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Child, Lydia Maria Francis, 1802-1880 [1824], Hobomok (Cummings, Hilliard & Co., Boston) [word count] [eaf041].
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If heaven a draught of heavenly pleasure spare,
One cordial in this melancholy vale,
'Tis when a youthful, loving, modest pair,
In other's arms breathe out the tender tale,
Beneath the milk-white thorn that scents the evening gale.

The dawn presented a scene unusual to the inhabitants
of Salem. The prisoners, some standing erect,
some seated on the ground, and others leaning upon
their bows, wore one uniform expression of defiance
and rage. The Englishmen who stood around them,
resting on their loaded guns, had that look of

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peculiar ghastliness which the light of morning gives to
men who have passed a sleepless and anxious night.
However, the sun had hardly placed his golden circlet
on the summit of the highest eastern hills, before
the deep rolling of the drum was heard along the
street, and fresh recruits passed on, to take the place
of their companions. In the mean time a council was
called at the chief magistrate's, to determine what
should be done with the prisoners.

“My countrymen,” said Governor Endicott, “you all
know for what purpose you are now called hither. Well
it is for us that our brethren from the Isle of Wight
have arrived among us; inasmuch as the wickedness
of Morton hath made these savages very daring of
late. But, as I was about to say, while we were sitting
in the house of Mr. Conant, talking of God, and
the things appertaining to salvation, Hobomok came
among us and gave warning of a party of Indians in
the hollow; forasmuch as he, whom we all know the
Lord hath gifted with great quickness of ear, heard a
low whoop therefrom. You know how the thing hath
proved, and how wonderfully we have been saved
from the malice and stratagems of our enemies; and
now I would fain ask your judgment concerning what
is best to be done in this matter.”

After some discussion it was determined that Mr.
Conant should take with him a strong guard, and
convey the captives to their head sachem, Massasoit.
Upon which, their godly minister, Mr. Higginson,
arose and desired them to join with him in a petition
to the throne of grace. Every hat was reverently
laid aside, and a short, impressive prayer was made
with the involuntary eloquence of recent gratitude. A
strong guard was equipped, and as they passed in review
before the Governor, the ensign stepped out and

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delivered the colors of the red cross, which had been
unfurled the night before.

“It is marvellous in my eyes that the Lord fighteth
on our side, while we march under such a badge
of Antichrist,” said Governor Endicott. “It as much
beseemeth a christian to carry the half-moon of Mahomet,
as such an emblem of popish victory. However,
the pleasure of the king be obeyed.”

Hobomok, who had been waiting for “the council
fire to be extinguished,” fell into the rear of the company,
and re-conducted Mr. Collier to Plymouth.

During several hours the settlement continued in
that state of excitement which might naturally be
supposed to follow an alarm so unexpected. All the
people that were near, called at Mr. Conant's, one
after another, to hear the extent of the danger to which
they had been exposed, till Mary and her mother
were weary of repeating the story.

“I have come hither to find out the root of the matter,”
Madam Conant, said a neighbouring widow. “I
heard last night that there was three hundred Indians
found in Endicott's Hollow; and there I sat trembling
afraid to venture out, till Jacob came home and told
me something about the business.”

“And I,” observed another, “heard that Corbitant
shot Governor Endicott in the mouth. Oh, it was a
woful night to us women folks who have just come
among you. We never hear of such like proceedings
in our island.”

“The matter hath no doubt been much magnified,”
replied Mrs. Conant. “We have reason to be thankful
the Indians were few and easily surprised. But
here is neighbour Oldham, who was one of the company.
He can tell you every thing connected therewith.”

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“There was but one arrow fired,” said Mr. Oldham;
“and, as the Lord would have it, that stuck fast
in a bit of cheese rind in my jacket pocket. Which,
I think, proveth good the old saying, that `a little armour
serveth a man if he knoweth where to put it.'
But, after all our affrightment, this hath proved a
small matter. The Lord hath merely given us a jog
on the elbow at this time; that we may remember the
dangers wherewithal we are surrounded, and wake up
our sluggish souls, that have become somewhat perfunctory
in his service.”

