Chapter 29: Port Excursion

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The MacAdam children were all, (with the exception of Hugh who stalked sulkily and sullenly away from her), in a tither. Their mother had announced that she and her husband would be escorting the children off the ship on an excursion to tour the Port Village and surrounds. "Charlotte dear, you won't be needed today. So sorry you can't accompany us, but Governor Bennett's edict does not allow any convict on shore at all." Elizabeth MacAdam's kind eyes were filled with sympathy. Had she realised the utter joy and exultation of Charlotte's heart at that moment, she would not have wasted such a noble sentiment on her.

Despite not wanting to appear enthusiastic about anything proposed by the others, Charlotte could tell that Hugh was excited about getting off the ship. Monsieur had been right. Hugh had avoided her like the plague. Even looking at her caused him to blush and suffer intolerably. For her part, she pretended all was well and treated him exactly as she had always done – as one of the children.

She did regard Pamela with new eyes however. For the first time she actually looked for Pamela's reaction whenever Hugh came her way or spoke with her. How had she missed it before? Whereas she had thought Pamela's mollycoddling of the maternal kind, she now noticed the puppy like adoration shining in Pamela's eyes whenever they alighted on the teenage beast. When she served him from the tray of delicacies, Pamela lowered herself far more than was seemly, exposing plenty of décolletage, a hungry look in her eyes reserved for Hugh's benefit. For his part Hugh was not so enamoured. Oh, he certainly took advantage of the eyefuls of breast which Pamela provided and accepted the over-zealous attentions of her maidly ministrations; but when her gaze moved from him, Charlotte noticed that Hugh's eyes would roll insultingly in Pamela's direction or his face would suddenly dissemble from a grateful recipient to a bored and tiring one. Poor Pamela! How could she have failed to anticipate who held the power in this relationship, despite their age difference. Yes, at 19 Pamela should have known better, but there was no doubting that Hugh's ardour for her, if it ever existed was beginning to dry up like a puddle in the noon day sun. Soon, she predicted, initial interest would turn to callous indifference. The effect on Pamela would be catastrophic.

For the moment at least, Pamela was as happy as a lark, her full, pink cheeks pumping at full speed - " . . and that's why Marm, I am so pleased to be able to go with you today" she was saying to Mrs MacAdam. "Oh I've got so many birthday gifts to get for me ol' girlfriends back home, what used to work in service with me, Marm. They'll be ever so jealous that me mind – me - is going to such exotic places an' all!" Pamela took the time to look condescendingly over at Charlotte as she radiated triumphalism at her privileged status in the family. "Charlotte, whatever will you do while we are all having fun in the village?" taunted Pamela with fake interest.

"I'm sure Monsieur will have plenty of work for me to catch up on" replied Charlotte, in what she hoped was a tone which did not give away her unadulterated ecstatic mood.

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