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The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. by Washington Irving

Part 6 out of 7

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Whatever may have been the joviality of the old mansion in the
days of Shakespeare, it had now an air of stillness and solitude.
The great iron gateway that opened into the courtyard was locked,
there was no show of servants bustling about the place; the deer
gazed quietly at me as I passed, being no longer harried by the
moss-troopers of Stratford. The only sign of domestic life that I
met with was a white cat stealing with wary look and stealthy
pace towards the stables, as if on some nefarious expedition. I
must not omit to mention the carcass of a scoundrel crow which I
saw suspended against the barn-wall, as it shows that the Lucys
still inherit that lordly abhorrence of poachers and maintain
that rigorous exercise of territorial power which was so
strenuously manifested in the case of the bard.

After prowling about for some time, I at length found my way to a
lateral portal, which was the every-day entrance to the mansion.
I was courteously received by a worthy old housekeeper, who, with
the civility and communicativeness of her order, showed me the
interior of the house. The greater part has undergone alterations
and been adapted to modern tastes and modes of living: there is a
fine old oaken staircase, and the great hall, that noble feature
in an ancient manor-house, still retains much of the appearance
it must have had in the days of Shakespeare. The ceiling is
arched and lofty, and at one end is a gallery in which stands an
organ. The weapons and trophies of the chase, which formerly
adorned the hall of a country gentleman, have made way for family
portraits. There is a wide, hospitable fireplace, calculated for
an ample old-fashioned wood fire, formerly the rallying-place of
winter festivity. On the opposite side of the hall is the huge
Gothic bow-window, with stone shafts, which looks out upon the
courtyard. Here are emblazoned in stained glass the armorial
bearings of the Lucy family for many generations, some being
dated in 1558. I was delighted to observe in the quarterings the
three white luces by which the character of Sir Thomas was first
identified with that of Justice Shallow. They are mentioned in
the first scene of the "Merry Wives of Windsor," where the
justice, is in a rage with Falstaff for having "beaten his men,
killed his deer, and broken into his lodge." The poet had no
doubt the offences of himself and his comrades in mind at the
time, and we may suppose the family pride and vindictive threats
of the puissant Shallow to be a caricature of the pompous
indignation of Sir Thomas.

"Shallow. Sir Hugh, persuade me not: I will make a Star Chamber
matter of it; if he were twenty John Falstaffs, he shall not
abuse Sir Robert Shallow, Esq.

Slender. In the county of Gloster, justice of peace and coram.

Shallow. Ay, cousin Slender, and custalorum.

Slender. Ay, and ratolorum too, and a gentleman born, master
parson; who writes himself Armigero in any bill, warrant,
quittance, or obligation, Armigero.

Shallow. Ay, that I do; and have done any time these three
hundred years.

Slender. All his successors gone before him have done't, and all
his ancestors that come after him may; they may give the dozen
white luces in their coat. . . .

Shallow. The council shall hear it; it is a riot.

Evans. It is not meet the council hear of a riot; there is no
fear of Got in a riot; the council, hear you, shall desire to
hear the fear of Got, and not to hear a riot; take your vizaments
in that.

Shallow. Ha! o' my life, if I were young again, the sword should
end it!"

Near the window thus emblazoned hung a portrait, by Sir Peter
Lely, of one of the Lucy family, a great beauty of the time of
Charles the Second: the old housekeeper shook her head as she
pointed to the picture, and informed me that this lady had been
sadly addicted to cards, and had gambled away a great portion of
the family estate, among which was that part of the park where
Shakespeare and his comrades had killed the deer. The lands thus
lost had not been entirely regained by the family even at the
present day. It is but justice to this recreant dame to confess
that she had a surpassingly fine hand and arm.

The picture which most attracted my attention was a great
painting over the fireplace, containing likenesses of Sir Thomas
Lucy and his family who inhabited the hall in the latter part of
Shakespeare's lifetime. I at first thought that it was the
vindictive knight himself, but the housekeeper assured me that it
was his son; the only likeness extant of the former being an
effigy upon his tomb in the church of the neighboring hamlet of

* This effigy is in white marble, and represents the knight in
complete armor. Near him lies the effigy of his wife, and on her
tomb is the following inscription; which, if really composed by
her husband, places him quite above the intellectual level of
Master Shallow:

Here lyeth the Lady Joyce Lucy wife of Sir Thomas Lucy of
Charlecot in ye county of Warwick, Knight, Daughter and heir of
Thomas Acton of Sutton in ye county of Worcester Esquire who
departed out of this wretched world to her heavenly kingdom ye 10
day of February in ye yeare of our Lord God 1595 and of her age
60 and three. All the time of her lyfe a true and faythful
servant of her good God, never detected of any cryme or vice. In
religion most sounde, in love to her husband most faythful and
true. In friendship most constant; to what in trust was committed
unto her most secret. In wisdom excelling. In governing of her
house, bringing up of youth in ye fear of God that did converse
with her moste rare and singular. A great maintayner of
hospitality. Greatly esteemed of her betters; misliked of none
unless of the envyous. When all is spoken that can be saide a
woman so garnished with virtue as not to be bettered and hardly
to be equalled by any. As shee lived most virtuotisly so shee
died most Godly. Set downe by him yt best did knowe what hath byn
written to be true.
Thomas Lucye.

The picture gives a lively idea of the costume and manners of the
time. Sir Thomas is dressed in ruff and doublet, white shoes with
roses in them, and has a peaked yellow, or, as Master Slender
would say, "a cane-colored beard." His lady is seated on the
opposite side of the picture in wide ruff and long stomacher, and
the children have a most venerable stiffness and formality of
dress. Hounds and spaniels are mingled in the family group; a
hawk is seated on his perch in the foreground, and one of the
children holds a bow, all intimating the knight's skill in
hunting, hawking, and archery, so indispensable to an
accomplished gentleman in those days.*

* Bishop Earle, speaking of the country gentleman of his time,
observes, "His housekeeping is seen much in the different
families of dogs and serving-men attendant on their kennels; and
the deepness of their throats is the depth of his discourse. A
hawk he esteems the true burden of nobility, and is exceedingly
ambitious to seem delighted with the sport, and have his fist
gloved with his jesses." And Gilpin, in his description of a Mr.
Hastings, remarks, "He kept all sorts of hounds that run buck,
fox, hare, otter, and badger; and had hawks of all kinds both
long and short winged. His great hall was commonly strewed with
marrow-bones, and full of hawk perches, hounds, spaniels, and
terriers. On a broad hearth, paved with brick, lay some of the
choicest terriers, hounds, and spaniels."

I regretted to find that the ancient furniture of the hall had
disappeared; for I had hoped to meet with the stately elbow-chair
of carved oak in which the country squire of former days was wont
to sway the sceptre of empire over his rural domains, and in
which it might be presumed the redoubled Sir Thomas sat enthroned
in awful state when the recreant Shakespeare was brought before
him. As I like to deck out pictures for my own entertainment, I
pleased myself with the idea that this very hall had been the
scene of the unlucky bard's examination on the morning after his
captivity in the lodge. I fancied to myself the rural potentate
surrounded by his body-guard of butler, pages, and blue-coated
serving-men with their badges, while the luckless culprit was
brought in, forlorn and chopfallen, in the custody of
gamekeepers, huntsmen,, and whippers-in, and followed by a rabble
rout of country clowns. I fancied bright faces of curious
housemaids peeping from the half-opened doors, while from the
gallery the fair daughters of the knight leaned gracefully
forward, eyeing the youthful prisoner with that pity "that dwells
in womanhood." Who would have thought that this poor varlet, thus
trembling before the brief authority of a country squire, and the
sport of rustic boors, was soon to become the delight of princes,
the theme of all tongues and ages, the dictator to the human mind
and was to confer immortality on his oppressor by a caricature
and a lampoon?

I was now invited by the butler to walk into the garden, and I
felt inclined to visit the orchard and harbor where the justice
treated Sir John Falstaff and Cousin Silence "to a last year's
pippin of his own grafting, with a dish of caraways;" but I bad
already spent so much of the day in my ramblings that I was
obliged to give up any further investigations. When about to take
my leave I was gratified by the civil entreaties of the
housekeeper and butler that I would take some refreshment--an
instance of good old hospitality which, I grieve to say, we
castle-hunters seldom meet with in modern days. I make no doubt
it is a virtue which the present representative of the Lucys
inherits from his ancestors; for Shakespeare, even in his
caricature, makes Justice Shallow importunate in this respect, as
witness his pressing instances to Falstaff:

"By cock and pye, Sir, you shall not away to-night. . . . . I
will not excuse you; you shall not be excused; excuses shall not
be admitted; there is no excuse shall serve; you shall not be
excused. . . . Some pigeons, Davy, a couple of short-legged hens;
a joint of mutton; and any pretty little tiny kickshaws, tell
`William Cook.'"

I now bade a reluctant farewell to the old hall. My mind had
become so completely possessed by the imaginary scenes and
characters connected with it that I seemed to be actually living
among them. Everything brought them as it were before my eyes,
and as the door of the dining-room opened I almost expected to
hear the feeble voice of Master Silence quavering forth his
favorite ditty:

"'Tis merry in hall, when beards wag all,
And welcome merry Shrove-tide!"

On returning to my inn I could not but reflect on the singular
gift of the poet, to be able thus to spread the magic of his mind
over the very face of Nature, to give to things and places a
charm and character not their own, and to turn this "working-day
world" into a perfect fairy-land. He is indeed the true
enchanter, whose spell operates, not upon the senses, but upon
the imagination and the heart. Under the wizard influence of
Shakespeare I had been walking all day in a complete delusion. I
had surveyed the landscape through the prism of poetry, which
tinged every object with the hues of the rainbow. I had been
surrounded with fancied beings, with mere airy nothings conjured
up by poetic power, yet which, to me, had all the charm of
reality. I had heard Jaques soliloquize beneath his oak; had
beheld the fair Rosalind and her companion adventuring through
the woodlands; and, above all, had been once more present in
spirit with fat Jack Falstaff and his contemporaries, from the
august Justice Shallow down to the gentle Master Slender and the
sweet Anne Page. Ten thousand honors and blessings on the bard
who has thus gilded the dull realities of life with innocent
illusions, who has spread exquisite and unbought pleasures in my
chequered path, and beguiled my spirit in many a lonely hour with
all the cordial and cheerful sympathies of social life!

As I crossed the bridge over the Avon on my return, I paused to
contemplate the distant church in which the poet lies buried, and
could not but exult in the malediction which has kept his ashes
undisturbed in its quiet and hallowed vaults. What honor could
his name have derived from being mingled in dusty companionship
with the epitaphs and escutcheons and venal eulogiums of a titled
multitude? What would a crowded corner in Westminster Abbey have
been, compared with this reverend pile, which seems to stand in
beautiful loneliness as his sole mausoleum! The solitude about
the grave may be but the offspring of an overwrought sensibility;
but human nature is made up of foibles and prejudices, and its
best and tenderest affections are mingled with these factitious
feelings. He who has sought renown about the world, and has
reaped a full harvest of worldly favor, will find, after all,
that there is no love, no admiration, no applause, so sweet to
the soul as that which springs up in his native place. It is
there that he seeks to be gathered in peace and honor among his
kindred and his early friends. And when the weary heart and
failing head begin to warn him that the evening of life is
drawing on, he turns as fondly as does the infant to the mother's
arms to sink to sleep in the bosom of the scene of his childhood.

