Study Guide

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle Chapter 2

By Avi

Chapter 2

  • Charlotte and Mr. Grummage board the Seahawk and meet the second mate, a dark and shifty-eyed man named Mr. Keetch.
  • Since Captain Jaggery and the first mate are ashore, Mr. Keetch is the man in charge, and he strongly advises Charlotte not to take the ship to America. Mr. Grummage, however, believes Charlotte's only choice is to take the trip. He leaves her, defeated and resigned to the voyage, on the ship.
  • Mr. Keetch leads Charlotte to her stuffy and confined quarters. Charlotte is disgusted by the furnishings (and the lack thereof).
  • Barlow, one of the other sailors, knocks at Charlotte's door with her trunk. He tells Charlotte that he has been elected by the other sailors to urge her to leave the ship. Charlotte is insulted that a man of Barlow's lowly status would talk to her in such a way. She refuses his help and immediately regrets it.
  • Alone in her cabin, Charlotte has a nice big cry. She feels alone, angry, afraid, humiliated – the whole nine yards. Meltdown ensues.
  • Yet another man knocks at her door, and this time it turns out to be Zachariah: cook, surgeon, carpenter, preacher, and the ship's only black sailor. Though his appearance is decrepit, his voice is sweet and, to Charlotte's surprise, he offers her tea. Charlotte is stoked because teatime reminds her of home and polite society.
  • Over tea, Zachariah offers to be Charlotte's friend since the two have much in common, at least in his mind. He's the only black person, and She's the only woman. Zachariah is also the oldest, and Charlotte is the youngest. Despite Zachariah's sincerity, Charlotte finds his suggestion improper and tells Zachariah she doesn't need a friend.
  • Zachariah offers Charlotte a small knife called a dirk for her protection, but she refuses to take the weapon. Zachariah insists and makes her take the knife.
  • Charlotte returns to her cabin where she carefully stows the knife under her mattress.
  • As Charlotte is drifting off to slumber land, she overhears a bit of an interesting conversation between Mr. Keetch and an unidentified man. Keetch says that "the Doyle girl" is the only one he could get to come onto the boat (2.102). The other voice calls Charlotte "the trump" and claims that with her on board, "they" will not dare to move (2.103).
  • Not understanding what she just heard, Charlotte falls fast asleep.