We never became discouraged and are quite sure yet that we should have found the blue dog’s head if we could have gone on searching. But by this time the summer was waning, and on up the river was much yet for Gadabout to see. It was a long visit that we had made at the island, yet one that had grown in interest as in days. Indeed only in the passing of many days could such interest come—could old James Towne so seem to live again.
Lingeringly we had dreamed along its forgotten ways, by its ruined hearthstones, and among its nameless tombs; and so dreaming had seemed to draw close to the little old-time hamlet and to the scenes of hope and of fear, of joy and of despair, that had marked the planting of our race in America. Now, on the last evening of our stay at the island, we walked again the familiar paths; looked for the hundredth time down the great brown river that had borne our people to this place of beginning; stood once more beside the graveyard wall; then started toward the houseboat, turning for a last look at the broken church tower and to bid good night and good-bye to old James Towne.
A SHORT SAIL AND AN OLD ROMANCE
Next day, bustling about with making all things shipshape, we could scarcely realize that we were actually getting under way again. But when our mooring-lines were hauled in, Gadabout backed away from her old friend, the bridge, swung around in the narrow marsh-channel, and soon carried us from Back River out into the James.
And by this time how impressed we had become with the significance of that wide, brown flood—that Nestor of American rivers! When is the James to find its rightful place in American song and story? Our oldest colonial waterway—upon whose banks the foundations of our country were laid, along whose shores our earliest homes and home-sites can still be pointed out—and yet almost without a place in our literature. Other rivers, historically lesser rivers, have had their stories told again and again, their beauties lauded, and their praises sung. But this great pioneer waterway, fit theme for an ode, is to-day our unsung river.
Gadabout, with the wind in her favour and all the buoys leaning her way, made good progress. It was not long before we were looking back catching the last glimpses of the white sea-wall of Jamestown Island.