Granger noted that he still had some time left before he had to go up on deck, so he opted to stay out of Calvert’s way by meeting with the four midshipmen he’d taken on board Bacchante. He was allowed several volunteers, who were midshipmen in training, but he was technically only allowed three midshipmen. Due to the length and nature of his voyage, Spencer had allowed him to add an additional master’s mate and an additional midshipman, which is why he currently had four. Yet of the four, he knew only one of them, and he had not formally met any of the others. Granger indulged in a moment of self-flagellation, criticizing himself for letting his absorption in his personal life and his involvement in the Spithead mutiny distract him from his ship. It was unthinkable that these young men had been on board for a week already, and he had not yet bothered to meet them. “Pass the word for the midshipmen,” Granger ordered.
They arrived quickly enough, entering his cabin with great trepidation to meet with their new captain, which was just as it should be. “Which of you is the senior?” Granger asked.
“I am, my lord,” said a young man.
“And you are?”
“Charles Eastwick, my lord.” He was of average height, with a handsome face and reddish-blond hair. The most pronounced feature on him was his chin, which protruded slightly, and had an attractive dimple in the middle. He resembled Captain Somers, which was not surprising, since he was Somers’ cousin. Somers had asked Granger to bring the 19-year-old Eastwick aboard, as he knew the young man had been languishing in ships of the line with large midshipmen’s berths, where hopes of promotion were slim.
“Do any of you have experience with signals?” Granger asked.
“I do, my lord,” Eastwick said. “I assisted with them on the Blenheim, my last ship.”
“Well that is most convenient, since it is customary for the senior midshipman to handle the signals,” Granger said. Up until that point, he’d been dour and imposing, but he let out some of his legendary charm, and watched the midshipmen relax slightly. “You will be in charge of them here.”
“Thank you, my lord,” Eastwick said.
“I’m not quite sure we’ll have much use for them where we’re going, but you should be familiar with them, nonetheless,” Granger joked.
“Aye aye, my lord,” Eastwick quipped.
“And you are Mr. Stamford, are you not?” Granger asked of the slight young man with almost-white blond hair. Granger had given him a position on Bacchante as a nod to Travers’ memory. Adam Stamford had served on Aurore, and had met Granger when he’d first brought Sir John Jervis out to Corsica. Robey had said he was a good lad, but he had been forced to leave Aurore due to bad health. Granger wondered how the frail looking young man would withstand the tropical climes. Shy and sickly weren’t inspiring traits in a 16-year-old midshipman.
“Y-y-yes, my lord,” Stamford stammered.
“You are the next senior?”
“I am, my lord,” Stamford said nervously.
“Which of you is Oliver Scrope?” Granger asked.
“I am, my lord,” a handsome, brown-headed lad said. He had those gangling and awkward looks that 14-year-olds often have, looks that gave him the appearance of being somewhat clumsy.
“I had the honor of having one of your cousins serve with me when I was a lieutenant,” Granger noted. “Mr. Balvin was an excellent officer, and he died bravely. I am hoping that you prove to be just as excellent, but I would prefer that you remain amongst the living.”
Scrope looked at him strangely, until he realized Granger was joking, and then he smiled broadly. “Thank you, my lord. I will try not to let you down.”
“And that means you must be the Baron of Kingsdale,” he said to the last young man. Granger usually had a gunroom filled with aristocrats, primarily younger sons of influential peers, but of this batch, Kingsdale was the only one who came from that social class. Eastwick would more accurately be considered a member of the gentry, while Scrope and Stamford both came from naval families.
“Yes, sir,” the young man said shyly. He was short, but then again, he was only 13 years old, and his voice was high-pitched, so he had obviously not reached the full-on ravages of puberty yet. He had dark hair and fiery green eyes, eyes the color of emeralds, which seemed appropriate, since he was from Ireland. Granger studied him for a moment, and noticed that his uniform was cut rather poorly, and that the cloth seemed to be of a lower grade of broadcloth. His stockings were passable at best, and his shoes had pinchbeck buckles, not gold buckles, as one would expect of a peer. Granger had taken the young man aboard because Hood had asked him to, and told him that the boy had inherited an impoverished estate.
“What is your full title?”
“I am The Right Honorable Jonathan Joyce, 8th Baron of Kingsdale, sir,” he said self-consciously. He was an Irish peer, and not a peer of Great Britain.
