Sneak peek: The Duchess and the Captain’s Wife – Herzogin Cecilie and her Circle

Thanks to our friends at Wakefield Press, here is a sneak peek into The Duchess and the Captain’s Wife – Herzogin Cecilie and her Circle, by Ulla-Lena Lundberg and photographs by Pamela Eriksson.

First meeting: a perfect triangle

Pamela Bourne is 25 years old when she boards the four-masted barque Herzogin Cecilie in Wallaroo, South Australia. Behind her, members of the crew struggle with her voluminous luggage and in front of her stands the master of the ship, Captain Sven Eriksson, frighteningly polite. Here begins a journey around Cape Horn and up to England that will change her life. Here she will meet her two great loves: the Captain and the Duchess herself.

The captain has conflicted feelings where passengers are concerned and greets his aristocratic passenger with the utmost courtesy that marks distance. Pamela says that she has never met anybody more majestic that Sven Eriksson, and yet she has presented at the court and has curtsied to George V.

When they meet, Sven hadn’t had a holiday to speak of for four years – the harbour time has been trying as usual, he is worn and his temper is frayed. Not that Pamela is at her best. She has had a wisdom tooth pulled in Adelaide, her cheek is swollen and she slurs her words. She dresses carelessly and announces that she would prefer to be treated as a seaman. The ship itself, crushingly beautiful, mighty and imposing takes her breath away. In her book, The Duchess, she describes their departure like this:

Though dog-tired… I had to stay up to see the sails blossom. A never-to-be-forgotten moment – the first square-sails I have ever seen on a yard. The moon nebulous, the order sonorous like gongs, the men swift and steady, the lantern on the mizzen hatch glowing softly, a few spots of rain in the air. Imperceptibly, we gathered speed, not much, but musical, with water lapping along her sides and a new stay-sail beating a tom-tom rhythm. The captain is everywhere, observing this and that. 

To continue reading, head into your local bookstore of visit Wakefield Press to secure your own copy!

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