Saturday, May 17, 2014

“The aroma reminded her of roast pork....”

[Cannibalism comes to Jamestown: a scene from the novel, not far from the truth, as we now know.]
       Late that night, sometime after midnight,Termperance, who had felt unwell and had slept most of the day, awoke suddenly. She had been dreaming again of Thickthorne and its great tables laden with food. This time it had been haunches of roast venison and jugged hare, and the aroma of roasting meat she had smelled in her sleep was so strong and so real that it had awakened her. She lay very still in the dark, depressed as always, to wake up and realize that she was in Jamestown, hungry, widowed and three thousand miles from home. But this time, part of her dream had not vanished: The rich aroma of roasting meat was in the air yet.

        Temperance opened her eyes in the dark, sniffed, and sat bolt upright. She had not mistaken it; the smell of cooked meat hung so heavily in the air she wondered why it had not awakened Will and Meg. They were both sound asleep , . . Temperance sat wide-eyed in the darkness, sniffing the air and wondering if she could be hallucinating. Hunger could play tricks with one’s senses; she knew that. The aroma seemed to drift in from outside, wafting its way around the edges of the deerskin that stretched across the window. There was no question about it: Fresh meat--hot, succulent, savory meat--was being cooked somewhere close by, Drawing the scent into her nostrils made Temperance’s mouth tingle. She could almost taste the meat. The aroma reminded her of roast pork, but there was a slightly sweeter odor. She could not quite identify it, much less determine why it was present at Jamestown. Puzzled, but not wanting to awaken the others, she lay drowsing until dawn, when the wind had blown away all but a faint trace of the smell. Then she fell into a fitful sleep.

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