How would it have cheered the spirit of the youthful bard when,
wandering forth in disgrace upon a doubtful world, he cast back a
heavy look upon his paternal home, could he have foreseen that
before many years he should return to it covered with renown;
that his name should become the boast and glory of his native
place; that his ashes should be religiously guarded as its most
precious treasure; and that its lessening spire, on which his
eyes were fixed in tearful contemplation, should one day become
the beacon towering amidst the gentle landscape to guide the
literary pilgrim of every nation to his tomb!


"I appeal to any white man if ever he entered Logan's cabin
hungry, and he gave him not to eat; if ever he came cold and
naked, and he clothed him not."--Speech of au Indian Chief.

THERE is something in the character and habits of the North
American savage, taken in connection with the scenery over which
he is accustomed to range, its vast lakes, boundless forests,
majestic rivers, and trackless plains, that is, to my mind,
wonderfully striking and sublime. He is formed for the
wilderness, as the Arab is for the desert. His nature is stern,
simple, and enduring, fitted to grapple with difficulties and to
support privations. There seems but little soil in his heart for
the support of the kindly virtues; and yet, if we would but take
the trouble to penetrate through that proud stoicism and habitual
taciturnity which lock up his character from casual observation,
we should find him linked to his fellow-man of civilized life by
more of those sympathies and affections than are usually ascribed
to him.

It has been the lot of the unfortunate aborigines of America in
the early periods of colonization to be doubly wronged by the
white men. They have been dispossessed of their hereditary
possessions by mercenary and frequently wanton warfare, and their
characters have been traduced by bigoted and interested writers.
The colonists often treated them like beasts of the forest, and
the author has endeavored to justify him in his outrages. The
former found it easier to exterminate than to civilize; the
latter to vilify than to discriminate. The appellations of savage
and pagan were deemed sufficient to sanction the hostilities of
both; and thus the poor wanderers of the forest were persecuted
and defamed, not because they were guilty, but because they were

The rights of the savage have seldom been properly appreciated or
respected by the white man. In peace he has too often been the
dupe of artful traffic; in war he has been regarded as a
ferocious animal whose life or death was a question of mere
precaution and convenience. Man is cruelly wasteful of life when
his own safety is endangered and he is sheltered by impunity, and
little mercy is to be expected from him when he feels the sting
of the reptile and is conscious of the power to destroy.

The same prejudices, which were indulged thus early, exist in
common circulation at the present day. Certain learned societies
have, it is true, with laudable diligence, endeavored to
investigate and record the real characters and manners of the
Indian tribes; the American government, too, has wisely and
humanely exerted itself to inculcate a friendly and forbearing
spirit towards them and to protect them from fraud and
injustice.* The current opinion of the Indian character, however,
is too apt to be formed from the miserable hordes which infest
the frontiers and hang on the skirts of the settlements. These
are too commonly composed of degenerate beings, corrupted and
enfeebled by the vices of society, without being benefited by its
civilization. That proud independence which formed the main
pillar of savage virtue has been shaken down, and the whole moral
fabric lies in ruins. Their spirits are humiliated and debased by
a sense of inferiority, and their native courage cowed and
daunted by the superior knowledge and power of their enlightened
neighbors. Society has advanced upon them like one of those
withering airs that will sometimes breed desolation over a whole
region of fertility. It has enervated their strength, multiplied
their diseases, and superinduced upon their original barbarity
the low vices of artificial life. It has given them a thousand
superfluous wants, whilst it has diminished their means of mere
existence. It has driven before it the animals of the chase, who
fly from the sound of the axe and the smoke of the settlement and
seek refuge in the depths of remoter forests and yet untrodden
wilds. Thus do we too often find the Indians on our frontiers to
be the mere wrecks and remnants of once powerful tribes, who have
lingered in the vicinity of the settlements and sunk into
precarious and vagabond existence. Poverty, repining and hopeless
poverty, a canker of the mind unknown in savage life, corrodes
their spirits and blights every free and noble quality of their
natures. They become drunken, indolent, feeble, thievish, and
pusillanimous. They loiter like vagrants about the settlements,
among spacious dwellings replete with elaborate comforts, which
only render them sensible of the comparative wretchedness of
their own condition. Luxury spreads its ample board before their
eyes, but they are excluded from the banquet. Plenty revels over
the fields, but they are starving in the midst of its abundance;
the whole wilderness has blossomed into a garden, but they feel
as reptiles that infest it.

* The American Government has been indefatigable in its exertions
to ameliorate the situation of the Indians, and to introduce
among them the arts of civilization and civil and religious
knowledge. To protect them from the frauds of the white traders
no purchase of land from them by individuals is permitted, nor is
any person allowed to receive lands from them as a present
without the express sanction of government. These precautions are
strictly enforced.

How different was their state while yet the undisputed lords of
the soil! Their wants were few and the means of gratification
within their reach. They saw every one round them sharing the
same lot, enduring the same hardships, feeding on the same
aliments, arrayed in the same rude garments. No roof then rose
but was open to the homeless stranger; no smoke curled among the
trees but he was welcome to sit down by its fire and join the
hunter in his repast. "For," says an old historian of New
England, "their life is so void of care, and they are so loving
also, that they make use of those things they enjoy as common
goods, and are therein so compassionate that rather than one
should starve through want, they would starve all; thus they pass
their time merrily, not regarding our pomp, but are better
content with their own, which some men esteem so meanly of." Such
were the Indians whilst in the pride and energy of their
primitive natures: they resembled those wild plants which thrive
best in the shades of the forest, but shrink from the hand of
cultivation and perish beneath the influence of the sun.

In discussing the savage character writers have been too prone to
indulge in vulgar prejudice and passionate exaggeration, instead
of the candid temper of true philosophy. They have not
sufficiently considered the peculiar circumstances in which the
Indians have been placed, and the peculiar principles under which
they have been educated. No being acts more rigidly from rule
than the Indian. His whole conduct is regulated according to some
general maxims early implanted in his mind. The moral laws that
govern him are, to be sure, but few; but then he conforms to them
all; the white man abounds in laws of religion, morals, and
manners, but how many does he violate!

A frequent ground of accusation against the Indians is their
disregard of treaties, and the treachery and wantonness with
which, in time of apparent peace, they will suddenly fly to
hostilities. The intercourse of the white men with the Indians,
however, is too apt to be cold, distrustful, oppressive, and
insulting. They seldom treat them with that confidence and
frankness which are indispensable to real friendship, nor is
sufficient caution observed not to offend against those feelings
of pride or superstition which often prompt the Indian to
hostility quicker than mere considerations of interest. The
solitary savage feels silently, but acutely. His sensibilities
are not diffused over so wide a surface as those of the white
man, but they run in steadier and deeper channels. His pride, his
affections, his superstitions, are all directed towards fewer
objects, but the wounds inflicted on them are proportionably
severe, and furnish motives of hostility which we cannot
sufficiently appreciate. Where a community is also limited in
number, and forms one great patriarchal family, as in an Indian
tribe, the injury of an individual is the injury of the whole,
and the sentiment of vengeance is almost instantaneously
diffused. One council-fire is sufficient for the discussion and
arrangement of a plan of hostilities. Here all the fighting-men
and sages assemble. Eloquence and superstition combine to inflame
the minds of the warriors. The orator awakens their martial
ardor, and they are wrought up to a kind of religious desperation
by the visions of the prophet and the dreamer.

An instance of one of those sudden exasperations, arising from a
motive peculiar to the Indian character, is extant in an old
record of the early settlement of Massachusetts. The planters of
Plymouth had defaced the monuments of the dead at Passonagessit,
and had plundered the grave of the Sachem's mother of some skins
with which it had been decorated. The Indians are remarkable for
the reverence which they entertain for the sepulchres of their
kindred. Tribes that have passed generations exiled from the
abodes of their ancestors, when by chance they have been
travelling in the vicinity, have been known to turn aside from
the highway, and, guided by wonderfully accurate tradition, have
crossed the country for miles to some tumulus, buried perhaps in
woods, where the bones of their tribe were anciently deposited,
and there have passed hours in silent meditation. Influenced by
this sublime and holy feeling, the Sachem whose mother's tomb had
been violated gathered his men together, and addressed them in
the following beautifully simple and pathetic harangue--a curious
specimen of Indian eloquence and an affecting instance of filial
piety in a savage:

"When last the glorious light of all the sky was underneath this
globe and birds grew silent, I began to settle, as my custom is,
to take repose. Before mine eyes were fast closed methought I saw
a vision, at which my spirit was much troubled; and trembling at
that doleful sight, a spirit cried aloud, 'Behold, my son, whom I
have cherished, see the breasts that gave thee suck, the hands
that lapped thee warm and fed thee oft. Canst thou forget to take
revenge of those wild people who have defaced my monument in a
despiteful manner, disdaining our antiquities and honorable
customs? See, now, the Sachem's grave lies like the common
people, defaced by an ignoble race. Thy mother doth complain and
implores thy aid against this thievish people who have newly
intruded on our land. If this be suffered, I shall not rest quiet
in my everlasting habitation.' This said, the spirit vanished,
and I, all in a sweat, not able scarce to speak, began to get
some strength and recollect my spirits that were fled, and
determined to demand your counsel and assistance."

I have adduced this anecdote at some length, as it tends to show
how these sudden acts of hostility, which have been attributed to
caprice and perfidy, may often arise from deep and generous
motives, which our inattention to Indian character and customs
prevents our properly appreciating.

Another ground of violent outcry against the Indians is their
barbarity to the vanquished. This had its origin partly in policy
and partly in superstition. The tribes, though sometimes called
nations, were never so formidable in their numbers but that the
loss of several warriors was sensibly felt; this was particularly
the case when they had been frequently engaged in warfare; and
many an instance occurs in Indian history where a tribe that had
long been formidable to its neighbors has been broken up and
driven away by the capture and massacre of its principal
fighting-men. There was a strong temptation, therefore, to the
victor to be merciless, not so much to gratify any cruel revenge,
as to provide for future security. The Indians had also the
superstitious belief, frequent among barbarous nations and
prevalent also among the ancients, that the manes of their
friends who had fallen in battle were soothed by the blood of the
captives. The prisoners, however, who are not thus sacrificed are
adopted into their families in the place of the slain, and are
treated with the confidence and affection of relatives and
friends; nay, so hospitable and tender is their entertainment
that when the alternative is offered them they will often prefer
to remain with their adopted brethren rather than return to the
home and the friends of their youth.

The cruelty of the Indians towards their prisoners has been
heightened since the colonization of the whites. What was
formerly a compliance with policy and superstition has been
exasperated into a gratification of vengeance. They cannot but be
sensible that the white men are the usurpers of their ancient
dominion, the cause of their degradation, and the gradual
destroyers of their race. They go forth to battle smarting with
injuries and indignities which they have individually suffered,
and they are driven to madness and despair by the wide-spreading
desolation and the overwhelming ruin of European warfare. The
whites have too frequently set them an example of violence by
burning their villages and laying waste their slender means of
subsistence, and yet they wonder that savages do not show
moderation and magnanimity towards those who have left them
nothing but mere existence and wretchedness.

