Frances Street was unusually quiet this morning but once I reached Duke of Gloucester Street I understood why. People milled about discussing the trial last eve. The women of Williamsburg had a deep sympathy for Mrs. Hill. She is a well-loved lady of the town. People know her and her husband extremely well. Being new, I have no real opinion of either lady so I declined to respond while people talked.
Mrs. Anderson did not like the lady found guilty - "a most unfriendly sort" and "never smiled" were words she uttered while Mrs. Hill was "likable and friendly" and "a pretty woman even as she aged." It would appear that even in Williamsburg a person's looks can make people think a certain way about a body. Not one to judge a book by its cover as my Father has always stated, I cannot declare either woman pretty or not. I am certain if Mary were here she would have an opinion. She has an opinion on everyone she meets.
I milled about the shops, browsing to my heart's content but dared not hope for anything new today. Father seems preoccupied so I dared not ask for pin money to purchase a few necessities. I will do with what I have brought with me in the meantime. There was no rain today so the streets teamed with people and liveried carriages. Everyone appeared to have taken advantage of the lovely weather. If Williamsburg is like this, I think I could be persuaded to remain. Father says he will take me to the plantation home later in the week.
Diary, a most glorious thing occurred today. More than I dared hope. Father arrived home with a large box. When I opened it I could not contain my excitement. The most delightful, exquisite gown of red satin with gold piping and Brussels lace at the sleeves was nestled inside. When I asked Father about the occasion, he explained we would be traveling to a fellow gentleman's home on the morrow. There will be a ball and I will be introduced to the finer people of Williamsburg's society. Apparently the lady will sponsor me during the upcoming season.
I think I shall retire early this evening in preparation for the day.
Fare thee well, diary.
Day 3 –
My favorite part of the day was visiting the three ships – the Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery (I think this is the 3rd ship). We got to go on the ship and see where cargo was held. We saw where the people slept. It was interesting to see that the majority of the people who traveled here had to sleep on top of the cargo and had only about 3.5 feet of space for between the beams and where they slept. Many of the sailors had to sleep in shifts depending on when they worked a top deck. Only the captain the cook had their own quarters. The cook usually slept atop the quarter deck and was right next to the stove/oven for cooking. The captain’s quarters were towards the front of the ship. He slept in the quarters in front of the officers who had to share one chamber. The captain had a small room to himself but in reality, compared to what his men had, this was quite extravagant.
After seeing the three ships we traveled to the real Jamestowne settlement. We saw where the archeologists are currently digging to unearth the church. They managed to dig of several graves and marked several others. During the Great Hunger time, the population went from over 300 to about 60 people. To not let the Indians see so many men had died, they buried them inside the dwellings. They thought they would leave on the next ship and began to depart when Lord De la Ware arrived with new provisions and an extra 200 men. This allowed the settlement to continue.
Rain poured from the sky but we did a fun activity – Mary had cut up postcards and numbered them. We are going to work together with the other people who have the other parts of our cards. A great way to get students to work together. We also did an activity where we pretended we were indentured servants and had to convince the agents to take us to America. Some teachers were the agents and others were the servants. The more points you earn, the better you did. Another fun activity for the students in order to understand about indentured servitude and how people worked the system to their own gain.
How any work was to be done in this weather is beyond me. Rebecca awaited me in the parlour. We were to call on a Mrs. Powell late in the morning. Tess helped me dress, and while longing to look my best for this woman of society, I dared not ruin my satin pumps in this changeable weather. I realize you think ‘tis silly of me since London’s weather is not the best, but I can tell you, diary, the heat here is something I have never experienced in my life. Instead of wearing my best silk and brocade slippers from the Orient, I slipped on serviceable black shoes and set my cap into place. Tess brought me my bonnet and I descended the stairs to meet Rebecca. My nerves all a jumble, I knew Father depended upon my perfect behavior as it would reflect upon him, but most of all, if women in Virginia were anything like London women, gossip could destroy both of us. I understood the weight of this meeting this morning and vowed to do my very best.
I find myself in town. Father has an account at Mr. Greenhowe’s store and I am to purchase items I feel we will need in our new home. Much to my delight father has transferred a sizable amount of money to this merchant’s account for just said purposes. All manners of sundries must be purchased so several shops are on my list today. At each one I shall let them k now Mr. Greenhowe holds our note of credit. Thank the heavens it is just as London, for I fear that the concept of money and the exchange would confuse me terribly. Not that Father did not hire an exemplary tutor in Mr. Broadhurst in London. On the contrary, he taught well enough to do my numbers, but when trying to do an accounting in one’s head in this god forsaken heat, I fear I could make a terrible mistake.
Back to the governor’s wife. She insisted I come to a small gathering she was having at her home this evening. Of course I was shocked, being new in the colonies and all, but apparently father’s rank must be quite high for the governor addressed him after services as well. Being the governor of this land is much like being the king I presume. After all he does represent the king here, so all who speak to him know they are speaking to the king. And of course vice versa (as my tutor would state) that all the governor says is from the king and must be obeyed. Of course I agreed to come to her party and looked forward to the event with glowing anticipation.
In either case, a vote is to be taken soon. I have seen the letters posted and have heard the announcement at Sunday services. I worry about this vote. I fear nothing will be the same. But I guess, for me, so much has changed over the past few weeks, what could possibly make it more different?Dearest Diary,
So much time has past and I wish I could have written sooner. With moving in to our new home, I have been busy setting the household to rights. Father purchased several slaves - an institution I am much opposed to but Father will not hear me speak on the matter. He also has paid for several indentured servants to assist me in the home. I do not understand why we cannot just pay for servants as we did in London. Father keeps reminding me we are not in London.
My question is this - I have heard the men speaking about liberty and their reasons for fighting for freedom. Why do not the slaves deserve this same freedom? There! I have said it. IT is written down and I vow to not retract my thoughts on this matter. All men deserve to be free. Once Father is over this business of fighting against Britain I will speak with him about the evilness of holding a person against their wishes and making them work for no pay whatsoever.
In the meantime - we have voted for freedom from Britain. I say we, but it was really the men who voted. We women do not have a say in this matter. Father came home from the Assembly and was so proud of the vote. He also bid me to make sure we stored our silver away in a safe location. He fears this war shall rage on for a while and we may need our silver in order to survive. I pray things do not get so bad.
I hope to write more soon. I hear there will be meetings in Philadelphia soon. Our brave men from Virginia will be heading there soon to cast their votes. If all men believe as this Patrick Henry and my father, I know we shall be seeing British soldiers here on in our backyards soon enough.