King Philip - John S. C. Abbott

Mrs. Rowlandson's Captivity

The little army was now supplied with food, but the vast masses of snow extending everywhere around them through the pathless wilderness rendered it impossible to move in any direction. The forest afforded ample materials for huts and fuel. A busy village speedily arose upon the shores of the frozen bay. Many of the wounded were, for greater safety and comfort, sent to the island of Rhode Island, where they were carefully nursed in the dwellings of the colonists. In their encampment at Wickford, as the region is now called, the soldiers remained several weeks, blockaded by storms and drifts, waiting for a change of weather. It was a season of unusual severity, and the army presented a spectacle resembling, upon a small scale, that of the mighty hosts of Napoleon afterward encamped among the forests of the Vistula—a scene of military energy which arrested the gaze and elicited the astonishment of all Europe.

As the English evacuated the Indian fort, the warriors who had escaped into the swamp returned to their smoldering wigwams and to the mangled bodies of their wives and children, overwhelmed with indignation, rage, and despair. The storm of war had come and gone, and awful was the ruin which it had left behind. The Rev. Mr. Ruggles, recording the horrors of the destruction of the Narraganset fort, writes:

"The burning of the wigwams, the shrieks and cries of the women and children, and the yells of the warriors, exhibited a most horrible and affecting scene, so that it greatly moved some of the soldiers. They were in much doubt then, and often very seriously inquired whether burning their enemies alive could be consistent with humanity and the benevolent principles of the Gospel."

The Narragansets, who were associated with the warriors of Philip in this conflict, and in whose territory the battle had been fought, were exceedingly disheartened. This experience of the terrible power and vengeance of the English appalled them, and they were quite disposed to abandon Philip. But the great Wampanoag chief was not a man to yield to adversity. This calamity only nerved him to more undying resolution and to deeds of more desperate daring. He had still about two thousand warriors around him, but, being almost entirely destitute of provisions, they for a time suffered incredibly.

To gain time, Philip sent deputies to the English commander-in-chief to treat of peace. The colonists met these advances with the utmost cordiality, for there was nothing which they more earnestly desired than to live on friendly terms with the Indians. War was to them only impoverishment and woe. They had nothing to gain by strife. It was, however, soon manifest that Philip was but trifling, and that he had no idea of burying the hatchet. While the wary chieftain was occupying the colonists with all the delays of diplomacy, he was energetically constructing another fort in a swamp about twenty miles distant, where he was again collecting his forces, and all the materials of barbarian warfare. In this fortress, within the territorial limits of the Nipmuck Indians, he also assembled a feeble train of women and children, the fragments of his slaughtered families. The Nipmuck tribe, then quite powerful, occupied the region now included in the southeast corner of Worcester county.

Hardly a ray of civilization had penetrated this portion of the country. The gloomy wilderness frowned everywhere around, pathless and savage. From the tangled morass in which he reared his wigwams he dispatched runners in all directions, to give impulse to the torrent of conflagration and blood with which he intended to sweep the settlements in the spring.

It was now manifest that there could be no hope of peace. An army of a thousand men, early in January, was dispatched from Boston to re-enforce the encampment at Wickford. Their march, in the dead of winter, over the bleak and frozen hills, was slow, and their sufferings were awful. Eleven men were frozen to death by the way, and a large number were severely frostbitten. Immediately after their arrival there came a remarkable thaw. The snow nearly all disappeared, and the ground was flooded with water. This thaw was life to the Indians. It enabled them to traverse the forests freely, and to gather ground-nuts, upon which they were almost exclusively dependent for subsistence.

The army at Wickford now numbered sixteen hundred. They decided upon a rapid march to attack Philip again in his new entrenchments. There were friendly Indians, as the English called them—traitors, as they were called by King Philip—who were ever ready to guide the colonists to the haunts of their countrymen. There were individual Indians who had pride of character and great nobility of nature—men who, through their virtues, are venerated even by the race which has supplanted their tribes. They had their Washingtons, their Franklins, and their Howards. But Indian nature is human nature, with all its frailty and humiliation. The great mass of the common Indians were low and degraded men. Almost any of them were ready for a price, and that an exceedingly small one, to betray their nearest friends.