“That's what my good man said, when he was
dying,” rejoined the widow. “Poor soul, the Indian
shot him through and through, when he was digging
for clams in the sands down there at Plymouth; and
when I pulled out the arrow and bound up his wounds,
he told me, it was all a chastisement of the Lord, in
that we had fallen into rebellious ways.”

“And I remember as well as if it was but yesterday,”
said another, “how my poor Joseph looked in
them dreadful times. A bright and handsome boy
he was once, but he overworked himself; and then
he grew poor, and pale as a ghost, and what was
worst of all, I hadn't food wherewithal to keep life in
his body.”

“Ah there is nobody knows the troubles and distresses
of a new settlement, but those who have tasted
thereof,” observed Mrs. Conant; and she paused and
sighed deeply, as the painful remembrance of her
own lost sons passed before her. “But one must not
talk of their own griefs at such a time,” continued she.
“There is great commotion throughout the world; and
it is plain to perceive that Jehovah is shaking the
heavens above our head, and the earth beneath our

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“Ay, ay,” answered Oldham, “these are fearsome
times in church and state, when the domineering
bishop of London, whom no godly man ever yet
knew without giving laud to the devil by reason of the
acquaintance. I say it is fearful times when such like
men have power to drive God's heritage into the wilderness,
where they must toil hard for a scanty bread,
and that too with daily jeopardy of life and limb.”

“And they tell me likewise,” rejoined Mrs. Conant
“that Sir Ferdinando Gorges is likely to make difficulty
about the Massachusetts patent; and that the
Lord, for further trial of our faith, hath suffered more
enemies to be stirred up against us in England, who
are ready, like Amalek of old, to smite Israel while
they are weak and unable for defence.”

“Oh yes,” replied Mr. Oldham; “and the Earl of
Warwick, and divers other great folks who hold possessions
here, `sit under their vine and their fig-tree,
with none to molest or make them afraid,' and little
know they concerning our troubles, and never a hand
of theirs would ward off a blow, unless where the matter
of filthy lucre was concerned.”

“Nevertheless,” said Mrs. Conant, “the work will
prosper. Though there appeareth now but a little
cloud, about the bigness of a man's hand; yet the
Lord Christ is in it, and out of it shall shine the perfection
of beauty.”

“I could listen to your edifying discourse all the
day long, but there is no time for folding of hands
now-a-days,” interrupted the widow, as she threw her
cloak over her shoulders. “My red cardinal is over
warm for the season to be sure, but then I think it is
but decent to have something over a body's head.”

“I marvel that you should think it decent to call a
christian garment by a name that appertains to the
scarlet woman of Babylon,” said Mr. Oldham.

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“It's no name of my making, Goodman; nor did I
know that evil was signified thereby,” answered the
widow. “But I must be stirring homewards. The
Lord bless you all.”

The other visitors gradually followed her example,
and quietness and order were soon restored to the

“Mother,” said Mary, after their guests had all
departed, “you know father has gone to Plymouth
for two or three days?”

“To be sure I do, my child,” replied Mrs. Conant,
smiling. “And what then?” Mary hesitated a few moments
ere she added, “I have seen Charles Brown this
morning; and he is coming here this evening, that is,
if you have no objection thereto.”

“You well know my heart, my dear Mary,” replied
her mother, “but I ought not to do wrong because
your father is absent.”

“You don't think it is wrong—in your conscience
you can't think it's wrong,” said Mary, as she kissed
her forehead, and looked up archly in her face. “So
do say he may come.”

“You have sacrificed much for me, my child,” answered
the indulgent parent. And, pausing a moment,
she continued, “Perhaps I do wrong thus to violate
the injunctions of my husband, but I know you are
prudent, and you may e'en follow your own dictates
concerning this matter.”

