1(1)r

A
Peep at the Pilgrims
in
1636Sixteen Hundred Thirty.Six.

A Tale of Olden Times.

By the author of divers unfinished manuscripts, &c.

In two volumes.

“Come, listen to my story, Tho’ often told before, Of men who passed to glory Thro’ toil and travail sore; Of men who did for conscience’ sake, Their native land forego, And sought a home and freedom here Two hundred years ago.” Flint.

Volume I.

Boston: Wells and
Lilly
......Court-Street.
18241824.

1(1)v 1(2)r
District of Massachusetts, to wit: District Clerk’s Office.

Be it remembered, that on the 1824-10-11eleventh day of October A. D. 1824, in
the forty-eighth year of the Independence of the United States of America, Wells
and Lilly of the said District, have deposited in this Office the Title of a Book the
Right whereof they claimsclaim as Proprietors, in the Words following, to wit:

“A Peep at the Pilgrims in 1636Sixteen Hundred Thirty-Six. A Tale of Olden Times.
By the Author of Divers Unfinished Manuscripts, &c. In two Volumes.
‘Come, listen to my story, Tho’ often told before, Of men who passed to glory Thro’ toil and travail sore; Of men who did for conscience’ sake, Their native land forego, And sought a home and freedom here Two Hundred Years ago.’ Flint.”

In Conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United States, entitled, An
Act for the encouragement of Learning, by securing the Copies of Maps, Charts,
and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of such Copies, during the Times
therein mentioned:
and also to an Act entitled, An Act supplementary to an
Act, entitled, An Act for the encouragement of Learning, by securing the Copies
of Maps, Charts and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of such Copies
during the times therein mentioned;
and extending the Benefits thereof to the Arts
of Designing, Engraving and Etching Historical and other Prints.

Jno. W. Davis.
Clerk of the District of Massachusetts.

1(2)v

To the
Rev. John Thornton Kirkland,
D.D. LL.D.

A lineal descendant from Captain Miles Standish,
and the honoured President of a University founded
in his day, the following pages are respectfully
inscribed by

The Author.

1(3)r

A
Peep at the Pilgrims.

Chapter I.

“From native shores by tempests driven, He sought a purer sky, And found beneath a wilder heaven The home of Liberty!” Mellen.

Early in the autumn of 16361636 a British vessel
approached the coast of New-England; it was
filled with adventurers, who, on the first cry of
land, eagerly crowded the deck to catch a glimpse
of its rugged shores. Political dissentions and
religious persecution, which, at that period, unhappily
agitated England, induced many of her
subjects to quit the home of their fathers, and seek
the hospitality, or endure the rigour of foreign
climes; while others, stimulated by a romantic
spirit of adventure; by ambition, or a thirst of
gain; and allured by the sanguine representations
of the enthusiastic, or the exaggerated reports of
the interested, annually embarked their lives and
fortunes, and swelled the population, and extended Vol. I. 1* 1(3)v 6
the boundaries of the infant colonies. Such was
the motley group, who now gazed, for the first
time, upon the blue mountains and thickly wooded
shores of New-England; while, rapidly pressed
forward by a favourable wind, the rough outlines of
the landscape gradually assumed distinctness, and
stood forth in all the glowing beauty and mejestic
grandeur of nature’s colouring.

Apart from his companions, stood a young man
whose countenance and figure were singularly
prepossessing. In an attitude of deep attention,
he regarded the new world, which stretched around
him;—his dark eyes now sparkling with admiration,
then softening into sadness; and, again, some
object of sublimity or beauty kindling the glow of
enthusiasm on his cheek. To him, they seemed
approaching a wilderness; for already the forests
were enveloped in darkness, and the gigantic hills
invested with the shadows of twilight. Presently
a dim speck appeared on the horizon:—it was the
little village of Plymouth, the most ancient of the
settlements, fast rising into importance, and far-
famed for the success and enterprize of its inhabitants.

The stranger experienced a momentary disappointment,
as he rapidly surveyed the limited dimensions,
and rude architecture of that new “city
of refuge.”
His fancy had sketched scenes of Arcadian
loveliness, and coloured the picture, which
it drew, with the fairy tints of romance; but he
only saw, rising from the rocky and sea-girt shore, 1(4)r 7
the humble roofs of the Pilgrims, clustered together
in two compact lines, and thinly shaded by
native trees; each tenement encircled by a patch
of vegetation, then wearing the seared and fading
hues of autumn. The English colours waved
gaily from the battlements of a square fort, which
crowned the summit of a commanding eminence,
and its flat roof was paced by several persons, who
watched with curiousity the approaching vessel.

“And this is my adopted country!” was his first
reflection, accompanied by a deep sigh, as his
thoughts reverted to the refinements of polished
life to which he had been accustomed. But this
involuntary chagrin gave place to other feelings,
as the ship rode gallantly into the shallow but extensive
harbour, and anchored beneath the very
rock which, seventeen years before, received the
intrepid band of adventurers, who had forsaken
the enjoyments and comforts of civilized life, braved
the howlings of the wintry blast, the horrors of
famine, and the terrors of an unknown wilderness,
for “conscience’ sake,”—reposing an unwavering
confidence in Him, who had hitherto sustained and
kept them, as in the “hollow of his hand.”

Major Atherton, in the enthusiasm which the
scene inspired, remained lost in a train of reflections,
till accosted by the captain of the vessel,
who enquired if he had any friend to welcome him
on shore.

“No; I am friendless and a stranger,” he replied,
and never had the loneliness of his situation 1(4)v 8
struck so forcibly on his heart; for, looking around,
he perceived the vessel was almost deserted, and
there were few of his fellow-passengers, who had
not recognized some old acquaintance, and received
a cordial greeting. The inhabitants of the town
hastened towards the ship, eager to learn tidings
from the friends and relatives they had left in
their native, and still fondly remembered, country;
—and it was pleasant to witness the interchange
of kind inquirers, the mutual expressions of
good-will, and the heart-felt earnestness, with
which they listened to, even, the minutest incidents
relating to those, with whom, though perhaps forever
separated, they still felt united by the ties of
kindred affection, the sweet sympathies of one
common country, and the delightful associations of
childhood and youth.

Atherton indulged but a moment in gloomy reflections:
—naturally cheerful, and always sanguine,
he turned to the Captain, who still regarded
him with an air of kindness, and said,

“Pardon me, that I have so long trespassed on
your patience; but I feel like one in a dream, to
whom every object is strange and incongruous;
we seem to have passed the threshold of earth,
and to verge on a new creation.”

“To me it is not new,” replied his companion,
“I have thrice before visited this rocky coast, and
am well known to most of the inhabitants; and if
my services can be of use to you, I pray you to
command them.”

1(5)r 9

“I thank you,” returned the young man, fervently;
“but I have one kinsman in this land of strangers,
to whom my first respects are due; Captain
Standish
, sir, with whom you are probably acquainted.
I am personally unknown to him, but
we are nearly allied by blood, and I would crave
your courtesy to shew me the place of his residence.”

“The military commander of New-Plymouth,”
said the Captain. “You will find a warm heart, as
well as a brave one, in him; and I will gladly go
with you to his house, as soon as I can find a
moment of leisure.”

So saying, they both sprang on shore, and Atherton
continued walking alone, to and fro, on the
beach, until the crowd had dispersed, and he was
rejoined by the Captain, from whom he learned,
with chagrin, that Captain Standish had gone to
the Massachusetts Bay, to transact some public
business, and that the period of his return was
uncertain.

“It was an unlucky planet which presided at
my birth,”
he said, “but patience must be my counter-charm;
and so, if it please you, Captain, I will
return to your floating castle to-night, and the
morrow may bring me better fortune.”

They, however, continued to walk on, for a considerable
time, and almost in silence; it was a mild
evening, in the early part of September; and, just
escaped from the monotony of a long and tedious 1(5)v 10
voyage, the bright and beautiful moonlight scenery
floated before their eyes, like a vision of enchantment.
Every object, half hid, and half revealed,
in the pale and uncertain light, was mellowed
into grace; and not a sound was heard, except
the sighing of the wind among the trees of the
forest which hung, like a cloud, around the skirts
of the settlement, and the low murmuring of the
ocean, slowly rolling its waves upon the strand.
The village of Plymouth, with its lowly houses
and cultivated fields, alone interrupted the wild
magnificence of nature; and, unimportant as it
seemed amidst her vast dominions, was a striking
monument of the enterprise of man, and the freedom
and independence of his spirit.

The scene produced, in the mind of Atherton,
sensations of mingled awe and delight; he felt, as
if translated to a holier and happier sphere; and,
for awhile, the passions, and hopes, and disappointments
of earth, were lost in the novelty and intenseness
of his emotions. He stopped, and gazed
around; and his companion, who, if he did not
comprehend the nature of his feelings, at least,
forbore to interrupt them, retired within the shadow
of a dwelling-house, apart from Atherton, who
stood leaning against the twisted and gnarled trunk
of a venerable oak, quite unconscious of his vicinity
to the residence of man.

The evening was far advanced, the busy hum of
voices had ceased, and a few feeble lights streaming
through the narrow casements, and then suddenly 1(6)r 11
extinguished, shewed, that the inhabitants
were fast seeking their repose.

Suddenly, a low, sweet strain of vocal music
stole upon the ear;—it gradually rose, and swelled
into full cadence, and a female voice, soft, rich,
and powerful, predominated in a slow and solemn
tune of sacred melody. Atherton started, and looked
round; but his half uttered exclamation of surprise
was interrupted by the Captain, who softly
approached, motioning him to silence.

“Hush,” said he in a whisper, “or we shall disturb
the family, who are now at their evening worship;
it is the custom, here, to begin and close each
day with devotional exercises, in which the singing
of a psalm is included.”

“And whose voice is that, so full of sweetness
and harmony,”
asked Atherton.

“It is Miriam Grey’s, the fairest maiden of New-
England
,”
replied his friend; “but had we not better
withdraw? I would not, for the world, be discovered
loitering beneath the windows.”

“Oh no, not yet, hark!” said Atherton, almost
breathless with attention; and again he listened,
till the last notes died away; and even then lingered,
hoping again to hear the voice, or at least to
catch a glimpse of the fair musician: but he waited
in vain; all continued silent, and, though a faint
light shewed the apartment in which the family
was assembled, they were screened from observation
by a curtain, which hung against the casement.
At that moment, too, a favourite dog, who 1(6)v 12
had long shared the fortunes of Atherton, began to
bark at some offensive object, threatening a speedy
discovery; and he reluctantly turned from the spot.

During the remainder of their walk, Major
Atherton
sunk into a deep reverie: and his imagination
was so excited by the events of the evening,
and the novelty of his situation, that it was long
after he had retired to rest, before sleep visited his
eyelids;—and, then, the sweet voice of Miriam
Grey
haunted his dreams. He awoke and heard
only the waves lashing the sides of the vessel, and
the wind whistling among the shrouds; and again
closing his eyes, to exclude the day-light, which
was beginning to steal into the cabin, he fell into a
long and profound slumber.

2(1)r 13

Chapter II.

“Scenes of woe and scenes of pleasure, Scenes that former thoughts renew, Scenes of woe and scenes of pleasure, Now a last and sad adieu!” Burns.

The father of Major Atherton was left an orphan
in early childhood; and, with an only sister, consigned
to the guardianship of his maternal uncle,
Sir Robert Fenly, who, in receiving his young
charge from the hands of their dying mother, promised
to watch over them with care, and faithfully
discharge the duties of his interesting and responsible
office;—a promise which he fulfilled, at least,
to his own satisfaction, by entrusting their education
and morals entirely to strangers; while, engaged
in an eager pursuit of pleasure, which left
no leisure from its selfish and absorbing engagments
to observe the intellectual progress of his
wards, he contented himself with remarking, from
time to time, their proficiency in the outward accomplishments,
suited to their rank and age, and
which, in his opinion, were alone of essential importance.
But the gentleman he selected, as tutor
to his nephew, was fortunately possessed of excellent
principles, a vigorous understanding, and those
attaching qualities of the mind and heart, which
secured the entire confidence and affection of his Vol. I. 2 2(1)v 14
pupil, and effectually counteracted his own pernicious
example.

Young Atherton was naturally grave and reflective,
but cheerful and unreserved in the society of
those he loved, and susceptible of a depth and ardour
of attachment, which could only be appreciated by
those who knew him most intimately. Deeply feeling
the indifference of his uncle, whose blind partiality
to an only son seemed to exclude every other
object of regard from his heart; and with few natural
ties to interest his affections, they became
almost entirely centered in his sister. Miss Atherton
regarded her brother with enthusiastic tenderness;
she was gay, innocent, and lovely; and, till
her seventeenth year, scarcely experienced a pleasure,
of which he was not the source, or participator.
But, at that time, Atherton began to watch
the progress of a still stronger and more engrossing
passion; nor was it without many painful efforts,
he could reconcile himself to the idea, that,
in future, her heart would be devoted to another,
and their pursuits and interests no longer united.
But he was destined to receive a deeper and more
lasting wound. The week previous to that appointed
for her marriage, Miss Atherton was seized
with a violent disorder, which brought her to
an untimely grave, in the spring-tide of life and
beauty, when all around her breathed of love and
happiness, and the future seemed strewed with
thornless and unfading flowers.

The health and spirits of Atherton sunk under 2(2)r 15
the withering blow; nor was it, till months of
wretchedness had passed away, that a new misfortune
aroused the dormant energy of his mind. Sir
Robert Fenly
died suddenly, leaving his affairs in
a state of extreme derangement, and his improvidence
and dissipation had not only ruined himself,
but induced him to borrow freely from the inheritance
of his ward, to support his extravagance, and
pay the arrears of the gaming table: and though
he probably intended to refund it before his nephew
became of age, death surprised him, in the
midst of his days, with his plan and schemes unaccomplished,
and all that remained of a once noble
fortune, was an entailed estate, which descended to
his son and heir.

These tidings awoke Atherton from his lethargy
of grief; stript at once of independence, and, by
the hand which ought to have cherished his interests,
he felt the necessity of immediate exertion;
and the effort happily diverted his mind from the
calamity which had long entirely occupied it. Inclination
decided him to embrace the profession of
arms, and he obtained an Ensign’s commission in
a regiment of foot, then quartered in the village of
――, in Lancashire.

Atherton there became acquainted with Eleanor
Standish
, the heiress of an ancient family, whose hereditary
estates were watered by the Douglas; and,
deeply touched by the charms of her mind and person,
he, for the first time, felt the full extent of his
uncle’s injustice. It was no longer in his power 2(2)v 16
to offer her an establishment suitable to her rank
and expectations; and, too generous to seek her
affections, under circumstances which must involve
her in difficulties, he withdrew, in doubt and
sadness, from her dangerous society.

The pacific reign of James the first, admitted
few opportunities for military distinction; and,
eager to engage in active duty, and acquire an honourable
rank in his profession, Atherton obtained
a furlough, and repaired to Holland, then the scene
of contention between the disciples of Calvin and
Arminius, each of whose followers had resorted to
the sword to decide their controversy.

The intrepid bravery of the young Ensign, united
with a prudence and judgment beyond his years,
procured him the favour of the Prince of Orange,
who distinguished him by his personal regard, and
rewarded his services by promoting him to the
command of a reigmentregiment. But amidst the bustle of
a camp, Eleanor Standish retained her influence
over his imagination, and occupied his thoughts in
every moment of repose; for nearly two years he
had been self-banished from her presence, and anxiety
respecting her often weighed heavily on his
spirits: he was, therefore rejoiced, when a suspension
of hostilities at length permitted him to retire
from the field, and return to his native country.

Colonel Atherton, on arriving in England, proceded
directly to Lancashire, impatient of a moment’s
delay, until he reached the residence of Miss
Standish
. As he rode through the stately avenue, 2(3)r 17
and looked wistfully at the mansion, which used to
be hospitably thrown open to admit the stranger,
he was struck by the gloom and silence that surrounded
it, and something like a melancholy foreboding
damped the ardour of expectation. He
knocked long and loudly at the door, before he
could make himself heard, and it was, at last,
opened by an old domestic, whose countenance was
familiar to him, though changed and sorrowful
since the days when he had last seen it. His enquiries
respecting the family were minute, but
though he had fancied himself prepared for the
worst, he was inexpressibly shocked by the intelligence
he received.

Eleanor Standish had embraced the tenets of the
Puritans, and, with some others of her distinguished
house, formally renounced the faith and worship
of her ancestors. Her father, incensed at her conduct,
and unable to effect a change in her newly
adopted opinions, which were fixed by the dictates
of conscience, banished her from his presence, and
bequeathed his whole estate to a distant branch of
the family. But a few months of loneliness, succeeded
by a mortal illness, softened his heart towards
his only child, and, in his last hours, she
was again folded in his embrace, and blessed with
his forgiveness. The arguments of the interested
and prejudiced, however, had persuaded him, that
it would be criminal to leave his fortune, at the
disposal of one, who would doubtless appropriate it
to the use of a sect, which had already set at defianceVol. I. 2* 2(3)v 18
the established laws and religion of their
country; and he, therefore, made no alteration in
his will; but added a codicil, which left his daughter
heiress to her mother’s estate, sufficient to render
her independent, but not rich. Eleanor was too
happy at being restored to her fathers affection, to
regret the loss of superfluous wealth, though it was
not without deep and painful emotion, that she
bade farewell to the home of her youth, and retired
to the house of a widowed relative in a distant part
of the country.

Colonel Atherton listened, with interest, to the
simple tale of the garrulous domestic; he had been
taught, from childhood, to believe the church of
England
infallible, and that, on the existence of its
forms and privileges, depended the security of the
crown, and all that was valuable to a loyalist. He
had viewed with abhorrence, not unmixed with
contempt, the surprising increase and firm resistance
of the non-conformists, and conceived it the
bounden duty of every faithful subject, to check
their audacious pretensions. With these sentiments,
he naturally heard, with the keenest disappointment,
that Eleanor Standish had united herself
to that despised and persecuted sect; and,
fondly as he loved her, pride and principle revolted
from the idea of receiving a Puritan, for the bosom
companion of his future life.

Still, however, he would not, at once, relinquish
his long cherished hopes, nor would he believe it
possible that one, so young and gentle, could long 2(4)r 19
remain blinded by the spirit of fanaticism. He resolved,
at all events, to see her once more, were it
only from respect to the memory of her father, and
sympathy in her own misfortunes; and during his
rapid journey thither, he almost persuaded himself,
that these were the leading objects of his visit.

Colonel Atherton felt his heart beat quicker, as
he drew near her sequestered dwelling; and, whatever
had been his feelings and resolutions, prejudice
vanished, and creeds and sects were forgotten,
when he found himself again and alone in the presence
of his beloved Eleanor. She looked paler
than formerly, and her countenance was pensive,
almost to sadness; but her smile was as sweet as
ever, and her blushing confusion, more eloquent
than language, revealed the untold secret of her
heart.

Colonel Atherton, too happy to think of reason
or resolve, yielded to the impulse of passionate tenderness,
and whispered a tale of love, and hope,
and constancy, which drew from her lips a confession,
that her affections had been long devoted to
him, nor did she shrink from a firm but modest
avowal of the principles she had adopted, in the
earnestness of sincere conviction, candidly acknowledging,
that no worldly advantage would ever
tempt her to forsake them; and her lover, convinced,
that arguments would be vain, freely conceded
to her the rights of conscience, and promised her
the full exercise of her religious principles and worship.

2(4)v 20

Their union, which, shortly, took place, proved
happy beyond the common lot of mortals, and
though Colonel Atherton had probably indulged
the hope, that the tacit influence, or mild persuasions
of the husband, would eventually restore his
wife to the bosom of the church, a more intimate
knowledge of her character satisfied him, that the
opinions she had deliberately chosen, would continue
to guide her through life. Mrs. Atherton
was firm, but not bigotted; and, though strongly
attached to her own creed, was far from condemning
all others, as erroneous. She reverenced the
virtues of her husband, and happily exercised the
rare prudence to avoid all religious controversy
with him; while he, though unwavering in his faith,
could not but respect the doctrines, which she so
beautifully exemplified, by a life of uniform and unobtrusive
piety and benevolence.

This mutual forbearance and liberality produced
the desired effect on the mind of their only child,
who, though educated in the forms of the established
church, honoured the more austere principles of
his mother, and listened, with submissive attention,
to the pure and virtuous precepts, which distilled,
like the “dews of Hermon,” from her lips. His
mind thus unprejudiced, and left to the guidance
of reason and scripture, in all matters of mere
nominal importance, escaped the infection of party-
spirit, which excited so much rancour during his
youth, and, afterwards, burst forth and subverted
the pillars of church and state.

2(5)r 21

Edward Atherton grew up, gay, spirited and
handsome; with all the vigour and enthusiasm of
his father’s character, happily tempered by the
vivacity and gentleness of his mother’s. Educated
in retirement, and accustomed to little society,
beyond his family circle, he entered into manhood,
with an ingenuous and well disciplined mind, a sanguine
and adventurous disposition, and spirits buoyant
with hope and happiness. Active in his pursuits,
he betrayed an early predeliction for a military
life, and, though not without many scruples, his
parents, at length consented to his wishes; and, at
the age of eighteen, he received a Lieutenant’s
commission, in a regiment then commanded by his
father. The regiment soon after received orders
to sail with the army of the Duke of Buckingham,
to succour the Huguenots of Rochelle; and, in that
ill starred expedition, both father and son were
distinguished by their courage and address; but
Colonel Atherton received a mortal wound in the
engagement, and died, a few hours after, in the
arms of his afflicted son.

Edward Atherton, stricken in heart, with the irreparable
loss he had sustained, returned to the
desolate mansion of his mother with the fatal intelligence;
and, though it was disclosed to her
with the utmost precaution, the shock produced an
effect upon her health and spirits, from which she
never entirely recovered.

Atherton’s talents and zeal in his profession, acquired
him many friends, and he was advanced to 2(5)v 22
the rank of Major far sooner than he had anticipated;
but, though surrounded by every allurement
to pleasure and dissipation, his principles were untainted,
and his heart ever turned, with affectionate
solicitude, to the scenes of his earliest enjoyments;
and, in every interval of duty, he flew to their quiet
shades, and almost regretted, when the call of
honour again forced him from the society of his
beloved parent.

Mrs. Atherton survived her husband several
years; they were passed in profound retirement,
but filled up with active duties, employed in noiseless
efforts to promote a cause, in which she believed
the interests of religion involved; in works of
charity and benevolence, particularly towards the
persecuted Puritans, who were relieved by her
bounty, and often sheltered beneath her roof. In
the meridian of her days, she awaited, with perfect
composure, the expected moment of her departure
from a world, which had ceased to charm, happy
in the virtue and prosperity of her son, and soothed
in the last stages of a lingering decline, by his effectionate
and unwearied attention. Never was a
parent more deeply and justly lamented; and it
was fortunate for Major Atherton, that professional
engagements drew him from the indulgence of
his solitary grief.

Public events, at that time, engaged the attention
of every one, and the affairs of the kingdom seemed
daily assuming a more dark and threatening aspect.
The number and influence of the Puritans 2(6)r 23
was rapidly augmenting. Far from being intimidated
by threats, they opposed a determined and
zealous resistance to the arbitrary measures, which
the impolitic obstinacy of Charles, instigated by
the implacable Archbishop Laud, had adopted. An
alarming insurrection had taken place in the Scottish
Capital, when, in compliance with a royal
mandate, an attempt was made to read the Liturgy
in its churches; and, already, a military force
was regarded by many as indispensibly necessary
to crush the power and check the progress of the
rebels.

Major Atherton was firmly attached to his father’s
religion, and would cheerfully have encountered
death, to advance the interests of his sovereign,
and the glory of his country. But his conscience
revolted from the idea of aiding in a war of persecution,
against an inoffensive sect of christians,
who claimed nothing but the privilege of enjoying
their opinions unmolested, and of sharing, with
their fellow subjects, the protection of the government,
to which they acknowledged allegiance. Respect
for the memory of his mother, and subduing
recollections of her tenderness, her purity, her unaffected
piety, strengthened these lenient sentiments.
He could not cherish harsh and groundless prejudices
against a sect, which she had loved, and his
father had favoured; and, though he was daily accustomed
to hear them derided, and, in spite of arguments
and raillery, and against interest itself, 2(6)v 24
he remained convinced, that their cause was just,
however mistaken, and that the rights of conscience
were too sacred to be infringed by the
arbitrary will of a monarch.

Still, however, and an ardent love of his profession,
and the natural desire to attain the honours which
tempted his ambition, and seemed within his grasp,
struggled long and powerfully against the convictions
of reason and conscience. But the generous
impulse of a candid and well-principled mind finally
prevailed over every selfish consideration, and
determined him to resign his commission, and with
it the dreams of glory, which had so long delighted
his imagination.

Major Atherton returned to Lancashire, depressed
in spirits, and his father’s house, no longer
cheered by the smiles of those he had so fondly
loved, awakened the most melancholy reminiscences.
He had few around him to excite interest or
affection, and in relinquishing the active duties,
which had so long occupied his attention, he felt as
if he had resigned the gay and busy world, and had
no object worthy of pursuit and exertion. With
such sombre feelings, the winter passed away drearily
enough; but a dejection so foreign to his natural
disposition could not long retain its influence;
and the return of spring, with its train of rural
pleasures, and varied occupations, gradually withdrew
his thoughts from the past. An unexpected
occurence also took place, which gave a new impulse
and direction to his mind.

3(1)r 25

Mr. Fullerton, an intelligent young man, who
had resided several years in the colony of New-
Plymouth
, just at that time chanced to revisit
England, and frequently met with Major Atherton
at the house of a mutual friend. Warm and sanguine
in his feelings, he confidently believed, that
New-England would soon become the most happy
and favoured region of the earth; and painted its
charms and advantages with an enthusiasm, which
completely dazzled the imagination of Atherton.
Mr. Fullerton, without dreaming of such an effect,
was daily imbuing him with a portion of his own
spirit; and, from repeated conversations respecting
the early colonists of America, he began to wish
himself transported to their land of simple habits
and uncorrupted morals. It was not long before
these incipient desires became confirmed and active;
and Major Atherton, romantic, fond of novelty
and adventure, and rapid in his decisions, made
speedy preparations for a voyage to the western
world. Mr. Fullerton was pleased with his determination,
and regretted that he would not accompany
him; but business detained him in England,
whence it was his intention to proceed to the
Continent, and the period of his return was uncertain.

Major Atherton, eager to execute his project,
committed his affairs to a trusty agent, and hastened
to Falmouth, where a vessel was in readiness to
cross the Atlantic. He arrived there just in time
to secure a passage; in a few moments the mooringsVol. I. 3 3(1)v 26
were loosed, and the white cliffs of his native
land receded fast from his view. He stood with
his eyes fixed on the shore he had left, perhaps
forever, till the highest stretch of land dwindled to
a point, and hung like a light cloud in the distant
heavens, and at last faded from his sight. He
looked around—the vessel pursued its tranquil
course, cutting the deep green waves, and leaving,
far behind, a foamy track: a strong breeze swelled
the canvass, and, all around the circling horizon,
the vast ocean mingled with the blue and cloudless
sky.

3(2)r 27

Chapter III.

“―― A man in chiefest trust, Whose life was sweet and conversation just, Whose parts and wisdom most men did excel; An honour to his place, as all can tell.” New England’s Memorial.

The day after his arrival at Plymouth, Major
Atherton
delivered several letters of introduction,
with which Mr. Fullerton had furnished him, and
among others, one to Mr. Winslow, then governor
of the colony. He was received by that gentleman
with the most cordial hospitality, and so earnestly
solicited to remain his guest, at least, till he had
arranged his future plans, that Atherton could not
without an appearance of affectation refuse the offered
courtesy. It was, indeed, a courtesy truly grateful
to his feelings. Exhausted by the fatigues of a long
voyage, and cast on a world of strangers, the society
of an intelligent friend, and the comforts of a well-
ordered family, were peculiarly soothing to his spirits.
The unobtrusive attentions of all around him,
which delicately inferrredinferred that they received rather
than bestowed obligations, and the ease with which
he found himself included in their domestic arrangements,
removed from his mind every idea of intrusion,
and he soon felt as perfectly at home, and free
from restraint, as if only renewing an intercourse
with his early and familiar friends.

Mr. Winslow, himself an experienced traveller, 3(2)v28
had too often enjoyed the kindness of strangers not
to appreciate its value, and the native benevolence
of his heart led him to embrace every opportunity
to confer on others such civilities, as he had gratefully
received, under various circumstances, during
his eventful life. A zealous adherent to the principles
of the non-conformists, he attached himself
to the church at Leyden, and embarked with the
first adventurers, for the then inhospitable region
of North America. Possessed of uncommon activity
and address, a sound judgment and discriminating
mind, he acquired great influence with the
colonists, and was early associated with others of
approved worth, in the management of their civil
affairs. Every action of his life was dictated by
the purest motives, and rendered subservient to
their interests, and the advancement of that religion,
for which they had made such astonishing sacrifices.
His prudence and gentleness rendered
him particularly agreeable to the Indians, with
whom he was often selected to negociate; and the
goodness of his heart and lenity of his disposition
were, perhaps, as useful in maintaining harmony
with them, as the more prompt and severe measures
of the military commander.

Mr. Winslow, at the time of Major Atherton’s
introduction to him, was still in the prime of life;
he had experienced many vicissitudes of fortune,
and, in travelling through various countries, had
acquired an intimate knowledge of human nature,
and that variety of information, which rendered 3(3)r29
him a most useful and entertaining companion.
There was in his manners nothing of the gloom, so
generally, and, too often, justly attributed to the
Puritans; and Atherton ceased to remember the
distinctions of party, in the freedom of social intercourse,
and the interchange of liberal and enlightened
sentiments.

At the hour of sunset,—for it was Saturday
the labours of the week were ended, and the Sabbath
commenced. Every worldly employment was suspended,
and the children forsook their play-things,
and gathered in submissive silence around the
knees of their parents. Books of devotion, religious
conversation, and instruction filled up the
evening; and at the customary hour, the assembled
family united in the evening sacrifice of prayer
and thanksgiving.

It was so long since Major Atherton had enjoyed
the luxury of a neat and quiet bed, that he would,
perhaps, have slept till an unseasonable hour on
the following morning, had he not been awakened
by a concert of young voices in an adjoining apartment.
They were audibly repeating their Sabbath
lessons; and every now and then, a young urchin,
more learned than his brethren, assumed the office
of prompter, though generally hushed to silence by
the mild command of Mrs. Winslow.

Atherton thought it rather uncomfortable to rise
before the sun in a chilly September morning; but
civility required him to observe the regulations of
the house, and he hastened to join the family in the Vol. I. 3* 3(3)v 30
sitting-room. The duties of that holy day, as of
every other, were commenced with religious exercises;
a practice which the early settlers of New-
England
never omitted, though, like many others
which were their “glory and defence,” it has since
become unfashionable, and, of course, too generally
disregarded. Breakfast immediately followed, and
all the children, as usual on Sunday, enjoyed the
privilege of sitting at table, and sharing the wheaten
loaf and a basin of chocolate, instead of their
daily nutritious fare of milk and Indian bread.
Every countenance beamed with cheerfulness and
contentment; and Atherton thought he had never
seen a more interesting family group.

At the accustomed hour, the governor and his
whole household repaired to the church, or rather to
“meeting”, for that was the term which the dissenters
substituted for one that savoured too much of prelacy.
The public funds had not yet permitted the
erection of a house of worship, but the fort already
mentioned, which crowned the summit of a hill in
rear of the village, had been prepared for that purpose.
It was built with two stories; the upper,
planted with ordnance and flanked with the battlements
and in the lower, benches were arranged to accomodate
the audience, with a desk elevated at one
extremity for the minister, and just below it, seats
for the ruling elders or deacons.

Thither the inhabitants of the town were hastening,
all arrayed in their best attire; mothers leading
their tottling little ones, and young people 3(4)r 31
supporting their aged parents, whom no considerations
short of absolute necessity could detain from
the public duties of the day. Atherton was struck
with the air of reverence and respect with which
every one seemed to approach the house of God;
no news was circulated, no scandal whispered, no
dress or fashion discussed, and even the mirthful
faces of the children had assumed an expression of
gravity and reflection.

The people bowed repectfully as Mr. Winslow
and his family entered, and passed on to their
usual places; the governor’s rank entitling him to
the upper seat with the magistrates, while the
females ranged themselves on the opposite side of
the edifice, separated by a broad passage from the
other sex. Major Atherton, according to the usage
of the church, remained a few moments absorbed
in mental devotion, from which he was roused by
a deep groan from an elderly female, accompanied
by a look of horror, which could scarcely have
been more profound had the whole hierarchy, or
the Pope himself, stood before her. Reminded by
the incident that he was not in an English chapel,
but amidst a congregation of Puritans, who regarded
the least approach to episcopacy with as
much abhorrence as an act of sacrilege, he resolved
to abstain from a practice which occasioned so
much offence, and would probably excite many
prejudices against him. As these reflections were
rapidly crossing his mind, Mr. Reyner, the clergyman,
a man of grave and solemn deportment, entered 3(4)v 32
the assembly. He commenced the duties of
his sacred office with a devout and fervent prayer,
and then selected a psalm from the unharmonious
version of the day, which he briefly expounded, for
the benefit of the ignorant and the prevention of
any false interpretation. One of the elders then
arose and read the first line, when all the audience
who could, and many who could not sing, united
their melody to the words, and having completed
the line, another was read, and so on through the
psalm.

Strangely as this intermixture of reading and
music sounded in the ears of Atherton, he was impressed
with the deep devotion which seemed to
animate every countenance, as they thus mingled
their hearts and voices in the praises of their Maker.
There was a touching eloquence in this simple
worship, that he had seldom felt when listening
to the most skilful performance that ever woke the
tones of the organ, amidst the more imposing ceremonies
of his national religion. An extemporaneous
discourse succeeded this vocal harmony; and,
though not copiously sprinkled with the flowers of
oratory, it breathed a spirit of ardent piety, and
strongly enforced the observance of moral duty,
with a scrupulous regard to the peculiar tenets
of the sect. This sermon, which, in matter and
dimensions, exceeded half a score of modern ones,
at length drew to a close; and the singing of another
psalm concluded the services.

In this last exercise, Major Atherton was strangely 3(5)r 33
attracted by a sweet and powerful voice, which
sometimes soared above the others, and then, as if
shrinking from the melody it created, murmured
into silence, and again rose and mingled in the
general strain. It came over his memory like a
half forgotten dream of enchantment; nor was it
till the lapse of several moments that he could
identify it with the one which had so lately held
him lingering beneath the windows of Miriam
Grey
. He looked around for the object which
unexpectedly revived the interest then so strongly
excited; and, directed by the same bewitching
tones, his eye rested on a figure of uncommon delicacy
and grace, closely enveloped in the folds of a
silken scarf, which, with a hood of the same material,
completely baffled his curiosity. Yet there
was something superior, Atherton thought, something
more tasteful, in short indescribable, about
this female—young she must be, and how beautiful,
he longed to know—which rivetted his attention.
Occupying a seat nearly parallel to her own, he
could watch every movement without altering his
position so much as to occasion remark; and the
unconscious girl little suspected with what diligence
every article of her dress and every motion of her
person was scanned.

As soon as the congregation was dismissed, with
a blessing from the pastor, Atherton, in his haste
to intercept her retreat, and so obtain a glimpse of
her face, overturned a seat against the unlucky
shins of a curly-pated boy, who, forthwith, set up a 3(5)v 34
cry, which resounded through the building, and fixed
the eyes of every one upon them. Miriam Grey,
turned of course, and Atheron saw peeping from
beneath her hood, a pair of laughing blue eyes, with
the features and complexion of a Hebe. Her cheeks
were dimpled with smiles, which seemed excited by
his disaster; but the instant she met his fixed and
admiring gaze, she moved away, with a deep and
almost painful blush. Atherton could scarcely regret
an accident, which had crowned his wishes
with success; but he felt bound in conscience to offer
an apology for his carelessness, and, if possible,
to pacify the still sobbing child, who was kicking
lustily, in utter contempt of the tender caresses of
several venerable damsels, who had gathered about
him, and whose sympathy seemed to have a most
perverse effect upon his temper.

Major Atherton, however, found his interference
quite unavailing; and, as he was looking round for
Governor Winslow, his step-son, Peregrine White,
came towards him, with a countenance, which shewed
how highly he was diverted by the passing scene.
They left the house together, and, as they descended
the hill, the quick eye of Peregrine readily detected
the eagerness, with which his companion
continued to regard the figure of Miriam Grey, who
tripped lightly on before them.

“There goes the handsomest lass in Plymouth,”
said the youth; “and there, too, is the sanctimonious
Benjamin Ashly walking by her side, whom
her father wants her to marry, because he is ‘gifted’, 3(6)r 35
and makes a speech almost every sabbath day at
meeting, which generally lasts till the congregation
are well nigh all asleep.”

“A powerful recommendation truly!” returned
Atheron, “and is it likely to prove successful with
the damsel?”

“It may be so,” replied the other; “but she is a
sly little witch, and nobody can find out yet; I believe
Master Ashly himself is as much at a loss to
know as any one.”

“That respectable looking man, to whom she is
now speaking, is her father, I presume?”
said Atherton.

“Yes, and the most rigid sprig of orthodoxy that
ever walked in the steps of Calvin; he is thought
a ‘burning and shining light’ in the church here,
but I confess there is too much smoke about it, to
enlighten my path, at least.”

“I am afraid you are wilfully blind,” said Atherton
smiling; “but has he been a long time in
New-England?”

“Oh yes, he came over in the May-flower, with
the first company of settlers, and brought with him
his wife, and Miriam, then scarcely a year old, and
her cousin Lois, whom you see leaning on her arm.
Mrs. Grey, I have heard my mother say, was very
delicately brought up, and did not many years survive
the change of climate and situation.”

Mr. Grey and his family, at that moment, reached
the door of their residence; and, shortly after,
Atherton and Peregrine White entered the house
of Governor Winslow.

3(6)v 36

Peregrine White was a tall, handsome youth of
seventeen, with a frank, intelligent, and very animated
countenance, which was perfectly characteristic
of his disposition. He was the first English
child born in New-England, and his birth took
place, while the vessel, which had brought the Pilgrims
to a frozen coast, was lying exposed to the
severity of the season, before they had found a spot
to rest upon, or a shelter for their wives and little
ones. But neither these gloomy circumstances, nor
the hardships to which his childhood was exposed,
had left any traces on his mind; he was gay and
thoughtless, loved a frolic better than any thing
else, and though perfectly good-humoured and affectionate,
so inconsiderate as to involve himself in
frequent difficulties, and occasion constant anxiety
to his friends. His father died soon after his arrival
at Plymouth; and, in the following spring,
Mrs. White was united to Mr. Edward Winslow,
whose wife had fallen a victim to the sickness,
which carried away more than half their numbers,
during the preceding winter; and this was the first
marriage that was celebrated in the colony.

Peregrine White drew his hand over his face
with a whimsical expression, as he threw open the
parlour door; and then, with the utmost gravity and
composure, followed Major Atherton into the room.
The family were shortly re-assembled, and partook,
rather sparingly, of some light refreshments which
were placed before them. Mrs. Winslow apologized
to her guest for not having provided a dinner, 4(1)r 37
observing that it was an established custom with
the colonists to refrain from unnecessary labour on
the Lord’s day, that their domestics might enjoy
the privilege of public worship, to which they were
equally entitled with themselves.

After an hour’s intermission they returned to the
meeting-house; and the afternoon services differed
considerably from those in the former part of the
day. The puritans, on leaving their native country,
adopted many opinions and modes of teaching,
suited perhaps, to their peculiar situation, but unpractised
by their brethren in England. Being at
first destitute of clergymen, the ruling elders, and
others in esteem, were obliged to exercise their gifts
to edify the people; a practice which became too
common, and often misused, even after the settlement
of a minister.

Instead of a regular discourse, the Governor
arose, and propounded a question, touching certain
controverted doctrines of their creed, and was answered
in a brief and comprehensive manner by the
pastor. Mr. Brewster, a ruling elder, then exhorted,
or “prophesied”, as it was called, in a style of persuasive
eloquence, and with a force and clearness
expression, which always distinguished his public
teaching, and usually carried conviction to the
heart and understanding of his hearers. He was
followed by several of the congregation, and, among
others, Benjamin Ashly spoke, at some length, with
a zeal not exactly according to knowledge, and
which Atherton thought strongly tinctured with Vol. I. 4 4(1)v 38
arrogance and self-conceit. He certainly attended
with more interest to the father of Miriam Grey,
whose strongly marked, and rather severe countenance,
energetic manner, and bold and searching
language, rendered him a meet representative of
the eminent reformer, whose doctrines he so strenuously
advocated. The assembly was then reminded
of their duty in contributing to the support of
the church, and the necessities of the poor; when
all advanced to the deacon’s seat, and put their mites
into the bag destined to receive the offering. The
singing of psalms also formed a part of the exercises,
and Atherton again listened to a voice, which
had twice charmed him with its unrivalled melody,
though he fancied that Miriam Grey cautiously
avoided his observation; and, whether from accident
or design, he was unable to obtain another
view of her features.

“You will find our religious customs and opinions
somewhat singular, Major Atherton,”
observed
the Governor, when they had left the house;
“but I hope there has been nothing unpleasant to
your feelings, though I am aware that our ideas
essentially differ.”

“Perhaps not so very essentially, sir,” returned
Atherton: “you will recollect that my mother was
a dissenter, and I should feel a regard for her religion,
even if my own experience did not bear witness
to the purity and rectitude of many of its professors,
and the wisdom and piety which have
adorned their lives.”

4(2)r 39

“Many judicious and good men” said Mr. Winslow,
“have objected to the practice of prophesying,
as it is generally used amongst us, and which is allowed
in no other churches of New-England. It
is a truth, and, to our reproach be it spoken, that
dissensions have already disturbed our peace, and
grievous wolves have entered into the fold, and divided
the sheep of the flock.”

“Do you attribute these divisions,” asked Atherton,
“to the admission of the custom alluded to.”
“In a certain degree;” returned the Governor;
“were the liberty of speaking, subject to particular
regulations, and confined to men, who, like Elder
Brewster
, are gifted with the spirit of grace, and
prepared by education and habit, it would doubtless
tend to edification; and, in the early period of
the settlement, it was our only method of public
christian instruction. But, in later days, many
godly ministers, who have ‘cast in their lot’ with
us, have been discouraged by finding their office
assumed by brethren, who vainly imagine themselves
qualified to exhort, and thus a ‘door of contention’
has been opened, which our adversaries
have not failed to use to our disadvantage, and
sometimes to the hindrance of gospel ordinances.”

“I thought,” said Atherton, “that here, at least, the
church was at rest, and that those free and virtuous
spirits, who braved so much for liberty of conscience,
and the enjoyment of their religious privileges,
were now reaping the reward of their laudable
exertions, and sitting quietly under ‘their own
vine and fig tree.’”

4(2)v 40

“They have done all that fallible man judged
right and suitable,”
replied the Governor; “and,
throughthough perfection and complete success are not the
portion of earth, we may still be permitted to hope
that what we have ‘sown in tears,’ we shall hereafter
‘reap in joy,’ and that He who has ‘planted a
vine,’
in this wilderness, will not cease to water it
with his blessing. We are deemed enthusiasts, Major
Atherton”
he added, with a smile; “but slight
disappointments will never discourage those whose
hearts are truly interested in a great design; and I
trust that our children, and children’s children, even
to the remotest posterity, will eat of the fruit of the
tree, which we have rooted and nourished, and that
New-England will yet become the most favoured
country of the world, even that ‘happy land, whose
God is the Lord.’”

4(3)r 41

Chapter IV.

Grave in council,

Firm in resolve, invincible in arms;

Yet jocund in the hour of ease, he lov’d

The merry jest and laughing brow of youth.

In the course of a week, Captain Standish returned
to Plymouth, and being soon apprised of his
kinsman’s arrival, during his absence, for even in
those early days the good people found some leisure
to discuss the affairs of the village—he sent a message
to the Governor’s desiring Major Atherton to
visit him as soon as he found it convenient and
agreeable. Atherton’s curiousity to see a man, who
was regarded by the colonists as a second Joshua
for valour and address, induced him to accept the
invitation, without delay. Peregrine White attended
him as guide on the occasion, and, after a
walk of eight miles, they reached the house of his
relative just in the dusk of twilight.

Peregrine White led the way without ceremony,
into a large, low apartment, brightly illuminated
by a huge fire, which was blazing on a hearth
occupying no inconsiderable part of the room, and
which diffused a cheering warmth, peculiarly agreeable
in a cool autumnal evening. One recess of
the chimney corner was occupied by a stout Indian
dressed after the English fashion, with the additionVol. I. 4* 4(3)v 42
of a wampum belt, and other savage ornaments,
strangely blended with his European costume. A
fowling piece rested beside him, and on a ledge,
over the fire place, lay his still smoking pipe, which
seemed to have been put aside, while he satisfied
the cravings of hunger from a pewter basin of savory
pottage, occasionally adding a relish from the
carcase of a fowl which garnished his lap. His
bold features were composed into the gravity, peculiar
to his race, and his tawny complexion was
rendered more dark by the fitful light of the flame,
which now flashed upon it, and again left him involved
in shadow.

Captain Standish, the early hero of New-England,
was seated in a three-cornered elbow chair,
beside a round oaken table, discussing the merits
of a brace of partidges, from which, with the assistance
of some dried fish, and a quantity of Indian
cakes, he was preparing to make a hearty
supper. His repast was shared by his only son, a
robust lad, while two surly mastiffs sat erect on
each side of them, with their eyes fixed wistfully
on the well-filled platters.

Captain Standish was small of stature, but his
well-proportioned figure, denoted great agility and
muscular strength; his features were spirited and
intelligent, his eyes dark and piercing, and his
whole countenance indicated a frank and hasty
temper, an active and decisive mind, and a warm
and sanguine disposition.

This group was first apprised of the approach of 4(4)r 43
visitors, by the portentous growling of the dogs,
who inhospitally attacked the defenceless favourite
of Major Atherton, which had followed, or rather
preceded him into the room.

“Come away Towser, down with you Bess,”
cried the Captain in a loud voice, “shall I never
teach you, to be civil!”
“Ah, is it you, Master Peregrine,”
he added, on seeing his young acquaintance
enter, “well, I am glad to see you, though you do
always bring noise and confusion with you.”

“Thank you Captain,” said Peregrine White;
“but, as it happens, I find the noise already here,
for once, and have brought with me something
which I think will be more acceptable.”

“Ah, my cousin Atherton!” exclaimed the Captain,
rising briskly from table, and seizing his
hand, without the ceremony of an introduction;
you are truly welcome to Plymouth, though I am
sorry I was not here to tell you so sooner; but sit
down now, and we shall be better acquainted over
our soldiers’ fare, if you will share it with me.”

“I am used to a soldier’s fare,” returned Atherton
and thank you for a soldier’s welcome; but I should
judge from the appearance of your trencher, that
your campaigns had been made in a fruitful land;
a camp does not often furnish such a profusion of
good things.”

“True,” replied the Captain, “the Dutch burgomasters
know, as well as most people, how to
regale their palates; and I served long with them
in the days of our good queen Elizabeth. But we 4(4)v 44
will try what is set before us now, if you please,
Major Atherton.”
“Alexander, my lad, get up and
give your kinsman a seat; are you so hungry as
to forget your manners!”

The boy, with a very good grace, arose and
placed chairs for the guests, and the important
business of eating, was shortly resumed with alacrity.

“We want a light here,” said Captain Standish,
again attacking the partridges; “Hobamock, throw
away your pipe; it may not be quite so agreeable
to every one, as it is to you and me; and give us
a candle here quickly; we are none of us owls to
see in the dark.”

The Indian rolled a column of smoke from his
mouth, knocked the ashes from his pipe upon the
hearth, and gravely rising, obeyed the Captain’s
command. He then threw some dry wood into the
fire, which sent forth a crackling sound, and a
heat that penetrated to every recess of the apartment;
after turning his eyes deliberately round
the room, to ascertain if any thing else required his
attention, reseated himself on a wooden stool, to
doze away the evening.

The candle, which had been placed on the table,
first distinctly revealed to Captain Standish the
features of his kinsman; he examined them a moment
in silence, and then observed,

“I see you have true Standish blood in your
veins, Major Atherton; and I can now trace in 4(5)r 45
your countenance a strong resemblance to my cousin
Eleanor, though it is many long years since
we met. She was just sixteen, when I left England,
and the comeliest lass in Lancashire. Many
a joyous hour have we passed together in the halls
of our fathers; but I little thought, when I last
bade her farewell, that I should never see her or
my country more.”

“My mother often spoke of you sir,” returned
Atherton, “and always with affectionate interest;
but I was then far from anticipating, that we should
ever sit down together in this remote region of the
earth.”

“It is the fortune of war to encounter sudden
reverses,”
replied the Captain; “but you have reached
a quiet land at last, though if you love your
profession, our savage neighbours will contrive to
keep your sword from rusting.”

“My sword and best services will ever be at the
command of any who stand in need of them,”
returned
Atherton; “but I have resigned my commission
in the army, and expect, in future, to lead
a retired and private life.”

“Well, we can find employment that will suit
you in either case, if you like to remain with us.
Your mother has brought you up in her own religion,
I hope.”

“No, I am of the Church of England.”

“Humph, that is unlucky; but you need not make
much stir about it; be regular and peaceable, and
no one has a right to intermeddle with your conscience, 4(5)v 46
though, to be sure, the good people here
are rather fond of doing such things. But, may I
ask, have you any particular plans to execute.”

“None at all. I am at present a citizen of the
world; and have travelled hither, from mere curiosity,
and the want of other employment. I admire
this country, as far as I have seen it; am charmed
with the simplicity and goodness of those who inhabit
it; and, if nothing occurs to change my feelings,
may yet sojourn with you, for a long time.”

“Admirable!” cried the Captain, rising and leading
the way to the fire. “I think we shall fix you
here, for life. I tell you, cousin Atherton, there is
no country in the world so happy, or that will be
so glorious, as New-England. Had you seen it in
16201620, when we landed, famishing and almost frozen,
you might have turned back a longing eye to the
goodly fields of England; but, by the blaze of this
warm fire, and on the strength of our evening’s
meal, I think we can arrange a better prospect for
you.”

“And what shall I do to keep myself out of mischief?”
asked Atherton. “I have been used to an
active life, which gave constant exercise, both to
my mind and body.”

“We will contrive to amuse you, through the
winter,”
answered the Captain; “and, in the spring,
you can learn to till a farm, and provide for a
family, when you have one, which will be exercise
enough.”

“Rather more than I had anticipated,” said Atherton, 4(6)r 47
smiling; “a wife is a blessing I have scarcely
thought of as yet.”

“It is a thought, which is very apt to run in a
young man’s head, though,”
replied the Captain,
“at least, till he is fairly tied to one. But we will
not hurry you, in that matter; though I can shew
you as comely maidens, and as prudent ones,
withal, as you could meet with, in Old England
itself.”

“Now I’ll wager any thing, Captain,” said Peregrine
White
, that you are thinking of Miriam Grey;
but Major Atherton has seen her already.”

“What, seen my little rose-bud, Major Atherton;”
said the Captain. “You are a true soldier, to be
looking about for pretty damsels, as soon as you
get into new quarters.”

“It was quite accidental,” returned Atherton;
“and, after all, only a momentary glimpse, at
church.”

“There was no lack of peeping, though,” rejoined
Peregrine, archly; “but her new hood is unluckily
a very close covering; don’t you think so, Major?”

“Never mind, Peregrine,” said the Captain significantly;
“as Benjamin Ashly is to be her husband,
what does it signify;”
while he spoke, he
fixed his keen eye on Atherton, who, without exactly
knowing why, turned his towards the fire.

“And what news do you bring us from England,
Major,”
resumed Captain Standish, after a moment’s
pause.

“None particularly interesting, I believe,” answered 4(6)v 48
Atherton:—“indeed I have lived almost
out of the world, for the last few months; and, to
confess the truth, have been too much engrossed by
my own concerns, to observe what was passing
around me.”

“Well, and our good king Charles has lost
none of his obstinacy, I suppose; I doubt you would
have heard of that.”

“Not enough, I fear, for his own good, or the
welfare of his subjects. His hereditary zeal for
kingly prerogative is likely to prove a fruitful
source of evils to the kingdom.”

“So I thought; and that comes of having an
obstinate father, and a papist wife; the former he
could not help, the more’s the pity; and for the
last, the Lord help us; but the women will have
their own way; they would rule us all, if they
could, cousin Atherton.

“Yet queen Henrietta is a beautiful and accomplished
woman, with a high and dauntless spirit,
worthy of her descent from the most illustrious
monarch, who ever sat on the throne of France.”

“So much the worse, if her husband cannot govern
it,”
persisted the Captain; “but that Archbishop
Laud
,—is he fining, imprisoning, and persecuting
yet?”

“I did hear that a warrant had been issued, at
his instigation, to prevent any non-conformist ministers
from leaving England; and the severities
exercised against the laity of that persuasion, are
also attributed to his influence. Great numbers 5(1)r 49
have sold their estates, and intend, shortly, to embark
for America.”

“It is an ill wind that blows nobody good,” said
Peregrine White, who thought it was quite time for
him to speak; “I hope they will help us to clear
out the wilderness, when they get here.”

“The great hurricane of last year,” replied the
Captain, “felled a good many trees; and, if it had
moved them out of the way, I should have made
more speed on my journey homeward. And now
tell me, Peregrine, what you have been doing since
I left Plymouth?”

“Me! Captain? I have been hunting, and fishing,
and”

“And all sorts of good-for-nothing things, I warrant
thee, jack-a-napes,”
interrupted the Captain;
“I don’t mean you, but the town, the colony, Master
Peregrine
.”

“Why just what they have been doing ever since
I came into it,”
returned Peregrine; but I hope
you have brought something to entertain us, from
the Massachusetts.”

“I heard of nothing there,” said the Captain, “but
Mrs. Hutchinson, who has set them all in a flame,
and the new Governor, with whom some are already
discontented. He has taken great state upon
himself, and goes to the court and meeting with
four sergeants walking before him, carrying halberds
in their hands. Mr. Winthrop, who spent
his fortune in the service of the people, had more
humility; and, I do believe, this Governor Vane, Vol. I. 5 5(1)v 50
in spite of his quality, and his grave visage, and
clipped head, is imposing on them.”

“And what are they doing to Mrs. Hutchinson?”
enquired Peregrine White

“Doing to her!” returned the Captain with some
warmth, “what they fled from England to avoid
themselves! These Massachusetts are a meddling
people, and they seem to have grown so fond of
persecution, since they escaped from the reach of it,
that they have a mind to try its efficacy in their
own church, and undertake to discipline whomsoever
they choose. God knows there is little enough
of charity in our colony; but it is some comfort to
find we are not quite so bad as our neighbours.”

“Who is this female,” asked Atherton, “and of
what crime has she been guilty, to draw upon herself
so much reproach?”

“The crime of thinking differently from her opposers,”
said the Captain. “She is a respectable
gentlewoman, and her husband was long a representative
in the court. But she is now accused of
teaching false doctrines, holding unlawful meetings,
and divers other misdemeanors; and the whole
country is divided into parties, for and against her.
I am sure it is no such strange thing for a woman’s
head to be filled with idle notions; and, if the magistrates
would only let her alone, she would soon
come to her senses; but, I am told, she is to be tried
by a council, and, it is thought, will be banished
from the colony.”

“Well, peace go with her!” exclaimed Peregrine 5(2)r 51
White
, “I only hope she will not come here; for
we have meetings and exhortations enough now, to
keep the elders employed, and Benjamin Ashly
too. But did you hear any thing about the Pequods,
Captain? It is reported here, that they have
murdered John Oldham at Block Island, and are
detected in plotting against the English.”

“It is true; the traitorous savages!” said the
Captain, “and instead of treating for peace with
them, the whole race ought to be exterminated.
Oldham was a pestilent fellow, to be sure, but that
is no reason why he should be hacked up, when
trading peaceably with them, in their own country.”

“Was the unfortunate man alone,” asked Atherton,
“when the crime was perpetrated?”

“No, he had with him two boys, and as many
Narraganset Indians, whose lives were all spared.
The master of a bark from Connecticut, accidentally
fell upon the wretches, soon after the deed was
accomplished, and, assisted only by a man, and two
lads who were with him, retook Oldham’s vessel,
which was filled with hostile Indians, several of
whom were drowned in attempting to escape. Block
Island
is subject to the Narraganset tribe; but they
seem to have had no hand in the murder, which was,
doubtless, instigated by the Pequods, with whom
the offenders have sought refuge.”

“Have no farther attempts been made to punish
the murderers?”
asked Atherton.

“Yes, the Governor of Massachusetts sent four- 5(2)v 52
score men, under Captain Endicot of Salem, with
offers of peace, if they would give them up; but after
parleying for some time, they refused, and fled
into the woods.”

“And Captain Endicot pursued them, I hope,”
said Peregrine.

“No, he burnt their wigwams, destroyed their
corn, staved their canoes, and returned home to
seek more comfortable winter quarters. I wish I
had been there,”
continued the Captain, with earnestness;
“not a dog of them should have escaped;
I know their metal well; and, though generally
fearless of death, a few dauntless Englishmen can
put half a tribe of them to flight. These savages,
Major Atherton, are so perfidious, that no treaty
can bind them; and so jealous of us, as to aim continually
at our total ruin. Many a foul plot has
been revealed to us; and, in the days of our feebleness,
nothing but the watchful providence of God
preserved us from their evil designs.”

“And your own valour, Captain,” observed Peregrine
White
; “you always forget to bring that into
the account. But I can tell Major Atherton, how
you went with only eight men, to the settlement of
Wessagusset, which was filled with Indians, and
boldly attacked the sachems Wittuwamet and Pecksuot,
who were the terror of the whole land; and
a great many other wonderful stories.”

“Yes, yes,” interrupted the Captain, impatiently,
“nobody doubts your ability to tell wonderful stories,
Peregrine. I have had proof enough of it from 5(3)r 53
your youth up. But there is Hobamock nodding
in the corner, and Alexander fast asleep on a bench
yonder. The boy seems wearied by his long march
yesterday; and, in truth, his young legs have never
executed so much in one day before.”

“And I had forgotten,” said Atherton, rising,
“that you had been travelling so lately, and must
need repose; indeed, the evening has passed so
pleasantly, that I scarcely thought of returning.”

“Oh, we think lightly of a walk through the
woods, once or twice a year, to the Massachusetts,”

said the Captain, “and should be half ashamed to
acknowledge ourselves fatigued by it. But you
must not leave me to night, cousin Atherton; I
have a bed ready for you, such as it is, and you will
not forsake the house of your kinsman, for a stranger’s
roof.”

“I scarcely feel that any are strangers here,” returned
Atherton; “I have been treated with so much
kindness and attention; but the Governor expects
me to return, and I cannot leave his hospitable family
with so little ceremony.”

“Yes, you must, indeed, go home with me,” said
Peregrine White, “or you will disappoint us all;
to-morrow, you know, we are to have some sport
in the shooting way, and the next day—”

“Oh your endless plans,” interrupted the Captain,
I tell you, young man, they will some day
bring you into mischief.”

“Well, I know, Captain, you will do your best
to get me out of it.”

Vol. I. 5* 5(3)v 54

“Not I, at least, till you have suffered enough
for your folly to cure you of it, which will be no
brief period. An’t now, Major Atherton, promise
to come back, to-morrow, and take up your abode
with me.”

“To-morrow, then,” said Atherton, “I will see
you again.”
And cordially shaking hands, they
parted.

Peregrine White lingered a moment behind while
Captain Standish attended Atherton to the outer
door; and, feeling his habitual love of mischief prevail,
adroitly contrived to roll the sleeping Alexander
upon the floor. He fell with a dead weight
on one of the surly mastiffs, which set up a howl
that awakened his companion, who instantly joined
in the chorus, producing a confusion of sounds,
that speedily recalled the Captain and Atherton to
the room. They entered, just as the lad was
scrambling up, with a somniferous growling, and
the Indian, roused by the noise, was starting on
his feet, and instinctively seizing his fowling piece.
His straight black hair, which had been discomposed
by his recumbent posture, stood almost erect,
and his dark eyes rolled wildly round, as if seeking
the cause of the unusual commotion. Captain
Standish
quickly discovered the author of the bustle;
but his intention of rebuking the culprit
vanished, the moment he saw him, and his gravity
yielded to a fit of laughter, in the midst of which,
Peregrine White made his escape.

5(4)r 55

Chapter V.

“From the crown of his head, to the sole of his foot, he is all mirth;
he hath a heart as sound as a bell, and his tongue is the clapper;
for what his heart thinks, his tongue speaks.”
Shakspeare.

The broad disk of the sun was just visible above
the horizon, when Major Atherton and Peregrine
White
, with their fowling pieces and dogs, left the
house to engage in the projected sports of the day.

They were accompanied, a short distance, by the
Governor, whose agricultural pursuits often required
his early attendance in the field of labour;
for like the Roman Cincinnatus, the primitive rulers
of New-England were accustomed to mingle the
useful arts of husbandry with the higher duties of
their office. Elected by a grateful people, not from
the prejudices of party spirit, or the paltry attractions
of outward state; but for sterling qualities of
the mind, piety of heart, and rectitude and uprightness
of character, they presided with dignity, and
commanded respect, alike in the council chamber,
and in the more humble duties, and familiar intercourse
of life. Ambition had not then assumed
the mask of patriotism, nor were the unprincipled
and licentious, elevated to the “high places” of the
land.

As Mr. Winslow and his companions pursued
their walk, they were continually greeted by the 5(4)v 56
inhabitants of the village, who were scattering
abroad on their daily vocations; and Atherton remarked
with pleasure, the cordial salute of the
Governor, equally removed from pride and meanness,
and the respect and hearty good-will with
which it was returned. He involuntarily compared
it with the fatiguing splendours of royalty, and
the often heartless shouts of applause, which follow
the steps of a monarch; and his already favourable
prepossessions of the country were augmented
by the comparison. They rested a few moments,
on the summit of a hill beyond the town; and
while Peregrine White amused himself with training
his dogs to perform various feats of dexterity
and cunning, the Governor and Major Atherton
regarded in silence the varied and beautiful scenery,
which was stretched around them.

“I love to rest on this spot,” said the Governor,
at length, “nor can I look round upon this goodly
prospect, without emotions of gratitude to Him,
who has so wonderfully prospered the work of our
hands, who ‘remembered us in our low estate,’
‘brought us out of our afflictions,’ and, in the latter
end, has ‘blessed us in our basket, and in our
store.’”

“I regard with surprise,” replied Atherton, “the
astonishing success of your exertions; how dreary
must this place have been when you first arrived
here!”

“Nor is it possible, now, to form an idea of it,”
returned the Governor. “Expecting to reach a 5(5)r 57
fruitful and temperate climate, we found ourselves
treacherously cast on an icy and barren coast, obliged
to struggle with disease and famine; while
those, whom we most loved, were perishing miserably
before our eyes, through excess of hardship
and fatigue. Some were at times well nigh discouraged;
but the Lord gave us ‘strength, according
to our day,’
and when our ‘staff of bread’ failed,
the earth yield us ground nuts, and we eat of
‘the abundance of the seas, and of the treasures
hid in the sand.’”

“How,” asked Atherton, “did you escape destruction
from the savages, who so greatly exceeded
you in numbers, and always viewed you with dislike.”

“They seemed filled with dread of us, feeble as we then were,” said Mr. Winslow; “we seldom saw
them, except in small numbers, as we sailed along
the coast, and they always fled at the report of
our fire-arms. We were informed by a friendly
Indian, who came to us, in the spring, that four
years previous to that time, a dreadful sickness had
almost depopulated this part of the country; and
we could not but regard it as a signal interposition
of Providence, which had thus ‘cast out the heathen’
before us, to make way for a people, who would
spread the true religion throughout the land. Had
they fallen upon us, when we were sick and defenceless
we could have opposed but little resistance
to their savage ferocity.”

“I understand,” said Atherton, “that many of their 5(5)v 58
tribes now maintain a friendly intercourse with
you.”

“They do so; and, particularly, the powerful
Sachem Massasoit, and his subjects, who inhabit
the northern shore of the Narraganset Bay, about
forty miles distant from us. A few months after
our arrival, the Sachem sent us a present of furs,
with a message announcing his intention of visiting
us; and, shortly after, he appeared on this very
hill, with a train of sixty attendants, all decorated
with the skins of wild beasts, and frightfully disfigured
by paint. The chief signified his pleasure,
that one of us should come to him, and being requested
by the Governor, I went alone, and carrying
a present; though, I assure you, Major Atherton,
I could hardly approach such wild looking
beings without trembling. I remained with them,
as an hostage, while Massasoit, with twenty of his
men, unarmed, descended to a brook yonder,
where they were received by Captain Standish,
and six of our people, who conducted the Indians
to a house. They were seated on cushions, placed
on the floor, and feasted, after the English fashion.
Governor Carver presently entered, followed by a
few musketeers, with a drum and trumpet, which
caused them great astonishment and delight. We
then entered into a treaty of peace and friendship
with them, which has ever since been faithfully preserved,
on both sides.”

“How could you understand their barbarous dialect;”
enquired Atherton; “or did you converse
only by signs?”

5(6)r 59

“We found an interpreter,” said Mr. Winslow,
“in an Indian sagamore, who early adventured
amongst us, and had learned something of our language,
from the English traders and fishermen,
who used to frequent the coast. There was also
another savage, called Squanto, who attached himself
to us, and, on many occasions, did us good
service, though he eventually proved treacherous.
Several years before, he, with twenty others, were
decoyed on board a vessel, by one master Hunt,
(who came hither, under pretence of trading with
the natives,) and carried to Malaga, where they
were sold for slaves. Squanto was afterwards
sent to England, and is the only one who has ever
returned here. This perfidious act of our countryman,
justly incensed the savages against all white
people, and it is not strange, that they should wish
to exclude such dangerous neighbours. But I must
leave you, Major Atherton: we lead a pastoral life,
here, you see, and the labour of our fields, and welfare
of our flocks must be attended to.”

“I am glad my father has done his speech,” exclaimed
Peregrine White, springing from the
ground, the moment he had left them. “But who
comes here? Hobamock, as I live, with Alexander
and the mastiffs.”

And, in truth, the Indian, who had heard their
arrangements on the preceding evening, and loved
every wild adventure, now came running swiftly
towards them, followed by Alexander Standish,
who was tugging up the hill, almost out of breath; 5(6)v 60
and pettishly accusing his more nimble footed companion
for leaving him in the rear.

“Why wont you stop for me Hobamock? I can’t
keep up with you,”
they could hear him say.

“Your legs be younger than mine, and I do carry
your gun,”
returned the Indian, who was, in
fact, loaded with two pieces.

