Pauline Sands Dutcber
The Baldwin library
LITTLE PURITAN REBEL
"MISTRESS WRAY WAS ENSCONSED ON THE SETTLE."
A LITTLE PURITAN REBEL
author of "a loyal little maid"
Illustrates fig AMY SACKER
BOSTON L. C. PAGE AND COMPANY
Copyright, i8q8 By L. C. Page and Company
Colonial Press: '
Electrotyped and Printed by c. h. Simonds & Co.
Boston, U. S. A.
I. The Sabba'-day House n
II. The Boy Governor .... 26
III. The Admonishment .... 48
IV. The Blessing of the Bay 7 V. The Fast......92
VI. The Treaty Alliance .109
VII. The Beacon Light .126
"Mistress Wray was ensconsed on the
"Others examined their neighbors' horses 21 The minister had drawn his cloak over
" He stood on the highest peak of the
" The maid from London -57 Master Cotton was seated at his study
'"i am come to bid you farewell,' he said 89
"'Sorry am i to be so ill a messenger'" 101 in silence they looked upon the town
at their feet"......i27
"Boston has cast me out!'" .134
Being some account of an episode in the life of that most pure, enlightened, and gallant gentleman, Sir Henry Vane, Knight, of Raby Castle, England, whilst Boy Governor of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, in the Year of Grace 1636; and of Mistress Frances Wray, sometime maid of honor at the Court of his Majesty, King Charles the First, sojourning in the town of Boston, Massachusetts. Showing how the matter of a veil, with divers distractions arising therefrom, was a potent cause of the English Revolution.
" Yop think that political cataclasms, revolutions, falls of empires, are the effects of grave, profound, important causes ? Ah, no! Kingdoms may be subjugated by great men, but these great men are themselves governed by their passions, their caprices, their vanities." A. E. Scribe.
" Vane, young in years, bid in sage counsel old,
Than whom a better Senator ne'er held t
The helm of Rome, when gowns, not arms, repell'd The fierce Epirot and the African bold, Whether to settle peace, or to unfold
The drift of hollow states hard to be spell'd,
Then to advise how war may, best upheld, Move by her two main nerves, iron and gold, In all her equipage besides to know
Both spiritualpow'r and civil what each means,
What severs each, thou hast learn'd, which few have done, The botmds of either sword to thee we owe ;
Therefore on thy firm hand Religion leans
Inpeace, and reckons thee her eldest son"
A LITTLE PURITAN REBEL.
the sabba'-day house.
The buzz of women's voices about the pile of blazing logs in the Sabba'-day house resolved into a series of excited comments and questions.
" 'Twas well done of Master Wilson to speak right severely of such trappings, that ill beseem one who sojourneth amongst God's people. We left those wanton fripperies behind when we came to these shores to worship in peace and quiet! said a tall, severe-looking woman, whose own costume, consisting of a stiff, long-waisted bodice, and cloth cape and a scant skirt of gray stuff, with her head covered by a straight-brimmed hat, could scarce have called forth the reproaches of the Boston church. A be-ii
dizened Jezebel, truly, with her slashed sleeves, ribbons, and the veil whereon the minister did let loose the thunders of Zion "
" "lis allowed by the Court that we wear out the garments with which we are supplied," murmured a pretty young matron, the loose fronts of whose camlet hood, pushed from her rosy face in the glow of the fire, revealed masses of nut-brown hair, that, despite the sober fashion of its arrangement, broke into rebellious curls about its owner's temples.
" And never was there so thrifty a time as the present," suggested the first speaker, dryly. "Pis little short of a miracle how long one's fine clothes may be made to last when new ones are forbidden! But this maid's garments are of a wondrous sort and, 'tis plain to be seen, of the latest London fashion. An ill example is far seen, and I warrant thee, there is not a head amongst the lassies that doth not turn about when Mistress Wray comes tripping down the aisle, as though the sanctuary of the Lord were a playhouse or a cockpit. The lads do quarrel amongst themselves for a fair look from her, for all that she is shy of speech with them, deeming, no doubt, that lightly won is lightly held "
" She hath a comely face," said a quiet-voiced woman, with large, dark eyes and a sensitive, mobile mouth. If the lads of our town seek to win her favor by proper words and seemly bearing, and our daughters would fain copy her gentle manner of speech and modest ways, me-thinks there could be a worse example for youth 1 than that afforded by this young dame, for a maid of quality she surely is."
There was no immediate reply to this remark from the group by the fire, for Mistress Mary Dudley was daughter of one and daughter by law of another of the most notable men in the Colony, and was held in high esteem for her own part, likewise, as setting a worthy example of one who looked well to the ways of her household, and who intermeddled not with those affairs which concern not a woman, of which sorry presumption there had latterly been a notable example in Boston town.
" 'Tis not with sour looks and crabbed tongue that Satan lays his snares resumed the first speaker. He is ever on the watch for rosy cheeks and fresh young lips, whereby to win -souls to himself! Praise God, he has not yet got foothold in Boston, though his endeavors
have been such, since we first set foot upon these shores, as to well make us tremble for the next attack, that may even now be upon us Famine and cold and sore sickness have failed to win the citadel. Roger Williams and his mad talk are banished, and the magistrates have silenced Anne Hutchinson. But Satan ceases from his warfare only to lull into false security. Woe be unto us if his next attack finds us slumbering! "
" Was it truly said that our worthy magistrate, Captain Dudley, hath visited Mistress Wray, by order of the Council, to admonish her concerning the veil ? Did you mark how it was kept in place by a little silver bead, held in either corner of her mouth ? queried the young matron, eagerly.
Mistress Dudley, at the mention of her father-in-law, discreetly withdrew to the outer edge of the group, and the talk went on in lowered tones.
" 'Twas even so," answered the older woman. I myself saw Captain Dudley as he departed from Master Pelham's house, where Mistress Wray abides ; I marked his unwonted gravity of demeanor, and that he shook his head as one
who hath much to ponder on, ay, and truly, something to regret. Captain Dudley can scarce have forgotten the day when he played a part, in court as well as field, in the train of that sad wanton, King Henry of Navarre; and it doubtless made him sore of heart, now when, like Samuel, he hath been called of the Lord, to be reminded of the time when he was ready with light words to every fair maid, like this giddy gaud of a Mistress Wray, whom he could chuck under the chin. Master Pelham hath refused to speak with her concerning her contumacy, seeing that she hath been his guest for so short a time, and that his wife is lying sick abed of the distemper. "Pis said, for some reason, that the magistrates are loath to proceed to extremities with her, though should she continue in the way of vanity and obduracy, severer measure may be taken by the Court."
" 'Tis not always peace amongst the magistrates themselves," suggested the young matron. Following our settlement in Boston, 'tis well known how Master Winthrop, being then Governor, did openly chide Captain Dudley, because that the deputy-governor did have wainscoting in his house; a wanton piece of
extravagance, it was declared to be by his Worship, ill-beseeming one who, being with him joint leader of the Colony, should set an example of economy and modesty. Captain Dudley is not a man to brook what he deems interference with his private concerns, and a pretty quarrel did follow, which hath never been rightly healed, notwithstanding various so-called reconciliations and the recent marriage of their children. As for his Worship, the present Governor, he is generally at odds with them both."
"As he is with nearly every one in the Colony, always excepting Master Cotton," interpolated the sharp-tongued goodwife.
"I prithee, tell me what is all the pother about ?" queried an old dame, who had been given the warm corner of the settle, that, with a rude stool or two, comprised the furniture of the Sabba'-day house. "Master Wilson doth not speak so clearly as did the minister of my young days, nor as Master Cotton doth, not a word of whose discourse I ever lose."
" 'Tis the ministers' fault, doubtless, and not that of our own ears," muttered the sharp-vis-aged goodwife.
" Master Wilson's sermon was directed against the sin of vain apparel," explained the young matron, good-naturedly. He did say, I honor the woman that can honor herself with her attire. A good text deserves a fair margin. But as for a woman who lives but to ape the newest court fashions, I look on her as a very gizzard of a trifle, the product of a quarter of a cipher, fitter to be kicked, if she were of a kickable substance, than either honored or humored. Such women transform themselves into gaunt bar-geese, ill-shapen, shotten shellfish, Egyptian hieroglyphics, French flirts of the pastry !' In particular was his exhortation directed against the veil worn by the young stranger who tarrieth in the town. No marvel,' quoth he, 'that they wear trails on the hinder parts of their heads, having nothing .in the fore part but a few squirrels' brains to help them frisk from one ill-favored fashion to another !' "
" One fair maid, set on her own way, were more than a match, in my time, for magistrate or minister,ay, or for the King himself," chuckled the dame, who, in her day, had seen something of the vanities of the world, having been the friend and chosen companion of no
less a personage than the Countess of Lincoln. I misdoubt if times have changed so much since then "
" 'Tis said that, in case Mistress Wray remains contumacious, his Worship the Governor will be called upon to admonish her," added the matron. "Weighty matters are reported to detain him at Salem, but his return is daily expected."
