Downloadable PDF: Chapter 8
Sea battles in the Caribbean crashed their island peace as a new nation compelled itself into being. The hurricane had brought them home. As the West Indies possessions of the French and British tore at and through each other, Pinney’s plantation beachhead became fort and defensive battery, watched nightly by sentinels become field hands once again at daybreak. And with the accompanying disruption of the supply line of food, Nevis exhausted to permanent departure four hundred of its slaves in just a few, short years.
He is seeing himself now, standing on the French flagship fourteen days into the new year of 1782. Standing among the masters… surrendering the island.
He is seeing himself now, atop the island hills only eight days further on… standing among his island’s residents, clustered at the highpoints to watch the sea battle: the stand of the British, and the French withdrawal.
He is seeing himself now, one further and final Nevis year on from battle and surrender… standing between the wooden plantation house and the self-built homes, thatched and gardened, of his family and community. Eighteen years and a day since they held hands – one twelve, one eight, one six, one twenty-five – and were bought, and were sold. He is remembering a memory not shared with his sisters, shared not with those others like him but with the products of their labours.
He is remembering leaving for good.