JS1990

Anne Bonny - a work in progress, up for inspection

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Ahoy, fellow Pirates, privateers and buccaneers (or dreamers, like me!).

I have been lurking around this forum for quite some time now, and have finally got the courage to join as a member, and to begin posting.

For a few years, I have been working on a novel based loosely on what we know of Anne Bonny. No title yet, it will come in time.

In the mean time, I would like to humbly offer my prologue and my first chapter for dissection, opinion and advice to you all.
I know I need to work on period language, clothing etc, and I will. Please kindly enjoy, and let me know what you think.


Warmest regards to you all,

Jacqui.

----

PROLOUGE

The waves grew around her, crashing wildly at her feet.

The thunderclouds cracked open, spilling their thick raindrops on the white sandy shore.

“Mary! You need to come in, it’s going to get worse!” her Mother yelled from their small cottage, the howling wind running away with her voice.

Ignoring her, Mary took another step into the grey sea, shutting her eyes. She felt the waves getting stronger and stronger, and felt her soft linen dress soaking up the chilled salty water.

“Mary,” her mother repeated, “I know about these things, come inside the house at once!”

Mary opened her eyes with a sigh, glancing back towards the cottage set upon an aged dune. She turned on her heel, kicking up the soggy sand. As she ran towards it, lighting soared behind her, splintering in the ocean. The stone walled cottage crawled nearer.

She ran inside, her wet dress clinging tightly to her thin legs. The dark brown curls that usually framed her face beautifully were now drenched and upset, creating a clashing contrast with her hazel eyes.

“Mother, when did you become so boring?” Mary asked jokingly.

“It’s instinct.” She replied, smiling.

Mary sat down in the wooden kitchen chair, gratefully accepting the cup of warmed honey water her had Mother prepared. Anne poured herself a cup, taking a sip as she took a seat opposite her daughter.

Her fiery red hair strongly matched that of her personality, and the respect it unconsciously demanded. Anne Bonny, the woman Pirate legend, sipped her honey water, wondering why her daughter tended to always stare at her.

“What now?” She asked, her mingled accent becoming evident. She was becoming used to the exploitative look in her daughter’s eye.

“Tell me more.. About them.... The sea, Mum... and Mary...’, she said, taking a quick sip of her water, and added quietly, ‘tell me about Jack”. Mary replied in a whisper, shifting her glance to her swinging legs.

Anne thought for a moment, taking a deep breath, remembering every ounce of her adventures aboard the changing sea, in the arms of the only man she had ever truly loved – every memory she had tried to forget during the years since his death. Exhaling quietly, Anne felt her entire being fill with emotions beyond her own control.
Studying her daughter’s excited face, full of anticipation and a hint of fear, Anne couldn't help being reminded of him. Mary’s eyes, a perfect mix between her own and his, brought out the tanned skin she had inherited from her father. Anne took pain in swallowing the growing lump in her throat, and begun to speak in a hushed voice.

---

CHAPTER ONE

“Get out.” He said, his lowered voice quivering. He thrust an aged finger towards the dark, wooden door.

Anne’s young, bright eyes flickered dangerously between his outstretched hand and his stern, unmovable face.

“I won’t come back.” She said, her sentence sounding more like a question.

He didn't move, nor did he say a word.

Anne took a step back, sweeping her tear filled eyes across the large living space for the last time. She took one final look at her Father’s hurt face and marched out the door, holding her head high.

As the raindrops cascaded onto her head, she felt numb to the world, but would not allow her Father the satisfaction of knowing he had hurt her.

With an ounce of hesitation, Anne began walking in a familiar direction, wiping a wet piece of darkened red hair out of her grass green eyes as the thunder rumbled her bones. Holding nothing but her pain, she let the reality of her last few moments reach her.

At almost sixteen years of age, Anne was barely a woman, with fire inside her soul. Having spent the majority of her life without a mother to influence her ways, Anne had become known around her town as a lady not to be crossed, with a short temper and an unmovable strong will. Her Father, William, had become a pawn in her search for something more, an action that often resulted in her loss of friends and affection, but an addition of fear and respect grown from whispers among the town folk. William deemed it ‘inappropriate’ and ‘unladylike’, which only pushed Anne further. She swore, she scowled, and she spoke her mind ever since she had learnt how too.