" Send a fine young man to chide a fair maid chuckled the dame. Beshrew me if the Governor, gentleman of uncommon joarts though he be esteemed, prove equal to so heavy a task! "
"Do you recollect the talk when he joined the Colony, 'twas said, with unction, that he had forsaken the vanities of the Court to practise godliness here ? resumed the stern-faced goodwife. How, in truth, hath he striven to keep the ordinances of Christ, as he did swear to do, here a twelvemonth agone! A fine Governor of this Commonwealth he has proven! Was not he ever the friend and supporter of that daughter of Jezebel, Anne Hutchinson, whose preaching nearly rent Boston asunder, and from the very day that he set foot in the
Bay, did he not give countenance ay, and affection to the arch heretic, Roger Williams ? "
The Hutchinson controversy was of too recent a date for such words to fall innocuous, and for awhile tongues were wagged over the knotty points of that sad contest, that had indeed, during its continuance, divided households and set brother against brother.
Presently the talk drifted from graver topics to more every-day, but not less interesting themes. The women chatted of their spinning and weaving, their candle-dipping and soap-making, that yearly trial of patience and skill. Some of the older women discussed their "rheumatiz," "neuralgy," and "tissick," the prevalent distemper that brought an afflicting rheum to the eyes and a racking pain to the bones of its victims. They exchanged recipes of various nostrums of roots and yarbs for the cure of these distressing ailments. Others compared quilt patterns, the "Blazing Star" being the favorite design that winter, while from one hand to another was quietly slipped some piece of gay chintz, or treasured India patch, in exchange for a scrap of lilac-colored print or bit of scarlet tiffany.
The men, attired in top-boots, many-caped great coats, and fur caps, were busied, meanwhile, in caring for the horses stabled at the other end of the Sabba'-day house. Despite the general desire to get to the fire and partake of an invigorating hot drink, the goodmen lingered over their task whilst they discussed, in voices that waxed loud with excitement, the points of Master Wilson's remarkable sermon, or the doctrines of predestination and of original sin. Some there were, though coming straight from the godly atmosphere of the meetinghouse, who were so carnal-minded as to talk, in lowered tones, of the taxes, the cattle, the coming prospect of crops, the wolf and bear killing in their respective towns, the recent vexatious reports concerning the Indians, and the prospects of an Indian war; while others examined their neighbors' horses and perhaps even so far forgot themselves as to suggest a sly bargain in horseflesh; for these Sabbath-day noonings afforded an opportunity, as pleasant as it was seldom, for gossip and friendly intercourse.
The Sabba'-day house stood on the green adjoining the meeting-house, and was a recent institution in Boston, having been erected for
the accommodation of the goodmen and good-wives of the neighboring country who. were not possessed of kin or friends in the town, strangers of consideration being usually enter-
tained at the houses of the magistrates. These all flocked weekly to Boston, to avail themselves of the privilege of listening to the discourses of Master John Cotton, esteemed the greatest preacher of his day, who was recently come to
the town; in whose honor, indeed, it had been named from his former home in Lincolnshire.
Presently the men took from the capacious saddle-bags the dinners that the careful housewives had put up, in anticipation of appetites fasting since daybreak and sharpened by the long ride in the frosty air. Presently men, women, and children were eagerly watching the preparation of flip," committed to the trustworthy hands of an elder of the church. The requisite amount of sugar and a dash of Jamaica rum were added to the generous measure of home-brewed beer, and seizing the great iron stirring-stick, or "loggerhead," that had been growing red hot in the embers since the fire was uncovered, the worthy elder thrust it into the liquid. There was a bubbling and seething, and a delicious burnt aroma diffused itself through the chill air. Then the pewter cups were filled and all drank the bitter nectar and ate their dinners of doughnuts, pork and peas, and pumpkin and Indian mixt pies.
The foot-stoves were emptied of their contents and refilled from the glowing bed of embers in the fireplace. The fire was carefully raked over and covered with ashes, to be rekin-
died after the afternoon service, that the country congregation might again thaw itself out before the ride home, in saddle or on pillion, or in the pung into which the entire family was packed. Reluctantly leaving their warm corner, men and women straggled along the path to the meeting-house, a small building whose mud walls, thatched roof, and clay floor must have offered, indeed, a strange contrast to the most magnificent parish church in England, that St. Botolph's," whose rich benefices and honors had been forsaken by its minister for conscience' sake, and to plant a more glorious Church in the New World.
Master Cotton commonly preached the afternoon sermon. Ascending the stairs of the high, box-like pulpit, the teacher of the Boston church stood before the eagerly expectant congregation. Low and somewhat robust of stature was he, with a fair and ruddy face, framed in the ample curls of a flowing wig, above Geneva bands. The natural dignity of his appearance, the slight and becoming gestures of his beautifully modelled right hand, gave the beholder an impression of reserved strength that was not belied by the reality. Despite his justly de-
served reputation of being a spirited preacher, many of the congregation were sleepy from their long ride and their hearty meal over the fire, and there was more than one nodding head, on both the men's and the women's side of the house, in the forward seats where sate the magistrates as well as on the rows of benches in the back of the meeting-house where the bond-servants had their places. Up and down amongst the rude wooden benches marched the tithing-man, now prodding the head of some nodding magistrate or goodman, with the heavy knob affixed to one end of his staff of office, and anon, with the long fox-tail depending from the other, softly brushing the face of a drowsy dame or goodwife.
Master Cotton had turned his hour-glass for the third time, when there was a sudden stir on the green without the meeting-house. Who dared thus disturb the peace of the sanctuary ? The minister paused, and the office of the tithing-man became, for the moment, a sinecure, as men and women turned, with startled faces, to the door.
A lordly figure, in courtly apparel, had appeared, and was striding down the alley
towards the magistrates' benches. The head was set upon the shoulders in an erect and manly poise. The beauty of the face, with its ample brow, from which was flung a mass of light brown curls, the bright dark eyes and the fine curves of the mouth, were well-nigh forgotten in admiration of the look of commanding intellect and imperious will stamped upon those youthful features.
It was Harry Vane, the Boy Governor.
the boy governor.
Master Cotton and the young Governor were the last to leave the meeting-house. The latter, on his arrival in Boston, had found a home beneath the hospitable roof of the teacher of the Boston church. Later, an addition to the dwelling had been made, suitable to the needs and state of the chief magistrate of the Colony, although much of the young man's time was still spent in Master Cotton's study. The minister had drawn his cloak over his mouth, for though a man in the prime of life, and of herculean vigor, after the prolonged strain to which his throat had been subjected, it was advisable not to expose that most precious organ to the dangers attendant on the fierce east wind, tearing from over the open sea. Vane was apparently engrossed in his own 26
thoughts, and for a time the silence between the two men was unbroken.
The sun was nearing the triple-capped summit of the Tramount, as the loftiest and most westward of the three hills on which Boston was situated was called, and cast grotesque shadows of the two men on the lower slopes beyond. Vane's figure was curiously foreshortened by being flung against a boulder in the near distance, giving it the appearance of being cut short of its upper proportions.
" Look you, Master Cotton, how I have run my head against the rock yonder!" cried the young man. By my faith, a hard bump it must have received, and of a flinty nature must be the obstacle to make it thus roll from my shoulders! What think you of such a portent ?"
For the minister was justly held to be extraordinarily endowed with the power of interpreting signs and omens. For on both sides of the Atlantic, in old England as well as New England, this was a time of special storm and stress, and many a sign and wonder-working providence had been vouchsafed to the people whom the Lord had led out of bondage into the wilder:
ness. Master Cotton, however, made no reply to his companion's question, either from solicitude for his throat, or from possible inability or disinclination to interpret an omen of such apparently sinister significance. Presently Vane, moving from his first position, placed his hand affectionately upon his companion's shoulder, and the two shadows, commingling and thrown into sudden strong relief as the sun's rays momentarily brightened over the crest of the hill, extended almost to the water's edge, seeming to brood over the entire hamlet. The two men resumed their path, that now left the village street, and struck into a cart track that led up the spur of the Tramount, known as Cotton's hill, their footsteps crunching upon the crust of the snow that still lay upon the .steeper uplands. The minister's dwelling was at some distance from the meeting-house, overlooking the channel that flowed between Boston and Charlestown.
As was his custom on returning from the sanctuary, Master Cotton immediately sought a season of retirement and prayer. Religious exercises, in which the children were carefully questioned concerning the texts and the vari-
ous "heads" of the two sermons, followed the family supper, a meal of which the minister, however, did not partake, as it was his custom to observe a fast during the latter portion of the Lord's day. The observance and duties of the Sabbath being now at an end, he retired to his study, whither Vane presently sought him, having solaced his impatience as best he might till the sun had sunk beneath the horizon, knowing that till then his friend would permit no word upon secular matters.
Master Cotton's study was a small apartment, adjoining the "parlor" where he slept, from which luxury was absent and comfort only sparingly admitted. The walls, however, were lined with heavy tomes, whose titles further attested, in some slight measure, to the minister's erudition. On the table, piled high with papers and pamphlets, stood a three-hour glass that Master Cotton was accustomed to turn four times, as the measure of a day's study and prayer.
" I crave your pardon for my unseemly interruption of the meeting," began Vane. I hastened my steps, that I might be back ere the afternoon service began, being compelled to travel on the Lord's day. But the roads 'twixt
here and Salem are in bad condition, and my horse was too jaded to heed whip or spur."
"Impetuous as ever, Harry!" returned the minister, with a smile, yet with manifest rebuke. "That business must indeed be pressing that comes before the Lord's "
" Sore stress of news, that must be placed without delay before the Council, may plead excuse," answered the young man, flushing at the gentle reprimand, yet without display of resentment. It was said, indeed, that Master Cotton was the only man in the Colony whose influence weighed aught with the Governor in opposition to his own will, or who could censure him without arousing a storm of indignation and anger.
