Port Call to the Future
Sequel to House Call to the Past
Janet Elaine Smith
Yarmouth, Massachusetts, 1717
The handsome, black-haired sailor clung to the mast. The ship yawed, veering from one side to the other in the
wind. The life of a privateer had seemed so exciting, but he had never seen the sea as ugly and mean as it was today. For
the first time since he had left his home in England, he wished
he was back there.
a fellow crewman bellowed, causing him to jump. He was not expecting anyone to call him. After all, he was the newest member
of the crew. He hoped they would not miss him, as his stomach felt like it was in his throat.
the man called again. “Get on deck and give us a hand. We need everybody topside to bend the ship.”
wondered how he would find the strength to move his feet up to the top deck, much less help secure the sails and ropes, but
if he was going to continue on the trip once the storm abated, he knew he had to do whatever was asked of him now.
about, forcing himself to do what was necessary in spite of his own yens. He toppled about like a bloody drunkard.
need?” he asked the captain.
all I can do to try to keep her on course. We’ve got to get the bower down as soon as we are close enough to land to
let down the pinnace.”
It had taken some work, but he had kept his ear tuned to the men’s conversations. He knew, now, that the captain wanted
to set the anchor down off the coast and get the men to shore in the little boat.
“Aye, aye, Cap’n,” Sam said. “You want me to fit the pinnace for shore?”
“Go to it,” the captain said. He turned
to face Sam. The water, which was spraying him in the face, came spouting back out as fast as he could get rid of it. Between
the whale-like shots of water he said, “You’ve turned out all right, Bellamy. Glad to have you aboard.”
you, sir,” Sam said. He knew he didn’t need his approval, as long as he did his job well, but he was glad to have
The men trudged
through the muddy trails of Yarmouth, Massachusetts to
Crosby’s Tavern. They knew there would be a roaring fire to warm them on the outside and plenty
of black rum flowing to warm them from the inside out.
we headin’?” Sam asked. “Someplace dry, I hope.”
The two men
behind Sam grinned broadly at each other.
Maria’s out tonight,” one of them said.
who Maria was. He couldn’t imagine any woman being out in weather such as this. And, he wondered, why would she be meandering about? What could she possibly hope to find on a night like this?
Soon the men
had shed their wool coats and were sitting around, exchanging stories of days gone by and storms which “were far worse
than the likes of this.” Sam enjoyed listening to the tales of the sea. There was something about the water that made
his skin crawl. He dreamed about the day he would have such stories to tell as well. Tonight
will be the start of my own collection of memories. Something, he thought, is going to change my life. He could feel it in the air. Something more than high winds, thunder and lightening.
He had never known such a feeling before, yet there was no denying it.
The door burst
open and a young girl, her hair as black as his own, clad in a bright red cape and with red slippers on her lovely feet nearly
fell into the tavern.
how long it’d be ’ere you got here,” Mr. Crosby, the tavern proprietor, said. “The men have all been
asking after Maria. They all figured you’d be here.”
her cape as she dropped it and found an empty table where she could perch herself.
The men crowded
around her, casting longing glances in her direction as they talked of life in Yarmouth since they had last struck anchor
Sam, his gaze
intently set on the beautiful young woman, wondered at her presence in such a place as this. He had known more than his share
of women in the few months since he had joined on with the crew of the Maid Marian,
but none held the fascination he felt for this one.
the dame?” he asked Mr. Crosby, who filled his mug with more rum as they talked.
he said simply, as if that would explain everything. Like Sam should know Maria. Of course Sam could tell by watching the
men with her that everybody knew Maria! Everybody except him. But the more he studied
her, the more he was determined to remedy that situation before the night was over.
Mr. Crosby went
to Maria and spoke to her, motioning towards Sam. In return, Maria smiled warmly, enticingly, at him. She lifted her glass
in the air, as if to propose a toast to the stranger.
When Sam had
enough rum under his black leather belt to make his confidence as bold as his voice, he wandered to Maria’s table. The
other men who were sitting with her moved aside, almost as if she held a magical power over them.