We stigmatize the Indians, also, as cowardly and treacherous,
because they use stratagem in warfare in preference to open
force; but in this they are fully justified by their rude code of
honor. They are early taught that stratagem is praiseworthy; the
bravest warrior thinks it no disgrace to lurk in silence, and
take every advantage of his foe: he triumphs in the superior
craft and sagacity by which he has been enabled to surprise and
destroy an enemy. Indeed, man is naturally more prone to subtilty
than open valor, owing to his physical weakness in comparison
with other animals. They are endowed with natural weapons of
defence, with horns, with tusks, with hoofs, and talons; but man
has to depend on his superior sagacity. In all his encounters
with these, his proper enemies, he resorts to stratagem; and when
he perversely turns his hostility against his fellow-man, he at
first continues the same subtle mode of warfare.

The natural principle of war is to do the most harm to our enemy
with the least harm to ourselves; and this of course is to be
effected by stratagem. That chivalrous courage which induces us
to despise the suggestions of prudence and to rush in the face of
certain danger is the offspring of society and produced by
education. It is honorable, because it is in fact the triumph of
lofty sentiment over an instinctive repugnance to pain, and over
those yearnings after personal ease and security which society
has condemned as ignoble. It is kept alive by pride and the fear
of shame; and thus the dread of real evil is overcome by the
superior dread of an evil which exists but in the imagination. It
has been cherished and stimulated also by various means. It has
been the theme of spirit-stirring song and chivalrous story. The
poet and minstrel have delighted to shed round it the splendors
of fiction, and even the historian has forgotten the sober
gravity of narration and broken forth into enthusiasm and
rhapsody in its praise. Triumphs and gorgeous pageants have been
its reward: monuments, on which art has exhausted its skill and
opulence its treasures, have been erected to perpetuate a
nation's gratitude and admiration. Thus artificially excited,
courage has risen to an extraordinary and factitious degree of
heroism, and, arrayed in all the glorious "pomp and circumstance
of war," this turbulent quality has even been able to eclipse
many of those quiet but invaluable virtues which silently ennoble
the human character and swell the tide of human happiness.

But if courage intrinsically consists in the defiance of danger
and pain, the life of the Indian is a continual exhibition of it.
He lives in a state of perpetual hostility and risk. Peril and
adventure are congenial to his nature, or rather seem necessary
to arouse his faculties and to give an interest to his existence.
Surrounded by hostile tribes, whose mode of warfare is by ambush
and surprisal, he is always prepared for fight and lives with his
weapons in his hands. As the ship careers in fearful singleness
through the solitudes of ocean, as the bird mingles among clouds
and storms, and wings its way, a mere speck, across the pathless
fields of air, so the Indian holds his course, silent, solitary,
but undaunted, through the boundless bosom of the wilderness. His
expeditions may vie in distance and danger with the pilgrimage of
the devotee or the crusade of the knight-errant. He traverses
vast forests exposed to the hazards of lonely sickness, of
lurking enemies, and pining famine. Stormy lakes, those great
inland seas, are no obstacles to his wanderings: in his light
canoe of bark he sports like a feather on their waves, and darts
with the swiftness of an arrow down the roaring rapids of the
rivers. His very subsistence is snatched from the midst of toil
and peril. He gains his food by the hardships and dangers of the
chase: he wraps himself in the spoils of the bear, the panther,
and the buffalo, and sleeps among the thunders of the cataract.

No hero of ancient or modern days can surpass the Indian in his
lofty contempt of death and the fortitude with which he sustains
his cruelest affliction. Indeed, we here behold him rising
superior to the white man in consequence of his peculiar
education. The latter rushes to glorious death at the cannon's
mouth; the former calmly contemplates its approach, and
triumphantly endures it amidst the varied torments of surrounding
foes and the protracted agonies of fire. He even takes a pride in
taunting his persecutors and provoking their ingenuity of
torture; and as the devouring flames prey on his very vitals and
the flesh shrinks from the sinews, he raises his last song of
triumph, breathing the defiance of an unconquered heart and
invoking the spirits of his fathers to witness that he dies
without a groan.

Notwithstanding the obloquy with which the early historians have
overshadowed the characters of the unfortunate natives, some
bright gleams occasionally break through which throw a degree of
melancholy lustre on their memories. Facts are occasionally to be
met with in the rude annals of the eastern provinces which,
though recorded with the coloring of prejudice and bigotry, yet
speak for themselves, and will be dwelt on with applause and
sympathy when prejudice shall have passed away.

In one of the homely narratives of the Indian wars in New England
there is a touching account of the desolation carried into the
tribe of the Pequod Indians. Humanity shrinks from the
cold-blooded detail of indiscriminate butchery. In one place we
read of the surprisal of an Indian fort in the night, when the
wigwams were wrapped in flames and the miserable inhabitants shot
down and slain in attempting to escape, "all being despatched and
ended in the course of an hour." After a series of similar
transactions "our soldiers," as the historian piously observes,
"being resolved by God's assistance to make a final destruction
of them," the unhappy savages being hunted from their homes and
fortresses and pursued with fire and sword, a scanty but gallant
band, the sad remnant of the Pequod warriors, with their wives
and children took refuge in a swamp.

Burning with indignation and rendered sullen by despair, with
hearts bursting with grief at the destruction of their tribe, and
spirits galled and sore at the fancied ignominy of their defeat,
they refused to ask their lives at the hands of an insulting foe,
and preferred death to submission.

As the night drew on they were surrounded in their dismal
retreat, so as to render escape impracticable. Thus situated,
their enemy "plied them with shot all the time, by which means
many were killed and buried in the mire." In the darkness and fog
that preceded the dawn of day some few broke through the
besiegers and escaped into the woods; "the rest were left to the
conquerors, of which many were killed in the swamp, like sullen
dogs who would rather, in their self-willedness and madness, sit
still and be shot through or cut to pieces" than implore for
mercy. When the day broke upon this handful of forlorn but
dauntless spirits, the soldiers, we are told, entering the swamp,
"saw several heaps of them sitting close together, upon whom they
discharged their pieces, laden with ten or twelve pistol bullets
at a time, putting the muzzles of the pieces under the boughs,
within a few yards of them; so as, besides those that were found
dead, many more were killed and sunk into the mire, and never
were minded more by friend or foe."

Can any one read this plain unvarnished tale without admiring the
stern resolution, the unbending pride, the loftiness of spirit
that seemed to nerve the hearts of these self-taught heroes and
to raise them above the instinctive feelings of human nature?
When the Gauls laid waste the city of Rome, they found the
senators clothed in their robes and seated with stern
tranquillity in their curule chairs; in this manner they suffered
death without resistance or even supplication. Such conduct was
in them applauded as noble and magnanimous; in the hapless Indian
it was reviled as obstinate and sullen. How truly are we the
dupes of show and circumstance! How different is virtue clothed
in purple and enthroned in state, from virtue naked and destitute
and perishing obscurely in a wilderness!

But I forbear to dwell on these gloomy pictures. The eastern
tribes have long since disappeared; the forests that sheltered
them have been laid low, and scarce any traces remain of them in
the thickly-settled States of New England, excepting here and
there the Indian name of a village or a stream. And such must,
sooner or later, be the fate of those other tribes which skirt
the frontiers, and have occasionally been inveigled from their
forests to mingle in the wars of white men. In a little while,
and they will go the way that their brethren have gone before.
The few hordes which still linger about the shores of Huron and
Superior and the tributary streams of the Mississippi will share
the fate of those tribes that once spread over Massachusetts and
Connecticut and lorded it along the proud banks of the Hudson, of
that gigantic race said to have existed on the borders of the
Susquehanna, and of those various nations that flourished about
the Potomac and the Rappahannock and that peopled the forests of
the vast valley of Shenandoah. They will vanish like a vapor from
the face of the earth; their very history will be lost in
forgetfulness; and "the places that now know them will know them
no more forever." Or if, perchance, some dubious memorial of them
should survive, it may be in the romantic dreams of the poet, to
people in imagination his glades and groves, like the fauns and
satyrs and sylvan deities of antiquity. But should he venture
upon the dark story of their wrongs and wretchedness, should he
tell how they were invaded, corrupted, despoiled, driven from
their native abodes and the sepulchres of their fathers, hunted
like wild beasts about the earth, and sent down with violence and
butchery to the grave, posterity will either turn with horror and
incredulity from the tale or blush with indignation at the
inhumanity of their forefathers. "We are driven back," said an
old warrior, "until we can retreat no farther--our hatchets are
broken, our bows are snapped, our fires are nearly extinguished;
a little longer and the white man will cease to persecute us, for
we shall cease to exist!"



As monumental bronze unchanged his look:
A soul that pity touch'd, but never shook;
Train'd from his tree-rock'd cradle to his bier,
The fierce extremes of good and ill to brook
Impassive--fearing but the shame of fear-
stoic of the woods--a man without a tear.

IT is to be regretted that those early writers who treated of the
discovery and settlement of America have not given us more
particular and candid accounts of the remarkable characters that
flourished in savage life. The scanty anecdotes which have
reached us are full of peculiarity and interest; they furnish us
with nearer glimpses of human nature, and show what man is in a
comparatively primitive state and what he owes to civilization.
There is something of the charm of discovery in lighting upon
these wild and unexplored tracts of human nature--in witnessing,
as it were, the native growth of moral sentiment, and perceiving
those generous and romantic qualities which have been
artificially cultivated by society vegetating in spontaneous
hardihood and rude magnificence.

In civilized life, where the happiness, and indeed almost the
existence, of man depends so much upon the opinion of his
fellow-men, he is constantly acting a studied part. The bold and
peculiar traits of native character are refined away or softened
down by the levelling influence of what is termed good-breeding,
and he practises so many petty deceptions and affects so many
generous sentiments for the purposes of popularity that it is
difficult to distinguish his real from his artificial character.
The Indian, on the contrary, free from the restraints and
refinements of polished life, and in a great degree a solitary
and independent being, obeys the impulses of his inclination or
the dictates of his judgment; and thus the attributes of his
nature, being freely indulged, grow singly great and striking.
Society is like a lawn, where every roughness is smoothed, every
bramble eradicated, and where the eye is delighted by the smiling
verdure of a velvet surface; he, however, who would study Nature
in its wildness and variety must plunge into the forest, must
explore the glen, must stem the torrent, and dare the precipice.

These reflections arose on casually looking through a volume of
early colonial history wherein are recorded, with great
bitterness, the outrages of the Indians and their wars with the
settlers New England. It is painful to perceive, even from these
partial narratives, how the footsteps of civilization may be
traced in the blood of the aborigines; how easily the colonists
were moved to hostility by the lust of conquest; how merciless
and exterminating was their warfare. The imagination shrinks at
the idea of how many intellectual beings were hunted from the
earth, how many brave and noble hearts, of Nature's sterling
coinage, were broken down and trampled in the dust.

