From My Lady Pokahontas, A True Relation Of Virginia. Writ by Anas Todkill, Puritan and Pilgrim, [in 1618] With Notes by John Esten Cooke: Boston, Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1907; pp. 115-119.
I see the Em-
peror for the
last time. to speak, ere we go from Virginia, of my last look at the great Powhatan. Sure never was such food for laughter as on this visit to the Emperor. Even now, long after, when I think of it I burst out sudden, so that they around me cry, “What aileth thee?” and I answer, “I but bethink me of old days in the woods of Virginia, with his highness the Emperor Powhatan.”
It comes about in this wise. I have told ofttimes what manner of man was the builder of Henricus city, the mighty and valiant Sir Thomas Dale, who, though none exceeded him in divinity as in courage, was a subtle master of policy and would gain good ends by crooked ways; whereof this showeth.
Though the Indians were now peaceful, yet they never were safe; and the bruit
We find him
at Machot. coming to our ears that the Paspaheghs and Nansemunges were ill affected toward us, Sir Thomas Dale bethinks him to make sure of them by this strange device: (namely) Powhatan was their Emperor, and to have from him a hostage, which Master Raphe Hamor was sent to get. This was Powhatan’s young daughter Cleopatre, sister of my Lady Pokahontas, whereof you shall see by this relation, and what honour the High Marshal designed her.
I, Anas Todkill, was one of the party sent to visit King Powhatan; and going by the desert* we came to Machot, where we found the King in his great arbour, with a guard of two hundred bowmen. He was seated on his couch of mats with his wives and chiefs about him, and offered us a pipe of tobacco; whereafter he would know our errand. Master Hamor then riseth and saith: —
“I come from your Brother Dale, and would speak with you in private.”
At this the King studied a little, and sent out all but his two queens that always did sit by him, and the interpreter,
his message. who was that same young Henry Spilman, my cousin, saved from death by dear Pokahontas.
“Now speak,” says the King (or Emperor), “for I listen.”
As he said these words, he stretched his legs out of his raccoon-skin robe and kicked a brand on to the fire so awkward that all laughed, but he looked grave.
Then Master Hamor, looking at him, says: —
“Your Brother Dale sends you this copper and these blue beads, also these two knives, and will send you also a grindstone if you listen to what he asks.”
“What does Brother Dale ask?” the King says by his interpreter, viewing the beads and the rest; whereat Master Hamor clears his throat and thus answers: —
“The bruit of the exquisite perfection of your youngest daughter, being spread through all your territories, hath come to the hearing of your Brother Dale, who hath sent me. He entreats you as his brother to permit this maiden to return with me.”
“Return!” cries the King suddenly; “why return?”
“For her sister’s desire to see her; and another end still.”153
daughter.“What end?” says his Majesty; “why desireth Brother Dale to see my child?”
“He would gladly make her his nearest companion, wife, and bedfellow.”
But the King would hardly hear Master Hamor. He moves about and gets up; now and then he kicks brands on the fire; once he pulls his wife’s ears, and then sits down, muttering. Btu Master Hamor would not notice these signs that his errand was not to the King’s desire.
“Hear me to an end,” he says to Powhatan: whereat the Emperor leaneth back as though asleep.
“The reason whereof your Brother Dale would make your daughter his wife is to rivet a natural union between us, and ever be friends. He himself means to dwell in Virginia while he liveth, and would have perpetual friendship.”
Then hearing that this is the end, the King rises and kicks at the fire, and then speaks thus by his interpreter: —
“I gladly accept Brother Dale’s salute, but my daughter whom he desireth I sold within these few days past, to be wife to a great werowance, for two bushels of roanoke (which is their money), and she is gone three days’ journey from me.”154
asketh of my
Lady.But Master Hamor would not hearken, and said: —
“Your greatness and power is such that, to gratify Brother Dale, you might give up the roanoke and take back your daughter from that chief. She is not yet twelve years old, and should yet tarry a space. This meaneth your Brother Dale, who entreats you to spare her.”
But the Emperor shakes his head, forgetting his vain story of the great werowance (his daughter being there with him.)
“I love my child dear as my own life,” he says, “and though I have many children, I delight in none so much as her. If I did not often behold her I could not possibly live; and if she lived with you at your Fort, you know I could not see her. You have one daughter now; when she dieth you shall have another; but she yet liveth. So no more; and now to tell me of my daughter Pokahontas and my unknown son. How do they like, live, and love together?”