" 'Twas none other than Roger Williams who brought me the tidings," resumed Master Vane.
"You hath seen Williams, then?" queried the minister, with interest.
" Ay. The noble fellow braved his sentence of banishment and came into Massachusetts to convey to the Colony the warning of the danger that menaces us. As you know, his mind being ever of a fair and temperate cast, on going to Providence, he paid the Narragansetts
for their land, at their own price, and has since done their sachem, Miantonomo, many a favor. By means of these friendly relations, he has privily ascertained that the brooding ill-will of the Narragansetts towards us by reason of the rankling sense of injustice suffered at the hands of our traders has of late rapidly increased, so that the rumors that have so long filled the air, that with the coming of spring the savages would start on the war-path, may receive speedy .confirmation. Shortly after I saw Williams, the tidings of the murder of three men in one of our border settlements reached me. For the present, however, it is Unknown whether the bloody deed was the isolated act of a few warriors, or is the beginning of the concerted movement of the tribe."
"Truly, the light of the Gospel brings a sword, and the children of the bond-woman would-persecute those of the free woman," murmured Master Cotton.;
"The news of the murders had reached Salem, just previous to my arrival there," continued the young Governor; "the town was aflame with horror and the desire for vengeance, one of the murdered men having been a citizen
of the place and being possessed of many friends and kindred there. Master Endicott had promptly organized a force of some ninety men, and was about to set forth to the scene of the murders, bent on punishing the perpetrators of the deed and striking terror to the hearts of the entire tribe. It may be that this prompt reprisal will crush the rising war-spirit of the savages, but till the result of the expedition is ascertained, matters must be regarded as in a ticklish state, and it behooves us to prepare for the worst. My journey through the other towns of the Colony, to ascertain their condition of defence and their preparation for concerted action, should the uprising take place, gave me little satisfaction."
"Is the situation, then, so serious ?" queried the minister, in surprise. Surely the good old English armor of our train-band were ample protection against the feeble force of an Indian arrow, that could scarce pierce a leather jerkin, or cotton doublet! "
For answer, Vane threw upon the table a singular object, which Master Cotton closely examined. It was a human bone, transfixed upon a flint-headed arrow.
"The rib of one of the murdered men," explained the young Governor, sententiously. Roger Williams did bring it me by way of token of the same weak power of the arrows of these Indian bow-men! According to WiL-liams's word," he continued, "a worse contingency may befall. The savage and warlike Pequots, incited by their chief, Sassacus, the ablest warrior of the New England tribes, and with marked ability, withal, as a statesman, have long waited a favorable opportunity of waging a war of extermination against the English; Sassacus, with his usual acumen, no doubt perceiving that the very existence of the Indians, as a people, is at stake. Should this brooding hostility result in the offensive alliance with the Narragansetts that the Pequot chief seeks, it will indeed be a dark hour for the Colony of Massachusetts Bay "
" We are in covenant with the Lord, and he will not cast us off! said the minister, firmly.
" Hath anything of note taken place in Boston during my absence ? asked Vane, after a pause.
"A marvellous event, truly," answered Master Cotton, thoughtfully. A goodman of the
town witnessed a great combat between a mouse and a snake, in which, wonderful to relate, the mouse prevailed and killed the snake. The interpretation of the incident is plain. The snake was the devil; the mouse was a poor, contemptible people, which God hath brought hither, which should overcome Satan here and dispossess him of his kingdom. In your tidings, the incident gains deeper significance and gives me great joy. Plainly was the sign given to us at this juncture that we might be fully assured that this thing cometh of the Lord. He would thereby bid us remember that the Lord He it is that doth go before us. He will be with us. He will not fail us, neither forsake us "
" What hath transpired in the Council ?" continued the Governor.
" A discussion that did grow to some heat," replied Master Cotton. It concerned the contumacy of a young maid from London, at present sojourning amongst us in the house of Master Pelham, one Mistress Frances Wray. She is a fair maid to look upon, but the garb that she hath brought with her is of so gay and worldly a fashion that the elders of the town do
regard her with scant favor, though the lads follow her with admiration, the heart of youth being always too greatly inclined to the vain pleasures of the eye. In particular have the magistrates been exercised in the matter of a veil which the maid weareth at all seasons, even in the Lord's house, the general feeling being that in the present condition of affairs in the Colony, both within and without, it behooves us to walk carefully before the Lord, lest we break covenant with Him and He visit us with His wrath accordingly. I have made the matter the subject of fasting and study and prolonged wrestling in prayer," added the good man, earnestly, and I find that when, by the custom of the place, veils are not a sign of the woman's subjection, they are not commanded by Saint Paul."
"And how did the matter end?" queried Master Vane, with scarce more than the interest demanded by courtesy.
" It is not yet at an end, alas, but threateneth to grow to greater proportions!" sighed the minister. It was decided that Captain Dudley be despatched to the maid with remonstrance concerning her sin of vanity, he being a
man of courtly speech, when passion doth not lead him astray," added honest Master Cotton. He had been, moreover, in friendly relations with the maid's family, in his former office of steward to the Earl of Lincoln. Sad to say, his mission proved fruitless ; 'tis evident that the maid, though seemingly cast in gentlest mould, hath a will of her own! It was, therefore, decided, at the deputy-governor's instance, to suffer the matter to lie over till your return, when you should be beseeched to admonish Mistress Wray that her veil becometh not a handmaiden of the Lord, as I doubt not she would be."
" Why did not Master Winthrop take this not o'erpleasing task upon himself ? queried Vane, impatiently. Our deputy bethought himself betimes that he doth not sit in the chief seat of magistracy! "
" No offence was intended, Harry," urged Master Cotton. "Rather, think, did Master Winthrop mean well in thus awaiting your return. He is not a man to strike a blow that a calm word may avoid. He can steer close through troubled waters, and his first thought, as you know, is ever for the Charter, whose loss would mean that the land we have hardly won
from the wilderness becomes the King's, and we be left without lawful home or holding. He is most unwilling to give cause of offence to the maid, as 'tis said that she herself is high in favor at Court, whilst she is known to be the only daughter of Sir Christopher Wray, of Ashby, Lincolnshire, a gentleman of wealth and consideration, and of a noble house, well known to me in the day of my ministry in old Boston. Besides, is it not true that Sir Christopher is in some wise a friend of your father ? "
"They are on sufficiently good terms, for aught I know to the contrary," answered Vane, moodily. Sir Christopher sate with my father, sometime, in his Majesty's Privy Council."
"We have enemies at home more malignant and powerful than the savage hordes," added Master Cotton, gravely. Dissension amongst us, or unkind reports of affairs in the Colony, might well lead to our undoing. A fair maid has been before now the cause of war and bloodshed! "
"The Governor will e'en undertake the ungracious task of admonishing this wilful maid," assented Master Vane, with undissembled ill grace.
" Be not oversevere in thine admonishment, Harry," urged the minister, gently. Mistress Wray hath forsaken the pleasures natural to her age and rank to follow God's people into the wilderness. It were surely no heavy task to convince such an one of the error of her ways, it being that of youth rather than of an hardened heart. The curfew rings! You must needs be weary after your long journey. For myself, I will sweeten my mouth with a taste of Calvin before I go to bed."
At an early hour the following morning, Master Vane left the minister's house, pre-: ceded, as usual, by his body-guard,four halberdiers, equipped with steel caps, bandileers, and small arms, an assumption of the state familiar in the courts of Europe, which had not failed to call forth the animadversions of the unfriends of the young Governor. There being, as yet, no town-house, the Council was accustomed to meet in the dwelling of Master Winthrop, not far from the meeting-house. This was one of the most commodious in the Colony, and was fronted by a garden extending nearly to the water's.edge. Here bubbled.u.p a.spring of fresh, clear water, held in high esteem:.by
Master Winthrop, who had small taste for sack or beer, the favorite beverages of the Colony, and who was wont to declare that a draught from his spring was worth all the ale of old England.
The Council was already assembled, impatiently awaiting the coming of the Governor, who, truth to say, was somewhat given to letting his assistants men of twice and thrice his age though they were await his youthful pleasure ; a habit of tardiness that was due in part, no doubt, to the thoughtlessness of his years, but likewise partly, it was said, that he might thus assert his independence of Master Winthrop, who, being a man methodical by nature as well as training, was particularly chafed by these slight, but irritating delays when business pressed, and who, on more than one occasion, had taken it upon himself to hint that his Worship the Governor would do well to regard more punctiliously the hour and the occasion.
A seemly and dignified assemblage it was, clad in belted doublet and pointed hat, knee breeches and buckled shoes ; men were they, for the most part, in the prime of life, with faces grave and lined with the responsibilities of their
position, and yet more, with the mighty work that the Lord had entrusted to their hands, even the saving of the city through the righteous ten. Faces and forms were there that would have been notable in any gathering, conspicuous amongst them being the pale face and dark pointed beard of John Winthrop, rising above a linen ruff of ample size ; the beautiful, winning face of John Cotton, contrasted with the severe lineaments of Master Wilson, framed in flowing gray locks. Besides these men of law and ministers, there was a goodly sprinkling of soldiers, men who had gained experience amid the tumult of the Thirty Years' War, or in the long continued disorders in the Netherlands. Foremost amongst these veterans was Thomas Dudley, a veritable Viking in strength and stature, as well as in the fair hair and ruddy complexion that bespoke his descent from the conquering hosts of Hengist and Horsa. His years almost forbade his taking the field, but he was a leader in council, carrying his soldier's ways into the deliberations of the magistrates. He sat leaning on the sword, with which he had led his troop at Ivry, and which scarce another in the Colony could wield, his grim and
grizzled face turned towards the door with a look of unmistakable eagerness, as though he smelt already the powder smoke in which his valiant soul delighted.
