A Narrative of the Captivity, Sufferings, and Removes of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson/19 The nineteenth Remove
The nineteenth Remove.
THEY said when we went out, that we must travel to Wachuset this day. But a bitter weary day I had of it, travelling now three days together, without resting any day between. At last, after many weary steps, I saw Wachuset hills, but many miles off. Then we came to a great swamp, through which we travelled up to our knees in mud and water, which was heavy going to one tired before. Being almost spent, I thought I should have sunk down at last, and never got out; but I may say as in Psalm 94. 18. When my foot slipped, thy mercy, O Lord, held me up. Going along, having indeed my life, but little spirit, Philip (who was in the company) came up, and took me by the hand, and said, “Two weeks more and you shall be mistress again.” I asked him if he spake true? he answered, “Yes, and quickly you shall come to your master again,” who had been gone from us three weeks. After many weary steps, we came to Wachuset, where he was, and glad was I to see him. He asked me when I washed me? I told him not this month; then he fetched me some water himself, and bid me wash, and gave me a glass to see how I look'd, and bid his Squaw give me something to eat. So she gave me a mess of beans and meat, and a little ground-nut cake. I was wonderfully evived with this favour shewed me. Psalm 106. 46. He made them also to be pitied of all those that carried them away captive.
My master had three Squaws, living sometimes with one, and sometimes with another. Onux, this old Squaw at whose wigwam I was, and with whom my master had been these three weeks: Another was Wettimore, with whom I had lived and served all this while. A severe and proud dame she was; bestowing every day in dressing herself near as much time as any of the gentry of the land; powdering her hair, and painting her face, going with her necklaces, with jewels in her ears, and bracelets upon her hands. When she had dressed herself, her work was to make girdles of wampom and beads. The third Squaw was a younger one, by whom he had two Papooses. By that time I was refreshed by the old Squaw, Wettimore's maid came to call me home, at which I fell a weeping. Then the old Squaw told me to encourage me, that when I wanted victuals, I should come to her and that I should lie in her wigwam. Then I went with the maid, and quickly I came back and lodged there. The Squaw laid a mat under me, and a good rug over me; the first time that I had any such kindness shewed me. I understood that Wettimore thought, that if she should let me go and serve with the old Squaw, she should be in danger to lose (not only my Service) but the redemption-pay also. And I was not a little glad to hear this; being by it raised in my hopes, that in God's due time there would be an end of this sorrowful hour. Then came an Indian and asked me to knit him three pair of stockings, for which I had a hat and a silk handkerchief. Then another asked me to make her a shift, for which she gave me an apron.
Then came Tom and Peter with the second letter from the council, about the captives. Though they were Indians, I took them by the hand, and burst out into tears; my heart was so full that I could not speak to them; but recovering myself, I asked them how my husband did? and all my friends and acquaintance? they said they were well, but very melancholy. They brought me two biskets, and a pound of tobacco, the tobacco I soon gave away. When it was all gone, one asked me to give him a pipe of tobacco, I told him it was all gone; then he began to rant and threaten; I told him when my husband came, I would give him some: “Hang him,” rogue, says he, “I will knock out his brains, if he comes here.” And then again at the same breath, they would say, that if there should come an hundred without guns they would do them no hurt. So unstable and like mad-men they were. So that fearing the worst, I durst not send to my husband, though there were some thoughts of his coming to redeem and fetch me, not knowing what might follow; for there was but little more trust to them, than to the master they served. When the letter was come, the Saggamores met to consult about the captives, and called me to them, to enquire how much my husband would give to redeem me. When I came I sat down among them, as I was wont to do, as their manner is. Then they bid me stand up, and said, they were the general court. They bid me speak what I thought he would give. Now knowing that all that we had was destroyed by the Indians, I was in a great strait. I thought if I should speak of but a little, it would be slighted, and hinder the matter; if of a great sum, I knew not where it would be procured; yet at a venture, I said twenty pounds, yet desired them to take less; but they would not hear of that, but sent that message to Boston, that for twenty pounds I should be redeemed. It was a praying Indian that wrote their letters for them. There was another praying Indian, who told me that he had a brother, that would not eat horse, his conscience was so tender and scrupulous, though as large as hell for the destruction of poor christians; then he said he read that scripture to him, 2 Kings 6. 