The young man to whom we have so often referred,
was a graduate at Oxford, and of no ordinary note in
his native kingdom. He had known Mary before she
left the mansion of her noble grandfather; and the
remembrance of the little fairy just blushing into womanhood
had proved powerful enough to draw the
ambitious young lawyer from the fair hopes of distinction
in England, to the wild and romantic scheme

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of establishing the Episcopal mitre in the forests of
America. The state in which he found things on his arrival,
induced him to abandon his favorite project; and
prudence for awhile enabled him to conceal his high
church principles. But the crown and the mitre were
interwoven with every association of his heart, and in
that hot-bed of argument he found the attempt at neutrality
was in vain. Notwithstanding the first settlers
at Naumkeak had taken the liberty of nonconforming
to the rules of their mother church, and to the established
regulations of the Plymouth elders, Mr. Brown
soon found that they complained loudly of the spirit
of the times. Mr. Conant in particular, stated that
New England was likely to become “a cage for every
unclean bird. A free stable-room and litter for all
kinds of consciences.” Such expressions extorted
from Brown an involuntary reproach upon those false
guides who had first taught men to wander from the
true church. This was, of course, the watch-word of
animosity; and from that time the young man was
considered as Ishmael in the house of Abraham.
However, long after the old man discovered the abomination
of his sentiments, he continued a daily visitor
at Mr. Conant's, who `felt it his duty to controvert
the matter with him, inasmuch as the Lord might
please to make him the instrument of his redemption.”
But it could not long remain concealed that metal
more attractive than the iron glove of controversy,
had drawn him to their fire-side; and, with more
anger than Mrs. Conant had ever before seen him
manifest, he forbade him the house forever.

With all Mary's habitual sweetness of disposition,
this course of conduct did serve to diminish her filial
respect and affection. She had no sympathy with
her father's religious scruples, for her heart very naturally
bowed down before the same altar with the

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man she loved. None could form an idea of the depth
and fervor of her affection, who had not, like her, left
a bright and sunny path, to wander in the train of
misery, gloom, and famine. During her stay at her
grandfather's, she had become familiar with much
that was beautiful in painting, and lovely in sculpture,
as well as all that was elegant in the poetry of that
early period; and their rich outline was deeply impressed
upon her young heart. For her mother's
sake, she endured the mean and laborious offices
which she was obliged to perform, but she lived only
in the remembrance of that fairy spot in her existence.
Alone as she was, without one spirit that came
in contact with her own, she breathed only in the regions
of fancy; and many an ideal object had she invested
with its rainbow robe. When at length she
found a being who understood her feelings, and who
loved, as she had imagined love, her whole soul was
rivetted. The harshness of her father tended to increase
this, by rendering the stream of affection more
undivided in its source. In such a state of things,
their interviews must of course be transient and unfrequent;
but when they did occur, the cup of joy,
so seldom tasted, sparkled to the brim. Let the philosopher
say what he will about these humbler blossoms
of the heart, earth has nothing like them, for
loveliness and fragrance. And he, who through the
dim lapse of years, remembers the time when two
full, gushing tides of young affection, were mingled in
one common stream, will hardly be willing to acknowledge
that the world is altogether “vanity and
vexation of spirit.”

The remembrance of her own thwarted inclinations
wrought powerfully on the mind of Mary's gentle and
affectionate mother, and she at length gave their meeting
her unqualified consent. The bowl of chocolate

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was prepared that night with even more careful fondness
than usual; and as Mrs. Conant at an early hour
laid her head upon the pillow, she was just preparing
to say, “I fear I do wrong, my child,” but Mary kissed
away the sentence.

