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Title: The Cavaliers of Virginia - or, The Recluse of Jamestown. Vol. II
Author: Caruthers, William A. (Alexander), 1802-1843
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Libraries.)



                         THE CAVALIERS OF VIRGINIA,


                           RECLUSE OF JAMESTOWN.

                 AN HISTORICAL ROMANCE OF THE OLD DOMINION.

               BY THE AUTHOR OF "THE KENTUCKIAN IN NEW-YORK."


    IN TWO VOLUMES.

    VOL. II.

    NEW-YORK:
    PUBLISHED BY HARPER & BROTHERS,
    NO. 82 CLIFF-STREET,
    AND SOLD BY THE PRINCIPAL BOOKSELLERS THROUGHOUT
    THE UNITED STATES.

    1835.


Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1834, by HARPER &
BROTHERS, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern
District of New-York.



THE CAVALIERS OF VIRGINIA.



CHAPTER I.


The lightning streamed athwart the heavens in quick and vivid flashes.
One peal of thunder after another echoed from cliff to cliff, while a
driving storm of rain, wind and hail, made the face of nature black and
dismal. There was something frightfully congenial in this uproar of the
contending elements with the storm raging in Bacon's heart, as he rushed
from the scene of the catastrophe we have just witnessed. The darkness
which succeeded the lurid and sulphureous flashes was not more complete
and unfathomable than the black despair of his own soul. These vivid
contrasts of light and gloom were the only stimulants of which he was
susceptible, and they were welcomed as the light of his path! By their
guidance he wildly rushed to his stable, saddled, led forth, and mounted
his noble charger, his own head still uncovered. For once the gallant
animal felt himself uncontrolled master of his movements, fleet as the
wind his nimble heels measured the narrow limits of the island. A sudden
glare of intense light served for an instant to reveal both to horse and
rider that they stood upon the brink of the river, and a single
indication of the rider's will was followed by a plunge into the
troubled waves. Nobly and majestically he rose and sank with the
swelling surges. His master sat erect in the saddle and felt his
benumbed faculties revived, as he communed with the storm. The raging
elements appeared to sympathize with the tumult of his own bosom. He
laughed in horrid unison with the gambols of the lightning, and yelled
with savage delight as the muttering thunder rolled over his head.

There is a sublime stimulus in despair. Bacon felt its power; he was
conscious that one of the first laws of our organization,
(self-preservation,) was suddenly dead within him.

The ballast of the frail vessel was thrown overboard, and the sails were
spread to the gathering storm with reckless desperation. Compass and
rudder were alike abandoned and despised--they were for the use of those
who had hopes and fears. For himself he spread his sails and steered his
course with the very spirit of the storm itself. Nature in her wildest
moods has no terrors for those who have nothing to lose or win; no
terrors for them who laugh and play with the very elements of her
destruction; they are wildly, madly independent. It is the sublimity of
the maniac! Nevertheless there is a fascination in his reckless steps as
he threads the narrow and fearful windings of the precipice, or
carelessly buffets the waves of the raging waters. There are other
sensations of a high and lofty character in this disjointed state of the
faculties. The very ease and rapidity with which ordinary dangers are
surmounted, serves to keep up the delusion, and were it not for the
irresponsible condition of the mind, there would doubtless be impiety in
its developments. Such were Bacon's sensations as he wildly stemmed the
torrent. He imagined that he was absolved from the ordinary
responsibilities and hazards of humanity! and to his excited fancy, it
seemed as though petty fears and grovelling cautions were all that lay
between humanity and the superior creations of the universe! that power
also came with this absolution from the hopes, fears and penalties of
man's low estate. In imagination "he rode upon the storm and managed the
whirlwind." The monsters of the deep were his playmates, the ill-omened
birds of the night his fellows. The wolves howled in dreadful concord
with the morbid efforts of his preternaturally distorted faculties, as
the noble and panting animal first struck the shore with his forefeet.

Emerging from the water, he stroked down the dripping mane with a wild
and melancholy affection. The very consciousness of such a feeling yet
remaining in his soul, which he dared indulge, produced for the moment
a dangerous and kindred train of emotions. These as before led him upon
forbidden ground, and again the wild tumult of his soul revived.
Striking his heels into the animal's flanks, and bending upon his neck,
he urged him over the ground at a pace in unison with the impetuosity of
his own feelings.

The fire and gravel flew from his heels, as he bounded through the
trackless forests of the unsubdued wilderness. The frightened birds of
night, and beasts of prey, started in affright, wild at the appearance
upon the scene of one darker and wilder than themselves. The very
reptiles of the earth shrunk to their hiding places, as the wild
horseman and his steed invaded their prescriptive dominions.

Mrs. Fairfax and her daughter, according to the commands of Sir William
Berkley, were conveyed to his mansion. To them all places were now
alike. The mother after a long and death-like trance, revived to a
breathing and physical existence; but her mind was overrun with horrors.
Reason was dethroned, and her lips gave utterance to the wildest
fantasies. Events with which, and persons with whom, none of those about
her were conversant, were alluded to in all the incoherency and
unbridled impetuosity of the maniac. The depletion and anodynes of the
physician were administered in vain. The ravages upon the seat of
nervous power had rendered the ordinary remedies to the more distant
chords of communication utterly powerless. From a mild, bland, feeble
and sickly state of melancholy, she was suddenly transformed into a
frenzied lunatic. Her muscular power seemed to have received multiplied
accessions of strength. Yet there was "a method in her madness"--the
same names and scenes frequently recurred in her raving paroxysms. That
of Charles was reiterated through the wild intonations of delusion;
sometimes madly and revengefully, but more frequently in sorrow.

There was occasionally a moving and touching pathos in these latter
demonstrations--tearless it is true, but thrilling and electrifying in
the subdued whisper in which they were sometimes uttered. A flood of
pent up emotions was poured forth with a thrilling eloquence which had
their origin in the foundations of the soul. Scenes of days long past,
were revived with a graphic and affecting power, which imagination
cannot give if their mysterious source and receptacle be not previously
and abundantly stored with the richest treasures of the female heart and
mind.

Because the by-standers do not happen to be in possession of all the
previous history of the sufferer, so as to put together these melancholy
and broken relics, they are generally supposed to be the creations of a
distempered fancy.

So it was with Mrs. Fairfax; her detached reminiscences fell upon the
dull and uninstructed ears of her attendants as the wildest
hallucinations of the brain, yet there was more connexion in these
flights than they imagined. They supposed that she thought herself
conversing in her most subdued and touching moments with young Dudley,
merely because his name was frequently pronounced, and that he happened
to be present at the disastrous ceremony, which resulted so dreadfully
to all parties.

Among all these, Virginia's was the hardest lot--so delicately and
exquisitely organized, so gentle--so susceptible--so full of
enthusiasm--so rich in innocence and hope, and all so suddenly
prostrated. Bacon was nerved with the wild yet exalted heroism of
manhood in despair. Her mother was wrapt in a blessed oblivion of the
present, but she was sensitively and exquisitely alive to the past,
present and future. One fainting paroxysm succeeded to another in
frightful rapidity, for hours after she was removed to her uncle's
house.

The painful intervals were filled up with a concentration of wretched
reflections, which none but a finely organized and cultivated female
mind could conceive or endure. No proper conception of these can be
conveyed in language, unless the reader will suffer his imagination to
grasp her whole condition at once.--Beginning at the first inception of
the unsuspected passion for the noble youth who is the hero of our
tale--in her earliest infancy; and afterwards following her as it
matured and strengthened by the reflections of riper years.--Every
faculty, both perceptive and intellectual, had combined to impress his
image in the most indelible colours upon her heart. He had himself
ripened these very faculties into maturity by the most assiduous
culture, and won her esteem by the most touching, delicate, and
respectful attentions.

All these things in detail were painfully revolved in her mind. Every
landscape, every book, every subject, reminded her most forcibly of him
whom it was now criminal to think of. Hers was the sorrow that no
sympathy could soften, no friendship alleviate. The sight of her
intimate and confidential friend drove her mad, for her presence
instantly revived the horrid recollections of the chapel. Long after the
clouds had cleared away, the thunder still roared in her ears. The
sudden slamming of a door sounded to her nervous irritability, like the
report of a cannon. Her own shadow conjured up horrible images. The most
violent and the most acute paroxysms of the human organization, however,
have a tendency to wear themselves out, when left uninterruptedly to
their own action. Such was necessarily, in some measure, the case with
Virginia; her mother's more alarming condition calling so much more
loudly for attention, and Wyanokee having fled, and Harriet's presence
proving so evidently hurtful, she was consequently left with a single
sable domestic. Essentially she was in profound solitude; and after the
first paroxysms which we have described, her mind naturally and
irresistibly fell into a train of retrospective thought. Startling and
horrifying they certainly were at first, but still the mind clung to
them. Many of the circumstances of the late disastrous meeting were to
her as yet unexplained. To these she clung as to the last remnants of
hope; they were the straws at which she grasped with the desperation of
the drowning wretch. She had at first received her mother's tacit
acknowledgment of the mysterious stranger's statement, or rather the
effect produced by that statement as irresistible confirmation of its
truth. But now she doubted the propriety of her hasty conviction. She
marvelled at the effect produced upon her mother--yet there were other
means of accounting for it. Would she not have exhibited a like
sensibility, had a like statement been made, however false, under such
circumstances?--did she not deny it, positively deny it at the moment?
Such was the train of reasoning by which her mind began to reassure
itself; and it must be recollected that she had never heard more of her
mother's history, than that she was a childless widow when her father
married her. Sufficient was left however of first impressions to render
her situation one of intense suffering and suspense. She dared not ask
for Bacon, yet a restless and gnawing anxiety possessed her, to know
whether he acknowledged the truth of the dreadful tale without a murmur,
and without investigation. But her physical organization could not keep
pace with the ever elastic mind; her gentle frame gave sensible
evidence that the late violent shocks had made sad inroads upon her
system. One chill was succeeded by another, until they were in their
turn followed by a burning fever. In this condition she fell again into
the hands of the physician, and all mental distress was soon lost in the
paramount demands of the suffering body.

Toward the hour of midnight, the storm subsided. Fragments of the black
curtain which had hung over the face of the heavens, shot up from the
eastern horizon in stupendous blue masses, every now and then
illuminated to their summits with the reflection of the raging elements
beyond. The violence of the conflict in Bacon's breast had also
subsided. He rode along the banks of the Chickahominy, his charger
dripping with wet and panting with the exhaustion of fatigue. The bridle
hung loose upon his neck, and his rider bent over his mane like a
worn-out soldier. His own locks had unbent their stubborn curls to the
driving storm, and hung about his neck in drooping masses. His silken
hose were spattered with mud, and his gay bridal dress hung about his
person in lank and dripping folds. His horse had for some time followed
the bent of his own humour, and was now leading his master in the
neighbourhood of human habitations. The boughs of the tall gloomy pines
were fantastically illuminated with broad masses of light, which ever
and anon burst from the smouldering remnants of a huge pine log fire.
Its immediate precincts were surrounded by some fifty or more round
matted huts, converging toward the summit like a gothic steeple. Around
the fire, and under a rude shelter, lay some hundred warriors, wrapped
in profound slumber while one of their tribe stood sentinel over the
camp.

When Bacon had approached within a short distance of this picturesque
group, the sentinel sprung upon his feet, and uttered a shrill
war-whoop. The horse stood still, erected his neck and pricked up his
ears, while his master folded his arms upon his breast and calmly
surveyed the scene. Those warriors who slept under the sheds near the
fire, assumed the erect attitude with a simultaneous movement, joining
in the wild chorus of the sentinel's yell as they arose.

Hundreds of men, women, and children poured from the surrounding
huts,--most of the grown males, with their faces painted in blue and red
stripes, their heads shaved close to the cranium, except a tuft of hair
upon the crown, and all armed in readiness for battle. Bacon assumed the
command of his horse and rode into the very centre of this wild
congregation,--the fore hoofs resting upon the spent embers of the fire.

He was greeted with another yell, after which the savages stood back and
viewed his strange and untimely appearance with wonder not unmixed with
awe. His bridle again fell from his hand, and his arms were crossed upon
his breast. His countenance was wild and haggard, and a flash of
maniacal enthusiasm shot athwart his pale features. His dress under
present circumstances was fantastical in the extreme.

A grim old warrior with savage aspect after staring some time intensely
at the intruder, was suddenly struck with something in his appearance,
and stepping out a few paces from the mass of his companions began to
address them in his own language, now and then pointing to the horseman,
and using the most violent gesticulations. At another time the youth
would have been not a little alarmed at certain significant signs which
the speaker used when pointing to himself. These consisted in twirling
his war club round and round, as if he was engaged in the most deadly
conflict. Then he placed his hand to the side of his head and bent it
near the earth as if about to prostrate himself, and finally pointing to
Bacon. When he had done this, several of the crowd closed in toward his
horse, and seemed intensely to examine the lineaments of his
countenance. Having satisfied themselves, they set up a simultaneous
yell of savage delight. He was quickly drawn from the saddle, his hands
tied behind him, and then placed in the centre of the assembled throng.

Their savage orgies now commenced; a procession of all the grown males
moved in a circle of some fifty feet in diameter round his person.
Several of the number beat upon rude drums, formed of large calabashes
with raw hides stretched tight and dried over the mouths; while others
dexterously rattled dried bones and shuffled with their feet to their
own music. Others chanted forth a monotonous death song; the whole
forming the rudest, wildest, and most savage spectacle imaginable.

Bacon himself stood an unmoved spectator of all these barbarous
ceremonies. He felt a desperate and reckless indifference to what might
befall him. Human endurance had been stretched to its utmost verge, and
he felt within him a longing desire to end the vain struggle in the
sleep of death. To one like him, who had in the last few hours endured
the mental tortures of a hundred deaths, their savage cruelties had no
terrors. A faint hope indeed may have crossed his mind, that some
warrior more impetuous than his comrades, might sink his tomahawk deep
into his brain in summary vengeance for the death of their chief. But
they better understood the delights of vengeance. After performing their
rude war-dance for some time, they commenced the more immediate
preparations for the final tragedy. His hands were loosed, his person
stripped and tied to a stake, while some dozen youths of both sexes
busied themselves in splitting the rich pine knots into minute pins.
These being completed, a circular pile of finely cleft pieces of the
same material was built around his body, just near enough for the fire
to convey its tortures by slow degrees without too suddenly ending their
victim. A deafening whoop from old and young announced the commencement
of the ceremony. Each distinguished warrior present had the privilege
of inserting a given number of splinters into his flesh. The grim old
savage who had first identified Bacon as the slayer of their chief,
stepped forward and commenced the operation. He thrust in the tearing
torments with a ferocious delight, not a little enhanced by the physical
convulsive movements of his victim at every new insertion. Worn out
nature however could not endure the uninterrupted completion of the
process, and the victim swooned away.

His body hung by the thongs which had bound his waist and hands to the
stake, his head drooping forward as if the spirit had already taken its
flight. He was immediately let down and the tenderest care observed to
resuscitate him, in order that they might not be cheated of their full
revenge. His head and throat were bathed in cold water and his parched
lips moistened through the medium of a gourd. At length he revived, and
strange as it may appear, to a keener consciousness of his situation
than he had felt since he left the church. All the wild horrors of his
fate stared him in the face. The savages screamed with delight at his
returning animation. Copious drafts of water were administered as he
called for them. The most intense pain was already experienced from the
festering wounds around each of the wooden daggers driven into his
flesh. Again he prayed that some of them might instantaneously reach his
heart, but his prayer was not destined to be granted. He was again
fastened to the stake, and the second in dignity and authority proceeded
to perform his share of the brutal exhibition. At this moment a piercing
scream rent the air, and all tongues were mute, all hands suspended.

The sound proceeded from the extreme right of the encampment. Here a
larger hut than the rest stood in solitary dignity apart from the
others, like an officer's _marquée_ in a military encampment. In a few
moments the rude door was thrust aside and an Indian female of exquisite
proportions rushed to the scene of butchery, and threw herself between
the half immolated victim and his bloodthirsty tormentors. Upon her head
she wore a rude crown, composed of a wampum belt tightly encircling her
brows, and surmounted by a circlet of the plumes of the kingfisher,
facing outwards at the top. Around her waist was belted a short frock of
dressed deer-skin, which fell in folds about her knees, and was
ornamented around the fringed border with beads and wampum. Over her
left shoulder and bust she gracefully wore a variegated skin dressed
with the hair facing externally; from this her right arm extended, bare
to the shoulder, save a single clasp at the wrist; and she carried in
her hand a long javelin mounted at the end with a white crystal. The
remaining parts of her figure exhibited their beautiful proportions
neatly fitted with a pair of buck-skin leggins, extended and fringed on
the seam with porcupine quills, copper and glass ornaments. Similar
decorations were visible on her exquisitely proportioned feet and
ankles. Thrusting her javelin in the ground with energy, and proudly
raising her head, she cast a withering glance of scorn and indignation
upon the perpetrators of the cruelty. Her address, translated into
English, was to the following purport: "Is it for this," and she pointed
to Bacon's bleeding wounds, "that I have been invested with the
authority of my sires? Was it to witness the perpetration of these
cruelties that I have been almost dragged from the house of my pale
faced friends? Scarcely has the fire burned out which was kindled to
celebrate my arrival among you, before it is rekindled to sacrifice in
its flames him who redeemed me from captivity. Is this the return which
Chickahominies make for past favours? If so, I pray you to tear from my
person these emblems of my authority among you."

She was immediately answered by the old warrior who had commenced the
tortures; "Did not the long knife[1] slay the chief of our nation?"

[Footnote 1: This term originated in Virginia.]

He was answered by a yell of savage delight from all the warriors
present. Wyanokee (for it was she, as the reader has no doubt already
surmised) continued, "Ay, he did slay King Fisher and his son--but were
they not unjustly attempting to take away the property of the pale
faces? and did they not commit the deed against their solemn promise and
treaty, and after they had smoked the pipe of peace? For shame,
warriors and men--would ye turn squaws, and murder a brave and noble
youth because he had fought for his own people and for the preservation
of his own life?"

Her harangue was not received with the submission and respect which she
expected--many murmured at her defence, and claimed the death of the
captive as a prescriptive right and an act of retributive justice. She
advanced to cut the cords which bound the prisoner, but twenty more
powerful arms instantly arrested her movement. Tomahawks were raised in
frightful array, while deep and loud murmurs of discontent, and demands
for vengeance rent the air. She placed herself before the captive, and
elevating her person to its utmost height, and extending her hands
before him as a protection, she cried, "Strike your tomahawks here, into
the daughter of your chief, of him who led you on to battles and to
victory, but harm not the defenceless stranger." The principal warriors
held a consultation as to the fate of the prisoner. It was of but short
duration, there being few dissenting voices to the proposition of the
old savage, already mentioned as principal spokesman of the party. They
soon returned and announced to their new queen that the council of the
nation had decreed the prisoner's death. "Never, never!" exclaimed the
impassioned maiden, "unless you first cleave off these hands with which
I will protect him from your fury. Ha!" she cried, as a sudden thought
seemed to strike her; "there is one plan of redemption by your own laws.
I will be his wife!" A deep blush suffused her cheeks as she forced the
reluctant announcement from her lips. An expression of sadness and
disappointment soon spread itself over the countenances of the
revengeful warriors, for they knew that she had spoken the truth.
Another council was immediately held; at which it was determined that
their youthful queen, might according to the usages of the nation, take
the captive for her husband, in the place of her kinsman who was slain.
When this was proclaimed, Wyanokee slowly and doubtingly turned her eyes
upon Bacon to see whether the proposition met a willing response in his
breast. A single glance sufficed to convince her that it did not.
Instantly, however, recovering her self-possession, she cut the cords
and led him to her hut, where after having been reinvested with the sad
remnants of his bridal finery, we must leave him for the night.



CHAPTER II.


"The several causes of discontent in the colony of Virginia long
nourished in secret, or manifesting themselves in partial riots and
insurrections, were now rapidly maturing, and only the slightest
incident was wanting to precipitate them into open rebellion.

"Since the death of Opechancanough, the Indians, deprived of the
benefits of federative concert, had made but few attempts to disturb the
tranquillity of the colony. Several of the tribes had retired westward,
and those which remained, reduced in their numbers and still more in
strength by the want of a common leader, lingered on the frontiers,
exchanging their superfluous productions at stated marts with their
former enemies. A long peace, added to a deportment almost invariably
pacific, had in a great measure relaxed the vigilance of the colonists,
and the Indians were admitted to a free intercourse with the people of
all the counties. It was scarcely to be expected that during an
intercourse so irregular and extensive no grounds of uneasiness should
arise. Several thefts had been committed upon the tobacco, corn, and
other property of the colonists."