Such was the fate of PHILIP OF POKANOKET, an Indian warrior whose
name was once a terror throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut.
He was the most distinguished of a number of contemporary sachems
who reigned over the Pequods, the Narragansetts, the Wampanoags,
and the other eastern tribes at the time of the first settlement
of New England--a band of native untaught heroes who made the
most generous struggle of which human nature is capable, fighting
to the last gasp in the cause of their country, without a hope of
victory or a thought of renown. Worthy of an age of poetry and
fit subjects for local story and romantic fiction, they have left
scarcely any authentic traces on the page of history, but stalk
like gigantic shadows in the dim twilight of tradition.*

* While correcting the proof-sheets of this article the author is
informed that a celebrated English poet has nearly finished an
heroic poem on the story of Philip of Pokanoket

When the Pilgrims, as the Plymouth settlers are called by their
descendants, first took refuge on the shores of the New World
from the religious persecutions of the Old, their situation was
to the last degree gloomy and disheartening. Few in number, and
that number rapidly perishing away through sickness and
hardships, surrounded by a howling wilderness and savage tribes,
exposed to the rigors of an almost arctic winter and the
vicissitudes of an ever-shifting climate, their minds were filled
with doleful forebodings, and nothing preserved them from sinking
into despondency but the strong excitement of religious
enthusiasm. In this forlorn situation they were visited by
Massasoit, chief sagamore of the Wampanoags, a powerful chief who
reigned over a great extent of country. Instead of taking
advantage of the scanty number of the strangers and expelling
them from his territories, into which they had intruded, he
seemed at once to conceive for them a generous friendship, and
extended towards them the rites of primitive hospitality. He came
early in the spring to their settlement of New Plymouth, attended
by a mere handful of followers, entered into a solemn league of
peace and amity, sold them a portion of the soil, and promised to
secure for them the good-will of his savage allies. Whatever may
be said of Indian perfidy, it is certain that the integrity and
good faith of Massasoit have never been impeached. He continued a
firm and magnanimous friend of the white men, suffering them to
extend their possessions and to strengthen themselves in the
land, and betraying no jealousy of their increasing power and
prosperity. Shortly before his death he came once more to New
Plymouth with his son Alexander, for the purpose of renewing the
covenant of peace and of securing it to his posterity.

At this conference he endeavored to protect the religion of his
forefathers from the encroaching zeal of the missionaries, and
stipulated that no further attempt should be made to draw off his
people from their ancient faith; but, finding the English
obstinately opposed to any such condition, he mildly relinquished
the demand. Almost the last act of his life was to bring his two
sons, Alexander and Philip (as they bad been named by the
English), to the residence of a principal settler, recommending
mutual kindness and confidence, and entreating that the same love
and amity which had existed between the white men and himself
might be continued afterwards with his children. The good old
sachem died in peace, and was happily gathered to his fathers
before sorrow came upon his tribe; his children remained behind
to experience the ingratitude of white men.

His eldest son, Alexander, succeeded him. He was of a quick and
impetuous temper, and proudly tenacious of his hereditary rights
and dignity. The intrusive policy and dictatorial conduct of the
strangers excited his indignation, and he beheld with uneasiness
their exterminating wars with the neighboring tribes. He was
doomed soon to incur their hostility, being accused of plotting
with the Narragansetts to rise against the English and drive them
from the land. It is impossible to say whether this accusation
was warranted by facts or was grounded on mere suspicions. It is
evident, however, by the violent and overbearing measures of the
settlers that they had by this time begun to feel conscious of
the rapid increase of their power, and to grow harsh and
inconsiderate in their treatment of the natives. They despatched
an armed force to seize upon Alexander and to bring him before
their courts. He was traced to his woodland haunts, and surprised
at a hunting-house where he was reposing with a band of his
followers, unarmed, after the toils of the chase. The suddenness
of his arrest and the outrage offered to his sovereign dignity so
preyed upon the irascible feelings of this proud savage as to
throw him into a raging fever. He was permitted to return home on
condition of sending his son as a pledge for his re-appearance;
but the blow he had received was fatal, and before he reached his
home he fell a victim to the agonies of a wounded spirit.

The successor of Alexander was Metamocet, or King Philip, as he
was called by the settlers on account of his lofty spirit and
ambitious temper. These, together with his well-known energy and
enterprise, had rendered him an object of great jealousy and
apprehension, and he was accused of having always cherished a
secret and implacable hostility towards the whites. Such may very
probably and very naturally have been the case. He considered
them as originally but mere intruders into the country, who had
presumed upon indulgence and were extending an influence baneful
to savage life. He saw the whole race of his countrymen melting
before them from the face of the earth, their territories
slipping from their hands, and their tribes becoming feeble,
scattered, and dependent. It may be said that the soil was
originally purchased by the settlers; but who does not know the
nature of Indian purchases in the early periods of colonization?
The Europeans always made thrifty bargains through their superior
adroitness in traffic, and they gained vast accessions of
territory by easily-provoked hostilities. An uncultivated savage
is never a nice inquirer into the refinements of law by which an
injury may be gradually and legally inflicted. Leading facts are
all by which he judges; and it was enough for Philip to know that
before the intrusion of the Europeans his countrymen were lords
of the soil, and that now they were becoming vagabonds in the
land of their fathers.

But whatever may have been his feelings of general hostility and
his particular indignation at the treatment of his brother, he
suppressed them for the present, renewed the contract with the
settlers, and resided peaceably for many years at Pokanoket, or
as, it was called by the English, Mount Hope,* the ancient seat
of dominion of his tribe. Suspicions, however, which were at
first but vague and indefinite, began to acquire form and
substance, and he was at length charged with attempting to
instigate the various eastern tribes to rise at once, and by a
simultaneous effort to throw off the yoke of their oppressors. It
is difficult at this distant period to assign the proper credit
due to these early accusations against the Indians. There was a
proneness to suspicion and an aptness to acts of violence on the
part of the whites that gave weight and importance to every idle
tale. Informers abounded where tale-bearing met with countenance
and reward, and the sword was readily unsheathed when its success
was certain and it carved out empire.

* Now Bristol, Rhode Island.

The only positive evidence on record against Philip is the
accusation of one Sausaman, a renegado Indian, whose natural
cunning had been quickened by a partial education which be had
received among the settlers. He changed his faith and his
allegiance two or three times with a facility that evinced the
looseness of his principles. He had acted for some time as
Philip's confidential secretary and counsellor, and had enjoyed
his bounty and protection. Finding, however, that the clouds of
adversity were gathering round his patron, he abandoned his
service and went over to the whites, and in order to gain their
favor charged his former benefactor with plotting against their
safety. A rigorous investigation took place. Philip and several
of his subjects submitted to be examined, but nothing was proved
against them. The settlers, however, had now gone too far to
retract; they had previously determined that Philip was a
dangerous neighbor; they had publicly evinced their distrust, and
had done enough to insure his hostility; according, therefore, to
the usual mode of reasoning in these cases, his destruction had
become necessary to their security. Sausaman, the treacherous
informer, was shortly afterwards found dead in a pond, having
fallen a victim to the vengeance of his tribe. Three Indians, one
of whom was a friend and counsellor of Philip, were apprehended
and tried, and on the testimony of one very questionable witness
were condemned and executed as murderers.

This treatment of his subjects and ignominious punishment of his
friend outraged the pride and exasperated the passions of Philip.
The bolt which had fallen thus at his very feet awakened him to
the gathering storm, and he determined to trust himself no longer
in the power of the white men. The fate of his insulted and
broken-hearted brother still rankled in his mind; and he had a
further warning in the tragical story of Miantonimo, a great
Sachem of the Narragansetts, who, after manfully facing his
accusers before a tribunal of the colonists, exculpating himself
from a charge of conspiracy and receiving assurances of amity,
had been perfidiously despatched at their instigation. Philip
therefore gathered his fighting-men about him, persuaded all
strangers that he could to join his cause, sent the women and
children to the Narragansetts for safety, and wherever he
appeared was continually surrounded by armed warriors.

When the two parties were thus in a state of distrust and
irritation, the least spark was sufficient to set them in a
flame. The Indians, having weapons in their hands, grew
mischievous and committed various petty depredations. In one of
their maraudings a warrior was fired on and killed by a settler.
This was the signal for open hostilities; the Indians pressed to
revenge the death of their comrade, and the alarm of war
resounded through the Plymouth colony.

In the early chronicles of these dark and melancholy times we
meet with many indications of the diseased state of the public
mind. The gloom of religious abstraction and the wildness of
their situation among trackless forests and savage tribes had
disposed the colonists to superstitious fancies, and had filled
their imaginations with the frightful chimeras of witchcraft and
spectrology. They were much given also to a belief in omens. The
troubles with Philip and his Indians were preceded, we are told,
by a variety of those awful warnings which forerun great and
public calamities. The perfect form of an Indian bow appeared in
the air at New Plymouth, which was looked upon by the inhabitants
as a "prodigious apparition." At Hadley, Northampton, and other
towns in their neighborhood "was heard the report of a great
piece of ordnance, with a shaking of the earth and a considerable
echo."* Others were alarmed on a still sunshiny morning by the
discharge of guns and muskets; bullets seemed to whistle past
them, and the noise of drums resounded in the air, seeming to
pass away to the westward; others fancied that they heard the
galloping of horses over their heads; and certain monstrous
births which took place about the time filled the superstitious
in some towns with doleful forebodings. Many of these portentous
sights and sounds may be ascribed to natural phenomena--to the
northern lights which occur vividly in those latitudes, the
meteors which explode in the air, the casual rushing of a blast
through the top branches of the forest, the crash of fallen trees
or disrupted rocks, and to those other uncouth sounds and echoes
which will sometimes strike the ear so strangely amidst the
profound stillness of woodland solitudes. These may have startled
some melancholy imaginations, may have been exaggerated by the
love for the marvellous, and listened to with that avidity with
which we devour whatever is fearful and mysterious. The universal
currency of these superstitious fancies and the grave record made
of them by one of the learned men of the day are strongly
characteristic of the times.

* The Rev. Increase Mather's History.

The nature of the contest that ensued was such as too often
distinguishes the warfare between civilized men and savages. On
the part of the whites it was conducted with superior skill and
success, but with a wastefulness of the blood and a disregard of
the natural rights of their antagonists: on the part of the
Indians it was waged with the desperation of men fearless of
death, and who had nothing to expect from peace but humiliation,
dependence, and decay.

The events of the war are transmitted to us by a worthy clergyman
of the time, who dwells with horror and indignation on every
hostile act of the Indians, however justifiable, whilst he
mentions with applause the most sanguinary atrocities of the
whites. Philip is reviled as a murderer and a traitor, without
considering that he was a true-born prince gallantly fighting at
the head of his subjects to avenge the wrongs of his family, to
retrieve the tottering power of his line, and to deliver his
native land from the oppression of usurping strangers.

The project of a wide and simultaneous revolt, if such had really
been formed, was worthy of a capacious mind, and had it not been
prematurely discovered might have been overwhelming in its
consequences. The war that actually broke out was but a war of
detail, a mere succession of casual exploits and unconnected
enterprises. Still, it sets forth the military genius and daring
prowess of Philip, and wherever, in the prejudiced and passionate
narrations that have been given of it, we can arrive at simple
facts, we find him displaying a vigorous mind, a fertility of
expedients, a contempt of suffering and hardship, and an
unconquerable resolution that command our sympathy and applause.

Driven from his paternal domains at Mount Hope, he threw himself
into the depths of those vast and trackless forests that skirted
the settlements and were almost impervious to anything but a wild
beast or an Indian. Here he gathered together his forces, like
the storm accumulating its stores of mischief in the bosom of the
thundercloud, and would suddenly emerge at a time and place least
expected, carrying havoc and dismay into the villages. There were
now and then indications of these impending ravages that filled
the minds of the colonists with awe and apprehension. The report
of a distant gun would perhaps be heard from the solitary
woodland, where there was known to be no white man; the cattle
which had been wandering in the woods would sometimes return home
wounded; or an Indian or two would be seen lurking about the
skirts of the forests and suddenly disappearing, as the lightning
will sometimes be seen playing silently about the edge of the
cloud that is brewing up the tempest.

