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Child, Lydia Maria Francis, 1802-1880 [1824], Hobomok (Cummings, Hilliard & Co., Boston) [word count] [eaf041].
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God, the best maker of all marriages,
Combine your hearts in one.
King Henry V.

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Charles Brown had listened with respect and admiration
to the farewell address of the Indian, and
forgetful of every other sentiment, he eagerly pursued
him, with the intention of restoring the happiness
he had so nobly sacrificed. But there were few of
the swiftest animals of the forest could outstrip the
speed of Hobomok. His step was soon out of hearing,
and Brown having at length lost sight of his track,
reluctantly gave over the pursuit. In his anxiety to
overtake the savage, and in the bewilderment of his
own brain, he lost the path; and the sun was nearly
setting, when he regained the road he had left. He
seated himself upon a rock, in hopes of again meeting
Hobomok, should he attempt to return to Plymouth.
No sound was heard in those lone forests, save
the rustling of the leaves as they bowed to the autumnal
wind, or the shriek of some solitary bird as
he flapped his wings above the head of the traveller.
To these was now and then added the monotonous
sound of the whippowill, answered by a strain of
wild and varied melody from some far-off songster of
the woods. The foliage of the trees was every where
so thickly interlaced, excepting the narrow footpath
which opened before him, that scarcely a single ray
of light could be discerned among the branches. The
brightness of the sun had already gone beyond the

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view, and a long train of sable clouds were gathering
in the west, as if mourning his departure. The
conflicting feelings of the young man were settled in
deep melancholy; and the aspect of nature “suited
the gloomy habit of his soul.”

“Thus,” thought he, “has been my ambitious
course. Thus did the dawning rays of hope and imagination
send forth their radiance, till the world seemed
all light and joy. I have struggled through the
clouds which have gathered around me, cheered by
the thought that Mary's love would render the evening
of my days tranquil and happy. Desperate must
have been the temptations which beset the dear girl's
mind, when she took the cruel step which has forever
wrenched that hope from me. But the deed is done,
and God forbid that my resentment should rest on
her unhappy head. Existence must now be as sad as
those dull clouds which are so fast gathering.”

The evening grew more dark, and still nothing betokened
the approach of the hunter; and the dismal
hooting of the owls, and the distant growling of the
wolf, warned the traveller to seek safety in the haunts
of men. He proceeded along his journey uninterrupted;
and soon the well known wigwam of Hobomok
met his view. He started with a sudden pang,
and walked along rapidly, whistling lest he should
hear the sound of that voice so dear to his memory.
Immediately after the painful spot was passed, he met
a little boy, hieing homeward, as merry and hardy
as youth and poverty could make him.

“My boy,” said he, “can you tell me where Mr.
Collier lives?”

The child pointed to a new house that was hard by,
and scampered home to tell his father there was a
stranger in the settlement. Mr. Brown already had
his hand upon the latch, when the recollection of

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Hobomok's terror induced him to ascertain who were
the inmates of the dwelling, before he ventured to
enter. Stepping round cautiously he looked in at the
window. Sally sat there knitting by a dim taper, her
foot gently moving the white pine cradle, which contained
her sleeping infant.

“I shall no doubt alarm her if I go in so suddenly,”
thought he.

While he was deliberating, he heard the noise of
coming footsteps, and presently a man stumbled, and
fell directly before him.

“What have we here?” muttered the stranger,
springing on his feet and looking back. “I'll go in
and ask Sally for a light.”

“Who are you, sir?” inquired he, as he noticed
Brown standing before his door.

“Mr. Collier,” replied the young man, “I would not
willingly alarm you, therefore give me your hand, before
I tell you my name. You suppose Charles
Brown to be dead, but he is alive, and you now have
him by the hand.”

“Charles Brown of Salem!” exclaimed Mr. Collier.

“The same,” answered his visitor.

“If you are really the living Mr. Brown,” said the
other, “why do you stand outside of my door? Don't
you suppose you'd have a welcome within, after all
that's past and gone?”

