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By and by they shall marry; and there will be plenty of children!"
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 it.
Straight there arose from the forest the awful
sound of the war*whoop, And, like a flurry of snow on the whistling
wind of December, Swift and sudden and keen came a flight of
feathery arrows* Then came a cloud of smoke, and out of the
cloud came the lightning, Out of the lightning thunder; and death unseen ran before it. Frightened the savages fled for shelter in
swamp and in thicket, Hotly pursued and beset; but their sachem,
the brave Wattawamat^ Fled not; he was dead. Unswerving and swift
had a bullet Passed through his brain, and he fell with both
hands clutching the greensward, Seeming in death to hold back from his foe the
land of his fathers*
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
Scowled from the roof of the fort, which at
once was a church and a fortress,
All who beheld it rejoiced, and praised the
Lord, and took courage. Only Priscilla averted her face from this spectre
of terror, Thanking God in her heart that she had not
married Miles Standish; Shrinking, fearing almost, lest, coming home
from his battles, He should lay claim to her hand, as the prize
and reward of his valor.