To Have and To Hold:
Part 2 out of 7
"They will wipe us off the face of the earth!" he lamented. "There
won't be an Englishman left in America! they'll come close in upon
us! they'll batter down the fort with their culverins; they'll turn all
their swivels, sakers, and falcons upon us; they'll throw into our
midst stinkpots and grenades; they'll mow us down with chain
shot! Their gunners never miss!" His voice rose to a scream, and
he shook as with an ague. "Are you mad? It's Spain that's to be
fought! Spain the rich! Spain the powerful! Spain the lord of the
"It's England that fights!" I cried. "For very shame, hold thy
"If we surrender at once, they'll let us go!" he whined. "We can
take the small boats and get to the Bermudas. they'll let us go."
"Into the galleys," muttered West.
The craven tried another feint. "Think of the women and children!"
"We do," I said sternly. "Silence, fool!"
The Governor, a brave and honest man, rose from the keg of
powder. "All this is foreign to the matter, Master Sharpless. I think
our duty is clear, be the odds what they may. This is our post, and
we will hold it or die beside it. We are few in number, but we are
England in America, and I think we will remain here. This is the
King's fifth kingdom, and we will keep it for him. We will trust in
the Lord and fight it out."
"Amen," I said, and "Amen," said the ring of Councilors and
Burgesses and the armed men beyond.
The hum of voices now rose into excited cries, and the watchman
stationed atop the big culverin called out, "Sail ho!" With one
accord we turned our faces downstream. There was the ship,
undoubtedly. Moreover, a strong breeze had sprung up, blowing
from the sea, filling her white sails, and rapidly lessening the
distance between us. As yet we could only tell that she was indeed
a large ship with all sail set.
Through the gates of the palisade now came, pellmell, the crowd
without. In ten minutes' time the women were in line ready to load
the muskets, the children sheltered as best they might be, the men
in ranks, the gunners at their guns, and the flag up. I had run it up
with my own hand, and as I stood beneath the folds Master
Sparrow and my wife came to my side.
"The women are over there," I said to the latter, "where you had
best betake yourself."
"I prefer to stay here," she answered. "I am not afraid." Her color
was high, and she held her head up. " My father fought the
Armada," she said.
"Get me a sword from that man who is giving them out."
From his coign of vantage the watch now called out: "She's a long
ship, - five hundred tons, anyhow! Lord! the metal that she carries!
"Then she's Spanish, sure enough!" cried the Governor.
From the crowd of servants, felons, and foreigners rose a great
clamor, and presently we made out Sharpless perched on a cask in
their midst and wildly gesticulating.
"The Tiger, the Truelove, and the Due Return have swung across
channel!" announced the watch. "They 've trained their guns on the
The Englishmen cheered, but the bastard crew about Sharpless
groaned. Extreme fear had made the lawyer shameless. "What
guns have those boats?" he screamed. "Two falcons apiece and a
handful of muskets, and they go out against a man-of-war! She'll
trample them underfoot! She'll sink them with a shot apiece! The
Tiger is forty tons, and the Truelove is sixty. You 're all mad!"
"Sometimes quality beats quantity," said West.
"Didst ever hear of the Content?" sang out a gunner.
"Or of the Merchant Royal?" cried another.
"Or of the Revenge?" quoth Master Jeremy Sparrow. "Go hang
thyself, coward, or, if you choose, swim out to the Spaniard, and
shift from thy wet doublet and hose into a sanbenito. Let the don
come, shoot if he can, and land if he will! We'll singe his beard in
Virginia as we did at Cales!
'The great St. Philip, the pride of the Spaniards,
Was burnt to the bottom and sunk in the sea.
the St. Andrew and eke the St. Matthew
We took in fight manfully and brought away.'
And so we'll do with this one, my masters! We'll sink her, or we'll
take her and send her against her own galleons and galleasses!
'Dub-a-dub, dub-a-dub, thus strike their drums,
Tantara, tantara, the Englishman comes!' "
His great voice and great presence seized and held the attention of
all. Over his doublet of rusty black he had clapped a yet rustier
back and breast; on his bushy hair rode a headpiece many sizes too
small; by his side was an old broadsword, and over his shoulder a
pike. Suddenly, from gay hardihood his countenance changed to an
expression more befitting his calling. "Our cause is just, my
masters!" he cried. "We stand here not for England alone; we stand
for the love of law, for the love of liberty, for the fear of God, who
will not desert his servants and his cause, nor give over to
Anti-Christ this virgin world. This plantation is the leaven which is
to leaven the whole lump, and surely he will hide it in the hollow
of his hand and in the shadow of his wing. God of battles, hear us!
God of England, God of America, aid the children of the one, the
saviors of the other!"
He had dropped the pike to raise his clasped hands to the blue
heavens, but now he lifted it again, threw back his shoulders, and
flung up his head. He laid his hand on the flagstaff, and looked up
to the banner streaming in the breeze. "It looks well so high against
the blue, does n't it, friends?" he cried genially. "Suppose we keep
it there forever and a day!"
A cheer arose, so loud that it silenced, if it did not convince, the
craven few. As for Master Edward Sharpless, he disappeared
behind the line of women.
The great ship came steadily on, her white sails growing larger and
larger, moment by moment, her tiers of guns more distinct and
menacing, her whole aspect more defiant. Her waist seemed
packed with men. But no streamers, no flag.
A puff of smoke floated up from the deck of the Tiger, and a ball
from one of her two tiny falcons passed through the stranger's
rigging. A cheer for the brave little cockboat arose from the
English. "David and his pebble!" exclaimed Master Jeremy
Sparrow. "Now for Goliath's twenty-pounders!"
But no flame and thunder issued from the guns aboard the
stranger. Instead, from her deck there came to us what sounded
mightily like a roar of laughter. Suddenly, from each masthead and
yard shot out streamers of red and blue, up from the poop rose and
flaunted in the wind the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew, and
with a crash trumpet, drum, and fife rushed into
"Here's to jolly good ale and old!"
"By the Lord, she's English!" shouted the Governor.
On she came, banners flying, music playing, and inextinguishable
laughter rising from her decks. The Tiger, the Truelove, and the
Due Return sent no more hailstones against her; they turned and
resolved themselves into her consort. The watch, a grim old sea
dog that had come in with Dale, swung himself down from his
post, and came toward the Governor at a run. "I know her now,
sir!" he shouted. "I was at the winning of Cales, and she's the Santa
Teresa, that we took and sent home to the Queen. She was Spanish
once, sir, but she's English now."
The gates were flung open, and the excited people poured out
again upon the river bank. I found myself beside the Governor,
whose honest countenance wore an expression of profound
"What d' ye make of her, Percy?" he said. "The Company does n't
send servants, felons, 'prentices, or maids in such craft; no, nor
officers or governors, either. It's the King's ship, sure enough, but
what is she doing here? - that 's the question. What does she want,
and whom does she bring?"
"We'll soon know," I answered, "for there goes her anchor."
Five minutes later a boat was lowered from the ship, and came
swiftly toward us. The boat had four rowers, and in the stern sat a
tall man, black-bearded, high-colored, and magnificently dressed.
It touched the sand some two hundred feet from the spot where
Governor, Councilors, officers, and a sprinkling of other sorts
stood staring at it, and at the great ship beyond. The man in the
stern leaped out, looked around him, and then walked toward us.
As he walked slowly, we had leisure to note the richness of his
doublet and cloak, - the one slashed, the other lined with scarlet
taffeta, - the arrogance of his mien and gait, and the superb
full-blooded beauty of his face.
"The handsomest man that ever I saw! " ejaculated the Governor.
Master Pory, standing beside him, drew in his breath, then puffed
it out again. "Handsome enough, your Honor," he said, "unless
handsome is as handsome does. That, gentlemen, is my Lord
Carnal, - that is the King's latest favorite."
CHAPTER VIII IN WHICH ENTERS MY LORD CARNAL
I FELT a touch upon my shoulder, and turned to find Mistress
Percy beside me. Her cheeks were white, her eyes aflame, her
whole frame tense. The passion that dominated her was so clearly
anger at white heat that I stared at her in amazement. Her hand slid
from my shoulder to the bend of my arm and rested there.
"Remember that I am your wife, sir," she said in a low, fierce
voice, - "your kind and loving wife. You said that your sword was
mine; now bring your wit to the same service!"
There was not time to question her meaning. The man whose
position in the realm had just been announced by the Secretary,
and of whom we had all heard as one not unlikely to supplant even
Buckingham himself, was close at hand. The Governor, headpiece
in hand, stepped forward; the other swept off his Spanish hat; both
"I speak to his Honor the Governor of Virginia?" inquired the
newcomer. His tone was offhand, his hat already back upon his
"I am George Yeardley, at my Lord Carnal's service," answered the
The favorite raised his eyebrows. "I don't need to introduce myself,
it seems," he said. "You've found that I am not the devil, after all, -
at least not the Spanish Apollyon. Zooks ! a hawk above a poultry
yard could n't have caused a greater commotion than did my poor
little ship and my few poor birding pieces! Does every strange sail
so put you through your paces?"
The Governor's color mounted. "We are not at home," he answered
stiffly. "Here we are few and weak and surrounded by many
dangers, and have need to be vigilant, being planted, as it were, in
the very grasp of that Spain who holds Europe in awe, and who
claims this land as her own. That we are here at all is proof enough
of our courage, my lord."
The other shrugged his shoulders. "I don't doubt your mettle," he
said negligently. "I dare say it matches your armor."
His glance had rested for a moment upon the battered headpiece
and ancient rusty breastplate with which Master Jeremy Sparrow
"It is something antique, truly, something out of fashion,"
remarked that worthy, - "almost as out of fashion as courtesy from
guests, or respect for dignities from my-face-is-my-fortune
minions and lords on carpet considerations."
The hush of consternation following this audacious speech was
broken by a roar of laughter from the favorite himself. "Zounds!"
he cried, "your courage is worn on your sleeve, good giant! I'll
uphold you to face Spaniards, strappado, rack, galleys, and all!"
The bravado with which he spoke, the insolence of his bold glance
and curled lip, the arrogance with which he flaunted that King's
favor which should be a brand more infamous than the hangman's,
his beauty, the pomp of his dress, - all were alike hateful. I hated
him then, scarce knowing why, as I hated him afterward with
He now pulled from the breast of his doublet a packet, which he
proffered the Governor. "From the King, sir," he announced, in the
half-fierce, half- mocking tone he had made his own. "You may
read it at your leisure. He wishes you to further me in a quest upon
which I have come."
