15) Bodies Of Gold
It was a miracle from God that I was able to stay awake to get me work and chores done through the day. I would often wake at night and either lie in bed letting me mind wonder about things in the world, or wonder about many people in the town, or just get and go for a walk around the town and take in the cool night air of Virginia. The Marshall had made sure the town was a much safer place for a young lady to be walking around, except when Indians come looking for weapons to steal, so I would be safe. I still kept within the town walls and had the fastest way back to my home mesmerised like it was a Sunday prayer in case I had to flee. I did that night however see someone looking glum and lonely also strolling around near the home of Recorder Castel and Jocelyn. It was Doctor Priestley.
Despite his miserable look towards the Castel’s home, he looked handsome in the night with the moon shining down on his face. He by far was one of the most decent men I’d ever met, and maybe the most decent man in the whole Town, apart from the Governor, Recorder Castel, and a few other of the gentlemen in the town. He was also one of the kindest and soft-spoken though, natural for him being a doctor. it was as if the Lord made him that way because he knew he would be a doctor and heal people. A man like him would make a good husband, I’m sure Lady Yeardley would say. I had a feeling he either had a woman he was already promised to, or he was a man that was more focused on his work than marriage, however.
I could not ponder about that for long as there was a noise coming from outside the town. I felt me blood run cold as where that is where the dead of the town were buried. I frowned and stepped closer towards the open gates s. Doctor Priestly and I glanced at each other and exchanged a nod then looked towards the gate. We carefully and silently strode towards and glanced out to the right seeing in the slight mist an amongst the crosses marking the graves to see a man in hat digging up one of the graves.
“Do you recognise him, Doctor?” I asked and he shook his head. and took one a couple of steps closer narrowing his eyes at the man. He suddenly glanced sideways at us for a second, then dropped his shovel and dashed off into the night.
“What do we do? He may come back,” I asked. Doctor Priestley strode over to the grave and looked into it.
“Speak of this to no one until after we inform the Governor, Marshall and Secretary learn Clara. I will come for you tomorrow morning,” He told me walking back to me.
“Is the body disturbed?” I asked as he held out a hand encouraging me to go back to the town.
“No, but thank the heavens. You must try to remember everything you saw,” He told me as we strode back to my home.
“Of course, sir,” I nodded and silently prayed no one saw us together this late at night. I’d be victims of the ruthless rumours spun by the crueller women here.
I woke even earlier that morning and rushed to get dressed and punned my hair out of my eyes leaving the rest of it down. I answered the knock at my door from Doctor Priestley with the nicest smile I could.
“Mistress Jones, we must go to the Governor,” He said as I stepped out and closed the door.
“Yes, have you heard anyone else speak of it or seen anyone else near the grave?” I asked as we began to walk to the Governor’s home.
“I do not know the answer to either of those questions. May I ask you a question?” He asked stopping and glancing at me,
“Yes, sir?” I replied stopping also.
“Why were you out that late at night? After what happened to you a few nights ago saying locked in your home at night,” He asked. The events of that night returned, and I smiled slightly.
“You are quite right sir, but I don’t sleep well for many reasons, and I find walking the town is better than staying inside. The fresh air helps me sleep,” I replied. He pursed his lips at me with sympathy.
“I suffer the same. I have a treatment that may help if the air is not enough,” He offered and I thanked him. We continued to walk to the Governor’s home seeing him, Secretary Farlow and Marshal Redwick talking with the Reverend.
“Governor, there is something myself and Mistress Jones need to show you something urgent, you gentlemen should some too,” Doctor Priestley told them.
“What is this?” Governor Yeardley demanded.
“It’s something with the graves sir,” I added.
“Don’t just stand there, show us!” the Marshall demanded then the Doctor led the way. Along the way, Recorder Castel, Jocelyn and Mercy saw us, and the Governor stopped to inform him and tell him he needed to come with them. He broke away from linking with his wife and strode ahead with the other men.
“Whatever is the matter, Clara?” Jocelyn asked me.
“Meself and Doctor Priestley were both out last night, separately of course, and we both saw a man digging up a grave,” I told them.
“Oh heavens! That is such a terrible thing to do! Who would disturb the dead ma’am?” Mercy exclaimed but Jocelyn too busy looking in the direction the men had gone in. I could almost hear the wheels in her head turning.
“That is what we should find out,” She then she looked at me. “Come Clara,” I nodded and we carried on after the men towards the graves. Doctor Priestley showed them the grave, and the company men all gathered around it whilst me and Jocelyn stood further back with Mercy and few others from the town who I think may have been the person in the grave's family.
“Why would someone dig up De La Warr’s body?” Governor Yeardley asked.
“Why? We know why,” The Marshal said crouched at the edge of the grave.
“The map. It was never discovered,” Secretary Farlow added.
"There were only ever rumours such a map existed," said the Reverend.
"And that De La Warr had it," Recorder Castel added, standing with his arms crossed next to the Doctor.
"Whoever was digging here believed there as such a map," The governor said then stood chucking some bits of dirt he examined in thought back into the grave.