Master Hamor, in no gay mood at being disappointed, says: —
Your daughter is so well content that she would not change her life to return
cat and Vir-
ginia kitten. and live with you again, though you besought her.”
Thereat Powhatan laughs heartily, and says: “I am very glad of it:” and again lies down on his bed, now and then laughing a little at his thoughts. Soon he sits up once more, as who should say, Art thou done now? and will not hearken any more, but trifles the time, playing with his blue beads. Last he sends his Brother Dale this greeting: None of his people shall trouble us; and adds, proudly: “I, which have power to perform it, have said it.”
So homeward, and ere long we are back at the city of Henricus, where my Lady Pokahontas listens to our adventure and sighs, and I think her old wood life cometh back to her. At what Master Hamor reporteth, Sir Thomas Dale says, laughing:
“So be it: I am content, and perchance ’t is better. I scarce could make up this matter of the new wife with my Lady Dale! The white cat in London would certes scratch the Virginia kitten.”
And so that trick of the High Marshal comes to this conclusion.†
* In the old relations this word is used in the sense of thicket or wilderness: as the “desert of Pamunkey,” meaning the thick woods wholly uninhabited. Machot was at the present West Point on the York.
† Todkill’s account of this singular embassy is identical with Hamor’s in the work before mentioned, A True Discourse of the Estate of Virginia. Lady Dale, wife of Sir Thomas, is there mentioned as then living.
bound. this year, 1616, Sir Thomas Dale, our valiant Governor, would go back to England and take my Lady Pokahontas with him, to show the first-fruits of God’s mercy in converting these poor heathen to the knowledge of our blessed Saviour.
My Lady goes willingly, and Master Rolfe and her boy with her, whereto Powhatan joins one of his people, called Uttamatomakkin, to count the English with a notched stick (which he throws away after a little while). And, further, this savage was to know if Captain Smith were dead; whereof a strange bruit comes to us, and so to him, that his old friend still liveth. But they would not tell my Lady Pokahontas.
So toward early spring of the said year (1616) we embark for England, for I would go back with my Lady; and soon we drop down the great river, and so out of the capes into the wide ocean. Certes I was
We come to
Plymouth. sorrowful at this going away from the Virgin land, and stood quiet nigh the helm, looking where the sun was setting, and thinking my thoughts of the old days and God’s good providence, above all in sending succour in that woful Starving Time.
“He that shall but turn up his eye,” I say, standing on the ship, “and behold but the spangled canopy of heaven above him, must needs see God’s mercy, and how He inclineth all things to the help of them that trust in Him.”
Thus saying in a low voice full of thanks and praise, as I stood in the dusk light on the ship, I was ware of some one weeping, and turned and saw my Lady not far from me. She sits looking back to Virginia, her face lying in her hand, and her body shaking. Whereat, thinking not to disturb her, I go away softly, leaving her to her thoughts.
Now with favouring winds we come to Plymouth in England, and the bruit goes abroad that the princess Pokahontas is on board the ship, and Sir Thomas Stukeley, the Company’s man, comes and bows low to her.* Then a lord arrives post haste from London, bearing a message from his
favour. Majesty, who would see my Lady Pokahontas, and receive her near him as a royal princess, with due honour to the blood royal (though she be a savage).
So we go to London, and take lodging at Brentford, nigh the great city and the palace of Kew, whereto resort many of the fine gentlemen and ladies to visit my princess become a great personage. The King would have her with him, and meets her with gracious words, giving orders she shall be well placed at the masques, and attended royally. Thither she went, and to the Globe Theatre too (whereof more anon), and was much liked of her Majesty the Queen, who kisses her on both cheeks and calls her “my child,” smiling graciously. Master Rolfe goes with her, but is not received with such honours: no, not so much as with the least favour, most of all by his Majesty the King.
At the first reception of my Lady, her husband goes with her, and his Majesty comes and raises her when she would kneel, looking at her kindly. But when Master Rolfe bends knee too before him, his royal face grows of a sudden very black. The King knits together his eyebrows and says, grunting out his anger: —159
vour.“Would you! would you! Who would have you, for a false loon, marry a princess, when nothing but my subject, and never say even ‘By your leave’!”
Whereat he sudden turns his back on him, puffing and showing him other discourtesy; and Master Rolfe, much abashed, goes back to the crowd and is no more seen that day.†
Never saw I such honour paid any mortal as my little Lady. Sudden she grows the fashion, and my Lord Bishop of London gives a great entertainment at his palace of Lambeth to her honour; whereof Master Pepys is heard to say ’t is the finest he has ever seen there. Ever to Brentford come fine coaches by day and night, with earls and ladies, footmen and outriders, and flambeaux carried in front, to visit my Lady. They all go away praising her, and saying they have seen many English ladies worse favoured, proportioned, and behavioured.