As she walked through the wet lanes of Charlestown, Carolina, she held her arms high above her head, feeling the rain gush down them and onto her shoulders. She outstretched them, tilting her proud chin upwards, opening her mouth ever so slightly, tasting the sweet water.

As she approached a darkened alleyway, the struggling moonlight stumbled upon a tall figure, black hair wet with anticipation of his fiancé’s arrival. Her feet directing themselves, Anne fell into his dark arms, her thoughts justifying her stubborn decision.

“What did he say, Anne?” James asked, holding his breath as he pressed his body into Anne’s. He felt her tension, her stiffened strong frame, and knew the outcome was not what he had hoped for.

“He doesn’t agree.” She stated, looking over James’ shoulder into the cobbled road at the end of the alleyway.

In three words, Anne had slashed James’ hopes for a prosperous future, achieved without much effort on his part. The owner of a well recognized tobacco plantation, Anne’s father, had become rather wealthy during his time in Charleston. James felt his mind race, trying to figure out his next move to secure the property, and its fortunes, for himself and Anne.

“Let us go speak to him”, James suggested, “We can show him we are right for one another.” He said breathlessly, proceeding to take Anne’s hands into his.

“It’s not an option, James.” Anne replied, stepping back with a hardened look in her eye. She had learnt how to deal with fear, pain, anger and hurt by allowing her strong temper to take control.

“I have decided that I am of the age that I do not need a father in my life any longer.” She added, cementing her anger towards William.

During the heated argument, he had informed her that he did not grant his approval for marriage to James, as he was a poor sailor with not much to offer his daughter. She neglected to mention this to James, along with the dis-ownership from her Father’s family, his name, his estate and all aligning finances that resulted from the malicious fight just moments ago. Anne also kept aside the horrid words she had heard from her father about marrying a man of color, let alone anything further.

James thought for a moment, his brow furrowing in the lightning scratched night sky.
“What is to happen to your plantation then? Once he has passed? Who is to take over?” He asked her, his voice coated with a thin line of anger.

“Does it matter?” Anne challenged, locking her green eyes onto his. They forced him out of the shadows, revealing his stature. His dark brown skin was barely visible in the night, his black hair saluting the moon. His eyes were of a natural colour, giving off a warm feeling in contrast to his furrowed, thick brows. He shook his head, turning towards the road with Anne by his side.

The pair walked on, Anne’s wet gingerly locks sticking to her face. A light shone in the distance, and Anne recognized it, as she had walked this path many a time. James Bonny, the man she was now betrothed too, lived in a small cottage on the outskirts of Charlestown, surrounded by a messy little garden. She held her head high, he kept his down. His plan had run amok.

William had wished for his daughter to marry a respectable man, taking her place as a good lady of society. Instead, Anne had frustrated her Father for years through her tomboy ways, and her constant search of adventure and excitement. It was through this that she had wandered to the town dock, meeting James for the first time.

Anne, feeling the tension and not liking it, took the control she was so used to taking.

Taking his hand, she put it around her side, letting it rest on her now developing hips. James looked away. A flicker of anger returned to Anne’s emotions, and she threw his hand back down.

“What is it James? Is it not all going how you planned? Tell me James, now.” Anne said fiercely, a quiet voice of conscious revealing her fiance’s plan.

“Anne, keep walking.” He replied, his voice quiet.

At the command from a man, Anne stopped dead in her tracks, cocking one wet eyebrow in disbelief.

James, however, kept walking. Anne let out an angst sigh, to which James spun around.

“I demand you tell me this instance James Bonny, for if you don’t I shall refuse to marry you.” Anne said, putting her fisted hands onto her hips.

“Anne, I simply wished to have your Father’s blessing.” James lied. At age 32, he had had quite a good amount of experience in lying. He had made his small fortune in pirating, just along the coasts of North Carolina with a small crew. They would attack fishermen and small boats, plundering them for anything worth a penny. However, on marrying Anne, he had hoped for more, provided from her wealthy father.

Anne folded her arms and continued walking to his cottage – Her new home. She let the feeling of anger stay a while. She liked it.

