Infomotions, Inc.The Puritan Twins / Perkins, Lucy Fitch, 1865-1937



Author: Perkins, Lucy Fitch, 1865-1937
Title: The Puritan Twins
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): zeb; nancy; goodman; dan; daniel; goodwife; pepperell; gran'ther wattles; goodman pepperell; nimrod; captain; john howland; plymouth; captain sanders; lucy ann; twins
Contributor(s): ├Ęs, D. [Translator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
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Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 28,860 words (really short) Grade range: 8-10 (high school) Readability score: 68 (easy)
Identifier: etext16644
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Title: The Puritan Twins

Author: Lucy Fitch Perkins

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  THE PURITAN TWINS

  By Lucy Fitch Perkins

  ILLUSTRATED BY THE AUTHOR




  [Illustration]




  HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY

  BOSTON  NEW YORK  CHICAGO  SAN FRANCISCO

  The Riverside Press Cambridge

  By Lucy Fitch Perkins

       *       *       *       *       *

_Geographical Series_

  THE DUTCH TWINS PRIMER. _Grade I._
  THE DUTCH TWINS. _Grade III._
  THE ESKIMO TWINS. _Grade II._
  THE FILIPINO TWINS. _Grade IV._
  THE JAPANESE TWINS. _Grade IV._
  THE SWISS TWINS. _Grade IV._
  THE IRISH TWINS. _Grade V._
  THE ITALIAN TWINS. _Grades V and VI._
  THE SCOTCH TWINS. _Grades V and VI._
  THE MEXICAN TWINS. _Grade VI._
  THE BELGIAN TWINS. _Grade VI._
  THE FRENCH TWINS. _Grade VII._


_Historical Series_

  THE CAVE TWINS. _Grade IV._
  THE SPARTAN TWINS. _Grades V-VI._
  THE PURITAN TWINS. _Grades VI-VII._

       *       *       *       *       *

_Each volume is illustrated by the author_

       *       *       *       *       *

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY


The Riverside Press

CAMBRIDGE MASSACHUSETTS

PRINTED IN THE U.S.A.

[Illustration]

CONTENTS

  I. THE PEPPERELLS AND THE CAPTAIN          3

  II. TWO DAYS                              39

  III. ON BOARD THE LUCY ANN                63

  IV. A FOREST TRAIL                        87

  V. THE NEW HOME                          113

  VI. HARVEST HOME                         157

  SUGGESTIONS TO TEACHERS                  181

[Illustration: map]




I

THE PEPPERELLS AND THE CAPTAIN


One bright warm noonday in May of the year 1638, Goodwife Pepperell
opened the door of her little log cabin, and, screening her eyes from
the sun with a toilworn hand, looked about in every direction, as
if searching for some one. She was a tall, spare woman, with a firm
mouth, keen blue eyes, and a look of patient endurance in her face,
bred by the stern life of pioneer New England. Far away across the
pasture which sloped southward from the cabin she could see long
meadow grass waving in the breeze, and beyond a thread of blue water
where the Charles River flowed lazily to the sea. Westward there was
also pasture land where sheep were grazing, and in the distance a
glimpse of the thatched roofs of the little village of Cambridge.

Goodwife Pepperell gazed long and earnestly in this direction, and
then, making a trumpet of her hands, sent a call ringing across the
silent fields. "Nancy! Daniel!" she shouted.

She was answered only by the tinkle of sheep bells. A shade of anxiety
clouded the blue eyes as she went round to the back of the cabin and
looked toward the dense forest which bounded her vision on the north.
Stout-hearted though she was, Goodwife Pepperell could never forget
the terrors which lay concealed behind that mysterious rampart of
green. Not only were there wolves and deer and many other wild
creatures hidden in its depths, but it sheltered also the perpetual
menace of the Indians. Toward the east, at some distance from the
cabin, corn-fields stretched to salt meadows, and beyond, across the
bay, she could see the three hills of Boston town.[1]

[Footnote 1: See map.]

As no answering shout greeted her from this direction either, the
Goodwife stepped quickly toward a hollow stump which stood a short
distance from the cabin. Beside the stump a slender birch tree bent
beneath the weight of a large circular piece of wood hung to its top
by a leather thong. This was the samp-mill, where their corn was
pounded into meal. Seizing the birch tree with her hands, she brought
the wooden pestle down into the hollow stump with a resounding thump.
The birch tree sprang back lifting the block with it and again she
pulled it down and struck the stump another blow, then paused to
listen. This time there was, beside the echo, an answering shout, and
in a few moments two heads appeared above the rows of young corn just
peeping out of the ground, two pairs of lively bare feet came flying
across the garden patch, and a breathless boy and girl stood beside
their mother.

They were a sturdy pair of twelve-year-olds, the boy an inch or more
taller than his sister, and both with the blue eyes, fair skin, and
rosy cheeks which proclaimed their English blood. There was a gleam of
pride in Goodwife Pepperell's eye as she looked a her children, but
not for the world would she have let them see it; much less would she
have owned it to herself, for she was a Puritan mother, and regarded
pride of any kind as altogether sinful. "Where have you been all the
morning?" she said. "You were nowhere to be seen and the corn is not
yet high enough to hide you."

"I was hoeing beyond that clump of bushes," said Daniel, pointing to
a group of high blueberries that had been allowed to remain in the
cleared field.

"And I was keeping away the crows," said Nancy, holding out her wooden
clappers. "Only I fell asleep. It was so warm I just could n't help
it."

"So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth and thy want as an
armed man," quoted the mother sternly. "Night is the time for sleep.
Go now and eat the porridge I have set for you in your little
porringers, and then go down to the bay with this basket and fill it
with clams. Put a layer of seaweed in the basket first and pack the
clams in that. They will keep alive for some time if you bed them so,
and be sure to bring back the shovel."

This was a task that suited the Twins much better than either hoeing
corn or scaring crows, and they ran into the house at once, ate their
porridge with more haste than good manners, and dashed joyfully away
across the fields toward the river-mouth, a mile away. They followed a
path across the wide stretch of pasture, where wild blackberry vines
and tall blueberry bushes grew, then through a strip of meadow land,
and at last ran out on the bare stretch of sand and weed left by the
ebb tide toward the narrow channel cut by the clear water of the
Charles.

Here they set down the basket and began looking about for the little
holes which betray the hiding-places of clams.

[Illustration]

"Oh, look, Dan," cried Nancy, stopping to admire the long line of
foot-prints which they had left behind them. "Dost see what a pretty
border we have made? 'T is just like a pattern." She walked along the
edge of the stream with her toes turned well out, leaving a track in
the sand like this:

[Illustration]

Then the delightful flat surface tempted her to further exploits. She
picked up a splinter of driftwood and, making a wide flourish, began
to draw a picture. "See," she called rapturously to Dan, "this is
going to be a pig! Here 's his nose, and here 's his curly tail, and
here are his little fat legs." She clapped her hands with admiration.
"Now I shall do something else," she announced as she finished the pig
with a round red pebble stuck in for the eye. "Let me see. What shall
I draw? Oh, I know! A picture of Gran'ther Wattles! Look, Dan." She
made a careful stroke. "Here 's his nose, and here 's his chin. They are
monstrous near together because he has nothing but gums between! And
here 's his long tithing-stick with the squirrel-tail on the end!"

[Illustration]

"It doth bear a likeness to him!" admitted Dan, laughing in spite of
himself, "but, sister, thou shouldst not mock him. He is an old man,
and we should pay respect to gray hairs. Father says so."

"Truly I have as much of respect as he hath of hair," answered naughty
Nancy. "His poll is nearly as bald as an egg."

"I know the cause of thy displeasure," declared Dan. "Gran'ther
Wattles poked thee for bouncing about during the sermon last Sunday.
But it is unseemly to bounce in the meeting-house, and besides, is he
not the tithing-man? 'T is his duty to see that people behave as they
should."

"He would mayhap have bounced himself if a bee had been buzzing about
his nose as it did about mine," said Nancy, and, giving a vicious
dab at the pictured features, she drew a bee perched on the end of
Gran'ther Wattles's nose. "Here now are all the gray hairs he hath,"
she added, making three little scratches above the ear.

"Nancy Pepperell!" cried her brother, aghast, "dost thou not remember
what happened to the forty and two children that said 'Go up, thou
bald head' to Elijah? It would be no marvel if bears were to come out
of the woods this moment to eat thee up!"

[Illustration]

"'T was n't Elijah, 't was Elisha," Nancy retorted with spirit, "but it
matters little whether 't was one or t' other, for I don't believe two
bears could possibly hold so much, and besides dost thou not think it
a deal worse to cause a bear to eat up forty and two children than to
say 'Go up, thou bald head'?"

"Nancy!" exclaimed her horrified brother, glancing fearfully toward
the forest and clapping his hand on her mouth to prevent further
impiety, "thou art a wicked, wicked girl! Dost thou not know that the
eye of the Lord is in every place? Without doubt his ear is too, and
He can hear every word thy saucy tongue sayeth. Come, let us rub out
this naughty picture quickly, and mayhap God will take no notice this
time." He ran across Gran'ther Wattles's portrait from brow to chin,
covering it with foot-prints. "Besides," he went on as he trotted back
and forth, "thou hast broken a commandment! Thou hast made a likeness
of something that 's in the earth, and that 's Gran'ther Wattles! Nancy,
thou dost take fearful chances with thy soul."

Nancy began to look a little anxious as she considered her conduct.
"At any rate," she said defensively, "it is n't a graven image, and I
have neither bowed down to it nor served it! I do try to be good, Dan,
but it seemeth that the devil is ever at my elbow."

[Illustration]

"'T is because thou art idle," said Dan, shaking his head as gravely
as Gran'ther Wattles himself. "Busy thyself with the clams, and Satan
will have less chance at thy idle hands, and thy idle tongue too."

Nancy obediently took hold of the basket which Dan thrust into her
hands, and together they walked for some distance over the sandy
stretches. Suddenly a tiny stream of water spouted up beside Dan's
feet. "Here they be!" he shouted, plunging his shovel into the sand,
"and what big ones!" Nancy surveyed the clams with disfavor. They were
thrusting pale thick muscles out between the lobes of their shells.
"They look as if they were sticking out their tongues at us," said
Nancy as she picked one up gingerly and dropped it into the basket.
"But, Dan, Mother said we were to bed them in seaweed!"

"I see none here," said Dan, leaning on his shovel and looking about
him. "The tide hath swept everything as clean as a floor."

"I 'll seek for some while thou art busy with the digging," said Nancy,
glad to escape the duty of picking up the clams, and off she trotted
without another word. The flats, seamed and grooved with channels
where pools of water still lingered, sloped gently down to the lower
level of the bay, and farther out a range of rocks lifted themselves
above the sandy waste.

[Illustration]

"I 'll surely find seaweed on the rocks," thought Nancy to herself as
she sped along, and in a few moments she had reached them, had tossed
up the basket, and was climbing their rugged sides.

"There 's a mort o' seaweed here," she said, nodding her head wisely as
she picked up a long string of kelp; "I can fill my basket in no time
at all." There was no need for haste, she thought, so she sat down
beside a pool of water left in a hollow of the rocks, to explore its
contents. The first thing she found was a group of tiny barnacles, and
for a while she amused herself by washing salt water over them to see
them open their tiny cups of shell. In the pool itself a beautiful
lavender-colored jelly-fish was floating about, and just beyond lay a
star-fish clinging to a bunch of seaweed. She found other treasures
scattered about by the largess of the tide--tiny spiral shells, stones
of all colors, and a horseshoe crab, besides seaweed with pretty
little pods which popped delightfully when she squeezed them with her
fingers. Then she heard the cries of gulls overhead and watched them
as they wheeled and circled between her and the sky. When they flew
out to sea she sat with her hands clasping her knees and gazed across
the bay at the three hills of Boston town. She could see quite plainly
the tall beacon standing like a ship's mast on top of Beacon Hill, and
farther north she strained her eyes to pick out Governor Winthrop's
dwelling from the cluster of houses which straggled up the slope of
Copp's Hill and which made all there was of the city of Boston in that
early day.

[Illustration]

For some time she sat there hugging her knees and thinking long, long
thoughts, and it was not until the sound of little waves lapping
against the rocks roused her that she woke from her day dream and
realized with terror that the tide had turned. The channels and lower
levels of the bay were already brimming over, and the water was deep
about the rocks on which she perched. At almost the same moment Dan
had been surprised by a cold wave which washed over his bare feet,
and, turning about, was dismayed to find a sheet of blue water
covering the bay and to see Nancy standing on the topmost rock
shouting "Dan! Dan!" at the top of her lungs. For one astonished
instant he looked at her, then, throwing down his shovel, he plunged
unhesitatingly into the icy bath. And now Nancy, realizing that there
was not a moment to lose if she hoped to reach the shore in safety,
let herself slowly down off the rocks, leaving the basket behind her,
and started toward her brother.

The water was already so deep in the channels that their progress
toward each other was slow, but they ploughed bravely on, feeling the
bottom carefully at each step lest they sink in some sand-pocket or
hollow washed out by the tide. Some distance away toward Charlestown
a fishing schooner rocked on the deeper water of the bay, and a
fisherman in a small boat, attracted by the shouting, looked up, and,
seeing the two struggling figures, instantly bent to his oars and
started toward them. Though he rowed rapidly, it was some minutes
before he could reach the children, who were now floundering about in
water nearly up to their necks.

[Illustration]

"Hold fast to my shoulder, Nancy," he heard Dan cry. "I can float, and
I can swim a little. Keep thy nose above water and let thy feet go
where they will." Nancy, spluttering and gurgling, was trying hard to
follow Dan's directions, when the boat shot alongside, and a cheery
voice cried, "Ahoy, there! Come aboard, you young porpoises!"

To the children it was like a voice straight from heaven. Dan
immediately helped Nancy to get into the boat, and then she balanced
it while he climbed aboard.

When they were safely bestowed among the lobster-pots with which the
boat was laden, the man leaned on his oars and eyed them critically.
"Short of sense, ain't ye?" he remarked genially. "Nigh about drownded
that time or I 'm no skipper! If ye ain't bent on destruction ye 'd
better get into dry clothes. Ye 're as wet as a mess of drownded
kittens. Tell me where you live and I 'll take you home."

He flung a tarpaulin over the shivering figures and tucked it around
them as he scolded. "'T is all my fault," sobbed poor Nancy. "Dan came
in just to get me out."

"Very commendable of him, I 'm sure," said the stranger, nodding
approvingly at Dan, "and just what he 'd ought to do, and doubtless
you 're worth saving at that, though a hen-headeder young miss I never
see in all my days!"

"She went to find seaweed to bed the clams," explained Dan, coming to
his sister's defense, "and the tide caught her. Thou art kind indeed
to pick us up, sir."

"Oh," groaned remorseful Nancy, her teeth chattering, "it 's all
because I 'm such a sinner! I made a likeness of Gran'ther Wattles in
the sand and said dreadful things about the prophet Elijah, or mayhap
't was Elisha, and Dan said a bear might come to eat me up just like
the forty and two children, and instead of a bear we both were almost
swallowed by the tide!"

"Well, now," said the stranger, comfortingly, "ye see instead of
sending bears the Lord sent me along to fish ye out, just the same as
He sent the whale to swallow Jonah when he was acting contrary! Looks
like He meant to let ye off with a scare this time. Come now, my lass,
there 's salt water enough aboard and if ye cry into the boat, ye 'll
have to bail her out. Besides," he added whimsically, looking up at
the sky, "there 's another squall coming on, and two at a time is too
many for any sailor. If I 'm to cast you up on the shore same as the
whale, ye 'll have to tell me which way to go, and who ye are."