This was the first expression of kindness which the
disconsolate wanderer had heard since his arrival,
and he shook the hand of his old acquaintance so
cordially, that he could have no remaining doubts
whether he was real flesh and blood.

“I knew I should frighten your wife,” replied he.
“I saw she was alone, and inasmuch as I knew she
supposed me to be dead, I thought best to await your

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return. But if you will prepare her to see me, I will
gladly enter, for I am overcome with weariness.”

Mr. Collier entered, and drawing his chair towards
the cardle, he looked in upon his infant, and smiled, as
he said,

“Sally, I have some strange news to tell you, if
you'll promise not to be frightened.”

“What is it? What is it?” asked his wife, eagerly.
I'm sure you don't look as if it was very terrifying.”

“It's bad enough though, for some folks that you
love,” replied he, thoughtfully. “Charles Brown is

“Charles Brown alive!” screamed Sally. “Tell
me how you know it.”

“I have seen him, shook hands with him, and talked
with him,” rejoined her husband.

“What will poor Mary do?” asked his wife.

“That's the first thing I thought of,” answered Mr.
Collier. “Poor fellow, he little knoweth what is in
reserve for him; but the Lord overruleth all things in
infinite wisdom. I have one thing more to tell you;
and you must be calm about it, for peradventure I
should have been sorely frightened had I seen his
face before he spoke. He standeth even now at the

“It can't be true,” exclaimed she, jumping up, and
looking out of the window.

The door opened, and Brown stood before her.

“Do you believe it now, Sally?” said he.

“Yes, I do; and I am glad to see you,” she replied;
“and since my good-man is here, I will kiss your

She looked him in the face till the multitude of
thoughts in her kind heart broke forth in tears.

“Do tell us,” said Mr. Collier, “for I was so

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surprised that I never thought of it until now, how came
you hither?”

“I came in an English vessel, which lies two miles
below waiting for wind. My story is no uncommon
one for an East India passenger. Our vessel was
wrecked, and for nearly three years I have been a
prisoner on the coast of Africa. How I effected my
escape, I have neither strength nor spirits to tell you

“How wonderful are the doings of Providence,”
rejoined Mr. Collier; and he looked at his wife, as if
he would add, “Poor fellow, his hardest fortune is
yet to come.”

“You need not look thus mournfully on each other,
my good friends,” observed the young man. “Had
I not known the worst, I had not so long refrained
from asking after my dear Mary.”

“How could you have heard so soon?” inquired

“I met Hobomok soon after I landed,” replied
Brown; “and I have waited a long while, trusting to
see him again as he returned; but if he came he must
have taken a different route. He himself told me
that Mary was his wife, and the mother of an Indian

“Is it possible you have met Hobomok alone, and
yet live to tell thereof?” asked Mr. Collier.

“I met him alone in the woods, and sincerely did I
wish he would take my life,” answered the young
man. “I have a story to tell of that savage, which
might make the best of us blush at our inferiority,
Christians as we are; but I cannot tell it now.”

“Speaking of hunting, makes me think of what I
stumbled over, when I met you,” replied Mr. Collier.
“I'll take a light and go out to see what it was; for

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assuredly I thought it seemed like some large animal.”

He soon returned, bringing in the pole, which had
been left there by Hobomok.

“This is strange,” exclaimed he. “Here is as
handsome a deer as ever I put eyes on; and three
clever foxes.”

“What's that paper, fastened on the horns?” asked
his wife.

Her husband untied it; and when opened, it proved
to be as follows:

“This doth certifie that the witche hazel sticks,
which were givene to the witnesses of my marriage
are all burnte by my requeste: therefore by Indian
laws, Hobomok and Mary Conant are divorced. And
this I doe, that Mary may be happie. The same will
be testified by my kinsmen Powexis, Mawhalissis, and
Mackawalaw. The deere and foxes are for my goode
Mary, and my boy. Maye the Englishmen's God
bless them all.

The marke of Hobomok.

