Diana M. Johnson
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As master and slave in Colonial Virginia, William Daingerfield and Davy find their lives intertwined.
William Daingerfield yearns to follow his father\'s footsteps as master of Greenfield, gentleman justice of the peace for Essex County, and member of the Virginia House of Burgesses. Told through the eyes of William and Davy, Cradle of a Nation takes them from playmates, to students, to master and slave.
Written in narrative voice, the reader experiences a dramatic and heartwarming story of life in 18th Century Virginia. From Greenfield, near Tappahannock, to Williamsburg and the Virginia House of Burgesses, through loves and marriages, births and deaths, readers experience a family saga-- their joys and fears, loves and dreams.
In time, William and Davy\'s sons go off together to fight the French and Indians, to protect Virginia\'s claim to the Ohio River Valley. When they do, no one realizes this will be the last time Red Coats and Blue will fight on the same side. Or, that William and Davy will be among the last generation of Colonial Americans!
As we approach the 2007 Celebration of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, first enduring English settlement in the New World, how better to appreciate what those few men began than to experience as readers, what that settlement became-the grand Colony and Dominion of Virginia.
Following dinner, Will (William Daingerfield) sought out the Fauntleroy brothers. With feigned casualness he inquired about their cousin, Catherine.
\"She is well, I hope.\"
William (Fauntleroy) shrugged. \'As far as I know.\"
\"Still living at home. Northumberland County, was it?\"
\"Yes to both.\" Moore smiled.
Both Fauntleroys laughed.
\"How would we know?\" asked William, as Moore said, \"Not that we\'ve heard.\"
\"Are you interested?\" inquired William with an air of innocence.
Will felt his face reddening. \"I, I\'m...\"
\"He\'s interested!\" the brothers chimed as one.
Will smiled, feeling sheepish. \"Yes. But well, if she\'s\"
\"She\'s not!\" William clapped Will on the back. \"Go after her man! Do it. If you dare!\"
From William and Moore Fauntleroy to their parents, and from them to Master Griffin and Mistress Ann Fauntleroy, the message traveled from hand to hand, that Will Daingerfield would greatly appreciate the opportunity to call upon their daughter, Catherine Fauntleroy.
In due time a post rider delivered a letter, extending an invitation for William Daingerfield to visit the Northumberland County plantation of Master Griffin and Mistress Ann Fauntleroy. Their daughter, Catherine, would be \'at home\' for \'said William Daingerfield\'.
After reading the invitation, Will jumped up from the bench in the lower passage shouting, \"Yes!\"
\"Davy, Davy, come here,\" he called.
\"What? What be the matter?\"
\"Here.\" Will thrust the letter into Davy\'s hand.\"Read.\"
\"Master Will, be you and Miss Catherine getting\' married?\"
\"I hope so,\" Will replied. \"I do most sincerely hope so. Come help me pack. What should I take as a hostess gift for the Fauntleroys? And as a betrothal gift of Catherine? Perhaps one of Mother\'s lockets, or...\"
By the time their ship sailed down the Rappahannock with the tide, and then turned north into Chesapeake Bay, Will\'s hot enthusiasm had cooled into self-doubt. \"What if she doesn\'t like me?\" he asked Davy. \"What if I find I don\'t like her?\"
Davy snorted in disbelief. \"What be you rememberin\' about her? What be special?\"
Will thought and felt a smile spread across his face. \"Her wonderful, changeable eyes-gray one day, blue the next.
\"Her happy disposition. Like my sister Elizabeth. Like Mother. Not the saucy tease Edwin married, but more more\"
\"Refined?\" offered Davy.
\"Yes! That\'s exactly the right word refined! But joyful, too.\"
\"Oh, yes! She definitely be joyful.\" Davy rolled his eyes and grinned.
Will thumped Davy\'s shoulder. \"Don\'t you laugh at me. I\'m in pain here.\"
\"So why you be thinkin\' you don\' like her once you get there?\"
\"I guess I don\'t really think that. Of course I\'ll like her. I already love her!\"
\"So what be the broblem?\"
Will sighed. Felt a profound sadness permeate his body. \"Perhaps she won\'t like me.\"
\"Of course she be likin\' you.\" Davy sounded shocked. \"She be waitin\' for you, ain\'t she? Ain\'t that what \'at home for said William Daingerfield\' mean?\"
\"I guess so.\" Will sighed. Shook his head and smiled. \"I do most sincerely hope so.\"
"Quite a lively read. You have packed in so much about the life and culture of the times. It is a wonderful tribute to your ancestors. I will see that it gets added to the Rockefeller Library's collection."
John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Library of Congress: 2005906060
Book Publisher: Superior Book Publishing Company
No. of Pages: 428
Paper Weight (lb): 50#
Coated Paper: Yes