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MO U N T H O P E;
PHILIP, KING OF THE WAXPANOAGS.
“Thy twinkling maize-flelds rustled on the shore."--BRYANT.
In that lovely archipelago of waters that extends to the south and east of the city of Providence, lying between two bays as bright as ever turned their waves to the sun, is a small neck of land, called, at the period of which we write, Pokanoket, or “the woods beyond the waters.” The north portion is low, and in many places interspersed with formidable swamps, while the south-eastern point rises into a bold headland of white Aint-rock, the summit of which, commands a view both of land and water for many miles around. It is a spot sacred to the eye
many a traveller, and one that will be sought out through long journeys by various pilgrims to the end of time as the birth-place of true genius, a place consecrated by human suffering, and immortalized by heroic valour. On the evening of the 15th of June, 1675, there stood for strength or activity, of a graceful figure and exquisitely moulded limbs. Although the high cheek bones, as well as the angular mouth and chin, betokened the son of the North American forest, yet there was in his face nothing of the eager, and yet suspicious expression, indicative of low cunning, or, at best, of the exercise only of those mental qualities that more readily act in obedience to the passions, which most historians have supposed to belong to that race of men; but the face bore more of the marks of intellect, forecast, and a firm, immoveable purpose, than of the characteristics commonly attributed to savages. This was strongly indicated not only by the breadth and height of the forehead, which was always observed by the English whenever he appeared at their courts or assemblies—but also by the full, dark eye, that was on ordinary occasions steady in its glance as the eagle's whose plumage he wore, but which now flashed fiercely, as if kindling with the recollection of some deep-seated wrong, and which gave to a face otherwise of a majestic and kingly beauty, a painful and agitated expression. Never was that peculiar formation of the head, and that proud moulding of the features which are supposed to be the marks of pure blood and high lineage, more faithfully delineated; nor was it possible that the human countenance should express a greater variety of endowments. He seemed formed alike for thought or action—a stern lawgiver or a swift avenger -but in either capacity a king.
the rock that thus formed a sort of tower to the sum. mit of this mountain, a solitary Indian, of appearance and feature so unlike that of all other aborigines of that period, that we shall venture upon giving a personal description. The chieftain—for such he seemed was formed alike
The dress of this elegant savage was in perfect keeping with his appearance and bearing. He wore a light coat of beaver-skin, decorated with blue and white beads, curi. ously wrought into a great variety of ornaments; buskins of deer-skin, covered with small sea-shells; while a narrow band or belt of wampum, passing around the head, the
ends of which extended down the neck, and met at the shoulders, and which was surmounted at the forehead by the plumes of the gray-eagle, completed his attire. In his right hand he held a large English musket, upon which he leaned idly, as he cast his eye hurriedly over the broad expanse of land and water that lay at his feet. It was his ancestral domain, the country that had known no other sway beyond that of the long line of sachėms whose un. written history dated as far back as the earliest annals of tradition, hundreds of years before the foot of the European had pressed its sod, or the arm of labour had tamed its luxuriant wilds. Nor had civilization yet made any considerable inroads upon its solitudes. Not a white sail was visible in the bay, now called the Bay of Providence, and Mount Hope bay bore upon its bosom many a light canoe, flitting gayly across the waves, freighted with dusky forms. Unbroken woods, their shades now deepening with the approach of evening, covered every hill and valley; and the slender columns of smoke that rose here and there above the trees, ascended only from the wigwam or coun. cil-fire of the Wampanoags.
Whatever might have been the nature of his thoughts, the chief was soon interrupted by the approach of two visiters. Just emerging from the shade of a wild grapevine of immense size, that stood at an angle of the steep and winding pathway, and rolled its black coils like the folds of an enormous serpent around the trunk and branches of a linden-tree, appeared a beautiful young Indian woman, leading by the hand a slightly-formed, dark-eyed boy, of about ten years of age. Nothing could surpass the perfect grace and ease with which this lovely female apparition glided along the tangled and difficult path ; now turning to speak a word of encouragement to the child, now removing from his way with maternal fondness—for such was the relationship she sustained toward him—some bush or shrub, as if fearing lest a briar should pierce the deer-skin leggins that protected his little limbs, or even the tendrils of a vine should curl itself about the solitary eagle's feather that decorated his jetty hair. Her beauty was of the most perfect aboriginal mould, the figure tall and slender, the feet and hands small, and the eye large and dark. But though the long braids of her hair were intertwined with wild. flowers of colours the most rare and gay; though the robe of otter's fur that hung in natural drapery about her form was the richest within the limits of the tribe, and though strings of violet beads, elaborated from the most rare seashells, which none but a queen might wear, fell in graceful chains from her neck, and nestled in her bosom; yet the face was too sad for such festive decorations. As she stood before that haughty chieftain, and murmured a response to his welcome ; for not even an Indian queen may first address her lord; her drooping head, down-cast eye, and the low moaning of her voice, were those of the mourning dove, when bereft of her young. But the boy sprung forward, and laid his little hand upon the sachem's gun, as if he would have wrested it from his grasp, looking up fiercely into his face, and pointing with his left hand impatiently to the north, as he asked, “Is the chief of the Wampanoags ready to burn the wigwams, and bring home the scalps of the pale-faces?” Pometacom—for that was the name of the chief—resigned the musket to the child, without replying to his interrogatory; and the wife and the queen who had always shared his confidence, and was henceforth to share with him the relentless malice of his enemies—the innocent, ill-starred Woo-ke-nus-ke-awaited in silence the mandates of her king.