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Mass' George: A Boy's Adventures in the Old Savannah, Page 2

George Manville Fenn


  The month which followed was one scene of excitement to me. We wentinto lodgings in Bristol, and my father seemed to be always busy makingpurchases, or seeing the different gentlemen who were going out with usin the same ship.

  I recollect many of their faces. There was the General, a firm,kindly-looking man, who always seemed to me as if he could not possiblybe a soldier, he was too quiet. Then there was Colonel Preston, ahandsome, florid gentleman, ten years older than my father, and I heardthat his wife, two sons and daughter were to be of the party.

  In a misty kind of way, too, I can recollect that the gentlemen who cameand had long talks with my father, used to chat about the plantations inVirginia and Carolina, and about a charter from the King, and that theplace we were going to was to be called Georgia, because the King's namewas the same as mine.

  Then, too, there was a great deal of talk about the enemy; and as I usedto sit and listen, I understood that the Spaniards were the enemy, andthat they lived in Florida. But every one laughed; and my father, Iremember, said gravely--

  "I do not fear anything that the Spaniards can do to hinder us,gentlemen, I am more disposed to dread the climate."

  A great deal that followed has now, at this time of writing, becomeconfused and mixed up; but I can remember the cheering from the wharvesas our ship floated away with the tide, people talking about us asadventurers, and that soon after it came on to blow, and my nextrecollections are of being in a dark cabin lit by a lantern, which swungto and fro, threatening sometimes to hit the smoky ceiling. I did notpay much heed to it though, for I was too ill, and the only consolationI had was that of seeing Sarah's motherly face by the dim light, andhearing her kindly, comforting words.

  Then, after a very stormy voyage, we seemed, as I recollect it, to haveglided slowly out of winter into summer, and we were off a land ofglorious sunshine at the mouth of a river, up which we sailed.

  I know there was a great deal done afterwards in the way of formaltaking possession in the name of the King, and I can recollect beingdelighted with the show that was made, and at seeing my father and theother gentlemen wearing gay clothes and sashes and plumes, and withswords buckled on. Even Morgan partook of the change, and I well recallhow he came to me just before he landed, in a kind of grenadier uniform,with sword and musket and belts, drawing himself up very stiff andproud-looking as he let down the butt-end of his firelock with a loudbang upon the deck.

  "Do I look all right and soldierly, Master George?" he whispered, aftera glance round to see that he was not overheard.

  "Yes," I said, "you look fine. Is your gun loaded?"

  "Not yet, my lad."

  "Pull out your sword and let's look at it."

  "By and by, my lad," he said; "but tell me; I do look all right, don'tI?"

  "Yes. Why?"

  "Because Sarah's got a nasty fit on this mornin'. Don't tell her I toldyou; but she said I looked fit to be laughed at, and that there'd be nofighting for me: Indians would all run away."

  "Oh, never mind what she says," I cried. "I wish I was big enough for asoldier."

  "Wait a bit, boy, you'll grow," he said, as he busily tightened awell-whitened belt. "You see it's so long since I've been soldiering,that I'm a bit out of practice."

  There was no enemy, Indian or Spaniard, to oppose us, and before longthe land had been roughly surveyed and portioned out, my father, as anofficer of good standing, being one of the earliest to choose; and in avery short time we were preparing to go out on the beautiful littleestate that had become his, for the most part forest-land, with a patchor two of rich, easily-drained marsh on both sides of a little streamwhich ran, not far away, into the great river up which we had sailed,and upon which, just below us, was to be formed the new city.

  Then time glided on, and as I recall everything I can, I haverecollections of the gentlemen of the expedition, and common men,soldiers and others, coming with their swords and guns to our place, andall working hard together, after setting sentries and scouts to givewarning of danger, and cutting down trees, and using saws, and helpingto roughly build a little wooden house, and put up a fence for us.

  Then, after getting our things in shelter, my father and Morgan joinedin helping to build and clear for some one else; and so on, week afterweek, all working together to begin the settlement, till we were allprovided with rough huts and shelters for the valuable stores andammunition brought out. After which people began to shift forthemselves, to try and improve the rough places first built.