“While you are on this ship, it would please me if you would allow us to address you as Mr. Kingsdale,” Granger said, more than asked. “Would that be amenable to you?”
“Of course, sir,” the young boy said, horrified that his opinion and acquiescence was even being asked for.
“Excellent!” Granger said. “Do any of you play a musical instrument?”
“I play the violin, my lord,” Scrope said. Howe had already told Granger that.
“I can’t play an instrument, my lord, but I can sing fairly well,” Eastwick added.
“I fear I am not musically talented, my lord,” Stamford said nervously.
“That is quite alright, Mr. Stamford,” Granger said, even though he was disappointed. “And what about you, Mr. Kingsdale?”
The boy looked very nervous, and not a little upset, but he hid it manfully. “I play the pipes, sir.”
“The bagpipes?” Granger asked. “That’s splendid!”
“Yes, sir,” he said, even more nervously, “but I don’t have them with me.” Granger sensed there was more to this than he was letting on, so he didn’t pressure the boy.
“Well, perhaps we can drum up a set for you,” Granger said in his cordial way. “And now, gentlemen, we must turn our minds back to our duty.” Granger rose and they followed him up to the quarterdeck, where they scattered to go attend to their divisions, all except Eastwick, who positioned himself by the signal locker.
“The tide has just begun to turn, my lord,” Calvert said as he came up and stood next to him. “The ship is ready for departure.”
“Excellent,” Granger said, repressing his smile. “Mr. Weston, I’ll have the anchor hove short,” he called to the focs’l. Weston replied and began the task of raising the anchor.
“Captain Somers,” Granger called. “Some music from our band to help the men heave the anchor aboard.” It was a beautiful spring day, with nary a cloud in the sky and gentle westerly winds; a perfect day to leave port.
“Aye aye, my lord,” he said with his lopsided grin. Granger realized that he’d forgotten to tell Calvert about his relationship with Somers. He sighed, but only internally, and vowed to remember to tell Calvert later. He wondered how Calvert would react to that, and how he would get along with Somers. He pushed that from his mind, lest he distract himself and end up running Bacchante aground. He heard the band begin to play, the sound drowning out the noise of the men grunting and straining at the capstan.
“Anchor’s hove short, my lord!” Weston cried from the focs’l.
“Weigh anchor!” Granger ordered. “Shake out the topsails, Mr. Calvert.” Granger didn’t even hear them acknowledge him, so intent was he on getting the feel of his ship. He heard the flapping of the canvas as the topsails began to draw wind for the very first time, and heard the band playing as the men continued to labor at the capstan to hoist the anchor up from the muddy bottom of the river.
“Anchor’s aweigh!” Weston called. Granger felt the ship begin to move, and for the first time ever, Bacchante was under sail.
“Helm, two points to starboard,” Granger ordered, to avoid a collision with the Lancaster. She was a 64-gun ship of the line, and Granger was somewhat surprised that they were still building them. The standard in the Navy for third rates was the 74-gun ship of the line, so the 64-gun ships seemed a bit anachronistic, a throwback to the Seven Years War. But Granger had traveled in the Agamemnon, Nelson’s 64-gun battleship, and had been impressed with her sailing. Nelson had raved about his ship, even though she was poorly constructed, so maybe there was something to these slightly smaller battleships. The officers on Lancaster’s quarterdeck doffed their hats to Granger, and he returned the gesture.
They next had to navigate around Naiad. Naiad was a 38-gun frigate just like Bacchante, but of an English design. The Admiralty had taken the plans for the 36-gun Amazon and stretched them a bit. Granger had compared the two ships, and was glad he had been given Bacchante. Her core design came from a French plan, and he was partial to the longer, sleeker style of French frigates. He doffed his hat to her captain, who returned the gesture, and then they were free of the dockyard. They sailed slowly down the Thames, cautiously avoiding the river traffic, which was supposed to yield to them but sometimes did not.
Granger was nervous, even though the other people on board Bacchante would never guess that, because he was being forced to navigate this large vessel in the narrow confines of the Thames, and this was the first time he’d ever sailed her. All ships had their quirks, and some could be quite pronounced, but he was relieved to note that Bacchante was responding just as she was supposed to, and indeed, quite like Belvidera did. After the first few bends in the river, Granger began to get a feel for her, and he began to relax a bit.
That relaxation was only temporary, though. As they cleared the City, Granger could see the ships of the Nore arrayed in front of him. They were clearly set up in a way to impede traffic. “Mr. Calvert, shake out the top gallants,” Granger ordered.