The Governor took the packet with reverence. "His Majesty's will
is our law," he said. "Anything that lies in our power, sir; though if
you come for gold" -
The favorite laughed again. "I've come for a thing a deal more
precious, Sir Governor, - a thing worth more to me than all the
treasure of the Indies with Manoa and El Dorado thrown in, - to
wit, the thing upon which I've set my mind. That which I
determine to do, I do, sir, and the thing I determine to have, why,
sooner or later, by hook or by crook, fair means or foul, I have it! I
am not one to be crossed or defied with impunity."
"I do not take your meaning, my lord," said the Governor, puzzled,
but courteous. "There are none here who would care to thwart, in
any honorable enterprise, a nobleman so high in the King's favor. I
trust that my Lord Carnal will make my poor house his own during
his stay in Virginia - What's the matter, my lord?"
My lord's face was dark red, his black eyes afire, his mustaches
working up and down. His white teeth had closed with a click on
the loud oath which had interrupted the Governor's speech. Honest
Sir George and his circle stared at this unaccountable guest in
amazement not unmixed with dismay. As for myself, I knew
before he spoke what had caused the oath and the fierce triumph in
that handsome face. Master Jeremy Sparrow had moved a little to
one side, thus exposing to view that which his great body had
before screened from observation, - namely, Mistress Jocelyn
In a moment the favorite was before her, hat in hand, bowing to
"My quest hath ended where I feared it but begun!" he cried,
flushed and exultant. "I have found my Manoa sooner than I
thought for. Have you no welcome for me, lady?"
She withdrew her arm from mine and curtsied to him profoundly;
then stood erect, indignant and defiant, her eyes angry stars, her
cheeks carnation, scorn on her smiling lips.
"I cannot welcome you as you should be welcomed, my lord," she
said in a clear voice. "I have but my bare hands. Manoa, my lord,
lies far to the southward. This land is quite out of your course, and
you will find here but your travail for your pains. My lord, permit
me to present to you my husband, Captain Ralph Percy. I think that
you know his cousin, my Lord of Northumberland."
The red left the favorite's cheeks, and he moved as though a blow
had been dealt him by some invisible hand. Recovering himself he
bowed to me, and I to him, which done we looked each other in
the eyes long enough for each to see the thrown gauntlet.
"I raise it," I said.
"And I raise it," he answered.
"A l'outrance, I think, sir?" I continued.
"A l'outrance," he assented.
"And between us two alone," I suggested.
His answering smile was not good to see, nor was the tone in
which he spoke to the Governor good to hear.
"It is now some weeks, sir," he said, "since there disappeared from
court a jewel, a diamond of most inestimable worth. It in some sort
belonged to the King, and his Majesty, in the goodness of his heart,
had promised it to a certain one, - nay, had sworn by his kingdom
that it should be his. Well, sir, that man put forth his hand to claim
his own - when lo! the jewel vanished! Where it went no man
could tell. There was, as you may believe, a mighty running up and
down and looking into dark corners, all for naught, - it was clean
gone. But the man to whom that bright gem had been promised
was not one easily hoodwinked or baffled. He swore to trace it,
follow it, find it, and wear it."
His bold eyes left the Governor, to rest upon the woman beside
me; had he pointed to her with his hand, he could not have more
surely drawn upon her the regard of that motley throng. By degrees
the crowd had fallen back, leaving us three - the King's minion, the
masquerading lady, and myself - the centre of a ring of staring
faces; but now she became the sole target at which all eyes were
In Virginia, at this time, the women of our own race were held in
high esteem. During the first years of our planting they were a
greater rarity than the mocking-birds and flying squirrels, or than
that weed the eating of which made fools of men. The man whose
wife was loving and daring enough, or jealous enough of Indian
maids, to follow him into the wilderness counted his friends by the
score and never lacked for company. The first marriage in Virginia
was between a laborer and a waiting maid, and yet there was as
great a deal of candy stuff as if it had been the nuptials of a
lieutenant of the shire. The brother of my Lord de la Warre stood
up with the groom, the brother of my Lord of Northumberland
gave away the bride and was the first to kiss her, and the President
himself held the caudle to their lips that night. Since that wedding
there had been others. Gentlewomen made the Virginia voyage
with husband or father; women signed as servants and came over,
to marry in three weeks' time, the husband paying good tobacco for
the wife's freedom; in the cargoes of children sent for apprentices
there were many girls. And last, but not least, had come Sir
Edwyn's doves. Things had changed since that day - at the memory
of which men still held their sides - when Madam West, then the
only woman in the town with youth and beauty, had marched down
the street to the pillory, mounted it, called to her the drummer, and
ordered him to summon to the square by tuck of drum every man
in the place. Which done, and the amazed population at hand,
gaping at the spectacle of the wife of their commander (then
absent from home) pilloried before them, she gave command,
through the crier, that they should take their fill of gazing,
whispering, and nudging then and there, forever and a day, and
then should go about their business and give her leave to mind her
That day was gone, but men still dropped their work to see a
woman pass, still cheered when a farthingale appeared over a
ship's side, and at church still devoted their eyes to other service
than staring at the minister. In our short but crowded history few
things had made a greater stir than the coming in of Sir Edwyn's
maids. They were married now, but they were still the observed of
all observers; to be pointed out to strangers, run after by children,
gaped at by the vulgar, bowed to with broad smiles by Burgess,
Councilor, and commander, and openly contemned by those dames
who had attained to a husband in somewhat more regular fashion.
Of the ninety who had arrived two weeks before, the greater
number had found husbands in the town itself or in the
neighboring hundreds, so that in the crowd that had gathered to
withstand the Spaniard, and had stayed to welcome the King's
favorite, there were farthingales not a few.
But there were none like the woman whose hand I had kissed in
the courting meadow. In the throng, that day, in her Puritan dress
and amid the crowd of meaner beauties, she had passed without
overmuch comment, and since that day none had seen her save
Rolfe and the minister, my servants and myself; and when "The
Spaniard!" was cried, men thought of other things than the beauty
of women; so that until this moment she had escaped any special
notice. Now all that was changed. The Governor, following the
pointing of those insolent eyes, fixed his own upon her in a stare of
sheer amazement; the gold-laced quality about him craned necks,
lifted eyebrows, and whispered; and the rabble behind followed
their betters' example with an emphasis quite their own.
"Where do you suppose that jewel went, Sir Governor," said the
favorite, - "that jewel which was overnice to shine at court, which
set up its will against the King's, which would have none of that
one to whom it had been given?"
"I am a plain man, my lord," replied the Governor bluntly. "An it
please you, give me plain words."
My lord laughed, his eyes traveling round the ring of greedily
intent faces. "So be it, sir," he assented. "May I ask who is this
"She came in the Bonaventure," answered the Governor. "She was
one of the treasurer's poor maids."
"With whom I trod a measure at court not long ago," said the
favorite. "I had to wait for the honor until the prince had been
The Governor's round eyes grew rounder. Young Hamor, a-tiptoe
behind him, drew a long, low whistle.
"In so small a community," went on my lord, "sure you must all
know one another. There can be no masks worn, no false colors
displayed. Everything must be as open as daylight. But we all have
a past as well as a present. Now, for instance" -
I interrupted him. "In Virginia, my lord, we live in the present. At
present, my lord, I like not the color of your lordship's cloak."
He stared at me, with his black brows drawn together. "It is not of
your choosing nor for your wearing, sir," he rejoined haughtily.
"And your sword knot is villainously tied," I continued. "And I like
not such a fire-new, bejeweled scabbard. Mine, you see, is out at
"I see," he said dryly.
"The pinking of your doublet suits me not, either," I declared. "I
could make it more to my liking," and I touched his Genoa
three-pile with the point of my rapier.
A loud murmur arose from the crowd, and the Governor started
forward, crying out, "Captain Percy! Are you mad?"
"I was never saner in my life, sir," I answered. "French fashions
like me not, - that is all, - nor Englishmen that wear them. To my
thinking such are scarcely true-born."
That thrust went home. All the world knew the story of my late
Lord Carnal and the waiting woman in the service of the French
ambassador's wife. A gasp of admiration went up from the crowd.
My lord's rapier was out, the hand that held it shaking with
passion. I had my blade in my hand, but the point was upon the
ground. "I'll lesson you, you madman!" he said thickly. Suddenly,
without any warning, he thrust at me; had he been less blind with
rage, the long score which each was to run up against the other
might have ended where it began. I swerved, and the next instant
with my own point sent his rapier whirling. It fell at the Governor's
"Your lordship may pick it up," I remarked. "Your grasp is as firm
as your honor, my lord."
He glared at me, foam upon his lips. Men were between us now, -
the Governor, Francis West, Master Pory, Hamor, Wynne, - and a
babel of excited voices arose. The diversion I had aimed to make
had been made with a vengeance. West had me by the arm. "What
a murrain is all this coil about, Ralph Percy? If you hurt hair of his
head, you are lost!"
The favorite broke from the Governor's detaining hand and
"You'll fight, sir?" he cried hoarsely.
"You know that I need not now, my lord," I answered.
He stamped upon the ground with rage and shame; not true shame
for that foul thrust, but shame for the sword upon the grass, for
that which could be read in men's eyes, strive to hide it as they
might, for the open scorn upon one face. Then, during the minute
or more in which we faced each other in silence, he exerted to
some effect that will of which he had boasted. The scarlet faded
from his face, his frame steadied, and he forced a smile. Also he
called to his aid a certain soldierly, honest-seeming frankness of
speech and manner which he could assume at will.
"Your Virginian sunshine dazzleth the eyes, sir," he said. "Of a
verity it made me think you on guard. Forgive me my mistake."
I bowed. "Your lordship will find me at your service. I lodge at the
minister's house, where your lordship's messenger will find me. I
am going there now with my wife, who hath ridden a score of
miles this morning and is weary. We give you good-day, my lord."