“And what have you come here for Hobamock?”
asked Peregrine, as soon as he was within hearing.

“I come for shoot you, master Peregrine.”

“Shoot me, you copper-coloured rascal, do you
mean so?”

“Shoot for you the birds, master Peregrine, I
mean, and then make a fire for eat them, in the
woods.”

“Oh, you come to eat, did you? well, let’s on
then. But stop, what ails you, Alexander?”

“Nothing;” said the boy, and snatching his
fowling piece from the hand of Hobamock, he followed
them a few moments in silence. But his
cheerfulness soon returned; for he was naturally
gay and good-tempered, though rather self-willed,
which might be attributed to the want of early
discipline, having lost his mother in infancy, and
his father’s public duties calling him frequently
from home, had left him much at his own disposal.

The little party proceeded gaily on their way,
and soon struck into the mazes of a deep forest,
where Peregrine White augured they should find
plenty of game. They followed a winding path
along the margin of a clear stream, that floated on 6(1)r 61
its billows the red and decaying leaves of autumn;
and after struggling on its course, and frequently
forcing a passage over fragments of rocks and
trunks of fallen trees, from which they dashed in
broken and foaming sheets, producing miniature
water-falls of exquisite beauty, at length terminated
in a small lake, fringed with the quivering
birch and drooping willow, which dipped their
flexile branches in the waves, already strewed with
their transient foliage.

Major Atherton, charmed with the romantic
beauty of the spot, lingered far behind his companions;
and, busied with his own thoughts, heeded
not their merry voices and loud peals of laughter,
which grew fainter and fainter, till they were no
longer distinguished from the whistling of the
breeze, and the monotonous rippling of the waters.
The report of a gun at length roused him to a consciousness
of his lonely situation; and, hastening
to the place from whence the sound proceeded, he
found Peregrine White reloading his piece, with
an air of extreme vexation.

“I thought we had lost you, Major Atherton,” he
said; “I wish you had been here, just to have seen
the fine covey of partridges that I started; but the
foolish birds chose to make the best of their way
off, as soon as the shot began to fly.”

“Foolish, indeed!” replied Atherton, “to make
use of their wings, when such an honour awaited
them; but I fear we shall not find much sport Vol. I. 6 6(1)v 62
here; there seems little but dried leaves stirring
to-day!”

“Not much else, in the bottom of that muddy
pool where you have been looking this half hour,”

said Peregrine; “but see there!” and he aimed
steadily at a bird which was perched at some distance.
But the keen eye of Hobamock had already
marked it, and his unerring aim brought it in
an instant fluttering to the ground. Peregrine
White’s
third attempt, however, proved more
fortunate, and abundantly recompensed him for
his past mortification; and each having been
more or less successful, they began to feel strong
appetites produced by their exercise, and commissioned
Hobamock to kindle a fire under the trees,
and cook their game. The Indian obeyed with
alacrity; and stripping the birds of the beautiful
plumage, which they had lately sported with such
innocent joy in their native bowers, he was preparing
to lay them on the coals, when the distant
echo of fire-arms announced that other sportsmen
were amusing themselves in the forest.

“We will see who is here,” said Peregrine,
springing forward, and crushing the brushwood
under his feet; “and do you run on, Hobamock;
and if it is any of your sooty brethren, warn them
to be civil to us.”

“I will stay and take care of the dinner,” said
Alexander, “only don’t be gone long if you want
me to save any for you.”

“You must have a lion’s appetite to eat all those 6(2)r 63
birds,”
said Peregrine laughing; “but mind and
keep a good bunch to carry home and show.”

Again he bounded onward, and Atherton, with
equal agility, followed through the various intricate
windings, where the bending saplings marked
the footsteps of Hobamock, who had left the
beaten track, and trusted to the guidance of his
ear for a nearer course to the place from whence
the sound had proceeded.

They at length overtook him, just on the verge
of a sunny slope, which for a considerable space
had been cleared of trees; while the ruins of a
wigwam and some vestiges of a cornfield shewed
that it had once been the abode of Indians. Three
savage warriors, in the prime of manhood, were
carelessly reclined on the ground, and, as usual
when weary or idle, regaling themselves with
smoking tobacco; while, at a little distance, a
female was busied over a large fire, apparently in
some culinary preparation. She occasionally
stooped and sung, in a low sweet tone, to an infant
child that lay on the ground beside her; and
which, according to their custom, was stretched on
a board, and its little limbs confined with cords; a
custom which kept it secure when travelling, on
the back of its mother, and, doubtless, contributed
to form that straightness of limb for which the
race are so remarkable.

The men were partially covered with deer skins,
extending, like trowsers, to their feet, which were
guarded by mocassins of the same material. From 6(2)v 64
their shoulders depended a sort of cloak, composed
of a beautiful variety of furs; their heads were
decked with feathers, and their faces painted with
divers colours, extracted from the juice of certain
plants, and representing the most hideous figures.
The eldest, and apparently a chief, was distinguished
by a plume of eagle’s feathers, and a necklace of
carved bone hanging down to his waist, which was
encircled by a belt of wampum.

The dress of the Squaw differed little from the
others, except that with the usual predeliction of
her sex for ornament, she had profusely, and with
some taste, mingled the most gaudy colours with her
straight and glossy hair, and adorned her neck,
arms, and ancles, with bracelets of glass beads.

As soon as the keen-eyed Indians observed the
approaching figures of Major Atherton and Peregrine,
they started on their feet, with extreme quickness;
and the chief, advancing forward a few paces,
waited to receive them, leaning on his fowling
piece, his companions standing on either side of
him, with their bows bent, prepared to take deadly
aim, if any violence were offered them. Nothing
could exceed the dignity and grace of their attitudes,
the vigour and symmetry of their forms, or the noble,
though fierce expression of their countenances. Hobamock
hastened to meet them with words of
peace; and, after listening to him with profound
attention, they threw aside their weapons, and reseating
themselves on the ground, by expressive
gestures, invited the young men to join their circle. 6(3)r 65
They accordingly seated themselves, and through
the interpretation of Hobamock, entered into conversation
with the Indians, which was particularly
interesting to Atherton, who had much curiosity to
learn something of that singular race of people, and
to see them in their native wildness.

These warriors were of the Wamponeag tribe,
subjects of the sachem Massasoit, and on their way
to Plymouth, to trade with the people in furs. They
were very courteous in their manners; and, as a
mark of peculiar kindness, offered each of their transient
guests a share of their lighted tobacco, and
seemed much surprised that Atherton declined so
great a luxury, which was however accepted with
becoming gravity by Peregrine, though the use of
it excited many wry faces. The squaw was then
ordered to fetch an earthen vessel of “strong water”;
for so they called the ardent spirits which were given
them by the Europeans, and which was even
then a fruitful source of traffic and of cheating; for
they would barter the most valuable articles to satisfy
their thirst for what has proved the instrument
of their destruction.

Atherton felt obliged to put the draught to his
lips, though he thought it scarcely more palatable
than the pungent weed he had just refused; and in
returning the remainder to the young female who
stood waiting to receive it, he could not but remark
with admiration the timid gentleness of her manner
which gave a charm to the delicacy of her features,
and the softness of her olive complexion. She seemed Vol. I. 6* 6(3)v 66
to regard with great tenderness the little papoose, who
awoke and began to cry; but the moment she attempted
to soothe him, she was sternly ordered back
by her savage lord, whose commands were implicitly
obeyed; for the females of those tribes are accustomed
to endure the caprice of their indolent tyrants,
and to perform the most servile and fatiguing
labour with unrepining meekness.

Peregrine White at length reminded Atherton, that
their dinner would be spoiled by waiting, or eaten
up by Alexander and his dogs; and having no inclination
to lose their feast, after so long an abstinence,
they parted from their friendly entertainers,
leaving with them a small present, which was always
expected by an Indian from a white person
with whom he had any intercourse.

On returning to the spot where they had left their
game under the care of Alexander, Peregrine White
who preceded his companions, startled them with
exclaiming,

“What is here? the boy has served us a pretty
trick in good truth; Alexander! Alexander!”

But no voice replied to him, and Atherton hastening
to the place, perceived with surprise the fire
which they had kindled, almost extinct, and their birds
lying blackened to a coal on the mouldering embers.
Those which they had reserved as trophies
of their success, had all disappeared with the faithless
guard who was entrusted with the care of them.
Peregrine White gave vent to his indignation by a
blow aimed with his foot, and with a force that 6(4)r 67
threw the half consumed brands in various directions,
and ejected a fragment into the face of Hobamock,
leaving a dark stain upon his swarthy
skin, though his countenance preserved its usual
gravity, mingled with an expression of astonishment,
as he regarded the impotent wrath of the
youth whose anger proved as transient as it had
been ungovernable; and yielded to a burst of mirth
on beholding the blackened visage of the Indian,
who began leisurely to wipe it off with a bundle of
dried leaves.

“Let it be, Hobamock,” said Peregrine, “it will
serve you for paint as well as any other daubing.”

“I use no paint, Master Peregrine, now that I
live with white people.”

“Well, I wish it had been Alexander instead of
you; but he shall pay dearly for his roguery yet.
And now what can we find to eat?”

Hobamock had brought a few Indian cakes to relish
their expected repast, which, for the want of
better fare, they consumed with sportsmen’s appetites;
and with this meagre refreshment, and a
draught from a pure stream, to the fountain head
of which Hobamock led them, (for an Indian will
long endure thirst rather than drink but at the
source of even the clearest water,) they returned
somewhat crest-fallen to the village.

Peregrine White in particular, who boasted much
of his dexterity in shooting, and had promised in
the morning to return well laden with game, felt
no little mortification; and expecting the railery of 6(4)v 68
his family, proposed to Atherton as they passed the
beach, to try their luck in fishing, that they might
have something to carry home with them. Atherton
readily consented; and hailing a boat which
was just pushing from the shore, they were cheerfully
admitted by the man who occupied it, leaving
Hobamock, at his own desire, to return to his family.

The little bark skipped lightly over the waves,
and was soon without the harbour, where they anchored
and prepared their baits, assured by the experienced
fisherman who guided them, that there
would be no lack of nibbling. His prognostic
proved correct, and the place yielded such an abundance
of its finny treasure, that in a short time they
procured sufficient to make amends for the disasters
of the morning;—about sunset they steered
towards the shore. Several boats which had been
fishing in the bay, also tacked about and bore homeward;
and in one of them Peregrine White perceived
Mr. Grey and Benjamin Ashly; but they
were far behind, and in a larger vessel which struggled
hard against the wind.

On approaching the shore, they observed two
females walking the beach, and occasionally stopping
to regard them with attention. As they came
near enough to distinguish objects with certainty,
Peregrine White exclaimed,

“That is Miriam Grey and her cousin Lois, as I
am alive; shall we go and speak with them, Major
Atherton
?”

6(5)r 69

“As you please; I have no objection.”

“So I thought,” said Peregrine, significantly.
“Tug hard at your oars, John, or they will be off.”

The boatman applied all his strength, but Atherton
thought the bark moved slower than ever, particularly
when the females approached near the
water’s edge, and apparently ascertaining their
persons, turned carelessly away, and retreated
behind a cliff that entirely concealed them.

“I will find them yet,” said Peregrine White,
leaping on the strand, which they at that moment
gained; “follow me, and be still.”

He sprang quickly forward, in a direction opposite
to that chosen by the persons he was seeking,
and, throwing down his scaly burden, began to
ascend a craggy rock, which projected one side
into the sea, and was rendered extremely slippery
by the adhesion of sea-weeds left by the receding
tide, and the spray which continually dashed over
it. Atherton followed him in silence to the summit,
remaining a few paces behind, till he distinctly
heard the sound of voices, rising from beneath
the cliff.

Peregrine White stooped, and looking down, saw,
as he expected, Miriam Grey and her cousin below,
talking together, and quite unconscious that any
one was observing them. He silently dropped a
small pebble on the head of Miriam, who, supposing
it accidental, continued conversing, without regarding
it; but another, and another fell on her neck
and shoulders; and before she had time to look 6(5)v 70
around, a large handful rattled down the crag and
lay scattered at her feet. She uttered an exclamation
of surprise, which brought Atherton to the
verge of the precipice, though he remained screened
from observation by a fragment of the rock,
from whence he watched with interest the light
figure of Miriam Gray. She stood in an attitude
which expressed an intention of flight, with one
foot extended, as in the act of bounding forward,
yet still lingering on the spot, and casting an
eager glance around, to ascertain the cause of her
alarm. She had pushed back the hood that shaded
her countenance, which was flushed with surprize;
though the first impulse of womanish fear had given
place to an expression of spirit and resolution.
On looking up and perceiving Peregrine White, she
assumed an air of displeasure, which, however,
seemed unusual to her, and her features soon resumed
their wonted sweetness and vivacity, and
her deep blue eyes and archness peculiarly their
own.

Lois Grey, a demure and comely damsel of
twenty-eight, first broke the silence.

“Your time is well employed, I think, Master
Peregrine
, in showering down stones upon us.”

“Not upon you, Lois, they did not touch so much
as the hem of your garments. I only gathered a
few small stones, like David of old, from the great
brook yonder, to frighten Miriam, and revenge
myself on her for running away when she saw
me coming to her.”

6(6)r 71

“I run away from you!” said Miriam, “I only
saw you sailing on the water, and how could I
know you were coming to me?”

“Ah, you knew well enough,” said Peregrine;
“but it is not the first time that you have served
me so.”

“And it is not the first time,” said Miriam, pointing,
with a smile, to the pebble stones, “that I have
had good reason for avoiding you. But I came hither
to meet my father; did you see his boat coming in?”

“Yes, and Benjamin Ashly was with him; but
I suppose you know that already.”

“Indeed I did not,” said Miriam eagerly, and
slightly colouring.

“Well, I tell you he is,” returned Peregrine;
“and they have this moment touched the strand;
there goes the honest deacon, that is to be, with a
heavy load of fish on his back; I would you were
up here to look at him, Miriam.”

“I have not the least curiosity on the subject,
and am quite satisfied with my lowly station,
replied
the damsel; “but I must be gone; good bye
to you, Peregrine.”

“Stop a moment,” cried Peregrine, “here is somebody
who wants to see you.”

Before Atherton was aware of his design, the
youth pulled him suddenly by his arm from behind
the rock, in view of Miriam Grey, who had instinctively
stopped, and now stood abashed before him.

Atherton, though provoked by at the awkwardness
of his situation, retained his self-possession; and 6(6)v72
on the whole, acquitted himself better than could
have been expected, considering the uneasiness of
his position on the summit of a dizzy crag. Miriam
Grey
silently courtesied to his salute; but a
smile played on her lips as she glanced at him
through her long eye-lashes, and beheld him hovering
in the air above her; then taking the arm of
Lois, they walked quietly away, leaving Atherton
to deprecate the mischievous spirit of Peregrine,
which had led him into so ridiculous an adventure.

“Now was’nt that well done!” exclaimed Peregrine
White
in an exulting tone, and striking the
shoulder of Atherton with a force which at once
started him from his musing posture. “I tell you,
Major Atherton, there’s not a man in Plymouth
could have contrived a neater way of giving you a
peep at a pretty girl; you ought to thank me on
bended knees.”

“Thank you!” returned Atherton drily, “for
making me look like a fool: what could she think
to see me perched, like a sea-gull, on this vexatious
rock.”

“She!” returned Peregrine, with a provoking
laugh; “so you saw but one, did you? and now I
think me of it, that must have been Lois; this confounded
crag was between you and Miriam; but I
will call her again, since I know you are longing
to look at her.”

“Stay,” said Atherton quickly; “indeed, I saw
them both; so have done with this folly, I entreat
you.”

7(1)r 73

But Peregrine had already mounted the highest
pinnacle of the rock, and in spite of his remonstrance
called aloud to Miriam, who, though now
far from them, turned to look back as his clear and
sonorous voice, rising above the dashing of the
waves, repeated her name.

Peregrine White tore a branch from a dwarf
cedar which grew in a fissure of the rock, and
waved it on high with a motion expressive of his
wish for her return; but she shook her head and
was again turning away, when he pointed significantly
towards the sea shore.

Miriam looked in that direction, and saw Benjamin
Ashly
advancing from it alone, and at a pace
unusually brisk for him; and probably construing
his speed into a design to overtake her, she darted
from the highway, and was instantly buried from
sight in a thick copse of evergreens. Her cousin
followed more leisurely; and Mr. Ashly, after
lingering a moment, and regarding the spot from
whence she disappeared with a visage evidently
lengthened, drew the fish over his shoulder with a
doubtful jerk, and quietly retreated into another
path.

“Excellently well done, my pretty Miriam,” said
Peregrine, laughing; “I declare there is not another
such witch in the country, Major Atherton.”

“She seems to have bewitched you,” replied
Atherton; “I hope you do not intend to enter into
competition with worthy Mr. Ashly.”

“Not at all,” returned Peregrine carelessly; “but Vol. I. 7 7(1)v 74
Miriam and I have frolicked together ever since
we were born; and I do love to see her torment
that whining fool, who thinks every one, save
himself and a godly few, are in the broad road to
destruction. But the tide is coming in fast; so we
had better get down, or we may be left standing
here like flag-staffs till to-morrow morning.”

“And our fish may swim off in the mean time,
and leave us fasting again,”
said Atherton; “we
left them at the foot of the rock.”

“Here they are, safe,” returned Peregrine, sliding
rapidly down the precipice; “a pretty joke on us
it would have been, if they had vanished like the
partridges. And now you will go home with me,
Major Atherton, and help eat some of them.”

“You know I promised Captain Standish to return
to his house to-night.”

“It is full eight miles there, and I can never
walk it, in my present weak state; to speak the
truth, these fasting days do’nt suit my stomach at
all. There is no living without eating, Major
Atherton
; and it was a provident thought in good
master Calvin to get released from a monkish
church, that kept one starving more than half
one’s life.”

“I shall be very glad of a good supper for my part,”
said Atherton; “and I wish we had shot across the
bay to the Captains, when we were on the water,
just now.”

“Never mind,” said Peregrine, “if you will go
home with me first, I will walk back with you; I want 7(2)r 75
to pay off my debt to the little rascal who ran away
with the birds, and the moon will be up in season
to light me home.”

Major Atherton consented to the arrangement;
and during the remainder of the way to the Governors,
Peregrine White was in vain exercising
his wits to invent some plausible excuse for the
morning disasters; but his mind was still unsatisfied,
when he opened the door and entered a passage
leading to the sitting room, which at that
hour, was entirely in darkness.

“Is that you, brother Peregrine,” said a little
damsel, who was groping her way through the
place.

Peregrine drew the cold slimy tails of the fish
across her neck, in mysterious silence; and in an
instant the cries of the frightened child brought all
the family to her assistance.

“I should have known it was you, my son,” said
Mrs. Winslow, drawing the little girl to her arms,
“you are apt to announce yourself in this noisy
manner.”

“Me, mother! I was as dumb as the fish that
Susy ran against, like a silly thing. But here is
Major Atherton half starved, as well as myself,
and I am glad to see you have not done supper
yet.”

“Major Atherton is truly welcome,” said Mrs.
Winslow
, leading the way back to the room, “our
repast has but just commenced, and you bring us a
liberal supply, and I suppose excellent appetites
after your day’s amusement.”

7(2)v 76

“That we do,” returned Peregrine; “for I assure
you, we have not been overburthened with food to
day.”

“But where are your birds,” inquired the Governor,
“I saw you enter the woods this morning,
and have waited impatiently for the game you promised
us in such abundance.”

“And here is a bunch of as fine fresh fish, as
ever smoked on the table of a prince,”
said Peregrine.
“It was so fair a day, and the water looked
so smooth and tempting, we thought best to
alter our plans; no strange thing in this changeable
world.”

“We are never surprised to find you wavering,”
observed Mrs. Winslow; “but I hope you consulted
Major Atherton’s wishes as well as your own.”

“Certainly,” replied Atherton, “so far as it was
in his power; but we have both been the sport of
an adverse destiny to day.”

This answer led to enquires, and an explanation,
which afforded much amusement; and after a cheerful
and hearty meal, which received a double relish
from their long abstinence, Major Atherton and
Peregrine White commenced their evenings walk.
Pursuing their way at a brisk pace, in spite of the
formidable obstacles, which they encountered at
every step in the shape of log bridges, half burnt
stumps, and straggling underwood, they at length,
approached the house of Captain Standish, long
visible from the bright unsteady light which streamed
from the windows, discovering the comforts within, 7(3)r 77
and promising rest to their weary feet. The
cheerful voice of the Captain greeted them as they
entered.

“Ah my lads, have you come at last? I waited
for you till Alexander and the dogs growled for
hunger, and now the beasts have just swallowed
the very last bone.”

“The bones of my partridges, I suppose,” said
Peregrine.

“Here is some beer to refresh you,” continued
the Captain, “as good as you could find brewed in
London itself; and you shall not go to bed without
eating, after a days march in the wilderness. It
will be lean quarters, indeed, if our larder cannot
furnish something for you.”

“This delicious beverage is sufficient,” said Atherton,
as he returned the foaming tankard; “we supped
at the Governor’s, and too heartily to wish
for any thing more to-night.”

“I need not ask if you had good luck in the
woods to-day,”
said the Captain, “Alexander
brought home a load of birds that I should not be
ashamed to own myself; the boy knows how to
take a good aim with his gun, better than most
lads of his age.”

“A good aim with his heels! the poltroon, to run
off with what do’nt belong to him,”
cried the indignant
Peregrine.

“Not belong to me!” said Alexander, at that instant
thrusting his head into the door, “did’nt I Vol. I. Vol. I. 7* 7(3)v 78
leave your partridges broiling on the coals, and
bring away only my own and Hobamock’s?”

“Broiling, burning you mean, you mischievous
imp! what did you leave us but cinders and black
coals?”

“I do’nt know,” returned Alexander, coolly;
“those that I eat relished very well.”

This answer irritated Peregrine beyond all
bounds; and springing over a table that stood between
them, and which he overset, extinguishing
the candles in its fall, he pursued the flying Alexander,
from the room and house. Captain Standish
stood in amazement, and almost total darkness,
till Atherton rekindled the lights by the decaying
embers, which lingered in the chimney
corner, and related the events that had given rise
to so unexpected a scene. The Captain, who relished
such jests exceedingly, had scarcely finished
laughing, when the objects of his mirth returned
amicably together, Peregrine declaring that the
delinquent had sued for pardon, though the roguish
expression of Alexander’s countenance, showed any
thing rather than repentance for his offence.

“Have a care, boys, have a care,” said the Captain,
shaking his head, with mock gravity; “or
we shall have fine work with your fallings out,
by and bye. The next thing, I suppose, we shall
see sword and dagger flourishing about your heads,
and you know the end of that, Master Peregrine.”

“To kill, or be killed, I should think it likely,”
said Peregrine.

7(4)r 79

“No, no, we do’nt suffer things to proceed to
such extremities, in our well-ordered colony; we
shall cut short the matter by tying your head and
feet together, and putting you on short commons
for a time.”

“A summary mode of justice,” observed Atherton,
“and a truly novel invention.”

“It is of seventeen years standing, and of approved
efficacy,”
said the Captain. “You must
know, cousin Atherton, some of our Company’s
servants began to be unruly, when they first came
to this new land, and thought themselves beyond
reach of the laws; so two of them quarrelled, and
challenged each other to single combat; they were
both slightly wounded, but we saw fit to make an
example of them, that our peace might not in future
be disturbed by the foolish brawls of every cowardly
knave. We ordered them to be bent up like
bows, their neck and heels strapped together, and
so to lie twenty-four hours, without meat or drink;
but they made humble concessions, and promises
of amendment; and their masters interceded so
earnestly in their behalf, that they were released;
and I can tell you, the offence has never been repeated
by any one.”

“It was certainly a very suitable punishment,”
returned Atherton, “considering the rank of the
offenders.”

“It is suitable to any rank,” said the Captain;
“our laws, thank Heaven, are impartial, and both
magistrates and people are amenable to them; and 7(4)v 80
happily, our code does not admit the barbarous
practice of cutting one another to pieces in cold
blood.”

“It is seldom done in cold blood, I believe,” said
Atherton, smiling; “and, in a country like this, I
should imagine one would seldom be obliged to have
recourse to such fatal measures, to wip away an
offence.”

“Neither in this, or any other country;” persisted
the Captain, “I am a military man, as well
as yourself, Major Atherton; and no one can say
I ever shrunk from the fight, when God and my
king called me to arms; but I do believe no man
who is not led away by the suggestions of the
devil, will draw upon himself the guilt and infamy
of murdering a fellow-being, or shedding his own
blood, in a contemptible and idle quarrel.”

“I would not justify the practice,” said Atherton;
“I most sincerely regret that custom has so long
sanctioned it, and that so many, who seemed born
for better things, are unhappily sacrificed to the
laws of honour.”

“Honour!” repeated the Captain indignantly,
“is it honourable to despise the laws of God? to
tear asunder the most sacred ties of humanity?
Is it honourable to place your life at the hazard of
a scoundrel’s weapon, or by taking his, to set
upon your forehead the mark of Cain, and bear
forever on your conscience, the stain of blood?”

“I acknowledge the justice of your arguments,”
replied Atherton; “but there are few men, who 7(5)r 81
can bear the imputation of cowardice, or who have
independence enough to set at defiance the opinion
of the world; or to endure its ridicule, even when
conscious that their conduct is upright.”

“And who is the bravest man,” asked the Captain,
“he who can despise the opinion of the world,
—when that world is enlisted on the side of vice
and folly,—and firmly obey the dictates of his duty
and conscience, or he, who like a wavering poltroon,
yields to the dread of ridicule, and quietly
submits to be led by the very fools, who pity and
condemn him. No, no, Edward Atherton, that
man must be at his wits ends, who seeks to regain
a character in the world, or hopes to establish a
reputation for bravery, by such cowardly expedients.”

“You have reason on your side of the question,
Sir,”
replied Atherton; “and I hope the good principles
of this new world will effectually exclude
the vicious practices of the old from its society.”

“I well know,” returned the Captain, “how young
men, and particularly soldiers, regard these things,
but I think I need not fear that the son of my cousin
Eleanor will bring a reproach upon his name.”

“Not at least, while I remain with you,” said
Atherton, laughing. “I have too much regard for
my neck and heels to bring them into jeopardy,
and of course shall take care not to make a breach
upon your laws.”

7(5)v 82

Chapter VI.

“――But then her face, So lovely, yet so arch, so full of mirth, The overflowings of an innocent heart.” Rogers.

Major Atherton embraced the earliest opportunity,
which the unwearied attentions of his host
left at his own disposal to visit his warm-hearted
friend, Captain Martin, whose ship was still at
anchor in the Plymouth harbour. Captain Standish
excused himself from attending him; for the labours
of a plentiful harvest required his attention; during
a period of repose from military duty, he had “beat
his sword into a plough-share,”
and with characteristic
activity and ardour, engaged in the pursuits
of agriculture.

Atherton, for the first time, left to range alone
through the woods, which he had only passed in the
obscurity of evening, was continually in danger of
leaving the beaten pathway in many places, nearly
filled by withered leaves, for the diverging tracks
which led in various directions, into the depths of
the forest, and sometimes terminated in a cleared
spot, where the log hut of the settler, or the blue
smoke curling from its wooden chimney, broke upon
the eye of the solitary pedestrian, conveying images
of comfort and repose, and softening the savage
wildness of the scene.

7(6)r 83

But the sagacity of his dog, who gambolled around
his feet; and in cases of difficulty, was sure to scent
out the right path; at length conducted him to the
broader highway, which led into the chief settlement
of Plymouth, where the animal seemed quite
at home, and with curled tail and erect ears, proceeded
at a very grave dog-trot, on his accustomed
rout towards the house of Mr. Winslow.

“This way, Rover,” said Major Atherton, turning
in a nearer direction to the water’s edge; and
another moment brought him to the well-remembered
residence of Miriam Grey. The house certainly
did not display any architectural elegance;
but Atherton remarked it as one of the largest and
best in the village. A peculiar air of neatness
seemed diffused around it, which evinced the competence
and good-management of its possessor. It
stood on a green bank, which, sloping to the southern
sun, still preserved a fresh and cheerful verdure,
and was half hid by a venerable oak, that
embraced it, in a shelter of its wide-spreading
branches. It was enclosed by a slight wooden
paling, and some tasteful hand had twined the
flexile branches of the sweetbriar around the windows,
and reared the wild-rose to breathe its sweetness
beside the door. In rear of the building was
a garden of esculent roots and herbs, with a small
orchard of fruit trees, and extensive fields of corn
and other grain.

Major Atherton scrutinized every object, as he
leisurely approached the house; but no person was 7(6)v 84
visible till he had nearly reached the little gate,
which led through the enclosure, when the door
unexpectedly opened, and Miriam Grey, with a
smiling face, sprang lightly from its steps upon
the velvet turf. She did not observe him; but,
stooping down, seemed busied in training her rose-
bushes; and Atherton ventured to pause an instant
to admire the grace of her attitudes, and the loveliness
of her figure. Without perceiving it Miriam
Grey
had dropped a knot of ribands, that was
eagerly seized upon by a frisking kitten, which
bounded after her mistress, and forthwith began to
toss it high in air, and unmercifully twist it around
whatever came in contact with it.

But Rover, who held his eye fixed on his hereditary
enemy, could not long brook her insulting
mirth, and set up a bark of defiance, which at once
changed the frolic of her face into gaze of fear
and aversion, her mottled back rose with astonishing
dignity; and retreating a few steps she stood
on the defensive, elevating one paw to retain
the riband; but a second and fiercer shout from
Rover drove her within the door, with a portentous
growl, where she remained secure; her dilated
eyes and long whiskers occasionally protruded
from her lurking place, to ascertain the movements
of the enemy. The dog was about to leap the
wicket in pursuit of her, when the voice and well-
known whistle of his master recalled him; and, at
the same time attracted the attention of Miriam
Grey
. She started in confusion and blushed deeply 8(1)r 85
at finding herself so closely observed. Major
Atherton
bowed, and passed on; but could not
refrain from turning his head to look back at her;
she was at the moment examining her disfigured
riband, and then patting her affrighted pet, retired
into the house and closed the door.

“What is the matter with you, Miriam?” enquired
Lois Grey, as her cousin entered the room,
where she was sitting, with a few female visitors:
“has any thing alarmed you?”

“Nothin in the world, Lois; but see my beautiful
ribands, which were the pride of my new cap,
and now they are quite spoiled.”

“It is a mere trifle, Miriam; but you are always
so heedless.”

“Dear cousin, you must blame my mischievous
kitten. I would not care,”
she added in a lower
tone, “but I have been saving them so long to grace
your wedding, Lois!”

“Nonsense!” said Lois, quickly; “give me the
knot, Miriam; you think me ingenious, and, perhaps,
I can make it look tolerable again.”

“Such worldly vanities,” observed an elderly
female, “are empty and unsatisfying as the wind:
and I do fear, Miriam Grey, that your heart is too
much bound up in them.”

“Not my heart, good mistress Gilbert,” returned
the damsel, “these vanities reach no further than
my head, and sometimes touch only the outside of
that.”

Vol. I. 8 8(1)v 86

“They are all relics of popery,” replied the other,
“we read, that the heathenish Egyptians were
decked out in ornaments of gold, and goodly apparel,
and were they not fearfully punished for their
idolatry?”

“Yet,” returned Miriam, “the Israelites borrowed
these same ornaments for their own use, and
were permitted to carry them from the land of
Egypt.”

“And the Lord gave them up to their wicked
imaginations,”
replied the dame, “and they made a
golden calf in the wilderness and bowed down before
it, and worshipped it.”

“Well, Mistress Gilbert, I cannot make a calf
of this poor knot of ribands; and I am sure nobody
will ever admire it now.”

Miriam Grey rose from her seat, as she finished
speaking, and the brief pause which ensued, was
broken by a female, somewhat past the bloom of
youth, who was looking earnestly from a window.

“Was not that the stranger they call Major
Atherton
,”
she asked, “who past just as you left
the door, Miriam?”

“I believe it was the same.”

“He has left the crag then,” whispered Lois
Grey
, to her cousin; “I thought the blue knot gave
you an unusual colour.”

“That must be the youth whom they say is near
akin to our Captain,”
observed another female, who
had remained silent in a corner until her companions
began to imagine she had fallen asleep, or
gone into a trance.

8(2)r 87

“It is,” said Lois Grey; “he arrived here during
his kinsman’s absence, and the Governor entertained
him in his own house, till Captain Standish returned
from the Massachusetts. It is said he is
courteous and well-disposed.”

“And yet,” resumed the spinster, “he has a
strange way of staring with his eyes; he looked
so bold at the window as he passed, I was fain to
turn away.”

“Indeed!” said Miriam gravely, though her
brow slightly curved, “he was probably admiring
the view.”

“I wonder what has brought him to this country,”
said Lois Grey; “he does not seem of our
religion, and has been in the service of the king.”

The female whose silence rendered her quite a
prodigy in the group, answered in a mysterious
tone.

“They do say that he is a papist, sent over by the
queen to spy out the ‘nakedness of the land,’ as
scripture hath it; by which I mean, to watch the
chosen people of this country, to whom the rulers
of the kingdom bear no good will.”

“I cannot believe that,” said the spinster; “such
a comely and well-favoured youth!”
for like most
maidens, even old ones, her feelings balanced in
favour of a handsome young man.

“The Lord forgive him, if it is so,” cried Misstress
Gilbert
, with uplifted eyes; “and now I think
of it, did you see how he stood at the meeting,
when he first went in, with his face covered, praying
to himself, as it were?”

8(2)v 88

“He is, probably, of the church of England,”
said Lois Grey; “and that is one of its forms.”

“It is an evil form, which savoureth of the mark
of the beast,”
returned Mistress Gilbert; “and I do
much marvel, that our worthy Governor could
harbour such an one in his family.”

“And,” resumed the silent one, who seemed suddenly
inspired, “his hair was like unto Absalom’s,
falling over his neck and forehead to please the
eyes of the vain and worldly.”

“It is an awful thing,” said Mistress Gilbert, “to
see young people given up to follow the devices of
the sons of Belial. Now I think, Miriam Grey,
that worthy Master Ashly is an example to our
youths: it does one good to see how closely his hair
is clipped.”

“His head certainly contains very little,” replied
Miriam, with the utmost gravity.

“That it does not,” returned the dame, “there is
not on it a hair more than our godly ministers have
in their pulpits and assemblies thought proper to
recommend.”

“True,” answered Miriam, “it is as smooth and
round as a green pumpkin.”

“And it is edifying,” continued the other, “to hear
him prophesy in our meetings; his ‘words are like
arrows,’
and they enter into the ‘bones and marrow.’”

“They are apt to stick long in the ear,” observed
the damsel.

“Yes,” replied Mistress Gilbert, “he is gifted 8(3)r 89
with a spirit of utterance; and it is thought that if
one of our pious deacons should be called to ‘put off
his fleshly tabernacle,’
he would be chosen to ‘fill
up the breach.’”

“May our worthy deacons be long continued to
us,”
said Miriam Grey, “that our churches may
have peace and be edified.”

“We must leave the event to Providence, Miriam
Grey
; but as the aged Eli waxed in years, the people
cast their eyes upon young Samuel to minister
in his place.”

“Your doctrine savours of worldly wisdom, Mistress
Gilbert
.”

“God forbid,” ejaculated the dame, “that our spiritual
concerns should have ought to do with the
affairs of this transitory state.”

Their dialogue was here interrupted by the sound
of approaching footsteps, and the subject of their
conversation after a preparatory hem, and a slight
scraping of his feet, entered the apartment. The
female visitors exchanged knowing looks, and then
fixed their eyes on Miriam Grey, probably to discover
from her countenance what effect the unexpected
appearance of her guest might produce upon
her feelings; and her easy and unembarrassed manner
evidently perplexed them. Mr. Ashly paid
his respects to the company with great civility, reserving
his last bow for Miriam, and perhaps intending
it for his best; but by one of those unlucky
chances that often defeat our favourite projects, it
proved particularly awkward; a circumstance, Vol. I. 8* 8(3)v 90
which not only excited a slight smile on the lips of
the damsel, but likewise covered the young man
with confusion, who plunged into the nearest chair
and thrice crossed his legs before he could assume
a comfortable position.

Benjamin Ashly had long been considered the
lover of Miriam Grey; nor did he ever deny his
pretensions, though he had not as yet been able to
extort from the maiden a word or look to support
them; while her alternate reserve and playful familiarity
kept him in a state of anxious suspense.
Still he was encouraged by the kindness of her father,
who openly favoured his suit; and unable to
command sufficient resolution to learn his destiny
from her own lips, he remained the prey of doubt
and distrust; and with the diffidence which sincere
affection invariably produces on a timid mind, his
wish to please, and dread of offending, continually
embarrassed him, and destroyed the advantages he
might otherwise have acquired in the eyes of his
mistress. His person and countenance were naturally
rather agreeable than otherwise, though the
puritanical cut of his head, which Mistress Gilbert
so highly commended, was certainly unbecoming;
and the excessive gravity of his features presented
a strong and almost absurd contrast to their
youthful appearance. Educated in the strictest
manner of his sect, he was early taught to consider
an outward conformity to its prescribed forms,
of essential importance; and though really upright
in conduct and sincere in his professions, the bigotry 8(4)r 91
of his principles had tended to narrow his intellect,
and prematurely to destroy the vivacity and
cheerfulness of youth.

“Here is my father’s elbow chair, will you take
it, Mr. AshleyAshly?”
said Miriam Grey, rising with
alacrity, and really anxious to dispel his embarrassment.

“Thank you, Miriam;” and he settled into it
with a grateful look, and a smile reflected from her
own countenance, “I hope,” he added, “the good man
is well!”

“Quite well, but very busy; our loaded cornfields
require much labour, and he has yet to prepare
for his intended voyage.”

“Captain Martin will sail shortly, I understand,”
observed Mr. Ashly; “the departure of your father,
Miriam, will remove a candlestick from our
temple.”

“Do not speak of it, Mr. Ashly: I cannot yet endure
the thought of a separation from him,”
—and
Miriam bent her head to conceal a tear, which she
in vain struggled to suppress.

“He is in the keeping of One, who will never forsake
those who put their trust in him,”
said the
youth, in a softened voice: “and you have many
friends, Miriam, to comfort you during his brief
absence.”

“I do not indulge in idle fears for his safety,” returned
Miriam; “but if I might be allowed to share
his fatigues and dangers, I should be happy.”

8(4)v 92

“And would you leave me alone, and in solitude?”
asked Lois Grey, reproachfully.

“Not alone, dear Lois,” replied Miriam, her face
again brightening into smiles, “but with one whose
society is far dearer to you than mine can be.”

Miriam spoke in a low voice, which however
reached the ears of the spinster, who was remarkably
acute in detecting sounds of mysterious import.

“I thought,” she said, “something like that would
happen before Mr. Grey left the country; but we
shall know all about it in good time, I suppose.”

“Are you speaking of a wedding, Rebecca Spindle”
asked Mistress Gilbert. “Well, you need
not blush about it, Lois Grey, marriage is a divine
institution, and wisely ordained for the happiness
of mankind, as it is written, ‘it is not good for man
to be alone.’”

“That is as people choose to think, Mistress Gilbert,”
said Rebecca Spindle, “as the apostle hath it,
‘the married woman careth for the things of the
world that she may please her husband, but the unmarried
woman seeketh to please the Lord,’
and I
have hitherto experienced the benefit of the exhortation,
and resisted all temptations to alter my present
state.”

“Your temptations have doubtless been manifold,”
said Miriam Grey; “but I trust you will now have
strength to persevere unto the end.”

“God willing, it is my intention,” she replied
“unless it should be clearly my duty to enter into 8(5)r 93
a wedded state. But I would not blame you, Mistress
Lois
, for holding a different mind.”

“Perhaps our opinions on the subject, are not so
very different;”
said Lois, smiling. “But do you
know, Benjamin Ashly, if any passengers go out
in the ship with my uncle.”

“I have heard of none; but there was a young
gentleman, a kinsman of Captain Standish, came
hither in her, as I am informed to view the country;
perchance, he may be ready to return at that
time.”

“I wish he may,” said Miriam, “my father would
find much pleasure in the society of an agreeable
companion.”

“Do you know aught of him,” asked Mr. Ashly,
in an anxious tone.

“Nothing, but our Governor commends his
courtesy and polite accomplishments, and his countenance
speaks well for him.”

“You have seen him, then,” rejoined Master
Ashly
.

“By chance only, once or twice; but I think he
can hardly have satisfied his curiosity yet, in looking
at this new world.”

“He is a son of the church,” observed Mistress
Gilbert
, “and what lot or portion can he have in
our favoured Zion.”

“Churchman or not, he is certainly a most
comely looking young gentleman,”
said Mistress
Spindle
, whose thoughts evidently reverted with
pleasure to the handsome stranger.

8(5)v 94

“Judge not by the outward appearance, Rebecca
Spindle
,”
returned the matron; “but remember
that the ‘Lord looketh at the heart;’ these time
serving idolaters of images and ceremonies are
well likened unto white sepulchres, which are indeed,
‘outwardly fair,’ but within full of ‘all uncleanness:’”

“And we also read,” said Miriam Grey, “‘judge
not, that ye shall be not judged;’
and what right have
we to condemn one, of whom we have heard no
evil?”

“The Lord forgive you, Miriam Grey! I should
have expected the child of one, so godly and gifted
as thy father is, would have too much regard for
our privileged mode of worship which, as our
minister hath it, is derived from the apostles themselves,
and the rites of the primitive church, and
is the only sure method of salvation, to be upholding
the vain superfluities of these disciples of
Antichrist.”

“I can value my own privileges and opinions,
Mistress Gilbert, and yet have some charity for
those who differ from me. I doubt not there are
many sincere christians, even in the church of
England
.”

“It may be so,” returned Mistress Gilbert, with
an incredulous shake of the head, “I would not be
uncharitable; but there are older and wiser ones
than you, child, who believe them to have gone
clean astray from the word, following the devices of
Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of iniquity.”

8(6)r 95

“I think,” observed Benjamin Ashly, first stealing
a hesitating look at Miriam, “I think, Mistress
Gilbert
is very able in her reference to the scriptures,
which are in truth our only sure guides;
and my poor memory might furnish me with divers
illustrations of what she hath spoken therefrom
—but, but,”
he stopped abruptly; for the eye
of Miriam was fixed upon him, and he found it
impossible to withdraw his gaze from the face,
whose arch expression completely disconcerted
him; but at length relieved by a fit of coughing,
he ventured to proceed.

“I believe we can no where find any foundation,
for the Popish custom of reading prayers from a
printed book, which must have been a conceit and
invention of the evil one, to save careless and
worldly-minded men, the trouble of composing, and
digesting their own thoughts; neither can I find
the custom of kneeling to repeat such prayers,
authorized in the pages of Holy Writ; and I know
not by what arguments you can seek to uphold
it, Miriam Grey.”

“You entirely mistake me, Master Ashly,” returned
Miriam. “Heaven forbid that I should seek
to justify the errors and superstitions of a church,
which has loaded with calumny and persecution,
those who presumed to differ from her, in forms
and faith; or that I should cease to prize, far
above every earthly blessing, the pure and simple
worship, which our fathers have established in this
wilderness, and for which, they have sacrificed 8(6)v 96
ease and comfort, endured the scorn of enemies,
the reproach of friends, and the loss of all, that
the world esteems most dear and desirable. No,”

she added, with energy, “the daughter of a devoted,
self-denying christian, of one, who forsook
fortune, kindred, and country, to plant the truth,
and establish a christian church and colony, in an
unknown savage land, would not exchange her
proud title, to become the jewelled empress of a
world.”
Mr. Ashly regarded the glowing countenance
of the maiden, with mingled awe and admiration;
but quickly resuming her usual playfulness
of manner, she continued;

“I did not intend to enter the lists of controversy,
with you, Mr. Ashly; and I crave your pardon,
Mistress Gilbert, you were speaking of Major
Atherton
.”

“Yes, but I am sure I know no harm of the
youth, apart from his false doctrines, of which,
may he have grace given him to repent and turn
away from; and I do in truth, wish him well, for
the sake of his kinsman, our brave Captain.”

“Our Captain,” said Rebecca Spindle, “was himself
once of the church, and don’t you remember,
Mistress Gilbert, when we first came over from
Holland, I was then but a child, as it were, that
there were some, who thought he was not over
sparing of Indian blood.”

“Yes I do;” returned the other, “they were wild
savages, to be sure, who had no bowels of mercy
in them; but they had souls to be saved, as well 9(1)r 97
as ourselves; and as that man of God, Mr. Robinson,
—the like of whom, I fear, will not rise up
again in our Israel. As he wrote from Leyden to
our church of Plymouth, in the grief of his righteous
spirit, ‘he would that they had converted
some, before they had killed any.’”

“I am afraid,” said Miriam, “that none of us would
have been left alive, either to kill or convert them,
if he had waited their time. No, our Captain is a
good man, as well as brave and fearless; as my
father says, he is one who ‘chose to suffer affliction
with the people of God,’
and ‘through faith
wax valiant in fight, and turn to flight the armies
of the aliens.’”

“And his young kinsman has been long in the
king’s army, I understand,”
said Lois Grey.

“I thought as much,” observed Mistress Spindle,
“he has such an upright carriage, and moves so
straight and easy, though he did twist aside, somewhat,
to look into this window.”

“And is it not strange,” remarked Mistress Gilbert,
“that a reasonable creature, who has been
safely brought over the yawning deep, where he
has seen the wonders of the Lord, should not
render public thanks in the tabernacle for his
goodness? I wonder, that, like Pharaoh and his
host, he was not overturned in the sea, or, as
another Jonah, swallowed by a monster of the
floods?”

“Probably it is not the custom of his church,”
said Miriam Grey.

Vol. I. 9 9(1)v 98

“Very likely,” returned the dame, “I doubt they
are sparing of their offerings; these children of an
idolatrous and polluted church;—but when do our
chosen people delay to put up a note, to ask the
prayers of the congregation in seasons of mercy
or affliction?”

“It is, doubtless, a scriptural and edifying practice,”
rejoined Mr. Ashly, “for it is a good thing to
give thanks unto the Lord, and praise is comely in
his eyes.”

“If the heart is sincere,” observed Lois, “our ignorance
of forms will doubtless be forgiven.”

Lois Grey, had at that moment put the finishing
stroke to her cousin’s knot of ribands, which formed
the principal ornament to a new cap, of more
courtly fashion, than was usually thought consistent
with the extreme simplicity of dress, at that
time adopted by the Puritans; and, in the height
of her surprise and pleasure at its renovated
beauty, Miriam Grey forgot the recent reproof of
Mistress Gilbert, and, flying to the looking glass,
began to arrange it on her head. The whole assembly
was mute during this proceeding. Mistress
Gilbert
looked at her, with the air of one
who considered any farther words on the subject, as
“pearls cast before swine;” the silent female nodded
as usual; Rebecca Spindle watched her with curiosity,
Lois Grey, with some interest; and the
quick eye of Miriam detected the figure of Mr.
Ashly
reflected in the mirror, sitting, as he supposed,
remote from her observation, and regarding 9(2)r 99
her with undisguised admiration. A spice of coquetry,
perhaps, and what girl of eighteen is quite
free from it? induced Miriam Grey to push back
the lawn cap, which partly concealed her snowy
brow, and leisurely arrange several braids of
glossy brown hair, then carefully adjusting her
new head-gear, she turned suddenly to the abashed
young man, and enquired in a tone of simplicity—

“Do you like it, Benjamin Ashly.”

“I like every thing of thine, Miriam,” he answered
in a low voice, and quickly approaching
her, for once forgetful of his habitual reserve――

“That will do, pray sit down again, Mr. Ashly,”
said the damsel, in a hurried accent, herself completely
abashed by his unexpected manner and
reply, nor had her heightened complexion quite
faded to its usual delicacy, when her father entered
the room.

Mr. Grey, after paying due courtesy to his
guests, approached his daughter, and surveyed her
a moment in silence, with a look of peculiar meaning,
which did not at all lessen her confusion.

“What are you looking at, so steadfastly, dear
father,”
enquired Miriam, turning up her face to
him, perhaps to observe his countenance better, or
it might be, to throw the blue knot into the back
ground; for it was, in truth, the gayest she had
ever ventured to wear.

“It is this which surprises me, Miriam,” returned
her father, laying his hand upon the riband,
which at once yielded to his touch.

9(2)v 100

“Dear father, pray do not crumple it so; indeed,
you will quite spoil it.”

“And is it in a christian assembly, Miriam Grey,
that you would exhibit this vain bauble?”

“Any where, no where, if you will spare it, father;
my kitten has pulled it in pieces once to-day;
but she did it in sport, and Lois has been so kind
as to repair it for me.”

“It is too, too gay,” said her father; “I would
not see you, my child decked out in garlands, like
a victim prepared for sacrifice, or a pagan image
set up for worship.”

“I am sure, father, no one would liken a woman
to an image, who was within the sound of her
tongue.”

“And where did you get this gaudy thing, Miriam?”

“My aunt sent it me from England,” returned
Miriam; “it came with my new hood and scarf,
and you remember, that you thought they looked
very brave, at first; but, in a little time, you grew
familiar with them, and said they would do for a
giddy young thing like me—now dear father,”
and
she laid her hand playfully on his arm—“my head
is not much older or wiser than it was then, so I
think this will not displease you, by and bye.”

“Do you know, Miriam,” resumed Mr. Grey,
“that a law of our land, has enacted fines and
penalties against those who indulge in costly apparel
and immodest fashions?”

“I remember it well, father; for, at that very 9(3)r 101
time, my kind aunt had given me an embroidered
’kerchief, which I was compelled to lay aside, till
it was quite ruined. But I am sure this cap is not
immodest, and it cost me nothing, but the trouble
of writing an epistle of thanks.”

“Your aunt is very mindful of you, Miriam; but
she is apt to forget that we have renounced those
vanities, which allure the worldly to their destruction.
What says the apostle Paul upon the subject?”

“I forget the exact words,” said Miriam, “something
it is about plaiting the hair, and wearing
goodly apparel.”

“Go, learn the passage from your Bible, Miriam,
and I will leave the application to your own conscience.”

“Indeed, I will not wear any thing which is displeasing
to you, dear father; and, in truth, the
sacrifice is too trifling to cause one moment’s regret.”

“Consult your inclinations, my child,” returned
her father, “I know you would not willingly give
the world occasion to speak reproachfully of yourself
or me; and I am only anxious to see you adorned
with the ‘ornament of a meek and quiet spirit,’
which is indeed a ‘jewel of great price.’”

When Lois Grey retired to her chamber at night,
she found her cousin busily engaged in twining the
obnoxious ribands around the frame of a small picture,
which ornamented the apartment, representing
a thick waisted Dutch peasant girl, glowing in Vol. I. 9* 9(3)v 102
the richness of Flemish colours, though divers fearful
cracks in the canvass bore undoubted witness
to her great antiquity. Miriam turned round with
a smiling countenance as Lois Grey entered the
room.

“I am hanging this up for a peace offering, Lois,”
she said; “and I am sure good Mistress Gilbert
herself would not do it with greater pleasure,
though she might bring forward more texts of scripture,
than I can, just now, think of, to prove the
necessity of it.”

“Are you quite willing, to give it up, Miriam?”

“Do I look unwilling, Lois? no, it is rather gay
for me, and, on the whole, I think something else
will look as well for the wedding.”

“The wedding seems a great event with you,
Miriam; is it because Benjamin Ashly is to be invited!”

“Benjamin Ashly! good night, Lois, I am fast
asleep. But I will just ask you, if one would not
think it must take him a long time to close his
enormous eyes! why, I thought, to-day, they looked
as big as chocolate basin’sbasins.”

“Is that a dream, Miriam?”

“Yes; you need not wake up to interpret it.
Good night, Lois, once again!”

9(4)r 103

Chapter VII

“Scenes must be beautiful, which daily view’d, Please daily.” Cowper.

Major Atherton, after a long interview with
Captain Martin, repaired to the Governor’s, where
the remainder of the evening glided swiftly away:
and, if the testimony of Mistress Rebecca Spindle
may be relied on, who related the circumstance,
with an air of mysterious caution, to some half
dozen of wondering female friends, on the following
day—he was seen loitering around the dwelling of
Miriam Grey, precisely at the hour, when the music
of the vesper psalm was heard to issue from a
room, where occasionally a figure flitting before the
shaded windows, denoted the family were assembled.

Perhaps it was a gossip’s story; but, however
that may be, his absence was prolonged, till Captain
Standish
became uneasy; and, fearful that he
had missed his way in the forest, dispatched a stout
young man, who served him in various capacities,
both within doors, and without, to search for his
kinsman, and guide him back. But the heart of
the emissary quaked, when he found himself alone,
at the entrance of a forest of lofty trees, so thickly
matted, that scarcely a ray of the rising moon
could pierce their foliage; and, after listening with
trembling nerves, till fancy had conjured up a 9(4)v 104
thousand terrific sounds, he thought fit to retire
from the danger; and, ashamed to encounter his
master’s eye, entered an out-building, and threw
himself on a bundle of straw. There he lay, listening
for the returning steps of Atherton, as a signal
to sally out; but, unfortunately, long before
they reached his ears, he sunk into a deep slumber,
from which he was, at length, unceremoniously
aroused by a smart blow from the flat side of the
Captain’s broad sword, accompanied by the angry
tones of his voice.

“Is this the way you obey my commands, you
lazy loon?”

The man started on his feet, simultaneously rubbing
his eyes, and the shoulder which had received
the blow; and, more alarmed than he had been in
the woods, began to stammer forth an apology.

“I did go, please your honour; but the wolves
made a fearful howling, and I thought no christian
man would want me to put myself in their mouths.”

“The wolves! you poltroon! no fear that they
would relish such a cowardly knave; no, no, David,
even the wild beasts would snuff at thee; they
love to pick the bones of braver men than thou art.
But the next time you escape their jaws in this
way, I’ll have you tied to the whipping-post, or put
in the stocks till your legs ache: so, away with
you.”

David, obedient to orders, commenced his retreat
with as much alacrity, as his illustrious namesake
evinced, when eluding the javelin of Saul; 9(5)r 105
but, on the way, he received another stroke, in
the rear, which not a little accelerated his speed.
Captain Standish and his attendants then left
the building, to which they had been attracted by
observing the dog which followed David, lying
at the entrance; where the sonorous music of the
young man’s nose betrayed his situation within;
for Major Atherton had returned without meeting
him, and the party set out to learn his fate.

“Well, cousin Atherton,” said Captain Standish,
as they rose from breakfast the next morning,
“since you have not engaged a passage back to
England, with Captain Martin, I conclude you intend
to winter amongst us; and, before spring arrives,
perhaps, we may persuade you to pitch your
tent with us, for life,—ha, Major?”

“You may find it necessary to exert your persuasive
powers in the opposite scale,”
replied Atherton;
“I confess I am so happy here, that the time
of my return seems every day more distant and
uncertain. I am here, too, removed from the scene
of active duties, which lately occupied me, and feel
less keenly the sacrifice I have been compelled to
make, in relinquishing my profession.”

“Ah, you left both that, and your country, in
good time, Major Atherton, if you have no mind
to be set about fighting with your own flesh and
blood. There must be warm work in England, before
long, if King Charles makes such a fuss about
his parliaments, and continues to persecute his dissenting
subjects, as he has lately done.”

9(5)v 106

“He has bad counsellors,” said Atherton; “but
is, himself, a virtuous and humane prince, and really
solicitous for the happiness of his people.”

“I believe it, from my heart,” replied the Captain;
“and I would cheerfully shed the last drop of
my blood, to sustain the honour of his illustrious
name; but I still maintain, that every man has a
right to judge for himself, in matters of faith and
conscience; and, so long as we remain peaceable
and loyal subjects, neither king, nor bishop, is privileged
to molest us, for thinking differently from
themselves.”

“An established religion is certainly desirable,”
said Atherton, “and I am inclined to believe, that
those who fled from persecution, and have here
founded a church, on what you term apostolic principles,
would be as severe towards those, of different
modes and opinions, and as much influenced
by prejudice, as the church of England has ever
been, in regard to her dissenting children.”

“Well, well, cousin Atherton, we will not begin
with calling you to account, unless some amongst
us should see fit to imitate the Massachusetts people,
who are always fond of raising a breeze. But
they have got a woman in hand now, who, I
doubt not, will give them trouble enough, with her
Antinomianism, and other conceits of the devil,
who has been a friend to the sex, ever since he had
such good luck with mother Eve. But I am going
to walk, now; and if you have no better way
of amusing yourself, will ask you to accompany
me.”

9(6)r 107

“With all my heart: shall we try the woods
again?”

“No, I should like to give you a glimpse of our
Canaan, from the top of mount Pisgah, yonder,”

replied the Captain, pointing to a hill, which rose
to a considerable height, above the level of the Bay;
and to this day, is known by the name of the “Captain’s
Hill.”

“This,” he continued, as he led the way to its
summit, by a tolerable easy ascent, “this hill, and
the beautiful stretch of land, which you see running
into the Bay, was assigned to me, by the Plymouth
company
; and I think I may say without boasting,
that my farm looks as well as any of my neighbours,
though I hardly knew a hoe from a pitchfork,
till I was obliged to use them, to satisfy the
cravings of hunger; for we had scanty rations,
when we first came over here.”

“And why were you located so far from the first
settlement?”
asked Atherton.

“We found it necessary to remove as our numbers
increased, to give each other elbow-room, and
land enough to cultivate; and the old colony is still
sending forth her children to people new settlements.
That village, lying at a short distance,
north of us, is callcalled Scituate, and is the only town
that has yet been incorporated; even Plymouth
has no bounds affixed to it, though the little clusters
of houses, which you see here and there, bid
fair to limit it, ere long.”

“Have you given any name to this tract of land?”9(6)v108
asked Atherton; “you seem to have already gathered
a flourishing village around you.”

“The Indian name is Mattakeeset; but we begin
to call it Duxborough, and hope, at the next sitting
of our court, to have it incorporated. It is
now nearly ten years since we first felled the trees,
and began to build our houses; and, till within two
or three, I continued to reside at Plymouth, during
the winter season; that being our head-quarters;
and it was a long march through the snow-banks
to do military duty; for we were obliged to keep
on the look-out, lest the barbarous savages should
rally their undisciplined tribes, and come howling
upon us, unawares.”

“This is, indeed, a glorious view,” said Atherton,
who, lost in admiration at the prospect opening
before him, had scarcely heeded the last remark.
“With what grandeur the swelling ocean
tosses its troubled waves, till lost, as it were, in the
immensity of space, it mingles with the dusky
clouds that rise, like gigantic mountains, from its
foaming bosom! Here it seems lulled to rest, and
scarcely ripples upon the silver beach; and, again,
it rolls proudly along the indented shore; and,
curving into a broad, full basin, breaks against the
sandy and barren promontory, which stretches
yonder, as if in defiance of its fury.”

“That is Cape Cod,” said Captain Standish;
“the most southerly point of the Massachusetts
Bay
; and a dreary place we found it, when we
landed there, in the frosts of November. Our 10(1)r 109
ship was driven in amongst dreadful shoals and
breakers, and right thankful we were, to step
ashore on almost any spot. It was there we combined
ourselves into a body politic, enacted our
first laws, and elected a Governor for the following
year; but the place being found inconvenient
to winter in, we made several voyages around the
coast, to discover a better situation, and Providence
at length guided us to this harbour.
We put into it in a storm of wind and snow,
in a dark and fearful night, and landed on the
fine wooded island, which you see just below us,
near by the beach. It is named Clark’s island,
from the mate of the ship, who first stepped upon
it; that other one, joined to the Gurnet’s Nose, by
a strip of sand, is called Sanguish.”

“They are pleasant objects,” replied Atherton;
“and agreeably diversify the scene; but how magnificent
is the distant view! how beautifully the
flitting clouds riot, for a moment, on the dark and
undulating forests, and then pass off and leave
them glittering in the morning sun, and varied
with the thousand tints of autumn! And, to the
north, far as my eye can stretch, beyond these sloping
hills, and hanging woodlands, and above the
summits of the tallest trees, I see a range of lofty
mountains, blue as the skies which shelter them,
rising like monarchs of the surrounding wilderness.”

“Those are the blue hills of Massachusetts,” answered
the Captain; “they are the highest in the Vol. I. 10 10(1)v 110
colony, and the first point of land visible, as you
approach this coast. This is, indeed, a noble prospect,
and well worth the trouble of scrambling up
here, to gaze at. Look down, now, upon my
house; and see how warmly it is sheltered in that
sunny valley. Those trees, which shade it, were
but saplings when I first knew the spot; and no
foot, but the wild Indian’s, had trod those fields,
where the ripened grains now wave in the light
sea-breeze.”

“I think, Sir,” said Atherton, “you have discovered
much taste, as well as good husbandry, in
your improvements. Those groups of trees are
finely disposed about the dwelling; but what is
that single one, shooting its branches, with so
much regularity, from the aspiring trunk, and
dropping its leaves into the stream, which rushes
by it; it is tricked out in gaudy colours, and, at
this distance, might be mistaken for a crimson
banner, floating on a citadel.”

“To me,” said the Captain laughing, “it looks
more like a fair weather officer, dressed up for a
gala day; and, like many who strut well at a field
review, is the first to shrink from peril. The
slightest touch of frost changes its hue, and its
gay foliage is conspicuous in our forests, long before
any other tree has dropped a withered leaf;
it is the Maple, and I planted that one with my
own hand. I lived long enough in England, Major
Atherton
, to learn the value of fine trees,
though many here seem to think there are enough 10(2)r 111
in the woods, without keeping them around their
doors. Perhaps my taste arises from the predilections
of youth; for, I well remember, my father
would as soon have seen the old walls of Standish
Hall
rased to the foundations, as an old tree cut
down from the lawn.”

“They are certainly no novelty in this country,”
returned Atherton; “but, to me, it seems a strange
perversion of taste, which can induce any one to
prefer those blackened stumps, or desert plains, to
the living green, which would so agreeably shelter
their roofs. I perceive, too, Sir, that you have
paid some regard to minor ornaments; that luxuriant
sweet-briar, chequering the casement with
its dancing leaves, reminds me of the simplicity
and neatness of an English cottage.”

“Ah, that is not to my liking,” replied the Captain;
“the prickly things are springing up, every where,
and tearing one, without mercy; but I left that
growing, to please—my little rose-bud, Miriam
Grey
, who is for having every thing sweet and
flowering about her. She took a great fancy to
this one, and begged its life of me; and, I know
not how it is, but these pretty maidens will contrive
to make us do any thing they like.”

“It is even so,” said Atherton smiling; “but that
bush certainly looks very well, though it seems to
require the pruning knife, just now; and, if you
will allow me, I will try my skill in training those
crooked branches.”

“Do, if your fingers are proof against the thorns; 10(2)v 112
and now we will return to the house, if it please
you;—yet stop, a moment, cousin Atherton, and
look once again around you.”

“I could scarcely weary of doing so,” replied
Atherton, “and shall often ascend this hill, when
I wish to regale my eyes with the charms of nature.”

“And could you be content to remain here for
life?”
asked the Captain. “If you could, cast
your eyes on the spot which pleases you, and it is
yours.”

“And would you have me renounce my country
and religion?”
said Atherton.

“Your country will shortly renounce you,” replied
the Captain, “unless you unsheath your
sword against the defenders of a faith which your
mother loved; you must become persecutor, or persecuted.”

“And who will sustain the honour of my father’s
name, if the last, who bears it, flies from the land
which gave him birth?”

“It is only transplanting it to another region;
our country is the same, and we are all subjects
of the same gracious king.”

“Consider, dear sir,” said Atherton, “that I am
yet but just landed on your shores; all is novelty
to me; and though I am at present well-pleased
and happy, time alone can strengthen or remove
my prepossessions.”

“True,” said the Captain, who perceived he had
been premature in disclosing his wishes. “We will 10(3)r 113
wait patiently till spring arrives; young men
are apt to waver in their minds, I know. At your
age, I little dreamed of ending my days in that
cottage; but we know not what is before us; those
who deprived me of my lawful inheritance, and
obliged me to resign the privileges of my rank,
and the home which sheltered my infancy, to seek
a name and subsistance in a foreign land, doubtless
intended it for evil to me; but Providence, I trust
has made it instrumental of good to myself and
those who have relied on my arm for defence, in
this wilderness; and I can now truly say, I would
not exchange my situation for all the luxuries of
my youth, and all the distinctions, which then
seemed within my grasp.”

“It is well,” said Atherton, “that happiness is
not confined to any particular place or circumstances;
I am even inclined to think, that I could
pass the remainder of my life in such a cottage,
without casting many fond looks after the gay
world which I have left behind me; but at present
I am a wanderer on the face of the earth,
and shall probably visit many climes, before I return
to England.”

“We will think of that another time,” returned
the Captain, “and now that you have seen the
goodliness of the land, I have but to shew you
some of its comely daughters, and we can boast
of many ruddy cheeks and bright eyes here, Major
Atherton
.”

“So I have seen, Captain; but spare my heart Vol. I. 10* 10(3)v 114
in pity. You know I cannot give that away to
one of your demure little puritans, without shaving
my head; and I should by no means relish the alternative.”

“We shall see,” answered the Captain, as they
descended the hill; and, after walking for a time
about his farm,—for he would explain all its arrangements
and conveniences,—they returned to
the house, at an early dinner hour.

When the repast was ended, Major Atherton left
his kinsman to enjoy a solitary pipe of tobacco,
and commenced a zealous attack upon the sweet-
briar, which he intended to make resemble as
nearly as possible, the beautiful one he had observed
around the windows of Miriam Grey; but
owing to his want of skill, perhaps, he lopped
away branch after branch, till nothing but a mere
skeleton remained. Dissatisfied with his own
work, he was in the act of abandoning it, when the
dashing of oars in the water attracted his attention,
and looking round, he perceived a small boat
approaching the shore, and occupied by four persons;
two of whom were regarding him with particular
attention. These, he quickly discovered
to be Miriam Grey and Peregrine White, who
seemed engaged in a merry conversation, of which
Atherton fancied himself the subject, though the
damsel averted her eyes, and half turned her light
figure from him, when she found herself observed.
On the seat beside her, reclined her father, with
folded arms, as if engrossed by his own meditations: 10(4)r 115
his eyes, now fixed upon the watery deep,
and then turned upwards, apparently to watch the
swelling clouds, which began to flit rapidly before
a rising autumnal blast. Benjamin Ashly wielded
the oars with slow, but determined accuracy, and
evidently listened to the conversation of his companions,
with a degree of interest that rendered
him inattentive to his manual exertions; for the
boat was gliding past the spot where Major
Atherton
stood, when Peregrine White, starting on
his feet, and standing firm and erect in the tossing
bark, seized the arm of Ashly, with a force and
suddenness, that almost ejected the oar from his
hand, and bowed the side of the vessel to the water’s
edge.

