Novel Published (Not as good as Brigadier Ray's though)

Discussion in 'Members Corner' started by Bushmills, Mar 11, 2016.

  1. Bushmills

    Bushmills Regular Member

    Feb 7, 2012
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    Stopped stuffing round on Arrse and have published a novel thought that you might be interested in a novel, written under the “nom de plume” of Theo Flinn, “Javelin Man; Ticket of Leave”.

    One of the characters is an ancestor Sergeant Michael McMahon who married an Indian Lady, my great great grandmother.

    You think you’ve had a bad day?

    1843 Van Diemen’s Land;

    • Distinguished Naval Officer and British Intelligence Officer in the “Regiment”, Sir John Turner Flinn has been shipped to Van Diemen’s Land in chains for a “crime” committed in the service of the Crown.
    • His estranged wife Edwardina has a Royal Skeleton lurking in her closet.
    • After two weeks in the Colony, the new Governor Eardley-Wilmot learns that the cushy job he thought he’d accepted is really a poison chalice. The Colony’s nearly bankrupt and Whitehall expects him to implement policies that are bloody unworkable.
    • The New Chief Magistrate, Frank Burgess has to lead a police force where the cops are convicted crims who pocket half the fines.
    • The Colonial Auditor, George Boyes is jaundiced by years of living in a convict colony where the biggest thieves are often the men at the top.
    • Mary Anne Smith, a beautiful, passionate but brutalised former convict girl has lost her husband and is seeking a strong man; and
    • The biggest villain in Australian History; John Giles-Price is a man with a truly evil plan and Flinn, Burgess and Boyes have to stop him.
    • Based upon real people, linked to historical records, “Ticket of Leave” represents the first instalment of the Javelin Man Trilogy. It features some strong violence and sex scenes; so don’t buy if you’re of a prudish or sensitive disposition.
    Whilst it’s set primarily in the convict settlement of Van Diemen’s Land but includes scenes from:

    • The decks of Nelson’s warships.
    • Guerrilla campaigns in Italy with Wellington’s Secret Service.
    • The corridors of Whitehall; and
    • The show trial of the original “Peoples’ Princess “for sexual infidelity, that nearly brought down the British Monarchy.
    My hero, "John Turner Flinn" dropped into my lap one blistering Christmas holiday in Alice Springs. The heat precluded doing anything but watching videos and my partner and I, became engrossed in gangster series set in 1920’s Sydney. My girlfriend said that her granddad was gangster in Melbourne and a Trove search confirmed this. We decided to dig further into earlier generations and rapidly uncovered a colourful array of London thieves, swing rioters, ships’ captains, a Chinese gold miner and a lot of wayward women in her family tree. I then turned my attention, to my boy Christopher’s family tree and, since his mother is also a sixth generation Australian, a similar array soon emerged.

    I became a bit jealous as research into my own family tree yielded a faceless collection of Lancashire men and women who were publicans, coal miners, enlisted soldiers, cotton and silk weavers, sea and railway men; most of whom were economic refugees from the Irish Potato Famine of 1847.

    After Christmas, we returned to Darwin and the oppressive humidity of a “build-up” that didn’t end until Easter that year and the ancestor hunt became a bit of an obsession. The Top End weather does funny things to people and I recall a drunken phone conversation with my dad in England in which I lamented the lack of substance to our family tree.

    Jealousy led to jokes based upon a theme of “checking my change” or “watching my pockets”, that weren’t funny to begin with and rapidly became less so, as the humid Darwin summer dragged on. The response went from polite smiles to a statement that “probably a lot of my bloody relatives were also sent here in chains” and the candid advice that “I stop taking the piss”. I conceded the wisdom of this advice and decided have a look at the long list of “Flynns” who had been transported and see if any might be relatives and the first one I looked at became the hero; John Turner Flinn.

    You couldn't make this bloke's story up. Flinn’s convict conduct record was unusual as it revealed a “lifer” who had been a commissioned officer in the Royal Navy and therefore a “gentleman” and there was an enigmatic reference to the “Regiment” which is an army rather than naval term, so I “Googled” further.

