14) Grave Mistakes & Truths
That afternoon, the Governor and a band of men set off with the Indian to take him back to his people. Good riddance my mind told me, but whilst digging near Massinger’s land with Alice my heart made me long to see his face once again. Long for him to stare at me in that way, like I was the only thing he was intrigued by and not anyone else. I could not stop meself even after going to church to pray for them to stop. Even after he gave me that wee pet name, me heart was aching and I felt glum. The more I thought about him, the more I realised that I wasn’t scared of him, nor was he a savage. Yes, he’d been reckless, but he had his reasons. It weren’t right though, stealing from anyone. But he would be free to return to his people and I’d be left miserable with only the memory of how he briefly made me life here in Jamestown a haven for excitement and drama. If this was how my heart would be afterwards though then so be it, until the man God really wanted me to be with comes along.
“What are you women doing?!” Alice and I stopped when we heard the brutal Massinger call to us at the edge of one of his tobacco fields. “What are you looking for?!” He demanded.
“Donovan Hamble!” Alice shouted back. “You know why we’re looking for him, you know why he went missing!” Alice panted pointing a finger at him. He glared at us reaching for his whip.
“We will dig until we find him!” I added supporting her when I saw several of the Massinger’s men wander over to see what we were doing. The two of us glared back at him until we started to dig again hearing Massinger bark at his men to get back to work. We kept on digging trying a few more places around Massinger’s land. There were so many wee holes dug that it looked like there hundreds of dogs were let loose in Virginia. Until the sun began to set on Virginia meaning we had less light and wouldn’t have sharp eyes. I had to drag Alice away before she exhausted herself and fainted. I walked her back to her farm, our bones aching from a day of digging. I promised her I would come help tomorrow search again for the body of the lad. I then began the long walk back home through the town back to me house then began to do some sewing at me table with a few candles lit. I kept on doing that until the night rolled in and I could barely see the walls of my home. I let out a heavy sigh plopping my sewing down on the table before I got up to make sure me door was closed. Before I did that I saw Mistress Castel’s maid Mercy rushing out of her home looking like a timid wee child.
“Mercy?” I called to her and she gasped but sighed when she realised it was me.
“Oh, Mistress Jones, ma’am,” She greeted then rushed over to me. “I’ve been sent by my mistress to fetch Doctor Priestley, she is need of his attention,” She then paused to look around the town in the dark. “But the night is so, frightening. I worry that without the menfolk there may be another attack!” She whimpered clutching onto my arm like I would as a child when I was afraid.
“The Indians did not harm you or me Mercy, and I was quite close to one,” I said laughing at meself as that moment appear again in me mind.
“They might though, what if they know there ain’t none of the menfolk here protecting us?!” Mercy stuttered “And forgive me if I worry you Mistress Jones, but you should be scared of him!” I nodded then began to walk leading her towards Doctor Priestley’s home.
“We shouldn’t worry about such things lass, we shall just pray for the safe return of the Governor, his men, and that the Indian is returned to his people so we may have peace,” I reassured her as we walked. She nodded and held onto me tightly. She let go of me when she saw the Doctor’s home rushing over while she held her skirts before she began frantically knocking on the door. I heard some mutts bark from elsewhere in the town which made Mercy gasp and knock more. There was no reply, he could not have gone to sleep already.
“Doctor Priestley?” I called knocking meself. “He not answerin’, I don’t think he’s there lass,”
“Oh, what am I to tell my mistress?!” Mercy gasped covering her mouth with a hand while worried tears forming in her eyes.
“Ey lass, don’t y’worry. There could be a reason why,” I told her then walked to the window of the house peering in to see if the town’s doctor was there. “He’s not at home,” I frowned at Mercy. Why the doctor be out this late at night?
“I must go back and tell my Mistress,” Mercy told me then picked up her skirts timidly looking around the town in the night.
