Friday, November 09, 2012

Falcons Fly West

By Mary Brockway
Historical 403 pages
Cover art by Richard Stroud
ISBN 978-1-61309-102-9   $7.50
ISBN 978-1-61309-901-8   $12.95
When Oliver Cromwell’s Parliament tightens its grip on former Royalists, John FitzStephen and his son sail to America where he owns a land tract. John thinks he has left religious and political strife in England but he is wrong, for many colonists brought their bigotry to America. John hopes he can leave his love of sailing the world and begin a new life in New Haven Colony. He finds friends, and a foe, Puritan zealot, Reverend Joseph Foxe.
“He will say women are easily frightened and that it was no doubt nothing at all, perhaps only a mouse.”

“But Abner and his father, and the whole Meggs family, did see the Indian on their property.”

“That won’t matter if Foxe fills the panel with his loyal parishioners. I suspect he already has the jury intact. I pray Dobbs can foil his attempts.”

The following morning after the cow was milked and chores done, Charlotte and Elizabeth packed valises and climbed into their pony cart.

John instructed Will about changing Lucian’s bandages, and doing the needed chores, then rode along with them. He was armed with a sheaf of notes written in Lucian’s precise hand, dictating the best procedure for ensuring that his sister and niece did not suffer the indignity of being placed in stocks in the public square. He had cited several law passages covering murder trials, but warned John that New Haven Colony was not England, and resorted to using its own law at times.

Elizabeth rode stoically, but Charlotte shed tears and her mother took her hand. “Keep your spirits high, my child. They want you to cry, to be ground into the earth in shame. Remember that.”

Shouts came from the square as the cart proceeded into it. Again, a crowd had gathered. John gasped, when he saw the stocks beneath the large oak. So they did plan to put Charlotte into them. He rode ahead.
He pointed to the stocks. “You will not be using these, for she is accused of murder. Charlotte Rogers will await trial in the jail and her mother will stay there with her.” He nodded to the small cabin next to the magistrate’s building.

Several people, including two women, rushed forward. “We are told different,” one of them said. “Witches must be doused or burned.”

A chill shook John when he noticed the barrels of water.

Magistrate Dobbs strode into the crowd, waving a rolled sheet of parchment. He shouted over the din. “This writ against Mistress Rogers does not include witchcraft, or misdemeanor. She is charged with the murder of an Indian, who as nearly as we can determine, is not from a local tribe.”

“The chit still ought to have a drenching,” one of the women yelled. “Lower that high set of her nose.”

Charlotte’s face paled and she glanced into her lap until her mother lifted her chin. “Face them, Lottie. Look them right into their eyes. You have done nothing to deserve their taunts.”

John admired the pride in this woman, who had already suffered too much. This kind of anger against her last living child would cause her more anguish.

The magistrate and an aide led the women to the jail and opened the door.

“I have guards assigned, Mistress Elizabeth. I pray you and your daughter will not be too uncomfortable.”

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