The two young
people exchanged idle chit-chat for what seemed like minutes, but had in reality turned into hours. The storm was still raging
outside, the rain and hail pelting the roof, the wind howling through the cracks in the building. Sam shivered from time to
time as he heard timbers breaking and crashing to the ground.
got to go!” Maria exclaimed, jumping to her feet and wrapping herself in her red cape. She pulled the hood securely
up over her head, but wisps of the curly black hair disobediently popped out here and there, defying any semblance of order.
accompany you home,” Sam said.
Maria protested. “You can’t! You mustn’t!”
Sam sat and
watched as she hurried out the door, nearly running down the muddy streets to her home.
head told him to do as Maria said, but his heart told him to go after her. Never had he known such a feeling. nor such a woman.
She was barely past childhood, he mused, yet she knew how to handle herself like a professional.
frightened Sam. Was it possible? Could such a young woman as Maria possibly be… No, he decided, shaking his head to
clear it of such nonsense. Still, the men did all know her. He wondered how many of them had actually known her. The thought was more than he could bear.
Sam got up and
pulled his own navy wool pea coat about himself and went out to brave the storm. It didn’t matter how wet he got. Suddenly
nothing mattered. Nothing but Maria. He had to catch up with her. He had to find her. He had to make her understand.
When Maria heard
the footsteps behind her, she quickened her own pace, trying desperately to keep ahead of him. Instinct told her it was Sam
Bellamy. She knew if she allowed him to catch up with her she could not be trusted as to what action she might take. He was
so infuriating. So forceful. Yet beneath it all there was a tenderness she felt which defied explanations or logic.
the voice called out to her. “Maria! Wait! I must see you!”
Maria did not
turn to look at him. She did not answer him. She fled to the safety of her father’s house, pushing hard to get in. She
had left the iron across the door ajar when she had gone out earlier so she could get back in easily. The wood chink she had
wedged between the door and the frame fell to the ground and lay floating in the puddle at Sam’s feet.
as the tiny swatch of red wool from her cape which had caught in the doorway disappeared inside. He heard the clunk of the iron rod as it was set in place to hold the door securely in place against the winds—and against
the onslaughts of Sam Bellamy.
Sam bellowed, banging on the door with tightly clenched fists. “Maria! Open up!”
inside the house, leaning against the door. She gasped for breath, as the race home had taken its toll on her.
Sam yelled. “If you don’t open this door—right now—I’ll break it down!”
hear the desperation in Sam’s voice. Afraid her father would hear him, she pulled the security bar back just enough
to allow the door to open a crack.
she hissed at him. “If you wake my pa, he’ll kill you!”
not scared o’ yer pa, nor nobody else, ‘cept you.”
to laugh. It was the strangest laugh Sam had ever heard. It was not a normal, soft laugh, but a cackle, much as he imagined
a witch would laugh.
scared of me?” Maria asked. “Why? I ain’t got no way to hurt the likes of you.”
already hurt me,” Sam said through the crack in the door.
you? But how?”
and stole me heart away,” Sam said. “I’ve got a hole clear through where it oughtta be.”
nonsense!” Maria said. “But, well, if you insist, meet me tomorrow at the Inn. You’ll
just have to wait ’til then.” Her statement was followed by more of that same hollow laughter, then the door clicked
shut and the iron bar went back in place with the dead sound of finality.
of the second day in Yarmouth brought only more of the same. The wind still howled
as it blew the rain and the trees out of control. Most everyone stayed in their own homes, afraid to venture out.
had found a room at the Inn, and he arose early in the morning, wondering what time Maria would come,
or if she would come.
The men gathered
around the table, waiting as Mrs. Clark served them venison sausage, corn cakes and coffee. They ate greedily, as if it was
the first and last meal they would ever have.
as the others jabbered away gaily. They all loved the sea, as any sailor does, but they welcomed a few days inland too. As
Sam tried to see out the window he wondered if this town would ever be land-locked again. Everything seemed to be drowning.
it go with Maria last night?” the captain asked Sam, his eyes glistening mischievously.
mean?” Sam asked innocently. “I didn’t do nothin’ with Maria.”
that’s good to know,” the captain said. “Least you ain’t no better than the rest of us.”
