Welcome to the Chubby Chatterbox Newsletter, where I’ll be posting favorites from the Chubby Chatterbox archives. In addition, my complete thriller Return of the Mary Celeste will soon be serialized here for those who have asked for something beyond a regular post.

My novel is based on a true event, arguably the greatest maritime mystery of all time. In 1872 the crew and passengers of Boston brigantine Mary Celeste abandoned their seaworthy ship and its valuable cargo, vanishing in the middle of the Atlantic. Speculation over their fate has never abated. History records that after the Mary Celeste tragedy no one from that fateful voyage was ever seen again. History is about to be rewritten…

Return of the Mary Celeste

Prologue

Tragedy struck the brigantine Mary Celeste on the morning of November 25, 1872. The hourly log was later recovered from the deserted vessel; At 8 a.m. the last notation was made. By 9 a.m. no one remained aboard to chalk the next entry.

Something had terrified Captain Benjamin Briggs and his crew, prompting the seasoned skipper to make a decision certain to affect not only himself, his ship and crew, but his family as well—his wife and two year old daughter were aboard Mary Celeste. Much ink has been spilled in fanciful and scientific attempts to explain the calamity that engulfed this perfectly seaworthy ship, yet all that is known for certain is this: in a matter of minutes Captain Briggs became convinced that the only way to save their lives was by ordering everyone into a hastily launched lifeboat. By giving the order to abandon ship, he also launched the greatest of all maritime mysteries.

On December 5, 1872, a month after leaving New York Harbor, Mary Celeste was found drifting on a calm and empty sea. The ship was in fine condition, perfectly intact with valuable cargo safely stored in her hold, but the crew and passengers had vanished. None were ever seen again.

Until now….

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Goodbye France

June 28, 2017
Mrs. C's favorite painting in Paris
Mrs. C's favorite painting in Paris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a wonderful time in France, ate well, saw magnificent history and impressive scenery, but all too soon it was time to return home. Here are a few final photographs:

 

 

 

This shot is typical of the incredible scenery on our trip.

 

 

 

 

 

The most visited museum in Paris, once the Louvre, is now the Musée d’Orsay, formerly a train station and now home to France’s greatest collection of Impressionist works. This is a view of a café behind the massive exterior clock. In the distance you can barely make out Sacré-Coeur.

 

 

 

 

This shot of the Eiffel Tower was taken from a vantage point popular with tourists, vendors and protestors.

 

 

 

 

My plan had been to post this picture and caption it: Close-up of lavender Fields in Provence, but that would have been dishonest. Lavender blooms during the hot summer months and wasn’t blooming when we were there. This shot of foliage in a pot was taken at our Paris hotel. I don’t even think it’s lavender.

 

 

 

Dancers at La Nouvelle Eve on our last evening in Paris

 

 

 

 

One of the few souvenirs I considered bringing home. I was certain I could squeeze her into my suitcase but Mrs. C. said, “NO!”

 

 

 

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Comments

24 Comments
Well you don't ASK her if you can take her home. You wait until you're home and then tell Mrs C "Look who followed me home!" Always remember, 'tis easier to get forgiveness than permission. ;)
By: scott park on June 28, 2017
What a beautiful city...and I love that painting as well.
By: Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma on June 28, 2017
That's one of my favorite paintings also- and we LOVE the Musee d"Orsay! The Eiffel Tower however is the most magnificent structure in Paris! and here's an interesting Eifffel fact- in Baja Mexico there is a church designed by Eiffel built in 1887-more info here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iglesia_de_Santa_B%C3%A1rbara_(Santa_Rosal%C3%ADa)
By: Kathe W. on June 28, 2017
She looks as happy to be with you and you do with her.
By: Tom Sightings on June 28, 2017
I'm still laughing at the first comment above. Thanks for taking us along on your trip!
By: Kelly on June 28, 2017
Good thing those girls are wearing underpants in that picture. Sounds like a great trip. If I had a trip like that I'd be tempted to stay.
By: PT Dilloway on June 28, 2017
I can't imagine why she'd say no. Looking fit there, Stephen. Great photos.
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on June 28, 2017
Too bad about your souvenir!!
By: fishducky on June 28, 2017
You are looking good in your pics, Mr. Chatterbox. I've started losing weight too. I'm down 30 pounds. Maybe you are my secret inspiration. In any event, no matter where I end up weight-wise, my doctor will most likely be happy.
By: Michael Offutt on June 28, 2017
I do believe you need to ask Scott for advice next time. That was funny. You are looking so fit and young. Way to go. You might need to rename your blog.
By: Arkansas Patti on June 28, 2017
I have certainly enjoyed your trip and the great posts. Isn't the Musee d' Orsay an incredible place. We never miss a chance to visit and think we have only begun to scratch the surface. You look like a very happy camper and none the worse for the wear of all that food, all those sights and hanging out with lovely dancers!
By: Tom Cochrun on June 28, 2017
Ha! I don't know why Mrs. C has to be so strict :)
By: The Bug on June 28, 2017
You've reminded me of fun times i had in Europe long ago, and i'm so glad you were willing to share your trip with us.
By: messymimi on June 28, 2017
Interesting final souvenir but like all those things you "just had to have," what would you have done with her once you got her home?!?
By: Mitchell is Moving on June 28, 2017
You look so great, I barely noticed there was a girl in that picture with you. I know I've watched too many movies when I look at that clock picture and think, "Lemon Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events," and at the Eiffel Tower and think, "European Vacation."
By: Val on June 28, 2017
Noooo! I am still looking forward to more posts! I want to know what castle/fortress that is in the top picture and would love to visit that. I love places like that. I was at the Musee D'Orsay but didn't see this part. As for the gal you would love to bring home as a souvenir but I bet she is thinking,"Sacre Bleu, Anouzer touriistt (trying sadly for a french accent here)
By: Birgit on June 28, 2017
Take me instead of Mrs. C. the next time you go to France and I'll let you have any souvenirs you want. Bonne nuit! Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on June 28, 2017
It sounds like you could have stayed in France much longer. there's much to see as far as history and culture are concerned.
By: red Kline on June 28, 2017
I've loved touring France with you and Ms. C.
By: Rick Watson on June 28, 2017
Hey Stephen, like many others I'm going along with what Scott said, besides she shouldn't have added much weight to your suitcase.
By: Jimmy on June 29, 2017
But now I want to know if there were any "souvenirs" Mrs C wanted to bring home and if there is photographic evidence!! You are looking fit and happy, Stephen. I enjoyed the accounts of your trip. It must be hard to leave such a beautiful place.
By: jenny_o on June 29, 2017
Stephen, I'm sorry I missed your French travelogue but I've been a bit busy lately. I'll try to pull it up and read it in the days ahead.
By: Catalyst on June 29, 2017
LOL at your choice of souvenir! Thanks for letting us tag along on your trip via your blog.
By: Pixel Peeper on July 4, 2017
You have impeccable taste.
By: Daniel LaFrance on July 12, 2017

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