Thursday, May 10, 2012

Chapter 15: Where the quarter came from

This chapter, the one that ties the story in to noted historical events, opens with a series of unattributed exclamations from aggravate New England men.

The women, meanwhile, are eavesdropping from the other room: "Mercy's spinning wheel faltered, and Rachel's hand, lighting a pine knot, trembled so that a spark fell on the table unheeded and left a small black scar."

Judith, despite her earlier "oh, let the men handle it" moment, has actually been paying attention, so she's able to explain to us why the previously royalist William is now part of the complaining horde: "William came over to Father's way of thinking two months ago. Even before his house was raised, when he had to pay such high taxes on his land."

(I would love to throw in an image of the highly relevant "birth of a Republican" strip from the early days of Zits, but it doesn't seem to be available online. Alas.)

Sir Francis Tyler's granddaughter emerges a bit as the new governor and his escort make their arrival in Connecticut: "Kit thrilled at the sight of the familiar red coats. How tall and handsome and trim they looked, beside the homespun blue-coated soldiers.... The magnificence of Andros and his procession had shaken their confidence."

But after that moment of "hey, the king still has the power," the colonists are back in form, ending their meeting with Andros on their own terms. (Short version: Andros was authorized to govern Massachusetts and Connecticut as a single colony; Connecticut objected to the violation of their existing charter. Andros won, but the colonists hid the charter instead of surrendering it, turning the Charter Oak into the symbol of the state-to-be. Longer version here.)

William was in the room, and he reports back to Matthew. (The girls are once again eavesdropping, this time from upstairs.) "Far as I could see everybody stayed in their right places. But when the candles were lit the charter had disappeared."

The geopolitical implications don't mean a whole lot to Kit, but Matthew's leadership of the pro-charter group gives her a chance to see some of her uncle's strengths in action: "Tonight she had understood for the first time what her aunt had seen in that fierce man to make her cross an ocean at his side."

No comments: