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for the flooring,—“ but mother won't mind trifles just now. Ah! blessed babe, brother,” he continued, taking in his arms the beautisul infant, “ you shall come, too, even though you cheat me of my birthright, and get the first embrace from father.” Thus saying, he placed the laughing infant in his go-cart, beside his mother. He then aided his little sisters in their arrangement of the playthings they had brought forth to welcome and astonish Hope; and finally he made an elevated position for Faith Leslie, where she might, he said, as she ought, catch the very first glimpse of her sister.
“ Thank, thank you, Everell,” said the little girl, as she mounted her pinnacle : “ if you knew Hope, you would want to see her first, too ; every body loves Hope. We shall always have pleasant times when Hope gets here."
It was one of the most beautiful afternoons at the close of the month of May. The lagging Spring had at last come forth in all her power; “her work of gladness" was finished, and forests, fields and meadows were bright with renovated life. The full Connecticut swept triumphantly on, as if still exulting in its release from the fetters of winter. Every gushing rill had the spring-note of joy. The meadows were, for the first time, enriched with patches of English grain, which the new settlers had sown scantily, by way of experiment, prudently occupying the greatest portion of the rich mould with the native Indian corn. This product of our soil is beautiful in all its progress, from the moment when, as now it studded the meadow with billocks, shooting its bright pointed spear from its mother earth, to its maturity, when the long golden ear bursts from the rustling leaf.
The grounds about Mrs. Fletcher's house had been prepared with the neatness of English taste ; and a rich bed of clover that overspread the lawn immediately before the portico, already rewarded the industry of the cultivators. Over this delicate carpet, the domestic fowls, the first civilized inhabitants of the country of their
tribe, were now treading, picking their food here and there, like dainty little epicures. The scene had also its minstrels; the birds, those ministers and worshipers of nature, were on the wing, filling the air with melody, while, like diligent little house-wives, they ransacked the forest and field for materials for their house-keeping.
A mother, encircled by healthful, sporting children, is always a beautiful spectacle—a spectacle that appeals to nature in every human breast. Mrs. Fletcher, in obedience to matrimonial duty, or, it
may be, from some lingering of female vanity, had on this occasion attired herself with extraordinary care. What woman does not wish to look handsome in the eyes of her husband ?
“Mother,” said Everell, putting aside the exquisitely fine lace that shaded her cheek, “I do not believe you looked more beautiful than you do to-day, when, as I have heard, they called you the rose of the wilderness.' Our little Mary's cheek is as round and as bright as a peach, but it is not so handsome as yours, mother. Your heart has sent this color here," he continued, kissing her tenderly; "it seems to have come forth to tell us that our father is near."
“It would shame me, Everell,” replied bis mother, embracing him with a feeling that the proudest drawingroom belle might have envied, “to take such flattery from any lips but thine.” “Oh, do not call it Aattery, mother-look, Magawisca—for Heaven's sake cheer up— look, would you know mother's eye? just turn it, mother, one minute from that road—and her pale cheek toom with its rich color on it?"
“ Alas! alas !” replied Magawisca, glancing her eyes at Mrs. Fletcher, and then, as if heart-struck, withdrawing them, “how soon the flush of the setting sun fades from the evening cloud !”
“Oh, Magawisca !” said Everell, impatiently, “why are you so dismal ? your voice is too sweet for a bird of ill-omen. I shall begin to think as Jennet says—though Jennet iş no text book for me, I shall begin to think old
6. Love you!
Nelema has really bewitched you.”_"You call me a bird of ill-omen,” replied Magawisca, half proud, half sorrowful, “and you call the owl a bird of ill-omen, but we hold him sacred; he is our sentinel, and, when danger is near, he cries, " Awake! awake!'"
Magawisca, you are positively unkind. Jeremiah's lamentations on a holyday would not be more out of time than your croaking is now. The very skies, earth, and air, seem to partake of our joy at father's return, and you only make a discord. Do you think, if your father was near, I would not share your joy ?”
Tears fell fast from Magawisca's eyes, but she made no reply, and Mrs. Fletcher, observing and compassionating her emotion, and thinking it probably arose from comparing her orphan state to that of the merry children about her, called her, and said, “Magawisca, you a re neither a stranger nor a servant; will you not share our joy ? do you not love us?"