These depredations were becoming daily more numerous and alarming, and
repeated petitions had been sent in from all parts of the colony calling
upon Sir William Berkley in the most urgent terms to afford them
protection. The Governor remained singularly deaf to these reasonable
demands, and took no steps to afford that protection to the citizens for
which government was in a great measure established. Some excuse was
offered by his friends and supporters by pleading his great age and long
services. Sir H. Chicerly, who had some time before arrived in the
colony, clothed with the authority of Lieutenant Governor, and who had
till now remained an inactive participator of the gubernatorial honours,
began to collect the militia of the state; but Sir William was no sooner
informed of these proceedings, so well calculated to allay the rising
popular ferment, than he at once construed it into an attempt to
supersede his authority, and forthwith disbanded the troops already
collected, and countermanded the orders for raising more, which had been
sent by his subordinate through the several counties. These high-handed
measures of an obstinate and superannuated man, inflamed the public
mind. Meetings were called without any previous concert in almost every
county in the province, and the most indignant remonstrances were sent
in to the Governor. These, however, only served to stimulate his
obstinacy, while the continued depredations of the Indians wrought up
the general feeling of dissatisfaction into a blaze of discontent.
While these things were in progress, a circumstance happened, which,
while it brought the contest to an immediate issue, had at the same time
an important bearing upon all the principal personages of our narrative.
On the night succeeding the melancholy catastrophe at the chapel,
related in the last chapter, the tribes of Indians which had formerly
been leagued together in the Powhatan confederacy, simultaneously rose
at dead of night and perpetrated the most horrid butcheries upon men,
women, and children, in every part of the colony. The council had
scarcely convened on the next morning before couriers from every
direction arrived with the dreadful tidings. Among others, there came
one who announced to the Governor that his own country seat had been
consumed by the fires of the savage incendiaries, and that Mrs. Fairfax,
who had been removed thither for change of scene by the advice of her
physician, was either buried in its ruins or carried away captive by the
Indians. Public indignation was roused to its highest pitch, but it was
confidently expected, now that his excellency himself was a sufferer
both in property and feelings, that he would recede from his obstinate
refusal to afford relief. But strange to say, in defiance of enemies,
and regardless of the remonstrances of his friends, he still persisted.
The result ensued which might have been expected; meetings of the
people, which had before been called from the impulse of the moment, and
without concert, were now regularly organized, and immediate steps
taken to produce uniformity of action throughout the different counties.

While these elements of civil discord are fermenting, we will pursue the
adventures of our hero, whom we left just rescued from the hands of the
relentless savages. The new queen of the Chickahominies, after having
conducted Bacon to her own rude palace, retired for a short period in
order to allow him just time to prepare himself for her reception. An
Indian doctor was immediately summoned and directed to extract the
splinters and dress the wounds. The departure of this wild and
fantastical practitioner of the healing art was the signal for her own
entrance. Slowly and doubtfully she approached her visiter, who was
reclining almost exhausted upon a mat. Upon her entrance he attempted to
rise and profess his gratitude, but overcome with pain, sorrow, and
weakness, he fell back upon his rude couch, a grim smile and wild
expression crossing his features. She gracefully and benignantly
motioned him to desist, and at once waived all ceremony by seating
herself on a mat beside him. Both remained in a profound and painful
silence for some moments. Bacon's mind could dwell upon nothing but the
horrid images of the preceding hours of the night. Regardless of her
presence and her ignorance of those circumstances which dwelt so
painfully upon his memory, he remained in a wild abstraction, now and
then casting a glance of startled recognition and surprise at his royal
hostess.

She examined him far more intently and with not less surprise, after the
subsidence of her first embarrassment. Her sparkling eyes ran over his
strange dress and condition, with the rapidity of thought, but evidently
with no satisfactory result. She was completely at a loss to understand
the cause of his visit, and the singular time and appearance in which he
had chosen to make it. It is not improbable that female vanity, or the
whisperings of a more tender passion, connected it in some way with her
own recent flight. These scarcely recognised impressions produced
however an evident embarrassment in her manner of proceeding. She longed
to ask if Virginia was his bride, yet dreaded to do so both on her own
account and his. She had lived long enough in civilized society to
understand the signification of his bridal dress, but she was utterly at
a loss to divine why he should appear in such a garb covered with mud,
as if he had ridden in haste, in the midst of a warlike nation, and on
the very night appointed for the celebration of his nuptials, unless
indeed she might solve the mystery in the agreeable way before
suggested. Catching one of the originally white bridal flowers of his
attire between her slender fingers, she said with a searching glance;
"Faded so soon?" He covered his face with his hands, and threw himself
prostrate upon the mat, writhing like one in the throes of expiring
agony.

His benevolent hostess immediately called a little Indian attendant, in
order to despatch him for the doctor; but her guest shook his head and
motioned with his uplifted hand for her to desist. She reseated herself,
more at a loss than ever to account for his present appearance and
conduct. She had supposed that he was suffering from the pain of his
wounds, but she now saw that of these he was entirely regardless. She
became aware that a more deeply seated pain afflicted him. Again he
turned his face toward the roof of the hut, his hands crossed upon his
breast, and his bosom racked with unutterable misery.

"Is the pretty Virginia dead?"

The blackness of hell and horror was in his face as he turned a scowl
upon his interrogator, and replied, "Is this a new method of savage
torture? If so, call in the first set, they are kind and benignant
compared to you." But seeming suddenly to recollect that she was
ignorant of the pain she inflicted, he took her hand kindly and
respectfully, and continued, "Yes, Wyanokee, she is indeed dead to me.
If you regard the peace of my soul, or the preservation of my senses,
never whisper her name to the winds where it will be wafted to my ears.
Never breathe what she has taught you. Be an Indian princess, but for
God's sake look, speak, or act not in such a way as to remind me of
passed days. Tear open these wounds, inflict fresh tortures--yea,
torture others if you will, so I but horrify my mind with any other
picture than hers. O God, did ever sister rise before man's imagination
in such a damning form of loveliness? With most men, that little word
would suffice to dispel the horrid illusion! but with me, cursed as I
have been from my birth, and as I still am deeper cursed, the further I
pursue this wretched shadow called happiness, I would wed her to-morrow,
yea were the curse of the unpardonable sin denounced upon me from the
altar instead of the benediction. For her I would go forth to the world,
branded with a deeper damnation than ever encircled the brows of the
first great murderer. I would be the scorn, the jest, the by-word of
present generations, and a never dying beacon to warn those who come
after me."

As he proceeded, Wyanokee fixed her dark penetrating eyes upon his face,
until her own countenance settled into the expression of reverential
awe, with which the Indian invariably listens to the ravings of the
maniac. At every period she moved herself backward on the mat, until at
the conclusion, she had arrived at a respectful distance, and crossed
her hands in superstitious dread. A single glance conveyed her
impressions to his mind, and he resumed, "No, no, my gentle preserver,
reason is not dethroned, she still presides here, (striking his
forehead,) a stern spectator of the unholy strife which is kept up
between her sister faculties." Leaning toward her upon his elbow, he
continued in a thrilling whisper, "You have heard me read from the
sacred volume of the tortures prepared for the damned! of a future
existence, in which the torments of ten thousand deaths shall be
inflicted, and yet the immortal sufferer find no death! His soul will
be prepared for the endurance! I have already a foretaste of that
horrible eternity! And yet you see I preserve the power to know and to
endure! Is it not a dread mystery in this frail compound of ours--and
portentous of evil to come, that this faculty of supporting misery so
long outlives the good? The wise men of our race teach us that every
pain endured is a preparation of the opposite faculty to enjoy pleasure!
that our torpid fluids would stagnate without these contrasted
stimulants; 'tis all a delusion, a miserable invention of the enemy. Man
can suffer in this life a compound of horrors, for which its pleasures
and allurements have no equivalent; yea, and he suffers them after all
chance for happiness has vanished for ever. The pleasures of the world
are like the morning glories of a sea of ice. The sun rises and sparkles
in glittering rainbows for an hour, and then sinks behind the dark blue
horizon, and leaves the late enraptured beholder, to feel the chill of
death creeping along his veins, until his heart is as cold and dead as
the icebergs around 'an atom of pleasure, and a universe of pain.'"

His hearer sat in the most profound bewilderment; much of his discourse
was to her unintelligible, and notwithstanding his protestations to the
contrary, she still retained her first impressions as to the state of
his mind. She knew something of the various relations existing between
the most important personages of our story, and in her own mind, had
already begun to account for his present state. She supposed him to have
been rudely torn from his bride. Her object therefore in the following
words, was to learn something more of these particulars, and at the same
time to soothe the excited feelings of her guest.

"The great Father of the white man at Jamestown will restore your bride.
Does not your good book say, 'whom the' Great Spirit 'has joined
together let no man put asunder?'"

"Ay!" replied Bacon, "but what does it say when they are first joined
together by the ties of blood? Besides, he never did join us together in
the holy covenant. He stamped it with his curse? He denounced his veto
against it at the very foot of the altar. The same voice which thundered
upon mount Sinai spoke there. His servant stood up before him and asked,
'If any man can show just cause why they may not lawfully be joined
together let him now speak, or else hereafter forever hold his peace.'
And lo, both heaven and earth interposed at the same moment. The
thunders of heaven rent the air, and that most fearful man appeared as
if by miracle." Again lowering his voice to a whisper, he continued, "As
I rode upon the storm last night, and communed with the spirits of the
air, some one whispered in my ear, that the heavens were rent asunder
and he came upon a thunderbolt. And then again as I walked upon the
waves, and the black curtains gathered around, a bright light darted
into my brain and I saw the old Roundheads who were executed the other
day, sitting upon a glorious cloud, mocking at my misery! yea, they
mouthed at me. Ha, ha, ha!" The sound of his own unnatural laughter
startled him like an electric shock--and instantly he seemed to
recollect himself.

He covered his face with his hands, and rested them upon his knees in
silence. Some one entered and spoke to the queen in a low voice, and she
immediately informed her guest that his horse was dead. "Dead!" said he,
as he sprang upon his feet. "His last--best--most highly prized gift
dead! All on the same night--am I indeed cursed--in going out and in
coming in? Are even the poor brutes that cling to me with affection,
thus cut down? but I would see him ere he is cold."

A torch-bearer soon appeared at the summons of his mistress, and the
royal hostess and her guest proceeded to the spot. There lay the noble
animal, his once proud neck straightened in the gaunt deformity of
death. His master threw himself upon his body and wept like an infant.
The tears, the first he had shed, humanized and soothed his harrowed
feelings. Slowly he arose, and gazing upon the lifeless beast, exclaimed
with a piteous voice, "Alas poor Bardolph, thy lot is happier than thy
master's!"

The day was now dawning, and the morning air came fresh and invigorating
to the senses, redolent of the wild perfumes blown upon the moor and
forest, from the influence of a humid night. These reviving influences
however fell dead upon the benumbed faculties of our hero. In accordance
with the urgent solicitations of his hostess, he agreed to swallow an
Indian soporific, and try to lose his sorrows and his memory in that
nearest semblance of death. He did not fail, as he re-entered the
wigwam, to observe that the whole village (called Orapacs) was busily
preparing for some imposing ceremony, and that great accessions had been
made to the numbers of the previous night.

Long and soundly he slept; when he awoke the sun was coursing high in
the heavens. The air was balmy and serene, and his own monomaniacal
hallucinations were dissipated, partly worn out by their own violence
and partly dispelled by many hours of uninterrupted repose. Dreadful is
that affliction which sleep will not alleviate. It is true that one
suffering under a weight of misery which no hope lightens, no reasoning
assuages, wakes to a present sense of his condition with a startling and
miserable consciousness, yet upon the whole, the violence of grief has
been soothed and moderated. So it was with our hero, and he walked forth
a new and revived creature.

But as he stepped from the wigwam, a spectacle greeted his eye more akin
to the fantasies of the previous night than to stern reality. The
village was situated on a plain near the banks of the river. The forest
remained much as it first grew, save that the undergrowth had been
burned away and the ground afterwards overgrown with a luxuriant coat
of grass. This summary method of trimming the primitive forest gives it
much the resemblance of a noble park, cleared of its shrubs,
undergrowth, and limbs, by the careful hands of the woodman. The scene,
as Bacon looked along the woodland vista, had a wild novelty, and its
aspect would doubtless have been sedative in its effect had it not been
for the spectacle already alluded to, which we shall now endeavour to
describe. An immense concourse of Indians was collected just without the
external range of wigwams. They were seated in groups, in each of which
he recognised the distinguishing marks of separate tribes, the
representatives of each distinct nation of the peninsula having a
distinct and separate place. At the head of this warlike assemblage, on
a rude throne sat the youthful Queen of the Chickahominies. Immediately
around the foot of this elevation were seated the few grim warriors yet
remaining of that once powerful nation, and on her right hand the
Powhatans. A fantastically dressed prophet of the latter tribe, with a
curiously coloured heron's feather run through the cartilage of his nose
stood in the centre of the assembled nations, and harangued the deputies
with the most violent gesticulations, every now and then pointing in the
direction first of Jamestown, and then of Middle Plantations, (now
Williamsburg,) and in succession after these, to the other most thickly
peopled settlements of the whites. His rude eloquence seemed to have a
powerful effect upon his warlike audience, from the repeated yells of
savage cheering by which each appeal was followed. He concluded his
harangue by brandishing a bloody tomahawk over his head, and then
striking it with great dexterity into a pole erected in the centre of
the area. Numerous warriors and prophets from other tribes followed with
similar effect and like purpose, to all of whom the stern savages
listened with an eager yet respectful attention. When they had
concluded, the youthful queen of the Chickahominies descended one step
from her throne, and addressed the assembled nations; but her discourse
was received in a far different spirit from that which had attended the
eloquence of her predecessors. She was evidently maintaining the
opposite side of the question which occupied the grave assembly, and it
was apparent that the feelings of her auditors were hostile to her
wishes and opinions. No evidences of delight greeted her benevolent
counsels, and she resumed her seat almost overpowered by the loud and
general murmurs of discontent which arose at the conclusion of her
"talk." She felt herself a solitary advocate of the plainest dictates of
justice and humanity--she felt the difficulty and embarrassment of
addressing enlightened arguments to savage ears and uncultivated
understandings, and a painful sense of her own responsibility, and of
regret for having assumed her present station, pressed heavily upon
heart.

Bacon saw only the eloquent language of their signs and gestures; but
some knowledge of the outrages already perpetrated easily enabled him to
interpret their intentions. He knew that bloodshed and murder were the
objects of their meeting, and he resolved to seize the earliest
opportunity to escape, in order to take part in the defence of his
country. His mind turned eagerly to this wholesome excitement, as the
best outlet which was now left for the warring impulses within his
breast.



CHAPTER III.


The retirement of Wyanokee from her temporary presidency in the grand
council of the confederated nations, was the signal for beginning the
general carouse, by which such meetings were usually terminated. Two
huge bucks, with their throats cut, had been some time suspended from a
pole laid across a pair of stout forked saplings, driven into the ground
at the distance of a few feet from each other; these were now brought
into the centre of the area, and quickly deprived of their skins. The
neighbourhood of civilized man had already introduced that bane of
savage morals, whiskey; and plentiful supplies of this, together with
pipes and tobacco, were now served to the representatives. A general
scene of rude and savage debauch immediately followed. Meat was broiled
or roasted upon the coals--whiskey was handed round in calabashes, while
the more gay and volatile members of the assemblage found an outlet for
their animated feelings in the violent and energetic movements of the
Indian dance. The sounds which issued from the forest were a mingled din
of tinkling metals--rattling bones, and the monotonous humming of the
singers, occasionally enlivened by a sharp shrill whoop from some young
savage, as his animal spirits became excited by the exercise. The squaws
performed the part of menials, and bore wood, water, and corn, to supply
the feast for their lords and masters.

The new queen of the nation, upon whose ground these carousals were
held, retired to her own wigwam, as much disgusted with the moral
blindness and depravity of the deputies, as with the commencing revels.
Besides her disgust of what was left behind, there was an attraction for
her in her own sylvan palace, which, till a few hours back, it had sadly
wanted in her eyes; not that she approached it with any hope that her
passion would now or ever meet with a return from its object--but still
there was a melancholy pleasure in holding communion with one so far
superior to the rude, untutored beings she had just left. She felt also
a longing desire, not only to learn more of the mysterious transactions
of which she had gathered some vague indications from Bacon's discourse,
but to take advantage of present circumstances in returning some of the
many favours heaped upon herself by her white friends. There was a
nobler motive for this than mere gratitude; she wished to show to Bacon
and Virginia, that she could sacrifice her own happiness to promote
theirs. She felt now satisfied that both of them had discovered the
existence of her passion, long before she was aware of the impropriety
of its exhibition according to civilized usages, and she was anxious to
evince to them how nobly an Indian maiden could cover this false step
with honour. Full of these ennobling, and as it proved, delusive ideas,
she entered the wigwam with a mien and step which would not have
disgraced a far more regal palace.

Bacon was found upon a mat, reclining in melancholy mood against the
side of the apartment, intently eyeing the movements of the savages upon
the green. She followed his eye for a moment in shame and confusion for
the spectacle exhibited by the men of her own race.

"Do you mark the difference," said Bacon, "between the dances in yonder
forest and those at Jamestown? Why do not the women join in the
merry-making? We consider them worthy to partake of all our happiness."

"Ay, 'tis true, there is no Virginia there!"

His brow settled into a look of stern displeasure and offence, as he
replied, "Would you renew the scenes of the last night?"

"No, Wyanokee desires not to give pain, but to remove it--as she came
here now to show. You heard me claim you last night as a husband."--A
crimson tint struggled with the darker hue of her cheek, as she forced
herself to proceed.--"But it was only to save you from the cruel hands
of my countrymen. You may, therefore, give up all uneasiness on that
subject--I know well that the Great Spirit has decreed it otherwise than
I desired, and I submit without a murmur. It is useless for me to
conceal that I had learned too quickly to feel the difference between a
youth of your race, and one of yon rude beings; but it was more owing to
my ignorance of your customs than any want of proper maidenly reserve.
That is now passed, you are a married man, and as such I can converse
with you in confidence."

"Yes," said Bacon, a bitter smile playing over his countenance, "I am
married to stern adversity! 'Tis a solemn contract, and binds me to a
bride from whom I may not easily be divorced. Death may cut the knot,
but no other minister of justice can. I must say too, that the
ceremonies of last night were fitting and proper. I wooed my bride
through earth, air, and water; in thunder, lightning, and in rain. Nor
was she coy or prudish. She came to my arms with a right willing grace,
and clings to me through evil and through good report. I am hers, wholly
hers for ever. It is meet that I should learn to love her at once. Ay,
and I do hug her to my heart. Is she not my own? do we not learn to love
our own deformities? then why not learn to love our own sorrows?
Doubtless we shall be very happy--a few little matrimonial bickerings at
first, perhaps, but these will soon be merged in growing congeniality.
Man cannot long live with any companion, without bestowing upon it his
affection; the snake, the spider, the toad, the scorpion, all have been
loved and cherished: shall I not then love my bride? Is there not a
hallowed memory around her birth? was she not nurtured and trained by
these very hands? Is there not wild romance too, in her adventures and
our loves? Is she not faithful and true? yea, and young too! not coy
perhaps, but constant and devoted."

Although this language was prompted by very different states, both of
heart and head, from that of the preceding night, yet its literal
construction by the Indian maiden betrayed her into very little more
understanding of its import. She better comprehended the language of his
countenance. That, she saw, indicated the bitterness of death, but the
cause was still a mystery. She therefore continued her kind endeavours
with something more of doubt and embarrassment. "My intention was to
offer you and Virginia a home as soon as these warlike men are pacified
and gone--that you might come here and live with me until her grand
uncle will receive her and you. Oh, it will make Wyanokee very happy."

She would, no doubt, have continued in this strain for some time, but
his impatience could be contained no longer. "Is it possible that you do
not yet understand the depth and hopelessness of my misery? Know it then
in all its horrors. I was half married last night to my own half sister!
Did fate, fortune or hell ever more ingeniously contrive to blight the
happiness of mortal man at one fell blow? View it for a moment. There
was the game beautifully contrived--the stake was apparently trifling,
but the prize glittered with India's richest rubies--the very thoughts
of them conjured up scenes of fairy land. The richest fantasies of
romance sparkled before the eye of the player. The wildest dream of
earthly happiness allured him to each renewed attempt. First a little
was staked--then another portion--then another to insure the two former,
and so on until houses and lands and goods and chattels--yea and life
itself, or all that made it valuable, were hazarded upon the throw. Lo,
he wins! Joy unutterable fills his breast--he is about to place the
jewels next his heart, but behold they turn into scorpions. Rich and
beautiful in all their former ruby colour--but there is a fearful
talismanic power in their beauty. There is a deadly poison in the sight!
They charm to kill. Lay them not near the heart or else the great
magician, the king of evil--the prince of darkness himself, has bought
you body and soul! That was my case. I won the glorious stake, I had it
here (striking his breast), yea, and have it now, and the devil is
tempting me to lay it next my heart. I have wrestled with him all the
night, but again he is at work. See that you do not help him!"

