Peep at the Pilgrims
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

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.


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.


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 denly 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 defianceI. 2* 2(3)v 18 ance 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 mooringsI. 3 3(1)v 26 ings 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.

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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 tered 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 ly 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 additionI. 4* 4(3)v 42 tion 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 science, 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 ton, 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 swered 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 in, 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.

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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.

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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.

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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 ly 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.

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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?

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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 try 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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 tions: 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 erful 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.

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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 ing, 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.

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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.

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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 requiredI. 11* 11(3)v 126 quired 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 ed 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 ly; 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 able 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.

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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 part. 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.

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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.

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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.

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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 ble 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.

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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 ile, 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.

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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 ment 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.

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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.

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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.

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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 sion, 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 course, 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.

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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?

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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.

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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 ton, 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.

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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.

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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.

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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 stantly 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.

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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 ship 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.I. 22 22(1)v 254 ton. 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?

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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?

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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.

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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 ed 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 erton, 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 riam! 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.

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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.

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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 ing 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 lacy, 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 nant 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.


Peep at the Pilgrims
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.

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


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.


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 recentlyII. 2* 2(3)v 10 cently 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,II. 3 3(1)v 18 er, 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 played, 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 ing 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 racters 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 ton, 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,II. 5 5(1)v 42 mand, 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 sion 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 ened 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 confirmII. 6 6(1)v 54 firm 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 ed 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 dated 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,II. 7 7(1)v 66 duct, 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 riam 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.

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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 quillity 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 out 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.

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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 ther’s 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.

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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 ton 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?

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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.

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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.

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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 ing 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 tort 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,—

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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 ture, 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.

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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.

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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 tensively 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 fore 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 fore 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 lieve 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.

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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 ty; 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.

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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.

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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, were not much better than savages themselves; for had they not driven away the peace-loving Dutch, and planted fields, and built villages, where they had intended to plant and build, if time had been given them? Indeed, it was more than once suggested in a secret council of thrifty 13(5)v 146 burghers, that those encroaching colonists might, on some luckless day invade their fair capital, if the cautious rulers of the land, did not avert their designs, by building dykes, and cutting canals to defend it, after the most approved fashion of their ancestors. Unfortunately however, the inequalities of this new country, uselessly heaped into hills, and scooped out into vallies, opposed obstacles to their plan, which had never puzzled the brains of their countrymen on the other side of the Atlantic, where the beautiful swamps were perfectly free from such incumbrances, and seemed moulded by nature to suit their peculiar genius.

Major Atherton, therefore, very philosophically resolved to endure with patience what could not be avoided, and to confine his useless regrets to his own bosom,—and many a solitary hour was given to their indulgence. But in public he was ever gay and courteous, and by his affability, the cheerfulness with which he entered into the feelings of the old, and the amusements of the young,—he soon became a prodigious favourite, particularly with the ancient ladies, to whose lengthened discourse, with the deference due to their sex, and the gallantry of a young soldier, he would listen with the utmost politeness, though it is true their language was not always quite intelligible, and his thoughts were generally afar off. But the plump little divinities of the city were so enamoured with his attentions that their round-headed admirers began to find themselves slighted by their fair mistresses, 13(6)r 147 tresses, and in the height of their alarm, might perhaps have been induced to convey the intruder from their shores, if circumstances had not occurred to render it useless;—though they must uncharitably persisted in ascribing his success, not to any superiority on his part, but to that perverse ove of novelty, which it is said clings to woman through all the changes of her capricious life.