The absence of so many of the inhabitants, and the
fear of some fresh alarm, made it expedient that the
outskirts of the settlement should be guarded, and
Mary well knew that Brown was on that duty. In
expectation of his arrival, she stationed herself at the
door, and looked out upon the still brightness around.
The lonely spot was fair and tranquil, and earth, sea,
and sky, beneath the unvaried radiance of the moon,
“seemed just waking from some heavenly dream.”
The evening star was sailing along its peaceful course,
and seemed, amid the stainless sanctity of the heavens,
like a bright diadem on the brow of some celestial
spirit. “Fair planet,” thought Mary, “how various are
the scenes thou passest over in thy shining course.
The solitary nun, in the recesses of her cloister, looks
on thee as I do now; mayhap too, the courtly circle
of king Charles are watching the motion of thy silver
chariot. The standard of war is fluttering in thy
beams, and the busy merchantman breaks thy radiance
on the ocean. Thou hast kissed the cross-crowned
turrets of the Catholic, and the proud spires of the
Episcopalian. Thou hast smiled on distant mosques
and temples, and now thou art shedding the same
light on the sacrifice heap of the Indian, and the rude
dwellings of the Calvinist. And can it be, as my
father says, that of all the multitude of people who
view thy cheering rays, so small a remnant only are
pleasing in the sight of God? Oh, no. It cannot be
thus. Would that my vision, like thine, could extend
through the universe, that I might look down unmoved

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on the birth and decay of human passions, hopes, and

These thoughts were interrupted by the appearance
of Brown, as he came whistling along the footpath,
the light of evening resting full upon his handsome

“The moon has seemed to rise slowly and wearily
since I have been looking out for you,” said the maiden,
as her lover gaily imprinted a kiss upon her hand.

“I could wish she would stop her shining course
awhile,” replied he; “for, setting aside the expectation
of meeting you, it is one of the brightest nights I
ever looked upon.”

“I have been watching it,” answered Mary, “till it
hath almost made me sad. At this moment she is
shining on the lordly palaces and blooming gardens
of good old England, is she not?”

“Ah yes; and such thoughts make even my heart
sicken within me. But it is not so when I think of
you. Love `maketh the desert to blossom as the
rose.' Besides, my dear Mary, I trust we shall both
live in England again.”

“Never while my mother lives, Charles. I would
not leave her even for you. But she will soon go
from us to be no more. I picked a little shivering
violet the other day, and it seemed the sweeter for
the cold dew that was on it. And I thought it was so
like to my mother; for the sicker she is, the more she
seemeth like an angel.”

I know not why it is, but, in minds of a certain tone,
the richest melody of love is always mingled with
notes of sadness; and, in the full communion of unreserved
tenderness, the maiden leaned her head upon
the shoulder of the young man, and wept in silence.

“My dear Mary,” said Brown, “it is not well to be
melancholy. We both ought to recollect that there

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is One above who will defend us, though every earthly
friend be taken. As for your father, he may be
conscientious in this matter; but I more than half suspect
that he cares more about having his own way, than
he does for all the prayers and churches in christendom.
If so, I know your kind mother will use all her
influence to overcome his obstinacy.”

“I know it too,” replied Mary; “but her counsels
have little weight with him when he has determined
upon a course. However, he loves her; and I believe
she loves him as well as she ever could in her earliest

“Do you think you could endure so much for me,
Mary?” asked her lover, while his bright dark eye
rested with more than usual admiration on the passive
beauty of her countenance.

“A cold heart may make promises and protestations,”
she replied; “and when we dream of love we
are always too apt to think of the paradise, rather
than the thorny hedge which the sin of Adam has
placed around it; but let the storm come upon you,
Charles, and see if my head shrink from the tempest.”

“I know by experience how hard it is to escape
from the entanglements of the heart,” answered
Brown. “My life was full of enjoyment before I met
you in Lincolnshire; and now, when I try to think of
any source of happiness in which you have no share,
I am forced to acknowledge that you are, in some way
or other, connected therewith. You remember that
those who entered Spencer's shady grove,

Whose loftie trees yelad with sommer's pride,
Did spred so broad, that heaven's light did hide,
Not perceable with power of any starr;
When weening to returne whence they did straye,
They cannot finde that path which once was showne,
But wander to and fro in waies unknowne.
“And isn't it so with the path of love, my Mary?”

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A smiling glance from the bright eye of the maiden
gave an answer of silent eloquence. The interview
was prolonged to a late hour; and the conversation of
the lovers became gradually more and more marked
by that tenderness of expression, which, “like the rich
wines of the south, is so delicious in its native soil;
so tasteless in the transportation.”

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