    My search showed that his case was included in the “Newgate Calendar”, which indicated that it was big news in the 1840’s, so I followed the link and found that Flinn had given evidence for the defense at the trial of Queen Caroline for adultery in 1820. I was a bit sketchy in my recollection of Caroline’s trial, but upon refreshing my memory of Regency history via wikipedia, was struck by the parallels to the British Establishment’s attempted crucifixion by media of a more recent “People’s Princess”.

    Perusal of Flinn’s testimony at Caroline’s trial revealed that Flinn admitted that he had operated as a “spook” in 1814 and Google provided references to his employment as an Admiralty Board Agent in Edinburgh. This was a euphemism for British intelligence gatherers at the time. There were also articles about his being commissioned for gallantry by Lord Nelson, saving Launceston from burning to the ground and participation, accompanied by Sir Sydney Smith, in a fake funeral for a Neapolitan Bandit. Sir Sydney was the equivalent of James Bond’s “M” at the time. Then, the coup de grace, Google revealed that there were rumors that Flinn’s wife, Edwardina Kent was the daughter of Queen Caroline and the Prince Regent, which after the Regent’s death would make our hero’s wife the legitimate Queen of England. The story features a lot of my relatives, In Laws and outlaws that were kicking round the System at the time and loads of links to prime source material. “

    Let me know what you think. Check out my website or head over to Amazon.

    Linked in: Theo Flynn


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  3. Bushmills

    Bushmills Regular Member

    Feb 7, 2012
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    Chapter 1 Island of No Return

    “Embarking in a splendid six-oared whaleboat, we crossed the bay to Point Puer, the boy-thief’s establishment. They were busily occupied in learning and repeating their catechism. At the penitentiary of Point Puer, we encountered Queen Caroline’s celebrated witness, Lieut. Flynn, of the navy, a miscreant who was convicted, in 1839, at the Old Bailey, of forging poor widows’ pension tickets. For this fellow, Queen Caroline obtained the third class order of St. Ferdinand; and since his arrival here, letters have actually been addressed to Sir John Flynn!”Fraser’s Magazine, Volume 26, 1843

    12 Noon 4 October 1843 Hobart Town, Van Diemen’s Land

    John Turner Flinn[ii] woke in his billet in Hobart Town. Even though it was noon there remained a chill in the air. There are always a couple of seconds of bliss upon waking from a pleasant dream, but when awareness of his current predicament returned, his heart turned to lead. He was first reminded that he was fifty five years old by a jab of pain in his neck. This was caused by a gunshot wound he’d acquired in Naples thirty six years ago and even though he was stronger than many men who were twenty years younger, he felt his age today. Second, he glanced at his shabby room and remembered that he had been damned to spend the rest of his life incarcerated in this bloody out-house of a Colony, and thirdly the prospect of the coming night’s work with bloody John Giles-Price made him feel even more bloody miserable.

    The entire island Colony was in fact a vast open prison where only the recently arrived, the reckless, the violent, the defiant, the stupid, the desperate, the unlucky, the very angry or the raving mad were actually locked up in cells or wearing chains. Flinn lived in a billet that was not locked and had, by virtue of his age and previous station in life, been appointed to a position of relative responsibility and freedom, that of “Javelin Man”. His quarters, whilst Spartan, were certainly no worse than the gun rooms and cabins he had occupied on Her Majesty’s ships. He decided that considering the gravity of his purported crime, he personally had no reasonable complaints about his treatment from the System.

    Unlike many of his shipmates, Flinn had not been locked up in a dank dungeon, carried a ball and chain, worn an arrowed suit, had his head shaved nor tied spread eagle to a triangle and flogged mercilessly with a cat o’ nine tails. He had been regarded by colonial officials with the polite embarrassment that one reserves for people who accept an invitation to a dinner party in circumstances where the invitation has only been issued for form’s sake without expectation of acceptance. The role of “Javelin man” was the preserve of “gentlemen” convicts or the criminal elite and he sadly reflected that his former Lieutenant’s commission in the Royal Navy and “Knighthood”, together with his trial report in the “New Gate Calendar” established his credentials both as fallen gentry and as major villain. His connections to the high and mighty were studiously ignored here in the Colony and he studiously avoided bringing them up either with fellow lag or jailer.