I bowed to him again and to the Governor, then gave my hand to
Mistress Percy. The crowd opening before us, we passed through
it, and crossed the parade by the west bulwark. At the further end
was a bit of rising ground. This we mounted; then, before
descending the other side into the lane leading to the minister's
house, we turned as by one impulse and looked back. Life is like
one of those endless Italian corridors, painted, picture after picture,
by a master hand; and man is the traveler through it, taking his
eyes from one scene but to rest them upon another. Some remain a
blur in his mind; some he remembers not; for some he has but to
close his eyes and he sees them again, line for line, tint for tint, the
whole spirit of the piece. I close my eyes, and I see the sunshine
hot and bright, the blue of the skies, the sheen of the river. The
sails are white again upon boats long lost; the Santa Teresa, sunk
in a fight with an Algerine rover two years afterward, rides at
anchor there forever in the James, her crew in the waist and the
rigging, her master and his mates on the poop, above them the
flag. I see the plain at our feet and the crowd beyond, all staring
with upturned faces; and standing out from the group of perplexed
and wondering dignitaries a man in black and scarlet, one hand
busy at his mouth, the other clenched upon the newly restored and
unsheathed sword. And I see, standing on the green hillock, hand
in hand, us two, myself and the woman so near to me, and yet so
far away that a common enemy seemed our only tie.
We turned and descended to the green lane and the deserted
houses. When we were quite hidden from those we had left on the
bank below the fort, she dropped my hand and moved to the other
side of the lane; and thus, with never a word to spare, we walked
sedately on until we reached the minister's house.
CHAPTER IX IN WHICH TWO DRINK OF ONE CUP
WAITING for us in the doorway we found Master Jeremy
Sparrow, relieved of his battered armor, his face wreathed with
hospitable smiles, and a posy in his hand.
"When the Spaniard turned out to be only the King's minion, I
slipped away to see that all was in order," he said genially. "Here
are roses, madam, that you are not to treat as you did those others."
She took them from him with a smile, and we went into the house
to find three fair large rooms, something bare of furnishing, but
clean and sweet, with here and there a bow pot of newly gathered
flowers, a dish of wardens on the table, and a cool air laden with
the fragrance of the pine blowing through the open window.
"This is your demesne," quoth the minister. "I have worthy Master
Bucke's own chamber upstairs. Ah, good man, I wish he may
quickly recover his strength and come back to his own, and so
relieve me of the burden of all this luxury. I, whom nature meant
for an eremite, have no business in kings' chambers such as these."
His devout faith in his own distaste for soft living and his longings
after a hermit's cell was an edifying spectacle. So was the evident
pride which he took in his domain, the complacence with which he
pointed out the shady, well-stocked garden, and the delight with
which he produced and set upon the table a huge pasty and a
flagon of wine.
"It is a fast day with me," he said. "I may neither eat nor drink until
the sun goes down. The flesh is a strong giant, very full of pride
and lust of living, and the spirit must needs keep watch and ward,
seizing every opportunity to mortify and deject its adversary.
Goodwife Allen is still gaping with the crowd at the fort, and your
man and maid have not yet come, but I shall be overhead if you
need aught. Mistress Percy must want rest after her ride."
He was gone, leaving us two alone together. She stood opposite
me, beside the window, from which she had not moved since
entering the room. The color was still in her cheeks, the light in
her eyes, and she still held the roses with which Sparrow had
heaped her arms. I was moving to the table.
"Wait!" she said, and I turned toward her again.
"Have you no questions to ask?" she demanded.
I shook my head. "None, madam."
"I was the King's ward!" she cried.
I bowed, but spoke no word, though she waited for me.
"If you will listen," she said at last, proudly, and yet with a
pleading sweetness, - "if you will listen, I will tell you how it was
that I - that I came to wrong you so."
"I am listening, madam," I replied.
She stood against the light, the roses pressed to her bosom, her
dark eyes upon me, her head held high. "My mother died when I
was born; my father, years ago. I was the King's ward. While the
Queen lived she kept me with her, - she loved me, I think; and the
King too was kind, - would have me sing to him, and would talk to
me about witchcraft and the Scriptures, and how rebellion to a
king is rebellion to God. When I was sixteen, and he tendered me
marriage with a Scotch lord, I, who loved the gentleman not, never
having seen him, prayed the King to take the value of my marriage
and leave me my freedom. He was so good to me then that the
Scotch lord was wed elsewhere, and I danced at the wedding with
a mind at ease. Time passed, and the King was still my very good
lord. Then, one black day, my Lord Carnal came to court, and the
King looked at him oftener than at his Grace of Buckingham. A
few months, and my lord's wish was the King's will. To do this
new favorite pleasure he forgot his ancient kindness of heart; yea,
and he made the law of no account. I was his kinswoman, and
under my full age; he would give my hand to whom he chose. He
chose to give it to my Lord Carnal."
She broke off, and turned her face from me toward the slant
sunshine without the window. Thus far she had spoken quietly,
with a certain proud patience of voice and bearing; but as she
stood there in a silence which I did not break, the memory of her
wrongs brought the crimson to her cheeks and the anger to her
eyes. Suddenly she burst forth passionately: "The King is the King!
What is a subject's will to clash with his? What weighs a woman's
heart against his whim? Little cared he that my hand held back,
grew cold at the touch of that other hand in which he would have
put it. What matter if my will was against that marriage? It was but
the will of a girl, and must be broken. All my world was with the
King; I, who stood alone, was but a woman, young and untaught.
Oh, they pressed me sore, they angered me to the very heart! There
was not one to fight my battle, to help me in that strait, to show me
a better path than that I took. With all my heart, with all my soul,
with all my might, I hate that man which that ship brought here
to-day! You know what I did to escape them all, to escape that
man. I fled from England in the dress of my waiting maid and
under her name. I came to Virginia in that guise. I let myself be
put up, appraised, cried for sale, in that meadow yonder, as if I had
been indeed the piece of merchandise I professed myself. The one
man who approached me with respect I gulled and cheated. I let
him, a stranger, give me his name. I shelter myself now behind his
name. I have foisted on him my quarrel. I have - Oh, despise me, if
you will! You cannot despise me more than I despise myself!"
I stood with my hand upon the table and my eyes studying the
shadow of the vines upon the floor. All that she said was perfectly
true, and yet - I had a vision of a scarlet and black figure and a
dark and beautiful face. I too hated my Lord Carnal.
"I do not despise you, madam," I said at last. "What was done two
weeks ago in the meadow yonder is past recall. Let it rest. What is
mine is yours: it's little beside my sword and my name. The one is
naturally at my wife's service; for the other, I have had some pride
in keeping it untarnished. It is now in your keeping as well as my
own. I do not fear to leave it there, madam."
I had spoken with my eyes upon the garden outside the window,
but now I looked at her, to see that she was trembling in every
limb, - trembling so that I thought she would fall. I hastened to
her. "The roses," she said, - "the roses are too heavy. Oh, I am tired
- and the room goes round."
I caught her as she fell, and laid her gently upon the floor. There
was water on the table, and I dashed some in her face and
moistened her lips; then turned to the door to get woman's help,
and ran against Diccon.
"I got that bag of bones here at last, sir," he began. "If ever I" - His
eyes traveled past me, and he broke off.
"Don't stand there staring," I ordered. "Go bring the first woman
"Is she dead?" he asked under his breath. "Have you killed her?"
"Killed her, fool!" I cried. "Have you never seen a woman swoon?"
"She looks like death," he muttered. "I thought" -
"You thought!" I exclaimed. "You have too many thoughts.
Begone, and call for help!"
"Here is Angela," he said sullenly and without offering to move,
as, light of foot, soft of voice, ox-eyed and docile, the black
woman entered the room. When I saw her upon her knees beside
the motionless figure, the head pillowed on her arm, her hand busy
with the fastenings about throat and bosom, her dark face as
womanly tender as any English mother's bending over her nursling;
and when I saw my wife, with a little moan, creep further into the
encircling arms, I was satisfied.
"Come away!" I said, and, followed by Diccon, went out and shut
My Lord Carnal was never one to let the grass
grow beneath his feet. An hour later came his cartel, borne by no
less a personage than the Secretary of the colony.
I took it from the point of that worthy's rapier. It ran thus: "SIR, -
At what hour to-morrow and at what place do you prefer to die?
And with what weapon shall I kill you?"
"Captain Percy will give me credit for the profound reluctance
with which I act in this affair against a gentleman and an officer so
high in the esteem of the colony," said Master Pory, with his hand
upon his heart. "When I tell him that I once fought at Paris in a
duel of six on the same side with my late Lord Carnal, and that
when I was last at court my Lord Warwick did me the honor to
present me to the present lord, he will see that I could not well
refuse when the latter requested my aid."
"Master Pory's disinterestedness is perfectly well known," I said,
without a smile. "If he ever chooses the stronger side, sure he has
strong reasons for so doing. He will oblige me by telling his
principal that I ever thought sunrise a pleasant hour for dying, and
that there could be no fitter place than the field behind the church,
convenient as it is to the graveyard. As for weapons, I have heard
that he is a good swordsman, but I have some little reputation that
way myself. If he prefers pistols or daggers, so be it."
"I think we may assume the sword," said Master Pory.
"You'll bring a friend?" he asked.
"I do not despair of finding one," I answered, "though my second,
Master Secretary, will put himself in some jeopardy."
"It is combat … outrance, I believe?"
"I understand it so."
"Then we'd better have Bohun. The survivor may need his
"As you please," I replied, "though my man Diccon dresses my
scratches well enough."
He bit his lip, but could not hide the twinkle in his eye.
"You are cocksure," he said. "Curiously enough, so is my lord.
There are no further formalities to adjust, I believe? To-morrow at
sunrise, behind the church, and with rapiers?"
He slapped his blade back into its sheath. "Then that's over and
done with, for the nonce at least! Sufficient unto the day, etcetera.
'S life! I'm hot and dry! You've sacked cities, Ralph Percy; now
sack me the minister's closet and bring out his sherris I'll be at
charges for the next communion."
We sat us down upon the doorstep with a tankard of sack between
us, and Master Pory drank, and drank, and drank again.
"How's the crop?" he asked. "Martin reports it poorer in quality
than ever, but Sir George will have it that it is very Varinas."
"It's every whit as good as the Spanish," I answered. "You may tell
my Lord Warwick so, when next you write."
He laughed. If he was a timeserver and leagued with my Lord
Warwick's faction in the Company, he was a jovial sinner. Traveler
and student, much of a philosopher, more of a wit, and boon
companion to any beggar with a pottle of ale, - while the drink
lasted, - we might look askance at his dealings, but we liked his
company passing well. If he took half a poor rustic's crop for his
fee, he was ready enough to toss him sixpence for drink money;
and if he made the tenants of the lands allotted to his office leave
their tobacco uncared for whilst they rowed him on his
innumerable roving expeditions up creeks and rivers, he at least
lightened their labors with most side-splitting tales, and with bottle
songs learned in a thousand taverns.
