“Get your filthy hands off my bum you pervert,” Abby growled, as she turned slightly and gave the man beside her a vicious elbow to the ribs. “Keep your hands to yourself or you will be singing like a canary.” She heard Zack’s grunt of surprise and pain with satisfaction. It’s lucky I am that I will not have to put up with this idiot’s advances and roaming hands much longer.
It was the third of May, 1671 and Abby was walking down the gangplank at Spuyten Duyvil Creek with a group of fifteen immigrants to the new world. It was supposed to be a new beginning for her and her father, but her father was dead. One afternoon, as they had climbed the stairs to the main deck, he suddenly collapsed and fell dead to the deck below.
Why did he choose Spuyten Duyvil Creek and not New York? What am I going to do? Father never told me where we would be staying or what he intended to do when we got here. All he would say when I asked him was “don’t worry your pretty head Abby; I know just what to do when we get there.”
Beside her was her tormentor of past weeks. Zack was short for a man, shorter than Abby’s five foot eight inches by an inch, weighed at least 180 pounds and fancied himself as a ladies’ man. He also stunk, not having bathed or changed his clothes during the entire trip of more than nine weeks.
You bitch; Zach yelled after he recovered his breath and then lunged for Abby. Startled by his bellow, Abby stopped suddenly, and his reaching hand missed her. He lurched to the side of the ramp, his hands flailing as he tried to keep his balance. Abby made a desperate grab for his jacket but instead ended up giving him a push and Zack stepped into thin air and then made a big splash as he fell into the cold water of the Hudson River.
Man overboard, someone yelled and threw a rope to the floundering man, hitting him square on the head. He resurfaced cursing and snarled at Abby, “I’ll get you for this and I won’t pretend that I like you. You’ll pay,” he screamed.
“Are you hurt?” Abby called to Zack. “I’m sorry you fell off the ramp and are all wet but at least you ought to smell better after a good bath. Next time we meet, maybe you will remember to keep your hands to yourself and I don’t like you either Zack. Don’t forget what happened to you on the ship when you grabbed me. I can’t imagine why you would want to repeat that experience.”
Why do I do this to myself? I have nowhere to go. I don’t know anybody except for a few people I met on the ship and now I have made an enemy. Abby burst into tears as she carefully continued down the ramp and stepped onto the dock. She walked toward dry land with the rest of the passengers carrying her carpet bag containing all her possessions and finally sat on a big rock along the edge of the river. For nine long weeks she had been at sea and now that she had reached her destination she had no idea of what she was going to do.