“Bless me, Peregrine,” said Miriam Grey, catching
her father’s arm; “you give us more exercise
than the winds, and in truth, I think they are less
rude than your boyish tricks.”

“Now don’t be angry, Miriam; for it was not
me after all; but this grampus floundering about
here. Ho! Benjamin Ashly, are you asleep again?
I believe, on my conscience, you were nodding at
the oars just now.”

“It would be well, Master Peregrine, if you
would be quiet a little oftener,”
replied the other
in a grave voice.

“Better said than done, that, Mr. Ashly; but are
you steering out to Cape Cod?”
and, without
ceremony he snatched the oars from his hand, and
dashed them into the water, with quick and powerful 10(4)v 116
strokes, which brought them in a moment
to the strand.

“Why do you bring us here, young man?” said
Mr. Grey, sternly; “is it to serve thy gamesome
humour at our expense?”

“No sir,” replied Peregrine, an air of respect
mingling with his habitual levity; “but I wish to
speak with Major Atherton who stands gazing
at us from under the rose-bush, yonder; and I am
mistaken if my absence be much regretted here.”

“None on my word as we value our lives and
comfort,”
said Miriam Grey; and the sweet and
sportive tunes of her voice fell like music on the
ear of Atherton.

“Fare you well then,” said Peregrine, springing
on the shore; “here are the paddles, Master Benjamin
Ashly
; so paddle yourself off swiftly, and dexterously;
but have a care that you dont flounce
about and upset; for the damsel there, though she
is light enough, cannot float forever, and you
would shoot to the bottom like a bullet.”

“Methinks our voyage will prosper,” said Miriam,
“now that we are no longer burthened with
a Jonas to endanger us.”

“You will see me again in season to pilot you
home,”
said Peregrine, elevating his voice, as they
receded from the shore, “and I will bring the Captain,
with me, shall I, Miriam?”

Miriam nodded assent.

“And Major Atherton?” he added; but the damsel
probably did not hear; for she turned, at the 10(5)r 117
moment to address her father, and Peregrine
laughing, proceeded towards the house.

“Well now, Major Atherton,” exclaimed the
youth, “why don’t you speak to me, instead of
staring at the water as if there was a whale spouting
in it?”

“I am truly glad to see you,” returned Atherton,
“but I was busily watching the boat you
have just left; see how fast it scuds before the
wind!”

“It is a trim little bark enough,” replied Peregrine,
“and decked out with fair lading, as I doubt
not you were thinking.”

“It dances like an egg-shell,” pursued Atherton;
“and I should think there are few females,
who would not feel some degree of alarm on such
tossing waves.”

“There is really no danger,” said Peregrine;
“and Miriam Grey would be the last person in
the world, to imagine it; she is used to such
things, and never plagues one with her idle fears,
like other women.”

“How far are they going?” asked Atherton.

“Just round the bay, to a house near the beach,
north of us. I fell in with them by good luck, as
they were pushing off from Plymouth, and I was
thinking how I should get here this afternoon without
taxing my legs with the trouble of bringing
me. It was long though, before I could make that
round-eared Ashly hear my call; for which I owe
him a ducking, and I have some idea, that the old 10(5)v 118
man, himself, would have been as well pleased if I
had staid behind.”

“You mean to wait here till they return?” asked
Atherton.

“No, I’ll not trust to their stopping for me, and
I want you and Captain Standish to go with me
and meet them at worthy Mr. Woodman’s. You
shall have a treat from Benjamin Ashly, who, I
know, means to hold forth, like a saint; and Miriam
Grey
will look—”

“Like an angel, I suppose you would say,” interrupted
Atherton, with a smile; “but here comes the
Captain, who can speak for himself.”

“Ah!” said Captain Standish, at that moment
thrusting his head from the door. “I thought you
were here, Master Peregrine; I can no more mistake
the sound of your tongue, than I could the
clapper of a wind-mill.”

“You mean that they both make a noise, I suppose,”
said Peregrine; “and in my mind, they
were both made for that purpose.”

“Yes, and they are both used to grinding out
chaff,”
said the Captain.

“Which shews that there is some good grain at
the bottom, and so Captain, I expect mine will
sprout up, and produce a wonderful harvest some
of these days.”

“May the time be hastened,” said the Captain;
“or we shall begin to think it is choked by the
tares.”

10(6)r 119

“All in good time, Captain. And now I will
deliver my message, if it please you to hear.”

“Speak on, young man.”

“Well,” continued Peregrine, “you see yon skiff,
dipping into the waves like a sea-gull! It landed
me safe in your dominions, and a certain laughing
damsel, called Miriam Grey,”

“Ah! my little rose-bud!” interrupted the Captain,
“and why did she come so near without stopping
to see me?”

“I do not know, indeed,” replied the youth, “unless
Major Atherton, who was standing there, like
a giant to defend your castle, frightened her
away.”

“I should be sorry to produce such an effect on
her,”
said Atherton, laughing.

“You are right,” returned Peregrine archly. “I
am thinking you meditated something entirely different.”

“Young maidens are not apt to be alarmed at
the sight of a gallant young man,”
observed the
Captain; “but, bless me, Major Atherton, what
have you been doing to this briar-bush?”

“Trimming it,” said Atherton; “though I must
confess, it is done clumsily enough. I intended it
should look precisely like Miriam Grey’s.”

“It looks as much like hers,” said Peregrine
White
, “as she does like mistress Rebecca Spindle;
but I crave your pardon, Captain; perhaps the
spinster is a favourite of yours.”

“You are a saucy lad, Peregrine, and not worth 10(6)v 120
the minding, or I should try to mend your manners
with the point of my sword.”

“With your leave, Captain, I think it might help
to make a breach in my manners; but I doubt if it
would readily mend them.”

“No, no, boy; they are past all mending; but,
if it please you, unburthen yourself of the remainder
of that message; I am waiting to hear it now.”

“The message? oh, it is that you will go with
me to master Woodman’s, and spend an hour or so;
Miriam Grey expects you, and likewise Major
Atherton
.”

“Take care master Peregrine,” said Atherton,
“remember I was near to you, and could hear all
that past.”

“True, and now I recollect, Major, she did not
want you; but you do not know what she said before
we reached the shore.”

“Perhaps it was something I should not care to
hear.”

“It was nothing very remarkable,” said Peregrine;
“she only wondered who that tall savage
could be, who was hacking up her rose bush so unmercifully,
and said—”

“That is quite enough,” interrupted Atherton.

“Oho, you have not had the cream of it. She
says—”

“Never mind the girl,” interposed the Captain;
“she is privileged to say any thing that suits her;
and now let me know, Peregrine, who is with her
in the boat. But the wind grows raw and blustering, 11(1)r 121
and it is my mind that we have stood in it long
enough.”

“Her father and Benjamin Ashly,” said Peregrine,
as he followed into the house; “and the last
mentioned personage, I believe, has been putting
his brains in order to settle the dubious points of
faith and doctrine to-night; for he towed us along
like a snail, dragging a cockle-shell.”

“And do you mean to render him assistance,
with your knowledge and experience?”
asked
Atherton.

“Not I truly; they would look upon me with as
much astonishment, as the people of old did, when
they found Saul among the prophets.”

“You had better stay the evening with us then,”
said the Captain; “it is far to go; and unless Major
Atherton
wishes it, I had rather remain at
home.”

“Certainly not, I should by no means wish to
intrude myself into the house of an entire stranger.”

“I wish I had kept on in the boat then,” said
Peregrine White; “for I have no fancy for a lonely
jaunt, with nothing but a dog, or my walking
stick to speak with. But where is Alexander?”

“He has been out with Hobamock to fish since
morning,”
said the Captain. “I believe the boy will
turn Indian before long; he is so won over by their
wandering sort of life.”

“I should like very well to walk part of the way
with you, Peregrine,”
said Atherton; “but you can
stay with us yet an hour or two.”

Vol. I. 11 11(1)v 122

“Be it so then,” replied Peregrine; “the savory
smell of a venison pasty, which reaches me from
the kitchen, is very refreshing, and will, doubtless
prove as substantial as Benjamin Ashly’s exhortations,
and be far more quickly dispatched.”

The evening proved dark and chilly; but, with
health and spirits, which bade defiance to its inclemency,
the young men, at a seasonable hour,
commenced their walk towards the house of Mr.
Woodman
. It was two or three miles from the
residence of Captain Standish; and the few stars,
that now and then broke through the general gloom,
served to direct their course, which, after a short
distance, seemed to diverge from the abodes of man,
and at one moment, led them through the intricacies
of a wood, and the next brought them to the shore
of the restless ocean.

“Heaven defend us from a cold bath!” said Peregrine
White
. “I am not inclined to try my skill
in swimming on such a night as this!”

“Since we have escaped those break-neck stumps
which threatened our downfall in the woods,”
said
Atherton, “I think we may find our path clear for
the remainder of the way. Yonder is a light, if I
mistake not.”

“Yes, and that is the end of our journey,” said
Peregrine, joyfully.

“Here then we must part,” rejoined Atherton.

“Go with us,” replied Peregrine, “and we can
land you at the Captain’s on our return, without
the least difficulty. It is a tedious walk for you
alone.”

11(2)r 123

“No, Rover and I shall be there before you; so
look up to the window for a signal light, as you
pass by.”

“I must then bid you good bye, Major; for see!
the door is this moment opening, and they are all
sallying forth.”

“Good night, then; but let me intreat you to be
prudent, and manage your boat cautiously; it is a
trying night, and I fear your voyage will be uncomfortable
at the best.”

“Never doubt me,” said Peregrine; “I know the
paths of the ocean, as well as the fish that swim in
it; so fare you well.

11(2)v 124

Chapter VIII.

“――To hear The roaring of the raging elements, To know all human skill, all human strength Avail not: to look round and only see The mountain wave incumbent with its weight Of bursting waters, o’er the reeling bark,— Oh God! this is indeed a dreadful thing!” Southey.

The house to which Peregrine White directed
his steps, was situated near the extremity of a narrow
beach which separated the ocean from a projecting
bay; and Atherton paused till the little
party had exchanged their last adieus, and Miriam
Grey
, leaning on her father’s arm, approached the
bark, which was loosed from the moorings, and
shortly commenced its passage across the Bay.
The morning of that day had been serene and
brilliant, but with the variableness so common in
the capricious climate of New-England, its noon-
tide splendour was overcast by dark, though passing
clouds, and the setting sun was shrouded in a
lurid mist, portending an approaching change of
weather. Still, however, the clouds hung back, as
if unwilling to collect and blacken the pure arch
of heaven; and as Major Atherton yet lingered on
the spot where his companion had left him, the
heavy masses seemed rolling away, leaving large 11(3)r 125
tracts of blue and spangled sky; and the waning
moon, encircled by a broad zone of crimson vapour,
began to rise from her watery bed, and to shoot a
trembling light across the track of the lonely voyagers.

Actuated by a latent interest, which he however
ascribed to the mere impulse of curiosity, Major
Atherton
enveloped himself more closely in the
ample folds of a military cloak, to ward off the
piercing blast; and turning from the path that led
back to his kinsman’s house, proceeded with rapid
steps along the beach, which, extending nearly
three miles in a south-easterly direction, terminated
in an eminence called the Gurnet’s Nose, then
joined to the Sauguish by a strip of sand, though it
is now many years since the encroaching waves
have insulated it. On his left, the Atlantic tossed
its foaming billows, sending forth suppressed and
sullen murmurs, and seeming to await the rising
blast to lash them into fury; while on the other
side the agitated waters of the Bay dashed fearfully
against the strand, as if seeking to submerge the
slight barrier which separated them from the
boundless deep. The moon was struggling with
the clouds that constantly flitted across her disk,
affording to Atherton but partial glimpses of the
little bark, which he continued to watch with an
anxiety that rendered him insensible to personal
inconvenience. It rode manfully on a heavy sea,
and in the eye of the wind, which rendered its
management difficult, and even dangerous, and requiredVol. I. 11* 11(3)v 126
the most strenuous efforts of the young men,
who plied the oars with a dexterity and skill that
promised ultimate and well-earned success. They
were still near the beach, to which, in spite of their
exertions, the wind continually impelled them; and
as a ray of light occasionally glanced on the countenance
of Miriam Grey, Atherton remarked with
admiration the serenity of its expression, and the
air of calmness, mingled with awe, with which she
regarded the angry elements. Apparently unmoved
by fear or anxiety, she gently reclined on her
father’s protecting arm, while both maintained a
profound and unbroken silence. Indeed all were
so much engrossed by their peculiar situation or
reflections, that Atherton was entirely disregarded,
though frequently so near that the sound of his
footsteps, on a calm evening, might have been distinctly
heard by them. Presently, the voice of
Miriam Grey, more sweet and touching from the
contrast of discordant sounds which raved around
her, stole upon the ear of Atherton, as in solemn
measure she sung the following psalm.

“‘The Lord doth reign, and cloth’d is he with majesty most bright: His works do shew him cloth’d to be, and girt about with might. The world is also ’stablished, that it cannot depart. Thy throne is fix’d of old, and thou from everlasting art. 11(4)r 127 The floods, O Lord, have lifted up, they lifted up their voice, The floods have lifted up their waves, and made a mighty noise. But yet the Lord that is on high is more of might, by far, Than noise of many waters is, or great sea-billows are.’”

As she proceeded in the last verse, her voice became
slightly tremulous; for the wind, which at
the commencement of it seemed dying away, as if
lulled to silence by her melody, suddenly rose with
redoubled energy, and the darkened sky almost
concealed from his view the frail bark, which was
at one moment borne on the top of a tremendous
wave, and the next, almost engulphed beneath it.
They were now nearly opposite the Gurnet’s Nose,
and the wind, eddying around the point of land,
rendered their endeavours to keep out in the open
bay, every instant more precarious.

Major Atherton could no longer distinguish any
object amidst the deepening gloom; but he still
occasionally caught the cheerful voice of Peregrine
White
, and once distinctly heard Mr. Grey, with
his usual calmness, say,

“Bear off from the shore, and by the leave of
Heaven, I trust we shall soon be in safety.”

Atherton listened for another voice, and longed
to know if the countenance of Miriam, still retained
the sweet tranquillity he had just remarked on it; 11(4)v 128
and which struck him as even more fascinating
than its usual sportive gayety. But he heard only
the heavy strokes of the oars which became momently
more and more distant; and satisfied that they
were well acquainted with the navigation of the
Bay, his fears for their safety gradually subsided,
though it was not till convinced they were beyond
his observation, that he began to feel his own situation
to be uncomfortable, if not hazardous.

The wind, which had exhausted its fury, and
seemed to be sinking away in hollow murmurs,
had indeed, enabled the party in the boat, to make
some progress in the direction they wished; but its
violence was shortly redoubled, and the light skiff
appeared totally unable to resist the combined force
of the winds and waves, that threatened to dash it
among the shoals and rocks, around the Gurnet.
The only hope of safety remaining to them, was
the chance of reaching a spot where they could land
in safety; but at which, amidst the darkness of
the night, and the roaring of the waves, it seemed
almost impossible to arrive.

Until the moment of extreme peril, Mr. Grey
remained by the side of his daughter; and, while
pressed by his encircling arm, Miriam felt in comparative
safety; but when the danger became more
pressing and required his experience and skill to
assist the exertions of his younger companions, all
the fortitude and resignation of a vigorous and
well principled mind could hardly support her,
amidst the terrors of a scene, which might have 11(5)r 129
appalled even the stoutest heart. Mr. Grey, agonized
with apprehensions for his daughter, which
rendered him almost insensible to personal danger,
pressed her to his bosom with the mingled sorrow
and affection which the danger inspired, and silently
commending her to the protection of Him, who
directs the storm, and controls the raging winds,
he applied himself with all the promptitude and
energy which the exigence demanded, to guide the
tossing bark, amidst the jarring of the contending
elements. Miriam Grey covered her face with both
her hands, if possible, to screen her eyes from the
threatening danger, though she could not shut her
ears against the terrific sounds; and endeavouring
to collect her agitated thoughts, and compose her
mind to meet the will of Providence, awaited in
profound stillness, the event. Benjamin Ashly,
who felt a double pang in prospect of the fate
which seemed to await himself and the woman
whom he devotedly loved;—feeling his affection
rising above its usual reserve, approached with
language that expressed his powerful interest, and
endeavoured to inspire her with a hope which she
left to be fast gliding away.

“Leave me, I entreat you,” she faltered out; “as
you value our safety, suffer no thought, no fear
for me, to distract your attention at this critical
moment.”

Ashly pressed her hand with silent emotion.

“God reward you for all your kindness to me,”
added the maiden, the tears quickly coursing each 11(5)v130
other down her cheeks; “and forgive me, Ashly,
if I have at any time done aught to give you pain.”

Before he had time to reply, Peregrine White
exclaimed, joyfully,

“Yonder is a deep cove; I know it well; pull
away like a man, Ashly, and if we can pass these
breakers, with the help of Heaven we shall find
safe landing.”

The young man seized the oar, which Mr. Grey
relinquished to him, and for one moment every heart
beat high with renovated hope; the next, Ashly
cried in a tone of despair, “We are lost!” and, at
the same instant a loud crash proceeding from the
oar which had broken in his hand, struck like a
knell on every ear. The boat, propelled by the
sudden shock, swung swiftly round; and, though
Peregrine White with admirable presence of mind,
endeavoured to counteract the danger by his skilful
management of the remaining oar, it was swept
back by a tremendous wave rolling towards the
strand, and left fast grounded on a rock, surrounded
by foaming breakers which threatened its speedy
destruction. The violence of the gale had passed
away, and the moon breaking through the clouds
served but to render their situation more frightful,
by exhibiting all its horrors, embittered by their
recent hopes of reaching the wished-for shore, that
lay at a short distance, now visibly inaccessible,
by reason of a boiling surge. A deadly chill seemed
to have seized on every heart; but the rushing
of the waves, which soon began to fill the shallow 11(6)r 131
bark, renewed their energies with the additional
consciousness of their extreme peril.

“Now may God have mercy on us! there is no
longer any hope from man!”
ejaculated Mr. Grey
in a solemn voice; and he folded his daughter in
his arms with the tenderness of a last embrace.

“Say not so!” said Peregrine White, vainly endeavouring
to speak with firmness; “we will not
give up life without an effort to preserve it; we
can swim, and perhaps,—”

“And Miriam Grey,” interrupted Ashly in great
agitation; “think you that she can struggle with
these waves.”

“If you can save my child,” exclaimed the father,
with deep emotion, “I shall die contented.”

“No, we will perish together,” said Miriam; and
she twined her arms more closely around her father’s
neck. “Dearest father,” she added, “it is but
a brief, though stormy passage to a world where
all will be sunshine and happiness forever.”

Scarcely had she spoken, when the loud barking
of a dog was heard from the shore; and, with a
sudden revulsion of feeling, every heart bounded
with the hope of approaching succour. A sound,
as of some one plunging into the water instantly
followed; and through the gloom, they could perceive
a figure, buffeting with the waves; another
moment of expectation, and Miriam Grey felt herself
gently, but firmly grasped, and a well-remembered
voice said to her,

“Fear not, but trust yourself with me, and you
will soon be in safety.”

11(6)v 132

“Major Atherton! is that you?” said Peregrine
White
.

“Yes, follow me, and we shall shortly reach the
strand.”

Atherton leaped first into the surge, with his
half lifeless burthen, whom he firmly supported
with one arm, while with the other, he resisted the
violence of the tide, and, at length reached the
shore, though nearly exhausted by the effort, which
his uncommon muscular strength, alone, had enabled
him to make. Atherton thought only of the
lovely being, whom he had rescued from an early
grave; and, wrapping his warm and dry cloak
around her, he gently seated her on a bank, at some
distance from the water’s edge, and, kneeling by
her side, supported her head against his shoulder;
holding her wet and chilled hands between his own.
Miriam had not fainted; but conflicting emotions,
and acute feeling, for a time, nearly deprived her
of sensation; and, when she began to revive, it
was with difficulty she could arrange her bewildered
thoughts, or comprehend her singular situation.
Atherton, by the imperfect light, which still glimmered
from the heavens, watched, with intense interest,
the returning animation of her countenance,
and saw, with delight, a faint colour stealing over
her pale features.

As Miriam revived to perfect consciousness, she
withdrew, in maiden bashfulness, from the support
of Atherton, and disengaging her hand, which he
felt slightly tremble between his own, leaned against 12(1)r 133
the trunk of a pine, at the root of which, she was
seated. Atherton arose from his lowly posture,
and respectfully withdrew a few paces from her.
Miriam also rose, and, in an instant, Atherton was
again by her side. She looked at him, with a countenance
full of gratitude, but felt that language
was powerless to express the deep emotions, which
his disinterested exertions had inspired. In silent
eloquence, she again offered him the hand, that she
had just withdrawn; and Atherton pressed it to his
heart, with all the passion, which his active ardour
and a newly awakened enthusiasm could inspire.
Miriam bent her head upon her bosom; she could
only articulate, in a tone of deep anxiety, “my
father!”
and burst into a flood of tears.

“Your father is safe, I trust,” said Atherton; “I
even now hear his voice from the beach, and will
go and bring him to you”
and he left her, believing
that, at such a moment, solitude would be most acceptable
to her.

The party had all reached the shore in safety;
and Atherton found the young men reclining on the
ground, and Mr. Grey standing apart, with folded
arms, while Rover lay motionless and panting at
his feet, though, the moment he saw his master,
the faithful animal flew to meet him, wagging his
tail, and whining to attract his notice and caresses,
as a reward for his exertions. He had, indeed,
been of essential service to Mr. Grey, whom, with
the sagacity of his nature he discovered to be the
most indifferent swimmer, and, by keeping fast Vol. I. 12 12(1)v 134
hold of his clothes, had greatly assisted him in
struggling through the waves. Atherton patted
him, with many kind expressions, which the dog
seemed perfectly to understand; but, at the sound
of his viocevoice, Mr. Grey started, and turned suddenly
round, with a degree of animation, that strongly
contrasted with his usual calmness; and, grasping
his hand, he said, with energy—

“To you, young man, under God, I am, this
night, indebted for the life of my only child; accept
a father’s blessing, and may the God of mercy reward
you.”

“You esteem my services too highly, sir,” said
Atherton; “they were nothing more than duty and
humanity enjoined; and I shall ever bless God for
conducting me hither, in such an hour of need.”

“Again I thank you, young man,” said Mr. Grey,
in an accent of strong feeling; “and I trust we
shall shortly meet again; but at present, my heart
yearns to behold my daughter.”

“I will conduct you to her, sir,” returned Atherton;
and he led the way to Miriam; but, without
intruding upon their interview, immediately returned
to the beach.

“You have done us good service to-night, Major
Atherton
,”
said Peregrine White, rising to meet
him, with extreme seriousness; “and I hold myself
deeply indebted to you.”

“To your own exertions rather say,” replied
Atherton; “you must have managed skilfully to
keep afloat so long, on such a sea.”

12(2)r 135

“Ah! but when we struck on that rock!” answered
Peregrine; “I shall never think of it, without
shuddering; and, I am sure, we should never, all
of us, have got away from it, but for your assistance.
As for Mr. Grey, he would not have held
out long, but for the help of your dog; and I am
sure, none of us could have beat the waves as you
did, with Miriam tugging at your arm.”

“You speak without knowledge, Master Peregrine,”
said Benjamin Ashly, who, perhaps, felt a
twinge of jealousy at Atherton’s success; “of this
be assured, that my arm should not have been slack
to uphold the maiden, amidst the buffetings of the
waves.”

“Your arm! Master Ashly,” said Peregrine, losing
his brief fit of gravity; “why, you puffed like
a porpoise, man, and, moreover, pulled at my arm,
ever and anon, to keep your nostrils out of water,
so that, for my own safety, I was obliged to shake
you off, as the apostle Paul did the viper.”

“It is your custom to use unseemly jests, Peregrine
White
,”
answered the other, somewhat disconcerted;
“but, nevertheless, I tell you, that I
would have saved the damsel, Miriam Grey, or
perished with her.”

“Now, from the last mentioned act of kindness,
Mr. Ashly,”
said Peregrine, “I think she would
hold herself excused; it is my mind, that she has
seen enough of you, in this world, without going
out of it in your company. So after all, we are
obliged to my friend Major Atherton, for his assistance.”

12(2)v 136

“Truly, I esteem him for his works’ sake,” returned
Ashly; and he turned rather stiffly to Atherton,
“yet we are bound to remember, that we are
but as ‘clay in the potter’s hand,’ and after all we
can do, it is ‘of the Lords mercies that we are not
consumed.’”

“Consumed! friend Ashly,” said Peregrine, “say
drowned, washed away, any thing but consumed;
it is a most far-fetched word in this frozen region,
though I wish, most truly that some of these trees
were consuming, for us to warm ourselves by; I
am shivering with the cold;”
and, as he spoke his
teeth began to chatter violently.

“Our quarters are indeed uncomfortable,” said
Atherton; “and, in our wet condition, it is perilous
to remain here long; we had better make some arrangements
to depart.”

“If yonder good man has done rejoicing over his
lost sheep,”
returned Peregrine, “we will consult
his pleasure, though we are in none of the best
plight, either to go or stay.”

“The wind has subsided, and the tide is going
down,”
said Atherton; “perhaps, we can get the
boat off, and return in it.”

“It has got itself off,” replied Peregrine, “went
to pieces, as my last leg came out of it; so that
scheme is up; we must walk round by the beach;
but there is Miriam, poor thing! tired enough, I
suppose, and soaked through like a sponge, withal.
I doubt, Major, you did not bring her through the
water dry, though you darted along like a flying 12(3)r 137
fish, with a bug in its mouth; and, I think, too,
you must have flown to this pot, just in the time
of need; for I left you far off, plodding alone through
the woods.”

Atherton smiled, but made no answer; for they
at that instant reached the spot occupied by Mr.
Grey
and his daughter; the latter on seeing them
approach, flung back from her face a profusion of
dark brown hair, out of which she had been wringing
the moisture; and drew the cloak more closely
around her, to conceal her wet and disordered dress.
Rover, who preceded his master, began to fawn
about her feet.

“This is one of our deliverers, Miriam,” said her
father; “and he craves your notice for his late services.”

“Thou art a brave fellow,” said Miriam, stooping
down to caress him; “and I can never, never forget
thy services; but to-night I feel unable to express
my obligations as I ought to any one.”
She stole a
timid glance at Atherton, and again bent her face
upon the short curly hair of his dumb favourite.
“What arrangements shall we make, sir, for our
return home?”
said Atherton, addressing Mr. Grey;
“if we can endure cold and wet, I fear your daughter
will suffer severely from this long exposure.”

“I find a warm shelter within your cloak,” said
Miriam; “though I ought not perhaps to deprive
you of its comforts.”

“It would be rather an incumbrance to me,” replied
Atherton; “and I fear you will hardly endure Vol. I. 12* 12(3)v 138
its weight in walking; it was made for a soldier’s
wear, rough weather and a camp, not to shield the
delicate form of a woman; though I am most happy
if it can contribute to your comfort or protect you
from danger.”

A short consultation was then held; but it was
presently broken off by the unexpected appearance
of a bright flame rising at a short distance from
behind a copse of evergreens, and flashing its red
light upon the still troubled waters. While they
were yet looking and wondering, Peregrine White,
whose absence for a few moments they had scarcely
observed, came running towards them with an
exulting air.

“Come and warm yourselves,” said he, “I found
a few embers which were doubtless left by some
charitable fishermen for our use, and have kindled
a fire to cheer us before we take up our line of
march.”

So saying, he seized the arm of Miriam Grey,
and hurried her along with great velocity in spite
of the cumbrous cloak which impeded her progress;
the rest of the party followed more leisurely, and
found a huge pile of underwood and dried branches
lighted up, which soon rendered them dry and
comfortable.

“Here are some of the planks of our poor boat,”
said Peregrine, “which the sea has washed ashore,
and we may be thankful that none of us are clinging
to them; but they make a bright flame to warm
us.”

12(4)r 139

“Master White,” said Mr. Grey, “methinks your
levity is ill-timed and unbecoming, after the signal
mercy we have this night experienced; it behoves
us to shew our thankfulness by a composed and
cheerful deportment, but not to indulge in idle
mirth.”

“I was never more serious in my life, sir, than I
have been to-night,”
returned Peregrine; “and that
for an unusual length of time. But now, like David
of old, I have washed myself, and would like
him eat and drink with a hearty good will, if there
was any thing to set before me.”

“Hark!” exclaimed Atherton, starting up, “if I
mistake not, I hear the distant sound of oars.”

“It is so,” said Ashly, “and yonder is a boat moving
over the waters.”

“You must be akin to the owl, Master Ashly, if
you can see so far in the dark,”
said Peregrine;
“but blow up the flame for a beacon, and I will
crawl up the Gurnet’s Nose with this brand; it
would be a bad joke if they should pass us.”

Snatching a flaming stick from the fire, he ran
quickly up the highest eminence, where now stands
the light-house, and waved it aloft as a signal of
distress; and they soon saw a stout boat with three
men in it, advancing towards the cove, which they
had vainly endeavoured to reach before striking
upon the rock. Every one approached the spot
with more or less haste, except Miriam Grey, who
retained her station on the trunk of an uprooted
pine, from whence she could distinguish the various 12(4)v 140
figures in the broad glare of the flame, and distinctly
hear most of their conversation. Atherton was
the last to leave her; indeed he lingered near the
spot under various pretexts till Miriam observed,
with a smile,—

“I suspect, Major Atherton, you fear from my
drowsy countenance, that I shall fall asleep by this
warm fire; but curiosity will keep me wakeful, for I
am really all eagerness to learn who has visited our
barren island.”

“Some one I hope who will soon convey you to a
comfortable shelter,”
said Atherton. “Your looks
do indeed betray your fatigue and need of repose.”

“Nay, but you pay me an ill compliment,” returned
Miriam, playfully; “though I have no glass to
consult, I had fancied this cloak extremely becoming;
and thought that bright flame would not deny
me the ruddy tinge it lavishes so freely on every
other object.”

“Shall I be more gallant then,” replied Atherton,
“and declare that Miriam Grey can require no artificial
aid to render her lovely!”

“No,” returned Miriam, in some confusion, “I
did not intend to extort flattery from your lips.”

“The language of flattery is unknown to me,”
said Atherton, turning his dark eyes full upon her
blushing face; “I speak only what truth and feeling
dictate;”
and bowing low he reluctantly quitted
her.

Miriam Grey looked after him a moment with a
thoughtful air; then leaning back her head, seemed 12(5)r 141
to regard attentively the wild scenery which surrounded
her; and particularly the group collected
on the shore, where the crimson flame glanced
brightly, giving a peculiar and at times fantastic
expression to their features, and reflecting their
dark shadows in the broken waves.

12(5)v 142

Chapter IX.

“Mild hospitality spreads wide her door And, with the loaded banquet, courts the stay Of passing stranger.” Cottle.

“Well, how now,” exclaimed Captain Standish,
springing from the boat, “what sort of a frolic is
this, good people? a pretty tune you have made
us dance to this stormy night!”

“One of Beelzebub’s tunes I think, Captain,”
said Peregrine White; “and here is Hobamock, on
my life, looking like one of his fiddlers, with the
blaze dancing on his copper-coloured visage!”

“Explain, boy, explain,” said the Captain, impatiently,
“or hold your peace, and let some one
older and wiser speak for you. But what means
this? cousin Atherton here too!”
and he looked in
surprise, as his kinsman that moment approached
the spot.

“Yes,” resumed Peregrine; “he has been chief
actor in this tragedy.”

“Tragedy,” interrupted the Captain; “I can
well believe, jack-a-napes, that you would keep
away from any thing tragic; so now you mean to
teaze us with your nonsense.”

“He jumped into the sea,” pursued Peregrine,
with the utmost gravity, “seized the damsel and
swam off with her like a fish.”

12(6)r 143

“Who? Miriam Grey? where is she, where is
my rose-bud?”
said the Captain, quickly; “I hoped
they had kept her on solid ground, this dark
night.”

“My daughter,” said Mr. Grey, “is safe and
well, thanks to Heaven, and the courage of your
young kinsman, who has, indeed, stepped between
us and death.”

“You have done well, Edward,” said the Captain
with warmth; “as I said before, you have
Standish blood in your veins; and ne’er a one of
us has ever yet turned his back upon danger!
But I must know all, every thing that has happened.”

“The substance of the matter is this;” answered
Peregrine White; “our boat was driven on a rock
by a violent head wind, and stove to pieces; and
so being all fairly ducked in the sea, we made use
of our fins to good advantage, and with the help of
Major Atherton and his dog, who chanced to be
near, I know not how, we reached this Melita, safe
and sound, but unluckily found no ‘barbarous
people’
to ‘shew us kindness.’”

“You were not in the boat then, cousin Atherton,”
said the Captain; “and how came you near
them in their distress?”

“I was wandering on the beach,” said Atherton,
evading a direct answer; “and fortunately perceived
their danger in time to render some assistance.”

“You missed the road I suppose,” returned the 12(6)v 144
Captain, “and it is no odd mistake for a stranger;
we have not made broad English highways through
our woods as yet; and you would hardly understand
our rustic land-marks.”

“To what cause,” asked Atherton, “are we indebted
for the unexpected pleasure of seeing you.”

“Principally to Mr. Calvert,” replied the Captain,
“with whom I must make you acquainted;”
and he turned to address a young man who had
accompanied him in the boat, and was talking
apart with Mr. Grey and Benjamin Ashly.

“Calvert!” repeated Atherton thoughtfully; for
the name sounded familiar, and he regarded with
more attention the stranger whom he had before
scarcely remarked. His figure was slight, but peculiarly
graceful; his complexion sallow; his
countenance strongly marked, and animated by
intelligent features and piercing black eyes, with
hair of the most jetty hue. There was a degree
of singularity in his appearance rather attractive
than pleasing; and Atherton as soon as he had
heard his voice, identified him as a native Virginian
who had been sent to England for some education,
and served some time as lieutenant in the same regiment
with himself; but quitted the profession about
two years previous, being recalled by the death of his
father, to take possession of a valuable plantation.
Major Atherton knew that he was insinuating and
unprincipled, and master of those specious talents
and artful manners which enabled him to support
any character that suited his inclination; and he 13(1)r 145
was therefore not surprised to find him treated
with marked attention even by the scrupulous Mr.
Grey
.

As Atherton advanced toward Mr. Calvert he
expressed his recognition by politely bowing,
which the latter instantly returned, at the same
time observing,—

“I did not anticipate the pleasure of meeting
with Major Atherton in this new world.”

“And the pleasure of seeing you, sir, was equally
unexpected,”
returned Atherton. “A voyage
from your distant Province I have always considered
nearly as formidable as one from the parent
country.”

“We endeavour to keep up a good neighbourhood,”
said Calvert; “and it is quite a deed of
charity to convey intelligence occasionally through
our thinly scattered settlements; not to mention
the powerful suggestions of interest, or the old-
fashioned claims of friendship.”

“It was a good chance at any rate which brought
you here to-night,”
said Peregrine White; “for
though I don’t exactly know how, the Captain says
we are indebted to you for succour.”

“Not exactly so;” returned Mr. Calvert. “I
arrived at Plymouth about noon to-day; and early
in the evening crossed the Bay to visit Captain
Standish
. I found him very uneasy about his
friends; and as I had felt the violence of the wind
in my short passage, which boded no good to so
light a skiff as he told me you were in, I proposed Vol. I. 13 13(1)v 146
enlisting Hobamock in my service and sailing out
in quest of you. The Captain insisted on accompanying
me, and we were soon directed in our
course by your blazing watch fire, though it also
excited considerable anxiety respecting your situation.”

“We have cause to regret the trouble and concern
you have sustained on our account,”
said Mr.
Grey
, “though Providence has doubtless permitted
it for some wise and benevolent purpose.”

“Peradventure for the trial of our faith and
love,”
said Benjamin Ashly.

“I dare say there will some love come out of it,”
whispered Peregrine White to Atherton; “and I
do believe after all, Master Ashly would rather
have been drowned with Miriam than have had
you save her.”

“It is my mind,” said Captain Standish, “that
we had better think of returning home; the night
wanes, and my little rose-bud I know begins to
droop her head.”

So saying he walked with hasty steps to Miriam
Grey
, and had exhausted a score of congratulations
before his more tardy companions could overtake
him; though the echo of a hearty salute, which he
bestowed on her cheek, reached them even at a
distance.

“That went off like a cannon ball!” cried Peregrine
White
. “I should think, Captain, you were
charging the enemy with a full round of grape
shot!”

13(2)r 147

“Have a care, young man,” said the Captain, “or
I will give you a shot about the ears, that will
make you cry out for quarter, before you can have
time to retreat.”

Miriam at that moment, rose to receive Mr. Calvert,
who greeted her with the familiarity of long
acquaintance; and taking her passive hand, conveyed
it to his lips, with the most easy gallantry,
leaving Atherton at a loss, whether the bright
blush which mantled her cheeks, was excited by
pleasure or bashfulness; and before he could solve
the doubt to his own satisfaction, she was leaning
on her father’s arm, and directing her steps to the
boat. The sea was still rough, and the wind keen,
though it had tacked about to a point more favourable
for their progress; but Miriam could not avoid
shuddering, as she entered the boat, and again entrusted
her safety to the keeping of the elements,
from whose wrath she had so severely and recently
suffered. These natural emotions were, however,
transient, and passed away even before the bark
had glided from the cove, which was still burnished
with the light of the expiring fire.

Captain Standish would allow no one to share
with himself and Hobamock the toil of rowing,
insisting that they were fresh and vigorous, and
the others wearied by exertion; and claimed, as
his only recompence, that they would proceed no
farther than his house that night; where he had
ordered preparations to be made for their accommodation,
in case of need. His hospitality was 13(2)v 148
cheerfully accepted by all, but Mr. Calvert, whose
affairs obliged him to return to Plymouth; and as
it was agreed that Hobamock should go with him,
to convey intelligence of their safety, to the friends
of those who remained behind.

The little party then sunk into almost total silence,
each apparently exhausted in spirits; and
the boat moved slowly over the heavy waves, while
at intervals, the Indian burst into a low, solemn
chaunt, in the harsh and guttural language of his
nation. The animated voice of the Captain, at
length roused them.

“Haul up, Hobamock,” he said; “here we are
safe and ready to land.”

As he spoke, the boat was made fast to the shore,
and all, except Mr. Calvert and the Indian, leaped
from it with joyful hearts, and proceeded to the
house, which stood at no great distance.

Mistress Saveall, Captain Standish’s provident
housekeeper, rightly judging, from her master’s
prolonged absence, that he would not return unaccompanied
by those, whom he went out to succour,
had piled high the blazing logs in the ample fire
place, and marshalled round it a goodly row of
comfortable elbow chairs, ready for their reception.
As they entered the room, she was, with bustling
activity, preparing a liberal table to satisfy their
farther wants, though the disordered appearance
of the guests so strongly excited her curiosity, and
her ears were so fully engrossed by the conversation,
from which she hoped to gather an account of 13(3)r 149
what had passed, that her task proceeded very
slowly, when a sharp rebuke from the Captain,
whose commands were equally peremptory in his
house and garrison—discharged her from the room
with the swiftness of an arrow, though her countenance,
for some time, marked her resentment of the
indignity. In a few minutes, a substantial repast
engrossed the attention of every one; and the culinary
skill of Mistress Saveall was discussed, so
much to her satisfaction,—for the worthy dame was
seldom out of hearing,—that her smiles and exertions
were speedily redoubled, and the late affront
seemed quite forgotten.

“Let Mistress Saveall alone for cooking, to my
liking, at least,”
said the Captain; “she has a curious
way of seasoning her viands, just to suit the
palate, and if you have a mind to take some lessons
of her, Miriam, I’ll be bound they will stand you
in good service, when you have a house of your
own to look after.”

“I am an experienced housewife, already, sir,”
replied Miriam; “and I believe, my father is very
well satisfied with my abilities.”

“With the help of your cousin Lois,” said Mr.
Grey
, “you have hitherto been pretty expert in the
duties of your sex.”

“But Mistress Lois will not be with you long, I
suppose,”
returned the Captain; “and we shall see
if the garrison is well victualled, and fit for duty
then.”

Vol. I. 13* 13(3)v 150

“I doubt not,” Benjamin Ashly ventured to say,
“that Mriam Grey is competent, albeit alone and
unassisted, to manage the affairs of a household
with discretion.”

“And so you have a mind,” said Peregrine White,
“to make her chief ruler over your affairs! ha, master
Ashly
?”
and he added in a whisper, though
loud enough to be heard by all the table, “But, the
deuce take me, if you do’nt find it hard tugging to
get the pinnace into that harbour!”

Mr. Ashly coloured with resentment, but made
no answer; aware, from experience, that it would
only provoke a retort; nor could Atherton refrain
from smiling, as he glanced from him to Miriam
Grey
, whose countenance evinced a slight degree
of vexation, mingled with an expression of archness,
which increased, as she stole a glance from under
her long eye-lashes at her abashed lover; while
Captain Standish indulged in a long and loud
laugh.

“You whisper over loud, master Peregrine,” he
said, at its conclusion; “but we never mind you;
so no offence. And now lay your mirth aside, and
help Miriam to a slice from that sirloin by you.”

“I should prefer a share of that dish, which you
seem to keep for your sole benefit, Peregrine,”
said
Miriam.

“Of the dish? the corn that is in it, you mean,”
replied Peregrine; “though, if you had spoken a
moment later, I doubt if there would have been any
thing left but the platter”
—and, as he heaped her 13(4)r 151
plate with a quantity of broken corn, boiled, and
called “Samp”, or “Nasaump”, by the Indians, he continued,

“I dare say, Captain, this corn is descended from
the very ears, you had the christian charity to steal
from the poor Indians, when you first landed in
their dominions.”

“Young man,” said Mr. Grey, in a severe tone,
you speak lightly, or are ill-informed of that which
your fathers have done in this wilderness. Providence,
which manifestly brought us out from our
native land, and watched over us in all our straits,
was pleased, in our hour of extremity, to avert the
horrors of famine, by conducting our steps to the
subterranean granaries of the idolatrous heathen,
whereby we were supplied with food to eat, and
seed for the future harvest.”

“And left the owners thereof to starve,” returned
the unabashed youth. “That was a way of cutting
off the enemy without the trouble of driving them
out before you, to come into possession of their goodly
inheritance.”

“We did them no injustice,” resumed Mr. Grey;
“we found the country desolate and deserted for many
leagues from the coast, as we afterwards learned
by reason of a great plague which the Lord had
visited upon this people who knew him not. In the
succeeding autumn we sent an embassy to Aspinet,
sachem of the Nauset tribe, from whom we had taken
the corn, to repay them from our substance that
which they demanded as recompense; and they 13(4)v 152
having sufficient left for their own use, were well
satisfied to truck with us.”

“I suppose,” said Peregrine, “you paid them for
their grain, with rusty penknives and glass beads.”

“They have found to their cost,” replied the Captain,
“that we know how to pay off our debts, even
with good round shot and cold steel. It is my mind,
they would not greet us again with a shower of arrows
when we came to take peaceable possession of
the land in God’s name and the king’s.”

“Strange enough,” observed Peregrine White,
“that the dusky rascals should not be willing to
give up their rights to us comely white people!”

“At least,” said the Captain, “they have learned
to fear us, and that with a very few lessons; aye,
they took to their heels at the first musket shot, only
one fellow dared defend himself, behind a tree,
and he soon ran after the rest, with half a score of
our bullets in him.”

“Hark! it is raining fast,” exclaimed Peregrine
White
, “I am right glad that we went no farther
to-night.”

“I wish we had prevailed on Calvert to remain,”
said the Captain; “he will be half drowned ere he
get to Plymouth.”

“Why did you not persuade him to stay, Miriam?”
asked Peregrine.

“To tell the truth, I scarcely thought of it,” returned
the damsel; “and if I had, should probably
have had no interest with him.”

“Do you think so?” said Peregrine, significantly; 13(5)r 153
“with your leave I should like to whisper a
word in your ear.”

“You will not have my leave to be so uncivil,”
said Miriam, smiling; “besides, your whispers are
apt to be very audible.”

“Another time will do, then,” returned Peregrine,
as they all rose from the table; and soon after Captain
Standish
caused his household to assemble and
close the day with their customary devotions, which
on that evening were rendered peculiarly impressive,
by the circumstances of danger and difficulty
from which so many present had been providentially
delivered. The psalm selected as a portion of
the exercise, chanced to be one which Atherton had
often heard warbled from the lips of his mother;
and it awakened associations that thrilled his heart
with sad yet pleasing recollections, and compelled
him, almost involuntarily, to unite in the song of
praise and thanksgiving, which arose like a cloud
of incense from the family altar of the puritans. He
caught the eye of Miriam Grey, as his fine and
manly voice mingled with her own, and a false note
from which she instantly recovered, shewed a momentary
abstraction of mind, that was however perfectly
natural, and perhaps shared with her by all
who heard him; for in those days of rigid separation,
when every sect proclaimed by actions, if not
in word, “stand off, for I am holier than thou;”
the act of countenancing, much more of assisting
each other, in their different forms of worship, argued
an unusual degree of lenity or an unpardonable 13(5)v 154
indifference to prevailing modes and opinions.
The family and guests soon after separated for the
night; and Mistress Saveall insisted on attending
Miriam Grey to her chamber, to administer a composing
draught which she had prepared, to ward off
the effects of her recent exposure.

The opening and closing of doors, and tread of
footsteps above and around the apartment of Major
Atherton
, was succeeded by a profound silence
throughout the house, long before he could divert his
thoughts from the events of the evening; and the
occurrences of the few last weeks, which had so
strongly impressed his imagination, as to banish
from his pillow the repose which his late exertions
rendered necessary. The situation into which he
was so unexpectedly cast, possessed a tinge of romance
peculiarly calculated to excite the enthusiasm
of his character, at a moment too, when he was
gradually recovering from a deep depression of spirits,
occasioned by the loss of a parent whom he
devotedly loved, and the subsequent abandonment
of a profession, on which he had, with well founded
ambition, rested his future hopes of glory and advancement.

Till that period arms had been his passion, and
fame his mistress; and when obliged to relinquish
them, he had turned with restless eagerness to the
shores of the new world, as a scene where he might
again find exercise for the energy and activity of
his mind. At a distance, he had listened with interest
to descriptions of its local advantages, its 13(6)r 155
majestic scenery, and its rising importance. He
had regarded it as an asylum for the persecuted,
and the future home of a free and virtuous people.
On a near approach, he found that description had
fallen short of reality; and fancy but faintly portrayed
the magnificence of its untamed landscapes.
He viewed with astonishment and admiration, its
gigantic mountains, its lofty hills and fruitful valleys;
its boundless forests, its dashing torrents, and
broad and fertilizing rivers. Where the wildness
of nature had yielded to the hand of cultivation,
villages were arising, and the soil teemed with all
the rich and varied bounties which could spring up
to reward the labours of the husbandman. He regarded
too, the men whom the prejudiced and worldly
minded stigmatized as bigots, and seditious enthusiasts;
they were men who had forsaken power,
and riches, and distinction, for the “gospel’s sake;”
who with holy lives and blameless conversation,
shared with each other the tender charities of life,
and the sweetness of social and domestic intercourse;
while many whom opportunity favoured,
had drunk deeply at the fountain of intellectual
knowledge. He admired the wisdom of their political
compact, which, while it rendered them subservient
to the laws of England, provided for the
internal peace and prosperity of the colony, the administration
of justice, and the promotion of order,
piety and learning. If their doctrines were censured
as intolerant, and their morals as too rigid,
it was an extreme produced by the spirit of the 13(6)v 156
times, and which might naturally appear essential
to those who had separated from a church, which
under the influence of a dissolute court and vindictive
prelacy, openly countenanced vice, and secretly
connived at bribery and corruption.

Yet there were softer thoughts, and fairer images,
imprinted on the mind of Atherton. The lovely
figure of Miriam Grey, her playful sweetness, the
brilliant beauty of her countenance, its spirit and
intelligence, the graceful timidity and unaffected
artlessness of her manners, were all registered in
his memory, and delineated on his heart. In his
native land, he had seen as fair, perhaps fairer
maidens: the gay, the beautiful, and high-born;
and the smiling idol of a courtly throng, and the rustic
belle, whose charms relieved the dulness of country
quarters, had alternately claimed from him the
brief homage of a compliment, or the passing tribute
of a sigh; but never, till now, had he felt the
sorcery of a woman’s eye, or the resistless spell
which sports in her smile and lurks beneath her
blushes. Romance lent her aid to heighten the enchantment,
and involved him in her shadowy but
delightful mazes. A lover of music, and himself
well skilled in the harmony of sweet sounds, from
the moment he had listened to the voice of Miriam,
on the evening of his arrival, his curiosity had been
awakened, and the transient glimpse he soon obtained
of her, deepened that curiosity to a powerful
interest. It was a vision, of which he had never
dreamed, and, least of all, expected to realize, 14(1)r 157
amidst the wild scenery of New-England. Every
succeeding interview increased his interest, and
the late scene, which seemed so closely to connect
them, kindled the latent spark into enthusiasm.
As yet, however, it had not become a sentiment,
but a pleasing fancy which future circumstances
were to enliven or destroy; but it was already
sufficiently powerful to engross his midnight
thoughts, and the rain had ceased to beat against
the casements, and the moon shone brightly on his
uncurtained bed, long before his eyelids were closed
in slumber.

Major Atherton slept long enough, on the following
morning, to make amends for the restlessness
of the night; and Captain Standish and his
guests had been some time assembled, before he
joined them in the breakfast room. He was apprised
of his remissness, as he was descending the
stairs, by the impatient voice of Mistress Saveall
rising from the kitchen, who declared to David,
that “the venison steak were well nigh done to
death, and all because the Captain would wait for
the young Major to get up.”
“And I am sure” responded
David, who was pounding corn with all
his might between two stones, “if Master Ashly
should be for making one of his long prayers, the
chocolate will be clear boiled away.”

Major Atherton, thus warned of his tardiness,
expected to be greeted with raillery by his kinsman,
but the Captain was struck with the unusual Vol. I. 14 14(1)v 158
languor of his countenance, and, as he entered the
parlour exclaimed,――

“Well, cousin Atherton, I thought something
must ail you, to keep you in bed so long; and here
you are, looking as pale as a Dutch ghost.”

“I know not how I could oversleep myself so
strangely, on so bright a morning as this,”
returned
Atherton; “you have a capricious climate, Captain,
and storms and sunshine succeed each other
so rapidly, that we have scarcely time to guard
against the one, or enjoy the other. Last evening,
I scarcely expected to see blue sky again for a
week at least.”

“Our southerly gales,” said the Captain, “are
short and violent; and, had you asked me, I could
have told you, last night, that it would be fair
weather to-day. But that is nothing to the purpose;
so tell me truly now, if that confounded
game of swimming has not washed away your
colour, and given you a cold.”

“I am perfectly well,” replied Atherton; “and I
believe my colour is not on the surface, to be rubbed
off so easily.”

“As for that,” said the Captain, “my little rose-bud
here, has generally as bright a tinge as most
damsels, on her cheek; but just look at her now,
she is as wan and drooping as a lily.”

Atherton was looking at her, and with an anxious
expression, which, as his eyes encountered
those of Miriam Grey, suffused her face with the
deepest blush, which again gradually faded into its
former paleness.

14(2)r 159

“How now?” said the Captain, regarding her
with attention; “I believe the girl is feverish, such
a flush, and all for nothing; Mistress Saveall must
steep you some more of her herbs, and mess you
up, in her way.”

“No, no,” said Miriam laughing, I only wanted
to contradict you, Captain; and, not daring to do
it with my lips, conjured up that colour, which was
a modest way of saying you are mistaken, sir.”

“And a very pretty way, truly,” returned the
Captain, “and I were a few years younger, Miriam,
there is no knowing what effect it would have upon
my heart.”

“Now I pray you, Captain,” said Miriam, blushing
more deeply than before, probably from observing
the gaze of Atherton, who was admiring
the bright glow—“do not give me the trouble of
trying it again; to tell you the truth, I have a keen
appetite this morning, and have been wishing for
breakfast, for the last half hour or two.”

“I am sorry to have caused so much delay by
my indolence,”
said Atherton.

“Nay,” said Miriam gaily “but you must take
more leisure, if you mean to apologise, Major
Atherton
; there is master Peregrine, looking very
hungry; and my father, I know, is in haste to return
home.”

Mr. Grey, had expressed a wish, to return, as
early as possible to Plymouth. Captain Standish,
therefore ordered a boat to be prepared; and, soon
after breakfast, they were all in readiness to depart. 14(2)v 160
Atherton felt a strong desire to go with
them, which he was hesitating to make known,
when the Captain said,

“I had thoughts of taking a trip with you, Mr.
Grey
, if it pleased you to accept my company, and
cousin Atherton’s; but, on second thoughts, he had
enough of the water last night, and had better rest
awhile.”

“Indeed, sir,” replied Atherton, I am perfectly
well; and, if not, this elastic air might restore
health to an invalid.”

“We have many such days in autumn,” said the
Captain; “and if Hobamock were here, I think he
would predict an Indian summer to us, after this
storm; so we will see you soon, Mr. Grey, and I
will teach Major Atherton to harvest corn this
morning.”

Atherton tried not to look vexed, though he really
felt so; and Mr. Grey, with much cordiality,
expressed a hope that he should see him as soon,
and as often as he could find it convenient; a hope
which Atherton fancied was confirmed by Miriam’s
eyes, and to which he yielded a ready assent.

“All’s ready,” said Peregrine White; “so good
bye to you all; and now, away, master Ashly;
but take care that you do not break the oar, and set
us all adrift again:”
and, looking back, he called
out, “I pray you, Captain, to look sharp at your
corn, and not teach Major Atherton to bind it into
sheafs, like wheat, as you did me once, I can tell
you the Governor had some trouble to unlearn me.”

14(3)r 161

“It would be well, if he had no other trouble with
you,”
said the Captain. “Master Peregrine,” he
added to Atherton, “is like a king’s jester, privileged
to say aught that pleases him, without giving
offence; and if he is rude at times, we don’t
mind him; for the lad means well and is kind at
heart, though he has come near being spoiled by
indulgence. His father died soon after birth,
and I suppose the Governor does not care to
meddle much with his mother’s management.”

“It is natural, that he should not,” said Atherton
who answered almost mechanically; for his
eyes were following the boat, as it shot rapidly
across the Bay; and he was perhaps admiring
the deep blue of the heavens, the glassy smoothness
of the waters, dimpled by the dipping oars, and
slightly furrowed by the track of the light vessel,
which soon dwindled to a fairy skiff. The figure
of Miriam Grey was no longer distinguishable,
and Atherton, whistling carelessly to his dog, returned
to the house.

Vol. I. 14* 14(3)v 162

Chapter X.

“What is fanatic frenzy, scorn’d so much, And dreaded more than a contagious touch? I grant it dang’rous, and approve your fear, That fire is catching, if you draw too near; But sage observers oft mistake the flame, And give true piety that odious name.” Cowper.

As Captain Standish was reviewing the labour
of his fields after dinner with Major Atherton,
they observed Hobamock approaching towards
them, on the road from Plymouth.

“There comes my trusty messenger,” said the
Captain; “I wonder what brings him back here
to-day.”

“He seems swift-footed,” returned Atherton;
“and you must find him very serviceable in your
colony.”

“Yes,” replied the Captain, “and he is shrewd
and faithful, and moreover exceedingly brave, being
what the Indians call a Paniese, which means
a chief of great courage who, they think, has had
intercourse with the devil, to render him invincible.”

“Has he resided long with you?” asked Atherton.

“He came to us, within a year after we landed
and we have since employed him in our service.
He has been our interpreter and guide, amongst
the savage tribes, and a good soldier too, after his 14(4)r 163
manner, in all our engagmentsengagements. But he begins to
lose the agility of youth. I doubt civilization does
not agree with him.”

Hobamock, at that moment, stood before them
bowing with profound respect.

“Well Hobamock, what news do you bring us?”
said the Captain.

“No news, Captain; come to walk, and see if
you want me for do any thing.”

“No, nothing;” returned the Captain; “but stop;
have any vessels come into Plymouth, this day or
two?”

“Yes, one last night, from the Massachusetts;
and young Master Weldon, come in him.”

“Master Weldon, ha! well we must brush up
for a wedding, Edward; that is Lois Grey’s lover.
You may go into the house Hobamock, and tell
Mistress Saveall to give you something to eat.”

The Indian obeyed with alacrity.

“I think,” continued the Captain, “if you please,
cousin Atherton, we will go to the old town, this
afternoon; I should like to see Henry Weldon,
and it is long since we were at the Governor’s.”

“I will go with pleasure;” said Atherton; “do
you try the land or water?”

“Land, I think,” replied the Captain, I have
two horses, and you may take your choice of
them.”

In a short time they were both mounted, and on
the way to Plymouth; and quickly clearing the
intermediate woods, the village and harbour lay in
full prospect before them.

14(4)v 164

“There is the Massachusetts’ shallop,” said the
Captain; “she has been here before, on trading
voyages, and that stout pinnace, at anchor near
her, must be the Virginian. I will warrant, there
is a goodly hoard of tobacco stowed away in her.”

“Mr. Calvert seems well known to you,” said
Atherton; “has he made frequent voyages to New-
England
?”

“Only one, about a year since; but he cultivates
a large plantation, and has often sent vessels here,
and to the Massachusetts. He has ever dealt honourably
with us, and conducted himself discreetly,
so as to gain the good will of the people; but you
probably know more of him that we do?”

“I saw him seldom, except on duty, even when
we served together;”
said Atherton. “But here
are two roads, which of them shall we take?”

“You can go on to Mr. Grey’s, if you like,” returned
the Captain, “and I will shortly join you
there; I have some business, that leads me first
in the opposite direction.”

They accordingly separated, and a few moments
brought Major Atherton to the residence of Mr.
Grey
. He alighted and fastening his horse to the
wooden paling, knocked at the outer door. No
one appeared, and after repeating the knock several
times, without being heard, he ventured to
lift the latch, and enter a small apartment, which
seemed to be the usual sitting room. It was extremely
neat, and conveniently furnished but unoccupied;
and Atherton, while waiting for some 14(5)r 165
person to answer his summons, had leisure to
examine every object which it contained. True,
there was nothing remarkable in it; the heavy
chairs, the wooden-framed looking-glass, and
carved oaken table, though brightly polished by
time and industry, might be seen in any other
place; there was a beaufet too, carefully decorated
with china and a few vessels of massive plate;
and over the fire-place hung a piece of embroidery,
representing the garden of Paradise, in all its
original splendour. It was crowded with a gay
assortment of colours, wrought into flowers and
birds, and “all manner of four-footed beasts,”
and some with no feet at all,—with our first parents
standing under the “tree of good and evil,”
which spread forth its goodly branches, loaded with
a kind of non-descript fruit, of a tempting red and
yellow. Around the trunk, a serpent of prodigious
dimensions had awfully twined himself,
stretching out his head to gaze at the guilty pair,
with eyes that resembled bullets.

The ingenious specimen of female industry bore
the date of 16161616; it could not, therefore, be the
production of Miriam’s needle; and Atherton, in
turning from it was attracted by a small Indian
basket of curious workmanship. Some unfinished
work lay in it, with several implements of housewifery,
as if recently left, and probably he thought
by Miriam herself. He had taken up, and was
examining with the eye of a connoisseur, a pocket-
book of famous tent-stitch, when the door opened, 14(5)v 166
and not Miriam—but a tidy looking house-maid
entered. She started with some surprise on seeing
a stranger, and so employed, and Atherton hastily
replacing the basket and its contents, enquired for
Mr. Grey. The family were all from home, and
it was uncertain when they would return.

Atherton left the house in disappointment; and
remounting his horse, struck into a bye-way which
led in a circuitous route to the Governors. He
was presently surprised to hear the quick trampling,
as of several horses approaching him, in that unfrequented
road; and on turning a sudden angle, he
came in full view of two damsels mounted on a
spirited palfrey; nor did it require a second glance,
to convince him, that the light maiden who rode
with so much grace, and managed her steed with
such ease and dexterity, was Miriam Grey; and,
on a pillion behind her he recollected the features
of her cousin Lois. Mr. Calvert, apparently in
high spirits, followed close in the rear, for there was
not room for two abreast; and Atherton caught the
gay tones of his voice as Miriam at the moment,
looked back to speak with him.

Major Atherton drew up on one side to let them
pass; and Miriam, as soon as she saw him, checked
her horse and looked, as if hesitating whether to
speak or wait for him to address her. But Atherton,
from one of those unaccountable sensations,
peculiar to lovers, particularly in the incipient
stages of their disease, contented himself with a
passing salute, and continued his course in silence.

14(6)r 167

Miriam seemed to regard him with surprise and
perplexity; she however courteously returned his
salutation; but as they passed each other, with
some difficulty, in the narrow defile, her slender
foot caught in the stirrup of his saddle. He instantly
stopped, but she extricated himself before he had
time to assist her, or even speak as he then felt
strongly inclined; and slightly touching the curved
neck of her steed, she set off with a speed that
almost alarmed Atherton for her safety. He bit
his lip with vexation, and vainly deprecated the
perverse feeling which had suffered him to pass her
in silence. He looked back again; she maintained
her seat with the utmost firmness, and in another
moment had passed beyond his sight. Atherton
sunk into a deep reverie; and the animal he rode,
which had been used to plough, and thereby lost
the exuberance of his spirits, and become fond of
his ease, encouraged by the lenity of his rider and
attracted by a spot of fresh grass, endeavoured, by
a vigorous shake, to free himself from all incumbrances,
to enjoy the tempting morsel at his leisure.
But Atherton, completely aroused by the exertion,
plunged his spurs into the sides of the reluctant
beast, and urged him to a gallop which soon brought
him to Mr. Winslow’s gate.

Peregrine White saw him approaching from a
window, and hastened to the door to welcome him.

“I am heartily glad to see you, Major,” said he,
“though methinks you might as well have come
with us in the morning, as to burthen this miserable 14(6)v 168
old sheep, which looks as if it was going to baa,
at this very moment. The Captain has a high-
mettled steed, that he might have lent you, instead
of this shaggy thing.”

“I had my choice of the two,” returned Atherton;
“but as he was coming with me, I left the best for
his own use.”

“That was vastly civil of you,” said Peregrine;
“but if you had been with us, I would have treated
you with some rare sport.”

“You are very liberal with such entertainment,”
said Atherton; “how was it served up this morning?”

“Oh, it was Benjamin Ashly’s own contrivance.
You must know, he was the last to leave the boat,
and twisting about in his clumsy fashion, he tipped
it on one side, and went, souse into the water to
his neck. I wish you could have seen him! there
he stood, with his jaws distended like a crocodile’s,
and croaking for all the world, like a frog.”

“I suppose you had no hand in the accident?”
said Atherton.

“No hand in it, on my honour; though I can’t
say but my foot might possibly have touched the
keel; it was purely accidental, however.”

“Oh, of course, we could not suppose you mischievous;
but I hope you helped him out of the
difficulty.”

“He crawled out like a great mud turtle,” said
Peregrine, “and how he got home I know not; for
I came off with the pretty Miriam, who could not, 15(1)r 169
for her life help laughing, though her father tried
to frown us both into long faces to suit the cut of
the young deacon’s woeful visage.”

“I should think Mr. Ashly would keep aloof
from you,”
said Atherton; “you are apt to come
into rude contact with him. But we had better go
into the house now, if you are ready.”

“Whenever you please; but I forgot to tell you
there is some half dozen of good people in there,
who seem very well satisfied with themselves, but
in my opinion are terribly stupid.”

“Perhaps I shall intrude on them,” said Atherton.

“Oh no, you will not; and it may be you will
enliven them a little; I am sure I have been half
asleep for an hour past, and once do verily believe
my head dropped on mistress Rebecca Spindle’s
shoulder; the last thing in the world I should
choose for a pillow.”

“Let us go then,” said Atherton, “they will wonder
that we stay so long on the threshold.”

“No matter,” returned the careless youth; “they
have been talking about you all the afternoon;
and it will give them time to wind off with a good
grace.”

So saying, he entered and threw open the parlour
door, at which Atherton was met by the Governor,
with his habitual courtesy, and introduced to
his guests. Mrs. Winslow also rose with matronly
dignity to receive him; and the usual civilities
being ended on all sides, she returned to her station
with her female friends, who were seated in a Vol. I. 15 15(1)v 170
formal row on one side of the apartment, and the
conversation was resumed which had been suspended
on the entrance of Major Atherton.

The subject in discussion was certain heretical
opinions, that were said to be gaining ground in
the Massachusetts Bay; and, concerning which,
reports, probably exaggerated, had been received
by the late arrival from that place. These heresies
were considered by all as dreadful, and till of
late, unheard of enormities, though their precise
nature seemed to be imperfectly understood, and
variously interpreted. That a woman should become
the promulgator of such doctrines, was evidently
no slight addition to the crime.

“To think,” as Mistress Spindle, judiciously remarked,
“that a frail woman should take it on
herself to set forth new, and strange doctrines! it
was an awful thing!”

“But,” said Peregrine White, who could seldom
keep silence, “all women are not so frail, Mistress
Spindle
, as your experience may lead you to believe;
and this Mrs. Hutchinson, we are told, has
the sense and spirit of a lion.”

“The spirit of a devil!” exclaimed a little austere
looking man; “and when our youth rise up to defend
such in their apostacy, well may we tremble
for the ark, which we have builded here.”

“My son did not mean to defend her principles,”
said Mrs. Winslow; “but, with his usual haste, has
spoken unadvisedly with his lips.”

“No, mother, I did not speak,”Peregrine began; 15(2)r 171
but the Governor, in a mild, though decisive tone,
interposed.

“We will wave that discussion, at present, Peregrine,
and, if it please you, attend to what Mr.
Bradford
hath to say.”

Peregrine yielded, with a very good grace; and
Mr. Bradford related the substance of certain information
he had received from Mr. Weldon, respecting
the ecclesiastical affairs of their Massachusetts’
brethren; and concluded with some judicious
remarks, which strikingly exhibited the candour
and liberality of his mind.

