"Il n'y a pas de sot métier."
All professions are respectable.

Norrington, on hands and feet, was scrubbing the deck behind Gillette, who made his disagreement over his captain's activity known by stubborn silence and ferocious use of the brush. After a while, Norrington began to feel sorry for the deck.

"If you continue to do make the wood suffer for your anger, the ship will get a leak, Mr. Smith."

Gillette didn't reply. He was barefoot, sleeves rolled up, his hair held back in a pigtail, and that sight brought back memories to Norrington of a gangly youth with red hair, scrubbing the floor of the galley on another ship. He couldn't help but smile - all things considered, Gillette hadn't changed all that much since then.

"I don't see what's so amusing," Gillette hissed, looking over his shoulder. "I don't mind doing this, but I don't like seeing you scrubbing the planks on a bloody merchant!"

"They saved our lives, gave us food and clothing. I think that doing a bit of cleaning is nothing but fair."

Gillette lowered his voice.

"Captains are not supposed to scrub decks, bloody hell."

"At times, you're a terrible snob, Mr. Smith. That's what usually I am accused of."

Gillette grumbled something unintelligible and continued his duties. After a while, he noticed that Norrington was humming, and he couldn't help but voice a terrible suspicion.

"You're enjoying this?"

Norrington gave Gillette one of his rare almost-smiles.

"Well, it's good to be reminded of ones origins once in a while, don't you agree?"

He continued to hum until he was interrupted by a rather perfidious snicker from Gillette.

Norrington arched an eybrow.

"What do you find so amusing, Mr. Smith?"

"Your choice of tune is a little – peculiar, Mr. Miller."

"You know it?" Norrington asked in surprise, for in all the years they knew, Gillette had never shown any interest in music. He'd never even heard him whistle.

"I do. And if I may say so, Sir - it's not a song that should be hummed aboard a British ship."


Gillette looked around to make sure they were out of anybody's hearing range, then he moved next to Norrington.

"Because I know the lyrics."

"Which are? Nothing lewd, I hope!"

Another check for possible eavesdroppers, then Gillette cleared his throat and sung a few lines.

"De Saint-Malo nous 'vons parti
Sur une frégate bien jolie
Pour s'en aller dedans La Manche
Dedans la Manche vers Bristol
Pour aller attaquer - my apologies, Sir -
Les Anglais."

Norrington pulled a face.

"Does this mean what I think it means?"

"Yes, Sir."

"I'll stick to bawdy tavern songs then."

"I'd recommend it."

"You seem to have a good ear for languages, Mr. Smith."

Gillette shrugged.

"Know thy enemy, Sir. As your second-in-command, it's my duty to make sure you're not singing anything that could get us on the gallows."

Then he continued to scrub - to Norrington's great relief next to him, which was less distracting.

* * *

Ragetti's random notes:

"De Saint-Malo nous 'vons parti
Sur une frégate bien jolie
Pour s'en aller dedans La Manche
Dedans la Manche vers Bristol
Pour aller attaquer
Les Anglais."

"From Saint-Malo we had gone
On a right pretty frigate
To sail away down the Channel
Down the Channel for Bristol
To go and attack the English."

Mr. Norrington, now really! What an unsuitable thing to hum for a captain of the Royal Navy!

I'm a bit anachronistic with that song, though, as it's not quite clear when it was written, late 18th or early 19th century. But I thought we could live with that and not be nitpicky in exchange for Gillette and Norrington singing. ;-)

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Dramatis Personae
The Stories
CHAPTER 13: Scrub Down The Deck
by Molly Joyful