After the meeting was opened with prayer and the usual formalities, the Governor proceeded to^lay before the assemblage the momentous tidings with which he had returned.
" Roger Williams hath ventured within the confines of Massachusetts exclaimed Master Winthrop, his temper already chafed by the delay, and speaking with unwonted sharpness ; for however strong his opinions, the deputy-governor was ever most guarded and moderate of speech. It could truly have been said, however, that Williams had been a thorn in the side of the late administration, the mere mention of his name being sufficient at any time to move Master Winthrop to an ebullition of ill-feeling. Would that the disorderly fellow were safe on a ship bound for England, for strife ever follows his footsteps. Methinks it ill beseems the Governor of this Commonwealth to bedfellow with a law-breaker and e'il-doer "
" Shame upon you cried Vane, hotly. Williams's ill-doing was to return good for evil.
and if he broke the law of man, it was to obey the law of God, and save the lives of his persecutors, ay, even at the risk of the pillory and branding-iron We are indeed in danger of God's judgment for the differences and dissensions that have been rife amongst us for the past twelvemonth!"
Master Winthrop arose again.
- The Council and his Worship the Governor well know," he said, "that I am a man plain-spoken and decided. My manner of speech is always earnest in things which I do conceive to be serious."
- But the heated blood of the young Governor was not to be cooled by these mild and conciliatory words of the gray-haired Father of the Colony.
" For Scribes and Pharisees, we will not plead for them !" he cried. "Let them do it who walk in their way. But for such as are confined to any mode of thought differing from our own, even though we may deem it error, all such are not to be denied cohabitation. We should rather remember that what seems to us to be error in others may be only another side of the truth of which we hold only a portion !"
For a space, no man spake to this bold and heretical utterance. Then Master Wilson arose, and his words were those not only of the magistrate, but of the minister.
" Consider your youth and your inexperience in the things of God," he said, "and beware of peremptory conclusions, which I perceive you to be very apt unto. Remember that before you came to us, scarce two years ago," he added, sternly, "the churches were at peace!"
" As if I should be the cause of it all! cried Vane. It is best that I give place, for the scandalous imputations that have been brought upon me! And the Boy Governor burst into a passion of tears.
Detaining hands were stretched forth, but Master Vane brake from them all and made his way to the door. Dismayed silence followed, broken by Captain Dudley, who, rising to his full height, brought his sword to the ground with a resounding thump. Small gift of patience or art of tact had the old soldier of Henri Quatre,or, rather, he would have scorned to practise what he regarded as wiles and subterfuge while he held a sword to cut a direct, honest path.
"Would that I had the tempestuous youth in my troop! he cried. Beshrew me if I would not soon discipline him into finer manners. His discourtesy doth belie his gentle breeding. 'Tis small wonder that he finds he hath bitten off more than he can swallow, when he a lad of scarce four and twenty years would take the leadership of the people out of the hands of those who led them into the wilderness. Let him go, and a good riddance A pretty condition of affairs it would be should e'er his mad words bear fruit! More than ever, at this pass, doth it behoove men of God, both in Church and State, to watch o'er all such as would hatch a Toleration, lest that ill egg bring forth a cockatrice, to poison all with heresy and vice! Let him go, I say! Like father, like son. We want none of the brood of that bustling, subtle, forward courtier, ready to fit himself to any hole, square or round, Sir Henry Vane!"
There was a murmur of applause at these uncompromising words. Unobserved, however, in the disorder, Master Winthrop, seizing the auspicious moment with his usual dexterity, had sate himself in the Governor's chair,as
was his right in the absence or resignation of the chief magistrate. From that position of vantage, his measured words fell upon the turbulent mood of the assembly.
"It must not be," he said. "Think you that the Comptroller, Sir Henry Vane, the nearest and most trusted adviser of his Majesty, would be slow to resent even a fancied insult to his son ? Remember the Charter Let us avoid the present difficulty, or protract any embarrassing issues arising therefrom. Truly, there is a time to plant, and a time to pull up that which is planted, but to youth, all seasons were made alike for its own good pleasure. I beseech Master Cotton that he labor with his Worship the Governor to reconsider his over-hasty conclusions."
If no longer in the chief chair of magistracy, Winthrop's voice was still of almost paramount influence in the deliberations of the assembly, and his sage counsels now carried the day. None heard the whisper with which he turned aside: "The Lord deliver us from Harry Vane "
Vane flung himself from the Council-chamber without thought or heed as to his footsteps. Conservation of energy speedily converting his tumultuous mental state into the necessity of vigorous physical action, led him, seemingly without volition, in the direction of the Tra-mount. Soon reaching Sentry Field, a large boulder-strewn tract of land set apart for purposes of common pasturage, he arrived at the large elm, known as the Great Tree," that stood nearly in the middle of the common, near a stagnant pool on the edge of the Charles River marshes. The elm was, indeed, not only notable as being the only tree of considerable size that was found on the peninsula at the coming of the English, but also from having been the scene of Indian councils and of the savage stake and torture. Here began the 48
rising ground over which Vane now hurried forward, not drawing breath until he stood on the highest peak of the Tramount.
Presently his riotous anger began to take specious form. He had done with this ungrateful people, who did nothing but cavil at his every word and deed He, to be taken to task bya quibbling, overcautious Puritan pen-driveller and a domineering train-band captain, to be chidden like a fro-ward child by a grim-visaged Calvinistic minister! Truly, 'twere as well to live under the rule of my lord. bishops as my
lord brethren. The swift blow unto death had been dealt by more than one of his race for a less affront than had that morning been put upon him Did they think he would bear their insults, meekly turning the other cheek to the smiter, he, the heir of one of England's proudest lines, whose very origin was lost in myth and about whose name clustered the traditions that accompany the rise and fall of kingdoms ? Would that Howel ap Vane, founder of his family, who would have regarded the followers of the Conqueror as mere upstarts of to-day, have brooked such an insult; or that later Vane, whose namesake he was, who had received the accolade from the sword of the Black Prince on the field of Poictiers and whose arms proudly bore the charge of a dexter gauntlet," symbol of the token of submission given him by the captive King of France ? Had not he shown himself a degenerate scion of his race, unworthy of such a crest, incapable of upholding its glory, of giving to it the meaning by which alone he had the right to bear it, in that he had not instantly drawn his sword upon his calumniators ?
He shaded his eyes with his hand, and stood
looking seaward, as though he would fain pierce the leagues that lay between, and look upon his home, amid the low hills and moorlands of one of the fairest of English counties. He seemed to see the stately pile, whose massive walls had been laid in the days of Canute, and which had bidden defiance to many a fierce attack and prolonged siege in the bloody days of the Border Wars. The banners of crusading hosts had floated within the court, the clash of their arms echoing from the high resounding walls; there chivalry had met in joust and tournament, the gorgeous pageants that accompanied Elizabeth's triumphal progress reached their height of splendor, and kings had been familiar guests. He saw the keep, the moat, the tower and inner portal, the stairway where a regiment might march without breaking ranks, the lofty Barons' Hall, where, in the days of feudal power, seven hundred knights had been wont to sit, obedient to the call of the lord of Raby.
He had removed his plumed hat, and now, flinging back his long curls, his hand involuntarily sought his sword and his glance rested contemptuously upon the town at his feet.
Unto this end, then, he had disappointed his father, who had built such high hopes upon the grace and gifts of his son, and defied the gracious King who would fain have showered favors, rarely vouchsafed to one of his years, upon the heir of his favorite councillor. Fool that he was to have flung away the golden opportunity. Yet it was not too late to retreat. His father, he well knew, would hail his return as that of the prodigal. He would give up that dream of an ideal Commonwealth which had lured him hither and for which he had bartered his birthright, return to England in the next ship that sailed, and, with his father's favor as the first step of the ladder, rise higher than even that aspiring father had ever dreamed! The path was plain before him. He had but to flatter the King and win the favor of the Queen the gay young daughter of Henri Quatre by mingling in the masques and dances of the Court and being easily tolerant of the priests and popish ceremonies by her installed at Whitehall. What might not be dared and won in a Court where gay gallants were ever "welcome, by the mere power of his beauty and grace and the potent charm of his personality, that rare
spell which lay alike upon young and old, gentle and simple.
He felt within himself the stirring of a power for leadership that, as yet untested and untried, save in the narrow and unworthy field of a petty province, he knew none the less surely lay within the scope of his own strong brain and dauntless will. The King's favorite, now, as ever, stood close behind the throne, and his whisper had more power than the utmost voice of Parliament. With less opportunity and infinitely lesser parts, had not Essex governed Elizabeth, and Buckingham the beloved Steenie "-ruled James? At that moment, which was lord of France, King or Cardinal, Louis or Richelieu ?