Though sometimes pursued and even surrounded by the settlers, yet
Philip as often escaped almost miraculously from their toils,
and, plunging into the wilderness, would be lost to all search or
inquiry until he again emerged at some far distant quarter,
laying the country desolate. Among his strongholds were the great
swamps or morasses which extend in some parts of New England,
composed of loose bogs of deep black mud, perplexed with
thickets, brambles, rank weeds, the shattered and mouldering
trunks of fallen trees, overshadowed by lugubrious hemlocks. The
uncertain footing and the tangled mazes of these shaggy wilds
rendered them almost impracticable to the white man, though the
Indian could thread their labyrinths with the agility of a deer.
Into one of these, the great swamp of Pocasset Neck, was Philip
once driven with a band of his followers. The English did not
dare to pursue him, fearing to venture into these dark and
frightful recesses, where they might perish in fens and miry pits
or be shot down by lurking foes. They therefore invested the
entrance to the Neck, and began to build a fort with the thought
of starving out the foe; but Philip and his warriors wafted
themselves on a raft over an arm of the sea in the dead of night,
leaving the women and children behind, and escaped away to the
westward, kindling the flames of war among the tribes of
Massachusetts and the Nipmuck country and threatening the colony
of Connecticut.

In this way Philip became a theme of universal apprehension. The
mystery in which he was enveloped exaggerated his real terrors.
He was an evil that walked in darkness, whose coming none could
foresee and against which none knew when to be on the alert. The
whole country abounded with rumors and alarms. Philip seemed
almost possessed of ubiquity, for in whatever part of the
widely-extended frontier an irruption from the forest took place,
Philip was said to be its leader. Many superstitious notions also
were circulated concerning him. He was said to deal in
necromancy, and to be attended by an old Indian witch or
prophetess, whom he consulted and who assisted him by her charms
and incantations. This, indeed, was frequently the case with
Indian chiefs, either through their own credulity or to act upon
that of their followers; and the influence of the prophet and the
dreamer over Indian superstition has been fully evidenced in
recent instances of savage warfare.

At the time that Philip effected his escape from Pocasset his
fortunes were in a desperate condition. His forces had been
thinned by repeated fights and he had lost almost the whole of
his resources. In this time of adversity he found a faithful
friend in Canonchet. chief Sachem of all the Narragansetts. He
was the son and heir of Miantonimo, the great sachem who, as
already mentioned, after an honorable acquittal of the charge of
conspiracy, had been privately put to death at the perfidious
instigations of the settlers. "He was the heir," says the old
chronicler, "of all his father's pride and insolence, as well as
of his malice towards the English;" he certainly was the heir of
his insults and injuries and the legitimate avenger of his
murder. Though he had forborne to take an active part in this
hopeless war, yet he received Philip and his broken forces with
open arms and gave them the most generous countenance and
support. This at once drew upon him the hostility of the English,
and it was determined to strike a signal blow that should involve
both the Sachems in one common ruin. A great force was therefore
gathered together from Massachusetts, Plymouth, and Connecticut,
and was sent into the Narragansett country in the depth of
winter, when the swamps, being frozen and leafless, could be
traversed with comparative facility and would no longer afford
dark and impenetrable fastnesses to the Indians.

Apprehensive of attack, Canonchet had conveyed the greater part
of his stores, together with the old, the infirm, the women and
children of his tribe, to a strong fortress, where he and Philip
had likewise drawn up the flower of their forces. This fortress,
deemed by the Indians impregnable, was situated upon a rising
mound or kind of island of five or six acres in the midst of a
swamp; it was constructed with a degree of judgment and skill
vastly superior to what is usually displayed in Indian
fortification, and indicative of the martial genius of these two

Guided by a renegado Indian, the English penetrated, through
December snows, to this stronghold and came upon the garrison by
surprise. The fight was fierce and tumultuous. The assailants
were repulsed in their first attack, and several of their bravest
officers were shot down in the act of storming the fortress,
sword in hand. The assault was renewed with greater success. A
lodgment was effected. The Indians were driven from one post to
another. They disputed their ground inch by inch, fighting with
the fury of despair. Most of their veterans were cut to pieces,
and after a long and bloody battle, Philip and Canonchet, with a
handful of surviving warriors, retreated from the fort and took
refuge in the thickets of the surrounding forest.

The victors set fire to the wigwams and the fort; the whole was
soon in a blaze; many of the old men, the women, and the children
perished in the flames. This last outrage overcame even the
stoicism of the savage. The neighboring woods resounded with the
yells of rage and despair uttered by the fugitive warriors, as
they beheld the destruction of their dwellings and heard the
agonizing cries of their wives and offspring. "The burning of the
wigwams," says a contemporary writer, "the shrieks and cries of
the women and children, and the yelling of the warriors,
exhibited a most horrible and affecting scene, so that it greatly
moved some of the soldiers." The same writer cautiously adds,
"They were in much doubt then, and afterwards seriously inquired,
whether burning their enemies alive could be consistent with
humanity, and the benevolent principles of the gospel."*

* MS. of the Rev. W. Ruggles.

The fate of the brave and generous Canonchet is worthy of
particular mention: the last scene of his life is one of the
noblest instances on record of Indian magnimity.

Broken down in his power and resources by this signal defeat, yet
faithful to his ally and to the hapless cause which he had
espoused, he rejected all overtures of peace offered on condition
of betraying Philip and his followers, and declared that "he
would fight it out to the last man, rather than become a servant
to the English." His home being destroyed, his country harassed
and laid waste by the incursions of the conquerors, he was
obliged to wander away to the banks of the Connecticut, where he
formed a rallying-point to the whole body of western Indians and
laid waste several of the English settlements.

Early in the spring he departed on a hazardous expedition, with
only thirty chosen men, to penetrate to Seaconck, in the vicinity
of Mount Hope, and to procure seed corn to plant for the
sustenance of his troops. This little hand of adventurers had
passed safely through the Pequod country, and were in the centre
of the Narragansett, resting at some wigwams near Pautucket
River, when an alarm was given of an approaching enemy. Having
but seven men by him at the time, Canonchet despatched two of
them to the top of a neighboring hill to bring intelligence of
the foe.

Panic-struck by the appearance of a troop of English and Indians
rapidly advancing, they fled in breathless terror past their
chieftain, without stopping to inform him of the danger.
Canonchet sent another scout, who did the same. He then sent two
more, one of whom, hurrying back in confusion and affright, told
him that the whole British army was at hand. Canonchet saw there
was no choice but immediate flight. He attempted to escape round
the hill, but was perceived and hotly pursued by the hostile
Indians and a few of the fleetest of the English. Finding the
swiftest pursuer close upon his heels, he threw off, first his
blanket, then his silver-laced coat and belt of peag, by which
his enemies knew him to be Canonchet and redoubled the eagerness
of pursuit.

At length, in dashing through the river, his foot slipped upon a
stone, and he fell so deep as to wet his gun. This accident so
struck him with despair that, as he afterwards confessed, "his
heart and his bowels turned within him, and he became like a
rotten stick, void of strength."

To such a degree was he unnerved that, being seized by a Pequod
Indian within a short distance of the river, he made no
resistance, though a man of great vigor of body and boldness of
heart. But on being made prisoner the whole pride of his spirit
arose within him, and from that moment we find, in the anecdotes
given by his enemies, nothing but repeated flashes of elevated
and prince-like heroism. Being questioned by one of the English
who first came up with him, and who had not attained his twenty
second year, the proud-hearted warrior, looking with lofty
contempt upon his youthful countenance, replied, "You are a
child--you cannot understand matters of war; let your brother or
your chief come: him will I answer."

Though repeated offers were made to him of his life on condition
of submitting with his nation to the English, yet he rejected
them with disdain, and refused to send any proposals of the kind
to the great body of his subjects, saying that he knew none of
them would comply. Being reproached with his breach of faith
towards the whites, his boast that he would not deliver up a
Wampanoag nor the paring of a Wampanoag's nail, and his threat
that he would burn the English alive in their houses, he
disdained to justify himself, haughtily answering that others
were as forward for the war as himself, and "he desired to hear
no more thereof."

So noble and unshaken a spirit, so true a fidelity to his cause
and his friend, might have touched the feelings of the generous
and the brave; but Canonchet was an Indian, a being towards whom
war had no courtesy, humanity no law, religion no compassion: he
was condemned to die. The last words of his that are recorded are
worthy the greatness of his soul. When sentence of death was
passed upon him, be observed "that he liked it well, for he
should die before his heart was soft or he had spoken anything
unworthy of himself." His enemies gave him the death of a
soldier, for he was shot at Stoning ham by three young Sachems of
his own rank.

The defeat at the Narraganset fortress and the death of Canonchet
were fatal blows to the fortunes of King Philip. He made an
ineffectual attempt to raise a head of war by stirring up the
Mohawks to take arms; but, though possessed of the native talents
of a statesman, his arts were counteracted by the superior arts
of his enlightened enemies, and the terror of their warlike skill
began to subdue the resolution of the neighboring tribes. The
unfortunate chieftain saw himself daily stripped of power, and
his ranks rapidly thinning around him. Some were suborned by the
whites; others fell victims to hunger and fatigue and to the
frequent attacks by which they were harassed. His stores were all
captured; his chosen friends were swept away from before his
eyes; his uncle was shot down by his side; his sister was carried
into captivity; and in one of his narrow escapes he was compelled
to leave his beloved wife and only son to the mercy of the enemy.
"His ruin," says the historian, "being thus gradually carried on,
his misery was not prevented, but augmented thereby; being
himself made acquainted with the sense and experimental feeling
of the captivity of his children, loss of friends, slaughter of
his subjects, bereavement of all family relations, and being
stripped of all outward comforts before his own life should be
taken away."

To fill up the measure of his misfortunes, his own followers
began to plot against his life, that by sacrificing him they
might purchase dishonorable safety. Through treachery a number of
his faithful adherents, the subjects of Wetamoe, an Indian
princess of Pocasset, a near kinswoman and confederate of Philip,
were betrayed into the hands of the enemy. Wetamoe was among them
at the time, and attempted to make her escape by crossing a
neighboring river: either exhausted by swimming or starved with
cold and hunger, she was found dead and naked near the
water-side. But persecution ceased not at the grave. Even death,
the refuge of the wretched, where the wicked commonly cease from
troubling, was no protection to this outcast female, whose great
crime was affectionate fidelity to her kinsman and her friend.
Her corpse was the object of unmanly and dastardly vengeance: the
head was severed from the body and set upon a pole, and was thus
exposed at Taunton to the view of her captive subjects. They
immediately recognized the features of their unfortunate queen,
and were so affected at this barbarous spectacle that we are told
they broke forth into the "most horrid and diabolical

However Philip had borne up against the complicated miseries and
misfortunes that surrounded him, the treachery of his followers
seemed to wring his heart and reduce him to despondency. It is
said that "he never rejoiced afterwards, nor had success in any
of his designs." The spring of hope was broken--the ardor of
enterprise was extinguished; he looked around, and all was danger
and darkness; there was no eye to pity nor any arm that could
bring deliverance. With a scanty band of followers, who still
remained true to his desperate fortunes, the unhappy Philip
wandered back to the vicinity of Mount Hope, the ancient dwelling
of his fathers. Here he lurked about like a spectre among the
scenes of former power and prosperity, now bereft of home, of
family, and of friend. There needs no better picture of his
destitute and piteous situation than that furnished by the homely
pen of the chronicler, who is unwarily enlisting the feelings of
the reader in favor of the hapless warrior whom he reviles.
"Philip," he says, "like a savage wild beast, having been hunted
by the English forces through the woods above a hundred miles
backward and forward, at last was driven to his own den upon
Mount Hope, where he retired, with a few of his best friends,
into a swamp, which proved but a prison to keep him fast till the
messengers of death came by divine permission to execute
vengeance upon him."

