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

A Narrow Escape

We did not advance swiftly, because of being forced to stop here or there wherever we saw a dwelling, and at such times I myself went on shore to have speech with the settlers, rather than send either John or Jacob to perform the task which Governor Calvert had intrusted to me.

Before night came, my legs ached with weariness, because of much running about on shore, and my temper was sorely tried when the stupid Englishmen would have parleyed with me concerning Governor Calvert's right to bid them come before him for judgment.

"At the next fair dwelling place we will rest for the night," I said to my companions, when I was come from a vexing talk with a thick-headed laborer, who would have tried to persuade me that Kent Island belonged to the Province of Virginia rather than to that of Maryland, and, having thus spoken, I was on the point of stepping aboard the shallop, when there appeared from the thicket close about us, four Susquehanoughs, all in full war paint.

[Illustration] from Calvert of Maryland by James Otis

I am willing to confess I was so frightened that my heart beat as if it would burst through the flesh; but I made fair stand, with the hope that what was in my mind did not show on my face, and John whispered in a tremulous voice:"

"Do not anger them, lad, whatever may be said, and make no show of using your weapons while they thus have the advantage of us."

I hardly know what I might have done if he had not spoken; but certain it is, the words heartened me wonderfully, and I stood as if perfectly at ease, while the painted brown men came so near that the odor from their bodies was most disagreeable to my nose.

When, however, he who was leader would have taken my gun, I pulled it away from him, saying that I was come in the service of the Governor of Maryland, who even then was in William Claiborne's fort ready to punish those who would have worked harm to our town of St. Mary's, and that any wrong done me would be reckoned as if done him.

I verily believe it was because I spoke with a bold front, as if knowing there were those near by ready to uphold me, that caused these evil-minded brown men to think twice before coming to open warfare with us of Maryland. Even though in their war paint, which is sign of enmity, these Susquehanoughs did not dare lay violent hands upon me, while ignorant as to how large a force of our people might be close by; but stepped back a few paces to take counsel one with another, leaving me close by the stern of the shallop.

"Now is the time when you may come aboard and make ready to use your gun, Calvert of Maryland," John said, as he and Jacob took up their oars to pull swiftly away, and I, made doubly bold by hearing the name Captain Cornwallis had given me, said, as though I were a veritable man of war:"

"We will make no show of running away. There are but four brown men against three of us Marylanders, and it would be shame to us if we could not hold them in check until they shall let their intent be known."

At the same moment, however, I stepped into the shallop, holding my gun ready for service, and before a tongue-tied man could have counted five, the Indians disappeared within the thicket, leaving us alone.

Then, swelling with pride because of what looked much like a victory won by me, I gave the word for John and Jacob to pull along shore, cautioning them not to send the boat ahead too swiftly lest the brown men think we were running away.