D - Dartmouth (England)
Bayard's Cove, Dartmouth (where repairs were carried out to the Pilgrim Fathers' ship Speedwell)
Napoleon had given up on writing his report and was thinking about vacation plans. “Did you ever visit Plymouth, when you lived in England?” he asked his partner.
“No. Why?” said Illya.
“I was just thinking about Thanksgiving this year. Be interesting to visit – celebrate the Pilgrim Fathers' voyage.”
“Why not Southampton? – that’s where the two ships started from.”
How, and more especially why, did Illya know this stuff Napoleon wondered. “Two ships?” he said.
“You’re supposed to know this stuff, Napoleon. Mayflower and Speedwell.”
“Oh right, of course. The Speedwell.” Napoleon supposed he must have learned about it once.
“Speedwell was unseaworthy. They had to put into Dartmouth for repairs after about a week at sea. And two weeks after setting off again, they had to turn back and take it into Plymouth for more repairs. In the end they abandoned Speedwell and only Mayflower sailed in the end.”
“So, what’s Southampton like?”
“Busy port. Badly bombed during the war, like Plymouth. Hideous reconstruction.” Illya was losing interest in the subject and had picked up a journal.
“How about Dartmouth? What’s that like?”
Illya looked up. “It’s very old. The port was already in decline before the war so it wasn’t bombed quite as badly, but the naval college was hit.”
“How come you know so much about it?” said Napoleon.
Illya went a little pink. “I met a girl from there, once.”
Napoleon grinned. “Pretty?”
“She said it was a bit run down but looks quite pretty like a lot of towns in Devon. We could go there. And Plymouth isn’t far away.”
“One of these days, my friend…” said Napoleon, wagging a finger, “I’ll get you to answer the question I asked.”
“You asked me about Dartmouth.”
Napoleon rolled his eyes.