Even in this last refuge of desperation and despair a sullen
grandeur gathers round his memory. We picture him to ourselves
seated among his care-worn followers, brooding in silence over
his blasted fortunes, and acquiring a savage sublimity from the
wildness and dreariness of his lurking-place. Defeated, but not
dismayed--crushed to the earth, but not humiliated--he seemed to
grow more haughty beneath disaster, and to experience a fierce
satisfaction in draining the last dregs of bitterness. Little
minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune, but great minds rise
above it. The very idea of submission awakened the fury of
Philip, and he smote to death one of his followers who proposed
an expedient of peace. The brother of the victim made his escape,
and in revenge betrayed the retreat of his chieftain, A body of
white men and Indians were immediately despatched to the swamp
where Philip lay crouched, glaring with fury and despair. Before
he was aware of their approach they had begun to surround him. In
a little while he saw five of his trustiest followers laid dead
at his feet; all resistance was vain; he rushed forth from his
covert, and made a headlong attempt to escape, but was shot
through the heart by a renegado Indian of his own nation.

Such is the scanty story of the brave but unfortunate King
Philip, persecuted while living, slandered and dishonored when
dead. If, however, we consider even the prejudiced anecdotes
furnished us by his enemies, we may perceive in them traces of
amiable and loftly character sufficient to awaken sympathy for
his fate and respect for his memory. We find that amidst all the
harassing cares and ferocious passions of constant warfare he was
alive to the softer feelings of connubial love and paternal
tenderness and to the generous sentiment of friendship. The
captivity of his "beloved wife and only son" are mentioned with
exultation as causing him poignant misery: the death of any near
friend is triumphantly recorded as a new blow on his
sensibilities; but the treachery and desertion of many of his
followers, in whose affections he had confided, is said to have
desolated his heart and to have bereaved him of all further
comfort. He was a patriot attached to his native soil--a prince
true to his subjects and indignant of their wrongs--a soldier
daring in battle, firm in adversity, patient of fatigue, of
hunger, of every variety of bodily suffering, and ready to perish
in the cause he had espoused. Proud of heart and with an
untamable love of natural liberty, he preferred to enjoy it among
the beasts of the forests or in the dismal and famished recesses
of swamps and morasses, rather than bow his haughty spirit to
submission and live dependent and despised in the ease and luxury
of the settlements. With heroic qualities and bold achievements
that would have graced a civilized warrior, and have rendered him
the theme of the poet and the historian, he lived a wanderer and
a fugitive in his native land, and went down, like a lonely bark
foundering amid darkness and tempest, without a pitying eye to
weep his fall or a friendly hand to record his struggle.


An old song, made by an aged old pate,
Of an old worshipful gentleman who had a great estate,
That kept a brave old house at a bountiful rate,
And an old porter to relieve the poor at his gate.

With an old study fill'd full of learned old books,
With an old reverend chaplain, you might know him by his
With an old buttery-hatch worn quite off the hooks,
And an old kitchen that maintained half-a-dozen old cooks.
Like an old courtier, etc.--Old Song.

THERE is no species of humor in which the English more excel than
that which consists in caricaturing and giving ludicrous
appellations or nicknames. In this way they have whimsically
designated, not merely individuals, but nations, and in their
fondness for pushing a joke they have not spared even themselves.
One would think that in personifying itself a nation would be apt
to picture something grand, heroic, and imposing; but it is
characteristic of the peculiar humor of the English, and of their
love for what is blunt, comic, and familiar, that they have
embodied their national oddities in the figure of a sturdy,
corpulent old fellow with a three-cornered hat, red waistcoat,
leather breeches, and stout oaken cudgel. Thus they have taken a
singular delight in exhibiting their most private foibles in a
laughable point of view, and have been so successful in their
delineations that there is scarcely a being in actual existence
more absolutely present to the public mind than that eccentric
personage, John Bull.

Perhaps the continual contemplation of the character thus drawn
of them has contributed to fix it upon the nation, and thus to
give reality to what at first may have been painted in a great
measure from the imagination. Men are apt to acquire
peculiarities that are continually ascribed to them. The common
orders of English seem wonderfully captivated with the beau ideal
which they have formed of John Bull, and endeavor to act up to
the broad caricature that is perpetually before their eyes.
Unluckily, they sometimes make their boasted Bullism an apology
for their prejudice or grossness; and this I have especially
noticed among those truly homebred and genuine sons of the soil
who have never migrated beyond the sound of Bow bells. If one of
these should be a little uncouth in speech and apt to utter
impertinent truths, be confesses that he is a real John Bull and
always speaks his mind. If he now and then flies into an
unreasonable burst of passion about trifles, he observes that
John Bull is a choleric old blade, but then his passion is over
in a moment and he bears no malice. If he betrays a coarseness of
taste and an insensibility to foreign refinements, he thanks
Heaven for his ignorance--he is a plain John Bull and has no
relish for frippery and knick-knacks. His very proneness to be
gulled by strangers and to pay extravagantly for absurdities is
excused under the plea of munificence, for John is always more
generous than wise.

Thus, under the name of John Bull he will contrive to argue every
fault into a merit, and will frankly convict himself of being the
honestest fellow in existence.

However little, therefore, the character may have suited in the
first instance, it has gradually adapted itself to the nation, or
rather they have adapted themselves to each other; and a stranger
who wishes to study English peculiarities may gather much
valuable information from the innumerable portraits of John Bull
as exhibited in the windows of the caricature-shops. Still,
however, he is one of those fertile humorists that are
continually throwing out new portraits and presenting different
aspects from different points of view; and, often as he has been
described, I cannot resist the temptation to give a slight sketch
of him such as he has met my eye.

John Bull, to all appearance, is a plain, downright,
matter-of-fact fellow, with much less of poetry about him than
rich prose. There is little of romance in his nature, but a vast
deal of strong natural feeling. He excels in humor more than in
wit; is jolly rather than gay; melancholy rather than morose; can
easily be moved to a sudden tear or surprised into a broad laugh;
but he loathes sentiment and has no turn for light pleasantry. He
is a boon companion, if you allow him in to have his humor and to
talk about himself; and he will stand by a friend in a quarrel
with life and purse, however soundly he may be cudgelled.

In this last respect, to tell the truth, he has a propensity to
be somewhat too ready. He is a busy-minded personage, who thinks
not merely for himself and family, but for all the country round,
and is most generously disposed to be everybody's champion. He is
continually volunteering his services to settle his neighbor's
affairs, and takes it in great dudgeon if they engage in any
matter of consequence without asking his advice, though he seldom
engages in any friendly office of the kind without finishing by
getting into a squabble with all parties, and then railing
bitterly at their ingratitude. He unluckily took lessons in his
youth in the noble science of defence, and having accomplished
himself in the use of his limbs and his weapons and become a
perfect master at boxing and cudgel-play, he has had a
troublesome life of it ever since. He cannot hear of a quarrel
between the most distant of his neighbors but he begins
incontinently to fumble with the head of his cudgel, and consider
whether his interest or honor does not require that he should
meddle in the broil. Indeed, he has extended his relations of
pride and policy so completely over the whole country that no
event can take place without infringing some of his finely-spun
rights and dignities. Couched in his little domain, with these
filaments stretching forth in every direction, he is like some
choleric, bottle-bellied old spider who has woven his web over a
whole chamber, so that a fly cannot buzz nor a breeze blow
without startling his repose and causing him to sally forth
wrathfully from his den.

Though really a good-hearted, good-tempered old fellow at bottom,
yet he is singularly fond of being in the midst of contention. It
is one of his peculiarities, however, that he only relishes the
beginning of an affray; he always goes into a fight with
alacrity, but comes out of it grumbling even when victorious; and
though no one fights with more obstinacy to carry a contested
point, yet when the battle is over and he comes to the
reconciliation he is so much taken up with the mere shaking of
hands that he is apt to let his antagonist pocket all that they
have been quarrelling about. It is not, therefore, fighting that
he ought so much to be on his guard against as making friends. It
is difficult to cudgel him out of a farthing; but put him in a
good humor and you may bargain him out of all the money in his
pocket. He is like a stout ship which will weather the roughest
storm uninjured, but roll its masts overboard in the succeeding

He is a little fond of playing the magnifico abroad, of pulling
out a long purse, flinging his money bravely about at
boxing-matches, horse-races, cock-fights, and carrying a high
head among "gentlemen of the fancy:" but immediately after one of
these fits of extravagance he will be taken with violent qualms
of economy; stop short at the most trivial expenditure; talk
desperately of being ruined and brought upon the parish; and in
such moods will not pay the smallest tradesman's bill without
violent altercation. He is, in fact, the most punctual and
discontented paymaster in the world, drawing his coin out of his
breeches pocket with infinite reluctance, paying to the uttermost
farthing, but accompanying every guinea with a growl.

With all his talk of economy, however, he is a bountiful provider
and a hospitable housekeeper. His economy is of a whimsical kind,
its chief object being to devise how he may afford to be
extravagant; for he will begrudge himself a beefsteak and pint of
port one day that he may roast an ox whole, broach a hogshead of
ale, and treat all his neighbors on the next.

His domestic establishment is enormously expensive, not so much
from any great outward parade as from the great consumption of
solid beef and pudding, the vast number of followers he feeds and
clothes, and his singular disposition to pay hugely for small
services. He is a most kind and indulgent master, and, provided
his servants humor his peculiarities, flatter his vanity a little
now and then, and do not peculate grossly on him before his face
they may manage him to perfection. Everything that lives on him
seems to thrive and grow fat. His house-servants are well paid
and pampered and have little to do. His horses are sleek and lazy
and prance slowly before his state carriage; and his house-dogs
sleep quietly about the door and will hardly bark at a

His family mansion is an old castellated manor-house, gray with
age, and of a most venerable though weather-beaten appearance. It
has been built upon no regular plan, but is a vast accumulation
of parts erected in various tastes and ages. The centre bears
evident traces of Saxon architecture, and is as solid as
ponderous stone and old English oak can make it. Like all the
relics of that style, it is full of obscure passages, intricate
mazes, and dusty chambers, and, though these have been partially
lighted up in modern days, yet there are many places where you
must still grope in the dark. Additions have been made to the
original edifice from time to time, and great alterations have
taken place; towers and battlements have been erected during wars
and tumults: wings built in time of peace; and out-houses,
lodges, and offices run up according to the whim or convenience
of different generations, until it has become one of the most
spacious, rambling tenements imaginable. An entire wing is taken
up with the family chapel, a reverend pile that must have been
exceedingly sumptuous, and, indeed, in spite of having been
altered and simplified at various periods, has still a look of
solemn religious pomp. Its walls within are storied with the
monuments of John's ancestors, and it is snugly fitted up with
soft cushions and well-lined chairs, where such of his family as
are inclined to church services may doze comfortably in the
discharge of their duties.

