From the diary of Tobias Finch

June the 28, in the Year of the Lord 1579

On a Rock Step Somewhere in the Lande of Nova Albion

Our noble Venture has indeed met with notable Success on this Daye which will no doubt be recorded in the many Historyes of these Tymes. Yet as I have written nought since yesterday Morn, let me here recount those Adventures we have experienced during the past 24 Houres, along with some Incomprehensibles encountered by my Companion, Tris.

Yesterday was much a Repetition of our first Daye. We wended southward along a rockbound Coast, keeping much to the higher Hillsides to avoid the cruelle Cliffes and Bluffes that demarcate this Lande. From Tyme to Tyme the Land flattened into delightful Leas, occasionally shaded by mighty Trees not much different from those of Home, and once we must needs cross the Top of a great Force that plunged unhindered to the Strande below.

Ultimo, we must needs turn round a wide Cape that looketh southward, beyond the which we fetched up against the Pass into a great Lake or Lagoone, which much menaced the Continuation of our Journey, for neither Tris nor I know the Art of Swymme. Yet God took Hand, presenting to us the Personne of a Native of this Lande, taking Fishes in a small Boat on the aforesaid Lagoone. Our Signals to him went not unanswered, and, though lacking our Tongue, he came to us and by Sygnes invited us to join him in his tiny Barke. For some Tyme we must restrain our Impatience as he continued to take Fishes from the Lagoone, all the whilst chattering to us in his unknown Tongue like one of those Monkeys the Portuguese bring home from Africa. Tris was for taking the Boat and throwing the Man into the Sea, but ultimo he turned his Boat to the Shore of the Spit on the southward Side of the Lagoone and brought us to his Encampment.

We were welcomed with great Pleasure by his Compatriots, of the Sort of Folk that the Spaniard names "Indio", though certes "American" is the more proper term for these Habitants of this unknown Lande. At first we thought them the most uncivilized of Men, for, like our Fisherman Samaritan, the Males wore only enough Buckskin to hide their Sexe, and this only when standing without Movemente; and whilst the Women wore comely Apronnes below the Waist, these sufficed not to hide their upper Charmes. Yet when the evening Wind came from the Sea -- for though the Camp was in the Lee of the Spit, the Wind was strong and chill -- all, Men and Women alyke, donned Breeches and Chimises, cured and tanned rather than woven, natheless warm and workable for that; indeed, so much the more warmly dressed than Tris and I were they that one comely young Woman offered Tris her Chimise; and later at night I make note that they twain did disappear in the Darkness, perhaps to sample the fullness of the Moone, nor did aught other of these People raise Protest.

Of the Nighte I remember primero the crying of a Babe for some little Tyme -- until its Mother gave it Suck -- and the unending Ululations of the wild Dogs that infest these Hills, about the which I have elsewhere commented. I verily believe that these are the small Wolfs that the Spaniard names "Coyotle", though the Folke with whom we guested -- they call themselves "Miwoc" -- speak of these Dogs as "Olay" and seem to hold them in some little Regarde.

These Folke arise with rosy-fingered Eos, hence need we likewise. All broke Fast together -- they are not parsimonious toward their Guests, though we must needs take Fish and Berrys with them, and our own offer of some Tack was refused with Smiles after the merest Taste, which I suppose shows their cultured Nature -- and soon we wended southward on the Spit, Tris pensive and uncommunicative and myself enjoying blue Sky and a light onshore Breeze, though to the South and West deep Fog obscured the Sea. Well it was, I thought, that the Hinde was safe careened ashore.

After some two Mile we rounded the southward arm of the Lagoone and find ourselfs fronted by high grassy Hills with what might be Forest obscuring the Crests. Tris was for turning to the Miwoc and thence to the Hinde, but I thought on the Captain and what he had told us, and bethought me that we should minimo strive for the Top of these Hills, that we might have some Sighte of what lay around us.

After some Discussion, we twain abandoned the Coast -- which, certes, yet once again lifted into mighty Cliffes to southward -- and wended through a small forest of low Trees until we came out onto a grassy Mount from the which we could look northward and see our Miwoc hosts, now far off, about their Business. Higher through Grass and less kindly Plantes we clymbed, then descend into a forested Coom with a Riveret, shrinken from the Dry of Midsummer. The Sunne already high, we decided to take Proffit from the Shadow, and begin to follow the Riveret upward.

Of this steep Coom I could speak much but will say little. As we climbed, it grows steeper, presenting Difficultyes sometimes near insuperable. One Tyme we came to a Face of Rocke, passable only with much Difficulty, and Tris says, "Would that some kind Miwoc had left here a Ladder for us to scale!" And then, as we climb higher, we rencounted a sort of huge Tree not seen before -- like unto Firs they were, but an Hundred Fathomme in Highe, with a red Bark of many fibres; and some so burned at the Heart that a Man might make a Home within them. I have heard the Tales of Travelers from far Cathay, of the Cynocephali and the like, but I swear that these mighty Trees would put all the Sightes recorded by the Venetian Polo to utmost Shame!

Also impressed me the ubiquity of Fernes, which vie with the Mosses to turn the Sides of this Coom smeraldine in color. I had not seen the Like before, but Tris tells me that there are Cooms in his homeland Somersette as green.

Ultimo, this Coom ends in a narrow Bowl with steepe Sydes, and we must needs wend up the southward Slope, eventually topping a Crest in Forest and then dropping down to emerge from Forest onto a grassy Slope. I turn eastward again, which Direction would take us to what seemeth a low Summit.

The Sequel I understand not fully, but feel it is of utmost import. I pass back into a narrow Band of Forest as I climb, and wend past a Swathe of moist Grounde -- a Fount, I suspect, but pay it no Heed -- and Tris is full ten Fathommes behind me as I come again onto Grass. I cross this steep Slope, hence to a Step of roughe Rock covered with Lichen, and stop to take my Breathe. I look up -- and two Thinges happen at the Once.

First, I see it, for the very first Tyme -- the great Gulf, the Bay, the widest and sunniest and most quiet I have ever seen, with its Islands and, beyond, its Mountains -- and I know that this is what Tris and I have been sent to seeke. And, at the same Tyme, I feel that strangest of all Feelinges -- a chill that most befrosts me, from Head to Toe, the same Sense that can be felt in the Presence of a Ghoste.

I will have Tris with me to see this, yet he is not there. I cry out for him, and wait -- and after Momentes he comes from the Forest, and even at this Distance I can see that his Visage is pale white as a new Mainsail. He climbes up to be beside me, and looks upon the Gulf, and Tears run down his Cheekes, and for a Minute says not a Word.

Then he speakes, and here I must record his Speach verbatim, for I did not myself witness the Maravelles of the which he Speaketh.

"Toby," quoth he, "I did see her, and this did she reveal to me -- that you would find that Gulf, and that the World would be changed!"

I asked him of "she" and he told me.

"A Maiden," quotha, "of unsurpassable Charmes -- Hair of Gold, Sefire Eyes, Rubenic Lips, Skin most Alabastrine, clothed only in Forest Green. She lay in the Grass by the Fount we passed below -- you must have seen her."

This I must needs deny.

"She showed me Visions -- of Places, People, great Citys and Mills most dark and Satanic, Chariots shorn of Horses and Ships that wend through the Sky, infernal Fire that burneth entire Nations to nought -- and then these all faded, giving Way to other Visions, of other Places and other People -- and said to me, 'The First will fail, now, and the Second will be borne in their place.' And then I felt as though icy Winter had me in its Grippe, as though all History were turning sidewise. Oh, Toby, many a Storm have I weathered, and well you know that I stood my Place during the many Battles with the Spaniard, but when she disappeared from before my very Eyes I was unmanned."

"Regain your Manhood," I told him sternly, "for before our Eyes lies Captain Drake's Nova Albion indeed! What shall we name this great Gulf, pray tell, Tris? Finch Bay? Hull Bay?"

That latter Suggestion brought a Smile back to his Visage, for the nautical meaning of this Somersette Farmboy's Name had long since been vouchsafed him. "Indeed," he murmurs, "she said it was ours to name." And quoth he: "There is no other choice but to give this mightiest of Gulfs the Name of the mightiest and yet most gentle of Monarchs. An it please you, Toby, let her be 'Elizabeth Bay'."

"With Elizabeth Island," quoth I, pointing to the greatest of the Isles in that Gulf, wide with a flattened Cone of a Mount atop her.

"Let other Names await the pleasure of our Captain," quotha. "I misdoubt me not but that, once the Hinde's back afloat, he'll be aflame to find the Pass -- hidden as she must be, in that damnable sea Fog -- and explore this Gulf." I could not but agree with him.

But I must needs voice my own Doubts. "What then, Tris?" ask I. "Are we then to go home to England and never return?"

"Oh," quoth Tris, and there was Sadness in his Voice, "we shall return. Never doubt it, Toby. We must return. A World awaits us."

And that is the History of our great Discovery. I know not what to make of Tris's Woman of the Fount; I had not heard that there were such on this Continent, though England boasts many Holy Wells, and I cannot bring myself to doubt my Companion's Word. Nor do I understand his Words of a Historye that faileth and another that is borne. But this is not our Affair. We repose here tonyghte, behind this Rock Step from which a whole New World spreads out before us. Tomorrow we descend eastward, to mappe and measure the northeastward Extent of the Gulf; and in a few Days shall we return to our Master and render unto him our Raport. After the which...

Certes, a whole new World do I forsee!

-- From The Diary of Tobias Finch
Rep. Jos. Adams & Sons,
by app't to HM the King of Albion
Elizabeth Port, 1986

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