Again she was lost in reverential awe. As his paroxysm by slow degrees
returned, she exhibited in the mirror of her own countenance the
passion, the wild enthusiasm, reflected from his, until the final charge
to herself, when she was overcome with wonder and fear. His own
preternaturally quick perceptions caught the effect produced, and he
again folded his arms and leaned back in grim and sullen silence, but
with the keen eye of the serpent watching the changing countenance of
his auditor. She was sunk in abstraction for some moments, and then, as
if rather thinking aloud than communing with another, she said, "Is it
possible?"

"Yea, as true as that the serpent infused his poison into the ear of the
mother of mankind. As true as that man was the first creature that died
on the face of the earth by the hands of his fellow. As true as death
and hell! As true as that there is a hereafter. Happiness is negative!
Misery positive. There is always a subtle doubt lingering upon our most
substantial scenes of happiness; but with misery it is slow, certain and
enduring; the proof conclusive and damning. It is more real than our
existence, and exists when it is no more. Our nerves are strung to
vibrate to the touches of harmony and happiness only when played upon by
inspirations from above, but they vibrate in discord to the earth, the
air, the winds, the waves, the thunder--the lightning. They are rudely
handled by men, beasts, reptiles, devils, by famine, disease and death.
Am I not a wretched monument of its truth? Are not these miserable and
faded trappings, the funeral emblems of my moral decease? Am I not a
living tomb of my own soul? A memento of him that was, with an
inscription on my forehead, 'Here walks the body of Nathaniel Bacon,
whose soul was burned out on the ever memorable night of his own
wedding, by an incendiary in the mortal habiliments of his own Father,
with a torch lit up in pandemonium itself? His body still walks the
earth as a beacon and a warning to those who would commit incest!'"

The door was darkened for a moment, and in the next the Recluse stood
before him. His giant limbs lost none of their extent or proportions as
viewed through the dim light which fell in scanty and checkered masses
from the insterstices of the sylvan walls. He stood in the light of the
only door,--his features wan and cadaverous, and his countenance
wretchedly haggard. "Why lingerest thou here in the lap of the tawny
maiden, when thy countrymen will so soon need the assistance of thy arm?
This night the torch of savage warfare and cruelty will in all
probability be lighted up in the houses of thy friends and kindred. Is
it becoming, is it manly in thee to seek these effeminate pastimes, in
order to drown the images of thy own idle fancy? If thou hast
unconsciously erred, and thereby cruelly afflicted thy nearest kindred,
is this the way to repair the evil? Set thou them the example! Be a
man--the son of a soldier. Thy father before thee has suffered tortures
of the mind, and privations of the body, to which thine are but the
feeble finger-aches of childhood as compared to the agonies of a painful
and protracted death. Rouse thyself from thy unmanly stupor, and hie
thee hence to the protection of those who should look up to thee. Be not
anxious for me, maiden; I see thy furtive glances at the besotted men
of thy race, and thence to me. I have long watched their movements. They
see me not; they will attempt no injury--and if they should their blows
would fall upon one reckless of danger--who has nought to gain or
lose,--who has long had his lights trimmed, and lamp burning, ready for
the welcome summons."

When he first entered the wigwam, Bacon sprang upon his feet, and gazed
upon the unwelcome apparition as if he doubted his humanity; but as his
hollow and sepulchral voice fell upon his ear in the well known, deep
excited intonations of the chapel, he moved backward, his hands clasped,
until his shoulders rested against the wall. There, shuddering with
emotion, he gazed earnestly and in silence upon his visiter, whose words
fell upon an indiscriminating ear. The Recluse perceived something of
his condition as he continued, "Hearest thou not?--seest thou not? Rouse
thee from this unmanly weakness. I saw thy dead horse upon the moor. I
will leave thee mine at the head of the Chickahominy Swamp. When night
closes upon yonder brutal scene, mount and ride as if for thy life, even
then thou mayst be too late! Remember! This night be thou in Jamestown!"

Having thus spoken, he stooped through the door, and vanished among the
trees behind the wigwam, as he had come. Bacon still gazed upon the
place where he had been, as if he still occupied the spot, his eyelids
never closing upon the distended iris, until he fell upon the floor in
a swoon. Such restoratives as an Indian wigwam afforded, were speedily
administered, and very soon the desired effect was produced. While he
lay thus worn down by the sufferings produced by the tortures of the
previous night, and the cruel excitement of his feelings, Wyanokee
discovered, as she was bathing his temples, the small gold locket, which
he had worn suspended from his neck, since the death of Mr. Fairfax.
Apparently it contained nothing but the plaited hair and the inscription
already mentioned. She caught it with childlike eagerness, and turned it
from side to side, with admiring glances, when her finger touched a
spring and it flew open; the interior exhibited to view the features of
a young and lovely female.

At this juncture Bacon revived. His countenance was pale and haggard
from the exhaustion of mental and bodily sufferings. His perceptions
seemed clearer, but his heart was burdened and oppressed--he longed for
speedy death to terminate the wretched strife. The prospect was dark and
lowering in whatever direction he cast his thoughts; no light of hope
broke in upon his soul--all before him seemed a dreary joyless waste. In
this mood he accidentally felt the open trinket within the facings of
his doublet, and inserting his hand he drew it forth. His head was
elevated instantly, his eyes distended and his whole countenance
exhibited the utmost astonishment. His first emotion was any thing but
pleasant--as if he had drawn from his bosom one of his own figurative
scorpions, but this was speedily succeeded by one of a different nature.
The first sensation of pleasure which he had felt since he left
Jamestown beamed upon his mind; it was mingled with the most unbounded
surprise; but quick as thought the light of hope broke in upon his dark
and cheerless prospects. Again and again the picture was closely
scrutinized, but with the same conviction, never before had he beheld
that face. It was resplendent with smiles and beauty. The dark hazel
eyes seemed to beam upon him with affectionate regard. The auburn
tresses almost fluttering in the breeze, so warm and mellow were the
lights and shadows. But what rivetted his attention was the want of
resemblance in the picture to the lady whom he had been so recently and
so painfully taught to believe his mother. The latter had light flaxen
ringlets and blue eyes, and the _tout ensemble_ of the features were
totally dissimilar. He imagined he saw a far greater resemblance between
the picture and himself, and hence the ray of hope. But in the place of
despair came feverish suspense--he now longed again to meet the Recluse,
whose presence had so lately filled him with horror. His mind sought in
vain within its own resources for means to bring the question to an
immediate issue. Was he the first-born son of Mrs. Fairfax or not?
Perhaps Brian O'Reily could tell something of the picture, or had seen
the original. No sooner had this faint, glimmering prospect of
unravelling the mystery dawned upon his mind, than he was seized with
the most feverish desire to set out for Jamestown.

The savages still kept up the carouse, but it would be hazardous in the
extreme, as he was assured by his hostess, to attempt to leave Orapacs
until the conclusion of the feast, which perhaps would last till night.
At that time they were all to proceed to the Powhatan domain. He was
compelled therefore to content himself with reading the lineaments of
the interesting countenance just opened to his view.

Upon what a frail foundation will a despairing man build up his fallen
castles in the air. Such was the occupation of our hero until the light
of the sun had vanished over the western hills. He lay upon his mat in
the twilight gloom, indulging in vague uncertain reveries. He had
examined the picture so long, so intently, and under such a morbid
excitement of the imagination, that he supposed himself capable of
recollecting the features. He had called up dim and misty shadows of
memory (or those of the imagination nearly resembling them) from a
period wrapped in obscurity and darkness. He endeavoured to go back step
by step to his years of childhood, until his excited mind became
completely bewildered among the fading recollections of long passed
days. As the rippling waters of the purling stream mingled with the
monotonous whistling of the evening breeze, his versatile imagination
fell into a kindred train. The music of the nursery, by which his
childish struggles had been lulled to repose, floated over his memory
in the tenderest and purest melancholy. Who that has music in his soul
has not, at a like season and hour, refreshed his heart with these early
impressions? Nor are they entirely confined to an inviting melancholy
mood and the hour of twilight. In the full vigour of physical and mental
power, and when the spirits are bounding and elastic--in the midst of
dramatic representations or the wildest creations of Italian musical
genius, these stores of memory's richest treasures will suddenly flood
the soul, touched perhaps by the vibration of some kindred chord.
Bacon's harassed mind was refreshed by the tender and softened mood into
which he had fallen. Besides, he was now stimulated by the glimmering
dawn of hope. When therefore darkness had completely covered the face of
the land, he arose to go upon his mission, a different being. Although
his own emotions on parting were faint compared to those of Wyanokee,
they were yet sorrowful and tender. He lamented the lot of the Indian
maiden, and respected the virtues and accomplishments which elevated her
so far above those by whom she was surrounded. He bade her adieu with
the most heartfelt gratitude for her services, and aspirations for her
welfare.

When he stepped from the wigwam he was astonished to see the huge fires,
upon which they had cooked the feast, still burning with undiminished
brilliancy, and still more startled to observe twenty or more savages
lying drunk around them, and half as many sober ones holding vigils
over their slumbers. He immediately changed his intended direction, and
skirted round the forest in which they lay, so as to arrive at the place
pointed out by the Recluse by a circuitous route.

When he came opposite to the fires, and half way upon his circuit, he
was not a little alarmed to hear the astounding war-whoop yelled by one
of the sentinels. Casting his eyes in that direction he saw that all the
guard were on the _qui vive_, and some of the slumberers slowly shaking
off their stupidity. He supposed that one of the sentinels had heard his
footsteps, and thus alarmed the rest. Taking advantage of the trees, and
the distance he had already gained, he was enabled to elude their
vigilant senses. But when he came to the spot pointed out by the
Recluse, a greater difficulty presented itself. The horse was already
gone, but not taken by the one who brought him there, as he saw
evidently from the impressions of his feet in the earth, where he had
stood most of the afternoon. He soon came to the conclusion that the
Indians had found and carried him off. This was the more probable as
they adjourned their council about the time he must have been taken. His
call to Jamestown was too urgent to be postponed, and however feeble in
body he determined to exert his utmost strength to arrive there during
the night.



CHAPTER IV.


Our hero reached Jamestown late on the very morning when the couriers
arrived in such rapid succession, with the startling intelligence of the
Indian massacres. All night he had wandered over the peninsula, vainly
endeavouring to discover his way; light after light shot up amidst the
surrounding gloom, and more than once he had been misled by these,
almost into the very clutches of the swarming savages. His heart sank
within him as he saw plantation after plantation, in their complete
possession; the illumination of their incendiary trophies lighting up
the whole surrounding country. It seemed indeed to his startled senses
as if the Indians had simultaneously risen upon and butchered the whole
white population of the colony. With the exception of a small remnant,
they had already once perpetrated the like horrible deed, and he again
saw in his imagination the dreadful scenes of that well remembered
night. Feeble old men, women and children indiscriminately
butchered--perhaps Virginia, whom he once again dared to think of, among
the number. True, Wyanokee had assured him otherwise, but might not the
grand council have determined upon the deed at the more appropriate
time of their nightly meeting?

As the dawning day unfolded to his view the relative bearings of the
country, these gloomy anticipations were partly realized. Every avenue
to the city, both by land and water, was crowded with people of all
sexes, colours and conditions, flying to the protection of the Fort.
Wagons, carts, negroes, and white bondsmen, were laden with furniture,
provisions, and valuables. Ever and anon a foaming charger flew swiftly
by, bearing some Cavalier to the city, doubly armed for retributive
vengeance. By these he was greeted and cheered upon his way, as well as
informed of the depredations committed in the neighbourhood whence they
had come. From one of these also he procured a horse, and joined a
cavalcade of his associates and friends, proceeding to the same centre
of attraction. To them also he unfolded so much of his recent adventures
as related to the general interests of the colony. Long, loud, and
vindicative were their denunciations, as well of the treacherous savages
as the stubborn old man at the head of affairs in the colony.

Although evident traces of his late bodily sufferings were perceptible
in Bacon's countenance, no vestige of his mental hallucinations on one
particular theme was perceived; his mind was intently occupied upon the
all absorbing topic of common safety. As they proceeded together to the
city, it was proposed to him to assume the command of a volunteer
regiment, which they undertook to raise as soon as they arrived in
Jamestown. His military talents and daring bravery were already well
known by most of his associates, but he doubted whether he was the most
proper person in the colony to assume so responsible a command. As to
his own personal feelings, never did fortune throw the chance of
honourable warfare more opportunely in the way of a desperate man. True,
it would have come still more seasonably twenty-four hours sooner, but
then he would only have been better qualified for some desperate deed of
personal daring, not for a command upon which hung the immediate fate of
all the colonists, and the ultimate supremacy of the whites in Virginia.
He promised, however, to accede to their proposal, provided, after the
regiment was raised, in which he must be considered a volunteer, the
majority cheerfully tendered him their suffrages. He stated the
hostility of the Governor to him personally, without enlightening them
as to its most recent cause; but they were now as resolute upon
disregarding the feelings and wishes of Sir William, as he had already
shown himself in disregarding their own. In short, they resolved at once
to assume that authority to protect their lives and property, which they
now felt, if they had never before known, was an inalienable right. Here
was sown the first germ of the American revolution. Men have read the
able arguments--the thrilling declamations, the logical defence of
natural and primitive rights, which the men of '76 put forth to the
world, with wonder at the seeming intuitive wisdom that burst so
suddenly upon the world at the very exigency which called it into
action. But in our humble opinion, the inception of these noble
sentiments was of much earlier date--their development not so miraculous
as we would like to flatter ourselves. Exactly one hundred years before
the American revolution, there was a Virginian revolution based upon
precisely similar principles. The struggle commenced between the
representatives of the people and the representatives of the king. The
former had petitioned for redress, "time after time,"--remonstrance
after remonstrance had been sent in to Sir William Berkley, but he was
deaf to all their reasonable petitions. The Cavaliers and citizens of
the colony now arrived at the infant capital, resolved to take upon
themselves as much power as was necessary for the defence of life,
freedom, and property. While the gathering multitude flocked to the
State House and public square in immense numbers, Bacon alighted at the
Berkley Arms, in order to change his dress, and before he joined them,
perform one act of duty which it would have been difficult for him to
say whether it was anticipated with most pain or pleasure. It was a
visit to Mrs. Fairfax and her daughter. He walked immediately from the
hotel to the quarters usually occupied by the servants of the Fairfax
family, in hopes of finding O'Reily--to despatch for his effects, which
he supposed he could not obtain in person, without suddenly and
unpreparedly exposing himself to the notice of the family. But the house
was silent as the tomb! No gently curling smoke issued from the chimney;
no cheering light broke in at the windows; all was dark, noiseless, and
desolate. The domestic animals still lingered around their accustomed
haunts, apparently as sad in spirit as he who stood with his arms folded
gazing upon the deserted mansion. The streets were indeed crowded with
the eager and tumultuous throng, but after the first unsuccessful essay
at the door of the servant's hall, he had passed round into the garden
of the establishment, and stood as we have described him, a melancholy
spectator of the painful scene. There hung Virginia's bird cage against
the casings of the window, perhaps placed by her own hands on the
morning of the unfortunate catastrophe, but the little songster was
lying dead upon the floor. The blooming flowers around her windows hung
in the rich maturity of summer, but seemed to mock the desolation around
with their gay liveries. The dogs indeed lazily wagged their tails at
his presence, and fawned upon him, but they too, slunk away in
succession, as if conscious of the rupture which had taken place in his
relations with the family.

What a flood of tender recollections rushed upon his memory as he stood
thus solitary in the flower garden of her who was the sole object of his
youthful and romantic dreams, and gazed upon the well known
objects,--each one the memento of some childish sport or pleasure. There
too stood the shaded seats and bowers of more mature adventures,
redolent of the richest fruits and flowers, and teeming with the
hallowed recollection of love's young dream. Nor were tears wanting to
the memory of that early friend and patron who had given him shelter in
his helpless days, from the cold neglect and inhospitality of the world,
and thus, perhaps, saved him the degradation of a support at the public
expense. These softened and subdued emotions humanized the savage mood
which sprung up from similar reminiscences on a previous occasion. The
current of his feelings had been changed by a single ray of hope. The
fountain was not now wholly poisoned, and the sweet water turned to gall
and bitterness. The scene therefore, painful and melancholy as it was,
produced beneficial results. But he marvelled that the house should be
so totally deserted. He supposed that the lady and her daughter might be
sojourning for a time with the Governor, but what had become of their
numerous domestics? They too could not be quartered at the gubernatorial
mansion. And above all, what had become of his own Hibernian follower?
Certainly, he was not thus provided for. He knew his privileged
servant's warm partialities and hatreds too well to believe that he had
accepted any hospitality from his master's bitterest enemy. At that
moment a servant of the Berkley Arms was passing, and having called him
into the garden, Bacon raised a window leading to his own apartments,
procured such of his garments as he most needed, and despatched them to
the hotel. When he had encased himself in these, somewhat to his own
satisfaction (and most young Cavaliers in those days wore their garments
after a rakish fashion) he sallied out to perform the duty which he felt
to be most incumbent on him. He knocked at the door of Sir William
Berkley's mansion, with very different feelings from any he had before
experienced on a similar occasion. The relations so lately discovered to
exist between himself and those for whom his visit was intended, as well
as his feelings toward those who had the right of controlling in some
measure the persons admitted to visit at the mansion, awakened anxious
thoughts not little heightened by the anticipation of meeting Beverly,
with whom an unexpected interview promised few agreeable emotions. The
family seemed determined too that he should have the benefit of all
these reflections, from the length of time they kept him standing in the
street. At length the porter opened the door with many profound
inclinations of the head, still standing however full within the
entrance, and continuing his over wrought politeness. "Is Mrs. Fairfax
within?" was the inquiry.

"She is dead! may it please your honour!"

"Dead!" uttered Bacon with a hoarse and trembling voice. "When and how?"

"His Excellency has just received the news--she was murdered last night
at his country seat by the Indians."

"Was Miss----was his niece there also?" he asked with a bewildered doubt
whether he had better inquire any further.

"No, Sir, she lies ill of a fever up stairs. Dr. Roland scarcely ever
leaves her room, except to tell Master Frank the state of his patient."

"I will enter for a moment and speak a few words with the good doctor."

"Pardon me, your honour, it gives me great pain to refuse any gentleman
admittance, but my orders are positive from Sir William himself to admit
no one to the sick room, and above all not to admit your honour within
these doors. I have over and over again turned away Miss Harriet, who
seems as if she would weep her eyes out, poor lady, at my young
mistress' illness and the Governor's cruelty, as she calls it."

"I see you have a more tender heart than your master; here is gold for
you, not to bribe you against your duty or inclinations; but you will
fully earn it by informing Dr. Roland that Mr. Bacon wishes to speak
with him for five minutes at the Arms, upon business of the last
importance."

"I will tell him, sir; but I do not think he will go, because he has
himself given the strictest injunctions that your name shall not be
whispered in the room, or even in the house. No longer than this
morning, sir, she heard them announce the death of her mother down
stairs. Her hearing is indeed extraordinary, sir, considering her so
poorly. Since that she has been much worse."

Bacon did not choose to expose himself to the chance of insult any
longer by meeting some of the male members of the family, he therefore
took his departure from the inhospitable mansion, and skirted round the
unfrequented streets, in order to avoid the immense multitude collected
in the square and more frequented passages. He could hear the shouts and
cheering which echoed against the houses as he proceeded, but little did
he imagine that they welcomed his own nomination to the responsible
station of commander to the colonial forces. His intention was to
proceed to the Arms, and there await the arrival of the doctor; but he
no sooner entered the porch than he was seized by the hand in the well
known and sympathizing grasp of Dudley.

While the friends were yet uttering their words of greeting, and before
they had propounded one of the many questions which they desired to ask,
Bacon was seized under each arm with a rude, but not disrespectful
familiarity--saluted by the title of General, and borne off toward the
state house in spite alike of remonstrances and entreaties.

It was with great difficulty they could gain the square, so dense was
the barricade of ox carts loaded with furniture, and wagons thronged
with negro children; while families in carriages and on horseback, and
thousands of the multitude promiscuously huddled together, increased the
difficulty of making way. Since he had heard the startling news of the
death of Mrs. Fairfax, his mind was more than ever bent upon joining the
proposed expedition; and had it not been for the interruption to the
anticipated meeting with the Doctor, no one could have appeared upon the
rostrum with greater alacrity.

The contumaceous conduct of the Governor toward the respectful
remonstrances and petitions of the citizens, and more especially his
unwarranted and disrespectful treatment of himself, recurred to his mind
in good time. He mounted the rude platform hastily erected in front of
the state house, burning with indignation, and glowing with
patriotism.[2] "He thanked the people for the unexpected and unmerited
honour they had just conferred upon him. He accepted the office tendered
to him with alacrity, and none the less so that yonder stubborn old man
will not endorse it with his authority, and sanction our proceeding
under the ordinary forms of law. What has produced this simultaneous
explosion in the colony? What are the circumstances which can thus array
all the wealth, intelligence and respectability of the people against
the constituted authorities. Let your crippled commerce, your taxed,
overburdened and deeply wronged citizens answer? The first has been
embarrassed by acts of parliament, which originated here, the most
severe, arbitrary and unconstitutional, while your citizens both gentle
and hardy, have been enormously and indiscriminately taxed in order to
redeem your soil from the immense and illegal grants to unworthy and
sometimes non-resident favourites.