His thoughts took a bolder sweep. Involuntarily, he started and turned around, as though some one had whispered a word in his ear, a fatal word, which had brought many an one, ere now, to the Tower! But the thought held him as by a spell. Chiefly by reason of the instincts of his nature, somewhat, as well, by virtue of a training in the ways of men and states, and a nice regard for the significance of events, he read, unerringly, the signs of the times. He
knew that the influences which descend from high life into the mass of society were poisoned at their source. He had heard the mutterings of discontent amongst an oppressed people. He realized that the time was not far distant when the multitude would rise, ready to crush all that stood in its way !
Then would a leader be wanted to guide its blind fury; then would come the opportunity, wisely planned and patiently waited for, for the remorseless soul of some born ruler of men!
E'en now, the splendid dream may have come to another, mayhap not such an one as he, but to some one whose name was never spoken in councils of state; perchance some country squire, held by friends and neighbors as of open mind and of mood aspiring to nothing higher than the breeding of cattle and rotation of crops.
Who should stand in his way when the hour struck, and he grasped the reins now drooping in the slender, languid hands of Charles ? Instead of the little Puritan town at his feet, he beheld the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them. The House of Stuart had given place to the House of Vane, and he was Harry the Ninth of England!
Then should no murmur be heard against the "prerogative of the King." His throne should never fall because of a people's uprising. To the scaffold with the first that dared breathe the name of Liberty !
He had set his face towards Master Cotton's dwelling when he perceived a figure approaching, that, although strange to him, he recognized at once as that of the maid from London. In truth, her garb was of a sort that he had not seen since he left England. A petticoat of fine stammel red kersey, lifted slightly with one hand, revealed her dainty corked shoes. Her cape, blown aside by the exertion of the ascent, displayed puffed and triple slashed sleeves, banded with gay knots of ribbon; a silver girdle, hanging loosely from her waist, completed an attire that seemed to have been planned in deliberate defiance of a recent edict of the General Court, prohibiting "garish garnishes, the gloss of light colors, and the vanity of new and fantastic fashions," and enumerating, in a special clause, nearly every article of apparel worn by this contumacious young dame.
Being in no mood for speech, Vane would have passed with a bow, had not the sight of
the stranger's veilfor Master Wilson's homily had apparently been as ineffective as the remonstrance of Captain Dudleyrecalled to his mind Master Cotton's behest. His departure from Boston was so close at hand that he might have no other opportunity than the present for the promised admonishment. Mistress Wray was advancing slowly, her glance fixed upon the ground, apparently unaware of the eyes resting upon her from above. Presently she left the path, and, kneeling by a rock hard by, began brushing away the dead leaves and earnestly scrutinizing the ground beneath.
"I crave your pardon," said a voice by her side. You have lost something, dare I proffer assistance ?"
Whether in court or cloister had the maid received her training, not one was she, evidently, to fall into confusion at being accosted by a stranger, even one whose rank was evident from his dress and bearing,-for she answered composedly, in grave, sweet tones :
" I have lost nothing, though I thank you for your kindly offer. I was seeking a flower that grows on this hill, in color not unlike our English hawthorn. I know not by what
name 'tis called, for the like I have never seen in England. It loves best the sunny ground on the hillside, beneath the low pines. Ah !" and she displayed with delight a tiny cluster of delicate waxen blossoms ; 'tis the first to bloom of all the flowers of New England," she went on. "I have even found it beneath the snow, as though some voice within its soul had whispered of the glorious light above, and, impatient of its dark imprisonment, it sought the air and sunshine before its time. See, the poor blossom has languished and died by seeking to live before its time "
"But it saw the sunshine," smiled Vane. Perhaps, after all, it would not have exchanged its long dream, and the one glorious burst of light that came to cheer its end, to lie asleep in darkness and safety "
" It grows in patches," said the maid, resuming her quest. "There should be more hereabouts."
Vane knelt by her side, and together they searched for the blossoms, forgetting, in the cliarm of the quest, that they were strangers, exclaiming like two children over every new cluster, each holding up the blossom to chal-
lenge the admiration of the other. At length, the patch would yield no more, and the maid, rising to her feet, apparently bethought herself, for the first time, of the ceremony due the rank of her helper. Affecting no ignorance of his identity, as one less wonted to worldly ways might have sought to do, she curtseyed low over the blossoms with which her arms were filled.
"I.thank his Worship the Governor."
" Not the Governor, but Harry Vane!" returned the young man, joyously.
It was, indeed, as though the responsibilities and troubles of the past year had rolled from his shoulders, leaving him free, as never before, to enjoy his youth and beauty, and the intoxicating sense of abounding life! "Thank God, I have done with it all!" he cried. Ere the spring has changed to summer, I shall see England once again!"
. You will see the hawthorn in blossom, and beneath the hedgerows of our lanes, the violets will be in bloom said the girl, wistfully. Is there, indeed, aught so fair as our English flowers in this land of promise ?"
They sat on the rock and talked of England. A soft land breeze played about their hair ; once
a lock of his was blown against her cheek, and once, quietly, reverently, he privily touched a shining strand of hers that, escaping from its confinement, lay upon her shoulder. It was. one of those mild, yet sparkling days in early spring, when the air of Boston seems to be of the nature of an intoxicant, and which goes far to make atonement for -the bitterness of its. east wind. The snow on the hilltop was already melted in patches, and the fragrance of the soft, warm earth mingled with that of the arbutus.
Below were the straggling houses of the settlement, connected by its one street; leading therefrom were the cart tracks of the lower slopes, which in turn merged into the winding footpaths of the uplands. On the hill towards the south stood the Fort, and on the heights to the north, the sails of a windmill were slowly revolving. The tide had risen over the narrow neck that connected Boston with the mainland, converting the three hills, for the time, into an island. Seaward, beyond the Castle that watched the channel, could be seen the fifty islands of the bay; from one of them a lighter was making its way, laden with the resinous logs and pine knots upon which the town depended for
its firewood. Near the shore rode at anchor Master Winthrop's ship, the Blessing of the Bay, the first craft to be builded in Boston, and soon to set sail for England. Hard by lay the Handmaid and the Hopewell, that had recently arrived from home, bringing food and news to the settlers, scarce hungrier for one than the other.
By degrees, the talk of the twain drifted from that of home for such England still was to the people of Boston to matters of personal interest. Vane spoke of his boyhood at Westminster School, his rebellion against the authorities of Oxford, -and his abrupt departure thence. He described those brilliant days at the Court of Vienna, whither he had gone in the train of the English ambassador. Great names Gus-tavus Adolphus, Tilly, Wallensteinfell easily from the lips of one who had been behind the scenes when the most astute and subtle diplomatists of the day were gathered together in the councils of Austria.
He told of his later sojourn in the home of Calvin, and his father's dismay, on his return home, to find that the son, on whom he had built such high hopes, had absorbed the pesti-
lential doctrines of Geneva and "turned Puritan." Finally, his determination to break away from it all and join the little band of exiles, whom he had truly held as some of England's bravest and best, who had fled westward.
" Far from the intrigue of Vienna and the corruption of Whitehall," he said, I thought to find a Christian people, full of piety and humanity! I even dared to hope that I might aid to stablish here that New Atlantis, proved, indeed, to be the mere fantasy of a philosopher and dreamer!"
"The flower would not have exchanged its dream and failure, nay, its unmerited death, to sleep on in darkness and imprisonment," said the girl, softly.
His own words came back to him with new significance, spoken though they had been in the mere easy tossing of graceful phrase that came naturally to one of his birth and breeding ; partly, too, after the mere fashion of the time in dealing in quips and flowery conceits.
There was a new tone in his voice when he spake again, and his words came slowly and heavily:
" I leave these shores bearing with me only
the memory of bitterness and strife, and the voice of hatred uplifted against me!"
The girl raised her eyes in silence, and Vane looked full upon her face. She was very fair, reminding him of the blossoms in her lap. He thought vaguely that he might not, on the morrow, be able to recall the color of her eyes, or the exact shape of her nose. But there would be with him, he knew, an abiding sense of delicate pink and white, and soft brown, and a lovely, pervading fragrance, as of one who had grown apart from the world's ruder ways. He noted, too, how the petals were tipped with a deeper pink and that the slender stem had a strength and tenacity that seemed lavished merely upon the purpose of upholding beauty. There was upon him the unformed wish, or need, of exculpation for his last words, and in response to its urging, he cried : God be my witness if I have ever done anything, since I set foot in Boston, which both with honor, and a good conscience, I might not be content most willingly to suffer for "
She smiled up at him, and the smile brought him a strange content. He looked from her to the Blessing of the Bay, and a doubt crossed
his mind as to whether his speedy return to England were well and wisely conceived.
She spoke, though at no great length, of herself. All her life, till within a few months, had been passed, almost without companionship, at Ashby, and her eyes glowed as she described her home, among the gardens and meadows and fair grazing lands of Lincolnshire. Then her father her mother having long been dead sent for her to come to London, where he had for some time dwelt. She was to be presented at Court. Her Majesty, Queen Henrietta, had received her most graciously and given her a place near her own person. But the young maid of honor liked not the life at Whitehall. She found no pleasure in the round of amusements in which the Queen and Court delighted,the masques, stage-plays, and puppet-shows, while the sports of the bear-garden and cock-pit sickened her. At last there was a play over which all London went mad. The King himself declared that it was the best play he had seen for seven years.
