The Heart's Highway eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 222 pages of information about The Heart's Highway.

I took high honours at Cambridge, though no higher than I should have done, and so no pride and no modesty in the owning and telling; and then I came home, and my mother greeted me something more warmly than she was wont, and my stepfather, Col.  John Chelmsford, took me by the hand, and my brother John played me at cards that night, and won, as he mostly did.  John was at that time also in Cambridge, but only in his second year, being, although of quicker grasp upon circumstances to his own gain than I, yet not so alert at book-lore; but he had grown a handsome man, as fair as a woman, yet bold as any cavalier that ever drew sword—­the kind to win a woman by his own strength and her own arts.

The night after I returned, there was a ball at Cavendish Court, the first since the death of Madam Rosamond, and my brother and I went, and my stepfather and my mother, though she loved not Madam Cavendish.

And Mary Cavendish, at that time ten years old, was standing, when I first entered, with a piece of blue-green tapestry work at her back, clad in a little straight white gown and little satin shoes, and a wreath of roses on her head, from whence the golden locks flowed over her gentle cheeks, delicately rounded between the baby and maiden curves, with her little hands clasped before her; and her blue eyes, now downcast, now uplifted with utmost confidence in the love of all who saw her.  And close by her stood her sister Catherine, coldly sweet in a splendid spread of glittering brocade, holding her head, crowned with flowers and plumes, as still and stately as if there were for her in all the world no wind of passion; and my brother John looked at her, and I knew he loved her, and marvelled what would come of it, though they danced often together.

The ball went on till the east was red, and the cocks crew, and all the birds woke in a tumult, and then that happened which changed my whole life.

Three weeks from that day I set sail for the New World—­a convict.  I will not now say how nor why; and on the same ship sailed Capt.  Geoffry Cavendish, his mother Madam Judith Cavendish, his daughter Catherine, and the little maid Mary.

And on the long voyage Captain Cavendish’s old wound broke out anew, and he died and was buried at sea, and I, when I arrived in this kingdom of Virginia, with the dire uncertainty and hardship of the convict before me, yet with strength and readiness to bear it, was taken as a tutor by Madam Judith Cavendish for her granddaughter Mary, being by education well fitted for such a post, and she herself knowing her other reasons for so doing.  And so it happened that Mistress Mary Cavendish and I rode to meeting in Jamestown that Sabbath in April of 1682.

IV

Albeit I have as faithful a respect for the customs of the Church as any man, I considered then, and consider now as well, that it was almost beyond the power of any one to observe them according to the fashion of the times and gain therefrom a full edification of the spirit.

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The Heart's Highway from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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