crammed into their forecastle, and my siblings and I, the children of the Seahawk, would take Captain Jaggery’s room, which still held his fine possessions, tattered as they were from the hurricane. The Twins were delighted.
For most of the day, I arranged our belongings, and helped Zachariah as he tended to The Twins, because as I had become like I had, they became extremely seasick. Evelina, the thinner one, was doing most terrible and we had the whole crew calling to the heavens and praying to whatever crazy God they knew, to help Evelina, let her survive the day, and become well. It was most frightening.
That night, I tossed and turned, every now and then, checking to get a report from Zachariah and myself see that The Twins, my siblings would be okay. Then, in the wee hours of the morning, they both seemed to be perfectly fine when I came across the room and they noticed me, and as they awoke, sat up. As they did, I say Zachariah must have changed them into the sailor clothes he made, and they could feel the difference. They liked it.
Albert began to speak, and what he said made me smile, then giggle, then burst completely into laughter. “Dillingham, Grimes, Morgan, Barlow, Foley, Ewing, Keetch, Fisk, Johnson, Charlotte, Evelina, and Albert. We have so much in common.”
He sounded just like Zachariah. Their was so, so much I had to learn from my family.
It took them a few days more, to fully recover, but when The Twins did, they were stronger than ever. Until then, I was able to fully settle into the room on the ship, free of work. I saw how they became sponges, soaking up their new world, and carefully observing every little thing they sensed.
Feeling a strong comforting, I took up my journal to write and record my days, as I had done before. When I bent over, I noticed that there were two journals and I only owned one. Where had the other come from?
I picked them up and soon found that one had been my own mother’s. What it held inside was hard to comprehend. So, then, I sat down and stared at its many, many pages and the words of my mother’s journal from the year 1777. She was 15 at the time, and had also been taking an ocean voyage with her family. I had no idea that she had ridden on a ship, as a growing girl, but guessed by her fine spelling, grammar, and delicate penmanship, that it had been a voyage completely opposite the one I took.
I was hungry to read the journal I knew very little of my mother’s family, and it occurred to me that she was a complete stranger to me. How could I have never realized this before? As the sun, began to sink, I found I had only a few minutes to read.
I flipped it open to the first page, where there was a family tree. I first was surprised that she had two siblings, for I thought she was an only child. The boy, Andrew, was 10 years older than my mother, and the girl, Maria, was my mother’s twin. This girl in photo looked just like me- and with short hair, too! I was so confused. My mother had a brother and sister, and had never told me- her own daughter! I was going to run, to tell Zachariah, when I saw the last name of the household at the very top of the page.
The crew came running to the cabin, and the loud footsteps scared me. Then, I realized why they were coming, my scream. I rarely did scream on board, and I could only imagine their thoughts. They could not see what I had, at least not yet. I threw it under the bed, and as the men busted in, had an idea. A pathetic idea, but an idea at that.
Zachariah was first. ”What is it?” He asked as the others followed in, waking Albert and Evelina from their sleep. “I just forgot that there are mice on board and didn’t expect to see one, scampering across the floor, “I stammered.
“That’s all, Charlotte?” Zachariah asked, clearly not believing any of the lie I had spoken. “You are not one for screaming out like that. Are you telling me the truth? I am your friend, child, always remember that.” He questioned.
For the first time in my life, I was a liar, and answered his plead saying, “Yes that’s what the only trouble is, a little mouse.”
Keetch tried to make use of his being in my room, and said smartly, “Well, if the only trouble was a mouse, I shall see you tomorrow morning for your watch. The Twins shall follow, and finally begin to learn the ways of the Seahawk. You need to earn your keep, and you especially, Charlotte. Work for once. Am I understood”? “Yes”, I replied following The Twins, Albert and Evelina, who of course whispered the same thing, clearly ashamed. \
Then, they left. Zachariah, was the first one out, and I could tell was waiting for me to admit something to him. I almost did, but didn’t, biting my tongue, even though it bled.
Later, I went to bed, prepared to awaken in the night and get the day started, with my brother and sister. I had a hard time sleeping as my thoughts kept drifting to my mother, and her journal. What did it hold? I had seen in the front half silly books, her favorites most likely. They were things like, “A Lady’s Picture”, “Virtues for a Pure Soul”, and the worst, “A Baronesses Book on Gratitude. “ After this one, my mother had listed 150 things she was grateful for.
But truly, what was her journey like? Why had I never been told these things? I wished to see my father, and ask him these things that I longed an answer for.
As I was thinking, I must have fallen asleep, for I found myself awakening to bells in a short time. It must have been only an hour or two. I then, got The Twins Evelina and Albert up, who with the startling noise had already begun to stir in bed.
Together, we went to the waist of the ship, where I, unsure of what we would be needed to do, went to Zachariah. He seemed almost surprised to see me, as if he had gotten used to my figure not lurking in the dark. This angered me, but I let this emotion slip away, as he began to speak. “You will not be allowed to work until The Twins were able to climb to the royal mast, like I had to when I joined the crew. Along with that, they could not go back to bed, even if the watch switched, when we should be in bed, or relaxing otherwise.