“Pardie,” I hear my Lord la Ware say to his honourable Lady, as they get back to their coach, “She is a wonder, this young princess, and ’t is easy to see her
Smith is not
dead. blood be royal. She carrieth herself as the daughter of a King!”‡
My Lady takes all quietly, with much content and satisfaction, but ever I see on her face what brings back to me the memory of the month of August in her Virginia, when the fields are bright at one moment, but sudden a cloud shadow floats over, and they are darkened. The bruit comes Smith is not dead, and I remember when she first set eyes on him, though she (then) had no speech with him; whereof this further relation will show the time and place.
One day comes a message from the Queen’s Majesty; there will be a Virginia play at the Globe Theatre: Master Shakespeare’s “Tempest,” whereof the stage is the Bermuda islands, now by charter§ a part of Virginia. Her Majesty is going, and indeed has commanded the play, and would have my Lady Pokahontas be present too.
“Content: say to the Queen I will attend her,” says my little Lady with her royal air (she speaks good English now for a long time). So the lord that brings
anguish. the message bows low, and goes away; and my Lady says, “You must go too, Anas.”
“What! I, a good Puritan, seek a play-house? That were a sin,” I say laughing: but my Lady will not smile. She looks so sorrowful that my heart bleeds, and says lowly: —
“I would go away, if only in my heart, from this London, and be in Virginia, if but for a poor hour, and forget myself.”
She stops and muses, with her eyes moist, and a sudden blush.
“They say he is not dead!” she whispers.
“Not dead? Who has told you that?” I cry, knowing she meaneth Smith.
“I have but now learned the truth,” she says, speaking with a great sob and covering her face. “O me! why am I not dead — sith he lives!”
Whereat she bendeth down and crieth, and I (lest I do likewise) go out hastily.
* This person afterwards took charge of Pokahontas’ son.
† This displeasure of James I., which is given by Stith, the old historian, as a “constant tradition” in Virginia, is thus verified by Todkill.
† This seems to have been the general comment at the time on the bearing of Pokahontas.
§ The new charter of 1612.
house. evening, nigh sunset, comes a coach sent by the Queen’s Majesty, with four horses and flambeau-bearers, to take my Lady to the play. None is in the big coach, whereof the laced footman bows low as he bangs to the door, but my Lady Pokahontas and Master Rolfe, with myself, Anas Todkill.
Sure this was tempting Providence, to venture into that abode of sin called a play-house, which the Puritan hateth; but then this “Tempest” of Master Shakespeare were doubtless a goodly spectacle! and if I, Anas Todkill, grow ever to be a preacher warning the brethren against sin, certes, knowledge of the Devil’s wiles and how he ensnareth souls would be to the purpose. So (in short) I went to the Globe.
The play-house was even then filled, my Lady’s coming being no doubt known; and in the rooms around the gallery in front,
comes. over which was a thatched roof, sat many noble lords and ladies in grand dresses, with jewels on them, among the rest my Lord Southampton, the friend and patron of Master Shakespeare. Below these, in the open space which is uncovered, stood the common sort, drinking beer and smoking tobacco pipes, and ever taking these from their mouths to look up to the gentry and talk of them.
The stage in front had two curtains opening in the middle, and through that opening was seen the tapestry and the raised balcony behind, with two private rooms on either hand for great people attending the play. One of these was fitted up royally for her Majesty, who would attend on this evening: and my Lady Pokahontas with Master Rolfe and myself were shown to it.
Now the night was near come, and the flambeaux were lighted around, and at last a great stamping and shouting says the Queen is here. She enters with her attendants (but not his Majesty); and, kissing my lady on both sides her face, bids the players come in and begin.