    Flinn’s normal duties involved escorting prisoners to and from court, guarding the scaffold at public executions and acting as turn-key for miscreants who had committed infractions and had been dispatched to the various grim penal intuitions in the town as punishment. He had transferred to Hobart Town after completing the probation component of his sentence, two years in Port Arthur[iii]. There, he had been employed as overseer at the Point Puer Penitentiary, a part of the Port Arthur prison precinct that was reserved for boys. He thought about his son Julius, who was about the same age as the child prisoners, and reflected that he had hated the brutality, desolation and hopelessness of the place. He wondered what kind of a nation the little boys who had been jailed and exiled for naughtiness, mischief or youthful stupidity rather than heinous crime, would end up creating? The desolation that their parents must feel back in England nearly brought a tear to his eye. He saw that many were bitter and cynical and had already been beaten, both physically and mentally, by the cruelties of the System. He had tried to treat these children as kindly as possible even though the little buggers could be a bloody handful to manage. Flinn, with the stern authority of a naval officer, was able to maintain discipline effortlessly but some of his fellow convict overseers had struggled. Poor old Walter Simpkins, a balding and timid draper’s assistant, who had been given seven years for “borrowing from the cash box” had dozed off on night duty and was rudely awakened to find the gas lamps extinguished and the contents of the communal piss bucket poured over his head. However, Flinn continued to endure recurring nightmares of his own boy Julius in Point Puer and had found his time with the brats disturbing and he was relieved when he was issued with a probation pass and ordered report for duty as a “Javelin Man” in Hobart Town.

    The term “Javelin Man” came from the heavy spear Flinn was obliged to lug around. The spear was similar to the halberd carried by an infantry sergeant, but it was a lot bigger and was so unwieldy it would be bloody useless in a fight. He was required to wear a uniform of blue jacket with yellow facings and grey trousers which marked his convict status as clearly as a suit stamped with ordinance arrows or a ball and chain. The “swinish multitude” of convicts referred to the Javelin men contemptuously as “Blue Birds”, in contrast to their own soubriquet of “Jail Birds”. The convicts referred to the police as “traps”, turn-keys as “screws” and the overseers; sometimes as “gangers” but more often as “******* bastards”. Flinn had recently been allocated new duties which permitted him to resume dressing as a gentleman in cravat, top hat and great coat. These duties entailed roaming the Public Houses of Hobart Town at night and spending a few hours of the afternoon pushing paper around in the police watch-house or the Muster Master’s office.

    The climate of Hobart Town wasn’t too bad in summer but in winter, the freezing wind and rain made it bloody brutal. Flinn had always tried to live in temperate climes and, apart from a few years in Scotland as a young acting Lieutenant, had generally succeeded. He had acquired more than his fair share of injuries over the years and he found that the winter on the island caused him to suffer numerous aches and pains.

    Gentlemen convicts like Flinn, placed the System in a dilemma. The senior civil servants who notionally ran the Colony were apprehensive that educated prisoners represented a significant threat to the established order. Their most pressing fear was that genteel convicts might induce a situation where familiarity bred contempt for the officer classes. Therefore, like the Army and the Navy, every attempt was made to segregate those who had once had a position from the “rabble”. Most of the early governors and bureaucrats were, in fact, serving army or naval officers but that was beginning to change. Both the new governor and John Giles-Price had never worn the Queen’s Uniform and were therefore deemed less trust worthy by Flinn because of this fact.