"After to-morrow there'll be more interesting news to write," he
announced. "You're a bold man, Captain Percy."
He looked at me out of the corners of his little twinkling eyes. I sat
and smoked in silence.
"The King begins to dote upon him," he said; "leans on his arm,
plays with his hand, touches his cheek. Buckingham stands by,
biting his lip, his brow like a thundercloud. You'll find in
to-morrow's antagonist, Ralph Percy, as potent a conjurer as your
cousin Hotspur found in Glendower. He'll conjure you up the
Tower, and a hanging, drawing, and quartering. Who touches the
King's favorite had safer touch the King. It's lŠse-majest‚ you
He lit his pipe and blew out a great cloud of smoke, then burst into
a roar of laughter. "My Lord High Admiral may see you through.
Zooks! there'll be a raree-show worth the penny, behind the church
to-morrow, a Percy striving with all his might and main to serve a
Villiers! Eureka! There is something new under the sun, despite
the Preacher!" He blew out another cloud of smoke. By this the
tankard was empty, and his cheeks were red, his eyes moist, and
his laughter very ready.
"Where's the Lady Jocelyn Leigh?" he asked. "May I not have the
honor to kiss her hand before I go?"
I stared at him. "I do not understand you," I said coldly. "There 's
none within but Mistress Percy. She is weary, and rests after her
journey. We came from Weyanoke this morning."
He shook with laughter. "Ay, ay, brave it out!" he cried. "It's what
every man Jack of us said you would do! But all's known, man!
The Governor read the King's letters in full Council an hour ago.
She's the Lady Jocelyn Leigh; she 's a ward of the King's; she and
her lands are to wed my Lord Carnal!"
"She was all that," I replied. "Now she 's my wife."
"You'll find that the Court of High Commission will not agree with
My rapier lay across my knees, and I ran my hand down its worn
scabbard. "Here 's one that agrees with me," I said. "And up there
is Another," and I lifted my hat.
He stared. "God and my good sword!" he cried. "A very knightly
dependence, but not to be mentioned nowadays in the same breath
with gold and the King's favor. Better bend to the storm, man; sing
low while it roars past. You can swear that you did n't know her to
be of finer weave than dowlas. Oh, they'll call it in some sort a
marriage, for the lady's own sake; but they'll find flaws enough to
crack a thousand such mad matches. The divorce is the thing!
There's precedent, you know. A fair lady was parted from a brave
man not a thousand years ago, because a favorite wanted her. True,
Frances Howard wanted the favorite, whilst this beauty of yours" -
"You will please not couple the name of my wife with the name of
that adulteress!" I interrupted fiercely.
He started; then cried out somewhat hurriedly: "No offense, no
offense! I meant no comparisons; comparisons are odorous, saith
Dogberry. All at court know the Lady Jocelyn Leigh for a very
Britomart, a maid as cold as Dian!"
I rose, and began to pace up and down the bit of green before the
door. "Master Pory," I said at last, coming to a stop before him, "if,
without breach of faith, you can tell me what was said or done at
the Council to-day anent this matter, you will lay me under an
obligation that I shall not forget."
He studied the lace on his sleeve in silence for a while; then
glanced up at me out of those small, sly, merry eyes. "Why," he
answered, "the King demands that the lady be sent home forthwith,
on the ship that gave us such a turn to-day, in fact, with a couple of
women to attend her, and under the protection of the only other
passenger of quality, to wit, my Lord Carnal. His Majesty cannot
conceive it possible that she hath so far forgotten her birth, rank,
and duty as to have maintained in Virginia this mad masquerade,
throwing herself into the arms of any petty planter or broken
adventurer who hath chanced to have an hundred and twenty
pounds of filthy tobacco with which to buy him a wife. If she hath
been so mad, she is to be sent home none the less, where she will
be tenderly dealt with as one surely in this sole matter under the
spell of witchcraft. The ship is to bring home also - and in irons -
the man who married her. If he swears to have been ignorant of her
quality, and places no straws in the way of the King's
Commissioners, then shall he be sent honorably back to Virginia
with enough in his hand to get him another wife. Per contra, if he
erred with open eyes, and if he remain contumacious, he will have
to deal with the King and with the Court of High Commission, to
say nothing of the King's favorite. That's the sum and substance,
"Why was my Lord Carnal sent?" I asked.
"Probably because my Lord Carnal would come. He hath a will,
hath my Lord, and the King is more indulgent than Eli to those
upon whom he dotes. Doubtless, my Lord High Admiral sped him
on his way, gave him the King's best ship, wished him a favorable
wind - to hell."
"I was not ignorant that she was other than she seemed, and I
"Then," he said shamelessly, "you'll forgive me if in public, at
least, I forswear your company? You're plague-spotted, Captain
Percy, and your friends may wish you well, but they must stay at
home and burn juniper before their own doors."
"I'll forgive you," I said, "when you 've told me what the Governor
"Why, there's the rub," he answered. "Yeardley is the most
obstinate man of my acquaintance. He who at his first coming,
beside a great deal of worth in his person, brought only his sword
hath grown to be as very a Sir Oracle among us as ever I saw. It's
'Sir George says this,' and 'Sir George says that,' and so there's an
end on't. It's all because of that leave to cut your own throats in
your own way that he brought you last year. Sir George and Sir
Edwyn! Zooks! you had better dub them St. George and St. Edwyn
at once, and be done with it. Well, on this occasion Sir George
stands up and says roundly, with a good round oath to boot: 'The
King's commands have always come to us through the Company.
The Company obeys the King; we obey the Company. His
Majesty's demand (with reverence I speak it) is out of all order. Let
the Company, through the treasurer, command us to send Captain
Percy home in irons to answer for this passing strange offense, or
to return, willy nilly, the lady who is now surely his wife, and we
will have no choice but to obey. Until the Company commands us
we will do nothing; nay we can do nothing.' And every one of my
fellow Councilors (for myself, I was busy with my pens) saith, 'My
opinion, Sir George.' The upshot of it all is that the Due Return is
to sail in two days with our humble representation to his Majesty
that though we bow to his lightest word as the leaf bows to the
zephyr, yet we are, in this sole matter, handfast, compelled by his
Majesty's own gracious charter to refer our slightest official doing
to that noble Company which owes its very being to its rigid
adherence to the terms of said charter. Wherefore, if his Majesty
will be graciously pleased to command us as usual through the said
Company - and so on. Of course, not a soul in the Council, or in
Jamestown, or in Virginia dreams of a duel behind the church at
sunrise to-morrow." He knocked the ashes from his pipe, and by
degrees got his fat body up from the doorstep. "So there's a
reprieve for you, Ralph Percy, unless you kill or are killed
to-morrow morning. In the latter case, the problem's solved; in the
former, the best service you can do yourself, and maybe the
Company, is to walk out of the world of your own accord, and that
as quickly as possible. Better a cross-roads and a stake through a
dead heart than a hangman's hands upon a live one."
"One moment," I said. "Doth my Lord Carnal know of this
decision of the Governor's?"
"Ay, and a fine passion it put him into. Stormed and swore and
threatened, and put the Governor's back up finely. It seems that he
thought to 'bout ship to-morrow, lady and all. He refuseth to go
without the lady, and so remaineth in Virginia until he can have
his will. Lord! but Buckingham would be a happy man if he were
kept here forever and a day! My lord knows what he risks, and he's
in as black a humor as ever you saw. But I have striven to drop oil
on the troubled waters. 'My lord,' I told him, 'you have but to
posses your soul with patience for a few short weeks, just until the
ship the Governor sends can return. Then all must needs be as your
lordship wishes. In the meantime, you may find existence in these
wilds and away from that good company which is the soul of life
endurable, and perhaps pleasant. You may have daily sight of the
lady who is to become your wife, and that should count for much
with so ardent and determined a lover as your lordship hath shown
yourself to be. You may have the pleasure of contemplating your
rival's grave, if you kill him. If he kills you, you will care the less
about the date of the Santa Teresa's sailing. The land, too, hath
inducements to offer to a philosophical and contemplative mind
such as one whom his Majesty delighteth to honor must needs
possess. Beside these crystal rivers and among these odoriferous
woods, my lord, one escapes much expense, envy, contempt,
vanity, and vexation of mind.'"
The hoary sinner laughed and laughed. When he had gone away,
still in huge enjoyment of his own mirth, I, who had seen small
cause for mirth, went slowly indoors. Not a yard from the door, in
the shadow of the vines that draped the window, stood the woman
who was bringing this fate upon me.
"I thought that you were in your own room," I said harshly, after a
moment of dead silence.
"I came to the window," she replied. "I listened. I heard all." She
spoke haltingly, through dry lips. Her face was as white as her ruff,
but a strange light burned in her eyes, and there was no trembling.
"This morning you said that all that you had - your name and your
sword - were at my service. You may take them both again, sir. I
refuse the aid you offer. Swear what you will, tell them what you
please, make your peace whilst you may. I will not have your
blood upon my soul."
There was yet wine upon the table. I filled a cup and brought it to
her. "Drink!" I commanded.
"I have much of forbearance, much of courtesy, to thank you for,"
she said. "I will remember it when - Do not think that I shall blame
I held the cup to her lips. "Drink!" I repeated. She touched the red
wine with her lips. I took it from her and put it to my own. "We
drink of the same cup," I said, with my eyes upon hers, and drained
it to the bottom. "I am weary of swords and courts and kings. Let
us go into the garden and watch the minister's bees."
CHAPTER X IN WHICH MASTER PORY GAINS TIME TO SOME PURPOSE
ROLFE coming down by boat from Varina, had reached the town
in the dusk of that day which had seen the arrival of the Santa
Teresa, and I had gone to him before I slept that night. Early
morning found us together again in the field behind the church.
We had not long to wait in the chill air and dew-drenched grass.
When the red rim of the sun showed like a fire between the trunks
of the pines came my Lord Carnal, and with him Master Pory and
Dr. Lawrence Bohun.