Many, doubtless, that read this relation have seen acted this great play of the
The Tempest. “Tempest.” A decade before, the worthy reader will remember, Smith talked with Master Shakespeare thereof at the Mermaid Tavern; and now the play was writ. That talk of the Isles of Devils put the Bermudas in Master Shakespeare’s head,* and from Master Strachey’s book, the “Wrack and Redemption of Sir Thomas Gates,” he gets his story. See how the English fleet (save the Sea-Venture) gets safe to the Chesapeake Bay; and Shakespeare’s fleet (save the King’s ship) to the Mediterranean flote. Master Strachey tells of the strange light that burned on the masts and yards of the Sea-Venture; and tricksy Ariel, saith he, flamed amazement on the topmast, the yards and bowsprit; and hid the King’s ship in the still vex’d Bermoothes, which the Spaniard calleth our Bermudas.†
Sure never was greater writer than this Master Will Shakespeare, who passed quick from that terrible Lear and the woes of Hamlet to the merriest fancies. No sooner stalketh by mournful Macbeth than
The stage. Touchstone comes laughing: and that mad knight Sir John Falstaff waddles close on gibing Richard. Oft I wept, or shouted with laughter, seeing these — but what write I? There cometh the cat forth of a sudden from the bag. Anas Todkill is a frequenter of the play-house! But be honest (I say), Anas; and then thou wert away from thy home, in big London, and thy bad exemplar not seen; when the days to preach of these deadly sins cometh, thou wilt know and denote such truly.‡
Sitting in the room beside the balcony, my Lady Pokahontas would listen modestly while her Majesty talked to her, answering quietly, with simple mien, as of a poor maiden, but yet a King’s daughter too. The stage was full of gallants, who would sit on stools by the side tapestries, and smoke tobacco pipes, ever laughing. When the boys anon passed, dressed as women (for there be no true women on our stage in England), these same gallants would pluck them by the sleeve, and make as though they would steal kisses; whereat my Lady would laugh a little, and say she marvelled they were so ill-mannered. But
Mad-caps. the maid of honour that sat by her whispered “They were mad-caps, and ever would do with herself the same, in the very Queen’s palace.”
* Todkill here forgets that before the meeting of the Mermaid Shakespeare had already been impressed by the “still vex’d Bermoothes” as a fit stage for a weird drama.
† Todkill here verifies an interesting fact — that the wreck of the Sea-Venture suggested the Tempest.
† This reflection, from its repetition, seems to have afforded much comfort to Master Anas Todkill.
Nonparella. had come now a long time, and the flambeaux were spouting out smoke, and the crowd below was shouting and moving to and fro, most at Caliban.
He had a hump on his back, and would growl and laugh like a dog barking, showing great tushes; so that the crowd would cry out he was hag-born, a divell — and would Ariel the little sprite but play him some trick.
My Lady looks most at Ariel, but sudden listens when Caliban saith Prospero calleth Miranda his Nonpareil. Thereat she turneth a little white, and her bosom under her ruff rises and falls like two waves, and she catcheth her breath.
Why is this (I say); what aileth my Lady? But quick I know that she thinketh of one who called her the Nonpareil of Virginia —
again. my dear and noble Captain, once her love. He would ever call her such, saying the whole world had not her like; and she laughed one day in Virginia, and said: —
“Then her name was not Matoaka since he had called her Nonparella.”
And now the name strikes her sudden and woful, as she hears it in the play.
I bend over, and looking close at her say in a low voice: —
“What would you? I know who hath been with Master Shakespeare, and of whom he hath been talking.”
At that her head droops down and she studies the floor for a little while, growing quiet as she museth. But a new thing to try my Lady’s strength is to come. Across eh balcony of the stage was, I said, a second private room, with tapestry in front, facing the Queen’s. Up to nigh the end of the play this room was not open, and the tapestry in its front hung down, hiding the inner. Now this was thrust back, and running on a stick made some noise, whereat I look thither, and see in the shadow Master Shakespeare and Captain Smith.
I look sudden to my Lady, and see she is looking too. She is white as her smock,
He sees her
too. and trembles a little, with her eyes fixed on Smith. Sudden she puts her hand on my arm and whispers faint: —
“He is not dead, you see; it was a lie they told! He is not dead! he is not dead!”
“It is he himself and no other” (these words I could only say in a voice well nigh stifled); “and look! he sees you. Certes he comes to-night to see two Nonparellas at the play.”
Smith was nigh lost in the shadow of the tapestry, but I could see his face. He was no older to my eyes, for men like this are always young, methinks. The broad forehead showed some care, but the eyes were clear, and the long mustachios that he ever wore could not hide the frank mouth whereon was writ his nature. He was looking at my Lady Pokahontas with a long, still gaze, and then I knew he had heard she was coming, and had come himself to see her. Sudden I rose up.
“You would go see him?” my Lady says in a whisper.
“Certes; my heart beats at very sight of him.”
“And mine,” she says, shaking. “Tell him — no, tell him nothing!”170
I go quick to
him.And with a great sob she turns away and leans back in shadow.