"Our father is Josiah Pepperell," answered Dan, "and our house is
almost a mile back from shore near Cambridge."

"So you 're Josiah Pepperell's children! To be sure, to be sure! Might
have known it. Ye do favor him some," said the fisherman. "Well! well!
The ways of the Lord are surely past finding out! Why, I knew your
father way back in England. He came over here for religion and I came
for fish. Not that I ain't a God-fearing man," he added hastily,
noticing a look of horror on Nancy's face, "but I ain't so pious
as some. I 'm a seafaring man, Captain Sanders of the Lucy Ann,
Marblehead. Ye can see her riding at anchor out there in the bay. I
have n't set eyes on your father since he left Boston and settled in
the back woods up yonder."

He sent the boat flying through the water with swift, sure strokes
as he talked, and brought it ashore at the first landing-place
they found. Here they drew it up on the bank and, taking out the
lobster-pots, turned it upside down so the rain would not fill it. Two
great green lobsters with goblin-like eyes were hidden away under the
pots, and when the boat was overturned they tumbled out and started at
a lively pace for the water.

"Hi, there!" shouted the Captain, seizing them by their tails, "where
are your manners? By jolly, I like to forgot ye! Come along now and
take supper with the Pepperells. I invite ye! They 're short of clams
and they 'll be pleased to see ye, or I miss my reckoning." There were
pegs stuck in the scissor-like claws, so the creatures were harmless,
and, swinging along with one kicking vigorously in each hand, the
Captain plunged into the long meadow grass, the children following
close at his heels.

The clouds grew darker and darker; there was a rumble of thunder,
and streaks of lightning tore great rents in the sky as they hurried
across the open meadow and struck into the pasture land beyond.

"Head into the wind there and keep going," shouted the Captain as the
children struggled along, impeded by their wet clothing. "It 's from
the north, and we 're pointed straight into it."

Past bushes waving distractedly in the wind, under the boughs of young
oak trees, over stones and through briars they sped, and at last they
came in sight of the cabin just as the storm broke. Goodwife Pepperell
was standing in the door gazing anxiously toward the river, when they
dashed out of the bushes and, scudding past her, stood dripping on
the hearth-stone. Her husband was just hanging his gun over the
chimney-piece, and the noise of their entrance was drowned out by a
clap of thunder; so when he turned about and saw the three drenched
figures it was no wonder that for an instant he was too surprised to
speak.

"Well, of all things!" he said at last, holding out his hand to
Captain Sanders. "What in God's providence brings thee here, Thomas?
Thou art welcome indeed. 'T is a long time since I have seen thee."

"God's providence ye may call it," answered the Captain, shaking the
Goodman's hand as if he were pumping out the hold of a sinking ship,
"and I 'll not gainsay it. The truth is I overhauled these small craft
floundering around in the tide-wash with water over their scuppers 'n'
all but wrecked, so I took 'em in tow and brought 'em ashore!"

Their mother, meanwhile, had not waited for explanations. Seeing how
chilled they were, she had hurried the children to the loft above
the one room of the cabin and was already giving them a rub-down and
getting out dry clean clothes while they told her their adventure.

"Thank God you are safe," she said, clasping them both in her arms,
when the tale was told.

"Thank Captain Sanders as well, Mother," said Daniel. "Had it not been
for him, I doubt if we could have reached the shore."

"Let this be a lesson to you, then," said the Goodwife, loosening her
clasp and picking up the wet clothing. "You know well about the tide!
Nancy, child, why art thou so wild and reckless? Thou art the cause of
much anxiety."

At her mother's reproof, gentle though it was, poor Nancy flopped over
on her stomach, and, burying her face in her hands, gave way to tears.

"It 's all because I am so wicked," she moaned. "My sins are as
scarlet! Oh, Mother, dost think God will cause the lightning to strike
us dead to punish me?" She shuddered with fear as a flash shone
through the chinks of the logs and for an instant lighted the dim
loft.

Her mother put down the wet clothes and, lifting her little daughter
tenderly in her arms, laid her on her bed. "God maketh the rain to
fall on both the just and the unjust," she said soothingly. "Rest here
while I go down and get supper."

She covered her warmly with a homespun blanket, and, accompanied by
Dan, made her way down the ladder. She found her husband putting fresh
logs on the fire and stirring the coals to a blaze, while the Captain
hung his coat on the corner of the mantel-shelf to dry. She went up to
him and held out her hand. "Captain Sanders," she said, "but for thee
this might be a desolate household indeed this night."

The Captain's red face turned a deeper shade, and he fidgeted with
embarrassment, as he took her hand in his great red paw, then dropped
it suddenly as if it were hot. "Oh, stow it, ma'am, stow it," he
begged. "That is, I mean to say--why, by jolly, ma'am, a pirate could
do no less when he see a fine bit of cargo like that going to the
bottom!"

To the Captain's great relief the lobsters at this moment created a
diversion. He had dropped them on the hearth when he came in, and they
were now clattering briskly about the room, butting into anything that
came in their way in an effort to escape. He made a sudden dash after
them and held them out toward Goodwife Pepperell.

"Here they be, ma'am," he said. "I 'd saved them for my supper, and I
'd take it kindly if ye 'd cook them for me, and help eat them, too.
It 's raining cats and dogs, and if I was to start out now, I 'd have a
hard time finding the Lucy Ann. Ye can't see a rod ahead of ye in such
a downpour."

"We shall be glad to have thee stay as long as thou wilt," said the
Goodwife heartily. "Put the lobsters in this while I set the kettle to
boil." She held out a wooden puncheon as she spoke, and the Captain
dropped them in. Then he sat down with Goodman Pepperell on the settle
beside the fireplace, and the two men talked of their boyhood in
England, while she hung the kettle on the crane over the fire and
began to prepare the evening meal.

"Daniel, sit thee down by the fire and get a good bed of coals ready
while I mix the johnny-cake," she said as she stepped briskly about
the room, and Daniel, nothing loath, drew a stool to the Captain's
side and fed the fire with chips and corn-cobs while he listened with
all his ears to the talk of the two men.

[Illustration]

"Well, Thomas, how hast thou prospered since I saw thee last?" asked
Goodman Pepperell.

"Tolerable, tolerable, Josiah," answered the Captain. "I 've been
mining for sea gold." Daniel wondered what in the world sea gold
might be. "Ye see," he went on, turning to include Daniel in the
conversation, "my father was a sea captain before me, and my gran'ther
too. Why, my gran'ther helped send the Spanish Armada to the bottom
where it belonged. Many and many 's the time I 've heard him tell
about it, and I judge from what he said he must have done most of the
job himself, though I reckon old Cap'n Drake may have helped some."
(Here the Captain chuckled.) "He never came back from his last
voyage,--overhauled by pirates more 'n likely. That was twenty years
ago, and I 've been following the sea myself ever since. I was wrecked
off the Spanish Main on my first voyage, and I 've run afoul of
pirates and come near walking the plank more times than one, I 'm
telling ye, but somehow I always had the luck to get away! And here I
be, safe and sound."

At this point the lobsters made a commotion in the wooden puncheon,
and the Captain turned his attention to them. "Jest spilin' to get
out, ain't ye?" he inquired genially. "Look here, boy," to Daniel,
"that water's bilin'. Heave 'em in."

Daniel held his squirming victims over the pot, and not without a
qualm of pity dropped them into the boiling water. Then he ventured to
ask a question. "What is sea gold, Captain Sanders?"

"Things like them," answered the Captain, jerking his thumb at the
lobsters, which were already beginning to turn a beautiful red color
as they boiled in the pot; "as good gold as any that was ever dug out
of mines ye can get for fish, and there never was such fishing in all
the seas as there is along this coast! My! my! I 've seen schools of
cod off the Cape making a solid floor of fish on the water so ye could
walk on it if ye were so minded, and as for lobsters, I 've caught 'em
that measured six and seven feet long! Farther down the coast there
are oysters so big one of 'em will make a square meal for four or five
people. It 's the truth I 'm telling ye."

Goodman Pepperell smiled. "Thomas," he said, "thou hast not lost thy
power of narration!"

Captain Sanders for an instant looked a bit dashed, then he said,
"Well, believe it or not, Josiah, it 's the truth for all that. Why,
talk about the land of Canaan flowin' with milk and honey! This here
water 's just alive with money! Any boy could go out and haul up a
shilling on his own hook any time he liked."

Daniel, his eyes shining and his lips parted, was just making up his
mind that he would rather be the captain of a fishing-smack than
anything else in the world, since he knew he could n't be a pirate,
when his mother came to the fireplace with a layer of corn-meal dough
spread on a baking-board. She placed the board in a slanting position
against an iron trivet before the glowing bed of coals, and set a pot
of beans in the ashes to warm. "Keep an eye on that johnny-cake," she
said to Daniel, "and don't let it burn." Then she turned away to set
the table.

[Illustration]

This task took but little time, for in those days there were few
things to put on it. She spread a snowy cloth of homespun linen on
the plank which served as a table, and laid a knife and spoon at each
place; there were no forks, and for plates only a square of wood with
a shallow depression in the middle. Beside each of these trenchers she
placed a napkin and a mug, and at the Captain's place, as a special
honor, she set a beautiful tankard of wrought silver. It was one of
the few valuable things she had brought with her from her English
home, and it was used only on great occasions.

When these preparations were complete, she took the lobsters from
the pot, poured the beans into a pewter dish, heaped the golden
johnny-cake high upon a trencher, and, sending Dan to fetch Nancy,
called the men to supper. The storm was over by this time, the last
rays of the setting sun were throwing long shadows over the fields,
and the robins were singing their evening song. The Goodwife stepped
to the window and threw open the wooden shutters. "See," she said.
"There 's a rainbow."

"The sign of promise," murmured Goodman Pepperell, rising and looking
over his wife's shoulder.

"Fine day to-morrow," said the Captain. "Maybe I can plant my
lobster-pots after all."

Nancy, looking pale and a little subdued, crept down the ladder and
took her place with Daniel at the foot of the board. Then they all
stood, while Goodman Pepperell asked a blessing on the food, and
thanked God for his mercy in delivering them from danger and bringing
them together in health and safety to partake of his bounty.

[Illustration]




II

TWO DAYS


The grace finished (it was a very long one and the beans were nearly
cold before he said amen), Goodman Pepperell broke open the lobsters
and piled the trenchers with johnny-cake and beans, and the whole
family fell to with a right good will. All but Nancy. She was still a
bit upset and did not feel hungry.

"Thou hast not told me, Captain, what voyage thou art about to
undertake next," said the Goodman, sucking a lobster-claw with relish.

The Captain loved to talk quite as well as he loved to eat, but his
mouth was full at this moment, and he paused before replying. "I 'm
getting too old for long voyages, Josiah," he said at last with a
sigh. "Kind o' losing my taste for adventure. Pirates is pretty
plentiful yet, and for all I 'm a sailor I 'd like to die in my bed,
so I have settled at Marblehead. They 're partial to fishermen along
this coast. The town gives 'em land for drying their fish and exempts
'em from military dooty. But I can't stay ashore a great while before
my sea legs begin to hanker for the feel of the deck rolling under
'em, so I 'm doing a coasting trade all up and down the length of
Massachusetts Bay. I keep a parcel of lobster-pots going, some here
and some Plymouth way, and sell them and fish, besides doing a
carrying trade for all the towns along-shore. It 's a tame kind o'
life. There, now," he finished, "that 's all there is to say about me,
and I 'll just take a turn at these beans and give ye a chance to tell
about yourself, Josiah."

"'T is but a short tale," answered the Goodman, "God hath prospered
me. I have an hundred acres of good farm land along this river, and I
have a cow, and a flock of sheep to keep us in wool for the Good
wife to spin. I have set out apple trees, and there is wood for the
cutting; the forest furnishes game and the sea is stored with food for
our use; but the truth is there is more to do than can be compassed
with one pair of hands. The neighbors help each other with clearing
the land, log-rolling, building walls, and such as that, but if this
country is to be developed we must do more than make a living. There
are a thousand things calling to be done if there were but the men to
do them."

The Captain skillfully balanced a mouthful of beans on his knife as he
considered the problem. Finally he said, "Well, here 's Dan'el, and,
judging by the way he waded right into the tide after his sister, I
calculate he 'd be a smart boy to have round."

"He is," said the Goodman, and Daniel blushed to his eyes, for his
father seldom praised him, "but he is not yet equal to a man's work,
and moreover I want him to get some schooling. The Reverend John
Harvard hath promised his library and quite a sum of money to found
a college for the training of ministers right here in Cambridge. The
hand of the Lord hath surely guided us to this place, where he may
receive an education, and it may even be that Daniel will be a
minister, for the Colony sorely needs such."

"There, now," said the Captain. "Farming ain't such plain sailing; is
it? Have ye thought of getting an Indian slave to help ye?"

"Truly I have thought of that," said the Goodman, "but they are a
treacherous lot and passing lazy. There was a parcel of Pequot women
and girls brought up from beyond Plymouth way last year after the
uprising. The settlers had killed off all the men and sold the boys in
the Bermudas. I might have bought one of the women but I need a man,
or at least a boy that will grow into one. The Pequots are about all
gone now, but the Narragansetts are none too friendly. They helped
fight the Pequots because they hate them worse than they hate the
English, but they are only biding their time, and some day it 's
likely we shall have trouble with them. Nay, I could never trust an
Indian slave. Roger Williams saith they are wolves with men's brains,
and he speaks the truth."

"Well, then," said the Captain, "why don't ye get a black? They are
more docile than Indians, and the woods about are not full of their
friends."

"Aye," agreed the Goodman, "the plan is a good one and well thought
out, but they are hard to come by. There are only a few, even in
Boston."

"There will soon be more, I 'm thinking," said the Captain. "A ship
was built in Marblehead last year on purpose for the trade. Captain
Pierce is a friend of mine, and he 's due at Providence any time now
with a cargo of blacks from Guinea. Ye could sail down the bay with
me, and there 's a trail across the neck of the Cape to Providence,
where the Desire will come to port. I expect to spend the Sabbath
here, but I lift anchor on Monday. Ye can tell Captain Pierce ye 're a
friend of mine, and 't will do ye no harm."

[Illustration]

"Oh, Father," breathed Dan, "may I go, too?"

The Captain chuckled. "Art struck with the sea fever, son?" he said,
looking down into the boy's eager face. "Well, there 's room aboard.
I might take ye along if so be thy parents are willing and thou art
minded to see a bit of the world."

Up to this time Goodwife Pepperell had said no word, but now she
spoke. "Are there not dangers enough on land without courting the
dangers of the sea?" she asked.

Her husband looked at her with gentle disapproval. "Hold thy peace,"
he said. "What hath a pioneer lad to do with fear? Moreover, if he
goes I shall be with him."

Nancy leaned forward and gazed imploringly at the Captain. "Dost thou
not need some one to cook on thy boat?" she gasped. "I know well how
to make johnny-cake and I--" then, seeing her father's stern look and
her mother's distress, she wilted like a flower on its stem and was
silent. The Captain smiled at her.

"Ye 're a fine cook, I make no doubt," he said genially, "but ye would
n't go and leave Mother here all alone, now, I 'll be bound!"

"Nay," said Nancy faintly, looking at her mother.

Then the Goodwife spoke. "It pains me," she said, "to think of
children torn from their parents and sold into slavery, even though
they be but Indians or blacks. I doubt not they have souls like
ourselves."

