The Daughter of Virginia Dare
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Title: The Daughter of Virginia Dare
Author: Mary Virginia Wall
Release Date: January 30, 2019 [eBook #58793]
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Daughter of Virginia Dare
Mary Virginia Wall
Mary Virginia Wall
My Mother, Virginia
My Grandmother, England
The sunbeams were playing hide and seek with the ripples around the prows of three small vessels lying at anchor in the harbor of Portsmouth. Their decks were crowded with the colonists going to seek a home on the soil of Virginia. On the wharf all was bustle and confusion. The songs of the sailors loading the vessels with the goods of the voyagers mingled with the whip and snap of the sails as they were given to the breeze.
At last the creaking of the capstan as the anchors were hoisted on board sounded the warning note of departure. Leading the diminutive fleet was the good ship Admiral, having as her master Simon Ferdinando. Closely in her wake followed a pinnace and a flyboat, and from the masthead of all three fluttered the English flag. They were not to leave England, however, until they had stopped at two of her ports on their way out.
For eight days they tarried at the Isle of Wight, and two more in the harbor of Plymouth. As they sailed out of this quaint old harbor the balmy air of May wafted the fragrant farewell of the hawthorn blossoms even to the water’s edge.
“How hard it is to bid farewell to home and friends and turn my face to this unknown land,” said Eleanor Dare to herself as she stood on the deck of the Admiral. “There is a strange fear welling up in my heart as if some unknown shadow were falling upon us.
“But I must not even breathe such a thought to my husband, it would dampen the hope of home and fortune which is buoying him up. I must rather cheer and encourage him; I must hide the heart sickness, and leave our future in the hands of God.”
Fainter and fainter grew the outlines of old England’s shores, until only the dim bluffs of Cornwall, like a mirage, lay on the horizon. As Eleanor Dare strained her eyes to catch the last glimpse before the curve of the earth hid them from view, her husband drew her to him.
“Dear heart, turn your eyes to the west, to home and happiness. See how the sun11 is making a pathway of light for our ship. Is it not a good omen?”
She smiled up into his face bravely and was rewarded by a look of love and reverence.
“You know, my husband, that my home is in your heart.”
Skirting southward for seven days the little fleet came into the Bay of Portugal, where they took on a supply of fresh water for the long journey to the West Indies. Ferdinando, the master of the Admiral, gave secret orders to the captains of his ship and the pinnace to set sail at the coming of night. No such commands reached the little flyboat. Basely deserting her, the Admiral turned his prows to the southwest.
For two long months the frail ships tossed on the troubled waters of the Atlantic. Only the sullen swish of the waves and the scream of the seagull broke in on Eleanor Dare’s reveries.
Fragrant June was waning, when she saw the waving palms and orange groves of Santa Cruz rising beyond the foam-capped billows. Just before the ships reached this island of gorgeous bloom from the lookout at the masthead rang the cry, “Sail ho!” and, ploughing her way through12 the choppy sea, there came the courageous little flyboat. For, undaunted by ignorance of the trackless waste and by the base desertion of the admiral in command, she had pluckily followed her consort.
No sooner had they landed than the merry laughter and joyous shouts of the little children filled the air as they chased the crimson and gold butterflies sipping honey from the orchids which hung from the tall fern trees. No cares or longing troubled their light hearts, but their parents were eager to reach their new home, so the sails were again spread.
July had numbered twenty-two days when the vessels came in sight of a long fringe of islands guarded by dangerous reefs. The white foam of the breakers tossed high in the air and the moan of the surf filled the children with fear.
Down rattled the anchor of the Admiral, and the sails were close-furled, as the pinnace came alongside to take the colony through the dangerous entry to Roanoke Island. Safely passing through the hungry mouth of Trinity harbor, they glided into the quiet waters of the Occam.
Would the fifteen men left by Sir Richard13 Greenville come to meet them? A loud halloo brought back no answering hail.
“We must search for them,” said Governor White. “Perhaps they are farther inland.”
As the pinnace grounded her nose the Anglican priest stepped on the land, bearing aloft the Sign of Redemption. Around his feet were grouped the children, their tiny hands clasped together, and guarded by a circle of kneeling men and women. Deep and fervent was the thanksgiving prayer, and clear and sweet came the chant of the amen.
Rising from their knees they eagerly explored the land around them. A living landscape, vivid and beautiful, lay spread before their eyes. Great yellow pines like the masts of ships towered above them. Cedars, the rivals of Lebanon, mingled their branches with the live oak, tulip, and walnut trees, while closer to mother earth clung the sassafras and witch hazel. Scuppernong grapes flung their vines, loaded with ripening fruit, from limb to limb of the copper beeches and bathed their trailing branches in the briny waters of the Occam.
Dotted all around were the log cabins left by the previous settlers. Melon vines14 with luscious fruits festooned the windows and carpeted the floors, and in their open doors stood the startled deer poised for flight. The gardens were overgrown in weeds and fences were broken down. The little children ran hither and thither chasing the “Lazy Lawrence” as it danced in the sun, and over all hung the languorous air of July, steeped in the fragrance of blossoming jasmine and magnolia.
Soon the bright blades of the axes made flashes in the sun, and down came the pine, filling the air with the perfume of its crushed needles. Many another cabin was added to the “City of Raleigh.”
Meanwhile, a party headed by Governor White had searched the island for the missing men. Far in the heart of the forest they came upon their bleaching skeletons, and they decently interred them.
Eleanor Dare chose the cedar cabin, which Lane had used, as a home for herself and her husband, and she occupied herself busily in