"I accompanied her Majesty the first night of its representation," went on the girl. "I would not applaud such scenes, or such words !
Nay, I did retire within the box, and would have turned quite away from the stage, save for the discourtesy to the Queen, upon whom I should likewise have set my back, for her Majesty sate in full view of the audience, and did give the example of applause, which was, indeed, uproarious.
" My father was wroth with my behavior, for 'twas an open secret at Whitehall that, though the playwright, Master Shirley, had writ 'The Gamester,' the King himself had furnished the plot, and suggested many of the scenes. His Majesty, as you know, hath a nice taste in matters of art and literature, and playwriters and painters ever find in him a kind and liberal patron.
" Mistress Pelham, who was a dear friend of my mother, shortly before had followed Master Cotton, at whose church in old Boston she had worshipped, to New England. I begged to be allowed to join her. His Majesty was ever most gentle and gracious, and the matter coming to his ears, the Queen herself being somewhat vexed thereat, he laughed,
and, pinching my cheek, called me.....'a* Tittle
Puritan rebel,' and said I should e'en have my
Way, adding that a year on the bleak shores of New England would cure me of all such fantastical notions!"
" And has it ? queried Vane, gravely. "Truly, if one desired nothing more than the pillows and silken fringes of the Stuart household, he might well deem that he had made a sorry exchange in the mud walls and thatched roofs of Lost-town,' as the quip-loving delight to call Boston."
"Ah, but if one has other desires, what then ?" cried the girl. If one could never look upon a Court assemblage without being assailed by the hideous fancy that were the velvet masks the fine ladies affected stripped from their faces, there would be revealed corruption more hideous than the tomb; if one could always hear approaching, above the music of the viols and hautboys, the mutterings of the coming storm ; could ever see, amid the whirl of the dancers, the cloud that foretold the destruction that overtook the cities of the plain, how could such a life be other than beyond endurance ?"
" Yet have you never longed for home ?" questioned Vane, gently.
" I am not wise and strong, and some there are, like dear Mistress Winthrop, who have never known repining or regret. Howe'er it be, I will not leave the land I sought for conscience' sake and for mine womanhood, save that it be God's will," she answered. "And of a truth," she went on, I have known no great sore longing for home, until last night. Last night, I know not from what cause, I heard the watchman call throughout the livelong night, and I did think of England. I seemed to hear the far-off bells of St. Botolph's ringing in mine ears, as the sound was sometimes borne to us from the shores where the tower of the good Saxon saint sends out its light over the Northern sea, the light that went out, men say, when Master Cotton sailed away. The day, too, is one that breathes of home! "
She arose. Her hood, which she had removed to let the breeze play more freely about her temples, fell to the ground, and the loosened veil was blown some distance down the hillside, catching, at last, upon one of the huckleberry bushes with which the ground was thickly set. Vane returned, breathless, from its capture.
" 'Twas Zephyrus himself, the saucy fellow,"
he cried, "vexed that he might not kiss, unhindered, so fair a cheek "
" Not the Governor, but Harry Vane!" thought the young man, conscience-smitten, as he recalled his promise to the minister.
the "blessing of the bay."
Master Cotton was seated at his study table when the young Governor entered the room. He quietly awaited the speech of the latter, who, perhaps expectant of censure, also preferring that the minister should broach the subject that lay nearest the heart of each, had unconsciously assumed an air of assertiveness, almost of boyish bravado. The silence was become embarrassing, to one, at least, of the twain, and was broken at last by Master Vane. Somehow, face to face with the minister, the thought of the turbulent scene at the Council brought a blush of shame to his cheek, and his eyes fell beneath the calm gaze of his friend. But his resolution was taken! He would not prove himself so weak and vacillating as they all thought him. Besides, he could not, with dig-70
responsibility. Rather there was within his inmost heart a feeling that was strangely like regret.
" I leave my house, with its furnishings, to your infant son, Seaborn," he began, abruptly.
nity, retreat from his position after its public avowal. Yet he was surprised that no sense of relief came with the thought, as when, on the hilltop, he had rejoiced at beholding himself free from the irksome weight of authority and
"The code of laws over which we have jointly labored were best left in your hands. Perhaps the time is not yet ripe for their acceptance, but let that be according to your own will and judgment. Believe me, I leave this roof with the deepest sorrow!" and the earnestness in the young man's voice struggled with the bitterness. Here we have taken sweet counsel together. Here we planned the college school at Newtown, which Master Harvard hath now so worthily endowed, and, together still, gave it its motto, 'Veritas.' Here you have strengthened me in the way of righteousness My best and dearest friend," went on the young man, and only the earnestness was in his voice now, whatever may be my feelings towards the deputy-governor and others of this town, the thought of you will make Boston seem the very centre of my true affection for God and man, so long as life shall last! "
" Should not the exercises and troubles which God is pleased to lay upon us give us patience and forbearance one with another, though there be difference in our opinions ?" questioned the minister, mildly. "Ah, Harry, in the name of Him whose most unworthy servant I am, I do
beseech you to reconsider your words before the Council!"
' They did insult me and did fling in my face my youth and inexperience!" answered the young man, flushing hotly. Yet was I nearly a year younger when these same wise gentlemen belied their years and discretion in making me Governor! I have sought, to the best of my ability, to serve the Massachusetts Bay Colony, ay, and with wrestling of the spirit, as you well know. The reward of my endeavors is that they have stoned me from the ways "
"Perchance even as Jerusalem stoned the prophets murmured Master Cotton, unheard. He stood now by the other's side, scarce reaching to Vane's shoulder. Yet in his stature he seemed to tower far above the young Governor. Presently he took the word.
"The Lord may see fit to humble us through our pride, even through our understanding or our better parts, when we would serve Him in our own way and time, instead of even letting Him do that which seemeth good in His own eyes," returned the minister, gently.
" Do you remember the acclaim which greeted my arrival, the great guns that were fired from
the Castle, when at the very next Court of Elections, I was raised to the chief post amongst them ? went on Vane, still speaking with vehemence. Since then, all indeed is changed! The. same voices that grew hoarse in cheering for the Boy Governor are now fierce in denunciation, because, forsooth, I declared it shame that so amiable a woman as Mistress Hutchinson, one so ready to visit the widowed and fatherless, and in whom the sick and troubled, in mind or body, found ever a friend, should be seized, tried, and banished, because her thoughts were not those of the churches. And because that Roger Williams, the purest, whitest soul amongst these Scribes and Pharisees, should be to-day an outlaw, by reason of what are termed his 'heresies !'"
" At such an hour, Harry, to leave thy post! Shame upon thee! Would thine ancestor, that Harry Vane who won the dexter gauntlet' on the field of battle, have thus deserted in the face of the enemy ? His words to such an one as thou art proving thyself would have been, 'Traitor and coward!"' sternly spake Master Cotton, of whom 'twas well said that he was a lamb in his own cause, a lion in that of his Master.
The young man's clinched fist was raised. The square strength of the minister's face confronted him unmovedly, and his arm fell beneath the gaze of the eyes, far apart, beneath level brows,' that looked steadily into his own.
" I am compassed about with many infirmities and am but too great a blemish on the religion which I do profess," said the Governor at length. My words at the Council slipped from me out of my passion and not out of judgment."
" Ah, Harry, thou wert ever an obedient child to the Church," said the minister, benignly. The Lord that made you and bought you with a great price, redeem your soul and body unto Himself! he added, with a fervency that seemed to partake of more than the occasion.
It was tacitly agreed, on both sides, that the scene of yesterday should be forgotten, for it was manifest to all that a united front must be shown in the peril that confronted the Colony, the first of the kind that had ever menaced Boston. There was no paltering with the situation. These men of God were likewise men
of action, who, when necessity called, could be quick and relentless. The voices of some of the ministers, counselling moderation, compromise, promises of payment for land that had been appropriated by rights under the Charter, but ignoring aboriginal claims, the plea of Master Cotton that some of the savages should be converted, before any were slain, were sternly set aside. That morning even the customary prayer was omitted, that the preparations for fighting might be the more speedily discussed. As Master Winthrop well said, Herein I am persuaded, that, although a Christian cannot too boldly rely upon God in obedience to His will, notwithstanding, the situation calls for a diligent and faithful use of all good means."
Besides, the Indians were in league with the devil. A divine slaughter was it, truly, of which they were appointed the instruments. The savage hordes should find them prepared for war to the knife. Even though overwhelmed by numbers or faint with the horrors of a siege, no white flag would ever float over the three-hilled town.
It was arranged that the male inhabitants of Boston most of the able men being already
enrolled in the train-band, which was now to-include, also, old men not positively incapacitated by age or disease, and boys of sixteen should be divided into three companies, one company to be apportioned to each hill. The recruits were to be daily drilled and exercised in target practice by Captain Dudley, who was quite forgetful of his years and rheumatism in the discussion of these congenial affairs. Fortifications were to be erected at various points of vantage, and a guard stationed, night and day, on the Neck, where now a turnstile and fence kept cattle from straying beyond the proper bounds. It was further arranged that, in case of an approaching attack, a signal was to be given by a sentry posted on the highest peak of the Tramount, to the surrounding country, which was then to take its arms and repair to the town as fast as possible. By day, this signal was to be a flag on the top of a tall pole; by night, a fire of pitch and lightwood, contained in an iron cage.