[Footnote 2: This is an abstract of the speech really delivered by
Bacon.]

"There was a time when both Cavalier and yeoman dared to be free; when
your assembly, boldly just to their constituents, scrupled not to
contend with majesty itself in defence of our national and chartered
rights. But melancholy is the contrast which Virginia at this time
presents. The right of suffrage which was coeval with the existence of
the colony, which had lived through the arbitrary reign of James, and
with a short interruption through that of the first Charles, which was
again revived during the commonwealth, and was considered too sacred to
be touched even by the impure hands of the Protector, is now
sacrilegiously stolen from you during a season of profound peace and
security.

"The mercenary soldiers, sent from the mother country at an immense
expense to each of you, fellow-citizens, where are they? Revelling upon
the fat of the land at distant and unthreatened posts, while our
fathers, and mothers, and brothers, and sisters, are butchered in cold
blood by the ruthless savage. Where is now the noble and generous
Fairfax, the favourite of the rich and the poor? Where his estimable and
benevolent lady? Murdered under the silent mouths of the rusty cannon
which surmount yonder palisade. Look at his sad and melancholy mansion,
once the scene of generous hospitality to you all--behold its deserted
halls and darkened windows. But this is only the nearest evidence before
our eyes--within the last twenty-four hours hundreds of worthy citizens
have shared the same fate.

"Shall these things be longer borne, fellow-citizens?"

"No! no! no!" burst from the multitude--"down with the Governor, and
extermination to the Indians."

He continued. "Already I see a noble band of mounted youths, the sons of
your pride and your hopes--flanked by a proud little army of hardier
citizens; from these I would ask a pledge, that they never lay down
their arms, till their grievances are redressed."--

"We swear--we swear," responded from all, and then, three cheers for
General Bacon, made the welkin ring. At this juncture the trumpet, drum,
and fife, were heard immediately behind the crowd, and a party of the
royal guard, some fifty in number, halted upon the outskirts of the
assemblage, while their officer undertook to read a proclamation from
the Governor, ordering the mob, as he was pleased to style the meeting,
to disperse under penalty of their lives and property. The _army of the
people_, already getting under arms, immediately commenced an evolution
by which the temporary commander of the mounted force would have been
thrown directly fronting the guard, and between them and the multitude.
Bacon saw the intended movement, and instantly countermanded the orders,
"Let the people," said he, "deal with this handful of soldiers; we will
not weaken our force, and waste our energies by engaging in intestine
broils, when our strength is so much called for by the enemies of our
race upon the frontiers." The suggestion was immediately adopted; before
the hireling band could bring their weapons to the charge, the multitude
had closed in upon them, and disarmed them to a man. This accomplished,
they were taken to the beach, in spite of the remonstrances of many of
the more staid and sober of the Cavaliers and citizens, and there
soundly ducked. Very unmilitary indeed was their appearance, as they
were marshalled into battle array, all drooping and wet, and thus
marched to the music of an ignominious tune to the front of the
Governor's house.

The frantic passion of Sir William Berkley can be more easily imagined
than described. He saw that he was left almost alone--that those
citizens most remarkable for their loyalty had deserted him. However
wilful and perverse, he saw the necessity of making temporary
concessions, although at the same time more than ever bent upon summary
vengeance against the most conspicuous leaders of the opposing party
whenever chance or fortune should again place the real power of the
colony in his hands. At present he felt that he was powerless--the very
means which he had taken to thwart and provoke the people now became
the source of the bitterest regret to himself, namely--sending the
mercenary soldiers of the crown to distant posts on fictitious
emergencies. He resolved therefore to disguise his real feelings until
the departure of the popular army, when he could recall his own regular
troops, and thus take signal vengeance upon such of the agitators as
should be left behind, and thence march immediately to the subjugation
of the force commanded by Bacon. Scarcely had the presence of the
dripping guard, as seen through his window, suggested these ideas,
before an opportunity offered of putting in practice his temporary
forbearance.

A committee was announced, at the head of which was Mr. Harrison, his
former friend and supporter--they were the bearers of a conciliatory
letter from General Bacon. In this letter the young commander in chief,
in accordance with the suggestions of the older Cavaliers, respectfully
announced his election to the command of the volunteer army, and
concluded by requesting the Governor to heal all existing breaches by
sanctioning his own appointment, as well as that of the appended list of
young Cavaliers, to the various stations annexed to their names; and
that no delay might occur in the pursuit of the enemy, an immediate
answer was requested. The stout old Cavalier was ready to burst with ill
suppressed rage as he marked the cool and respectful tone of this
epistle, coming from one he most cordially detested and despised, both
on public and private grounds.

The committee waited until he had penned his answer, which was cold and
formal, but polite. In it he declined signing the commissions in the
absence of the council, but promised to convene it early on the ensuing
day, when he stated that he would despatch a courier after the army, if
the council thought proper to approve of the popular proceedings. He
promised also to dismantle the distant forts, and immediately to call in
the foreign troops for the defence of the capital.

With this answer, the committee, he to whom it was addressed, and the
populace were well satisfied. It really promised more than they had
expected of the obstinate old Governor. Little did they dream of the
lurking treachery in the old man's heart, much less did they truly
interpret the equivocal language contained in the note itself,
concerning the foreign soldiers, and the defence of the capital. Little
did they imagine that they themselves were the foes against whom he
proposed to employ the mercenaries.

The army now took up its line of march across the bridge, amidst the
cheers and blessings of the multitude; men, women, and children
following them to the boundaries of the island.

Part of the force was sent up the river in sloops, in order to
co-operate with the main army in their design of driving the tribes
scattered along the water courses of the peninsula, to a common point
of defence, and thus forcing them, if possible, into an open, general,
and decisive engagement. The youthful commander in chief was intimately
acquainted with all the localities between the seat of government, and
the falls of the river, (where Richmond now stands,) and he very
ingeniously arranged his forces by land and water, so that he might at
the same time drive the treacherous enemy before him through the
peninsula, and avoiding a premature battle, concentrate the enemy at the
point already indicated. It was with this general view, that one part of
his force was now sent up the river, while the other pursued the route
between the Chickahominy and the Pamunky rivers. These general views
were discussed, and the plan decided upon at a council of war, held on
the main land, immediately after the troops had passed the bridge. Bacon
having imparted to Charles Dudley, his Aid-de-Camp, such orders as the
emergency required, turned his horse's head again toward the bridge, and
retraced his steps to Jamestown.



CHAPTER V.


The martial sounds of drums and trumpets had scarcely died away over the
distant hills, when Sir William Berkley despatched couriers to the
various military outposts of the colony, peremptorily ordering the
commanders to march forthwith to Jamestown with the forces under their
command. To these couriers also were given secret instructions for the
private ears of such of his loyal friends among the Cavaliers living on
their routes, as he knew would adhere to him under any circumstances,
urgently soliciting their immediate presence at the capital. After these
were despatched, he summoned a secret conclave of such friends, equally
worthy of his trust, as were yet to be found in the city.

Thus were they engaged, as General Bacon, habited in the rich military
fashion of the day, rode along the north western skirt of the city, his
own gay attire, and the splendid trappings of his horse wretchedly
mocking the desolation within. He drew up at the back court of the
Berkley Arms, dismounted, and passed immediately into a private room.
Having despatched a servant for the landlord, he employed the time
before he made his appearance, in meditations upon the singular and
protracted absence of Brian O'Reily, the new responsibilities which he
had just assumed, and the present condition and future destinies of the
fair invalid at the gubernatorial mansion.

When the landlord entered he quickly demanded if Doctor Roland had
inquired for him during the forenoon, and was answered that he had not.
A servant was despatched with a note to the Doctor repeating his request
for an interview of five minutes at the Arms. After he had waited some
time in the most intense impatience, the servant returned with a verbal
message stating that the doctor would wait on Gen. Bacon immediately.

"From whom did you obtain this answer?"

"From the porter at the door, sir."

"Very well, you may retire!"

As he sat impatiently listening for the heavy footsteps of the doctor,
he heard a light fairy foot tripping up the stairs, toward his room, and
in the next instant a gentle tap at the door. His heart almost leaped to
his mouth as he indistinctly bade the applicant to come in. "Can it be
possible," said he to himself, "that Virginia has escaped from her
jailers? Was the story of her illness but an invention of the
Governor's?"

Before he had answered these questions to his own satisfaction, the door
was suddenly thrust backward and Harriet Harrison stood before him.

She was pale, agitated, and gasping for breath, as she threw herself
unasked into a seat. Bacon was from his previous emotions scarcely more
composed, and his heart beat tumultuously against his doublet, as he
endeavoured vainly to offer the courtesies due to her sex and standing.

"Oh, Mr. Bacon!" (gasped the agitated girl) "fly for your life."

"On what account, my dear young lady?"

"I'll tell you as quick as I can. I had just obtained admission to-day
to Virginia's room for the first time, when, after having spent the
time, and more, allotted to me by the doctor, as I was coming down the
stairs I had to pass the door of Sir William's library, and I
accidentally overheard him giving orders to an officer to collect some
soldiers from the barracks and make you a prisoner in this house. How he
knew you were here I know not; but I was no sooner out of the door than
I flew to the back court below, demanded of the servant holding your
horse to point out your room, and rushed in in this strange manner to
put you on your guard. Now, fly for your life--you have not a moment to
lose!"

"One word of Virginia, your fair friend, and I am gone. Will she
survive? Is her reason unsettled? Does she believe the strange story of
the Recluse?"

"In a word then, she is better--of sound mind, and in her heart does not
believe one word of that story, though sober reason is strangely
perplexed."

"One word more, and I have done. Does she inquire for me?"

"The very first word she said to me was, 'Does Nathaniel believe it?'
Now go, while yet you may. Should any new emergency arise in your
absence I will despatch a courier after you."

"Yet one message to Virginia. Tell her that I have accidentally
discovered in the trinket preserved by her father, and worn by me in the
days of my infancy, the likeness of her whom I have every reason to
believe my mother. Tell her not to hope too sanguinely, but to give that
circumstance its weight, and trust to the developments of time; and now
I commit you both, my dearest friends, to the protection of an
overruling Providence; farewell."

With these parting words he rushed down stairs, mounted his fleet
charger, and swiftly left the court just as the Governor's emissaries
entered the front porch of the house to arrest him.

Harriet drew her veil closely over her face, and almost as fleetly
sought her father's dwelling.

Our hero in a very few minutes placed the river which separates the
island from the main land between him and his pursuers. The sun was yet
above the western horizon, and the clouds which spread in fleecy and
stationary masses, were tinted with the softest hues of the violet and
the rose, filling the mind with pleasing images of repose, cheerfulness,
and hope. These soothing and delightful influences of the summer evening
were in a great measure lost however upon our hero as he pursued his
solitary way through the unbroken forest in the immediate footsteps of
the army.

Besides the inevitable suspense attending the developments of his own
origin and destiny--there were immediate anticipations before him of no
pleasing character. He had just assumed the responsibilities of an
office, which at the very outset was attended with the most painful
embarrassments. His keen military eye ran over the ground occupied by
the enemies of his country, and perceived at once that to make his
enterprise completely and permanently successful, the savages must be
driven entirely from the peninsula.

The very first on the list of these nations was the Chickahominy, at the
head of which was the youthful queen, who had so lately perilled her
life and her authority for his own salvation from the tortures of her
countrymen. His decisive and energetic mind perceived the stern
necessity which existed of driving these melancholy relics of once
powerful nations far distant from the haunts of the white man. The
question was not now presented to his mind, whether a foreign nation
should land upon the shores of these aboriginal possessors. That
question had long since been decided. It was now a matter of life or
death with the European settlers and their descendants--a question of
existence or no existence--permanent peace or continual murders. The
whites had tried all the conciliatory measures of which they supposed
themselves possessed. Peace after peace had succeeded to the frequent
fires and bloodshed of the savages. The calumet had been smoked time
after time, and hostage after hostage had been exchanged, yet there was
no peace and security for the white man. The right of the aboriginals to
the soil was indeed plain and indisputable; yet now that the Europeans
were in possession, whether by purchase or conquest, the absolute
necessity of offensive warfare against them was equally plain and
unquestioned in his mind. These views had been hastily communicated to
the council of officers held on the banks of the river, at the
commencement of the march, and unanimously concurred in by them.
Notwithstanding this unanimity of opinion among his associates in
command, the very first duty which presented itself in accordance with
these views, harrowed his feelings in the most painful manner. His
imagination carried him forward to the succeeding morning, when his
followers would in all probability be carrying fire and sword into the
heart of the settlement ruled by his preserver. As the refined and
feeling surgeon weeps in secret over the necessity of a painful and
dangerous operation upon a delicate female friend, yet subdues his
feelings and steels his nerves for the approaching trial, so our
youthful commander silenced the rising weakness in his heart, and urged
his steed still deeper into the forest. He determined to temper and
soften stern necessity with humanity.

A few hours' ride brought him up with the baggage and artillery of the
army. The sun had already gone down, but a brilliant starlight, and a
balmy and serene air revived his drooping spirits, as he swiftly passed
these lumbering appendages.

Scarcely had he placed himself at the head of the marching column, and
perceived that the flower and chivalry of his command--the mounted
Cavaliers, were still in advance of him, before the sharp quick report
of their fire-arms was heard at some three quarters of a mile distance
in advance. These were quickly succeeded by the savage war-whoop, and in
a few moments a bright red column of fire and smoke shot up towards the
heavens immediately in front. His spurs were dashed into his charger's
flanks, and he flew through the fitfully illuminated forest toward a
gently swelling hill from beyond which the light seemed to proceed.

When he had gained this eminence, a sight greeted his eyes which
awakened all the tenderest sympathies of his nature. Orapacs, the sole
remaining village of the Chickahominies--the scene of his late
tortures--as well as his preservation, was wrapped in flames. Ever and
anon a terrified or wounded savage came darting through the forest
heedless alike of him and of the martial sounds in his rear. He reined
up his courser on the summit and sadly viewed the scene.

His commands were no longer necessary for the existing emergency. The
deed, for which he had been so laboriously and studiously preparing his
mind was done. The royal wigwam, the very scene of his shelter, and of
Wyanokee's hospitality, was already enveloped by the devouring element.
A few struggling and desperate warriors still kept up the unequal
contest, but in a few moments, even the despairing yells of these were
hushed in the cold and everlasting silence of death. Painfully and
intently he gazed upon the crumbling walls of the once peaceful home of
his Indian friend. He could perceive no appearance of the unfortunate
queen. His imagination immediately conjured up the image of the heroic
maiden, her form bleeding and mutilated as it lay among the last
defenders of the land of her fathers. By a singular sophistry of the
mind, he consoled himself by the reflection, that the orders had not
proceeded from his lips--that his hand had no part in the matter,
although he had himself laid down the plan of the campaign, of which the
scene before him was the first result. True, he had mentioned no exact
time for the accomplishment of this measure, and the ardour of his young
companions in arms had outstripped his own intentions; nevertheless, the
design was his, however much he might soothe his own feelings by the
want of personal participation.

By the time that the infantry and heavy artillery had arrived upon the
spot occupied by their General, the village of Orapacs was a heap of
smouldering ruins. The scene was again covered with darkness, save when
it was illuminated at intervals by a fitful gleam, as some quivering
ruin fell tardily among the smouldering embers of the walls which had
already fallen. He assumed the command of his troops, and marched them
into the plain between the place they then occupied, and the site of the
melancholy scene we have described. By his orders also, the trumpets
were ordered to command the return of the impetuous Cavaliers. Dudley
and his compatriots soon came bounding over the plain, exhilarated with
the first flush of success, and not a little surprised at the cold and
respectful salutations which greeted them from their commander. Most of
them, however, were acquainted with his late sufferings and feeble
bodily health, and to this cause they were willing to attribute his
present want of euthusiasm.

Bacon had no sooner issued the necessary orders for the night than,
taking Dudley by the arm, he walked forth into the forest beyond the
sentinels already posted.

"Tell me, Dudley," (said he in a hurried and agitated voice,) "was she
slain?"

"Was who slain?"

"The queen of these dominions!"

"No, I believe not. I think she was borne from the scene early in the
conflict, by some of her tribe."

"Thank God!" he fervently ejaculated, and then addressing himself to his
aid, he continued, "Return, Dudley, to the camp--superintend the
execution of the orders I have issued for our security, in person, but
follow me not, and suffer no one, either officer or soldier, to approach
the ruins. I will return in the course of a couple of hours."

Having thus spoken, he suddenly disappeared through the forest, and his
companion returned to the camp.

With slow and melancholy steps our hero approached the late busy and
animated scene. The beasts of prey were sending up their savage, but
plaintive notes in horrible unison with his own feelings. The cool
evening breeze fanned the dying embers, and occasionally loaded the
atmosphere with brilliant showers of sparks and flakes of fire. As these
rolled over his person and fell dead upon his garments, he folded his
arms, and contemplated the ruins of the wigwam in which he had found
protection.

"There," said he, "was perhaps the birth-place of a hundred monarchs of
these forests. Until civilized man intruded upon these dominions, they
were in their own, and nature's way, joyous, prosperous, and happy. They
have resided amidst the shades of these venerable trees, perhaps since
time began! The very waters of the stream bubbling joyously over yonder
pebbles, have borrowed their name. Where are they all now? The last male
youth of their kingly line was slain by these hands, and the last
habitations of his race fired and plundered by soldiers owing obedience
to my commands. The plough and the harrow will soon break down alike
their hearth-stones and the scene of their council fires. Yea, and the
very monuments of their dead must be levelled to meet the ever craving
demands of civilized existence. But pshaw! is this the preparation to
steel a soldier's heart, and fire it with military ardour and
enthusiasm? Let me rather ponder upon my own sufferings on this spot.
Let me remember the groans of dying old men, women, and children, which
rent the air twelve hours since. And above all, let me bear in mind the
despairing shrieks of her, who was more than a mother to me, of her who
clothed and fed and protected me in infancy. Where is she now?"

"She is alive and well!" answered a feeble and plaintive voice from the
wild flowers and shrubbery which grew upon an earthen monument erected
to the savage dead.

"Who is it that speaks?"

"One that had better have slept with those who sleep beneath!"

"Wyanokee?"

"Ay, who is left but Wyanokee and these mouldering bones beneath, of all
the proud race that once trod these plains unchallenged, and free as the
water that bubbles at your feet."

He approached the rude monument as she spoke. It consisted of a
grass-grown mount some thirty feet in length, by ten in height and
breadth, and was surmounted by thick clustering briers and wild flowers.
The youthful queen was sitting upon the margin of the tumulus, her head
resting upon her hand, and it in its turn supported on her knee. As the
officer approached, she stood erect upon the mount. Her person was clad
and ornamented much as when he had last seen her, except that above one
shoulder protruded a richly carved unstrung bow, and from the other, a
quiver of feather-tipped arrows crossing the bow near her waist. The
soldier replied,

"It is almost useless for me to profess now, how wholly, how profoundly,
I sympathize with you in witnessing this scene of desolation. Naught but
the dictates of inevitable necessity could have induced the army under
my command to perpetrate this melancholy devastation. But I trust that
the soothing influences of time, your own good sense, and the
ministrations of your kind white friends, will reconcile you to these
stern decrees of fate."

"Kind indeed is the white man's sympathy--very kind. He applies the
torch to the wigwam of his red friend, shoots at his women and children
as they run from the destruction within, and then he weeps over the
ruins which his own hands have made."

"It is even so, Wyanokee. I do not expect you to understand or
appreciate my feelings upon the instant; but when you are once again
peacefully settled at Jamestown with your sorrowing young friend, and
will cast your eyes over this vast and fertile country, and see to what
little ends its resources are wasted, and on the other hand, what
countless multitudes are driven hither by the crowded state of other
parts of the world, you will begin to see the necessity which is driving
your red brethren to the far west. You can then form some conception of
the now unseen power behind, which is urging them forward. You will see
the great comprehension and sublime spectacle of God's political
economy! you will see it in its beauty and its justice. You feel the
partial and limited effects of these swelling waves of the great
creation now upon yourself and your nation. I grant they are hard to be
borne, but once place yourself above these personal considerations, and
compare the demands of a world with the handful of warriors lying dead
around those ruins, and you will bow to the justice of the decree which
has gone forth against your people!"