An Indian would sometimes be taken prisoner, and immediately, in the continuance of the same battle, with his musket still hot from the conflict, he would guide the English to the retreats of his friends, and engage, apparently with the greatest zeal, in firing upon them. In the narrative given by Colonel Benjamin Church, one of the heroes of these wars, he writes, speaking of himself in the third person,

"When he took any number of prisoners, he would pick out some, and tell them that he took a particular fancy to them, and had chosen them for himself to make soldiers of, and if any would behave themselves well He would do well by them, and they should be his men, and not sold out of the country.

"If he perceived they looked surly, and his Indian soldiers called them treacherous dogs, as some of them would sometimes do, all the notice he would take of it would only be to clap them on the back and say, Come, come, you look wild and surly, and mutter; but that signifies nothing. These, my soldiers, were a little while ago as wild and surly as you are now. By the time you have been one day with me, you will love me too, and be as brisk as any of them.'

"And it proved so; for there was none of them but, after they had been a little while with him, and seen his behavior, and how cheerful and successful his men were, would be as ready to pilot him to any place where the Indians dwelt or haunted, though their own fathers or nearest relations should be among them, as any of his own men."

Such a character we cannot but despise, and yet such, with exceptions, was the character of the common Indian. That magnanimity which at times has shed immortal brilliance upon humanity is a rare virtue, even in civilized life; in the savage it is still more rare.

Philip, in the retreat to which he had now escaped, was again betrayed by one of his renegade countrymen. The English, numbering sixteen hundred, immediately resumed active hostilities, and after having ravaged the country directly around them, burning some wigwams, putting some Indians to death, and taking many captives, broke up their encampment and commenced their march. It was early in February that Major Winslow put his army in motion to pursue Philip. As the English drew near the swamp, Philip, conscious of his inability to oppose so formidable a force, immediately set his wigwams on fire, and, with all his warriors, disappeared in the depths of the wilderness. As it was entirely uncertain in what direction the savages would emerge from the forest to kindle anew the flames of war, the troops retraced their steps toward Boston. The Connecticut soldiers had already returned to their homes.

On the 10th of February, 1676, the Indians, with whoop and yell, burst from the forest upon the beautiful settlement of Lancaster. This was one of the most remote of the frontier towns, some fifty miles west of Boston, on the Nashua River. The plantation, ten miles in length and eight in breadth, had been purchased of the Nashaway Indians, with the stipulation that the English should not molest the Indians in their hunting, fishing, or planting places. For several years the colonists and the Indians lived together in entire harmony, mutually benefiting each other. There were between fifty and sixty families in the town, embracing nearly three hundred inhabitants. They had noticed some suspicious circumstances on the part of the Indians who were dwelling around them, and they had sent their pastor, the Rev. Mr. Rowlandson, to Boston, to seek assistance for the defense of the town. He had taken the precaution before he left to convert his house into a bullet-proof fortress, and had garrisoned it for the protection of his family during his absence.

The savages, fifteen hundred in number, during the darkness of the night stationed themselves at different points, from whence they could, at an appointed signal, attack the town at the same moment in five different quarters. There were less than a hundred persons in the town capable of bearing arms, the remainder being women and children. The savages thus prepared to overpower them fifteen to one, and, making the assault by surprise, felt sure of an easy victory.

Just as the sun was rising the signal was given. In an instant every heart was congealed with terror as the awful war-whoop resounded through the forest. It was a cold winter's morning, and the wind swept bleakly over the whitened plains. Every house was immediately surrounded, the torch applied, and, as the flames drove the inmates from their doors, they fell pierced by innumerable bullets, and the tomahawk and the scalping-knife finished the dreadful work. There were several garrison houses in the town, where most of the inhabitants had taken refuge, and where they were able, for a time, to beat off their assailants. All who were not thus sheltered immediately fell into the hands of their foes. Between fifty and sixty were either slain or taken captive. The unhappy inmates of the garrisons looked out through their port-holes upon the conflagration and plunder of their homes, the mutilated corpses of their friends, and the wretched band of captives strongly bound and awaiting their fate.

