BLOOD & STEAM 1: Deleted Scenes 3 & 4 (#B&S)

ACACIA_ComingSoonAfrica was another matter entirely. While Queen Victoria supported all efforts of exploration and the resultant trade, such expeditions were expensive and dangerous. A savvy Captain or expedition leader could mitigate both cost and risk by garnering grants from universities and scientific societies with a focus on exploration, and taking along some of their experts. Baron Lindsey had such support. Her father, unfortunately, did not. Robert Carlisle had made a fortune as a daring privateer, which was a barely civilized term for a pirate with a writ from the crown. Also, he was Irish, which to some minds was even worse than being French.

He had one distinct advantage over the likes of Baron Lindsey, however—the Carlisle coal mines in Australia. A certain percentage of their yield was set aside for Robert’s small but productive fleet, the rest sold across eastern hemisphere to the outlying outposts of the British Empire. It was his greatest joy to set someone up like the American with coal at a staggering discount and fund his first few journeys for a percentage of the return, and, in turn, gain the loyalty of such individuals. Robert knew what it was like to start from nothing; if he could give these intrepid captains a leg up, then he was happy to do so.

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Even Grana was known to turn strident now and again, usually when Jock tracked mud across her clean kitchen floors. Her brother had once thrashed another, bigger boy who’d made a comment regarding Acacia’s red hair, causing the other boy’s parents to come round to have a word. Grana had assured them she would express their displeasure to Archie, at which point they might rest assured they would see certain and almost immediate results in her grandson’s behavior.

Archie hadn’t been too put out about it, until Grana treated his knuckles with iodine. Grana expressed her displeasure to Jock while she did, and Jock had seen to it the prize Barbary stallion only just purchased as a stud for the other boy’s estate went inexplicably missing while in transit. Suspicions had turned to certainty when the Carlisles’ foaling season had proved especially prosperous that year, when they had never traded or bred horses previously. The first of the mares to be born had gone to Acacia in recompense, and she loved to imagine the other boy’s family gnashing their collective teeth whenever she rode within sight of their estate.

The moral of the story was, one didn’t incur the wrath of a Carlisle.

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