James opened the door to his cottage, letting Anne go in first. She looked around, seeing a few of her less important possessions lying on the ground. Already, she felt as if her love for James was fleeting. His cottage had no walls separating the bed from the kitchen. Everything had been pushed into the one room, with the washroom outside.

“We must be up at an early hour tomorrow, as the priest is coming to say the holy words. Do you have your whites?” James asked, rushing his sentence.

Anne nodded slowly in agreement.

James shrugged in reply, pouring a cup of almost fresh milk for Anne and a cup of rum for himself. As he handed it to her, she looked from the milk to the rum, and proceeded to grab the latter. He pulled it away, knowing full well Anne needed nothing more to fuel her anger.

“You’re barely sixteen Anne.” He said, sipping his slowly.

“Yet you are joining with me.” She replied hotly.

“Aye. Goodnight, Anne.” He replied, swallowing his rum in just a few gulps. After a moments silence, he proceeded to his messy bed, and climbed in, blowing out the candles.

And so, Anne sat, glowing hotly in the darkness. Her milk was warming in her hands, as James started snoring. She felt as if she could get out if it still – Yet she didn’t want to. Something kept her to him. Love, she thought. And so the milk cooled.

Anne had always believed in love, in the true essence of it. Any man that was unlucky enough to hurt her, she had hurt right back. When she was ten years of age, her neighbour had kissed another girl. Unknowingly, he had ripped Anne’s heart out.
She proudly marched to his house, knocked on the door, and on him answering – Punched him in the stomach. The boy fell, curved at the doorstep, not having a clue what had just happened.

She was certain she had found the true essence with James, as they had been seeing each other for at least 4 months before he discussed marriage with her. He had always been interested in her Father’s plantation, and the money he made from it. James had worked there for a few years during his younger years, watching Anne grow up.

Love, she thought. And so she smiled, and so she drank.

Putting her empty cup into the washbowl, she crawled into bed next to James, putting her warm hand around his stomach. She was sure she had felt him straighten.

As she fell asleep, Anne’s half-conscious mind conjured a new idea. It was her Father’s fault their marriage was not perfect, as she had planned it to be. It was him, after all, who had not given James his blessing. He had hurt Anne’s marriage. And, as Anne finally fell asleep, she felt as if he needed to feel pain too.

---

Thoughts? Advice? Opinions?

I plan to follow her entire journey, but as not a lot is known about the details of her life, and there are a lot of options as to what happened to her during her life, I am adding extra ingredients to the mix. I hope you will all enjoy it.

Jacqui

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I like the concept of the prologue and your writing style flows nicely. I wouldn't tend to think of her as a romantic myself, but you could certainly make a case for it.

Just out of curiosity, why don't you create your own character and base parts of it loosely on Bonny?

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Hi Misson!

Thank you very much your report. I am 110% open to all opinion and advice - it really does help one to develop.

Though it may seem so at the moment, she isn't portrayed as a romantic in this either - as the story develops, she begins to understand that what she felt for James was not love at all, but instead a sort of necessity. The 'believe in love' thing develops too - But I have been thinking about changing this as you have stated. To me, she seems to be a very independent woman - doesn't need a man in her life kind of deal :-).

Creating a new character would definitely help me to stand out amongst the other Anne Bonny stories,and is definitely something I will consider.

Thanks again for your words,

Warm regards,

Jacqui

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For interests sake, here is some more.

Again, I am aware I need a lot of work on period specific pieces etc, and I will continue to research them all :-).

Pop a cup of tea, or grab a glass of rum - there is a lot to be read ahead!

--

As the morning rays hit the little cottage, the smell of burnt grass was in the air. Anne opened the door slowly, stepping softly through it. As she put her burnt finger into the wash bucket, James stirred in his sleep. She withdrew it immediately, creeping back into bed next to him. The day had only just begun.

Anne woke again slowly, yawning and stretching. As she came to, she recognised her Father’s voice, mixed with her fiancés.

“I know it was you James, don’t you dare take it upon yourself to lie to me!” William said ferociously.

“Sir, I would not-“

“First, I hire you to make yourself a living all those years ago. I give you good pay and a chance for your future. Then, you proceed to steal my daughter away? Bribe her with maddening necessities? And if that was not enough to send an old man to his grave, you think it wise to set my entire stock, my fields, my living on fire? Is it so that I am now in the same place as you? And do not think that I can see through your childish plans with my daughter. She still is a child, man, how can you fail to see that!?” William said, gasping for breath.