!" she exclaimed, clasping her hands, “ love you! I would give my life for you."
“We do not ask your life, my good girl,” replied Mrs. Fletcher, kindly smiling on her, “but a light heart, and a cheerful look. A sad countenance doth not become this joyful hour. Go and help Oneco; he is quite out of breath blowing those soap bubbles for the children." Oneco smiled, and shook his head, and continued to send off one after another of the prismatic globes, and, as they rose and floated on the air, and brightened with the many-colored ray, the little girls clapped their hands, and the baby stretched his to grasp the brilliant vapor. “Oh!” said Magawisca, impetuously covering her eyes, “I do not like to see anything so beautiful pass so quickly away.”
Scarcely had she uttered these words, when suddenly, as if the earth had opened on them, three Indian warriors darted from the forest, and pealed on the air their horrible yells.
“ My father! my father!" burst from the lips of Ma
gawisca and Oneco. Faith Leslie sprang towards the Îndian boy, and clung fast to him, and the children clustered about their mother; she instinctively caught her infant, and held it close within her arms, as if their ineffectual shelter were a rampart.
Magawisca uttered a cry of agony, and, springing forward with her arms uplifted, as if deprecating his approach, she sunk down at her father's feet, and, clasping her hands, “Save them !-save them !" she cried; "the mother—the children-oh! they are all good : take vengeance on your enemies, but spare, spare our friends! our benefactors! I bleed when they are struck; oh! command them to stop!” she screamed, looking to the companions of her father, who, unchecked by her cries, were pressing on to their deadly work.
Mononotto was silent and motionless : his eye glanced wildly from Magawisca to Oneco. Magawisca replied to the glance of fire: “Yes, they have sheltered us—they have spread the wing of love over us-save them-save them-oh! it will be too late,” she cried, springing from her father, whose silence and fixedness showed that, if his better nature rebelled against the work of revenge, there was no relenting of purpose. Magawisca darted before the Indian, who was advancing towards Mrs. Fletcher with an uplifted hatchet. " You shall hew me to pieces ere you touch her," she said, and planted herself as a shield before her benefactress.
The warrior's obdurate heart, untouched by the sight of the helpless mother and her little ones, was thrilled by the courage of the heroic girl : he paused, and grimly smiled on her, when his companion, crying, “ Hasten! the dogs will be on us !” leveled a deadly blow at Mrs. Fletcher; but his uplifted arm was penetrated by a musket shot, and the hatchet fell harmless to the floor.
Courage mother!" cried Everell, reloading the piece; but neither courage nor celerity could avail; the second Indian sprang upon him, threw him on the floor, wrested his musket from him, and, brandishing his tomahawk
over his head, he would have aimed the fatal stroke, when
from Mononotto arrested his arm. Everell extricated himself from his grasp, and, a ray of hope flashing into his mind, he seized a bugle horn, which hung beside the door, and winded it. This was the conventional signal of alarm, and he sent forth a blast long and loud-a death-cry.
Mrs. Grafton and her attendants were just mounting their horses to return home. Digby listened for a moment: then, exclaiming, “ It comes from our master's dwelling ! ride for your life, Hutton!” he tossed away a bandbox that encumbered him, and spurred bis horse to its utmost speed.
The alarm was spread through the village, and, in a brief space, Mr. Pynchon, with six armed men, was pressing towards the fatal scence. In the meantime the tragedy was proceeding at Bethel. Mrs. Fletcher's senses had been stunned with terror. She had neither spoken nor moved after she grasped her infant. Everell's gallant interposition restored a momentary consciousness; she screamed to him, “ Fly, Everell, my son, fly; for your father's sake, Aly!"
• Never !” he replied, springing to his mother's side. The savages always rapid in their movements, were
aware that their safety depended on despatch. “ Finish your work, warriors !" cried Mononotto. 'Obedient to the command, and infuriated by his bleeding wound, the Indian, who, on receiving the shot, had staggered back, and leaned against the wall, now sprang forward, and tore the infant from its inother's breast. She shrieked, and in that shriek passed the agony of death. She was unconscious that her son, putting forth a strength beyond nature, for a moment kept the Indian at bay; she neither saw nor felt the knife struck at her own heart. She felt not the arms of her defenders, Everell and Magawisca, as they met around her neck. She fainted and fell to the floor, dragging her impotent protectors with her.