Then arose stout old Thomas Dudley and offered the prayer of a soldier:
" Lord, Thou knowest how busy we must be these days. I pray Thee, if we forget Thee,
do not Thou forget us and all present bowed their heads in "Amen."
The house of Master Pelham beneath whose roof Mistress Wray sojourned-^stood nearly opposite that of the deputy-governor, and was of ample size, built of heavy logs, that had been laboriously brought from the islands and squared by broadaxes. The mud walls and thatched roofs of the first settlement had speedily given way to a better style of habitation, within as well as without; for as ships were built, and kinsfolk and friends joined the Colony from the mother country, the settlers, being for the most part gentlemen of wealth and consideration, had sent, as occasion served, for such articles of comfort or luxury as their lives in England had accustomed them to. The hall, or living-room of the Pelham household, into which the handmaiden ushered the young Gov ernor, was of ample proportions, its floor strewn with rugs. On one side was a huge fireplace, and near by an oaken settle, whose high back shielded its occupant from the draughts that, despite the careful plastering and some fine pieces of tapestry that hung against the more exposed walls, yet penetrated through the
chinks of the logs. At one end Of the roOm was a dresser, upon which rOws of pewter utensils, bright with daily scouring, reflected the blaze of the fire,the chief means of illumination in the room; for though the sun had not yet neared its setting, the windows = mere slits in the walls, with sheets of oiled paper therein in lieu of glass admitted but feeble light. There were sOme heavy pieces Of elab^ orately carved furniture, and in one corner was a spinning-wheel; resting against the wall hear by was a viol, while above hung the corselet, morion, and sword belonging to the master of the house.
Mistress Wray was enscOUsed on the settle, bending over an embroidery frame; but the work was not, apparently, making rapid progress, for the needle was stayed in her hand, and she was gazing into the fire as she sang:
" We have short time to stay as you, We have as short a Spring, As quick a growth to meet decay As you or anything. We die As your hours do, and dry Away
Like to the summer's rain, ;
Or as the pearls of morning dew, Ne'er to be found again."
She arose and curtseyed low as the Governor came forward. The simple, country-bred girl of yesterday was merged into the high-born, young dame, welcoming a distinguished guest with the same lofty, yet gracious dignity with which she would have received him in the palace that had so recently been her home.
"So merry an air hath not fallen on mine ears since I left England,'.' smiled Vane. "Yet. methinks that 'twas not at Whitehall you learnt to sing of fair daffodils "
"Ah, no," answered the girl; "truly, 'twas at Ashby that I learnt the ver.ses, as those of many another song of that day, when our poets found their delight in the woods and fields and. running brooks, and told pleasant, merry tales of a Court holden in the forest of Arden, and of a wonderful isle peopled with fairy creatures. But Will Shakespeare and the other sweet singers of Elizabeth's day find scant favor at Whitehall."
She stood with one hand resting lightly on
the arm of the settle. The firelight fell upon the gems with which her richly broidered stomacher was set, and upon the ropes of pearls that loosely girdled her waist.
" Mistress Pelham will grieve that she is not at home to welcome you," she said. She hath but crossed the street, to hold speech with that very gracious woman, Mistress Margaret Winthrop, concerning these direful rumors that are afloat. 'Tis true that the Indians meditate an attack ?"
"I fear 'tis even so," answered the young man, gravely. "The expected tidings of Endi-cott's expedition was brought me, yestreen, by a runner from Salem. It would appear that Endicott had fallen upon the Narragansetts, burnt their villages, and killed many of their men. The result was not, as he intended, to intimidate, but to incense. Should the possible attack on Boston be made, they will not find us unprepared, however," he added, as the girl turned a mute, questioning face towards him, and he could see that the slender white hand on the settle arm trembled.
" 'Tis not, indeed, the thought of the present danger that makes mine heart afraid," she
murmured. I am very foolish, very weak, but the shadow of a childish terror hath overcome me whenever I have but looked upon these strange people in the market-place, when they have brought hither their beaver-skins to barter for blankets and beads. Long ago, when I was a child," went on the girl, whose years scarce numbered seventeen, my old nurse remembered right well the great fear and trembling that came upon all England when 'twas thought that the Armada would land upon our shores. The talk of the country folk was of naught but how the Spaniards would put the heretics, for so they called us, to torture and death. When I was froward, my nurse would chide me with the words, Torquemada'll get ye !' and I would run to the garden, and there, in the maze, whose secret I well knew, I did think that the terrible Inquisitadpr could not find me; for the thought that the high, leafy hedge that hid the winding and tortuous paths could be cut down by the swords of those same unmannerly Spaniards did never enter my foolish head! The same wild, unformed terror doth possess me when I hear the names of Miantonpmo or Sassacus, those savage chiefs
whose deeds put in the shade the most terrible tortures of the Spanish Inquisition "
"Boston was well chosen as a place of defence," returned Vane, reassuringly.
" I have heard that the Pequots, compared with whom the Narragansetts are mild and humane," went on Mistress Wray, "have lurked in the thickets when a band of the English was at hand, and with diabolical mimicry rendered the shrieks and moans ay, and the heartrending supplications to the God who had forsaken them of their unhappy brethren who had fallen alive into their hands. I have tried to shut mine ears to the bloody tales with which the air is rife, but a horrible fascination besets me to listen and to question, as each fearful narrative is capped by another yet more blood-curdling !"
"The lading of the Blessing of the Bay, pur swiftest ship, has been hastened," said Vane. "To-morrow, at the turn of the tide, she sets sail for England, to bring us provisions, arms, and ammunition, and to convey home such of our people as do elect to return in her. Should this rash act of Endicott's prove the brand of warfare, and the coalition between the Narra*
gan setts and the Pequots be effected, even if the savage hordes could not carry our approaches by sheer force of numbers, starvation would soon be imminent in our midst. Our stores are low, and at least two months must elapse before we may look for the return of the Blessing of the Bay. I deemed it my duty to deal plainly with you," he added, looking away -as the girl turned that mute look to him, as though relying blindly on some aid he was powerless to give, though at that moment, he would have laid down his life that hers might be assured of safety. You would be no deserter from your post did you turn your back on Boston," he said.
"For such of His as He hath pleased to call to these shores, the faintest-hearted should find courage, and her unwillingness should not "hinder it," was the reply. "You are a woman," he urged, as though he would fain have taken her part even against herself.
" 'Tis true I am a woman," she made answer, softly, "and a woman's voice is not heard in the Council, nor may her arm be raised to strike a blow. But the voice of such an one
may still be heard in prayer, and perchance I should not be altogether useless in case the savage onslaught should befall, for I have been well taught to bind the hurts of the wounded, and I know somewhat of the use of herbs and simples in sickness. Rebel and archrebel I may be," she added, smiling, "but by your Worship's good leave, I will remain in Boston!"
"A woman's voice is heard beyond the Council-chamber, and her prayer availeth more than a man's right arm," answered the young Governor, and bent his head low over her outstretched hand.
There were those who, grown faint of heart in the famine, cold, and sickness that beset that first sore winter in Boston, had returned to England. But now, if the flesh owned its weakness with others besides Mistress Wray, the spirit, as with her, was strengthened and sustained by the living Fount that truly watered this wilderness. And these remained, the chosen few, the sifted seed of a nation.
The Blessing of the Bay set sail watched by wistful faces, and followed by anxious hearts. Its return might find Boston* only smoking
ruins, grass-grown lanes, and, mayhap, a few scattered bones.
In the days that followed, there was little talk in the town save of the threatened danger. Men grown used to the weight of responsibility looked worn and anxious under the burden of this new care. Factional differences were for the nonce forgotten, and young and old, gentle and simple, were banded together in the face of the common peril. In this new light, the character of the young Governor shone out, from day to day, with ever increasing lustre. Without assertion, but quietly and naturally, and with no dissentient voice, he took his rightful place as leader, and, both in the Council and in the actual labor of constructing the defences, all turned to him for advice and inspiration. The soft white hands, accustomed only to wielding a sword, or holding the reins, did manful work at the trenches and on the abatis ; and on the hill behind his house the name of which was in consequence soon changed from Cotton's Hill to Beacon Hill" set up the pole that was to hold the light aloft. Nor were the women behind in their efforts to save the town, and the precious pewter plates and plat-
ters, tankards and porringers were cast remorselessly into the kettle swinging from the crane in the great fireplace, to be moulded into bullets.
Daily, almost hourly, supplications arose in the meeting-house, the burden of Master Cotton's utterances being ever, In vain they fight who fight against the Lord! And his inspired cry of faith was uttered with a ring of manly vigor that might have made it the battle-cry of a Crusader. Yet, should the worst befall, like the dauntless Jesuit priest of the early missions, he would have stood at the stake throughout that four hours' eternity, winning even the admiration of his enemies by his fortitude, and at the end of those inconceivable tortures he would still have cried, unfalteringly:
"To Thy glory, O God!"
Master Wilson, on the contrary, preached only of the wrath to come, and curdled the blood of his hearers by pictures of future misery, drawn from Pequot imagery. The feeling in the town grew yet more tense, and the air became surcharged with excitement and suspense, as the spring was fairly come, the time usually selected by the savages for
starting on the war-path. So did the sermons of the preacher of the Boston church grow ever more fiery and denunciatory. The cause of the present calamitous condition of affairs was not far to seek! Had it not before been made manifest that the poor harvests and the caterpillars with which the Colony had been visited, ay, and the baldness that had afflicted many of the righteous, were to be laid at the door of those dames who "drew iniquity with a cord of vanity, walking with outstretched neck and wanton eyes, mincing as they went?"