    The convict, ticket of leave and “emancipist” population of time served or pardoned prisoners, out-numbered “The Quality”, as the colonial officer class were known, a thousand to one; the rank and file soldiery, on whom “The Quality” depended for muscle were mainly Irish peasants or dispossessed Highlanders who had taken the King’s Shilling and enlisted as red coats to avoid starvation or the monotony of a desolate potato patch. These remnants of a routed Celtic race had little love for effete English “officers and gentlemen” and there were perennial rumors that Irish dissidents were attempting to sow disaffection in the ranks. The policy therefore, was to keep the army as far away from the convicts as possible and the daily management of prisoners was left to fellow con’s, much like the prefect system, where older boys supervise younger ones in an English public school. This policy meant that it was serving convicts who patrolled the streets of Hobart Town in police uniforms, who turned the keys of cell doors and drove the poor buggers who were sent to labor on the iron gangs.

    The elevated status of “The Quality” depended upon a perception of invincibility and a mystique of intrinsic superiority. As in Ireland, Perfidious Albion consolidated its power base by employing extensive networks of spies and informers and by doling out savage punishments to those who bucked the System. This practice came with the bonus of psychologically demoralizing potential dissenters and provided an object lesson on the divide and conquer premise. The System also destroyed the resolve of rebellious convicts by often employing the most cynical, thuggish or vicious professional criminals to act as traps, screws or gangers. The majority of the convicts were ordinary working people whose “crimes” were caused by desperation, drunkenness or stupidity but in the Colony they were supervised by villains, far worse than themselves.

    Another tool to demoralize the convicts was an implacable bureaucracy. Flinn reflected that the psychological war started on the decks of arriving convict ships. The convicts, both male and female, were made to stand naked in front of condescending or leering clerks, who made detailed records of their features, measurements and descriptions of scars or tattoos. The clerks were armed with reports on their conduct in the jails of their home towns, the prison hulks where they had awaited exile, and aboard the prison ship on the long voyage from England to the Colony. The naked, humiliated and shivering prisoners were questioned about their trade and family backgrounds and their offence. The message of this degrading process was that escape was not possible because of the detailed descriptions taken and that the System was “all knowing” and therefore “not worth fighting”.

    This message continued with the Governor Sir john Franklin’s speech. After the prisoners had donned convict uniforms, the Governor had stepped aboard Flinn’s ship, the Lord Lyndoch, and delivered a terrifying homily on the consequences of misbehavior. Minor misdemeanors would be punished by solitary confinement, a diet of bread and water, labor in chains on road gangs or floggings; Major non compliance with the System might incur sanctions including an extension of terms of transportation, the gallows, or possibly an even worse fate, secondary transportation to the penal settlement at Norfolk Island. The “stick” component of convict policy dispensed with, Governor Franklin then described the “carrot”.

    Flinn and his shipmates were informed that there were, for male convicts, four rungs on the ladder to freedom. The first step was confinement to Port Arthur for lifers or an Isolated Probation Station for seven and fourteen year men.

    If they behaved themselves for two years, they would be issued with a “Probation Pass”, which would allow them to work for wages in comparative freedom. The pass system was however, a double edged sword as the local economy was in recession and many pass holders were wandering the Island looking for work and were often on the brink of starvation.

    A “Ticket of Leave” was the next rung on the ladder, which Governor Franklin said was similar to a Lance Corporal’s status in the army in that it took sustained effort to obtain but could be lost easily. A ticket conferred the privilege of being able to pick and choose employers rather than seek permission and single men might be allowed to marry. However, a ticket involved restriction to a police district, a lot of surveillance and could, like a lance jack’s stripe, be snatched away because of a very minor slip or at the whim of a petty official.

    The penultimate step to freedom was a ”Conditional Pardon” which meant that one was free to leave the Colony , but not permitted to return to England; and finally

    Upon expiration of fixed term sentences, seven and fourteen year men would be awarded a “Certificate of Freedom” which meant that freedom was restored in its entirety. The majority of the convicts were doing seven year sentences for petty theft and the career thieves, who had stolen items of value, were serving fourteen. Notionally, these categories of offenders were free to go home to England after serving their time but had to pay their own fare which few could afford. In addition, the living conditions in Australia were generally better than those presented by a London or Lancashire slum and Flinn had heard that fewer than two percent of the damned ever returned to England.