This scared them, and although they went over to the ratlines to climb, their bodies did not want to go up. Then I heard Barlow call out from below, saying the same thing he told me in my climb, “A blessing goes with you, Twins. I decided to go with them, slowly following their bodies as they rose. I too, became frightened, because if they made one single wrong move, they could fall, and would surely die.
We were about 40 feet into the air, and I decided that it would make our climb much easier, if they heard a story. As of this point, I knew many sea tails, of sea creatures and other unrealistic creatures, but decided that the one I knew best was my own. So then, I began. I told them how I became part of the crew, and I even stated why, because there was much death on the voyage, which the captain had done. They gasped.
As I was finishing, only then did I realize that we were over 100 feet in the air. So, I told them where we were ant that they shouldn’t look down. They did anyway and we say the tiny ship below us. After a minute or so, we continued the last little bit, which normally take at most a minute, in good weather and now was a mere 5. Up near the stars, we stayed for a while, and I learned a great deal. I couldn’t wait to get to my journal. And my mother’s.
Up their I learned a lot about my home and my father. I was told he missed me, but was fuming at my ways. Evelina said he became drunk every night I has home, and that upset mother, as well as scaring The Twins. Albert told me that I was his favorite, and while I was at school he bought a large, nearby estate, and had upgraded one building of the estate. Just for me. He was going to show it to me the morning following my arrival, but he and Mother fought and kept delaying it. Mother just wanted it tore down completely.
I have to admit, it did seem very nice and I would have enjoyed it. It was a modern place where I could spend my spare time and have fun. As I did so, I would be exercising. For instance, there was a heated swimming pool so I could be swimming 10 feet underwater, or on a hand carved mountain rock wall towering 30 feet above land. In my absence, The Twins had been able to use it, and I realized it is quite like the Seahawk and the skilled children could learn quickly.
Zachariah and Albert were right. Even many miles away in Providence, we always have been very similar. The Twins would climb a much safer and 100 feet shorter way, but we all climbed. Then, we are near water. The ocean, is much vaster, in both depth and distance, and easily with its rough waves, could kill someone, but its still water.
Later, when I was off the mast and in the cabin, I took out my mother’s journal, and read the entire document- twice, before I even looked up. When I looked up, I found myself soaked in tear. It was so weird, but in the first time in weeks, I was able to understand my mother. I just sat their thinking, and within a few moments was called by bells back to work with The Twins. Slowly, they learned the ways of the Seahawk, our home, and a place I could never leave.
Finally the watch is over, and I can give my thoughts to paper. I can save my brain from insanity. So here she is: My mother and her family took their summer voyage aboard a ship called the Ocean Maid. Mothers brother, was always reading books, especially sea tales, and especially on board that ship. Apparently, he ran away after the journey, which surprised me. Did she know of him being the captain of the ship my voyage? Did my father know he was an employee?
An way, Mother’s twin Maria, was friend of a very rebellious black man, named Zachariah, in his 30’s. He taught her all the ways of the ship, and like me, she went from fine lady passenger to helpful crewman. I wondered if Uncle Jaggery knew of our relation, and of Zachariah being a crewman on that ship. I have so many questions and so much I have to tell my father. Where is he when his daughter needs him?
Along with the story, the captain of the Ocean Maid drove directly into a hurricane, and like Uncle
Jaggery told me, she was to cut the foreyard mast, and was given a knife from the captain to do so. I figure Maria’s hair was already short, because of my perspective telling of her quick, free ability to climb. Mother told in a series of very emotional words how Maria fell when she slipped from the spar. Zachariah had been steering at the time, and had never spoken the rest of the journey , except when he got off, my mother heard him tell Uncle Jaggery, “ I don’t need this ship, and the ship doesn’t need me. What I need is a new ship and a new captain. Do you know where I can get this, son?”
I sat up, and decided that then and there I was going to find Zachariah, my mortal guardian angel, who had been trying to protect me, the entire time. On the way to the forecastle, I had another flashback and could clearly hear him say “It may well be that Miss Doyle will have use for a friend...Zachariah can be a fine friend... we have so much in common”
Then I came back to the boat, and told him, the rest of the crew, and The Twins, my news.
Three years later
My journal! I can’t believe I have found my journal. So much has changed in this time, over 3 years. I mean I’m 16, a full grown woman, and little Albert and Evelina are 12 and aren’t so little anymore. We all have been showing our “Jaggery blood” as old Zachariah calls it, always chuckling afterwards, of course. He even gave me the nickname, Live Maria, after my similar personality and appearance to Maria.
I shall brag and say that I’ve become quite a good leader and co-captain, because of Zachariah, and, my, if only father could see us now! Albert and Evelina, The Twins, are so quick and strong! The sea air always keeps the spring in our steps.
The only real news it that to give us a bit of a change and excitement, and as we are docked in our old, fancy hometown of Providence, Rhode Island; we are picking up an American passenger. He, as I assume he will be male, is going to Liverpool, England. I am so excited, for I long to know who this person might be and dream of the adventures we might have.
Evelina walks in the door to our room.
“Charlotte, come out”, she says, “We have our passenger on board. Come, hurry.”
She pulls my arm, and I follow out to the waist of our Seahawk.
In the evening light, I can see a man, and gasp.
”Father,” I whisper.
“I’m home”, he replies.