Mr. Bradford had been eminently useful in the
settlement and advancement of the Plymouth colony;
he was still in the meridian of life; his countenance
and deportment were prepossessing, dignified,
and grave, without austerity, and strongly expressive
of that good-sense and benevolence, solid
judgment and fervent piety, which had early won
the entire confidence and affection of the people
with whom he was associated. Their unanimous
suffrages had continued him in the executive chair
from the death of the lamented Carver, through
sixteen successive years; with the exception of one
only, when at his own urgent request, he was permitted
to resign it to Mr. Winslow. It cannot be
supposed that the office of chief magistrate was
considered otherwise than as a post of honour,
even in that early period of the country; but so far
from being an object of contention, or “root of bitterness,”
the humility and disinterestedness of the 15(2)v 172
primitive settlers induced them rather to decline
the distinction, and prefer others before themselves;
insomuch, that an act of the general court was
past, imposing a fine of twenty pounds on any one
who should refuse the office of Governor, unless
chosen two years successively; and a penalty of
ten pounds for rejecting an inferior office. Could
the venerable fathers of New-England look forth
in these degenerate times, how would they start
back with horror and amazement, at beholding the
electioneering columns of our modern newspapers!

“I am well-pleased,” said the Governor, when
Mr. Bradford had concluded, “that young Weldon
is so prosperous in his worldly estate; he seems
modest and well disposed; and is, moreover, about
to bear away from us one of our choicest vines.”

“I think,” returned the little man, “we have no
authority to speak with confidence of him, seeing
he is the blossom of a strange branch, and but a
stranger and sojourner amongst us.”

“We are bound, in the judgment of charity, to
think well of him, Mr. Scruple,”
replied Mrs. Winslow;
“for he has ever borne himself discreetly
with us, and the church and people with whom he
dwells, bear testimony to the worthiness of his
character.”

“And yet,” said Mistress Spindle, “to think that
Lois Grey should be tempted by the love of man,
to turn from our ‘goodly tents of Kedar,’ and wander
in the wilderness, where the ‘dews of the sanctuary,’
cannot abide.”

15(3)r 173

“Our God is not confined to any spot, but is
found in every place, by those who seek him
aright,”
replied Mr. Bradford; “and even as Moses
and Aaron led the children of Israel through the
desert of Sinai, so have those godly ministers of
the word, Mr. Hooker and Mr. Stone, led their
congregation through a trackless wilderness, more
than an hundred miles from the spot which their
hands had planted.”

“What,” asked Atherton, “could induce them to
remove so far from their first settlement, and, it
must be, into the midst of savages?”

“They went forth in the name of the Lord,” said
Mr. Bradford, “and trusted in his mercy for protection.
If you have not visited our sister colony
of Massachusetts, Major Atherton, you can scarcely
form an idea of its rapid growth and prosperity.
The foundations of many flourishing towns are
laid, even to the extremest limits of the patent;
and the increase of cattle, with the great numbers
who annually arrive from England, has caused
many to remove to distant parts. Plantations are
already formed on the banks of the great river
Connecticut, which, being beyond the charter of
Massachusetts, has been created a separate jurisdiction
and is governed by its own laws, without
being considered amenable to the mother colony.”

“The church of Newtown, to which Mr. Weldon
belongs,”
said the Governor to Atherton, “was
among the first that contemplated a removal thither;
and, in the early part of this summer, a new Vol. I. 15* 15(3)v 174
company arrived from England, which purchased
their estates, and left them at liberty to commence
their toilsome march. They penetrated through
the pathless wilderness, upwards of an hundred and
twenty miles, to a place called Suckiang, now
Hartford, which they had fixed upon for their abode,
and to which they were nearly a fortnight in travelling.
They took with them their wives and
little ones; their cattle and all their substance.
Their only guide was the compass; the rocks were
their pillows, and the heavens their covering. They
subsisted on the milk of their kine, and the herbs
and wild fruits of the earth; they had rivers to
ford; and deep morasses and high mountains beset
their path: nevertheless, the Lord watched over
them, and led them by the right way, and in peace,
to the desired land. Mr. Hooker, their minister,
and Mr. Stone, teacher of their church, went with
them; for in all their wanderings, our people of
New-England are encouraged and edified, by the
presence and council of the pastors, whom their
own choice, and the consent of the neighbouring
churches, have connected with them.”

“Your civil and religious concerns appear to be
so closely blended,”
said Atherton, “that the clergy
must possess an influence equal, if not superiour,
to that of the secular rulers.”

“It is an influence which we cheerfully yield to
them,”
returned Mr. Winslow; “and which they
must exercise, so long as we retain the views and
principles that led us to endure reproach and exile, 15(4)r 175
rather than submit to the discipline of a church,
which we consider unscriptural and corrupt.”

“Your situation is peculiar,” resumed Atherton;
and, so far as my limited observation enables me
to judge, your laws and institutions approximate
more nearly to the ancient patriarchal government,
than I should have supposed practicable at this
late period of the world.

“We may be said, almost to possess a world of
our own,”
said Mr. Bradford; “we are so remote
from the countries of Europe, that the government,
even of our own sovereign, can only impose on us
certain general laws, while the interior regulations
of the colony must rest entirely on ourselves; and
in this, and all our concerns, we endeavour to make
the word of God our rule and guide.”

“It is a guide, which every church professes to
follow,”
said Atherton; “but its political code, I
believe, has not been found adapted to the genius
of any nation, since the christian era.”

“Yet, as far as circumstances permit, returned
Mr. Bradford, “we have followed the law of Moses,
which, being delivered by the Most High, must be
more perfect and better suited to the capacity and
wants of man, than any which human wisdom can
devise; and therefore most worthy the regard of
christians, who wish to establish a colony, not
from motives of human ambition, but for the advancement
of pure religion.”

“And the Lord has conducted us, even as he did
the children of Israel,”
interrupted Mr. Scruple, 15(4)v 176
“and given unto us the inheritance of Jacob, whom
he loved.”

“And made us a chosen people,” responded Rebecca
Spindle
, “to whom he delighteth to shew favour.”

“Those who are not of us, Mistress Spindle,” returned
the other, glancing at Atherton, “understand
none of these things, and our words seem unto
them like idle tales.”

“Perhaps, sir, your counsel may enlighten us,”
said Atherton, looking at the little man, who had
evidently intended the observation for him, and
whose countenance expressed no small degree of
spiritual pride, with that “long favoured contraction”,
if the term may be allowed, which always arises
from sectarian prejudice. With undaunted self-
complacence, however he replied,

“They who wilfully indulge the errors of prelacy,
are like as the ‘death adder, which stoppeth her
ears against the voice of the charmer, charm he
never so wisely;’
and it is but ‘casting pearls before
swine,’
to intermeddle with them.”

Atherton could not repress a smile, but avoided
any farther controversy with one, whose narrow
intellect seemed to admit but a single idea; and an
embarrassing pause of a moment was relieved by
the entrance of Mr. Grey, and Captain Standish.

“Well, cousin Atherton,” said the latter, when he
had bowed with military precision to the company,
“I expected you would be here before me, I met my
little rose-bud, just now, riding off at full speed
with the Virginian.”

15(5)r 177

“And she told you,” interrupted Atherton, that
I did not find her, or any one at home.”

“No she did not;” replied the Captain. “I asked
her if she had seen you, and she said that she
had met your spirit in the woods; but it was dumb;
so she put no questions to it.”

“She seemed in haste,” returned Atherton, “and
both her own horse and Mr. Calvert’s were fleet
and spirited.”

“This reminds me, sir,” said Mrs. Winslow, to
Mr. Grey, “of a report in circulation, that Mr. Calvert
has returned hither, in the hope of conveying
your daughter back to Virginia with him.”

“And you gave no credit to such a rumour, I
trust,”
said Mr. Grey.

“I was loath to believe it, for a moment,” returned
Mrs. Winslow; “I am sure Miriam would not
willingly remove so far from her father’s house,
and the privileges of her own people.”

“And to marry an idolatrous churchman,” said
Mistress Spindle, “and go amongst those blind
Egyptians, who know not the ways of Zion.”
But
as the good woman concluded, she recollected the
presence of Atherton; and, looking at him with
some confusion, hastily added—“I mean, touching
their outward observances; for some, doubtless,
may have pure hearts, though they are led astray
to follow ‘cunningly devised fables.’”

“This is a strange story,” said Captain Standish;
“but I well know, there can be no truth in it.”

“You judge rightly, Captain,” said Mr. Grey; 15(5)v 178
“my daughter knows her duty too well, to enter into
a covenant with the enemies of our faith.”

“Ay, I thought as much;” replied the Captain;
but Calvert is a sober youth, and well-disposed,
and withal, of an honourable descent.

“He claims kindred with the noble lord of Baltimore,
I think,”
said the Governor, “to whom the
king has granted a patent for the territory of Maryland.”

“And who,” said Mr. Grey, “has brought over
the crafy inventions of popery, to corrupt this new
world, which might otherwise, have remained free
from such abominable delusions.”

“Yea,” rejoined Mr. Scruple, “and did not the
lord of Baltimore name his possessions in honour
of the papist queen of Charles? and when his brother,
the Governor Calvert, with upwards of two
hundred souls, landed in the province, with idolatrous
mockery they set up a cross, that relic of superstition,
and ensign of the Pope, who is none
other than the horned beast of the Revelations.”

“But,” said Mrs. Winslow, “they appear to have
been conscientious; and certainly conducted their
affairs with integrity and wisdom, so as to give no
offence, even to those who differed from them in
modes of worship; and, if they act honestly, according
to the knowledge which is in them, nothing
more can be expected or required.”

“It may be so,” returned the other; “but it is an
awful thing to have the banner of the Pope, that
prince of darkness, planted in the midst of our 15(6)r 179
land, for an example to the heathen and stumbling
block to weak brethren.”

“It is well that you are not there to be tempted,
Mr. Scruple,”
said Captain Standish; “I acknowledge,
for my part, a high respect, for the character
of Governor Calvert, papist as he is; he has
purchased the lands fairly of the natives, which
planters do not always think necessary, and established
good government, and granted liberty of
conscience and equal privileges to all sects of christians,
—and what more or better could be done, I
pray you?”

“Truly the outward part appeareth fair,” replied
the other, “but the worshipping of saints and images
I hold to be a corruption of ‘the faith once
delivered to the saints.’”

“He has brought forth good fruit,” said Mrs.
Winslow
; “and it is not for us to judge his heart,
or to speak uncharitably of his actions.”

“Spoken like a true woman and a good one,”
cried the Captain; “what say you to that, Mr.
Bradford
?”

“He has doubtless been an instrument in the
hand of Providence,”
said Mr. Bradford, “of establishing
a well-ordered colony, and flourishing
according to human wisdom; but it may be questioned
if these benefits are not overbalanced by
the spiritual errors which are mingled with them.”

“We must humbly trust,” said Mr. Winslow,
“that these errors will in time be washed away,
even as they have gradually declined in the parent
country.”

15(6)v 180

“And what has followed to fill up the breach?”
asked Mr. Scruple, “even the blindness of prelacy,
the putting on of robes and mitres, and kneeling
down to repeat prayers from printed books; these
are the gods to whom the people have bowed
down.”

“Our ancestors—those of us who had any,” said
the Captain, “were all Catholics; for which reason
we are bound to speak lightly of their errors.
My great grandfather’s uncle, who was Bishop of
St. Asaph in the reign of Henry the eighth, was
a learned prelate; and I have too much respect
for his memory not to be in charity with his persuasion.
But here is Mr. Calvert, we will ask his
opinion.”

“You have come just in time, Mr. Calvert,” said
Mrs. Winslow, “to settle a disputed question.”

“And what is it, madam?” asked Mr. Calvert.

“It is,” said Mrs. Winslow, “whether the settlement
of Maryland has been beneficial or otherwise
to the country at large?”

“No one would doubt the advantage, I think,”
replied Calvert, “who could witness its rapid improvement
in the short space of the three years
which have elapsed since the arrival of the Governor
and first planters; and the wise administration
and salutary laws which have marked its progress.”

“But the religion which they have established,”
said Mrs. Winslow;—“have we not cause to dread
its consequences on our land?”

16(1)r 181

“Of that I am incompetent to judge,” returned
Calvert; “but I can say from personal observation
that no Governor south of New-England has
been more beloved and respected by every sect
and party. My opinion is disinterested, for the
patent of lord Baltimore has dismembered many
fair acres from our ancient colony; and we have
in vain sought redress from the monarch, whose
favour to that distinguished nobleman is exercised
in defiance of our superior claims.”

“I think we need not quarrel about waste lands
in this country till we have more hands to plant
them;”
said Captain Standish; “but I hope what
remains of your fine province is in a flourishing
state!”

“Extremely so,” returned Calvert; “though I
am sorry to say that our government has been less
liberal than that of Maryland, and that its recent
laws against sectaries have caused many to abandon
the territory, and prevented others from coming
into it.”

“In my humble judgment,” said the Captain,
“you Virginians have ever been a turbulent people,
and apt to verge on extremes. At one time you
were almost exterminated by famine, and when
a supply reached you it was wasted in extravagance;
again you were all running wild without
government, moral or religious, and now you are
for making every man worship in your own way
or pay a penalty.”

“Spare us if you please,” said Calvert; “it was Vol. I. 16 16(1)v 182
in the days of our infancy that we were so undisciplined;
we are now grown up into steady and
orderly citizens, though it will perhaps be long
before we attain to the purity and strictness of
New-England principles.”

“The early Virginia Companies,” said the Governor,
“were too anxious for its rapid settlement;
and it must require many years to obliterate the
effects of that blind policy which induced them to
transport dissolute and criminal persons into a
young country.”

“And king James in later days,” said Calvert,
“graciously improved upon the hint, and we have
yet living mementos of his royal clemency which
let loose upon our society the malefactors destined
for his own prisons.”

“A less acceptable cargo, I suppose,” said the
Captain, “than the young and handsome females
whom the Company sent over to be help-mates for
your batchelors.”

“By far,” said Calvert. “Sir Edwin Sandys
did justice to Virginian gallantry in proposing so
fair a freight; and as wives were in great requisition
at that time, a hundred and fifty pounds of
tobacco, the price demanded, was not considered
too much for a good one.”

“I think though,” said the Captain, “your treasurer
should have been more impartial; and instead
of culling all the young and pretty maidens,
have given a few old and ugly ones a chance to get
husbands in your ready market.”

16(2)r 183

“I hope, Captain” returned Calvert, “that if
your Plymouth Colony should have recourse to a
foreign traffic for wives, you will adopt that amendment;
but I can answer for our southern planters,
that Sir Edwin’s proposition is far better suited to
their taste.”

“I do not doubt you,” said the Captain; “but I
take it you have enough of that commodity now
for home consumption, and have no need of an outward
trade to supply yourselves.”

“There is certainly no necessity for it,” replied
Calvert; “but it is well to keep up a friendly commerce
with our neighbours, particularly the few
whom we can call such on this side the Atlantic.”

“Well, I heard Major Atherton talk about visiting
Virginia the other day,”
said the Captain; “but
whether he intends to turn merchant or married
man, I hav’nt yet discovered.”

“Neither at present,” returned Atherton; “but I
have ever felt a strong curiosity to see that country,
which from its first discovery has excited so
much interest in England, and is moreover associated
with many pleasing and romantic recollections.
The adventurous courage of Smith, the
chivalrous spirit of the unfortunate Raleigh, and
the devoted heroism of Pocahontas, would alone
render it immortal.”

“You should add the raising of tobacco, cousin
Edward,”
said the Captain, laughing, “You know
it is a favourite plant of mine, and a great promoter
of good-humour. I hope, Mr. Calvert, it
continues in demand and produces good crops.”

16(2)v 184

“The crops are plentiful enough,” returned Calvert;
“but I think, since king James’s, Counterblast,
is getting out of date, it rather declines in
value. Courtly opposition undoubtedly contributed
to its circulation, and induced very many persons
to try the effect of a weed, which their sovereign
deigned to exercise his royal talents in writing
a book to condemn.”

“I never could agree with his Majesty on that
subject,”
said the Captain, “not to mention some
others; and I will not give up my comfortable pipe
of tobacco, though he is pleased to say, it is only ‘fit
to regale the devil after dinner.’”

A summons to Mrs. Winslow’s hospitable supper,
here interrupted the conversation; and, soon
afterwards the company dispersed to their respective
places of abode.

16(3)r 185

Chapter XI.

“What? do I love her, That I desire to hear her speak again, And feast upon her eyes?” Shakespeare.

On the following afternoon, Captain Standish
was obliged to leave home on business; and, having
charged Alexander to entertain Major Atherton
till he returned, the lad proposed his favourite
amusement of fishing. They were soon launched
upon the Bay; but, from whatever cause, the fish
proved shy; which, however, only stimulated the
perseverance of Alexander, who toiled manfully;
and with much of his father’s ardour, applied himself
to the task, as if his life depended on success.

Atherton was certainly less zealous; his eyes
continually reverted to the distant shores of the
Gurnet, and his thoughts were probably occupied by
certain associations connected with it; for his
companion, while skilfully managing his own line,
observed that his kinsman’s remained long in the
water, and only stirred by the dull motion of the
waves. When he finally drew it out, the hook was
without bait, and Alexander, who had seen it glitter
before it reached the surface, exclaimed,

“Upon my word, Major Atherton, that fish had a
dainty morsel from your hook, and he must have Vol. I. 16* 16(3)v 186
worked cautiously to take it off, without pricking
his gills.”

“Really,” said Atherton, “there is no sport for
us to-day; I think the scaly race have all gone to
bed in broad sun-shine.”

“Look, here are two notable fellows I have
caught,”
returned Alexander, “and here comes another;
—no, he has bit, and gone off with himself.”

“I should like to be off, too, Alexander, if it
please you,”
said Atherton; “there is really more
toil than pleasure in this tedious angling.”

“I will land you, if you wish it”, said Alexander,
“and return here by myself; my father will laugh
at us, if we carry home no more spoil.”

“Yonder is Plymouth,” said Atherton, “if we can
push in there, I will pass an hour or two, and be
ready to return with you.”

In a few moments, Major Atherton stood on the
Plymouth beach, and while deliberating what
course to pursue, he moved slowly on, and, as if
unconscious what path his feet had chosen, started
at finding himself by the oak tree, which shaded
the dwelling of Mr. Grey. “I will not call again
to-day,”
he thought, and passed leisurely on, though
not without a strict survey of the premises. No
person was visible; and Miriam’s kitten, which
lay sunning herself on the door-step, was the only
animated object in the vicinity. Retracing his
steps, Atherton was soon again on the sea shore,
and not far from the Pilgrim’s rock, close to which
the Virginia pinnace lay at anchor. Thin groves 16(4)r 187
of trees were here and there scattered along the
shore, apparently the second growth of large
forests, which had undoubtedly once covered the
plain where the village now stood, and which, on
the first arrival of the colony, presented the appearance
of a level field, though retaining vestiges
of former cultivation, and bearing marks of the
rude implements with which the natives were accustomed
to till their ground, and prepare the
ridges for their corn plantations. These appearances,
confirmed the report of some friendly savages,
that it had once been the site of a flourishing
Indian town, whose inhabitants were swept away
by a contagious malady, which had desolated the
country, from the Bay of Plymouth to the shores
of the Narraganset.

As Major Atherton was passing along the skirts
of a small wood, a faint rustling among the withered
branches, caused him to look round; and, at the
same instant, the low humming of a sweet female
voice, directed his attention to a spot, where, leaning
carelessly against the trunk of a tree, his eyes
rested on the figure of Miriam Grey. She evidently
did not see him, and was busily arranging some
gay autumnal flowers, and fresh evergreens into a
boquet, occasionally stopping to examine them with
minute attention, while her countenance expressed
the pleasure derived from her simple amusement.
It is uncertain how long Atherton might have continued
to admire in silence, the graceful negligence
of her attitude, and listen to the plaintive melody 16(4)v 188
of her voice, if, in changing her position, a corresponding
motion on his part, had not apprised her
of his proximity. A vivid blush, which dyed even
her forehead with crimson, convinced Atherton that
he was observed, and her confusion was in a slight
degree shared by himself. In the first start of surprise,
Miriam had dropped a part of her nosegay;
and to relieve his embarrassment, at which he felt
surprised, Atherton sprang forward, and raising it
from the ground, returned it to her; retaining,
however, a sprig of evergreen, which he gallantly
placed in his own bosom, without receiving even a
reproving glance, unless a still deeper glow could
be interpreted as one.

“I hope,” said Atherton, “I shall not interrupt
your employment, though I have sadly deranged
the flowers which you were assorting with so much
taste.”

“It will only prolong my occupation,” returned
Miriam, “which, trifling as it is, has served to pass
away a few moments, while waiting for my cousin
Lois, who has wandered away, I know not whither.
But perhaps, you have met with her?”

“I have not;” said Atherton, “though, indeed,
my walk has not been extended far from this spot,
at least, since I caught the sound of your voice,
which attracted me to it.”

“I was scarcely aware,” said Miriam, “that my
idle hum rose into an audible sound, or I should
have been more guarded, in a place like this.”

“A place exposed to intruders, would you say?”16(5)r189
asked Atherton, smiling—“Believe me, my intrusion
was unpremeditated, and I hope you will not
punish me, by regretting that you charmed me
awhile, though unconsciously, with the delightful
melody of your voice.”

“I should scarcely expect,” said Miriam, “that
our New-England music could have any charms for
you, who have been accustomed to the skilful harmony
of your own country.”

“And yet,” replied Atherton, “no music was ever
so pleasant to my ear, as the simple psalmody of
your congregation, which my mother used to sing,
and delighted to teach me in my childhood. It is
long,”
he added, after a brief pause, “since I listened
to those strains which your voice recals to my
memory, like the charm of renewed happiness.”

“I fear it has also awakened unpleasant remembrances,”
said Miriam, who observed a shade of
sadness pass over his countenance.

“They are recollections of pure and heartfelt
happiness,”
returned Atherton, “and though alloyed
by many painful hours which have since intervened,
I would not for worlds, obliterate them from
my memory.”

“But,” said Miriam, “would it not be prudent to
repel associations which have at least as much pain
as pleasure mingled with them.”

“Not if you exclude music,” said Atherton, “that
is one of the last enjoyments I should be willing to
sacrifice; and never has my heart more deeply felt
its influence, than when listening to the melody of 16(5)v 190
untutored voices in your assemblies, and by your
fire-sides.”

“We humble puritans,” said Miriam, with arch
gravity, “are a psalm singing people, but our untaught
harmony is rarely honoured with the approbation
of those who chaunt to the sound of the organ
in high places.”

“Their commendation,” returned Atherton, “must
at least be sincere and disinterested.”

“We regard it but as the incense of a vain sacrifice,”
replied Miriam, in the same tone; and then
quickly resuming her usual manner, she added,
“but it will be night ere we reach home, if we wait
much longer for Lois; I know not but she may be
already there, though she left me only to go a short
distance, and promised to return directly.”

“Shall I seek her, and tell her you have been
waiting long and impatiently?”
asked Atherton,
who feared his presence embarrassed her, or might
be considered improper, in a place where strictness
of manners was carried to an extreme.

“I have not been very impatient,” returned Miriam,
“though were it not for giving you so much
trouble—”

“Do not speak of trouble,” interrupted Atherton;
“any thing which obliges you will give me pleasure;
so farewell, and in a few moments I hope to return
successful.”

Atherton looked back more than once as he pursued
the way in the direction which Miriam pointed
out, and saw her still on the spot where he had 16(6)r 191
left her, and again busied with her flowers, until the
windings of the path concealed her from his view.
But though her fingers were employed with the
flowers, her thoughts seemed wandering to other
subjects; for she had plucked every blossom from
its stem, and strewed the ground with their leaves,
and when only a single stalk remained in her hand,
she looked at in surprise, and exclaimed audibly,

“My beautiful flowers! what have I done to
them?”

“And may I ask, fair Miriam,” said a voice behind
her, “what subject of contemplation has so entirely
absorbed your mind?”

Miriam started, and turning round, saw Mr.
Calvert
by her side; and with perfect calmness she
replied,

“It would be difficult to answer your question,
sir; I am myself scarcely conscious what ideas engrossed
me at the moment you appeared.”

“Perhaps,” said Calvert, in a tone of irony very
usual with him; “perhaps you were admiring the
beauties of nature, or drawing moral reflections
from the fall of the autumnal leaf.”

“No” said Miriam, pointing to the scattered
flowers, “I was destroying the beauties of nature,
instead of admiring them, and my reflections were
certainly less melancholy than the season and this
place are calculated to excite.”

“And what is there of melancholy connected with
this place?”
asked Calvert; “just now it seemed to
me a scene of happiness which almost excited my
envy.”

16(6)v 192

Miriam, without noticing his last remark, pointed
to a level bank, which rose abruptly from the
ocean directly at their feet; it appeared to have
been once cultivated, but was then covered with
coarse grass, and a few stinted evergreens.

“This,” she said, “is the burial place where our
poor colony, during the dreadful winter which succeeded
their arrival, were obliged to consign more
than half their number who fell victims to the distress
and fatigue of their situation. Many an honoured
and virtuous head reposes here, who, while
their memory is fading away on earth, are doubtless
receiving a bright reward for their sufferings
and pious labours, where there are no more trials,
nor any change.”

“But I see no graves,” said Calvert; “not even a
single stone to mark it as a place of interment.”

“No,” returned Miriam; “for so much were we
reduced by sickness and death, that it was thought
expedient to level the ground and plant it, lest the
natives should discover our weakness, and take advantage
of it, when we were unable to resist them.
But the spot is no less sacred in our eyes, than if
marked by the most stately monuments of marble.”

“In a few years,” said Calvert, “all will be forgotten,
and even now the living have ceased to
mourn for those who lie here.”

“They are no longer mourned,” said Miriam;
“but their untimely fate cannot be remembered without
feelings of tenderness and regret; particularly 17(1)r 193
by those who shared their dangers, and were mercifully
spared to longer and happier days.”

“You have imbibed these feelings,” said Calvert,
“from the gloomy traditions of the good people
around you; you were then an infant, and incapable
of realizing dangers or misfortunes.”

“True,” said Miriam; “yet every affecting incident
is impressed upon my mind as strongly as if
I had then been mature in age and reason; and I
should think even a stranger would feel a touch of
interest and sympathy in such calamities.”

“They do,” said Calvert, “and none more deeply
than myself, in all which concerns the colony, in
all that interests you, Miriam; but pardon me, if I
say this cloud of sadness is less suited to your countenance
than smiles which usually adorn it.”

“Your trifling is ill-timed, sir;” replied Miriam,
“and we will drop a subject which seems to have wearied
you. Now, that I have answered all your questions,
may I be permitted to enquire what accident
has brought you hither so unexpectedly.”

“Accident,” said Calvert, “has often fortunately
conducted me to you.”

“Yesterday, for instance,” interrupted Miriam,
“when your high-mettled steed came so suddenly
upon us to the great alarm of my palfrey, and the
imminent hazard of our necks.”

“Yes, yesterday,” continued Calvert; “but to-day
my intrusion is entirely voluntary; and I confess
I was drawn here by a spell which my heart is
unable to resist.”

Vol. I. 17 17(1)v 194

“A spell!” said Miriam with simplicity, “really,
Mr. Calvert, I do not understand you.”

“Then you must be the only one who is ignorant
of the witchery of your charms,”
said Calvert.

“Have you witches in Virginia, sir?” asked Miriam,
gravely; “you seem familiar with such beings,
but they have not yet disturbed the peace of our
colony.”

Calvert looked at her in some perplexity, to discover
if the grave simplicity of her manner was
real or affected; but before his doubts were satisfied,
she added,—

“Perhaps I am indebted to their counsel for the
favour of this interview.”

“No,” replied Calvert, “I have long regarded
you from my pinnace yonder, and only waited till
you should be left alone before I joined you.”

“Indeed!” said Miriam; “I was not aware of
being a subject of observation; but had you reached
this place a few moments sooner, you would have
conferred on Major Atherton, as well as myself,
the pleasure of your society.”

“That,” said Calvert, “can be desired by neither
of us; and what I would say to you Miriam, can
concern yourself alone, least of all the person whom
you have mentioned.”

“I must beg you to be brief then,” said Miriam;
“for I momently expect his return as he left me
but to seek my cousin, and methinks I even now
hear their footsteps.”

As she spoke, she turned from him with the air 17(2)r 195
of one who listens attentively; and Calvert, with
ill-concealed impatience and vexation, retreated
from her a few paces in silence. But as no one
appeared he presently returned, and looking at her
attentively, asked,—

“How is it that a stranger like Major Atherton
has excited so much interest in this place, where
till within a few weeks, his very name was unknown?”

“Like all other strangers, of fair and honourable
character,”
said Miriam, “he has claims upon our
hospitality which it is our duty to discharge.”

“And what evidence have you,” asked Calvert,
“that this character belongs to Major Atherton?”

“All that we can have of a foreigner,” said Miriam,
“the evidence of those friends whose letters
commended him to our favour: and his good conduct
since he has been with us has gained him the
esteem of many, who are not used to bestow it
lightly and without cause.”

“Not to mention his heroic attempt to save your
life,”
returned Calvert, “which has doubtless obtained
your individual regard.”

Miriam was about to reply when they heard the
sound of approaching voices; and immediately Lois
Grey
with Henry Weldon and Atherton, emerged
from the grove of trees, directly against them.
Major Atherton who was speaking with animation,
stopped abruptly when he saw Calvert conversing
alone with Miriam; and the idea that she had
perhaps wished his absence to receive the visit of 17(2)v 196
another, excited feelings which he could with difficulty
repress. Calvert marked the variations of
his countenance, which he considered a confirmation
of suspicions he had before entertained; nor
did he fail to notice the deep blush of Miriam,
excited by the apprehension that her situation might
be misunderstood by one whose good opinion she
felt unwilling to forfeit. Shaking off her confusion
as much as possible however, she advanced to meet
them, and taking her cousin’s arm said to her,—

“I have been long expecting you, Lois; but the
delay is sufficiently explained, since I find you
have not been indulging a solitary ramble.”

“No,” said Lois, “I chanced to meet Mr. Weldon,
and,—”

“And you walked on,” interrupted Miriam, “quite
forgetful of your promise and my lonely state.”

“I will not trouble you with an explanation,”
returned Lois, “as you have probably been so agreeably
engaged that my absence was scarcely regretted.”

“Well,” said Miriam, “we must now hasten;
for it is already past the time when we promised
my father to be at home.”

They shortly regained the highway, where Atherton
separated from the party, though urged by Lois
Grey
to return with them; pleading, as his excuse,
that Alexander Standish would be waiting for him.
Alexander however was not on the beach; nor was
his boat visible on the water; and Atherton concluding
he had returned without him, determined to 17(3)r 197
walk back to Captain Standish’s, which as he
chanced to be in a musing mood, was by no means
a disagreeable alternative.

It was then nearly dark, and Atherton was passing
hastily along, when he met Mr. Calvert just
issuing from the gate at Mr. Grey’s. Calvert
looked at him in surprise.

“I thought, sir,” he said, “you were long since
comfortably seated in the Captain’s warm quarters;
you will be late if you have all that distance to
walk to-night.”

“That is of little consequence,” replied Atherton,
“the path is as familiar to me by night, as in the
noon-day.”

“But you have taken the longest way,” pursued
Calvert; “this road is leading you far round from
the direct rout.”

“It is a matter of choice,” returned Atherton;
“and I presume I am at liberty to take whichever
suits my convenience or pleasure.”

“Certainly,” said Calvert, “and I am myself too
sensible of the peculiar attractions of this, to be
surprised at your preference.”

Calvert spoke in a sarcastic tone, which was
calculated to irritate the feelings of Atherton; but
he prudently refrained from answering, and coldly
bidding him good night, pursued his solitary way.

Captain Standish had been expecting the return
of Major Atherton with some impatience; and
when he at last heard him enter the house, he
knocked the ashes from his pipe and called loudly Vol. I. 17* 17(3)v 198
to bid Mistress Saveall put the supper on the table
instantly.

But Mistress Saveall’s shrill voice answered
from her dominions, that “it took time for all
things; and master Alexander’s fish could not be
fried in a minute.”

“They have been at home a good hour, or more,”
said the Captain; “and less time than that might
suffice to make them as brown as a hazle-nut.”

“Yes,” replied the dame; “and as cold as a stone,
withal; and then who but me would be blamed
when they were served up, and not fit to eat.”

“Use your hands, Mistress, instead of your
tongue, and it please you,”
said the Captain; “these
women can do nothing without prating like magpies
all the time about it.”

He pushed the door, not very gently, as he concluded;
and the reply of the house-keeper, who,
with the becoming spirit of her sex, seemed resolved
to give the last word, was lost to the ear of
Atherton, who had been entertained by the rest of
the domestic dialogue; from which he inferred,
that his prolonged absence had been displeasing to
all parties.

But the Captain’s good humour returned the
moment his kinsman entered the room; and rising
from his elbow-chair, he said, gaily,—

“Well, Edward, you are really taken with a
roving spirit; but if you play the truant often, I
fear good Mistress Saveall’s small stock of patience
will be quite exhausted.”

17(4)r 199

“Perhaps,” said Atherton, “occasional exercise
may strengthen that valuable property; and I
think, sir, you would have reason to thank me for
any improvement of the kind.”

“Why, yes;” returned the Captain; “but to tell
the truth, I am not over-anxious to have my own
patience put to the test very often. I fear it would
not come forth, like gold from the furnace, purified
by the trial.”

“I believe the virtue is not apt to flourish well in
our profession,”
returned Atherton. “But I have
not yet explained the cause of my absence, which,
I am sorry to believe, has kept you so long waiting
for me.”

“No matter,” replied the Captain; “it has given
us better appetites, and we can talk over the matter
while eating our supper.”

“Here comes Alexander,” said Atherton; “and
now I may hope to know if he forgot his promise to
stop for me at the beach.”

“No,” said Alexander, “I waited for you till
almost sunset, and then I met Hobamock, who told
me he saw you in the woods with Miriam Grey;
so I thought you would go home with her, and it
was of no use to stay longer.”

“I chanced to meet her, in walking, as I was
about to inform you, Captain,”
said Atherton, carelessly,
“and her cousin Lois, with Mr. Weldon and
Calvert.”

“But Hobamock told me you were alone with
Miriam,”
returned Alexander; “and shall I tell 17(4)v 200
you, Major, something more that he said about
you?”

“No,” said Atherton, quickly; “Hobamock’s
eyes are waxing dim, I fancy; and he must have
mistaken the rest of our party for pine stumps, or
savin trees.”

“Hobamock’s eyes are sharp enough,” said the
Captain; “but you say Mr. Calvert was there?
I think that young gallant will find himself mistaken,
if he hopes to carry away our rose-bud from
New-England.”

“Women are said to be fond of novelty and variety,”
said Atherton; “and perhaps she may prefer
the warmer and brighter climate of Virginia.”

“No; no such thing,” returned the Captain;
“besides, Calvert is a churchman, and her father
would almost as soon see her married to the Pope
or of Rome, if his Holiness might be permitted to take
unto himself a lawful wife.”

Major Atherton paused till he had twice measured
the room with his steps; but willing to learn
more of the Captain’s opinion on the subject, he
at length said,—

“Calvert is insinuating in his manners and address,
and may overcome the scruples of Miriam,
if not her father’s; it is hardly possible that Mr.
Grey
would withhold his consent, if the happiness
of his only child were concerned.”

“Now, Edward Atherton,” said the Captain,
smiling, “I perceive you judge of us from your own
good mother, who was all mildness and charity; 17(5)r 201
she was a Puritan, too; but we, true Nonconformists,
Separatists, Independents, or as godly Mr.
Cotton
of the Massachusetts has at last styled us,
Congregationalists, hold it a sin to enter into a
covenant with you heretics and idolaters; and believe
me, even Miriam Grey herself would rather
marry that prosing, preaching Benjamin Ashly,
than to choose from among the best of you.”

“Really, sir,” said Atherton, almost indignantly,
“you would give us an exalted idea of Miriam
Grey’s
taste and discernment.”

“Not so;” said the Captain; “but it is a part of
her creed; and she would think it rebelling against
the light of conscience, to err one jot or tittle
from that. I do not think, though, that the girl
has any fancy for Master Ashly, unless it may
be, to indulge her merry humour in laughing at
him now and then; for she hath a light heart; ay,
and as innocent too, as the smile on her rosy lips.
But here is a savoury smell of supper, and I think
we may all do tolerable justice to it to-night.”

“I can answer for myself,” said Atherton, “that
it was never more welcome; a long walk certainly
promotes the appetite wonderfully.”

“A long walk and a long fast,” returned the
Captain; “so now for a vigorous onset.” And,
drawing their chairs around the table, Mistress
Saveall’s
choice dishes and good cookery soon diverted
the conversation to more epicurean topics.

But the interesting subject which had previously
engaged them was still predominant in the mind
of Atherton, and followed him even to the retirement 17(5)v 202
of his own apartment. The incipient predilection
which he had imbibed for Miriam Grey
was heightened by a renewed opportunity of seeing
and conversing with her; and the undisguised admiration
of Calvert, which seemed to set every competitor
at defiance, only stimulated his interest.
While both pride and affection shrunk from the
idea of yielding to his claims, or being superseded
by his superior address, his heart became insensibly
animated with the hope of success, and every
obstacle served only to increase the ardour of his
pursuit. The religious prejudices of her father,
and perhaps her own, Atherton considered but too
lightly, and in spite of all that Captain Standish
had said, with the sophistry of love he pursuaded
himself that, could he win her affections, it would be
easy to remove every doubt and difficulty from her
mind. He remembered the happy union of his parents,
which their difference of faith had never, for
an instant, interrupted; and the slight barrier of a
creed appeared to him too vain to excite any serious
uneasiness. His imagination glowing with enchanting
hopes and visions of happiness, he resigned himself
to repose, and in sleep pursued the airy dreams
which had occupied his waking thoughts.

The next day and the next passed away, and
Major Atherton was prevented by a variety of circumstances
from revisiting Plymouth; but on the
afternoon of the third, which was Sunday, he recollected
to have been particularly edified by the
preaching of Mr. Reynal, and expressed to the Captain
a wish to hear him again.

17(6)r 203

“Just as you please, cousin Atherton,” said the
Captain, “Mr. Reynal is a sound and orthodox divine;
and perhaps his wholesome doctrine may help
to settle your doubts, if you have any, and lead you
into the right way. But I hope before long, we
shall have a worthy minister of our own; it is now
four years since we separated from the church of
Plymouth, and in all that time we have had only
the prophesying and exhortations of the gifted
brethren, for our public teaching.”

Atherton declined the Captain’s offer of his best
horse, which he would fain have pressed into his
service; and having become well accustomed to the
way, he walked on at a brisk pace, and reached the
place of his destination just as the people were assembling
for the afternoon service. As he mingled
with the congregation who were ascending the hill
leading to the place of worship, he observed Mr.
Calvert
at a short distance, apparently endeavouring
to overtake him. Atherton did not wish to
avoid him; he therefore slackened his pace, and in
a moment was joined by Calvert.

“Really, Major Atherton,” said Calvert, “you
must be marvellously fond of exercise, to walk hither
so very often.”

“And you,” returned Atherton, “seem equally
averse to it; Captain Standish was only yesterday
remarking on your long absence from his house.”

“I have business and other affairs which engage
my time,”
said Calvert, carelessly; “but pray tell 17(6)v 204
me, Major Atherton, if you have turned puritan in
good earnest?”

“Why do you ask me that question, sir? I have
never avowed any deviation from the principles in
which I was educated.”

“And being educated by parents of different persuasions,”
replied Calvert, “you were probably instructed
in the faith of both, and feel at liberty to
adopt whichever shall suit your inclination; at present
you seem much inclined to favour the religion
of this land.”

“I have ever followed the faith which my father
professed,”
said Atherton, “though I am not so bigotted
as to absent myself from the worship of those
who differ from me.”

“It is a good rule,” returned Calvert, with a smile
of peculiar meaning, “to conform in matters of such
trifling importance, and doubtless very politic in
certain cases.”

“I do not perfectly comprehend you, sir,” replied
Atherton; “and if it is not too much trouble, must
beg you to explain.”

“Oh, I dislike explanations above all things,”
said Calvert; “but now be candid, Major, and tell
me if you really came eight miles to hear good Mr.
Reynal’s
long sermon, or to catch a stray beam
from certain bright eyes, which may chance to
wander this way?”

“Probably, sir, you judge of my motives from
your own feelings and wishes,”
said Atherton, colouring
highly.

18(1)r 205

“Very likely,” returned Calvert, coolly; “and I
know of no more rational way of judging of what
lies beyond our observation.”

“In that case,” said Atherton, “I should choose to
know that my judge was a man of correct and honourable
feelings.”

“Certainly,” replied Calvert; “and of course you
will not dispute my pretensions to the office, though
I never set myself up for a miracle of goodness, as
some officers in our regiment did; there was Captain
R—
for instance, not to mention one or two
others.”

“I believe you were never accused of raising your
standard of perfection too highly,”
said Atherton.

“No, I hate canting, and never try to pass for
better than I am,”
said Calvert, pointedly; “except,”
he added, “in cases of necessity; for instance,
here we are at the entrance of the tabernacle, and
must strive to look as demure as possible; for it is
as much the fashion to wear long faces in a puritan
meeting-house, as it is to practice smiles and bows
at court.”

As he finished speaking, they both entered the
house, and accepted of seats which were civilly offered
them near the door. A moment after Mr.
Grey
and his family came in, and passed on to their
usual places. This circumstance seemed unnoticed
by Calvert, till the eagerness with which the eyes
of Atherton pursued them, excited a transient smile;
and during the remainder of the services, his countenance
was marked by a gravity which might have Vol. I. 18 18(1)v 206
passed for the expression of a serious and devout
mind. As soon as the congregation was dismissed,
he took the arm of Atherton, who was disposed to
linger behind, and walked to the bottom of the hill
with him, where they stopped by mutual, though
tacit consent.

“May I ask what direction you are about to
take?”
said Mr. Calvert.

“Home, that is to Captain Standish’s,” replied
Atherton; “and if you are disposed to return with
me, I will promise you a welcome reception from
my host.”

“Another time I will try it,” said Calvert; “but
now I am going to our friend Mr. Grey’s, and will
make you the tempting offer to accompany me; now
do not say you have no wish to go there.”

“I shall not,” returned Atherton; “on the contrary,
it would give me pleasure; but they are accustomed
to keep this day so sacred, that the visit
of a stranger might not be acceptable.”

“As you please,” said Calvert; “but I have never
been received otherwise than graciously, at any
time.”

“If,” said Atherton, “you can suit your conversation
to circumstances, as well as you have your
countenance this afternoon, I am not surprised at
their forbearance.”

“Far better,” replied Calvert. “I discourse of
theology with the father, and settle all controverted
points to his full satisfaction; and sing psalms
with the daughter and niece, till they believe me on 18(2)r 207
the point of abjuring the mother church, with all
her pomps and ceremonies; and if they don’t end
by begging me to crop my hair, and round off my
ears, I shall be satisfied.”

“And that is not trying to appear better than you
are, is it?”
asked Atherton.

“Not better, only a little different,” said Calvert;
“besides, you forget my saving clause, and this is
a case of necessity. But hush!—they are close by
us, even now.”

Atherton looked round, and saw Miriam and
Lois Grey, almost at his side; but they were busily
engaged in conversation, and did not observe them,
till Miriam accidentally dropping her handkerchief,
Atherton and Calvert, at the same instant,
stooped to raise it from the ground. The latter
gained the prize, and Miriam received it from his
hand with a smile; though Atherton fancied a still
brighter one animated her features, as she returned
his salutation; and the idea lessened the mortification
of his defeat, and the reluctance he felt to
part from her. Calvert bade him farewell, with
an air of triumph, which seemed to say, “I have
the advantage over you;”
and Atherton, conquering
a strong inclination to join them, turned into
another direction, and was soon in the well-known
path, which led to the residence of Captain Standish.

18(2)v 208

Chapter XII.

“Ah! si vous pouviez comprendre Ce que je ressens pour vous, L’amour même n’a rien si tendre, Ni l’amitie de si doux. Loin de vous, mon cæur soupire, Pres de vous, je suis interdit; Voila ce que j’ai a vous dire, Helas! peut-etre, ai je trop dit!”

On the ensuing week, Major Atherton was an
almost daily visitant at the house of Mr. Grey.
Every morning he found some excuse for going to
Plymouth; and Captain Standish, who was at that
time particularly occupied with some affairs of his
own, was pleased to hear of his kinsman’s frequent
engagements at the Governor’s, or Mr. Bradford’s;
though not always aware that these engagements
were concluded in the society of Miriam Grey.
He was received by every member of the family
with the utmost cordiality; and the eloquent blushes
of Miriam, the engaging confidence and graceful
timidity which alternately marked her manner
towards him, encouraged his hopes, and increased
the attachment he cherished for her; which became
deeper and stronger, as every interview disclosed
to him some new charm in her mind and
character. There was, also, enough of variety,
uncertainty and doubt, to create perplexity and 18(3)r 209
induce him to conceal his sentiments, till more fully
convinced that they would meet with a favourable
reception.

The conduct of Mr. Calvert was well calculated
to render Atherton mistrustful of Miriam’s affection;
he was continually near her; and Atherton
often sighed as he observed her, with apparent
pleasure, enter into conversation with him, and listen
to his descriptions of foreign countries, and
the adventures of other days, which he had always
at command, and possessed the pleasing art of relating
with a spirit and humour that could not fail
to amuse.

Atherton, like other lovers, was ingenious in tormenting
himself wth visionary fears, and too little
skilled in the female heart, to detect the subtle
evasions, to which it has recourse to conceal an
acknowledged prepossession: his hopes were constantly
fluctuating; and often depressed by circumstances,
from which, with more experience, he would
have drawn the most flattering inferences. Calvert
always assumed the aspect of a favoured lover:
conscious of his advantages, he seemed secure of
conquest; or, if at any time uncertain, he artfully
concealed it, and wore an air of presumption, from
which the more delicate and honourable mind of
Atherton revolted. He was evidently no stranger
to the views and feelings of his rival; but he appeared
totally to disregard them, and resolved not
to admit the possibility, that he could become a
successful candidate for the favour of his mistress. Vol. I. 18* 18(3)v 210
His manners were frank and careless; but Atherton,
as his visits became more frequent, remarked
an occasional caprice and coldness; he also fancied
that Mr. Grey began to regard the attentions,
which both himself and Calvert directed to his
daughter, with a suspicious eye. He had no wish
to conceal his sentiments, and only waited for a
favourable opportunity to disclose them, both to
Miriam and her father.

Atherton called at the house one evening, and
was not displeased, on entering the parlour, to find
it occupied by Miriam alone. She was carelessly
reclining in a huge elbow chair, with her eyes fixed
on the blazing fire, which glanced brightly on her
figure and countenance, and revealed an expression
of unusual pensiveness. Without raising her eyes
as he entered, she continued to hum the air of a tune
which Atherton had himself taught her, and of which
he was particularly fond, because it had been a
favourite with his mother. It was a beautiful
sacred melody, that even Mr. Grey approved; and,
though the flageolet on which Atherton played with
uncommon skill, was not of puritanical invention,
he had frequently listened with pleasure as its soft
melody mingled with the sweet and rich tones of
his daughter’s voice.

Miriam however perceived Atherton even sooner
than he wished; and, hastily rising, she offered
him a seat, saying with a smile,—

“Excuse my inattention, sir, but I thought it was
Lois who entered.”

18(4)r 211

“And you, I hope,” said Atherton, “will forgive
my interrupting the reverie which you seemed to be
enjoying.”

“The interruption is quite fortunate,” returned
Miriam; “for I was at that moment attempting
your favourite air, and need your assistance to go
through with it. I fear my ear must be growing
dull, for I never made so much discord in a simple
tune.”

“Mine must be dull, indeed, if you did,” said
Atherton, “for I was admiring the ease and correctness
with which you sung it. But you must
allow me to hear you again, in order to judge which
of us is mistaken.”

“If you will accompany me,” replied Miriam
“and in the mean time, some lights will look more
cheerful than this fitful blaze.”

“They will spoil this pleasant twilight, which is
the most delightful season of the day,”
said Atherton.

he took the flageolet from his pocket as he spoke,
and Miriam, who had nearly reached the door, returned;
and, after stiringstirring the fire into a brighter
glow, commenced the song, which she executed
without a single false note; though the sound of
the instrument often died away, as Atherton, in
listening to her, seemed fearful that the softest
breath might interrupt the harmony which she
created.

Major Atherton was at all times strongly alive
to the charms of music; but the voice of Miriam 18(4)v 212
Grey
had acquired an influence over his feelings,
at which he was often surprised, yet seldom endeavoured
to resist. As soon as she had finished,
he rose abruptly from his chair, and for several
moments paced the room in silence. Miriam perplexed
at his conduct, regarded him almost with
alarm; but she at length ventured to say, in a
timid accent,—

“I fear I have done wrong, Major Atherton, and
again, unfortunately awakened some painful remembrances.”

Atherton suddenly stopped, and advancing towards
her, took her hand, and looking earnestly in
her face, replied,—

“You do wrong Miriam? you awaken painful
remembrance? no; believe me;—when with you,
the past is forgotten, and my presumptuous hopes
dare to image scenes of future happiness, which
your smiles have encouraged, and your lips alone
can sanction.”

Miriam, in silent confusion, averted her blushing
face from his ardent gaze; but, as he eagerly
watched the variations of her countenance, the brilliant
glow faded into a deadly paleness, and
with a look of alarm, she hastily withdrew her
hand, which he still retained within his own.
Atherton followed the direction of her eyes, and
with a start of surprise, beheld Mr. Grey, who had
entered unperceived, standing with folded arms,
and regarding them with severe and fixed attention.
Atherton instantly recovered his self-possession, 18(5)r 213
and with the calmness of conscious integrity,
awaited the expected reproof. But Mr. Grey, after
the first scrutiny, resumed his usual gravity,
and taking a chair, he coolly said,—

“I would not interrupt you, Major Atherton;
you would doubtless say nothing to my daughter,
which may not reach my ear, also.”

“By no means, sir;” returned Atherton; “and I
have long wished for an opportunity to explain myself
on a subject, which nearly concerns my happiness.”

“It is a subject to which I may not listen,” said
Mr. Grey. “Young man,” he added, emphatically;
“you have gained my esteem, and I owe you a
debt of gratitude, which can never be cancelled;
yet my religion and my principles are more precious
unto me, than the gratification of any worldly
feelings, the enjoyment of any temporal pleasure;
—even than the earthly happiness of my child.
Deceive not yourself, therefore, with the vain belief,
that I shall sacrifice my duty to the idle wishes
of an indiscreet and youthful passion.”

Mr. Grey spoke with mildness, but in a tone of
decision, which chilled the ardent hopes of Atherton,
who was about to answer, and plead his suit,
with the earnestness of passionate feeling, when a
glance of entreaty, from Miriam, checked his utterance;
and the entrance of Lois Grey, at the
same moment, determined him to defer the conversation
till a more fitting time. He was, however,
too much disturbed to enter into general discourse, 18(5)v 214
and soon after took his leave; depressed in
spirits by his unexpected repulse, though still resolved
to bear up against all difficulties, and if possible,
to overcome them.

Mr. Grey, after the departure of Atherton, remained
a few moments absorbed by his own reflections;
and then seating himself by his daughter’s
side, he fixed his eyes upon her, as if searching
her inmost thoughts.

“Why do you look at me so earnestly, sir?”
asked Miriam, endeavouring to shake off the embarrassment
which his manner, combined with recent
circumstances, had caused.

“I have ever been accustomed, Miriam,” he replied,
“to read in your countenance the feelings of
your heart; I would learn, if I may still rely on it,
and expect your confidence.”

“Can you doubt it?” said Miriam; “till I have
once deceived you, father, you cannot, ought not, to
suspect me.”

“I do not, my child.—Major Atherton, too is
candid, and he has not sought to disguise his sentiments,
which were apparent to me, even before the
events of this day.”

“Dear father,” said Miriam, deeply blushing,
“you mistake;—he has not, he only――”

“I will spare your blushes, Miriam,” interrupted
Mr. Grey. “It is not my intention to question
you, concerning what he said; though had I not
unexpectedly heard his words, the confusion which
my presence excited could not be mistaken.”

18(6)r 215

“You regard the subject too seriously, sir. I beg
it may not occasion you one moment of anxiety.”

“Did it concern you less deeply, Miriam, it
would not; but the dread that your affections may
become engaged to one with whom you can have
no connection, has already given me much uneasiness.”

“I trust my inclination will never render me forgetful
of my duty,”
said Miriam; but less firmly
than she had before spoken.

“Most fervently do I hope so,” returned Mr.
Grey
, again regarding her with attention; “and
I place much confidence, Miriam, in the strength
and rectitude of your principles.”

“I do not think they will be tried, very severely
in this instance,”
said Miriam, smiling.

“Take heed, lest you fall into a snare through
presumption and vain self-confidence, Miriam,”

said her father. “I have fore-warned you of the
danger, and it remains with you to avoid or overcome
it.”

“I know not how to avoid it,” said Miriam,
gravely; “but it is written, ‘resist the devil, and
he will flee from you;’
and I think, father, Major
Atherton
cannot prove more irresistible than he.”

“If you rely on your own strength alone, Miriam,
you may find too late, that you have ‘leaned on a
broken reed.’”

“Dear father,” said Miriam, archly, “do you
think Major Atherton so very attractive, that I
cannot see him, without danger of admiring him,
more than you approve?”

18(6)v 216

“You know that I regard him highly, Miriam;
and, in his outward conduct, since he has sojourned
amongst us, have seen much to commend; but had
there been less, I would not withhold my gratitude
from the preserver of my child.”

“And has not that entitled him to my esteem and
gratitude, likewise? asked Miriam, with emotion.”

“Most assuredly it has;” said Mr. Grey, “nevertheless,
Miriam, we do endanger our faith, by holding
familiar intercourse with the zealots of a perverse
and antichristian church; with whom we are
commanded to have no fellowship, but rather to reprove
them; except, as the apostle doubtless meant,
so far as the laws of hospitality and courtesy shall
require.”

“But, sir, we know that Major Atherton has
been taught to respect our opinions, and even imbibed
from his mother a prejudice in their favour;
and, at all times he has cheerfully conformed to our
customs, and devoutly joined in our worship.”

“We can place no dependence, my child, on an
outward conformity, without some evidence of a
willing spirit, and this external reverence is most
likely to mislead your inexperience and conceal
the real danger.”

“Dear father,” said Miriam, earnestly; “you
shall find I am not so very weak and irresolute,
but that, though only a timid girl, I possess some
portion of the resolution which enabled you
to endure and overcome so much, for the establishment
of that pure religion which you have 19(1)r 217
taught me, by precept and example, to prize so
highly. No,”
she added with a blush;—“even
should your fears be realized, I could never become
an apostate from the faith which I have received
from you.”

“Continue to value it more dearly than your
life,”
said Mr. Grey; “and never for an instant,
place it in competition with any earthly passion.
However firm, however sincere, you may now feel
yourself to be, believe me there would be no security
for your principles if the sophistry of love were
united with the perverse, but plausible arguments
which the sons of prelacy can so well command
and urge for their subversion.”

“And do you believe, father, that the truth can
so readily yield to error and falsehood?”

“Women are born to submit,” returned Mr. Grey;
“and as the weaker vessel, it is meet they should
be guided by those who have rule over them. I
well know how easily they become converts to such
as they regard with affection. Your mother, Miriam,
was wandering in the mazes of error when I
first beheld her; and though Providence was pleased
to give me favour in her eyes, and to make me the
instrument of plucking her, as a brand from the
burning; yet but for the love which she bore me,
she would probably have lived and died in the
bosom of an idolatrous church.”

“You were armed with the weapons of truth,”
said Miriam, “and she could not resist their force;
but you will not, father, deny the influence of our Vol. I. 19 19(1)v 218
sex. If the entreaties of Dalilah could subdue
Samson, how much more powerful must be the
arguments of religion from the lips of a virtuous
woman. Even the Apostle saith, ‘The believing
wife shall sanctify the unbelieving husband.’”

“It may have been so, my daughter; but the
same apostle also saith, ‘Be ye not yoked together
with unbelievers;’
—which is but to provoke
the displeasure of Heaven, and incur its judgments
as did the children of Israel, when they took
them wives from the daughters of the land.”

“Yet father did not Moses marry an Ethiopian
woman? and was not Miriam, the prophetess reproved,
and smitten with leprosy, because she spake
evil against it?”

“That cannot be an ensample to us,” said Mr.
Grey
,—“to whom the Lord doth not, as unto his
servant Moses, speak face to face; and though your
temporal happiness is most dear to me, Miriam,
never could I consent to promote it by permitting
your union with one, who might endanger your
eternal interests by leading you to trust in baseless
ceremonies and to bow down to the graven images
of Episcopacy.”

“Fear not for me, father,” said Miriam; “I have
at present no wish to change my situation; and
if ever I shall be induced to quit you, it must be
with your free consent, your full and decided approbation.”

“I fully trust your word, Miriam; yet I wish
not like unhappy Jephtha, to bind my daughter to 19(2)r 219
a state of celibacy. I would rather urge you to
increase your usefulness by a worthy choice, and
like a true ‘mother in Israel,’ faithfully discharge
the duties of your sex and station; that before my
eyes are closed, I may have the satisfaction of seeing
my descendants rising up to honour and advance
those civil and religious institutions, of which
we, ‘through much tribulation,’ have laid the
‘foundation stone.’”

Miriam made no reply; and after a few moments
of unbroken silence, Mr. Grey resumed the discourse.

“I feel my heart eased of a heavy burthen by this
conversation with you, Miriam; and in the strengthened
conviction that you have sufficient discretion
and virtue to direct you, I shall commence my
voyage with more resolution, and feel the pain of
parting from you less severe.”

“If I could be permitted to go with you!” said
Miriam; “indeed, father, I cannot reconcile myself
to the thought of a separation; but I can submit
to any thing if you will only take me with you.”

“It is impossible,” said Mr. Grey: “the difficulties
of the voyage, the persecutions which still await
our devoted sect,—every thing forbids it. You
must remain here, Miriam, and strive not to indulge
any anxious thoughts or repining wishes.”

“But so many long months must pass away before
you will return, father! and till now you have
never gone from me scarcely for one short week.”

“The time will fly swiftly, my child, though it 19(2)v 220
seems long in looking forward; and with your
cousin Lois, who has ever been dear as a sister to
you, it cannot pass unhappily. I feel comforted in
leaving you with her; she is older and more experienced
than yourself, and fully competent to advise
you in every circumstance and situation.”

“But Lois will soon have other claims on her
affection,”
said Miriam; “and I begin already to
fear that Mr. Weldon will engross more than his
share.”

“You need have no fear on that subject, Miriam,”
said Lois, who had hitherto remained silent. “I
think my heart is large enough to contain more
than one object of affection.”

“But there is one whom I need not name, Miriam,”
said Mr. Grey with some hesitation, “whose heart
has long been bound to you; and I would fain see
you disposed to reward his faithful love with the
favour it has merited.”

“Indeed, father,” said Miriam, “I would be contented
with the smallest corner of Lois’s heart,
rather than to possess the whole of his.”

“You always speak lightly on this subject, Miriam;
yet you know it is one which I have long
regarded with satisfaction; and I do still hope that
you will not always remain wilfully blind to the
excellent qualities of master Ashly.”

“Now do not call me a stubborn girl, father;
but in truth I cannot value his goodness as it deserves;
and it would be unjust for me to snatch the
prize from some maiden more enamoured of hihis
worth.”

19(3)r 221

“Bring forth your ‘strong reasons,’ Miriam,
and tell me what you particularly object to in him.”

“Nothing in particular, but every thing, in general;
forgive me father, but he has really no one
quality, which I should call agreeable.”

“And is piety and sincerity nothing?” asked Mr.
Grey
; “are integrity and uprightness of character
so very disagreeable?”

“No, indeed, father; but I would choose a companion
who has a lighter heart and less solemn countenance,
to lead me through the journey of life;
I fear I should tire of virtue itself, if always before
my eyes in so ungentle a form. Master Ashly is
so image-like withal; that though in no danger of
worshipping him, I might possibly commit the sin
of converting him into a laughing-stock.”

“You cannot object to his person, Miriam,” said
Mr. Grey, with an air of displeasure; “the youth
is well-favoured, and tall and comely as a cedar of
Lebanon.”

“Yes, quite tall enough,” returned Miriam; “and
as Captain Standish once said, as stiff as the ramrod
of his musket. Cousin Lois,”
continued the laughing
damsel, “did it ever strike you that Mistress
Rebecca Spindle
would make a suitable help-mate
for him? a little too ancient perhaps, but otherwise
far better qualified than myself; and it may
be less inclined to shun so advantageous an alliance.”

“You are strangely perverse, Miriam;” said Mr.
Grey
; “but I cannot suffer my worthy young friend Vol. I. 19* 19(3)v 222
to be thus trifled with; you must be unaccountably
prejudiced, or else prepossessed in favour of some
other. I hope Mr. Calvert has not caused you to
misprise our plain New-England youths.”

“No, sir;” replied Miriam; “Mr. Calvert is very
well in his way; but he wants some of Benjamin
Ashly’s
rare qualities. I would choose a man
more like,—like myself, father, with just a pleasant
mixture of the good and agreeable.”

“And the evil you should add, child,” said her
father, smiling.

“I left that for you, father; and rightly judged
that you would not forget the addition.”

As she finished speaking Mr. Calvert entered
the room; he was less animated than usual, and
seemed inclined to remain silent and thoughtful.

“You are unusually serious to-night, Mr. Calvert,”
said Miriam; “and look like the bearer of
ill-tidings; pray let us hear quickly if you have
any thing to communicate.”

“I have nothing to tell, nothing at all,” replied
Calvert.

“Are you unwell then?” asked Lois Grey.

“No, but to tell you the truth,” he said, with an
air of frankness, “I am rather out of temper.”

“Oh if that is all we need not be alarmed,” said
Miriam; “it is not often a fatal malady, though
I understand it is a very common one in warm
climates.”

“But the climate does not justify the offence,”
said Mr. Grey, “and the scripture saith, ‘he that 19(4)r 223
ruleth his spirit is better than he that taketh a
city.’”

“I find I must justify myself at all events,” returned
Calvert, “though it is a foolish affair, and
not worth mentioning. I met Major Atherton as
he came from here just now, and he seemed in a
very ill-humour, and resolved to quarrel with me;
but I was fortunate enough to calm him, and save
myself from being run through with his sword.”

Calvert observed the complexion of Miriam vary
as he spoke; and Mr. Grey in a tone of real
concern enquired,

“And what was the occasion of all this, sir?”

“I really cannot tell,” said Calvert; “it seemed
to arise from a mere trifle, and I attributed it to
some circumstance which had taken place here.”

“I thought,” replied Mr. Grey, “that Major
Atherton
had better principles and more command
over his passions than to engage so lightly in a
quarrel.”

“As to that, sir,” said Calvert, carelessly, “you
know we of the church are not all of us so strict
as perhaps we should be; and the Major has been
in the army quite long enough to acquire high notions
of honour and a love of fighting.”

“I will speak to him touching this matter,” said
Mr. Grey. “A word in season is ‘like apples of
gold in pictures of silver,’
and a friendly admonition
perchance may prove of service to him.”

“I think, sir,” said Calvert, “it can be of no
avail, and all will be forgotten between us in a few 19(4)v 224
days. Major Atherton is hasty but not ill-disposed,
and it is very possible I may have said something
to vex him.”

After this apparent frank apology and concession,
which were certainly calculated to set his
own disposition in a favourable point of view, Mr.
Calvert
immediately changed the conversation.
He hoped he had said sufficient to impress the
mind of Mr. Grey unfavourably towards Atherton,
whose growing intimacy in the family he viewed
with jealousy, and began to entertain serious apprehensions
that he would eventually interfere
with his plans, and supersede him in the affections
of Miriam.

19(5)r 225

Chapter XIII.

“Slunk from the cavern, and the troubled wood, See the grim wolf; on him his shaggy foe Vindictive fix, and let the ruffian die.” Thomson

Major Atherton had quitted the house of
Mr. Grey with feelings of chagrin and disappointment
more keen than he had ever before experienced.
It was true, in the blushing confusion of Miriam
he had read nothing to reprove his presumption,
or discourage his hopes; but the language of
her father, too plain to be misunderstood, convinced
him that he would never sanction the marriage
of his daughter with one whom he considered wilfully
bound in the fetters of error and superstition;
and under such circumstances he could
scarcely expect or even wish to attach the affections
or receive the hand of Miriam. These
thoughts engaged his mind as he slowly retraced
his steps from the door, which he had recently entered
with very different feelings; and his hand
yet rested on the wicket, and his eyes lingered on
the casement still faintly lighted by the blazing
fire within, when he was startled by a slight touch
upon his shoulder, and turning quickly round he
saw Mr. Calvert standing by his side.

“What is your will with me, sir?” asked Atherton, 19(5)v 226
in a tone of impatience which he could not at
the moment repress.

“To pass through the gate when you see proper
to quit your hold of it,”
said Calvert in his usual
careless manner.

“It is entirely at your service now;” returned
Atherton, with recovered composure. “I was not
aware that I detained you from entering;”
and at
the same time he threw open the gate and walked
on.

Calvert deliberately closed it and followed him.

“We will let it rest for the present,” he said,
“though I apprehended just now you were about to
bear it away as Samson did the doors of the Philistines.
This seems a favourite spot with you
Major; it is not the first time I have found you
lingering about it.”

“You do me great honour, sir,” replied Atherton,
“by interesting yourself so warmly in my concerns;
am I to understand that you have become a
spy upon my actions? or do I interrupt your own
walks and arrangements?”

“A little of both,” returned Calvert. “As to the
first, you well know it is desirable to learn the
force and position of an adversary whom one may
be called to engage; and for the second I believe
we are both drawn hither by the same attraction,
and it is a pity our plans should interfere.”

“I have no wish to enter into competition with
you, sir,”
said Atherton, haughtily; “and may ask,
how long I am to be favoured with your company?”

19(6)r 227

“So long as we shall find it mutually convenient
and agreeable,”
replied Calvert.

“You will then excuse my saying, it is now time
that we should part,”
returned Atherton.

“Certainly,” said Calvert, with provoking sangfroid;
“but as all loyal subjects of our good king,
are privileged to walk in his high-way, I shall
take the liberty of going, wherever it suits my
pleasure.”

The manner, even more than the words of Calvert,
irritated the already harassed feelings of
Atherton, and stopping abruptly, he said,—

“I would counsel you, to keep at my sword’s
length, sir, or you may have cause to repent of your
temerity;”
and as he spoke, he laid his hand on the
hilt of his weapon.

“Nay,” said Calvert, composedly, “if two cannot
walk without falling out by the way, it is indeed
time to separate. If this should reach the long-
eared generation of Puritans, we might be put in
the stocks; or perhaps be degraded from the title
of gentlemen, which is a marvellously ingenious
punishment of their own invention, for the special
correction of all naughty grown up boys.”

“And perhaps deserve it too;” returned Atherton,
almost instantly repenting of his haste. “I
have no wish to signalize my courage in a foolish
quarrel with you; and, if I mistake not, yours
was sufficiently tested, by a duel, some few years
since.”