    The only way that a lifer might be able to return home was through receipt of a “Free Pardon”. Free Pardons usually took some major service to the Crown, such as capturing a bushranger or plunging into a burning building to save poor blind orphans, to secure. Lifers were mainly offenders who had had their original sentences of death commuted and most accepted that the top rung of the ladder stopped at “conditional pardon” and that they should give up any hope, however illusory, of ever returning home.

    Possession of the comparatively rare skill of literacy meant that former “gentlemen” were often steered into clerk’s positions on arrival, Flinn’s lifer status and the grave nature of the crime he was convicted for, namely defrauding the Chelsea Hospital through forging and uttering, precluded this option. The Javelin therefore represented an effective compromise.

    Towards the end of his term at Port Arthur, Flinn had considered volunteering for the police as this was another occupation where literacy was a notional requirement. However, he had been visited by his old friend “King” Jorgen Jorgenson, who had also arrived in chains and had served as a constable and dissuaded Finn from this course of action.





  4. Bushmills

    Bushmills Regular Member

    Feb 7, 2012
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    Flinn had met Jorgen thirty years ago, when Jorgen had been a paroled prisoner of war in Edinburgh and Flinn had been posted there by the Royal Navy. Jorgen was a Danish sea captain who had been captured by the Royal Navy in 1808. At the time, Denmark was at war with Britain and Jorgen had been paroled to Flinn’s care in Edinburgh. Flinn’s naval duties required that he take charge of the numerous paroled prisoners of war who were billeted in the city. Jorgen was an inveterate gambler and boozer and devised an ingenious means of obtaining some money to fund his addictions. This entailed persuading a British merchant ship owner to sail to Iceland, a Danish colony, where there were food shortages and a large profit to be made. On arrival, the fundamental weakness of Jorgen’s plan became evident. Iceland’s Danish Governor decreed that the Icelanders may not trade with a British ship because commerce with the enemy was illegal and Denmark was at war with Britain. Jorgen dismissed this erudite legal argument by promptly arresting the Governor and declaring himself protector of the Island. Jorgen then attempted to establish a utopian liberal democracy on the snow covered island and the Icelandic people were too ambivalent to object and pleased that a food shipment had arrived.

    Flinn was dispatched on HMS Talbot to extricate Jorgen and upon return to Scotland, Jorgen had his parole revoked for a year and Flinn was put on half pay and stood down from his cushy posting, for having allowed Jorgen to escape. Upon his release, Jorgen joined Flinn on the continent, but Jorgen’s predilection for the bottle and the card table rendered him a liability for the kind of work that Flinn was now engaged in. Flinn was obliged to dismiss Jorgen in 1814 but the pair remained friends, even though Jorgen was obviously hell bent on a headlong dive into degradation and depravity.

    In 1820, Jorgen was arrested for theft and Flinn had helped to secure his release upon condition that he left England for good. However, a tragic romantic, Jorgen was infatuated with an English girl and wouldn’t leave her behind and was arrested again for being at large in Great Britain. This time he was sentenced to death, and it took all of Flinn’s connections within the British Establishment, to obtain the Royal Prerogative of Mercy and get the sentence commuted to transportation for life. On arrival, Jorgen helped the Colony’s Government to detect a number of forged treasury bills and was rewarded with a ticket of leave and job with the Van Diemen’s Land Company as a policeman cum explorer.

    Flinn had asked Jorgen about the “Black Line[iv] operations which involved a two thousand strong motley crew of soldiers and convicts attempting to form a one hundred and twenty mile long daisy chain to chase the blacks out of the settled districts. Flinn reflected that anybody who has attempted to lead an infantry squad of thirty crack troops across hostile country, or even Salisbury Plain, would recognize the futility of attempting to retain command and control of such an operation. In addition, the men would have to be deployed at least one hundred yards apart, and with a musket range of only sixty yards, the pursued only had to go to ground and let the line move over them or retreat until nightfall when the groups would bivouac round camp fires and sneak through the supposedly ”impenetrable line”.

