But Catherine Cavendish needed but a moment for that problem. “’Twill return,” said she. “Captain Tabor hath but sailed off a little distance that he may return and make port, as if for the first time since he left England, and so put them off the scent of the Sabbath unlading of those other wares.” She looked down the burnished flow of the river as she spoke, and cried out that she could see a sail, but I, looking also, could not see anything save the shimmer of white and green spring boughs into which the river distance closed.
“’Tis the Golden Horn,” said Catherine.
“I can see naught of white save the locust-blooms,” said I.
“Locusts stand not against the wind in stiff sheets,” said she. “’Tis the sail of the Golden Horn; but that matters not. Harry, Harry Wingfield, can you save my sister?”
“I know not whether I can, madam, but I will,” said I.
Mistress Catherine and I returned together to Drake Hill, she bearing herself with a sharp and anxious conciliation, and I with little to say in response, and walking behind her, though she moved more and more slowly that I might gain her side.
We were not yet in sight of Drake Hill, but the morning smoke from the slave cabins had begun to thrust itself athwart the honeyed sweetness of blossoms, and the salt freshness of the breath of the tidal river, as the homely ways of life will ever do athwart the beauty and inspiration of it, maybe to the making of its true harmony, when of a sudden we both stopped and listened. Mistress Catherine turned palely to me, and I dare say the thought of Indians was in her mind, though they had long been quiet, then her face relaxed and she smiled.
“’Tis the first day of May,” said she. “And they are going to set up the May-pole in Jarvis Field.”
This did they every May of late, because some of the governors and some of the people had kept to those prejudices against the May revelries which had existed before the Restoration, and frowned upon the May-pole set up in the Jamestown green as if it had been, as the Roundheads used to claim, the veritable heathen god Baal.
Jarvis Field was a green tract, clear of trees, not far from us, and presently we met the merry company proceeding thither. First came a great rollicking posse of lads and lasses linked hand in hand, all crowned with flowers, and bearing green and blossomy boughs over shoulder. And these were so swift with the wild spirit and jollity of the day that they must needs come in advance, even before the horses which dragged the May-pole. Six of them there were, so bedecked with ribbons and green garlands that I marvelled they could see the road and were not wild with fear. But they seemed to enter into the spirit of it all, and stepped highly and daintily with proud archings of necks and tossings of green plumed heads, and behind them the May-pole rasped