guests armed themselves with the muskets which always
stood ready loaded, and buckled on their swords, while
the \vomen filled the leather fire buckets with water.
This was all they could do, for they had not occupied
the house very long, and it had no palisades or defences.
Then they sat still and waited for the moment when
the Indians, having destroyed everything below, should
come on to them.
Most of us have learned that there is nothing so hard
as to wait with our hands folded for something to
happen, and it was a sort of relief when at last the
watchers beheld the Indians climbing the hill. In a
368 WITH THE EEDSKINS
little while they separated, some going into the barn
and others hiding behind rocks, so that they could
shoot at the house without running any risk of being
After a time, however, they got tired of this slow
warfare, and setting alight some flax and hemp which
had been stored in the barn flung it against the wooden
beams of the dwelling. But one of the besieged put the
fire out with a bucketful of water, so the Indians had
to bring more dry hemp and try again in a fresh place.
Those inside listened eagerly to hear if the logs caught,
and their faces grew white as the wood began to crackle.
A few minutes later the enemy sprang in with a shout,
and a hand-to-hand fight followed.
Under cover of the confusion Mrs. Rowlandson and
her sister, Mrs. Drew, gathered together their children
and stole outside, hoping to escape into the forest un-
perceived. But such a shower of bullets met them
that they were forced to go back again, and the poor
lady who tells the story is filled with indignation at
the laziness or cowardice of the ' six stout dogs, who
would not stir, though at another time if an Indian
had come to the door they were ready to fly upon him
and tear him down.' Even had the stout dogs done their
duty it would not have made much difference to the
fate of the party, and between the fire and the bullets
death stared them in the face. Some were shot down
at once, others were wounded, and among these were
Mrs. Rowlandson herself and her youngest child, whom
she was carrying. The dead were left where they fell
and the rest, twenty-five in number, taken captive.
Bleeding from the wound in her side, the poor
woman was forced to drag herself to a hill about a
mile away, where the Indians passed the night, shout-
ing, singing, and dancing. As soon as it was light they
started off again, the child being held on a horse before
<one of the Redskins. The wounds in its hand and
WITH THE REDSKINS
side were terribly painful, and it kept up a continuous
moaning of ' I shall die, I shall die ! ' Scarcely abl<-
though she was to keep up with the rest of the parly
the mother took it in her arms again and hushed its
cries. But, faint from loss of blood and lack of food,
she soon stumbled and fell, and then the Indians had
pity on her and placed them both on a horse. Un-
luckily the animal had no ' furniture ' or saddle, and
possibly also Mrs. Rowlandson was not a very good
rider ; at any rate ' as we were going down a steep hill
we both fell over the horse's head, at which they, like
inhuman creatures, laughed,' which perhaps was not
To add to all these miseries snow began to fall, and
at last the dreary march stopped, and a fire was lit,
round which they clustered. The child was by this
time in a violent fever, and indeed it was a marvel it
remained alive at all, lying exposed all through that
bitter night, and having touched nothing but a little
cold water for more than three days. But they
struggled on somehow, and at the next halting-place
they found a prisoner who, Mrs. Rowlandson tells us,
showed her how to heal her wounds by laying oak-leaves
against them. The remedy sounds a simple one- if you
could find an oak tree with leaves on it in the month
of February but, of course, the prisoner may have
carried a store of dried leaves with him, guessing that
they might be useful as long as the Indians were about.
Nine days after the beginning of her captivity little
Sarah died, and was buried up on the hill. In her
distress the mother found some comfort in seeing her
eldest child, who was the first to be taken captive when
the house was attacked, and happened to be at that
moment in the same small Indian town. A day or
two later her son Joseph appeared unexpectedly, ' and
asked her how she did.' He also was a prisoner with
a tribe about six miles away, and when his master had
A.S. B B
370 WITH THE REDSKINS
started with the other braves to destroy a town the
squaw had brought the boy to visit his mother.
