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Child, Lydia Maria Francis, 1802-1880 [1824], Hobomok (Cummings, Hilliard & Co., Boston) [word count] [eaf041].
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Yes—it was love—if thoughts of tenderness,
Tried in temptation, strengthened by distress—
Which nor defeated hope, nor baffled wile,
Could render sullen, were she ne'er to smile,
Nor rage could fire, nor sickness fret to vent
On her one murmur of his discontent—
If there be love in mortals—this was love!

For several weeks Mary remained in the same stupified
state in which she had been at the time of her
marriage. She would lie through the livelong day,
unless she was requested to rise; and once risen,
nothing could induce her to change her posture. Language
has no power to shadow forth her feelings as
she gradually awoke to a sense of her situation. But
there is a happy propensity in the human mind to
step as lightly as possible on the thorns which infest
a path we are compelled to tread. It is only when
there is room for hope, that evils are impatiently
borne. Desolate as Mary's lot might seem, it was
not without its alleviations. All the kind attentions
which could suggest themselves to the mind of a savage,
were paid by her Indian mother. Hobomok

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continued the same tender reverence, he had always
evinced, and he soon understood the changing expression
of her countenance, till her very looks were
a law. So much love could not but awaken gratitude;
and Mary by degrees gave way to its influence,
until she welcomed his return with something
like affection. True, in her solitary hours there were
reflections enough to make her wretched. Kind as
Hobomok was, and rich as she found his uncultivated
mind in native imagination, still the contrast between
him and her departed lover, would often be remembered
with sufficient bitterness. Beside this, she
knew that her own nation looked upon her as lost and
degraded; and, what was far worse, her own heart
echoed back the charge. Hobomok's connexion with
her was considered the effect of witchcraft on his part,
and even he was generally avoided by his former
friends. However, this evil brought its own cure.
Every wound of this kind, every insult which her husband
courageously endured for her sake, added romantic
fervor to her increasing affection, and thus
made life something more than endurable. While
all her English acquaintances more or less neglected
her, her old associate, Mrs. Collier, firmly and boldly
stemmed the tide, and seemed resolved to do all in
her power to relieve the hardships of her friend. For
a long time her overtures were proudly refused; for
Mary could not endure that the visits of one, who had
been so vastly her inferior, should now be considered
an honor and obligation. However, persevering kindness
did in time overcome this feeling, and in less than
a year, Sally became a frequent inmate of her wigwam.
To this, was soon likely to be added another
source of enjoyment. Before two years passed away,
she became the mother of a hopeful son. Under
such circumstances, his birth was no doubt entwined

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with many mournful associations; still the smiles of
her infant brought more of pleasure than of pain. As
Mary looked on the little being, which was “bone of
her bone, and flesh of her flesh,” she felt more love
for the innocent object, than she thought she should
ever again experience.

During the period before his birth, nothing occurred
of any importance to our story, excepting that Mr.
Conant had written two letters to his daughter. The
first conjured her not to consider a marriage lawful,
which had been performed in a moment of derangement,
and invited her to return to the arms of a parent
who tenderly loved her. The second informed
her of a considerable legacy left to her by the Earl
of Rivers, and again offered her a welcome home and
oblivion of all the past. Mary's heart was melted at
these proofs of affection, when she had so little expected
them; but she well knew she should only be
considered an outcast among her brethren, and she
could not persuade herself that her marriage vow to
the Indian was any less sacred, than any other voluntary
promise. So she wrote to her father, implored
his forgiveness, hinted at the deplorable state of mind
which had led her to this extremity, stated many reasons
which now rendered it impossible for her to return,
even if she were so disposed, and concluded by
urging him to appropriate her property to his own
comfort, as she should probably never be in a situation
to enjoy it.

After this general view of things, we must now pass
over to the 16th of September, 1633, and leave the
interim to the reader's imagination. The old squaw
had lately died of a fever, and symptoms of the same
disorder began to appear in her little grandson, now
nearly two years old. On the morning we have mentioned,
Mrs. Collier took her own little blooming

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daughter in her arms, and went into the wigwam to
inquire concerning the health of the boy. No sooner
was she steated, than the children, accustomed to see
each other, began to peep in each other's faces,
and look up to their mothers, their bright, laughing
eyes beaming with cherub love. Hobomok entered,
and for a moment stood watching with delighted attention,
the bewitching sports of childhood. He
caught up the infant, and placing his little feet in the
centre of his hand, held him high above his head.