"Read thy Bible, Susanna," answered her husband. "Cursed be Canaan.
A servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren--thus say the
Scriptures."

"Well, now," broke in the Captain, "if they have souls, they 've
either got to save 'em or lose 'em as I jedge it; and if they never
have a chance to hear the Plan of Salvation, they 're bound to be lost
anyway. Bringin' 'em over here gives them their only chance to escape
damnation, according to my notion."

"Hast thou ever brought over a cargo of slaves thyself?" asked the
Goodwife.

"Nay," admitted the Captain, "but I sailed once on a slaver, and I own
I liked not to see the poor critters when they were lured away. It
seemed they could n't rightly sense that 't was for their eternal
welfare, and I never felt called to set their feet in the way
of Salvation by that means myself. I reckon I 'm not more than
chicken-hearted, if ye come to that."

The meal was now over, the dusk had deepened as they lingered about
the table, and Goodwife Pepperell rose to light a bayberry candle and
set it on the chimney-piece.

"Sit ye down by the fire again, while Nancy and I wash the dishes,"
she said cordially.

"Thank ye kindly," said the Captain, "but I must budge along. It 's
near dark, and Timothy--that 's my mate--will be wondering if I 've
been et up by a shark. It 's going to be a clear night after the
storm."

The children slept so soundly after the adventures of the day that
their mother called them three times from the foot of the ladder in
the early dawn of the following morning without getting any response.
Then she mounted to the loft and shook Daniel gently. "Wake thee," she
said. "'T is long past cock-crow, and Saturday at that."

Daniel opened his eyes feebly and was off to sleep again at once.
"Daniel," she said, shaking him harder, "thy father is minded to take
thee to Plymouth."

Before the words were fairly out of her mouth Daniel had popped out of
bed as if he had been shot from a gun. "Oh, Mother," he shouted, "am
I really to go? Shall I go clear to Providence? Doth Captain Sanders
know? When do we start?"

"Thy father arranged it with the Captain last night," answered his
mother. "He will come for thee in the little boat on Monday morning
and will row thee and thy father to the sloop, which will sail at high
tide. While thy father makes the journey across the Cape thou wilt go
on to Provincetown with the Captain, or mayhap, if visitors are now
permitted in the Colony, my aunt, the Governor's lady, will keep thee
with her until thy father returns. She would like well to see my son,
I know, and I trust thou wilt be a good lad and mind thy manners.
Come, Nancy, child, I need thy help!" Then she disappeared down the
ladder to stir the hasty pudding, which was already bubbling in the
pot.

When she was gone, Nancy flung herself upon the mattress and buried
her face in the bed-clothes. "Oh, Daniel," she cried, smothering a
sob, "what if the p-p-pirates should get thee?"

Daniel was at her side in an instant. "Give thyself no concern about
pirates, sister," he said, patting her comfortingly. "I have thought
how to deal with them! I shall stand by the rail with my cutlass in
my hand, and when they seek to board her I will bring down my cutlass
so,"--here he made a terrific sweep with his arm,--"and that will be
the end of them."

"Oh," breathed Nancy, much impressed, "how brave thou art!"

"Well," said Daniel modestly, "there 'd be the Captain and father to
help, of course, and, I suppose, the mate too. There will be four of
us men anyway."

"_Nancy!_--_Daniel!_"--it was their father's voice this time, and the
two children jumped guiltily and began to dress as if the house were
on fire and they had but two minutes to escape. In a surprisingly
short time they were downstairs and attending to their morning tasks.
Nancy, looking very solemn, fed the chickens, and Dan brought water
from the spring, while their father milked the cow; and by six o'clock
their breakfast of hasty pudding and milk had been eaten, prayers were
over, and the whole family was ready for the real work of the day.
There was a great deal of it to do, for nothing but "works of
necessity and mercy" could be performed on the Sabbath, the Sabbath
began at sundown Saturday afternoon, and the travellers were to make
an early start on Monday morning. A fire was built in the brick oven
beside the fireplace, and while it was heating the Goodwife made four
pies and six loaves of brown-bread, and prepared a pot of pork and
beans for baking.

[Illustration]

When the coals had been raked out and the oven filled, she washed
clothes for Daniel and his father, while Nancy hurried to finish a
pair of stockings she was knitting for her brother. Daniel himself,
meanwhile, had gone down to the bay to see if he could find the
shovel and the basket. He came home in triumph about noon with both,
and with quite a number of clams beside, which the Goodwife cooked
for their dinner. When they were seated at the table, and the Goodman
had asked the blessing, he leaned back in his chair and surveyed the
ceiling of the cabin. From the rafters there hung long festoons of
dried pumpkin and golden ears of corn. There were also sausages, hams,
and sides of bacon.

"I doubt not you will fare well while we are gone," he said. "There
is plenty of well-cured meat, and meal enough ground to last for some
time. The planting is done and the corn well hoed; there is wood cut,
and Gran'ther Wattles will call upon you if he knows I am away. I am
leaving the fowling-piece for thee, wife. The musket I shall take with
me."

"Why must Gran'ther Wattles come?" interrupted Nancy in alarm. "I am
sure Mother and I do not need him."

"Children should be seen and not heard," said her father. "It is
Gran'ther Wattles's duty to oversee the congregation at home as well
as in the meeting-house."

Nancy looked at her trencher and said no more, but she thought there
was already enough to bear without having Gran'ther Wattles added to
her troubles. Daniel, meanwhile, had attacked his porringer of clams,
and in his excitement over the journey was gobbling at a fearful rate.
His mother looked at him despairingly.

"Daniel," she said, "thou art pitching food into thy mouth as if thou
wert shoveling coals into the oven! Take thy elbows off the table and
eat more moderately." Daniel glued his elbows to his side. "Sit up
straight," she went on, "or thou wilt grow up as crooked as a ram's
horn." Daniel immediately sat up as if he had swallowed the poker.
"I wish thee to practice proper manners at home, lest my aunt should
think thee a person of no gentility. Remember thou must not ask for
anything at the table. Wait until it is offered thee, and then do
not stuff it down as if thine eyes had not looked upon food for a
fortnight!"

"But," protested poor Dan, who was beginning to feel that the journey
might not be all his fancy had painted, "suppose they should n't offer
it?"

"I do not fear starvation for thee," his mother answered briefly; "and
oh, Daniel, I beg of thee to wash thy hands before going to the table!
The Governor is a proper man and my aunt is very particular." She
paused for breath, and to get more brown-bread for the table.

When she sat down again, Daniel said, "If you please, I think I 'd
rather go on to Provincetown with the Captain."

"That must be as we are guided at the time," said his father.

The busy day passed quickly, and before sunset a fine array of pies
and brown loaves were cooling on the table, the chores were done, and
a Sabbath quiet had settled down over the household, not to be broken
until sunset of the following day.

When Daniel opened the cabin door the next morning, he was confronted
by a wall of gray mist which shut the landscape entirely from view.
He had hoped to catch a glimpse of the Lucy Ann, in order to assure
himself that he had not merely dreamed the events of the day before,
but nothing could he see, and he began dispirited preparations for
church. They had no clock, and on account of the fog they could not
tell the time by the sun, so the whole family started early to cross
the long stretch of pasture land which lay between them and the
meeting-house in the village. They reached it just as Gran'ther
Wattles, looking very grave and important, came out on the church
steps and beat a solemn tattoo upon a drum to call the people
together. They came from different directions across the fields and
through the one street of the village, looking anxious for fear
they should be late, yet not daring to desecrate the Sabbath by any
appearance of haste. Among the rest, red-faced and short of wind, who
should appear but Captain Sanders? Sabbath decorum forbade any show of
surprise; so Goodman Pepperell and his wife merely bowed gravely, and
the Captain, looking fairly pop-eyed in his effort to keep properly
solemn, nodded in return, and they passed into the meeting-house
together.

The Captain sat down with the Goodman on the men's side of the room,
while Daniel went to his place among the boys, leaving Nancy and his
mother seated with the women on the opposite side. It is hard to
believe that a boy could sit through a sermon two hours long with his
friends all about him and such a secret buttoned up inside his jacket
without an explosion, but Daniel did it. He did n't dare do otherwise,
for Gran'ther Wattles ranged up and down the little aisle with his
tithing-rod in hand on the lookout for evil-doers. Once, indeed,
during the sermon there was a low rumbling snore, and Daniel was
horrified to see Gran'ther Wattles lean over and gently tickle the
Captain's nose with the squirrel-tail. The Captain woke with a start
and sneezed so violently that the boy next Daniel all but tittered
outright. Gran'ther Wattles immediately gave him a smart rap on the
head with the knob end of his stick, so it is no wonder that after
that Daniel sat with his eyes nearly crossed in his effort to keep
them fixed on the minister, though his thoughts were far away ranging
Massachusetts Bay with the Lucy Ann of Marblehead.

At last, however, the sermon ended, the final psalm was sung, and
after the benediction the minister passed out of the church and the
congregation dispersed to eat a bite of brown-bread in the church-yard
before assembling again for another two-hour sermon.

The sun was now shining brightly, and, once outside the door, after
the first sermon, the Captain wiped his brow as if exhausted, and a
few moments later Daniel saw him quietly disappearing in the direction
of the river. He was not of the Cambridge parish, so no discipline
could be exercised upon him, but Gran'ther Wattles set him down at
once as a dangerous character, and even Goodwife Pepperell shook her
head gently when she noted his absence.

[Illustration]

Somehow, although it was a breach of Sabbath decorum to tell it, the
great news leaked out during the intermission, and Daniel was the
center of interest to every boy in the congregation during the
afternoon. When the second long sermon was over and the exhausted
minister had trailed solemnly down the aisle, the equally exhausted
people walked sedately to their houses, discussing the sermon as they
went. All that day Daniel kept a tight clutch on his manners, but the
moment the sun went down, he heaved a great sigh of relief and turned
three somersaults and a handspring behind the cabin to limber himself
up after the fearful strain.

[Illustration]




III

ON BOARD THE LUCY ANN


The family rose at daybreak the next morning, tasks were quickly
performed, and after breakfast the Goodman read a chapter in the Bible
and prayed long and earnestly that God would bless their journey,
protect those who were left behind, and bring them all together again
in safety. Then he and Daniel started down the path to the river, with
Nancy and her mother, both looking very serious, following after. The
tide was already coming in, and the bay stretched before them a wide
sheet of blue water sparkling in the sun. In the distance they could
see the sails of the Lucy Ann being hoisted and Captain Sanders in his
small boat rowing rapidly toward the landing-place.

"Ship ahoy!" shouted Daniel, waving his cap as the boat approached.

"Ahoy, there!" answered the Captain, and in a moment the keel grated
on the sand, and the Goodman turned to his wife and daughter.

"The Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from the
other," he said reverently, and "Amen!" boomed the Captain. Then there
were kisses and good-byes, and soon Nancy and her mother were alone on
the shore, waving their hands until the boat was a mere speck on the
dancing blue waters. As it neared the Lucy Ann, they went back to the
cabin, and there they watched the white sails gleaming in the sun
until they disappeared around a headland.

"Come, Nancy," said her mother when the ship was quite out of sight,
"idleness will only make loneliness harder to bear. Here is a task for
thee." She handed her a basket of raw wool. "Take this and card it for
me to spin."

Nancy hated carding with all her heart, but she rose obediently,
brought the basket to the doorway, and, sitting down in the sunshine,
patiently carded the wool into little wisps ready to be wound on a
spindle and spun into yarn by the mother's skillful hands.

Meanwhile Daniel was standing on the deck of the Lucy Ann, drinking
in the fresh salt breeze and eagerly watching the shores as the boat
passed between Charlestown and Boston and dropped anchor in the harbor
to set the Captain's lobster-pots. All the wonderful bright day they
sailed past rocky islands and picturesque headlands, with the Captain
at the tiller skillfully keeping the vessel to the course and at the
same time spinning yarns to Daniel and his father about the adventures
which had overtaken him at various points along the coast. At
Governor's Island he had caught a giant lobster. He had been all but
wrecked in a fog off Thompson's Island.

"Ye see that point of land," he said, waving his hand toward a rocky
promontory extending far out into the bay. "That 's Squantum. Miles
Standish of Plymouth named it that after an Indian that was a good
friend of the Colony in the early days. Well, right off there I was
overhauled by a French privateer once. 'Privateer' is a polite name
for a pirate ship. She was loaded with molasses, indigo, and such from
the West Indies, and I had a cargo of beaver-skins. If it had n't been
that her sailors was mostly roarin' drunk at the time, it 's likely
that would have been the end of Thomas Sanders, skipper, sloop, and
all, but my boat was smaller and quicker than theirs, and, knowing
these waters so well, I was able to give 'em the slip and get out into
open sea; and here I be! Ah, those were the days!"

The Captain heaved a heavy sigh for the lost joys of youth and was
silent for a moment. Then his eyes twinkled and he began another
story. "One day as we was skirtin' the shores of Martha's Vineyard,"
he said, "we were followed by a shark. Now, there 's nothing a sailor
hates worse than a shark; and for good reasons. They 're the pirates
of the deep; that 's what they are. They 'll follow a vessel for days,
snapping up whatever the cook throws out, and hoping somebody 'll
fall overboard to give 'em a full meal. Well, sir, there was a sailor
aboard on that voyage that had a special grudge against sharks. He 'd
been all but et up by one once, and he allowed this was his chance to
get even; so he let out a hook baited with a whole pound of salt pork,
and the shark gobbled it down instanter, hook and all. They hauled him
up the ship's side, and then that sailor let himself down over the
rails by a rope, and cut a hole in the shark's gullet, or whatever
they call the pouch the critter carries his supplies in, and took out
the pork. Then he dropped him back in the water and threw the pork in
after him. Well, sir, believe it or not, that shark sighted the pork
bobbing round in the water; so he swallowed it again. Of course it
dropped right out through the hole in his gullet, and, by jolly! as
long as we could see him that shark was continuing to swallow that
piece of pork over and over again. I don't know as I ever see any
animal get more pleasure out of his rations than that shark got out
of that pound of pork. I believe in bein' kind to dumb critters," he
finished, "and I reckon the shark is about the dumbdest there is.
Anyhow that one surely did die happy." Here the Captain solemnly
winked his eye.

"What became of the sailor?" asked Dan.

"That sailor was me," admitted the Captain. "That 's what became of
him, and served him right, too."

They slept that night on the deck of the sloop, and before light the
next morning Dan was awakened by the groaning of the chain as the
anchor was hauled up, and the flapping of the sails as Timothy hoisted
them to catch a stiff breeze which was blowing from the northeast.
The second day passed like the first. The weather was fine, the winds
favorable, and that evening they rounded Duxbury Point and entered
Plymouth Bay just as the sun sank behind the hills back of the town.

"Here 's the spot where the Mayflower dropped anchor," said the
Captain, as the sloop approached a strip of sandy beach stretching
like a long finger into the water. "I generally bring the Lucy Ann to
at the same place. She can't go out again till high tide to-morrow,
for the harbor is shallow and we 'd likely run aground; so ye 'll have
the whole morning to spend with your relations, and that 's more than
I 'd want to spend with some of mine, I 'm telling ye," and he roared
with laughter. "Relations is like victuals," he went on. "Some agrees
with ye, and some don't."

"Our relations are the Bradfords," said Goodman Pepperell with
dignity.