Throughout, we find many acts of kindness from the
Indians towards their prisoners, but Mrs. Rowlandson
never shows the least gratitude for them, neither does
she ever appear to try to make friends with her captors.
She seems terribly afraid of crossing rivers, and always
tells us if she passed over on the rafts ' without wetting
her foot,' or whether they w r ere so ill-made that they
let in water. The food, too, was a great trial to her,
for at first provisions were very scarce, and hungry
though she was ' it was very hard to get down their
filthy trash.' Yet after three w r eeks of fasting, though
she * would think how formerly she would turn against
this or that,' and that she ' could starve and die before
she could eat such things,' they at last became ' pleasant
and savoury to the taste. By and bye, as the spring
approached, things improved. One of the Indians
offered her two spoonfuls of meal, and another gave her
half a pint of peas, ' which was worth more to her than
many bushels at another time.' On the further side
of the Connecticut River was a powerful chief called
King Philip, to whom she paid a visit. Here she was
offered a pipe, which she refused with some unwil-
' I had formerly used tobacco,' she says, ' but had
left it since I was first taken. It seems to be a bait the
Devil lays to make men waste their precious time. I
remember with shame how formerly, when I had taken
two or three pipes, I was presently ready for another ;
such a bewitching thing it is.'
All through her wanderings Mrs. Rowlandson
contrived to carry wool and knitting pins with her,
difficult as it must have been to manage. Little by
little the Indians grew to think of her as a woman who
could do many things which they could not, and applied
to her for help King Philip begged her to make a shirt
WITH THE REDSKINS 371
for his boy, and gave her a shilling for it, which she
was allowed to keep. Full of envy at the sight of tin-
shirt, a squaw ordered a second as a present for her hus-
band, and handed her a quart of peas as the price.
Mrs. Rowlandson was not a person who found
pleasure in giving for its ow r n sake, or else she thought
that red skins were not to be treated like white ones.
She is very angry when a ' sorry Indian ' up the river,
hearing of her famous shirts, begs her to make one for
him, and when she had done it ' would pay her nothing
for it.' But if the sorry Indian imagined he was to
get off the debt lie was quite wrong. Whenever, in
fetching water, Mrs. Rowlandson passed his wigwam, or
hut, she was in the habit of ' putting him in mind and
calling for her pay.' At last her continued visits wore
aw r ay the determination of the Indian, and he agreed
that if she would make a little shirt for his ' papoose '
she should have a knife. This time all went smoothly.
The knife was handed over, but she did not keep it
long, as her master took a fancy to it. 'I was glad
to think I had anything they would be pleased with,'
adds Mrs. Rowlandson.
After a time some of the good lady's hatred of the
Indians, with their foul looks, so different from the
lovely faces of Christians, seems to have melted. She
was surprised to find that w T hen going to see her son,
then not far from her, nobody did her any harm, while
she speaks of little kindnesses shown her. One squaw
gives her a piece of bear, and permits her to boil it in
her kettle with ground nuts for a vegetable. ' I cannot
but think how pleasant it was to me,' she writes. ' I have
seen bear handsomely baked among the English, and
some liked it, but the thought that it was bear made
me tremble.' Captivity w r as teaching the clergyman's
wife many useful lessons, and as they were now travelling
in the direction of her old home her spirits rose and she
was more inclined to be cheerful and friendly.
A.S. B B 2
372 WITH THE REDSKINS
But she was destined to remain in captivity some
weeks longer, till she almost despaired of ever becoming
free again. The Indians wandered about, apparently
without any settled plan, except to keep out of the
way of the English army. Once or twice she had news
of her husband from some one who had spoken with him.
Mr. Rowlandson was ' very well, but very melancholy,'
and she seems to have frequently seen her son. Although
very fond of her own children the solemn little red
papooses were of no interest to her, and she speaks of
them in a very unkind and heartless way. When her
mistress's papoose died in their encampment down the
Connecticut River she remarks that ' there was one
benefit in it, as it made more room in the wigwam,'
and adds that ' next day there came a company to
mourn and howl with the mother,' but that .she herself
' could not much condole with them.'