“I’ll walk with ya if y’want,” I offered and she grinned then rushed to grab hold of me arm again. “C’mon then,” I chuckled and walked her back. She rushed back in and I saw briefly Jocelyn in Doctor Priestley’s arms. I gasped silently, not feeling hurt that he was giving his affection to another, but that she a woman who not long ago just got married was in the arms of another man. I did not want to gossip about my friend though, plus me and me own feelings meant I had no right judging. I put these things to the back of me mind as I walked home to go to sleep. That next morning not long after I woke Mercy appeared at me door with a pair of fine woman’s gloves and a pair of leather ones for a gentleman.
“My Mistress needs them mending before the master gets home, and trusts that you can do that Mistress Jones,” She said as I took them and looked over them.
“I can try,” I sighed admiring the striking difference between the tanned leather and pale cotton. “How is your Mistress, Mercy?” I asked and she looked miserable.
“She is worried, I have not stopped praying for them. She is wanting to wait at the water for their return, we must pray for them all,” She rambled.
“What is it that troubles her Mercy?” I frowned.
“Doctor Priestley told her, that for a Pamunkey to be returned to his own people is embarrassing, and that to get back his honour he must kill the man that did so!” I nearly dropped them gloves where I stood, I would have if they were me own.
“Where is the sense in that?! Why would they do that?!” I exclaimed me fists now gripping the gloves in anger at meself. How could I feel such things and show kindness to someone like that?!
“It is their way, they can’t kill Master Castel!” she whimpered. I put me arm around the girl and rubbed her shoulder.
“There now,” I comforted. After a moment of her weeping she left me be once more. I spend the morning filled with anger and disappointment at meself while I mended the gloves so they were looking their best again. But what I was also doing was thinking in my mind about how that Indian could have been so soft to me but also do something so savage to Recorder Castel, the man who wanted to return him safely to his people. He was the one who came to steal from us, a sinful thing which made him a dishonourable man. He was wreckless though, that was one thing I knew. That and the Pamunkey ways were very different to ours. When I finally finished I left my home to return the gloves. Instead of going to her home I went to the Wharf seeing Jocelyn and Mercy stood on the very edge looking out at the water.
“Good day to you Mistress Castel,” The two women then looked back at me. Jocelyn only faintly smiled and Mercy grinned sheepishly. “Your gloves, good as the day they were made,” I smiled holding them out for Mercy to take.
“Thank you Clara, I will see to it when my husband returns that you shall receive payment,” Said Jocelyn.
“Oh you shouldn’t worry about that ma’am, y’husband and the other men’s safe return is what we should worry more about,” I said stepping closer to the edge of the wharf to look out meself at the steadily flowing river.
“...If anything were to happen to be it would be my fault,” She murmured regretfully. The lass probably knew that Mercy blurted about what the Doctor told her. Her maid although a good lass was one that couldn’t hold her tongue.
“It ain’t your fault that he and his people see things and do things differently to us,” I began glancing at her face seeing she was close to tears. “But perhaps we should not think we know their ways after only a few days, nor underestimate them and what they’ll do,” I added, more speaking to meself then them. I then once more began to pray quietly for the safe return of Jocelyn’s husband and the other Company men, and again that God would take those feelings and thoughts from me before they returned, or before he returned. My prayers were answered later on that day as the men returned. Nearly the whole town turned out to see them. Jocelyn kissed and embraced her husband the moment he got onto the Wharf, Mercy and I smiled at their joyful reunion. There had been no deaths, but one man was injured. Hopefully, he would live with help from the Doctor. One face I did not see there was Alice. She must be still digging, she would not take a break. But I’m sure she would do when she learnt that her beloved was set free! Many went back to their business, me including back to me home and on the way back I saw Silas striding swiftly towards the gates. He did stop when I called to him and explained he had been released and Massinger dropped the accusations. After that, I urged him to go to Alice nearly shoving the lad towards the gates. At least some mistakes can be mended, and that had been.