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Page 251


“And how soon to the bower she loved, they say,
Returned the maid that was borne away
From Maquon, the fond and the brave.”


After Miss Leslie's escape from Oneco on the
island, he remained for some time unconscious of
her departure, and entirely absorbed in his
efforts to quicken the energy of reviving life in
his father; and when he discovered that his
prisoner had left him, he still deemed her as certainly
within his power on the sea-girt island, as
if she had been enclosed by the walls of a prison.
He felt that his father's life depended on his obtaining
an asylum as soon as possible, and he determined
to abandon his plan of going to Narragansett,
and instead, to cross the bay to Moscutusett,
the residence of the son and successor of Chicetabot,
an avowed ally of the English, but really, in
common with most of the powerful chiefs, their
secret enemy.

If, availing himself of the sheltering twilight of
the morning, he could convey his father safely to
the wigwam of his friend, Oneco believed he
might securely remain there for the present. In


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the mean time, he should himself be at liberty to
contrive and attempt the recovery of his wife.
The instrumentality of Hope Leslie might be important
to effect this object, and she also might
remain in safe custody with the Indian chief.

Thus having digested his plans, before the
morning dawned, and by the sufficient light of
the moon, he went in quest of his prisoner,
but was destined, as our readers know, to be disappointed.

He encountered Chaddock's crew, much in the
situation in which they were first discovered
by Miss Leslie, for after having been baffled in
their pursuit of her, they returned and recomposed
themselves to await the light of day, when
they might give a signal to some boat to take
them off the island.

Oneco apprehending that in the prosecution of
his search over the island, he might meet with
some straggler from this gang, very prudently disguised
himself in certain of the cast-off garments
belonging to the men, which would enable him to
escape, at least, immediate detection. This disguise,
though useless then, proved afterwards of
important service to him.

Compelled by the approach of day to abandon
his search, he returned to his canoe, placed his
father in it, and rowed him to Sachem's-head,
where he was kindly received and cherished,
though with the utmost secresy, for the Indians
had long ere this been taught, by painful experience,


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to guard against the most dispiriting of
all dangers—a danger to which the weak, in the
neighbourhood of a powerful and comparatively
rich foe, are always exposed—the treachery of
their own people.

The chief of Moscutusett obtained, from day
to day, intelligence of whatever transpired in
Boston; and in this way Mononotto was apprised
of the imprisonment and probable fate of Magawisca.
This was the last drop in his cup of bitterness;
worse, far worse, than to have borne on
his body the severest tortures ever devised by
human cruelty. Magawisca had obtained an
ascendency over her father's mind by her extraordinary
gifts and superior knowledge. He loved
her as his child—he venerated her as an inspired
being. He might have endured to have
had her cut off by the chances of war, but to have
her arraigned before the tribunal of his enemies,
as amenable to their laws—to have her die by the
hands of the executioner, as one of their own felon
subjects, pierced his national pride as well as his
affection, and he resigned himself to overwhelming
grief. Oneco sorrowed for himself, and he
sorrowed for the old man's tears, but he felt nothing
very deeply but the loss of his “white

All his ingenuity was employed to devise the
means of her escape. After having painted
his face, hands, and legs, so as effectually to
conceal his tawny hue, he appeared a foreign


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sailor, in Madam Winthrop's parlour. All
succeeded better than his most sanguine expectations.
He contrived to give every necessary hint
to Faith Leslie; and so happily veiled his language
by his indistinct and rapid utterance, that
Governor Winthrop, familiar as he was with the
sound of the Indian dialects, did not suspect him.
The family retired immediately after their evening
devotions: he laid himself down on the bed that had
been hospitably spread for him, and soon feigned
himself asleep. He watched the servants make their
last preparations for bed—the lights were extinguished,
and the fire raked up, though enough still
glimmered through the ashes, to afford him a competent
light when he should need it. The menials
withdrew—their footsteps had hardly ceased
to vibrate on his ear, when his wife, impatient of
any further delay, stole from her aunt's side, threw
on her dress, and with the light bounding tread of
a fawn, passed down the stairs, through the hall,
and into the kitchen. Oneco started up, and in
a transport of joy would have locked her in his
arms, when Jennet—Jennet, our evil genius, appeared.
She, like some other disagreeable people,
seemed to be gifted with ubiquity, and always
to be present where happiness was to be interrupted,
or mischief to be done.

She stood for an instant, her hands uplifted in
silent amazement, hesitating whether to alarm the
family with her outcries, or more quietly to give
them notice of the character of their guest.


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Oneco put a sudden end to her deliberations.
He first darted to the door and closed it; then
drew a knife from his bosom, and pointing it at
Jennet's heart, he told her in very bad English,
but plainly interpreted by his action, that if she
moved or uttered a sound, his knife should taste
her life-blood.

Jennet saw determination in his aspect, and
she stood as still as if she were paralyzed or
transfixed, while Oneco proceeded to tell her,
that to make all sure, she should go with him to
his canoe. He bade her calm her fears, for then
he would release her, provided that in the mean
time, she made no effort, by voice or movement,
to release herself.

There was no alternative, but she did beg to
be allowed to go to her room to get her bonnet
and shawl. Oneco smiled deridingly at the weak
artifice by which she hoped to elude him; but
deigning no other reply to it, he caught a shawl
which hung over a chair, threw it over her, and
without any further delay, compelled her to follow

Oneco took care to avoid the danger, slight
though it was, of encountering any passengers, by
directing his way through an unfrequented part
of the town. Impatience to be beyond the bounds
of danger, and the joy of escape and reunion,
seemed to lend wings to Jennet's companions,
while she followed breathless and panting, enraged
at her compelled attendance, and almost


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bursting with spite, to which she could not give
its natural vent by its customary outlet the tongue,
the safety-valve of many a vexed spirit.

They had arrived very near to the cove where
Oneco had moored his canoe. He good naturedly
pointed towards it, and told Jennet that there she
should be released. But the hope of release by
a mode much more satisfactory to her feelings,
inasmuch as it would involve her companions in
danger, had dawned on Jennet. She had just
perceived some men, (how many she could not
tell, for the night was then dark) who were, unobserved
by Oneco, stealing towards them. She
withdrew a few inches, as far as she dared from
his side, lest he should execute sudden vengeance
with the weapon which he still held in his hand.
Her conjectures were now converted to certainty,
and she already mentally exulted in the retaliation
she should inflict on her companions, but

“Esser vicino al lido
Molti fra naufragar;”
or, to express the same truth by our vernacular
adage,—“There's many a slip between the cup
and the lip.” The men did approach, even to
her side, and without listening to her protestations
of who she was, and who her companions were—
without even hearing them, they seized on her, and
suffering the other parties to escape without any
annoyance, they bound her shawl over her head


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and face, and as our readers have already anticipated,
conveyed her to that awful destiny,
which she had herself indirectly prepared.

It may excite some surprise that Chaddock,
forewarned as he had been, that the lady whom
he was to intercept would have no male attendant,
should not have hesitated when he saw Oneco.
But that may be explained by Oneco wearing the
dress of the ship's crew, and the natural conclusion
on Chaddock's part, that Antonio, whom he
had left in the boat, had come on shore, and
probably just joined these females. Chaddock's
only care was, to select the shortest of the two
women, and obscure as the night was, their relative
height was apparent.