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A Good Day For Shopping; att. Nathaniel Hartman
Topic Started: Jun 12 2013, 05:50 AM (743 Views)
Nicole Cavalier
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Shop helper, former pickpocket
Civilian Admin
[align=center] Date: 11-th of November 1719
Place: Port de Paix, Saint Domingue, Hispaniola –
in the herborist’s shop ”Fleur du Café”[/align]


Another work day for Nicole, and she was all alone in the shop.

Madame Lucia, accompanied by Admiral Duval, by Ghislaine and by another woman who was her friend, had gone to church, to baptize the baby. She had heard that this hurry had to do with the fact that the Admiral, who was the baby’s godfather, was due to set sail soon again.

Well, it was good that the little one would have since today, two patron saints watching over him, Saint Francois and Saint Alphonse. Hopefully they would watch over him. A baby so small, so frail, needed all the protection he could get.

Given that the healing plants were in rather high demand, as some shops had closed following either hurricane damage, or the owner’s death of camp fever, someone had to remain there. The Admiral’s arrival had been felt like a breath of fresh air: he had given money for replenishing the supplies, for a drying rack and for replacing what had been broken during the storm. The shop was looking even better than before, she’d say.

For the moment being, she was arranging some potion vials on the shelves, after having served a customer.
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Nathaniel Hartman
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Doctor aboard HMS "Sovereign"
English Navy
Nathaniel was glad that today he had managed to gain some spare time for the important errands he had needed to run. He was almost worried he would not have time to replenish the supplies he so desperately needed.

After the hurricane it had become difficult to find the medicines and herbs he needed. Almost every shop he had visited had low supplies themselves or were still closed. So he was very happy to find a shop that seemed to be open.

He was dressed rather casually. He wore his boots, with brown trousers, a white shirt and a tan waistcoat. He had with him, a satchel to carry the herbs and medicines he hoped to buy. He could only wish that the prices were lower than at some of the other stores.

Due to the scarcity of some items after the storm, prices had been driven up. Which was problematic for the young doctor. He had a ship to take care of and needed as much medicine as he could buy for the trip that would surely last a long while.

He stepped into the store and saw a young woman tending to the shelves, which seemed to be well stocked. It was a welcome sight.

"Good Morning." he said cheerfully as he entered the shop. He began to look around, quite pleased with the selection.
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Nicole Cavalier
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Shop helper, former pickpocket
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Nicole heard a new customer entering, and she straightened up her position. The vials had time to be arranged later. She smiled at him, knowing that a shop helper should be always smiling and helpful. The young man was impressively tall, with brown hair and brown eyes, and with a strange kind of elegance. The clothes were those of a low middle class commoner, nothing impressive, but the way he wore them gave the feeling of elegance.

When he opened his mouth, it was clear for her that he was an Englishman.

Bonjour, Monsieur. What can I help you with?” she answered.

Now, that she knew that the man was English, she expected difficulties, as in him not knowing all the French names of the plants or potions he wanted to buy.
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Nathaniel Hartman
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Doctor aboard HMS "Sovereign"
English Navy
Nathaniel's eyes swept the shelves and he frowned. Ah yes.... the one problem he had neglected to think of. While he recognized some of the herbs he needed, some of the others that often looked similar to other herbs or the potions and medicines he needed were all labelled in French. And while Nathaniel was well versed on conversational French, herbs and medicines were another matter. Getting the wrong herb or medicine could prove to be a serious error for a doctor. He could not take that chance.

Yet, seeing as this was the place for him to refill upon the supply he had before him and the crew of the HMS Sovereign went to take their place upon the blockade, there was little choice in the matter for Nathaniel.

He looked at the shop keeper forumlating the words in his mind.

"Ah...yes, Actually... I am preparing to go on a long voyage for a couple of months, as a doctor I am looking to replenish supplies for the ship. Some of the herbs I know by appearance, but for others and potions I may need help with the French terms, I am terribly sorry. I am sure this is going to be quite the challenge."

As he continued to speak he felt more at ease. It was likely the immersion in the area had helped him with his french practice. However while he felt more at ease, he was still certain the French he spoke was sub-par and foreign to a native speaker like this shopkeeper. He sighed a bit worried. He waited for her reaction, hoping she understood him.
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Nicole Cavalier
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The young Englishman seemed nice. His unsure French was intelligible, and Nicole smiled not only because one should smile to a customer, especially one who was a doctor and wanted to buy more than the regular customers of the neighbourhood, who came for something to settle their stomachs or to calm their cough. She smiled because she felt like smiling, and it hadn’t happened too often lately.

”Well, Monsieur, I might recognize some upon description. For others, you should tell me what ailments you need something against, and I will recommend you what we have here. If there is anything you desire and we haven’t got it yet, I can order for tomorrow afternoon,” she answered.