My lord and I bowed to each other profoundly. Rolfe with my
sword and Master Pory with my lord's stepped aside to measure the
blades. Dr. Bohun, muttering something about the feverishness of
the early air, wrapped his cloak about him, and huddled in among
the roots of a gigantic cedar. I stood with my back to the church,
and my face to the red water between us and the illimitable forest;
my lord opposite me, six feet away. He was dressed again
splendidly in black and scarlet, colors he much affected, and, with
the dark beauty of his face and the arrogant grace with which he
stood there waiting for his sword, made a picture worth looking
Rolfe and the Secretary came back to us. "If you kill him, Ralph,"
said the former in a low voice, as he took my doublet from me,
"you are to put yourself in my hands and do as you are bid."
"Which means that you will try to smuggle me north to the Dutch.
Thanks, friend, but I'll see the play out here."
"You were ever obstinate, self-willed, reckless - and the man most
to my heart," he continued. " Have your way, in God's name, but I
wish not to see what will come of it! All's ready, Master
Very slowly that worthy stooped down and examined the ground,
narrowly and quite at his leisure. "I like it not, Master Rolfe," he
declared at length. "Here is a molehill, and there a fairy ring."
"I see neither," said Rolfe. "It looks as smooth as a table. But we
can easily shift under the cedars where there is no grass."
"Here's a projecting root," announced the Secretary, when the new
ground had been reached.
Rolfe shrugged his shoulders, but we moved again.
"The light comes jaggedly through the branches," objected my
lord's second. "Better try the open again."
Rolfe uttered an exclamation of impatience, and my lord stamped
his foot on the ground. "What is this foolery, sir?" the latter cried
fiercely. "The ground's well enough, and there 's sufficient light to
"Let the light pass, then," said his second resignedly. "Gentlemen,
are you read - Ods blood! my lord, I had not noticed the roses upon
your lordship's shoes! They are so large and have such a fall that
they sweep the ground on either side your foot; you might stumble
in all that dangling ribbon and lace. Allow me to remove them."
He unsheathed his knife, and, sinking upon his knees, began
leisurely to sever the threads that held the roses to the leather. As
he worked, he looked neither at the roses nor at my lord's angry
face, but beneath his own bent arm toward the church and the town
How long he would have sawed away at the threads there is no
telling; for my lord, amongst whose virtues patience was not one,
broke from him, and with an oath stooped and tore away the
offending roses with his own hand, then straightened himself and
gripped his sword more closely. "I've learned one thing in this d - d
land," he snarled, "and that is where not to choose a second. You,
sir," to Rolfe, "give the word."
Master Pory rose from his knees, unruffled and unabashed, and
still with a curiously absent expression upon his fat face and with
his ears cocked in the direction of the church. "One moment,
gentlemen," he said. "I have just bethought me" -
"On guard!" cried Rolfe, and cut him short.
The King's favorite was no mean antagonist. Once or twice the
thought crossed my mind that here, where I least desired it, I had
met my match. The apprehension passed. He fought as he lived,
with a fierce intensity, a headlong passion, a brute force, bearing
down and overwhelming most obstacles. But that I could tire him
out I soon knew.
The incessant flash and clash of steel, the quick changes in
position, the need to bring all powers of body and mind to aid of
eye and wrist, the will to win, the shame of loss, the rage and lust
of blood, - there was no sight or sound outside that trampled circle
that could force itself upon our brain or make us glance aside. If
there was a sudden commotion amongst the three witnesses, if an
expression of immense relief and childlike satisfaction reigned in
Master Pory's face, we knew it not. We were both bleeding, - I
from a pin prick on the shoulder, he from a touch beneath the arm.
He made a desperate thrust, which I parried, and the blades
clashed. A third came down upon them with such force that the
"In the King's name!" commanded the Governor.
We fell apart, panting, white with rage, staring at the unexpected
disturbers of our peace. They were the Governor, the commander,
the Cape Merchant, and the watch.
"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace!" exclaimed
Master Pory, and retired to the cedar and Dr. Bohun.
"This ends here, gentlemen," said the Governor firmly. "You are
both bleeding. It is enough."
"Out of my way, sir!" cried my lord, foaming at the mouth. He
made a mad thrust over the Governor's extended arm at me, who
was ready enough to meet him. "Have at thee, thou bridegroom!"
he said between his teeth.
The Governor caught him by the wrist. "Put up your sword, my
lord, or, as I stand here, you shall give it into the commander's
"Hell and furies!" ejaculated my lord. "Do you know who I am,
"Ay," replied the Governor sturdily, "I do know. It is because of
that knowledge, my Lord Carnal, that I interfere in this affair.
Were you other than you are, you and this gentleman might fight
until doomsday, and meet with no hindrance from me. Being what
you are, I will prevent any renewal of this duel, by fair means if I
may, by foul if I must."
He left my lord, and came over to me. "Since when have you been
upon my Lord Warwick's side, Ralph Percy?" he demanded,
lowering his voice.
"I am not so," I said.
"Then appearances are mightily deceitful," he retorted.
"I know what you mean, Sir George," I answered. "I know that if
the King's darling should meet death or maiming in this fashion,
upon Virginian soil, the Company, already so out of favor, might
find some difficulty in explaining things to his Majesty's
satisfaction. But I think my Lord Southampton and Sir Edwyn
Sandys and Sir George Yeardley equal to the task, especially if
they are able to deliver to his Majesty the man whom his Majesty
will doubtless consider the true and only rebel and murderer. Let
us fight it out, sir. You can all retire to a distance and remain in
profound ignorance of any such affair. If I fall, you have nothing to
fear. If he falls, - why, I shall not run away, and the Due Return
He eyed me closely from under frowning brows.
"And when your wife's a widow, what then?" he asked abruptly.
I have not known many better men than this simple,
straightforward, soldierly Governor. The manliness of his
character begot trust, invited confidence. Men told him of their
hidden troubles almost against their will, and afterward felt neither
shame nor fear, knowing the simplicity of his thoughts and the
reticence of his speech. I looked him in the eyes, and let him read
what I would have shown to no other, and felt no shame. "The
Lord may raise her up a helper," I said. "At least she won't have to
He turned on his heel and moved back to his former station
between us two. "My Lord Carnal," he said, "and you, Captain
Percy, heed what I say; for what I say I will do. You may take your
choice: either you will sheathe your swords here in my presence,
giving me your word of honor that you will not draw them upon
each other before his Majesty shall have made known his will in
this matter to the Company, and the Company shall have
transmitted it to me, in token of which truce between you you shall
touch each other's hands; or you will pass the time between this
and the return of the ship with the King's and the Company's will
in strict confinement, - you, Captain Percy, in gaol, and you, my
Lord Carnal, in my own poor house, where I will use my best
endeavors to make the days pass as pleasantly as possible for your
lordship. I have spoken, gentlemen."
There was no protest. For my own part, I knew Yeardley too well
to attempt any; moreover, had I been in his place, his course
should have been mine. For my Lord Carnal, - what black thoughts
visited that fierce and sullen brain I know not, but there was
acquiescence in his face, haughty, dark, and vengeful though it
was. Slowly and as with one motion we sheathed our swords, and
more slowly still repeated the few words after the Governor. His
Honor's countenance shone with relief. "Take each other by the
hand, gentlemen, and then let 's all to breakfast at my own house,
where there shall be no feud save with good capon pasty and jolly
good ale." In dead silence my lord and I touched each other's finger
The world was now a flood of sunshine, the mist on the river
vanishing, the birds singing, the trees waving in the pleasant
morning air. From the town came the roll of the drum summoning
all to the week-day service. The bells too began to ring, sounding
sweetly through the clear air. The Governor took off his hat. "Let's
all to church, gentlemen," he said gravely. "Our cheeks are flushed
as with a fever and our pulses run high this morning. There be
some among us, perhaps, that have in their hearts discontent,
anger, and hatred. I know no better place to take such passions,
provided we bring them not forth again."
We went in and sat down. Jeremy Sparrow was in the pulpit.
Singly or in groups the town folk entered. Down the aisle strode
bearded men, old soldiers, adventurers, sailors, scarred body and
soul; young men followed, younger sons and younger brothers,
prodigals whose portion had been spent, whose souls now ate of
the husks; to the servants' benches came dull laborers, dimly
comprehending, groping in the twilight; women entered softly and
slowly, some with children clinging to their skirts. One came alone
and knelt alone, her face shadowed by her mantle. Amongst the
servants stood a slave or two, blindly staring, and behind them all
one of that felon crew sent us by the King.
Through the open windows streamed the summer sunshine, soft
and fragrant, impartial and unquestioning, caressing alike the
uplifted face of the minister, the head of the convict, and all
between. The minister's voice was grave and tender when he read
and prayed, but in the hymn it rose above the people's like the
voice of some mighty archangel. That triumphant singing shook
the air, and still rang in the heart while we said the Creed.
When the service was over, the congregation waited for the
Governor to pass out first. At the door he pressed me to go with
him and his party to his own house, and I gave him thanks, but
made excuse to stay away. When he and the nobleman who was
his guest had left the churchyard, and the townspeople too were
gone, I and my wife and the minister walked home together
through the dewy meadow, with the splendor of the morning about
us, and the birds caroling from every tree and thicket.
CHAPTER XI IN WHICH I MEET AN ITALIAN DOCTOR
THE summer slipped away, and autumn came, with the purple of
the grape and the yellowing corn, the nuts within the forest, and
the return of the countless wild fowl to the marshes and reedy river
banks, and still I stayed in Jamestown, and my wife with me, and
still the Santa Teresa rode at anchor in the river below the fort. If
the man whom she brought knew that by tarrying in Virginia he
risked his ruin with the King, yet, with a courage worthy of a better
cause, he tarried.
Now and then ships came in, but they were small, belated craft.
The most had left England before the sailing of the Santa Teresa;
the rest, private ventures, trading for clapboard or sassafras, knew
nothing of court affairs. Only the Sea Flower, sailing from London
a fortnight after the Santa Teresa, and much delayed by adverse
winds, brought a letter from the deputy treasurer to Yeardley and
the Council. From Rolfe I learned its contents. It spoke of the stir
that was made by the departure from the realm of the King's
favorite. "None know where he hath gone. The King looks dour; 't
is hinted that the privy council are as much at sea as the rest of the
world; my Lord of Buckingham saith nothing, but his following -
which of late hath somewhat decayed - is so increased that his
antechambers cannot hold the throngs that come to wait upon
him. Some will have it that my Lord Carnal hath fled the kingdom
to escape the Tower; others, that the King hath sent him on a
mission to the King of Spain about this detested Spanish match;
others, that the gadfly hath stung him and he is gone to America, -
to search for Raleigh's gold mine, maybe. This last most
improbable; but if 't is so, and he should touch at Virginia, receive
him with all honor. If indeed he is not out of favor, the Company
may find in him a powerful friend; of powerful enemies, God
knows, there is no lack!"
