Page:Yule Logs.djvu/309

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293
A NEW ENGLAND RAID

whence they came; and his example being quickly followed by others, no wonder if the savages lost heart, so that when at last Josh and Stephen, with a dozen other men, dashed into their midst, an almost hand-to-hand fight ensued, and they gradually gave way and fled to the shelter of the forest, leaving many dead and wounded behind them on the ground. Then the besieged had a short respite, and were able to take counsel together. Men pressed forward to shake Josh by the hand, forgetting he was a stranger. His white set face now begrimed with smoke was ghastly to behold. Stephen brought him food. "You are doing the work of half-a-dozen men," he said; "your strength will fail you if you do not eat." Silently Josh acquiesced, thanking him.

A man came up to him.

"Have you heard that Colonel Willard of Boston has been despatched westward?" he asked.

"No; how should I?" said Josh. "If that is a fact, and our plight were made known to him, he might come to our rescue."

"It is a fact; he was sent to punish Philip for the murder of the deputation," said the man.

Josiah started. "All were not murdered," he said, "for I, Josiah Blackstone, am here amongst you. I was taken prisoner, carried to Mount Hope, and—" he paused—"with Philip's aid I escaped." He would not tell of the torture he had undergone; but continued, without noticing the astonishment his words occasioned, "If Colonel Willard is anywhere within reach we must get at him."

"Impossible, the Indians are all around; if we attempt to move they will start up again."

Josh made no answer. The subject was discussed generally, and unanimously decided to be impracticable; any man leaving the house would be seen and murdered. There was nothing to do but to wait, on the chance that