They were approaching the Hulks, and Bill squinted to get a better look. There were six of them, large sailing ships that after their years of service had been brought through the deeper-dredged channels of the Sea and run aground here, then de-masted and ballasted with rock to keep them permanently anchored. They were green-ribbed and moldy, like great necrotic leviathans of wood shuddering themselves above the surface of the water to feed. On their slowly-rotting decks walked men in simpler blue uniforms, consisting of mere vests—not gendarmes, but prison guards, still in the service of the Chevalier.
The boatman directed the vessel towards one of the hulks, and Bill peered at its hull to try to read the gold-lettered name through the caked green: Incroyable, he thought it said. That sounded good, whatever it meant. It sounded tough.
* * *
Sometimes, I write a joke that the characters in the scene wouldn’t understand as a joke, but that readers will. I put a number of these into Witchy Eye, in the form of (more or less) subliminal, tongue-in-cheek, references to American popular culture.
Above is the moment Captain Sir William Johnston Lee, a.k.a. Bad Bill, is rowed out onto the Pontchartrain Sea to his new prison-ship home. Spot the reference.