In reading the account of her captivity and her
endless travels one imagines that years must have
passed, but it was barely two months after the attack
on the Massachusetts house when Mrs. Rowlandson
was sent home, in exchange for some bread and tobacco
and twenty pounds besides. In Boston she met her
husband and some of her other relations, and by and
bye her daughter arrived, having escaped from the
Indians by the help of a squaw. And there \ve will
leave Mrs. Rowlandson. On her return her fellow
Christians appeared full of good qualities as full,
indeed, as to her mind the Indians were of bad ones.
Yet, hard-hearted and blinded with prejudice as she
was, she was forced to bear witness that ' those roaring
lions and savage bears [the Indians], who feared neither
God nor man nor the Devil,' had never offered her ' the
slightest violence either in word or action,' and that
she came away ' in the midst of so many hundreds
of enemies, and not a dog moved his tongue.'
Shortened from Drake's ' Indian Captivities.'
THE WRECK OF THE 'DRAKE*
ON a fine June morning, ninety years ago, the schooner
Drake, commanded by Captain Baker, with a crew of
fifty men on board, set sail, by order of the Admiral
of the Newfoundland station, for the port of Halifax.
For three days the vessel made good progress ; then, to
the dismay of both captain and crew, one of the dense
fogs for which the seas round Newfoundland are famous
began to bear down upon them.
Now of all the disasters that can happen to a ship
none is so terrifying as a thick fog. You can see nothing,
you can hear nothing. Even now the loud screams of
the siren seem hardly to reach beyond the deck ; the
screws work slowly and cautiously, but it is as dangerous
to stand still as to go on. You cannot tell on which side
the peril may lie ; at one moment the ship appears alone
in the seas, wrapped in darkness, and the next instant
the shadowy form of a great hulk looms at her side,
ready to run her down. And if this is so in these days
think what it must have been ninety years ago, when
almost all the vessels were sailing ships and there were
no sirens or hooters.
Knowing what was likely to happen, Captain Baker
lost no time in taking observations as to the latitude
and longitude of the ship, so that he might be able to
steer in the right direction. At first there was a light
breeze behind them, and they contrived to make about
sixty miles, but then the fog settled down again and
374 THE WRECK OF THE ' DRAKE
fchey could see nothing twenty yards away. For ar?
hour and a half they proceeded, taking soundings as
they went, lest they should strike upon some hidden
rock, when suddenly a shout of ' Breakers ahead ! ' was
raised by one of the men who had been told off to keep
a look-out, and though every effort was made to stop
the ship the waves rendered everything useless, and in
a few minutes a grinding sound was heard and a violent
shock ran from bow to stern : the vessel had struck.
* Cut away the masts,' was the captain's first order,
and as calmly as if they had been sailing in smooth
water the men obeyed him. But in spite of the vessel
being lightened by the loss of the masts the sea poured
into the hole which had been torn in the side, and she
began to sink rapidly.
* Launch the cutter,' shouted the captain ; but the
boat had hardly touched the surface when a great wave
swept over her and she was seen no more.
At this disaster the captain's hopes of saving his
men grew faint, though outwardly he was as calm as
ever, and his crew gave no signs of fearing the death that
could not be far off. Then the wind blew the fog a little
to one side, and a small rock could be seen, not very dis-
tant from where they were. Without waiting for orders a
sailor called Lennard seized a rope weighted with lead
and jumped into the sea, intending to swim to the rock,
but he was caught by a current flowing in the wrong
direction and was hauled back on deck by his comrades.