25. There was a famine in Samaria, and behold they besieged it, until an ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung, for five pieces of silver. He expounded this place to his brother, and shewed him that it was lawful to eat that in a famine, which it is not at another time. And now, says he, he will eat horse with any Indian of them all. There was another praying Indian, who when he had done all the mischief that he could, betrayed his own father into the English's hands, thereby to purchase his own life. Another praying Indian was at Sudbury fight, though as he deserved, he was afterwards hanged for it. There was another praying Indian, so wicked and cruel, as to wear a string about his neck, strung with christian fingers. Another praying Indian, when they went to Sudbury fight, went with them, and his Squaw also with him, with her papoos at her back. Before they went to that fight, they got a company together to powow. The manner was as followeth:
There was one that kneeled upon a deer-skin, with the company round him in a ring, who kneeled, striking upon the ground with their hands, and with sticks, and muttering or humming with their mouths. Besides him who kneeled in the ring, there also stood one with a gun in his hand. Then he on the deer-skin made a speech, and all manifested assent to it, and so they did many times together. Then they bid him with a gun go out of the ring, which he did; but when he was out, they called him in again; but he seemed to make a stand. Then they called the more earnestly, till he turned again. Then they all sang. Then they gave him two guns, in each hand one. And so he on the deer-skin began again; and at the end of every sentence in his speaking, they all assented, and humming or muttering, with their mouths, and striking upon the ground with their hands. Then they bid him with the two guns, go out of the ring again: which he did a little way. Then they called him again, but he made a stand, so they called him with greater earnestness; but he stood reeling and wavering, as if he knew not whether he should stand or fall, or which way to go. Then they called him with exceeding great vehemency, all of them, one and another. After a little while he turned in staggering as he went, with his arms stretched out, in each hand a gun. As soon as he came in, they all sang and rejoiced exceedingly a while, and then he upon the deer-skin made another speech, unto which they all assented in a rejoicing manner; and so they ended their business, and forthwith went to Sudbury fight.
To my thinking, they went without any scruple but that they should prosper, and gain the victory. And they went out not so rejoicing, but they came home with as great a victory. For they said they killed two captains, and almost an hundred men. One Englishman they brought alive with them, and he said it was too true, for they had made sad work at Sudbury; as indeed it proved. Yet they came home without that rejoicing and triumphing over their victory, which they were wont to shew at other times; but rather like dogs (as they say) which have lost their ears. Yet I could not perceive that it was for their own loss of men; they said they lost not above five or six; and I missed none, except in one wigwam. When they went, they acted as if the devil had told them that they should gain the victory, and now they acted as if the devil had told them they should have a fall. Whether it were so or no, I cannot tell, but so it proved: For they quickly began to fall, and so held on that summer, till they came to utter ruin. They came home on a sabbath day, and the pawaw that kneeled upon the deer-skin, came home, I may say without any abuse, as black as the devil. When my master came home, he came to me and bid me make a shirt for his Papoos, of a holland laced pillowbeer. About that time there came an Indian to me, and bid me come to his wigwam at night, and he would give me some pork and ground-nuts. Which I did, and as I was eating, another Indian said to me, he seems to be your good friend, but he killed two Englishmen at Sudbury, and there lie the cloathes behind you; I looked behind me, and there I saw bloody cloathes, with bullet-holes in them; yet the Lord suffered not this wretch to do me any hurt, yea instead of that, he many times refresh'd me. Five or six times did he and his Squaw refresh my feeble carcase. If I went to their wigwam at any time, they would always give me something, and yet they were strangers that I never saw before. Another Squaw gave me a piece of fresh pork, and a little salt with it, and lent me her frying-pan to fry it; and I cannot but remember what a sweet, pleasant and delightful relish that bit had to me, to this day. So little do we prize common mercies, when we have them to the full.