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Child, Lydia Maria Francis, 1802-1880 [1824], Hobomok (Cummings, Hilliard & Co., Boston) [word count] [eaf041].
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The tempter speaks, when all is still,
And phantoms in the mind will raise,
That haunt the path of after days.
* * * * * *
On one sad night she left her home;
She parted with the tawny chief,
And left me lonely in my grief.

The same restlessness which had led Mary to dame
Willet's, soon made that scene of former happiness insupportable.
The loquacious old woman did not understand
the nature of the human heart so well as the
friends of Job, who “sat down on the ground, and
none spake a word to him; for they saw that his
grief was very great.” Mary could not endure the

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good dame's blunt sympathy; beside, every object
which there met her view, did but remind her of her
lover's farewell interview; so she drew her cloak
around her, and prepared to depart. The old lady
followed her, and gently taking hold of her arm, looked
in her face as if fearful of expressing her doubts.

“Mary,” said she, “I have done all I could to comfort
you; but verily, my dear child, I fear you are
not altogether yourself.”

“Assuredly I am,” replied Mary; “but I cannot
stay here, for when I stand at that little window, it
seems as if I could see him as he looked the last time
I ever saw him.”

Notwithstanding this declaration, there was a partial
derangement of Mary's faculties. A bewilderment
of despair that almost amounted to insanity.
She sat down by her mother's grave, and wished to
weep. The sorrow that can be exhausted, however
keen it may be, has something of luxury in it, compared
with grief when her fountains are all sealed,
and her stormy waters are dashing and foaming within
the soul. Mary's heart refused to overflow, and
she laid down her head on the cold sod, in hopes it
would cool the burning agony of her brain. As she
sat thus, insensible of the autumnal chilliness, she felt
something lightly thrown over her. She looked up,
and perceived that it was Hobomok, who had covered
her with his blanket, and silently removed a short distance
from her. He approached when he saw her

“It's a cold night for Mary to be on the graves,”
said he.

“Ah, Hobomok,” she replied, “I shall soon be in
my own grave.”

The savage turned away his head for some time,
as if struggling with some violent emotion.

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“How Hobomok wish he could make you happy,”
at length said he.

There was a chaos in Mary's mind;—a dim twilight,
which had at first made all objects shadowy, and
which was rapidly darkening into misery, almost insensible
of its source. The sudden stroke which had
dashed from her lips the long promised cup of joy,
had almost hurled reason from his throne. What
now had life to offer? If she went to England, those
for whom she most wished to return, were dead. If
she remained in America, what communion could she
have with those around her? Even Hobomok, whose
language was brief, figurative, and poetic, and whose
nature was unwarped by the artifices of civilized life,
was far preferable to them. She remembered the
idolatry he had always paid her, and in the desolation
of the moment, she felt as if he was the only
being in the wide world who was left to love her.
With this, came the recollection of his appearance in
the mystic circle. A broken and confused mass followed;
in which a sense of sudden bereavement,
deep and bitter reproaches against her father, and a
blind belief in fatality were alone conspicuous. In
the midst of this whirlwind of thoughts and passions,
she turned suddenly towards the Indian, as she said,

“I will be your wife, Hobomok, if you love me.”

“Hobomok has loved you many long moons,” replied
he; “but he loved like as he loves the Great

“Then meet me at my window an hour hence,” said
she, “and be ready to convey me to Plymouth.”

She returned home; and Hobomok, overjoyed at
this unexpected fortune, prepared to obey her injunctions.
Her father was absent when she entered,
and lighting a taper, she sat down in the solitary
room, and alternately attempted to fix her attention

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on the prayer book and Bible. In a few moments
Mr. Conant returned. He spoke but little; but his
prayer that evening evinced much parental tenderness
as well as lofty piety. Fervently did he beseech
that God would heal the wounded and broken heart,
and lead back all those who were wandering in errors
to the true fold of Christ Jesus.

