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The War of 1812
Pirate Girl (part 3 of 3)



Pirate Girl (part 3 of 3)
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   2.89

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    artillery, camped, convent, crimson, dealt, fille, flickered, longed, merci, nuns, overrun, peal, petit, reportedly, stalked, urgent
     content words:    Captain Lafitte, Pirate Girl, Lake Borgne, Sister Maria, General Jackson, New Year, New Orleans, Usually Elise, Celia Claiborne, Andrew Jackson


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Pirate Girl (part 3 of 3)
By Toni Lee Robinson
  

1     Elise sat in the pirate's lap. She was enchanted by the charming man. Papa was not. He reached to take Elise back. Lafitte spoke. "If you please, sir! I can see that I hold your treasure in my arms," he said. "I will treat it gently. You and the child are safe with me." Papa didn't look reassured.
 
2     Lafitte smiled down at Elise. "It was very kind of you to come," he said. "My friend and I-" Lafitte stared at Gambi. The man glowered. "My friend and I had a small quarrel." Lafitte went on. "We needed a third party to settle it. The petit fille [little girl] is just the one!" He looked at Papa. "M'sieur, would you allow her to cut the cards for us?"
 
3     Warily, Papa nodded. Lafitte gently explained to Elise how to "cut" or divide the deck of cards. A fresh cut insured that the cards would be dealt honestly. Happily, Elise did as the man with the dark eyes and bright smile asked her. The cards were cut and dealt.
 
4     Lafitte invited Papa to sit and have a cool drink. Elise was given lemonade and sugar candy. She sat with the pirate for the rest of the game. In the end, Lafitte won. The gold coins were all swept to his place at the table. The man called Gambi rose and stalked out.
 
5     Captain Lafitte scooped up a handful of gold pieces. He tossed some to Papa. Then he took Elise's hand. He smiled at her again and dropped a twenty dollar gold coin in her palm. "Merci [Thank you], my little dove," he said. He bent his head and kissed her hand. His mustache tickled her skin. She giggled and pulled her hand away.
 
6     Lafitte lifted Elise down. He rose and clapped Papa on the back. "And thank you, my good fisherman. You have a most charming daughter. Go home and take care of her! If ever I may help you, please call on me." He bowed and showed them to the door. The image of the pirate king waving goodbye would stay with the little girl forever.
 
7     Elise shook herself back to the present. Maybe "Pirate Girl" wasn't such a bad label after all, Elise mused. Pirates seemed to treat people better than rich girls did. Maybe she was a pirate at heart. She'd have to talk to Papa about that. She longed to see him, to go home.
 
8     Weeks passed. December brought no hope for a joyous holiday. The dreaded British forces had arrived. Their fleet had easily beaten Jackson on Lake Borgne. They had taken five U.S. gunboats. Surely they would overrun Jackson's troops. The city waited for the next blow to fall. Elise wondered where Papa was. When would she see him?

Paragraphs 9 to 24:
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