A Narrative of the Captivity, Sufferings, and Removes of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson/03 The third Remove
The third Remove.
THE morning being come, they prepared to go on their way, one of the Indians got upon a horse, and they sat me up behind him, with my poor sick babe in my lap. A very wearisome and tedious day I had of it; what with my own wound, and my child being so exceeding sick, and in a lamentable condition with her wound, it may easily be judged what a poor feeble condition we were in, there being not the least crumb of refreshing that came within either of our mouths from Wednesday night to Saturday night, except only a little cold water. This day in the afternoon, about an hour by sun, we came to the place where they intended, viz: an Indian town called Wenimesset, northward of Quabaug. When we were come, Oh the number of Pagans (now merciless enemies) that there came about me, that I may say as David, Psal. 27. 13, I had fainted unless I had believed, &c. The next day was the sabbath: I then remembered how careless I had been of God's holy time: how many sabbaths I had lost and misspent, and how evilly I had walked in God's sight; which lay so close upon my spirit, that it was easy for me to see how righteous it was with God to cut off the thread of my life, and cast me out of his presence forever. Yet the Lord still shewed mercy to me, and helped me; and as he wounded me with one hand, so he healed me with the other. This day there came to me one Robert Pepper, (a man belonging to Roxbury,) who was taken at Capt. Beers's fight; and had been now a considerable time with the Indians, and up with them almost as far as Albany to see King Philip, as he told me, and was now very lately come with them into these parts. Hearing, I say, that I was in this Indian town, he obtained leave to come and see me. He told me he himself was wounded in the leg at Capt. Beers's fight; and was not able some time to go, but as they carried him, and that he took oak leaves and laid to his wound, and by the blessing of God, he was able to travel again. Then took I oak leaves and laid to my side, and with the blessing of God, it cured me also; yet before the cure was wrought, I may say as it is in Psalms 38. 5, 6. My wounds stink and are corrupt, I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly, I go mourning all the day long. I sat much alone with my poor wounded child in my lap, which moaned night and day, having nothing to revive the body, or cheer the spirits of her; but instead of that one Indian would come and tell me one hour, your master will knock your child on the head, and then a second and then a third, your master will quickly knock your child on the head.
This was the comfort I had from them; miserable comforters were they all. Thus nine days I sat upon my knees, with my babe in my lap, till my flesh was raw again. My child being even ready to depart this sorrowful world, they bid me carry it out to another wigwam; (I suppose because they would not be troubled with such spectacles;) whither I went with a very heavy heart, and down I sat with the picture of death in my lap. About two hours in the night, my sweet babe like a lamb departed this life, on Feb. 18, 1675, it being about six years and five months old. It was nine days from the first wounding in this miserable condition, without any refreshing of one nature or another, except a little cold water. I cannot but take notice, how at another time I could not bear to be in a room where a dead person was, but now the case is changed; I must and could lie down with my dead babe all the night after. I have thought since, of the wonderful goodness of God to me, in preserving me so in the use of my reason and senses, in that distressed time, that I did not use wicked and violent means to end my own miserable life. In the morning, when they understood that my child was dead, they sent me home to my master's wigwam. (By my master in this writing must be understood Quannopin, who was a Saggamore, and married King Philip's wife's sister; not that he first took me, but I was sold to him by a Narraganset Indian, who took me when I first came out of the garrison.) I went to take up my dead child in my arms to carry it with me, but they bid me let it alone. There was no resisting, but go I must, and leave it. When I had been a while at my master's wigwam, I took the first opportunity I could get, to go look after my dead child. When I came I asked them what they had done with it? they told me it was on the hill; then they went and showed me where it was, where I saw the ground was newly digged, and where they told me they had buried it; there I left that child in the wilderness, and must commit it and myself also in this wilderness condition, to him who is above all. God having taken away this dear child, I went to see my daughter Mary, who was at the same Indian town, at a wigwam not very far off, though we had little liberty or opportunity to see one another; she was about ten years old, and taken from the door at first by