‘But you ARE a girl,’ I said.
‘No I ain’t.’
‘Don’t the men know?’
‘Coz it ain’t true,’ she said, and picked her nose at me.
I gave up.
‘Li’s a girl,’ I told Oldy.
‘Don’t worry,’ he said, ‘she’ll be fine.’
‘How could anyone know that?’
He smiled, ‘I’m much older than I look.’
And now we bring you Anne Bonny.
Anne Bonny was also dressed as a boy during her youth in order to hide parental indiscretion, but only for a short period. Her father was proud of her (once her true gender was discovered, he continued to raise her) and it was generally thought that she’d marry well.
THEN, to make matters worse, she left her husband – for Captain Rackham (who I mentioned in “Tricksy Pirates” in this blog). She stayed with Captain Rackham until his death, but certainly didn’t stay faithful to him.
Here’s my favourite part: Anne Bonny (dressed as a man to accompany Rackham – when she wasn’t growing a little family on Cuba) took a romantic shine to another crew member. She was so clear and so persistent in her affections that the handsome young fellow was forced to reveal his true identity. He was Mary Read!
At this point, the two women became very close. So close, in fact, that Captain Rackham became insanely jealous and threatened to slit Mary Read’s throat. In order to keep Mary alive, the two women let him in on the secret.
And you remember yesterday’s tale, in which Mary Read was one of only three “men” still on board in the pirates’ final fight? Anne Bonny was another – making the bravest men on board two-thirds women.
Anne Bonny was also sentenced to death, and also got off due to being pregnant – she continued in her misadventures, and was never executed.
Captain Rackham WAS hung at that time. Anne may have been upset, but if so she had an interesting way of showing it. When, as his wife (ish), she was allowed one final visit with Rackham, she told him, “If you’d fought like a man, you wouldn’t have had to die like a dog.”