To keep up this chapel has cost John much money; but he is
staunch in his religion and piqued in his zeal, from the
circumstance that many dissenting chapels have been erected in
his vicinity, and several of his neighbors, with whom he has had
quarrels, are strong papists.

To do the duties of the chapel he maintains, at a large expense,
a pious and portly family chaplain. He is a most learned and
decorous personage and a truly well-bred Christian, who always
backs the old gentleman in his opinions, winks discreetly at his
little peccadilloes, rebukes the children when refractory, and is
of great use in exhorting the tenants to read their Bibles, say
their prayers, and, above all, to pay their rents punctually and
without grumbling.

The family apartments are in a very antiquated taste, somewhat
heavy and often inconvenient, but full of the solemn magnificence
of former times, fitted up with rich though faded tapestry,
unwieldy furniture, and loads of massy, gorgeous old plate. The
vast fireplaces, ample kitchens, extensive cellars, and sumptuous
banqueting-halls all speak of the roaring hospitality of days of
yore, of which the modern festivity at the manor-house is but a
shadow. There are, however, complete suites of rooms apparently
deserted and time-worn, and towers and turrets that are tottering
to decay, so that in high winds there is danger of their tumbling
about the ears of the household.

John has frequently been advised to have the old edifice
thoroughly overhauled, and to have some of the useless parts
pulled down, and the others strengthened with their materials;
but the old gentleman always grows testy on this subject. He
swears the house is an excellent house; that it is tight and
weather-proof, and not to be shaken by tempests; that it has
stood for several hundred years, and therefore is not likely to
tumble down now; that as to its being inconvenient, his family is
accustomed to the inconveniences and would not be comfortable
without them; that as to its unwieldy size and irregular
construction, these result from its being the growth of centuries
and being improved by the wisdom of every generation; that an old
family, like his, requires a large house to dwell in; new,
upstart families may live in modern cottages and snug boxes; but
an old English family should inhabit an old English manor-house.
If you point out any part of the building as superfluous, he
insists that it is material to the strength or decoration of the
rest and the harmony of the whole, and swears that the parts are
so built into each other that if you pull down one, you run the
risk of having the whole about your ears.

The secret of the matter is, that John has a great disposition to
protect and patronize. He thinks it indispensable to the dignity
of an ancient and honorable family to be bounteous in its
appointments and to be eaten up by dependents; and so, partly
from pride and partly from kind-heartedness, he makes it a rule
always to give shelter and maintenance to his superannuated

The consequence is, that, like many other venerable family
establishments, his manor is incumbered by old retainers whom he
cannot turn off, and an old style which he cannot lay down. His
mansion is like a great hospital of invalids, and, with all its
magnitude, is not a whit too large for its inhabitants. Not a
nook or corner but is of use in housing some useless personage.
Groups of veteran beef-eaters, gouty pensioners, and retired
heroes of the buttery and the larder are seen lolling about its
ways, crawling over its lawns, dozing under its tree, or sunning
themselves upon the benches at its doors. Every office and
out-house is garrisoned by these supernumeraries and their
families; for they are amazingly prolific, and when they die off
are sure to leave John a legacy of hungry mouths to be provided
for. A mattock cannot be struck against the most mouldering
tumble-down tower but out pops, from some cranny or loophole, the
gray pate of some superannuated hanger-on, who has lived at
John's expense all his life, and makes the most grievous outcry
at their pulling down the roof from over the head of a worn-out
servant of the family. This is an appeal that John's honest heart
never can withstand; so that a man who has faithfully eaten his
beef and pudding all his life is sure to be rewarded with a pipe
and tankard in his old days.

A great part of his park also is turned into paddocks, where his
broken-down chargers are turned loose to graze undisturbed for
the remainder of their existences--a worthy example of grateful
recollection which, if some of his neighbors were to imitate,
would not be to their discredit. Indeed, it is one of his great
pleasures to point out these old steeds to his visitors, to dwell
on their good qualities, extol their past services, and boast,
with some little vain-glory, of the perilous adventures and hardy
exploits through which they have carried him.

He is given, however, to indulge his veneration for family usages
and family encumbrances to a whimsical extent. His manor is
infested by gangs of gypsies; yet he will not suffer them to be
driven off, because they have infested the place time out of mind
and been regular poachers upon every generation of the family. He
will scarcely permit a dry branch to be lopped from the great
trees that surround the house, lest it should molest the rooks
that have bred there for centuries. Owls have taken possession of
the dovecote, but they are hereditary owls and must not be
disturbed. Swallows have nearly choked up every chimney with
their nests; martins build in every frieze and cornice; crows
flutter about the towers and perch on every weather-cock; and old
gray-headed rats may be seen in every quarter of the house,
running in and out of their holes undauntedly in broad daylight.
In short, John has such a reverence for everything that has been
long in the family that he will not hear even of abuses being
reformed, because they are good old family abuses.

All these whims and habits have concurred woefully to drain the
old gentleman's purse; and as he prides himself on punctuality in
money matters and wishes to maintain his credit in the
neighborhood, they have caused him great perplexity in meeting
his engagements. This, too, has been increased by the
altercations and heart-burnings which are continually taking
place in his family. His children have been brought up to
different callings and are of different ways of thinking; and as
they have always been allowed to speak their minds freely, they
do not fail to exercise the privilege most clamorously in the
present posture of his affairs. Some stand up for the honor of
the race, and are clear that the old establishment should be kept
up in all its state, whatever may be the cost; others, who are
more prudent and considerate, entreat the old gentleman to
retrench his expenses and to put his whole system of housekeeping
on a more moderate footing. He has, indeed, at times, seemed
inclined to listen to their opinions, but their wholesome advice
has been completely defeated by the obstreperous conduct of one
of his sons. This is a noisy, rattle-pated fellow, of rather low
habits, who neglects his business to frequent ale-houses--is the
orator of village clubs and a complete oracle among the poorest
of his father's tenants. No sooner does he hear any of his
brothers mention reform or retrenchment than up he jumps, takes
the words out of their mouths, and roars out for an overturn.
When his tongue is once going nothing can stop it. He rants about
the room; hectors the old man about his spendthrift practices;
ridicules his tastes and pursuits; insists that he shall turn the
old servants out of doors, give the broken-down horses to the
hounds, send the fat chaplain packing, and take a field-preacher
in his place; nay, that the whole family mansion shall be
levelled with the ground, and a plain one of brick and mortar
built in its place. He rails at every social entertainment and
family festivity, and skulks away growling to the ale-house
whenever an equipage drives up to the door. Though constantly
complaining of the emptiness of his purse, yet he scruples not to
spend all his pocket-money in these tavern convocations, and even
runs up scores for the liquor over which he preaches about his
father's extravagance.

It may readily be imagined how little such thwarting agrees with
the old cavalier's fiery temperament. He has become so irritable
from repeated crossings that the mere mention of retrenchment or
reform is a signal for a brawl between him and the tavern oracle.
As the latter is too sturdy and refractory for paternal
discipline, having grown out of all fear of the cudgel, they have
frequent scenes of wordy warfare, which at times run so high that
John is fain to call in the aid of his son Tom, an officer who
has served abroad, but is at present living at home on half-pay.
This last is sure to stand by the old gentleman, right or wrong,
likes nothing so much as a rocketing, roistering life, and is
ready at a wink or nod to out sabre and flourish it over the
orator's head if he dares to array himself against parental

These family dissensions, as usual, have got abroad, and are rare
food for scandal in John's neighborhood. People begin to look
wise and shake their heads whenever his affairs are mentioned.
They all "hope that matters are not so bad with him as
represented; but when a man's own children begin to rail at his
extravagance, things must be badly managed. They understand he is
mortgaged over head and ears and is continually dabbling with
money-lenders. He is certainly an open-handed old gentleman, but
they fear he has lived too fast; indeed, they never knew any good
come of this fondness for hunting, racing revelling, and
prize-fighting. In short, Mr. Bull's estate is a very fine one
and has been in the family a long while, but, for all that, they
have known many finer estates come to the hammer."

What is worst of all, is the effect which these pecuniary
embarrassments and domestic feuds have had on the poor man
himself. Instead of that jolly round corporation and smug rosy
face which he used to present, he has of late become as
shrivelled and shrunk as a frost-bitten apple. His scarlet
gold-laced waistcoat, which bellied out so bravely in those
prosperous days when he sailed before the wind, now hangs loosely
about him like a mainsail in a calm. His leather breeches are all
in folds and wrinkles, and apparently have much ado to hold up
the boots that yawn on both sides of his once sturdy legs.

Instead of strutting about as formerly with his three-cornered
hat on one side, flourishing his cudgel, and bringing it down
every moment with a hearty thump upon the ground, looking every
one sturdily in the face, and trolling out a stave of a catch or
a drinking-song, he now goes about whistling thoughtfully to
himself, with his head drooping down, his cudgel tucked under his
arm, and his hands thrust to the bottom of his breeches pockets,
which are evidently empty.

Such is the plight of honest John Bull at present, yet for all
this the old fellow's spirit is as tall and as gallant as ever.
If you drop the least expression of sympathy or concern, he takes
fire in an instant; swears that he is the richest and stoutest
fellow in the country; talks of laying out large sums to adorn
his house or buy another estate; and with a valiant swagger and
grasping of his cudgel longs exceedingly to have another bout at

Though there may be something rather whimsical in all this, yet I
confess I cannot look upon John's situation without strong
feelings of interest. With all his odd humors and obstinate
prejudices he is a sterling-hearted old blade. He may not be so
wonderfully fine a fellow as he thinks himself, but he is at
least twice as good as his neighbors represent him. His virtues
are all his own--all plain, homebred, and unaffected. His very
faults smack of the raciness of his good qualities. His
extravagance savors of his generosity, his quarrelsomeness of his
courage, his credulity of his open faith, his vanity of his
pride, and his bluntness of his sincerity. They are all the
redundancies of a rich and liberal character. He is like his own
oak, rough without, but sound and solid within; whose bark
abounds with excrescences in proportion to the growth and
grandeur of the timber; and whose branches make a fearful
groaning and murmuring in the least storm from their very
magnitude and luxuriance. There is something, too, in the
appearance of his old family mansion that is extremely poetical
and picturesque; and as long as it can be rendered comfortably
habitable I should almost tremble to see it meddled with during
the present conflict of tastes and opinions. Some of his advisers
are no doubt good architects that might be of service; but many,
I fear, are mere levellers, who, when they bad once got to work
with their mattocks on this venerable edifice, would never stop
until they had brought it to the ground, and perhaps buried
themselves among the ruins. All that I wish is, that John's
present troubles may teach him more prudence in future--that he
may cease to distress his mind about other people's affairs; that
he may give up the fruitless attempt to promote the good of his
neighbors and the peace and happiness of the world, by dint of
the cudgel; that he may remain quietly at home; gradually get his
house into repair; cultivate his rich estate according to his
fancy; husband his income--if he thinks proper; bring his unruly
children into order--if he can; renew the jovial scenes of
ancient prosperity; and long enjoy on his paternal lands a green,
an honorable, and a merry old age.


