Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"How long do you think they will keep me here in this stockade?  I have done nothing to deserve this. It has almost been a year and my father has given back his English prisoners.  Am I not worth more than the few swords and weapons they still demand from him?"

"I know Pocahontas."  I will try to talk to the Council again.  I have brought it up nearly every day with one man or the other."

"Thank you for coming to see me,  Captain Rolfe.  Not even my old playmates will come to visit me here because it is so shameful to be locked up."

"I remember when you were a girl causing merry mischief trying to teach the girls how to do cartwheels while their mothers disapproved.  Sadly, few have survived."

"That seems like a long time ago now.  Mostly, it was the boys who played games with me.  I have always been a friend to you English, and now this is how I have been treated.  I kept many from dying bringing food every few week back in the Starving Time.  My deeds have been lost in their memory.  When my father moved far away, I missed my friends here, but it seems they have forgotten me.  I trusted the Captain Argyll when he invited me aboard his ship for dinner, then he kidnapped me."

John Rolfe put his hand through the bars to wipe away tears coursing down here cheeks.  Then he gently cuffed her chin in his hands and asked, "Have you tried praying like I taught you?"

She nodded, "But God the Father doesn't answer."

"I am praying too.   Perhaps if you were baptized as a Christian, they would set you free."

"You mean the sign of accepting your God by water?  I have listened carefully to the vicar as he has been teaching me."

"Yes.  It would make me happy if you did."

She smiled at him.  "You are the only one I can trust."

"Do you think your father will decide to the terms to return the weapons?  That is the only reason they still keep you here you know."

"No, if I were his son, then he would consider it.  He always thought I was too friendly to you whites.  There was too much trouble with you Englishmen, so he moved far away to have peace like the old days before you came.  Then you followed him and caused more trouble.  He probably thinks I want to be here or deserve to be here locked up.  He might attack.  But agree to return weapons?  No.  As a child I was his delight and darling, but it is not the Powhatan way.  I am only a woman.  My father marries many women.  After they have his child, then they are sent away to be married to someone else.  I am to be forgotten as well."

"If you were set free, would you go back or stay here with us?"

"I don't know.  I am caught with a foot in both worlds.  I don't know where I would be accepted."

"I would like you to stay."

Pocohantas looked up surprised to see the tenderness in John Rolfe's gaze.  "It is something the governing body would have to decide as well as the representatives of the church if I were to take you as my wife.  Are you willing for me to ask for your hand in marriage, my dear?  You know I lost my wife and child in Bermuda on our way here."

The maiden was speechless, but was desperate for someone to care for her.  This good widower's heart was true.  He had proved it.  She reached through the bars and held his hand that was held out to her.  He kissed it as if she were one of the English ladies.  Tears filled her eyes.  "You have been so kind to me, John.  I am honored, but am afraid your people would never accept this marriage.  I am only a Powhatan, an Indian as you call us, but my heart will always be yours."

"Pray, Pocohantas, pray.  My heart is so entangled with yours, that I can't stand to see you here like this.  I will write a letter with a formal request and suggest that it will bring good to the Colony."

After he left, the girl knelt in her cell and poured out her prayers to her Father who John told her truly cared what happened to her.

The council came in the morning.  Christopher Newport spoke for them. "It is evident that your father refuses the weapons exchange.  Pocahontas, are you willing to be baptized as a Christian believer?  John Rolfe has asked permission to marry you, but we will not consider this as long as you are still a heathen.  Your new name would be Rebecca, the mother of a new nation in the Bible.  We hope that your father will take it as a sign of good faith that we will be friends with the Powhatans.  We trust this for the good of the Colony to bring peace by this marriage."

Softly she replied, "Yes, the vicar has carefully explained what it means to be a Christian, and I am willing.  I have been talking to God in prayer since I have been here.  I have always known there was a Creator God, but now I know He is the only true God and His Son has forgiven me my sins."

Pleased with her answer, Newport signaled for the jailor to bring the key.  John Rolfe brought her out to the sunshine where a crowd had gathered.  She was ashamed to stand before them so dirty and unkept from her time in jail.  When her eyes adjusted to the light, she looked up into mostly grim, disapproving faces, with only a few friendly smiles from former friends.

"It is good to have you back with us, Pocahontas," the good wives of  the men of the Council came up and embraced her as an example before others.  The maiden looked up into John Rolfe's face as he smiled and whispered, "As soon as you are baptized, we may marry.  You are approved, my little merry mischief."

Pocahontas was incredulous.  To be married to the most successful planter in all of the Jamestown Colony, the kindest of them all, was more than she could have imagined.  God was so good to this little Indian girl.  She never dreamed growing up playing with the Jamestown children that she would ever truly be one of them and loved, yes, loved by a man like John Rolfe, an Englishman.

Captain John Rolfe and his Pocahontas are my 9th great grandparents
through the Stovall side.
""Will you go with this man?'  And she said, 'I will go.'
'May you, our sister,
Become thousands of ten thousands,
And may your descendants possess
The gate of those who hate them...'
"he took Rebekah, and she became his wife;
and he loved her."
Genesis 24:58,60,67

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