“Written by me, at the instigatione of the above
Indian, who hath tolde me all, under an injunctione of
secresie for three daies.

Edward Winslow.
Governor of the jurisdictione of New Plimouth.”

“His conduct is all of a piece, noble throughout,”
observed Brown. And he repeated to his friends, his
singular interview with the Indian.

The behavior of the savage naturally drew forth
many expressions of wonder and admiration; and the
next question was, “How is Mary to be informed of

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all this? She will, no doubt, be alarmed at the absence
of Hobomok.”

“I am going to prepare some food for Mr. Brown,”
replied Sally; “and after I have done that, if you
will take care of little Mary, I will go and spend the
night with her. It is so near the fort, there can't be
any danger when there are two of us; and perhaps
to-morrow she will see Mr. Brown.”

The young man insisted that he needed no food;
and that he himself would stand sentinel near Mary's
wigwam, and guard her through the night. Sally represented
the impracticability of this plan, and the terrible
alarm it would give Mary, should she chance to
discover him; and after a good deal of friendly altercation,
she carried her point. A small repast was set
before Brown, and Mrs. Collier, having made all necessary
arrangements for the comfort of her family,
and having received repeated cautions, both from her
husband and her guest, departed to the dwelling of
her friend. She found her, as she expected, anxiously
looking out for the hunter.

“What can be the reason he does not return?” said
she, as Sally entered. “I was just thinking of coming
in to ask you about him.”

“Perhaps he did not find game plenty,” replied
Mrs. Collier.

“You know he seldom fails to find something,” rejoined
his anxious wife; “and besides he always
comes home at night, whether he has been lucky or
unlucky. He never would trust me and his boy to
the mercy of Corbitant, after the night closed in; but
perhaps, like every thing else that I ever loved, he is
snatched away from me.”

“I have thought a great deal of that trick you tried
at Naumkeak,” observed her friend. “It would be

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strange if Hobomok should die, and Brown should yet
return alive and well; and yet we do sometimes hear
of things as wonderful as that.”

“How wildly you talk, dear Sally,” she replied.
“Charles has been dead these three years, and it is
wicked in me to think of him so much as I do; for if
ever a wife owed love to a husband, heathen or christian,
I do to Hobomok. But have you heard any
thing about my husband, that made you speak thus?”

Slowly did her friend prepare her mind for the reception
of the tidings, and cautiously and gradually
did she impart them, until she was made to comprehend
the return of her lover, his meeting with Hobomok,
and the exalted course which her husband had

The singular circumstances were so prudently revealed,
and Mary had been so much accustomed to
excitement, that no violent tumult was raised within
her bosom; but she sobbed till Mrs. Collier thought
her heart must break.

“I would willingly go down to the grave,” said she,
“willingly forfeit my hopes of heaven, if I could know
they were both happy; but to have Hobomok a
wanderer, for my sake, and to have him die among
strangers, without one relation to speak those words
of comfort and kindness, which he has so often uttered
to me, I cannot—I cannot endure it.” “I only have
sinned; and yet all the punishment has fallen upon his
head. No; not quite all; for I know Brown must despise

Sally tried every gentle art to soothe her perturbed
feelings, and before she departed, she extorted a
promise that she would see Brown towards evening.
A thousand times did Mary repent this resolution,
notwithstanding her eagerness for the interview.

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Alternately would she weep, and then pray that blessings
might rest on the head of him who had so lately
been her husband; and if she regained any thing like
composure, little Hobomok, who wandered about unused
to such neglect, would ask, “What for make
mamy ky so 'bout fader;” and his tone of infant melancholy
would call forth all her sorrows afresh. At
length the day drew toward a close; and Mary's
pulse throbbed high when she heard those well-known
footsteps approaching. In an instant she was at the
feet of her lover, clasping his knees with a pale imploring
countenance, as she said,

“Can you forgive me, Charles,—lost and humbled
as I have been?”

“The Lord judge you according to your temptations,
my dear Mary,” replied he, as he raised her to
his bosom, and wept over her in silence.