The men began
to explain their plot to Sam.
take Maria,” Briny said. “She’s a woman what likes a man who’s rough an’ tumble. Sam, if’n
you wants to win her heart, you best be set to show her who’s the boss. Be hard on her! She’ll thank ye fer it
drop yer guard fer a minute,” the captain warned Sam. “If ye do, she’s sure to run away ’fore ye get
a chance to do what you want to do to her.”
Sam could hardly
believe his ears. Here were these men, all giving him advice on how to win Maria. He wondered how many of them had already
“had their way” with her.
mind wandered back to the girl who had sat and drunk with the best of the men last night. Why were they all so concerned about
his victory or loss of Maria?
She seems so innocent, Sam thought, but I’ll bet she’s been
laid by every last one of them. The idea made him cringe. He wanted her desperately. He would have her, if it was the
last thing he ever did.
It was much
later when Maria rushed into the Inn, her cape dripping wet. The rain fell gently from the black curls
which still hung loosely around her face.
around the Inn. She noticed that they were alone, save for Mrs. Clark, whom she could hear clanking
pots and pans in the kitchen while she prepared another meal for the men.
They would return,
Maria knew. Then what would she do? No, what would she do if they didn’t
return? Oh, she was so confused. She had never felt like this before. One part of her cried out for Sam Bellamy to love her.
The other side panicked at the thought of his trying to possess her.
take its course,” she said, too softly for Sam to hear.
Sam began to
talk to her. His voice was soft, tender, not that of the rough sailors Maria was used to. It made her uncomfortable.
Sam sensed her
uneasiness. He recalled the words of his shipmates. Could it be that they were right? They had obviously known Maria far longer
than he had. Well, it was worth a try. He certainly wasn’t making any headway like this.
Mrs. Clark served
them a big steaming bowl of fish stew, which Sam ate with gusto. When he saw that Maria had nearly finished her bowl as well,
he leaned across the table, his face so near hers Maria felt his hot, steamy breath full in her face.
upstairs with me,” he said. It was not an invitation, but rather an order.
Sam rose and grabbed her by the hand.
you to come upstairs with me!” he growled, appearing to be a completely different person than the man who had been sitting
there just moments earlier.
not explain her actions, but she willingly—no, gladly—followed along with him. She gave no thought now to her
father, nor to her sister-in-law who was ready to deliver her baby at any time and whom she had been sent to help in the midst
of this storm. Maria had her own storm to try to calm, the storm that ravaged within her heart, which tore at the very core
of her being.
ready for you,” Sam said, securing the door behind them and then tossing the key into the window box just outside the
Maria went to
the window and leaned outside. The shutters flapped violently in the wind, hitting her on the head and nearly knocking her
unconscious. Besides, her arms were far too short to reach the box or the key.
Sam fell onto
the bed and began to laugh, a deep, hearty laugh. He would play his role to the fullest. He found his new character a most
pleasing one. The best part of it was he could see that Maria enjoyed it as well.
so funny?” Maria asked, putting on a pouty, little-girl look.
My God! Sam thought. She is no more than a child. I must be mad! Yet
he could not stop himself, even if he wanted to. And he didn’t.
To his surprise,
when she had the shutters closed, Maria came over and stood at the side of the bed. She began to unfasten her jumper and soon
it fell to the floor.
Sam gasped as
he took in the fullness of the lovely young body before him. It had been disguised, oh so well, in her shapeless frock. But
now, as Maria stood before him, he knew she was far more than a child. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever laid eyes
on, and in the past few months that was a fair number. Suddenly she jumped.
So she wanted
to play hard-to-get! Well, he would give her a run for her money.
Sam jumped up
from the bed and began to chase Maria about the room. She jumped onto the bed and ran across it. He grabbed for her and she
jumped to the side, then she turned on him and pushed him hard onto the feather mattress.
Again it was that inhuman, cackling laugh.
get me if you can,” she teased.
Sam easily rolled
over on top of her and began to tear the rest of her clothes away.
The rest of
their time together was lost in history. When they finished their playful romp, Maria quickly got up and dressed.
to get to Mehitable’s,” she said, running out the door. She did not know, nor care, if Sam knew who Mehitable
was or that she had to go help her in case her baby came in the storm. No, Sam Bellamy had given her more than she had asked
for. More than she had dared to hope for. And judging by the look on Sam’s face, he had gotten all he hoped for as well.