"And a better man than the Governor never trod shoe-leather," said the
Captain heartily. "He and Captain Standish and Mr. Brewster and Edward
Winslow--why, those four men have piloted this town through more
squalls than would overtake most places in a hundred years! If
anything could kill 'em they would have been under ground years ago.
They 've had starvation and Indians and the plague followin' after 'em
like a school of sharks ever since they dropped anchor here well nigh
on to twenty years ago, and whatever happens they just thank the
Lord as if 't was a special blessing and go right along! By jolly!"
declared the Captain, blowing his nose violently, "they nigh about
beat old Job for patience! 'Though He slay me, yet will I trust in
Him,' says old Job, but his troubles was all over after a bit, and he
got rewarded with another full set of wives and children and worldly
goods, so he could see plain as print that righteousness paid. But
these men,--their reward for trouble is just more trouble, fer 's I
can see. They surely do beat all for piety."

"'Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth,'" quoted the Goodman.

"The Lord must be mighty partial to Plymouth, then," answered the
Captain as he brought the sloop gently round the point, "for she
's been shown enough favor to spile her, according to my way of
thinkin'."

[Illustration]

It was too late to go ashore that night, and from the deck Dan watched
the stars come out over the little village, not dreaming that it held
in its humble keeping the brave spirit of a great nation that was to
be.

When Daniel opened his eyes next morning, his father and the Captain
were already stowing various packages in the small boat, and from the
tiny forecastle came an appetizing smell of frying fish.

"Here ye be," said the Captain cheerily to Dan, "bright as a new
shilling and ready to eat I 'll be bound. As soon as we 've had a bite
we 'll go ashore. I 've got to row clear over to Duxbury after I do my
errands in Plymouth, but I 'll hunt ye up when I get back. Nobody can
get lost in this town without he goes out of it! I could spot ye from
the deck most anywhere on the map. Then, my lad, if your father says
the word, I 'll bring ye back to the Lucy Ann while he goes across the
neck. Ye 'll get a taste of mackerel-fishing if ye come along o' me.
Ye can make yourself handy on deck and keep a quarter of your own
catch for yourself if you 're lively. A tub of salt fish would be a
tidy present to your mother when you get back home."

"Oh, I want to go with you," cried Daniel, remembering with terror
what was expected of him in the way of manners should he be invited to
stay at the Governor's. He looked questioningly at his father, but was
answered only by a grave smile, and he knew better than to plead.

"Here, now," cried the Captain, as Timothy appeared with a big
trencher of smoking fish and corn bread, "tie up to the dock and stow
away some of this cargo in your insides."

Neither Daniel nor his father needed a second invitation, for the keen
salt air had given them the appetite of wolves, and the breakfast was
soon disposed of according to directions. Then the two followed the
Captain over the side and into the boat, which had been lowered and
was now bobbing about on the choppy waves of the bay. When they were
settled and the boat was properly trimmed, the Captain rowed toward a
small stream of clear water which flowed down from the hills back of
the town, and landed them at the foot of the one little street of the
village. The Captain drew the boat well up on the shore and stowed
letters and parcels in various places about his person, and the three
started up the hill together. They had not gone far, when a childish
voice shouted, "There 's Captain Sanders," and immediately every child
within hearing came tumbling down the hill till they swarmed about him
like flies about a honey-pot.

[Illustration]

"Pirates!" cried the Captain, holding up his hands in mock terror.
"I surrender. Come aboard and seize the cargo!" He held open the
capacious pocket which hung from his belt, and immediately half a
dozen small hands plunged into it and came out laden with raisins.

"Here, now, divide fairly," shouted the Captain. "No pigs!" and with
children clinging to his hands and coat-tails he made a slow progress
up the hill, Daniel and his father following closely in his wake.

As they were nearing the Common House, two more children caught sight
of him and came racing to meet him. The Captain dived into his
pocket for more raisins and found it empty, but he was equal to the
emergency. "Here, you, Mercy and Joseph Bradford," he cried, "I 've
brought you something I have n't brought to any one else. I 've
brought you a new cousin." The other children had been so absorbed in
their old friend they had scarcely noticed the strangers hitherto, but
now they turned to gaze curiously at Daniel and his father. Joseph and
Mercy were both a little younger than Daniel, and all three were shy,
but no one could stay shy long when the Captain was about, and soon
they were walking along together in the friendliest manner.

"Where 's thy father, young man?" said the Captain, speaking to
Joseph. "I have a letter for him, and I have brought a relation for
him too."

"I wish you would bring me a cousin," said one little girl enviously.

"Well, now," roared the Captain, "think of that! I have a few
relations of my own left over that I 'd be proper glad to parcel out
amongst ye if I 'd only known ye was short, but I have n't got 'em
with me."

"Father 's in there," said Joseph, pointing to the Common House. "They
're having a meeting. Elder Brewster 's there, too, and Mr. Winslow
and Captain Standish and Governor Prence." It was evident that some
matter of importance was being discussed, for a little knot of women
had gathered before the door as if waiting for some decision to be
announced.

They had almost reached the group, when suddenly from the north there
came a low roaring noise, and the earth beneath their feet shook and
trembled so violently that many of the children were thrown to the
ground, while the bundles Goodman Pepperell was carrying for the
Captain flew in every direction. Those who kept their feet at all
reeled and staggered in a strange, wild dance, and every child in the
group screamed with all his might. The women screamed, too, calling
frantically to the children, and the men came pouring out of the door
of the Common House, trying to steady themselves as they were flung
first one way, then another by the heaving ground. It lasted but a few
dreadful moments, and the Captain was the first to recover his speech.

"There, now," said he, a little breathlessly, "ain't it lucky I had my
sea legs on! 'T wa'n't anything but an earthquake, anyway."

The instant they could stay on their feet, the children ran to their
mothers, who were also running to them, and in less time than it takes
to tell it the whole village was gathered before the Common House. As
Daniel, with the Captain and his father, joined the stricken company,
Governor Bradford was speaking. He had been Governor of the Colony for
so long that in time of sudden stress the people still turned to him
for counsel though Mr. Prence was really the Governor.

"Think ye not that the finger of the Lord would direct us by this
visitation?" he said to the white-faced group. "We were met together
in council because some of our number wish to go away from Plymouth to
find broader pastures for their cattle, even as Jacob separated from
Esau with all his flocks and herds. In this I see a sign of God's
displeasure at our removals one from another."

John Howland now found his voice. "Nay, but," he said, "shall we limit
the bounty of the Lord and say, 'Only here shall He prosper us'?"

"What say the Scriptures to him who was not content with abundance,
but must tear down his barns to build bigger?" answered the Governor.
"'This night thy soul shall be required of thee.'"

There was no reply, and the pale faces grew a shade paler as a second
rumble was heard in the distance, the earth again began to tremble,
and a mighty wave, rolling in from the sea, crashed against the shore.
Above the noise of the waters rose the voice of Governor Bradford. "He
looketh upon the earth and it trembleth. He toucheth the hills and
they smoke. The Lord is merciful and gracious. He will not always
chide, neither will He keep his anger forever. He hath not dealt with
us after our sins."

Seeing how frightened the people were, the Captain broke the silence
which fell upon the trembling group after the Governor's words. "Lord
love ye!" he cried heartily. "This wa'n't no earthquake to speak of.
'T wa'n't scarcely equal to an ague chill down in the tropics! They
would n't have no respect for it down there. 'T would n't more than
give 'em an appetite for their victuals."

His laugh which followed cheered many hearts, and was echoed in faint
smiles on the pale faces of the colonists. Governor Bradford himself
smiled and, turning to the Captain, held out his hand. "Thou art ever
a tonic, Thomas," he said, "and there is always a welcome for thee in
Plymouth and for thy friends, too," he added, turning to the Goodman.

"Though thou knowest him not, he is haply more thy friend than mine,"
said the Captain, pushing the Goodman and Daniel forward to shake
hands with the Governor, "He is married to Mistress Bradford's niece
and his name is Pepperell."

"Josiah Pepperell, of Cambridge?" said the Governor's lady, coming
forward to welcome him.

"At your service, madam," answered the Goodman, bowing low, "and this
is my son Daniel."

Daniel bowed in a manner to make his mother proud of him if she could
have seen him, and then Mercy and Joseph swarmed up, bringing their
older brother William, a lad of fifteen, to meet his new cousin, and
the four children ran away together, all their tongues wagging briskly
about the exciting event of the day. The earthquake had now completely
passed, and the people, roused from their terror, hastened to their
homes to repair such damage as had been done and to continue the
tasks which it had interrupted. Meanwhile the Captain distributed his
letters and parcels, leaving the Governor to become acquainted with
his new relative, learn his errand, and help him on his journey, while
his wife hastened home to prepare a dinner for company.

It was a wonderful dinner that she set before them. There were
succotash and baked codfish, a good brown loaf, and pies made of
blueberries gathered and dried the summer before. Oh, if only Daniel's
mother could have been there to see his table manners on that
occasion! He sat up as straight as a ramrod, said "please" and "thank
you," ate in the most genteel manner possible, even managing blueberry
pie without disaster, and was altogether such an example of behavior
that Mistress Bradford said before the meal was half over, "Thou
'lt leave the lad with us, Cousin Pepperell, whilst thou art on thy
journey?"

"I fear to trouble thee," said the Goodman. "And the Captain hath a
purpose to take him to Provincetown and meet me here on my return."

"The land is mayhap safer than the sea should another earthquake visit
us," said the Governor gravely, "and he will more than earn his keep
if he will but help William with the corn and other tasks. Like
thyself we are in sad need of more hands."

Daniel looked eagerly at his father, for he already greatly admired
his cousin William and longed to stay with him. Moreover, the
earthquake had somewhat modified his appetite for adventure.

"His eyes plead," said the Goodman, "and I know it would please his
mother. So by your leave he may stay."

A whoop of joy from the three young Bradfords was promptly suppressed
by their mother. "For shame!" she said. "Thy cousin Daniel will think
thou hast learned thy manners from the savages. Thou shouldst take a
lesson from his behavior."

Poor Daniel squirmed on his stool and thought if he must be an example
every moment of his stay he would almost choose being swallowed up by
a tidal wave at sea after all. The matter had been settled, however,
and that very afternoon the Goodman set off on a hired horse, with his
musket across his saddle-bow, and a head full of instructions from
the Governor about the dangers of the road, and houses where he might
spend the nights.

There was a queer lump in Daniel's throat as he caught the last
glimpse of his father's sturdy back as it disappeared down the forest
trail, and that night, when he went to bed with William in the loft of
the Governor's log house, he thought long and tenderly of his mother
and Nancy. If he had only had a magic mirror such as Beauty had in the
palace of the Beast, he might have looked into it and seen them going
patiently about their daily tasks with nothing to break the monotonous
routine of work except a visit from Gran'ther Wattles, who came to see
if Nancy knew her catechism. The earthquake had been felt there so
very slightly that they did not even know there had been one, until
the Captain stopped on his return voyage the next week to bring them
word of the safe journey to Plymouth.




IV

A FOREST TRAIL


To Daniel the days of his stay in Plymouth passed quickly. He hoed
corn with his cousin William and pulled weeds in the garden with
Joseph and Mercy, and in the short hours allowed them for play there
was always the sea. They ran races on the sand when the tide was out
and were never tired of searching for the curious things washed ashore
by the waves. One day they gathered driftwood and made a fire on the
shore, hung a kettle over it and cooked their own dinner of lobsters
fresh from the water. Another day William and Daniel went together
in a rowboat nearly to Duxbury, and caught a splendid codfish that
weighed ten pounds. On another wonderful day John Howland took the
two boys hunting with him. It was the first time Daniel had ever been
allowed to carry a gun quite like a man, and he was the proudest lad
in all Plymouth that night when the three hunters returned bringing
with them two fine wild turkeys, and a hare which Daniel had shot. He
loved the grave, wise, kindly Governor and his brave wife, and grew to
know, by sight at least, most of the other people of the town.

More than ten days passed in this way, and they were beginning to
wonder why the Goodman did not return. The Captain had come back from
Provincetown and had been obliged to go on to Boston without waiting
for him, and there was no knowing when the Lucy Ann would appear again
in Plymouth Harbor. Then one day, as Dan and William were working in
the corn-field, they saw a tired horse with two people on his back
come out of the woods. Daniel took a long look at the riders, then,
throwing down his hoe and shouting, "It 's Father!" tore off at top
speed to meet him. William picked up his hoe and followed at a slower
pace. When he reached the group, Dan was up behind his father on the
pillion with his arms about him, and standing before them on the
ground was a black boy about William's own size and age. He had only a
little ragged clothing on, and what he had seemed to make him uneasy,
perhaps because he had been used to none at all in his native home far
across the sea. His eyes were rolling wildly from one face to another,
and it was plain that he was in a great state of fear.

"He is but a savage as yet," said Goodman Pepperell. "He was doubtless
roughly handled on the voyage and hath naught but fear and hatred in
his heart. It will take some time to make a Christian of him! Thou
must help in the task, Daniel, for thou art near his age and can
better reach his darkened mind. As yet he understands but one thing.
He can eat like a Christian, or rather like two of them! We must tame
him with food and kindness."

"What is his name?" asked Daniel, still gazing at the boy with popping
eyes, for never before had he seen a skin so dark.

[Illustration]

"Call him Zeb," said his father.

"Come, Zeb," said William, taking the boy gently by the arm, and
looking compassionately into the black face. "Food!" He shouted the
word at him as if he were deaf, but poor Zeb, completely bewildered
by these strange, meaningless sounds, only shrank away from him and
looked about as if seeking a way of escape.

Daniel immediately sprang from the pillion and seized Zeb's other arm.
"Yes, Zeb, _food_--_good_," he howled, pointing down his own throat
and rubbing his stomach with an ecstatic expression. It is probable
that poor Zeb understood from this pantomime that he was about to be
eaten alive, for he made a furious effort to get away. The boys held
firmly to his arms, smiling and nodding at him in a manner meant to
be reassuring, but which only convinced the poor black that they
were pleased with the tenderness of his flesh and were enjoying
the prospect of a cannibal feast. With the slave boy between them,
"hanging back and digging in his claws like a cat being pulled by
the tail," as Dan told his mother afterward, they made slow progress
toward the village.

News of the return spread quickly, and a curious crowd of children
gathered to gaze at Zeb, for many of them had never seen a negro
before in their lives. Goodman Pepperell went at once to the
Governor's house, and when he learned that the Captain had come and
gone, he decided to push on to Boston at once by land. "'T is an
easier journey than the one I have just taken," he said. "There are
settlements along the way, and time passes. I have been gone now
longer than I thought. The farm work waits, and Susanna will fear for
our safety. I must start home as soon as I can return this horse to
the owner and secure another. I would even buy a good mare, for I
stand in need of one on my farm."

"At least thou must refresh thyself before starting," said the
Governor's wife cordially, and she set about getting dinner at once.

While his father went with the Governor to make arrangements for the
journey, Daniel and his cousins took charge of Zeb. With Mistress
Bradford's permission they built a fire on the shore and cooked dinner
there for themselves and the black boy, who was more of a show to them
than a whole circus with six clowns would be to us. As he watched the
boys lay the sticks and start the blaze, Zeb's eyes rolled more wildly
than ever. No doubt he thought that he himself was to be roasted over
the coals, and when at last he saw William lay a big fish on the fire
instead, his relief was so great that for the first time he showed a
row of gleaming teeth in a hopeful grin. Daniel brought him a huge
piece of it when the fish was cooked, and from that moment Zeb
regarded him as his friend.