Major Atherton was a frequent guest at the house of Captain Van Schiller, and the idle world, which cares not whether it speaks truth or falsehood, presumed to say he was allured thither by the charms of Gertrude, his youngest daughter;— for had not the Captain gone up the Hudson to Fort Orange, and what else could he be seeking? But Atherton remained ignorant of these suggestions, and the subject of them was scarcely a moment in his thoughts; but Gertrude at that time chanced to be a reigning belle, and there was more than one gentle youth, who regarded his supposed pretensions with a jealous eye. He often met there a young man distantly connected with the family, whose frank and engaging manners soon gained his entire confidence and esteem. Hans Van Haarman,—such was his name,—was a native of Holland; but he had resided several years in the New-Netherlands; and having followed the profession of arms almost from childhood, he was soon after his arrival invested with the command of Fort Amsterdam, the highest military rank which it was then in the power of the 13(6)v 148 Colony to confer. His father had served in the Dutch wars with Colonel Atherton, with whom he was in habits of intimacy; and this circumstance first interested the young men in each other; a similarity of situation heightened this interest, which was daily strengthened by a congeniality of sentiments and characters. Van Haarman inherited from his mother, a French protestant, the spirit and vivacity of her country, which entirely preponderated over the Dutch prudence and phlegm, otherwise to have been expected from his father; and always yielding to first impressions he became at once the friend and intimate companion of Major Atherton. He opened his whole heart to him without reserve, and Atherton soon learned from his own lips that he was also a lover, and with the consent to her friends affianced to Maria Van Schiller the eldest sister of Gertrude, though want of fortune, that cruel foe to tender hearts, had hitherto delayed the day of happiness; and it was still put off to a distant period to the great alarm of Van Haarman, who feared the worldly prudence and ambition of her father might tempt him to prefer a more wealthy suitor for his daughter,—in despite of the entreaties of Dan Cupid, who represented that lovers could live on little or nothing—a matter rather problematical even in those simple days.

Atherton in return, disclosed his own hopes, fears and perplexities without reserve, to Van Haarman; and felt much relieved by consulting on his 14(1)r 149 future plans with one who was interested in his behalf, and able to advise, and perhaps assist him. Van Haarman, indeed, from the moment he learned his unpleasant situation, used every exertion to procure him a conveyance to Connecticut; he even endeavoured to engage the Governor in his cause, and freely offered his own services in the undertaking. Things however went on but slowly; Atherton had been a fortnight in New-Amsterdam, and Governor Kieft who held his case in consideration for a week, was still undecided,—when a vessel arrived in the harbour from a long voyage, and brought intelligence which produced a general excitement. The Captain, a bold and adventurous man, had penetrated through the very ports of the enemy to traffic with the friendly Indians; and having bartered his commodities on advantageous terms, was returning home, when near the mouth of the Pequod river he was surrounded by Indians in their canoes, and attacked with such fury, that for a time escape seemed almost impossible. But fortunately the Dutch captain was supported by a brave crew, who fought with desperate courage, convinced that their only alternative was captivity and a death of torture; and after a severe conflict they completely routed the Pequods, who retreated with all expedition, though not without considerable loss both in killed and prisoners. The Dutch were not materially injured; for their vessel was well-armed, and the men trained to action, which gave them a decided advantage over Vol. II. 14 14(1)v 150 the undisciplined fierceness of the enemy. The Captain also brought information from unquestionable authority, that the Pequods, driven from Saybrook by the reinforcement of Captain Mason and his party, had retired to the fort of Sassacus, from whence they issued forth to ravage the country; that a body of them had lately surprised the people of Weathersfield, while labouring in their fields, and inhumanly murdered several of both sexes, destroyed numbers of their cattle, and carried two young women into captivity.

These details excited the utmost indignation in every breast; and Major Atherton, in whose mind the image of Miriam Grey, was now continually associated with scenes of danger, determined at every hazard, to repair immediately to Saybrook fort. The idea that she might already be among the slain or captives, at times gave him insupportable pain; but he consoled himself by reflecting that she could not have been near that scene of outrage, which was several miles from the abode of Mr. Weldon. Still his anxiety was unremitting; and independent of his personal feelings, he cherished an increased desire to assist his countrymen in freeing themselves from a scourge, which continually threatened their safety. He therefore, entreated Van Haarman to use his influence with the Captain, who had lately returned to convey him to the Connecticut shore; and empowered him to offer any reward, which might ensure his services. But these private arrangements 14(2)r 151 were unexpectedly precluded by the spirited conduct of Governor Kieft, who, urged by many considerations political and personal, publicly announced his resolution to aid the English, on this important occasion. Orders were issued to the proper authorities, to prepare a vessel well armed and manned, to sail immediately to the Pequod harbour, to ransom the captive maids at any cost, and deliver them in safety to the English at Fort Saybrook. Van Haarman at his own desire, was appointed to command the expedition, and the resentment of the people, was so generally roused against the inhuman conduct of the Indians, that there were more volunteers than could be disposed of in the service.