On the fourth
day the storm cleared and the men were ready to set sail once more. The captain, as always, was the first one on board. The
men had made the necessary repairs and it was ready to cast off. He sounded the fog horn, calling the crew from the Inn,
the tavern, from all corners of the village.
The sound shook
Maria Hallett to the very core of her being. Soon she was on her way to the shore. She knew that sound all too well. It meant
that the sailors would be going out to sea. Sam would be leaving. Her heart sank at the emptiness she felt within her very
being. She longed for him to stay, yet she knew that could never be. He was a sailor—a privateer. Nothing, she knew,
could keep a man of the sea on dry land. She was lucky the storm had lasted as long as it did. At least they had their few
days together. She would hold them close within her heart until he returned.
As if he was
reading her mind, Sam walked up behind her and swung her around to face him.
worry, my lovely,” he said, again seeming to have changed like a chameleon back to his original self. “I’ll
not forget ye. I must go out to the sea. The water is calling me. I’ll make my fortune on the waters. When I do, I promise
I’ll come sailin’ back to you. Mark my words, Maria, I’ll be back fer ye. Just hang a lantern out to sea
and let me know you’re still here, waitin’ fer me, too.”
“And just where am I supposed to hang these lanterns?” she asked. “On a wave?”
my little witch,” he said, joining her in the laughter. “You’ll hang them on the tail of a whale.”
The horn sounded
again. The men passed them by, one and all calling their goodbyes to Maria but not daring to interfere any more than that.
got to go,” Sam said, kissing her so hard she nearly lost her breath. She responded warmly to his passion. She clung
to him fiercely.
go!” she begged. “Please don’t leave me here alone.”
to,” Sam said. “Try to understand. But I’ll be back. Wait for me.”
on the shore, the tears streaming down her cheeks, as she watched her true love, her first love, set out to sea. He promised
to come back for her, but she had a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach that she would never see Sam Bellamy again.
As the months
wore on, Maria Hallett waited for Sam Bellamy to return. She longed for him, ached for him. One day, as she sat moping in
the house of John and Mary Hallett, her ma and pa, she noticed a strange sensation in her stomach.
she said, getting up from her loom where she was working her magic to create the finest fabrics in all of Cape
is it?” her mother asked. “What’s wrong?”
her feeling to her mother.
it mean that Sam is coming back for me?” she asked innocently. “Is this what love feels like?”
Mary said to her daughter, speaking softly. Maria caught a glimpse of a tear in her mother’s eye.
Maria said, “what is it? Did I say something wrong?”
Mary said. “Well, yes. Your pa, he’s gonna be furious.”
Maria shouted. “What did I do?”
not what you did,” Mary said. “At least not just you. You and Sam,” Mary asked, knowing the answer all too
well, “Did you—you know, did he make love to you?”
Maria exclaimed. “I wanted to tell you, but I was so scared. Ma, it was the most wonderful thing in the world.”
how could you? He’s the devil incarnate! Everybody knows him for what he is.”
eyes dropped to the floor. She felt such shame, yet the joy of the moments they had spent together far outweighed anything
The rumors had
flown fast and furiously since the day Sam Bellamy had sailed off with the crew on the Maid
Marian. The fishermen from Yarmouth and other Cape Cod
towns all bore witness to the same facts. Only Maria clung to the memory of the handsome, dashing young Sam Bellamy who had
set foot on Yarmouth sod just a few weeks ago.
don’t you see? You are going to have a baby!” her mother shrieked at her. “Sam Bellamy’s baby! The
devil’s baby! Oh, Maria, whatever is to become of you?”
following the cue of his crewmates, had become what people made him. He was no longer Sam Bellamy, the English privateer.
No, now he was Black Sam Bellamy, pirate of the seas, captain of his own ship, the Whydah,
which he had stolen from its captain. The crew, frightened of the fierce man, joined on with him and soon they were as loyal
to Black Sam as they had been to its original owner.
Black Sam roamed
the seas by day and by night, often attacking ships much bigger than the Whydah.