For a time both seemed afraid to trust each other
with a second word or look.

“My temptations were many,” said Mary, interrupting
the silence. “I cannot tell you all now. But
at home all was dark and comfortless; and when I
heard you too were gone, my reason was obscured.
Believe me I knew almost as little as I cared, whither
I went, so as I could but escape the scenes wherewith
you were connected; but to this hour, my love has
never abated.”

“I believe it, Mary; but where is your boy?”

The child moved before his mother, as he lisped,
“Here's little Hobomok.”

Mary caught him to her heart and kissed him,
while the tears fell fast upon his cheeks.

“He is a brave boy,” observed Brown, as he passed
his fingers through the glossy black hair of the
fearless young Indian.

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“Those were the last words his father said to him,”
rejoined Mary, and she placed him in his arms, and
turned away to conceal her emotion.

“Let's talk no more concerning this subject,” said
the young man. “The sacrifice that has been made
is no doubt painful to us both; more especially to
you, who have so long known his goodness; but it cannot
now be remedied. You must go to Mr. Collier's
to night; but will you first say that you will be my
wife, either here or in England?”

“I cannot go to England,” she replied. My boy
would disgrace me, and I never will leave him; for
love to him is the only way that I can now repay my
debt of gratitude.”

“What is his name?” asked Brown.

“According to the Indian custom, he took the name
of his mother,” answered Mary. “I called him
Charles Hobomok Conant.”

“He shall be my own boy,” exclaimed the young
man. “May God prosper me according to my kindness
towards him. But, my dear Mary, will you, as
soon as possible, be my wife?”

“If you do not utterly despise me,” rejoined she,
in an agitated tone. “You well know how dear you
are to my soul.”

Mary and her son removed to Mrs. Collier's; and
a letter was immediately despatched to Mr. Conant,
informing him of existing circumstances, and requesting
that the marriage might be performed at his house.
The old gentleman returned this brief answer.

“Come to my arms, by deare childe; and maye
God forgive us both, in aughte wherein we have transgressed.”

The necessary arrangements were made; and a few
days after, Mr. Brown, accompanied by Mary and

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her son, returned to Salem. It was the first time
Mary had seen the town since her departure with the
savage; and on many accounts the meeting could not
be otherwise than one of mingled pain and pleasure.

Her father clasped her in a long, affectionate embrace,
and never to the day of his death, referred to
a subject which was almost equally unpleasant to
both. A few weeks after their arrival, Mr. Skelton
was sent for, and Mary stood beside her bridegroom,
her hand resting on the sleek head of that swarthy
boy. He, all unconscious of what was going forward,
gave little heed to the hand which was intended to
restrain his restless motions; for now he would be
wholly concealed behind his mother's dress, and now,
one rougeish black eye would slily peep out upon his
favorite companion, the laughing little Mary Collier.

Charles Brown and Mary Conant were pronounced
husband and wife, in the presence of her father and
Dame Willet, Mr. and Mrs. Oldham, and her two
constant friends from Plymouth.

A new house was soon after erected near Mr. Conant's;
and through the remainder of his life, the
greater part of his evenings were spent by that fireside.
Disputes on matters of opinion would sometimes
arise; but Brown seldom forgot his promises of
forbearance, and they were always brought to an
amicable termination. Partly from consciousness of
blame, and partly from a mixed feeling of compassion
and affection, the little Hobomok was always a peculiar
favorite with his grandfather. At his request,
half the legacy of Earl Rivers was appropriated to his
education. He was afterwards a distinguished graduate
at Cambridge; and when he left that infant
university, he departed to finish his studies in England.
His father was seldom spoken of; and by

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degrees his Indian appellation was silently omitted. But
the devoted, romantic love of Hobomok was never
forgotten by its object; and his faithful services to
the “Yengees” are still remembered with gratitude;
though the tender slip which he protected, has since
become a mighty tree, and the nations of the earth
seek refuge beneath its branches.

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