Thus the worthy Master Ferrar. And at the bottom of the letter,
among other news of city and court, mention was made of the
disappearance of a ward of the King's, the Lady Jocelyn Leigh.
Strict search had been made, but the unfortunate lady had not been
found. " 'T is whispered that she hath killed herself; also, that his
Majesty had meant to give her in marriage to my Lord Carnal. But
that all true love and virtue and constancy have gone from the age,
one might conceive that the said lord had but fled the court for a
while, to indulge his grief in some solitude of hill and stream and
shady vale, - the lost lady being right worthy of such dole."
In sooth she was, but my lord was not given to such fashion of
The summer passed, and I did nothing. What was there I could do?
I had written by the Due Return to Sir Edwyn, and to my cousin,
the Earl of Northumberland. The King hated Sir Edwyn as he
hated tobacco and witchcraft. "Choose the devil, but not Sir
Edwyn Sandys!" had been his passionate words to the Company
the year before. A certain fifth of November had despoiled my
Lord of Northumberland of wealth, fame, and influence. Small
hope there was in those two. That the Governor and Council,
remembering old dangers shared, wished me well I did not doubt,
but that was all. Yeardley had done all he could do, more than
most men would have dared to do, in procuring this delay. There
was no further help in him; nor would I have asked it. Already out
of favor with the Warwick faction, he had risked enough for me
and mine. I could not flee with my wife to the Indians, exposing
her, perhaps, to a death by fierce tortures; moreover,
Opechancanough had of late strangely taken to returning to the
settlements those runaway servants and fugitives from justice
which before we had demanded from him in vain. If even it had
been possible to run the gauntlet of the Indian villages, war parties,
and hunting bands, what would have been before us but endless
forest and a winter which for us would have had no spring? I could
not see her die of hunger and cold, or by the teeth of the wolves. I
could not do what I should have liked to do, - take, single-handed,
that King's ship with its sturdy crew and sail with her south and
ever southwards, before us nothing more formidable than Spanish
ships, and beyond them blue waters, spice winds, new lands,
strange islands of the blest.
There seemed naught that I could do, naught that she could do.
Our Fate had us by the hands, and held us fast. We stood still, and
the days came and went like dreams.
While the Assembly was in session I had my part to act as Burgess
from my hundred. Each day I sat with my fellows in the church,
facing the Governor in his great velvet chair, the Council on either
hand, and listened to the droning of old Twine, the clerk, like the
droning of the bees without the window; to the chant of the
sergeant-at-arms; to long and windy discourses from men who
planted better than they spoke; to remarks by the Secretary, witty,
crammed with Latin and traveled talk; to the Governor's slow,
weighty words. At Weyanoke we had had trouble with the Indians.
I was one who loved them not and had fought them well, for which
reason the hundred chose me its representative. In the Assembly it
was my part to urge a greater severity toward those our natural
enemies, a greater watchfulness on our part, the need for palisades
and sentinels, the danger that lay in their acquisition of firearms,
which, in defiance of the law, men gave them in exchange for
worthless Indian commodities. This Indian business was the chief
matter before the Assembly. I spoke when I thought speech was
needed, and spoke strongly; for my heart foreboded that which was
to come upon us too soon and too surely. The Governor listened
gravely, nodding his head; Master Pory, too, the Cape Merchant,
and West were of my mind; but the remainder were besotted by
their own conceit, esteeming the very name of Englishman sentinel
and palisade enough, or trusting in the smooth words and vows of
brotherhood poured forth so plentifully by that red Apollyon,
When the day's work was done, and we streamed out of the church,
- the Governor and Council first, the rest of us in order, - it was to
find as often as not a red and black figure waiting for us among the
graves. Sometimes it joined itself to the Governor, sometimes to
Master Pory; sometimes the whole party, save one, went off with
it to the guest house, there to eat, drink, and make merry.
If Virginia and all that it contained, save only that jewel of which
it had robbed the court, were out of favor with the King's minion,
he showed it not. Perhaps he had accepted the inevitable with a
good grace; perhaps it was but his mode of biding his time; but he
had shifted into that soldierly frankness of speech and manner, that
genial, hail-fellow-well-met air, behind which most safely hides a
villain's mind. Two days after that morning behind the church, he
had removed himself, his French valets, and his Italian physician
from the Governor's house to the newly finished guest house. Here
he lived, cock of the walk, taking his ease in his inn, elbowing out
all guests save those of his own inviting. If, what with his open
face and his open hand, his dinners and bear-baitings and hunting
parties, his tales of the court and the wars, his half hints as to the
good he might do Virginia with the King, extending even to the
lightening of the tax upon our tobacco and the prohibition of the
Spanish import, his known riches and power, and the unknown
height to which they might attain if his star at court were indeed in
the ascendant, - if with these things he slowly, but surely, won to
his following all save a very few of those I had thought my fast
friends, it was not a thing marvelous or without precedent. Upon
his side was good that might be seen and handled; on mine was
only a dubious right and a not at all dubious danger. I do not think
it plagued me much. The going of those who had it in their heart to
wish to go left me content, and for those who fawned upon him
from the first, or for the rabble multitude who flung up their caps
and ran at his heels, I cared not a doit. There were still Rolfe and
West and the Governor, Jeremy Sparrow and Diccon.
My lord and I met, perforce, in the street, at the Governor's house,
in church, on the river, in the saddle. If we met in the presence of
others, we spoke the necessary formal words of greeting or
leave-taking, and he kept his countenance; if none were by, off
went the mask. The man himself and I looked each other in the
eyes and passed on. Once we encountered on a late evening among
the graves, and I was not alone. Mistress Percy had been restless,
and had gone, despite the minister's protests, to sit upon the river
bank. When I returned from the assembly and found her gone, I
went to fetch her. A storm was rolling slowly up. Returning the
long way through the churchyard, we came upon him sitting beside
a sunken grave, his knees drawn up to meet his chin, his eyes
gloomily regardful of the dark broad river, the unseen ocean, and
the ship that could not return for weeks to come. We passed him in
silence, - I with a slight bow, she with a slighter curtsy. An hour
later, going down the street in the dusk of the storm, I ran against
Dr. Lawrence Bohun. "Don't stop me!" he panted. "The Italian
doctor is away in the woods gathering simples, and they found my
Lord Carnal in a fit among the graves, half an hour agone." My
lord was bled, and the next morning went hunting.
The lady whom I had married abode with me in the minister's
house, held her head high, and looked the world in the face. She
seldom went from home, but when she did take the air it was with
pomp and circumstance. When that slender figure and exquisite
face, set off by as rich apparel as could be bought from a store of
finery brought in by the Southampton, and attended by a turbaned
negress and a serving man who had been to the wars, and had
escaped the wheel by the skin of his teeth, appeared in the street,
small wonder if a greater commotion arose than had been since the
days of the Princess Pocahontas and her train of dusky beauties. To
this fairer, more imperial dame gold lace doffed its hat and made
its courtliest bow, and young planters bent to their saddlebows,
while the common folk nudged and stared and had their say. The
beauty, the grace, the pride, that deigned small response to
well-meant words, - all that would have been intolerable in plain
Mistress Percy, once a waiting maid, then a piece of merchandise
to be sold for one hundred and twenty pounds of tobacco, then the
wife of a poor gentleman, was pardoned readily enough to the
Lady Jocelyn Leigh, the ward of the King, the bride to be (so soon
as the King's Court of High Commission should have snapped in
twain an inconvenient and ill-welded fetter) of the King's minion.
So she passed like a splendid vision through the street perhaps
once a week. On Sundays she went with me to church, and the
people looked at her instead of at the minister, who rebuked them
not, because his eyes were upon the same errand.
The early autumn passed and the leaves began to turn, and still all
things were as they had been, save that the Assembly sat no longer.
My fellow Burgesses went back to their hundreds, but my house at
Weyanoke knew me no more. In a tone that was apologetic, but
firm, the Governor had told me that he wished my company at
Jamestown. I was pleased enough to stay, I assured him, - as
indeed I was. At Weyanoke, the thunderbolt would fall without
warning; at Jamestown, at least I could see, coming up the river,
the sails of the Due Return or what other ship the Company might
The color of the leaves deepened, and there came a season of a
beauty singular and sad, like a smile left upon the face of the dead
summer. Over all things, near and far, the forest where it met the
sky, the nearer woods, the great river, and the streams that empty
into it, there hung a blue haze, soft and dream-like. The forest
became a painted forest, with an ever thinning canopy and an ever
thickening carpet of crimson and gold; everywhere there was a low
rustling underfoot and a slow rain of color. It was neither cold nor
hot, but very quiet, and the birds went by like shadows, - a listless
and forgetful weather, in which we began to look, every hour of
every day, for the sail which we knew we should not see for weeks
Good Master Bucke tarried with Master Thorpe at Henricus,
recruiting his strength, and Jeremy Sparrow preached in his pulpit,
slept in his chamber, and worked in his garden. This garden ran
down to the green bank of the river; and here, sitting idly by the
stream, her chin in her hand and her dark eyes watching the strong,
free sea birds as they came and went, I found my wife one evening,
as I came from the fort, where had been some martial exercise.
Thirty feet away Master Jeremy Sparrow worked among the dying
flowers, and hummed: -
"There is a garden in her face,
Where roses and white lilies grow."
He and I had agreed that when I must needs be absent he should
be within call of her; for I believed my Lord Carnal very capable
of intruding himself into her presence. That house and garden, her
movements and mine, were spied upon by his foreign hirelings, I
knew perfectly well.
As I sat down upon the bank at her feet, she turned to me with a
sudden passion. "I am weary of it all!" she cried. "I am tired of
being pent up in this house and garden, and of the watch you keep
upon me. And if I go abroad, it is worse! I hate all those shameless
faces that stare at me as if I were in the pillory. I am pilloried
before you all, and I find the experience sufficiently bitter. And
when I think that that man whom I hate, hate, hate, breathes the air
that I breathe, it stifles me! If I could fly away like those birds, if I
could only be gone from this place for even a day!"
