Here’s the follow on from yesterday’s post (also written yesterday but only tidied up with the POV change today) Today’s scribblings are from further on in the narrative so its a good thing there are two installments from yesterday to tide over those reading. And to Sam, thanks for reading (and I will christen a character Adam shortly, especially for you!)
A shout came from the crows nest, as the clipper came around the heads of Port Phillip Bay, about a band. Ryan knew it was a false cry, there’d been much talk about what kind of arrival party would greet them, but even he knew there was no way the best telescope could see to that far to the docks.
“What do you reckon they’ll play, the band that is?” Rum Hutchinson asked him, joining him by the railing.
“There’ll really be a band.”
“Possibly, unless we’ve caught them unawares, but mark my words if the Captain with half a day under his belt don’t slow us down just a tad to give them time to organise a proper welcome.”
“He’d do that?”
“Never be surprised at what people will do for a bit of pomp and ceremony, Anderson.”
True to Rum’s word a band waited on the dock and as they drew closer, a stout bandleader in front waved a baton and the opening bars of God Save the Queen groaned across the water to the ship.
“Hells bells… you’d think they could come up with something better than that awful noise.”
“But it’s the national anthem?”
“National anthem and Queen Victoria be damned. What about a rousing version of A-Roving.”
“Or Drunken Sailor.”
“Ahh, you’re a good lad Anderson. We’ll all be that for sure later on.”
Ryan could see his point about the national anthem, especially when the ship’s progress didn’t quite time with the completion of the rousing ending and after a few moments of uncertainty on the part of the bandleader, the brass section launched into a second round of the National Anthem.
“Never knew there were two verses,” Rum joked and Ryan steeled himself for the slap on the back which accompanied the joke. “And as for Queen Victoria, I reckon your Mum would give her a run for her money running the country.”
He cringed at the mention of his mother but the excitement of the moment pushed aside the disapproval which had followed him across the ocean.
Looking at the crowd on the dock, Ryan saw not only a band, but a lots of ordinary, but excited onlookers clutching streamers and a huddle of journalists. Among the onlookers plenty of pretty young faces. Possibly women his mother would have staunchly disapproved of which made them all the more desirable.
The roar as they pulled in alongside and cast off filled the warm afternoon air and Ryan felt his heart swell with pride at having broken the record, even if his contribution had been sanding, oiling and building a new bookshelf for the captain. He feared his face might ache for days from smiling, especially when he saw several cameras position between the crowd and the ship. Not one for false shows, Ryan couldn’t help but turn their way, smile and wave hoping somehow his face turned up on the front page of Aberdeen Journal.
The mass migration off the boat was just for show and once hands had been shaken, comments given to journalists and photographs taken, they were back on board untying and carting cargo off the shift, minor celebrities back to hard working crew.
“Here,” Rum said, shoving an expensive looking envelope in Ryan’s hand as the light faded and the last of the cargo rolled off the dock. “Don’t let my brother give you no grief.”
I looked at the envelope with the name Mr George Hutchinson, scrawled on the front..
“Best you put that someone safe now, lad. Because we’re off for a rum or three. We’ll have one for you Ma, shall we?”