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Will the Company
Abandon Them?

Cecily in Lady
Gates’s Care

Cecily’s Journey

Plymouth and

The Spanish

Babies Arrive
amidst Turmoil

Brutal Martial Law

Nothing to Eat

Hope: the First General Assembly

Page previous
Departing England

When I go to Henricus and Bermuda Hundred, I cannot help but remember the suffering of the settlers in these early years. The Company wouldn’t allow the settlers to go home, would not allow them to plant their own food (they had stringent work details), and the Company-provided food arrived rotten.Henricus TodayquoteI could not prepare this food and make it savory—no one could. Even dry in the tin, the meal didn’t look right with its peculiarly sickening dark color, flecks of green, and fishy smell. Fish ought to smell fishy, but wheat ought to smell like wheat, I thought with revulsion.

The oatmeal, too, smelled not sweet or grassy, but rather bitter and acrid. Rotten, the both of them. When cooked, both meals would have spider webs, and nothing I could do to remedy that. I would remove whatever moths I found in it first. And at that, not enough to keep us well fed even on spoiled rations.


This was it. No meats, for we were growing our livestock herds—not slaughtering. Little corn of our own, for we had only the three allotted acres, few corn kernels to plant, and little time to till the field.
Bermuda Hundred Marker
Yet, since Dale’s arrival, we did at least have these gardens. But the plenti­ful food Smythe had promised departing adventurers was mysterious. No one had ever seen it. No one ever expected to.
“Smythe be cursed!” shouted a man behind us, and I caught myself flinching.

“Curse Smythe? Curse Winne the draper and Casell the baker who pro­vide this hogs’ food.”

“Hogs won’t eat of it. They’re too wise. We ought to take a lesson from the swine in what to shove into our mouths!”

Sniggering broke out in the line around the first man. Cecily started to laugh herself, and I clapped my hand across her mouth. “No,” I hissed, and she startled, giving me a half-frightened, half-quizzical look. What did I do wrong? her eyes seemed to ask.

My hand still over her mouth, I leaned to her ear and whispered. “Even children can go to the stocks, be whipped, or starved…or worse.

From When The Moon Has No More Silver By Connie Lapallo © 2011

Bermuda hundred

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Copyright 2011 Connie Lapallo