The Strange History and Legend of the Moran Moor
Extract Five. The Cost of Trade
From Julien’s perspective native languages seemed both in spoken and signed form to have exactly the required number of words to make each and every important issue clear as crystal yet just insufficient to make sidetracking by unimportant issues like politics or religion all but impossible. The dual forms of linguistic seemed a most sensible arrangement as the signed language was generally shared by the multitude of tribes even when their spoken was distinctly different. The gestured lexicon proved to be a most peaceful and adequate form of inter-tribal communication, it being considerably more difficult to argue or come to blows when the sting of the spoken insult or dispute are removed from interactions.
Aqantie’wit’s friendship paid multiple dividends providing Julien a ready adequate income and a pathway into wholly different cultures and languages. Julien was soon able to sign proficiently with his boatsteerer friend, a skill that proved particularly useful when Aqantie’wit would be standing at the prow of the chase boat harpoon cocked and Julien would be at the stern steering a course tight to their rapidly moving Physeter prey.
The voyage was in its beginnings of some considerable success, taking six large whales that produced some sixty barrels of oil. With holds already over half full master Todd decided to offload at Onega in the hopes of a bumper return voyage to the ships home base of Greenwich, London.
The Glenmore came to grief on the 26th September 1822 in a most unfortunate collision with a large section of free-floating ice in the White sea just of Arkhangelsk-Oblast. The crew managed to man the boats and abandon ship before the hull disappeared beneath the waters, but ships master Todd true to tradition steadfastly refused to leave his rapidly sinking vessel and was lost. The ragged flotilla of small oared craft bereft of all goods and chattels successfully made landfall at the port of Archangel some few days later.
As luck would have it both Julien and Aqantie’wit were able to find places as crewmen on the merchant man ‘Kitty’, then under the mastery of a much godly man by the name of Warren, that had recently docked at Archangel for the purpose of picking up whale oil barrels before returning to Wapping basin, London. Whilst not enjoying either the comforts or rate of pay due whalers of their experience the voyage served the two now fast friends’ purposes well.
Once berthed in the seafaring metropolis of London Julien and Aqantie’wit began the difficult task of finding paid passage to Nuuk, Greenland, the home base of Messrs. T. Olds the owners of the lost ‘Glenmore’. With luck the ships insurance would provide some recompense for their lost shares through the dispensation of the ship’s insurance.
Unable to quickly find a berth to Nuuk and rapidly running out of coin out two shipmates joined the East Indiaman the ‘Kent’ at the Downs deep anchorage bound for Penang, Singapore and Whampoa. The outward voyage took from the 23rd January 1823 till the 30th September of that same year. Rather than make the return leg Julien and Aqantie’wit remained on Changzhou in the hopes of obtaining a berth to a port in the Americas and thence to Greenland. Changzhou, or Dane Island as it was known to Europeans, was in the midst of the main anchorage for Guangdong province. The East India Company ships arriving would generally have their holds packed with Indian produced opium, the most lucrative export to China in the 19th century and the basis of the Honorable companies astounding wealth and influence. The ‘Kent’ would have been no exception.
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