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Ruth glared first at her holiday task, so intensely it was surprising it didn’t catch fire, then at the window with the same fury. She and Peggy should be out on the Lake right now, sailing their beautiful new ship that Uncle Jim had given them only the day before, not stuck indoors thanks to the pouring rain. Mother’s insistence that they use the time to do their holiday tasks was simply adding insult to injury. How could anybody sit and concentrate on schoolwork when she’d just been given a sailing dinghy of her very own? Peggy seemed to be managing it outwardly, rapidly writing, but Ruth knew her sister well enough to suspect little of that work would pass muster.

Still, the rain would give her time to think up a proper pirate name for herself. Uncle Jim was right, Ruth wasn’t a name for an Amazon Pirate at all! The problem was choosing… She had flicked through their encyclopaedia, but it was unforgivably lacking in stories of pirates to borrow a name from, and Ruth hadn’t found a good one. Most female versions of famous pirates’ names were too fussy - who wanted to be Wilhelmina or Henrietta? There was Long John Silver, of course, but Jane didn’t have the same ring… Or Blackbeard, which wasn’t a name at all… But Ruth rather thought she’d prefer something that was a real name. If it was something she could get people to call her always, she’d have a name Aunt Maria wouldn’t use too, like Peggy and Uncle Jim did. That would be nice, but she simply couldn’t think of one.

Well, her geography work wasn’t going to do itself. And after all, perhaps it would be better to get it over with while the weather was so bad they were stuck indoors anyway, rather than having to waste good sailing days - not that she was about to admit that to Mother! With a sigh, she pulled the encyclopaedia towards her again, and began to search for the principal cities of France.

She hadn’t expected it to be interesting, but one entry made her pause, as she read the motto of the city of Nancy. “None touch me with impunity” - now that was a fine motto for a pirate! And Nancy was a good name…

“Hsst! Peggy! Come over here,” she hissed, keeping her voice low so that Mother wouldn’t hear.

Peggy obeyed, not at all reluctant to abandon French verbs, and nodded thoughtfully as her sister explained. “I like that, it’s a good idea, and it’s a nice name too.”

“Nancy Blackett,” Ruth said, testing it. “Captain Nancy Blackett, master and owner - ”

“Part owner,” Peggy interjected firmly.

“Jibbooms and bobstays, all right! Let me try how it sounds! Captain Nancy Blackett, master and part owner of the dreaded pirate ship Amazon, terror of the seas!”

She grinned, pleased, and Peggy grinned back. “I like it!”

“Nancy it is, then! All we need now is for the rain to clear.”