At midday a week later, Mr. Martin heard the familiar creak of the door of the ‘Plow’ as it admitted, what was hopefully, a customer. Business had been slow since the sailors from Purvis Lodge had stopped ordering beer by the barrel and visiting the tavern in the evenings. He was upstairs tending some cleaning and could not immediately attend the newcomer.
“I’ll be right down.” Martin called out.
“In your own time sir!” came the reply from downstairs, it was a large, booming man’s voice.
A moment later, Martin shuffled down the stairs, broom and rag in hand, to find the owner of the voice. He was seated at a table by the door and rose when Martin approached.
“You must be Mr. Martin?” exclaimed the newcomer thrusting out his hand for a shake.
Mr. Martin shook his hand and answered to the affirmative, looking the new gentleman up and down. He was clad in a naval captain’s uniform and epaulettes, and in Martin’s mind there could be no doubt as to the identity of the man.
“Are you the new master of Purvis Lodge sir?” he asked.
“I am sir! I am Captain Sir James Robert Rehme, only just moved in yesterday.”
“A pleasure to finally meet you sir” Martin gave a little bow and invited the captain to have a seat again.
“I understand you have been supplying my men up at the lodge with beer. Is that the case?” Sir James asked.
“Aye sir, I have.”
“Ah! God save you sir!” Sir James replied, “They have been about some thirsty work, and on board ship they are supplied with a quantity of beer daily. I was affeared they might mutiny if they didn’t find someone nearby to supply them. And you were paid adequately for the quantities they purchased?”
“Oh yes sir.”
“I have walked all the way here from the house in an attempt to familiarize myself with the lay of the land, as it were. I wonder if I might trouble you for some of that beer I’ve heard so much about?”
“I offer three kinds sir.” Martin already had an empty pitcher in hand, “Small beer, table beer and strong beer.”
“A pitcher of the strong if you please sir.”
Martin filled the pitcher and took it, along with a clean glass over to the captain’s table. Sir James drank it in great gulps, a man who was obviously very thirsty from his hike from the Lodge.
“And you brew this here?” Sir James asked, pausing from his glass.
“I do sir, I brew all my own beer.”
“I wonder,” began Sir James, pausing to have another sip, “I wonder if I might prevail upon you to submit a standing order of a barrel of this beer every other week to be delivered to the lodge?”