“This is the first time that we have ever gone to church by boat,” said the Commodore.
“Yes,” answered Nautica, “and it was just the way to do it. We have attended a colonial church in a quite colonial way.”
When we sat down to our Thanksgiving dinner, we felt almost like landlubbers again; for while our home acre was a watery one and Gadabout, boat-like, swung and swayed, yet we had real neighbours up on the bluff and there was even a church next door. Later, we saw coming down the stream some good after-dinner cheer—our rowboat with mail that had been accumulating for days at Westover. Letters and papers and packages and magazines were welcomed aboard. Comfortably we settled down for an evening of catching up with the world.
Next morning Gadabout made an uneventful run down the stream, anchored just within the mouth of the creek, and sent Henry off into the country foraging.
Of course certain provisioning arrangements followed Gadabout from harbour to harbour. Boxes of groceries came up from Norfolk or down from Richmond by steamer; and also every few days a big cake of ice arrived in a travelling suit of burlap lined with sawdust. But that still left many things to be obtained along the way. As most of the country stores were back from the river, the sailor, on horseback or in a cart, made many a long provisioning trip.
Toward evening when there came a gentle bump upon Gadabout’s guard and the rattle of a chain upon her cleat, we went out to see what the supply boat had brought. As soon as we heard the troubled sputtering, “An’ I mos’ give up gittin’ anything,” we knew that the little shore-boat was a nautical horn of plenty. And so she proved as her cargo came aboard to an accompaniment of running comment.
“I don’ know where I been, an’ if I had to go back, I couldn’ do it. That’s butter there—that’ll do till the nex’ box comes. The store didn’ have much of anything; an’ I struck out into the country, I did, an’ mos’ los’ myse’f. But the horse he knowed the way. I got another turkey, anyhow. I’m cert’nly glad we jes’ begun to eat ’em if we got to eat ’em steady. The man had done sold him; but I used my silver tongue, I did, an’ he let me have him. There’s some apples an’ turnips an’ sweet potatoes. I got them at the store. An’ where I got them eggs at, I could get a couple of chickens nex’ week if I could jes’ fin’ the place.”
So the fruits of the foraging came tumbling aboard—a promising, goodly array. And Gadabout had no troubled dreams that night of a wolf swimming up to her door.
WESTOVER, THE HOME OF A COLONIAL BELLE
On the following day, Gadabout scrambled across the flats out into the James again, intent upon a visit to Westover.
Unlike Brandon, Westover stands within sight from the river; and we had a good view of the old homestead as we passed by to make our landing at the steamer pier which is a little above the house.