"Does your Great Spirit then only care for the good of his white
children? You taught me to believe that he too created the red men, and
placed them upon these hunting grounds, that he cared as much for them
as he did for their white brethren--but now it seems he is angry with
the poor red man, because he lives and hunts as he was taught, by the
Great Spirit himself. These hunting grounds are now wanted for his other
children, and those to whom he first gave them, must not only yield them
up, but they must be driven by the fire and the thunder, and the long
knives of those who have been professing themselves our brethren."

"Your view of the case is a very natural and plausible one, yet it seems
to me you have overlooked that point in it, upon which the whole matter
turns. Let us for one moment grant the necessity of making room on your
hunting grounds for your white brethren, who are crowded out of the
older countries. There seemed at first no need to disturb the red men,
there was room enough here for all, we were content to live upon this
kind and neighbourly footing. Had your brethren been equally content,
the great purposes of the Creator would have been answered without any
destruction of his red or white children. Have the red men so demeaned
themselves toward the whites that we could all dwell here together? Let
the massacre of last night speak! You point to yonder smouldering ruins
and bloody corpses. I point to the bleeding bodies of my countrymen and
friends, and their demolished dwellings as the cause--the direct cause
of the desolation you behold."

"The white man talks very fast--and very well--he talks for the Great
Spirit and himself too; but who talks for the poor red man, but
Wyanokee. All you say is very good for the white men upon our hunting
grounds, and the white men driven from over the great waters, and for
the white men left behind. It leaves room to hunt and plant corn _there_
for the white men, and finds room _here_ to hunt and plant corn, but you
do not give the poor red man any hunting ground. You say we must go to
the far west, but how long will it be the far west? How many of your
white friends are coming over the big waters? How far is this place,
where the red man will not be driven from his new hunting ground? If we
cannot live and smoke the calumet of peace together, we must have
separate hunting grounds. Where are our hunting grounds? Ah, I see your
eye reaches where the clouds and the blue mountains come together--to
the end of the world, we must go, like those beneath us to the hunting
grounds of the Great Spirit."

"Not so, Wyanokee, we would willingly spare the effusion of blood, and
when our arms have taught the men who assembled here two days ago, our
firm determination always to avenge the murder of our friends and the
plunder of their property, it is our intention to propose a fair and
permanent peace. We will endeavour to convince them of the necessity of
abandoning for ever the country between these two great rivers, and
moving their hunting grounds where the interests of the two races cannot
come in conflict."

"O yes, you will run the long knives through their bodies, and then
smoke the calumet! You will drive us from our homes, and then you will
persuade us to give them up to the white man."

"You are not now in a proper mood to reason upon this subject calmly, my
gentle friend, nor do I wonder at it; but the time will come when your
views of this matter will be similar to my own."

"No, Wyanokee cannot see through the white man's eyes; she has not yet
learned to forget her kindred and her country. She came here to-night to
sit upon the graves of the great hunters and warriors who slept here
with their calumets and tomahawks beside them, long before the long
knives came among us. She will carry away from this place to night, this
little flower planted by her own hands over the graves of her fathers
and brothers. She would leave it here to spread its flowers over their
ancient war paths and their graves, but even these silent and peaceful
bones, and these harmless flowers must share the fate of them who buried
the one and planted the other. Wyanokee will never see this place
more--never again be near the bones of her fathers, until she meets them
all at the hunting ground of the Great Spirit. Farewell, home and
country and friends, and fare thee well, ungrateful man; when next the
Indian maiden steps between thee and the tomahawk of her countrymen
repay not her kindness with the torch to her wigwam and the long knife
to her heart."

With these bitter words of parting, she descended from the mound with
dignity, and disappeared through the forest, notwithstanding the urgent
entreaties of Bacon, that she would return. She gave no other evidence
of heeding him than turning back the palm of her hand toward him, and
leaning her head in the opposite direction, as if she were exorcising an
evil spirit. He made no other attempt to stay her progress; once indeed
the thought occurred to him to hail the sentinel and arrest her for her
own sake, but the idea was as speedily abandoned. He determined to leave
her destiny wholly in the hands of him who first decreed it. For a
moment he ascended the mount and cast his eye over the wide-spread and
melancholy desolation, and then rapidly retraced his steps to the camp.
When there, his first orders were to have the slain warriors of the
expatriated tribes, buried in the tomb of their forefathers, while his
own personal attention was bestowed upon the condition of the prisoners
taken during the demolition of the village.

They sat round the tents appropriated to their use, in stern and sullen
dignity. Wounded or whole, no sound escaped their lips; and their food
and drink remained untouched before them. They noticed the entrance of
the commander in chief no more than if he had been an insignificant
creeping reptile of the earth; no signs of recognition lighted up their
features, though most or all of them must have been present at the scene
of his own tortures. While Bacon stood no unmoved spectator of the calm
unshaken fortitude with which they bore their misfortunes, an incident
occurred that served to exhibit the stern qualities of their pride in
still bolder relief. One of the old warriors had been taken while
attempting to escape with one of his children, after having fought
until there was not a vestige of hope remaining for the preservation of
his people and their homes. He was brought into the camp, together with
his child. While the prisoners were all sitting round in sullen dignity,
and the general of the invading army stood surveying them as we have
mentioned, this little child came entreatingly to its father's knees,
and begged for the food which stood untouched before his face. He made
no verbal reply--a momentary weakness softened his countenance as he
gazed into the face of the tender petitioner, but in the next, he raised
his tomahawk and sank it deep into the brain of his child before any one
could arrest his arm. The innocent and unconscious victim fell without a
groan or struggle, and the stern old warrior reinserted the handle of
his weapon in his belt, crossed his arms upon his breast, and resumed
his former attitude of immobility. Bacon gazed at him in astonishment
and horror for an instant, and then wheeled suddenly round to retire
from an exhibition of humanity, so rude, ferocious, and appalling. But
as he was about to emerge from the portal of the tent, Wyanokee was
rudely thrust into the door, and they stood face to face.

His first impulse was to draw his sword, and rush upon the two soldiers
who had guarded the prisoner, but a moment's reflection served to remind
him that they had but obeyed his own general orders. He returned the
half drawn weapon therefore, and stood an embarrassed spectator of the
captive maiden's searching glances, as her eyes wandered around the
room, first resting upon her unfortunate companions in captivity, next
upon the corpse of the slain infant, and lastly upon the commander
himself. He had seen her previously when her subdued manners and
lady-like deportment, inclined him in communing with her to forget her
Indian origin, but he saw her now with all her native impulses roused to
their highest tension. Her eye flashed fire as it rested upon him after
completing her survey, and she thus addressed him, stepping a few paces
backward, while her person was drawn up to its utmost height, and her
bosom heaved with struggling emotions.

"Are you the same person who sometime since undertook to inspire noble
sentiments into the mind of the purest being that ever honoured a white
skin? Are you the same youth who aspired to her hand and renounced it on
the marriage night, because of kindred blood? Are you the youth whose
fair and deceitful form, and apparently noble nature, once made Wyanokee
look with contempt upon this heroic race of warriors? If the form, the
person be the same, the Great Spirit of evil has poisoned the fountains
of your heart, and turned your goodness and your honour to cruelty and
cunning. How far has the great light gone down behind the sea, since you
stood upon the ruins of all that Wyanokee loved, and professed sorrow
for their destruction, and sympathy in her misfortunes? When you stood
before her, and dared not lay your own hands upon her person!--you could
leave her untouched upon the grave of her great warriors--you dared not
seek to injure her, lest their spirits should return from the happy
hunting ground and kill you on the spot. But you could deceitfully order
these poor long knives to stand in her path and prevent her from taking
the last look, and heaving the last sigh that should ever be looked and
uttered in these forests."

"I gave no orders for your arrest, Wyanokee; I have not spoken to the
sentinels since I saw you!"

"But you could stand and mourn with Wyanokee over the ashes of her
fathers' wigwam, when you had just come from ordering these to carry her
into captivity. They told me themselves that they acted by your orders.
Oh how cruel, how deceitful is the white man! He gladdens the poor
Indian's eyes with his glittering toys, till he cheats him of all the
corn laid up for his squaws during the winter. He smokes the calumet
with the chiefs, while his own followers are burning down the houses of
their nation. You, sir, redeemed Wyanokee from captivity, to carry her
into a more galling bondage. You taught her the knowledge of the white
man, only that she might multiply her sorrows, when this long foreseen
night should come. Was it for this that she redeemed you from the red
hot tortures of these chiefs? Did you come upon their hunting ground to
learn how to torture in preparation for this occasion, and trusting to
Wyanokee's soft and foolish heart for your safe return? Lead them and
her to the stake! we will show the white warrior how to endure the
tortures of our enemies without fainting like women."

"You will not listen to me, Wyanokee, else I could have told you long
ago, that I had given no orders to the sentinels. We do not desire your
captivity? you are free to go now whithersoever you choose, provided you
keep beyond the range of our sentinels. What our race has done against
yours, has only been done to protect their own lives and property, and
to make that protection secure and permanent. You know that we never
torture prisoners; when the war is ended and peace obtained, these
warriors shall go free and unharmed. I see that they have refused to
touch their food, under the belief that they are to suffer, but I will
leave you to undeceive them, after which you are free to go or to
remain. If the latter be your choice, a tent shall be provided for your
sole accommodation."

Having thus spoken, he hastily left the tent and sought the marquée
occupied by the higher grade of officers and the more aristocratic of
the Cavaliers. Gay sounds of song and minstrelsy greeted his ears as he
approached the spot--Bacchanalian scraps promiscuously chimed in chorus
with more sentimental ditties, and all occasionally drowned in
boisterous shouts of laughter. These evidences of the mood in which he
should find his associates deterred him from entering, under his present
feelings, and he therefore passed on to his own solitary quarters. In a
few moments he was extended upon such a bed as a camp affords, with no
external source of interruption to his repose, save the distant cries of
the wild beasts, and the more monotonous tread of the sentinel, as he
paced his narrow limits in the performance of his duty.

The sun rose the next morning over the ruins of Orapacs and the scene of
the late strife in unclouded splendour. The enlivening notes of drums
and trumpets had long since roused the soldiers from their slumbers, and
having despatched their morning meal, they were speedily forming into
marching order. The commander of this imposing little army mounted his
charger, and galloped along the forming battalions; his eye bright and
serene, his spirits, in comparison with the previous night, bounding and
elastic. Having detailed to his council of officers his intention of
next attacking the king of Pamunky, the orders for the march were given,
and the lines wheeled into columns, headed by the gay and brilliant
_cortége_ of youthful Cavaliers.

The prisoners were marched into the centre of the column, and as they
assumed their station, the general ran his anxious eye eagerly over
their persons, to ascertain whether his former pupil had availed
herself of the accommodations provided by his orders. But no such
graceful form greeted his sight, and he learned from the Captain of the
guard that she had departed soon after he had himself left the
prisoners--entirely alone. A momentary sadness shaded his brow, as he
reflected upon the desolate condition of the Indian maiden, but it was
soon lost in the absorbing duties of his station.

Toward evening, of the ensuing day, as the army pursued their route
between the Chickahominy and Pamunky Rivers, the vanguard discovered
several of the Pamunky tribe, skulking among the trees of the forest
immediately in advance of them. The general, apprehending an ambuscade,
immediately ordered the Cavaliers to fall back upon the main body of the
army, while a practised band of rangers were ordered to examine the
cover of the wood. Scarcely had these orders been transmitted to their
various destinations, before a bright beacon fire shot its spiral column
of smoke and flame high above the surrounding trees. What this new
device portended the commander could not divine, nor could the council,
which was immediately summoned, give to it a satisfactory
interpretation. The Rangers returned without discovering any signs of an
ambuscade, though they had penetrated to the huge fire which lighted up
the forest. Not an Indian was to be seen there or beyond. Bacon and his
staff rode forward to the scene in person--but the aid of a glass
enabled him to discover nothing more.

The army was again put in motion, and every precaution used which some
experience in Indian warfare had taught the general was so necessary.
For miles they proceeded with the most watchful caution, until the
absence of the undergrowth in the forest taught them that it had been
fired, and thereby disclosed the probability of their being in the near
neighbourhood of the town of the Pamunkies. The verdant glades were
lighted up at intervals by broad masses of red light from the setting
sun, as they fell between the natural interstices of the trees. The
appearance of the woodland vista before them was romantic and
picturesque in the extreme. The forest had the aspect of a country which
had been settled for ages. The venerable trees, surmounted with green
and brown moss, were now occasionally richly bronzed with the rays of
the sun as they fell horizontally upon their hoary trunks, and the whole
more resembled an ancient and venerable park, which some wealthy
gentleman had inherited from careful and provident ancestors, than a
wild woodland, fresh from the hands of nature, in which the woodman's
axe had never been heard, and upon which no other care or culture had
been bestowed than the occasional torch of the savage.

They were not left long to revel in these wild beauties--a more
appalling scene awaited them. The sun was fast declining behind the
river hills of the Chickahominy and darkness encircling the sombre
groves in which they rode, when suddenly a hundred fires cast a lurid
glare across their path, and the army instinctively halted on beholding
the town of the Pamunkies wrapped in flames. Again they were put in
motion, and cautiously approached the spot. Bacon fearing that some
treachery lurked beneath these unexpected measures of the Indians, could
scarcely restrain the impetuosity of his mounted force, spurred on by
curiosity to see in what new device of savage warfare they would
terminate.

They arrived upon the skirts of the town, however, and within the
influence of the heat, without hindrance or adventure; and what no less
surprised them, not a living creature was perceptible, around or near
the conflagration.

The first idea that suggested itself to the mind of Bacon was, that the
savages had, in despair, thrown themselves into the burning ruins of
their own dwellings. He now understood the meaning of the beacon light
on their route; "it was the signal for commencing the tragedy," he
muttered to himself as he reined up his steed and ordering his troops to
halt, brought them into line along the outskirts of the burning village,
which, like the one they had themselves fired, was constructed upon the
banks of the Pamunky river. While the troops thus stood upon their arms,
some of the officers rode through the blazing wigwams, very much
against the will of their rearing and plunging chargers. It was
completely deserted; but while they were consulting upon the measures to
be taken, a tumultuous and astounding yell burst suddenly upon their
startled ears. The intense light of the burning village rendered the
twilight gloom around as dark as midnight by the contrast, and not a
savage could anywhere be seen. The mounted troop made a wide sweep round
the alignment, but with no better success. Another astounding shout of
savage voices ascended to the clouds. Many of the frail and tottering
wigwams tumbled in at the same moment--throwing the light in a lower
line of vision over the water, so that they were enabled to discover a
large body of mounted Pamunkies drawn up like themselves on the opposite
bank of the river. Their grim and painted visages, close shaven crowns,
scalp locks, and gaudy feathers, appeared through the medium of the red
and flickering light reflected from the water, in horrible distinctness.
A legion of devils from the infernal regions, clothed in all the horrors
of German poetry, never startled the senses and aroused the imagination
more than did this spectacle its amazed beholders. With another yell and
a flourish of their tomahawks above their heads, the Indians
simultaneously wheeled their horses and flew over the plain towards the
source of the river. In a few moments all was silent as death, save the
crackling of the burning wigwams. The squaws and children seemed to have
been long since removed. Again the colonial army--or to speak more
properly, the army of the people, encamped before the ruins of an
ancient and venerable settlement.

Here were no painful reminiscences for the sensitive but energetic
commander. The savages were flying before his as yet scarcely tried
army, in the very direction in which it was his purpose to drive them.
He knew them too well to believe that the whole peninsula would be thus
tamely abandoned, and he issued his orders, before lying down to rest,
for redoubled vigilance through the night, and an early march in the
morning toward the falls of the Powhatan, where he had every reason to
believe that the tribes of the former confederacy were again drawing to
a head.



CHAPTER VI.


Our hero was not deceived in his supposition, that the savage tribes
inhabiting the Peninsula would make a desperate effort to retain
possession of a country so admirably adapted to their mode of life. Two
noble rivers, one on either hand, abounding with a variety of fish, and
a fertile soil, yielding its treasures with little culture, were
considerations in the eyes of these ignorant but not misjudging sons of
the forest, not to be surrendered without a struggle.

As the army of the colonists pursued its march toward the point already
indicated as the rendezvous of the again confederated tribes, it was
constantly harassed with alarms--signal fires and flying bodies of
mounted warriors, first cutting off their communication with the
river--now assailing the vanguard, and then hovering upon the rear.
Three weeks and more were thus consumed in partial and unsatisfactory
engagements; the skirmishers first approaching one river, upon the
representation of some treacherous savage, and then hurrying back in the
opposite direction to meet some illusive demonstration made by the
cunning enemy. The youthful commander soon perceived that this mode of
warfare was the one exactly suited to the nature and condition of his
foes, and the least adapted to the impetuous courage of his own troops.
He saw too, that the savages had the double design of wearying out their
invaders in the manner we have described, and of collecting and
concentrating their forces, at some point where their own mode of
warfare could be rendered available, without exposing themselves to the
destructive discharges of artillery which they still held in
superstitious terror. A very little reflection satisfied him that there
would be no immediate danger in pursuing the direct route between the
Powhatan and Chickahominy rivers, toward the falls of the former, where
he had already some intimation that the enemy were collecting in great
force. He was well satisfied that the tribes already dislodged had
removed all their winter provisions, and their wigwams being destroyed,
there could be little hazard to the city in disregarding their daily
demonstrations in his front, flank, and rear. Accordingly his troops
were concentrated in a solid column, and marched directly toward the
falls, entirely disregarding the petty annoyances which had already
detained them so ingloriously in the Peninsula.

While they were marching toward the scene of the great and final
struggle for supremacy between their own race and the Aborigines, in
this narrow neck of land, which had so long been the scene of
contention, we will retrace our steps for a short space, in order to
bring up the proceedings at Jamestown to the point at which we have just
arrived.

In doing so, however, it is not our intention to fatigue the reader with
a minute account of the long and tedious days, and still more wretched
nights, spent by our heroine after the shock given to her delicate
constitution by the painful and unexpected adventure in the chapel, and
by the subsequently reported death of her mother under peculiarly awful
and afflicting circumstances. The reader has doubtless more truly
imagined her condition during the first paroxysms of the fever, than we
could describe it. Down to the time when her favourite and confidant was
permitted to enter her room, the daily occurrences of her yet endangered
life were sad and monotonous enough, but the paramount cravings of
diseased nature once assuaged, her mental excitement once more rose in
the ascendant. Not that her reason ever became deranged, except from
violent febrile action during the height of the attack; however feeble
her physical organization, her mental powers were clear and unclouded,
and her spirits, though of necessity somewhat broken, were firm and
elastic. The truth is, that she did not believe the assertion of the
Recluse by which the nuptial ceremony was so dreadfully interrupted. She
had indeed a feeling of superstitious reverence for whatever came from
his lips, but she had also seen the wild fire of his eye when under deep
excitement, and she did not therefore give implicit confidence to any
declaration he should make.

This questioning of his oracular authority was an after-consideration it
is true, and was itself prompted by other feelings, having their
foundation in the affections of the heart. She could not believe that
her lover was her own brother; her feelings toward him were
peculiar--powerful, and different from the love of mere kindred.
Besides, there were little almost undefinable circumstances in the
intercourse of their halcyon days, which she did not believe, could in
the nature of man, have taken place between brother and sister. She most
truly thought that her lover and herself were expressly created for each
other; that their union had been decreed in heaven. That in the first
dawnings of their mutual understanding of each other, there had been
electrical, spiritual and ever sublime transmissions of mutual
intelligence and exquisite pleasure, which could not exist between
children of the same parents. These were some of the reasonings which
first led her to doubt the infallibility of the Recluse, or rather this
was something like the process by which she arrived at firm and
undoubting conviction. She viewed the case in this light from the very
first moment of unclouded perception, but at first it was a wild
tumultuous and suffocating mixture of vague perceptions, and scarcely
permitted hopes. As she gradually analyzed her feelings, and examined
the reasons for her convictions, the truth dawned more and more clearly
upon her view. She was one day sitting, propped up on her couch, during
the three weeks in which Bacon was engaged in his Indian campaign, the
doctor sitting by her side with his finger upon her pulse. Both were
silent and abstracted. The pale beautiful countenance of the invalid was
fixed in deep and earnest thought. Her eyes wandered through an open
window, and sought a resting place upon some sunny spot of green and
refreshing nature. Her lips moved just perceptibly, as if she were
conversing with some one in an under tone. At length she slightly raised
her head, her eyes sparkled with the brilliancy of stars, waxing
brighter and brighter, and her head rising higher and higher from her
pillow, until she screamed in wild delight, "The light of heaven and
love's inspiration itself declare it false."

The doctor rose with a grave and anxious look, and placing one hand upon
her shoulders, and with the other removing the pillows that supported
her, laid her gently down, saying,

"I fear there is more excitement about your head to-day, my dear young
lady; if it continues you must lose blood again."

"Oh, dear doctor, there is indeed excitement about my head and my heart
too, but it is not the excitement of fever; or if it is, it is a dear
delightful fever, which I trust in God will never leave me, for it came
just now wafted on my brain as if by the music of the spheres."