It was early afternoon before all the preparations were completed and
the little caravan was ready to start on its perilous journey. There
were two horses, and John Howland, who knew the trail well and was
wise in woodcraft, was to go with them as far as Marshfield, where he
knew of a horse that was for sale. Half the town gathered to see them
off. John Howland mounted first, and Daniel was placed on the pillion
behind him. Then Zeb was made to get up behind the Goodman, and off
they started, followed by a volley of farewells and messages from the
group of Plymouth friends left behind.

For a little distance they followed the shore-line, then, plunging
into the woods, they were soon lost to view. The road was a mere
blazed trail through dense forests, and it was necessary to keep a
sharp lookout lest they lose their way and also because no traveler
was for a moment safe from possible attack by Indians. Hour after hour
they plodded patiently along, sometimes dismounting and walking for a
mile or so to stretch their legs and rest the horses. There was little
chance for talk, because the path was too narrow for them to go side
by side. The day was warm, and if it had not been for slapping the
mosquitoes which buzzed about them in swarms, Daniel would have fallen
asleep sitting in the saddle. In the late afternoon, as they came
out upon an open moor, Daniel was roused by hearing a suppressed
exclamation from John Howland and felt him reach for the pistol which
hung from his belt. His horse pricked up his ears and whinnied, and
the horse on which the Goodman and Zeb were riding answered with a
loud neigh. Daniel peered over John Howland's broad shoulder just in
time to see a large deer disappearing into a thicket of young birches
some distance ahead of them.

"Oh!" cried Daniel, pounding on John Howland's ribs in his excitement,
"let 's get him!"

"Not so fast, not so fast," said John in a low voice, pinning with his
elbow the hand that was battering his side. "Let be! Thou hast seen
but half. There was an Indian on the track of that deer. Should we
step in and take his quarry, he might be minded to empty his gun into
us instead! I saw him standing nigh the spot where the trail enters
the wood again yonder, and when he saw us he slipped like a shadow
into the underbrush."

He stopped his horse, the Goodman came alongside, and the two men
talked together in a low tone. "Shall we go on as if we had not seen
him?" asked the Goodman. John Howland considered.

"If we turn back, the savage will be persuaded we have seen him and
are afraid," he said. "We must e'en take our chance. It may be he hath
no evil intent, though the road be lonely and travelers few. Whatever
his purpose, it is safer to go on than to stand still," and,
tightening his rein, he boldly urged his horse across the open space.

Daniel's heart thumped so loudly against his ribs that it sounded to
his ears like a drum-beat as they crossed the clearing and entered the
forest on the other side. They had gone but a short distance into the
woods when they were startled by the report of a gun, and poor Zeb
fell off his horse and lay like one dead in the road. For a moment
they thought he had been shot, and the two men were about to spring to
his rescue, when Zeb scrambled to his feet and began to run like one
possessed.

"He is but scared to death. Haply he hath never heard a gun go off
before," said John Howland, and, sticking his spurs into his horse, he
gave chase.

Fleet of foot though he was, Zeb was no match for a horse and was soon
overtaken.

"'T was but the Indian shooting the deer," said John Howland, laughing
in spite of himself at poor Zeb's wild-eyed terror. "'T is a promise
of safety for the present at least. Nevertheless I like not the look
of it. The red-skin saw us; make no doubt of that; for when I first
beheld him he was peering at us as though to fix our faces in his
mind."

"I, too, marked how he stared," answered the Goodman, as he seized the
cowering Zeb and swung him again to his seat on the pillion.

"I have it," he said, stopping short as he was about to mount. "The
savage is without doubt of the Narragansett tribe. He caught a glimpse
of the dark skin of this boy and mistook him for an Indian lad--one of
the hated Pequots, who they thought were either all dead or sold
out of the country. 'T is likely they have no knowledge of other
dark-skinned people than themselves."

"It may be so," said John Howland, doubtfully, "but 't is as likely
they mistook him for a devil. It once befell that some Indians,
finding a negro astray in the forest, were minded to destroy him by
conjuring, thinking him a demon. To be sure 't is but a year since the
Narragansetts helped the English destroy the Pequot stronghold, and
the few Pequots who were neither killed nor sold they still hold in
subjection. Whatever their idea, it bodes no good either to Zeb or to
us, for their enmity never sleeps."

Zeb, meantime, sat clutching the pillion and looking from one grave
face to the other as if he knew they were talking of him, and the
Goodman patted his shoulder reassuringly as he mounted again. They
were now nearing a small settlement, and the path widened so the two
horses could walk abreast.

"Thou 'lt have a special care in the stretch from well beyond Mount
Dagon," said John Howland, "for thou knowest of the notorious Morton,
who founded there the settlement called Merry Mount. It was the
worshipful Endicott who wiped it out. Much trouble hath Morton to
answer for. He hath corrupted the savages, adding his vices to theirs.
He hath also sold them guns and taught them to use them, for which
cause the Indians of this region are more to be feared than any along
the coast. They are drunken, armed, and filled with hate for any whom
they esteem their enemies."

Daniel's hair fairly stood on end. He had felt prepared for pirates,
but Indians lurking in dark forests were quite another matter! He
wished with all his heart that John Howland were going with them all
the way to Cambridge, but he well knew that could not be. His spirits
rose somewhat as they came in sight of the settlement, and a hearty
supper at the house of Goodman Richards put such life and courage into
his heart that before it was over the Indians were no more to him than
pirates! Then, while his father and John Howland arranged with Goodman
Richards for the purchase of a horse to take them the rest of their
journey, Goodwife Richards stowed Dan away in an attic bed, while Zeb,
worn out with fear and fatigue, slept soundly on the hearth.

Courage is always highest in the morning, and Daniel felt bold as a
lion the next day, as he and his father bade John Howland and the
Richards family good-bye and, with Zeb, again entered the forest
trail. The two boys walked on ahead, while the Goodman became
acquainted with the new horse, whose name, Goodman Richards had told
him, was Penitence, but which they shortened to Penny. Later, when he
had assured himself that the animal was trustworthy, Goodman Pepperell
put the two boys in the saddle and walked beside them, leading Penny
by the bridle. Taking turns in this way, they went on for some
miles without incident, until Dan almost forgot his fears, and even
Zeb--watching his face and echoing its expression on his own--grew
less and less timid.

[Illustration]

They had passed the place which Howland had called Mount Dagon and
which is now known as Wollaston, and had crossed the Neponset River by
a horse bridge and were walking along quite cheerfully, the two boys
at some distance ahead of Penny, when they saw a little way ahead of
them an Indian standing motionless beside the trail. Dan immediately
drew Zeb behind a bush, and when an instant later his father came up,
the Indian disappeared as suddenly as he had come.

The Goodman looked troubled. "It is the same one we saw yesterday, I
feel sure!" he said. "I like not his following us in this way, Daniel.
I must trust thee even as though thou wert a man. Do thou get upon
the horse's back with Zeb behind thee. I will walk ahead with my gun
ready. Should the savage attack us, do thou speed thy horse like the
wind to the next village, and bring back help. Remember it is thy part
to obey. Three lives may hang on it."

With his heart pounding like a trip-hammer Dan mounted Penny. Zeb was
placed on the pillion behind him with both arms clutching his waist,
and the Goodman strode ahead, his keen eyes watching in every
direction for any sign of danger. There was not a sound in the forest
except the soft thud of the horse's feet, the cawing of a crow
circling out of sight over the tree-tops, and the shrill cry of a blue
jay.

"Confound thee, thou marplot, thou busy-body of the wood," muttered
the Goodman to himself as he listened. "Wert thou but a human gossip,
I 'd set thee in the stocks till thou hadst learned to hold thine evil
tongue!"

But the blue jay only kept up his squawking, passing the news on to
his brethren until the forest rang with word of their approach.

It did not need the blue jays to tell of their progress, however, for
though no other sound had betrayed their advance, two Indians were
creeping stealthily through the underbrush, keeping pace with the
travelers, and when they had reached a favorable spot in a small
clearing, they suddenly sprang from their hiding-place. With a
blood-curdling cry they leaped forward, and, seizing one of Zeb's
legs, tried to drag him from the horse's back.

The yells of the Indians were as nothing to those that Zeb then let
loose! The air was fairly split by blood-curdling shrieks, and the
horse, terrified in turn, leaped forward, tearing Zeb from the grasp
of the Indian and almost unseating Dan by the jerk. But Dan dug his
knees into the horse's sides, flung his arms about her neck, and,
holding on for dear life, tore away up the trail with Zeb clinging
like a limpet to his waist.

Never was a ride like that. Even John Gilpin's was a mild performance
beside it, for Zeb shrieked every minute of the way as they sped
along, with the horse's tail streaming out behind like the tail of a
comet, and the daylight showing between the bouncing boys and Penny's
back at every wild leap. Even if Daniel had not been minded to obey
his father's command, he could not have helped himself, for Penny took
matters into her own four hoofs, and never paused in her wild career
until, covered with foam, she dashed madly into a little hamlet where
the village of Neponset now stands.

Samuel Kittredge was just starting for the forest with his axe on his
shoulder, when his ears were smitten by the frantic shrieks of Zeb,
and, thinking it must be a wildcat on the edge of the clearing,
he started back to the house for his gun. Before he reached it,
Penitence, with the two boys on her back, came thundering toward him
at full gallop, and stopped at his side.

"What in tarnation is the matter with ye?" he exclaimed, gazing in
amazement at the strange apparition. "I declare for it, that nigger is
all but scared plumb white! What ails ye?"

"Indians!" gasped Dan, pointing toward the trail. "My father--quick!"
No more words were needed. Samuel Kittredge dashed into his house,
snatched his gun from the chimney, and, dashing out again, fired it
into the air. Poor Zeb! He slid off over the horse's tail on to the
ground and lay there in a heap, while a knot of men, responding to the
signal of Sam Kittredge's gun, gathered hurriedly before his house and
started at once down the trail.

"You stay here," said Sam to Dan as he started away. "We 'll be back
soon with your father if the pesky red-skins have n't got him."

"Or if they have," added another man grimly, and off they went.

Goodwife Kittredge now took charge of Dan and Zeb, while her son, a
boy of eleven, tied Penny to a tree beside their cabin. Zeb recovered
at once when she offered him a generous slice of brown-bread, but
Dan was too anxious about his father to eat. He stood beside Penny,
rubbing her neck and soothing her, with his eyes constantly on the
trail and his ears eagerly listening for the sound of shots. It seemed
an age, but really was not more than half an hour, before he saw the
men come out of the woods, and, oh joy! his father was with them!

Leaving Penny nibbling grass, he ran to meet them and threw his arms
about his father's neck, crying, "Oh, dear father, art thou hurt?"

"Nay; the Lord was merciful," answered the Goodman. "I fired but one
shot, and hit one of the red-skins, I am sure, for they both dived
back into the woods at once. I hid myself in the thick underbrush on
the other side of the trail and waited, thinking perhaps I could creep
along beside it out of sight, but Zeb's roaring must have frighted the
Indians. Doubtless they knew it would rouse the countryside. At any
rate I saw no more of them, and when these Good Samaritans came along
I knew I was safe."

"The lungs of that blackamoor are worth more to thee than many guns,"
laughed Sam Kittredge. "'T is a pity thou couldst not bottle up a few
of his screeches to take with thee when thou goest abroad. They are of
a sort to make a wildcat sick with envy." The men laughed heartily,
and, leaving the Goodman and Daniel with Sam, returned to their
interrupted tasks.

Goodwife Kittredge insisted on their resting there for the night
before resuming their journey. "You must be proper tired," said she,
with motherly concern, "and if you go on now 't is more than likely
those rascally knaves will follow you like your shadow. You 'll stand
a sight better chance of safety if you make an early start in the
morning."

"Your horse needs rest, too," added Sam. "I 'll rub her down and give
her a measure of corn when she 's cooled off. Get to bed with the
chickens, and start with the sun, and to-morrow night will find you
safe in your own home again."

To this plan the travelers gladly agreed. Early next morning, after a
hearty breakfast in the Kittredges' cheerful kitchen they set forth
once more. The roosters in the farmyard were still crowing, and the
air was sweet with the music of robins, orioles, and blackbirds
when they again plunged into the forest trail. All day they plodded
steadily along, delayed by bad roads, and it was not until late that
evening that they at last came in sight of the little house, where
Nancy and her mother slept, little dreaming how near they were to a
happy awakening. When, at last they reached the cabin, the Goodman,
fearing to alarm his wife, stopped on the door-stone and gently called
her name. He had called but once when a shutter was thrown open and
the Goodwife's head was thrust through it.

"Husband, son!" she cried joyfully. "Nancy!--awake child!--it is thy
father and brother!" and in another moment the door flew open,
and Nancy and her mother flung their arms about the necks of the
wanderers. When the horse had been cared for, they went into the
cabin. Nancy raked the coals from the ashes, the fire blazed up, and
the Goodwife gave them each a drink of hot milk. Zeb blinked sleepily
at the reunited and happy family, as Dan and his father told their
adventures, and when at last they had gone to their beds in the loft
he sank down on a husk mattress which the Goodwife had spread for him
on the floor, and in two minutes was sound asleep.

[Illustration]




V

THE NEW HOME


Goodman Pepperell and his wife rose early the next morning, and,
leaving the two children still sleeping; crept down the ladder to the
floor below. There lay Zeb, also sound asleep, with his toes toward
the ashes like a little black Cinderella. The Goodwife's mother heart
was stirred with pity as she looked down at him. Perhaps she imagined
her own boy a captive in a strange land, unable to speak the language,
with no future but slavery and no friends to comfort his loneliness.

"Poor lad--let him sleep a bit, too," she said to her husband.

They unbolted the door and stepped out into the sunlight of a perfect
June morning. The dew was still on the grass; robins and bobolinks
were singing merrily in the young apple trees, which, owing to a late,
cold spring, were still in bloom, and the air hummed with the music of
bees' wings.

The Goodman drew a deep breath as he gazed at the beauty about him.
"'T is good to be at home again," he said to his wife. "And 't is a
goodly land--aye, better even than old England! There 's space here,
room enough to grow." He looked across the river to the hills of
Boston town. "I doubt not we shall live to see a city in place of yon
village," he said; "more ships seek its port daily, and there are
settlements along the whole length of the bay. 'T is a marvel where
the people come from. The Plymouth folk are scattering to the north
and south, and already villages are springing up between Plymouth and
New Amsterdam. God hath prospered us, wife."

"Praise be to his holy name," said the Goodwife, reverently. "But,
husband," she added, "what shall we do with our increase? Thou hast
brought home a horse and the black lad. The horse can stay out
of doors during the summer, but there is not room for him in the
cow-shed, and the lad cannot sleep always before the fire."

"I have thought of that," said the Goodman, "and when the crops are in
I purpose to build a larger house."

"Verily it will be needed," she answered. "The crops grow like weeds
in this new soil. If there were but a place for storage, I could put
away much for winter use that now is wasted. Go thou and look at the
garden, while I uncover the coals and set the kettle to boil."

"Wait a moment, wife," said the Goodman, "I have somewhat to tell
thee. There is ever a black spot in our sunshine. Though the danger
grows less all the while as the settlements increase, it is still true
that the Indians are ever a menace, and I fear they are over watchful
of us." Then he told her of the attack in the forest. "I have reason
to think the red-skins spied upon us all the way to Boston town," he
finished. "I did not tell Daniel, but twice I saw savages on our trail
after we left Kittredge's. I wounded one in the encounter, and they
will not forget that. I know not why they should plot against the
black boy, unless it is to revenge themselves upon me, but it is
certain they tried to drag him away with them into the woods." The
Goodwife listened with a pale face.