On the evening previous to their departure, Major Atherton was honoured by an invitation at the Governor’s, where all the high mightinesses of the city were assembled in solemn state; and his Lady on the important and long remembered occasion, threw open the doors of her best parlour, —a term analogous to the drawing-room of the present day, into which her guests were seldom admitted, except on visits of great ceremony. All the bright-eyed damsels of New-Amsterdam were ranged in a circle round it, like puppets in a showbox, each one industriously engaged in accomplishing some formidable piece of workmanship, from which her attention was seldom withdrawn, except occasionally to answer a formal question, with a still more formal monosyllable. A huge round 14(2)v 152 table, groaning under the weight of good things was at length set forth in tempting array, and happily afforded an opportunity for the young men to display their gallantry, while it enlivened the intellects of the elders, and suggested many interesting topics of discussion, to fill up the remainder of the evening, which closed at a seasonable hour, in a cloud of smoke from the numberless delft pipes which projected into the room, and almost met in the centre. Each gallant then selected the fair one, whom he most admired—if she smiled consent,—and without one murmur at the trouble and distance, escorted her to the door of her dwelling, and took leave of her with a cordial salute;— an agreeable Dutch custom, which Atherton could by no means excuse himself from following, when he parted with the pretty Gertrude, whom he was allowed the privilege of attending home, notwithstanding the manœvres of certain of her ci-devant admirers, who were forthwith obliged to look round for more obliging, if less comely fair ones.

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Chapter X.

There was speech in their dumbness, language in their very gesture; they looked as they had heard of a world ransomed or one destroyed. A notable passion of wonder appeared in them, but the wisest beholder that knew no more but seeing, could not say if the importance were joy or sorrow. Shakspeare.

On a bright morning towards the close of April, an armed sloop weighed anchor in the harbour of New-Amsterdam, and under a salute of all the guns in the fort, which were fit for use, answered by cheers from the men on board, and a mighty shout of the multitude on shore, mingled with the barking of curs, and the grunting of pigs,—it set sail on the destined voyage of amity to the Pequod shores. The worthies of the land regarded the stately bark with prodigious satisfaction, as it boldly ploughed the waves, which sparkled and foamed around it with the sails swelled by a stiff breeze, and the Dutch colours gaily streaming from the tall masthead. Van Haarman reclined on the stern, in a very lover-like attitude, unwilling to withdraw his eyes a moment from the spot, where his love and his hopes were fixed; while Atherton walked the deck, with the quick, elastic step of one who has escaped a prison-house, and exults again in the light of freedom. He would sometimes stop to gaze a moment on the beautiful island, which Vol. II. 14* 14(3)v 154 seemed floating in the waters, like a region of enchantment, decked out with verdure and bloom, and sporting a thousand hues in the brilliant sunshine and chequered shade;—though still oftener his eye roved impatiently across the Sound, and lingered on the clear horizon, watching to obtain a glimpse of the yet distant hills of Connecticut.

A number of the Pequod Indians, who had been lately captured were put on board the vessel, in the expectation that it would be necessary to offer them in exchange for the young women; and though they submitted, in sullen silence to their destiny, it was considered prudent to secure them below the deck, to prevent the possibility of any violent attempt at escape. One of their number, however, a young man of noble countenance and demeanour, was exempted from this general confinement. He received a severe wound in his right arm, during the action with the Dutch, and his subsequent imprisonment, with the pain he endured, and the mortification and chagrin attendant on his situation, had reduced him to extreme weakness. Atherton was particularly interested in the appearance of the young Indian, as he entered the sloop with his companions,—their hands bound and attended by a strong guard; he saw him stagger as if too feeble to support himself; and yielding to the impulse of humanity, sprang forward, and offered him the assistance of his arm.