“Yes,” replied Calvert; “and my sword is still 19(6)v 228
of the same good metal, and entirely at your service.
Meet me in Virginia, England, or even
here, when I am the husband, or rejected lover of
Miriam Grey, and we will try our skill on the
most friendly terms; but a rupture, at present,
would at once destroy all hopes of success.”

“Neither now or ever, shall I meet you in that
way;”
said Atherton; “and I should despise myself,
were I capable of harbouring a revengeful
purpose, and delayed the execution, from motives
of policy, or through the mean hypocrisy of appearing
better than I am.”

“In plain words,” replied Calvert, “you would
say that you despise me; I admire sincerity,
above all things Major, and thank you, heartily,
for your opinion; but to be consistent methinks,
you should fly into a passion with the fair Miriam,
as you have with me; it would impress her quite
differently from the sweet melody of your flageolet.”

“Perhaps I shall, when she uses the insulting
language which you have holden to me,”
said
Atherton, with difficulty bridling his indignation.

“As to that,” replied Calvert, “if you can obtain
her hand, trust me, you will be enough favoured
with such music; these sweet-tempered damsels,
are mighty apt to become shrews, when galled with
the yoke of matrimony.”

“If such are your ideas,” said Atherton, “I
wonder you should court an evil, which it is so easy
to avoid.”

“One cannot well do without a wife;” returned 20(1)r 229
Calvert: “and it is meet to choose from among
the fairest and most promising, to render to conditions
as easy as possible; and you will allow,
Major, that a little timely competition, is a wonderful
stimulant in seeking such an one. I shall really
think myself irresistible, if my simple eloquence
prevails against you, aided as you are, by that
bewitching musical pipe, whose silver tones, reached
my ears just now, as you tuned it to your mistress’
praise.”

“You can have been in waiting at the gate no
short time,”
said Atherton, “to have heard what
passed within so long before I met with you.”

“I was listening in silent admiration,” said Calvert,
“even as the trees and stones of old, did to
the lyre of Orpheus; but that heathenish comparison
would be thought downright heresy here.—I
should say like unto Saul, who was charmed by
the harp of David, when he played with his hand
skilfully before him.”

“And the evil spirit was not laid in either case
it would seem;”
said Atherton; “but I should think
you would have been more comfortably situated by
a cheerful fire, on such a chilly night as this.”

“I was unwilling to interrupt a delightful
scene,”
returned Calvert; “a forbearance which
you would doubtless exercise, in similar circumstances.”

“I have certainly given you strong proofs of
my forbearance this evening,”
replied Atherton.

“Admirable!” said Calvert, ironically; “so I Vol. I. 20 20(1)v 230
will no longer oblige you to exercise it, but take
your vacant seat by the side of Miriam, and try
to dispel the fascination which your music may
have thrown around her. Indeed, Major, that is
love’s own language, and gives you a decided advantage
over me, I tell you frankly, I shall exert
myself to counteract its influence.”

“You will keep within the limits of truth, and
honour, I trust,”
returned Atherton.

“Of course,” said Calvert; “I think I shall
have no occasion to resort to stratagem, though
you know, it is always considered allowable in
love and war. So good night to you; and may
pleasant dreams—but not of Miriam Grey—hover
round your bed.”

Atherton parted from him, with a hearty goodwill,
and a firm resolution, to avoid as much as
possible so troublesome a companion for the future;
and be also resolved during his long walk, to abstain
for a time at least, from the dangerous society
of Miriam Grey.

But the following morning was so mild and brilliant,
that Major Atherton was strongly tempted
to resume his pedestrian habits; and, though still
determined to shun the presence of Miriam Grey,
he was soon after breakfast, far advanced on the
road to Plymouth. He had gained the midst of
the woods, through which his path lay, when he
heard the sound of several voices, and particularly
distinguished that of Peregrine White, which rose
above the others; and in an instant the young man
perceived and called to him.

20(2)r 231

“You are the very person I was seeking,” he exclaimed,
springing over the under-brush to meet
him; “and now you make good the old proverb,
‘the devil is always nearest, when you are speaking
of him.’”

“I thank you for the flattering comparison,” said
Atherton; “but why is my presence so much desired,
just now? You seem to have a goodly band
of attendants, already, and collected for some warlike
purpose, I should judge from their appearance.”

As he was speaking half a dozen young men
joined them, all armed with muskets, among whom
were Mr. Calvert and Benjamin Ashly.

“We will choose you for our leader, Major Atherton,”
said Peregrine White, “so put yourself at
our head, and give the word of command.”

“Perhaps we shall not obey it,” said Calvert;
“and I, for my part, nominate Mr. Ashly for Captain
General.”

“I am a man of peace,” replied Ashly, “and
unused to wield the weapons of carnal warfare;
being called only to maintain a strife with the foes
that are within me.”

“You must be a valiant warrior if you can keep
them all in subjection,”
said Peregrine White; “I
would rather undertake to conquer a whole tribe of
Indians.”

“But what enemy are we to attack, now?” asked
Atherton; “is it visible or invisible, man or beast?”

“Nothing more or less, than a half-starved wolf,”20(2)v232
returned Peregrine, “which has taken up his abode
in these woods, and having, probably, heard of
Master Ashly’s hospitable disposition, and finding
his house convenient, has paid several visits among
his sheep, and last night made bold to feast on the
fatted calf.”

“A troublesome enemy, truly!” said Atherton;
“and I would gladly help you to get rid of him, but
there are already so many of you, that my presence
would be quite useless, particularly, as I have no
fire-arms with me.”

“No matter,” returned Peregrine, “you must go
with us, if it is only to see our sport; though I
dare say Master Ashly will lend you his gun;
for he scarcely knows which end to fire out of, and,
in case of danger, he can run up into a tree and
look on.”

“You speak without knowledge, Master Peregrine,”
said Ashly; “for, though I was not bred a
soldier, I have been well instructed how to carry a
musket.”

“How to carry it is one thing, and how to use it
another,”
returned Peregrine.

“But I will use it,” replied Ashly, doggedly,
“against the destroyer of my flocks and herds, even
as David, who rose up and slew the bear, that stole
the lambs from his father’s sheep-fold.”

“Oh that was nothing,” said Peregrine, “compared
with this wolf, which is the fiercest beast of
the forest; have a care, Master Ashly, that you do
not turn your back upon him, or you may chance to
have an unpleasant gripe from his tusks.”

20(3)r 233

“I trust we shall be preserved from his rage,”
said Ashly, “like as the prophet Daniel was saved
from the jaws of the lions, in their den.”

“I begin to be of Major Atherton’s opinion,” said
Calvert, “that there are too many of us; seven
armed men against one or two poor beasts, is quite
unmerciful, besides the danger of frightening them
into their strong holds; and so, Major, if you are
inclined to turn back, I will accompany you; and,
I fancy, I can guess whither you are bound.”

“I have decided to remain here,” returned Atherton;
“but, if you intend to return, and will trust
your gun with me, I will engage to make a good
use of it.”

“Excuse me,” replied Calvert; “it was merely in
the wish of enjoying your society, that I made the
proposal; but I am too accommodating to be repulsed
by trifles; and since you conclude to proceed,
whither you go, there will I go likewise.”

“Your extreme complaisance quite perplexes me,”
said Atherton; “and I feel totally unable to return
it as it deserves.”

“Pray do not trouble yourself;” replied Calvert;
“I would not have you for a competitor, in every
thing; and it quite encourages me, to hear so formidable
a rival acknowledge his deficiency, even
in trifles.”

“I confess my deficiency in many things, in
which you seem to excel,”
said Atherton, “though
I certainly do not, at present, feel any desire to
attain them.”

Vol. I. 20* 20(3)v 234

“That last clause in your sentence,” said Calvert,
“has quite cancelled my gratitude, for the compliment
contained in the first; I presume you do not
always deem it expedient to administer an antidote
against the poison of your flattery?”

“I never make use of the latter,” replied Atherton,
“and of course, have no occasion for the former.”

“You must possess a rare talent of pleasing the
fairer sex, if you can dispense with so powerful an
auxiliary,”
said Calvert.

“I have never found it essential;” replied Atherton;
“and I believe there are few females, worthy
of our regard, who do not prefer the language of the
heart.”

“You may call it the language of the heart,” said
Calvert; “but it must pass through the lips, embellished
by a few tropes and figures, drawn from
the fountain of their charms, and kindled by the
brilliance of their eyes; or, hang me, if you ever
reach their hearts, or receive one smile for your
trouble.”

“If that is your real opinion,” returned Atherton,
“your intercourse with them must have been
very limited or confined to the weak and vain,—”

“Which is no small proportion of the sex;” said
Calvert, laughing; “but remember, Major, I am
not gifted with the power of creating sweet
sounds, at will, and must therefore use my voice to
the utmost advantage, in whatever it is capable of
being exercised.”

20(4)r 235

“I am sure, Mr. Calvert,” said Peregrine
White
, “I have heard you sing psalm tunes, like a
deacon, many a time, since you have been here, at
meeting and elsewhere; though, to be sure, you
have not the unrivalled bass voice of our friend
Ashly.”

“My voice would be admirable,” said Calvert,
“if I had taken as much pains to trill and modify
it, as some others have; but, as it is, I can fortunately
get through your harmonious tunes very
well, and your good—hem—Mr. Ashly what say
you?”

“I think it our duty to sing psalms in the congregation,”
said Benjamin Ashly, “albeit our voices
are not attuned to harmony; we can, as the psalmist
saith, ‘make melody in our hearts unto the
Lord.’”

“I have ever been accustomed, Master Ashly,”
said Calvert gravely, “to chaunt the anthems of
our excellent liturgy, as the service of our holy
church requires.”

“That is but an abomination offered unto idols,”
said Ashly, regarding Calvert, almost with horror;
“and though, peradventure, I may offend, it
must be that I lift up my voice against it.”

“Another time, if it please you, Mr. Ashly,” said
Calvert, “or the enemy may take advantage of our
controversy to steal some one of us, as he did your
sheep. But, hark! the hounds are barking, and
I’ll warrant have got scent of him.”

This sound was a signal for a general onset; 20(4)v 236
and in a moment, the whole party were on the alert
to discover the track of the animal. Benjamin
Ashly
was the least forward in the chase; quite unaccustomed
to such scenes, he seemed instinctively
to shrink from the encounter, till Peregrine White,
who observed him loitering behind, called out,—

“Move your legs faster, Mr. Ashly; if ever they
were of use to you, they may be so now.”

“The Lord taketh no pleasure in the legs of a
man,”
replied Ashly; “but he directeth us whithersoever
he will.”

“Such snail’s legs as yours, I should think were
neither for use or pleasure,”
returned Peregrine;
“but have a care, Master Ashly, that your musket’s
balls don’t fly out amongst us; and remember, if
you stray into the wolf’s mouth, your texts of scripture
wont bring you out with a whole skin.”

So saying, he ran swiftly after his companions,
followed more leisurely by Mr. Ashly, who had no
mind to be left far in the rear. The wolf was by
this time started from his covert, and pursued at
full speed by dogs and sportsmen, though the numerous
impediments of trees and underwood, prevented
the latter from gaining upon the animal,
which contrived to escape their fire and elude the
fangs of his canine enemies, by crouching in the
lurking places of the forest, till again discovered,
and compelled to have recourse to flight for safety.

In the heat of the pursuit, Major Atherton and
Peregrine White, who chanced to be near together,
were suddenly startled by a voice, as of some one 20(5)r 237
in distress; and after listening a moment, they
heard their own names distinctly repeated.

“It is Benjamin Ashly,” said Peregrine, “confound
his slow motions; I have a mind not to wait
for him.”

“He must be in some difficulty,” returned Atherton;
“we had better go to his relief.”

“He deserves it, for keeping back like a cowardly
loon,”
said Peregrine; “but come on this way,
only hear him, he is roaring like a wild bull of Bashan.”

“Here he is,” cried Peregrine White, after he had
retraced his steps for a short distance; and a loud
burst of laughter succeeded the exclamation. Atherton
quickened his pace to overtake Peregrine,
who had outstripped him, and learn the cause of
his merriment; nor could he refrain from joining
in it, though less loudly, when he beheld the tall,
stiff figure of Benjamin Ashly entangled in an Indian
deer-trap, which springing as his feet became
fastened in the noose, had lifted his heels high in
the air, leaving his head scarcely resting on the
earth. He was struggling lustily, and at the same
time with dismay painted on his countenance, calling
loudly for assistance, to liberate him from his
unpleasant but ludicrous predicament.

“How is all this, Master Ashly,” said Peregrine,
as soon as he could compose himself; “you have
been ‘directed’ with a witness to fall into this snare.”

“The wicked have spread their gins for me, and
I have fallen into the net of the ungodly,”
replied
Ashly, with a truly woful tone and expression.

20(5)v 238

“I think it was put here to entrap a more savory
animal,”
returned Peregrine; “and in my mind they
would not be well pleased to find you kicking about
in the room of a good fat buck. But how did you
contrive to get caught so neatly?”

“I took not heed to my ways,” said Ashly, “neither
pondered the path of my feet, and the adversary
hath taken me at will.”

“Good!” exclaimed Peregrine White, rubbing his
hands, and retreating a few steps to examine him
at all points, “I would Mr. Calvert and the others
were here to help us admire you. But is not your
head dizzy, Master Ashly? If the wolf had chanced
to come this way, he might have had a glorious
pull at it.”

Benjamin Ashly seemed to shrink at the idea;
but reddening with vexation, he said,—

“Will you not help me out, Master Peregrine,—
Major Atherton? It is written, ‘he that is glad at
calamities, shall not go unpunished.’”

“All in good time,” said Peregrine, detaining
Atherton, who was about to release him; “but we
want to examine this cunning device a little longer;
your legs do not ache, I hope?”

“Truly, Master Peregrine, my ‘legs are not of
brass, nor my sinews of iron,’
that they should endure
forever; and verily they do weary of this
bondage.”

At this instant, a loud shout was heard from a
distance, mingled with the report of fire arms.

20(6)r 239

“There, they have killed the wolf,” exclaimed Peregrine,
impatiently, “while we have been watching
this game that can be got at every day and we
choose.”

A brief silence however which ensued, was again
broken by the howling of the savage beast, and Peregrine
White
bounded forward, exclaiming as he
went,—

“We may be there in season, yet; and so good
bye to you, Mr. Ashly.”

“Truly, the voice of the beast is like the rushing
of mighty winds,”
said Benjamin Ashly, casting his
eyes fearfully around, and then almost in despair
at his imprisoned feet, “I will go with you, if—”

“If you can be free,” interrupted Atherton, at
the same time releasing him from bondage; “and
perhaps we shall need your assistance in the contest,
Mr. Ashly.”

Mr. Ashly, happy to be released, righted himself
with all convenient speed, and having rubbed his
feet and ancles with great care, moved briskly
from the spot, often applying his hand to his head
as he went along, probably to allay the uneasy sensation
occasioned by the inverted position which
had distended every vein, so that they appeared
starting through his scanty crop of hair.

The trap which had so unluckily mistaken its
prey, was in itself a curious specimen of savage ingenuity.
It was formed by a young sapling bent
to the ground like a bow, with acorns strewed under
it, to decoy the deer; and so contrived with a 20(6)v 240
noose attached to it, that when the nimble footed
animal came near enough to taste the food, his
movements disengaged the fastenings, and the pliant
tree suddenly springing up, held him entangled
beyond the power of escape.

When Atherton had sufficiently admired this sample
of Indian sagacity, he hastened after his companions;
and directed by their voices, found them
arranged in a semi-circle, awaiting the motions of
the wolf which they held at bay, though he had
found refuge from their immediate attack, within
the shelter of a narrow cave.

“Where are your spoils, Mr. Calvert?” asked
Atherton; “from the noise of your firing just now,
I was fearful of coming too late to share the victory.”

“No; he is safe yet,” said Calvert, “and stands
bullets, as if dressed out in a coat of mail. But I
understood,”
he added, lowering his voice, “that
you have been viewing a different sort of game; it
must have been rare sport to see master Ashly
rolling his clipped head on the ground.”

“Better sport to us than to him, I suspect,” said
Atherton; “but where is the wolf? not slipped
from you, I hope.”

“No, but almost as bad,” said Calvert; “we had
got him fairly in the chase, and fired off our muskets,
with deadly aim, as we thought, when, all at
once, this confounded cave, came in his way, and
he retreated quietly into it.”

“Not very quietly, I think,” said Peregrine White; 21(1)r 241
“for we heard his roaring afar off: but, at any
rate, it was more convenient than a deer trap
would have been; do’nt you think so, Mr. Ashly?”

But Mr. Ashly was conveniently deaf at the moment;
an infirmity which often seized him, on like
occasions, and which generally served to increase
the mirth of Peregrine White. Every one was
now engrossed by the common enemy, which had
kept close in his retreat, till impatient of the delay,
some proposed firing into the narrow aperture,
and others suggested expedients to draw him
from it.

“Wait a little longer,” said Calvert, who was
the most experienced sportsman in the group, “and
I can answer for it, he will put his nose out to look
at us, when we will give him a pinch of gunpowder
to smell of.”

And in fact, he had scarcely done speaking,
when the animal, which was confined within narrow
limits, and probably alarmed by the noise
around him, came to the entrance of the cavern,
and with a hideous growl, and eyes flashing like
balls of fire, stood surveying them with fierce and
determined courage. On a given signal, every gun
was at once discharged; but at the first flash, he
darted back into the cave, though not without receiving
a severe wound; and mad with pain, he
returned to the combat, and crouching low, prepared
to spring upon his antagonists. At that instant,
before the party had time to reload, another piece Vol. I. 21 21(1)v 242
was presented, and with surer aim; the ball pierced
his breast, and prevented the meditated attack.

The wounded animal rolled in agony on the
ground, which was already dyed with his blood;
and then as if exerting the last energies of dispair,
raised himself in a menacing attitude, and grinding
his tusks with mingled rage and pain, he seemed
making a final effort to revenge himself on his assailants.
But a second and more effectual volley
decided the conflict, and put a speedy end to the
sufferings of the victim.

“We have done it now,” said Captain Standish,
coming forward into the circle; “but the old veteran
of the woods fought it bravely to the last.”

“So it was you, Captain, who did us that good
service just now,”
said Peregrine White; “I thought
it must be an experienced hand to take such deadly
aim.”

“Yes, I have had long experience among the
beasts of the forest, of every description;”
returned
the Captain; “these ugly wolves used to prowl
round us, without ceremony, and grin at our very
feet, when we first came over; but we soon taught
them better manners; and it is long since one has
been so bold as this grim monster. Master Ashly’s
barn-yard must have been very tempting I think.”

“We have at least had good exercise on this cool
morning,”
said Atherton; “but, may I ask, Captain,
how you came here so opportunely?”

“Hobamock told me what sport you were engaged
in,”
said the Captain, “and I had a mind to join 21(2)r 243
you. But where is Master Ashly, Peregrine? I
do not see him here.”

“I do’nt know what has become of him,” said
Peregrine; “I saw him just now, behind that big
tree, pointing his gun to the clouds, I think.”

“You speak that you do not know, Master Peregrine,”
said Ashly, emerging from the shelter of
some trees, “I levelled my gun fairly at the beast,
and did but step behind that tree to save myself
from the jaws of destruction, when the terrible
creature glared upon me, and seemed to single me
out for his prey.”

“Perhaps,” said Peregrine, gravely, “he mistook
you for another calf.”

“Touching thy foolish talking, Master Peregrine,”
returned Ashly, “it harms me not; neither
thy jesting, which is not convenient.”

“Not convenient to you, perhaps,” replied Peregrine;
“but as we walk along, I will shew Captain
Standish
that cunning trap, which caught you
like a ‘ram in the thicket,’ just now.”

“What!” said the Captain, laughing, “Mr.
Ashly
caught in a deer trap! I would I had been
here sooner; methinks it must have been worth the
looking at.”

“It is a pit into which we may all be left to slide,”
said Benjamin Ashly; “and let him that ‘thinketh
he standeth, take heed lest he fall.’”

“And pray, Master Benjamin,” asked the Captain,
“were you stooping to pick up acorns or
how came you into the snare?”

21(2)v 244

“No,” replied Peregrine, “it took him at the
lower extremity, and lifted his legs up between
heaven and earth, leaving his head resting on a soft
pillow of chesnut burs. But look, Captain! here
is the unlucky place; and the trap quite spoiled for
further use.”

“I have often seen them,” said the Captain.
“These savages are ingenious enough; but so improvident,
that they are content to live on what
they can find one day, and run the risk of starving
the next. Mr. Bradford got entangled in a
trap like this, in one of our roving excursions, to
search the country, and was laughed at almost as
much as you have been, Master Ashly; so you
need not mind what this wild boy, Peregrine, says
to you.”

“I regard it not,” returned Ashly; “it is as idle
as the ‘crackling of thorns under a pot,’ and forgotten
as soon as it entereth into my ears.”

“Perhaps it is lost while going in there,” said
Peregrine; “they are stately portals to pass
through,”
—and he glanced his mirthful eyes at
Benjamin’s prominent ears.

“Come, come,” said the Captain, “we must
quicken our pace, my lads, if we would reach home
in season for dinner; I wish that were a fat deer
instead of a carrion wolf we killed yonder; we
might have a dainty feast from it.”

“If you keep on at this quick march, Captain,”
said Peregrine White, “I, for one, shall hardly live
to eat my dinner; I have been ranging about since 21(3)r 245
sunrise, and begin to wax faint and weary; good
Master Ashly, we are commanded to ‘bear one
another’s burthens,’
and I would you were inclined
to obey, and relieve me of my musket for a
season.”

“Let every man provide for himself, Master Peregrine,”
replied Ashly, with unusual asperity; and
I exhort you to mind your own affairs, and leave
me in peace.

“You speak most wisely,” returned Peregrine;
“but nevertheless, I must admonish you to take heed
to your ways, and fall not into another deer-trap.”

Mr. Ashly deigned no further reply, and the
party soon after left the woods, and dispersed to
their different abodes. Captain Standish proposed
calling a few moments at Mr. Grey’s, and both
Atherton and Calvert readily consented to accompany
him. But Major Atherton fancied himself
received less cordially than usual by Mr. Grey,
while Miriam, from whatever cause, evidently
shunned his attentions, and with her usual gaiety,
conversed almost entirely with the Captain and
Mr. Calvert. Rejoiced that the interview proved
short, Atherton left the house depressed in spirits,
and strongly inclined to accuse the father of injustice,
and the daughter of caprice; and for the first
time, was heartily sorry that he had ever touched
the shores of New-England.

Vol. I. 21* 21(3)v 46

Chapter XIV.

Come, haste to the wedding, ye friends and ye neighbours,

The lovers their bliss can no longer delay;

Suspend all your sorrows, your cares, and your labours,

And let every heart beat with rapture to-day.

New-England Song.

Major Atherton, for three succeeding days, refrained
from visiting Plymouth; a sacrifice of inclination
which cost him no inconsiderable effort, though
he endeavoured to conceal his uneasiness from the
keen eyes of Captain Standish, and busied himself,
almost constantly, in writing letters to his friends
in England. Captain Martin, who was to be the
bearer of them, and had just returned from a trading
voyage to the Massachusetts Bay, expected
shortly to sail from Plymouth, and Mr. Grey had
taken passage in his vessel, being constrained to visit
England, on some business which required his personal
attention. It was, however, with feelings of
regret rather than pleasure, that he anticipated a
return to his native land after an absence of so
many years, during which he had become weaned
from all the friendships of his youth, and bound by
every tie of affection to his adopted country.

Mr. Grey had in early life formed an attachment
for a young woman of respectable family, and
whose personal attractions, though great, were
surpassed by the purity and excellence of her mind 21(4)r 247
and character. But her friends, who had at first
sanctioned his addresses, withdrew their approbation,
when in subsequent years, he became a convert
to the opinions of the Brownists, and exerted
his utmost influence to induce her to embrace the
same tenets. Yet, though these tenets were at that
time too obnoxious to harmonize with her feelings,
his change of faith did not remove the deep-rooted
affection she cherished for him; and persisting in
her resolution to become the wife of no other man,
her father at length yielded a reluctant consent to
their union. But his prejudice against the religion
of Mr. Grey was insuperable, and from that time
his tenderness for her seemed to diminish; and as
the arguments of the husband proved more persuasive
than those of the lover, and the spirit of persecution
had already commenced its reign, Mrs. Grey
was induced to join the Puritans, who fled for
safety to Holland, and united with a church at
Leyden. Mrs. Grey, however, after their removal
to America, had the satisfaction of receiving many
affectionate letters from her father, whose displeasure
at her marriage was gradually softened by
time, and the intercession of his eldest daughter, who
discreetly pleaded the cause of her absent sister, to
whom she was devotedly attached. On the death
of Mrs. Grey, this attachment was transferred to
Miriam, whom she loved for her mother’s sake,
and wished to adopt as her own child; but the
objections of Mr. Grey were invincible, and too
reasonable to be disputed. Still, Miriam was constantly 21(4)v 248
receiving from her aunt, tokens of kindness
and remembrance; and though her father sometimes
thought them too costly or too gay, yet if
any feeling of worldly pride ever entered his breast,
it was when he saw the native charms of his daughter
enhanced by a becoming dress, suited to her
age and station; and her own sense of propriety,
as well as his peculiar notions of duty, rejected
whatever was superfluous. On the death of his
father-in-law, Mr. Grey became trustee of the property
which Miriam received from him, in her
mother’s right; and it was somewhat relative to
the settlement of it, which obliged him to encounter
the fatigues of a voyage to England.

Major Atherton, in the meantime, became weary
of his voluntary exile from Plymouth; and on
the fourth day, after revolving the subject in
his mind, had just persuaded himself that it was
indispensable to pay his parting respects to Mr.
Grey
, when his meditations were suddenly put to
flight by the entrance of Mr. Calvert, who saluted
him with his usual freedom, and even more than
his usual cordiality.

“I have come all this way, Major, to learn
what has become of you,”
he said. “I have not
encountered you by a certain gate, for four days
past; and I thought that nothing short of drowning
or shooting yourself could keep you so long
away.”

“It is not the first time I have remained here
even longer,”
replied Atherton; “mine host is a 21(5)r 249
most agreeable companion, and Alexander is at all
times ready to hunt and fish with me.”

“Are there any bright eyes to hunt after, here?”
asked Calvert. “If there are, I pray you let me
join in the chase; for it is tiresome to gaze forever
on one face, be it ever so beautiful.”

“I have seen none peeping from wood or brake;
nor yet sporting on the glassy waves;”
said
Atherton, “Dryads and Naiads, I suspect, are all
frighted from this rugged clime, by these cold
autumnal blasts.”

“You have grown enamoured of solitude then?
That is a bad sign,”
said Calvert; “but if you
would turn recluse, Major, I pray thee go for the
whole; my bead-telling kinsman of Maryland will
give thee good thanks to establish a monastery of
holy friars in his fair province.”

“Ah! Mr. Calvert,” said the Captain, who had
just entered, “nobody but you would dare to speak
openly of such papistical things in this region
of the world; but tell me whence you come, and
whither are you going? Sit down first, though, if
it please you.”

“It would please me to sit a long time,” replied
Calvert; “but I can stay only one moment. I shot
across the Bay in a high wind and a light skiff,
and came to tell you Mr. Grey hopes to see you
all to-morrow. The banns are published, the
priest is ready, and demure Mistress Lois is waiting
to become a bride. I promised to deliver the
tidings to you, so witness all, that I have done it—
and now, good bye to you.”

21(5)v 250

“Soft and easy, good sir,” said the Captain.
“You have but half done your duty, if you wait not
for an answer to your message; mine is plain yes,
and a merry wedding to them; and, though cousin
Atherton seems to be deliberating, I think I may
vouch for his attendance also. Am I right, Edward?”

“Certainly, sir,” said Atherton; “I have no excuse
to offer if I were disposed to decline.”

“Perhaps we can frame one for you if you are
very reluctant to go,”
said Calvert.

“So far from it,” returned Atherton, “I would not
on any account forego the expected pleasure.”

“I should think it strange if you would,” replied
Calvert, “when there are so many attractions to
allure you there.”

“We all know your opinion on that subject, Mr.
Calvert
,”
said the Captain; “but methinks a tongue
so eloquent as thine should have won your cause
ere this.”

“I am proof against flattery in all its forms,
Captain; so do not try to excite my vanity.”

“Never fear,” said the Captain; “there have
been enough before me to do that, and with good
success I should judge; so I will deal to you a
simple truth; the boldest wooer is not always successful.”

“Thank you, sir;” returned Calvert; “but lest
you should depress my courage too much, I will be
off for Plymouth again.”

“Bear my best wishes to my little rose-bud,”21(6)r251
said the Captain; “and bid her take counsel from
her cousin Lois on this occasion.”

“With all my heart,” returned Calvert; “and so
once more, fare thee well.”

“Calvert is a clever fellow,” said the Captain,
when he was gone; “but I hope the girl will not
be foolish enough to marry him.”

“And why do you hope so, sir?” asked Atherton.

“Because she is the pride of New-England,” said
the Captain, “and I would not have her transplanted
to the tobacco fields and rice plantations
of Virginia; besides――”

The Captain suddenly stopped, and looking
through the window seemed watching the motions
of Calvert, who had again entered the boat and
was pushing from the shore. After a moment’s
silence he turned quickly to Atherton, and looking
steadily in his face enquired,—

“And what do you think of Miriam Grey, Edward
Atherton
?”

“Think of her?” said Atherton, startled by the
abruptness of the question. “She is as beautiful and
lovely as an angel; and I think her a jewel worthy
the diadem of a prince.”

“Pretty high flown, on my word,” said the Captain
laughing. “I do’nt think I could have done
better myself, even at your age, Major; and so I
suppose if she were not a Puritan you might be
inclined to take her ‘for better for worse,’ as
your crafty prayer-book hath it.”

“Really, sir,” replied Atherton, “to be frank with 21(6)v 252
you, that would be a very slight objection in my
mind.”

“That is right, Edward,” returned the Captain.
“I love a candid liberal spirit; but let me tell
you, they are not often to be met with; and if you
would take this jewel to yourself, you must believe
with the rulers of the land.”

“I would not,” said Atherton, “for any personal
advantage or gratification sacrifice my religious
opinions till convinced they are incorrect; and at
present I am far from being so.”

“You are right again, cousin,” replied the Captain;
“yet after all it is but rejecting a few idle
ceremonies, which have no authority in scripture;
and we all believe alike at bottom.”

“We all believe the Bible,” returned Atherton,
“or profess to believe; but there are different ways
of interpreting it; and our church considers certain
articles and forms essential, which you denounce
as idolatrous.”

“Well,” said the Captain, “you must get our
ministers or elders to discuss these points with you;
or Mr. Bradford, who is as knowing as any of
them on such subjects, and can bring forward arguments
like a Bishop. He even learned the Hebrew
tongue, purposely, as he says, that he might
read with his ‘own eyes the ancient oracles of
God in their native beauty.’”

“I am afraid it would be dangerous to encounter
so skilful an antagonist,”
said Atherton, smiling;
“for I already admire the simplicity of your worship 22(1)r 253
more perhaps, than most of my English
friends would approve.”

“So much the better,” replied the Captain; “and
we will leave you to time and opportunity, hoping
they will bring you into the right way at last; and
then, Major, some other plans can be settled at
leisure.”

“I have a plan in my head now which I would
mention to you, Captain; for I believe it is nearly
time to put it in execution.”

“Well, speak it out, cousin Atherton; but I hope
it will not take you away from us.”

“Only for a season, to the Massachusetts. I
have a strong inclination to see that place, which
rumour seems so fond of magnifying, and propose
to visit it shortly if a convenient opportunity
should offer.”

“Not at this season of the year!” said the Captain,
“You can see nothing but the frozen ground
and leafless trees; but wait till spring and I will
go with you.”

“That is certainly a very tempting proposal,
Captain; but I may then feel compelled to make
a longer voyage, even to the green shores of
England.”

“Any other spring will do as well, and better
than the next for that voyage;”
said the Captain;
“so I pray you give up your scheme for the present.”

“I will take it into consideration, and give you
seasonable notice of my departure,”
returned Atherton.Vol. I. 22 22(1)v 254
“But I must leave you now, Captain, to prepare
my packet for Captain Martin.”

“Well, have all things in readiness for to-morrow,”
said the Captain; “remember I am a punctual
man, and it would not be handsome to keep
the good people waiting on such a joyful occasion.”

But it was not necessary to remind Major
Atherton
of his duty in that particular; he was
equipped in excellent season on the following day,
and waiting with some impatience for the appointed
hour. This was as early as could reasonably
be expected, even in an age, when it was the fashion
to visit in the afternoon, and return with the
setting sun, instead of trespassing as now, upon
the hours of night, and prolonging the dance and
revel till the dawning of the morn. Captain
Standish
, who exercised a sort of military precision,
even in the minute affairs of life, was extremely
punctilious in regard to time on so important
an occasion; but his calculations were defeated by
the perversity of the wind, which died into a calm
as they were crossing the Bay, and their progress
was so retarded by the unlucky accident, that the
company were all assembled, and waiting at Mr.
Grey’s
when they arrived at his house.

The room was well filled with guests, among
whom Atherton recognised the Governor and his
family, and many others who were slightly known
to him; but Miriam Grey engrossed his whole attention,
and her cordial smiles quickly effaced the 22(2)r 255
remembrance of her late fancied indifference. She,
however, soon left the room, and the slight bustle
which had prevailed, was succeeded by a general
pause;—the men looked grave, and even the goodly
row of matrons and maidens was hushed to silence
as if awaiting some important event. Every
eye was turned expectantly toward the door; and
in a few moments Miriam Grey re-entered, accompanied
by the bride and bridegroom, who advanced
to seats left vacant for them, at the upper end
of the apartment, where the clergyman and magistrate
stood ready to officiate. Lois Grey sustained
the gaze of observation with modest firmness:
she wore the simple but not unbecoming garb of
her sect, with no adornment except the native
charms of an intelligent and ingenuous countenance;
and throughout acquitted herself with a degree
of propriety and composure, which could only
result from deliberate reflection on the step she was
about to take, and a perfect confidence in the man
to whose keeping she had entrusted her earthly
happiness.

Among many of the early non-conformists, and
particularly throughout the Massachusetts’ settlements,
marriage was regarded merely as a civil
contract; and accordingly, the ceremony was always
performed by a magistrate instead of a minister
of religion. As Mr. Weldon had imbibed that
opinion, the Governor was requested to conduct the
marriage service, though in compliment to Mr.
Reynel
, the clergyman who was present, he was 22(2)v 256
invited to make the concluding prayer and offer
some advice adapted to the occasion.

The short, but deeply interesting ceremony was
soon concluded; and the whole company successively
approached the new-married pair to present their
compliments and congratulations. The long established
custom of saluting, and being saluted was
not forgotten. Mr. Winslow, in virtue of his office
set the example by touching his lips to the blushing
cheek of the bride, while Mrs. Winslow received
the salutation of the bridegroom. They were followed
by the elder part of the company in due
order, each leading forward his spouse; and finally
the young people succeeded them in high glee, and
bandying jokes, which were doubtless considered
excellent at the time; but are now unfortunately
for posterity, entirely forgotten.

Peregrine White not quite satisfied with kissing
the bride alone, seemed strongly inclined to extend
the practice more generally; and was so far encouraged
by a nod of approbation from Captain Standish,
that he turned suddenly to Mistress Rebecca
Spindle
, who chanced to be next him, and before
she was aware of his intention, startled her by a
hearty salute.

“La! Master Peregrine,” exclaimed the spinster,
“you always take one so at unawares!”

But Peregrine had already fixed his eyes on the
rosy cheek of a laughing girl; though before he
could approach her or his companions and had found
courage to imitate his boldness, the amusement was 22(3)r 257
interdicted by a grave elderly man, who with an
air of authority not to be disputed, remarked, that
“the custom of indiscriminate salutations between
young men and maidens, ought not to be tolerated
in a christian assembly, since it was no where
authorized in scripture, except where the apostle
commanded the brethren to ‘greet one another with
a holy kiss,’
which could not be interpreted to
sanction a frolic introduced like the present, by a
giddy youth.”

This appeal was considered unanswerable by a
majority of the guests; but Peregrine White whispered
apart to Atherton,—

“I think that long exhortation might have been
spared, when we have met together on purpose to
make merry; but I wish I had begun with some
one more tempting than Mistress Spindle; I would,
had I known my sport was to be ended so speedily.”

But the low murmurs of his discontent were happily
interrupted by the distribution of cake and
wine;—from time immemorial as indispensible at a
wedding festival as the nuptial benediction. The
health and happiness of Mr. and Mrs. Weldon
were cheerfully pledged by each individual; some
adding to the compliment a sententious remark, or
a word of advice adapted to their new situation;
while those to whom it was addressed, agreeably to
the usage of the times, maintained their station by
each other as immoveably, as if the words which
pronounced them man and wife, had actually made
them one person.

Vol. I. 22* 22(3)v 258

Miriam Grey retained a seat by the side of Lois,
occasionally mingling with the guests as civility
required; and Major Atherton, whose eyes continually
followed her, fancied her countenance was
less animated and her smile more pensive than usual.
It was natural that she should feel a degree of sadness
on an event so replete with solemn interest to
her cousin; and which, she was aware, would soon
remove from her the long tried and beloved friend
of her childhood and youth. Miriam however endeavoured
to repress these feelings; and Mr. Calvert,
who perhaps also observed the shade on her
open brow, exerted his peculiar address to engage
her in conversation, and call forth the usual gaiety
of her spirits.

“I hope, cousin Atherton,” said Captain Standish,
who saw him regarding them attentively, “you do
not envy the bridegroom that you look so long and
earnestly in that direction.”

“Not in the least, sir,” said Atherton; “though
he appears so happy that one might almost be
tempted to do so; but I was not even thinking of
him just then.”

“No, I’ll engage you were not,” said Peregrine
White
; “and I think Captain, if the Major was
envying any one, it might have been Mr. Calvert.”

“You take it upon yourself to think at all times,
and for every body, Master Malapert,”
said the
Captain; “but what were you thinking of when
you ventured to offend Mistress Spindle by kissing
her?”

22(4)r 259

“I was thinking of a fairer cheek beyond her,”
replied Peregrine, laughing; “but thought it would
not be courteous to pass by hers; and I believe,
she has very graciously pardoned the offence.”

“Fairly done,” said the Captain, “and I think
no one will contest your choice, Peregrine. But
come with me, Major Atherton; we will draw
nearer the happy couple since they are tied up so
that they cannot come to us.”

“I will follow, with your leave;” said Peregrine.
“Miriam looks this way as though she had something
to say to me; or it may be to you, Major
Atherton
.”

“I have been half inclined to forbid your banns,
Mr. Weldon,”
said the Captain, as he drew near
him. “Methinks it is hardly lawful in you to
leave your distant province of Connecticut, and
steal away a fair daughter from our land.”

“The theft was committed with the consent of
all parties concerned,”
returned Mr. Weldon; “and
it is now too late to enter a protest against our
proceedings.”

“Yes, you are pretty sure of your prize now,”
replied the Captain; “but I am glad to hear you
intend to remain at Plymouth for this winter,
were it only for the sake of Miriam, who could
hardly do without her cousin at this time.”

“I should be unwilling to expose her to the privations
and hardships of a new colony in the wilderness,
at this season of the year,”
replied Mr.
Weldon
; “but if we are preserved until spring, 22(4)v 260
I think we may venture there with a fair prospect
of success and happiness; and our cousin Miriam
has promised to be quite reconciled to her removal
then.”

“As much as I can be, you mean,” said Miriam;
“and on condition that you wait until my father returns.”

“Perhaps we may yet induce you to go with us,”
said Lois; “will you not assist us to persuade her,
Captain Standish?”

“Not I,” replied the Captain; “it is quite enough
to lose you, and we will not suffer Miriam to go,
even for a short time.”

“Not to such a place,” said Calvert, “where the
trees are yet scarcely felled, or the ground prepared
to bring forth food for the scanty inhabitants;
she might as well think of a voyage to the north
pole
.”

“I suppose you would rather recommend the
balmy breezes of the south, Mr. Calvert,”
said the
Captain.

“Yes,” returned Calvert, fixing his eyes on Miriam;
“there is some enjoyment in life, where the
earth is ever verdant, the flowers in almost perpetual
bloom, and the trees laden with delicious
fruits.”

“I should think one would grow weary from very
sameness,”
said Miriam; “and really my own climate
of New-England seems far pleasanter to me,
even with its snow storms and bleak winds, which
but render the return of spring more grateful.”

22(5)r 261

“That is exactly what you ought to say and think,
my little rose-bud,”
said the Captain. “I have seen
many countries, but no one fairer than this, or more
desirable; so do not let Mr. Calvert persuade you
there is any thing better to be found under the hot
sun of Virginia.”

“There is no danger of it, sir,” replied Miriam;
“I am very incredulous on this subject, and cannot
readily believe any land happier or more beautiful
than the one I have lived in, almost from my birth.”

“Not even Old England?” asked Peregrine White,
archly. “Major Atherton can tell you wonderful
stories about that, Miriam; and some which may
change your mind, perhaps.”

“Not in the least,” replied Miriam, smiling, but
deeply blushing; “it is our mother country, and I
have always been taught to love it, but—”

“Keep in your own colony,” interrupted the Captain,
“this exploring of the wilderness is a seeking
out of new inventions, which does not suit me, so
long as we have room enough and to spare about
us.”

“You did not think so, Captain,” said Lois, “seventeen
years ago, when you used to toss Miriam
in your arms, and run after me round the deck of
the Mayflower, in our passage over from Holland.”

“I was seventeen years younger then,” replied
the Captain, “and you a romping child, instead of
a grave matron, Mrs. Weldon; and we came for
the rights of conscience, which you cannot plead in
excuse for removing farther off; but your husband 22(5)v 262
may be right for all that, Lois; it is well to provide
ample space for a family; and at any rate, you
cannot mend the matter now.”

“I hope she will never have cause to wish it,”
said Mr. Weldon.

“I hope not,” returned the Captain; “but repentance
will sometimes creep in after marriage; it is
a short ceremony, but apt to bring a long reckoning.”

“Yes,” said Calvert; “you have invented a very
summary way of joining people together; and it
seems to me quite an improvement on the ancient
mode of our church; one is saved a vast deal of
time, to say nothing of the formidable array of book,
ring, and kneeling.”

“I am glad to hear you condemn such superfluities,”
said Mr. Grey, “which savour much of the
wordly spirit of vain glory. I hope, Major Atherton,
that you have judged as favourably of our
forms?”

“I see nothing to condemn in the form,” returned
Atherton; “but I must confess myself still prejudiced
in favour of that which I have been accustomed
to witness; and cannot but consider it more
solemn and impressive.”

“Is there any thing more binding,” asked Mr.
Grey
, “in the giving and receiving a ring, or in
kneeling, rather than standing?”

“No,” returned Atherton; “nor is the simple act
of joining the hands, which we all allow, in itself
binding; yet custom has equally sanctioned them 22(6)r 263
with us; and it is not easy to divest one’s self of its
influence.”

“Even as the children of Canaan clave unto their
graven images, so do the sons of prelacy put their
trust in the vain pomps and ceremonies of their religion,”
said the elderly man who had reproved Peregrine
White
, and now lent an attentive ear to the
conversation.

“I hope, sir, you will absolve us from wilful idolatry,”
returned Atherton; “we follow the path which
our fathers pointed out, as most congenial to the
spirit of the gospel, and the practice of its early followers.”

“It is blindly building an altar to the ‘unknown
God,’”
replied the other, “and seeking to please
him with offerings and oblations, in which he hath
no pleasure.”

“I do not feel myself very bigotted to forms,” replied
Atherton, “but some are undoubtedly expedient;
and long experience has proved the efficacy of
those which we have adopted.”

“The wedding ring, for instance,” said Calvert,
“I should hope some of our forms were more happy
in their effects, than that sometimes proves to be.”

“Major Atherton knows nothing of that yet,” said
Captain Standish, who had listened with evident
impatience to his kinsman’s defence of such obnoxious
ceremonies; “and I will be bound for him, if
he can get a wife to his liking, he will not stand
upon rings, or kneeling, or any such troublesome
inventions of priestcraft.”

22(6)v 264

“Now who would think,” said Mistress Rebecca
Spindle
, “of using a ring and a book to be married
with, unless it were a papist, or some such like.”

“And yet it is better than not to be married at
all,”
replied Peregrine White; “don’t you think so,
Mistress Rebecca?”

“Heaven forbid, that I should uphold such idolatrous
practices,”
ejaculated the spinster.

“But tell us now, Mistress Spindle,” returned
Peregrine, “when are we to drink your health at
your own wedding?”

“It must be all in the Lord’s own good time,” replied
Rebecca, in a tone of resignation.

“But you doubtless pray that the time may be
shortened,”
said Peregrine, gravely.

“Be it sooner or later, matters little for me to
know,”
returned the other, “our times are not in
our own hands.”

“I think it cannot be much later,” replied Peregrine,
“what say you, Miriam?”

“Mistress Rebecca can best judge of that matter
herself,”
said Miriam, “unless you may feel inclined
to decide it for her.”

“I had rather undertake to do it, for you,” answered
Peregrine; “and I believe, there would be
more than one ready to assist me.”

“No doubt of that,” said the Captain; “but I tell
you, Master Peregrine, Miriam does not need any
of your interference; she is well able to take care
of her own affairs.”

“Thank you Captain,” said Miriam; “I must 23(1)r 265
crave your assistance oftener, to drill Master
Peregrine
into good behaviour; he is very apt to
rebel against me.”

“It would be a good piece of service to us all, if
I could do so,”
replied the Captain; “but I would
sooner undertake to discipline a whole regiment of
recruits.”

“I will remove myself before you begin,” said
Peregrine; “this seems a second part of the good
man’s discourse, who lectured me about kissing
just now; and I will make room for Master
Ashly
, who is coming this way, to hear the conclusion.”

“Farewell,” said Miriam; “I hope the exhortation
has proved a ‘word in season to you.’”

“We will prove that by and bye,” returned
Peregrine, “when I can get nearer to your lips,
Miriam. Yonder is the Governor and all the
grave personages of the land, preparing to depart;
and peace go with them. You and I, Mistress
Rebecca
, with the rest of the young people, will
stay behind, and throw the stocking.”

The guests at that moment began to separate;
and the elderly and married ones, after shaking
hands with the bride and bridegroom, and repeating
their good wishes returned home, leaving
the younger part of the company, to pursue the
amusements peculiar to the occasion, and indulge
the mirth and gaiety which it inspired.

Vol. I. 23 23(1)v 266

Chapter XV.

“Oh why should fate sic pleasure have, Life’s dearest bands entwining? Or why sae sweet a flower as love, Depend on Fortune’s shining?” Burns.

Major Atherton was among the last who
quitted Mr. Grey’s; and, as the evening was rather
advanced, he was readily induced to return
with Peregrine White and pass the night at the
Governor’s. A strong north-west wind on the
following morning, proved favourable for the departure
of Captain Martin’s vessel; and soon
after breakfast, Mr. Winslow proposed calling to
take leave of Mr. Grey, in the expectation that
he was about to sail. Atherton readily acceded
to the proposal, and unwilling to intrude on his
domestic privacy, at the moment of separation
from his family, they proceeded directly to the vessel,
intending to await his arrival there. They
found him already on board; for Captain Martin,
who had been long detained by adverse winds,
and found the winter approaching, held every thing
in readiness, to take advantage of the first favourable
breeze; and was then preparing to weigh
anchor and depart.

Mr. Grey was standing on the fore-castle of
the ship, with his eyes fixed on the shore, where 23(2)r 267
his own house was just visible in the distance; and
so engaged in meditation that he did not perceive
the approach of the Governor and Major Atherton,
till they stood directly before him.

“The Captain has been expeditious in making
his arrangements,”
said Mr. Winslow; “I hoped
for a longer conference with you, before your departure.”

“Our farewell must be brief,” returned Mr.
Grey
; “I perceive they are already waiting for
us; but it is well, perhaps, that we have no longer
time; for I feel that the moment of separation is
too bitter to be prolonged.”

“They whom you leave behind,” said the Governor,
“are safe, I trust, in the protection of Heaven,
and surrounded by friends who will watch
over their safety, and minister to their comfort and
welfare.”

“That thought has power to console me,” replied
Mr. Grey; “while I cheerfully entrust my
child to the guardian care of Him, who is better
than any earthly parent; I feel persuaded also,
that I may confide in your friendship, should any
unexpected misfortune arise to perplex or distress
her.”

“Suffer no anxious thought for her to disturb
your mind,”
returned Mr. Winslow; “she shall be
unto me as mine own daughter, and to my wife
she is no less dear.”

“May God bless you, my friend,” said Mr. Grey,
with emotion; “and now, farewell! Cease not to
make mention of me in your prayers.”

23(2)v 268

“Farewell!” repeated Mr. Winslow; “and may
He, who commands the winds and stills the roaring
of the waves, guide and protect you in all
your ways, and return you in safety to us again.”

“Amen,” said Mr. Grey, with solemn emphasis, as
he slowly released his hand from the Governor, and
offered it to Major Atherton, who had remained a
silent but deeply interested auditor; and scarcely
able to repress the impulse, which urged him to
confess his attachment for Miriam, and entreat
permission of her father, to become himself her
protector and husband. But the recollection of
their late interview, with a conviction that it
would now be useless, and might increase his
anxiety respecting her, dissuaded him from the
attempt, while, in some embarrassment he waited
for Mr. Grey to address him.

“Major Atherton,” he at length said, “I may
meet with your friends or kindred, whither I am
going; and if I can do you aught of service
with them, command me and I will do it cheerfully;
for you have shewn much kindness unto me
and mine.”

“I have left few there to feel interested for my
fate,”
replied Atherton; “and to them I have already
written; but there are some valued friends
of my mother, whom you may chance to meet;
and if they enquire concerning me, say to them
that I am happy and contented.”

“And shall I tell them,” asked Mr. Grey, “that
you will sojourn yet a long time in this land?”

23(3)r 269

“I am still undecided,” replied Atherton; “it
may be but a few months, and possibly for many
years.”

“Commit your ways to Him, who ordereth all
things for the best;”
returned Mr. Grey; “and, if
I meet you here on my return, Major Atherton,
may it be in peace, and with the same sentiments
of regard and confidence, with which I now part
from you.”

“I trust you will find no cause to withdraw your
confidence and regard from me, sir,”
replied Atherton;
and the firmness of his voice, and the calmness
with which he restrained the searching glance
of Mr. Grey, seemed to reassure the latter, who
shook him cordially by the hand; and having exchanged
their parting adieus, the Governor and
Atherton returned to the shore.

Major Atherton soon after separated from Mr.
Winslow
, and ascending a slight eminence, which
commanded a view of the noble Bay of Plymouth,
he watched, with extreme interest, the progress of
the vessel, as with swelling sails she rode proudly
over the waves. It was nearly three months since
the same bark had brought him from the land to
which she was now returning, like a white winged
messenger; and, “why,” he asked himself, “am I
exiled from the country which gave me birth?
why do I still linger on these shores, an unknown
individual, in a clime which scarcely bears a
name on the map of civilization?”
He started, as
these reflections crossed his mind, and looked more Vol. I. 23* 23(3)v 270
eagerly upon the receding ship, as if desirous that
it should waft him back to the home he had forsaken.
But it was already far off in the distance;
the busy hum of the sailors, the commanding
voice of the Captain, were borne away on the
winds; and Atherton repeated, with a sigh, “Why
should I revisit the scenes of my boyhood and
youth? where there is no loved voice to welcome
me, where all whom I held most dear, have been
prematurely snatched from my embrace, and where
my ambitious hopes of honour and distinction have
been blighted in the bud. Here there is at least
one being to attach me, and here I will remain, until
her lips decide my destiny.”

With this resolution, Major Atherton walked
quickly onwards, till he found himself by the well-
known wicket, which led to the house of Mr. Grey.
He looked earnestly in the windows, but no person
was visible; and fearful that a visit from him, at
that time, would be unwelcome, he was passing by
with reluctant steps, when the door opened and
closed again, with some violence; and looking
round, he saw Mr. Calvert coming from it and advancing
towards him.

“Upon my word, Major Atherton,” he said, “you
haunt this spot, like the ghost of a despairing lover;
at morning, noon, and night, I find you hovering
round it,—”

“Which proves your frequent visits also,” replied
Atherton; “and are they made in the same
unhappy spirit which you attribute to me?”

23(4)r 271

“Entirely the reverse,” said Calvert; “besides,
I am not always creeping around the borders, but
enter boldly into the bower of my pretty nymph.”

“I should not take the freedom to enter, at a season
like the present,”
said Atherton, “when she can
scarcely feel in spirits to receive the visit even of a
friend.”

“Your scruples are certainly very delicate,” said
Calvert, sarcastically; “but my acquaintance, you
will remember, is of longer standing, which entitles
me to greater freedom.”

“And you are not very fastidious about trifles, I
think,”
returned Atherton; “but, may I ask, how
you found the family within?”

“If you mean Mr. Weldon, and old Jemima, the
house-maid, they seemed as well as usual.”

“Were your efforts at consolation directed entirely
to them?”
asked Atherton.

“To tell you the truth, I saw no others to exercise
it upon, unless it were Miriam’s kitten,”
said
Calvert, pettishly.

“You did not see Miriam Grey, then?” returned
Atherton; and he could not suppress a smile of
pleasure.

“You need not look so much pleased about it,”
replied Calvert. “I am sure it is no strange thing
for girls to shew off their importance, by such capricious
airs; and Lois would doubtless like to display
her authority, now she has become a matron.”

“Did Mrs. Weldon prohibit Miriam from appearing?”
enquired Atherton.
“Very likely,” said Calvert; “but I did not see 23(4)v 272
her either; they were wailing together, in some
dark corner, for aught I know; but you had better
go in, Major; perhaps you will be more successful.”

“Excuse me;” replied Atherton; “I am not fond
of making experiments; and it would be particularly
rash, when you have so recently failed.”

“You are too cautious, to be a dangerous rival,”
said Calvert; “so I forgive your joy at my defeat
just now; which really does not cause me the
least inquietude. Women are fickle beings at the
best; and may well be allowed their whims before
marriage, since no man of sense will indulge them
afterwards. And so, good morning to you.”

Major Atherton returned home, in unusually
good spirits, which led Captain Standish to remark,
“that the wedding had produced a wholesome
effect on him; and that he hoped to congratulate
him on his own before long.”

Atherton was not displeased at the wish; nor at
a succeeding proposition, that they should, the following
day, pay their respects to Mrs. Weldon and
see how Miriam fared in her father’s absence.

The visit was accordingly made; and they
found Miriam more cheerful than they expected,
and almost reconciled to the separation. Atherton
spoke of her father, and mentioned that he had
seen him, at the moment of his departure; a circumstance
which seemed to give him additional interest
with her; and she asked numberless questions
respecting him, that he was never weary of 23(5)r 273
answering. An hour or two passed by; and when
the Captain spoke of their return, Atherton thought
them the shortest and most delightful he had ever
spent; nor was it without evident reluctance that
he rose to accompany him.

Another week glided away, almost the happiest
of Major Atherton’s life; for some portion of every
day he passed in the society of Miriam, and his
approach was welcomed by her, with a brighter
smile, and deeper glow than usually adorned her
countenance. These expressions of pleasure, of
which, with an artlessness that rendered them more
attractive, she seemed perfectly unconscious, Atherton
could not fail to regard as indications that
he had awakened some interest in her affections;
and with the sanguine hopes which time had not
yet taught him to distrust, he indulged the most
flattering dreams, forgetful of her father’s interdiction,
and of every obstacle which could oppose
his wishes. Frank and undisguised in his disposition,
Captain Standish easily penetrated his views
and feelings; but he made no comment on them;
and only occasionally hazarded a jest on his frequent
visits to Miriam Grey. In these visits he
was sometimes his companion, and readily detected,
through the delicate reserve, perhaps consciousness,
which led Miriam to direct her attentions and
conversation less freely to Atherton than any
other; an incipient preference, which, thus disguised,
might have escaped an unobservant eye.

To the mind of Mrs. Weldon, the situation of her 23(5)v 274
cousin, occasioned many anxious and perplexing
thoughts. Too solicitous for her happiness, not to
remark the attachment which appeared to be daily
strengthening, between Miriam and Major Atherton,
she yet felt unable to avert it, or to interrupt
their intercourse, which she knew must meet the
disapprobation of her father, and probably terminate
in disappointment to them both. Mr. GrayGrey
had ever placed unbounded confidence in the discretion
of his niece, and in the dutiful affection of
his daughter; and Lois felt a degree of responsibility
during his absence which increased her uneasiness,
and determined her to remind Miriam of
her duty, and the submission which she owed to the
wishes of her father.

One day, when Major Atherton had not been
with them as usual, and Miriam discovered many
symptoms of disappointment, Mrs. Weldon, after
observing her for some time in silence, at length
said,—

“You are unusually grave to day, Miriam; has
any thing happened to give you uneasiness?”

“No, nothing, Lois,” said Miriam; “but I believe
the dulness of the weather affects my spirits.”

—And she arose from her chair, and crossing the
room, seated herself by a window.

“You did not use to regard such trifles, Miriam,
but were as cheerful in storms as in sunshine.”

“Yes, when my father was at home; but I cannot
now avoid many anxious thoughts respecting
him.”

23(6)r 275

“And were you less anxious for him two days
since, when it stormed so violently?”
asked Lois.

“No, but Mr. Calvert was here then, and one
cannot but be gay where he is; besides, he assured
me that the vessel was beyond the reach of our
storms.”

“And Major Atherton was here too,” said Lois;
“did you forget to mention him?”

Miriam made no reply, but looked steadfastly
upon the leafless branches of the trees, which rustled
against the casement.

“I did not think, Miriam,” continued Lois, “that
Mr. Calvert would render you so entirely forgetful
of Major Atherton.”

“You cannot believe, Lois,” said Miriam, turning
to her with vivacity, “that I do, for a moment,
prefer Mr. Calvert, or even place him in comparison
with—”
She stopped abruptly, abashed by a
smile which lurked on the countenance of Lois.

“No, dear Miriam,” said Mrs. Weldon, after a
moment’s pause, “I only fear that you think too
highly of Major Atherton, and too frequently.”

“And why should you fear that, Lois? how often
have I heard you speak warmly in his praise; and
surely he has done nothing to forfeit your regard.”

“Nothing, Miriam; I believe him deserving of
the high opinion which we all entertain of him.”

“Why then should we withdraw it, Lois? I, at
least, who am indebted to him for my recovered
life, should be ungrateful to repay his kindness with
cold indifference.”

23(6)v 276

“I would not have you ungrateful, or indifferent,
Miriam; but guard your feelings, lest they betray
you into warmer sentiments than are consistent
with your duty and happiness.”

“Surely, dear Lois,” said Miriam, with alarm,
“I have betrayed no undue partiality—nothing
which can be deemed improper or unbecoming!”

“I spoke of the future, not the past, Miriam.
I would awaken your prudence, not alarm your
delicacy. Your own discretion can alone direct
you. Major Atherton seeks not to disguise his
affection for you; and he hopes to obtain yours in
return.”

“It cannot, must not be so;” replied Miriam,
deeply blushing; “and believe me, Lois, the wishes
of my father shall not be disregarded.”

“Let them ever continue sacred to you;” returned
Lois; “remember your voluntary promise to
consult his will, and it may save you many unhappy
moments, many painful reflections. And now,
tell me, Miriam, that you forgive my interference?”

“I thank you for it, dear Lois,” said Miriam;
“and I believe you were in this, as in every other
thing, actuated by kindness to me. But I think,”

she added, more gaily, “you have not exacted impossibilities
from me.”

Mrs. Weldon looked a moment in silence, at her
cousin’s varying complexion; and then kissing her
affectionately, left her to the indulgence of her own
reflections.

Miriam stood at the window with her eyes fixed 24(1)r 277
on the passing clouds, till unconsciously they became
filled with tears, which gathered in large
drops, and rolled unheeded down her cheeks. But
she was soon roused from this situation by the appearance
of Major Atherton, who hastily flung open
the wicket, and with quick foot-steps approached
the door. Miriam finding it impossible to retire
without observation, endeavoured to wipe away the
traces of her emotion, and receive him with her
usual cheerfulness. For the first time, however,
her manner was constrained and embarrassed;
and the animation of Atherton vanished, when he
perceived the dejection which her efforts were unable
to disguise.

“Dear Miriam, why are you so sad?” he asked,
in a voice of anxious tenderness, and thrown off his
guard by an appearance of melancholy so unusual
to her.

“I have been watching these watery clouds,” she
replied, averting her face from him, “till they have
imparted their gloomy influence to me; the angry
tossing of the waves too, as they dash against the
rocks, remind me of the terrors and perils of the sea.”

“Nay then,” said Atherton, “I must not allow
you to look on objects which fill your imagination
with such sombre images.”
And he gently led her
towards the fire, and seated himself beside her.

“But I can still hear the rushing of the wind,”
said Miriam, smiling, “and the sound is scarcely
less appalling to me.”

“Its influence cannot extend beyond the coast,”Vol. I.2424(1)v278
returned Atherton; “and I trust your father is now
far distant beneath a clearer sky, and borne on by
favourable gales.”

“But where all is uncertain,” replied Miriam,
“it is impossible to exclude doubt and anxiety from
the mind.”

“How happy should I be,” said Atherton, fervently,
“could I ever hope to be regarded with so much
interest.”

“And do you feel so very destitute of friends,”
asked Miriam, reproachfully, “as to believe there
are none here, who would feel solicitude for your
welfare and happiness?”

“I trust there are many, and those whose esteem
I highly prize;”
returned Atherton; “but the favour
of the whole world were vain and joyless to me,
Miriam, unless blessed with the love which I so ardently
aspire to gain.”

Miriam drooped her eyes beneath his impassioned
gaze; but determined to conceal the emotions
which really agitated her, she resumed an air of
unconcern, and with apparent gaiety, replied,—

“And like Haman of old, every blessing is valuless
in your eyes, so long as one desire is withholden
from you! but remember his fate is recorded for
our learning, on whom the ends of the earth have
come!”

Atherton looked at her in surprise and perplexity,
as if seeking an explanation of a levity so sudden
and ill-timed; but deceived by her transient
self-possession, and deeply wounded by her supposed 24(2)r 279
indifference, he hastily rose, and in a voice of
touching melancholy, replied,—

“Pardon my presumption, Miriam; and when I
am far from you, think of me at least with kindness.”

“Far from me! when, whither are you going?”
asked Miriam, quickly; and surprised out of her
caution, by his unexpected words and manner.

Atherton had turned from her, but the hurried
and anxious tone in which she spoke, revived his
hopes, and instantly recalled him.

“You alone can decide for me, Miriam,” he said,
eagerly; “for I place my destiny at your disposal.”

“You have chosen a blind guide,” said Miriam,
with recovered composure, “since I am entirely ignorant
of your circumstances and designs.”

“Why, Miriam,” returned Atherton, “do you thus
misunderstand me? need you any further proofs to
convince you, that without you every place must
become dreary to me, and every enjoyment a source
of bitterness?”

“Suffer me not,” replied Miriam, with a flushed
cheek, and unsteady voice, “to interfere with your
pursuits, or interrupt the plans of enjoyment which
have drawn you hither.”

“Happiness is the object of my pursuit,” said Atherton;
“and I find it centered in you; restless and
disappointed, I left my native land; but in your
presence, life has renewed the sunshine and beauty
which gladdened my early days, and which, removed
from you, would again wither and fade away. 24(2)v 280
Dearest Miriam, you alone are the inspirer and the
object of all my hopes; and surely you cannot, will
not, condemn me to protracted misery and disappointment.”

“Nothing in my power to grant,” said Miriam,
with emotion, “would I willingly deny to you.”

“And are not your hand and heart at your own
disposal?”
asked Atherton, with animation; “grant
me these, dear Miriam, for these only can render
me happy.”

“They can never, never be yours!” replied Miriam;
and hastily withdrawing her hand, she covered
her eyes, and remained silent.

“Have I been deceived?” asked Atherton, steadily
regarding her pale cheek and quivering lip.
“Oh no, I feel that you love me, Miriam, and no
cruel interdiction shall ever separate us.”

“Leave me, Major Atherton,” said Miriam, mildly,
“I have not sought to deceive you; but it is
enough to know that our fates can never be united.”

“And would you thus banish me from your presence?”
asked Atherton, impetuously, “without assigning
the cause, without one word of regret? No,
Miriam, never will I leave you, unless your own
lips pronounce that I am hateful to you.”

“And would that render you more contented?”
asked Miriam, with a mournful smile, “I would not
part from you but with expressions of gratitude
and kindness.”

“And what would they avail me?” returned Atherton, 24(3)r 281
“if deprived of your society, and robbed of
every hope which can render life supportable?”

“Would you reject my friendship, because you
cannot receive my love?”
asked Miriam. “Has
not our intercourse been hitherto more rational,
more delightful, than it can ever be, when passions
such as these agitate our interviews?”

“Hitherto I believed my tenderness returned,”
said Atherton, “and indulged the hope, that a closer
union would at length bind us to each other. Let
me still indulge that hope, Miriam, however distant
the day, allow me still to believe my constancy will
be crowned with success, and I can patiently endure
the tortures of suspense, and the agony of protracted
hope.”

“It is impossible,” said Miriam; “deceive not
yourself with an expectation which can never be
realized; forget that you have ever known me,
Atherton, or remember me only as a friend, a sister.”

“And is it you, Miriam, who thus condemn me
to despair? and with a voice so gentle, a face so
mild and benignant? Tell me,”
he added, almost
wildly, “is your heart impenetrable, or have you
devoted it to another?”

“Do not torment yourself with suspicions which
are groundless,”
replied Miriam; “but should you
feel more resigned, Atherton, to believe your fancied
unhappiness shared by me? would it be any
alleviation to find me also doomed to struggle against Vol. I. 24* 24(3)v 282
a passion which my reason would condemn, and my
duty could never sanction?”

“No, dearest Miriam,” said Atherton, “I am not
so very selfish; but tell me why should your reason
and your duty disapprove it? and what is this
mighty obstacle to our love? can no sacrifice, no
exertions of mine, remove it?”

“No, none which I can expect or desire from you,”
said Miriam.

“Is it my religion alone?” pursued Atherton;
“will your father blast all the opening prospects of
my life, because my faith is different from his own?”

“Ask me not,” said Miriam, rising with agitation;
“why should we prolong a conference so painful
to us both?”

“Stay yet a moment longer,” said Atherton, earnestly;
“do not reject me, Miriam, till your father
returns, and I can plead my cause to him. Tell
me only, that if he does not reprove my wishes, you
will listen to the pleadings of my love, and I may
yet look forward to success and happiness.”