I go out and meet a play-man, who tells me how I may come to the room where Smith is. I near stumbled down a trap wherefrom rises the ghost of Hamlet and such other unearthly shapes, and got to the room and went in. Smith was leaning to one side in the shadow of the curtain, but Master Shakespeare sate erect, smiling courteously as friends saluted him from the theatre below.
I touched Smith on the shoulder, and turning round he says, low: —
“Is it thou, Anas?”
“Your old soldier and henchman; yes,” I say.
“None was ever truer,” he says, in a strange, altered voice. “I saw you yonder, and my Lady Rebecca.”
He spoke so coldly that I marvelled, and said: —
“Why call you her the Lady Rebecca? That is her name with the court people, but certes with you she is the blessed Pokahontas.”
Thereat he colours up and groans.
“It is the same,” he says, “since I am now naught to her. But no more of that,
once more. Anas, — or here at least; this is no place for speech. I came hither to-night to see her, having no strength to meet her and talk with her; but I have writ the Queen of her great merit and how she saved us.”
“Not meet and talk with her!” I say; “not with her, thy saviour?”
“My undoer!” he saith groaning. “But this hubbub killeth speech. I know you lodge at Brentford, which is not so far, and, if you please, we will walk thither after the play. Shall we?
“I will tell you my mind, then. I am going away soon, and come but in time to get a last look of my Lady the Princess. I lodge at the Mermaid, and my friend Master Shakespeare, coming to London, meets me there. This in front of us is he; sure you remember him, since you once talked to him.”
The noise of the theatre was such as kept Master Shakespeare from hearing us. Now his name being spoken behind him he turns round quick and I am face to face with him.
He is clad in a slashed doublet with plain ruff, and shows some bravery: but ’t was not this man’s clothes that people
me. looked at, but his face. Never saw I face so friendly, or smile sweeter. He wears a mustache, and a pointed beard on his chin (we now call a royale, and is growing bald; but that only better shows his wondrous forehead, that piled-up mountain whence he dug Macbeth and Lear. Once ’t was hard to fancy he had ever a serious thought, or cared for aught save some gay conceit; but I see now what seemeth a shadow on his face.
“Is it somewhat that hath troubled him (I say) as the time hath gone on?”
But his old courtesy is unchanged, and his fine-filed phrase, ever as he speaks, is the same. He knows me quick, though ’t is more than a decade since that day at the Mermaid tavern, and shakes my hand, calling me by name.
So I had lived all these years in Virginia? (he saith smiling.) Would he himself could have left this England, which bustleth so, and ventured under the west wind to that land of lands! The Fount of Youth was to be found there, people said, which he would fain try, since he groweth old and bald now! (he laugheth and pointeth to his forehead). Is yonder truly the Princess Pokahontas? he asks. His
endeth. friend Captain Smith hath told him how she once saved him, and he hath figured her in his Miranda, that is, One to be wondered at; as see where Miranda cries, “Beseech you, father! Sir, have pity; I’ll be his surety!” when Prospero would smite down Ferdinand as Powhatan would smite Smith. This Ferdinand is Smith, he says laughing, though a king’s son; and Caliban is a deformed Indian, one Rawhunt, whereof Smith hath oft told him; which Caliban saith in the play that Duke Prospero calleth Miranda his “Nonpareil,” which is what Captain Smith calleth the Lady Pokahontas.
With such pleasant talk Master Will Shakespeare leaneth back, smiling; and I scarce believe that this is really he that writ the terrible-mournful “Othello,” “Lear,” and “Hamlet.” He is just the same as other people; and when Master Heminge, one of the players, comes in to talk with him of printing his plays, he laughs and trifles the time, saying ’t is a small matter; he will think of it. And when Master Heminge urges him, Master Shakespeare crieth with mock earnest: “Away! life is but a shadow!” and that he hath more important business, which is to go back to Stratford and see how grow certain calves of his!”174
farewell.So at last the play ends; and Master Shakespeare gets up and says Will we go to the Mermaid tavern, where he lodgeth, and empty a cup of sack with him? Fain would I, Anas Todkill, Puritan though I be, go with this writer of plays, had not the meeting with Smith moved me so. He, too, would talk with me, so we tell Master Shakespeare another time, whereof my regret remaineth still.