Beneath it all was the reason which made it all perfectly legal for him to pursue such a course of action.
for Maria,” he would say, smuggling the treasures onto the land at Hyannis,
where he had found a friend to sympathize with his exploits. Ironic, it was, that his friend just happened to be another Hallett.
load?” Thomas Hallett asked Sam as he stood at the front door, awaiting an invitation in.
Sam replied. “Can we bury it in the same place?”
Thomas Hallett replied. He was a man of honor; he would never steal from Sam Bellamy, but if something should happen to Sam
there would be nothing to stop him from claiming the treasures as his own.
be back shortly,” Sam said, then disappeared.
Soon Sam was
back, dragging a huge trunk along behind him. It made a deep rut in the sand, which he stopped every so often to cover by
brushing his foot back and forth over it.
is it this time?” Thomas Hallett’s wife, Sarah, asked him as they sat at the table eating the evening meal.
Sam said. “Some of the finest I’ve ever seen.”
nor Sarah asked about the jewels. They had discussed this matter many times and Thomas had finally succeeded in convincing
Sarah that if they knew nothing about where it came from they could not be found guilty of any wrongdoing if Sam was ever
caught and tried as a pirate.
the conversation shifted.
Sam asked simply.
Thomas and Sarah
looked at each other. Their eyes seemed to be filled with fear. They had not talked about what they would tell Sam if he asked
about her, as he always did. Now, the matter was before them.
Thomas hesitated, thumping his fingers nervously and rhythmically on the table. “I think you’d better tell him.”
Sarah shouted at her husband. “Why me? She’s your kin!”
somebody please tell me what has happened to Maria?” Sam pleaded, fearing the worst possible news.
had a baby,” Sarah finally said.
Sam could hardly
believe his ears. She had played so innocent with him. Here she was sleeping with every sailor who set into port. Of all the
nerve! And he was out risking his very life to gather enough treasures and goods to her to feel worthy of her hand in marriage.
Worthy! he thought. I’m far better than she is.
Sam finally got enough courage mustered up he asked, “But the father… Who?”
Thomas and Sarah
looked at each other in total shock. Surely, if what Maria said was true, he of all people would now who the bastard’s
Thomas said, “she claims it’s yours.”
Sam rolled his
eyes heavenward, threw his head back and laughed hysterically.
Maria had my kid?” he asked. Suddenly his face grew serious and he asked, “Was it a boy or a girl?”
Sarah said, then added, “He looks just like you, he does.”
pirate Sam!” Sam exclaimed, obviously delighted with such news. “I’ve got to go to her. If she’s there
alone, with me baby, I’ve got to go and see her.”
more,” Thomas said. “I think you’re best to stay away from her.”
away from me own flesh and blood?” Sam bellowed. “Over me own mother’s grave, I’ll leave her there
Thomas continued, relating the tale of Maria Hallett to Sam Bellamy for the very first time, “the whole town council
set about to lock her up in jail.”
Sam asked. “With a new baby to tend, they couldn’t do such a thing!”
said the baby died,” Sarah said. Her mind went back over the babies she had lost. She knew the hurt Maria would feel
if the baby had died.
him?” Sam yelled, pounding his fists on the table. “Who killed me own son?”
Thomas explained. “He didn’t really die. Only Jonathon—you know, my brother, Jonathan—he said it was
Sam said, sensing there was much more to this story than he had heard so far.
appeared in town,” Thomas said. “He seemed to be able to work miracles. They said he breathed into the little
Sam’s mouth and he began to cry.”
Sam?” Sam asked. “Maria named the baby Little Sam?”
After you, Maria claimed. She’s one mighty fine little mother, too. Takes care of him real good.”
I’ve got to go to her,” Sam insisted again.
still more,” Thomas said. “Jonathan claimed Maria was a witch and that she’d had the baby by bein’
in league with the devil.”
called me a devil, did he?” Sam yelled. “I’ll show him the devil in me! Let me at him!”
It took all
the strength Thomas could find to stop Sam Bellamy from going to kill Jonathan. He knew he couldn’t let him anywhere
were going to throw her in jail,” Sarah said, “but then that stranger— you know, the one who saved little
Sam’s life—he did a very brave thing.”
he do?” Sam asked.
