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The 350-ton Ark and the 50-ton Dove
must be very well provisioned because the cost of setting up the Maryland project is already reputed to be costing over £40,000,
a truly staggering sum. Cecilius boasts that the number of emigrants he has recruited to be shipped across the Atlantic is
well over 300 labouring men and nearly 20 gentlemen ‘of good fashion’ as he puts it. However, many of these must
be going on a following expedition because the government officials that have counted the oath-taking ships’ passengers
at Gravesend (scene 2) have only registered a total of 128 men, women and children. However, whatever the reason
for the discrepancy in the actual figures, the two ships sail out from the Thames into the English channel in mid-November
and make their way westwards, hugging the coast until they reach the Isle of Wight where they drop anchor off Cowes (as
is shown in this top scene).
There are three main fortresses on the Isle of Wight – Yarmouth Castle, which guards Yarmouth
harbour at the westward end, Cowes Castle at the eastern and thirdly Carisbrooke Castle, the seat of government set in the
approximate centre of the island at Newport. So it is to Carisbrooke that the newly appointed Governor Jerome Weston comes
on 18 November to take up his duties and it is he who is featured here, standing outside the massive walls of the fortress.
coming fresh to Carisbrooke, is fortunately unaware that on the island lurk three Jesuit priests. Andrew White, John Altham
and Thomas Gervase. As thorns in the flesh of the mainland authorities the troublesome trio have been in hiding for some while,
keeping a low profile to avoid discovery and await being secretly picked up by the Ark and the Dove. Each
will be in danger of arrest if caught and should that happen Governor Weston, as a Catholic himself, would be suspected
of harbouring them, particularly because White, for example, was expelled from England for suspected involvement with the
Gunpowder Plot. So, every day, one or other of the priests has kept coastal watch at Cowes, nervously awaiting
the appearance of the two ships. This finally happens today, 22 November. Now, feverishly, the trio launch a boat, row stealthily
out in the gathering gloom to the vessels and are hauled aboard. They’re away!