For ’t was the last sight I ever had of that wonder of the time and all times (I think). He was never in London more. On the next day he rides, as I hear, for
Brentford. Queen goes from the theater now, and ere long my Lady Pokahontas, and Master Rolfe too, in their coach to Brentford, I go not with ’em, making excuse to my Lady, who looks at me with a long look. The flambeaux light her face for but a moment, and then she is gone.
With Smith I walk back to Brentford; and to-day, shutting my eyes, I can see and hear all things on this night, which was April and a bright moon shining.
We talk long, walking slow, and Smith tells me all. He went away from Virginia loving the Lady Pokahontas with his heart of hearts (“with every drop of blood in my heart, Anas!” he crieth groaning), and thinking she loves him; but now see what cometh! When he went he was sore tormented by his hurt on the boat coming from the Falls, and needeth a chirurgeon;
me all. but most he went to London to confound his enemies. Then he would come back to Virginia and take Pokahontas for his. But ever (he said) his enemies fretted him, and kept him fighting ’em for his very good name, till he was well nigh in despair. He would not stay longer in London then, and sets out in a ship for Virginia; but off the Azores is made prisoner by a French ship and carried to Rochelle, when he is reported dead and scarce escapes with his life to England.*
Thereat I smite my hands together and cry: —
“This news cometh to Virginia, and the Lady Pokahontas is in despair!”
“Is it so?” he saith, with a grim look. “Nay, this thing hight the heart of a woman scarce hath time to despair, ere some brave new lover cometh!”
“Thou art unjust!” I cry. “When the rumor cometh, it well nigh breaketh her heart!”
“Is it so?” he saith again. “Well my own near breaks when the bruit comes to
talk. me she is married to Rolfe. O Heaven! could she not wait?”
“She thought thee dead.”
“Or he maketh her think it!”
“I wot not. So far as I know he thinketh likewise. All in the colony believe it, and my Lady hideth herself in despair. She goes to Potomac, not to lie in the midst of places you and she were together in, and Argall, that hawk, goes and betrays her; and when she comes to Jamestown it is said by all that you are dead.”
Thereat he hangs his head, and, musing, says in a low voice: —
“Is it even so?”
No more; and I add these words: —
“Blame her not, worthy friend and Captain. Long she mourned for thee, and would not listen to this Master Rolfe or any other: of which thou shalt have proof.”
Whereat I tell him all, and of that last meeting with her at the Place of Retreat. He listens, silent, with his brows knit piteously and his breast heaving. I see the moonlight on his face, and hear him groan.
“Be it so,” he saith at last; “this is the end, Anas.”
So no more of Pokahontas then, save that
sail for New
England. he hath writ the Queen a letter telling of all her goodness to the Colony and himself, and that he will come to see her ere long, and take his last greeting of her, at Brentford. Soon he will sail for New England, and were content to have it his last voyage; not to Virginia, — he will go there no more.
Having come thus far to Brentford, he leaves me and goes back to London, slow, in the moonlight. I stand looking after him for a long time, till his form is no more seen, and then I go home thinking. What I think to myself is this: “Were I to
* This was possibly the origin of the rumour of Smith’s death. He says in the General History that going in a boat to Rochelle “the Captain was drowned and half his company the same night: and ere long many of them that escaped drowning told me the newes they heard of my owne death.”
to see my
Lady. to end this true relation of my Lady and her soldier, the next day Smith comes to Brentford with divers courtiers and other his acquaintances, seeking to have it believed ’t is only a visit as of any one to this married Princess (no longer his love, but a Christian woman, having nought to do with that now).
He goes not in at first with my Lord Southampton and the rest, — this Southampton being the same whereto Master Shakespeare writes his famed sonnets. Smith draws me apart to the garden, and says he will show me something; then the rest being gone, he will speak a little with my Lady, and bid her farewell. We find a nook, and sit on a bench there, and he draws forth a paper. Therewith he heaves a great sigh and says: —
“How sorrowful is this world, Anas! I thought to wed my little Princess, but
His letter to
her Majesty. ’t is vain now, and here is the end. But to show you this.”
And he unwraps his paper, writ in his bold hand as though with his good sword’s point.
“Hearing the Virginia ship is at Plymouth with my Lady and her husband,” he says, “I fell into great amaze and wist now what to do, Anas. But to do duty is always best, and I write this paper to her Majesty; whereof here these few words.”
