Page:Twice-Told Tales (1851) vol 2.djvu/248

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'Officer, lower your banner!' said he.

The officer obeyed; and, brandishing his sword, Endicott thrust it through the cloth, and, with his left hand, rent the Red Cross completely out of the banner. He then waved the tattered ensign above his head.

'Sacrilegious wretch!' cried the high-churchman in the pillory, unable longer to restrain himself; 'thou hast rejected the symbol of our holy religion!'

'Treason, treason!' roared the royalist in the stocks. 'He hath defaced the King's banner!'

'Before God and man, I will avouch the deed,' answered Endicott. 'Beat a flourish, drummer!—shout, soldiers and people!—in honor of the ensign of New England. Neither Pope nor Tyrant hath part in it now!'

With a cry of triumph, the people gave their sanction to one of the boldest exploits which our history records. And, for ever honored be the name of Endicott! We look back through the mist of ages, and recognise, in the rending of the Red Cross from New England's banner, the first omen of that deliverance which our fathers consummated, after the bones of the stern Puritan had lain more than a century in the dust.