“Aye aye, my lord,” he said, with only a hint of nervousness. Granger wanted to get through the Nore as quickly as possible, and to do that, he was pouring on as much sail as he could without looking too suspicious. Most ships would have sailed out under topsails only, but it was not unheard of to carry more sail. Setting the topgallants was as far as he could go without making it look as if he was trying to dash past the ships at the Nore, which was exactly what he was trying to do.
They didn’t have a pilot on board, but they didn’t really need one. The passage to London was well marked, and Granger had sailed this stretch of water enough to probably navigate it without the buoys. That it was broad daylight helped make that even easier. He eyed the ships ahead, sizing up the gauntlet he would have to run and decided that once he was past the core of the fleet and the mutiny, they would be safely away. He eyed that cluster of ships, dominated by the battleships Sandwich and Inflexible, and decided that the next hour would see them either free of the Nore, or sucked into it as part of this heinous mutiny.
“Helm, steer two points to starboard,” Granger ordered. That would put them near the San Fiorenzo and the Clyde; two frigates that Granger had heard were more loyal than the other ships. He was fairly certain they would not fire on him, and he was sure that the other ships would not risk hitting those frigates to fire at Bacchante.
“My lord, Sandwich is signaling us to heave to,” Eastwick said. Sandwich was the flagship at the Nore, and flew the flag of Admiral Buckner, but Granger knew that those directives were being sent by the mutineers, not Buckner. Granger needed time to delay them so he could slip by.
“Reply, unable to comply,” Granger said. “Take your time with it.” The men on the Sandwich would see them readying a signal, and they would know Bacchante was a new ship, so they would presumably guess they were just confused. “Mr. Calvert, have the men stand by to heave to,” Granger said.
“My lord?” he asked daringly.
“I’m not going to heave to, I just want them to think I am,” Granger said with a grin.
They passed San Fiorenzo and Clyde, with Granger doffing his hat to their captains, and then they were beyond their shields. Cavendish had told him that those two vessels were considered reluctant participants in this mutiny, and that is exactly what Granger was trying to avoid with Bacchante. If he hove to, as Sandwich had ordered, he’d end up being taken over by the delegates, and forced to remain here in port, under their guns, until this thing was resolved. He simply didn’t have the time for that.
A loud noise attracted his attention, a gunshot, and Granger turned to see smoke clearing from the bowchaser of Sandwich. She was firing a warning shot, demanding that he obey their orders. He could delay no longer. “You may hoist the signal when you are ready, Mr. Eastwick,” Granger said.
They had just passed the two frigates, and were even with Sandwich and Inflexible. In a few more minutes, he would be beyond them, and would be considerably safer, but this was the crisis point. Eastwick hoisted their reply, and as soon as the signal rose to Bacchante’s main mast and became readable, another shot rang out from Sandwich and she raised her original signal. As if to emphasize the point, a shot rang out from Inflexible as well, although Granger didn’t see where the balls went, or if they were even close. The men aboard the Bacchante were tense, because if Sandwich and Inflexible ran out their guns and fired in earnest, it was likely they’d turn Bacchante into a floating wreck, but Granger was willing to call their bluff. He’d calculated that those ships wouldn’t be at quarters, which meant that he’d probably get past them before they were able to bring their guns to bear in earnest. In addition, he was betting that they wouldn’t be willing to destroy another English ship. That would erode any public support they had, and would destroy the morale of the fleet, such as it was. If they damaged Bacchante badly, there would be no hope of a pardon for them. Besides, Granger could see the anger in the faces of his own crew, anger at being fired on by their fellow seamen. This was certainly no way to bring another ship into the fold.
“Boat’s approaching, my lord,” Weston called. A launch filled with men was moving to intercept his ship. “I think they mean to come aboard.”
Granger hadn’t planned for this, for them to send a boat with a boarding party to intercept them. He was still within range of those battleships, and beyond them, there were even more that were waiting. The boat probably contained some fifty men, and they would be the core group of mutineers, men who were dedicated, and probably angry. Granger’s attention was diverted from them temporarily as Sandwich and Inflexible opened their gunports and prepared to run out their guns. The mutineers clearly intended to intimidate him with broadsides from the Sandwich and Inflexible while sending this band of ruffians aboard to take control. “Captain Somers, we may be boarded by that boat. Please have your marines formed up on deck. They should have loaded weapons and bayonets at the ready.”