' I will try the gig,' cried Turner, the boatswain ;
' it is our only chance.' So, with a rope round his body,
he was lowered into the little boat, which was carried
along till it was within a few feet of the rock. They
watched eagerly, holding their breath, when a wave
larger than the rest caught and lifted the boat and
dashed it in pieces on the rock. For a moment they
strained their eyes in silence, then they saw Turner
stagger to his feet, and climb up the rock, rope in hand.
THE WRECK OF THE 'DRAKE' 37f,
By this time the Drake was so swept by the waves
that the men were all crowded together on the poop,
clinging to anything that would allow them to keep
their footing. She swayed to and fro in the eleft where
she had been wedged, and every second seemed likely to
bring the end, when suddenly a tremendous sea lifted
her in its grasp and carried her close to the rock on
which the boatswain was already standing. Captain
Baker was quick to seize his opportunity, and ordered
his men instantly to take to the water. But one and
all refused to leave him.
' We will follow you,' they said, and it was long
before they could be induced to obey him. At length
he prevailed on them one by one to swim to the rock,
though a few, by this time half frozen, were too weak to
Last of all came the captain.
While they were on the ship the rock had appeared a
harbour of refuge ; if they could only get there their
sufferings would be over and they would be perfectly
safe. But now they saw to their horror that when the
tide was high the rock would be completely covered,
and their only chance was to struggle to reach the
mainland by help of the boatswain's rope. The tide
was coming in fast, and there was not a moment to lose.
' You go, Turner,' said the captain, and the boat-
swain tied another knot in the rope that was already
round his waist and leaped into the sea. By the faint
rays of the dawn the watchers could trace his fight with
the waves, and their hearts seemed to beat almost to
bursting and to stand still by turns. But inch by inch
he gained something, and at length, bruised and ex-
hausted, he stepped on to the beach.
He was safe, but the rope had only been just long
enough to stretch across.
376 THE WRECK OF THE 'DRAKE'
By order of the captain, who called them by name,
man after man crossed the surf successfully, till forty-
four of the crew stood on the other side, and only six
were left six, and one of them a woman. In vain they
had again and again implored their captain to take his
turn with the rest ; his answer was always the same,
' When everyone is safe on the other side I will go over.'
Now the goal was almost reached, and it was time, for
the water had nearly touched the topmost point of the
rock they were en.
With one accord the eyes of the five men who
remained behind rested upon the woman, who lay there
half dead, as it seemed, already. Without the presence
of the captain who can tell if the desire of life might not
have thrust all else aside, and she might have been
abandoned to her fate ? But with the captain looking
on and sharing their danger not a creature would have
dared even to think such a thought, and a tall sailor
stepped forward and silently, lifting her in his arms,
fastened the rope round him. But the continued
fretting against the jagged rocks had done its work.
Many of the strands were cut through, and though the
rope might have carried them all across, one by one, it
was not strong enough to bear two at once ; it broke,
and both the man and the woman disappeared in the
Then Captain Baker and the three who were with him
knew that this was the end. Before another rope could
be got the tide would be over the rock.
The men on the land understood the desperate
need, and while some ran as fast as they could to borrow
a new rope from the nearest farmhouse, the others tied
their handkerchiefs and trousers together, in the hope
that the old rope might yet be made long enough to
stretch across the chasm. But when everything had
been used it was still too short, and there was nothing
left for them tc do but to wart and watclv and to long for
THE WRECK OF THE 'DRAKK* :*77
the return of their companions. For a while hope rose
high, for eacli wave receded and loft thorn clinging
tightly to the little projections. Surely the tide must
be on the turn now, and if they could only hold on for a
few moments the danger was past. Then a sob broke
from one of the men. A gigantic wave was seen gather-
ing itself up ; it broke with a loud roar and blinding
spray, and when they looked again the rock was bare.
' Shipwrecks of the iioyal Navy.
CH ILi^ 'OM
PRINTED IN ORKAT BRITAIN BY ROBERT MAiM.EHOSK AST CO. LTD.,
AT THE UMVEK-mV J'KK.SS, GLASGOW.