"I would beg leave to take you home, to Weyanoke," I said after a
pause, "but I cannot go and leave the field to him."
"And I cannot go," she answered. "I must watch for that ship and
that King's command that my Lord Carnal thinks potent enough to
make me his wife. King's commands are strong, but a woman's will
is stronger. At the last I shall know what to do. But now why may I
not take Angela and cross that strip of sand and go into the woods
on the other side? They are so fair and strange, - all red and
yellow, - and they look very still and peaceful. I could walk in
them, or lie down under the trees and forget awhile, and they are
not at all far away." She looked at me eagerly.
"You could not go alone," I told her. "There would be danger in
that. But to-morrow, if you choose, I and Master Sparrow and
Diccon will take you there. A day in the woods is pleasant enough,
and will do none of us harm. Then you may wander as you please,
fill your arms with colored leaves, and forget the world. We will
watch that no harm comes nigh you, but otherwise you shall not be
She broke into delighted laughter. Of all women the most steadfast
of soul, her outward moods were as variable as a child's. "Agreed!"
she cried. "You and the minister and Diccon Demon shall lay your
muskets across your knees, and Angela shall witch you into stone
with her old, mad, heathen charms. And then - and then - I will
gather more gold than had King Midas; I will dance with the
hamadryads; I will find out Oberon and make Titania jealous!"
"I do not doubt that you could do so," I said, as she sprang to her
feet, childishly eager and radiantly beautiful.
I rose to go in with her, for it was supper time, but in a moment
changed my mind, and resumed my seat on the bank of turf. "Do
you go in," I said. "There's a snake near by, in those bushes below
the bank. I'll kill the creature, and then I'll come to supper."
When she was gone, I walked to where, ten feet away, the bank
dipped to a clump of reeds and willows planted in the mud on the
brink of the river. Dropping on my knees I leaned over, and,
grasping a man by the collar, lifted him from the slime where he
belonged to the bank beside me.
It was my Lord Carnal's Italian doctor that I had so fished up. I had
seen him before, and had found in his very small, mean figure clad
all in black, and his narrow face with malignant eyes, and thin
white lips drawn tightly over gleaming teeth, something infinitely
repulsive, sickening to the sight as are certain reptiles to the touch.
"There are no simples or herbs of grace to be found amongst reeds
and half-drowned willows," I said. "What did so learned a doctor
look for in so unlikely a place?"
He shrugged his shoulders and made play with his clawlike hands,
as if he understood me not. It was a lie, for I knew that he and the
English tongue were sufficiently acquainted. I told him as much,
and he shot at me a most venomous glance, but continued to shrug,
gesticulate, and jabber in Italian. At last I saw nothing better to do
than to take him, still by the collar, to the edge of the garden next
the churchyard, and with the toe of my boot to send him tumbling
among the graves. I watched him pick himself up, set his attire to
rights, and go away in the gathering dusk, winding in and out
among the graves; and then I went in to supper, and told Mistress
Percy that the snake was dead.
CHAPTER X IN WHICH I RECEIVE A WARNING AND REPOSE A TRUST
SHORTLY before daybreak I was wakened by a voice beneath my
window. "Captain Percy," it cried, "the Governor wishes you at his
house!" and was gone.
I dressed and left the house, disturbing no one. Hurrying through
the chill dawn, I reached the square not much behind the rapid
footsteps of the watch who had wakened me. About the Governor's
door were horses, saddled and bridled, with grooms at their heads,
men and beasts gray and indistinct, wrapped in the fog. I went up
the steps and into the hall, and knocked at the door of the
Governor's great room. It opened, and I entered to find Sir George,
with Master Pory, Rolfe, West, and others of the Council gathered
about the great centre table and talking eagerly. The Governor was
but half dressed; West and Rolfe were in jack boots and coats of
mail. A man, breathless with hard riding, spattered with swamp
mud and torn by briers, stood, cap in hand, staring from one to the
"In good time, Captain Percy!" cried the Governor. "Yesterday you
called the profound peace with the Indians, of which some of us
boasted, the lull before the storm. Faith, it looks to-day as though
you were in the right, after all!"
"What 's the matter, sir?" I asked, advancing to the table.
"Matter enough!" he answered. "This man has come, post haste,
from the plantations above Paspahegh. Three days ago, Morgan,
the trader, was decoyed into the woods by that Paspahegh fool and
bully, Nemattanow, whom they call Jack of the Feather, and there
murdered. Yesterday, out of sheer bravado, the Indian turned up at
Morgan's house, and Morgan's men shot him down. They buried
the dog, and thought no more of it. Three hours ago, Chanco the
Christian went to the commander and warned him that the
Paspaheghs were in a ferment, and that the warriors were painting
themselves black. The commander sent off at once to me, and I see
naught better to do than to dispatch you with a dozen men to bring
them to their senses. But there 's to be no harrying nor battle. A
show of force is all that 's needed, - I'll stake my head upon it. Let
them see that we are not to be taken unawares, but give them fair
words. That they may be the sooner placated I send with you
Master Rolfe, - they'll listen to him. See that the black paint is
covered with red, give them some beads and a knife or two, then
come home. If you like not the look of things, find out where
Opechancanough is, and I'll send him an embassy. He loves us
well, and will put down any disaffection."
"There's no doubt that he loves us," I said dryly. "He loves us as a
cat loves the mouse that it plays with. If we are to start at once, sir,
I'll go get my horse."
"Then meet us at the neck of land," said Rolfe.
I nodded, and left the room. As I descended the steps into the
growing light outside, I found Master Pory at my side.
"I kept late hours last night," he remarked, with a portentous
yawn. "Now that this business is settled, I'll go back to bed."
I walked on in silence.
"I am in your black books," he continued, with his sly, merry,
sidelong glance. "You think that I was overcareful of the ground,
that morning behind the church, and so unfortunately delayed
matters until the Governor happened by and brought things to
another guess conclusion."
"I think that you warned the Governor," I said bluntly.
He shook with laughter. "Warned him? Of course I warned him.
Youth would never have seen that molehill and fairy ring and
projecting root, but wisdom cometh with gray hairs, my son. D' ye
not think I'll have the King's thanks?"
"Doubtless," I answered. "An the price contents you, I do not know
why I should quarrel with it."
By this we were halfway down the street, and we now came upon
the guest house. A window above us was unshuttered, and in the
room within a light still burned. Suddenly it was extinguished. A
man's face looked down upon us for a moment, then drew back; a
skeleton hand was put out softly and slowly, and the shutter drawn
to. Hand and face belonged to the man I had sent tumbling among
the graves the evening before.
"The Italian doctor," said Master Pory.
There was something peculiar in his tone. I glanced at him, but his
broad red face and twinkling eyes told me nothing. "The Italian
doctor," he repeated. "If I had a friend in Captain Percy's
predicament, I should bid him beware of the Italian doctor."
"Your friend would be obliged for the warning," I replied.
We walked a little further. "And I think," he said, "that I should
inform this purely hypothetical friend of mine that the Italian and
his patron had their heads mighty close together, last night."
"Ay, last night. I went to drink with my lord, and so broke up their
tˆte-…-tˆte. My lord was boisterous in his cups and not oversecret.
He dropped some hints" - He broke off to indulge in one of his
endless silent laughs. "I don't know why I tell you this, Captain
Percy. I am on the other side, you know, - quite on the other side.
But now I bethink me, I am only telling you what I should tell you
were I upon your side. There's no harm in that, I hope, no
disloyalty to my Lord Carnal's interests which happen to be my
I made no answer. I gave him credit both for his ignorance of the
very hornbook of honor and for his large share of the milk of
"My lord grows restive," he said, when we had gone a little further.
"The Francis and John, coming in yesterday, brought court news.
Out of sight, out of mind. Buckingham is making hay while the
sun shines. Useth angel water for his complexion, sleepeth in a
medicated mask such as the Valois used, and is grown handsomer
than ever; changeth the fashion of his clothes thrice a week, which
mightily pleaseth his Majesty. Whoops on the Spanish match, too,
and, wonderful past all whooping, from the prince's detestation
hath become his bosom friend. Small wonder if my Lord Carnal
thinks it's time he was back at Whitehall."
"Let him go, then," I said. "There's his ship that brought him here."
"Ay, there 's his ship," rejoined Master Pory. "A few weeks more,
and the Due Return will be here with the Company's commands. D'
ye think, Captain Percy, that there's the slightest doubt as to their
"Then my lord has but to possess his soul with patience and wait
for the Due Return. No doubt he'll do so."
"No doubt he'll do so," I echoed.
By this we had reached the Secretary's own door. "Fortune favor
you with the Paspaheghs!" he said, with another mighty yawn. "As
for me, I'll to bed. Do you ever dream, Captain Percy? I don't; mine
is too good a conscience. But if I did, I should dream of an Italian
The door shut upon his red face and bright eyes. I walked rapidly
on down the street to the minister's house. The light was very pale
as yet, and house and garden lay beneath a veil of mist. No one
was stirring. I went on through the gray wet paths to the stable, and
"Saddle Black Lamoral quickly," I ordered. "There's trouble with
the Paspaheghs, and I am off with Master Rolfe to settle it."
"Am I to go with you?" he asked.
I shook my head. "We have a dozen men. There's no need of
I left him busy with the horse, and went to the house. In the hall I
found the negress strewing the floor with fresh rushes, and asked
her if her mistress yet slept. In her soft half English, half Spanish,
she answered in the affirmative. I went to my own room and
armed myself; then ran upstairs to the comfortable chamber where
abode Master Jeremy Sparrow, surrounded by luxuries which his
soul contemned. He was not there. At the foot of the stair I was
met by Goodwife Allen. "The minister was called an hour ago,
sir," she announced. "There's a man dying of the fever at Archer's
Hope, and they sent a boat for him. He won't be back until
I hurried past her back to the stable. Black Lamoral was saddled,
and Diccon held the stirrup for me to mount.
"Good luck with the vermin, sir!" he said. "I wish I were going,
His tone was sullen, yet wistful. I knew that he loved danger as I
loved it, and a sudden remembrance of the dangers we had faced
together brought us nearer to each other than we had been for
many a day.
"I don't take you," I explained, "because I have need of you here.
Master Sparrow has gone to watch beside a dying man, and will
not be back for hours. As for myself, there's no telling how long I
may be kept. Until I come you are to guard house and garden well.
