A Narrative of the Captivity, Sufferings, and Removes of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson/08 The eighth Remove
The eighth Remove.
ON the morrow morning we must go over Connecticut River to meet with King Philip; two canoes full they had carried over, the next turn myself was to go; but as my foot was upon the canoe to step in, there was a sudden outcry among them, and I must step back; and instead of going over the river, I must go four or five miles up the river farther northward. Some of the Indians ran one way, and some another. The cause of this rout was, as I thought, their espying some English scouts, who were thereabouts. In this travel up the river about noon the company made a stop, and sat down, some to eat and others to rest them. As I sat amongst them musing on things past, my son Joseph unexpectedly came to me. We asked of each others welfare, bemoaning our doleful condition, and the change that had come upon us: We had husband and father, and children, and sisters, and friends, and relations, and house, and home, and many comforts of this life; but now we might say as Job. Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return: The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord. I asked him whether he would read? he told me he earnestly desired it. I gave him my Bible, and he lighted upon that comfortable scripture, Psalm 118. 17, 18. I shall not die but live, and declare the works of the Lord: The Lord hath chastened me sore, yet he hath not given me over to death. Look here mother (says he) did you read this? And here I may take occasion to mention one principal ground of my setting forth these lines, even as the Psalmist says, to declare the works of the Lord, and his wonderful power in carrying us along, preserving us in the wilderness, while under the enemy's hand, and returning of us in safety again; and his goodness in bringing to my hand so many comfortable and suitable scriptures in my distress.
But to return: We travelled on till night, and in the morning we must go over the river to Philip's crew. When I was in the canoe, I could not but be amazed at the numerous crew of Pagans that were on the bank on the other side. When I came ashore, they gathered all about me, I sitting alone in the midst: I observed they asked one another questions, and laughed, and rejoiced over their gains and victories. Then my heart began to fail and I fell a weeping; which was the first time to my remembrance that I wept before them; although I had met with so much affliction, and my heart was many times ready to break, yet could I not shed one tear in their sight, but rather had been all this while in a maze, and like one astonished; but now I may say as Psal. 137. 1. By the river of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. There one of them asked me why I wept? I could hardly tell what to say; yet I answered, they would kill me: No said he, none will hurt you. Then came one of them, and gave me two spoonfuls of meal (to comfort me) and another gave me half a pint of peas, which was worth more than many bushels at another time. Then I went to see King Philip; he bid me come in, and sit down; and asked me whether I would smoke it? (a usual compliment now a days, among the saints and sinners;) but this no ways suited me. For though I had formerly used tobacco, yet I had left it ever since I was first taken. It seems to be a bait the devil lays to make men lose their precious time. I remember with shame, how formerly, when I had taken two or three pipes, I was presently ready for another; such a bewitching thing it is. But I thank God he has now given me power over it; surely there are many who may be better employed, than to sit sucking a stinking tobacco-pipe.
Now the Indians gathered their forces to go against Northampton. Over night one went about yelling and hooting to give notice of the design. Whereupon they went to boiling of ground-nuts, and parching corn (as many as had it) for their provision; and in the morning away they went. During my abode in this place, Philip spake to me to make a shirt for his boy, which I did; for which he gave me a shilling. I offered the money to my mistress, but she bid me keep it, and with it I bought a piece of horse-flesh. Afterward he asked me to make a cap for his boy, for which he invited me to dinner; I went, and he gave me a pan-cake, about as big as two fingers; it was made of parched wheat, beaten and fried in bear's grease, but I thought I never tasted pleasanter meat in my life. There was a Squaw who spake to me to make a shirt for her Sannup: for which she gave me a piece of beef. Another asked me to knit a pair of stockings, for which she gave me a quart of peas. I boiled my peas and beef together, and invited my master and mistress to dinner; but the proud gossip, because I served them both in one dish, would eat nothing, except one bit that he gave her upon the point of his knife. Hearing that my son was come to this place, I went to see him, and found him lying flat on the ground; I asked him how he could sleep so? he answered me, that he was not asleep, but at prayer; and that he lay so, that they might not observe what he was doing. I pray God he may remember these things now he is returned in safety. At this place (the sun now getting higher) what with the beams and heat of the sun, and the smoke of the wigwams, I thought I should have been blinded. I could scarce discern one wigwam from another. There was one Mary Thurston of Medfield, who seeing how it was with me, lent me a hat to wear; but as soon as I was gone, the Squaw that owned that Mary Thurston came running after me, and got it away again. Here was a Squaw who gave me a spoonful of meal, I put it in my pocket to keep it safe, yet notwithstanding somebody stole it, but put five Indian corns in the room of it; which corns were the greatest provision I had in my travel for one day.
The Indians returning from North Hampton, brought with them some horses, and sheep, and other things which they had taken: I desired them that they would carry me to Albany upon one of those horses, and sell me for powder; for so they had sometimes discoursed. I was utterly helpless of getting home on foot, the way that I came. I could hardly bear to think of the many weary steps I had taken to this place.