When Mary thought that she was perhaps hearing
that venerable voice for the last time, her heart relented.
She acknowledged that a sort of desperate
resentment towards him, had partly influenced her late
conduct; and she asked herself,

“What if he has been harsh and restrained in
his intercourse with me? It is cruel to wrench from
him his last earthly tie; and to prostrate the soul of
a parent, because my own lies bleeding in the dust.”

Perhaps this effort of dawning reason and gentler
feeling would have prevailed; but her father angrily
seized the prayer book, which she had carelessly
left in his way, and would have thrown it upon the
fire, had she not caught his arm and rescued it from
his grasp.

“Have it out of my sight,” exclaimed the old man,
in a violent tone. “My soul abhorreth it, as it doth
the spirits of the bottomless pit.”

That single act decided the fluctuating fate of his
child. Who can look back upon all the important
events of his life, without acknowledging that the balance
of destiny has sometimes been weighed down by
the most trivial touch of circumstance. Mary's mind
was just in that vacillating state when a breath would
have turned her from her purpose, or confirmed it
forever. Her heart writhing and convulsed as it was,
was gentle still; and it now craved one look of tenderness,
one expression of love. That soothing influence
she in vain sought; and the feelings which had

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harrowed up her soul to that fatal resolution, again returned
in their full force. In the unreasonableness of
mingled grief and anger, she accused her father as the
sole cause of her present misery; and again she sunk
under the stupifying influence of an ill directed belief
in the decrees of heaven, and the utter fruitlessness
of all human endeavour. It was strange that trouble
had power to excite her quiet spirit to so much irascibility;
and powerful indeed must have been the superstition,
which could induce so much beauty and
refinement, even in a moment of desperation, to exchange
the social band, stern and dark as it was, for
the company of savages. Mary retired to her own
room, resolved on immediate departure; but she was
not sufficiently collected to make any necessary arrangements;
she even neglected taking a change of
apparel. However, Brown's miniature was not forgotten;
and as it lay before her, she could think of
nothing, only that the form, which once could boast
so much dignified beauty, was now unshrouded and
uncoffined in the deep, deep ocean,—and imagination
shuddered over the thoughts which followed. She
placed the miniature in her bosom, and looked out
upon the scenes she was so soon to leave. Her eye
first rested upon Endicott's Hollow, where, as she supposed,
it had been first revealed to her that Hobomok
was to be her husband; and falling on her knees,

“Oh, Charles,” murmured she, “if thy pure spirit
is looking down upon this action, forgive me, in that
I do but submit to my fate.”

Presently the low whistle of Hobomok was heard.
She obeyed the signal, and in a few moments she was
by his side, walking toward the seashore. Almost every
thing in their path was, in some way or other, connected
with Brown; and she would frequently pause,
as she uttered some mournful and incoherent

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soliloquy. The Indian had witnessed the dreadful ruins
of mind in his own tribe, and the fear of her insanity
more than once occurred to him; then again her
brief answers to his questions would be so prompt and
rational, that he could not admit the doubt.

“She is communing with the Good Spirit,” thought

And now might be seen the dark chieftain seated
in his boat, exulting in his prize, and rowing with his
whole strength, while the rays of a bright October
moon shone full upon the contrast of their countenances.
Neither of them spoke, save when Hobomok
stooped on his oar, and drawing the blanket more
closely around her, asked whether or not the cold
was uncomfortable. He would often raise his loud,
clear voice in some devotional boat-song, alternately
English or Indian, among which the following seemed
to be a favorite.

“Lend me, oh, moon, lend me thy light, that I may
go back to my wigwam, and my wakon bird may rest
there in safety. I will rise with the sun, to see his
fire consume the morning couds. I will come back
to my wakon-bird, laden with beaver and deer.”