“My choice to be with him is my own.” Anne replied, getting out of bed to join James at the door. She saw her Father’s heart break through his eyes.

“Anne, stay out of this.” James shot at her. Already, she could feel her untamed rage becoming apparent.

“I demand to know what is going on.” She said to her Father, whom failed to look at her.

'Somebody..,” He said, “Has thought it wise to burn my plantations.”

“Is that so?” She asked, knowing full well who had done such a thing. She couldn’t help but let herself smile.

“Father, perhaps it is a sign. You have done something wrong, to which now has been repaid to you. Is that is? Perhaps, father, you should of thought twice before you said no.” She nudged unsubtly.

“Anne.. You wouldn’t. You, you couldn’t!” He spat in denial. James looked from Anne to the smoke, from the smoke to Anne’s burnt finger, which she made no effort to hide. He dropped his jaw in shock.

“I already have, Father. Now if you would be as so kind to remove yourself, James and I have business that needs attending. Today is that day of our wedding, and we would quite like to proceed. Farewell.” Anne said stubbornly, trying to shut the door.
Her father threw his hand against it.

“I took you from Ireland, so you would not have been looked down upon. I gave up food, your Mother gave up water, so you would be well fed.. And yet this, this statement from you is what I gather in return? 16 years of sacrifices have mislead me to this? Anne Cormac… After this day, you shall no longer call me your Father. With these words to you, I take any connection, any ties to you away. The only thing we will share is our blood, to which I wish will one day lead you to your senses. After this day, you will be Anne Bonny. And after this day, you will not call me your father. Good day to you both.” He cried, his voice shaking with each breath he took. He let go of the door, allowing it to shut on its own.

Anne stood in silence, listening to his horses hooves fade into the distance. She could not have had words to say if she tried.

James made the first move, sitting down on the bed. He lay his heads in his hands.

“Look what you did.” He said, that coat of anger coming back to him.
Anne said nothing in reply.

The pair sat in silence, until James proceeded to put Anne’s evening attire into a sack, along with his.

“What are you doing? The priest will be here in a moment to marry us.” She said honestly, watching him.

“You’re mad, girl. We cannot marry here. It is a cursed place, the very ground you stand on has now been cursed. Gather your belongings, I shall gather mine. Then, we shall go.” With that, he went out the door, with a sack of all the gold he could find in his hand.

Anne had no choice but to listen, as she knew she now had no one else to provide for her. Knowing that, however, she also knew that the love between herself and James was slipping through her fingertips, minute by minute.

She walked around the little cottage, throwing her belongings into the brown sack, and throwing James’s into a pile on his bed.

Hours later, as the sun began to set, Anne saw James walking up their pathway, clutching two pieces of paper where the gold once was. Anne rushed out the door, joining him. He handed her the papers, which she squinted to read in the fading light.

‘Anne Bonny, age sixteen (one six), at the fare of three pounds, on Her Majesty’s ship, departing at 7 o’clock on January the twelfth. Destination: New Providence, Bahamas. Reporting time shall be half an hour before that of the departure.’ Anne read it again, to make sure.

“New Providence?” She asked. James nodded.

“We leave now. Gather your sack Anne, and let me fill mine. Then… We leave, and say goodbye to this place as it stands.” James said, putting the papers into his pocket.

Anne nodded, not sure what to make of the situation. She went into the cottage, picked up her sack and waited for James to finish his. Together, they walked out of the cottage, down the pathway and towards the docks, silent as the fading sun.

As the ship’s mast came into view, Anne knew that she was preparing to say goodbye to everything she knew.

--

CHAPTER TWO

“HMS Royalty?” Anne questioned, reading the letters across the back of the hull. The ship that came into view was a wooden dark brown, her sails mighty and high against the masts.

“Aye, a retired British Navy vessel.” answered a man next to her.

She spun to look at him, and nodded in reply. Wrinkled in the face, his long and greying hair whispered around him.

