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Child, Lydia Maria Francis, 1802-1880 [1824], Hobomok (Cummings, Hilliard & Co., Boston) [word count] [eaf041].
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In court or hamlet, hut or grove,
Where woman is, there still is love.
Whate'er their nation, form, or feature,
Woman's the same provoking creature.
—M. S.

A letter from Governor Craddock to Governor Endicott,
which had reached them the April before, had
given them timely notice of the intended recruits; in
which were the following orders. “The desire of the
London Company is that you doe endeavour to gett

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convenient houseings for the cattell against they doe
come; and withal we doe desire whatever bever or
fishe can be gotten readie. There hath nott bine a
tyme for sale of tymber, these twoe seven years, like
unto the present; therefore pittie the shipps should
come backe emptye. I wish alsoe that there bee
some sassafras and sassaparilla sent us, alsoe goode
store of shoemacke, silke grasse, and aught else that
may bee useful for dyinge or physicke.”

To comply with these various orders, necessarily
produced a good deal of hurry and bustle in the infant
settlement; and for a long while the sound of the axe
was busy and strong among them. And when at
length the expected vessels did arrive, and their fine
flock of horses, cows, sheep, and goats were well provided
for, there was still enough to employ the kind-hearted
and healthy, in administering comfort and
support to those who had landed among them, weary
and sick unto death. My ancestor had already witnessed
many of his companions depart this life, exulting
that though they were absent from kindred and
friends, they were going far beyond the power and
cruelty of prelates. Wearied with the wretchedness
of the scene, on the 28th of June he departed from
Naumkeak, which had now taken the name of Salem,
in memory of the peaceful asylum which it it afforded
the fugitives. Whether the suspicion of Mary's
attachment had any thing to do with the old bachelor's
final arrangements, he saith not; but when he
again visited America, although he brought a young
wife with him, I find he has not failed to speak of her
wayward fate with frequent and deep-toned interest.

These brief and scattered hints have now become
almost illegible from their age and uncouth spelling,
and it was with difficulty I extracted from them materials
for the following story.—In a situation so

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remote, and circumscribed, it may well be supposed
that the arrival or departure of a vessel was considered
as an affair of great importance, and felt through
every fibre of the community. On the occasion I
have just referred to, most of the white people from
the neighbouring settlements had collected on the
beach, together with an almost equal number of the
dark children of the forest. Mary had sprung upon
a jutting rock, and her sylph-like figure afforded a
fine contrast to the decaying elegance of her mother,
who was leaning on her arm, the cheerful countenance
of Mr. Oldham's buxom daughter, and the tall, athletic
form of Hobomok, who stood by her side, resting
his healthy cheek upon the hand which supported
his bow. By them, and all the motley group around
them, the departure of the English vessel was viewed
with keen, though varied emotion. The uniform
gloom of Mr. Conant's countenance received for one
moment a deeper tinge. It was but a passing shadow
of human weakness, quickly succeeded by a flush of
conscious exultation. His wife, who had left a path
all blooming with roses and verdure, and cheerfully
followed his rugged and solitary track, pressed back
the ready tears, as the remembrance of England came
hurrying on her heart. Mary's eyes overflowed with
the intense, unrestained gush of youthful feeling. But
amid all the painful associations of that moment, the
deep interest displayed by my ancestor did not pass
unnoticed; and surely the vanity which prompted a
lingering look of kindness, might be forgiven, in one
growing up in almost unheeded loveliness. “Farewell,”
said she, as she placed a letter in his hand.
“Give this to my grandfather; and many, many kind
wishes to good old England.”

“Yes,” interrupted her father, “many kind wishes
to the godly remnant who are among them. And

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since Naumkeak has become old enough to receive a
christian name, say ye to them that `in Salem is his
tabernacle, and his dwelling-place in Zion. Here he
will break the arrows of the bow, the shield, the
sword, and the battle.' But to them who are yet
given to the pride of prelacy, and the abomination of
common prayer, and likewise to them who are weather-waft
up and down with every eddying wind of
every new doctrine, say ye to them, that their damnation
sleepeth not, and the mist of darkness is reserved
for them forever, being of old ordained to condemnation.”

This speech was fiercely answered by a dark, lowering
looking savage, who stood among the crowd.

“That is Corbitant,” said Mary,—“What is it that
he says?”

“Your father say Indian arrow be broken at Naumkeak,”
replied Hobomok,—“Corbitant say the feather
be first red with white man's blood.”

