>> Thursday, January 28, 2010
Imagine you're 24, and there's no future in the Somersetshire village where you grew up and where your family has lived for at least a hundred years. You, your bride, and your younger brother Samuel have decided to seek your fortune in the New World. The journey will begin at Weymouth on the coast of Dorset, which borders Somerset.
As the coach at last crests the hill above Weymouth, you gaze upon the natural harbour bracketed in the distance by white chalk cliffs. From here, you can't tell which ship bobbing at anchor is the Hopewell, but you can't board her until morning anyway. Deferring to your wife's comfort, the two of you will pass your last night in England at an inn rumored to be a favorite of pirates who find the hidden coves around Weymouth Bay convenient for off-loading ill-gotten treasures. Samuel hasn't decided yet where he'll rest his head.
You'll try not to remember that you'll never see your beloved England again. You push aside thoughts of the perils of a month at sea. At least the Hopewell's passengers won't suffer the same fate as those of the Mayflower did fifteen years earlier. There have been reports that the Indians haven't totally accepted their new English neighbors, but there's now some semblance of civilization on the shores of Massachusetts Bay.