Around her, people were hugging each other, saying final goodbyes and nonsense she didn’t care of. A few ragged men were loading sacks and cases onto the ship, throwing them with no worry as to how gently they landed.
Mothers were scurrying around and making sure their children had enough warm clothes as their husbands bargained with the ship’s chef to provide them with an extra ration of food.
Anne looked behind her, sweeping her auburn red hair off her shoulders. The same faces, none knowing what to expect of this new place, looked back. A promise, indeed, but none knew if it was ever to be fulfilled.

A cooling, soft rain started to fall, sending a sheet of calmness over the chaotic situation. Anne tended to slip off a lot, into a world she liked as her own. With her dreams providing a back drop, her private thoughts would fly in and out of her head, pausing for only one moment at a time. She liked to dwell on things that other people would surpass, though one would never guess. She thrived on new experiences, especially the kind that none else could relate too. Anne’s only downfall, some would say, was her inability to handle any anger or any rage that would enter, acting upon it immediately. James took Anne’s sack from her, bringing her all to quickly back into reality.

“We must board.” He said, leading her towards the queue. Anne replied in silence, letting James lead the way. The old man followed closely.

As they moved closer to the ticket officer, Anne looked back to the town. Taking a last look at her home, she swept her widened eyes to James’s cottage on the outskirts, to the small village full of normality, and back to her Father’s modest home. To everything she knew.

“Tickets please M’am!” an officer shouted at Anne, whom was caught off guard, throwing them to him in return. The officer looked startled, and spluttered something Anne couldn’t make out.

By now, James had gotten used to her behaviour, and preceded onboard without a word. Anne followed James onto the ship, which she realised was not in its grandest of years. As they made their way to what would be their home for the following few weeks, Anne stopped at the sight of the readily growling sea. As the waves started to crash along the side, it rattled her through her skin and into her bones. She breathed in the cold sea air, feeling it fill her lungs with a capacity like never before. Anne felt herself smiling as she surrendered to her newest challenge.

“You too eh?” croaked the old man, startling her from behind.

With no reply, Anne located James at the end of the ship, making his way into the hull.

“We sleep down here, Anne.” He said, pointing to a pair of bunks in a corner.

Following him in, she placed her sack onto the top bunk that she claimed as her own. As the hull became fuller, Anne left James on his bunk and made her way back up the narrow wooden stairs, and onto the deck of the ship. She walked slowly towards the bow, dragging her hands along the wet rail.

“All aboard!” She heard the ticket officer call, signalling to the captain.

The rain fell harder on Anne’s head, flattening her usually buoyant hair. She watched as the ship started to leave, catching the wind in her sails. People were yelling goodbye, waving pieces of clothing or their hands. Blowing kisses. Anne sighed, looking away from them. She instead focused on the bow again, watching it gain more and more speed. The sound of goodbye’s started to fade away.

The ship rocking steadily beneath her, she began to drift, her eyes closing. The feeling she felt was like no other, calm and at ease, yet excited and exasperated at the same time. Every breath she took was like that of the first she had ever witnessed. Every other sound around her blocked itself out, allowing everything to give into the sea. It slashed, it crashed and it extorted. It flowed, it grew, and it fell. It held hope, loss and everything in between. Anne imagined the memories it held, seeing everything from death to birth to victories and losses.

She felt herself moving closer to the edge, feeling herself take a leap upwards, felt her fingers grazing gently over the statue of the mermaid at the very front, taking in every cut and groove it held. With nothing now supporting her feet, they dangled above the water, tempting the sea and herself. Her arms holding on to the statue, she dropped them a little further, the sea spray tickling her feet and calves. Someone was calling her name in the distance. Her eyes remained shut.

“Anne!” Someone yelled over the sound of the sea. Dropping her arms a little further, it was now only her hands supporting her. She felt as if her entire life rested at the bottom of the ocean, and she wanted nothing more than to be one with it. Slowly, finger by finger, she let go of the statue with her right hand. She felt it dangle weightlessly next to her body. She was slipping off, supported only by her one hand. The sea growled recklessly, as if it could see what Anne couldn’t. It wanted to claim the prize before it could be wretched away.

James reached down within seconds, grabbing Anne’s hand just as she let go. Her eyes jolting open, she became aware of the scene around her. People were yelling, shouting instructions. Looking down, she saw her feet within a metre of her sea. ‘My sea..’ she thought, watching it roll around her.

