Excerpted from my Pirates of Time manuscript. Erin and Sophie have traveled 300 years back in time. Disguised as boys, they have joined the crew of Swiftfoot Darkrunner’s pseudo-pirate ship Velocity. Their second day aboard,
they are assigned to the awful task of re-caulking the deck.
The hours crawled by. Caulking was hard work indeed. Despite Mr. Rumple’s declaration that Erin had “mastered” caulk removal, both she and Sophie struggled mightily with almost every piece of the rough, tar-soaked oakum they tore out and replaced. And miles of it still lay in rows between the boards before them. One of the most difficult part of the task was that much of the work had to be done on their knees protected by no more than the denim of the cut-off jeans.
Just when things seemed the bleakest, as the sun beat down hard on their backs; a short, ruddy man with deep blue eyes happened by. They would later learn that this was Mr. Davies, the sailmaker. He wore a broad smile and narrow leather glove called the sailmaker’s palm [pictured above]. The glove had a shallow iron cup on the palm that kept his hand from being injured by the needles as he pushed them through the heavy sailcloth. A kindly man, he carried two scraps of canvas over his forearm which he graciously dropped before the girls to use as knee padding.