Cushminaw needs no help; said the Indian, in tolerable English, the white man is his foe, and he disdains his pity.

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He raised his fettered hands energetically as he spoke; but in an instant they fell nerveless by his side, and at the same time, a gush of blood flowed profusely from his wound. The savage looked at it with an unmoved countenance; but Atherton, who now first comprehended the cause of his weakness, hastily removed a cloak of furs which was thrown over his arm, and Van Haarman ordered his fetters to be immediately taken off. Cushminaw had, for several days, endured excessive pain with a fortitude peculiar to his Indian character, and too proud to complain or ask assistance, he concealed his wound from every eye, and would rather have suffered death than permitted a groan to escape him. It was however neither deep nor dangerous; and had he been at liberty to exercise upon it the skill which his race always acquire in the use of simples, it would scarcely have troubled him; but total neglect and the excitement of his passions had greatly inflamed it; and exhausted by the loss of blood, he was obliged to submit quietly to the will of those around him. The other Indians were removed from deck; and a young man who had some knowledge of surgery, examined the wound, and after applying a lenitive, tightly bandaged it, and placed the arm in a sling. Cushminaw had hitherto yielded quietly to the operation; but with a smile of ineffable scorn, he tore the sling from his neck, and throwing it from him, exclaimed,—

Shall a warrior of the Pequod tribe be tied like a child to its mother’s breast?

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He rose indignantly as he spoke, and walked slowly around the deck; he sometimes stopped, and for many moments, watched the waves rising and dashing against the sides of the vessel; he would then look earnestly towards his native shores, and again resume his walk, with an air of melancholy thoughtfulness. There was a stately dignity in the mien and gestures of the young Indian, and an occasional fierceness in the expression of his piercing eye, which struck the seamen with awe, and they constantly retreated before his steps, as if fearful he would commit some act of violence on them. Cushminaw seemed to understand their feelings; but he regarded them with contempt more than anger, and never deigned to speak unless previously addressed. It was the opinion of almost every one that he ought to be confined; but Van Haarman was convinced he could do no injury; and hoping he might prove of service, if kindly used, in the expected negociation, insisted on leaving him at liberty to follow his inclinations without restraint.

Major Atherton endeavoured to draw him into conversation, on subjects which appeared to interest him, till by degrees he won upon his confidence, and the young savage, touched by his kindness, began to feel pleasure in his society, and the sternness of his countenance gave place to a grateful smile, whenever he approached him. Cushminaw was in the spring of life, and could not long indulge a gloom and distrust which belonged not to his age 14(5)r 157 or character; and while he again breathed the pure air, and saw the light of heaven, and felt his pain assuaged by sympathy, and was indulged the hope of a speedy return to the freedom for which he sighed, the native generosity of his disposition prevailed over every hostile feeling, and he soon regarded Atherton with that strong interest and gratitude which is almost peculiar to the savage heart.

Atherton learned from him that he was the only son of a Narraganset Sachem, who early taught him to excel in the athletic sports and exercises of the Indian youth; and even in childhood trained him in the arts of war, and made him his companion in every hostile encounter with the neighbouring tribes. Thus accomplished and inured to fatigue, at the age of fifteen, he went with the warriors of his nation to avenge an alleged injury committed by the Pequods, with whom they were almost continually at strife. But the event proved disastrous to his people, who were utterly defeated; his father was slain in battle, and he fell into the hands of Mononotto, a powerful sachem of the Pequods. Mononotto was but a few years older than himself; he admired his bravery, and touched with compassion for his youth and misfortunes, adopted him for his own son, agreeably to an Indian custom, and ever treated him with the most tender affection. He had a short time before given him his young sister in marriage; and with the gratitude of a noble spirit, Cushminaw declared that 14(5)v 158 he would cheerfully lay down his life to serve his adopted father and people. In his childhood he was once detained many months as an hostage, by the English at Plymouth, and instructed by them in their language and religion; the latter he had quite forgotten, but the former was kept in remembrance by a frequent intercourse with the colonists, till he was received into the Pequod tribe; and subsequent to that period, he had been often employed as an interpreter in negociating with them. He dwelt with pleasure on his early connection with the white people, and acknowledgd that he felt no enmity towards them, except as they had injured his father and brethren, whose quarrels it was his duty to avenge.

