Page:Yule Logs.djvu/294

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278
A NEW ENGLAND RAID

arms in the possession of his tribe, and both he and his chief men were angered, so that Weetamoo's arguments, and the presence of the armed warriors she had brought with her, fired them, and they shouted that she spoke with wisdom.

Philip assented, and straightway swift messengers were sent forth with the wampum belt from village to village, from tribe to tribe, and Weetamoo went to her wigwam triumphant. Before the people of New England had time to realise the fact, the flames of burning homesteads, the flight of terrified women and children, spread terror far and wide.

But even then the elders, the men of Boston and New Plymouth, made an effort to maintain peace, promising to all Indians who would lay down their arms, life and liberty. Further, they decided to send a deputation to Philip with offers of conciliation.

It was a dangerous mission, and there was some hesitation in asking any one to undertake it; but the matter was settled when Josh Blackstone came forward and proposed being the bearer thereof. He and his father were on friendly terms with the Indians, especially with Philip; Josh had often been a guest at Mount Hope for weeks together during the hunting season. He declared he had no fear; he would go alone to Philip. His assurance had the effect of encouraging others, and six young men offered to accompany him.

"That is too many; it looks distrustful," he said, and chose three, with whom he set forth at once, sending Will back to Study Hill, with a letter to his father, telling the errand upon which he was bound, and assuring him he anticipated no danger. Nathan was not quite so well satisfied, but he refrained from saying aught which might alarm his wife and Rena.

"The lad is doing his duty; it will be well whatever betides him," he said, and he went about his farm cheer-