“Aye aye, my lord,” he said. The marines began to pour onto the quarterdeck and the focs’l, their muskets at the ready, a signal to anyone that Granger was unwilling to allow these mutineers to take control of the ship. The deployment of marines was visible from the two battleships, and outraged the mutineers so much that they fired off another shot. Granger actually heard the ball pass through Bacchante’s rigging. They were upping the ante with these latest moves.
“Boat ahoy!” shouted one of Bacchante’s bosun’s mates at the boat as it neared the ship.
“Coming aboard!” came the shout from the boat.
Granger looked over the side and addressed the men in the boat. “You may send two men up to speak with me.”
“We’re all coming aboard!” the man said with a sneer.
Granger was standing next to the quarterdeck carronades, so he picked up one of the 24-pound carronade balls and tossed it over the side so that it landed squarely in their boat. The force of the shot falling knocked one of the strakes a bit loose, causing a small leak in the launch. “We have several more of those, and the next ones will travel at a much higher velocity,” Granger said. The men on Bacchante laughed at his comment, while the men on the boat shook their fists at him. “Two men and you’re not one of them. You are not welcome aboard this ship,” he said to the man who had been rude to him.
He heard more shots as Inflexible fired a few of her guns and one of the shots actually parted one of Bacchante’s backstays. It was quite possible that if those ships began firing in earnest, they could cause Bacchante some serious damage to her rigging. Two men hauled themselves aboard the ship, but when a third man made to follow, one of the bosun’s mates put his foot squarely on the man’s chest and kicked him back into the boat. Granger just eyed them and said nothing, turning instead to Calvert. “I’ll have the mains and the royals on her.”
“Aye aye, my lord,” he said.
“You are ordered to heave to,” one of the men said.
“You address me as ‘my lord’,” Granger snapped. “By whom?”
“The delegates of the Nore,” he said imperiously. Granger glared at him, demanding that he show respect, but the man showed him none.
“No one comes aboard my ship and treats me disrespectfully,” Granger said. He turned to Hercule, the bosun. “Toss this man back into his boat.”
The man shouted, as did the other man, but the bosun ignored him and grabbed the first man and threw him over the side and into the boat. He landed on his fellow mutineers, and Granger reasoned that it was likely that a few of them, anyway, had broken bones as a result.
“My lord, if you do not heave to, the ships here will fire into you,” the other delegate said. “You fought for the men at Spithead, why do you fight against the men of the Nore?”
“The men at Spithead made reasonable demands, you do not. The men at Spithead were sailors, men of honor; you are led by a pack of sea lawyers. The men at Spithead pledged to defend Britain even at the height of the mutiny, while you men are threatening to sail to France. You are not mutineers. You are traitors.”
“We are fighting to make the Navy a better place for the average sailor, my lord,” the man said.
“You are fighting against your own King, and we will have no part of it. I have already discussed this with my crew, and we choose not to join with you brigands.”
The man stared at him in surprise. “You have discussed this with your men, my lord?” he asked. “You have talked to this man, for instance?” he asked, pointing at a young seaman named Grimes.
The delegate had picked out a young seaman, assuming that he was inexperienced and would be easily swayed by their rhetoric. Granger smiled at the horrible choice the delegate had made, because Grimes, while young, had been with him since the Intrepid. “His Lordship asked us if, when you boyos came up wanting us to join your party, did we want to. We said we’d rather rot in hell,” Grimes said to the delegate with a sneer. All the other men around him who heard cheered, and that was picked up by the men in the yards, and below.
Bacchante was making good speed now, and the other ships were fast falling out of range. The mutineer’s boat was being dragged out to sea at an alarming rate. Granger addressed the mutineer. “This ship is not attached to the fleet at the Nore, and it is not attached to Admiral Duncan’s fleet at Great Yarmouth. This ship is a unit of the Mediterranean Fleet, subject to the orders of Lord St. Vincent,” Granger said. He did not want to reveal to the mutineers that he was heading to the Indies. One didn’t share one’s orders with traitors. “You have no right to detain us under any circumstances. I bid you good day.”