They had broken covenant with the Lord, in that they had harbored in their midst those possessed of the sin of vanity, the root of all sins. The Tabernacle of the Lord had been polluted, and naught could cleanse it but the blood of the sacrifice!
Mistress Wray was in the garden, examining the tender plants herbs for meat and medicine which she had planted with anxious care, and which were just appearing above the ground. From Master Winthrop's house, the Council, that now met daily, was just dispersing. Presently the stately figure of the young Governor appeared amid the throng.
Crossing the street, he hastened down the garden path towards her.
"I am come to bid you farewell," he said,
with slight greeting and without preamble. "Ominous tidings have been received by us from Roger Williams. Sassacus has sent emissaries to Miantonomo who have been favorably
received. The alliance must at all hazards be prevented. To-night, at sundown, I set forth on a mission to the Narragansetts."
" Alone ? she would have questioned, but her lips only dumbly framed the word.
" Alone and unarmed. It is our only hope," he answered.
And then, with the simplicity and directness men use when they stand face to face with the great facts of life, Harry Vane told her of his love.
" If I come back, all my remaining days, God willing, shall be yours," he said. No other woman ever held the place in my heart that you have holden since the hour we met on Beacon Hill. O love, which, think yOu, was the first, that white day, to look and understand ?"
And because, just then, neither life nor death greatly mattered, this world or the other holding but one thing, their mutual love, the girl smiled, as she would have smiled in the very face of death, and answered :
" Nay, love, mine heart was swiftest. For it was on that blessed Sabbath day in the meetinghouse that I looked and understood You strode up the alley, the sunlight falling on your hair.
till it seemed as though the aureole of a saint and martyr hovered o'er it, and I did turn away my head, thinking it to be a vision. Dear in my thoughts, not thus is our farewell! What-e'er betide you on this mission, howe'er the end may come, the Lord has other work for you before He calls you hence."
" Sweetheart, no distance of place or space or time can truly sever us," he said. Yet, whilst I am absent in body, every night, at five of the clock, let our spirits meet in prayer till we meet again in the fruition of our mutual love."
" God, who gave His Best Beloved to die for thee, will give His angels charge over thee," she answered.
Then indeed were men's faces grave, and women strained their ears throughout the wakeful night to catch the watchman's hourly call, All's well! or started from uneasy slumber to hearken with affrighted ears for the savage yell that was the announcement of their doom. Every day, as the sun drew near the line of western hills, did Mistress Wray climb the Tra-mount, and on the spot where she and her lover first had met her soul went forth to challenge for him the protection and blessing of the Most High. And when she descended into the town, her face shone, even as did Moses's when he came down out of the Mount.
For days the terrible suspense hung over the town, for the lodge of Miantonomo was many miles distant, and the way thither was by winding paths that led through fields, swamps,
thickets, and forests, rendered, in places, almost impassable by the thaws and freshets of a New England spring augmented by heavy rains. During the Governor's absence a general fast was proclaimed throughout the churches of the Bay ; no sermons were now preached in the Boston meeting-house, and the Thursday lecture was given over, for the tension on all sides was too great and the needs of the hour too pressing even for men to whom the Word, was the very breath of life, to listen to long homilies. But at any hour, a little knot of men and women might have been seen gathered together in the sanctuary, to offer supplications for him whom only the God of Jacob could succor. The belief was general that far more than the mere fate of a handful of people was at stake. It was the desperate struggle of Satan, driven to his last stronghold.
Though the recollection of the memorable conflict between the mouse and the snake brought deep spiritual comfort to many a fearful heart, there were not lacking those who recalled certain ominous omens that had befallen on the day of Master Vane's ordination as Governor. It was brought to mind that during
the ceremony of taking the oath of office, a hornet had stung him on the back of his neck with such violence that his lace collar was afterwards found to be stained with blood. Still more were the people affected as they bethought themselves of another circumstance attending the installation of the Boy Governor. Master Cotton, as was his wont in the preparation of his sermons, notwithstanding his native gift of tongues, had bestowed many hours of thought and study upon the election sermon, regarded by both minister and people as one of the most notable events of the civil or ecclesiastical year. According to the great teacher's own account, as he ascended the pulpit stairs, manuscript in hand, a certain verse of Scripture came overpoweringly into his mind, and following without hesitation this leading of the Lord, he preached a most eloquent sermon on the text:
" Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."
One morning, from the doorway of her home, Mistress Wray beheld a gathering crowd about the house of Master Winthrop, now acting Governor. Approaching the group upon the outskirts, she questioned concerning its cause.
" At break of day, a messenger from the Narragansetts appeared on the Neck with ill tidings, I fear me, of the Governor," answered the person addressed. 'Tis said the savage made his appearance with howls and wails and tearing of the flesh, which are the signs of mourning amongst these people. The guard straightway conducted him to Master Winthrop, with whom he is now closeted."
It was not long ere the acting Governor made his appearance in the doorway of his house, and, raising his hand to command silence, spoke to the throng, which now included nearly all of the inhabitants of Boston, for the startling report had spread rapidly.
" Governor Vane was dead, slain by savage treachery. According to the word of the emissary, the Narragansetts had rejoiced to see the great chief of the white men coming amongst them like a brother. They had opened to him their lodges and their hearts, and Miantonomo had smoked with him the pipe of peace. But this treatment of the English sachem had angered the Pequot ambassadors, who still tarried amongst them, though the Narragansetts had shown them no favor ; and one night, as their
white brother sat at the council fire, the arrow of an ambushed Pequot pierced his neck from behind! "
Even work on the fortifications was given over, and all that day knots of people were gathered about the street and in the marketplace, discussing the sad news. The Council came together in haste. To the peril that had hung over them for the past weeks was now added, not only the weight of the present direful news, but the agony of uncertainty, and the thought of a worse fate than that of sudden death that might even now be awaiting the young Governor. Knowing, as they did, the treachery of the savage nature, how could they be certain that this tale brought by the savage, these assurances of the friendly disposition of Miantonomo, were but a blind and a decoy ? So while some of the Council, headed by Dudley, urged that an immediate attack be made upon both tribes without awaiting investigation, others, whose opinions were voiced by Master Winthrop, counselled protraction, avoidance of bloodshed till the truth should have been ascertained. Then Master Wilson arose, and on the overstrained and heated mood of the assemblage
his words fell as water falls on metal at white heat.
"We have broken covenant with the Lord! he said. His Spirit would not always strive with us. We have provoked Him to fury at last, because that we have permitted to remain amongst us one who walketh not in the fear of Him who guided our footsteps hither! Thrice hath Mistress Wray been admonished of her sin, yet against the authority of magistrate, minister, and Governor she remaineth a rebel! "
There was a murmur of something like relief and applause at this solution of the problem, broken by Captain Dudley, already in a tempest of wrath over the opposition with which his uncompromising measures had been met. The words were fairly roared by the old soldier of Henry of Navarre,-that gallant knight who, if he gave one ear to the counsels of Mars, was ever ready with the other to hearken to the whispers of Venus.
" Chide a fair maid for wearing that which makes her the fairer Faith, not I! I. did but tell Mistress Wray that the veil became her right well, and I care not who knows it! and with a glare at Master Winthrop, his opponent
not less by circumstance than by nature, Captain Dudley, declaring he would no longer sit beneath the roof of the acting Governor, he having heretofore only with reluctance per-- mitted himself so to do in the pursuance of the duties of his office, betook himself from the Council-chamber. Possibly under other circumstances, Thomas Dudley might have himself been called to account by his brethren of the Council, or brought under the censure of the Church for this unruly conduct, and his dereliction of magisterial duty, but in the present ticklish situation, it was generally felt that it were prudent not to excite to further wrath the choleric captain of the Boston train-band.
The explosion hurried matters to a conclusion, while the teacher of the Boston church was left the only defender of Mistress Wray in the discussion that followed. The Indians were forgotten, and all the smouldering ill-feeling, that had nearly rent the Colony asunder in the past year, brake forth again, either faction declaring the other the cause of the present trouble. Master Wilson's austere lineaments were stern and relentless, while the face of John Cotton grew ever more sad and anxious
as his gentle words fell on unheeding ears. The exhortations of the preacher carried the day, and the Council passed sentence accordingly, upon that "most agonizing and unbearable thorn in the side of the Boston church, Mistress Wray, sometime maid of honor in the sinful Court of his Majesty, King Charles the First,for in this chastening and regeneration, no item of disapproval was to be overlooked.
On the following Lord's day, Frances Wray was condemned to appear in the meeting-house, clad in a robe of sackcloth, and standing upon a form in the full view of the assembled congregation ; the preacher was to set forth her offence, which was
" Ker love of flaunting attire, and because that the lads had called her a 'bouncing girl.' Her contempt of the magistrates, evidenced in her disregard of repeated admonishments, and especially her pride, as the root of all which caused God to give her over to her other sinful courses ; and which, in the matter of a veil, had resulted in the visitation of God's wrath upon the Colony in the death of that wise and godly gentleman, Master Harry Vane, late Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. She was