Major Atherton listened with interest to the simple narrative of the young Indian; and in return, he gratified him with a short history of his own life, his passage across the great waters, and his various journeyings in the western world. Cushminaw lost not a word that he uttered; but when he had finished speaking, he laid his hand on Atherton’s arm, and said emphatically,—

Brother, hast thou no wife to be the charm of thy youth, and the comfort of thine old age? to weep for thine absence, and cheer thee with smiles when thou returnest from the field of battle?

Atherton answered in the negative.

Listen to me, brother, returned Cushminaw, the captive maids whom you seek, are in the hands of my father, Mononotto, and it is in his power to 14(6)r 159 save them alive; he loves me, and will hearken to my words; and if thou wouldst take for thy wife, her who is fairest of the daughters of thy land, I will speak to him, and pray him to give her thee for the ransom of his son.

Who is she? asked Atherton; by what name is she known? where are her kindred, and who is her companion?

I know not her name, replied the Indian; my mother calls her daughter, and cherisheth her as her own flesh, she is delicate as the wild rose of summer; but her bloom is fading, and her fair head droops with untimely sorrow, her friends are afar off, and her father wanders in a strange land; her companion is a timid child, ignorant of the dangers which surround her.

Good heavens! exclaimed Atherton, with emotion; of whom do you speak? tell me, I entreat you, of all the relates to her?

Brother, returned Cushminaw, I have little more to say; her eyes are dim with weeping, and food and rest are strangers to her; often when my mother’s song has ceased, and she has laid down to rest with her little ones, and only the stars are awake to listen, have I heard her sing, in a low voice, a sweet song of her native country, interrupted by her sighs and tears; and my heart was moved with pity for her grief. One day I returned from the chase, just as the shadows began to lengthen on the plain, and found her sitting at the door of the wigwam, with her arms entwined 14(6)v 160 around the neck of her young companion on whose bosom she wept bitterly. I drew near to her and said, Daughter of the white man, why has sorrow entered into thine heart? She started on hearing the language of her people, and turned on me her eyes, soft as twin violets, wet with the dews of morning; but alarmed at my presence, she covered her face, and remained silent. Fear me not, young maiden, I continued, thou art beloved by my mother, and the arm of Cushminaw is powerful, and his tongue persuasive in the council of his brethren. She started quickly from the ground, and clasping her hands, exclaimed, Son of the warrior, save me from a lingering captivity and cruel death, give me back to the arms of my father, who mourns his only child; and the God of the white people shall bless and reward you. Moved by her distress, I was about to give an answer of peace, when my father approached us; he was returning from the fort of Sassacus, his eye was terrible and his countenance darkened with frowns. At sight of him, the young maids fled, pale and affrighted from our presence, and I saw them no more; before the sitting of another sun, the barks of the stranger visited our shores, and our young warriors were carried into captivity.

Cushminaw’s countenance fell, and his eye flashed with resentment, as he alluded to their defeat; and turning from Atherton, with a lofty stride, he walked to a distant part of the vessel. Atherton was affected by the Indian’s words; the possibility 15(1)r 161 that the vindictive chiefs would not accept a ransom for their unfortunate captives, or that they might have already fallen victims to their cruelty, gave him extreme uneasiness; and he looked forward with painful solicitude to the approaching negociation.

On the following morning, the sloop entered the Pequod harbour; and the savages alarmed by its appearance, assembled great numbers on the shore, armed and prepared to resist any hostile attack. The vessel was anchored in full view of the multitude, who watched it with extreme curiosity; and Van Haarman proposed sending a boat immediately with a few trusty men, to open the proposed treaty with the chiefs.

Atherton readily undertook the risk and responsibility; and with an interpreter and four stout seamen, advanced boldly towards the land, protected by the guns of the sloop, which the natives regarded with awe and wonder. The Indians drew their arrows to the head, ready to shoot at an instant’s warning; but observing that Atherton and his companions did not raise their weapons, and made various gestures to signify they came in amity, they gradually released their bows; and when near enough to be heard, the interpreter announced his commander’s wish to speak with the grand Sachem.