“My lord...” the man began, then looked around and seemed to realize that the only way to stop Bacchante now was for the ships in the outer part of the roads to forcibly intervene. Those ships were the least reliable of the group, and were unprepared to tackle her. He seemed to realize how futile his position was, and it was possible to see the anger rise up in his cheeks. “We will augment our list of demands, to include a clause that requires the Admiralty to discharge you and your officers from the Navy. When they are forced to agree to our demands, you and your henchmen will end up on the beach! What do you think of that, my lord?”
“My officers and I would be most obliged to you. I can think of nothing you could do that would endear us to the Admiralty more.” The other officers laughed with him, and Granger merely nodded to Hercule, who grabbed this man and led him to the side. He kindly let that man scramble down instead of tossing him into the boat. He had expected the mutineers to unhook from Bacchante and head back to their ship, but they stayed there, arguing amongst each other, brandishing their cutlasses. Bacchante’s crew had manned the sides, and was shouting jeers back at them. It was interesting that now the debate was not between Granger and the mutineers, now they were arguing with the crew they were trying to co-opt into their mutiny.
“Mr. Calvert, please have some grapeshot brought up,” Granger ordered.
“Aye aye, my lord.” A small barrel of grapeshot was manhandled up to the quarterdeck, and Granger grabbed one and walked over to the side.
“You have made your case, and we have rejected it. Cast off, and leave us,” Granger ordered.
“We’re coming aboard,” one of the men shouted, and they began to move toward the chains.
“Men,” Granger said to his crew. “I think these rogues would appreciate it if you tossed them a shot or two.” He held up a grapeshot, which was about an inch round, and tossed it to Grimes.
Grimes smiled, walked over to the edge, and threw the shot at the boat, hitting one of the mutineers in the chest. The crew laughed and began pelting the men with grapeshot, until they finally cast off and made their way back to the Nore. Grapeshot, hurled from above by strong arms, would be most painful missiles. Those men would be bruised and battered when they got back to their ship. The crew of Bacchante jeered at them as they left, and then there was a pause, a lull when things were silent, as they all seemed to contemplate the event they’d just experienced.
“Thank you, men,” Granger said to his crew. “Mr. Andrews, an extra tot of rum for these loyal lads!” That got some more cheers, as Granger expected it would.
“Aye aye my lord,” Andrews said. And with that, HMS Bacchante began to work her way down the Channel, leaving the mutineers of the Nore behind her, and taking with her a crew in very good spirits.
May 24, 1797
“We should make Plymouth tomorrow,” Granger said to Calvert as they sat down to supper, just the two of them. Calvert had been the model officer, and had shown him all the respect that was due him as captain when they were on deck, but now that it was just the two of them, relaxing, he was just as adept at switching to a more casual manner with this man who was both his captain and his lover.
“I wonder how long we’ll be there before we sail?” he asked.
“I’m not sure,” Granger answered truthfully. “At least four days, the time it will take me to travel to London and back. Portsmouth would have been much easier.”
Calvert smiled at that. “I fancy a post-chaise from Plymouth is a bit more costly as well.”
Granger grinned, but then remembered that he hadn’t told Calvert about Somers, and that was something that he needed to do. Calvert could be jealous and tempestuous, and that made Granger apprehensive about this conversation. The change in his tone was obvious. “I need to tell you something.”
“What?” Calvert asked nervously, picking up on Granger’s mood.
“You asked me if there was anyone on board that I’d slept with, and I forgot to mention someone.” Calvert just stared at him. “Captain Somers and I have had relations in the past.”
“Relations?” Calvert asked. Part of Calvert’s charm was that he was young and playful, and there was much of the boy still in him. Granger had often contrasted him with Travers, who had been more mature, but less fun. Yet the negative part of that was that it made Calvert somewhat impulsive and moody, and it meant that dealing with topics like this was often somewhat stormy.
“He is a friend, and we fuck,” Granger said dismissively, as if it were no big deal, hoping Calvert would think so too. “There is no romantic feeling there, I do not love him, but he is a friend, and I care for him.”
He expected Calvert to become upset, and to perhaps throw a tantrum, but he did nothing like that at all. “I have had men whom I have felt that way about. I understand.”
“You do?” Granger asked, surprised.
“What did you think I was going to do? Do an evaluation of all the men you’ve been with and judge you accordingly?” Now he was being petulant, and surprisingly, Granger found that refreshing.
“Well yes, as a matter of fact I did,” Granger said with a smile, to show he was joking. Calvert gave him a dour look. “Somers has been a good friend, and a man who is politically astute. He has helped me with those dilemmas, and because he is a skilled lover, he has also helped me keep my libido under control.”
