Chapter 2. The voyage and meeting Mary
After moon gazing, I walked off the deck and into an area to sleep on the floor of the crowded ship. We all were cold, tired, and hungry. Food was rationed, so many of us remained hungry. I fell asleep, and on the next day when I woke up, I noticed a beautiful, young girl on the ship. She was taking care of the children and tended to some of those who had fallen ill.
I have watched her quite often over the last few weeks, and she noticed my stare. At times, she would acknowledge my presence, by smiling, winking, or waving at me. I approached her when she seemed to have a free moment and asked her, “I was wondering what your name is?”
She answered, “My name is Mary, and I am an indentured servant for Nathaniel and Elizabeth Heaton. I am their nurse and nanny.”
I said, “It is nice to meet you Mary. I am John Hurde, and I am an indentured servant for William Hutchinson. I work as an assistant, and I am a trained tailor. I make clothes for William to sell.
Mary said, “It is nice to meet you too. Let me tell you more about myself. I was orphaned at a very young age. I had no family living, so I was raised in an orphanage. I learned to read, write, and learned about healing herbs from the orphanage teacher. I wanted to be like her.
One day the director noticed my interests in nursing and children, so he recommended me to a family in need of a nanny. I have been working for Nathaniel Heaton and his wife, Elizabeth. They asked me to come to the colonies with them as a servant since my contract with them was for four more years. I would continue to be a nurse under their care, then I could be free to marry.
I wanted a new life, freedom to worship, to marry, and have a family. I am twenty years old, so by the end of my contract, I will be 24 years of age. This was the perfect age to marry.”
I said, “Wow, We have so much in common. We are both servants, and we want the same things. I really like you, Mary. Can we be friends until our contracts are done?”
She responded with a smile and said, “I like you too. I would like to be friends for now. Would you like to talk some more later when we have some free time?”
I said, “I would like that very much. Well, our breaks are over, so back to work for us now.”
We conversed with each other during the whole voyage, but we both were busy with tasks. I was developing feelings for Mary but knew I could not act on my feelings because we were not free to court until our contracts were done.
Throughout our journey, food supply had to be rationed leaving some of us malnourished. It put us in danger of dying. All passengers, including us, on the ship were in continuous prayer for God’s mercy as the ship continued its voyage. We experienced some raging storms that made the ship almost capsize when the waves hit it. We all clung to God through continuous prayer and Bible readings. It gave us all comfort and hope during the raging storms. We praised the Lord when they stopped. We trusted that God would allow us to survive the trip.
These happenings did not dampen my spirits. Just dreaming about the prospect of a new life allowed me to hope. I wanted to get married, have children, and run my own tailoring shop. While I was thinking on these things, Mary appeared in my mind, and I smiled. I knew she was the one, but I would have wait for the right time.
I walked out to the deck, and I looked out over the ocean, I recalled the conversation I had with William before we left. William approached me as I was busy making a new overcoat for a gentleman in the area.
William called, “John! Anne and I are going to the colonies because she wished for religious freedom. Would you like to move with us?”
I answered, ” Would I be able to finish my contract with you, live as a freeman afterward, and open my own shop?”
William responded, ” Yes, and I will assist you in building a steady client base, so you can save the profits from them to open your own shop. Your tenure is done in a few years anyway.”
“Well, I do not have any family alive here. (My mother died a few years ago from illness). I want to have a new life, to get married, and have heirs, so yes, I will go. How will I pay for the fare?” I asked.
William responded with excitement, ” Great! I will pay your fare on the ship, and you can pay me back with your wages. You will work for me as a servant in an assistant role. You will assist me with tending the land, keeping my affairs in order, making clothing for me to sell, doing deliveries and errands. At the end of three years, I will give you money and freedom to set up your dwelling and shop. I will give you the profits from tailoring items for your future shop. Do we have a deal?”
I said, ” Deal!” And we shook hands. William went to his office, wrote an amended contact, and had me sign it.
Now, I was on the crowded ship and thanking God for my mentor, boss, and friend’s generosity. Even Anne, William’s wife, was very cordial about me coming with them. This made me smile in gratitude.
Just as I was starting to walk away, I looked out on the horizon as I have done for the past few months, and heard the shipmate announce that land had been spotted. I could see people lined up on the coast to receive us. I noticed a small group of buildings and some ships there as well.
I walked over to Mary and said, “May we keep in touch? When my three-year contract is over, I want to court you. Would you wait to be with me?”
Mary answered in a soft tone, ” Yes John, I look forward to seeing you again. Do not be a stranger. Yes, I will wait for you.”
He replied in a soft tone, ” I look forward to it. Talk to you soon!” I knew we would be good friends. I anticipated seeing her again. I came close to her, put my arm around her shoulders, and gave her a side hug. She allowed me to do that. I was very glad.
I looked at the horizon, saw buildings and a very busy port. I went into the ship and got ready to embark on a new life of promise...
The Griffin is an actual ship that the Hutchinson’s arrived on. The conditions were common on all the colonial ships at the time.
The back story and conversations are fictional. John did serve William for divers years according to records.
What do you think John will experience when he gets off the boat?
(This book is a slow burn. There will be some Native American fighting, some corporal punishment, and alcoholism. This book will not contain smut or explicit sex. )
I hope you all have enjoyed this book so far. This is my first novel, so please be kind.
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