a praying Indian, and afterwards sold for a gun. When I came in sight she would fall a weeping, at which they were provoked, and would not let me come near her, but bid me be gone; which was a heart-cutting word to me. I had one child dead, another in the wilderness, I knew not where, the third they would not let me come near to: Me (as he said) have ye bereaved of my children; Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin also, all these things are against me. I could not sit still in this condition, but kept walking from one place to another. And as I was going along, my heart was even overwhelmed with the thoughts of my condition, and that I should have children, and a nation that I knew not ruled over them. Whereupon I earnestly entreated the Lord that he would consider my low estate, and shew me a token for good, and if it were his blessed will, some sign and hope of some relief. And indeed quickly the Lord answered in some measure, my poor prayer: For as I was going up and down mourning and lamenting my condition, my son came to me and asked me how I did? I had not seen him before, since the destruction of the town; and I knew not where he was, till I was informed by himself that he was amongst a smaller parcel of Indians, whose place was about six miles off. With tears in his eyes he asked me whether his sister Sarah was dead? and told me he had seen his sister Mary; and prayed me, that I would not be troubled in reference to himself. The occasion of his coming to see me at this time was this: There was, as I said, about six miles from us a small plantation of Indians, where it seems he had been during his captivity; and at this time, there were some forces of the Indians gathered out of our company, and some also from them (amongst whom was my son's master) to go to assault and burn Medfleld: In this time of his master's absence, his dame brought him to see me. I took this to be some gracious answer to my earnest and unfeigned desire. The next day the Indians returned from Medfleld. (All the company, for those that belonged to the other smaller company came through the town that now we were at.) But before they came to us, Oh, the outrageous roaring and hooping that there was! They began their din about a mile before they came to us. By their noise and hooping they signified how many they had destroyed; which was at that time twenty-three. Those that were with us at home, were gathered together as soon as they heard the hooping, and every time that the other went over their number, these at home gave a shout, that the very earth rang again. And thus they continued till those that had been upon the expedition were come up to the Saggamore's wigwam; and then, Oh, the hideous insulting and triumphing that there was over some English men's scalps that they had taken (as their manner is) and brought with them. I cannot but take notice of the wonderful mercy of God to me in those afflictions, in sending me a Bible. One of the Indians that came from Medfield fight, and had brought some plunder, came to me, and asked me if I would have a Bible, he had got in his basket? I was glad of it, and asked him if he thought the Indians would let me read? He answered yes; so I took the Bible, and in that melancholy time, it came into my mind to read first the 28 chap. of Deuteronomy, which I did, and when I had read it, my dark heart wrought on this manner, that there was no mercy for me, that the blessings were gone, and the curses came in their room, and that I had lost my opportunity. But the Lord helped me still to go on reading till I came to ch. 30, the seven first verses; where I found there was mercy promised again, if we would return to him, by repentance: and though we were scattered from one end of the earth to the other, yet the Lord would gather us together, and turn all those curses upon our enemies. I do not desire to live to forget this scripture, and what comfort it was to me.
Now the Indians began to talk of removing from this place, some one way and some another. There were now besides myself nine English captives in this place, (all of them children except one woman.) I got an opportunity to go and take my leave of them, they being to go one way and I another. I asked them whether they were earnest with God for deliverance. They told me they did as they were able, and it was some comfort to me, that the Lord stirred up children to look to him. The woman, viz: good-wife Toslin told me she should never see me again, and that she could find in her heart to run away by any means, for we were near thirty miles from any English town, and she very big with child, having but one week to reckon, and another child in her arms two vears old, and bad rivers there were to go over, and we were feeble with our poor and coarse entertainments. I had my Bible with me, I pulled it out, and asked her whether she would read; we opened the Bible, and lighted on Psal. 27, in which Psalm we especially took notice of that verse, Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart, wait I say on the Lord.