"'T is well, then, that we have a watchdog added to our possessions,"
she said at last. "Gran'ther Wattles's shepherd hath a litter of pups,
and he hath promised one to the children. Nancy hath waited until Dan
came home that he might share the pleasure of getting it with her."

"She hath a generous heart," said her father, tenderly. "Aye,--she is
a good lass, though headstrong."

When their mother reached the cabin, she found the Twins up and
dressed and Daniel trying to rouse the sleeping Zeb. "Wake up," he
shouted, giving him a shake. Zeb rolled over with a grunt and opened
his eyes.

"Take him outdoors while I get breakfast," said the Goodwife. "Mercy
upon me, what shall I do with a blackamoor and a dog both underfoot!"

"A dog!" cried Daniel. "What dog? Where is he?"

"Nancy will tell thee," said his mother, and, not able to wait a
moment to hear and tell such wonderful news, the two children rushed
out at once, followed by Zeb. When their mother called the family
to breakfast half an hour later, Zeb had been shown the garden, the
corn-field, the cow-shed, the pig-sty, the straw-stack where eggs were
to be found, the well with its long well-sweep, and the samp-mill. He
had had the sheep pointed out to him, and been introduced to Eliza,
the cow, and allowed to give Penny a measure of corn. The children had
shouted the name of each object to him as they had pointed it out,
and Zeb had shown his white teeth and grinned and nodded a great many
times, as if he understood.

[Illustration]

"I know he 's seen eggs before, for he sucked one," Dan told his
mother. Zeb was given his breakfast on the door-stone, and Dan tried
to teach him the use of a spoon, without much success; and afterwards
he was brought in to family prayers. His eyes rolled apprehensively
as he looked from one kneeling figure to another, but, obeying Dan's
gesture, he knelt beside him, and for ten minutes he stuck it out:
then, as the prayer continued to pour in an uninterrupted stream
from the Goodman's lips, he quietly crawled out on all fours and
disappeared through the door. Dan found him afterwards out by the
straw-stack, and as there was a yellow streak on his black face,
concluded he had learned his lesson about the hen's nest altogether
too well. He was given a hoe and taken to the corn-field at once.
Here Daniel showed him just how to cut out the weeds with the hoe and
loosen the earth about the roots of the corn. Zeb nodded and grinned
so cheerfully that, after watching him a few moments, Daniel called
Nancy and they started for Gran'ther Wattles's house in the village to
get the puppy. They had gone but a short distance when Nancy, glancing
around, saw Zeb following them, grinning from ear to ear.

"No--no--no--go back," bawled Daniel, pointing to the corn-field. Zeb
nodded with the utmost intelligence and followed right along. "Oh,
dear!" groaned Daniel. "I 've taught him to do things by showing how,
and now he thinks he must do _everything_ that I do."

[Illustration]

He sat down on a stone and gazed despairingly at Zeb. Zeb promptly sat
down on another stone and beamed at him! In vain Daniel pointed and
shouted, and shook his head. Zeb nodded as cheerfully as ever and
conscientiously imitated Dan's every move. In spite of all they could
do he followed them clear to Gran'ther Wattles's house.

"Oh, dear!" said Nancy, "it 's just like having your shadow come to
life! You 'll have to work all the time, Dan, or Zeb won't work at
all!"

Even with the wonderful new puppy in his arms Dan took a gloomy view
of the situation. "I 'm sick of being an example," he said. "I had to
be one at Aunt Bradford's all the time, for she told Mercy and Joseph
to watch how I behaved, and now here 's this crazy blackamoor mocking
everything I do! I guess Father 'll wish he had n't bought him."

The days that followed were trying ones for everybody. The Goodwife
was nearly distracted trying to house her family and do her work in
such crowded quarters. Zeb followed Dan like a nightmare, and the
Goodman delved early and late to catch up with the work which had
waited for his return. Among other duties there were berries to be
picked in the pasture and dried for winter use, and this task fell to
the children. It was work which Zeb thoroughly enjoyed, but alas, he
ate more than he brought home. On one occasion he ate green fruit
along with the ripe, and spent a noisy night afterward holding on to
his stomach and howling at each new pain. In vain the Goodwife tried
to cure him with a dose of hot pepper tea. Zeb took just enough to
burn his mouth and, finding the cure worse than the disease, roared
more industriously than ever. She was at her wit's end and finally
had to leave him to groan it out alone beside the fire. It was weeks
before he learned to understand the simplest sentences, and meanwhile
poor Dan had to go on being an example.

Finally one day the Goodman brought home a large saw from Boston, and
he and Dan showed Zeb how to use it. Then day after day Dan and Zeb
sawed together, making boards for the new house, while Nancy brought
her carding or knitting and sat on a stump near by with the puppy at
her feet or nosing about in the bushes. They had named the dog Nimrod,
"because," as Nancy said, "he is surely a mighty hunter before the
Lord, just like Nimrod in the Bible. He sniffs around after field mice
all the time, and if he only sees a cat he barks his head off and
tears after her like lightning!"

[Illustration]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration]

The summer passed quickly away, with few events to take them outside
the little kingdom of home in which they lived. Twice the Captain
stopped to see them when the Lucy Ann put in at Boston Harbor, and it
was from him they got such news as they had of the world without. By
October, Nimrod had grown to be quite a large dog and was already
useful with the sheep, and Zeb could understand a good deal of what
was said to him, though it was noticeable that he was very dull when
it concerned tasks he did not like. With Dan to guide him he was able
to help shock the corn and pile the pumpkins in golden heaps between
the rows. He could feed the cattle and milk the cow and draw water for
them from the well. While the Goodman and the two boys worked in the
fields gathering the crops, Nancy and her mother dried everything that
could be dried and preserved everything that could be preserved, until
there was a wonderful store of good things for the winter.

One day when all the rafters were festooned with strings of
crook-necked squashes, onions, and seed corn braided in long ropes by
the husks, the Goodman appeared in the doorway with another load of
seed corn and looked in vain for a place to put it.

"There is no place," said the Goodwife. "The Lord hath blessed us so
abundantly there is not room to receive it. As it is, I can hardly do
my work without stepping on something. If it is not anything else, it
is sure to be either Zeb or Nimrod. Truly I can no longer clean and
sand my floor properly for the things that are standing about."

The Goodman sat down on the settle and looked long and earnestly at
the crowded room, whistling softly to himself. Then he rose and went
to the village, and as a result the neighbors gathered the very next
week to help build the new house. They came early in the morning,
the men with axes and saws on their shoulders and the women carrying
cooking-utensils. Then while the men worked in the forest felling
trees, cutting and hauling timbers, and putting them in place, the
women helped the Goodwife make whole battalions of brown loaves and
regiments of pies, beside any number of other good things to eat.
Nancy, Dan, and Zeb ran errands and caught fish and dug clams and
gathered nuts to supply materials for them, and were promptly on hand
when meal time came.

There were so many helpers that in a wonderfully short time the
frame-work was up, the roof boards were on, and a great fireplace had
been built into the chimney in the new part of the house. Also a door
had been cut through to connect the new part with the old cabin, which
was now to be used for storage and as a stable for Penny and Eliza,
and a sleeping-space for Zeb. When all this was done and the roof on,
the neighbors returned to their own tasks, leaving the Pepperells to
lay the floors, cover the outside with boards, and do whatever was
necessary to finish the house. It was late in the fall before this was
accomplished and the family had settled down to the enjoyment of their
new quarters.

One day as Dan and Zeb were bringing in boards to sheathe the room on
the inside, they were startled to see two Indians peering out at them
from the shelter of the near-by woods. Dropping the board they were
carrying, they ran like deer to the house, and Dan told his father
what they had seen. The Goodman looked thoughtful as he went on with
his task of sheathing, and that very evening he worked late building
a secret closet between the chimney and the wall. "It will be a handy
place to hide thy preserves," he said to his wife, "and a refuge
should the Indians decide to give us trouble." He cut a small square
window high up in the outside wall and contrived a spring, hidden in
the chimney, to open the door. When this spring was pressed a hole
would suddenly appear in what seemed a solid wall, revealing the
well-stored shelves. This closet was the Goodwife's special pride, but
to Zeb it was a continuous mystery. At one moment there was the solid
wall; the next, without touch of human hands, a door would fly open,
giving a tantalizing glimpse of things to eat which he could never
touch, for if he came near, the door would close again as mysteriously
as it had opened. Dan loved to tease him with it, and Zeb, fearing
magic, would take to his heels whenever this marvel occurred.

One day the Goodman said to his wife: "Thanksgiving draws near, and
surely we have much cause for thankfulness this year, for the Lord
hath exceedingly blessed us. There are yet some things to be done
before the day comes, and I wish to meet it with my task finished. I
hear there is a ship in the harbor loaded with English merchandise,
and to-morrow I go to Boston, and if thou art so minded, thou canst go
with me."

This put the Goodwife in quite a flutter of excitement, for she had
not been away from home except to go to church for many months. She
got out her best gown that very evening, to be sure it was in proper
order, and while she got supper gave Nancy and Dan an endless string
of directions about their tasks in her absence.

Early the next morning she mounted the pillion behind her husband, and
the three children watched their departure, Dan clutching Nimrod, who
was determined to go with them, and the Goodwife calling back last
instructions to the little group until Penny was well on the road to
Charlestown.

The house seemed strangely lonely without the mother in it, but there
was no time for the children to mope, for there was all the work to
do in their parents' absence. Dan took command at once. "You 'll both
have to mind me now," he said to Nancy and Zeb. "I 'm the man of the
house."

"If thou 'rt the man of it, I 'm the woman, and thou and Zeb will both
have to do as _I_ say," retorted Nancy, "or else mayhap I 'll get thee
no dinner! Mother said I could make succotash, and thou lov'st that
better than anything. Mother said above all things not to let the fire
go out, for it would be hard to bring a fire-brand all the way from
the village. So do thou bring in a pile of wood and set Zeb to
chopping more."

[Illustration]

Dan counted his chances. "Very well," he said at last, with
condescension, "thou art a willful baggage but I 'll give thee thy
way! Only make the big kettle full."

All that day Nancy bustled importantly about the house, with her
sleeves rolled up and her skirts looped back under her apron in
imitation of her mother. She was better than her word and made
johnny-cake besides the succotash for dinner, and after they had eaten
it said to Dan, "If thou wilt go out to the field and bring in a
pumpkin, I 'll make thee some pies for supper."

Dan dearly loved pumpkin pie, and in his zeal to carry out the plan
brought in two great yellow globes from the corn-field instead of the
one Nancy had asked for. "Mercy upon us," said Nancy when he appeared,
beaming, with one under each arm, "those would make pies enough for
all Cambridge. Thine eyes hold more than thy stomach."

"There 's no such thing as too many pies," said Daniel stoutly, "and
if there 's any pumpkin left over, I 'll feed it to the pig."

"I 'll tell thee what we will do," said Nancy. "We will make a great
surprise for Mother and Father. When they come home they will be tired
and hungry and ready for a grand supper. Do thou and Zeb run down to
the bay and bring back a mess of clams. We 'll have the table all
spread and a bright fire burning to welcome them!"

Dan agreed to this plan and went out at once to call Zeb. He found him
by the straw-stack with an egg in each hand. "Take them in to Nancy,"
commanded Dan, pointing sternly toward the house. Zeb had meant to
dispose of them otherwise, for he had a bottomless appetite for eggs,
but he trotted obediently to the house at Dan's order, and then the
two boys started together for the bay, with Nimrod barking joyfully
and running about them in circles all the way.

[Illustration]

The fall days were short, and it was dusk before the evening chores
were done, and Dan came in to the bright kitchen with Zeb and Nimrod
both at his heels, and announced that he had a hole in his stomach as
big as a bushel basket. For answer Nancy pointed to four golden-brown
pies cooling on a shelf, and Dan smacked his lips in anticipation. Zeb
came alongside and, copying Dan, smacked his lips too.

"Go away, both of you," said Nancy. "You can only look at them now,
for I have everything ready for Father and Mother, and we must n't eat
until they come."

Dan looked about the room to see what Nancy's surprise might be. It
was a cheerful picture that met his eye. First of all there was Nancy
herself with her neat cap and white apron, putting the finishing
touches to the little feast she had prepared. She had spread the table
with the best linen and decorated it with a bunch of red berries. She
had even brought out the silver tankard from its hiding-place under
the eaves of the loft and placed it beside her father's trencher. The
clams were simmering on the fire, sending out an appetizing smell, and
the brown loaf was cut. The hickory logs snapped and sputtered, and
the flames danced gayly in the fireplace, setting other little flames
dancing in the shining pewter dishes arranged on a dresser across the
room. Nimrod was lying before the fire with his head on his paws,
asleep, and Zeb, squatted down beside him, was rolling his eyes
hungrily in the direction of the pies.

"I hope they 'll come soon," said Daniel, lifting the cover of the
kettle and sniffing. "If they do not 't is likely they 'll find me as
dead as a salt herring when they get here."

Nancy laughed and, breaking a slice of brown-bread in two, gave a
piece to each boy. "Take that to stay your stomachs," she said, "and,
for the rest, have patience."

For a long time they waited, and still there was no sound of hoofs
upon the road. Dusk deepened into darkness, and the harvest moon came
out from behind a cloud and shed a silvery light over the landscape.
Nancy went to the door and gazed toward the road.

"Dost think, brother, the Indians have waylaid them?" she asked Dan at
last.

"Nay," answered Dan. "They are likely delayed at the ferry. Should the
ferry-man be at his supper wild horses could not drag him from it,
I 'll be bound. They 'll come presently, never fear, but it will
doubtless grieve them much to see me lying stiff and cold on the
hearth! Nancy, thou takest a fearful chance in denying thy brother
food."

[Illustration]

But Nancy only laughed at his woebegone face. "Thou art indeed a
valiant trencher-man," she said. Then, suddenly inspired, she brought
him the extra pumpkin, which she had not used for the pies, set it
before him upon the hearth-stone, and gave him a knife. "Carve thyself
a jack-o'-lantern," she said. "'T will take up thy mind, and make thee
forget thy stomach." Dan took the knife, cut a cap from the top of the
pumpkin, and scooped out the seeds. Then he cut holes for the eyes and
nose, and a fearful gash, bordered with pointed teeth, for the mouth,
and Nancy brought him the stub of a bayberry candle to put inside. Zeb
watched the process with eyes growing wider and wider as the thing
became more and more like some frightful creature of his pagan
imagination. They were just about to light the candle when Nimrod gave
a sharp bark; there was a creaking noise outside, and Nancy, springing
joyfully to her feet, shouted, "They 've come!--they 've come!" She
was halfway to the door, when suddenly she stopped, stiff with fright.

There, looking in through the open shutter, was the face of an Indian!
Dan and Zeb saw it at the same moment, and Nimrod, barking madly,
rushed forward and leaped at the window. Giving one of his wildcat
shrieks, Zeb instantly went up the ladder to the loft with the agility
of a monkey. The head had bobbed out of sight so quickly that for an
instant Nancy hardly believed her own eyes, but in that instant
Dan had been quick to act. He pressed the catch concealed in the
fireplace, and, springing to his feet, seized Nancy and dragged her
back into the secret closet. They nearly fell over the pumpkin, which
lay directly in their path, and it rolled before them into the closet.