    Jorgen confirmed that the entire episode had indeed been a shambles and that after six weeks in the bush, the force had only captured one old man and his grandson, who had been observing mainly out of curiosity. Flinn and Jorgen found the episode a hilarious illustration of the stupidity of Colonial Administrators and were both chuckling until Jorgen turned the subject to the plight of the poor Aborigines. Jorgen ascribed the near eradication of the Island’s indigenous population to the devastating impact of common diseases like influenza and small pox that the white man had brought to a native population, who had no resistance to European diseases. Jorgen had been emphatic that Flinn was too decent a man to join the police and participate in the suppression of the Indigenous population or the bullying of helpless fellow convicts.

    Jorgen had said that Flinn, unlike himself, was a principled man and would get into serious strife if he brought the inadequacies of the System to the attention of those who were profiting from it. Jorgen described the colonial gentry as poor facsimiles of real English gentlemen like Flinn, and advised that he should be careful not to show “the Quality” up for what they were. Colonial “gentlemen” could from his experience, be real bastards when they felt that their dignity was being undermined. He advised Flinn to be crafty as the System, from a convict’s perspective, was like a game of Snakes and Ladders, with a lot more Snakes than Ladders.

    Never lucky at cards or love, Jorgen had married an Irish girl Nora Cobbett, but she had died soon after Jorgen’s conversation with Flinn. It was not a happy relationship as, even by the standards of the Colony, “Nutty Norah” was universally regarded as “rough as guts” and a “piss head”. She had been sentenced to transportation for life in 1827 and was apt to become violent when under the influence of grog. Poor old Jorgen was frequently the victim of her rages and Nutty Norah spent a lot of time in the clink for beating Jorgen up. Jorgen quickly followed Nutty Norah to the grave and Flinn suspected that the mental anguish caused by this union combined with his participation in the eradication of the Aboriginals, had led to poor Jorgen’s demise. Jorgen, he reflected, had always been his own worst enemy.

    Flinn was now working with John Giles-Price, who was both the Police Magistrate for Hobart Town and the Muster Master for the Colony. This meant that Giles-Price was a very powerful man as he controlled the Police of Hobart and the records that ruled the convict’s lives. Giles-Price was exactly the kind of man that Jorgen had warned him about. Giles-Price was a bloody queer cove and had all the signs of a nasty bastard. He had encountered this type of man before in the navy: officers who were sadistic and needlessly brutal to subordinates but adopted a fake egalitarian manner when dealing with the other ranks. The men hated this as they expected their officers to behave like gentlemen. Years ago, Flinn had been warned by a sergeant that such bastards usually ended up being murdered by their own men when the confusion of battle presented an opportunity and Flinn had therefore always made it a policy to keep such creatures as far away from himself as was practicable, lest he be caught in the cross fire or mistaken by the rank and file as a kindred spirit. As Sarn’t McMahon, had said in Italy years ago: “***** like that will get you killed”

    Giles-Price[v] was a free man, a civilian and the son of a Cornish baronet. He was a tall and powerfully built man, with an innocuous face, wore a monocle and was married to the previous Governor’s niece. Giles-Price was held in general contempt because of his penchant for playing cops and robbers and for donning preposterous disguises. Flinn wondered where Giles-Price had learnt the “flash talk” that made him sound like a poor theatrical caricature of a London criminal and suspected that Giles-Price had once frequented the Molly and Flash Houses of Old London Town. There was something about Giles-Price’s demeanor that reminded Flinn of the sodomites that he had known in London. Giles-Price was also a fastidious but flashy dresser, which, to Flinn, was often a strong warning sign of a fundamental character flaw. In Flinn’s view, there was something badly wrong with a bloke who spent more time in front of the mirror than his wife.

    Giles-Price was also a pain in the arse to work with, as he had a peculiar aversion to tobacco and would demand that subordinates refrain from smoking in his presence. This meant that a night in his company could become a very long and tedious one as Flinn was very fond of his clay pipe as he found that it helped him to think and calmed his nerves. He was therefore not happy about the prospect of Giles-Price’s company that evening.