“You ask what I cannot, ought not to grant you,”
replied Miriam; “and why should you increase the
bitterness of disappointment, by vainly indulging
hopes which can never be realized?”

“The cause exists in your own indifference,” said
Atherton, vehemently; “why should I seek farther
for it? Every word you utter, is but a new proof
that I deceived myself in believing you honoured
me with your regard.”

“Is there no medium,” asked Miriam, with a 24(4)r 283
trembling voice, “between the extravagance of passion,
and the coldness of indifference? but I forgive
your injustice, Atherton, in a moment of cooler reason
you will feel that I do not deserve it; that I am
not so ungrateful as you now believe me.”

Miriam turned from him as she finished speaking,
and bent her head to conceal the tears which
filled her eyes; but Major Atherton again seized
her hand, and with all the inconsistency of passion,
exclaimed,—

“Miriam, you cannot love me, or you would not
yield thus calmly to the cold dictates of rigid duty;
you would not banish me from your presence without
one word of hope, one smile of encouragement!
Dearest Miriam, I could endure every thing, were
I only assured that you understood my feelings and
shared the bitterness of my regret.”

“At least, believe,” said Miriam, mildly, “that
you have excited many anxious thoughts, many
emotions that I would fain avoid, by a display of
impetuous and ungoverned feeling, which I had
not expected from you; and pardon me, Major
Atherton
, which I must consider unbecoming your
principles and character.”

“I cannot endure your reproaches, Miriam,” replied
Atherton; “if you do not love at least pity
and forgive me. But what avails it?”
he added, in
a tone of sadness; “and why should I still linger
here? Forget this interview if possible, and think
of me as you were wont to do, in the early days of
our acquaintance; and now farewell, beloved Miriam! 24(4)v 284
perhaps forever!”
And he pressed her unresisting
hand with fervour to his lips.

“What mean you,” said Miriam, with quick
alarm, “and whither are you going? surely you
contemplate no rash enterprize?”

“I go from you,” said Atherton, “and where, it
matters not; all places are henceforth alike to me.”

“Say not so,” replied Miriam; “but rather exert
the firmness of your spirit and subdue a predilection,
which it is your duty and interest to repress, and
which must yield at length to the assuasive influence
of time.”

“Impossible! it never can,” said Atherton; “do
not seek to move me from my purpose; do not,
Miriam, shake the feeble resolution I have struggled
to acquire; here, I cannot remain with safety, and
absence from you may perhaps render my disappointment
less insupportable.”

“Go then,” said Miriam, vainly endeavouring to
speak with composure; “and may God watch over
you and protect you.”

Atherton still held her hand with deep but silent
emotion; fearful to trust himself again to speak,
yet reluctant to tear himself from her presence;
when the sudden entrance of Mrs. Weldon aroused
him to immediate exertion. Too much agitated
however to enter into an explanation, which her
looks seemed to demand, he rushed hastily past
her, and in a moment was in the open air.

The evening was closing in, shrouded with clouds
and gloom; though some faint streaks of light 24(5)r 285
which lingered after the setting sun, seemed to give
promise of a brighter morrow. But Major Atherton
felt this darkness far more congenial to his
feelings than the glare of day; and closely envelloped
in his cloak, with even his face concealed
within its folds, he wandered on he knew not, cared
not whither, till found himself approaching the
sea-shore. Atherton threw back the cloak, and
looked earnestly upon the restless ocean: the monotonous
moaning of the waves as they broke upon
the pebbly beach, the whistling of the wind, and
the shrill cry of the sea-birds, as they swooped to
dip their wings in the watery element, and eddyed
around his head in returning to their craggy nests,
—dreary as were the sounds, they combined to fill
his mind with a melancholy, but soothing influence.
As he stood thus, his eyes were involuntarily attracted
by a small vessel lying at anchor, from
which proceeded the sounds of labour; and in the
imperfect twilight, he perceived several persons
busied at hatchways, while others were repairing
the masts, apparently in preparation for
an intended voyage. Atherton instantly recognised
the Massachusetts bark which had been some time
in the harbour; and prompted by a sudden resolution,
he sprang upon a projecting rock and leaped
from crag to crag, till he came near enough to hail
those on board. He was answered by a respectable
looking man, who seemed to be the master,
and of him, Atherton enquired if “they were bound
to the Massachuestts Bay?”
and received a civil
reply in the affirmative.

24(5)v 286

“And how soon do you intend to sail?” pursued
Atherton.

“To-morrow, if the wind is fair, and it seems to
be turning about the right way.”

“Can you take a passenger with you, Master?”
asked Atherton.

“We have room and to spare,” replied the man,
“if you can put up with our poor fare and accommodations.”

“I care not for that, friend,” returned Atherton,
“and shall hold myself in readiness to depart with
you.”

“We will get things in the best order possible;
and the king can do no better,”
said the man;
“and God willing, we hope to clear out of port at
an early hour.”

“The sooner the better,” said Atherton; “and I
owe you thanks, master, for your readiness to
oblige.”

Considerably relieved by this unexpected arrangement,
Major Atherton hastened homewards; but
as he re-entered the house he had lately quitted
with such buoyant hopes, the mental change which
a few hours had produced, sensibly affected him;
and yielding to the excitement of his feelings, he
threw himself into a chair and covered his face
with his hands. Captain Standish, whom in the
agitation of the moment he had not observed, alone
occupied the apartment, and regarded his unusual
conduct with extreme surprise, not unmixed with
alarm.

“Cousin Atherton,” he at length said, “are you 24(6)r 287
stark mad, or what in the name of wonder ails
you?”

Atherton started at the sound of his voice; and
after struggling a moment to regain his firmness,
replied,—

“Excuse me, sir; but I did not see you; I could
think of nothing but my own selfish regrets and
disappointment.”

“Speak out frankly, like a soldier, Edward,”
returned the Captain; “I am more in the dark than
ever; but I always thought you would get no good
by going so often to Plymouth, and taking such
long walks in the night air.”

“I have indeed, met only with evil,” said Atherton,
bitterly; “but who could have believed it existed
under so fair a form?”

“Ah! I begin to understand you,” returned the
Captain; “something about my rose-bud, I’ll warrant
you; a love-quarrel perhaps; but it will soon
be made up again, if I have any skills in smiles and
blushes.”

“No, no,” said Atherton, quickly; “I shall never
see her more.”

“You will think better of that to-morrow, cousin
Atherton; and so bear up with a good heart, and
remember girls are apt to mean more than they
say, and sometimes say more than they mean.”

“She does not, I know but too well,” replied
Atherton; and after a short pause, he added, “I
wish not to withhold my confidence from you, sir;
but allow me to be brief. She has slighted my love, 24(6)v 288
rejected my hand, and what remains for me to
seek or enjoy?”

He walked across the room with hurried steps,
as he concluded; and the Captain, whose countenance
expressed a lively sympathy, took his hand
kindly, and said,—

“This must not be, Edward; depend upon it,
there is some mistake, some foolish whim, perhaps;
for Miriam may love to teaze as well as the rest
of her giddy sex; but suffer me to speak with her,
I can explain all, and it may yet be well with you.”

“It cannot be,” returned Atherton; “she will not
listen to you, neither can I suffer her to be persuaded,
if her heart is not interested to plead my
cause. No, I would never endure to receive her
compassion, as a substitute for her love; and, if
duty is the obstacle, I ought not, perhaps, to oppose
it. I thank you sir, for this,—for all your
kindness to me; and think me not ungrateful;
but, to-morrow, I must quit your hospitable roof
for a season. At present, I should but burthen
you with my society; and, in absence, I hope to
subdue a weakness, which I blush to expose. Nay,
seek not to dissuade me,”
he added,—seeing the
Captain about to speak,—“and I must now beg
permission to retire.”

Captain Standish offered no further remonstrance,
aware of its inefficacy, at the moment of
keen excitement; and hoping he would be disposed
to listen more favourably, after a night of repose
had in some degree soothed the irritation of his
feelings.

25(1)r 289

Chapter XVI.

“Methinks I have a curiosity To know this country, that for ages past, Lay hid, and you have now found out at last.” Wolcott.

Captain Standish, on the following morning
renewed his arguments and entreaties; but they
proved equally ineffectual, as on the preceding
evening, to change the determination of Major
Atherton
, though he had recovered his usual self-
possession, and even a degree of his customary
cheerfulness. Pride, alone, would doubtless have
done much to sustain him under his disappointment;
but in addition to this powerful aid, he indulged
a secret persuasion, that Miriam Grey was
actuated by duty, rather than inclination, in rejecting
his suit; and with it the hope that time
would produce a change in her decision, which at
present he could not effect; and situated as she
was, particularly during her father’s absence, he,
perhaps, ought not to attempt. A few hours of
cool reflection convinced him of the weakness and
folly of yielding to the impetuosity of his feelings;
and, happily, his mind had been early regulated
by principle and subjected to the government of
reason; while he possessed that elasticity of spirit,
which always rose with renewed energy from the
pressure of misfortune.

Vol. I. 25 25(1)v 290

Captain Standish was pleased to find that the
subject of his intended visit to the Massachusetts
interested the mind of Atherton, and readily consulted
with him, on the most probable means of
rendering it useful and agreeable; and also prepared
several letters, which would introduce him
to persons of distinction there. These brief preliminaries
being settled, Atherton bade farewell to
his kinsman, with the promise of returning as
soon as circumstances could permit; and making
a hasty call at the Governor’s, as he proceeded on
his way, before the hour of noon he was wafted
from the harbour of Plymouth.

Major Atherton sighed as he looked back upon
the friendly shore he was quitting; and the dreariness
of nature, the leafless trees, the stubble
fields, the hills embrowned by frost, and the valleys
withered by the approach of winter, presented
a striking contrast to the same scene, as he
had first observed it, when in the luxuriance of
autumn, waving with the golden harvest, rich
with variegated foliage, refreshed by verdure, and
animated with flocks and herds. For a moment,
the gloomy analogy seemed applicable to the
change produced in his own feelings. But shaking
off such melancholy reflections, he turned his eyes
towards the Blue Hills of Massachusetts, which
appeared to dilate, as they approached near and
nearer; and the clouds that rested on their summits
gradually rolled away, unveiling their majestic
proportions; and again the bewitching spirit
of adventure, the all-powerful charm of novelty, 25(2)r 291
took possession of his mind. The day, notwithstanding,
passed tediously away; the after part
of it became cloudy, and their course was impeded
by contrary winds; and chilled and weary, he retired
early to the birth allotted him.

As soon as Atherton awoke in the morning, he
hastened on deck, to note the progress they had
made; and with delighted surprise, found the vessel
just entering the harbour of Boston. So novel
and beautiful was the scene presented to his view,
that he could scarcely persuade himself, that he
was not suddenly transported to the regions of fairy-
land.

A slight fall of snow, which descended during
the night, had invested the earth with its fleecy
covering, and robed every object with a drapery
of dazzling white, finely contrasted to the brilliant
azure of the cloudless sky, and the deep green of
the ocean waves. The numerous islands, which
gem the waters of the Bay, all wore the same unsullied
vestment, while each tree was tufted with
the wintry foliage, which wreathed the smallest
spray, and every slender shrub and clustering
vine trembled beneath the feathery burthen.

But, even while gazing, the glittering pageant
faded from the eye; the warm beams of the rising
sun spread, like a blush over the stainless surface;
and yielding to their influence, the delicate frost-
work melted from tree, shrub, and vine, and descended
in broken masses to the ground. As nature
threw off the fantastic dress she had assumed, 25(2)v 292
Atherton was powerfully struck by the grandeur
of her form, and the endless variety of lineament
which characterises her, in a land where the magnificent
and the beautiful are blended, with such
exquisite and unrivalled skill. The vessel was
passing through the narrow channel, which forms
the entrance to the harbour, and then expands into
a deep and capacious basin; on the left, the Blue
Hills
were still visible, forming a part of the lofty
range, which rises gradually from the shores of
the Massachusetts, almost encircling the coast,
and broken at intervals into deep ravines and extensive
vallies, then almost in the untutored wildness
of nature;—where many a silver stream rolled
its fertilizing waves, unmarked by any eye,
save that of the Indian hunter, and unimproved,
but by the industrious beaver, who erected his ingenious
habitation on its banks.

Major Atherton gazed with unwearied pleasure
on the boundless prospect; lovely and majestic in
its outlines, though the freshness and bloom of
summer were wanting to complete its attractions,
and clothe with verdure the undulating forests
and fruitful plains. Near him were the commanding
heights of Dorchester, then unknown to
fame: more distant, the wood-crowned eminence
of Noonantum, where soon after, commenced the
missionary labours of the American Apostle, the
devoted Eliot, who there gathered around him the
red children of the forest, and instructed them in
the duties of religion and the arts of civilization: 25(3)r 293
nearer, again, arose the memorable summit of
Bunker Hill, where the first laurels were plucked
to garland the brow of liberty; while far in the
northern horizon, like floating clouds, were visible
the stupendous mountains, which pervade the then
unexplored regions of New-Hampshire. Traces of
cultivation were apparent within this extensive
range; and that spirit of enterprise, which marked
the early settlers of New-England, and has never
deserted their descendants, was already observable
in the rapid improvements which their industry
had accomplished. In many places, the axe of
the adventurer had felled the trees of the wilderness;
and in their stead, appeared at intervals,
the clustering tenements, the mud-walled church,
and wooden palisade, denoting the foundation of a
town, or village, most of which have since risen
into wealth and importance.

But the attention of Atherton was confined to a
narrower circle, as they advanced into the harbour,
and swiftly glided on between the beautiful islands,
which it embraces. A few of these were still in a
state of nature; some were barren rocks, others
thinly wooded, and several partially cleared and
improved. One, called the Governor’s Garden,
and appropriated particularly to his use,—and which
is still in possession of the lineal descendants of
the first Governor of Massachusetts,—was arranged
with considerable regularity and taste, and
prettily contrasted with the wildness of those
around it. Noddle’s Island, on which was situated Vol. I. 25* 25(3)v 294
the mansion house of Mr. Maverick, well fortified
against hostile attack; and Castle Island, with its
fort and battlements, the crimson banner of royalty
floating from its walls, and the guards, in military
costume, pacing their rounds with measured
steps,—gave an air of spirit and vivacity to the
scene.

Boston, the now admired and celebrated capital
of New-England,—then in its infancy, and presenting
the appearance of an inconsiderable hamlet,—
burst upon the view, with that commanding grandeur
and beauty of situation, which still distinguish
it; but almost in the rudeness of its native charms,
which have long since been exchanged for the
garniture of wealth, and the confusion of business
and pleasure. Major Atherton remarked every
object with interest; and though now accustomed
to the rural simplicity of American towns, the
local advantages and superiority of Boston over
any that he had yet seen, excited his admiration;
while his approach to it renewed the novel and
delightful sensations, which he felt, on first viewing
the coast of Plymouth.

It was yet early in the morning, when the little
vessel anchored, not far from a cliff at the eastern
part of the town, which, with two sister hills, formed
a picturesque group, observable from a considerable
distance, and originally gave the name of
Trimountain to the place. But succeeding generations
have nearly levelled them, and their site
is now covered with broad and paved streets, and 25(4)r 295
ornamented with the splendid mansions of the rich
and fashionable, and the costly edifices of public
munificence.

Atherton gladly accepted the civilities of the
master of the boat, who offered to conduct him to
the only inn which Boston then contained; where
he found decent accommodations, and an apartment
which was at least cleanly, and entirely at his
own disposal. Having taken formal possession of
his new lodgings, Major Atherton ordered some
refreshments, of which he invited his guide to partake,
whose decent manners and obliging conduct,
since they had been thrown together, he deemed
worthy of some attention. The invitation was accepted,
with many apologies, by his humble companion,
who however seemed duly sensible of the
honour, and resolved to shew his gratitude, by
doing ample justice to the well-dressed viands set
before them, which to Atherton particularly, formed
a welcome contrast to the coarse provisions,
served up during their voyage. The table was
prepared in a room, apparently set apart for the
important business of eating and drinking; there
were in it oaken tables of every size, and benches
of divers lengths, suited to the number of guests;
and moreover, an abundance of wooden trenchers
and pewter pots, in readiness, at a moments warning,
with all the apparatus, liable to be put in requisition,
by the imperious cravings of hunger or
thirst. But on this occasion, the landlord had
garnished the board with his choice service of shining 25(4)v 296
pewter; having previously received information
from the master, that Major Atherton was a
gentleman, and not sparing of his money; and,
withal, a kinsman of the Plymouth Captain. Yet
it behoves us to add that the good woman, who
ruled the household and himself, refused to deliver
up the platters, which she had cleaned with her
own hands, until, by peeping through a broad crack
in the partition, she received occular demonstration
that he was a genteel and comely youth:—from
which, we may infer, that even in the golden days
of puritanism, women would sometimes dispute the
commands of that nobler sex, to whom they owe
the most dutiful submission.

They were scarcely seated at table, when Atherton
observed a man of peculiar appearance, sauntering
past the half open door, and looking in upon
them, with suspicious curiosity. He was evidently
of the lower order, and his large gaunt figure was
rendered more ungainly by a total disregard to
the outward man, touching the manner of apparel.
His broad, turned up nose, and thick lips, which
seemed formed for vulgar good-nature, were drawn
down to the utmost limits that the longitude of his
face would admit, and contracted into an ascetic
expression, not at all relieved by the ungracious
leer of his greenish eyes, which stood forth like
the orbs of a beetle, and were surmounted by a
square build skull, clipped with the formal precision
of self-complacent sanctity. Having passed
and repassed the door several times, he boldly 25(5)r 297
entered, and threw himself on a bench, with the
air of one who is conscious of possessing authority,
which he is, nevertheless, somewhat afraid of
executing; and continued to regard Atherton and
his companion with immoveable gravity, noting,
with particular attention, whenever they raised the
cup to their lips.

Major Atherton, for some time disregarded this
scrutiny; but as the stranger discovered no disposition
to retire, he at length felt vexed with his
impertinent intrusion, and endeavoured to reprove
him, by a look of stern displeasure. For moment
it proved successful; he twisted on the seat,
and with some violence, twirled between his fingers
a small baton which he carried; but as
Atherton returned to his employment, in the belief,
that he had effected his object, the other also resumed
his dull gloomy composure, and again fixed
his eyes on them, in the most annoying manner.
Atherton, provoked in spite of himself, at the unmannerly
inquisition, asked, in a tone of severity,

“Is there aught you would desire of me, Master,
that you thus obtrude into my presence?”

“The godly rulers of our land,” replied the man,
with a slow, emphatic accent, “have raised up me,
their unworthy servant, to execute their will; and,
for this purpose have I now come hither.”

“And have they appointed you,” resumed Atherton,
“to watch the motions of strangers, and thrust
yourself upon them undesired?”

“Such is mine honourable employment,” returned 25(5)v 298
the other; “even to purge iniquity from the land,
and preserve our city from pollution.”

“You have chosen a singular method to effect
this salutary purpose,”
said Atherton; “but I must
beg you to explain it more at large to me.”

With the manner of one who is about to commence
a homily, the stranger stretched out his hand
and replied,—

“‘Who hath wo? who hath sorrow? who hath
contentions? who hath redness of eyes? they that
tarry long at the wine, they that go to seek mixed
wine.’”

“We are not among those ‘that rise up early’
to ‘follow strong drink;’”
returned Atherton;
“and the suspicions you seem to entertain of us are
quite unfounded; we can therefore spare you the
trouble of further attendance here.”

“He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for
it,”
replied the other; “and therefore must mine
own eyes be faithful witnesses in the things whereunto
I am called.”

“Your lips would be the fitter vouchers in this
instance,”
said Atherton, who began to feel his curiosity
excited by the singular character and employment
of his new acquaintance; “and you need
but taste of mine host’s home-brewed ale, to be
convinced he has paid due regard to the rules of
sobriety in the admixture of its ingredients.”

The stranger slowly waved his hand as if to
repel the temptation, and replied,—

25(6)r 299

“‘Look not thou upon the wine when it is red,
when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth
itself aright’
; which,—as our worthy minister
remarked when exhorting from that text,—is applicable
unto any liquor that may tempt the ungodly
to drink to excess and surfeiting.”

“And by what authority,” asked Atherton, “are
you empowered to scrutinize the conduct of individuals
who may chance to sojourn here?”

“By the authority of those who are set as
watchmen on the walls of our Zion,”
replied the
other; “whose duty it is to see that riot and drunkenness
prevail not within the city of their habitation.”

“I am not disposed to dispute your office,” said
Atherton, “though it is so extraordinary that a
stranger might well be excused for doing so; neither
do I feel obliged to submit to your judgment,
or at all inclined to endure your intrusive examination.”

“In which case,” replied the constable, “the well-
known laws of the colony must be my refuge, seeing
they will uphold me so long as I bear this
staff, which, like the rod that was borne by Aaron
of old, is a just symbol of my power.”

“And in all cases, if I understand you rightly,”
said Atherton, “you are constituted a judge over
the heads and consciences of those who come here,
and are entitled to decide how much each can
bear?”

“It is even so,” replied the other, “touching the 25(6)v 300
strangers who enter within our gates, and sit at
our public boards; they being allowed to drink
freely, what in my discretion I may opine sufficient;
and no more is permitted to be given unto
them.”

“You must exercise a thankless office,” said
Atherton; “and is any penalty attached to the violation
of your commands.”

“I am commissioned to apprehend such offenders,
and detain them until they deliver up the ordinary
fine,”
replied the constable.

“You are witness that we have kept within the
bounds of temperance,”
said Atherton, rising from
table; “but at another time I would rather pay
a heavy fine than be vexed with such troublesome
company.”

Major Atherton left the room as he finished
speaking, intending to walk out and view the
town; and the moment he hashad passed the outer
door, the landlord, with a countenance which had
lost much of its placid expression, entered the
apartment still occupied by the constable, and in
no very soothing voice said to him,—

“Master Constable, you will not leave me a guest
to sit at my board, and you come here in such an
unmannerly way to gaze at gentle and simple.”

“Master Cole,” returned the other, “we have
heretofore had divers words touching this matter;
but whether it is right to give heed unto your request
rather than to obey the will of those I am
bound to serve; judge ye.”

26(1)r 301

“The Lord forbid I should seek to tempt you
from your duty,”
returned the landlord, in a conciliatory
tone; “yet, sure I am, friend, that you
would not wish to deprive me of my lawful gains,
not refuse to shew me kindness, which could not
harm yourself.”

“‘Ye cannot serve God and mammon’,” replied
the immoveable constable; “and I will perform my
duty like a faithful steward, and not look on while
the sons of Belial drain the intoxicating cup, without
lifting up my voice against it.”

“Now prithee, Master Constable,” returned the
host, “must you look at every thing before you?
instruct me and you can in the needfulness of
that?”

“Expound unto me first, if it please you,” said
the other, “wherefore the eyes of man are planted
like lamps in his forehead, unless it be to discern
between the evil and the good?”

“Methinks one of yours might suffice as well as
two of ordinary size,”
returned the landlord; “and
if you will shut the other, friend, and let me keep
on your blind side, in a neighbourly way, you will
lose nought by your civility; and I may gain somewhat
in these hard times.”

“‘Get thee behind me, Satan,’” replied the officer
of justice, rising and striking his baton violently
on the bench; “would’st thou tempt me to do
iniquity in order to gratify thy greediness of
gain?”

“Good Master Constable, thou dost altogether Vol. I. 26 26(1)v 302
mistake me,”
returned the landlord, obtruding his
head from behind a tall elbow chair, whither he
had retreated for safety. “I do but ask you to be
civil to those who enter my doors, and for the rest
no man can say that I have not honestly abided
by the laws, albeit to the loss of my wordly
profit.”

“Is not drunkenness lifting up its voice in our
streets?”
resumed the constable, striking the point
of his staff emphatically on the floor; “and did not
your own brother, Richard Cole, drink at your
tap till he changed himself into a brute? and was
he not for the punishment thereof, and for an ensample
unto others, sentenced by the honourable
court to wear a red D about his neck for the
space of one year?”

“What sort of an uproar have we here?” exclaimed
the landlady, entering with some haste;
“is this the way you keep the peace, Master Constable,
making an outcry that is a scandal in a
gospel land!”

“Avaunt woman,” said the constable, reseating
himself composedly, and motioning her away with
his stick; “we need not your interference, nor any
of your chattering sex, which since the fall of
Adam hath been the cause of strifes and dissensions
among the sons of men.”

“I wonder what you would do without us,
poor shiftless drones that you are!”
replied the
dame, scornfully; and advancing still nearer to
the baton from which her husband had retreated; 26(2)r 303
“And tell me now what you have been doing to
my good-man, that he is skulking behind the chairs
like a fox in a hen-roost?”

“Thine husband hath ‘sold himself to do evil,’”
replied the Constable, “therefore did fear come upon
him, when I lifted up my rod of justice.”

“Out upon your false tongue now,” returned the
woman, “is he not one who ‘escheweth evil,’ and
withholdeth drink from those who importune him,
even the the measure which you allow?”

“All who come hither can bear me witness, that
I have ever kept a quiet and orderly house,”
said
Master Cole, venturing forward, encouraged by
the boldness of his help-mate, “and whosoever affirmeth
to the contrary, saith that which is false
and not true.”

“Is it from a clear conscience, Master Cole, that
you have held back the cup from the drunkard?”

asked the Constable, “or from the fear of man, lest
you should lose your employment, by disobeying
those, who have appointed me to determine the measure
which shall be meted out.”

“And is it not enough that you do that?” retorted
Mistress Cole, “without thrusting yourself into
the presence of gentle-folk, and throwing your ungainly
carcase in their way, all the time they
are eating? I should not wonder if they came not
hither again, after such like mannerless behaviour.”

“It would be well if they did not,” returned the
Constable, “our land hath been already too much
infested with strangers, and the upholders of prelacy, 26(2)v 304
who have caused many to ‘err from the paths
of knowledge’
.”

“Speak of that you know, Master;” returned the
dame, “there may be such among the base and low,
whom you daily see; but it is not every day we
have a discreet and handsome young gentleman,
like this Major Atherton, with us, who has served
too the king’s majesty and his country. Is it
likely that such an one should be given to strong
drink?”

“The high and low, dame Cole, are alike in the
eye of the law and the gospel; neither is the rich
a wit less given to excess than the poor; and we,
who are charged to execute the laws, are bound to
be ‘no respecters of persons’, but to ‘give unto each
his portion in due season’
.”

“Well, well, do your own pleasure in that,” said
Mistress Cole, “but my good cooking, and good
management will avail me nought, so long as a
clumsy brute, like you, is crowding into every body’s
mess; and look you to it, Master; it shall
not be so again while I am Mistress in this house.”

She shook her hand with a menacing gesture as
she concluded; and seizing her spouse by the arm,
led him from the room, and closed the door with
some violence after her.

“Mistress and Master too, I think;” muttered
the offended minister of the law, “but am not I
Jeremiah Handcuff, a Constable of this town of
Boston, appointed by the most honourable Governor,
with the consent of his worshipful council? Yes, 26(3)r 305
that I am,”
he added, rising with an air of importance,
and balancing the insignium of his office upon
his hand, “and so I will keep fast to my duty,
come what may, and the law will uphold me.”

Thus finishing his soliloquy, the Constable walked
slowly from the house; but in passing through an
adjoining apartment, he again encountered the
landlady, who, with arms a-kimbo, stood directly
in his way, apparently resolved not to yield one
iota of her dignity, or her decorom. Master Handcuff,
animated by the same accommodating spirit,
brushed hastily past her, and as he did so, knocked
her round-eared cap completely awry.

“The Lord help us!” ejaculated the wrathful
dame, as she adjusted her head gear, “when some
people get raised up to office they take such airs
upon themselves!”

“If you had kept out of his way, Deborah,” said
her husband, “the man would not have run against
you.”

“Sure now, Jacob,” returned the wife, “wasn’t it
he that came in my way? but every body would’nt
sit still and see their wife insulted for nothing,—
no, and you wouldn’t once, Jacob;”
and she applied
a corner of her apron to her eyes; but Master Cole
could not perceive that it was at all wetted, and
calmly answered,—

“You can stand your own ground pretty well,
dame; and it is only ill will that one gets by meddling
in another’s quarrels.”

“It is well I can, Master Cole,” said the indignant 26(3)v 306
dame, twitching the apron from her eyes, “and
I wish some other folk whom I could name, knew
how to exercise a proper and becoming spirit.”

“There is more than enough to keep the house in
a turmoil from morning to night without my help;”

retorted the good man; and like a prudent general,
he retired from the field to avoid further contest
and final defeat.

Major Atherton entered just as he quitted the
room; and dame Cole instantly resumed her
smiles, with the facility so natural to her sex on
similar occasions.

End of Volume One.

1(1)r

A
Peep at the Pilgrims
in
1636Sixteen Hundred Thirty.Six.

A Tale of Olden Times.

By The Author of Divers Unfinished Manuscripts, & c.

In Two Volumes.

“Come, listen to my story, Tho’ often told before, Of men who passed to glory Thro’ toil and travail sore; Of men who did for conscience’ sake, Their native land forego, And sought a home of freedom here Two hundred years ago.” Flint.

Volume II.

Boston:
Wells and Lilly...... Court-Street. 18241824

1(1)v

Be it remembered, that on the 1824-10-11eleventh day of October A. D. 1824, in
the forty-eighth year of the Independence of the United States of America, Wells
and Lilly of the said District, have deposited in this Office the Title of a Book the
Right whereof they claimsclaim as Proprietors, in the Words following, to wit:

A Peep at the Pilgrims in Sixteen Hundred Thirty-Six. A Tale of Olden Times.
By the Author of Divers Unfinished Manuscripts, &c. In two Volumes.

“Come, listen to my story, Tho’ often told before, Of men who passed to glory Thro’ toil and travail sore; Of men who did for conscience’ sake, Their native land forego, And sought a home and freedom here Two Hundred Years ago.” Flint.

In Conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United States, entitled, An
Act for the encouragement of Learning, by securing the Copies of Maps, Charts,
and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of such Copies, during the Times
therein mentioned:
and also to an Act entitled, An Act supplementary to an
Act, entitled, An Act for the encouragement of Learning, by securing the Copies
of Maps, Charts and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of such Copies
during the times therein mentioned; and extending the Benefits thereof to the Arts
of Designing, Engraving and Etching Historical and other Prints.

Jno. W. Davis
Clerk of the District of Massachusetts.

1(2)r

A
Peep at the Pilgrims

Chapter I.

“A robe of seeming truth and trust Hid crafty Observation; And secret hung, with poison’d crust, The dirk of Defamation.” Hypocrisy, a-la-mode.

There were few things, perhaps, in the early
settlement of New-England, more calculated to
impress strangers with a just idea of the extreme
strictness of its government and manners, than the
rigid observance of the sabbath day, which was
universal throughout every class of citizens. Fines
and imprisonment awaited those who disregarded it.
Every species of labour during its consecrated hours
was considered sacrilegious, and the most distant approach
to levity,—almost to cheerfulness of conversation
or behaviour,—reprehensible in the highest
degree. It is even recorded of a worthy minister,
that being led away by the suggestions of Satan, he
was thereby tempted to kiss his wife while arranging
his bands in preparation for the pulpit;
and was forthwith arraigned before a meeting of 1(2)v 4
his church, and severely censured for the ungodly
deed.

Major Atherton, on arriving at Plymouth, had
been struck with this unusual respect for the institutions
of religion, so strongly contrasted with the
practice in his native country; where the principles
of church government admitted greater licence,
and were particularly liable to abuse during a
reign, marked from its commencement by civil
discord, and almost freed from those moral restraints
which the unfortunate Charles might in happier
times have suggested and enforced.

But in the Massachusetts’ settlements this rigid
discipline was even more remarkable than in the
sister colony of Plymouth; and when Major Atherton
arose on the morning of the first Sabbath that
he spent there, he was for some moments unable to
account for the perfect quiet which reigned in every
apartment; so different from the bustle and confusion
commonly attendant on a public house. The
hum of business was suspended, the tapster’s room
deserted by its daily visitants, and in the kitchen—
the usual scene of bustling importance—the landlord
was quietly seated with his folio bible, and
audibly perusing its sacred contents. He however
occasioned no interruption to his worthy dame,
who having ranged her children on a bench and
commanded silence, proceeded in a still more aduible
voice to catechise them, occasionally stopping
to give a hearty shake to some luckless urchin who
betrayed signs of heedlessness or stupidity, in 2(1)r 5
order to stir up his mind by way of remembering
the oft-repeated task. Atherton thought that even
the cat moved round on tiptoe, and that the animals
in the cow-yard lowed with unusual gravity. The
same monotonous calm every where prevailed; no
persons were visible at the windows of their dwellings
or in the streets, until the customary hour of
public devotion arrived, when the inhabitants of
every description sallied forth, and proceeded to
the place of worship.

Boston at that time contained but one church,
which stood not far from the spot now occupied by
the old state-house, and was built with mud walls
and covered by a thatched roof. Its interior corresponded
with the rude architecture of the outside;
and the unadorned pulpit, the low benches, placed
in rows to accommodate the Puritan congregation,
alone distinguished it as a place of worship. To
this humble temple, where the Most High was
adored perhaps with more fervour and sincerity
than in the gorgeous cathedrals of the old world,
Atherton directed his steps, and reached the door
at the moment the Governor and his retinue were
entering.

Mr., afterwards Sir Henry Vane, who then held
the office of chief magistrate, assumed a degree of
state hitherto unknown in the colony, and which,
though willingly conceded to his rank by many,
became to others a subject of offence; and his administration,
at first exceedingly popular, began
shortly to fall into disrepute. The people were Vol. II. 2 2(1)v 6
prejudiced in his favour by an appearance of sanctity
unusual at his age, which did not exceed
twenty-five; and by his strict conformity to the
outward forms of the sect, which education and
habit taught them to prize so highly. He was preceded
by four serjeants, bearing halberds; and his
solemn deportment, sheared head, and plain attire,
with their grave aspect and ordinary apparel, might
have suggested the idea of an inquisitorial judge
and his attendant ministers of justice, preparing to
conduct the ceremonies of an auto-de-fe. This assumption
of dignity however, appeared to Atherton
almost ludicrous, considering the infancy of
the colony, and the simplicity, not to say rudeness,
of every thing appending to it, as well as inconsistent
with the contempt professed by all classes
for outward show and parade, and which they
carried to an excess in the ordinary concerns of
life.

Mr. Wilson, the first minister of Boston, was
absent on that day, and the pulpit was supplied by
Mr. Cotton, his assistant; a man whose “praise
was in all the churches,”
and whose name will
always hold a distinguished place among the New-
England
divines. Few perhaps, ever possessed so
great an influence, both in ecclesiastical and civil
affairs; his discourses often turned the tide of popular
opinion, and soothed the irritation which at
that time disturbed the tranquillity of church and
state. His eminent piety, learning, and talents,
insured him the highest deference of all classes; 2(2)r 7
and it was no ordinary mark of respect which induced
the founders of Boston to name the capital of their
young colony after a town in Lincolnshire, then the
field of his ministry, in the expectation that he would
shortly come over and labour amongst them.

Major Atherton listened to him with delight; he
was master of that persuasive eloquence which
charms both the learned and unlettered; and his
sermons, though calculated to instruct and edify
even the meanest capacity, by their strength and
originality gave pleasure to the most fastidious
taste; and in spite of the many localities and personal
allusions which it was the fashion of the day
to introduce into public discourses, they were so
skilfully intermingled with the leading arguments
and fundamental doctrines of christianity, that
even a stranger could not complain that they were
wearisome. The form of worship was similar to
that established at Plymouth, which the people of
Boston professed to follow; but Mr. Cotton had
introduced some slight variations; and to him also
they were indebted for a particular discipline and
government of the churches from that time known
by the name of Congregational.

Atherton, on returning to his lodgings found
that among the duties of the Sabbath, fasting was
not neglected; though his provident landlady had
taken care to prepare a joint of meat on the preceding
day for his especial use, which was served
up cold, and without ceremony; it being, as she
remarked, “a sinful waste of holy time to be busied 2(2)v 8
about worldly concerns on that day of rest.”
Her
children, with each a slice of brown bread in their
hands, kept peering at him from an inner apartment,
with hungry and longing eyes; for the scrupulous
dame allowed none but her guests to eat of
the fat of the land on the Sabbath, except when she
saw fit herself to take toll, in returning the fragments
to her cupboard. Atherton however, observing
a little girl with a finger in her mouth,
and her head on one shoulder, advancing cautiously
beyond what her brethren would venture, took her
on his knee, and offered her a share of his envied
portion. But afraid to disobey her mother, the
child slid from his arms in silence, though not
without securing a piece of the meat in her chubby
hand, which she adroitly concealed under her apron,
and ran off to devour in safety, behind a wooden
paling without the door.

Major Atherton attended divine service again
in the afternoon; and though still powerfully interested
by the eloquence of the preacher, he could
not entirely restrain his thoughts from wandering
back to scenes which his present situation was
particularly calculated to revive. It was about
three months since he had first passed the threshhold
of a New-England meeting-house, then, as now, a
stranger, seeking repose of mind from change and
variety; and unknown to almost every individual
it contained. The image of Miriam Grey naturally
blended with these ideas; and even in memory,
the tones of her voice as he had then heard them, 2(3)r 9
as they had since often been repeated, vibrated on
every chord of his heart. But determined to repel
these dangerous reminiscences, in which pleasure
and pain were strangely intermingled, and which
he felt it weakness to indulge, yet almost hopeless
to subdue, he at length succeeded in fixing his mind
on subjects connected with the time and place, and
joined both heart and voice with the congregation,
in their concluding plalmpsalm.

As soon as the assembly was dismissed, he disengaged
himself from the crowd, and striking into
a narrow bye-path followed its course till it
brought him to the base of a wooded cliff which
overhung the eastern bank of the river Charles.
Beneath this cliff some of the early settlers of
Plymouth had moored their shallops, when sent
thither on a trading and exploring voyage, and
landed near that spot, amidst a country inhabited
by savages, and then governed by the Squaw Sachem
of Massachusetts. But the seat of Indian
empire since that time had undergone a rapid transition;
and as Atherton looked round from the summit
of the hill, scarcely a vestige of the native inhabitants
remained throughout the Peninsula:
Step by step they were still retreating before the
advance of civilization, and resigning their territories
to the white people, who regarded them with
distrust and jealousy; and sometimes it is to be
feared added oppression and injustice to dislike.

On the opposite side of the river stood Mishawum,
called by the English Charlestown; and recentlyVol. II. 2* 2(3)v 10
occupied by a powerful tribe of Aborigines,
who had also shrunk back as the wilderness was
levelled before them, and the houses of the European
planters arose on the ashes of their humble
wigwams. This neck of land stretching between
the rivers Mystic and Charles, was as yet but
thinly peopled, although one of the oldest settlements
in the Massachusetts Colony. But the ideas
of policy or convenience, which induced the first
settlers to separate at an early period, and form
themselves into different societies, and establish
numerous towns; though it perhaps more effectually
spread the arts of cultivation, prevented the
rapid growth of any particular place; and Boston
itself, even then, considered the metropolis, did not
contain more than twenty dwelling-houses.

Still as Atherton looked round and remarked
with wonder the progress which had been made,
within a few brief years, he could not fail to regard
it as a presage of future prosperity to the land,
which nature had so highly blessed, and even in
infancy stamped with the features of a great and
powerful nation. In musings of the past and future
he forgot the lapse of time, till warned by the
declining sun, which glanced brightly on the winding
stream, then nearly encrusted with ice, except
where the force of the current had broken a passage
towards its entrance into the ocean. Atherton descended
the hill, and pursued his way along the
bank, ignorant where his steps were leading him,
and often stopping as his eyes were attracted by 2(4)r 11
the fantastic figures formed by fragments of ice
thrown up by the tide, and glittering with a thousand
different hues, from the refracted rays of the sun.
The river widening as it approached the sea, and
gradually throwing off its frozen fetters, was dyed
with a saffron tinge, and imaged on its glassy
waves a stately range of trees which then fringed
the western shorn, on the sight now improved as an
important naval depot, from whence many of our
gallant ships have ridden proudly forth to gather
renown on the highway of nations, and returned
laden with honour and victory.

Major Atherton had not proceeded far when he
perceived the constable who had annoyed him so
much the preceding day approaching him, with the
same measured step, and examining him with that
unmoved countenance and fixed stare which had
then put his patience so severely to the test. He
turned into another direction, and quickened his
steps to avoid a conference; but his pursuer proved
more nimble-footed than his heavy appearance
gave reason to expect; and accelerating his speed
in proportion to Major Atherton’s, he shortly came
directly in contact with him. Atherton took no
notice of him, and this silent disregard seemed for
once to put the impenetrable constable to his wits,
ends
. He hemmed thrice in the hope it would inspire
him with something with which to commence
the conversation; but he was still unnoticed even
by a look of recognition. As a dernier resource he
stepped boldly up to Atherton, and taking hold of 2(4)v 12
his cloak addressed him, though with rather less
than his ordinary assurance.

“Master Major Atherton, which I am informed
is your name and calling, I must make free to tell
you that I, Jeremiah Handcuff, am a constable in
this town of Boston.”

“Of that I am already informed,” said Atherton,
withdrawing from his grasp with an air of
dignity, which compelled the other to retreat some
paces.

“Very like,” he replied, after a moment’s deliberation,
“seeing that I am well known in mine office;
and though it doth not become me to say it,
of approved fidelity in the performance of my
duty.”

“In that your works praise you, Master Constable;
but bear in mind I pray you, that there is a
zeal which is not according to knowledge.”

“Which I have also well considered,” returned
the constable, “having been early instructed by my
mother in the sacred scriptures, and with her help
enabled to repeat the holy gospels, and divers other
inspired passages of the Old and New Testament,
even before I had attained unto my twentieth
year.”

“And did that knowledge recommend you to
your present situation?”
asked Atherton.

“Doubtless it was of weight in the minds of our
pious rulers,”
he replied, “who promote unto honour
such only as obey the commandments of God and
the king; and renouncing the errors of prelacy, 2(5)r 13
walk honestly after the rules of the gospel, and
the instructions of our godly ministers.”

Atherton made no reply, but walked on still
more rapidly, not a little vexed to observe the constable
following at a brisk pace, until they came to
a place where the road divided, when Atherton
suddenly stopped, and turning to him said,—

“Will you inform me, Master Handcuff, which
road you intend to take?”

“Whichsoever may best suit your inclination,”
he replied, “seeing that it behoves me to follow
you whithersoever your steps may incline.”

“To what purpose, and by what authority,” asked
Atherton, indignantly, “do you thus presume to
watch and obtrude upon me?”

“Master Major,” returned the other, in a soothing
tone, “it would ill become me to give offence
unto a gentleman of honourable quality like yourself;
but since our magistrates have established
laws, and set up such persons as in their wisdom
they deem meet to execute them, is it right for me
to fall back like an unfaithful watchman? judge
ye betwixt thee and me?”

“Of what,” asked Atherton, “do you accuse me?
what law have I been guilty of violating?”

“It is written, ‘thou shalt remember the sabbath
day and keep it holy,’”
returned the constable;
“and our rulers, for the furtherance of this divine
command, have been pleased to ordain fines and
punishments on such as are found guilty of a breach
in its observance.”

2(5)v 14

“I am unconscious of having broken any law,
human or divine,”
said Atherton; “and if I have,
you must have regulations for the observance of
this day, unknown to other christian countries.”

“Truly our favoured nation hath cast off the ‘unprofitable
works of darkness’
which still cling unto
the worshippers of images, and the lovers of vain
ceremonies; and therefore refraineth from all those
sinful amusements which have proved ‘a stumbling
block unto many weak brethren.’”

“Surely,” said Atherton, “the innocent recreation
of walking in a grave and orderly manner, is not
included in your list of offences!”

“It is a trespass on holy time,” returned the other,
“to be gadding abroad and seeking divertisement
by means which are not appointed on the
Lord’s day; and the offender is to be dealt with accordingly.”

“I would recommend to your rulers,” said Atherton,
“to make their laws more public; for they are
too extraordinary to be remembered and understood
without much painful study.”

“They are written upon the hearts of this people,”
said the constable, “and all others who reverence
this day aright, will be withholden from profaning
it.”

“Our ideas on that subject,” said Atherton, “may
differ essentially, and what you term profanation,
may to me seem perfectly harmless; but be that as
it will, my sojourn here has been so brief, that I do 2(6)r 15
not feel accountable for a slight breach of local regulations
of which I was entirely ignorant.”

“Nevertheless, that doth not discharge me from
my duty,”
replied the pertinacious officer; “nor can
I suffer ‘sin upon my brother,’ without incurring
reproach from those who, peradventure, would gladly
take occasion to deprive me of mine office, which
I make bold to say, I have maintained with credit
to myself and the town which I have served.”

“Doubtless, Master Handcuff, you have done to the
utmost of your abilities; but I would learn from you,
what penalty is exacted from those who are found
walking unnecessarily on the Sunday?”

“Say not Sunday,” replied the other, with a look
of solemnity; “that being as our minister has instructed
us, a superstitious and idolatrous word no
longer used by true christians; but the Sabbath, as
it was called by God’s ancient people the Jews, and
also by the apostles; or the Lord’s day,—so it is
termed by many of his precious servants in these
later times.”

“Be it so then,” said Atherton, impatiently; “and
now have the goodness to answer my question.”

“Touching the penalty for profaning the sabbath
day, if I remember rightly,”
returned the other, “it
is for the first offence a fine not exceeding ten shillings;
but if the offender persist in his transgression,
he is given over to the stocks or the whipping
post, or house of correction, according to the discretion
of the magistrates, whose ‘eyes are continually
upon’
evil doers.”

2(6)v 16

“I thank you for your information,” said Atherton,
“which may prove of use to me hereafter; and
so wishing you but few offices of the kind to perform,
I will bid you good night.”

Atherton passed on, and the constable stood irresolute,
apparently loth to proceed to extremities;
yet unwilling to appear slack in discharging his
duties; but after a moment’s hesitation he stepped
briskly after Atherton, and elevating his black staff
with an awkward attempt at dignity, he said,—

“In the king’s name, Major Atherton, I make
bold to command you to stop.”

Atherton did stop involuntarily; surprised and offended
at the unexpected summons.

“Wherefore is this continued rudeness?” he asked.
“I would advise you, Master, to retire in peace,
and suffer me to pursue my way unmolested.”

“There is no law which will uphold a man in resisting
lawful authority,”
replied the constable, resuming
his customary and grave pertinacity of
countenance and demeanour; “and seeing that I
have detected you in violating the laws of our land,
I would commend unto you, Master Atherton, to
pay the ordinary fine like an honourable gentleman;
and though it doth not become me to intermeddle
with ‘filthy lucre’ on this holy day; yet I may not
suffer you to depart until I have your word for a
surety, that it shall be forthcoming at my future demand.”

“I care not for the money,” said Atherton. “I
would willingly give thrice the sum for any worthy 3(1)r 17
purpose; but it shall not be extorted from me against
my will, and for a sin of ignorance.”

“Just as you please,” replied the constable, sullenly.
“I know well where to look for help, if so
be I can’t get it without; but I hope your honour
will not take offence at my walking behind you.”

“Not so long as you remain peaceable,” said Atherton;
“and for my further instruction, I would ask
you at what time your Massachusetts’ sabbath is
said to begin and end?”

“Truly,” replied the other, “we are wont to lay
aside our worldly business at the setting of the sun
on the last day of the week, and we keep the time
holy until the same hour on the first day.”

“When you may again engage in worldly concerns,
if I understand you right,”
said Atherton.

“In a moderate degree it is deemed allowable,”
he replied.

“I think then, Master Constable, you have less
hold of me than you imagine; for if I am not mistaken,
the sun was quite down before I had the good
fortune to meet with you.”

“Perchance it was so,” returned the constable,
somewhat disconcerted; “nevertheless, you have
been wandering over these fields and woods even
from the time of the breaking up of our devout assembly.”

“And where were you, Master Handcuff, that you
could watch me for so long a time? have a care
that you do not turn culprit as well as informer.”

“Mine eyes did not behold you,” replied the other,Vol. II. 3 3(1)v 18
“albeit, I am credibly informed of that which I
affirm.”

“I am little skilled in the law, especially on these
subjects,”
said Atherton; “but I think you may as
well withhold your suit, friend, since you are likely
to gather nothing but trouble from it.”

“We shall see,” muttered the constable, slackening
his pace a little; and Atherton, resolved to break
off the conference, redoubled his speed and soon
reached his lodgings.

He had, however, scarcely closed the door of his
own apartment, when the constable who had leisurely
followed him entered the common room, and
threw himself doggedly on a bench. Mistress
Cole
, who was busily preparing the supper-table,
and in whose memory his late indignity still rankled,
said to him in no very courtly tone,—

“What brings you here again, Master Handcuff?
is it to stir up mischief betwixt my good-man and
his lodger?”

“Mistress Cole,” returned the constable, “my
peaceable disposition is well known; and therefore
I forgive your uncharitable surmise; I have also
other matters upon my mind, the which it will be
better to discuss with thy husband, seeing that
women have little knowledge of public affairs;
neither are they gifted with understanding to comprehend
them.”

“Dear, now! Master,” said the dame, in a soothing
voice, “I can advise you better than my husband,
who always cometh to me for counsel in 3(2)r 19
matters of importance; and I think, Master Handcuff,
it doth not become you to speak so lightly of
women who are created to be faithful helps unto
mankind.”

“Truly,” said the constable, “God hath made
all creatures suitable for their place and station;
and it is well that he hath not endowed women
with wisdom equal unto us; otherwise their subtle
and meddlesome nature would breed continual mischief.
But the matter of which I would speak,
concerneth your lodger; of whom I would bid you
take good heed; for I greatly fear he is a prelatist,
and given to contemn our wholesome laws.”

“Wheugh man!” said the landlady, “you are
altogether mistaken; did he not go to our meeting
and hearken to the preachment of the word? and
did not mine own ears hear him sing the psalms,
with the congregation of God’s people?”

“It may be so, dame,” returned the other; “but
who knows if he went not as a spy upon our actions,
to report unto the bishops and romanists of his own
country?”

“Fie, on your base supicions, Master constable,”
returned the dame, sharply. “I will be bound his
handsome face was not given him to cover a black
heart; so I prythee, do not go for to infest my goodman
with any such like foolish notions.”

“Woman, thou art taken with his fair outside,”
replied the constable; “has he not been wickedly
walking on this holy day? and has he not thereby
contemned the laws of this land?”

3(2)v 20

“And how should he, a stranger that he is, poor
young man, know any thing about our laws?”

returned the dame. “I thought you were a sensible
man, Master Handcuff; but you are clean gone
with the rest, in these idle whims.”

Major Atherton entered the room before the
constable had framed a suitable reply; and Mistress
Cole’s
supper being ready, he was obliged to
take leave without an opportunity of resuming the
conversation.

3(3)r 21

Chapter II.

“Their dauntless hearts no meteor led In terror o’er the ocean; From fortune and from fame they fled, To heaven and its devotion.” Paine.

In the course of the following day, Major Atherton
repaired to the house of Mr. Winthrop, the first
Governor of Massachusetts, to whom he was furnished
with a letter of introduction.

Mr. Winthrop was one of the original patentees,
who planned a settlement in the Massachusetts Bay,
with a hope of enjoying their religious opinions
unmolested, removed from the oppression of the
English hierarchy, and the galling restraints of
the civil government. He was descended from respectable
ancestors, and inherited a valuable estate
in Suffolk, which he converted into money to promote
the great objects of his enterprize. Previous
to embarking from his native land, he was elected
Governor of the future colony, by the unanimous
voice of his associates; many of whom were gentlemen
of high birth, and noble alliance as well
as of distinguished piety and abilities. Ten years
after the settlement of Plymouth, these adventurers
landed on the shores of the new world; already
regarded by many intelligent and pious minds, as
the favoured region where religion would at length Vol. II. 3* 3(3)v 22
find a peaceful asylum, from the storms of party
spirit and intolerance, which had so long agitated
the kingdoms of Europe.

Many circumstances render it doubtful whether
the first company of settlers had actually seceded
from the church of England when they left that
country; but however that may be, it is certain
they immediately after entirely renounced its authority
and forms, and erected the platform of a new
and independent church, essentially different in its
government and principles. But in their solicitude
to establish the interests of religion on a solid basis,
and to promote a spirit of harmony, and create a
bond of union in their worship, they resolved that
it should be done in their own way, and according
to their own ideas of right and wrong; and thus,
like other fallible and erring mortals, who often
mistake the means in their zeal to accomplish the
ends, they exhibited a spirit of persecution, which
has entailed a lasting reproach upon their memory.
Scarcely absolved from the odious tenets and oppressive
thraldom of the mother church, they in
turn erected an inquisitorial authority over the
consciences of those, who presumed to differ from
them in judgment and opinion;—leaving an example,
which has been followed by too many of their
posterity.

Yet we have reason to believe they erred with
good intentions and upright hearts; and every candid
mind will find a ready excuse for their failings,
in the excitement of the times, and the comparative 3(4)r 23
darkness of the age in which they lived;—an excuse
inapplicable to those who indulge similar prejudices
and passions in this more enlightened period
of the world; while the redeeming virtues so beautifully
exemplified in their lives, must at least command
the reverence and admiration of all.

Governor Winthrop, justly styled the father of
the colony, possessed in an eminent degree, that
rare union of talents and virtues, which fitted him
for the station he was called to fill, and insured
him the respect and affection of the people he
governed. Yet his popularity, the prudence and
moderation of his character, and the disinterested
liberality which induced him to draw from his
private fortune, to relieve the wants of individuals
and advance the public interest, could not shield
him from the arts of the jealous, and the cabals of
the disaffected. Under various pretences, they had
twice succeeded in procuring a vote against his
election to the office of first magistrate; an office
which he had held for several years with equal
ability and wisdom.

At the time of Major Atherton’s arrival in Boston,
Mr. Winthrop filled the station of deputy-
governor, having yielded his claims a third time,
and under circumstances particularly painful to a
noble mind,—not to the wishes of the majority,
for they were in his favour,—but to the artifice of
a faction which had risen up against him, and
effected their designs through that persevering and
subtle intrigue, by which, in elective governments, 3(4)v 24
the minority are sometimes enabled to counteract
the efforts of a rival party. Strange as it may
appear, the proximate cause of this revolution was
supposed to be a female, the noted Anna Hutchinson,
whose religious opinions had acquired great
influence in the country; and among whose adherents
were found the supporters of Mr. Vane, the
successful candidate. It is however more probable
that this ascendancy was produced by Henry Vane,
himself, assisted perhaps by the arts of Mrs. Hutchinson;
for he had distinguished her by his attentions
and zealously embraced her tenets, which
were extremely obnoxious to Mr. Winthrop. The
multitude were gained by the sanctity of his appearance,
his specious manners and address; aided by
superior abilities, great fluency of expression, and
the attractions of exalted rank. His father held a
high station in the court of Charles; and there was
a general belief in New-England, that the younger
Vane was sent over by royal authority. These
adventitious circumstances he improved to the utmost;
and by the exercise of a profound dissimulation,
—a sort of Jesuitical cunning, he deceived
the minds of many.

His election to the government of Massachusetts
has ever been considered a blot on the character of
the times; and it undoubtedly blew the sparks of
contention into a flame, which all the prudence of
his assistants and immediate successors was scarcely
able to extinguish. The christian forbearance
and magnanimity of Mr. Winthrop were nobly displayed, 3(5)r 25
in his readiness to accept an inferior office,
under a man so much younger in years and experience,
and whom his judgment could not approve.
Influenced solely by the public good, he laid aside
all personal feelings and discharged his arduous
duties with a fidelity and perseverance which increased
his dignity, and recovered the esteem of
those who had for a time withdrawn from him.
Upright and conscientious in every relation of life,
even those who differed from him in sentiments,
could scarcely find a blemish to censure; and when
one was summoned by the inveterate Archbishop
Laud
, to speak against him before the king, his
accusation proved a panegyric, and his Majesty
expressed his concern that a person so worthy of
trust and honour, should be no better accommodated
than in an American wilderness.

Something of this kind passed the mind of Atherton
as he approached Mr. Winthrop’s house, which
though commodious and respectable, seemed scarcely
fitted to the dignified station and ample fortune
which he enjoyed. But he afterwards learned to
value this extreme simplicity as an instance of the
self-denial which Governor Winthrop was accustomed
to practise; for he had early discovered the
necessity of economy and temperance, to the prosperity
of a feeble colony, and became an example of
these virtues in his own person and family, though,
at the same time the munificence and hospitality of
his spirit were fully known and appreciated.

Atherton found Mr. Winthrop seated at a writing 3(5)v 26
table, with numerous papers spread before him,
and still holding a pen, though engaged in earnest
conversation with a man who stood beside him.
There was an air of magisterial dignity, and even
severity on his features, which instantly gave place
to a smile of urbanity, as he rose to receive Major
Atherton
, who immediately delivered the introductory
letter of Captain Standish. Mr. Winthrop,
hastily glanced over the contents, and threw it by
saying,—

“Your arrival has just been made known to me,
Major Atherton, and by one, who I fear has caused
you some vexation since your entrance into this
land of strangers.”

Atherton, who had been diligently studying the
countenance of Mr. Winthrop, now followed the
direction of his eyes, which were turned towards
the man whom he had before scarcely noticed; and
in whose gaunt figure, grim visage, and protuberant
eyes, he identified his late acquaintance, the
persevering Constable. He looked even more
gloomy than usual, and without moving a muscle
of his face, continued standing as if resolved to
await the conclusion of the conversation.

“My ignorance of your laws, sir,” said Atherton,
“may have led me into a seeming contempt for
them; and if so, I am ready to make any concession
which you may deem necessary.”

“We are lenient towards those who err through
ignorance,”
replied Mr. Winthrop, “and in this instance
must ask you to pardon the indignity which 3(6)r 27
has been offered you, through Master Handcuff,
who is somewhat apt to carry his zeal to an extreme.”

“Truly,” said the undaunted Constable, “it becometh
me to be ‘zealously affected in a good
cause;’
for what saith the scripture? ‘because
thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, therefore
will—’”

“Master Constable,” interrupted the magistrate,
“we now give you leave to retire; and in future
bear in mind, that we expect no one under our authority,
to transgress the laws himself, in a vain
pursuit after others whom he may chance to deem
worthy of reprehension.”

The Constable looked rather crest-fallen at this
reproof; but without offering a word in reply or
defence, depressed his black staff of office, and
bowing profoundly, left the room.

“I am afraid,” said Mr. Winthrop, as the door
closed after him, “you will begin to think, Major
Atherton
, that our enemies in England have some
grounds for the railing accusations they have
brought against us; since you have been so much
troubled from our regard to matters commonly considered
of little moment.”

“If I had ever placed any reliance on their slanders,”
returned Atherton, “my residence at Plymouth
would have long since undeceived me; I
have become a sincere admirer of New-England
discipline, and truly wish that something equally
effective might be adopted to check the growing
licentiousness of my native land.”

3(6)v 28

“The change must be radical,” said Mr. Winthrop,
“where the disease is of so long standing;
but the evils which you allude to have suggested a
useful lesson to the rulers of this Colony; and
though we do not wish to be over-scrupulous, yet
the world is so much more inclined to excess on the
side of error than of truth; that we conceive it incumbent
on those who are appointed to prepare
laws for the government of a new state, to render
them conformable to the spirit and letter of the
word of God. Yet even those are liable to abuse,
from the imprudence and want of judgment of
some who are appointed to execute them.”

“Were all men,” said Atherton, “as indefatigable
and undiscerning in their office, as the one who has
just quitted us, we should be less surprised at the
misrepresentations of the malicious and discontented.”

“Those who choose to speak evil of us,” replied
Mr. Winthrop, “do not lack either subjects or opportunities;
and since the first planting of the
Colony, such as came hither from motives of ambition
and interest, and were disappointed in their
schemes, or reproved for their evil deeds, have not
failed on their return to England, to use their endeavours
to render our government and character
obnoxious.”

“There, sir, I believe, they have in general met
with deserved contempt,”
said Atherton, “except
with those whose prejudices, or self-interest were
gratified by listening to such calumnies.”

4(1)r 29

“And those are not a few;” returned Mr. Winthrop;
“we have had to contend against public
opinion and private interest; against religious dogmas,
and worldly prepossessions; but I trust, the
integrity of our conduct will at length put to silence
the reproaches of our adversaries. Our most
inveterate enemies are those, who have been themselves
engaged in forming plantations, which from
the dissoluteness of the companies, soon fell to
ruin; and among these one Morton ‘a pettyfogger
of Furnival’s Inn,’
who began a settlement,
with some others, at a place which they called
Mount Wollaston, has never ceased to persecute
us.”

“Do you refer,” asked Atherton, “to the people
whose unprincipled conduct drew upon them the
vengeance of the natives, who demanded the death
of one who had been detected in stealing from
them; but, being a vigorous and useful man, they
were unwilling to lose him, and for a show of justice,
or to satisfy their revenge, cheated even the
wary savages by hanging, in his stead, a bed-rid
and decrepid person?”

“You allude to a still earlier period of our history,”
said Mr. Winthrop, “the people who resorted
to that ingenious expedient, which, with other misdemeanours,
involved them in deserved calamities,
were associated with a Mr. Weston, and seated
themselves at Wesagusset, now called Weymouth.”

“I have heard the anecdote related at Plymouth,”Vol. II.44(1)v30
replied Atherton; “and it is probably blended in
my mind with some other transaction of the kind.”

“Morton’s company was not a whit better,” said
Mr. Winthrop, “Captain Wollaston, their leader,
retired to Virginia, and the others led on by Morton,
set up for liberty and equality, named the place
Merry Mount, and committed every kind of excess.
Mr. Endicot, then recently arrived at Salem, visited
them to reprove their folly, and cut down a May
pole which they had erected; but they soon returned
to their former courses, and the various settlements
uniting with Plymouth, at that time the
most powerful, your gallant kinsman, Captain
Standish
, with a few brave men were sent to them,
and on their refusing to surrender, the Captain
with his usual decision, took them prisoners and
had them all conveyed back to England.”

“A mortification, sufficiently severe to silence
them, I should think,”
said Atherton, “and ensure
their good behaviour in the future.”

“They were dealt with very lightly by the
council in England,”
replied Mr. Winthrop, “and
Morton has since returned to this country and
now dwells at Pascataqua, where he sill exercises
the mean revenge of disturbing our peace as
much as lies in his power.”

“Those two plantations are anomalies in the
history of New-England,”
said Atherton, “the only
ones which have yet cast a blemish on its annals;
and it is easy to imagine the grief and anxiety,
which their settlement and progress must have
caused their more serious neighbours.”

4(2)r 31

“It is well for the country that they were so
speedily ended,”
said Mr. Winthrop; “for the contagion
of their example was greatly to be dreaded.
But it is a satisfaction to reflect that no other colonies
have been founded here, which had merely
wordlyworldly gain and pleasure for the object. In
every other, we have reason to believe that religion,
if not the moving cause, was at least deeply
considered; and indeed, no other principle seems
sufficiently powerful to enable men, and even delicate
and timid women, to struggle with hardships
and endure and persevere with such heroic
fortitude.”

“It is in circumstances of difficulty and distress,”
replied Atherton, “that the female character displays
itself with peculiar loveliness; and man,
with all his boasted firmness and superiority, will
often sink beneath the weight of trials, which the
unrepining constancy and unyielding patience of
woman enables her to overcome.”

“I have seen instances of this,” returned Mr.
Winthrop
, “which might silence the sarcasms
of the cynic, and the jests of the profligate, who
have ever shewn their spleen and emptiness, by
ridiculing those whose excellence they are too selfish
to imitate and too proud to acknowledge; and
scarcely do I think, that our labours in this wilderness
would have been so greatly prospered, but
for the encouraging smiles of women, whose cheerful
spirits were buoyant, even in the midst of 4(2)v 32
danger and distress, and whose undaunted minds,
imparted strength and resolution to the weary and
faint in heart.”

“I doubt it not, sir,” returned Atherton; “and
those refined and exalted virtues, which might
have slumbered in the waveless calm of prosperity,
have here unfolded into beauty and perfection.
All that I have seen, every affecting incident which
I have heard, since I reached these shores,
has increased my reverence and admiration for
that gentle sex, to whom we are indebted for so
many bright examples, who are often our guides,
as well as pleasant companions, while travelling
together through this pilgrimage of life.”

Mr. Winthrop smiled at the enthusiasm of his
countenance and manner.

“I am too sensible,” he replied, “of the justice
of your encomium to attribute it to the gallantry
of a young man and a soldier; and I believe the
most sceptical would become converts to our opinion,
were they but to judge impartially or could
they witness, as I have done, the equanimity and
resolution so often exhibited in the female character.
Even while quitting forever, the country endeared
to them by every tie of affection,—to many
the abode of distinguished wealth and enjoyment,—
and about to encounter the dangers of the ocean,
and seek a place of residence in an uncivilized,
almost unknown world,—their constancy remained
unshaken, they had ‘counted the cost,’ and were
resolved to meet every event without repining.”

4(3)r 33

“It generally requires a stronger effort,” said
Atherton, “to abide by a resolution, than merely to
form even the most difficult; and this then inhospitable
coast must have presented terrors to the
most disciplined imagination, and have caused the
boldest spirit to waver.”

“There were doubtless some,” returned Mr.
Winthrop
, “who remembered with regret the
‘leeks and onions of Egypt;’ for even the meanest
were reduced to straights unknown to them
before; and the higher orders were compelled to
strive with difficulties, for which the delicacy of
their education had ill prepared them. But He,
who ‘tempers the wind to the shorn lamb,’ was
pleased to give them, ‘strength according to their
day;’
and though sickness and death invaded our
feeble colony, and took from many of us the ‘delight
of our eyes,’
they died rejoicing that they
had lived to see a church planted in America,
where their posterity might enjoy their religious
privileges, ‘with none to molest or make them
afraid.’”

“The noble house of Lincoln,” said Atherton, “I
understand has warmly patronized the cause of
New-England, and contributed both in word and
deed to its prosperity and advancement.”

“Its most precious gift,” returned Mr. Winthrop,
“was its virtuous daughters; who though
accustomed to the elegancies and refinements of
polished life, cheerfully ‘foresook all for the gospel’s
sake;’
and without a murmur, endured the Vol. II. 4* 4(3)v 34
wants and submitted to the privations which they
were destined to encounter in this distant land;—
adding lustre to their rank by the cheerful resignation
with which they suffered adversity, and the
graceful sweetness and condescension of their carriage
towards those, whom Providence had placed
in an inferior station, but whom a common cause
had united with them in the bands of christian
fellowship.”

“The circumstance of their quitting England,”
said Atherton, “was familiar to me at the time;
and I well remember it, as an occurrence, which
was generally considered imprudent and hazardous
in the extreme.”