Once inside, they instantly closed the door, and, with wildly beating
hearts, sank down in the darkness. About a foot above the floor there
was a small knot-hole in the door, which the Goodman had purposely
left for a peep-hole, and to this Dan now glued his eyes. In spite of
Nimrod's frantic barking the house door was quietly opened, and when
the dog flew at the intruder, he was stunned by a blow from the butt
end of a musket, and his senseless body sent flying out of the door by
a kick from a moccasined foot.

Then two Indians crept stealthily into the room. They were surprised
to find it empty. Where could the children have gone? They prowled
cautiously about, looking under the table and behind everything that
might afford a hiding-place, and, finding no trace of them, turned
their attention in another direction. Dan was already near to bursting
with rage and grief over Nimrod, and now he had the misery of seeing
the larger of the two Indians take his father's musket from the
deer-horn on the chimney-piece, while the other, who already had a
gun, with grunts of satisfaction took the silver tankard from the
table and hid it under his deer-skin jacket. At first they did not
seem to notice the ladder to the loft. Soon, however, they paused
beside it, and after they had exchanged a few grunts the larger Indian
began to mount. It was plain they meant to make a thorough search for
the children who had so miraculously disappeared.

Dan remembered what his father had said about the Pequots; Nancy, with
sick fear in her heart for Zeb, was shivering in a heap on the floor,
her hands over her eyes, though that was quite unnecessary, since the
closet was pitch dark. Dan found her ear and whispered into it a brief
report of what he had seen. They could now hear the stealthy tread of
moccasined feet above them on the floor of the loft.

"While they 're upstairs," whispered Dan, "I 'm going to slip out and
get Father's pistol. It 's hanging behind a string of onions, and they
have n't found it."

"Oh, no!" gasped Nancy. She clung to him, and in trying to get up he
struck the pumpkin, which rolled away toward the outside wall of the
closet. Just then there was a fearful outburst of noise overhead.
There was the sound of something being dragged from under a bed across
the floor, something which clawed and shrieked and fought like a
wildcat. There were grunts and the thump of moccasined feet dancing
about in a lively struggle.

"Now is my chance," said Dan to himself, and, opening the door
cautiously, he made a dash for the pistol and snatched it from its
hiding-place. As he was leaping back to the closet, he saw the
bayberry candle lying on the hearth, and in that instant a wonderful
idea flashed into his mind. He picked up the candle, lit it from the
flames, and scurried back to his hiding-place just as the legs of an
Indian appeared at the top of the ladder. He shut the door swiftly
behind him, and, giving the candle to Nancy, told her to set it inside
the pumpkin. Crawling to the other end of the closet, Nancy did as she
was bid, while Dan, with his eye at the peep-hole, watched the two
Indians drag poor Zeb between them down the ladder and out the door.

Eager to see where they went, Dan climbed up to the little window of
the closet and peered out into the night. By the moonlight he could
see the two men dragging Zeb in the direction of the straw-stack. They
were having a hard time of it, for Zeb struggled fiercely, and they
had their guns and the tankard to take care of as well, and in
addition, to Dan's horror, one of them was waving a burning brand
which he had snatched from the fire in passing! Dan trembled so with
excitement that he nearly fell from his perch, but kept his wits about
him. "Give me the pumpkin," he said to Nancy, and when she reached it
up to him, he set the lurid, grinning face in the window. "Now the
pistol," he said, and, sticking the muzzle through the opening beside
the jack-o'-lantern, he fired it into the air.

The shot was answered by a chorus of yells from the three figures by
the straw-stack. Scared out of their wits by the unexpected shot and
by the frightful apparition which suddenly glared at them out of the
darkness, the Indians took to their heels and ran as only Indians can
run, dragging poor Zeb with them.

"They 're gone," shouted Dan, dropping to the floor, "but they 've set
the straw-stack afire!"

[Illustration]

By the dim light of the jack-o'-lantern grinning in the window, he
found the catch of the door, and the two children burst out of the
closet. Seizing a bucket of water which stood by the hand-basin in
the corner, Dan dashed out of doors, followed by Nancy, whose fear of
Indians was now overmastered by fear of fire. If their beautiful new
house should be burned! She ran to the well-sweep, and while Dan
worked like a demon, stamping on burning straws with his feet, and
pouring water on the spreading flames, she swiftly plunged first one
bucket, then another, into the well and filled Dan's pail as fast as
it was emptied. In spite of these heroic efforts the fire spread. All
they could do was to keep the ground wet about the stack and watch the
flying sparks lest they set fire to the house. Over the lurid scene
the jack-o'-lantern grinned down at them until the candle sputtered
and went out.

[Illustration]

The straw-stack was blazing fiercely, lighting the sky with a red
glare, when in the distance they heard the beat of a drum. Gran'ther
Wattles had seen the flames and was rousing the village. Then there
were hoof-beats on the road, and into the fire-light dashed Penny with
the terrified Goodman and his wife on her back. Once they knew their
children were safe, they did not stop for questions, but at once set
to work to help them check the fire, which was now spreading among the
dry leaves. The Goodwife ran for her broom, which she dipped in water
and then beat upon the little flames as they appeared here and there
in the grass. The Goodman mounted to the roof at once, and, with Dan
to fetch water and Nancy to bring up buckets from the well, they
managed to keep it too wet for the flying sparks to set it afire. At
last the neighbors, roused by Gran'ther Wattles's frantic alarm, came
hurrying across the pastures; but the distance was so great that
the flames had died down and the danger was nearly over before they
arrived.

[Illustration]

There was now time for explanations, and, surrounded by an eager and
grim-visaged circle, Nancy and Dan told their story. "There 's a brave
lad for you!" cried Stephen Day, when the tale was finished, patting
Dan on the shoulder. "Aye, and a brave lass, too," added another.
Their father and mother said no words of praise, but there was a glow
of pride in their faces as they looked at their children and silently
thanked God for their safety.

"We can do nothing to-night," said Goodman Pepperell at last, "but,
neighbors, if you are with me, to-morrow we will go into the woods and
see if we can find any trace of the black boy. Doubtless by stealing
him and burning the house they thought to revenge themselves for the
Indian whom I wounded on my way home from Plymouth. They must have
been watching the house, and, seeing us depart this morning, knew well
that they had naught but children to deal with."

"Aye, but such children!" said Stephen Day, who had been greatly
impressed by the story of the jack-o'-lantern. "We 'll follow them,
indeed, and if we find them"--his jaw shut with a snap and he said no
more.

[Illustration]

While the men laid their plans for the morrow, the children and their
mother stole round to the front of the house, and Dan began a search
for Nimrod. He had been neither seen nor heard since the Indian had
given him that fearful blow and thrown him out. They found him lying
a few feet from the house still half stunned, and Dan lifted him
tenderly in his arms, brought him into the house, and laid him down
before the fire, where he had slept so peacefully only one short hour
before. Nimrod licked his hand, and rapped his tail feebly on the
hearthstone. Nancy wept over him, while Dan bathed his wounded head,
and tried to find out if any bones were broken.

"Poor Nimrod," said the Goodwife, as she set a bowl of milk before the
wounded dog, "thou art a brave soldier. Drink this and soon thou wilt
be wagging thy tail as briskly as ever."

She stirred the fire and lit the candles, and when the Goodman came in
a few moments later, the little family looked about their new home to
see what damage had been done. Nancy's little feast was a sad wreck.
There were the pies, to be sure, but the table-cloth was awry and the
flowers were tipped over and strewn about the floor, which was
covered with the tracks of muddy feet. In the scuffle with Zeb the
spinning-wheel had been overturned and the settle was lying on its
back on the floor. The room looked as if a hurricane had passed
through it. The Goodman mourned the loss of his gun, and the Goodwife
grieved for her tankard, but all smaller losses were forgotten in
their distress about Zeb. Not only had he cost the Goodman a large sum
of money, but in the weeks he had been with them he had found his own
place in the household, where he would be sadly missed. Worst of all
was their anxiety about his fate at the hands of the Indians.

"Come," said the Goodwife at last, when they had heard every event of
the day twice over, "we must eat, or we shall have scant courage for
the duties of the morrow. We have none of us tasted food since noon."

The clams were still simmering gently in the pot, and she gave them
each a porringer of broth, which they ate sitting in a circle about
the hearth-stone. Then she put the room in order, and though her heart
was heavy, tried to talk of the events of their day in Boston as if
nothing had happened.

[Illustration]

"We saw Captain Sanders in town," she said to the children. "He hath
brought the Lucy Ann to port with a load of cod for the market and
with fish and game for Thanksgiving. I have his promise that he will
dine with us if God wills. He hath not yet seen our new house. Alas! I
shall have no tankard to set before him; yet, ungrateful that I am,
we are still rich in blessings! 'T is well we have a day set aside to
remind us of them."

It was very late when at last the excitement had died down enough to
think of sleep. The Goodman went out to make sure there was no fire
left lurking in the grass, and to take a look at the horse and cow.
As he passed the smoking ashes of the straw-stack, his foot struck
something which rang like metal, and in the moonlight something
glistened in the path before him. Stooping, he felt for it, and was
overjoyed to grasp the tankard, which the Indian had lost in the
struggle with Zeb. He carried it in to his wife at once. She seized it
with a cry of joy.

"'T is a good omen," she said. "Mayhap thou 'lt find thy musket
too." Her husband shook his head gravely. "I 'll have need of one
to-morrow," he said. "'T is well I still have my fowling-piece and my
pistol." Then he called the family together and, kneeling beside the
settle, committed them to God's keeping for the night.

[Illustration]




VI

HARVEST HOME


Before daylight the next morning the Goodwife stood in the door of the
new house and watched her husband set forth with the men of Cambridge
to search the forest for Zeb, and to punish his captors if they should
catch them. She had given him a good breakfast and filled his pockets
with bread for the journey, and when the men came from the village,
she cut Nancy's pies and gave them each a generous piece to eat before
starting. There were eight men in the party, all armed. The Goodwife's
lip trembled a little and then moved in prayer as she saw them
disappear into the dark forest. "God grant that they may all return in
safety," she murmured, and then, giving herself a little shake, she
turned back into the house and resolutely set herself at the duties of
the day.

Nimrod whined and tried to follow his master as the men marched away
with their guns on their shoulders, but, finding himself too weak, lay
down again on the hearth and went to sleep. The Goodwife cleaned the
kitchen, removing the last traces of the intruders, and then began
a patient march back and forth, back and forth, beside the whirling
spinning-wheel. Now that the harvest was over and their food provided
for the winter, her busy hands must spin the yarn and weave the cloth
to keep them warm. Though she had meant to let the children sleep
after the excitement of the previous day, it was still early when they
were awakened by the whir of the wheel and came scuttling down from
the loft as bright-eyed as if the adventures of the night before had
been no more than a bad dream. They helped themselves to hasty pudding
and milk and took a dishful to Nimrod, who was now awake and looking
much more lively, and then their mother set them their tasks for the
day.

"Nancy," said she, "I gave all thy pies to the men who have gone with
father to hunt for Zeb. To-morrow will be Thanksgiving Day and we
shall need more. The mince pies are already prepared and put away on
the shelves, and thou canst make apple and pumpkin both to set away
beside them in the secret closet."

"That makes me think," said Daniel, and, touching the secret
spring, he opened the door and rescued the jack-o'-lantern from the
window-sill.

It was only a wilted and blackened old pumpkin that he brought to his
mother, but she smiled at it and patted the hideous head. "He hath
been a good friend to us, Dan," she said, "e'en as say the Scriptures,
'God hath chosen the weak things of the earth to confound the mighty.'
David went out against Goliath with a sling and a stone, and thou hast
overcome savages with naught but a foolish pumpkin."

[Illustration]

Nancy took the grinning head and set it on the chimney-piece. "Dear
old Jacky," she said, "thou shalt come to our Thanksgiving feast. 'T
is no more than thy due since thou hast saved us from the savages."

"Nay, daughter," said her mother. "That savoreth of idolatry. Give
thy praise unto God, who useth even things which are not to bring to
naught the things that are. 'T is but a pumpkin after all, and will
make an excellent feast for the pig on the morrow. Daniel, go to the
field and bring thy sister a fresh one for the pies and then hasten
to thine own tasks. They wait for thee. While thy father is away
searching for Zeb, thou must do his work as well as thine own."

"Dost think, Mother, that he will surely bring Zeb back in time for
the feast?" asked Nancy anxiously.

"Let us pray, nothing doubting," answered the mother. "If it be God's
will, they will return."

There was a tremor in her voice even as she spoke her brave words, for
she knew well the perils of their search. All day long they worked,
praying as they prepared the feast that they might share it a united
family. Nancy made the pies, and Dan dressed a fowl, while their
mother got ready a pot of beans, made brown-bread to bake in the oven
with the pies, and steamed an Indian pudding. All day they watched the
forest for sign of the returning men. All day they listened for the
sound of guns, but neither sight nor sound rewarded their vigilance.

[Illustration]

Dusk came on. The Goodwife set a candle in the window, and when her
other tasks were finished, went back to her spinning. Not a moment was
she idle, nor did she appear to her children to be anxious, but as
she walked back and forth beside her wheel Nancy heard her murmuring,
"Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most
High, thy habitation, there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall
any plague come nigh thy dwelling." Over and over she said it to
herself, never slacking her work meanwhile.

The supper which Nancy prepared waited--one hour--two--after Dan had
fed the cattle and brought in the milk, and still there was no sign of
the searching party.

Suddenly Nimrod, from his place on the hearth, gave a short sharp
bark, and, leaping to the window, stood with his paws on the sill,
peering out into the darkness and whining. Dan was beside him in an
instant. "I see them," he cried joyfully, "a whole parcel of them.
They are just coming out from behind the cow-shed."

Nancy and her mother reached the window almost at the same moment, and
as the shadowy figures emerged from behind the cow-shed the mother
counted them breathlessly, "One--two--three--four--five--"

"There 's Father!" shrieked Nancy.

"He 's carrying something. Oh, dost think it is Zeb?"

"Six--seven--eight--_nine! ten!_ There are ten men, when but eight set
forth. Praise God, they have all come back!" cried the mother. Turning
swiftly to the fireplace, she snatched from it a brand of burning
pitch pine and, holding it high above her head for a beacon, ran
out to meet them, with Dan, Nancy, and Nimrod all at her heels. The
torch-light shone on stern and weary faces as the men drew near.

"All 's well, wife," came the voice of the Goodman.

"Hast found the lad?" she called back to him.

"Nay--not yet," he answered, "but we think we have his captors. Hold
thy torch nearer and have no fear. The savages cannot hurt thee.
Nancy, Daniel, have you ever seen these faces before?"

As he spoke he thrust forward two Indians with their hands securely
tied behind them.

"Oh," shuddered Nancy, "I saw them at the window," and Dan added,
"Aye, 't was this one that kicked Nimrod." Nimrod confirmed his
statement by growling fiercely and snapping at the heels of the taller
of the two Indians.

"Call off thy dog," said the Goodman sternly, and though Dan felt it
would be no more than fair to allow Nimrod one good bite, considering
all he had suffered, he obediently collared Nimrod and shut him inside
the kitchen. The faces of the Indians were like stone masks as they
stood helpless before their captors with the light of the flaming
torch shining upon them.

"Go in with thy family, Neighbor Pepperell," said Stephen Day. "There
are enough of us and to spare to guard the savages. Mayhap a night in
the stocks will cool their hot blood and help them to remember what
they have done with the slave lad. If not, the judge will mete out to
them the punishment they deserve."

"Right willingly will I leave them in your hands," answered the
Goodman, "for truly I am spent."

Whether the Indians understood their words, or not, they knew well
the meaning of pointed guns, for they marched off toward the village
without even a grunt of protest when Stephen Day gave the word of
command.