She looked up to see James pulling her slowly, and a few other men grabbing on to help him. Her arm was back over the bow now, followed by her shoulders, back, pelvis and legs. She was slumped in a ball on the hard wooden floor, with women rushing to put blankets on her and soup into her mouth. James kneeled down beside her, wiping the rain off her face, then his own. She got up slowly, resting her weight again on her arms.

James took her head in his hands, surveying her every inch. She pulled it back.
Gaining full awareness back, she shook her head.

“I am all right.” She said softly.

“You nearly bloody well went overboard!” One of the men around her shouted.

James remained silent. Anne’s spontaneous and dangerous behaviour was wearing him down, little by little.

“I’m fine.” She said, lying through her teeth. Truth was, Anne was not anywhere close. She had more fire in her than ever before, having come within one metre of certain death. She had felt herself want it. It wasn’t the death itself she wanted, it was to be at peace with the ocean, to be part of it, to be as one. It was her newest and greatest love. She kept her eyes on the ground.

James got back onto his feet, and made his way down to their bunks. He was holding on to all he could with Anne, and needed time to let it all catch up with him. Anne ignored it, only wanting to get back to her sea, to be near it.

Slowly, after double checking she was ok, the crowd around her left. She did, however, keep her blankets on. Making her way back to the bow, she rested there again. Closing her eyes, she felt for the statue underneath.

“Yer not th’ only one, ye know.” A voice said, interrupting her. She opened her eyes and whipped around. The old man from the dock had followed her to the bow, dropping his hands on the rail. Anne said nothing, giving him a narrow eyed resentful look. She wandered why he kept interrupting her.

“Yer not, me lass. There have been many others tha’ feel tied to th’ sea, each in their own way.” He said hoarsely, unaffected by Anne’s gaze. She turned back around, facing the horizon.

He sighed slowly, and Anne could hear what sounded like his bones rattling inside.

“Look a’ her. How could ye not? I knew it, ye know, as soon as I saw ye, I knew it. Yer one of ‘em.” He said again. As if Anne had replied, the man continued to have a conversation.

“One of what?” She asked finally, giving in to curiosity.

“Ye know… One of ‘em free folk....” He said, a sudden toothless grin appearing. Before Anne could reply directly, he turned around, leaving her with her thoughts.

“I am not.” Anne replied, confused as to what she was defending. She wasn’t in much of a mood for talking, let alone arguing.

The rain was still falling, gathering in little pools over the deck. At this, the old man turned around, leaving Anne on her own. She watched him go, his left foot with a noticeable limp. The night was getting older, and darkness was becoming more predominant than light. As the ship’s oiled lamps were made to be off at 9’ o clock, Anne felt herself becoming wary, her eyes becoming heavier to lift each time she blinked. She yawned, her knees becoming weak. She felt herself drifting again, however different from the last. Curled up on the wooden deck floor, Anne Bonny lay sleeping, underneath the blackened night sky.

---

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Pretty darn good. This is in the top 25% or so of the pirate fiction I've read on this board, and has some definite potential. I was particularly pleased with the prologue, which gives the illusion at first that this is going to be yet another rebellious-daughter-versus-heartless-domineering-mother story, and then immediately upends my expectations. Anne Bonny promises to be a unique and unpredictable character; I'm not at all sure that I like her, but I am quite sure that I am intrigued by her. I'm not going to say that this would be publishable as yet, which requires quality in the top 5% range or so, and even then is as much a matter of persistence and luck as quality. It sure does stand out, though.

I would be willing to offer you some line by line criticism, if you would like to have it. I want to ask first, because my criticism can be pretty bruising on the ego. But please understand that I wouldn't be offering this if I weren't pretty impressed with your work and consider it worth the time and effort to improve. And I am certain that I can help you improve your dialogue and avoid certain anachronisms.

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Dear Plundrere,

Thank you very much for your kind word and support. I am glad to hear that you have enjoyed it so far.

As bruising as criticism may be, it is essential for development of literature, and I would gladly welcome it. Thank you very much for your kind offer of help. Please do feel free to PM me your thoughts when you have free time.

Warmest regards,

Jacqui

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