    When Flinn had commenced “on the Jav”, the boss, McDonald, a former sergeant major of the “Gallant Forty Twa[vi]” had warned him, in a deep Scot’s baritone, not to sneak into Public Houses when on duty: but this instruction was now rescinded and half Flinn’s life was spent eavesdropping and engaging the denizens of Hobart Town in conversation on licensed premises. Flinn recollected his life and reflected that he had often been forced to employ violence to survive and images his being pursued mercilessly by French lancers, in sniping matches with Napoleon’s skirmishers and brutal confrontations with paid assassins from all over Europe flooded through his mind. Flinn had killed many times when “the wheel of life”, shuddered to a halt and he was confronted by a situation where his continued survival meant that another human being had to be dispatched to his maker. Like many in his former line of work, Flinn wondered how he had managed be a hard bastard without ever turning into a complete bastard?

    Flinn recognized that his current state of mind had the potential to become melancholic and he had worked out years ago, in tricky situations, that to allow such moods to set in might lead to fatal consequences. Survival often depended upon a positive state of mind, clear thinking and careful observation of one’s surroundings. He therefore adopted his old habit of reviewing his current situation for positive aspects as a means to restore his mental equilibrium. Flinn’s quest for resilience didn’t take very long, he had not heard from his “beloved wifeEdwardina Augusta Kentsince before his trial and it looked like that she was finally out of his hair. That bloody woman had made his life hell for the past twenty years and rendered him a timid fugitive from his own home. Flinn’s and Edwardina’s son Edward had written that his mother was now earnestly petitioning her “cousinVictoria for money and was planning to move to Naples in order to live closer to Giovanni, the son from her previous marriage. Flinn was relieved that Edwardina had not felt it her duty to join him in exile as that would have been a punishment infinitely worse than the rope.

    There was often six month delay between writing a letter and the person in England receiving it. Therefore, one had to be careful not to “read too much into letters.” It might take a full year to receive a response to a query and the situation would have moved on. This made Flinn feel both impotent and frustrated as he had always taken responsibility for leading his family and he decided that the only thing that he could do to help was writing to Edwardina’s first husband, Edward De Normann. Edward was a German Army Officer and Flinn regarded him as a “decent enough sort of bloke.” Flinn had insisted that his and Edwardina’s first son be called “Edward” to show that there was no ill will between the two men. Flinn had met De Normann a couple of times over the years and they had got drunk together on one occasion and De Normann had said that he was happy that Edwardina was no longer his problem.

    Another silver lining, Flinn’s two sons were contemplating emigration to Australia in a few years, accompanied by his niece Lucrezia. Lucy’s father, his younger brother William, had died ten years before and he had acted as a sort of surrogate father to her, and his sons now continued in an adopted elder brother role. Only Flinn’s daughter, Edda had refused to have any contact with him, but she had always been her mother’s daughter he reflected. Flinn had learnt years ago that the secret to success was to pick a goal and then consistently walk towards it every day, no matter how small the steps. He had feared after sentencing was that he was going to die alone, unloved in a desolate land, but now there was a glimmer of hope that this was not going to be the way his tale would end. He was beginning to devise a plan for the future as he was aware that acquiring a free pardon would give him some vindication and might restore his self respect and reinstate his family’s honor.

    Therefore, Flinn resolved to take consistent steps towards his goals, the first step entailed drafting a letter to his wife’s first husband and a monthly series of letters to his sons. He couldn’t tell his story in one go but writing each month would split the task into manageable parts. His eldest boy Edward was now a ship’s mate in his early 20’s, and he decided that he could now write to his son as a grown man about the circumstances that had led to his conviction. His younger son, Julius was still in his early teens and he decided to do his best to ensure young Julius felt included; without corrupting or confusing the lad. He decided to start with the letter to the wife’s previous husband, as he would be able to complete it before reporting for duty. The second step, which required considerably more moral fortitude, entailed working out how he could summon sufficient energy to shave, dress and report for duty as a Javelin man with a relatively light step?


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