He would have added more, but the vessels were
now sweeping past the rock on which they stood, and
every eye was fixed on their motion. Many a hearty
salutation, and blunt compliment were paid to Sally
Oldham, and many a hat was waved in respectful
adieu to Mrs. Conant and her daughter. The loud
response which the sailors gave to the kind farewells
of their friends on shore, was soon lost in the distance,
and one by one the people slowly dispersed. Mrs.
Conant took the arm of her husband, and Mary lingered
far behind, in hopes of obtaining a conference
with Sally Oldham. But one Mr. Thomas Graves
seemed to have been deeply smitten with the comely
countenance of the latter damsel; and never for a
moment doubting that the fascination was reciprocal,
he became somewhat obtrusively officious. It was
singular to observe the difference of deportment

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between him and the Indian. Whenever Hobomok
gazed upon Mary, it was with an expression in which
reverence was strikingly predominant. And now, with
more than his usual taciturnity, he walked at a short
distance before them, and eagerly pointed with his
bow, when it was necessary to obviate any little difficulties
in their path. But he from the Isle of Wight,
seemed resolved that one of the young ladies should
be aware of the presence of a noisy admirer, and with
abundance of stammering awkwardness, he began,
“You are Mr. Oldham's daughter, I think?”

“I have been told so, sir,” replied the mischievous

“The world is dark and dismal enough in any
place,” continued the man of a wo-begone countenance,—
“more especially when we think of the regiments
of sin which are marching up and down in its
borders; but I should think it would be ten times
darker to a well-favored young woman, here in this

“If you mean me,” answered the maiden, “I pass
my time merry enough, in the long run; but there is
no danger of our forgetting the dolors while we have
your visage amongst us.”

“I sha'nt be called to give an account of my looks,”
replied the offended suitor, “inasmuch as God made
them in such form and likeness as pleased him. But
I perceive you have no savor of goldliness about you,
and are clean carried away by the crackling thorns
of worldly mirth.”

“My friend is like Rachel of old,” interrupted her
smiling companion. “She feedeth her cattle and
draweth them water, and waiteth for some Jacob to
journey hither.”

“And what would you say, damsel, if he were at
your very door,” rejoined Mr. Graves, with an

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uncouth distension of his jaws, which was doubtless
meant for one of love's gentle, insinuating smiles.
“And when Jacob knew Rachel he kissed her,” continued
he, as he courageously put his arm round her
neck, to suit his action to the words.

“I have had enough of that from the sanctified Mr.
Lyford,” said the resolute maiden, as she gave him a
blow, which occasioned a sudden and involuntary retreat.

“Well done, Sally,” said the hoarse voice of her
father, who just then stept from among the trees, half
choked with laughter, and for a moment forgetful of
the decorum which he usually maintained in her presence.
“Why, fellow, thou'rt smitten indeed; but it
ill beseemeth thee to put on a rueful face at this disaster.
The damsel is not worth the tears, which an
onion draweth forth.”

Sally gladly left her discomfited lover to recover
himself as he could, and bidding a hasty good-morning
to Hobomok, as he stood laughing and muttering
to himself, she followed Mary, who with an air of girlish
confidence had beckoned her into a narrow footpath
which led through the woods. For a few moments
the girls united in almost convulsive fits of

“Did you ever see such a fellow?” said Sally.
“Every day since they landed, he has been at my
elbow, trying to make love by stammering and stuttering
about the crackling thorns of worldly mirth;
and I verily think he believes that I have been greatly
delighted therewith. A plague on all such sanctified
looking folks. There was Mr. Lyford, (I don't care
if he was a minister) he was always talking about faith
and righteousness, and the falling-off of the Plymouth
elders, and yet many a sly look and word he'd give
me, when his good-woman was out of the way. I

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marvel that fools can always find utterance, inasmuch
as some men of sense are so dumb.”

“Men of sense will speak all in good time, if you will
wait patiently,” answered Mary. “But you don't know
how glad I am that it happened to be your father, instead
of mine, who saw you strike Mr. Graves.”

“So am I,” replied her companion. “Though he
is your father, to my thinking he is over fond of keeping
folks in a straight jacket; and I'm sure our belt is
likely to be buckled tight enough by the great folks
there in London. In my poor judgment it is bad
enough that we've come over into this wilderness to
find elbow room for our consciences, without being
told how long a time we may have to stop and breathe
in. Every bout I knit in my stocking is to be set
down in black and white, and sent over to the London
Company forsooth. I suppose by and by the
drops we drink and the mouthfuls we eat must be
counted, and their number sent thither.”