"Your room must be darkened again, and the cold applications to your
head repeated."

"You think I am losing my senses again, dear doctor, but I assure you I
am just regaining them, as I will show you from this time forward. I
have now done with physic. I have a medicine here," (and she laid her
hand upon her heart, while a bewitching smile played around her mouth,
that staggered the good doctor,) "which is worth more to me than all the
costly drugs of India, or the islands of the sea."

And the event justified her words. Her mind was no sooner settled in
deep conviction, and her heart comparatively at ease, than she began
rapidly to recover. It was some days before the scene just related, when
Harriet Harrison was admitted to her presence, and when, as the reader
has already learned from that maiden herself, Virginia propounded to her
the questions touching her lover's belief in their reported
relationship, which were repeated by Miss Harrison to Bacon.

So long as that interview continued between the two intimates,
untramelled by the presence of a third person, it was one of deep
interest; but unfortunately the heir of the house had too much reason to
suspect that Harriet's feelings were engaged in another's interest, long
to indulge them with an unbroken interview. Virginia barely had time to
ask those questions, and whisper to her friend the tidings of her own
dawning hopes, before the doctor entered, attended to the door as
Harriet perceived through the partial opening, by Frank Beverly himself;
she therefore took her leave, promising a speedy return.

As she retired from the chamber of the invalid, she accidentally
overheard the Governor's orders for Bacon's arrest, the result of which
has already been related. Her next visit to the house was on the day of
the scene between the doctor and his patient, which we have just
attempted to describe. She was ushered into the room of state, usually
occupied by the Governor for the reception of his most distinguished
guests. No formality was neglected in duly receiving her at the door,
and conducting her to this presence chamber of his Excellency, by the
official who acted as master of ceremonies.

"I have no business of state to communicate to the Governor, Sir Porter;
I came to see his niece!"

The porter bowed profoundly as he replied, "But his Excellency has some
business with you, madam, as he informed me, when he directed me to
usher you into this apartment." Another profound inclination followed,
with an accompaniment of rubbing hands and shuffling his feet backward;
while the arch, but somewhat alarmed and astonished maiden, was left to
con her speech to the Governor at her leisure. After a most tedious
interval of half an hour, the formal representative of majesty made his
appearance, with such a profusion of bows that his merry master himself
would have smiled to witness them. Of course Harriet bit her lips in
order to restrain their mirthful inclinations. While the old knight drew
a chair, and after sundry hems and stroking his chin, thus gravely
addressed her: "I am informed, Madam, that you are desirous of an
interview with me; will you be so good as to enlighten me as to the
cause of the unexpected honour?"

"Some one must have deceived you with a most egregious story, Sir
William. I desired no such thing. I came here to see my friend, Virginia
Fairfax."

"I am exceedingly pained to inform you, Miss Harriet, that from certain
late circumstances, which it is needless to particularize, and in which
you were somewhat a participator, I, as Virginia's natural guardian,
have thought proper to end the intercourse between you at once. My niece
is destined soon to become the wife of my young kinsman, Beverly, and it
is most prudent to keep her from the sight of such persons and things as
might remind her of that most strange and disgraceful transaction of
which I will not speak more openly. I am very sorry to give you pain,
but there was no other course left for me to pursue than to be plain and
candid with you."

"And does this marriage take place with Virginia's consent?"

"She has not been consulted as yet; her health, in the first place, did
not admit of it, and in the second, the evidence which she so lately
gave of being utterly incapable of choosing a husband calculated to
secure her own happiness, or reflect honour upon her family and
connexions, has caused that duty to devolve on me."

"But, Sir William, suppose she should refuse to accept the husband of
your choice? You certainly will not enforce your determination."

"Her lamented father and myself entered long since into a covenant by
which these young people were to be united. On the very morning of his
death, we talked the matter over; he freely and fully consented to the
completion of the engagement, and forthwith it shall be carried into
execution, if sufficient authority remains to me in these turbulent and
rebellious times to enforce it."

"But you will give her time to assuage her grief, and make up her mind
to the lot which awaits her. You surely will not precipitate her into
the celebration of these nuptials?"

"You talk, young lady, as if it were some horrible and revolting monster
to whom I intended uniting her, instead of the presumptive heir and
nearest kinsman of Sir William Berkley, well favoured and highly
accomplished, as you must acknowledge that he is. She has had time
enough to recover her equanimity, and as soon as her health is equally
restored, the ceremony shall be performed; and whether or not, it is my
purpose to complete it before the return of that arch-rebel Bacon to the
city. Please God, however, I intend he shall return in irons to undergo
the penalty demanded by the outraged laws of his country."

"And you will not permit me to see my friend for five minutes--only five
minutes?"

"No! lady, you are now advised of my intentions touching the disposal of
my niece, and you may readily comprehend the reasons of your exclusion
from her presence, without my entering into further and more painful
explanations."

With this answer, Harriet was compelled to be content, and therefore
making a reverence, more than usually formal, to his Excellency, she
withdrew. It was not in her nature, however, to resign her friend to the
fate which threatened her, without an effort to relieve her. From the
gubernatorial mansion she immediately hastened in pursuit of O'Reily, in
order to despatch him with a communication for his master. But Brian was
nowhere to be found; her own researches and those of the servant whom
she despatched in pursuit of him were of no effect; she was therefore
compelled to entrust her message to one of her father's negroes, who was
well mounted, and despatched upon his errand, within less than two hours
from the time of her interview with his Excellency.

During the absence of the army in the Peninsula, Sir William Berkley had
not been idle, as has already been intimated. The commands borne by his
couriers to those Cavaliers throughout the colony, who were yet well
affected to his government, began now to bring them in from all
directions, and the regular soldiers stationed at the forts, which were
so offensive to the citizens, were marching rapidly upon the capital
from every quarter. Some had already arrived, and the city was once more
thronged with eager faces. Sounds of martial music were again heard
through the streets, and the more quiet citizens again disturbed with
the stern preparations for war.

The present military and Cavalier assemblages in the capital were,
however, of a very different political character, and brought together
with very different motives from those which had preceded them. They
were not less in numbers, spirit and appointments; but their object was
not to cope with the savage--it was to measure arms in deadly strife
with their own countrymen and fellow-citizens. The army now assembling,
was intended by the Governor to suppress what he called the rebellion,
and his purpose was, as soon as his forces should all arrive, to march
at once to the Falls of the Powhatan, and while the popular army were
engaged in front with the savage enemies of their country, to fall upon
their rear, and either cut them in pieces, or compel them to surrender
as rebels found bearing arms against his majesty's authority in the
colony.

Seldom have political parties of any country presented so strange an
aspect as did those of Virginia at this period. First, the people of the
city had been divided between the Cavaliers and Roundheads. The latter
were no sooner brought into complete subjection, than a new
amalgamation took place, by which their distinctive character was lost.
Then, growing out of the puerile obstinacy of Sir William Berkley, in
refusing to repel the incursions of the Indians merely because he had at
first maintained that there was no danger to be apprehended from their
hostility, the popular or conservative party sprang into existence.
Against these were now arrayed the loyalist faction, and most of those
descended from noble ancestors or bearing titles, headed by the Governor
himself.

In a very few days this latter party had assembled their whole military
force in the city, and the most active preparations were made to march
against Bacon and his followers who were carrying fire and sword into
the very heart of the country occupied by the real enemies of the
colony.

The temporary duties of the government were resigned into the hands of
Sir H. Chicherley, while Sir William Berkley, Sir Herbert Jeffries,
Francis Beverly, Philip Ludwell, and their compeers, assumed the most
important stations of command in the army of the loyalists. Much the
larger portion of the regular troops were composed of foreign
mercenaries, sent over from England to perform those very duties which
Bacon and his followers were now to be punished for assuming. The very
soldiers who ought to have protected the whites against the incursions
of the Indians were to be turned against the patriot band which had
volunteered to perform a service no longer to be deferred with safety to
the colony. It is true that the commissions of Bacon and his officers
were not legally signed by the constituted authorities; but an emergency
had arisen which threw the citizens back at once upon their original
rights and powers. The government having failed to afford them
protection for their lives and property, they had assumed that office
for themselves. This was the condition of the colony at the juncture of
which we write.

While Sir William and his coadjutors were thus busily collecting and
disciplining their forces, the citizens of the capital were not
uninterested spectators of this unwonted succession of military
preparations. Most of those remaining in the city had friends and
relations in the ranks of the popular army, and though they dared not
openly express their disapprobation of the Governor's proceedings, their
discontent was deep and settled, and only awaited the departure of the
present overpowering force, again to burst into open resistance against
the government.

While these preparations for civil strife were going on in the streets
of the city, a discussion of not less interesting import to some of the
leading characters of our story, was carried on within the walls of the
Governor's mansion. The stout old Cavalier had fixed upon the day
preceding the departure of his army, for the solemnization of the
marriage between his niece and his kinsman Beverly. He had himself held
several interviews with the former, but had failed to make the least
impression on her mind, either by his reasoning or his more artful
appeals to her filial duty and affections.

In vain had he detailed her father's plans and expectations. In vain had
he appealed to her love and respect for his memory. In vain had he
descended from his dignity to reproach her with the late disastrous
occurrence at the chapel. In vain had he coarsely charged her with
desiring an alliance, contrary alike to the laws of God and man. She was
deaf to his arguments and his threats. But the time approached with
fearful rapidity, which he had appointed for the ceremony. The intended
bridegroom held an important command in the expedition now preparing,
and it was Sir William's intention that he should be married and set out
on the succeeding morning. Notwithstanding our heroine's apparent
firmness, therefore, in presence of her stern relative, every note of
preparation which was wafted into her chamber sent the blood
oppressively to her heart. Her naturally mild and gentle nature shrunk
from the contemplation of the violence which her fears and her knowledge
of her kinsman induced her to believe would be used to overcome her
resolution.

His pretended dread of the disgrace which he charged her with desiring
to bring upon his family she knew was exactly the apology he wanted for
the arbitrary measures necessary to the completion of the plan.

She was alone in the world. No one now stood ready to give her rescue
from the relentless hands which placed restraint upon her inclinations.
Her nearest kindred had, as she believed, fallen by the savage tomahawk,
and her only remaining relative was about to force her into a marriage
which she detested. Notwithstanding all these depressing circumstances,
her elastic mind and sanguine temperament had hitherto risen above the
accumulating weight of her misfortunes. She had still preserved the
vague yet constant hope, so natural to youth, that some fortunate
occurrence, some unexpected accident would yet take place to mar the
well laid plans of the Governor. But as the time approached, and the
preparations moved steadily forward without any evidence of coming
succour, or the fortunate event which was to release her from her
dreadful situation, her heart began to misgive her--she was compelled in
some measure to assume an humbler posture towards the stern old man in
whose hands her destiny seemed placed. Her ingenuity had turned the
subject in all its various aspects--every chance of escape was provided
against. Even the presence of her friend Harriet, upon which she had
founded most of her hopes, was rigidly and perseveringly denied to her.
As a last and desperate resort, she humbly supplicated her uncle for an
uninterrupted interview with him to whom he purposed to marry her; and
Sir William seeing nothing in this request calculated to defeat his
plans, but on the contrary hoping that it proceeded from a wavering
resolution, granted the request.

She sat upon a large leathern-backed chair, her head leaning upon the
window sill, and her flaxen ringlets clustering around her pale and
attenuated, but still beautiful features. Her _robe de chamber_ was
white and simple in its fashion, and her hands were listlessly and
languidly twined into its folds, seeming, every now and then, as if her
delicate fingers would pierce the yielding texture. A solitary tear
seemed as if it had already departed from its pure fountain, as
tremblingly it hung upon the long dewy eyelash, the mere closing of
which dissipated it into a thin misty veil of sadness to her liquid
melancholy blue eye, as it was turned in fearful expectation towards the
door.

At length Beverly entered. She had until this moment strenuously
resisted all endeavours to promote an interview, and once, on a former
similar occasion, had covered her face and pertinaciously resisted all
attempts on his part to lead her into conversation. He now entered with
the knowledge that the invitation came from herself; he felt his
supposed power; and a lofty smile played upon his proud but handsome
features. As he approached, she sank upon her knees, and clasped her
hands in supplication. The tears had now burst the restraints of thought
and internal oppression, and rapidly coursed each other down her cheeks
as she spoke, "You see before you, sir, a solitary female and an orphan,
bereaved suddenly and cruelly of her natural protectors--deserted or
oppressed by those who should have supplied their place. Before the
distracting grief for these afflictions has had time to lose its first
intensity, she has been cruelly beset and importuned to become a party
to a marriage, of which she had never before thought. You, sir, are the
other party! I entreat, I implore you on my knees, at least to postpone
this intended ceremony. If it is performed to-night, as my uncle has
appointed, the wrath of Heaven will be poured out upon such a
desecration of its holy institutions. You, sir, will wed a corpse or a
raving maniac! Interpose then, I pray you. Petition Sir William, as from
yourself alone, for its postponement, at least until your return from
the intended campaign, and I will pray for your happiness until the end
of my existence. I will then indeed believe that you desire mine."

He made several attempts to raise her from her supplicating posture,
during her appeal, but she maintained her attitude. Having paused to
catch her exhausted breath, he seized the opportunity to say, "Are you
sure, madam, that there is no lurking weakness, no sinister design, in
this demand for farther time?"

"Of what design, what weakness do you suspect me?" she exclaimed,
raising her head boldly, and losing almost instantly the subdued tone of
entreaty.

"Of base and criminal affections for one who should be blotted from the
tablets of your memory for his villany, if not for his kindred blood!"

She was on her feet in an instant; her ringlets wildly tossed back by a
quick motion of the head, and a corresponding effort with both hands,
which she held still clasped in her hair, as she stared at him an
instant before she replied,

"Are you a man? A gentleman? A Cavalier? That you come here to insult
and trample upon one already deserted of all mankind? Her whom you
pretend to desire for a companion through joy and wo! How base, how
cowardly, to insult a helpless female, and that female your
kinswoman--one whom you pretend to love. Out upon you, sir, for a
dastard! Were he now here whom you so basely slander, you would not dare
employ such language!"

"Softly, softly, my dear lady. You are only betraying your own feelings,
and counteracting the relenting mood into which your well acted appeal
was near betraying me."

"Oh, then, forget what I have said, and be indeed the high minded,
generous Beverly, I once believed you! We were children together,
caressed by the same friends and owning a common origin. Can you then
witness unmoved my forlorn condition, without one feeling of
compassion?"

Beverly was not wholly without tender feelings, although they were so
concentrated upon himself, that it required the touch of a master hand
to reach his heart. Selfish men, however, are sometimes easily worked
upon by allusions or appeals to their family pride. Their connexions are
a constituent part of the idol of their worship--self; and it is not the
least remarkable feature in their characters, that such men are almost
always affectionate husbands and devoted parents. These are but a part
of self; their kindred by a farther remove are generally valued in
proportion to their ability to confer honour upon the common stock.

"He that feels not love," says Goethe, "must learn to flatter."
Doubtless the great German poet was contemplating the difficulties of
the supremely selfish man in love, when he penned this aphorism. But
Beverly was not so profoundly skilled in the human heart; he ardently
desired to possess the hand of his fair kinswoman, as well on account of
her many personal attractions, as of the rich inheritance of which she
was the heiress; but he had not learned his own harsh defects of
character, and of course could not substitute the arts of flattery for
the softer eloquence of love. He felt and enjoyed his power, as
compensating in some degree for the want of admiration of himself in his
intended bride, and such were the feelings operating upon him when he
entered her chamber; but her last appeal seemed to move his selfish
nature, as he paused to contemplate the eloquent suppliant before he
replied.

"Suppose that I obtain from Sir William his consent for the postponement
of the ceremony, will you then give me your hand of your own free will?"

She paused before replying. The case was desperate; no succour seemed
now within the bounds of probability. The shades of evening were fast
gathering around the gloomy precincts of her secluded apartment. She
knew her uncle's determination of character. One only chance of escape
appeared remaining open to her, and she desperately resolved to seize
it. Such was the train of reasoning by which she rapidly arrived at this
conclusion, and replied,

"Our inclinations are not always within our own control, but if you
obtain this reprieve, I promise to give you my hand upon the return of
the present expedition, provided that nothing occurs in the mean time to
free me from the necessity. For I will be plain and honest with you, and
avow my determination to escape this marriage if I can."

"I understand you, fair cousin; you expect deliverance at the hands of
your degraded and new found kinsman; but trust me, he will need succour
himself before that time arrives. I expect to march him through these
streets in irons on my wedding-day. Frown not--gather no storms of
indignation upon your brow--it shall be even so. But time wears apace;
so pledge yourself before Heaven, that if I obtain Sir William's consent
to this delay, you will be mine upon the return of the army."

"Before Heaven I promise you, under the condition I have named."

"It is then a bargain, and I will seek the Governor to fulfil my part of
it; should he consent, see that you remember your plighted faith. As for
your condition, I take no thought of that;" and with this remark he left
the room.

It was with the greatest difficulty that she could suppress her rising
indignation, upon his again alluding to her new found kinsman; but she
did so far suppress it as to force herself through the required promise.
The door had no sooner closed upon his retreating footsteps, than she
clasped her hands, and exclaimed fervently, raising her eyes toward
heaven, "Thank God! I am now freed from the immediate apprehension of
this most hated union. Oh, if he does but come within the allotted time!
and come as my flattering hopes persuade me that he will--a conqueror!
hailed as the deliverer of his country--the champion of her oppressed
and outraged people, and the preserver of the most wretched of her
maidens! what blessings will be his! Be he brother or kinsman or lover,
he shall live for ever in this grateful heart. Brother indeed! He is a
brother in kindness, devotion, and disregard of self; but a brother in
kindred blood, my heart assures me he is not."

The door was again opened after the lapse of a short time, and Beverly
entered to say, "I have seen Sir William, and presented my request; he
refused at first, but when I told him that you had promised to be mine
at the expiration of the required time, he yielded his consent. I
purposely concealed from him that there was any condition in the case,
first, because I take no heed to it myself, and secondly, because it
might have precluded his concurrence, and would most certainly be a
motive with him for placing you under still more rigid restraint. You
see, sweet coz, that I study your happiness far more than you give me
credit for. Why will you not freely then make me its guardian for life?"

"How very different is the selfish man," thought Virginia, "who thus
blazons his own little acts of merest charity, for refined and delicate
attentions, from him who possesses innate benevolence and gentleness of
heart? He would have studiously concealed a hundred greater kindnesses
than this." But under present circumstances, even such unfavourable
comparisons did not prevent her from replying,

"For every act of kindness towards me, Mr. Beverly, I am sure I try to
feel very grateful, and since I have been within these walls, my
feelings have been so little exercised in that way that it is really
refreshing to feel under their influence, even in the smallest degree.
The very servants treat me as a lost and abandoned creature. Those of my
own sex that once professed love and respect for me, fly from the
apartment when I speak to them, as if there were contamination in my
very voice. I know that some horrible tale has been told them about me:
would you but take the trouble to correct the false impression, before
you depart, my solitary lot might be greatly softened, and I would then
have double cause for gratitude."

"With the domestic arrangements of the house I dare not interfere--Sir
William has directed all those things himself."

"And is it by his orders too that my aunt comes not to see me, nor sends
a kind word of inquiry as to my health these long sad days, or a book to
while away the longer and more gloomy nights?"

"It is. She has wept as many foolish tears almost as yourself, since
your confinement to this room."

"Thank God! You have taken a load from off my heart. There is then one
soul within the house, of my own sex and blood too, who sympathises with
me during these stern severities."

"Your trials will soon be over, my pretty coz, and then we will remove
to a house of our own, and you shall lord it over some of these
blackies, in revenge for their want of respect, to your heart's
content." Attempting to chuck her under the chin, as he spoke, she was
compelled to turn her head suddenly toward the window, for the double
purpose of placing herself beyond the reach of his hand, and of
concealing the rising flush of anger and contempt that glowed upon her
countenance. She saw that he treated her as a child--that he imagined
such conversation suited to the level of her capacity, and longed to
humble his proud self-sufficiency, but dared not under present
circumstances. For the first time in her life, she found herself
compelled to disguise her natural feelings, and suppress the bitter
words which rose upon her tongue. She therefore, by way of changing the
conversation, and knowing not what else to say, inquired, "How soon does
your army expect to return?"

"Soon, my dear coz, very soon. In ten days at farthest, I hope to lay
some of the trophies of victory at your feet, and twine you a bridal
turban from the standard of the rebel chief." Again she was forced to
turn her head away. And the harmony of their meeting, constrained and
unnatural as it was, would probably very soon have been ruptured by the
almost bursting indignation which agitated her bosom, had not the
martial summons to the evening parade called her tormentor from her
presence.

By dawn of day, on the morning after the interview just related, the
army under the command of Sir William Berkley took up its line of march
toward the falls of the Powhatan.