The Goodman was so weary that his wife and children forbore asking
questions until he was a little rested and refreshed. He sank down
upon the settle with Nimrod beside him, and Dan removed his muddy
boots, and brought water for him to wash in, while Nancy and her
mother hastened to put the long-delayed supper on the table.

"This puts new life into me," declared the father when he had eaten a
few spoonfuls of hotchpot, "and now I 'll tell somewhat of the day's
work. There was no general uprising among the Indians. At least we saw
no evidence of it. 'T is more likely as I feared--they are the same
Indians that followed us from Plymouth, meaning to revenge themselves
upon me for wounding one of them when they set upon us in the forest."

"But how is it the lad was not with them?" asked his wife.

"That is a question which as yet hath no answer," replied her husband.
"It may be they have killed him and hidden the body."

At this fearful thought Nancy shuddered and covered her face with her
hands.

"It may be," went on the Goodman, "that they passed him on to some
one else to avoid suspicion. At any rate he was not with them, and we
could find no trace. Though the savages undoubtedly know some English,
they refuse to say a word, and so his fate remains a mystery."

"What further shall you do to find him?" asked the Goodwife.

"See if we cannot force the Indians to confess, for the first thing,"
answered her husband.

His wife sighed. "I fear no hope lieth in that direction," she said.
"Their faces were like the granite of the hills."

"What of the gun, Father?" asked Daniel. "Didst thou find it?"

"Nay," answered his father. "They had it not, and that causes me to
think they have passed it as well as the boy on to others of
their tribe. There is naught to be done now but wait until after
Thanksgiving Day."

"'T will be but a sad holiday," said the Goodwife. "Though he is but a
blackamoor, the lad hath found a place in my heart, and I grieve that
evil hath befallen him."

"When I saw thee come out from behind the cow-shed I thought thou
hadst a burden," said Daniel. "I thought it was Zeb--wounded, or
mayhap dead."

"Aye," answered the Goodman. "I did carry a burden and had like to
forgot it. I dropped it by the door of the cow-shed. Go thou and bring
it in."

Dan ran out at once and returned a moment later carrying a huge wild
turkey by the legs. His mother rose and felt its breastbone with her
fingers.

"'T is fine and fat, and young withal," she answered. "'T will make
a brave addition to our feast on the morrow, for, truth to tell, our
preparations have been but half-hearted thus far. Our minds were taken
up with thy danger and fear for the lad."

"Dwell rather on our deliverance," said her husband. "The Lord hath
not brought us into this wilderness to perish. Let us not murmur, as
did the Children of Israel. The Lord still guides us."

"Aye, and by a pillar of fire, too," said Nancy, remembering the
straw-stack.

"And instead of manna he hath sent this turkey," added Dan.

Supper was now over, and after it was cleared away, and they had had
prayers, the mother sent the rest of the family to bed, while she
busied herself with final preparations for the next day. She plucked
and stuffed the great turkey, first cutting off the long wing-feathers
for hearth-brooms, and set it away on the shelf in the secret closet
along with Nancy's array of pies. It was late when at last she lit her
candle, covered the ashes, and climbed wearily to bed.

The wind changed in the night and when they looked out next morning
the air was full of great white snow-flakes, and the blackened ruins
of the straw-stack were neatly covered with a mantle of white.

The family was up betimes, and as they ate their good breakfast of
sausages, johnny-cake, and maple syrup, they sent many a thought
toward poor Zeb, wandering in the forest or perhaps lying dead in its
depths.

It was a solemn little party that later left the cabin in the care
of Nimrod and started across the glistening fields to attend the
Thanksgiving service in the meeting-house. They were made more solemn
still by the sight of the two Indians sitting with hands and feet
firmly fixed in the stocks, apparently as indifferent to the falling
snow as though they were images of stone. The first snowfall, usually
such a joy to Nancy and Daniel, now only seemed to make them more
miserable, and they were glad to see the sun when they came out of the
meeting-house after the sermon and turned their steps toward home. At
least Zeb would not perish of cold if it continued to shine. They were
just beginning to climb the home hill, when they were surprised to see
Nimrod come bounding to meet them, barking a welcome.

"How in the world did that dog get out?" said the Goodwife
wonderingly. "I shut him in the kitchen the last thing before we left
the house."

Leaving their father and mother to follow at a slower pace, Nancy
and Dan tore up the hill and threw open the kitchen door. There,
comfortably dozing on the settle by the fire, sat the Captain! At his
feet lay Zeb--also sound asleep with the wreckage of several blackened
eggs strewn round him on the hearth-stone! The Captain woke with a
start as the children burst into the room and for an instant stood
staring in amazement and delight at the scene before them. Zeb,
utterly worn out, slept on, and the Captain, as usual, was the first
to find his tongue.

"Well, well," he shouted, rubbing his nose to a bright red to wake
himself up, "here ye be! And mighty lucky, too, for I 'm hungry enough
to eat a bear alive. If I could have found out where ye hide your
supplies, I might have busted 'em open to save myself and this poor
lad from starvation. He appeared nigh as hungry as I be, but he knew
better how to help himself. He found these eggs cooked out there in
the ashes of the straw-stack, and all but et 'em shells and all. Never
even offered me a bite! Don't ye ever feed him?"

Before the children could get in a word edgewise their father and
mother, followed by Nimrod, came in, and, what with the dog barking,
the children screaming explanations to the Captain, and their own
astonished exclamations, there was such a babel of noise that at last
Zeb woke up, too, and stared about him like one dazed. Nimrod jumped
on him and licked his face, and Zeb put his arms around the dog as if
glad to find so cordial a welcome. The Captain stared from one face to
another, quite unable to make head or tail of the situation.

[Illustration]

"Well, by jolly!" he shouted at last, "what ails ye all? Ye act like a
parcel of lunatics!"

The Goodman commanded silence, and briefly told the whole story to the
Captain.

"Where did you find the lad?" he asked, when he had finished.

"He was here when I came," said the Captain. "Settin' on the
hearth-stone eatin' them eggs as if he had n't seen food fer a
se'nnight and never expected to see any again. The dog busted out of
the house when I came in, and as I could n't get any word out of the
lad, I just set down by the fire and took forty winks. It was too late
for meeting, and besides I reckoned I could sleep better here." He
finished with his jolly laugh.

Zeb, meanwhile, sat hugging the dog and rolling his eyes from one face
to another as if in utter bewilderment. Perhaps he wondered if the
Captain meant to capture him, too, for life must have seemed to the
poor black boy just a series of efforts to escape being carried off to
some place where he did not wish to go, by people whom he had never
seen before. The Goodman at last sat down before Zeb on the settle and
tried to get from him some account of what had happened in the forest.
But Zeb was totally unable to tell his story. His few words of English
were inadequate to the recital of the terrors of the past twenty-four
hours.

"Let the lad be," said the Goodwife at last. "He 's safe, praise God,
and we shall just have to wait to find out how he managed to escape
from the savages and make his way back here." She went to the secret
closet and brought out a huge piece of pumpkin pie. Zeb's eyes gleamed
as he seized it. "He must n't eat too much at once," said she. "As
nearly as I can make out by the shells, he 's had six eggs already.
That will do for a time. Dan, build a fire in the fireplace in the old
kitchen. There 's warm water in the kettle, and do thou see that Zeb
takes a bath. He is crusted with mud. He must have wallowed in it.
Nancy and I will get dinner the while."

Dan beckoned to Zeb, and the two boys disappeared. Zeb had never
bathed before except in the ocean, and the new process did not please
him. "I believe he wished he 'd stayed with the Indians," said Dan when
he appeared an hour later followed by a well-polished but somewhat
embittered Zeb. "I 've just about taken his skin off and I 'm all worn
out. Oh, Mother, is n't dinner almost ready?"

"Almost," said his mother, as she opened the oven door to take a peep
at the turkey, which had been cooking since early morning. "It only
needs browning before the fire while I make the gravy."

The table was already spread, and Nancy was at that very moment giving
an extra polish to the tankard before placing it beside the Captain's
trencher. The spiced drink to fill it was already mulling beside the
fire with a huge kettle of vegetables steaming beside it. The closet
door was open, giving a tantalizing glimpse of glories to come.

"So there 's where ye keep 'em," observed the Captain, regarding the
pies with open admiration. "'T is a sight to make a man thankful for
the room in his hold. By jolly, it 'll take careful loading to stow
this dinner away proper!"

He called Nancy to his side and opened the bulging leather pocket
which hung from his belt. "Feel in there," he said. "I brought along
something to fill in the chinks."

Nancy thrust in her hand, and brought it out filled with raisins. "I
got 'em off a ship just in from the Indies," explained the Captain.
Raisins were a great luxury in the wilderness, and the delighted Nancy
hastened to find a dish and to place them beside the pies.

"All ready," said the mother at last. "Come to dinner."

There was no need of a second invitation, and the response to the
summons looked like a stampede. The Goodman and his wife took their
places at the head of the table with the Captain on one side and the
children on the other, and because it was Thanksgiving, and because he
had had such a hard day and night, and most of all because he was so
clean, Zeb was allowed a place at the foot of the board.

The Goodman asked a blessing and then heaped the trenchers high with
what he called the bounty of the Lord. There was only one cloud on
Dan's sunshine during the meal. On account of Zeb, who when in doubt
still faithfully imitated him, he was obliged to be an example all
through the dinner. Even with such a model to copy, Zeb had great
trouble with his spoon and showed a regrettable tendency to feed
himself with both hands at once.

The turkey was a wonder of tenderness, the vegetables done to a turn,
the Indian pudding much better than its name, and as for the pies, the
Captain declared they were "fit to be et by the angels and most too
good for a sinner like him."

Beside each plate the Goodwife had placed a few kernels of corn, and
at the end of the feast, when the Goodman rose to return thanks, he
took them in his hand.

"In the midst of plenty," he said to his children, "let us not forget
the struggles of the past and what we owe to the pioneers who first
adventured into this wilderness and made a path for those of us who
have followed them. Though they nearly perished of hunger and cold
in the beginning, they failed not in faith. When they had but a few
kernels of corn to eat, they still gave thanks, choosing like Daniel
to live on pulse with a good conscience rather than to eat from a
king's table. As the Lord prospered Daniel, so hath he prospered us."

Then they all stood with folded hands and bent heads, while he gave
thanks for the abundant harvest and prayed that they might be guided
to use every blessing to the honor and glory of God. And the Captain
said, "Amen."

[Illustration]



       *       *       *       *       *





SUGGESTIONS TO TEACHERS


THE PURITAN TWINS will admirably supplement the study of
American history and geography in grades 6 and 7. The nation-wide
revival of interest in all that concerns the Pilgrim Fathers, begun at
the time of the Tercentenary in 1920, will continue for many years.

Whether children are able to trace their ancestry back to the little
band that crossed the Atlantic in the Mayflower, or whether they trace
it to voyagers of a less remote period--and the other volumes in the
Twins Series are closely linked with many of these later ones--their
interest in the days of the forefathers of our country should be the
same; for these early settlers gave to America the spirit of liberty,
a respect for law and organized government, and a standard of clean
living and right thinking which it is our duty to preserve and to pass
on to coming generations.

The best suggestions to teachers consist of brief and helpful
references to authoritative books that will give an accurate picture
of the early days of our country in the making and of the Pilgrim
country as it is to-day. Properly presented to pupils, the material
gleaned from these books will help them to form a more definite idea
of what every American should do to preserve intact the national peace
and prosperity which is their heritage.

In the following list, titles marked with an asterisk contain material
which can be understandingly read by the pupils themselves. It will be
better to have the teacher read to the class from the others.


READINGS IN AMERICAN HISTORY AND GOVERNMENT

*Tappan's _Elementary History of Our Country_, Chapters 4 to 9
inclusive. These deal with the whole period of colonization.

Thwaites and Kendall's _History of the United States for Schools_.
Chapters 3 to 9 inclusive. This is a more advanced book which
amplifies the story. There are valuable suggestions for reading in
standard literature.

Guitteau's _Preparing for Citizenship_. Chapter 19 is of great
inspirational value.

*Webster's _Americanization and Citizenship_. The following paragraphs
set forth American ideals in their origin and development: 44, 52, 53,
54, 55, 63, 73, 117-121.

*Tappan's _Our European Ancestors_. Chapters 16-20 inclusive. These
describe the European rivalries which influenced the colonization of
America.

*Tappan's _Little Book of Our Flag_. Particularly chapters 1 and 2
respectively, "The Flags that Brought the Colonists," and "The Pine
Tree Flag and Others."

Griffis's _Young People's History of the Pilgrims_. The conditions
which led to the sailing of the Pilgrims are clearly sketched and
emphasis is laid on the viewpoint of the Pilgrim boys and girls.

*Griffis's _The Pilgrims in Their Three Homes: England, Holland, and
America_. The life of the Pilgrims in church and school, at work and
play, including their flight and refuge, is fully described.

*Tappan's _American Hero Stories_. Five stories center around the
colonists, of whom, of course, Miles Standish is one.

*Tappan's _Letters from Colonial Children_. These letters give an idea
of life in representative American colonies seen through a child's
eyes. They present a vivid and historically accurate picture of the
times.

*Hawthorne's _Grandfather's Chair_. These stories have never grown old
or tiresome to children--and probably never will. No stories ever
gave a better introduction to our history from the settlement of New
England to the War for Independence.

*Deming and Bemis's _Stories of Patriotism_. A series of stirring
tales of patriotic deeds by Americans from the time of the Colonists
to the present.

*Bemis's _The Patriotic Reader_. The selections cover the history of
our country from the discovery of America to our entrance into the
Great War. They give one a familiarity with literature--new and
old--that presents the highest ideals of freedom and justice.

*Longfellow's _Courtship of Miles Standish_. A well annotated edition
is published in the Riverside Literature Series.

Jane G. Austin's _The Old Colony Stories_. These novels, dealing with
the early settlers of Plymouth, have taken their place among the
American classics, and their combination of romantic interest, real
literary quality, and historical accuracy has won for them wide
popularity. The titles alone bring before the mind a vision of the
most famous colonists: _Betty Alden_, _A Nameless Nobleman_, _Standish
of Standish_, _Dr. LeBaron and his Daughters_, _David Alden's Daughter
and Other Stories_.

Fiske's _The Beginnings of New England_. This is one of the most
readable of the authoritative histories.


READINGS IN GEOGRAPHY

Edwards's _The Old Coast Road_. The South Shore road from Boston to
Plymouth is one of the most historic roads in the country. Starting
from Boston, Miss Edwards guides her readers through Dorchester
Heights, Milton and the Blue Hills, Quincy with its Shipbuilding,
Weymouth, Hingham, Cohasset, the Scituate Shore, Marshfield, the
Home of Daniel Webster, Duxbury and Kingston. She concludes with an
informing chapter on Plymouth.

Edwards's _Cape Cod, New and Old_. Delightful essays on the
Cape--brief, entertaining, and containing precisely those facts which
every reader wants to know.


DRAMATIZATIONS

*Longfellow's _Courtship of Miles Standish_. Dramatized. This is
equipped with suggestions for stage settings, properties and costumes.

*Austin's _Standish of Standish_. Dramatized. Historically true
portrayals of character and atmosphere. There are suggestions for
costumes and other details of acting.

Baker's _The Pilgrim Spirit_. This book contains the words spoken
by the characters in the various episodes comprising the Pageant
presented at Plymouth, Massachusetts, during the summer of 1921. It
re-creates in masterly fashion the atmosphere of old colony times.






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