“I am sure,” replied Mary, “when you remember
how many Indians we have lately met, whom Morton's
unthinking wickedness has armed with powder
and firelocks, you will be glad that we have three
hundred more defenders around us, whatever price we
may pay therefor. Indeed Sally, I'm weary of this
wilderness life. My heart yearns for England, and
had it not been for my good mother, I would gladly
have left Naumkeak to-day.”

“I can't but admire ye've been content so long,
Miss Mary, considering what ye left behind you. If
you'd staid there, who knows but you might have been
Lady Lincoln? But as for this purlieu of creation, I
know of no chance a body has for a husband, without
they pick up some stray Narraganset, or wandering

“O, don't name such a thing,” said Mary, shuddering.

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“Why, what makes you take me in earnest?” answered
Sally. “But perhaps since there are so many
young folks to pick and choose among, you'll be
weary of my crackling mirth, as that stupid Graves
calls it.”

“No, Sally, these new comers won't make me forget
how kind you have always been in sickness and
health; but, to tell you the truth, there is something
troubles me—and if you'll promise not to tell of it, I'll
tell you.”

“O, I'll promise that, and keep it too. If I was disposed
to tell your secrets, I don't know any body but
owls and bats I should tell them too.”

“Well then, you must know, the other night I did
a wicked thing. It frightens me to think thereof.
You know the trick I told you about? Well, a few
weeks ago, I tried it; and just as I was saying over
the verses the third time, Hobomok, the Indian, jumped
into the circle.”

“Hobomok, the Indian!”

“Yes;—and I screamed when I saw him.”

“I believe so indeed. But was it he, real flesh
and blood?”

“It was he himself; though I thought at first, it
must be his ghost?”

“But how came he there, at that time of night?”

“That's more than I can tell. He said he came
to throw a bow on the sacrifice heap, down in Endicott's
hollow; but I don't know what should put it
into his head just at that time. What do you suppose

“I'm sure I don't know, Mary. I think it is an awful
wicked thing to try these tricks. There's no telling
what may come of asking the devil's assistance. He
is an acquaintance not so easily shook off, when you've
once spoke with him, to my certain knowledge. My

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father says he's no doubt the Lord has given Beelzebub
power to choose many a damsel's husband, to recompense
her for such like wickedness. I'm sure I
have been curious enough to know, but I never dared
to speak to Satan about the matter.”

“I believe it is a sin to be repented of; but what
could I do? Father won't suffer me to see Charles
any where, if he can help it; and if I dared to be disobedient
to him, I wouldn't do it while my poor mother
was alive, for I know it would break her heart.
But there are two things more about this affair which
puzzle me. Just as I came out of the hollow, I met
Charles. He said he dreamed I was in danger there,
and he could not help coming to see whether I was
there or not. So I told him how foolish I had been,
and he laughed, and said he should be my husband
after all. But the strangest thing of all, is, that Englishman
you saw me give a letter to, to-day, whispered
in my ear never to try a trick again, for fear worse
should come of it. I wonder how he knew any thing
concerning it?”

“Likely as not, he followed you. Or may be Hobomok
told him. But I am glad Mr. Brown dreamed
about it. After all, I guess he is to be the one; and
Hobomok only came that way after some stray fox
or squirrel he caught sight of.”

“I don't know how it was,” replied Mary, with a
deep sigh. “I suppose I must submit to whatever is
fore-ordained for me. Folks who have the least to do
with love are the best off. The longer you keep as
free from it as you are now, the happier you”ll be.”

“May be you don't know how free that is,” rejoined
Sally. “If you had half an eye for other folks' affairs,
you would remember something about a young
man in Plymouth who used to help me milk my cows,
inasmuch as you have often heard me speak of him.

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Do you know I spoke to him on the beach this morning?
I should have had a good opportunity to have
seen him again, if it had not been for that everlasting
fellow, talking about `crackling thorns;' I would not
care an'he had one of them in his tongue. Howsomever,
if I guess right concerning Mr. Collier, he did'nt
come up to see the cattle. But I can't stop to say
any more, for the cows an't milked yet; and now
these new orders have come from London, and there
are so many sick folks from the vessels, we shall have
enough to do. So, good bye,” said the roguish damsel,
as she sprung over the log inclosure, into her
father's farm-yard.

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Child, Lydia Maria Francis, 1802-1880 [1824], Hobomok (Cummings, Hilliard & Co., Boston) [word count] [eaf041].
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