You know what I mean. Your mistress is to be molested by no
"Very well, sir."
"One thing more. There was some talk yesterday of my taking her
across the neck to the forest. When she awakes, tell her from me
that I am sorry for her to lose her pleasure, but that now she could
not go even were I here to take her."
"There 's no danger from the Paspaheghs there," he muttered.
"The Paspaheghs happen not to be my only foes," I said curtly.
"Do as I bid you without remark. Tell her that I have good reasons
for desiring her to remain within doors until my return. On no
account whatever is she to venture without the garden."
I gathered up the reins, and he stood back from the horse's head.
When I had gone a few paces I drew rein, and, turning in my
saddle, spoke to him across the dew-drenched grass. "This is a
trust, Diccon," I said.
The red came into his tanned face. He raised his hand and made
our old military salute. "I understand it so, my captain," he
answered, and I rode away satisfied.
CHAPTER XIII IN WHICH THE SANTA TERESA DROPS DOWNSTREAM
AN hour's ride brought us to the block house standing within the
forest, midway between the white plantations at Paspahegh and the
village of the tribe. We found it well garrisoned, spies out, and the
men inclined to make light of the black paint and the seething
Amongst them was Chanco the Christian. I called him to me, and
we listened to his report with growing perturbation. "Thirty
warriors!" I said, when he had finished. "And they are painted
yellow as well as black, and have dashed their cheeks with
puccoon: it's … l'outrance, then! And the war dance is toward! If we
are to pacify this hornets' nest, it's high time we set about it.
Gentlemen of the block house, we are but twelve, and they may
beat us back, in which case those that are left of us will fight it out
with you here. Watch for us, therefore, and have a sally party
ready. Forward, men!"
"One moment, Captain Percy," said Rolfe. "Chanco, where's the
"Five suns ago he was with the priests at Uttamussac," answered
the Indian. "Yesterday, at the full sun power, he was in the lodge
of the werowance of the Chickahominies. He feasts there still. The
Chickahominies and the Powhatans have buried the hatchet."
"I regret to hear it," I remarked. "Whilst they took each other's
scalps, mine own felt the safer."
"I advise going direct to Opechancanough," said Rolfe.
"Since he's only a league away, so do I," I answered.
We left the block house and the clearing around it, and plunged
into the depths of the forest. In these virgin woods the trees are set
well apart, though linked one to the other by the omnipresent
grape, and there is little undergrowth, so that we were able to
make good speed. Rolfe and I rode well in front of our men. By
now the sun was shining through the lower branches of the trees,
and the mist was fast vanishing. The forest - around us, above us,
and under the hoofs of the horses where the fallen leaves lay thick
- was as yellow as gold and as red as blood.
"Rolfe," I asked, breaking a long silence, "do you credit what the
Indians say of Opechancanough?"
"That he was brother to Powhatan only by adoption?"
"That, fleeing for his life, he came to Virginia, years and years ago,
from some mysterious land far to the south and west?"
"I do not know," he replied thoughtfully. "He is like, and yet not
like, the people whom he rules. In his eye there is the authority of
mind; his features are of a nobler cast " -
"And his heart is of a darker," I said. "It is a strange and subtle
"Strange enough and subtle enough, I admit," he answered,
"though I believe not with you that his friendliness toward us is but
"Believe it or not, it is so," I said. "That dark, cold, still face is a
mask, and that simple-seeming amazement at horses and armor,
guns and blue beads, is a mask. It is in my mind that some fair day
the mask will be dropped. Here's the village."
Until our interview with Chanco the Christian, the village of the
Paspaheghs, and not the village of the Chickahominies, had been
our destination, and since leaving the block house we had made
good speed; but now, within the usual girdle of mulberries, we
were met by the werowance and his chief men with the customary
savage ceremonies. We had long since come to the conclusion that
the birds of the air and the fish of the streams were Mercuries to
The werowance received us in due form, with presents of fish and
venison, cakes of chinquapin meal and gourds of pohickory, an
uncouth dance by twelve of his young men and a deal of hellish
noise; then, at our command, led us into the village, and to the
lodge which marked its centre. Around it were gathered
Opechancanough's own warriors, men from Orapax and
Uttamussac and Werowocomoco, chosen for their strength and
cunning; while upon the grass beneath a blood-red gum tree sat his
wives, painted and tattooed, with great strings of pearl and copper
about their necks. Beyond them were the women and children of
the Chickahominies, and around us all the red forest.
The mat that hung before the door of the lodge was lifted, and an
Indian, emerging, came forward, with a gesture of welcome. It was
Nantauquas, the Lady Rebekah's brother, and the one Indian -
saving always his dead sister - that was ever to my liking; a savage,
indeed, but a savage as brave and chivalrous, as courteous and
truthful, as a Christian knight.
Rolfe sprang from his horse, and advancing to meet the young
chief embraced him. Nantauquas had been much with his sister
during those her happy days at Varina, before she went with Rolfe
that ill-fated voyage to England, and Rolfe loved him for her sake
and for his own. "I thought you at Orapax, Nantauquas!" he
"I was there, my brother," said the Indian, and his voice was sweet,
deep, and grave, like that of his sister. "But Opechancanough
would go to Uttamussac, to the temple and the dead kings. I lead
his war parties now, and I came with him. Opechancanough is
within the lodge. He asks that my brother and Captain Percy come
to him there."
He lifted the mat for us, and followed us into the lodge. There was
the usual winding entrance, with half a dozen mats to be lifted one
after the other, but at last we came to the central chamber and to
the man we sought.
He sat beside a small fire burning redly in the twilight of the room.
The light shone now upon the feathers in his scalp lock, now upon
the triple row of pearls around his neck, now upon knife and
tomahawk in his silk grass belt, now on the otterskin mantle
hanging from his shoulder and drawn across his knees. How old he
was no man knew. Men said that he was older than Powhatan, and
Powhatan was very old when he died. But he looked a man in the
prime of life; his frame was vigorous, his skin unwrinkled, his eyes
bright and full. When he rose to welcome us, and Nantauquas
stood beside him, there seemed not a score of years between them.
The matter upon which we had come was not one that brooked
delay. We waited with what patience we might until his long
speech of welcome was finished, when, in as few words as
possible, Rolfe laid before him our complaint against the
Paspaheghs. The Indian listened; then said, in that voice that
always made me think of some cold, still, bottomless pool lying
black beneath overhanging rocks: "My brothers may go in peace.
The Paspaheghs have washed off the black paint. If my brothers go
to the village, they will find the peace pipe ready for their
Rolfe and I stared at each other. "I have sent messengers,"
continued the Emperor. "I have told the Paspaheghs of my love for
the white man, and of the goodwill the white man bears the Indian.
I have told them that Nemattanow was a murderer, and that his
death was just. They are satisfied. Their village is as still as this
beast at my feet." He pointed downward to a tame panther
crouched against his moccasins. I thought it an ominous
Involuntarily we looked at Nantauquas. "It is true," he said. "I am
but come from the village of the Paspaheghs. I took them the word
"Then, since the matter is settled, we may go home," I remarked,
rising as I spoke. "We could, of course, have put down the
Paspaheghs with one hand, giving them besides a lesson which
they would not soon forget, but in the kindness of our hearts
toward them and to save ourselves trouble we came to
Opechancanough. For his aid in this trifling business the Governor
gives him thanks."
A smile just lit the features of the Indian. It was gone in a moment.
"Does not Opechancanough love the white men?" he said. "Some
day he will do more than this for them."
We left the lodge and the dark Emperor within it, got to horse, and
quitted the village, with its painted people, yellowing mulberries,
and blood-red gum trees. Nantauquas went with us, keeping pace
with Rolfe's horse, and giving us now and then, in his deep musical
voice, this or that bit of woodland news. At the block house we
found confirmation of the Emperor's statement. An embassy from
the Paspaheghs had come with presents, and the peace pipe had
been smoked. The spies, too, brought news that all war-like
preparations had ceased in the village. It had sunk once more into
a quietude befitting the sleepy, dreamy, hazy weather.
Rolfe and I held a short consultation. All appeared safe, but there
was the possibility of a ruse. At the last it seemed best that he, who
by virtue of his peculiar relations with the Indians was ever our
negotiator, should remain with half our troop at the block house,
while I reported to the Governor. So I left him, and Nantauquas
with him, and rode back to Jamestown, reaching the town some
hours sooner than I was expected.
It was after nooning when I passed through the gates of the
palisade, and an hour later when I finished my report to the
Governor. When he at last dismissed me, I rode quickly down the
street toward the minister's house. As I passed the guest house, I
glanced up at the window from which, at daybreak, the Italian had
looked down upon me. No one looked out now; the window was
closely shuttered, and at the door beneath my lord's French rascals
were conspicuously absent. A few yards further on I met my lord
face to face, as he emerged from a lane that led down to the river.
At sight of me he started violently, and his hand went to his
mouth. I slightly bent my head, and rode on past him. At the gate
of the churchyard, a stone's throw from home, I met Master Jeremy
"Well met!" he exclaimed. "Are the Indians quiet?"
"For the nonce. How is your sick man?"
"Very well," he answered gravely. "I closed his eyes two hours
"He's dead, then," I said. "Well, he 's out of his troubles, and hath
that advantage over the living. Have you another call, that you
travel from home so fast?"
"Why, to tell the truth," he replied, "I could not but feel uneasy
when I learned just now of this commotion amongst the heathen.
You must know best, but I should not have thought it a day for
madam to walk in the woods; so I e'en thought I would cross the
neck and bring her home."
"For madam to walk in the woods?" I said slowly. "So she walks
there? With whom?"
"With Diccon and Angela," he answered. "They went before the
sun was an hour high, so Goodwife Allen says. I thought that you"
"No," I told him. "On the contrary, I left command that she should
not venture outside the garden. There are more than Indians
I was white with anger; but besides anger there was fear in my
"I will go at once and bring her home," I said. As I spoke, I
happened to glance toward the fort and the shipping in the river
beyond. Something seemed wrong with the prospect. I looked
again, and saw what hated and familiar object was missing.
"Where is the Santa Teresa?" I demanded, the fear at my heart
"She dropped downstream this morning. I passed her as I came up
from Archer's Hope, awhile ago. She's anchored in midstream off
the big spring. Why did she go?"
We looked each other in the eyes, and each read the thought that
neither cared to put into words.
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