“My boy, my brave hunter's boy,” said he, and
pressing him in his arms he half suffocated him with
caresses. He placed him in his mother's lap, and
took down his quiver, as he said, “Hobomok must
be out hunting the deer.” The child jumped down
upon the floor, and tottling up to him, took hold of his
blanket and looked in his face, as he lisped, “Fader
come back gin to see 'ittle Hobomok.”

Again the father stooped and kissed him, as he answered

“Hobomok very much bad, if he didn't come back
always to see little Hobomok, and his good Mary.”

He went out, but soon returned and lifting the
blanket, which served for a door, he again looked at
his boy, who would alternately hide his head, and
then reach forward to catch another glimpse of his

“Good bye, Hobomok—Good bye, Mary”—said
the Indian. “Before the sun hides his face, I shall
come home loaded with deer.”

“Take care of yourself,” said his wife, affectionately;
“and see that Corbitant be not in your path.”

“Sally, you have never said one word about my
marrying Hobomok,” continued she; “and I have no
doubt you think I must be very miserable; but I speak

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truly when I say that every day I live with that kind,
noble-hearted creature, the better I love him.

“I always thought he was the best Indian I ever
knew,” answered Sally; “and within these three
years he has altered so much, that he seems almost
like an Englishman. After all, I believe matches are

“I don't know concerning that,” rejoined Mary.
“I am sure I am happier than I ever expected to be
after Charles' death, which is more than I deserve,
considering I broke my promise to my dying mother,
and deserted my father in his old age.”

While conversation of this nature was going on at
home, Hobomok was pursuing his way through the
woods, whistling and singing as he went, in the joyfulness
of his heart. He had proceeded near half a
mile in this way, when he espied an eagle, soaring
with a flight so lofty, that he seemed almost like a
speck in the blue abyss above. The Indian fixed his
keen eye upon him, and as he gradually lowered his
flight, he made ready his arrow, and a moment after
the noble bird lay fluttering at his feet.

“A true aim that, Hobomok,” said a voice which
sounded familiar to his ears. He raised his head to
see from whence it proceeded. Charles Brown stood
by his side! The countenance of the savage assumed
at once the terrible, ashen hue of Indian paleness.
His wounded victim was left untouched, and he hastily
retreated into the thicket, casting back a fearful
glance on what he supposed to be the ghost of his
rival. Brown attempted to follow; but the farther
he advanced, the farther the Indian retreated, his
face growing paler and paler, and his knees trembling
against each other in excessive terror.

“Hobomok,” said the intruder, “I am a man like
yourself. I suppose three years agone you heard I

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was dead, but it has pleased the Lord to spare me in
captivity until this time, and to lead me once more to
New England. The vessel which brought me hither,
lieth down a mile below, but I chose the rather to be
put on shore, being impatient to inquire concerning
the friends I left behind. You used to be my good
friend, Hobomok, and many a piece of service have
you done for me. I beseech you feel of my hand,
that you may know I am flesh and blood even as yourself.”

After repeated assurances, the Indian timidly approached—
and the certainty that Brown was indeed
alive, was more dreadful to him than all the ghosts
that could have been summoned from another world.

“You look as if you were sorry your old friend
had returned,” said the Englishman; “but do speak
and tell me one thing—Is Mary Conant yet alive?”

Hobomok fixed his eyes upon him with such a
strange mixture of sorrow and fierceness, that Brown
laid his hand upon his rifle, half fearful his intentions
were evil. At length, the Indian answered with deliberate

“She is both alive and well.”

“I thank God,” rejoined his rival. “I need not
ask whether she is married?”

The savage looked earnestly and mournfully upon
him, and sighed deeply, as he said,

“The handsome English bird hath for three years
lain in my bosom; and her milk hath nourished the
son of Hobomok.”