There were forty-one persons in the Rev. Mr. Rowlandson's house. They all defended it valiantly, and no Indian dared expose himself within gun-shot of their port-holes. Still, the savages, in a body, prepared for the assault. The house was situated upon the brow of a hill. Some of the Indians got behind the hill, others filled the barn, and others sheltered themselves behind stones and stumps, and any other breast-work, from which they could reach the house with their bullets. For two hours, fifteen hundred savages kept up an incessant firing, aiming at the windows and the port-holes. Several in the house were thus wounded.

After many unsuccessful attempts to fire the house, they at length succeeded in pushing a cart loaded with hay and other combustible materials, all in flames, against the rear of the house. All the efforts of the garrison to extinguish the fire were unavailing, and the building was soon in a blaze. As the flames rapidly rolled up the wall and over the roof, the savages raised shouts of exultation, which fell as a death-knell upon the hearts of those who had now no alternative but to be consumed in the flames or to surrender themselves to the merciless foe. The bullets were still rattling against the house, and fifteen hundred warriors were greedily watching to riddle with balls any one who should attempt to escape. The flames were crackling and roaring around the besieged, and their only alternative was to perish in the fire, or to go out and meet the bullet and the tomahawk of the savage. When the first forks of flame touched the flesh, goaded by torture to delirium, they rushed from the door. A wild whoop of triumph rose from the savages, and, pouring a volley of bullets upon the group, they fell upon them with gleaming knives.

Many were instantly killed and scalped. All the men were thus massacred; twenty of the women and children were taken captives. Mrs. Rowlandson had, two children, a son and a daughter, by her side, and another daughter about six years of age, sick and emaciate, in her arms. Her sister was also with her, with several children. No less than seventeen of Rev. Mr. Rowlandson's family and connections were in this melancholy group.

As many dropped dead around Mrs. Rowlandson, cut down by the storm of bullets, one bullet pierced her side, and another passed through the hand and the bowels of the sick child she held in her arms. One of her sister's children, a fine boy, fell helpless upon the ground, having his thigh bone shattered by a ball. A sturdy Indian, seeing that the poor child was thus disabled, buried his tomahawk in his brain and stripped off his scalp. The frantic mother rushed toward her child, when a bullet pierced her bosom, and she fell lifeless upon his mangled corpse. The savages immediately stripped all the clothing from the dead, and, having finished their work of conflagration and plunder, plunged into the wilderness, dragging their wretched captives along with them. The beautiful town was left in ruins.

The victors, with shouts of exultation, marched about a mile, and encamped for the night upon a hill which overlooked the smoldering dwellings of their foes. Here was enacted one of the wildest scenes of barbarian bacchanals. Enormous fires were built, which, with roaring, crackling flame, illumined for leagues around the sombre forest. Fifteen hundred savages, delirious with victory, and prodigal of their immense booty of oxen, cows, sheep, swine, calves, and fowl, reveled in such a feast as they had hardly dreamed of before. Cattle were roasted whole and eagerly devoured, with dances and with shouts which made the welkin ring. With wastefulness characteristic of the Indians, they took no thought for the morrow, but slaughtered the animals around them in mere recklessness, and, when utterly satiated with the banquet, the ground was left strewed with smoking and savory viands sufficient to feed an army.

The night was cold; the ground was covered with snow, and a piercing wind swept the icy eminence. Mrs. Rowlandson, holding her wounded and moaning child in her arms, and with the group of wretched captives around her, sat during the long hours of the dreadful night, shivering with cold, appalled at the awful fate which had befallen her and her family, and endeavoring in vain to soothe the anguish of her dying daughter. "This was the dolefullest night," she exclaims in her affecting narrative, "that my eyes ever saw. Oh, the roaring and singing, dancing and yelling of those black creatures in the night, which made the place a lively resemblance of hell."

The next morning the Indians commenced their departure into the wilderness. Mrs. Rowlandson toiled along on foot, with her dying child in her arms. The poor little girl was in extreme anguish, and often cried out with pain. At length the mother became so exhausted that she fell fainting to the ground. The Indians then placed her upon a horse, and again gave her her child to carry. But the horse was furnished with neither saddle nor bridle, and, in going down a steep hill, stumbled, and they both were thrown over his neck. This incident was greeted by the savages with shouts of laughter. To add to their sufferings, it now began to snow. All the day long the storm wailed through the tree-tops, and the snow was sifted down upon their path. The woe-stricken captives toiled along until night, when the Indians again encamped upon the open ground.

"And now," writes Mrs. Rowlandson, "I must sit in the snow by a little fire, and a few boughs behind me, with my sick child in my lap, and calling much for water, being now, through the wound, fallen into a violent fever: My own wound, also, growing so stiff that I could scarce sit down or rise up, yet so it must be that I must sit all this cold winter's night upon the cold snowy ground, with my sick child in my arms, looking that every hour would be the last of its life, and having no Christian friend near me either to comfort or help me."

In the morning the Indians resumed their journey, marching, as was their custom, in single file through trails in the forest. A humane Indian mounted a horse and took Mrs. Rowlandson and her child behind him. All the day long the poor little sufferer moaned with pain, while the savages were constantly threatening to knock the child in the head if she did not cease her moaning. In the evening they arrived at an Indian village called Wenimesset. Here, upon a luxuriant meadow upon the banks of the River Ware, within the limits of the present town of New Braintree, the savages had established their headquarters. It was about thirty-six miles from Lancaster. A large number of savages were assembled at this place, and they remained here for several days, gathering around their council fires, planning new expeditions, and inflaming their passions with war dances and the most frantic revels. The Indians treated their captives with comparative kindness. No violence or disrespect was offered to their persons. They reared a rude wigwam for Mrs. Rowlandson, where she sat for five days and nights almost alone, watching her dying child. At last, on the night of the 18th of February, the little sufferer breathed her last, at the age of six years and five months. The Indians took the corpse from the mother and buried it, and then allowed her to see the grave.

King Philip's War


When Mrs. Rowlandson was driven from the flames of her dwelling, a Narraganset Indian was the first to grasp her; he consequently claimed her as his property. Her children were caught by different savages, and thus became the slaves of their captors. The Indians, by the law of retaliation, were perfectly justified in making slaves of their captives. The human mind cannot withhold its assent from the justice of the verdict, "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth." The English made all their captives slaves, and women and children were sold to all the horrors of West Indian plantation bondage. The Narraganset Indian who owned Mrs. Rowlandson soon sold her to a celebrated chieftain named Quinnapin, a Narraganset sachem, who had married, for one of hit three wives, Wetamoo, of whom we have heretofore spoken. Quinnapin is represented as a "young, lusty sachem, and a very great rogue." It will be remembered that Wetamoo, queen of the Pocasset Indians, was the widow of Alexander and sister of Wootonekanuske, the wife of Philip. The English clergyman's wife was assigned to Queen Wetamoo as her dressing maid. The Indian slaveholders paid but little regard to family relations. Mrs. Rowlandson's daughter Mary was sold for a gun by a praying Indian, who first chanced to grasp her. The Christian Indians joined in this war against the whites, and shared in all the emoluments of the slave traffic which it introduced. Mary was ten years of age, a child of cultured mind and lovely character. She was purchased by an Indian who resided in the town where the Indian army was now encamped. When the poor slave mother met her slave child, Mary was so overwhelmed with anguish as to move even the sympathies of her stoical masters; their several owners consequently forbade their meeting any more.

After a few days, the warriors scattered on various expeditions of devastation and blood. Mrs. Rowlandson was left at Wenimesset. Her days and nights were passed in lamentations, tears, and prayers. One morning, quite to her surprise, her son William entered her wigwam, where she was employed by her mistress in menial services. He belonged to a master who resided at a small plantation of Indians about six miles distant. His master had gone with a war party to make an attack upon Medfield, and his mistress, with woman's tender heart, had brought him to see his mother. The interview was short and full of anguish.

The next day the Indians returned from the destruction of Medfield. Their approach through the forest was heralded by the most demoniac roaring and whooping, as the whole savage band thus announced their victory. All the Indians in the little village assembled to meet them. The warriors had slain twenty of the English, and brought home several captives and many scalps. Each one told his story, and recapitulated the numbers of the slain; and, at the close of each narrative, the whole multitude, with the most frantic gestures, set up a shout which echoed far and wide over mountain and valley.

There were now at Wenimesset nine captives, Mrs. Rowlandson, Mrs. Joslin, and seven children from different families. Mrs. Joslin had an infant two years old in her arms, and was expecting every hour to give birth to another child.

The Indians now deemed it necessary to move farther into the wilderness. The poor woman, in her deplorable condition, did nothing but weep, and the Indians, deeming her an encumbrance, resolved to get rid of her. They placed her upon the ground with her child, divested her entirely of clothing, and for an hour sang and danced around their victim with wildest exultation. One then approached and buried his hatchet in her brain. She fell lifeless. Another blow put an end to the sufferings of her child. They then built a huge fire, placed the two bodies upon it, and they were consumed to ashes. All the captive children were assembled to witness this tragedy, and were assured that if they made any attempt to escape from slavery, a similar fate awaited them. The unhappy woman, during all this awful scene, shed not a tear, but with clasped hands, meekly praying, she silently and almost joyfully surrendered herself to her fate.

All the day long, the Indians, leading their captives with them, traveled through the desolate wilderness. A drizzling rain was falling, and their feet slumped through the wet snow at every step. Late in the afternoon they encamped, with no protection from the weather but a few boughs of trees. Mrs. Rowlandson was separated from her children; she was faint with hunger, sore, and utterly exhausted with travel, and she sat down upon the snowy ground and wept bitterly. She opened her Bible for solace, and her eye fell upon the cheering words,

"Refrain thy voice from weeping and thine eyes from tears, for thy work shall be rewarded, and they shall come again from the land of the enemy."

Here, in this wretched encampment, the Indians, their families being with them, remained for four days. But some of their scouts brought in intelligence that some English soldiers were in the vicinity. The Indians immediately, in the greatest apparent consternation, packed up their things and fled. They retreated farther into the wilderness in the most precipitate confusion. Women carried their children. Men took upon their shoulders their aged and decrepit mothers. One very heavy Indian, who was sick, was carried upon a bier. Mrs. Rowlandson endeavored to count the Indians, but they were in such a tumultuous throng, hurrying through the forest, that she was quite unable to ascertain their numbers. It will be remembered that Mrs. Rowlandson's side had been pierced by a bullet at the destruction of Lancaster. The wound was much inflamed, and, being worn down with pain and exhaustion, she found it exceedingly difficult to keep pace with her captors. In the distribution of their burdens they had given her two quarts of parched meal to carry. Fainting with hunger, she implored of her mistress one spoonful of the meal, that she might mix it with water to appease the cravings of appetite. Her supplication was denied.

Soon they arrived at Swift River, somewhere probably within the limits of the present town of Enfield. The stream was swollen with the melting snows of spring. The Indians, with their hatchets, immediately cut down some dry trees, with which they made a raft, and thus crossed the stream. The raft was so heavily laden that many of the Indians were knee deep in the icy water. Mrs. Rowlandson, however, sat upon some brush, and thus kept her feet dry. For supper they made a broth by boiling an old horse's leg in a kettle of water, filling up with water as often as the kettle was emptied. Mrs. Rowlandson was in such a starving condition that a cupful of this wretched nutriment seemed delicious.

Feeling that they were now safe from attack, they reared some rude wigwams, and rested for one day. It so happened that the next day was the Sabbath. The English who were pursuing came to the banks of the river, saw the smoke of their fires, but for some reason decided not to attempt to cross the stream. During the day, Wetamoo compelled her slave to knit some stockings for her. When Mrs. Rowlandson plead that it was the Sabbath, and promised that if she might be permitted to keep the sacred day she would do double work on Monday, she was told to do her work immediately, or she should have her face smashed. The smashing of a face by an Indian's bludgeon is a serious operation.

The next morning, Monday; the Indians fired their wigwams, and continued their retreat through the wilderness toward the Connecticut River. They traveled as fast as they could all day, fording icy brooks, until late in the afternoon they came to the borders of a gloomy swamp, where they again encamped.

"When we came," writes Mrs. Rowlandson, "to the brow of the hill that looked toward the swamp, I thought we had come to a great Indian town. Though there were none but our company, the Indians appeared as thick as the trees. It seemed as if there had been a thousand hatchets going at once. If one looked before there were nothing but Indians, and behind nothing but Indians, and from either hand, and I myself in the midst, and no Christian soul near me."

The next morning the wearisome march was again resumed. Early in the afternoon they reached the banks of the Connecticut at a spot near Hadley, where they found the ruins of a small English settlement. Mrs. Rowlandson had for her food during the day an ear of corn and a small piece of horse's liver. As she was roasting the liver upon some coals, an Indian came and snatched half of it away. She was forced to eat the rest almost raw, lest she should lose that also; and yet her hunger was so great that it seemed a delicious morsel. They gathered a little wheat from the fields, which they found frozen in the shocks upon the icy ground.

The next morning they commenced ascending the river for a few miles, where they were to cross to meet King Philip, who, with a large party of warriors, was encamped on the western bank of the stream. Indians from all quarters were assembling at that rendezvous, in preparation for an assault on the Connecticut River towns. When Mrs. Rowlandson's party arrived at the point of crossing, they encamped for the night. The opposite shore seemed to be thronged with savage warriors. Mrs. Rowlandson sat upon the banks of the stream, and gazed with amazement upon the vast multitude, like swarming bees, crowding the shore. She had never before seen so many assembled. While she was thus sitting, to her great surprise, her son approached her. His master had brought him to the spot. The interview between the woe-stricken mother and her child was very brief and very sad. They were soon again separated.

The next morning they commenced crossing the river in canoes. When Mrs. Rowlandson had crossed, she was received with peculiar kindness. One Indian gave her two spoonfuls of meal, and another brought her half a pint of peas. The half-famished captive now thought that her larder was abundantly stored. She was then conducted to the wigwam of King Philip. The Wampanoag chieftain received her with the courtesy of a gentleman, invited her to sit down upon a mat by his side, and presented her a pipe to smoke with him. He requested her to make a shirt for his son, and, like a gentleman, paid her for her work. He invited her to dine with him. They dined upon pancakes made of parched wheat, beater and fried in bear's grease. The dinner, though very frugal, was esteemed very delicious.

The Indians remained here for several days, preparing for a very formidable attack on the, town of Northampton. During all the time that Mrs. Rowlandson remained near King Philip, though she was held as a captive, she was not treated as a slave. She was paid for all the work that she did. She made a shirt for one of the warriors, and received for it a generous sirloin of bear's flesh. For another she knit a pair of stockings, for which she received a quart of peas. With these savory viands Mrs. Rowlandson prepared a nice dinner, and invited her master and mistress, Quinnapin and Wetamoo, to dine with her. They accepted the invitation; but Mrs. Rowlandson did not appreciate the niceties of Indian etiquette. Wetamoo was a queen, Quinnapin was only her husband—merely the Prince Albert of Queen Victoria. As there was but one dish from which both the queen and her husband were to be "served, the haughty Wetamoo deemed herself insulted, and refused to eat a morsel.

Philip and his warriors soon departed to make attacks upon the settlements. The Indians who remained took Mrs. Rowlandson and several other captives some six miles farther up the river, and then crossed to the eastern banks. Here they remained for some days, and here Mrs. Rowlandson had another short interview with her son, which lacerated still more severely her bleeding heart. The poor boy was sick and in great pain, and his agonized mother was not permitted to remain with him to afford him any relief. Of her daughter she could learn no tidings. Wetamoo, Quinnapin, and Philip were all absent, and the Indians treated her with great inhumanity, with occasional caprices of strange and unaccountable kindness.

One bitter cold day, the Indians all huddled around the fire in the wigwam, and would not allow her to approach it. Perishing with cold, she went out and entered another wigwam. Here she was received with great hospitality; a mat was spread for her, and she was addressed in words of tender sympathy by the mother of the little barbarian household, in whose bosom woman's loving heart throbbed warmly. But soon the Indian to whose care she was entrusted came in search of her, and amused himself in kicking her all the way home.

The next day the Indians commenced for some unknown reason, wandering back again toward Lancaster. They placed upon this poor captive's back as heavy a burden as she could bear, and goaded her along through the wilderness. She forded streams, and climbed steep hills, and endured hardships which cannot be described. Her hunger was so great that six acorns, which she picked up by the way, she esteemed a great treasure.

The night was cold and windy. The Indians erected a wigwam, and were soon gathered around a glowing fire in the centre of it. The interior presented a bright, warm, and cheerful scene, as Mrs. Rowlandson entered to warm her shivering frame. She had been compelled to search around to bring dry fuel for the fire. She was, however, ordered instantly to leave the hut, the Indians saying that there was no room for her at the fire. Mrs. Rowlandson hesitated about going out to pass the night in the freezing air, when one of the Indians drew his knife, and she was compelled to retire. There were several wigwams around; the poor captive went from one to another, but from all she was repelled with abuse and derision.

At last an old Indian took pity upon her, and told her to come in. His wife received her with compassion, gave her a warm seat by the fire, some ground-nuts for her supper, and placed a bundle under her head for a pillow. With these accommodations the English clergyman's wife felt that she was luxuriously entertained, and passed the night in comfort and sweet slumbers. The next day the journey was continued. As the Indians were binding a heavy burden upon Mrs. Rowlandson's shoulders, she complained that it hurt her severely, and that the skin was off her back. A surly Indian delayed not strapping on the load, merely remarking, dryly, that it would be of but little consequence if her head were off too.

The Indians now entered a region of the forest where there was a very heavy growth of majestic trees, and the underbrush was so dense as to be almost impenetrable. Plunging into this as a covert, they reared their wigwams, and remained here, in an almost starving condition, for fourteen days. The anxious mother inquired of an Indian if he could inform her what had become of her boy. The rascal very coolly told her, that he might torture her by the falsehood, that his master had roasted the lad, and that he himself had been furnished with a steak, and that it was very delicious meat. They also told her, in the same spirit, that her husband had been taken by the Indians and slain.

Thus the Indians continued for several weeks wandering about from one place to another, without any apparent object, and most of the time in a miserable, half-famished condition. A more joyless, dismal life imagination can hardly conceive. One day thirty Indians approached the encampment on horseback, all dressed in the garments which they had stripped from the English whom they had slain. They wore hats, white neckcloths, and sashes about their waists. They brought a message from Quinnapin that Mrs. Rowlandson must go to the foot of Mount Wachusett, where the Indian warriors were in council, deliberating with some English commissioners about the redemption of the captives. "My heart was so heavy before," writes Mrs. Rowlandson, that I could scarce speak or go in the path, and yet now so light that I could run. My strength seemed to come again, and to recruit my feeble knees and aching heart. Yet it pleased them to go but one mile that nights and there we staid two days."

They then journeyed along slowly, the whole party suffering extremely from hunger. A little broth, made from boiling the old and dry feet of a horse, was considered a great refreshment. They at length came to a small Indian village, where they found in captivity four English children; and one of them was a child of Mrs. Rowlandson's sister. They were all gaunt and haggard with famine. Sadly leaving these suffering little ones, the journey was continued until they arrived near Mount Wachusett. Here King Philip met them. Kindly, and with the courtesy of a polished gentleman, he took the hand of the unhappy captive, and said, "In two weeks more you shall be your own mistress again." In this encampment of warriors she was placed again in the hands of her master and mistress, Quinnapin and Wetamoo. Of this renowned queen Mrs. Rowlandson says:

"A severe and proud dame she was, bestowing every day, in dressing herself, nearly as much time as any of the gentry in the land, powdering her hair and painting her face, going with her necklaces, with jewels in her ears. When she had dressed herself, her work was to make girdles of wampum and beads."

Wampum was the money in use among the Indians. It consisted of beautiful shells very curiously strung together. "Their beads," says John Josselyn; "are their money. Of these there are two sorts, blue beads and white beads. The first is their gold, the last their silver. These they work out of certain shells so cunningly that neither Jew nor Devil can counterfeit. They drill them and string them, and make many curious works with them to adorn the persons of their sagamores and principal men and young women, as belts, girdles, tablets, borders of their women's hair, bracelets, necklaces, and links to hang in their ears."

Our poor captive, having returned to the wigwam of her master and mistress, was treated with much comparative kindness. She was received hospitably at the fire. A mat was given to her for a bed, and a rug to spread over her. She was employed in knitting stockings and making under garments for her mistress. While here, two Indians came with propositions from the government at Boston for the purchase of her ransom. The news overwhelmed Mrs. Rowlandson with emotions too deep for smiles, and she could only give utterance to her feelings in sobs and flooding tears.

The sachems now met to consult upon the subject. They called Mrs. Rowlandson before them, and, after a long and very serious conference, agreed to receive twenty pounds ($100) for her ransom. One of the praying Indians was sent to Boston with this proposition.

