Page:Yule Logs.djvu/299

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283
A NEW ENGLAND RAID

limbs felt light and strong. He tossed back his head defiantly, and a flash of determination lighted up his blue eyes.

"I'll not give in without a good try," he thought, remembering those at home—"father, mother, Rena!"

A push from behind sent him out of the hut into the broad sunlight of a July morning. Amidst hundreds of dark skins he stood forth in his naked whiteness alone, a target for all eyes. Shrieks, yells, whoops, greeted his appearance from the vast crowd gathered to witness the torture of the white man.

He might well be excused if the horror of the situation caused his cheek to pale and a tremor to run through his whole body.

"Drink, drink quickly!" and a gourd was thrust into his hand. Instinctively, without hesitation, he put it to his lips and drained the contents, then threw it on the ground. The action was so rapid that it passed unperceived, but the effect of the liquor was almost magical. It was like an electric shock coursing through his veins. The mist which had obscured his vision was cleared away; he saw the road stretched out before him along which he was to run, savages on either side waving thongs and sticks wherewith to scourge him, and at the farther end, surrounded by his chiefs, King Philip, with feathered crests and beaded trappings. The rising of the King to his feet was the token that the ordeal was to begin.

Strange as it may seem, all sense of fear had left Josh; he was quite calm now. Setting his teeth tight, he gathered himself together, and with one foot forward, awaited the signal.

"Others have done it, so, please God, will I," he murmured. A clash! a wild shout rang out through the summer air, and he was driven forward. Over the ground he flew, with the steady pluck of a practised runner, his nerves wrought to their highest tension, heed-