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                  Pelton, Kevin. "Dear Jennifer": The Collected Letters of Captain S. Bird. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.


Bermuda, May 7, 1756


Dear Jennifer,

I apologize for taking so long to reply to your last letter. Diana and I are both a little under the weather at the moment, so you must forgive any mistakes I may make and perhaps also the length. There is a sickness spreading across the island at the moment, and while we are usually fortunate to avoid such maladies, alas it was not to be the case this time. Diana has spent the better part of today lying on the bed, but as she has been repeatedly asking me to lay with her, I do not truly really believe that she is that seriously unwell. I will probably join her once I finish this, as it was a disturbed night due to a number of coughing fits and I am a touch weary.

I hope that you, John and the children are all well. It seems like such an age since we last saw each other, and I’m sure that I would no longer recognize the babes. Diana and I have discussed the possibility of making a trip over to Philadelphia, God willing, so we may visit our various friends and acquaintances in the area. I am certain you must have already heard the news, but we only recently discovered that Rebecca is with child again and it has been many years since we saw her and her family. I will also admit that I would like another gown from Swin – there is just no dressmaker on the island who can do what she does. I wish I could persuade her to move here, but alas, her heart lies in Pennsylvania! I must admit

May 8 –

Once again I must seek forgiveness, as I stopped mid-sentence (something which would have caused Miss Dailey severe conniptions, I am sure!) yesterday. I came over rather light headed and was forced to retire to bed sooner than I had intended. I do feel better for it, although Dr. Spencer will be calling on us today regardless. He is a nice enough gentleman, who cared for Diana after her last ill-advised jaunt on the roof, but at times like this, I admit that I do miss Katie Smith. Which is hardly surprising, as she was such a fixture in my life for such a long time. I wish we hadn’t lost contact with her and Lindsey, but unfortunately that is such the nature of life. I must be thankful with those who I still hear from on occasion, especially considering the comparative isolation of Bermuda.

Diana has just passed by, and has reminded me that she wishes to send her best to you as well. She is a little more active today, so I presume she is feeling better as well, although I will acknowledge that it may just be her inability to keep still for any sustained period of time! It's something which I know annoys many, but I just find it endearing. I suppose that's what love is really, or at least a part of it. Sometimes I wonder70

70What Bird was wondering is not known as this final letter was never finished. Parish records show that Bird passed away the next day, May 9, 1756, due to an unspecified sickness, with Taurasi succumbing, presumably to the same illness, the day after. The news of their deaths was conveyed to Bird's sister in a brief note sent by Jenna Stigliano, the eldest daughter of former Governor Geno Auriemma. Following the news, Jennifer Harrington, escorted by her second son, William, made the journey out to Bermuda, taking a number of her sister's personal effects back to Philadelphia with her, as well as shipping a selection of Taurasi's to her sister, who still lived in the same South Carolina town in which she had been born. A number of Bird's possessions have been passed down through the generations and still remain in the family to this day, such as a formal family portrait of Bird, Taurasi and Caroline, dated 1731, first editions of all of Bird's published works and a number of pieces of jewelry, including a silver locket with miniatures of Taurasi and Caroline inside.

Bird and Taurasi were laid to rest together in the graveyard at St. Peter's next to where they had buried Caroline a number of years previously. On her visit, Harrington also placed an order for a headstone, which can still be seen today. Underneath their names and dates is the passage from Ruth 1: 16, "Wither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried" and a more personal epitaph, "Sacred to the memory of Sue, who has started on her next big adventure at too young an age, and to Diana, who couldn't live without her and who died of a broken heart." At the bottom, until recently covered over by vegetation, there also reads, "Also in memory of their daughter Caroline, who the sea did them giveth and also taketh away in the year of our Lord 1738." In recent years, the graveyard has seen a significant increase in traffic by tourists who wish to view the headstone, and the church has been forced to implement a policy of not allowing any headstone rubbings in order to preserve its integrity.





For Every Storm a Rainbow: Part 6
References
Table of Contents

Date: 2010-10-31 04:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nycscribbler.livejournal.com
So. I have squeed in your general direction about this a couple of times. But I should leave more concrete feedback.

I loved how you worked in folks who don't get as much face time- Sveta, Moe, Shea- and some of the cameos (Sister Ruth!). I love how everyone fits (OMG, Caroline is Sue and D's kid... sort of). I liked Katie being her less than social self without being evil, because it's so easy to give in to the temptation to make Detroit players evil. I love your imitation of Jayda's style, and how some passages of the novel are very Mechelle (specifically some of Sue's frustration and the bit at the end of Chapter 4). I love you bringing in Dumerc and the European stuff. I love that you built a base that explains how Sue can be so modern in her views about gender and race without it being anachronistic. I love some of the genderqueer/genderswap stuff that's only touched upon.

What I think I love most is how much the writer's love for the subject comes through- and in a weird, meta way, not just your love, but historian!Jayda's love for her study and novelist!Mechelle's love for her characters.

The only problem I have is my emotional investment in that universe. I want to read the rest of Jayda's book! I want to find out how badly they fucked up the movie! (Because I can't imagine a movie about lesbian pirates being a big commercial success {thanks to the Christian Right}, and yet it's big enough to have a novelization from a major publishing house.) God help me, I want to write fanfic of the novel.

Date: 2010-11-01 07:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vicki595.livejournal.com
Sveta wasn't supposed to have as much face time as she ultimately ended up with; she weaseled her way into a much bigger role than originally intended ;) But I definitely wanted to try and work in a cast who often don't get mentioned as much. (I was determined to get Sister Ruth in there somehow - that was certain!)

So, the movie was actually a BBC/Working Title Films and was a critical success in Europe ;) My sleep deprived brain came up with the brilliant (or not so brilliant!) desire to have a TVTropes fake!entry about the film (and it's subsequent sequel), though that might just be a way to try and prevent myself from actually writing it for real! :D

Date: 2011-10-16 02:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thebasseffect.livejournal.com
I was rereading this today because I had a sudden urge for pirate fic. I probably should've left better feedback the first time than "I want to grow up to be a nerd like you :D" but I'm a notoriously lazy commenter. *cough*

That said, this fic is still fucking EPIC even after multiple rereads. The way you structured it is pure genius, and Jayda's book is AMAZING. <333 It's pretty rare to read period fic involving women that doesn't seem entirely implausible, but you do such a good job of incorporating history to make it feel real. Hats off to you. Still awesome, a year later!

Even though the ending always makes me go ow, my heart. :( Especially poor Caroline. :(

Date: 2012-08-09 12:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] harper-m.livejournal.com
This was great. I don't know how I hadn't run across it before, but it's a perfect companion to the ongoing Olympics. I loved all of the little breadcrumbs scattered throughout.

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