Virginia was a sad and silent spectator of the imposing pageant. She
stood at her window facing one of the cross streets, through which their
march was directed, and examined the devices of banner after banner, as
they moved along in martial pomp, to the soul-inspiring music of the
drums and trumpets. No sympathizing emotions or half embodied
supplications to the Ruler of Nations for the safety of their persons or
the success of their arms burst from her lips. She saw the proud and
self-satisfied Beverly curvetting by on his equally proud steed; she
even saw him gayly wave his towering plumes in recognition of her
presence without an answering nod or a single indication of approval.
Her heart and hopes followed the standard of the youthful Captain who
commanded the force which these were summoned to scatter and destroy.
Long after the last ensign had passed from her sight, and the music was
heard only in faint and distant echoes as it swelled and died away upon
the air, she stood in the same spot, her eyes apparently still occupied
with passing objects. It was not so--she was endeavouring to look into
futurity. She pictured in her imagination the army of the Cavaliers,
under Bacon, struggling in the murderous ambuscade of the concentrated
savage tribes in front, and mercilessly cut down by their own countrymen
in the rear. She saw the stern and uncompromising Sir William and his
veteran compeers, brandishing their sabres over the heads of the younger
Cavaliers, and Beverly and Bacon engaged in the deadly contest of
personal rivalry and political hatred. Notwithstanding the disadvantages
of the latter's position, youthful hopes and a sanguine temperament,
awarded the victory to the cause which she believed the just one. She
had already, as by miracle, escaped a fate which she considered far more
to be deplored than death, and resolved to trust her own cause, and that
in which it was involved, to him who rules the destinies of battles. She
remembered, with feelings of adoration, that he had said that the race
was not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong.



CHAPTER VII.


The army under the command of General Bacon had succeeded in
concentrating the confederated tribes of the Peninsula, which had so
long annoyed its flank and rear, at the falls of the Powhatan. Here they
had erected a rude fortification, composed of fallen trees, having an
entrenchment surrounding it, with the excavated earth thrown up as an
embankment. This was situated upon an eminence commanding the more even
ground on each side of a small stream, which ran nearly at right angles
with, and fell into the river below the falls. The army of the Colonists
arrived within sight of the Indian fires, just after the sun had sunk
behind the horizon. General Bacon's plantation[3] was situated but a
short distance from the very spot on which the savages had erected their
fort, and consequently he was well acquainted with the ground. After
halting a short time to examine the position of the enemy, he marched
his troops to the open plain beneath their strong hold, in perfect
silence. Here they bivouacked for the night, with the intention of
storming the intrenchments at the first dawning of the morrow. Every
thing was noiselessly put in readiness for this final struggle for
supremacy between the whites and the Aborigines. The latter had
collected in overwhelming numbers, and seemed determined to make a
desperate effort to regain their lost footing in the land of their
fathers, while the former, having daily improved in discipline, were in
high health, buoyant with the youthful hope and courage, and impatient
for the dawn, that they might strike a blow at once, to answer the high
expectations of their friends at home, and terminate the war. Little did
they imagine that an army of those very countrymen was treading in their
footsteps, under the command of Sir William Berkley, with the avowed
purpose of meting to them that chastisement which they were so impatient
to bestow upon the enemy before them.

[Footnote 3: Historical.]

Their commander was not long left in ignorance upon this point, however,
for scarcely had the columns made their arrangements for the night along
each side of the small stream, before a courier from the capital was
brought into his quarters, by one of the sentinels stationed upon the
outskirts of the encampment. He was the bearer of a proclamation, signed
by Sir William Berkley as Governor of his Majesty's Colony in Virginia,
in which Bacon and his followers were denounced as traitors and rebels,
and commanded forthwith to lay down their arms and return to their
allegiance, under pain of death, and confiscation of their property. The
surprise and indignation occasioned by this singular document had not
subsided, when another messenger was dragged into the presence of the
commander in chief. It was a negro, trembling from head to foot with
visible terror at the very uncivil treatment which he had received, and
more, perhaps, at the warlike preparations around, and the glaring
effects of the Indian fires on the hill. All attempts to gain an
intelligible account of his mission proved for a length of time, utterly
unavailing, until Bacon, recognising something of old acquaintance in
his features, dismissed his attendants. He then quickly disclosed, in
his mongrel dialect, that he had been ordered to deliver a letter into
the general's own hands, and when no person was present. A greasy and
rumpled document was then drawn from his pouch, which, notwithstanding
its hard treatment, and discoloured exterior, Bacon instantly recognised
as the writing of Harriet Harrison. The date was rather more remote than
seemed necessary for its regular transmission to its present
destination, which the sable messenger explained by stating that he had
been some days dodging in the footsteps of the army, but that as often
as he approached it he had been frightened back again by the flying
hordes of savages, hanging upon their skirts. If Bacon felt disposed to
indulge in merriment at the ludicrous detail of poor Pompey, the
contents of the note, which he now began to decipher by the light of a
lamp, speedily restored his gravity. Harriet briefly related to him the
nature of the conversation she had held with Sir William Berkley at his
own house, and the treatment which Virginia suffered at his hands; she
concluded by stating the preparations then making in Jamestown by the
Governor and his party, to pursue and capture, or cut them to pieces.
This information was truly startling to the youthful general; that
concerning Virginia was most moving; but the imminent peril of those
gallant spirits entrusted to his command required his immediate
attention. He despatched a chosen mounted band on the instant, to scout
along the late route of his army, far enough to ascertain whether that
under the command of Sir William was within such a distance, as to
enable him to interrupt the contemplated attack upon the savages at the
dawning of the coming day.

Bacon's character was eminently prompt and decisive. He determined,
should such be the case, to commence the attack upon the instant he
should receive such information.

Having provided for the safety and accommodation of Pompey, and ordered
the courier of the Governor into close but respectful keeping, he
sallied out along the outposts, to examine the scene of future
operations. The stars twinkled brilliantly in the heavens around the
horizon, but the glaring light of the savage fires upon the hill threw
the mellowed rays of the heavenly orbs into dim contrast immediately
round the two camps. As he walked along the margin of the little
stream, upon the borders of which his own troops were stationed, toward
the river, the night-scene presented to his view was reviving and
exciting to his imagination. The ascending columns of fire upon the hill
reflected the trees and other objects upon its brow in gigantic shadows
over the plain beneath. The bright red light fell upon the broad sheet
of water below the falls, in long horizontal rays, stretching far away
over its shining surface toward the opposite shore. The island in the
middle of the stream, a little higher up than the point at which he
stood, was clothed in verdant impenetrable shrubbery--the darkness
gathered around its shores more palpable from the contrast of the
neighbouring fires. The roar of the falls fell monotonously upon his
ear, ever and anon interrupted by the sharp shrill whoop of some
over-joyous savage, engaged in orgies within the fort surmounting the
hill. As he pensively stood upon the banks of the Powhatan, and surveyed
the illuminated scene immediately around, and the darker shadows of the
hills stretching away in the distance and skirting the margin of the
river, the shining waves beneath his feet, and the dusky outlines of the
rocks and islands beyond, it little entered his imagination that upon
that romantic spot, in future time, there should spring up a noble
city--the capital of an empire state--that the natural lawns upon which
he stood, would be exchanged for docks and quays--that the hills on his
right hand (which to a scholar might, even then, have recalled the
Acropolis) should support classic colonnades, and spires pointing to the
clouds; and that the diminutive stream upon the banks of which his
troops were bivouacked, should receive, from the sanguinary battle in
which he was about to engage, a name to outlive the very monuments of
his generation.[4] Without these deeply interesting associations,
however, the scene in its natural and unreclaimed features was eminently
captivating and romantic. No site in the country abounded more with bold
and enchanting objects. On the one hand were the picturesque hills,[5]
commanding a prospect seldom equalled, never surpassed, of landscape
varied with woodland, dell and meadow, through which the shining waters
of the Powhatan were now visible, glowing like a sheet of fire, and now
lost in the shadows of the towering forests, as it held its devious
course beyond the reach of the reflected fires in the back ground.

[Footnote 4: The little rivulet skirting the south eastern end of
Richmond is called "Bloody Run" to this day.]

[Footnote 5: On one of these the present capital of Virginia stands.]

Our hero might have stood gazing upon this enchanting scene until the
sound of the reveillé in the morning had roused him from his revery, had
not his quick eye caught a glimpse of moving lights within the Indian
encampment. With hurried steps he retraced his way through the line of
sentinels, and issued immediate orders for his subordinates in command
to assemble in military council. He was satisfied in his own mind, as he
walked up the stream, that some unusual occurrence had taken place
within the palisade of the Indians--perhaps the presence of his own
stationary columns, as they stood in their dark frowning outlines, had
been discovered by the ever cunning and watchful enemy. He had more than
once stood in wonder at the apparent absence of their usual stratagems
and devices. He supposed, however, that, trusting to their immense
superiority of numbers, and the protection of their breastworks, they
had resolved to risk an engagement, in which courage and strength alone
should be the implements of victory.

The council of war had scarcely assembled, before they were astounded
with the report of musketry in answer to the usual accompaniments of a
savage sortie, in the most remote direction of the camp. General Bacon
issued his orders promptly and decisively. The columns whose rear had
been surprised by a sortie from the enemy, were, by a prompt movement,
instantly wheeled into line, changing their front so as to face the
assailants, while the mounted Cavaliers, under the command of young
Harrison, fiercely attacked them in flank. The desperate band of
warriors were speedily driven within their breastworks. It was doubtless
only their intention to harass the outskirts of the army, and then, by
retreating, draw their pursuers within reach of the ambuscade stationed
behind the breastwork. They were pursued by the mounted troops, who had
no sooner driven them within the palisade, than they in their turn
suddenly wheeled and retreated upon the main body.

These sallies were kept up through the first watches of the night, with
so much perseverance on the part of the enemy, and so much annoyance to
the ardent and impatient troops of the patriot army, that General Bacon
determined to give way to their martial ardour, and at once storm the
strong hold of the enemy.

The plan of battle in this straight-forward mode of warfare was simple
in the extreme. Seldom had the Aborigines given their white enemies a
chance of testing the relative valour of the two races; and protected as
they were even now by a formidable breastwork, General Bacon did not
hesitate as to the propriety of trusting to the discipline and skill of
his soldiers, and the immense superiority of their arms, against the
greater numbers and defensive preparations of the enemy.

The fires within the palisade were apparently flickering upon their
dying embers, and an unsteady flash, gleaming at intervals, was the only
light shed over the contemplated battle-ground. A profound quiet reigned
within the camp of the enemy, indicative to the mind of Bacon of some
new treachery or savage scheme. Having warned his officers against
these, he despatched mounted scouting parties to hover round both camps,
and took every other human precaution against surprise; orders were now
issued preparatory to a general attack upon the enemy's entrenchments.

By a prompt evolution, his battalions of foot were wheeled into a solid
column of attack on the northern side of the stream, while the mounted
Cavaliers were stationed as a reserve on the right. The former were
marched in compact order, directly up the face of the hill, not a
trumpet or a drum disturbing the silence of the funeral-like procession.
The various colours of their plumes, as they waved in the night breeze,
and the occasional glitter of burnished arms, as a flash of light fell
athwart the solid phalanx from the flickering fires above, presented one
of the most striking scenes imaginable.

General Bacon assumed the immediate command of his columns in person. He
sat upon his impatient charger on the right wing, and examined the
ominous appearance of the enemy's camp with intense interest. Not a
warrior's head was to be seen above the breastwork as they approached.
All was silent, gloomy, and portentous; not a sound was heard, save the
measured tramp of his own troops, as they moved through the bushes.

Once indeed he thought he heard the wild shrill scream of a female, very
different in its intonations from the harsh voice of the savage squaw.
But so many unearthly sights and sounds had haunted both his sleeping
and waking hours of late, that he drove the impression from his mind,
to rest with hundreds of others of like import.

When the front lines had arrived within some forty yards of the dark and
frowning breastwork, a sudden and momentary check was given to their
farther progress. A rushing sound, as of the flight of many birds, and
the clatter of Indian arrows against their arms and persons,
simultaneously struck upon their senses, followed by the fall of many
soldiers, and the short involuntary exclamations of pain, which, from
the impulse of the moment, escaped the unfortunate individuals.

Trumpets and drums instantaneously broke the stillness of the march.
Their martial notes reverberated over the surrounding solitudes in
enlivening peals. The ill-omened birds of night flapped their wings, and
swooped through the unsteady lights of the scene in utter dismay at this
untimely invasion of their prescriptive dominions. These were quickly
followed by a discharge of musketry, poured into the formidable
palisade. It was scarcely discharged, however, before Bacon discovered
the utter uselessness of such a waste of ammunition. He saw that the
breastwork was so constructed, that, while it admitted of the discharge
of missiles from within, it afforded a secure protection to its
occupants against the musketry of their assailants. In the mean time his
soldiers were exposed to the murderous discharges of poisoned arrows.

In this emergency no time was to be lost; placing himself, therefore, at
the head of his troops, he ordered the walls to be torn down. These, as
before related, were composed of large trees piled one upon another,
with their green boughs still protruding in many places over the shallow
intrenchment, and the earth excavated from the latter thrown up on the
outside against a rude wicker-work of fine bushes, filling up the
interstices of the trees. Trumpets sounded the charge, and the columns
moved at a quick pace to the onset. Still not a savage head was seen
until they had arrived at the very borders of the intrenchment. Here
some two hundred of the stoutest and ablest bodied of his soldiers were
marched up to the projecting limbs of the largest tree, forming the
basis of the breastwork. Bacon saw at a glance that if he could manage
to seize hold of these projecting arms and turn the tree across the
fosse, it would at once open the way for his mounted troops, and perhaps
carry with it some forty or fifty feet of the palisade, and thereby
bring the opposing armies face to face. They had already seized the
projecting limbs, and were shaking the frail protection of the savages
to its very foundations, when simultaneously a thousand lights gleamed
over forest, hill, and dale--A thousand voices united their shrill
clamours in one deafening yell of savage ferocity. The troops engaged in
tearing down the breastwork instinctively loosed their hold, and flew to
their arms, as they threw their eyes upward to the spot whence these
blinding lights and deafening noises came. It was but the work of an
instant, for little more time were they permitted to examine,--they were
called upon to act, and that vigorously, for their own preservation. In
a single instant, and apparently at a given signal, the whole of the
rude terrace surmounting the fortification literally swarmed with
painted warriors, each bearing in his left hand a pine torch, and in the
other, a tomahawk, a war-club, or a battle-axe.[6] They sprang from
their commanding position into the midst of their assailants, and
scattered themselves in every direction through that part of the army
already advanced to the breastwork.

[Footnote 6: These were made of stones ground into the shape of our axe,
with a groove round the centre for a handle made of withe.]

Human ingenuity could not have devised a mode of warfare better
calculated to suit their numbers, position, time, courage, and limited
means of resistance. It at once rendered the mounted troops
useless--prevented the colonists from using their fire-arms, because
those immediately engaged were at too close quarters, while those at a
greater distance were as likely to kill friends as enemies. The savages
dealt their murderous blows with wonderous rapidity and precision, and
though the hardy planters in the front ranks turned upon them with the
butt ends of their muskets, the savages had evidently the advantage. The
blazing fagots were often thrust into the very faces of their opponents,
and while writhing under the confusion and agony of the fire and smoke,
they were stricken down like helpless beasts.

Bacon saw the imminent peril of his troops, and though he was at first
astounded by the rapidity and daring courage with which the plan was
executed, he did not despair, nor yet sit listlessly upon his horse to
see his friends and countrymen slaughtered. He saw at a glance too that
only the front columns were engaged--that a part of these must now
necessarily fall, but he determined at the same time, that their deaths
should be dearly avenged, and his remaining troops brought off
victorious. He immediately placed himself between the forces already
engaged and those rushing to the rescue. The latter he wheeled into line
immediately in front of his mounted reserve, thereby changing their
front to the flank of the contending parties, while their own right wing
rested upon the top of the hill, and the left on the little stream
already mentioned. Having completed this evolution to his satisfaction,
the mounted Cavaliers were brought round to the position just occupied
by the foot, so that they immediately faced the struggling combatants,
and the latter were ordered to give way. The retreat was sounded from
the brazen mouths of the trumpets over their heads, and Bacon in person
and his mounted aids, rode furiously and recklessly among them, crying
for them to fall back toward the line stationed on the right.

These various movements were but the work of a few moments. Meantime the
painted and ghastly warriors, rendered still more horrible by the
flaring lights which they bore in their hands, and by the reeking
instruments of death which they swung over their head with such unerring
precision, were pouring over the walls upon the devoted band in
countless hordes. So intently were they engaged, that the evolutions of
their enemies had entirely escaped their attention; and indeed the
Colonists themselves, who were fighting hand to hand with the savages,
had not observed the movement, until the voices of their commanders
urged them to fall back upon the newly formed line. As Bacon had
calculated, no sooner were the engaged troops made to understand the
orders, and induced to recede, than a partial separation was effected,
which was fatal to the Aboriginals. The retreating Colonists were almost
immediately under the protection of the line already braced in solid
column, and standing to the charge[7] ready for the expected pursuers. A
company of the mounted Cavaliers was broken up into squads, and these
were actively engaged in hewing down the pursuers, or cutting off their
retreat to the protection of the fort. In a short time a complete line
of separation was formed between the two armies, save where, here and
there, two athletic men of the opposite races, both having lost their
arms in the contest, struggled in the death gripe. Here an iron handed
mechanist of the city clenched a warrior's throat--the eyes of the
victim protruding frightfully from his head in the glaring light, and
his tongue hanging from his mouth like that of a rabid animal, until he
fell as a lump of clay among the hundreds of both parties who had gone
before. There a grim warrior struggled with another, making desperate
efforts to reach his knife, which the soldier as constantly struggled to
prevent. Yonder among the heaps of slain, lay two of the differing
races, fallen to the earth in a mutual but deadly clasp, each holding
the other by the throat, until the struggle became one of mere
endurance, and, strange to say, the white man generally conquered.

[Footnote 7: The bayonet was just then coming into use, but was inserted
into a round piece of wood, which was thrust into the muzzle of the
musket.]

While, however, these desperate personal struggles were occurring, the
tide of battle was fast turning against the most numerous party. It was
with the greatest difficulty that Bacon could restrain the ardour and
impetuosity of the troops stationed in line for the protection of the
devoted corps which had led the van, the straggling members of which
were momentarily retreating behind the solid bulwark of their
countrymen's pikes and bayonets. But no sooner was this duty of humanity
performed, and a complete line of demarcation distinctly drawn, than all
restraints were removed. A volley of musketry was poured among the
scattering savages along the face of the hill, in order to convince
them that hereafter they would be kept at a respectful distance. A
simultaneous movement of horse and foot now swept the brow of the hill;
the horse charged immediately in front of the palisade, while the
infantry drove in the extended line of savages at the point of the
bayonet. The most inextricable confusion ensued in the ranks of the red
warriors. While the cavalry cut them down on one hand, and the bayonets
of the infantry transfixed them on the other, hundreds were tumbling
over hundreds as they tumultuously leaped over the palisade. Some hung
by the projecting bushes--others fell upon the terrace, and were cast
down and trodden under foot by their companions; while multitudes were
cut to pieces in making the attempt. In a short time the open field was
left in complete possession of the whites--the brow of the hill was
literally covered with the wounded and the slain, both of white and red.
Yet the battle was not ended; hundreds upon hundreds had escaped within
the fort. The savage force amounted at the commencement to something
like three thousand warriors of various tribes, and that of the
Colonists to about one thousand.[8] Bacon earnestly desired to spare the
effusion of human blood, and hazardous as the Indians were as
neighbours, either professing friendship or enmity, he resolved to send
them a flag of truce and propose a permanent peace upon condition of
their abandoning the Peninsula for ever. He knew that they understood
the sacred rights and privileges of that peaceful banner, for it had
already been recognised among some of their own tribes. Accordingly a
young and promising officer was thrust up to the top of the palisade. He
waved his flag and laid his hand upon his heart in token of friendship,
and grounded his sword in order to convince them that he came upon a
peaceful errand, but instead of sending out their interpreter or
prophet, he was treacherously murdered by a tomahawk--thrown some twenty
yards by the hand of a warrior, and buried in his brain. All hopes of
peace were now abandoned, and Bacon determined to complete the victory
which he had commenced, and won thus far at the expense of so many
valued lives.

[Footnote 8: Burke says 600.]

Orders were again issued for tearing down the palisade, while a chosen
band of prompt and expert marksmen were stationed at the distance of
some thirty yards, to shoot down the savages as they should show their
heads above the breastwork. Instead of the infantry being stationed to
protect the miners as before, the cavalry formed a column flanking the
marksmen, so that they could at a moment's warning, rush in between the
descending hordes and the corps engaged in pulling down the barricade.