May no wolfe howle; no screech owle stir
A wing about thy sepulchre!
No boysterous winds or stormes come hither,
To starve or wither
Thy soft sweet earth! but, like a spring,
Love kept it ever flourishing.

IN the course of an excursion through one of the remote counties
of England, I had struck into one of those cross-roads that lead
through the more secluded parts of the country, and stopped one
afternoon at a village the situation of which was beautifully
rural and retired. There was an air of primitive simplicity about
its inhabitants not to be found in the villages which lie on the
great coach-roads. I determined to pass the night there, and,
having taken an early dinner, strolled out to enjoy the
neighboring scenery.

My ramble, as is usually the case with travellers, soon led me to
the church, which stood at a little distance from the village.
Indeed, it was an object of some curiosity, its old tower being
completely overrun with ivy so that only here and there a jutting
buttress, an angle of gray wall, or a fantastically carved
ornament peered through the verdant covering. It was a lovely
evening. The early part of the day had been dark and showery, but
in the afternoon it had cleared up, and, though sullen clouds
still hung overhead, yet there was a broad tract of golden sky in
the west, from which the setting sun gleamed through the dripping
leaves and lit up all Nature into a melancholy smile. It seemed
like the parting hour of a good Christian smiling on the sins and
sorrows of the world, and giving, in the serenity of his decline,
an assurance that he will rise again in glory.

I had seated myself on a half-sunken tombstone, and was musing,
as one is apt to do at this sober-thoughted hour, on past scenes
and early friends--on those who were distant and those who were
dead--and indulging in that kind of melancholy fancying which has
in it something sweeter even than pleasure. Every now and then
the stroke of a bell from the neighboring tower fell on my ear;
its tones were in unison with the scene, and, instead of jarring,
chimed in with my feelings; and it was some time before I
recollected that it must be tolling the knell of some new tenant
of the tomb.

Presently I saw a funeral train moving across the village green;
it wound slowly along a lane, was lost, and reappeared through
the breaks of the hedges, until it passed the place where I was
sitting. The pall was supported by young girls dressed in white,
and another, about the age of seventeen, walked before, bearing a
chaplet of white flowers--a token that the deceased was a young
and unmarried female. The corpse was followed by the parents.
They were a venerable couple of the better order of peasantry.
The father seemed to repress his feelings, but his fixed eye,
contracted brow, and deeply-furrowed face showed the struggle
that was passing within. His wife hung on his arm, and wept aloud
with the convulsive bursts of a mother's sorrow.

I followed the funeral into the church. The bier was placed in
the centre aisle, and the chaplet of white flowers, with a pair
of white gloves, was hung over the seat which the deceased had

Every one knows the soul-subduing pathos of the funeral service,
for who is so fortunate as never to have followed some one he has
loved to the tomb? But when performed over the remains of
innocence and beauty, thus laid low in the bloom of existence,
what can be more affecting? At that simple but most solemn
consignment of the body to the grave-"Earth to earth, ashes to
ashes, dust to dust!"--the tears of the youthful companions of
the deceased flowed unrestrained. The father still seemed to
struggle with his feelings, and to comfort himself with the
assurance that the dead are blessed which die in the Lord; but
the mother only thought of her child as a flower of the field cut
down and withered in the midst of its sweetness; she was like
Rachel, "mourning over her children, and would not be comforted."

On returning to the inn I learnt the whole story of the deceased.
It was a simple one, and such as has often been told. She had
been the beauty and pride of the village. Her father had once
been an opulent farmer, but was reduced in circumstances. This
was an only child, and brought up entirely at home in the
simplicity of rural life. She had been the pupil of the village
pastor, the favorite lamb of his little flock. The good man
watched over her education with paternal care; it was limited and
suitable to the sphere in which she was to move, for he only
sought to make her an ornament to her station in life, not to
raise her above it. The tenderness and indulgence of her parents
and the exemption from all ordinary occupations had fostered a
natural grace and delicacy of character that accorded with the
fragile loveliness of her form. She appeared like some tender
plant of the garden blooming accidentally amid the hardier
natives of the fields.

The superiority of her charms was felt and acknowledged by her
companions, but without envy, for it was surpassed by the
unassuming gentleness and winning kindness of her manners. It
might be truly said of her:

"This is the prettiest low-born lass, that ever
Ran on the green-sward: nothing she does or seems
But smacks of something greater than herself;
Too noble for this place."

The village was one of those sequestered spots which still retain
some vestiges of old English customs. It had its rural festivals
and holiday pastimes, and still kept up some faint observance of
the once popular rites of May. These, indeed, had been promoted
by its present pastor, who was a lover of old customs and one of
those simple Christians that think their mission fulfilled by
promoting joy on earth and good-will among mankind. Under his
auspices the May-pole stood from year to year in the centre of
the village green; on Mayday it was decorated with garlands and
streamers, and a queen or lady of the May was appointed, as in
former times, to preside at the sports and distribute the prizes
and rewards. The picturesque situation of the village and the
fancifulness of its rustic fetes would often attract the notice
of casual visitors. Among these, on one May-day, was a young
officer whose regiment had been recently quartered in the
neighborhood. He was charmed with the native taste that pervaded
this village pageant, but, above all, with the dawning loveliness
of the queen of May. It was the village favorite who was crowned
with flowers, and blushing and smiling in all the beautiful
confusion of girlish diffidence and delight. The artlessness of
rural habits enabled him readily to make her acquaintance; be
gradually won his way into her intimacy, and paid his court to
her in that unthinking way in which young officers are too apt to
trifle with rustic simplicity.

There was nothing in his advances to startle or alarm. He never
even talked of love, but there are modes of making it more
eloquent than language, and which convey it subtilely and
irresistibly to the heart. The beam of the eye, the tone of
voice, the thousand tendernesses which emanate from every word
and look and action,--these form the true eloquence of love, and
can always be felt and understood, but never described. Can we
wonder that they should readily win a heart young, guileless, and
susceptible? As to her, she loved almost unconsciously; she
scarcely inquired what was the growing passion that was absorbing
every thought and feeling, or what were to be its consequences.
She, indeed, looked not to the future. When present, his looks
and words occupied her whole attention; when absent, she thought
but of what had passed at their recent interview. She would
wander with him through the green lanes and rural scenes of the
vicinity. He taught her to see new beauties in Nature; he talked
in the language of polite and cultivated life, and breathed into
her ear the witcheries of romance and poetry.

Perhaps there could not have been a passion between the sexes
more pure than this innocent girl's. The gallant figure of her
youthful admirer and the splendor of his military attire might at
first have charmed her eye, but it was not these that had
captivated her heart. Her attachment had something in it of
idolatry. She looked up to him as to a being of a superior order.
She felt in his society the enthusiasm of a mind naturally
delicate and poetical, and now first awakened to a keen
perception of the beautiful and grand. Of the sordid distinctions
of rank and fortune she thought nothing; it was the difference of
intellect, of demeanor, of manners, from those of the rustic
society to which she had been accustomed, that elevated him in
her opinion. She would listen to him with charmed ear and
downcast look of mute delight, and her cheek would mantle with
enthusiasm; or if ever she ventured a shy glance of timid
admiration, it was as quickly withdrawn, and she would sigh and
blush at the idea of her comparative unworthiness.

Her lover was equally impassioned, but his passion was mingled
with feelings of a coarser nature. He had begun the connection in
levity, for he had often heard his brother-officers boast of
their village conquests, and thought some triumph of the kind
necessary to his reputation as a man of spirit. But he was too
full of youthful fervor. His heart had not yet been rendered
sufficiently cold and selfish by a wandering and a dissipated
life: it caught fire from the very flame it sought to kindle, and
before he was aware of the nature of his situation he became
really in love.

What was he to do? There were the old obstacles which so
incessantly occur in these heedless attachments. His rank in
life, the prejudices of titled connections, his dependence upon a
proud and unyielding father, all forbade him to think of
matrimony; but when he looked down upon this innocent being, so
tender and confiding, there was a purity in her manners, a
blamelessness in her life, and a beseeching modesty in her looks
that awed down every licentious feeling. In vain did he try to
fortify himself by a thousand heartless examples of men of
fashion, and to chill the glow of generous sentiment with that
cold derisive levity with which he had heard them talk of female
virtue: whenever he came into her presence she was still
surrounded by that mysterious but impassive charm of virgin
purity in whose hallowed sphere no guilty thought can live.

The sudden arrival of orders for the regiment to repair to the
Continent completed the confusion of his mind. He remained for a
short time in a state of the most painful irresolution; he
hesitated to communicate the tidings until the day for marching
was at hand, when he gave her the intelligence in the course of
an evening ramble.

The idea of parting had never before occurred to her. It broke in
at once upon her dream of felicity; she looked upon it as a
sudden and insurmountable evil, and wept with the guileless
simplicity of a child. He drew her to his bosom and kissed the
tears from her soft cheek; nor did he meet with a repulse, for
there are moments of mingled sorrow and tenderness which hallow
the caresses of affection. He was naturally impetuous, and the
sight of beauty apparently yielding in his arms, the confidence
of his power over her, and the dread of losing her forever all
conspired to overwhelm his better feelings: he ventured to
propose that she should leave her home and be the companion of
his fortunes.

He was quite a novice in seduction, and blushed and faltered at
his own baseness; but so innocent of mind was his intended victim
that she was at first at a loss to comprehend his meaning, and
why she should leave her native village and the humble roof of
her parents. When at last the nature of his proposal flashed upon
her pure mind, the effect was withering. She did not weep; she
did not break forth into reproach; she said not a word, but she
shrunk back aghast as from a viper, gave him a look of anguish
that pierced to his very soul, and, clasping her hands in agony,
fled, as if for refuge, to her father's cottage.

The officer retired confounded, humiliated, and repentant. It is
uncertain what might have been the result of the conflict of his
feelings, had not his thoughts been diverted by the bustle of
departure. New scenes, new pleasures, and new companions soon
dissipated his self-reproach and stifled his tenderness; yet,
amidst the stir of camps, the revelries of garrisons, the array
of armies, and even the din of battles, his thoughts would
sometimes steal back to the scenes of rural quiet and village
simplicity--the white cottage, the footpath along the silver
brook and up the hawthorn hedge, and the little village maid
loitering along it, leaning on his arm and listening to him with
eyes beaming with unconscious affection.

The shock which the poor girl had received in the destruction of
all her ideal world had indeed been cruel. Faintings and
hysterics had at first shaken her tender frame, and were
succeeded by a settled and pining melancholy. She had beheld from
her window the march of the departing troops. She had seen her
faithless lover borne off, as if in triumph, amidst the sound of
drum and trumpet and the pomp of arms. She strained a last aching
gaze after him as the morning sun glittered about his figure and
his plume waved in the breeze; he passed away like a bright
vision from her sight, and left her all in darkness.

It would be trite to dwell on the particulars of her after story.
It was, like other tales of love, melancholy. She avoided society
and wandered out alone in the walks she had most frequented with
her lover. She sought, like the stricken deer, to weep in silence
and loneliness and brood over the barbed sorrow that rankled in
her soul. Sometimes she would be seen late of an evening sitting
in the porch of the village church, and the milk-maids, returning
from the fields, would now and then overhear her singing some
plaintive ditty in the hawthorn walk. She became fervent in her
devotions at church, and as the old people saw her approach, so
wasted away, yet with a hectic gloom and that hallowed air which

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