Archive for October, 2008

1 November 1608

. . but enough of these dreams… hallucinations.


Here I sit, back in London, a pariah broke and jobless.  Logbook descriptions of ice mermaids and tokens like narwhal horn, walrus tusk, and white bear tooth soon lost their luster.  Sweet Katherine, mother of my three sons–Richard, John, and Oliver–even sweet Kate has turned to vinegar.  My brothers disrespect me.  I swear that Grandpa Henry, a founder of the Muscovies, scowls down from his portrait.
Why?  Twice Hopewell bore us northward . ..  toward Cathay we imagined, to unfathomable riches and fame.  more on those voyages soon.

But now only Cathay believes me . . . Cathay, patroller of the hold, my protector, mykitty.

(Note:  Check these 2009 plans.)


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Call me Henry. Let’s look one year ahead and 400 back, traveling to mid-October 1608, and I’ve just returned from my second voyage, with Ming Cathay again eluding me.

The sea past Nova Zembla just closed with ice. With it, my prospects in the employ of the Muscovy Company also shut. But my dreams remain vivid and I

see my vessel entering a rich harbor.  I don’t care which vessel or which flag, but the vessel arrives.  I see it in my dreams, and no matter what the port

Cathay or not, it’s still worth getting there, and

its future is bright although in my dreams I see it only dimly for now.

But I also see future denizens of the port celebrate another, someone who never sailed in their boro.  No Hudson Day existed, and so this port that values trade and mariner values celebrates this other day, Columbus Day in the sixth boro, a holiday with a history that started here in 1792!

I protest!  The boro should have an annual Hudson Day or Half Moon week.  Here’s the Half Moon site.

In my next post, I will recap our tempestuous second voyage in summer 1608  and update you on my endeavors to find a new employer.

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