Sassacus stood in the midst of his warriors, distinguished above them all, by the gigantic proportions of his figure, and the superior richness of his Vol. II. 15 15(1)v 162 savage attire. His countenance was fierce and vindictive, hideously disfigured with paint, and his naked breast and arms were marked with deep incisions, stained with vegetable colours, bearing a rude resemblance to various wild animals and birds. A string of shells and polished stones, twisted with an enormous serpent’s skin, hung round his neck; his ears were weighed down by large pendants of bone, carved into frightful figures, and his hair cut in a fantastic manner, was ornamented with tufts of eagle feathers.

On receiving Major Atherton’s message, Sassacus advanced a few paces from his attendants, with an air of command and majesty, which at once proclaimed him sovereign of the rude people who surrounded him; and wrapping a cloak of panthers’ skins closely around his right arm, he stood in an attitude of proud defiance, with one bare and sinewy leg extended, his bow half raised, and his eye fixed keenly on the countenance of the speaker.

Atherton hastened to enquire, through his interpreter, respecting the English maidens, whom the Indian monarch held in captivity;—informed him, that the Dutch were desirous of ransoming them;— and mentioned the terms which their governor had proposed. He avoided any allusion to the Pequod prisoners, as Van Haarman was instructed not to give them up, unless every other means of negociation failed.

Sassacus heard him with profound attention; but as soon as he had ceased speaking, he declared 15(2)r 163 in an imperative tone, that his captives should not be liberated; that they were bravely taken from the English, who provoked his wrath by intruding into his dominions, protecting the Indians who were tributary to him, and committing other acts of aggression which had caused him to lift the tomahawk against them; and that it should not be buried so long as a white man remained to plant in the land. He asked where were his people, who had been lately taken from him? and said he would enter into no treaty until they were safely returned.

Atherton was not empowered to enter upon this subject; he, however, assured Sassacus that the Pequods had been taken when committing violence upon the Dutch, who never injured them, but on the contrary, had always traded with them in a friendly manner; and that it was their Governor, and not the English, who wished to purchase the captive maids; offering the highest terms in his power for their redemption.

The haughty chief rejected his offer with disdain; assured him, that revenge was dearer to him than all the treasures of the white people, and that he would never be prevailed with to forego it. The prisoners would have been sacrificed long ago, he added, had not Mononotto acted the woman rather than the warrior, and been moved to pity by their tears.

The stern resolve of the sachem’s words and manner, convinced Atherton that he had entered upon a 15(2)v 164 difficult if not hopeless task; but veiling his uneasiness under an air of indifference, he answered that he had delivered his message; and if Sassacus had any thing more to say on the subject, he must speak with the Governor’s deputy in the vessel, who would wait a few hours for him to consider what had been said.