The whole scene was singularly melancholy. Nothing
but the face of the Indian wore an expression of
gladness. Mary, so pale and motionless, might have
seemed like a being from another world, had not her
wild, frenzied look revealed too much of human wretchedness.
The moon, it is true, pursued her heavenly
path as bright and tranquil as ever; but the passing
clouds made her appear hurried and perturbed, even
as the passions of men float before the mild rays of
the Gospel, making them seem as troubled and capricious
as their own. Nature too, was in her saddest
robe; and the breeze, as it swept along the variegated
foliage, sounded like the dismal roarings of the

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distant ocean. Mary's meditations were more dull, and
cold, and dreary still. It is difficult to tell what the
feelings could have been, half bewildered as they
were, which led her to persevere in so strange a purpose.
It is even doubtful if their victim could have
defined them. But whatever they were, they were
endured and cherished, until the boat drew up on the
shore of Plymouth. Fortunately for Hobomok, none
of the inhabitants had risen, and he guided her to his
wigwam unobserved. In a few words, he explained
to his mother the occasion of the visit. Full of astonishment,
the grateful squaw danced, sung, and
caressed Mary, with every demonstration of frantic
joy. Hobomok endeavoured to calm her transports,
and urged the necessity of forwarding the marriage
immediately; for the savage had many fears that
Mary would yet shrink from the strange nuptials.
His arguments were readily assented to, and Hobomok
asked his intended bride whether she was willing
to be married in the Indian form.

“Yes,” answered she, and turned from him, as if
a sudden pang had passed through her heart.

“She is mad,” whispered the old squaw.

Her son hesitated a moment, then taking some wine,
which Governor Bradford had once given his sick
mother, he offered it to her, as he said,

“If Mary sick, this will make her well.”

“I am not sick,” was the laconic reply.

Hobomok again convinced of her rationality, went
forth to make arrangements for his marriage. In the
course of an hour, he returned with four of his relations.
They spoke no English, but each one lifted
his hands as he looked at Mary, and seemed to utter
some exclamation of surprise. Presently they joined
in a dance, singing in a low tone, for fear of exciting
the suspicion of their white neighbours. After this

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was concluded, Hobomok stept out, and looked cautiously
in every direction, to see that none were approaching,
then taking Mary by the hand, he led her
round the wigwam, and again entered. In the mean
time, a mat had been placed in the centre of the room,
and thither the Indian led his bride. The eldest of
the company then presented him with a witch-hazel
wand of considerable length, and having placed one
end of it in Mary's hand, the bridegroom stood waiting
for the ceremony. The oldest Indian then uttered
some short harangues, in which he dwelt upon the
duty of a husband to hunt plenty of deer for his wife,
to love her, and try to make her happy; and that the
wife should love her husband, and cook his venison
well, that he might come home to his wigwam with a
light heart. To this Hobomok responded in a tone
half way between singing and speaking,

“Hobomok love her like as better than himself.
Nobody but Great Spirit know how well he loveth

The priest then looked toward Mary, as if waiting
for her answer.

“Tell how well you love him,” said the Indian woman,
as she touched her arm. Mary raised her head
with a look, which had in it much of the frightful expression
of one walking in his sleep, as she replied,

“I love him better than any body living.”

Hobomok then took the rod, which they had held,
and breaking it into five pieces, gave one to each of
the witnesses. The married couple still continued
standing, and the company formed a circle and danced
round them three times, singing their marriage
song. When this was finished, Hobomok took out his
pipe and handed it to the priest. It was the one
which Brown had sent, and when Mary saw it, she
uttered a piercing shriek, as she pointed to it, and

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said, “Send it away! Send it away!” Her husband
understood her meaning, and returning it to his pocket,
he produced another. After each one had smoked,
they again formed a ring, and danced and sung as before,
each one, as he came near the door, dancing
backward, and disappearing. After they had all
gone, Hobomok went out and buried Brown's beautiful
present in the earth. Mary continued listless and
unmoved, apparently unconscious of any change in
her situation. But the ceremony of that morning
was past recall; and Mary Conant was indeed the
wife of Hobomok.

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