“With those who are accustomed to connect
passing events with the things of this world only,”

said Mr. Winthrop, “that opinion must still prevail;
and the result has, in some degree, justified
their prediction. The Lady Arabella, who was
united to Mr. Johnson one of our assistants, a
man of piety and worth, fell an early victim to
the hardships of her situation, and was shortly
followed to the grave by her afflicted partner.
Her sister the Lady Susan, who with her husband
and children arrived at a later period, is now residing
at Saugus: she enjoys a vigorous constitution
and is happily supported under the fatigues
and difficulties, which proved fatal to so many of
the early colonists. But you must pardon me,
Major Atherton, if I have trespassed on your patience;
every circumstance relating to the characters 4(4)r 35
I have loved and revered, and every incident
that has transpired in this country, which I
have seen dawning and rising into light, and
where my affections are now wholly fixed, are so
interesting to my feelings, that I am sometimes
apt to dwell too long upon them, and forget that
to strangers they may be totally indifferent.”

“They are not so to me,” returned Atherton; “I can
never listen but with pleasure to aught that relates
to this country, where I have been received with
a degree of kindness and hospitality entirely unexpected,
but which I shall ever remember with satisfaction,
and number the months I have past here
among the happiest of my life.”

“I had scarcely expected,” said Mr. Winthrop,
“that the strictness of our customs and manners
would be regarded with so much liberality by a
stranger, and one too, who has been accustomed to
the freedom of a camp. I must begin to think we
are less gloomy than our opposers are willing to
allow, or perhaps I should attribute it to the candour
of your mind, which is inclined to colour our
New-England scenes as agreeably as possible.”

“My early prejudices are enlisted in your favour,”
returned Atherton; “and I am here continually reminded
of scenes dear to my recollection, by the
simplicity of manners and rectitude of principle of
those around me, so congenial to the sentiments
which my mother cherished, and endeavoured to instil
into my youthful mind; though I must acknowledge
I have been almost estranged from them since 4(4)v 36
I first quitted my paternal roof, and engaged in the
active duties of my profession.”

“As you have retained this predeliction,” said
Mr. Winthrop, “even amidst the bustle and gaiety
of a military life, we may hope it will be strengthened
by a more familiar acquaintance with our opinions
and pursuits, which, although they may present
little to dazzle the fancy, I trust will leave
much food for solid reflection, and that heartfelt satisfaction
which can never be derived from the vain
and gaudy pleasures of the world.”

“My sentiments have been from childhood divided
on these subjects,”
replied Atherton; “and the
habitual respect and reverence which I have ever
felt for my mother’s creed, has often weighed heavily
against the force of education and the strength
of hereditary opinion, which attached me to my father’s
principles. But I ought to apologize to you,
sir, for so long intruding on your time; I was
not aware that the moments flew so swiftly.”

“I have passed them too agreeably to mark their
flight,”
returned Mr. Winthrop; “and I would urge
you to tarry longer, did not some necessary business
require my attention. I use no ceremony with
you, Major Atherton, but it would give me real
pleasure if you would consent to make my house
your home during your residence in this place.”

Atherton declined his hospitality, being unwilling
to intrude, and wishing to have his time entirely
at his own disposal; and with suitable acknowledgements
of his polite attention, he took leave 4(5)r 37
of Mr. Winthrop, after promising to dine with him
on the following day.

Passing slowly onward, and irresolute whether
to proceed to Governor Vane’s, or wait another opportunity,
Major Atherton’s curiosity was attracted
by a small enclosure, which seemed a repository
for the dead; and with the conversation of Mr.
Winthrop
still vivid in his memory, he passed the
slight paling which surrounded it, in the expectation
of finding some memento of the ill-fated lady Arabella.
Numerous swelling mounds, some marked by
a rude stone bearing a name and date, or inscriptive
line engraved by the hand of affection, gave
evidence that numbers had been called from their
earthly labours within the brief space of time
which had succeeded the settlement of the colony.
But he looked in vain for the object which chiefly
interested him. The remains of the noble daughter
of the Earl of Lincoln had been interred at Salem,
where she expired soon after her arrival, in
the midst of usefulness and the bloom of youth, before
the accomplishment of those plans which had
cost so dear a sacrifice, and while yet destitute almost
of a shelter, and but scantily supplied with the
comforts and necessaries which her situation rendered
indispensable. Her husband removed to Boston;
but worn out by fatigue and sorrow for her
loss, he survived her a few weeks only, and was
buried in a portion of his own grounds,—now bordered
by Tremont-street, and contiguous to the
Stone Chapel. Such was the veneration in which 4(5)v 38
his character was held, that others desired to be laid
beside him; and the spot thus consecrated by the
ashes of the christian and the patriot, is to this day
preserved as a receptacle for the dead; and while
succeeding generations are gathering around him,
the remembrance of his name and virtues are also
fading from the records of time.

Atherton turned from the place filled with melancholy
reflections, and was still indulging a moralizing
mood, when he reached the residence of
Mr. Vane. The house of the chief magistrate was
of small dimensions, and rather suited to the strictness
of his principles and his rigid conformity to
the prevailing manners of a sect, than to the dignity
of his rank and office. It was situated in a beautifully
secluded spot, then commanding a fine view
of the harbour and islands, and sheltered by a hill
which has since been levelled to promote the objects
of public utility, ornament and convenience.
It was afterwards enlarged and occupied by the celebrated
Mr. Cotton, to whom Mr. Vane presented
it on returning to England.

The Governor received Major Atherton with
marked politeness; indeed there was an appearance
of frankness and affability in his manners,
which invited confidence and regard, and which
united to a gravity of countenance and deportment,
particularly agreeable to a people jealous of their
peculiar forms, had gained for him an extent of
popularity which he evidently prized, though anxious
to appear utterly indifferent to it. To Atherton, 4(6)r 39
this rare union of qualities so seldom attained,
even at a maturer age, appeared almost unnatural
in one so young, and whose station and connexions
had early brought him within the sphere of a dissipated
court. Though compelled to admire the versatility
of his talents, the intelligence and acuteness
of his remarks, Atherton could not but admit the
belief, that latent ambition and worldly policy had
induced him to assume a character foreign to his
real disposition and feelings. But Mr. Vane possessed,
in an eminent degree, the art of adapting
his conversation to the taste and circumstances of
those with whom he associated; and on this occasion
he thought proper to divest his discourse of
that peculiar phraseology and sectarian cant which
he had always at command, and often used to advantage.
In discussing the political events of England,
and alluding to scenes and persons familiar
both to himself and Atherton, the latter became insensibly
weaned from the prejudice he had unconsciously
imbibed, and engaged with spirit in a conversation
which seemed once more to place him on
the stage of active life. He had never till now,
since his residence in America, met with any one
whose recent and personal observation interested
him in the passing occurrences and leading characters
of his native land; and the subject became so
pleasing to him,—awakened so many dormant feelings,
and so powerfully renewed the schemes of
usefulness and enjoyment, which had of late been
interrupted by a more absorbing passion,—that he 4(6)v 40
retired with reluctance when politeness compelled
him to conclude his interview with the Governor.

The day terminated in a snow-storm, the most
severe that Major Atherton had ever witnessed;
and, during its continuance, he had ample leisure
to indulge the feelings which had been called into
exercise by the events of the morning, and to form
many resolutions, the execution of which, was however
left to the mercy of circumstances. His first
determination was to return to England early in
the ensuing summer,—there to engage in some pursuits
which might obliterate the mortifying disappointment
which still rankled in his mind, and
again attach him to the ordinary pleasures and
cares of the world. “I shall weary of this unsettled
state,”
he thoughthought, “when my curiosity is satiated
with the wonders of the new world, and
gladly retire to the peaceful shades of my childhood.”
But he failed not to add the saving clause,
“if the return of Mr. Grey produces no change in
the decision of Miriam.”
A hope which still lingered
in the recess of his heart, and coloured with
its rainbow tints, every vision of futurity.

5(1)r 41

Chapter III.

“Those holy men, so full of truth and grace, Seem to reflection, of a diff’rent race; Meek, modest, venerable, wise, sincere, In such a cause they could not dare to fear.” Cowper.

Mr. Winthrop assembled at his house on the following
day, some of the most distinguished worthies
of New-England; men whose characters and
example were then the theme of praise, and whose
memories still claim our highest respect and veneration.

There were the learned and patriarchal Cotton,
the pious and benevolent Wilson, and the apostolic
Eliot, with others equally renowned in the early
history of the colony; and the feelings of Major
Atherton
were highly gratified on finding himself,
by the easy politeness of his host, and the courtesy
of the guests, at once familiarized in a circle which
included so many of the wise and eminent of
the age and country. Most of them were well-
educated, experienced in the ways of the world
and accustomed to the usages of polite life; and
though liberality of religious feeling was not the
crying sin of the times, Atherton had no reason to
complain that the errors of prelacy, with which
he was chargeable, exposed him to coldness or
neglect. On the contrary, the company in general
seemed well inclined to obey the apostolic command,Vol. II. 5 5(1)v 42
“be courteous” which was enforced by the
example of Mr. Winthrop, whose benevolence and
urbanity, were never subjected to the invidious distinctions
of party-spirit. Nor were they so austere
and formal, so gloomy and misanthropic as
the revilers of that day, and the light and vain
talkers of the present, have generally supposed. It
was an age of superstition and fanaticism, and no
sect of christians was exempted from their influence.
But the acts of intolerance which stain their
public records, did not necessarily poison the stream
of private happiness, or blight the tender charities
of life; and while dissipation was suppressed, profligacy
abhorred, and vice made ashamed to shew
its distorted visage, the gentler virtues were
brought into exercise; and we have reason to believe
that our fathers were as exemplary in their
domestic relations, as cheerful in social life, as
light of heart, if not of head, as their more liberal-
minded posterity.

The pleasures of society were not then, at least
in New-England, encumbered with the thousand
nameless fripperies of fashion, which destroy every
rational enjoyment, and render a modern party, a
scene of expense and fatigue, a noisy mirth and
Babel-like confusion. In the intellectual circle
which Mr. Winthrop drew around him, Major Atherton
was reminded of the refined hospitality of
his father’s house, where he had been accustomed
to meet with characters distinguished for their merit
and talents. If a certain air of grave precision 5(2)r 43
marked the manners of the Puritans, and
formed a partition-wall between them and their
brethren of other denominations, this gradually
wore away, or was disregarded in the freedom of
familiar intercourse, the interest of animated discussion,
and the warmth of contending argument
and opinion.

Mrs. Winthrop whom Atherton had not before
seen, was a sensible, well-bred woman, and presided
with dignity and grace at her table, which was
furnished with a variety of substantial fare, served
up with a degree of neatness and order, sufficient
to prove, that the watchful eye of the mistress
“looked well to the ways of her household;”—a task,
which, in those days of primitive simplicity, before
a love of show and dissipation, or the ambition of
wearing the “blue stocking”, had infected all ranks
and ages, was not disdained by the highest dames
of the land. The conclusion of a long blessing,
by Mr. Wilson, in which the reverent gentleman
seemed to forget that dinner was cooling,—became
the signal for a general attack upon the well-dressed
viands, in which both divines and statesmen
signalized themselves by their vigour and abilities.

“I should inform you, Major Atherton,” said Mr.
Winthrop
, observing that he was about to pledge
him in a goblet of wine “that we have restrained
the useless custom of drinking to each other’s health,
which in our opinion tends to excess, by leading one
another to taste, through courtesy, when it is neither
needful nor desired. The fashion is now 5(2)v 44
scarcely followed by any of our sober citizens, and
we trust will soon be abolished altogether.”

“I am happy to relinquish a custom,” said Atherton,
“which has often subjected me to inconvenience,
though I have never felt at liberty to oppose it, nor
was I before aware, that any efforts had been made
to discountenance a fashion so prevelant and so
long established.”

“It is not easy,” returned Mr. Winthrop, “to
break through the modes of society, which habit
has rendered familiar and agreeable; but the sympathy
of feeling, which united our feeble band in
the early days of our settlement rendered the attempt
practicable, and ensured its success; and we
conceive it important, that no custom be allowed
in the beginning of a colony, which may hereafter
serve as a precedent leading to immorality or excess
of any kind.”

“It is doubtless prudent,” said Mr. Cotton, “to
use wise precautions, and establish just and salutary
regulations; but as the state increaseth, errors
and abuses will creep in, which the arm of the law
cannot reach, and which the rich and powerful are
alone able to suppress; the influence of their example
extends through every grade of society, and
whatever they refuse to sanction, becomes unfashionable,
and is of course, rejected.”

“Such has been the influence of the higher classes
in England,”
said Mr. Vane, “and still is, to the
destruction of principle and good order; but we
may hope better of this favoured people, even that 5(3)r 45
the example of our great men will be for those
things which tend to ‘peace and rightousness.’”

“On that, we may rely with some confidence,”
said Mr. Eliot; “but I could wish the influence of
Mr. Winthrop had been exerted not only to abolish
the foolish custom of drinking healths, but also the
superfluous use of the liquor itself, which is often a
snare, even to the sober and temperate.”

“A moderate use of it is not forbidden us,” replied
Mr. Winthrop; “even the apostle commends it
for the ‘stomach’s sake,’ and our infirmities sometimes
render it needful and salutary.”

“No one can object to it, as a medicine,” returned
Mr. Eliot; “but when it is not needful for the
health, we may be allowed to scruple concerning a
practice, which causeth the waste of many precious
moments, and is apt to introduce vain and unprofitable
discourse.”

“I am not quite reconciled to your opinion, as
yet,”
said Mr. Winthrop; “but we will not insist
upon your practising what your conscience does
not approve, and, therefore, allow you to pass the
disputed beverage to Mr. Cotton, who I perceive is
of my way of thinking.”

“I have no fear of excess, in this honourable company,”
said Mr. Eliot, smiling; “but for myself, I
prefer the wholesome draught of which our first
parents partook in the garden of Eden, and which
the Lord caused to flow from the rock of Horeb to
revive the fainting tribes of Israel.”

“We have not all,” said Mr. Cotton, “the self- Vol. II. 6* 5(3)v 46
denial of our brother Eliot; or perhaps he is from
early habit, indifferent to that which from the
same principle is in a manner necessary to others.”

“You are probably right, sir;” returned Mr. Eliot
“But speaking of habits I know of none which at
present infests our land more inveterate and pernicious
in its consequences than the immoderate
use of tobacco, that unwholesome weed cultivated
and spread abroad by the idle planters of Virginia.”

“I am surprised,” said Atherton, “that a practice
so inimical to cleanliness should ever have received
the sanction of any civilized people.”

“The exhilarating qualities of the plant,” replied
Mr. Winthrop, “produce a charm upon the spirits,
irresistible to those who have once indulged it;
and it is besides a soothing amusement when inclined
to indolence and solitude.”

“Our late sovereign” returned Mr. Eliot, “never
employed his time and talents to more advantage,
than in writing against this obnoxious weed; and
I wish his royal advice had been treated with as
much deference in this particular, as in others
which have proved less advantageous to his subjects.”

“It is after all,” said Governor Vane, “but a
heathenish practice, and fit to be followed only by
the wandering tribes who roam the wilderness in a
state but little exalted above the savage beasts.”

“Wretched, almost inhuman, as these poor outcasts
now appear,”
said Mr. Eliot, “I trust the day
is not far distant, when the light of christianity 5(4)r 47
shall dawn upon them; when they shall be brought
into the fold of the church, and taught the arts of
civilization, and the blessings of social life.”

Mr. Eliot spoke with energy, and his benevolent
countenance was animated with enthusiasm as he
touched upon a theme which excited his ardent
hopes, employed his time and exercised his talents;
and to which the labours of a long and eminently
useful life were devoted. As yet his plans were
immature and he was but preparing for those extensive
exertions which afterwards led him to sacrifice
every personal consideration and carried him
to the inhospitable abodes of savage man,—exposed
to the wintry tempest and summer’s heat,—and
often wet with the dews of night,—that he might
instruct the ignorant and superstitious natives, and
lead them to the pure worship of the true God.

“There is a subject,” said Mr. Winthrop, “which
has long excited the serious interest of the humane
and pious both in England and America; but as
yet small progress has been made in the work
which is suffered to languish from lack of labourers
to enter into the vineyard.”

“It presents almost insuperable difficulties, even
to the most sanguine mind,”
replied Mr. Wilson,
and a spirit of courage and perseverance similar
to that which actuated the holy apostles, can alone
enable any one to prosper in the undertaking.

“To me it appears less formidable,” said Mr.
Eliot
; “the cordial concurrence of our public assemblies,
the prayers and alms of good and enlightened 5(4)v 48
individuals, have already sanctioned the undertaking,
and with the armour of faith and in humble
dependence on the assistance of Heaven, I would
freely devote my poor abilities to forward so glorious
a cause.”

“We hope much from the zealous concern you
have manifested, Mr. Eliot, for these poor benighted
heathens,”
said the Governor; “and your success
in mastering the difficulties of their language,
we are ready to believe an earnest of more extensive
usefulnesss, and still higher attainments.”

“Should Providence open a path for me in the
wilderness,”
returned Mr. Eliot, “I shall count no
pains or difficulties too severe which will enable
me to prove my fidelity in my master’s service, and
render me useful to those unfortunate beings, who,
though created in the image of God, have sunk into
the depths of barbarism and depravity.”

“No one has yet devoted himself to this work,”
said Mr. Winthrop; “but our brethren at New-
Plymouth
have, by repeated acts of kindness and
integrity in their dealings, engaged the friendship
of the natives in those parts, which is the first step
towards reclaiming them; and in many instances
they have listened with docility to religious instruction,
and on their death-beds expressed a wish that
they might go to the Englishman’s God.”

“The conduct of Governor Winslow,” said Atherton,
“towards the sachem Massasoit, appears to me
equally politic and humane. Being dangerously
ill he nursed him for many succeeding days and 5(5)r 49
nights with the utmost tenderness, showing by his
assiduous attention a real anxiety for his safety;
and the gratitude of the Indian prince and his subjects,
which has remained permanent to this day,
and been repeatedly manifested by friendly deeds
towards the colony, proves them to be accessible
to the kind and gentle feelings of humanity.”

“Example is always more powerful than precept,”
said Mr. Cotton, “and this christian conduct
if pursued, may in time produce the desired effect.
But it must be long before we are able to overcome
the prejudices of these savages, who were exasperated
against the white people, years before the
settlement of Plymouth, by the atrocious conduct
of the fishermen and others who came on trucking
voyages to these shores; introduced the vice of
drunkenness among them; and in more than one
instance, stole away their people for slaves.”

“There seems to be a diversity of disposition in
the different tribes,”
said Mr. Winthrop, “probably
the result of peculiar circumstances in their government
and situation; and the degrees of intercourse
which they have maintained with other nations.
Those who inhabit the sea-coast were at first chiefly
affected by the irregular habits of the traders;
but as their commerce with the natives increased,
others from the interior were allured thither by
their admiration of the tinselled gew-gaws for
which they exchanged the rich furs and other valuable
commodities of the country; and the white
people—to their shame be it spoken—too often 5(5)v 50
gratified their propensity for strong drink, and
then took advantage of their situation to practice
on them the grossest impositions.”

“I have seen some of these miserable beings,”
said Atherton, “who have acquired the sordid vices
of our countrymen without any of the virtues which
spring from civilized and christian life; they present
a most melancholy and degrading view of
human nature, and strongly contrast with the noble
independence and native generosity of the unsophisticated
savage.”

“The growth of our plantations,” said Mr. Eliot,
“and our persevering endeavours to promote a better
spirit, will, I hope, with the blessing of God, in
due time bring them to feel their wretchedness, and
lead them to seek their true interest and glory,
where only they can be found. It would argue an
unpardonable neglect in us to be more remiss in
such a cause than the superstitious papists of France,
who have sent their priests to convert the tribes
which border on their dominions of Canada and
Acadia.”

“They are ‘blind leaders of the blind,’” said
Mr. Wilson; “and as well might these poor deluded
heathen trust in the devilish arts of their own
Powaws, as to seek for the light of truth amidst
the errors and idolatry of those image-worshipping
Jesuits.”

“It is the constant endeavour of the Sachems and
Powaws or priests,”
said Mr. Cotton, “to prevent
the English from gaining any ascendancy over the 5(6)r 51
minds of their people, either in civil or religious affairs;
they have been accustomed to receive the
most implicit obedience from them, and their interest
as well as pride is engaged in opposing the
influence of our nation.”

“It is not a light thing to undertake the conversion
and civilization of such prejudiced and obdurate
beings,”
said Mr. Winthrop; “and the success
will not probably equal our hopes till another generation
shall rise up to water the seed which we
may plant.”

“Pardon me, sir, for differing from you in opinion
on this subject,”
replied Mr. Eliot; “but I
feel more sanguine in regard to the result of our
labours, and hope better things from the natural
disposition of these Indians than most of my countrymen.
This general belief in their irreclaimable
depravity, I find, is disheartening to many, who
would otherwise feel inclined to help forward the
good work.”

“The experience of Mr. Roger Williams, who
has now a long time sojourned amongst them;”
returned
Mr. Winthrop, “has been unfavourable to
their character; and though he has not received
any personal violence from their hands; but on
the contrary many important services, he considers
them as stupid and depraved in the extreme.”

“The testimony of a man who has himself introduced
false doctrines and dissensions which have
banished him from our churches,”
said Mr. Vane, 5(6)v 52
can scarcely be admitted as impartial and conclusive
evidence.

“Whatever may be the doctrinal errors of Mr.
Williams
,”
replied Mr. Winthrop, “he has uniformly
displayed a solid judgment, and most disinterested
and benevolent disposition in his intercourse
with society; and his influence over the Indians
has been constantly exerted for our advantage.”

“He has certainly shewn a truly christian spirit
of forgiveness,”
said Mr. Cotton; “and believing
as he does, that he has been injured by the ministers
and magistrates of Massachusetts, his continued
endeavours to serve them argues a nobleness
of mind as praise-worthy as it is uncommon.”

“The Lord turneth the heart of man, even as
the rivers of water are turned,”
said Mr. Dudley,
one of the most inflexible of the early colonists,
“and he can cause the ‘counsel of Ahitophel’ to
subserve his own purposes and advance the interests
of his chosen people.”

“If we suffer ourselves to view the conduct of
others through the medium of prejudice,”
said Mr.
Winthrop
, “every action must appear distorted;
but in the judgment of charity, the demeanour of
Mr. Williams since his establishment of Mooshawsick,
entitles him to respect, rather than reproach
and suspicion.”

“Errors of opinion,” said Mr. Eliot, “do not always
imply hardness of heart; and since he is no
longer a disturber, but a promoter of our peace, we 6(1)r 53
are bound to esteem him for his works’ sake, and
suffer his objectionable tenets to fade into oblivion.”

“His cunningly devised fables,” said Mr. Dudley,
“will not speedily be forgotten by the church
of Salem; and he is still bent on spreading them
amongst the deluded band who have followed him
to the Providence plantations.”

“That is beyond our jurisdiction,” said Mr. Winthrop;
“and we are no longer authorized to restrain
or punish him; and though we have heretofore as
magistrates been compelled to admonish him for the
errors of his creed, we felt sincere esteem for his
private virtues, and our confidence in him induces
us, at the present time, to employ him as our agent
with the Indians, among whom he is located.”

“His knowledge of their character and language,”
replied Mr. Dudley, “may qualify him for the office,
though to me it would seem less objectionable
to select a person who is not given up to ‘strong
delusions.’”

“Our choice must necessarily be limited,” returned
Mr. Winthrop; “nor would we willingly give
him or any one else reason to believe us actuated by
revenge or personal dislike, as might be the case if
we chose another, and perhaps less suitable agent.”

“The charge would be groundless, and unworthy
of our regard,”
said Mr. Dudley, “except so far as
we may be justly influenced by an abhorrence of
spiritual errors.”

“He has suffered severely for those, already,” replied
Mr. Winthrop; “enough, I doubt not, to confirmVol. II. 6 6(1)v 54
him in his favourite tenet, that ‘punishment
for matters of conscience is persecution.’”

“I trust you are not inclining to his opinion in
that respect,”
returned Mr. Dudley; “but you seem
particularly disposed to treat him with lenity, and
even consideration.”

“Now Heaven forbid,” said Governor Vane, “that
any individual present should encourage a toleration
so destructive of that harmony which unites
our churches, and which once admitted, would open
the door for dissensions and sap the foundations of
that pure worship and those dear bought privileges
which our great reformers have laboured to establish.”

“I think,” said Mr. Winthrop, “I should sooner
become a convert to that opinion, than certain others
he has advanced of a totally opposite nature;
and which strikingly display the inconsistency of
the human character, particularly when given up to
the illusions of error.”

“It would seem his wife had most reason to complain
of his eccentricity,”
said Mr. Cotton, “since
he would not even give thanks at his meals when
she was present, because she persisted in going to
the meeting at Salem from which he had withdrawn,
on their refusing to separate from the other churches
in New-England.”

“He thought it necessary, perhaps,” said Mr. Wilson,
“to reduce her to obedience; as we all know
either by experience or observation, that when the
gentler sex are inclined to prove refractory, it is
sometimes expedient to use coercive measures.”

6(2)r 55

“We have never doubted the inclination of most
husbands to exercise their prerogative, even in trifles,”
said Mrs. Winthrop, “and it is not surprising
that it should occasionally produce opposition in
those who are subjected to it.”

“It certainly cannot excite surprise in this age of
the world,”
replied Mr. Wilson, “to find women exercising
a spirit of contradiction, which has been
no novelty since the days of our first mother.”

“It is our duty,” replied Mrs. Winthrop, smiling,
“to copy the example of your sex, who are created
so much superior to us in wisdom and intelligence;
and of course you cannot expect us to be deficient
in so essential a point.”

“It would indeed be an unreasonable expectation,”
said Mr. Wilson; “but I think we are in no immediate
danger of having it realized.”

“I hope,” returned Mrs. Winthrop, “our clergy
will not adopt the sentiments of Mr. Williams in
regard to family discipline, to produce the submission
which you seem to consider desirable.”

“That must depend upon the families we have to
govern, madam,”
said Mr. Wilson, “and their liability
to be led away by errors and false doctrines.”

“Mrs. Williams acted from principle,” replied
Mrs. Winthrop, “and she was certainly bound to
consult her own conscience, even before the will of
her husband, who violated his own maxim in denying
her that freedom of opinion which every reasonable
being has a right to exercise.”

“That is precisely the idea which Eve entertained 6(2)v 56
on the subject of female independence,”
said Mr.
Wilson
, “when she listened to the tempter, and gratified
her caprice and inclination in tasting the
‘fruit of the tree of good and evil;’ and in the
same source doubtless originate the enormous errors
of Mrs. Hutchinson, which are ‘leading captive
silly women,’
and bringing contention into our
land.”

“We will suffer that unhappy woman to rest for
the present,”
replied Mrs. Winthrop, who feared the
diversity of sentiment entertained by her guests on
that subject might lead to unpleasant debate. “But
I doubt if any opinions set forth by my sex, have
produced more heart burnings than that which induced
Mr. Endicot in his zeal to deface the king’s
colours.”

“That may be very suitable in a grave magistrate
and experienced man,”
said Mr. Dudley,
“which would be totally unbecoming of a woman,
whom the apostle exhorts to ‘shame-facedness and
sobriety,’
and commands not to ‘teach or usurp
authority over the man.’”

“Your appeal is decisive, sir,” replied Mrs. Winthrop,
“and I will retire from the discussion before
I become yet further involved in ‘questions
of doubtful disputation.’”

“Allow me to become your champion, madam,”
said Mr. Cotton, “although my arguments may not
prove equal to female wit and address, which so often
win their cause against the strength of masculine
talent and learning.”

6(3)r 57

“The scruple of Mr. Endicot,” said Governor
Vane
, “was one which might naturally arise in a
devout and reflecting mind; and we may well be
allowed to question the lawfulness of displaying
on our banners, the cross; that relic of superstition,
which was given by the Pope to a Romish King
of England, as a symbol of victory.”

“However we may abhor what savours of those
popish customs,”
said Mr. Cotton, “this hath been so
long used as a national standard, that the people had
acquired an attachment, and even veneration for it,
from which it would have been more politic to wean
them by degrees, than to wrest it from them at once
and by force.”

“We may be satisfied with the result, without
reverting to the means,”
returned Mr. Vane, “since
the piety and good sense of the people have at
length convinced them of its unlawfulness, and contented
them to purge this idolatry from this land.”

“Still,” said Mr. Cotton, “Mr. EndicottEndicot was not
authorised to cut out the cross, without seeking advice
from the court and assistant magistrates; and
his rashness gave occasion to many to speak reproachfully
of us, and also endangered the public
peace, by inciting a tumult amongst the soldiers,
who, at first refused to train with the defaced
colours.”

“In the belief that he was actuated by tenderness
of conscience,”
said Mr. Winthrop; “we are
bound to pass lightly over his offence, as the court
hath already done; and, indeed it required much Vol. II. 6* 6(3)v 58
zeal and courage to abolish an ensign which has
been long associated with the military glory of
England, and of course cherished with feelings of
pride by those who love her prosperity and admire
her greatness.”

“If I mistake not,” said Atherton, “I observed
our national banner floating from the fort as Castle
Island
, and therefore presume this scruple has
not generally prevailed.”

“It was taken down for a time,” returned Mr.
Winthrop
, “but our loyalty being called in question
on that account, we deemed it proper, as the
fort is maintained in the king’s name, to mount his
own colours upon it. His Majesty has not more
faithful subjects, throughout his wide dominions,
than in these colonies of New-England; but there
are certain matters touching our religious faith
and worship, for which we hold ourselves amenable
to our own consciences alone.”

Mr. Winthrop soon after this conversation led
the way into another apartment; and at the close
of a social and agreeable evening, Major Atherton
returned to his humble lodgings.

6(4)r 59

Chapter IV.

“Mais l’ame d’un amant retrouve par-tout les traces de l’objet
aime. La nuit et la jour, le calme des solitudes, et le bruit des
habitations, le temp même qui emporte tant de souvenirs, rien ne
peut l’en ecarter.”
St. Pierre.

Several succeeding weeks passed away, unmarked
by any occurrences worthy of particular
detail; and the situation and feelings of Major
Atherton
at that period, are best described by himself,
in a letter addressed to his kinsman at Plymouth,
which we have transcribed from the records
of the Atherton family, and with some slight alterations,
take the liberty to lay before our readers

“To Captain Miles Standish. Dear Sir, I have been long intending to answer your
friendly letter, but various circumstances have of
late prevented me, though not as you seem to intimate,
forgetfulness of my Plymouth friends, with
whom my thoughts are daily conversant. I know
not how it is, but my time is continually occupied,
and I sometimes vainly wish for a solitary evening,
to reflect on past events, and look forward to my
future prospects. The inhabitants of this place
are hospitable, and socially inclined, beyond my 6(4)v 60
expectations, and have successfully exerted themselves
to render my situation agreeable. To the
polite attentions of Governor Vane, and Mr. Winthrop,
I am particularly indebted; and at their
houses, and those of several other gentlemen of
note here, I am at all times welcomed and encouraged
to visit with the utmost familiarity. Indeed,
I have been repeatedly urged to take up my
abode with them altogether during my residence
here; but I feel more independent in my present
lodgings, humble as they are, and am very comfortably
accommodated in the same apartment as
Master Cole informs me, that you occupied when
here in the autumn;—and which, he says, is kept
for respectable people only; such I suppose he
means, as are willing to pay something above the
ordinary price. These separatists, in casting off
the works of prelacy, I find have not quite divested
themselves of the love of Mammon, which will
probably be the last bond of union that is dissolved.
I have accompanied my friends in several excursions
to the neighbouring towns, and I assure
you have become a most indefatigable traveller
over the deepest snows, through trackless forests,
and across frozen streams. I went a short time
since to Newtown—which by the way, is to be
called Cambridge in future—with a son of Mr.
Winthrop
, who you may tell our friend Peregrine,
has almost as much lively humour as himself, but
seasoned with rather more discretion. I was much 6(5)r 61
pleased with the situation of that place, it was early
intended for a fortified town; and though that
plan is now relinquished, it is handsomely laid out,
the streets crossing each other at right angles, and
a square reserved for a market-place. It lies on
the river Charles, and will probably become an
important place in the course of time; it is now
indeed one of the most thriving villages in the Bay,
and I understand a College is to be founded there
in the ensuing year. I have also been on the ice
to Noddle’s Island, and was hospitably entertained
in the family of Mr. Maverick, who established
himself there before the arrival of Mr. Winthrop
and company. He presides in his sea-girt isle like
one of the rural princes whom Homer celebrates,
though—his household excepted—with only the
brute creation for his subjects. Or perhaps his
military state—for he has built a fort and mounted
cannon on it, for defence against the natives—may
more resemble the renowned hero of a fairy tale,
who, in his solitary dominions, performs those
feats of valour and enchantment, which are the wonder
of our boyhood; and several negroes whom
he has domesticated in his family, with their black
glossy skins, yellow eyes and ivory teeth, might
well represent those imps, which administer to the
spells of the magician. My last expedition, extended
to Saugus, where we were detained several
days by a severe snow storm; but the time passed
very pleasantly in the society of Mr. Humfrey and
his noble consort, who seem to be well accommodated 6(5)v 62
and quite happy, though I confess it is the
most dreary part of the country I have yet seen;
and I could not but feel surprised that they should
fix their abode here. Mr. Humfrey is an Assistant,
and of course, much engaged in public affairs;
though still as deeply interested in agricultural
pursuits, as the most laborious farmer in England.
I witnessed with admiration, the cheerfulness with
which his lady submitted to a situation so different
from that to which she had been accustomed, in the
ease and luxury of her father’s house. From thence
I proceeded to Salem, which is worthy of attention,
as one of the earliest settlements in the Massachusetts;
and where the people, it is said, are far more
rigid than in the other plantations. I was absent
about a week and gladly returned to Boston, where
I feel more at home than in any other place which
I have visited since I left your friendly roof.
Thus my dear sir, I have given you a sketch of
my various excursions,—at the risk of wearying
your patience,—as a sort of apology for my long
silence, and to convince you that I am not chilled
by your New-England frosts, nor become inactive,
and indifferent to the pleasures which are offered to
me. On the whole I am delighted with this part
of the country, so far as I can judge at this unfavourable
season, and were I to become a settler on
these shores, should give it a decided preference
over any that I have yet seen. I know your natural
partiality for the old colony of Plymouth, and
therefore offer this opinion with some diffidence, 6(6)r 63
begging at the same time that you will not think
me a heretic in all my sentiments, as well as in
matters of religion. The rich variety of scenery,
beautiful even in wintry dreariness, the abundance
of streams and rivers, the extensive valleys interwoven
with lofty and finely wooded hills,—all bespeak
a land of fruitfulness and abundance, which
has been blessed by its great Creator, and needs
only the hand of industry to fill the store-houses
and granaries, even to overflowing. I am pleased
too, with the manners of the people, and have experienced
the highest satisfaction in their conversation
and society. There are many men here of
extensive learning and eminent talents, who have
been distinguished in the first society in England,
and whose influence softens the rude and jarring
elements of an infant colony, and ameliorates the
rigid tenets of the religion they have adopted.
Many also have figured in the gayer circles of life,
—are descended from ancient families,—and allied
to houses of nobility and distinction; their manners
and conversation, retain a degree of polish
and refinement, happily blended with the primitive
simplicity which characterize the inhabitants of
Plymouth.
I must crave your patience, while I advance
another heterodox opinion, which you will not perhaps,
readily admit; but they appear to me less
bigotted than the good people of your colony, who
are always sure to find the cloven foot beneath
a surplice, and the devils spirit, in every printed 6(6)v 64
prayer-book. Perhaps my semi-puritan descent,
leads them to overlook my prelatical errors, or to
pass lighly over them, in the hope of converting
me by fair words; but, however this may be, they
have certainly more charity towards the mother
church, than many of their Plymouth brethren;
though in minor points I must confess they quite
equal,—in some perhaps surpass you. My conflict
with Master Handcuff the constable, which I mentioned
to you in my last letter, was certainly an unrivalled
exploit, quite beyond the genius of your
laws; and to avoid a repetition of it, I find I must
refrain from all observance of the approaching
Christmas, which is expressly forbidden by law.—
When will rulers learn to let every man judge for
himself in matters of conscience and religion?
As for the news of the place, concerning which
you make enquiries—the old story of Mrs. Hutchinson
is still a fruitful subject for discussion, and the
difference of opinion respecting her doctrines and
conduct is a source of much bitter invective. The
Governor, continues her firm partizan, and it is
generally thought that Mr. Cotton is tinged with
her errors; though his calm temperament is less
easily excited than her enthusiastic imagination.
She is undoubtedly an uncommon woman; full of
spirit and independence, with great strength of mind,
and versatility of talents,—an artful address, and
a surprising command of language, which is particularly
displayed in the subtlety of her controversial
arguments. The countenance of Mr. Vane, 7(1)r 65
and others has greatly emboldened her; she has
withdrawn from public worship, and holds lectures
at her own house, where she instructs the sisters,
who resort to her in great numbers. The most respectable
are drawn to listen to her, and none of
either sex are excluded who feel inclined to profit
by her edifying discourses. Had the magistrates
and clergy disregarded her at first, she would probably
have sunk into forgetfulness; but their impolitic
interference produced a degree of party excitement,
and the violence of their opposition constantly
increased her disciples, till her influence
extends to the most important affairs, both of church
and state.
The continued aggressions of the Pequod tribe,
are also a theme of complaint and conjecture; and
it is feared that hostilities will commence with fatal
rigour on both sides, in the approaching spring.
Added to these copious topics the conduct of Governor
Vane
has of late given much offence to
some, and much anxiety and regret to others. His
popularity is on the decline; and, sensible of it
himself, he has requested leave to resign the government,
urging as a plea, certain letters received
from London, and containing orders for his return.
His departure was acceded to by the court, but the
church refused their assent, and he was without
much difficulty persuaded to remain. I am not
sufficiently conversant in public affairs, to give an
impartial opinion on the subject; but I confess
there is an appearance of dissimulation in his conduct,Vol. II. 7 7(1)v 66
from which I could wish him free; he certainly
used considerable address, in exciting the
feelings of the parties, and moulding them to his
purpose.
But I will not detain you longer with these minute
details, though I wish it were in my power to
interest you in the transactions of the times, as far
as to induce you to come hither and be an eye and
ear witness, as soon as the season will permit. I
hope you will remember that you almost promised
to join me here in the spring, if not sooner. After
all that I have said in this long epistle, I trust
you will not think my inclination so much turned
towards these ‘meddlesome Massachusetts people,’
as you call them, as to render me forgetful of
the kind friends whom I have left at Plymouth.
My heart turns to them with grateful remembrance,
and I often long to form one of the social group
which is gathered around your blazing fire, and to
mingle again with the cheerful circle at Mr. Winslow’s.
I understand an English vessel has recently
arrived at Plymouth;—did it bring any intelligence
from Mr. Grey? If there are any letters for
me, please to forward them by the first opportunity.
I will thank you to remind Peregrine White
that he promised to write me, and that I expect a
well-filled sheet, whenever he can find leisure from
teazing Master Ashly, and his other favourites.
Tell your little rose-bud, from me—nonsense!—do
not tell her any thing.—With kind remembrances 7(2)r 67
to all my friends, believe me, dear sir, your obliged
kinsman,
Edward Atherton

Major Atherton prepared this letter to send by
the master of a pinnace which was hourly expecting
to sail for Plymouth; and at the commencement
of a cold and serene evening, he sallied
forth to deliver it himself into his hand. There
was a great quantity of ice in the harbour, extending
to, and connecting several of the nearest
islands; but the channel remained clear and open
for navigation; and as Atherton, remarked its
dark and swelling waves, contrasted with the glittering
wall, which hemmed it in on either side, his
attention was attracted by a vessel rapidly approaching
the shore, and its white sails fluttering
in the clear moon-light. It proved a small bark
scarcely larger than a fishing smack; but Atherton,
remained till it came to anchor, hoping it was
from Plymouth, and would bring him intelligence
from his friends. Several persons, attracted by
the same object, were collected on the shore, and
Atherton, apart from them, continued to pace the
beach till he discovered it was only a trading pinnace
from Cape Cod; and feeling no further interest
he returned disappointed to the inn.

He had, however, scarcely taken possession of
his solitary apartment when an unusual bustle below
announced the arrival of new guests; and 7(2)v 68
presently the voice of Dame Cole was heard ascending
the stairs, in conversation with some persons
whom she seemed conducting to their rooms.
Atherton’s door stood ajar and as the bustling
landlady passed by with the stranger, he was rather
surprised to observe two females; but they
were so closely enveloped in their cloaks and
hoods, that neither their faces nor figures were
discernible.

“I am afraid, Mistress, that our poor rooms will
not be to your liking,”
said Dame Cole, in her
softest tone and most complaisant manner, “seeing
that my best chamber is already taken up by a
hopeful young gentleman who has been our lodger,
it is now almost five weeks, and I may well say,
as orderly and generous a youth, as one could meet
with—though they do tell me he is a prelatist,—
the more’s the pity, poor young man.”

Atherton had retreated from the door, and did
not hear the reply to this eulogium; to which the
dame again answered,—

“It doth not become me to boast, although I
may say, I endeavour to do all things ‘decently
and in order,’
as is commanded; nevertheless,
this apartment lacks many conveniences which appertain
unto that of Major Atherton.”

“Major Atherton!” repeated one of the females
in a tone of surprise, and with a tremulous voice
which thrilled to the heart of Atherton, and which
he believed it impossible to mistake.

“Can it be?” he mentally exclaimed,—“is Miriam 7(3)r 69
Grey
in reality so near me? surely no
other voice has that sweetness, that indescribable
charm!”

In the first impulse of delight and astonishment,
he was on the point of rushing from the room to
satisfy his doubts; but the recollection of their last
interview checked his eagerness, and a moment of
reflection convinced him that a mistake was possible;
indeed her arrival in Boston was so unexpected,
so improbable, that he concluded with a
sigh, he had been deceived by his hopes, and that
there might be another voice in New-England,
which possessed the exquisite melody of hers. Still
he continued to traverse his apartment for some
time in a state of strong excitement, often stopping
to listen, with almost agitated interest to the low
murmur of voices which proceeded from the adjoining
apartment. At length, ashamed of his
emotion, and resolved to shake it off, he hastily
descended to the public rooms to seek further information
respecting the vessel, and particularly
the passengers it had brought. In a small room,
where his meals were usually served up, he observed
a table neatly prepared for supper; and, in
the act of warming himself by the fire, a young
man of respectable appearance, whose figure was
familiar to him. Atherton paused a moment to
catch a glimpse of his features, which were then
turned from him. The first view satisfied all his
doubts, and the well remembered countenance of Vol. II. 7* 7(3)v 70
Henry Weldon convinced him that he had not been
mistaken in his former conjectures.

“Mr. Weldon,” exclaimed Atherton, “is it possible
that I see you in this place?”

“You may well be surprised, Major Atherton,”
said Mr. Weldon, cordially receiving his offered
hand; “when we last parted I had little thought of
following you so soon, from our comfortable abode
at Plymouth.”

“You are not alone I think,” returned Atherton;
“I could not be mistaken, when I just now saw
Mrs. Weldon and her cousin, though I then almost
persuaded myself that my senses were deceived.”

“They insisted on accompanying me,” replied
Mr. Weldon “and though most happy to be thus
attended, I would fain, for their sakes have gone
forth alone, and spared them the hardships we
may encounter, at this inclement season.”

“Whither are you going?” asked Atherton, “and
what could induce you,—what could tempt your
more delicate companions, to forsake the comforts
of home, in the midst of a severe and frozen
winter?”

“My home,” replied Mr. Weldon, “is far from
hence, and Providence has called me to forsake
my plans of ease, and attend to my worldly estate.
Mrs. Weldon’s affectionate solicitude will not permit
her to remain behind, and Miriam has generously
resolved to share our fortunes, at least till
her father returns to claim her.”

7(4)r 71

“And does Miriam Grey go with you to that
savage wilderness?”
said Atherton, with strong
emotion. But fearful of betraying his feelings, he
suddenly stopped and leaning his head upon his
hand, remained silent.

“Such is her intention,” replied Mr. Weldon, without
appearing to notice his emotion; “but it would
take long to relate the causes by which we are actuated,
and you will excuse me for the present, as
supper is now ready, and we are fatigued and hugry
voyagers—and here come my wife and cousin
to seek for refreshments.”

Major Atherton raised his head, and beheld Mrs.
Weldon
with Miriam Grey leaning on her arm, at
that moment entering the apartment.

7(4)v 72

Chapter V.

“To lands where foot hath seldom been, Were it our fate to roam, Still ’tis the heart that gilds the scene, The heart that forms the home.” Anonymous.

As soon as Major Atherton left the house of Mr.
Grey
, on the evening previous to his departure from
Plymouth,—Miriam, who had exerted a surprising
command over her feelings during their interview,
found herself unable longer to sustain her firmness,
and as the door closed after him, and she felt that
he was leaving her probably for the last time, she
yielded to her emotions, and leaning her head on
Mrs. Weldon’s shoulder, wept for a few moments
without restraint. Mrs. Weldon forbore to interrupt
or question her; she could not mistake the
cause of her unusual excitement, and the appearance
and conduct of Atherton convinced her, that their
recent conference had not terminated favourably to
his wishes. Miriam first broke the silence, and
raising her blushing face, she said in an earnest but
unsteady voice,—

“Forgive my folly, dearest Lois, and believe that
I have not intentionally deceived you.”

“I am most ready to believe it,” returned Mrs.
Weldon
, “and you will now allow, Miriam, that I
was better acquainted with your heart, than you
were yourself.”

7(5)r 73

“I was indeed loth to think it so very weak,” replied
Miriam; “but this painful interview has opened
my eyes, and I thank God, that I have had
strength to sacrifice my inclination to principle and
duty.”

“You have done well, my dear Miriam, and the
peace of your own conscience and your father’s approbation,
will amply compensate for your present
unhappiness, and soon, I trust, restore your wonted
serenity.”

“I could endure every thing with cheerfulness,
were he less miserable,”
replied Miriam,—and the
tears again filled her eyes,—“but I can never cease
to reproach myself for encouraging hopes, however
inadvertently, which I have in an instant crushed,
and without daring to offer one soothing word, or
even leaving him the consolation of knowing that
the pain was mutual.”

“Do not dwell on these gloomy images, my dear
Miriam; sincerly as Major Atherton loves you,
believe me his affection is not unconquerable; men
are less tenacious in their attachments than our sex,
and their intercourse with the world, their more
active sources of amusement, soon wean their
thoughts from one object, and leave them no leisure
to indulge in melancholy regrets.”

Miriam remained silent, probably unconvinced
or unwilling to admit the justice of her cousin’s assertion;
which as it regarded Atherton, would perhaps
have occasioned inquietude rather thn consolation;
for few women wish to regain their tranquillity 7(5)v 74
at the expense of losing the affection of the
man they love, even if convinced their attachment
can never lead to a more permanent union. Approaching
footsteps were at that moment heard, and
Miriam hastily rising, said,—

“Do not betray my weakness, even to your husband,
dear Lois,”
and hurried to her own apartment.

Major Atherton’s unexpected departure from Plymouth
on the following morning, occasioned much
surprise and conjecture among the inhabitants, and
subjected Miriam Grey to many embarrassing enquirires.
Mistress Rebecca Spindle, who possessed
a large share of the curiosity natural to her sex and
condition, proved particularly annoying; she found
it convenient to pay an early visit to Mrs. Weldon,
and through the confusion of Miriam, when Atherton
and the cause of his absence were alluded to,
she detected enough of the truth combined with her
own conjectures, to satisfy the inquisitive disposition
of all the gossips in the village.

Mr. Calvert, who had long considered Atherton
as a formidable rival, was delighted by his abrupt
departure, which he doubted not was occasioned by
the refusal of Miriam; and from that supposition,
he drew the most favourable inferences in regard to
his own prospects. He found her as cheerful, and
apparently happy as usual; for in society at least,
she successfully rallied her spirits, and appeared
with her accustomed gaiety. Her manner towards
him, was frank and unreserved, as it had ever been; 7(6)r75
and encouraged by his hopes, he ventured to disclose
the passion with which she had inspired him, and to
solicit a return. Miriam listened to him with surprise,
but without any flattering emotion; she had always
found him an agreeable companion, and believed
him worthy of her esteem; but even had her heart
been entirely free, he could never have been the man
whom she would have selected for her husband.
Feeling no partiality for him, she had scarcely suspected
that his regard for her exceeded the limits
of friendly interest; and indeed he had considered
it politic to conceal its extent, particularly while
under her father’s eye, believing his handsome person
and insinuating address would make a due impression
on her, whenever he thought proper to reveal
his sentiments. The gentle but decided refusal
of Miriam, perplexed him, and he endeavoured to
win a more favourable answer, by exerting all the
persuasive eloquence he could command. Finding
her inflexible, he tried the force of argument; her
objections to his religion, his country, her father’s
disapprobation, her own indifference, he at first
considered merely as the capricious whims of a
pretty woman, who wished to be flattered into compliance;
but he at length became irritated by her
continued firmness, and gave way to the bitterness
of his disappointment in the most violent reproaches.
The feelings of Miriam were deeply wounded
by his language, which was equally unmerited and
unexpected, and betrayed by an absence of principle
and delicacy that shocked and surprised her. Without 7(6)v 76
deigning to repel his accusations, or to enter
into controversy with him, she retired from his presence
with an air of dignity, which for a moment
awed him, and prevented his endevouring to retain
her. Yet his pride, as much perhaps as his affection,
was piqued, and he made repeated attempts
to be admitted to another interview. But Miriam
steadily refused his request, and he resorted to the
expedient of interesting Mrs. Weldon in his behalf.
She, however, declined all interference, believing
Miriam possessed of prudence sufficient to direct
herself, and in reality not at all inclined to favour
the addresses of a man, whose religious principles
were alone an insurmountable objection. As a
dernier resource, Mr. Calvert addressed a letter
to Miriam, filled with humble acknowledgements
and passionate professions, entreating her to receive
him at least on probation, and allow him to hope
that he might even at a distant period, regain her
good opinion, if he could not obtain her affections.

Miriam returned him the letter briefly expressing
on the envelope her continued wishes for his
prosperity and happiness, but declining any further
intercourse with him. Calvert’s mortification was
excessive and he would have quitted Plymouth,
without delay, but his vessel was yet unprepared
for the voyage; and in the mean while he availed
himself of an oft-repeated invitation from Captain
Standish
to pass some time at his house, happy to
remove from the immediate scene of his disappointment.

8(1)r 77

Soon after these events, Mr. Weldon received intelligence
from the new colony of Hartford, which
excited the utmost alarm and anxiety. He had invested
his whole property in a plantation at that
place, and with the laborious care attendant on
the first attempts at cultivating a wilderness, had
prepared a suitable place for a garden, and cleared
several acres of land ready to receive the seed,
early in the ensuing spring. He had also built a
comfortable dwelling-house, which, with his cattle
and implements of husbandry he left with a trusty
agent, intending to pass the winter at Plymouth
from whence he felt reluctant to remove his wife
at that inauspicious season.

But the Pequod Indians, a fierce and warlike
tribe, inhabiting the country near the mouth of
Connecticut river, began to spread terror among
the scattered settlements in their vicinity; and
every man was obliged to use the utmost vigilance
to secure himself, his family and property from
their depredations. They often penetrated to the
abodes of the white people, lay in ambush for the
solitary and unsuspicious, and if opportunity offered,
burned houses and destroyed every thing within
their reach. Their enmity to the English was inveterate
and unceasing; they inhumanly murdered
in cold blood, even innocent children and defenceless
women; and their unfortunate captives were
subjected to the most cruel tortures. At that time
three towns only were settled within the limits of
Connecticut; the whole of which did not contain Vol. II. 8 8(1)v 78
more than two hundred and fifty men capable of
bearing arms, and surrounded as they were by
savage enemies, their situation became perilous in
the extreme.

Mr. Weldon received a detail of these particulars
in a letter from Hartford, and he was sensible
that his absence at such a time would place his
worldly concerns in hazard, and that it might subject
him to the reproach of cowardice to remain in
security, and at a distance, when every man was
girding on his armour to repel a barbarous enemy.
He had assisted in establishing the church and
colony at that place, and deeply interested in their
existence and prosperity, he resolved at whatever
cost, to return and share the perils of his fellow
citizens. Mrs. Weldon at once determined to follow
her husband, wherever his duty called him, nor
were any entreaties, or the prospect of any dangers,
able to shake her resolution. Indeed she suffered
far less anxiety for herself than he had experienced
on her account; she was naturally of a cheerful
disposition, and had acquired an habitual self-command,
which enabled her to meet every exigence
with firmness, every misfortune with resignation.
With a constant reliance on divine protection, and
the most devoted affection for her husband, she was
ready to undertake any enterprise which circumstances
rendered expedient.

But the situation of Miriam Grey occasioned
Mrs. Weldon much perplexity and deliberation.
She was unwilling to leave her during her father’s 8(2)r 79
absence, and particularly while the gaiety of her
spirits were clouded by recent disappointment,
which all her endeavours could not conceal from
the solicitous affection of her cousin. Major Atherton’s
name had not passed the lips of either since
the evening he had quitted them. Miriam engaged
in her daily employments with as much apparent
interest as usual; but her sportive smile was
often checked by a sigh and a casual allusion or
sudden remembrance, sometimes filled her eyes with
tears, even in the moment of mirth; while imperceptible
to any but the watchful eye of Lois, her
countenance seemed gradually losing the brilliant
bloom of health and happiness.

Mrs. Weldon was too delicate to mention her
fears even to her husband; and therefore left entirely
to the counsel of her own judgment, she determined
to be guided in a great measure by the
wishes of Miriam. The Governor and Mrs. Winslow
earnestly desired Miriam to remain with them
until her father’s return; but though gratified by
their kindness and attention, she declined their request,
and solicited permission to accompany Lois,
to share her fortunes, and still enjoy the solace of
her society and friendship. Nothing could have
been more grateful to Mrs. Weldon’s feelings than
such a proposal; but fearful that it would not meet
the approbation of Mr. Grey, and might endanger
Miriam’s safety, she generously endeavoured to dissuade
her from her purpose by representing all the
evils to which she would be exposed, and her father’s 8(2)v 80
unhappiness, should any misfortune befal her.
But Miriam opposed arguments and entreaties to
her cousin’s objections, and was so decided in the
belief that her father would approve of her conduct,
and that she acted consistently with duty, as well
as inclination, that Mrs. Weldon considered further
discussion useless, and with mingled pleasure and
apprehension, consented to admit her as the companion
of her hazardous enterprise.

Miriam Grey commenced the preparations for her
expected departure with an alacrity which surprised
her friends, who considered an expedition to
that distant part of the country, at any time, and
especially in a season of public alarm, as too dangerous
to be undertaken, except in cases of urgent
necessity. For be it remembered, the conveniences
of steam-boats and stage-coaches, which now traverse
our country from the lakes of Canada to the
shores of Mexico, were then unknown; and a removal
to the savage borders of the great Connecticut,
was an undertaking more formidable than a
voyage of discovery to the North Pole, or an exploring
mission to the interior of Africa in these
days of improvement, when a love of scientific research,
or rage for novelty; a desire to instruct the
world or to amuse themselves, is daily leading men
to the remotest regions of the earth, and has even
suggested the ingenious theory of penetrating
through its centre, as a ready way of facilitating intercourse
between the antipodes. Nay, when the
earth itself has become too grovelling a sphere of 8(3)r 81
action, and the dominions of the air are threatened
with invasion by a recent petition to Congress,
praying that honourable body for a patent to confine
the profitable sale of wings to the sole benefit of
the aspiring inventor.

But Miriam did not allow herself to indulge
imaginary fears, or even to dwell on such as wore
an appearance of reality; once resolved, she was
unwavering, and those most interested in her happiness,
while they regretted, ceased to oppose her
design. Captain Standish was the most persevering
of her opponents; but, like all the others, he was
finally obliged to yield to her fixed determination,
though so highly irritated at his defeat, that it is
said he gave vent to an almost forgotten Dutch
oath, which had served him when fighting for queen
Elizabeth
in the Low-Countries,—and which, if
whispered among his puritan brethren, was probably
overlooked on account of his important services.

“These confounded women,” he said to Calvert,
still a guest at his house, “are as wrong-headed
and obstinate as mules; but who could have thought
my little rose-bud, with all her sweetness and
smiles, would set up for a will of her own.”

“The fairest and best of them have a bit of the
old serpent in their hearts;”
answered Calvert, with
a bitter smile.

“No, no, you are wrong, Calvert,” replied the
Captain, “their hearts would be well enough, and
it were not for their light heads and fickle minds Vol. II. 8* 8(3)v 82
which are always leading them into error, and
turning them aside in search of novelty. But I do
believe,”
he added to himself, rather than to his
companion, “my poor Miriam has lost her senses,
gone mad outright,—to turn off my cousin Atherton,
as handsome and gallant a young fellow as
ever sued for maiden’s favour, or drew sword against
the king’s enemies,—and now to leave friends and
home, and throw herself into the very jaws of these
ravenous, heathenish savages.”

As Captain Standish paced the room with hurried
steps, and thus yielded to his anger and regret;
he quite forgot in the excitement of his feelings,
the caution he had hitherto used in regard to the
disappointment of Major Atherton, which the art
of Calvert had not been able to extort from him;
but to which he now listened with extreme pleasure,
feeling his own mortification diminished by the
conviction that it was shared by his rival.

Mr. Weldon in the mean time, resolved to take
passage in a small vessel which had put into Plymouth
on its way from Cape-Cod to Boston; being
informed that a vessel was then lading with provisions
at the latter place for the ill-supplied colonists
at Connecticut, in which they would embark
for the place of their destination.

But as the time of their departure drew near,
Benjamin Ashly who had certainly said less, and
probably thought more on the subject than any
other person, became tormented by his apprehensions,
and excited by a thousand wild hopes and 8(4)r 83
inconsistent plans. The coldness of Miriam, her
occasional raillery and suspected preference for
another, had not diminished his affection for her,
and if he sometimes doubted of success, hope was
never entirely banished from his breast. His disposition
was rather reserved than phlegmatic; he
had loved her from childhood, his attachment had
increased with his years, and was decidedly encouraged
by the friends of both. The world, which
always takes the liberty of interfering in such
affairs, had early declared in consonance with the
young man’s wishes, that it would be a match; and
more than once had Master Ashly been on the
point of ascertaining from the lips of the damsel,
if the said world prophesied truly. But at the fated
moment of disclosure, a feeling of unconquerable
timidity, or an arch smile lurking on the countenance
of the fair one, invariably called forth his
awkward bashfulness and completely overawed him.
Thus years passed on in a state of uncertainty, till
at length the assiduities of Major Atherton and
Mr. Calvert aroused his most anxious fears, and
caused him bitterly to repent the irresolution which
had so long held him in ignorance of his fate.
The sudden removal of these formidable rivals,
however, with the inference naturally drawn from
it, relieved his mind of an oppressive weight; and
again finding the field his own, like many other
indolent and undecided persons, he concluded to
enjoy his leisure and wait a favourable opportunity
to decide the combat. His mother in vain entreated 8(4)v 84
him to secure the prize, while there was no opponent
to dispute it with him; for she earnestly desired
the marriage might take place, though sometimes
piqued to observe the gaiety of Miriam rather increased
by the presence of her son; and incline
to think her strangely deficient in judgment to withhold
her regard from so worthy an object. But a
strong belief which she entertained, in common with
many other superficial observers, that young women
are not apt to be sincere in affairs of the heart,
and that they generally possess the art of veiling
their real sentiments, or affecting false ones, to
suit their caprice or designs,—still led her to hope
for the best; and after all, she could not think that
Miriam Grey,—giddy as the young thing sometimes
seemed,—would really be so foolish as to refuse
her son, who was born to a good inheritance, and
withal esteemed comely and well-favoured.

When Benjamin Ashly however found that Miriam
was actually on the point of leaving Plymouth,
he became emboldened by fears for her safety, and
the dread of losing her; and resolved, if possible,
to dissuade her from prosecuting her hazardous
voyage. Yet his resolution was more than once
frustrated by some trifling interruption, or his
habitual timidity, when fortune at last presented
him with an opportunity too favourable to be neglected.
He one day entered the setting-parlour at
Mr. Grey’s, where Miriam chanced to be entirely
alone, and busily engaged with her needle. She
received him with her usual courtesy, and after a 8(5)r 85
few trifling questions, resumed her occupation and
with it the train of reflections which his entrance
had interrupted. Ashly improved the silence in
framing a suitable prologue to his intended declaration;
and to prepare the way, he began with
three distinct hems, which startled Miriam, who
had almost forgotten his presence, and looking up
to repair her error, she first observed the ominous
length of his countenance, and the unnatural flush
which agitated it. His eyes were fixed on her with
an expression of anxiety, not to say alarm, mingled
with tenderness, but which as she did not
perfectly comprehend their meaning, struck her as
rather ludicrous, and an involuntary smile overspread
her features. Benjamin Ashly somewhat
abashed, cast his eyes upon the floor—the ceiling—
and finally they rested on a looking-glass; and as
Miriam had diligently renewed her employment,
he improved the moment to arrange the knot of
his neck-kerchief, and smooth his short brown hair,
—for the best of people love to look well, particularly
at such critical times, when a lady’s favour
is often decided by trifles. Miriam was revolving
in her mind on what subject to address him,—for
as if it was a matter of the utmost importance, she
could not at the moment, think of any thing to
say,—when Ashly prevented her any farther trouble
by crossing the room with the utmost gravity,
and seating himself close beside her. After a brief
pause he said to her,—

“You are about to leave us, Miriam, and to sojourn
amidst the perils of a wilderness.”

8(5)v 86

“You should not speak to me of perils,” said Miriam,
smiling, “rather be so benevolent as to encourage
me with the hope of better things.”

“I would fain,” said Ashly, “by exciting your
alarm, prevail on you to alter a determination,
which has caused so much grief and anxiety to
your friends.”

“Your purpose is vain,” replied Miriam; “I have
already ‘counted the cost,’ and am resolved to
abide by the consequences.”

“Dear Miriam,” returned Ashly, gaining courage
as he proceeded, “will nothing prevail with you?
will you indeed leave all the comforts and delights
of life, to dwell in a far country, even among the
tents of the wandering savages, whose hands are
against every man?”

“I have no fears for my safety,” returned Miriam;
and if I had, it would be my duty to conquer
them, for the sake of my cousin Lois, whose unvarying
kindness to me from infancy, deserves this
slight return of grateful attention.

“Before you decide,” replied Ashly, “consider, I
entreat you,—”

“I am already decided,” interrupted Miriam, a
little impatient at his persecution; “so I pray you,
Master Ashly, give up the subject, and suffer me
to follow my inclination in peace.”

“May the Lord be with you, and prosper you;”
said Ashly, emphatically; but after a moment’s
pause, he ventured to add, “Miriam Grey, your
father hath sometimes encouraged me to open my 8(6)r87
heart unto you, and I would now urge a request
which nearly concerns my happiness.”

“Be brief then, if it please you; for time is pressing,
and I have many engagements, replied Miriam,
hoping by an air of indifference again to avert
an avowal which she dreaded.”

But Mr. Ashly had apparently nerved himself
for the undertaking; and though trembling like an
aspen leaf, he replied,—

“Miriam, I have long loved you, ‘with a love
passing that of women’
; and even as the patriarch
Jacob served seven years for the daughter of Laban,
so have I waited patiently to obtain your
favour, and it hath seemed unto me but a few days.”

“This is some new plan, to divert me from my
purpose,”
said Miriam, in confusion; “but it is as
vain as every other. I have ‘put my hand to the
plough, and I cannot look back’
.”

“You do not understand me, Miriam,” replied
Ashly. “I would no longer seek to detain you
here; but I pray you, if I have found favour in
your eyes, suffer me to go with you; as your husband,
I would cheerfully toil for you, nay, I would
hazard my life to preserve you from danger or
distress.”

“Would you,” asked Miriam, “leave your widowed
mother, who doats on you, and her children,
who look up to you for guidance and protection, to
gratify this vain and unprofitable desire?”

“Yes, I would quit every thing,” replied Ashly,
his features glowing with hope, and for once 8(6)v 88
yielding to the excitement of his feelings. “‘Entreat
me not to leave thee, nor to return from following
after thee; for whither thou goest I will go,
and where thou diest, there will I be buried’
.”

“Say not so,” replied Miriam, affected by the
earnestness of his appeal; and after a moment of
painful hesitation, she added, “I should be unworthy
of your regard were I capable of misleading
you by any false expectations. I have never sought
to deceive you, Benjamin, but on the contrary,
have always discouraged the preference which you
early professed for me, and which has long been
sanctioned by our friends; circumstances have
brought us much together, and this familiar intercourse
has discovered to me the integrity of your
character, and interested me in your happiness;
but forgive my frankness, Ashly; I must add, our
destinies can never be united; believe me still your
friend, and may the affection of a deserving object
soon lead your thoughts from one who can only
regard you with esteem and gratitude.”

“Never, never, Miriam Grey,” exclaimed Ashly,
vehemently; “I have loved you through life, and I
will love you, and you only, to the last hour of my
existence.”

He rose from his seat with a flushed countenance,
and crossed the room with rapid strides, as he
finished speaking; while Miriam remained silent
and embarrassed, surprised by a display of feeling
so foreign to his character, and which was probably
more violent from having been long repressed.
Ashly continued standing for several moments, 9(1)r 89
apparently striving to regain his usual firmness,
which his habitual self-control soon enabled him to
effect; and when Miriam again raised her eyes,
every trace of emotion was gone, and his features
had resumed their customary expression of calm
and rather gloomy immobility. Nothing could
have been less becoming or more unfavourable to
his suit, than this sudden return of composure; it
instantly relieved the mind of Miriam, and convinced
her that he would not long suffer under the
sting of disappointed hope. She was wondering
that he remained so long standing and silent, and
endeavouring to frame some excuse for quitting the
room, when the voice of Mrs. Weldon, singing in a
low tone, was heard approaching them. Benjamin
Ashly
started as if electrified, threw a hurried
glance at the door, and not daring to trust his
voice in bidding Miriam farewell, he took her hand
and held it for an instant in his own, which trembled
violently, while his features were again strongly
agitated, and without speaking, he precipitately
left the room.

Miriam, deeply regretting the pain she had unwillingly
inflicted, concealed the object of his visit
even from her cousin, who had, however, her own suspicions
on the subject, which were increased by the
absence of Ashly, who prudently refrained from seeing
Miriam again. But three days after, at a distance
and unobserved, he indulged in a parting
glimpse, at the moment she was embarking on her
voyage, surrounded by friends, amongst whom an Vol. II. 9 9(1)v 90
embarrassing consciousness and dread of exposing
his feelings, restrained him from mingling.

