Chapter Eleven

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Lord Fitton straightened his waistcoat, took a deep breath and knocked on the door to Commander Redgrave's quarters

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Lord Fitton straightened his waistcoat, took a deep breath and knocked on the door to Commander Redgrave's quarters.

"Enter."

"Ah, Lord Fitton. Sorry for the delay in our journey. Let's hope you won't find it total loss and learn something of interest in this port. My hope is to double our efforts here on ship and get the repairs done as expediently as possible."

"Well... that is good news," Lord Fitton said and then fidgeted with his pocket watch, before shoving it back in his pocket. He had no clue how to bring up his request. He stood there silent for such a long time that Redgrave paused from his maps and gave him a curious look."

"Was there something you wish to inquire about?"

"Yes!" Lord Fitton said, pointing his finger in an emphatic way.

And after another long pause, Redgrave chuckled, "Must I draw it out of you? Or do you plan to share it sometime this century?"

Lord Fitton cleared his throat. "I heard the injured are to be removed from the ship."

Redgrave brows furrowed. "Yes. Most have recovered. Those who have not will be far better off here where they can get medical attention. With luck I will have some of them back by the time our ship returns."

"Is this about your concern for a valet?" Redgrave asked. "If you wish I can inquire about one when I go ashore but I will be keeping Claremont on as cabin boy. He's proven himself a sturdy lad. The crew is quite taken with him. Even heard Mr. McCree praising him to another officer just the other day."

"Yes... but uh... no." Lord Fitton wondered why these situations always left him so flustered.

"You are not making much sense. Is it Yes, you want me to inquire? Or No, you do not?"

"It was yes, to your question about my concern for a valet and no, to you looking for one here. With your permission, I would like to keep Sturgis."

Redgrave gave up on his maps completely at this point. Circled his desk and sat on the end of it. Lord Fitton was not certain he should be concerned or relieved to have gotten the Commander's full attention.

Folding his arms over his chest he looked Lord Fitton in the eye and repeated, "Sturgis?"

"Yes."

"The boy has been blinded by the storm and as yet to recover. He may never recover."

Lord Fitton could see the pain that sentence caused the Commander to say. Sturgis has been in Redgrave's care since his first voyage. Mr. McCree said it was a crying shame, as the boy was due for a promotion in the ranks this voyage.

"I don't see the point. He needs medical care. He'd be far better off..."

"With me," Lord Fitton concluded for him. "Commander, the kind of medicine Sturgis needs will not be found here. Drop him at this port and you have sentenced him to a life of a beggar. He has no prospects to fall back on. Sturgis is a loyal lad. Let me take him on."

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