Morton burrowed deeper into the laundry bag to avoid the grasping hands of baby Demaris. Not that he didn’t love the little girl, but the toddler liked to pick him up and squeeze him around his tummy. And since the yellow tabby weighed almost as much as the little girl, it was quite uncomfortable. Besides, he’d enjoyed a rather large starling just a few minutes ago, and he needed time for the bird to settle.
Even the smell of Stephen Hopkins soiled hose didn’t deter him from curling up for a long nap. Before he could get comfortable, the man burst through the door saying, “I’ve done it Elizabeth, I’ve signed the contracts. We’re moving to Virginia.”
Morton heard a pot clatter to the andirons. Elizabeth Hopkins must be worried about traveling for two months to a strange land full of hostile inhabitants. She rehung the pot on its hook over the fire before taking a seat at the table.
Stephen sat across from her and then immediately jumped up. “This will be the making of our family, mark my words. Fifty pounds and our own land, my dear. Just think. Isn’t it wonderful?”
“Yes, Stephen, but what about the baby?” Elizabeth said.
“Demaris won’t receive any money, but she’ll get fifty acres of land.” He swept the child up over his head, causing her to whoop with laughter. “You want fifty acres of land, don’t you Demaris?”
“No.” She gave her regular response to every question.
Stephen laughed, but Elizabeth was not laughing. “You know very well, I’m talking about the baby I’m carrying right now.”
Stephen stopped pacing and sat at the table with his wife. “You’ve plenty of time before this baby is born. We’ll arrive in Virginia long before October.”
As Morton listened to them talk about the journey, his own doubts and fears began to resurface. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to return to the homeland of his birth. (Although from what Stephen said, they would be settling at the Mouth of the Hudson, which was nowhere near the part of Virginia where he had been born.) It was just that these journeys rarely turned out as planned.
After all, Stephen Hopkins himself had been on-board the ill-fated Sea Venture with Morton’s father, Salt. That ship had encountered a terrible tempest on its journey to Virginia. It sank off the coast of Bermuda, a lucky coincidence that spared both Stephen and Salt from a watery grave. And what about his sister, Pepper. The whole country had mourned the loss of her person, Pocahontas, when she tried to journey from England back to Virginia.
Stephen leaped up from his chair, sending it tumbling backward. “I won’t leave you behind, Elizabeth. I did that with Mary, and she died while I was away. I want my whole family with me this time. Besides there will be plenty of women on the voyage. The Separatists are all bringing their families.”
“Alright Stephen. If you think its best, we will all come. When do we leave?”
“Any day now.”
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