So he reads in a low voice, broke with sighs, this short discourse: —
“Most admired Queen, the love I bear my God, my King, and country hath so oft emboldened me in the worst of extreme dangers, that my honesty doth constrain me to present your Majesty this. That some ten years ago, being in Virginia and taken prisoner by Powhatan, their chief King, I received from this great savage exceeding courtesy, especially from his son Nantaquaus, the most manliest, comeliest, boldest spirit I ever saw in a savage, and his sister Pokahontas, the King’s most dear and well-beloved daughter, being but a child of twelve or thirteen years of age, whose compassionate, pitiful heart of my desperate estate gave me much cause to
lign him. respect her. She hazarded the beating out of her own brains to save mine; and not only that, but so prevailed with her father that I was safely conducted to Jamestown.
Here he stops and says, lowly: —
“Know you, Anas, that my enemies would say this is not true? So they hate be fore being Master yonder that I am perforce a brave liar! I make up this story, though nought is here to my own honour, save it be to a soldier’s honour that a woman is pitiful to him.”
“Your enemies say that?” I cry out. “Why at Jamestown we all know it, and my Lady tells it a thousand times, as do her wild train of people who came to the Fort with her!”
“That is nought! I am a Gascon, and boast of what I have done!” he says, his voice sounding bitter. “Natheless, let the ill tongues wag. She herself is here to speak now, and may say if it be not true.”
“Certes, that is the end of it, worthy Captain,” I say.
“I know not. The men I lashed from Virginia would destroy my character, Anas. They dare not face me, but will skulk, and write down that which at length, in
not. the after time will blacken my memory. Who knoweth? After all my hazards in that great land of America, it may be that my memorial will perish with me, since I’ve writ nothing.”*
“Never!” I say. “Fear not that, thou brave soldier and true heart.”
“Let it be so. I stand on mine own feet, and my life is my answer; now to finish these few words.”
And he reads what follows from the paper writ to her Majesty.
“And this relief, most gracious Queen, was commonly brought us by this Lady Pokahontas. Notwithstanding all these passages when inconstant fortune turned our peace to war, this tender virgin would still not spare to dare to visit us, and by her our jars have been oft appeased and our wants still supplied. (Thou knowest whether this be true or not, Anas.) Were it the policy of her father thus to employ her, or the ordinance of God thus to make her his instrument, or her extraordinary affection to our nation, I know not; but this I am sure. When her father, with the utmost of his policy and power, sought to
done for us. surprise me, having but eighteen men with me, the dark night could not affright her from coming through the irksome woods, and with watered eyes gave me intelligence with her best advice to escape his fury; which, had he known, he had surely slain her. (Dost thou remember Anas, on York River, at that night supper?)”
“Yes, I remember,” I say in answer.
“Jamestown with her wild train (he continueth reading) she as freely frequented as her father’s habitation; and during the time of two or three years she, next under God, was still the instrument to preserve this Colony from death, famine, and utter confusion, which if in those times had once been dissolved, Virginia might have lain as it was at our first arrival to this day.”
“That is God’s truth!” I say. “You put it in noble words, most worthy Captain.
“Thus, most gracious Lady” (Smith goes on reading), “however this might be presented you from a more worthy pen, it cannot from a more honest heart. As yet I never begged anything of the state, and it is my want of ability and her exceeding desert; your birth, means, and authority; her birth, virtue, want, and simplicity,
She is now
becca. doth make me thus bold humbly to beseech your Majesty to take this knowledge of the Lady Pokahontas; and so I humbly kiss your Majesty’s gracious hands and rest.”
Therewith Smith rolls up his paper, which he says is copied from what he writ the Queen when the ship with my little Lady comes to Plymouth. I listen to all this, not marvelling at his quick thought of her; and see now, that this letter brings the Queen to knowledge of her, whence all her gracious acts to my Lady and her reception at Court. The man that loved her (Smith) stills his poor beating heart that she is married to another now, and does that he can for the blessed damozel that is gone from him.
Now by this time it was nigh sunset and the courtiers were gone. Smith thinks he will go too, and asks, what god of speech with her? He cannot meet her as in old days when she was little Pokahontas.
“She is now Lady Rebecca,” he says, “and one of a royal family. His Majesty calls her cousin, and chides his subject Master Rolfe, I’m told, for marrying a Princess. Sure to be again familiar to her would hurt her in her new rank, to speak
again. nothing of her husband, who little fancies (I think) old loves!”
These bitter words he says, and heaves a sigh and then is quiet.
“It is best,” he says lowly. “What so hard as to thus meet her that once was my sweetheart, and talk coldly to my Lady Rebecca; I that fain would clasp her close and weep on her bosom! So no more, Anas! I will go away. Take thou this paper and show it her.”
“Show it yourself,” I say; “here she is.”
