Curse of the Blue Tattoo
|Author||Louis A. Meyer|
|Cover artist||Cliff Nielsen|
|Genre||Young Adult's, Historical novel|
|Publisher||Harcourt Children's Books|
|June 1, 2004|
|Media type||Print (hardback & paperback)|
|LC Class||PZ7.M57172 Bl 2004|
|Preceded by||Bloody Jack|
|Followed by||Under the Jolly Roger|
The Curse of the Blue Tattoo is a historical novel by L.A. Meyer. It continues the story of orphaned London girl, Jacky Faber, in the early 19th century. The story began in Bloody Jack, and continues in Under the Jolly Roger, In the Belly of the Bloodhound, Mississippi Jack, My Bonny Light Horseman, Rapture of the Deep, The Wake of the Lorelei Lee, and The Mark of the Golden Dragon.
At the end of Bloody Jack, Jacky Faber is exposed as a girl and sent to the Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls in Boston, in the hopes that they can find her a husband.
Explanation of the novel's title
Curse of the Blue Tattoo refers to the anchor tattoo Jacky received while serving as a ship's boy. Frequently mistaken for a pitchfork, it becomes a great source of trouble for her.
After saying goodbye to her shipmates, Jacky is sent to Lawson Peabody's and turned over to the custody of Miranda Primm, the elderly headmistress. From the start, it is clear that she has a very low opinion of Jacky, going so far as to have her earring cut off and her mail seized to keep her from sending letters to her beloved, Midshipman Jaimy Fletcher.
Shunned by most of her fellow students, Jacky strikes up a friendship with Amy Trevelyne, the daughter of a wealthy Massachusetts farmer. Clarissa Worthington Howe, an arrogant Virginia heiress who enjoys abusing the school staff, takes an instant dislike to Jacky and insults her mother, resulting in a fight between the girls. As punishment, the two are beaten and forced to give up dinner and supper.
Eager to please Primm, Jacky throws herself into her classes, which include horse riding, art, music, embroidery, French, and etiquette. Jacky is subsequent noticed by Reverend Richard Mather, the school priest, who views her as a disgrace. While visiting the graveyard near his church, Jacky stumbles upon an unmarked grave, which she later learns belonged to Mather's former servant, Janey Porter.
While wandering the streets of Boston unsupervised, Jacky is arrested for public indecency and put on trial. When the court learns that she attends Lawson Peabody's, however, they decide to embarrass the school by having Jacky paraded through the streets in chains. Humiliated, Primm assigns Jacky to work as a lowly servant, while Mather petitions the court to appoint him as her legal guardian.
Welcomed by her fellow workers, Jacky decides to form a Sisterhood of Lawson Peabody Girls, consisting of several serving girls and Amy. While meeting with her lawyer, Ezra Pickering, she also learns that Janey Porter's death was declared a suicide, but was briefly suspected to be murder. Jacky spies on Mather and discovers that he is a drunkard and religious zealot obsessed with riding the world of "witches" and "demons".
Convinced that Mather is responsible for killing Janey, Jacky poses as her and starts "haunting" him, further increasing his paranoia. At the same time, she forms a musical partnership with a man named Gully, who eventually tries to force her into prostitution and eventually beats her. In response, Jacky turns him over to a British press-gang and steals his fiddle.
Having grown increasingly attracted to Amy's brother Randall, Jacky attends a party at her family's mansion, during which she gets drunk and makes a fool of herself. After an argument with Amy, Jacky runs away and flees to New York. On the way there, two men hired by Mather abduct her and bring her back to the school.
Convinced that Jacky is Janey reincarnated, Mather plans to stake her with her own shiv. A fire breaks out in the church, during which Jacky's friends rescue her and trap Mather, causing him to die when the church collapses in on itself. The fire then spreads to the school, and though Jacky manages to save Primm and her students, the entire building is lost. Fearing arrest, Jacky flees Boston and joins the crew of a whaling ship as a servant.
Characters in "Curse of the Blue Tattoo"
- Mary 'Jacky' Faber: The protagonist of the story. She came from a fairly well-off family who died in an epidemic. Homeless and penniless, she joined Rooster Charlie's gang, and lived under a bridge for several years, begging and thieving for mere survival. After Charlie is killed, she enlisted with the crew of the H.M.S. Dolphin, under the ruse of being a boy. When she was revealed to be a girl, she was sent to a boarding school in Boston.
- James 'Jaimy' Emerson Fletcher: A former ship's boy, now a midshipman and Jacky's true love. They write several letters to one another, which he uses to declare his undying love for her.
- Mistress Miranda Pimm: The stern headmistress of the Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls. She takes a disliking for Jacky but deals with her ways nonetheless. She develops a slow liking as the book progresses. Jacky saves the Mistress from the fire that engulfs the school.
- Reverend Richard Mather: The Puritan minister that preaches for the school. A silent man; very demented. A year before Jacky came to the school, he murdered a young girl by the name of Janey Porter because he believed her to be a witch. He thinks the same of Jacky, and attempts to kill her.
- Ephraim Fyffe: A young man who was engaged to marry Janey Porter before she died. He helps Jacky investigate the Reverend and the murder.
- Amy Trevelyne: A plump, likeable Puritan girl that takes up with Jacky instantly.
- Clarissa Worthington Howe: A rude, snobbish girl from a rich Southern family. A stereotypical Southern belle, she and Jacky hate each other at first sight.
- Davy: A friend of Jacky's from the 'Dolphin' days.
- Randall Trevelyne: Amy's womanizing older brother. Jacky develops a relationship with Randall.
- Mam'selle Claudelle de Bourbon: A Cajun prostitute from New Orleans. She befriends Jacky; calling her "Precious." .
- Gulliver "Gully" McFarland: A thieving drunkard who plays a fine violin called the Lady Lenore. In Jacky's freetime, they perform in the taverns of Boston.
- Ezra Pickering: Jacky's trustworthy and charismatic lawyer. Jacky, Amy and Ephraim aid him in the investigation of the reverend.
- Judge Thwackham: A snobbish and brutal judge who tries Jacky for lewd behavior.
- Constable John Wiggins: Lisping lawman who runs the Boston city jail and dislikes Jacky.
- Dobbs: Mistress Pimm's crabby handyman.