In the meantime,
There are a number of men working on and around the boat, hauling supplies on board, and with the day edging ever closer to its end, it surely cannot be long before they leave for their evening meal. My first choice would not be to stow away; it will be now or never.
"Hello, there," I say, stepping from the shadows and approaching the nearest, trying to lower my voice to something more masculine.
A man steps back from a crate--a large man, red haired and tanned, old enough to be my father, possibly even my grandfather--and looks me over from head to toe. When he looks back to my face, he seems less than impressed. "If you're looking for your father, I'd say he ain't here."
"I'm not." My father is long dead and buried, enough of a reason for me to have come to London three years ago. Now is not the time to think of him, nor of my mother, waiting at home for my weekly letter. "I'm looking for work. On the ship."
Another look. Compared to his, my clothes--George's clothes--look terribly well made, too well made for this life.
"There was--some trouble," I go on, creating the tale as I go, "with a woman and her husband, and now I must leave the city, most urgently. I'm used to hard work. I can cook. I can clean."
He looks me over again, and I wonder if he sees the truth behind my clothes, my hair. Though I've never had features so very womanly, I would not have said that I have features so terribly masculine, either. "We sail in the morning and we've a full crew," he says, but perhaps I look desperate, because he goes on. "But who knows how many of them will be too much in their cups come morning?" I wait and try not to look either too desperate or not enough. "You'll have to earn your keep," he tells me, firmly. "And it's to be a long journey, to the Americas on the open seas."
"A long journey suits me quite well," I tell him. "And I said I'm not afraid to work."
He nods, slowly. "Aye, then. What's your name, lad?"
"Daniel," I tell him, and from that day on, I am.