Chacrow's White Bird

11) Accused

While I sat outside me home scrubbing me nightgown clean, Silas Sharrow came striding into town with Pepper and Alice close behind. The Governor had called for him right away, for why was a mystery until Alice strode over to me.

“Pepper said about the captive and spoke of him attacking you, is that true? Did he hurt you?!” She stuttered, concern in her soothing voice.

“It was more like collided lass, he didn’t ’urt me but certainly gave me a shock,” I told her dropping me nightgown into the bucket of water. “I don’t think there’s a lass in Virginia who’s had that happen to ’em,” I added with a weak laugh. Alice tutted and shook her head not finding the amusement in me words.

“Thank God for James Read,” She muttered reluctantly glancing over towards the blacksmith’s workplace.

“Aye, do y’ think the Lord could help me find a way t’get this paint out?” I huffed picking up the wet nightgown so she could see the paint that was coming away extremely slowly. Alice’s blue eyes went wide.

“You must have been close to him, and he didn’t hurt you?” She asked me.

“No, he just was as if he’d forgotten everythin’ else in the world...” I replied remembering once more the way the Indian stared. Understandably, he might do so as he’s not seen an English woman before, but the way he touched me cheek. That Indian was more than fascinated by me. That made me worry that what Lady Yeardley said maybe the truth. “I shall stay far from the garrison until he is no longer held in the town there,” I added scrubbing at me nightgown again.

“I wish I could do the same, but the Governor has asked Silas to speak to the natural as he is can speak their language well,” She told me resting her hands on her hips while she looked towards the garrison where her beloved has just gone in. I glanced at it for just a moment before me gaze was attracted by James Read working away. I had yet to thank him for saving me! Christ what a rude madam I was as me mother would say.

“I should say thanks to James Read,” I stated, me scrubbing had stopped. Alice turned to me then smiled nodding twice.

“He might like that,” She added, hopeful for me. There was a feeling of peace for a few seconds in the town, that was until there was a rowdy commotion that came from the garrison which made all heads nearby turn towards it. The Marshall stormed out of the garrison dragging the Indian by his bound hands to James Read’s worktable on view for all the town. James was sharpening an axe nearby them, and Recorder Castel was pleading with the Governor to not allow the Marshall to do what he was about to do the Indian.

“Tell him a thief forfeits both hands!” The Marshall spat to Silas Sharrow who spoke his words in the Indian’s language. The Indian spoke back slowly with a slight frown but he was choosing his words carefully. His voice was not loud, but deep and soft on the ears and although I would not admit it to a single soul, it was enjoyable to listen to.

“Why behave as fools?” Silas translated then he spoke again looking over at the thoughtful Governor. “What value am I to you with no hands?” He added as James Read gave the Marshall the axe. Alice, Verity and I exchanged a troubled look as the Marshall raised it above his head ready to drive it into the Indian’s wrists. The Indian put on a face of stone unafraid of what was to happen to him. Christ almighty, most men here would’ve been weeping and begging for their lives!

“STOP!” The Governor shouted making the Marshall stop and all eyes look at him. The Governor slowly walked towards the Indian then stopped in front of the worktable resting his hands on the edge of it. “I want to know who sold you that weapon,” The Governor demanded then Silas translated, but before the Indian could give an answer there was another voice that spoke up.

“Gentlemen,” Master Massinger began, the folk of Jamestown swiftly stepping out of his way so he could stride past. “It is clear to me now who stole my musket,” He began resting his hands on his sides near his terrifying whip. “Who is it speaks the language? Who is it that went upriver for no good reason that I can see?” Silas stepped closer to his old master, shifting a wee bit but trying not to look weak under the cruel man. “What man amongst us, needs funds and previsions to set up his plantation?” Massinger asked with a smug look on his face. Alice had a deeply concerned look on her face but Silas gave her a reassuring nod. The Governor, Secretary, Marshall and Recorder then went to one side to have a hushed discussion. Alice me and Verity could see was filling with worry for her beloved. Verity wrapped an arm around her shoulder and I cooed quietly to her not to be afraid. I looked over at the company men in discussion praying they would dismiss Massinger’s claim since Silas was translating for them, and consider his brother had died while upriver. However, while they were talking, the Indian had spotted my face among the townsfolk and just like last night, he could not stop staring at me. This time he had a wee smile on his face. I did not know if he was thinking of doing unspeakable things to me now, but he was only looking at me face this time. I swallowed trying to keep me nerves from getting to me before the Indian. I ended up glancing away due to a blush creeping up me cheeks. This was truly embarrassing since not only was he once again staring at me in the day for all to see, he was the first man to ever stare at me in that way, with what looked like attraction. I knew that look because Silas and James both looked at Alice in the same way. Thankfully not that many had noticed as Governor Yeardley called for an assembly. The Indian was dragged back to the garrison by some of the militiamen, his deep brown eyes not looking away from me. I took some deep breaths with a hand on me heart. It was beating quickly due to embarrassment clearly, and it soon went back to normal when I went with my friends towards the assembly hall with the rest of the townsfolk.

“Sharrows were good workers, reliable men. But they always had a defiance about them. They thought themselves as good as their masters,” Massinger spat before the assembly while staring down at Silas, the people of the town and the Company men looking on.

“Master Massinger, did you believe they took your musket?” The Marshall asked as the tyrant bald man turned around to face him.

“I did but I could prove nothing,” He replied making many gasp or mutter among themselves.

“Thank you, sir,” Marshall Redwick then looked towards Silas. “You went up river Silas Sharrow with your brother, why was that?” He questioned while Alice glanced at me and Verity nervously.

“To trade for corn sir,” replied Silas.

“But you returned with no corn,” The Marshall challenged.

“Because of the accident, because of what happened to my brother, his death. I wanted to return home,” Silas explained, which in any person with decency would understand.

“You speak the Indian language well, Sharrow,” The Marshall pointed out sceptically.

“When we first came here, the Pamunkey gave us food, they showed us how best to work the land,” Silas stated.

“You talk like a man who regards these savages as our equals,” he Marshall spat in disgust.

“They are our neighbours,” Silas scoffed, a fact you couldn’t argue with but it did not put him in a good place.

“This musket was taken from your master’s store and is now in the hands of our neighbours,” Massinger had a smug look on his face while the Marshall spoke.

“No, no one can believe I-”

“You said that you went upriver for corn, what did you propose to give the Indians in turn?” Silas was cut off by the Marshall, with a question that many were probably wondering.

“I-It was my brother. My brother had planned, Henry’s...” Silas stuttered unable to answer while he shifted about on his feet. “I don’t know sir,” He admitted.

“You went miles into Indian territory without knowing what you were to offer ’em?” The Marshall asked while more people whispered.

“In truth sir, we weren’t after corn,” Silas confessed making Alice’s eyes fall shut and her mouth fall open in shock.

“Then you lied to us!” The Marshall growled.

“Marshall, sir, my brother insisted that we go and that is as much as I can tell you,” Silas replied but the Marshall did not listen.

“Guards! Put Silas Sharrow in the garrison with the Indian until he can be tried!” He barked at his men. He was in for a rough night and so was poor Alice. The townspeople watched Silas Sharrow be dragged to the garrison. Alice was filled with worry and upset which made me put an arm around her shoulders to comfort her. Verity’s eyes were filled anger and she shook her head as Silas was taken out of the assembly hall. When the people went back to their business, she went towards James Read. She believed he knew something, but she did not learn what and neither did I due to me needed to get me own work done in the safety of me home.

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