She wanted more than merely selling the products for today. If a Navy doctor took his supplies from here and he liked the quality of goods and the service, he would spread the word to others too. It would be a good thing, more Navy customers. Maybe even the doctor from the Admiral’s ship would come to buy from here, without knowing… the truth, she chuckled, amused at this thought. She was oblivious that the ship wasn’t his anymore once he had been promoted to Rear-Admiral. But what did a town girl know about Navy matters? And what did it matter?
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Nathaniel Hartman
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Doctor aboard HMS "Sovereign"
English Navy
Nathaniel smiled when he heard the words. He nodded. He was so thankful she was ready and willing to help. Even if it was courtesy not every shop and shopkeeper kept such ethic and morale. So seeing a cheerful face, willing to help with a challenging task was something that placed him at ease.

"Very well then, I gladly accept your help. How long will it take to fulfill an order in the case we need to get something that might be out of stock?"

Nathaniel was unsure if such a thing was needed, the shop was well-stocked, but at the same time, he had a ship to care for. He began to run down his mental list when he heard the shopkeeper chuckle. It snapped him out of his thoughts and he became a bit self-conscious. Had he said something incorrect?

"Ah....Pardon me...but did I do something?" He seemed rather flustered. He tried to collect himself. He looked back at the shelves trying to formulate what he needed in his head.
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Nicole Cavalier
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Nicole had her answers prepared:

”It shouldn’t take more than one day, Monsieur. I’ll note down your orders and when my mistress returns, I’ll go place them.”

She already got accustomed to people staring when she mentioned that she could write – it was rather unusual for a commoner girl, and nobody would have thought that once, in her early years, she had been more than this, belonging to a gentry family. Only if they hadn’t done the mistake to come to the Colonies…

”Tomorrow you’ll have your goods, or, in the worst case, most of them. I can’t rule out the possibility that one or another item might be harder to find. I’d say only that it is not likely.”

She hadn’t been so chatty for a long time.

When he asked if he did something, and he blushed like a girl, her smile went wider.

”Excuse me, Monsieur. I was the one to do something wrong, not you. I was dreaming that if you like what we’ve got here, you might tell to other Navy doctors, French or British, and we might become rich and famous.”

Not exactly rich and famous, but having a few customers who bought in bulk would do good to the shop.
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Nathaniel Hartman
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Doctor aboard HMS "Sovereign"
English Navy
Nathaniel nodded, impressed. If they were able to get supplies that fast, this shop was worth noting. He smiled when she said she knew how to write. And also when she explained her chuckling. An explanation that put him greatly at ease.

"I see. Well so far this shop seems spectacular. If the products are as good as the service I think I will return and share my experience readily."

Nathaniel took out a small notebook he kept with him and flipped through the pages until he reached his list.


"First off...I am looking for herbs to help create compresses for wounds, especially burns...in English we use Aloe Vera, I am not sure what this is in french? Burns are usually responsible for many injuries onboard. After that we can focus on herbs to prevent infection and alleviate pain. If you have any elixers you suggest that would also be great."

Nathaniel smiled. He was really excited to be packing and preparing to get these herbs to help his crewmates. He felt like it was a first step to being a true doctor.
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Nicole Cavalier
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Nicole smiled too at the compliment about the shop. Having nothing anymore to call hers, now the shop was her home too, and she was giving everything she could for it.

”Glad to hear it! Well, see for yourself then.”

Hearing his list, she nodded:

”Yes, we have aloe vera and we call it the same. Salves and compresses based on marigold are also good in burns and wounds. Plantain leaf is also good for compresses. For keeping a wound clean and helping its healing, I’d recommend you this potion to be used locally. It contains marigold, chamomile and willow bark extract, so it works against fever too.”

She presented him the required items, asking about quantities only afterwards.
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Nathaniel Hartman
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Nathaniel nodded and smiled. She seemed knowledgable which was going to help him immensely. She brought the items she had mentioned. It made more sense to him to hear her say the name and see the plant or herb in question. Allowing him to draw the line between what he knew and what he was learning. He also had to worry about quantities. He had enough money to buy what he needed, but he didn't need too much...right? But running out would be problematic. He needed to buy wisely. And buy enough to last during the blockade. He sighed and rubbed the back of his neck.

"The trip we are leaving on is about a month's time. I will need supplies to last throughout this. I think Potions should last longer stored, correct?"

He would hope they would. Spoiled supplies would be worrisome and could place the crew in danger. He would not allow such a thing to happen.
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Nicole Cavalier
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It felt nice to really help a customer who was buying a bigger quantity of their goods. Madame Lucia would be glad, Nicole mused. And this doctor was really nice, only that some of his questions… shouldn’t have been for her. She had no answer to them, and she looked into his eyes, stating this honestly.

”I have no idea how much to advise you to buy. Is your ship big or small? How many people and how often do they get ill?” she asked in confusion.

She could calculate, it was not a lack of arithmetic skills Nicole had. In her childhood, things were better and she had got some tutoring. Afterwards, her father had taught her the best he could. Now, it was a lack of understanding of a ship’s environment. She remembered only vaguely her travel across the ocean. She was around ten years old then, or eleven, and it had been horrible, too horrible to remember much. Now she wasn’t thinking about a Navy ship sent to war, either. Her vague idea was about a ship transporting something… people and goods in a strange mix like it was in her memories, and even if the doctor had mentioned before wounds and burns, now she was thinking more along the epidemics, due to the recent one, and work accidents.