But while he was ordering the men to put off from the shore, an aged warrior stepped hastily forward, and motioning them to stay awhile, approached Sassacus respectfully, and remained several moments in earnest conversation with him. He then left him, and informed Atherton that his tribe were anxious for the safety of their captive brethren; and if he was willing to remain with them as a hostage, they would send a chief to hold a talk with the people in the vessel. Atherton consented to the proposal, provided they would select a person of sufficient rank and importance to render his own life secure; and he hoped by this means to obtain more certain intelligence respecting the captives, and perhaps find an opportunity of speaking with them. Sassacus, on receiving his assent, turned to his subjects and addressed them with many emphatic gestures; the most profound silence was maintained during his discourse; and when he ceased, a low murmur arose, and every countenance was agitated by some strong emotion. Atherton learned from the interpreter, that the sachem was desirous of holding a conference himself with the white men; but the attachment of his subjects led 15(3)r 165 them to oppose his design, believing the person of Major Atherton would be no security for that of so potent and dreaded a chief. But Sassacus was inaccessible to fear, and like most arbitrary sovereigns, determined at all events to exercise his own will, and exact obedience; with a terrible voice he accordingly commanded silence, and in a tone which could not be disputed, declared it his intention to place himself in the power of the enemy. The poor Indians dared not utter a word, even of entreaty; but with sorrowful looks continued to regard him, while he bade them farewell; and with an air of determined courage, advanced towards the boat. His warriors crowded to the water’s edge, as if to protect him to the last moment; and Atherton sprang on shore in the midst of them, at the moment that Sassacus entered the bark, and was safe in the hands of his own men. The boat glided swiftly away; Sassacus stood in the midst of it, with his hands folded, and an expression of gloomy satisfaction on his features, like one who is about to encounter danger for the glory of overcoming it. Van Haarman from his vessel witnessed all that passed, and with his principal officers waited on the deck to receive the sachem with becoming courtesy. The savages, apparently satisfied with his civility, then began to arrange themselves for a march; and by gestures informed Atherton that he must accompany them to the fort. Atherton cheerfully submitted to their wishes; and his confidence in them evidently gained their good-will. Vol. II. 15* 15(3)v 166 Though closely guarded, they seemed anxious to render his situation comfortable, and repeatedly pressed him to partake of their humble food. He could scarcely realize that he was in the midst of a people, who regarded his nation with deadly hatred, and probably viewed him with personal aversion at the same moment that they treated him with the most attentive hospitality. A forbearance which these singular beings are taught to consider a duty; and the stranger who seeks the shelter of their roof, whatever his country or crimes, even their mortal enemy, is welcome to share their food and lodging; and his voluntary confidence is always sufficient to protect him.

Major Atherton, however, found no one who could or would speak to him in his own language; and being totally unacquainted with the Indian dialect, their conversation was confined entirely to signs. But all his efforts to gain any intelligence respecting the captives, proved unavailing; naturally shrewd, they readily comprehended his wishes in every other respect; but with their usual cunning and caution, they were perversely stupid whenever he attempted to draw information from them on the subject which so deeply interested him. Still he continued to hope, that some lucky accident would at length gratify his wishes; and in the mean time, the novelty of his situation, and the strange manners of the savage people around him, kept his curiosity and interest constantly excited. He was particularly amused by the Indian women, who 15(4)r 167 were continually surrounding him; many of them had never before seen a white man, and they examined him with great satisfaction, often laughing and clapping their hands when he smiled or personally noticed them. To one or two, who seemed of superior rank, he offered some trifling presents, which were highly pleasing to the swarthy fair ones, and attracted many others to him, in the expectation of sharing similar favours. He however made them understand that he had nothing more to give, and signified a wish to go with them to their wigwams, which were clustered together at a short distance from the fort. But the wary chiefs, who perfectly comprehended his motives, interdicted him from following them, and with menacing gestures dispersed the obedient squaws to their places of abode. Yet it was not long before they returned, at first timidly, then with increasing boldness and numbers; though Atherton was so closely watched by the savage warriors, that they could not approach so near him as before. But they were as well skilled in the arts of persuasion as many of their sex who boast of clearer skins; and by degrees, Atherton found himself again encompassed by his female admirers, who mingled freely with their sooty lords, and seemed never weary of looking him,—often feeling of his dress, and apparently expressing great wonder at his beard: they had never seen the like on the face of an Indian. They also admired the hilt of his sword, which was much ornamented; and Atherton, to surprise them, drew the blade 15(4)v 168 partly from its scabbard; but the sharp edge and glittering appearance so much alarmed them, that they fled with a discordant yell, leaving the men highly amused by their terror.