The emotions of Miriam Grey were almost
overpowering, when she found herself actually
quitting the home and friends, who had long been
dear and familiar to her; and, for a time, she was
tempted to consider her project rash, and to fear
she had been governed by feelings, rather than prudence.
But as the village of Plymouth became
indistinct, and newer prospects opened around her,
her thoughts were insensibly diverted to other subjects,
and her spiritspirits gradually recovered their usual
buoyancy, and much of their accustomed gaiety.
A brisk wind carried them forward, and in less
than the ordinary time, they were within the spacious
Bay of Massachusetts. As they entered the
harbour of Boston, Miriam became again silent and
abstracted; she observed with restless curiosity
the different persons who were collected on the
shore; and Mrs. Weldon was at no loss to conjecture
that Major Atherton was present to her
thoughts; but in the imperfect light he was not
recognized by either of them,—and immediately on
landing they proceeded to the public inn.

9(2)r 91

Chapter VI.

“I must admire thee more for so denying, Than I had dared if thou had’st fondly granted; Thou dost devote thyself to utterest peril, And me to deepest anguish; yet even now Thou art lovelier to me in thy cold severity, Flying me, leaving me without a joy, Without a hope on earth, without thyself; Thou art lovelier now, than if thy yielding soul Had smiled on me a passionate consent.” Milman.

Miriam Grey was in the act of speaking, as
she entered the room, where the landlady of the
inn had prepared their evening repast; but the
words died on her lips the instant she recognized
the features of Major Atherton, whose eyes were
fixed on her with an expression of extreme pleasure,
which for the moment absorbed every other
sensation. Mrs. Weldon, who did not at first observe
him was surprised at the sudden pause, and
feeling her cousin lean heavily on her arm, she
looked round to ascertain the cause, and beheld her
pale as death, and apparently on the verge of fainting.
But the emotion of Miriam was as transient,
as involuntary; and when Atherton sprang forward
to support her, she recovered her presence of
mind, and gently extricating herself from the grasp
of Lois, stood erect with an air of maidenly pride,
and a countenance glowing with blushes. Atherton 9(2)v 92
respected the delicacy of her feelings, while his
heart thrilled with the delightful consciousness,
that he possessed an influence over them; and
without appearing to notice her embarassment, he
merely bowed, and turning to Mrs. Weldon, said,—

“I scarcely hoped for the pleasure of seeing my
Plymouth friends so soon; and even now my pleasure
is mingled with apprehension.”

“We have become travellers from necessity,
more than inclination,”
returned Mrs. Weldon;
“but, if our voyage continues as prosperous as it
has been hitherto, we shall have cause to ‘sing of
mercy,’
rather than of ‘judgment.’”

“You must have suffered from cold and sickness
and fatigue,”
said Atherton addressing Miriam,
“at this inclement season, when even the weather-
beaten fishermen, gladly retreat to the shelter of
their cabins.”

“We have not suffered from any cause,” replied
Miriam; “and indeed, our short voyage has been
in every respect more comfortable and pleasant
than we had any reason to expect.”

“But you do look ill;” said Atherton, regarding
her with anxiety, and she was really much thinner
than when he saw her last, “you cannot, ought not
to pursue this voyage Miriam, if, as Mr. Weldon
has intimated, you have formed the rash design of
going to the savage regions of Connecticut.”

“And why,” asked Miriam with simplicity, “is it
more rash in me than in my cousin Lois, who has
never hesitated for a moment on its propriety or
necessity?”

9(3)r 93

“Probably,” said Atherton, a little embarrassed
by the question, “Mrs. Weldon considers herself
bound to follow her husband, wherever his circumstances
lead him; and I should scarcely venture to
obtrude my opinion, when she has one so much
more capable of advising her.”

“And I,” returned Miriam, “have had many sage
advisers, but as you see, have turned a deaf ear to
them all; Captain Standish will tell you, Major
Atherton
, that I am a self-willed girl, because I
would not take heed to his counsels, for which,
however, I am grateful, though he professes not to
believe it.”

“You would warn me not to adventure where so
many have failed,”
said Atherton, smiling; “but if
I submit, it will be from necessity, not conviction,
that my advice is incorrect.”

“Here is our hostess bringing in supper, and it is
truly welcome;”
said Mr. Weldon. “You will sit
down with us I hope, Major Atherton, though your
appetite is not like ours, sharpened by sea-breezes.”

Atherton did not wait for the invitation to be repeated;
he seated himself opposite to Miriam, and
the cheerful meal was passed in animated and general
conversation. Miriam was again all gaiety
and smiles, and both to her and Atherton, the past
and future were unthought of, the present a scene
of exquisite enjoyment; and when Mrs. Weldon reminded
her cousin that it was time to retire, they
separated with a sigh of regret, as if awakened
from a dream of enchantment. Atherton remained Vol. II. 9* 9(3)v 94
in a musing posture for some moments after they
left the room, till Mr. Weldon rose, and bidding
him good night, was about to follow them, when
Atherton started from his seat, and in an earnest
voice said to him,—

“Is it too late, sir, to dissuade Miriam Grey
from her mad resolution? cannot we yet prevail
on her to renounce it and remain here in safety?”

“Remain with whom?” asked Mr. Weldon, rather
sarcastically; but he instantly continued in a
graver tone, “not I believe if there is stability
in woman, and few even of maturer years possess
more than Miriam; she has resisted the entreaties
of all her friends, and it is not probable will now
be induced to abandon her enterprize.”

“Is there no one who has influence enough to detain
her?”
said Atherton. “Surely is is the duty
of all who are interested in her happiness to lift
up their voices against an undertaking so replete
with dangers.”

“She has listened to the opinion of her friends
touching this matter,”
returned Mr. Weldon; “but
her father was wont to entrust much to her discretion,
and no person in his absence has authority to
controul her. For my own part I frankly confess
my responsibility and anxiety for her almost overbalance
the pleasure which her society gives us.”

“Then,” said Atherton eagerly, “you will consent
to leave her, if any arguments can succeed in
gaining her acquiescence.”

“Her decision has been voluntary,” said Mr. 9(4)r 95
Weldon, “and I have reason to believe it unalterable;
at all events, I am sure she would sooner lay
down her life than deviate in the least from the
straight line of duty and principle.”

“Far be it from me,” replied Atherton, “to offer
any inducements inconsistent with the purity and
rectitude of her mind and character; I may appear
officious to you, sir, and perhaps to her; but I cannot
—I have no wish to conceal the deep interest
which I feel in her welfare and happiness.”

“I am convinced,” said Mr. Weldon after a moment’s
pause, “that nothing but the known wishes
of her father would now prevail with Miriam to
relinquish her design; and indeed all circumstances
considered, I am far from wishing her to do so.
To-morrow, if the wind is favourable we shall
proceed on our voyage; for we are now anxious to
reach the place of our destination.”

“I will not detain you longer from your needful
repose,”
said Atherton; and with the usual compliments
they separated for the night.

Atherton retired to a small ill-furnished apartment,
—for he resigned his own to the travellers—
but with a mind too fully occupied by painful
thoughts and anticipations, to regard its deficiencies
or incongruities. He thought the tedious
night would never pass away, and often through
its heavy watches he looked anxiously from the
window, noted every twinkling star, and followed
with his eye the light clouds which flitted over the
heavens, hoping they would collect and retard the
departure of Miriam for at least another day.

9(4)v 96

The sun, however, rose with unwonted brilliancy
on the following morning; but Atherton’s immediate
apprehensions were quieted, on learning
that the wind was still unfavourable for a voyage
to the Connecticut. Delighted with this reprieve,
and not doubting that he should find an opportunity
of conversing alone with Miriam in the course
of the day, he again yielded to the illusions of
hope; and joined Mrs. Weldon’s breakfast table,
with a countenance from which every trace of sadness
was banished. But Miriam, though cheerful
was less gay than on the preceding evening; and
as soon as the repast was finished, she retired with
Mrs. Weldon to their own apartments. Atherton
scarcely saw her again during the day, except at
dinner, and though more than once on the point of
requesting a moment’s conversation with her, the
dread of refusal restrained him, and he deferred it,
still hoping that accident would favour him with
the desired interview. He fancied too that Miriam
intentionally avoided him; and piqued by conduct
so different from her usual frankness, he was again
inclined to accuse her of caprice and fickleness.
When they met at supper Atherton was silent and
abstracted; and the moment they rose from table
he pleaded an engagement at the Governor’s, and
with a slight apology left them for the evening.
As he looked back on closing the door he caught
the eye of Miriam following him, with an expression
so soft and almost tearful, that for an instant
his resolution wavered;—but she turned from him 9(5)r 97
with a deep blush, ashamed of his weakness he
instantly retired. Yet the parting look of Miriam
still pursued him. “I am too hasty, I have judged
her unkindly,”
he thought;—and instead of going
to the Governor’s, after walking and musing for
about an half hour he returned to the inn in the
hope of seeing her.

Mr. and Mrs. Weldon were gone out, and Miriam
had excused herself from accompanying them
by saying she had some arrangements to make for
her voyage, and wished to retire early to bed. She
was alone in a parlour appropriated particularly
to their use, and looking attentively from a window
which commanded a view of the town and harbour,
when Atherton returned and entered the
room ignorant by whom it was occupied. It was
yet early in the evening, and the bright blaze of a
wood fire threw a glare around the apartment, and
quite eclipsed the feeble light of a candle which
flickered in its socket, and whose long black wick
showed that the thoughts of Miriam were wandering
to other subjects. As Atherton opened the
door she looked hastily round to see who was entering,
and her recognition was evinced by her
heightened complexion as she again turned towards
the window and continued to gaze on the
scene without. Atherton’s resentment, his suspicions
—all were forgotten; and in an instant he
was by her side.

“Are you admiring this winter scenery, Miriam?”
asked Atherton. “I should think it too
familiar, if not too dreary to charm your eyes.”

9(5)v 98

“The most familiar scenes,” replied Miriam with
still averted face, “are generally those which give
us the greatest pleasure; they are associated in
our minds with all that the heart most prizes and
best enjoys.”

“But here,” said Atherton, “there is nothing to
awaken such associations; you are in a strange
land, where there are no objects to remind you of
home and its enjoyments.”

“Indeed there are many, very many,” replied Miriam;
“these dazzling snows, and that boundless
ocean, have been familiar to me from infancy; and
the ‘moon walking in her brightness through the
heavens,’
is even now shining on the forsaken home
of my childhood; and think you I can look upon it
without emotions of melancholy pleasure?”

“Impossible!” said Atherton, earnestly, “and never,
Miriam, have I gazed upon its calm beauty,
since banished from your presence, without thrilling
recollections of those happy moments, when
with you I was wont to see it slowly rising above
the shores of Plymouth, and throwing its silver light
through the vine-covered casement where I was
permitted to see and converse with you;—where,
dearest Miriam, I dared to indulge those dreams of
happiness which you have so cruelly disappointed.”

“Speak not of the past,” said Miriam, hastily,
and with a trembling voice; “it is like a vision of
delight which has faded away, and ought to be forgotten
—when this moon now shining in glory, begins
to wane in her course, I shall behold its parting 9(6)r 99
rays reflected on the waves of the broad Connecticut.”

“Be it so,” said Atherton, with impassioned energy,
“and there also will I be beside you. It is in
vain, Miriam, that you fly from me, that you renounce
me, that you seek to separate my fate from
yours; wherever your path may lead you, across
the deep waters, or through the trackless desert;
in the sunshine of prosperity, or beneath the dark
sky of adversity,—there will I be with you, and
nought but death shall have power to disunite us.”

“Why,” asked Miriam, reproachfully, “will you
force me to regret that I have ever known you?
why, Atherton, do you persecute me with a love
which I can never recompense?”

“Say that you despise me, Miriam, that I am an
object of aversion to you, that, were there no other
obstacle to our union, your indifference would divide
us—say all this, but do not look at me with an
eye of pity—do not cheat me with that voice of tenderness,
which creates a thousand hopes at the moment
it seeks to annihilate them.”

“I do pity you from my heart,” said Miriam, almost
subdued by emotion; “but what avails it? we
must separate, Atherton, and let not these parting
moments be embittered by unavailing regrets.”

“Pity me!” repeated Atherton, “say that you love
me, Miriam, that you will love me, and me alone,
through weal and woe, and on that sweet assurance
I will rest my hopes of brighter and happier days.”

“Why,” replied Miriam, “should you wish to extort 9(6)v 100
from me a confession which ought not to pass
my lips! No, Atherton, we must henceforth learn
to think of each other as voyagers, who, for a few
brief and smiling days have floated together along
the current of time, till our frail barks were driven
asunder, never perhaps to meet again, until launched
into the ocean of eternity.”

“And are you, Miriam, thus indifferent? thus
reckless of the past, and careless for the future?
does the memory of joys that are gone, awaken no
throb of tenderness? and can you look through the
long vista of coming years—darkened by disappointed
hope,—without one sigh of regret? then,
indeed have I deeply, fatally deceived myself.”

“The wicked only can be long and truly wretched,”
answered Miriam, “and God I trust will give
us grace to bear whatever his Providence ordains.
If you truly love me, Atherton, do not render more
keen the misery of this parting hour.—I have left
the friends of my childhood and youth, and forsaken
the home of my father—I have looked with an
undaunted eye on the perils which may encompass
me whither I am going, and till now I have endured
with fortitude—alas! if I had not again seen
you, I should have been spared the trial of this moment
—the anguish of another, a final separation!”

Miriam turned from him agitated and confused,
and fearful that she had expressed too much in the
warmth of her feelings; but Atherton, regarding
her varying countenance with renovated hope, exclaimed,

10(1)r 101

“And why should we part, dearest Miriam? I
know, I feel that you love me, and surely the hearts
which God has united, it were impious in man to
tear asunder!”

“If you would retain my esteem,” said Miriam,
“if you value my love, which I have perhaps too
lightly given, do not tempt me to forget my duty;
believe me, Atherton, it is dearer to me than any
selfish gratification, even than your affection, much
as I have learned to prize it.”

“Dear Miriam,” replied Atherton, with tenderness,
and taking her passive hands between his own,
“this is indeed a recompense for all I suffered, and
for all that fate may yet have in store for me! But
I would again ask, why should we part? have you
not confidence enough in my honour and principles,
to entrust your happiness in my keeping? say,
dearest Miriam, that you will be mine, and let us
not delay to be united by the most holy ties!”

“I entreat you to forbear, Atherton,” replied Miriam;
“you are led away by passion, and forget the
delicacy becoming my sex, and the respect due to
your own character. Would not the world justly
name me with reproach, should I forsake the friends
to whom my father entrusted me, and abandon an
enterprise in which I am engaged by every feeling of
gratitude and affection—to become the wife of a stranger
—one, whose attachment my father disapproves,
and whose religion is regarded with aversion?
Nay, hear me patiently—would your esteem and Vol. II. 10 10(1)v 102
confidence in me remain undiminished, were my conduct
such as to lessen me in the public estimation?”

“Yes, dear Miriam, I should love you the more,
for rising superior to such illiberal prejudices.”

“Is the opinion of the wise and virtuous to be
regarded as an illiberal prejudice?”
asked Miriam;
“no, Atherton, my own heart would be the first to
condemn me, and for worlds I would not tempt its
upbraidings.”

“Miriam, you are too scrupulous,” replied Atherton;
“what is it you dread, what law are you transgressing,
by entering into an alliance with me? do
we not worship the same God, and what matters it
that we differ in outward ceremonies? You know
that I have ever manifested the most sincere respect
for the religious faith which is so dear to you, which
my mother taught me to love; and I should be far
from wishing you to renounce it for that which I
profess; and surely under such circumstances it
would be bigotry in the extreme, to condemn our
union—your father cannot refuse his sanction—he
will not withhold his forgiveness, even if you wait
not for his consent—dearest Miriam, give me one
smile of encouragement, or rather say that you will
receive me for your happy, your devoted husband.”

“I have encouraged you too much already by
my rash avowal;”
said Miriam, after a moment’s
pause, “I have exposed to you the weakness of my
heart, and you take advantage of it to urge a request
in which, however, I can never acquiesce. I
fear your love is selfish, Atherton, or you would not 10(2)r 103
wish me to gratify it, at the expense of any honourable
feeling.”

“Forgive me, Miriam,” returned Atherton, with
emotion, “if I have said aught, which can justify
that conclusion. Heaven is my witness, that your
happiness is dearer to me than any earthly object,
than life itself; and if I have urged you beyond
the bounds of prudence or delicacy, attribute it to
the extent of my affection, and the dread of losing
you; and believe me, I will in future endeavour
to submit more cheerfully to your decisions.”

“I am but too ready to believe all that you wish
to;”
replied Miriam; “and it is only when duty interposes
her authority, that I can prove inexorable
to your entreaties.”

“May her rigid interdiction be soon removed,”
said Atherton, earnestly. “And yet dear Miriam,
I cannot without trembling apprehension, think of
your father’s prejudices,—his stern notions of propriety,
which may in an instant crush all my
fondly raised expectations, and again consign me
to misery.”

“We will not borrow trouble from the future,”
answered Miriam, “‘sufficient for the day is the
evil thereof.’
Still, Atherton, let us not be too
sanguine of success;—the result is uncertain, and
it is wise to prepare our minds for disappointment.”

“Do not speak of it, Miriam,” said Atherton,
impatiently; “suffer me at least to enjoy the future, 10(2)v 104
since present happiness is denied me. To
part with you, were alone enough of misery; but
to see you go forth to danger and suffering—tell
me, Miriam, what duty impels you to such scenes?
why should you not even now abandon your rash
design, and return to the friends who you are
assured, will receive you with smiles of affectionate
welcome?”

“Do not speak of it, it is impossible,” said Miriam
with emotion; “suffer me to depart, Atherton;
our conference has already been too long.”

She endeavoured to withdraw her hand from him,
as she spoke; but he held it firmly, and said in an
anxious voice,—

“Stay yet a moment, Miriam, and tell me, if you
have well considered the perils of your undertaking?
the hardships you may be called to encounter,
from want and its attendant evils, and above
all, from the fury of those barbarous savages,
who are even now spreading terror throughout
the scattered colonies? Oh, Miriam, my heart
bleeds at the bare possibility that you may be
left to suffer, in a land of strangers and barbarians!”

“I have thought of all, of every thing,” said Miriam;
“but I am in the protection of One, who
will keep me ‘under the shadow of his wings in
safety,’
and who is alike present in every place.
Do not seek to persuade me, Atherton, you may
agitate me by your fears, but you cannot alter my
determination.”

10(3)r 105

“I well know your perseverance, in what you
regard a duty,”
returned Atherton; “but is it a
duty, Miriam, to rush into certain danger? think,
if evil should befal you, it will ‘bring down your
father’s gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.’”

“And should I shrink from a dangerous duty?”
asked Miriam; “would not that father blush for
the weakness of a daughter so unworthy of parents,
who dared and suffered without fear, in the
cause of liberty and religion? No, Atherton, you
entreat me in vain—it shall not be said that I
yielded to the language of passion, when I was deaf
to the voice of reason and friendship—or that like
a weak girl, I turned back to enjoy the society of
one for whom with capricious fondness, I forsook
the friend who cherished me in infancy, and neglected
the commands of an absent father.”

“That shall not be said, dear Miriam; only go
to the safe shelter of the home you have abandoned,
and the most fastidious shall not have cause to
reproach you. I will remove far from you,—again
become a wanderer of the earth, and however
painful the self-denial, refrain from seeing you,
until your father shall return and decide my destiny.”

“Do not urge me on this, on any subject;” said
Miriam, affected by his earnestness; “you will
make me hate myself, as the cause of your unhappiness
and anxiety—let me leave you, Atherton; I
cannot, must not grant your request.”

“Then I will go with you,” returned Atherton, Vol. II. 10* 10(3)v 106
again detaining her; “I will follow you—be ever
near you—I would die to serve you; but I cannot
leave you to contend with dangers, which my arm
might avert from you.”

“My trust is not in an arm of flesh,” said Miriam;
“but in Him, without whose permission not
a sparrow falls to the ground. Dear Atherton,”

she added with a glowing cheek, and faltering
voice, “we must separate; but let us remember
each other daily in our prayers, and cherish the
hope, that God, in his own good time, will grant us
a happier meeting: but should we not be permitted
to meet again in this vale of tears, there are
brighter mansions above, where the pain of parting
is never felt, and the distinctions of faith and worship
are unknown.”

“Dearest Miriam,” said Atherton, “there is not
a moment of my existence, in which you are absent
from my mind; your image is blended with
every thought, it is the spring of every hope, the
inspirer of every pleasure,—and can you blame
me, that I reluctantly resign the delight and treasure
of my soul? Oh Miriam, the thought that
your heart may grow cold and change, is to me
more bitter than death?”

“Fear it not!” said Miriam, raising her tearful
eyes to his; “Atherton, you have wrung from me
the secret of my love, and now why should I blush
to assure you, that neither time, nor suffering, nor
reproach, can ever eradicate it from my heart.”

“Ten thousand thanks for this assurance,” said 10(4)r 107
Atherton; “it shall be like a precious talisman, to
chase away doubt and despair, in the gloomy moments
of our separation.—Look up, my beloved
Miriam, on this lovely moon, and often as you
gaze upon it, when far away, think that my eyes
are also raised to it, and may our thoughts mingle,
and the remembrance of this hour descend, like a
balmy dew upon our spirits!”

Before Miriam could reply, the sound of footsteps
was heard approaching; and in an instant she
fled, like a young doe from the presence of Atherton.

10(4)v 108

Chapter VII.

“Contention, like a horse Full of high feeding, madly hath broke loose, And bears down all before him.” Shakespeare.

The following morning was bright and cloudless,
with a strong westerly wind; and soon after
sun-rise, Mr. Weldon and his fair companions, recommenced
their wintry voyage towards the wilderness
of Connecticut. Major Atherton stood on
the sea-shore, straining his eyes to catch a last
glimpse of the vessel, as it rapidly disappeared;
and feeling as if every wave which bore it onward,
opposed an impassable barrier, between himself
and the object of his affections. When it was
no longer visible, and even the white sails had
fluttered for the last time in his view, and sunk
below the horizon, he continued to stand and gaze
till finding himself regarded with curiosity, he reluctantly
retired from the spot.

Week after week passed away, and Atherton
mingled as usual in society, though often with an
abstracted mind, and a heart filled with anxiety
respecting the fate of Miriam. The return of the
vessel however, at length brought him a few lines
from Mr. Weldon, informing him that they had
reached Hartford in safety, after a prosperous
voyage, and were then comfortably situated and 10(5)r 109
provided with all the necessaries of life. The letter
contained few particulars, but it greatly relieved
Atherton’s apprehensions, and by degrees
the situation and prospects of Miriam became a
subject of less painful solicitude to his thoughts.
Still with all his exertions and all his resolutions,
he passed many moments of extreme dejection; and
the long and gloomy months of winter seemed almost
interminable.

The political and religious dissensions, which
disturbed the infancy of Boston, were about that
time carried to their height; and in every place,
they became subjects of discussion, often of rancour
and personal animosity. The administration
of Governor Vane,—which, even at this day appears
equivocal,—was defended with zeal or arraigned
with acrimony, according to the different
views and feelings of the individuals who judged
him, with a degree of freedom which is still considered
lawful in the subjects of a free government,
who, whether competent or not, regard it as
their birth-right to speak unreservedly of the conduct
and character of their rulers.

But the golden apple of discord, was the ill-
fated Mrs. Hutchinson,—then according to the
opinion of her friends, in the zenith of glory,—
and of her opponents, in the depths of humiliation.
The boldness of her spirit defied all opposition, and
far from yielding to the anathema’s fulminated
against her, she took up the gauntlet and waged a
zealous war with both magistrates and clergy. 10(5)v 110
Her enthusiasm, and apparent sincerity of devotion,
with a winning address and most persuasive
eloquence, both in her private conversation and
public exhortations, which were always seasoned
with the “odour of sanctity,” gained her numerous
converts, particularly among her own sex. Encouraged
by success, perhaps inclined to shew her
contempt for all authority, she set up a weekly
lecture at her own house, to instruct and edify the
sisters, where it was her custom to repeat the substances
of the discourses, which had been delivered
on the preceding sabbath, and to add her own remarks
and expositions by way of improvement.
A very few of the clergy who adopted her sentiments,
or at least palliated them, she declared to
be under a covenant of grace; while those, who
stigmatised her errors, and ceased not in public
and private, to denounce her as a leader of Antinomianism,
—one who taught from the very dregs
of Familism,—she pronounced to be under a covenant
of works;
and into these two parties, the
whole colony was at length divided.

It is not surprising that this universal excitement
alarmed the friends of peace and good order;
but unfortunately personal dislike and animosity,
warped even the coolest judgments, and rankled in
the most benevolent hearts; with unchristian virulence
they resorted to threats and persecution, and
like Saul of Tarsus, believed they were “doing
God service.”
Even the calm and lenient Winthrop,
and the heavenly-minded Eliot, laid aside 10(6)r 111
the spirit of charity and forgiveness which usually
influenced them, and took part in the controversy,
and assisted to condemn that unhappy woman.
The ministers from the neighbouring, and even
distant towns, resorted to Boston, to learn the truth
of the reports which were rapidly circulated; and
if needful to lend their aid to suppress the disorder;
but the contagion had spread too far, and
Mrs. Hutchinson daily increased the evil, by advancing
some new and absurd doctrine of theology,
which she maintained with a subtlety of argument,
and a versatility of talent, perplexing the soundest
minds, and giving to error the appearance of
consistency and truth. She was evidently favoured
by Governor Vane; and it was probably owing
to his influence that her trial and consequent banishment,
were deferred until another season.

Major Atherton prudently preserved a strict
neutrality on these subjects of contention; as he
had been kindly admonished to do by Mr. Winthrop,
when in the warmth of his feelings, he once
ventured to defend the character of Mrs. Hutchinson,
whom he really believed far less culpable
than her adversaries were willing to allow.
Though led away by an extreme of fanaticism,
which had blighted her character, and perverted
her stong and highly gifted mind,—a mind capable
under other circumstances, of ranking her
with the most distinguished of her sex,—he thought
she might, and doubtless did believe herself actuated
by a sense of duty, and a desire of being extensively 10(6)v 112
useful. Atherton, however, soon became
weary of topics which were often introduced and
discussed with acrimony, even in the domestic and
social circle; for from the Governor to the meanest
dependent on his bounty, every individual espoused
the cause of one or other of the rival parties,
and argued on the different points of doctrine
as inclination or interest or conviction dictated;
and with a zeal, which blazed without light, and
a faith which had little regard to the law of charity.
Atherton vainly hoped to indulge again in
the interchange of rational and friendly sentiments,
which he had so much enjoyed, before the
influence of passion and prejudice banished the
kindlier feelings from the heart, and substituted
crude systems of divinity, and polemic disquisition
for those subjects of general interest, which at
once exercised the mind and affections, and gave
indulgence to the flow of harmless wit, and chastened
gaiety. He often resolved to return to Plymouth;
but still delayed from day to day, in the
hope that by remaining in Boston, he should sooner
receive intelligence from Connecticut,—whither
he would most gladly have gone, had he not felt
restrained by respect for the wishes of Miriam
Grey
; indeed, he had promised her at the moment
of parting, that none but the most urgent motives
should induce him to follow her.

Towards the close of winter these local dissensions
yielded, in a great measure, to subjects of
more general interest. The aggressions of the 11(1)r 113
Pequod Indians, the most cruel and warlike tribe
of North America, became daily more alarming,
and spread terror and dismay throughout the colonies,
particularly of Connecticut, which was marked
out for the first object of their vengeance.
Sassacus, their sachem, a fierce and daring prince,
whose very name was a terror to his enemies, convened
his depending warriors, who readily acceded
to his wishes, and sought an alliance with
the Mohegan and Narraganset tribes. But Providence
mercifully overruled his design, which, if
successful, must have produced the most fatal
consequences, if indeed it had not annihilated the
colonies of New-England. Uncas, sachem of the
Mohegans, though sprung from the royal blood of
the Pequods, and connected with them by marriage,
refused to negociate with Sassacus. Having early
entertained a friendship for the English, he remained
faithful to their interests, and proved of
essential service to them in the perilous struggle
which at last closed the warfare.

Sassacus was at first more successful with the
Narragansets, a powerful nation bordering the
Bay of that name, and stretching inland through
the now thriving State of Rhode-Island;—but Miantonimo,
their sachem, though usually politic and
wary, in this instance suffered himself to be governed
by feelings of revenge, to the prejudice of his
future interests. The Narragansets had generally
maintained a friendly intercourse with the English,
though occasional acts of treachery, so natural Vol. II. 11 11(1)v 114
to the Indian character, proved that their friendship
was the result of fear, rather than affection.
The Pequods they regarded with the jealous hatred
of hereditary rivalship. Though scarcely equal to
themselves in population and territory, their superior
power and influence was a subject of envy and
mortification; and the warlike spirit of Sassacus,
which had conquered all the petty tribes that surrounded
him, and held them as vassals to his will,
gave him a pre-eminence which the haughty Miantonimo
was almost unwilling to acknowledge.

Sassacus, in his treaty with the Narragansets,
represented the white people as intruders, and recapitulated
the various grievances they had received
from them, in a manner calculated to stir
up the savage spirit of hatred and revenge. With
consummate art he urged the necessity of union
against the common enemy, and detailed the means
by which it would be practicable, by a predatory
warfare, to exterminate them, without the hazard
of resorting to open arms. He concluded by predicting
that if the Narragansets leagued with the
English against the Pequods, they would eventually
involve themselves in certain destruction.

These arguments had well nigh proved successful;
but the government of Massachusetts, learning
the intrigues of the Pequods, determined if possible,
to counteract their designs; and while the Narragansets
were yet hesitating what course to pursue,
they dispatched to them an embassage of peace and
amity. Canonicus, the head sachem, had regarded 11(2)r 115
the first settlers of Plymouth as intruders; and
stimulated by his jealous fears, he early sent them
a challenge of defiance, contained in the emblematic
present of a bundle of arrows, bound with a
serpent’s skin. Governor Bradford ordered the
skin to be filled with powder and bullets, and returned,
with a spirited message to the savage monarch;
and the expedient so intimidated him, that
he was not only afraid to touch them, but even
refused them a place in his dominions; and he ever
after discovered a more peaceable and friendly
disposition. He was now grown very old, and had
resigned the government to his nephew, Miantonimo,
a young prince of great stature, and stern and
cruel disposition. He however entertained the ambassadors
from the Massachusetts with royal hospitality;
and in the presence of his aged relative and
a great number of attendants who “trembled at his
speech,”
he prepared to receive their message.
They were assembled under the shelter of a circular
building, formed by long poles driven into the
ground and covered over with mats; and during
the speech of the interpreters, Miantonimo lay
extended on a mat, encircled by his counsellors
and nobles, who listened to them with the most
grave attention. The hope of subduing the hitherto
invincible Sassacus, of whom they were accustomed
to say, “he is all one god, no man can kill him,”
and of exterminating his brave warriors, prevailed
in the sachem’s mind over every suggestion of prudence
and interest, and he signified his readiness 11(2)v 116
to remain at peace with the English, and consented
to repair to Boston, to sign the articles of a treaty.

A few days after the return of the messengers, it
was accordingly rumoured that the young king of
the Narragansets, with twenty of his principal attendants,
were approaching the town; and as a
mark of peculiar respect, twenty musketeers were
sent to meet them at Roxbury, and escort them
the remainder of the way. The windows of all
the houses were filled with women and children,
impatient to behold the procession; for though the
red children of the forest were at that period no
novelty in New-England, a train of sable warriors,
decked out in savage splendour, was an
imposing spectacle;—and when were not women
and children eager to see what is rare or
wonderful? The public officers of Boston assembled
in dignified state; and the boys, let loose from
school, ran shouting through the streets, to the
great annoyance of Master Handcuff, who, it is
recorded, had a world of trouble to depress their
merry hallooing to the puritanic key.

Miantonimo, guarded on each side by an inferior
sachem, and immediately followed by the two sons
of Canonicus, led forward the procession; his
figure was graceful and majestic, his features stern,
but noble, and his elastic step and lofty bearing
expressed the pride and independence of an untamed
and courageous spirit. His dress was composed
of deer skins, falling below the knees, and profusely
decorated with gaudy colours, interwoven 11(3)r 117
with tinsel beads and wrought with the quills of
the porcupine; his moccasins were of the same materials,
and adorned in a similar manner; from his
shoulders depended a sort of cloak, composed of
the richest furs, and a large plume of feathers
ornamented his head. His face was painted with
various colours, representing the most uncouth
figures; he carried a bow, and a quiver well filled
with arrows hung at his back. His followers,
attired much in the same manner, though less richly,
walked after him with a grave and solemn
pace, and the English guards, in their military
dress, brought up the rear, marching to the sound
of martial music, which seemed highly enjoyed by
their savage visitors. The Governor, clergy, and
magistrates received them at the entrance of the
town with becoming ceremony;—for no people are
more jealous of etiquette, so far as their knowledge
extends:—and having bid them welcome, they
were conducted to a place prepared, where a conference
was holden respecting the proposed treaty.

Miantonimo consented on behalf of himself and
people to engage in a war against the Pequods, on
condition that no peace should be made with them,
but that they should be utterly destroyed. The
Governor and his council took until the next morning
to consider his proposals, when certain articles,
embracing a system of warfare, offensive and
defensive, were agreed upon, and signed by the
different parties. The prince and his people were
hospitably entertained at the Governor’s own table Vol. II. 11* 11(3)v 118
and apparently much pleased with their reception;
and on the following day they left the abodes of
civilization, and returned to the freedom of their
humble wigwams—probably more dear to them
than the splendid restraints of a palace.

The coalition between their mortal enemies enraged
the Pequods beyond measure. Far from
being appalled by the threatening danger, they
renewed their warfare with redoubled eagerness,
and a degree of malicious cunning, which a savage
only could display. They justly relied on their
address and duplicity, which had hitherto proved
far more effectual than the exercise of their barbarous
courage, when contending with men inured to
discipline, and possessing powerful machines of
destruction, unknown to them. It was, therefore,
their constant and too often successful aim, to draw
the English from their places of defence, when,
concealed in their own retreats, they discharged
their posoned arrows with fatal aim, or led their
unhappy victims to a more slow and dreadful death.
They were also continually lying in ambush for
the incautious labourer, or unguarded traveller,
who were often entrapped by their artifice, and
inhumanly sacrificed to their revenge.

Fortunately for the early planters of Connecticut,
the Indians of that region,—with the exception
of the Pequods and their few allies,—were almost
universally favourable to their settlement, and in
every possible way, rendered them assistance and
protection. They instructed them how to plant 11(4)r 119
their corn, carried them on their backs through
rivers and morasses, restored the children who had
strayed from their parents, and often supplied them
with food in their impoverished state. They hoped
with the assistance of the white people to resist
the despotic will of the more powerful tribes, and
in time, to shake off a yoke which had long afflicted
them. In this expectation, and in their deeds of
kindness, they were supported by the Indians on
the western side of the river, who had been subjugated
by the Mohawks, a ferocious people, who
like the Goths and Vandals of ancient Europe,
poured from their eternal forests on the banks of
the Hudson and Mohawk, and spread destruction
in their course. They had conquered the inferior
tribes, even to the borders of Virginia, and annually
dispatched their emissaries to exact tribute
from their subjects, who if they dared to refuse
were punished with the most relentless fury.

The colonists, thus partially protected by the
friendly Indians, and using the utmost vigilance to
insure their safety, suffered less than might have
been expected, considering their defenceless state,
and the power and rancour of the enemy. Still they
were in continual apprehension; every man was
obliged to be constantly armed, and they dared not
meet even for public worship, without a sufficient
guard to protect them from assault. But the malice
of the enemy was at that time principally directed
against the fort of Saybrook, at the mouth of Connecticut
river
, and not more than twenty miles from 11(4)v 120
the royal fortress of Sassacus, which occupied the
site of the now flourishing town of New-London.
This fort was built under the direction of Mr. Winthrop,
a son of the Governor of Massachusetts,
who in the preceding year, was sent from England
with a commission from certain nobles and gentlemen
interested in the patent of Connecticut, to
govern their projected colonies. They also supplied
him with money, ammunition, and every necessary
for the erection of the fort, to which, in
honour of his noble patrons, the Viscount Say and
Seal
, and Lord Brook, he gave the name which is
still retained by the village where it was situated.
The military command was given to Lieutenant
Gardner
, a skilful engineer, who had assisted in
planning the fortifications; and a settlement was
commenced, and houses erected for the garrison.
The Dutch, who had long desired to occupy the
fruitful regions of the Connecticut, and had already
made some ineffectual attempts to settle in different
parts, were then on the point of sailing to take possession
of that important place. But the activity
of Mr. Winthrop defeated their design; and before
the vessel from the New-Netherlands appeared at
the mouth of the river, he had mounted cannon
sufficient to oppose their entrance, and compel them
to retire.

During the winter, the garrison at Saybrook
were so hard pressed by the enemy, that it was
almost dangerous to venture beyond the intrenchments;
but Lieutenant Gardner with only twenty 11(5)r 121
men, maintained a brave resistance, and not only
kept the enemy at bay, but spared several soldiers
from his small band to defend a house at the distance
of two miles, which was exposed to their
attacks. The Indians also watched the river so
closely, that it was perilous to pass as usual in
boats, even with a strong guard; and as there was
no other means of communication with the sister
colonies at that inclement season, the inhabitants
of the Massachusetts heard only casual reports of
the situation of their brethren at Connecticut. These
were however sufficient to excite extreme apprehension
in the mind of Major Atherton, who resolved
to embrace the earliest opportunity of repairing
to the scene of danger, and relieving his solicitude
respecting the fate of Miriam Grey.

11(5)v 122

Chapter VIII.

“Therefore, all hearts in love use their own tongues, Let every eye negociate for itself, And trust no agent:” Shakspeare.

The return of spring brought little relief to the
distressed inhabitants of Connecticut. The Indians
continued their hostilities, which were marked by
the most atrocious cruelties that ever harrowed the
feelings of humanity; and their constant watchfulness
rendered it unsafe even to pursue the necessary
labours of agriculture. Nothing but that persevering
energy and unwavering confidence in divine
protection, which so remarkrably characterized
the venerable pilgrims of New-England, could
have enabled them to endure such complicated trials;
but though afflicted, they were not discouraged;
in the midst of tribulation, they never abandoned
the hope of brighter days, and the final establishment
of that civil and religious freedom,
which they suffered so much to obtain for themselves
and their posterity.

In February a court was convened at Hartford,
to concert measures for the public safety; and a
letter was addressed to the Governor of the Massachusetts,
entreating his assistance in the prosecution
of a vigorous war. Captain Mason in the 11(6)r 123
mean time was dispatched with twenty men,—though
ill-spared from the defence of their homes,—to support
the garrison at Saybrook, which had been considerably
weakened by skirmishes with the enemy,
in which several of the soldiers were killed or taken
prisoners. But the Pequods, probably alarmed by
this reinforcement, almost immediately withdrew
from the neighbourhood of the fort, as it was supposed,
to attack some less defensible position.

The people of Massachusetts and Plymouth displayed
an active sympathy for the sufferings of the
sister colony, and promptly agreed to raise a sufficient
force, and march to their relief, as soon as it
was possible to make the necessary arrangements.
Major Atherton solicited, and received permission
to join the Massachusetts troops as a volunteer;
happy again to share the dangers of a profession,
which had early inspired him with a romantic fondness
for scenes of daring adventure; while the image
of Miriam Grey, and the delightful thought
that he should soon be near to protect her, continually
floated in his imagination.

But the organization of even a diminutive army
of two hundred men, was attended with many delays
at that early period of the settlement, when
men became soldiers only from necessity; and at
an immense sacrifice of personal interest, left the
duties of their station to combat with a powerful
and inhuman enemy. These and other circumstances
rendered it improbable that they would be able
to effect a junction with the Connecticut troops, before 11(6)v 124
the commencement of May; but Captain Underhill,
with twenty men, was required to put himself
in immediate readiness to go forward and relieve
the garrison at Saybrook. It was then near
the close of March; and before these arrangements
were completed, a small vessel from the Dutch settlement
of the New Netherlands, arrived on a trading
voyage in the harbour of Boston. It brought
many fearful reports of the continued atrocities of
the Pequods, the ravages they had made, and the
terror which they every where inspired; and this additional
intelligence completely roused the spirited
exertions of the people, who again unitedly resolved
to resist the daring injuries, which threatened to
bring destruction upon the whole country. These
accounts also renewed the fears of Atherton respecting
the situation of Miriam Grey, who he imagined
surrounded by a thousand dangers, which haunted
his mind without cessation; and impatient of
delay, he resolved at once to end the misery of suspense.
He therefore obtained leave to repair immediately
to Saybrook fort, without waiting for
Captain Underhill; and the master of the Dutch
vessel, for a handsome compensation, agreed to furnish
him with a passage to the desired port.

On the morning of his departure, Major Atherton
wrote a few lines to Captain Standish, hastily
sketching his plans, though without alluding to the
hopes, which almost unknown to himself, were a
powerful incentive to action, and had obtained an
unbounded influence over his mind. It was therefore 12(1)r 125
with feelings of pleasurable expectation rather
than regret—for which he was half inclined to reproach
himself as ungrateful—that he took leave of
his hospitable friends at Boston; and furnished
with suitable credentials to Lieutenant Gardner,
again committed himself to the winds and waves,
under the guidance of a people, of whose very language
he was ignorant. But Captain Van Schiller,
a native of Holland, proved civil and obliging in
his way—that is, he sat quietly on deck smoking
his pipe, his square head leaning against the main-
mast, and his short thick legs resting on a keg of
spirits, perfectly contented that they were moving,
however slowly; and good-naturedly resolved to let
every one do as he pleased, and manage affairs in
his own way, so long as it did not interfere with
his interest or comfort. Besides, he would speak
but little English, except so far as was necessary
to drive a good bargain with that crafty nation, in
which, to do him justice, he seldom lost any thing
through ignorance;—and Atherton finding him inclined
to drowsiness, and the men unable to comprehend
any thing but their own guttural and most
unharmonious mother-tongue—sat down alone and
undisturbed on the deck, his eyes long lingering on
the pleasant shores of the bay, as yet scarcely divested
of their wintry covering, though here and
there a sheltered glade or sunny hill was faintly
tinged with verdure, the first promise of approaching
spring.

In the mean time, the Dutch vessel, sunk almost Vol. II. 12 12(1)v 126
to the water’s edge, moved slowly along, encumbered
by a weight of planks and useless tackle, almost
sufficient to equip a man of war in these econonical
times; but most inconveniently misplaced in the
small but clumsy vessel, that ploughed heavily
through the waves, which at every instant extorted
a groan from it, as if in the act of forcing its ribs
asunder. The crew, probably used to its distress,
seemed totally to disregard it, and pursued their
navigation with admirable gravity, seldom suspending
their labour to exercise their colloquial
powers, or indulge in those bursts of merriment to
which the seamen of other nations are so prone.
Perhaps this was from deference to their Captain,
whose meditations were long and deep; but whether
he was holding high converse with his own thoughts,
or admiring the thick waisted beauties gallantly
pictured on his vessel,—he might, for aught of life
or motion, as well have represented the figure of
St. Nicholas which decorated the stern, save for the
volumes of smoke which curled from his capacious
mouth,—a luxury probably unknown to the worthy
saint. Once also, an unlucky wight, who hovered
high in air on the main-mast-top, let fall a coil of
rope, which lighting on the centre of his pericranium,
sent forth from the interior a hollow reverberation
like unto the sound of a kettle drum, and
beat out a tremendous high Dutch oath, that we
care not to repeat. But this transient excitement
past, the usual monotony again prevailed; until in
passing the Nantasket road, a vessel hove in sight, 12(2)r 127
and as soon as they were near enough, Captain Van
Schiller
hauled in his sails and prepared to speak
with her. She was from Plymouth, bound to Boston;
and Major Atherton had the satisfaction to receive
a packet of letters from his friends, which he
hastened to peruse, when the vessel was again under
way. The envelope contained a letter from Mr.
Winslow
, and one from Captain Standish, but as
their contents are not very important or interesting,
we shall pass them over, and lay before our
readers the following from Peregrine White, which
was enclosed in the Governor’s.

“To Major Edward Atherton. Dear Major, I have been trying for these four months past, that
is, ever since you left Plymouth, to write a letter
to you; but I know not how it is, I am not very
familiar with my pen, and have kept putting it off,
till I have a world of news to tell you, and can
wait no longer. Let me think, what shall I begin
with. But I must first ask if you saw Miriam
Grey
when she was in Boston? I need not
ask though, for I will be bound you found her out
before she had been there an hour. I hope the
pretty damsel was more kind to you than before
you left Plymouth; for though we could get nothing
out of her or Mr. Weldon about the matter, it
was easy to guess the reason of your flying off so,
almost without saying good bye to your best
friends. Now, Major, you always laugh at me 12(2)v 128
for thinking I have a deal of penetration; but I
saw plainly how matters stood with you long ago;
and I well know it is all owing to that grim father
of hers that you and Miriam are separated,—for she
too, poor thing, looked as wan and drooping as a
pond lily, after you went away. I wonder wherein
was the use of people’s coming over to this savage
wilderness, for the sake of liberty of conscience,
as they call it, if they will not allow any
one to think differently from themselves, now they
are here, nor to marry whom they choose, and be
happy if they can. But only think of Miriam’s
being in Connecticut at this dreadful time,—foolish
girl that she is! I expect every day to hear
you have gone to look after her, and that you have
killed as many savages as Samson did Philistines
—though I think you must have something sharper
than the jaw-bone of an ass to make way with such
hardened wretches. Well, perhaps I shall see you
there, for our court have agreed to send forward
fifty men to help the Connecticut people; and after
much persuasion, my father has consented to let
me go with them; my dear mother distressed herself
bitterly about it for a time, but is now more
reconciled. What do you think Captain Standish
says about me? why that I shall not have courage
to stand fire unless I am cased up to the eyes in
steel—so I asked him to lend me his coat of mail
which has kept him in life so long—though in
truth, I think it would hardly cover my legs. Our
friend Benjamin Ashly is going too, if you can believe 12(3)r 129
it—I wish I might be as chaplain, or I fear
he will have more arrows in his back than he can
well stop to pick out. I wish you had seen him
the other day when I met him with a long face,
and asked him if he had heard that Miriam Grey
was scalped by a horrible Indian! He stood, for
all the world, like Lot’s pillar of salt, and half
afraid he was really changing, I made haste to comfort
him by saying, ‘Pluck up courage, friend; it
has not happened yet, and I will warrant you Major
Atherton
takes good care that not a hair of
her head is harmed.’
So he turned away from me
too angry to say a word.
But now I must tell you what I intended at the
first; but some how or other I have an unfortunate
way of saying whatever happens to come uppermost,
which often leads me astray from my
subject. Did Miriam tell you—though it is not
likely she did—that Mr. Calvert left Plymouth
soon after you went away, and every body says
because she would not marry him and go to Virginia.
Well, as his vessel was not quite ready to
sail, he went to pass a week or two with Captain
Standish
, who it seems took a great liking to him.
It so happened that while he was there the Captain
saw by chance a comely young damsel, and thinking,
as well he might, that it was ‘not good for
man to be alone,’
he resolved in his mind the means
of taking her unto himself for wife. But as it is
long since his courting days, I suppose the good
man felt a little awkward at the business, being Vol. II. 12* 12(3)v 130
more accustomed to slashing up Indians than making
fine speeches, such as win pretty women; and
so in imitation of ancient Isaac he resolved to send
forward a herald to speak the word for him. I
have ever since thought he would have done well
if he had chosen me, who would doubtless have
proved a trusty agent; but instead thereof he selected
Calvert, who was at his house, and well able
to argue fluently on any side of the question, right
or wrong. So he repaired to the damsel, full armed
with instructions; but alas! who can foresee
the caprices of love? When he had finished pleading
the Captain’s cause, the maiden turned her
bewitching eyes upon him, and said with sweet
simplicity.
‘Prithee why do you not speak for yourself?’ ‘Would you,’ answered Calvert, ‘prefer me, an
unknown stranger, to the brave Captain whose
name is renowned all over the world for his deeds
of courage?’
‘Ten to one,’ replied the damsel, with a smile
and a blush.
Now the rest of the conference is unknown,
and this has leaked out at unawares; but it was
doubtless settled to the satisfaction of both, for
Calvert returned to Captain Standish to confess
the strange result of the business, and arrange his
affairs; and it is whispered that your valiant kinsman
flew into a most violent passion, and that
very night turned him out of doors. I will not
vouch for the truth of all this, being very cautious 12(4)r 131
about spreading reports,—but be that as it may,
before noon on the following day, Mr. Calvert
put his bride and other commodities on board
the vessel, and sailed from Plymouth, probably
forever.
Now is’nt this a very droll affair, Major? I have
laughed incessantly about it, and the other night
actually waked up in a roar, to the great alarm of
my mother, who came running into the chamber to
see if I had lost my wits. I could only cry out,
‘The Captain, mother—that was a sly trick of the
girl’s,’
—and half provoked she said—‘Foolish boy,
go to sleep’
—and left me, almost as much amused
as myself. The best of all is, no one dares to
speak openly of the matter, lest the Captain should
serve him as he did the Sachem Wittuwamet; and
indeed he holds up his head so boldly, that people
are half-inclined to believe it was all a trick of
Calvert’s to amuse and astonish the world. I ventured
one day to allude to it before the Captain;
but his eyes flashed fire, and he touched his sword
with such a menacing gesture, that in good truth I
was glad to retreat as well as I could.
Now, dear Major, I think it is time to draw this
letter to a conclusion, and I dare say you are of the
same opinion; it is certainly the longest I ever
wrote, for my credit’s sake I will not say the best.
As for the rest of the good people of Plymouth, I
believe they go on pretty much as when you were
here. Your old acquaintance mistress Gilbert has
been very busy in talking about the Captain’s affair;
and I wish in my heart he could hear of it, 12(4)v 132
and give her one sound dressing that should frighten
her out of her gossiping, for a time at least. Her
good friend and your admirer, Mistress Rebecca
Spindle
, is as interesting as ever; she enquired after
you the other day with a sweet simper which would
certainly have won your heart, had you been an
eye-witness to it, though by the way, I believe she
is laying siege to Master Ashly’s heart, since he
has been forced to give up his pretensions to Miriam.
I hear she tells him that giddy young girls
are always fond of flirting, and there can be no reliance
placed on them till they arrive at years of
discretion, at her age for instance; and more than
once, if report speaks the truth, she has enticed him to
walk home with her from a prayer-meeting. ‘Here
is gossip,’
you will say, ‘equal to Mistress Gilbert’s!’
Never mind Major; it is a glorious privilege
of our sex to detail news and scandal, and
remark on people and things as we think proper,
without the reproach of ‘gossiping’, which is a term
exclusively feminine, and long may it continue so!
No news have been heard lately from Mr. Grey;
but he is expected to return in the course of a
month or two. I beg you, to destroy this foolish
letter for more reasons than one. My mother desires
to be remembered to you and so would my
father did he not intend to write himself. I hope
he will not look into this sheet, for he would never
let me send you so much nonsense.
Farewell, dear Major, and believe me your sincere
friend,
Peregrine White.
12(5)r 133

Major Atherton folded the letter with a smile
when he had finished reading it, much amused by
the contents so characteristic of his gay young
friend; but not a little perplexed with that part of
it which related to his kinsman. We shall not
stake our credit as historians by insisting on the
truth of that report; though tradition has handed
it down to us with an accuracy which in our minds
admits no doubt of its authenticity.

It would be tedious in the extreme to follow the
slow progress of Captain Van Schiller’s vessel,
which in open defiance of Dutch canvass, continued
to drift along with the tide, rather than obey the
impulse of the winds,—which to speak truth were
sometimes in a wrong direction, and it was therefore
not until the fourth day from leaving Boston,
that they entered the inland sea now called Long
Island Sound
, and without one perilous adventure to
give a zest to their irksome voyage. Major Atherton’s
patience was spun out to a mere cobweb; he
wondered that the sun could smile so cheeringly,
and the south send forth her softest breezes to dally
with their useless sails; and the moon shine with
such unwonted brilliance on the waveless ocean,
and the fairy isles, which ever and anon spotted its
surface and seemed putting on a deeper green, and
budding into beauty as they approached nearer the
regions of the sun. Yet at times he yielded to the
serene and balmy influence of nature, then in the
youth and loveliness of that genial season, which
has so long awaked the poet’s song and inspired 12(5)v 134
the lover’s dream; and often in the freshness of
morning and the stillness of the night-watches, with
the flageolet, his only companion, he “discoursed
most excellent music,”
mingling its sweet tones
with the ripple of the waters, and creating strains
which in the golden age might have called the sea-
nymphs from their caves to listen.

It was however with very pleasant emotions that
he at length understood they were approaching
the mouth of Connecticut river; though he observed
they still bore off towards the coast of Manhattan,
which lay in full, though distant prospect, instead
of the opposite shore to which they were destined.
The Captain complained of the wind as
the grand mover of this crooked navigation; but
Atherton remarked that there was scarcely enough
to swell the sails and insisted that he would no
longer be subjected to such provoking delays. Captain
Van Schiller
listened to him without either
surprise or anger; and when he had done speaking,
leisurely knocked the ashes from his pipe, and
carefully replacing it in his huge waistcoat pocket,
replied,—

“Very well mynheer, we will see what can be
done;”
and, on this benevolent errand, he stubbed
away to hold a conference with the helmsman.
Nearly half the day, however, was consumed in
total inaction, notwithstanding the continued remonstrances
of Major Atherton, but the appearance
of a small vessel approaching from the Connecticut
shore, at length, inspired even Dutchmen with 12(6)r 135
momentary animation. When within speaking distance,
they hailed her, and were answered in their
own language; which was so delectable a sound to
their sensitive countrymen, that they set up a shout
of exultation, which might have been heard on the
ramparts of Fort Orange. The two Captains then
entered into a long parley, and from their earnest
gesticulation, Atherton judged they were discussing
a subject of some importance. As soon as their
conference was ended the small vessel again hoisted
her sails and with enviable speed pursued her destined
course. Captain Van Schiller then called
his men together, and remained for some time,
engaged in conversation with them, which Atherton
in vain endeavoured to comprehend; but the
result, whatever it was, seemed decisive; the men
engaged with unusual activity in their labours,
and Atherton, for the first time, suspected they
were deceiving him, and demanded of the Captain,
an explanation of his conduct.

That worthy son of Neptune, apparently exhausted
by his late exertions, was drowsily reclining
in his usual place of repose, with a countenance
as stagnant as one of his own canals; but which
began faintly to glimmer into life, as Atherton,
with rather less than his usual courtesy, made the
needful inquiries. Captain Van Schiller was lost in
meditation for a moment, while a dense column of
smoke rolled from his mouth, which Atherton
stepped back to avoid, and then gravely answered,
that the master of the vessel they had just spoken 12(6)v 136
with, whom he knew to be a man of veracity, had
given him such accounts of the numbers and ferocity
of the Pequod Indians, that he considered it
hazardous to venture near their coast: that they
were continually out in their canoes watching for
the English, and other boats; that his vessel sailed
but slowly at the best; and being only defended
by one swivel which, moreover, was out of order,
neither he, nor his people thought it prudent to run
the risk of being scalped, or roasted alive, and,
perhaps devoured, like fat oxen, for those barbarians
actually eat their prisoners, as greedily as a
mouse would swallow a bit of toasted cheese: and
he finally concluded by declaring that, though he
had as much courage as most people, and perhaps,
might be induced to adventure his own life, yet his
crew, one and all, had resolved not to go in the
way of such heathenish dogs, but to return with all
convenient speed to Fort Amsterdam.

Nothing could exceed the indignant surprise of
Major Atherton, at this unexpected declaration;
and in the resentment of the moment, he asserted
that the most unpardonable cowardice and perfidy
could alone have instigated such an unwarrantable
infraction of their treaty. Captain Van Schiller
listened to his reproaches with a kind of blank astonishment;
for he had not dreamed that any one
could be so unreasonable as to object against the
prudence of his measures; and even when he had
finished speaking, continued to regard him with
that perplexed and stupid wonder with which a 13(1)r 137
clown is wont to admire the marvellous feats of
legerdemain. But with the utmost calmness, he
presently resumed his pipe, and Atherton, provoked
that he could excite neither remorse nor anger in
his phlegmatic companion, had recourse alternately
to threats and entreaties, to induce compliance with
his agreement. All, however, proved ineffectual;
Captain Van Schiller possessed the virtue of self-
command to an astonishing degree, and nothing
could move his passions, nor would any thing shake
the determined obstinacy of his disposition, which
once resolved, whether right or wrong, was as immoveable
as the foundations of the earth.

Major Atherton had no doubt that the sailors
were influenced by their Captain on this subject;
but his ignorance of their language rendered it impossible
to argue with them, or even to discover
their real feelings; and sensible that he had no
hope of redress, with sensations of bitter disappointment
he resigned himself to his perverse destiny,
and during the remainder of the voyage continued
in a state of gloomy abstraction.

Vol. II. 13 13(1)v 138

Chapter IX.

“―― And the sound Of axe and dashing oar, and fisher’s net And song beguiling toil, and pastoral pipe Were heard, where late the solitary hills Gave only to the mountain cataract Their wild response.” Southey.

Major Atherton was at length roused from
his painful reverie, by an unwonted bustle among
the crew, which announced their near approach to
the capital of the Manhadoes; while each one, with
a confused murmur of delight, and a countenance
that manifested the most complacent satisfaction,
turned to catch the first view of the fair city of
New-Amsterdam. As yet, however, the clumsy
dome of St. Nicholas’ church, and a tall flag-staff,
surmounted by the colours of the Prince of Orange,
flapping idly in the wind, were alone perceptible;
and Atherton, with listless curiosity turned his eyes
towards them, though inwardly persuaded that,
circumstanced as he was, nothing could excite an
emotion of interest or pleasure. But as they gradually
approached the shore, every sensation of resentful
disappointment became absorbed in delight
and admiration; and the charms of nature resumed
their accustomed influence over his imagination
and feelings.

13(2)r 139

The ancient island of Manhattan, broken into
hills and vallies, exhibited the variety and luxuriance
of primeval nature, and its silent shores
where now the sounds of business and of pleasure
are ever heard, were fringed with lofty forests, then
unfolding their tender buds, and mingling a thousand
hues from the pale tints of the trembling aspen,
to the dark foliage of the mournful cypress.
Full in view the expansive waters of the Bay were
slumbering in a glorious sun-set, studded with innumerable
isles, and bounded by scenes of wild and
romantic loveliness. New-Amsterdam, the humble
beginning of the now gay and commercial city
of New-York, occupied a commanding situation on
the verge of a fruitful island, encircled by the Hudson
and East rivers, and presented a truly picturesque
and novel appearance. At that early period
it certainly made no pretensions to the grand or
beautiful; but it was distinguished by an air of
neatness, peculiar to the Dutch settlements, and
the houses, uncouth as they appeared, with their
projecting roofs, the fronts of black and yellow
tile, and other ingenious devices for show and ornament,
looked substantial and comfortable, and
were in general shaded by forest trees, which gave
an agreeable relief to the eye, while it afforded a
grateful shelter from the sun.

Captain Van Schiller’s broad countenance was
enlivened with something like a smile, as he remarked
the evident pleasure of Major Atherton;
and probably believing it excited by admiration of 13(2)v 140
the superior taste and ingenuity of his countrymen,
he continually followed the direction of his eyes, to
discover what object was next to meet his approbation.
Atherton on his part, so far forgot his late
resentment, as to ask many questions, respecting
the condition of the Colony, which the Captain
willingly answered to the best of his abilities,
though he proved far less clear in his ideas on that
subject, or at least, less fluent in his speech, than
when discanting on the points of architectural
beauty displayed in the church of his patron saint,
and the impenetrable strength of their redoubtable
mud fortress. At length, to the satisfaction of all
on board, the vessel anchored at a little distance
from the fort, and amidst a crowd of men, women,
children, and dogs, Major Atherton landed in the
western dominions of their high dutch mightinesses.

Captain Van Schiller soon discovered, in this
motley group, his own Goede Vrouw, or good woman,
who with her daughter, a pretty plump lass
of sixteen, was hastening to meet and welcome his
return. On seeing her long absent lord, the worthy
dame sprang forward, with an alacrity quite
astonishing, considering her dimensions; and, with
becoming gratitude for this active proof of her affection,
the spouse rewarded her with a hearty kiss,
which exploded like a signal gun from the battery
of Fort Amsterdam. Atherton was rather startled
by this public display of conjugal felicity,
which was however conducted with extreme gravity; 13(3)r 141
but as he was in the act of retiring from the
crowd, the Captain grasped him firmly by a button
of his coat with one hand, while with the other he
dragged forward his blushing daughter, who, on
seeing a stranger with her father, had hung back
behind the ample folds of her mother’s petticoat.

“Come hither, Gertrude,” he said, taking her in
his arms, and saluting both cheeks, “dunder and
blixum, girl, you are not afraid of a young soldier
are you?”
and with a sort of chuckle he swung her
round, and then set her down on her feet again.
For an instant, however, she appeared so dizzy,
that Atherton felt obliged to offer her the support
of his arm; but she tacitly declined it, and only
expressed her thanks by a low courtesy, without
even looking in his face; though, a moment after,
when unobserved, she ventured to steal a glance at
him, from the corners of her large dark eyes. But
the mother had examined him more attentively,
and whispered Gertrude to “hold up her head like
a woman, and not feel ashamed to be seen;”
while,
by dint of twitching her good man’s sleeve, and
the aid of an audible whisper, accompanied with
expressive gestures, she at length made him comprehend
her wish to have Atherton invited home
with them. The invitation was accordingly given
in due form, by the obedient husband; but Atherton
thought proper to decline their hospitality, and
soon after took leave of them, and repaired to a
public house, where he fortunately found neat and
convenient accommodations.

Vol. II. 13* 13(3)v 142

A week passed away, and still Major Atherton
saw no prospect of speedily accomplishing his designs.
The Dutch of New-Amsterdam were a
cautious people, and cared not to adventure life,
limb, or property, without a certain hope of advantage;
therefore, their trading vessels, which used
to make frequent voyages to Connecticut, were
sent to other ports or lay at anchor in the Bay,
waiting for more certain information respecting
the hostile Indians. They had still a large range
of navigable country open to their vessels, from
fort Orange, on the Hudson, the ancient Aurania,
and present city of Albany, to fort Nassau, on the
Delaware, which they held in the name of the
States-General, and carried on a lucrative traffic
with the natives. Their perseverance and industry
had brought the colony into considerable repute;
and the English, who always regarded them
as mere intruders, had already made several efforts
to alienate their possessions from the Dutch government,
and attach them to the dominions of
their own king, who they insisted was the rightful
proprietor. But the Dutch perversely maintained
a contrary opinion, and in despite of occasional
menaces from their neighbours,—who however
found it enough to take care of themselves,—they
continued to enjoy for many years, their own language,
customs and laws, in their native purity
and perfection. It is true, they had been sorely
aggrieved by certain of the Massachusetts’ folk,
who seized the goodly lands of Connecticut, which 13(4)r 143
they intended to improve for their own advantage;
and when they had already erected a fort, which they
called the Huise or fort of Good Hope, and planted
two pieces of artillery on what is the present
site of Hartford. But they had the mortification
of seeing their flag insulted, first, by the people of
Plymouth, who refused to strike their colours to it,
and disdaining their threats, sailed boldly past, and
set up a trading house, well defended from all hostile
attacks; and last, though not least, a roving
congregation from the Massachusetts, sat quietly
down, under the very muzzles of their guns, and
built around them an orderly and fair village, which
crowded them out of their strong hold; and, by
persuasion and a show of strength, they were finally
induced to give up all their claims to the country;
—very prudently considering, that they could
not substantiate, and were too weak to contend for
them. Whether the remembrance of these alleged
wrongs continued to rankle in their breasts, it is
impossible to determine; they however carried on
a friendly commerce with the English colonies, but
showed no disposition to interfere in their quarrels,
—even in the decisive struggle with the Pequods.
Kieft, then Governor of the New-Netherlands,
preserved a strict neutrality. The people in general,
imitated the peaceable disposition of their ruler;
feeling it more safe to smoke thier pipes at
home, than to seek for uncertain laurels in a land
of savages,—with no prospect of advantage, but,
on the contrary, at the risk of involving themselves 13(4)v 144
in difficulties, and perhaps provoking the vengeance
of the natives.

Thus circumstanced, Major Atherton met with
little sympathy, and it was in vain that he occupied
his mind in forming plans to prosecute his enterprise,
which he constantly found it impossible to
execute. The inhabitants of New-Amsterdam,
however, seemed to regard him with favour, and
exerted themselves, with wonderful alacrity, to
render his residence in their city agreeable. The
houses of the most respectable citizens were courteously
opened to him, and he was at all times,
welcome to attach himself to the family circle,—
look at the good man, while with the most contemplative
air imaginable, he regaled himself with his
huge pipe of tobacco, and with apparent delight
puffed the smoke from his mouth, like vapour from
a steam vessel;—and listen to the conversation of
his more loquacious dame, who good-humouredly
amused him with family details, not omitting occasional
remarks on the affairs of the neighbourhood,
which in her zeal for the public good, were generally
regarded with extreme interest. The daughters,
with commendable industry, usually sat apart,
as demure as the household cats, exercising their
genius in garnishing and repairing the family garments;
being taught by their prudent mothers to
win hearts and husbands,—not by an unfeminine
propensity to talking,—but by the dexterous use of
their fingers, in which consists the true excellence
of woman.

13(5)r 145

Atherton soon found it was worse than useless
to complain; if, by chance, an impatient wish escaped
him, the people looked at him, and at each
other, as if struck with doubts of his sanity; for
they really believed none but a madman, or one
perversely discontented, could reject the charming
tranquillity of New-Amsterdam, when there was
every thing that heart could wish—that is, enough
to eat and drink,—not forgetting the grand inspirer
of felicity,—tobacco,—and time to smoke and
sleep, and an abundance of raiment to put on:—in
fine, nothing but a few straight ditches were wanting
to render it a complete Dutch paradise. The
people too, were sober and inudstrious, well pleased
to tread in the steps of their forefathers, and
never prying into things that did not concern them,
nor dabbling in vain experiments, and seeking out
new inventions, which bring trouble and ruin on so
many young provinces, and old ones too. It was,
therefore, beyond their comprehension, that any
man should think of leaving such a place, to embroil
himself with the horrible Indians, who scalped
and murdered every thing they could lay their
dingy hands upon—and all to aid the restive Massachusetts’
people, who, the Governor had been
heard to say, w