Just before dusk the wagons pulled under several big oak trees. Meg was in her glory for John was showing her the food that he had brought along and asked her to pass it out to the others. MoJo built a fire so she could boil water for coffee and tea. Their food was mostly bread and cheese but there was an abundant amount of fruit and he told her to give each one his fill, for he was sure that they had not fared well on the provisions on the ship. He watched from the side as everyone gorged them selves and he enjoyed the first cup of coffee that Meg brought to him. As he drank his coffee he surveyed the people one by one that he had signed on. He hoped that he had made the right selections.
His gaze stopped on the woman Anna Martin, again he studied her as she ate the big red apple that she held, for she didn't seem to be in a hurry as the others were with their food---no she slowly enjoyed each small bite and every now and then she smiled as she looked at it as if in deep thought.
The next morning Meg woke her early before the others were stirring and motioned to her to follow and be quiet.
John watched quietly from the far side where he had slept with his blanket rolled up and used it to rest his head on. He wondered at first if the two women were going to steal food and try to escape. Then he saw Meg trying to reignite the evening fire. She soon had it going and he watched as she pointed to Anna to fetch things for her as they whispered. He was amazed when he caught the aroma of pancakes and fired apples and fresh coffee. He smiled, yes indeed he had chosen will in picking Meg. Maybe some day he would ask her why there had been no other name on her paper accept---Meg? Anna Martin was yet to prove herself. He also felt like there was a lot more to this pair, than met the eye. Six years would uncover a lot!
They were soon on their way and had not stopped until they reached a large farm where John and MoJo told them that he would purchase some cattle and sheep. He took several men with him to help contain the animals. They were soon back with the stock tethered and herded before them. John and MoJo were not among them and the men were talking and shaking their heads.
From what Anna could piece together from the conversation they were amazed that any man would purchase---that sort of animal?
Some time had past before they all sat there and watched MoJo and John struggling to contain the most beautiful horse that she had ever seen. The stallion was midnight black with one jagged mark from his head to just below his eyes and he was fighting these two men every step of the way. They had him doubled tethered and he was still trying to strike out with deadly kicks. He would paw the ground and dare the men to come close. John told two of the men to keep the wagons moving and he and MoJo would contain the stallion. He also instructed Meg to go among the people and hand out all the bread, cheese and fruit for they would not be able to stop again until the reached his land.
Finally they departed and she and Meg smiled when they climbed into the wagon, no this time it was not a cage. There were ticking mats filled with straw which Meg fingered with appreciation as she sat down. They were also handed a big wool blanket. When the wagons reached the out-skirts of town, John pulled to the side of the dusty road and stood up on the seat.
"Folks I have something to say and I will only say it once so listen carefully. You all will be going to my farm and I expect each and every adult to give me a full days work. I do not judge you for your past, I will only judge you from this day-forward. You do right by me and I will treat you the same. Anyone that causes trouble will be punished by me and that persons papers will be sold to the first slave trader that comes to port. Now it will take us three days to reach my land. We will stop along the road to spend the night and I expect the women to make a meal with the fare that I have brough along. We will also be stopping along the way to purchase some cattle and sheep and maybe a horse before we reach our destination. The men will attend to the animals along the way, so see your work has begun," with that said he sat back down and snapped the reins and the wagons moved forward.
As Anna sat there she kept taking deep breathes of the fresh air. It was a simple thing that she and Meg agreed on that they could not get enough of after the stench of the ships hole and the prison. It was spring and this new country was in their eyes a paradise. They each pointed excitedly at the peach and cherry trees along the way. Meg quietly teased her when she spotted an apple tree and asked her if she wanted to steal a few. It was the first time she had seen Meg attempting to smile since she had met her. It also occurred to her that maybe this was the first time in her own life that she had a---real friend.
Her gazed strayed from the scenery and focused on the man that was driving the wagon. This man John Blake what was he really like? From where she was sitting in the back of the wagon she could only see the back of his head. So far this John Blake that she had agreed to give the next six years of her life to---seemed to speak will and if his words were true, she and Meg would endure the time ahead. He was a tall man with dark eyes and black hair, yes one could say the word handsome would be more fitting. He had broad shoulders and his hands showed that he was use to working. She also wondered what his wife would be like---for that could be an obstacle if she was the difficult type.
Anna was spelled bound and she could not take her eyes off of the magnificent horse. I was plain to see that no one was going to break his spirit. They traveled well into the night. Finally they reached their destination. It was a full moon and the light showed several large buildings and far to one side of the main building she could make out the outline of many small dwellings.
"Now, you folks stay put while we get this horse put in the stable," he said as he motioned to the men as to where they where to put the sheep and cattle.
The main house looked very large but it didn't compare with her home in England, in fact it would have been considered crude in that part of the world.
"Anna this looks quite fine to me and I think it will be just grand," Meg said as she viewed the large stone house.
"Yes, I suppose so," she replied as she did not want to show her real feelings. This was a new place and she needed to get accustom to it. She did think it strange that with all the noise that they had made on arriving that surely Johns wife and staff would have been alerted by now and show some light in the house.
To be continued: