Front Matter A Name to be Proud of Ready for Sea The King's Gift Why I am an Adventurer The Signal for Departure A Lad's Portion The Allotment of Land An Unexpected Delay Our Arrival at Cowes We Put to Sea The Dove Disappears A Second Tempest An Unseemly Christmas The Port of Barbadoes The Arrival of the Dove Under Sail Again The Land of America The Land Given by the King Fear of the Brown Men Where to Build the City Taking the Island A Voyage of Discovery Visiting the Indians An Unexpected Meeting Captain Fleet's Story An Indian Werowance Indian vs. English Claims Seeking a Place for the City The Bargain The Village of Yaocomico What the Indians Look Like Indian Weapons and Tools Landing the Goods Counting Our Blessings The Susquehanoughs A Land of Abundance Buying Cattle Storehouse and Fort A Visitor from Virginia A Talk with the Indians Running up the Colors Settling Down Master William Claiborne Lord Baltimore's Claims Stirring up the Indians Winning Back the Indians Busy Times Indian Women as Servants Making a Canoe A Boat of Bark Indian Money A Generous Harvest Trouble at Plymouth Strange Religious Service The Dance Begins An Odd Ceremony William Claiborne's War Settlement on Kent Island We Prepare for War The Army leaves St. Mary's In Command of the Guard A Flag of Truce Captain Fleet Repents The First Prize of War A Battle is Fought The Return of the Fleet William Claiborne's Flight The City of Saint Mary's A Cruel Murder Mystery Remains Unsolved Master George Evelin A Fatal Accident Preparing for Action Ready for a Man's Duty I Wear the Uniform My New Name On Board the Pinnance Indians in War Paint The Arrival at Kent Island The Capture of the Fort Butler and Smith Captives Back to Claiborne's Fort I am Assigned New Duties A Narrow Escape Words of Praise

Calvert of Maryland - James Otis

An Odd Ceremony

Here the hideous figures halted, and, after much chattering in the Indian language, a huge piece of tallow, taken from a deer, was given solemnly into the hands of the oldest Indian, who held it aloft where all might see, making his way carefully through the throng until he was come to where sat half a dozen naked boys,' whose bodies were striped and spotted with yellow paint.

With the deer's tallow still held above his head, he spoke during perhaps half a minute in gravest tones, whereupon the lads arose, took the lump from him, and advanced so near the flames that it seemed as if their bodies must be scorched, after which they threw the fatty burden into the fire.

At this moment all the people arose, raising their hands as they swayed their bodies to and fro, crying in a low, not unmusical tone:"

"Taho! Taho!"

This they continued to do for perhaps two or three minutes, and then the people fell back from the huge bonfire, leaving a broad space all around it, into which a company of small girls and boys marched, carrying pipes and bags filled 'with the herb called tobacco, singing in the meanwhile the same words:"

"Taho! Taho!"

[Illustration] from Calvert of Maryland by James Otis

After this the oldest men came into the circle, and the children gave to them the pipes, whereupon they filled them with the herb, lighted the same by taking coals from the fire, and drew the smoke through reeds which were stuck into the side of little bowls of clay that' formed the pipe. This smoke they breathed out over the bodies of the little ones, all the people swaying to and fro as if dancing, while they chanted in what seemed to me most doleful tones the one word:—


How long this was continued I cannot say; but it was to me as if the Indian lad and I remained a full half hour, and still the vast throng was moving here and there like some gigantic serpent. Without raising their feet from the ground, the people swayed their bodies from side to side until I was like to have that same sickness in the stomach which beset me on the ocean, when the vessel rolled to and fro upon the heavy waves.

Asking the lad, as best I might, since he spoke but few words of English and I knew less of his language, what would come after they were tired of thus writhing back and forth, he gave me to know that it was a dance which would be kept up so long as the people had strength to carry it on, and I, not minded to watch longer, insisted on going back to St. Mary's.