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Be but a fighter of battles, a lover and wooer of dangers !"
After a three days' march he came to an Indian encampment Pitched on the edge of a meadow, between the sea and the forest; Women at work by the tents, and the warriors, horrid with war-paint, Seated about a fire, and smoking and talking together ; Who, when they saw from afar the sudden approach of the white men, Saw the flash of the sun on breastplate and sabre and musket, Straightway leaped to their feet, and two, from among them advancing, Came to parley with Standish, and offer him furs as a present; Friendship was in their looks, but in their hearts there was hatred. Braves of the tribe were these, and brothers gigantic in stature, Huge as Goliath of Gath, or the terrible Og, king of Bashan ; One was Pecksuot named, and the other was called Wattawamat. Round their necks were suspended their knives in scabbards of
wampum, Two-edged, trenchant knives, with points as sharp as a needle. Other arms had they none, for they were cunning and crafty. “Welcome, English !" they said,- these words they had learned from
the traders Touching at times on the coast, to barter and chaffer for peltries. Then in their native tongue they began to parley with Standish, Through his guide and interpreter, Hobomok, friend of the white man, Begging for blankets and knives, but mostly for muskets and powder,
Kept by the white man, they said, concealed, with the plague in his
cellars, Ready to be let loose, and destroy his brother the red man! But when Standish refused, and said he would give them the Bible, Suddenly changing their tone, they began to boast and to bluster. Then Wattawamat advanced with a stride in front of the other, And, with a lofty demeanour, thus vauntingly spake to the Captain : “Now Wattawamat can see, by the fiery eyes of the Captain, Angry is he in his heart; but the heart of the brave Wattawamat Is not afraid at the sight. He was not born of a woman, But on a mountain, at night, from an oak-tree riven by lightning, Forth he sprang at a bound, with all his weapons about him,
Shouting, 'Who is there here to fight with the brave Wattawamat?'
I have another at home, with the face of a man on the handle;
Then stood Pecksuot forth, self-vaunting, insulting Miles Standish : While with his fingers he patted the knife that hung at his bosom, Drawing it half from its sheath, and plunging it back, as he muttered, “ By and by it shall see; it shall eat; ah, ha! but shall speak not ! This is the mighty Captain the white men have sent to destroy us! He is a little man; let him go and work with the women !"
Meanwhile Standish had noted the faces and figures of Indians Peeping and creeping about from bush to tree in the forest, Feigning to look for game, with arrows set on their bow-strings, Drawing about him still closer and closer the net of their ambush. But undaunted he stood, and dissembled and treated them smoothly; So the old chronicles say, that were writ in the days of the fathers. But when he heard their defiance, the boast, the taunt, and the insult, All the hot blood of his race, of Sir Hugh and of Thurston de Standish, Boiled and beat in his heart, and swelled in the veins of his temples. Headlong he leaped on the boaster, and, snatching his knife from its
scabbard, Plunged it into his heart, and, reeling backward, the savage Fell with his face to the sky, and a fiendlike fierceness upon
Straight there arose from the forest the awful sound of the war-whoop,
There on the flowers of the meadow the warriors lay, and above
them, Silent, with folded arms, stood Hobomok, friend of the white man. Smiling at length he exclaimed to the stalwart Captain of Plymouth : “ Pecksuot bragged very loud, of his courage, his strength, and his
stature,Mocked the great Captain, and called him a little man ; but I see now Big enough have you been to lay him speechless before you !"
Thus the first battle was fought and won by the stalwart Miles
Standish. When the tidings thereof were brought to the village of Plymouth, And as a trophy of war the head of the brave Wattawamat Scowled from the roof of the fort, which at once was a church and a
All who beheld it rejoiced, and praised the Lord, and took courage.