Calvert smiled at him. “That certainly is a challenge.”
“As if yours were not?” Granger asked.
“It isn’t easy to control either, and I am glad on both of those counts,” Calvert said, giving him that sexy look that melted Granger.
“I just wanted you to know so you didn’t think I was hiding something from you.”
“Thank you,” Calvert said sincerely.
And with that topic being closed, Granger switched modes, and seamlessly moved from being Calvert’s lover to the captain of Bacchante. “I would like you to see if you can acquire, through bribery or other means, two smashers for the focs’l.” Smashers were large carronades that threw a massive 68-pound shot. It was unusual to find them on anything but battleships, but Granger wanted two for Bacchante.
“You want to replace the 9-pounders, my lord?” Calvert asked, reverting to his role as first lieutenant as easily as Granger had changed.
“No, but we need more weight in the bows. Haven’t you noticed that she seems sluggish in stays?”
“Now that you mention it, my lord, I have,” Calvert said, pondering Granger’s words.
“I also think the extra firepower would be useful. I remember our battles with Belvidera, and how many times I was glad that we had a smasher to toss out that first shot.” Granger’s mind flashed back to their battle with Floreal, and how the shot from the smasher had practically blown out her whole stern.
“I will do my best, my lord,” he said dubiously.
“Use your charm,” Granger said. “Or if that doesn’t work, use guineas. I will reimburse you.”
“You do not think my charm is sufficient?” Calvert asked, flirting.
Granger stood up and held out his hand. “Why don’t you remind me of just how persuasive you can be,” he said, and led Calvert back to his sleeping cabin for more libido-quenching sex.
May 25, 1797
“Let go!” Granger ordered, and heard the sound of Bacchante’s anchor splashing into Plymouth harbor. They’d hit some adverse winds coming down the Channel, but that had turned out to be a good thing, letting them get the feel for their ship when she was sailing into the wind.
The sails were taken in quickly, and once that was complete, Calvert approached Granger. “We have arrived at Plymouth, my lord,” he said playfully.
“So I see,” Granger joked, as if he hadn’t directed the entire voyage. “I will need my gig brought around, and I’ll be heading to London directly.”
“Aye aye, my lord,” Calvert said, and began giving orders to accomplish swinging out the gig.
“Please advise Mr. Kingsdale that he is going with me.”
“You’re taking the young aristocrat with you to London, my lord?” Calvert teased.
“I am going to buy him some pipes so he can keep me amused, when the rest of you cannot,” Granger joked. Calvert laughed, and attended to his orders.
Granger went below to get his portfolio. He found Winkler in his cabin, scurrying to get his things together for his trip to London. “Winkler, we’ll be leaving at once.”
“Aye aye, my lord,” he said. “I have everything ready.”
“I’m bringing Mr. Kingsdale with me,” Granger informed him.
“I fancy he’ll be a might bit intimidated, riding in a coach with Your Lordship all the way to London.”
“If he can stand two days in a coach with me, then he can handle French broadsides,” Granger said. Winkler smiled at his mercurial captain, and wondered why he was in such a good mood, not that he was complaining. He tended to attribute that to Lieutenant Calvert. Winkler decided that when Calvert was with Granger, and when they were getting along, those were the times that Granger seemed happiest.
Granger reappeared on the deck and addressed Calvert. “While I’m in London, do your best to acquire those smashers, and see if we can’t get some spare spars, as well.”
“Aye aye, my lord,” Calvert said automatically.
“We do not have a sailing master yet, so do not be surprised if one magically appears,” Granger joked.
“Hopefully he will arrive by boat, my lord,” Calvert said.
“Hopefully,” Granger said, chuckling.
He found Kingsdale there with Winkler, waiting for him to descend into the boat, and that sparked another thought in Granger’s mind.
“Mr. Andrews!” Granger called.
“My lord?” the purser asked as he walked across the deck to speak with Granger.
“We are to be gone on a long voyage, and we have a number of young men who are still growing. Perhaps you would stock some extra broadcloth, and other supplies we may need to accommodate them?”
“Of course, my lord,” Andrews said. He was used to strange requests from Granger, and as long as the money didn’t come from his own pocket, he was more than happy to acquire items for his captain. Granger didn’t think that was a strange request at all. He knew that on this long voyage, the young gentlemen would do a lot of growing, and a lot of maturing.