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Richard of Jamestown by  James Otis


 

 

MASTER HUNT BRINGS GREAT NEWS

I HAD been down at the landing place, feasting my eyes upon the ship which had so lately come from the country I might never see again, and was trying to cheer myself by working around the house in the hope of pleasing Captain Smith, when Master Hunt came in with a look upon his face such as I had not seen since the sickness first came among us, and, without thinking to be rude, I asked him if it was the arrival of the women which pleased him so greatly.

"It is nothing of such fanciful nature, Richard Mutton," the good man replied with a smile, "though I must confess that it is pleasing to see women with white faces, when our eyes have beheld none save bearded men for so long a time. What think you has been done in the Council this day, since Captain Newport had speech with President Ratcliffe?"

Verily I could not so much as guess what might have happened, for those worshipful gentlemen were prone at times to behave more like foolish children, than men upon whom the fate of a new country depended, and I said to Master Hunt much of the same purport.

"They have elected your master, Captain John [128] Smith, President of the Council, Richard Mutton, and now for the first time will matters in Jamestown progress as they should."

"My master President of the Council at last!" I cried, and the good preacher added:

"So it is, lad, as I know full well, having just come from there."


[Illustration]

"But how did they chance suddenly to gather their wits?" I cried with a laugh, in which Master Hunt joined.

"It was done after Captain Newport had speech with Master Ratcliffe, and while I know nothing for a certainty, there is in my mind a strong belief that he brought word from the London Company for such an election to be made. At all events, it is done, and now we shall see Jamestown increase in size, even as she would have done from the first month we landed here had Captain John Smith been at the head of affairs."

The good preacher was so delighted with this change in the government that he unfolded all his budget of news, forgetting for the time being, most like, that he was not speaking to his equal, and thus it was I learned what [129] were Captain Newport's instructions from the London Company.


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