”Yes, Sir, potions last long, because the plants have been macerated in wine or rhum. I would advise you to use first the ones made with wine, but if well corked, a bottle can last in a cellar… or maybe a ship hold, more than one month, even if it was made with wine,” she said. ”And they are stronger than teas… but you can buy dried plants to make teas and poultices too.”

She was feeling now that she hadn’t helped much. However, what was a shop helper to do, not even a full-fledged herborist, when discussing with a doctor, who had learnt so much?
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Nathaniel Hartman
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He nodded as she described the wares. It would make sense then to buy mostly dried herbs in order to handmake teas and poultices. And buy a few potions to keep as an emergency stock of sorts. He looked back at her. The confusion had not fully left her face.

Nathaniel quickly began to felt bad. He should not have voiced that particular worry aloud. Now he was afraid the poor shopkeeper girl would be worried that she wasn't doing her job properly. He quickly moved to remedy this.

"Ah...well then according to my calculations I will need..." He went on to tell her how many potions and how many dried herbs he wanted for at least the burn medicines. He next needed to move onto other sicknesses as well as treatments for cuts and wounds. And so, with as much confidence as he could muster he continued to list and describe as many items as he possibly could as well as the quantities that he wished to purchase them.

It was unlikely there would be an epidemic unless he was very unlucky. However the wares he had been planning on purchasing could very well and should very well last the month. The thought sprung in his mind to perhaps also find dressings and cloth for bandages.

"Pardon me for again bothering you, But where could one find bandages or cloth to dress wounds?"

He had to be careful. He already had bought a great deal already. He still needed to save some money away. But he was sure he still had enough to buy these supplies. Besides this was a part of his job now.
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Nicole Cavalier
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Nicole liked this doctor, he didn’t seem as stuck up as other doctors she had known were. And his order was big enough for her to make wide eyes in delight, thinking about the implications on the

”Thank you, Sir. We have them all, except the aloe vera based potions and the salve against burns and wounds, of which I can give you now ten vials of each, and the others tomorrow.”

They would be busy this evening, Ghislaine would be asked to help with brewing the mixtures too, but it was all good.

”What exactly of the order do you want to take now and what for you’ll send your helpers to take later?” she asked, knowing that the load was too heavy to be taken by only one person.

When he asked about bandages, to her it felt natural. He was a foreigner in Port de Paix, and one who needed to get all the supplies for his ship’s sickbay.

”You aren’t bothering at all. I am glad to be of help. I recommend you not only Monsieur Legrange, who has a cotton fabrics shop over the corner, but I am sure you have on your list also things which need to be supplied by an apothecary. Monsieur Morel has his pharmacy not far from the docks and he is one of our customers,” she smiled friendly.

She had not been to any foreign country, but she remembered from her first days in Port de Paix how it felt to be alone in an unknown place, therefore she was helping him wholeheartedly. Besides, she was grateful for the impetus he was giving to “Fleur du Café”.
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Nathaniel Hartman
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Honestly, Nathaniel hadn't realized he was going to need so much, but he was happy. It seemed to make the shopkeeper understandably happy as well. He could not blame her. However this shop was wonderful and certainly better than some he had been to in the past.

"Wonderful, I will be back tomorrow with someone to help me get the rest of the medicine back to the ship."

As he heard her directions to not only the shops he requested but more along with specifics, he smiled widely.

"Since I am visiting other shops and placing orders, I do not think I will take anything now until I finish up my other errands, I will return soon and perhaps take the vials that are ready. Afterwards I will send a helper or two to come collect the rest. Today will be a busy day, no doubt. I appreciate all your help, and I will be sure to visit these shops you mentioned. This shop is certainly one of the best I have had the pleasure of doing business with. Especially in terms of knowledgable shopkeepers. You have my gratitude and I will be sure to share my experience with others I meet."
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Nicole Cavalier
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If she had as much time as until tomorrow, this would be great. It meant he would find everything as ordered. Nicole smiled alleviated.

”Everything will be ready until then. I’ll take care of it.”

She was acting now as if the shop was hers… but somehow it was now. Not her property, but it was her only home after her parents died and she lost the house. She sort of identified herself with its success, she felt belonging here, only because there was nowhere else she could. And she knew how much Madame Lucia needed the business boost. Besides, it would look good to the Admiral too, it would be a proof that his financial contribution hadn’t been for nothing.

The British doctor’s plans made sense.

”I’ll make a package easy to take with you. And I’ll wrap the things in a soft cloth that you could use afterwards for some of your bandages. I wish you good luck in all your shopping,” she had said before hearing the so beautifully worded thanks.

Nicole blushed crimson at the praises, unsure how else to answer than with a deep curtsy. She usually wasn't lacking answering words...
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