While this matter was in progress, the Indians went out on several expeditions, and returned with much plunder and many scalps. One of the savages had a necklace made of the fingers of the English whom he had slain.

It was the custom of the Indians not to remain long in any one place, lest they should be overtaken by the bands of the colonists which were everywhere in pursuit of them. The latter part of April, after having perpetrated enormous destruction in Sudbury and other towns, the warriors returned to their rendezvous elated, yet trembling, as they knew that the English forces were in search of them. Immediately breaking up their encampment, they retreated several miles into the wilderness, and there built an enormous tent of boughs, sufficient to hold one hundred men.

Here the Indians gathered from all quarters, and they had a feast and a great dance. Mrs. Rowlandson learned from a captive English woman whom she found here that her sister and her own daughter were with some Indians at but a mile's distance. Though she had seen neither for ten weeks, she was not permitted to go near them. The poor woman plead with anguish of entreaty to be permitted to see her child, but she could make no impression upon their obdurate hearts.

One Sabbath afternoon, just as the sun was going down, a colonist, Mr. John Hoar, a man of extraordinary intrepidity of spirit, with a firm step approached the encampment, guided by two friendly Indians, and under the very frail protection of a barbarian flag of truce. The savages, as soon as they saw him, seized their guns, and rushed as if to kill him. They shot over his head and under his horse, before him and behind him, seeing how near they could make the bullets whistle by his ears without hitting him. They dragged him from his horse, pushed him this way and that way, and treated him with all imaginable violence without inflicting any bodily harm. This they did to frighten him; but John Hoar was not a man to be frightened, and the savages admired his imperturbable courage.

The chiefs built their council fire, and held a long conference with Mr. Hoar. They then allowed him a short interview with Mrs. Rowlandson. He brought her messages of affection from her distracted husband, and cheered her with the hope that her release would eventually, though not immediately, be obtained. She plead earnestly with the Indians for permission to return with Mr. Hoar, promising to send back the price of her ransom; but they declared that she should not go.

After dinner the Indians made arrangements for one of their most imposing dances. It was a barbarian cotillion, performed by eight partners in the presence of admiring hundreds. Queen Wetamoo and her husband, Quinnapin, were conspicuous in this dance. He was dressed in a white linen shirt, with a broad border of lace around the skirt. To this robe silver buttons were profusely attached. He wore white cotton stockings, with shillings dangling and clinking from the garters. A turban composed of girdles of wampum ornamented his head, while broad belts of wampum passed over his shoulders and encircled his waist.

Wetamoo was dressed for the ball in a horseman's coat of coarse, shaggy cloth. This was beautifully decorated with belts of wampum from the waist upward. Her arms, from the elbows to the wrist, were clasped with bracelets. A great profusion of necklaces covered her well-rounded shoulders and ample bosom. Her ears were laden with jewels. She wore red stockings and white shoes. Her face was painted a brilliant crimson, and her hair powdered white as snow. For music the Indians sang, while one beat time upon a brass kettle.

Soon after the dance, King Philip, who was there with his warriors, but who appears to have taken no part in the carousals, sent for Mrs. Rowlandson, and said to her, with a smiling face, "Would you like to hear some good news? I have a pleasant word for you. You are to go home to-morrow." Arrangements had been finally made through Mr. Hoar for her ransom.

On the next morning Mrs. Rowlandson, accompanied by Mr. Hoar and the two friendly Indians, commenced her journey through the wilderness toward Lancaster. She left her two children, her sister, and many other friends and relatives still in captivity. "In coming along," she says, "my heart melted into tears more than all the while I was with them."

Toward evening they reached the spot where Lancaster once stood. The place, once so luxuriant and beautiful, presented a dreary aspect of ruin. The storm of war had swept over it, and had converted all its attractive homes into smoldering embers. They chanced to find an old building which had escaped the flames, and here, upon a bed of straw, they passed the night. With blended emotions of bliss and of anguish, the bereaved mother journeyed along the next day, and about noon reached Concord. Here she met many of her friends, who rejoiced with her in her rescue, and wept with her over the captives who were still in bondage. They then hurried on to Boston, where she arrived in the evening, and was received to the arms of her husband, after a captivity in the wilderness of three months. By great exertions, their son and daughter were eventually regained. We now return from the incidents of this captivity to renew the narrative of Philip's war.