And indeed my little Lady, grown wary of the Court people and knowing not we were in the garden, walks for rest there and comes out suddenly from the bosk and sees us. Smith rises up quick and stands facing her in a great tremble. She is shaking too and comes on slow toward him, looking at him. Sudden she covers her face with her hands, and I see the tears stealing through her fingers. Smith goes to her and bows low, calling her my Lady Rebecca; but thereat she cries: —
“No! no! call me not that, but what thou calledst me in Virginia!”
Thereat Smith turns a little white and says in a strange voice: —186
greeting.I owe my Lady too much respect. Sure a married woman belongs to her lord, and the King hath forbid you to be treated save as a Princess. Forget the old times and remember the new. It were far better!”
He speaks deep, well nigh groaning, but she wrings her hands and cries pitifully once more: —
“No! no! Thou didst call me ‘child’ once. I would be the same still; and if ‘child,’ then ‘father!’ Wouldst thou not have that? You did promise Powhatan what was yours should be his, and he the like to you. You called him ‘father,’ being in his land a stranger!”
Thereat a blush comes to her face s though thinking, Were I married to him then my father would be his, and my father’s child his wife!
But Smith, drawing a long breath, shakes his head and stands in a sort of quaking.
“The child forgot one who loved her,” he says, speaking very low.
And she in a voice yet lower: —
“They did tell me always you were dead, and I knew no other till I came to Plymouth.”
Whereat her face grows so white that
And so they
part. I think she will faint; but she stands straight and looks at him out of her great black eyes, that are swimming in tears, as though her heart were breaking.
Sudden I, Anas Todkill, remembering myself, go away from these two people. Lost in amaze I had stood thus far scarce knowing I listened. Now I turn round and slowly leave them, and they walk away each beside other; and then the bosk of the wood taketh them, and they are no more seen.
What said they each to other? I know not nor would know. Sure the secrets of these two hearts were their own, and, as ’t were, sacred. After an hour they come back slowly, and I can see my Lady has been weeping. Smith is pale and his voice shakes as he bows low and goes away; and then my Lady steals to her bower and is no more seen that night. Master Rolfe plays chuck-farthing with a friend, asking “Who’s been to-day?” And I go out in the moon that is shining and look up to my Lady’s window, and say, “Write me a great drama, O worthy Master Shakespeare! Thou dost sound the human heart — canst thou sound these two?”
* At this date Smith had published none of his works except that his letter, A True Relation; and the extended narratives of the General History, afterwards, were by others.
to Virginia. is little I have to add now to this true relation of my Lady Pokahontas. After that last greeting with him she had once loved she fell into a great melancholy; and save for thoughts of her religion I think she had pined away then, and so ended. But her faith kept her from despairing, and she would talk always of going back to Virginia. Her own people were to be converted, and she would be God’s instrument, — wherefore in the very beginning of this poor discourse I writ the words, that the fabric of that great business fell in her grave.
Natheless, always she had it at heart, in that autumn and the winter that followeth; seeming no more to think of Smith (now made by his Majesty Admiral of New England), but dreameth what she may do, as a poor servant of the Lord Christ.
Oft I hear her whisper “Virginia!” as
asleep. one musing in her mind: and once she toucheth me with her small hand, and raising her black eyes to my face, saith low, with faint smiles: “Come thou with me, Anas!”
Certes, I had gone with her on that voyage they made ready for: but, sudden (as I said) my little Lady set forth on another.
It fell (so God willed) in the March month of the year of our blessed Lord 1617, at Gravesend. My Lady had gone thither to embark for Virginia, carrying the blessing of his grace the Bishop of London on her intent in her own country. But she never was to see the fair fields of Virginia more. A fever takes her and she sinks suddenly, but is resigned to God’s will and blesses his name. I was close to her when she died, and signing the people to leave her she whispers to me: —
“You will love my boy, Anas,” she says, in a voice I scarce hear; “and say to some one, thou knowest who, he must love and cherish him too for his poor mother.”
Thereat she looks up and joins her two white hands together.
“Blessed Jesus, thou wilt have me!” she whispers, and comes a sudden stillness. My Lady is ended.190
in peace.She lies buried in the chancel of the parish church of Gravesend, there waiting the resurrection, when the secrets of all hearts shall be known. This one was so white that I think no stain be there to wash. But natheless, if there be, Christ’s
(Writ by Anas Todkill, Puritan and Pilgrim, sometime her henchman, who commendeth to all good people this True Relation 1618.)