Convict woos lady with song

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 August, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 August, 1997, 12:00am

Trubb's Gift by Gary Hurle If you wanted someone of the opposite sex to notice you, what would you do to attract their attention? When Trubb asks an old woman that question, she says, give the girl a flower.

Trubb looks about the convict ship which is their home and laughs at the suggestion.

The only flowers on board are already in the lovely Catherine's collection, as she is a keen horticulturist and has a wonderful book full of pressed, dried flowers.

So, in order to impress the beautiful daughter of the ship's surgeon, he uses the most precious gift he has to try to win her affection, his beautiful and powerful soprano voice.

Trubb can sing well and for years has hidden behind the altar in a London Cathedral and learned with the choir boys, how to sing all kinds of wonderful music.

One morning, when he tries to creep out of his hiding place in St John's, he finds his exit boarded up and starts swearing at this inconvenience.

Such profanity quickly gets him into trouble, and as he is forced out of the Church. He vows revenge.

Trubb doesn't think of the consequences, but takes out his anger on the choir master at the next service, singing out curses, using pauses in the music to defame the man.

The congregation are outraged and frame him for a theft for which he is sentenced to life imprisonment in Australia.

On the convict ship, Trubb discovers his talent for singing can be an advantage.

In the tropics, fever strikes the ship's passengers and crew and Trubb is sent delirious to the ship's hospital.

After a while he finds singing helps his recovery and that of some 20 others.

Excerpt from page 45 'But I don't mind telling ye sir,' continued the captain. 'I am glad the weather's held for tonight, because I am looking forward to hearing the brat sing some carols.

'Amazing voice he's got. And just as well, or I would have flung him overboard long ago.' The convicts sang with great enthusiasm. The carols reminded them so clearly of Christmas at home that they experienced a deep yearning to be back in dear old England: and by the time the splendour of Trubb's enchanting voice filled their senses, even the most hardened were blinking back tears.' Tragedy strikes the ship as the good weather breaks. Catherine is washed overboard and Trubb jumps in to save her, although he doesn't know how to swim either.

He sees Catherine struggling to get a breath at the bottom of a trough between the waves.

Amazingly they survive their ordeal, only to face even greater dangers once on shore.

Gary Hurle has written an exciting historical novel that could inspire you to use your gifts to benefit others.

The book is available at Skywalker Books Ltd, 17/F, Tak Woo House, 17 D'Aguilar Street, Central, Hong Kong. Tel: 2521 5222.

Ms Wolstencroft is a teacher specially trained in children's literature and English as a second language. She conducts seminars for teachers and story-times for schoolchildren in Hong Kong and Macau.