The Englishman cast a glance of mingled doubt
and despair towards the Indian, who again repeated
the distressing truth. Disappointed love, a sense of
degradation, perhaps something of resentment, were
all mingled in a dreadful chaos of agony, within the
mind of the unfortunate young man; and at that

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moment it was difficult to tell to which of the two, anguish
had presented her most unmingled cup. The
Indian gazed upon his rival, as he stood leaning his
aching head against a tree; and once and again he
indulged in the design of taking his life.

“No,” thought he. “She was first his. Mary
loves him better than she does me; for even now she
prays for him in her sleep. The sacrifice must be
made to her.”

For a long time, however, it seemed doubtful whether
he could collect sufficient fortitude to fulfil his resolution.
The remembrance of the smiling wife and
the little prattling boy, whom he had that morning
left, came too vividly before him. It recks not now
what was the mighty struggle in the mind of that dark
man. He arose and touched Brown's arm, as he

“'Tis all true which I have told you. It is three
snows since the bird came to my nest; and the Great
Spirit only knows how much I have loved her. Good
and kind she has been; but the heart of Mary is not
with the Indian. In her sleep she talks with the
Great Spirit, and the name of the white man is on her
lips. Hobomok will go far off among some of the red
men in the west. They will dig him a grave, and
Mary may sing the marriage song in the wigwam of
the Englishman.”

“No,” answered his astonished companion. “She
is your wife. Keep her, and cherish her with tenderness.
A moment ago, I expected your arrow
would rid me of the life which has now become a
burden. I will be as generous as you have been. I
will return from whence I came, and bear my sorrows
as I may. Let Mary never know that I am alive.
Love her, and be happy.”

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“The purpose of an Indian is seldom changed,” replied
Hobomok. “My tracks will soon be seen far
beyond the back-bone of the Great Spirit. For
Mary's sake I have borne the hatred of the Yengees,
the scorn of my tribe, and the insults of my enemy.
And now, I will be buried among strangers, and none
shall black their faces for the unknown chief. When
the light sinks behind the hills, see that Corbitant be
not near my wigwam; for that hawk has often been
flying round my nest. Be kind to my boy.”—His voice
choked, and the tears fell bright and fast. He hastily
wiped them away as he added, “You have seen
the first and last tears that Hobomok will ever shed.
Ask Mary to pray for me—that when I die, I may go
to the Englishman's God, where I may hunt beaver
with little Hobomok, and count my beavers for

Before Brown had time to reply, he plunged into
the thicket and disappeared. He moved on with astonishing
speed, till he was aware he must be beyond
the reach of pursuit; then throwing himself upon the
grass, most earnestly did he hope that the arrow of
Corbitant would do the office it had long sought, and
wreck upon his head deep and certain vengeance.
But the weapon of his enemy came not. He was
reserved for a fate that had more of wretchedness. He
lay thus inactive for several hours, musing on all he
had enjoyed and lost. At last, he sprung upon his
feet, as if stung with torture he could longer endure,
and seizing his bow, he pursued with delirious eagerness
every animal which came within his view.

The sun was verging towards the western horizon,
when he collected his game in one spot, and selecting
the largest deer, and several of the handsomest smaller
animals, he fastened them upon a pole and proceeded
towards Plymouth.

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It was dark, and the tapers were lighted throughout
the village, when he entered Governor Winslow's
dwelling. Whatever was the purpose of his visit, it
was not long continued; and soon after, the deer was
noiselessly deposited by the side of Mr. Collier's
house, with a slip of paper fastened on his branching
horns. Hobomok paused before the door of his wigwam,
looked in at a small hole which admitted the
light, saw Mary feeding her Indian boy from his little
wooden bowl, and heard her beloved voice, as she
said to her child, “Father will come home and see
little Hobomok presently.”

How much would that high-souled child of the
forest have given for one parting embrace—one kind
assurance that he should not be forgotten. Affection
was tugging hard at his heart strings, and once his
foot was almost on the threshold.

“No,” said he; “it will distress her. The Great
Spirit bless 'em both.”

Without trusting another look, he hurried forward.
He paused on a neighboring hill, looked toward his
wigwam till his strained vision could hardly discern
the object, with a bursting heart again murmured his
farewell and blessing, and forever passed away from
New England.

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