Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Flash for Freedom - Chapter 5
Chapter 5 is by far the shortest so far, although it still has a lot happening in it. They unload their cargo and take on a number of mixed breed girls, destined for New Orleans bordellos. Flashman is allowed to keep Lady Caroline Lamb, because Spring believes that if Harry can teach her English then she'll be valuable as an interpreter.
Once again the Balliol College is pursued by American Navy ships. This time there is more than one and they're far more determined and better armed than the one off the coast of West Africa.
Despite being a good captain Spring isn't certain he can throw these ones off and is determined that he won't be caught with slaves aboard. He orders his men to connect the girls to a length of chain and throw them overboard if it looks like they're going to be caught. If there's no evidence of slaves on the boat they can't be prosecuted. Even Flashman is horrified at this level of callousness, although the notes do mention that worse had been done in reality. Spring's first mate also argues this with him.
Flashman has a plan, but it won't work if Spring tosses the girls overboard. The only person aboard who had ever really shown Looney anything approaching decent treatment was Sullivan (Spring's first mate). Harry points out the argument to Looney, and tells the poor man that Spring is going to kill him if someone doesn't stop the psychotic captain. This for once isn't the case, but poor Looney swallows it and goes after JC Spring.
The actions allow the American's to catch up to the slaver and Flashman immediately begins to act like an officer in charge. He's definitely got something in mind. Devious chap that he is.