Maria stood above the harbor aimlessly watching the activity on the water. Skiffs were moving back and forth preparing a merchant vessel, the Portsmouth, to sail the next day. Watching the crew and the native longshoremen lifting bale after bale of goods onto the skiff, Maria wondered, Why isn’t Joaquina here to meet me, when she asked me to come and see her off? Something is not right! This naïve fifteen-year-old girl, unaware of her beauty, had no idea her life as she knew it would never be the same. She could feel a warning sign within her the moment she saw one of the men she had met that morning coming toward her.
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