Maria,” Thomas said.
Sam jumped to
his feet and again began to run for the door. “There’s not a man alive who can marry me Maria! I won’t hear
of it! I’ll put an end to this, if I have to put an end to him!”
go,” Sarah said as they watched Sam head back to the Whydah. “Just
pray that he’ll come to his senses before he docks at Yarmouth.”
With no warning
and the town of Yarmouth in view, a terrible gale arose. It was a storm as fierce
as the one that had sent him ashore the first day he had met Maria.
the masts tight!” Sam bellowed to the crew. “We’re gonna put in to shore at Yarmouth.”
With the wind
the way it was, it was no surprise to any of the men that their captain gave such an order. None of them had any idea of what
lay behind his order.
around town, asking person after person about Maria. He learned that her husband was a doctor, and “a fine one at that.”
He was also threatened by the townsmen to stay away from Maria.
sheer desperation, Sam saw that it was hopeless to try to get to Maria. The best he could do was to take a token of his love
to Maria and leave it at her doorstep. He had been told which house was theirs, and he waited until it was dark before he
took a basket filled with fish, pearls and a fine linen hand-embroidered handkerchief he’d gotten in France
for his love. He hoped she would know who had left the gifts there for her. Both items came from the sea, and she just had
to know it was from Sam.
he left town he made one final visit. He called on Jonathan Hallett and beat him to a pulp. He was careful not to kill him,
but he came as close as he dared before he fled and boarded the Whydah.
one more time did Black Sam Bellamy venture back to the town of Yarmouth. It was
a day he would never forget.
It was another
storm, which should have been a clue by now that even the gods did not want him to see Maria.
Sam pulled the
Whydah up off shore and dropped anchor. He released the men for the duration of
the storm, then walked slowly along with Ahab, his first mate.
got a tall order for ya,” Sam said to Ahab. “It’s one I’d rather do meself, but I know the doc would
never hear of it. Not from what I hear tell.”
is it?” Ahab asked.
Sam told Ahab
about Maria and his son, Little Sam. He laid out a plan for Ahab to kidnap the child.
see if I’ve got this straight,” Ahab said. “You’re scared to go in after him, but you want me to do
it. Is that it?”
mad!” Ahab shouted. “I’ll have no part of it. You do it yourself!”
Sam pulled his
dagger from its sheath and swung it through the air, whistling as it whizzed past his ears.
have yer bloody head!” Sam shouted.
be back inside an hour,” Ahab said, hurrying away from his captain, hoping to escape his wrath.
Black Sam Bellamy
sat at Crosby’s Tavern, belting one mug of sweet black rum after another. The more he drank,
the bolder and more brazen he became. When enough time had passed that he figured Ahab should have returned, he became nearly
uncontrollable. He had no way of knowing that at that very instant John Hallett, Jonathan Hallett and Dr. Angus McPherson
were carrying Ahab off to the sea, where they would cast him to fend for himself in the troubled waters.
With that task
behind them, the three men headed for Crosby’s Tavern in search of Black Sam. On Maria’s
behalf, they were determined to put an end to Black Sam Bellamy.
John Hallett immediately. He was not any fonder of him than Maria’s father was.
With the look
of a most determined man, John headed fearlessly towards Sam.
ruined my daughter’s life,” John yelled at him. “Now it’s time you pay the piper. Draw your weapon!”
Sam went to
reach for his dagger when…
Black Sam Bellamy
dropped to the floor. It was the biggest bee sting or mosquito bite he had ever felt. He did not see Dr. Angus McPherson,
Maria’s husband, behind him, nor know that he held the most dangerous weapon any of the people of Yarmouth
had ever seen.
Doc Angus grinned,
blew on the needle of the hypodermic needle, filled with a powerful knock-out medicine that he’d brought across the
field of poverty grass—and across time—with him.
He joined the
others as they hoisted Black Sam by the arms and feet and carried him off to the jail.
It was April,
2008. Blair Smythe was sitting at her kitchen table, the papers and books spread out over its entire surface.
I had known you,” she said, running her fingers over the yellowed pages of an old personal journal. “Maria Hallett,
you must have been quite a woman.”