There was one young squaw peculiarly modest and interesting in her appearance, who remained totally unmoved by the fears of her companions. She stood leaning against a tree, singing in a low voice; and as Atherton listened attentively, he caught a few words of English mingled with the Indian dialect. Her eyes were fixed stedfastly on his face, and as he looked earnestly at her, he fancied she nodded significantly; though her chaunt was unbroken. Determined to ascertain her meaning, if she had any, he advanced nearer, and offered her a small knife of considerable value. She received it with a smile; and while examining it attentively, Atherton ventured to say to her, Speak to me quickly, if you can tell me aught of the English maidens. The woman made no reply, but looked first at him, then fearfully towards the warriors who stood around them; and at the moment a stern sachem, who kept a vigilant eye on Atherton, addressed her in a harsh and angry tone. Her soft features instantly assumed a haughty expression, and answering him with an air of disdain, she turned proudly away, and walked slowly from the spot. Atherton was strongly inclined to follow her, but a conviction of the folly and imprudence of such a course restrained him; though he felt fully persuaded that she was acquainted with the situation of the captives, and had no doubt that it 15(5)r 169 was her intention to speak with him concerning them. He therefore continually watched for her re-appearance, but the day passed away in disappointment, and towards its close the Dutch boat was again seen approaching the shore. Atherton was immediately re-conducted to the beach, whither the whole multitude hastened with joyful acclamations to receive their monarch. At that moment he observed the young Indian woman among the crowd, her eyes fixed on him as before, with a significant expression. He cautiously retreated a step or two from his guard, and by a look of entreaty besought her to explain herself. She waved her hand with a warning gesture, and darted from his sight with the speed of lightning. Vexed with her conduct, and half inclined to believe she was sporting with his curiosity, he remained musing on the strange adventure till roused by feeling some one brush lightly past him, and at the same time something was thrust hastily in his hand. He instinctively grasped it closely, but had scarcely time to remark the figure of the squaw flying from him, before the boat touched the strand, and Atherton heard his name called loudly by Van Haarman. He sprang forward to greet his friend, and exchanging hasty adieus with his savage entertainers, entered the boat just as Sassacus again set foot on his own dominions.

Scarcely heeding the numerous inquiries of Van Haarman, Major Atherton hastened to examine the Indian’s gift; it was a strip of smooth bark, and 15(5)v 170 on it written with some pointed instrument, and evidently by a trembling hand the following words.—

The sachem Mononotto protects us; we are safe; leave this inhospitable land I entreat you, and do not risk your safety to effect our liberation.

Atherton read this scrawl repeatedly, and with strong emotion; there was no signature, and the writing was unknown to him; could it have been sent by any one who had recognized him by the Indian’s description? He thought it impossible; he was not known to any females in the Connecticut colony, except Miriam Grey and her cousin, and the idea that they were in a situation of so much peril, though it had often painfully crossed his mind, was too dreadful to be indulged. Again he examined the characters attentively; he was unacquainted with Miriam’s writing, and therefore could not compare them, but the evident anxiety for his safety which had dictated the scrawl, the generous wish to relieve his solicitude, and deter him from rushing upon danger, rather than to secure her own safety—who but Miriam at such a moment would be so considerate, so disinterested? Full of doubt and inquietude he shewed the writing to Van Haarman, who was perplexed, and rather impatient at his long silence, and related to him all the events of the day.

Van Haarman however, after a careful examination and attentive hearing, laughed at his fears, and assured him that it was impossible any one 15(6)r 171 could identify him under such circumstances; that even were it in reality Miriam Grey, she could not for an instant suppose he had become an envoy from the New-Netherlands, of which place he had not even dreamed when he last saw her. Atherton thought his reasoning plausible, if not conclusive; and considerably relieved of his apprehensions, he listened with interest to an account of Van Haarman’s interview with Sassacus. The savage prince had discovered great obstinacy in the negociation, and a most inveterate malignity towards the English; he had insisted that the prisoners ought to be sacrificed, though he acknowledged that it depended on the will of Mononotto, into whose hands they had fallen. The sachem was at that time absent, but would certainly return before evening, when it was his intention to hold a grand council with his warriors; and on the morrow the result should be made known to the Dutch. Van Haarman on his part had declared his resolution to put to death all the Pequods who were in his power, if the maidens were not safely delivered up to him,—but he offered six of the highest rank for their ransom, including the adopted son of Mononotto.

Thus the lives of so many individuals hung upon a thread; and Van Haarman, to prevent a surprise from the enemy, ordered a double watch to be set for the night, and every precaution to be used to secure their safety, which the most vigilant prudence could suggest.