"What did you see Doctor Priestley?" The Governor asked glancing at the Doctor.
"No more than a shape. He ran off when he heard us coming," said the Doctor.
"Mistress Jones?" The Governor asked looking at me.
"The same as Doctor Priestley sir. He ran like a rabbit bein' hunted by a fox when saw us goin' that way," I told him pointing in the way the man went. The governor followed where my finger and the company men glanced behind them also looking.
"And what were the two of you doing out here?" The Secretary asked. He and the Marshall both frowned with suspicion at the doctor.
"I couldn't sleep. I was simply walking about to pass the night away. Mistress Jones told me she too was struggling and that the night air she hoped would help her," The Doctor replied and when the two country powerful men frowned at me I nodded pressing me lips into a thin line.
"I have found it difficult to sleep some nights after what happened previously," I added.
"You knew the man Governor. Did De La Warr ever speak to you about purchasing a map from the Portuguese as to where the gold mines were located?" Secretary Farlow asked. I had heard some stories in the town about gold, but like everything in the world, except for the Lord, I believe it when I see it. Gold can drive men mad.
"Never," The Governor replied.
"But that does not mean he didn't have it, as I'm sure you're aware," The Governor replied glancing down with his arms crossed again at the grave. "Michaelmas, when De La Warr's body arrived here, where did it lie?"
"Well, he had been dead at sea for some time. His body was laid to rest with some haste," The reverend replied.
"But it lay overnight in the church?" Asked the Governor.
"The doctor's apothecary," He stated then he and Doctor Priestley exchanged a glance. They were all a wee bit suspicious of each other. It is what gold can do.
"The question is, who among us would choose this moment to undertake such a perilous and treacherous business as digging up a man's body that he might discover the Portuguese gold map?" He asked the golden question. on everyone's mind. The Governor ordered for the grave to be filled and for it to be guarded which the Marshall acted on right away.
"It seems once again you are witness to an unusual event Clara," Jocelyn said to me.
"I promise you I don't try to, I'm just unlucky," I replied.
"At least you are not in danger or having rumours made about you," She added and I smiled. I'm glad she did not think me and Doctor Priestley were up to something. She could probably stand with her head held high and deal with the gossip and rumours from the town but I could not.
"Jocelyn," Recorder Castel began then held out his arm for his wife to link. "Thank you for complying Mistress Jones,"
"Of course sir," I said bowing my head to him.
"Samuel, Christopher, what is this map of De La Warr's you and the company men were discussing?" She asked beginning to walk back with him, myself and Christopher.
"It was a rumour that De La Warr had had connections with the Portuguese and had purchased a map they drew up showing where the gold mines where in this land, but it was never proven right or wrong as he died before he could act on it or share it," Recorder Castel explained.
"De La Warr was returning here as Governor?" Jocelyn asked.
"But he died at sea," replied the Doctor.
"Do I understand correctly, if gold were to be found then it would belong to the company?" She asked.
"If it were discovered by a man employed or tenured to the Company, then yes," Recorder Castel replied, but I frowned. One fact made me think that weren't right.
"Sir, what if the gold mines, if they are real, are located on land belonging to Indians? Would it not be their gold? And would takin' it not cause problems for the Company?" I questioned.
"If the map and mines are real and on their land Mistress Jones, then the Indians would not have shared that the location with the Portuguese and kept them secret. They would not have been able to find them on their own, they do not know the lands well enough," Recorder Castel said.
"And how would any gold hunters be able t'find out of that land the mines are on is Indian or not? Is all the land not owned by King and Country not land belonging to the Indians?" I asked ignoring the surprised glances I got from him and Doctor.
"The mines may not exist, the Portuguese, if they did have a map and sell it to De La Warr, may have lied or forged the map," He said. That was true, and I hope they would be proven to be a myth like the ones of King Arthur me Granddad used to tell me.
"Why was De La Warr's body not searched before it was buried?" Jocelyn asked.
"Jocelyn, you do seem rather exercised by the map," Recorder Castel said with distaste in his voice.
"Do I?" she smiled. "Well, I might say that you do not seem exercised enough, Samuel. Isn't that why every man is here, to make his fortune?" She added.
"Aye, but they are here to do that by farmin' or workin' for the Company, not runnnin' into Indian territory with a map lookin' for gold mines that may just be a mere myth," I replied gesturing with a hand to the lands outside Jamestown.
"Word of the map's existence did not emerge until after De La Warr was buried," Recorder Castel said.
"And Secretary Farlow insisted that De La Warr be buried with all haste," Doctor Priestley said.
"Farlow, did he?" Jocelyn replied she sounded a wee bit suspicious as anyone would be considering how the Secretary was questioning the Doctor.
"Then once he was laid to rest, Reverend Whitaker, of course, forbade any disturbance of the grave," Recorder Castel said.
"Did he?" Jocelyn repeated even more in thought. I shook my head. Although gold to me would be my fortune, and I would be able to do a lot more things that I could not do without it, I still believed it was a creation of God that caused men to be reckless. But there were powerful people who did not care. There probably were men who tried to find the mines without the map and just going off a rumour.
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