Again the trees composing the palisade were seized by the projecting
limbs, and a sudden wrench brought the earth piled against its outer
side tumbling into the ditch beneath, and shook the whole fabric to its
foundation. Again an ominous and inexplicable silence prevailed within
the enclosure, which was the more remarkable, as there was left no known
method of escape, and by their own treachery to the officer who had
borne the flag of truce, they were reduced to the alternative of dying
in their ditches or desperately cutting their way through the solid
phalanx which enclosed them on every side. Hitherto the marksmen
stationed in front for the purpose of clearing the terrace of the
savages, as they should mount the breastwork from the inside, had little
to do. At length a group of savages displayed their painted faces above
the barrier, apparently endeavouring to drag some unwieldy burden to the
top of the works. They were instantly shot down, but their places were
as speedily supplied by others. A faint but piercing shriek rent the
air, which promptly arrested the attention of Bacon, Dudley, and young
Harrison, who sat upon their horses superintending the operations of the
miners, and holding an occasional discourse among themselves. The voice
came evidently from a female, and reminded Bacon that he had once before
during the night heard a like sound from the same direction. He waved
his sword to the marksmen stationed on his left, to withhold their fire,
while his own attention and that of his two associates were intently
rivetted to the occupation of the group ascending the wall from the
other side. At this moment the large tree which the troops in front had
been some time shaking loose, came crashing over upon its limbs, and
bringing with it those which had been piled above, thus exposing to view
the interior of the fort, but not yet affording an uninterrupted passage
for the besiegers. The battalions of foot, however, were tumultuously
rushing toward the breach, reckless of the interposing branches and
trunks of the prostrate trees, when Bacon, in a voice of thunder
commanded them to halt! The very moment the fort gave way a sight was
revealed to his eyes, and those of his two comrades, which made the hair
rise on end upon their heads, and the blood in their veins run cold with
horror. The Indians, who had so long struggled to ascend the fort some
twenty or thirty yards from the breach, had at length succeeded, bearing
one of the objects which so powerfully arrested the attention of the
officers on horseback. Two grim warriors supported between them the body
of a woman of the European race, while a third stood behind her, on the
top of the palisade with uplifted tomahawk. With one hand he held the
weapon suspended over the head of the drooping victim, while with the
other, he pointed to the neighbouring breach in the breastwork, with a
look and gesture that seemed to say, "advance, and her fate is sealed!"
Although the light from the smouldering fires was dim and unsteady,
enough was caught of the outlines of this figure to thrill to the very
heart-strings of the three spectators; she was upheld on either side by
the mere strength of her guards--her feet seemed to have sunk from under
her--but her head was erect and turning with wonderful rapidity from
side to side, as she gazed with wild and glaring eyes upon the scene
around her. Her fair silken tresses fell unrestrained upon her shoulders
or were blown about in fluttering streams, as the unsteady light fell
now in broad masses, and then in dim and shadowy rays. Her dress was
white, and fell in ample folds around all that was left of a once
symmetrical figure. Her features were ashy pale and attenuated to the
last degree of human wretchedness, her eye shot forth the wild flashes
of a frenzied mind. She was entirely unconscious of her danger, and
though she seemed to examine the wild scene around, it was not with fear
and trembling. A sickly smile played upon her death-like features, as if
she rather took pleasure than suffered pain in these unusual sights, or
saw embodied before her in palpable form somewhat of the fleeting
phantasmagoria which had so long eluded her senses, yet she was
speechless--and so were the late combatants.

A profound and solemn silence prevailed throughout the ranks of both
parties. The fate of battle, or the life of an individual, was suspended
upon the results of the moment. It was soon interrupted, wildly,
fearfully interrupted! The threatened victim burst into a convulsion of
frantic laughter, the wild unguided tones of a voice once rich and
musical, were borne along the still night air, and resounded through the
dark forest like some unearthly mockery of human merriment. As if a
thunderbolt from heaven had instantaneously stricken her dumb she
ceased. The sounds of her own voice startled and astonished her; perhaps
some dim rememberance of its former tones, as it rose and fell upon the
air, floated darkly through her mind. The grim old warriors who
supported her, were impressed with awe and fear, and the very
executioner was almost overcome with his native superstitious reverence.
The events we have just described occupied but a few moments of
time,--far less than we have taken to describe them. At this juncture,
and while the three stern Indians maintained their posts, Wyanokee
sprang upon the terrace, struck the tomahawk from the hands of the ready
executioner--pushed him backward over the palisade, and threw herself
recklessly upon the unfortunate lady, encircling her with her arms. At
the same instant her two astounded countrymen fell lifeless from the
terrace, pierced to the heart by the unerring balls of the sharp
shooters.

The Colonial army now broke tumultuously into the fort. Here another
threatened victim had been held as a suspended pledge over their fires,
for the safety of this their last strong hold, but so intense had been
the interest excited in behalf of the unfortunate Mrs. Fairfax, that
little attention was bestowed upon him. It was none other than Brian
O'Reily. When the breach was made in the fort, he was discovered in the
centre of the area, tied fast to a stake driven into the ground. A
quantity of resinous pine wood was built high up around his body, and
half a dozen torch-bearers stood ready to apply the flame. The report of
the muskets had no sooner announced the death of their comrades on the
wall, than this pile was fired in a a hundred places. Already the victim
began to writhe as the intolerable heat scorched his flesh, and the
smoke rushed into his eyes and throat. As the soldiers entered through
the breach with Dudley, who had dismounted, at their head, he rushed
toward the suffering victim, and, assisted by his followers, hurled the
burning brands upon the heads of those who kindled them.

Meanwhile Bacon had also dismounted. He saw that the contest would now
be short, and giving his orders to Dudley, he leaped upon the palisade
where Wyanokee was vainly endeavouring to support and restrain his
former patroness, who had repeatedly and fruitlessly endeavoured to
stand erect, and as often had fallen back into the arms of the Indian
maiden. As Bacon approached, his whole soul agitated with deep and
thrilling emotions, she was sitting upon the wall, forcing herself
farther and farther back, like a frighted infant, into the arms of her
protectress. Her eyes stared wildly upon the approaching youth, and the
lids fell not over the painfully distended orbs. She did not recognise
him, even when he approached within a few paces and kindly and
soothingly addressed her. At one moment she seemed about to make some
reply, but the half formed words died upon her lips--they moved as
though she held the desired discourse, but no sound was audible. The
wild noise and confusion of the onset, breaking upon her ears, she
started up and cried "Hah! see you not that the king's troops put those
of the commonwealth to the sword? Behold his giant form weltering in
gore! 'Tis gone! It was not he! No, no; I saw not the bloody hand. It
was merely one of these puppet warriors dressed out to frighten babes.
He lives! did he not tell me so, with his own lips? Do the dead tell the
living lies? That were a trick of the devil indeed." Again she burst
into a horrible and appalling laugh, fell back into the arms of
Wyanokee, and her mortal pains and sorrows were for ever ended.

The long-disputed contest was now drawing to a close; the Indians fought
desperately, as long as there was a hope left of repulsing the troops
which rushed in at the breach, burning with ardour and roused to
indignation by their wanton cruelties; but the superior arms and skill
of the Colonists rendered the contest in a short time utterly desperate
on the part of the besieged. When farther resistance was put out of
their power, by the besiegers closing in upon them on every side, and
thus confining their exertions within a narrow space in the centre of
the fort, the stern warriors threw away their tomahawks and war-clubs,
and fell prostrate on their faces. It was a moving sight to behold these
hardy veterans of a hundred battles, gradually encompassed by a more
skilful and powerful enemy, until they were forced to surrender this
last foothold upon the land of their fathers. Their prostrate attitude
was by no means intended to express an abject petition for mercy; it was
the custom established by their people, and its impulse was utter
desperation. They neither desired nor expected quarter, but threw
themselves upon the earth, to signify their willingness to meet the
tortures of their enemies. When placed under the vigilance of the troops
appointed to guard them until dawn, they sat like statues, not a muscle
or feature expressing emotion of any kind.

Bacon stood over the body of his late kind and unfortunate patroness, as
still and motionless as his own prisoners, contemplating the sad change
which a few short days had made upon her mild and benignant features,
until reminded by Dudley that he had other duties to perform. The latter
approached and informed him that the garrison had surrendered. He heeded
him not. He repeated his information, and touched the general upon the
shoulder. Bacon started wildly for an instant, but seeing who spoke, a
meaningless smile flitted across his features while he answered, "True,
true, Dudley, I will attend you in a moment;" and was about to relapse
into his former mood, but rousing himself, he issued orders for
pitching his own marquée, and then directed that the dead body of Mrs.
Fairfax should be borne thither and deposited under its shelter with all
due respect. Till now, Wyanokee had sat near the cold and lifeless form.
Not a tear was shed nor any other indication given that she had lost a
friend, esteemed by her one of the first of the earth. There was,
perhaps, just a perceptible expression of wildness and mystery in her
steady and abstracted gaze on vacancy, as if in thought she was
following the departed spirit to the verdant forests and blossoming
meadows of the happy hunting-ground beyond the sky. It is true that she
had been somewhat instructed in the doctrines of our religion, but he
has made little progress in the study of mankind who does not know that
the peculiar opinions--the forms of worship, whether of superstition or
religion, which have been infused into the mind in the tender years of
infancy, will ever after give a tinge to the views of the recipient. But
Wyanokee had by no means renounced the doctrines of her father's
worship, and however much her mind may have been worked upon while under
the influence of the whites, and of the imposing form and ceremonies of
the Established Church, since her abjuration of their friendship, she
had imperceptibly lapsed into most of her aboriginal notions.

When the body of Mrs. Fairfax was laid out under the marquée of the
commander in chief, and a line of sentinels was established around its
limits, Wyanokee was the sole living tenant of the apartment. She sat
by the corpse, in precisely the same state which we have before
described.

In a very short time from that in which Dudley announced the termination
of the conflict to his commanding officer, profound quietness reigned
over the fort and brow of the hill, so lately the scene of bloodshed and
strife, save where it was disturbed by the movements of those engaged in
burying the dead, and rescuing the wounded who lay suffering under the
weight of their dead comrades.

Never had such a battle been fought in Virginia, either as regarded the
number of Indians engaged, the consequences depending on the result, or
the sanguinary nature of the conflict itself. It was the last struggle
for supremacy between the whites and the Indians in the Peninsula.



CHAPTER VIII.


General Bacon apprehending that the rising sun might disclose to view
the approaching columns of the army under Sir William Berkley, had
ordered the dismantled fort to be refitted in such a manner as to afford
some protection to his exhausted troops. The trees were again brought
round to their former position, and the limbs by which themselves had
gained entrance lopped off. The sun, however, rose above the horizon
without betraying any sign, either of the expected army, or of the
mounted scouts whom he had sent out just before the battle. This latter
circumstance gave him not a little uneasiness, as he could account for
their protracted absence in no other way than by supposing that they had
fallen into Sir William's hands.

Most of the troops were yet indulging in repose, after the extraordinary
fatigues of the night, and were cheerfully indulged by their officers,
in the hope that they would rise with renewed ardour and courage for the
expected attack.

At about ten o'clock in the morning, the troops having been roused from
their slumbers, and partaken of a hasty breakfast, the sentinel pacing
to and fro upon the top of the walls, announced the approach of the
expected foe. Bacon and his staff quickly mounted the breastwork to
examine the number and appointments of his confident enemy; but to his
great joy and relief, the approaching troops proved to be his own
missing scouts. He mounted his charger and galloped over the intervening
ground in order to learn the cause of their strange absence; so
impatient was he, not only on that score, but likewise to learn tidings
from his pursuers. He very soon met the advancing horsemen, who, upon
perceiving their general, halted in the road. The information
communicated by the commander of the party was not less surprising to
Bacon than was the account of the battle to the officer, who had been
absent from its dangers and its glories. The latter stated, that after
having ridden about twenty miles on the previous night, they suddenly
came upon the encampment of Sir William's army, but having discovered
their fires in sufficient time, had avoided their pickets. They scouted
round his camp for a considerable length of time, endeavouring to learn
something of his intended movements--the number of his soldiers, and
their disposition toward themselves, but found no means of gaining
information. At length they narrowly escaped being discovered and
intercepted by a foraging party, and having discovered that the troopers
composing it, had come last from the house of a planter, living not far
from the encampment, they resolved to present themselves before him,
candidly explain their business, and throw themselves upon his
patriotism for any information which he might possess. They did so, and
were fortunate enough to find that the planter was not only able, but
willing to give them important information, and was anxious for the
success of Bacon's expedition--his own son being engaged in it. The
amount of his information in few words, was, that Sir William Berkley
had that very evening received an express from Jamestown, urgently
summoning him back to the capital, with all his forces. That two
influential citizens residing in the counties south of Jamestown, by
name Walklate and Ingraham,[9] having heard of his expedition to cut off
the return of General Bacon and his army, had immediately raised a force
of horse and foot scarcely inferior to his own, and were marching upon
the capital. Nor was this all the unfavourable news communicated by the
express: it farther stated that the House of Burgesses, then in session,
(contrary to the promise of Sir William to dissolve it,) were engaged
upon some resolutions, very injurious to the reputation and farther
influence of the Governor, and that they had already approved of the
proceedings of General Bacon, and resolved to require the Governor to
sign his commission as commander in chief of the colonial forces,
besides having transmitted to the ministry at home, testimonials of his
patriotism, talents, and bravery.

[Footnote 9: Historical.]

The foraging party from the army of Sir William, had farther informed
the planter, that it was the intention of his excellency to break up his
camp by dawn of day, and return by forced marches, to the protection of
the capital.

At this juncture, the Colony of Virginia presented the singular
spectacle of three distinct and independent armies, assembled at one
time. One at the falls, commanded by Bacon--another in the Peninsula,
commanded by Sir William Berkley, and the third in the south, commanded
by Generals Ingraham and Walklate. The first and last were nothing more
than disciplined assemblages of volunteers from among the people, while
that under the command of the Governor in person, was composed in part
of veteran regular troops, and partly of loyal subjects, called together
by the urgent appeals of him who had so long been the honoured organ of
his majesty's authority in the colony.

When General Bacon returned to the camp, and had assembled his
associates in command, and communicated to them the foregoing
particulars, he also announced to them his intention of leaving the
temporary command of the army with his next in rank, and repairing in
person immediately to the capital.

His views having met the approbation of the council of officers, the
sloop which had brought up the marine part of the expedition was
promptly put in readiness, and forty chosen men embarked for his
escort.[10]

[Footnote 10: Historical.]

His unfortunate valet and devoted adherent, Brian O'Reily, although much
enfeebled by long confinement and want of wholesome food, was, at his
own earnest request, added to the number. So urgent had been the various
claims upon the time of General Bacon, that he had not yet heard Brian's
account of his sufferings and privations.

Before embarking he issued the strictest orders for the safety, comfort,
and protection of the numerous prisoners, and of Wyanokee in particular.
He directed that she should be conveyed in the same wagon, then
preparing for the purpose of transporting the remains of Mrs. Fairfax to
Jamestown.

Before taking leave of his comrades in arms, he entered the marquée
containing the honoured remains. The sentinel was walking his solitary
rounds of monotonous duty, with solemn aspect. Strange that the
ceremonies attending the laying out and decently guarding this lifeless
body should more powerfully impress this sturdy soldier than all the
heaps of slain piled into one common grave during the night.

Bacon entered the marquée alone. There sat the last daughter of the
kings of Chickahominy, in precisely the attitude in which he had seen
her five hours before. She was the sole mourner at the feet of her whom
in life she had most honoured. He was powerfully affected by the sight
of many little personal ornaments, not worn on the previous night, but
which had been collected by Wyanokee and placed conspicuously upon the
corpse. He was struck, too, with the delicate consideration of the
Indian maiden in these native observances in honour of the dead.
Conspicuous among the things valued by her friend while living, was a
small silver clasped pocket bible; it was spread open upon the neat
folds of her white garments, surrounded with a profusion of wild
flowers, such as he had often known her to transplant into her own
garden.

But time pressed, and urgent circumstances called him to the capital; he
therefore lifted the covering (a white handkerchief) from her face, and
gazed for the last time upon those features impressed upon his heart and
memory from infancy. Almost involuntarily he drew from his doublet the
diminutive locket, reassured his heart by a momentary comparison of the
features--and then forced himself away and proceeded to the bank of the
river, where the sloop already spread her sails to the ready breeze.

The prisoners taken at the battle of the Falls, or of the Bloody Run as
it was more frequently called, were placed in the centre of the army,
with the exception of Wyanokee, and the fort burnt to the ground, after
which the Colonial troops took up their line of march for the capital.
Toward this central point three separate armies were now advancing,
while the House of Burgesses were passing a series of resolutions in
which all three were deeply interested. A more important juncture in the
affairs of the Colony had never occurred, and the approach of the
various hostile parties toward the capital excited the deepest anxiety
in all the reflecting inhabitants of the city.

The courier announcing the successful issue of Bacon's campaign against
the tribes of the Peninsula, which had so long disturbed the peace and
tranquillity of the planters, was received with general manifestations
of joy and expressions of gratitude to the youthful commander of the
expedition.

By a resolution of the assembly, the State House was ordered to be
illuminated, and the inhabitants generally were requested to follow the
example. These, with other voluntary demonstrations of rejoicing on the
part of the citizens, were about to be carried into execution, when the
vanguard of Sir William Berkley's army, commanded by the sturdy old
knight in person, arrived at the gates of the bridge. When he was
informed of the cause of this unusual measure, and of the resolutions
which had been passed by the House of Burgesses, both in regard to
himself and his young rival in the popular favour, he burst into a most
ungovernable fit of rage--threw his sword into the river, and swore he
would embark for England the next morning. He was no sooner dissuaded
from the rash step, than he resolved upon an expedient equally
inconsiderate. It was nothing less than to march his army into the
streets of the city, and thence, with a chosen band of followers,
disperse the assembly at the point of the bayonet. It was with the
greatest difficulty, and after long efforts, that his more discreet
friends were enabled to dissuade him from this step likewise, nor even
then until they had compromised the affair, by agreeing that he should
issue a proclamation with the same view, and forthwith issue writs for a
new election. Accordingly, having marched his troops into the heart of
the city, and encamped them immediately round the State House and public
grounds, he carried his threats into execution.

The dissolution of the assembly was immediately proclaimed, and writs
were issued for the election of their successors. To such a length had
Sir William Berkley carried his high-handed measures, from time to time,
since his reaccession to the vice-regal chair, that he imagined the
people would submit to any dictation emanating from so high a
functionary as himself--that it was only necessary to make his will and
pleasure known to the good citizens of Jamestown, at once to put an end
to all the demonstrations of joy by which his arrival was so unwelcomely
greeted. He was led into this error, partly by his own overweening
pride, and partly by the respect which so many years of unclouded
prosperity in the same station had naturally engendered in the people.
And doubtless they would have endured much, and did submit to many
oppressions, rather than resist the authority of one who had so long
held the reins of government. But the true secret of the change in the
character of that government, was in the erroneous views conceived by
the captious old knight, during the government of the commonwealth. He
had fallen with his first Royal master and risen with the second--and
thus had come into power the second time, with all the extravagant
notions of prerogative entertained by his transatlantic prototype,
without having derived any wholesome lessons of experience from the fate
of his first unfortunate master.

The people heard the proclamation dissolving the assembly, with murmurs
indeed at the spirit and motive in which it originated, but without
feelings of opposition to the measure, because it was one which they had
themselves demanded before his departure. They therefore moodily
acquiesced, and even submitted to be bearded by the foreign mercenaries
in their streets and public walks, but when the Governor, emboldened by
this apparent tameness undertook to issue another document, proclaiming
Bacon, Dudley, Harrison, Walklate, Ingraham, and their followers,
rebels, the people could submit no longer. The muttered thunders of
popular discontent burst out into all the fury of a storm. His officers
were forcibly prevented from reading his proclamations in the streets,
and public places--a general meeting of the citizens voluntarily
assembled at the State House, surrounded as it was by his soldiers, and
there passed resolutions, condemning his recent conduct, in the most
unmeasured terms. They also appointed a large committee to wait on him
forthwith, and not only demand the suppression of the last proclamation,
but that he should sign the commissions, already prepared by the
assembly for the very persons so denounced. After making these demands
of the infatuated old man, they farther informed him that two expresses
were already mounted--one to be despatched to the army under Bacon, and
the other to that headed by Ingraham and Walklate, both of which were
probably within a short distance of the city. That besides these
preparations for any extreme measures to which he might think proper to
resort, the citizens generally were arming themselves, and even that
many members of the late House of Burgesses, which he had just
dissolved, were taking up arms, and held themselves in readiness to
assist in disarming and expelling the mercenaries under his command. Sir
William demanded two hours for deliberation and consultation with his
friends. These were soon assembled, and the committee withdrew to await
the expiration of the allotted time.

Again the Governor was destined to be mortified. The officers assembled,
most of whom had been with him in his recent expedition, stated that
the popular spirit of revolt and insubordination, had spread among the
soldiery to such an extent that no dependence could be placed upon them
in case of a rupture with the citizens. In this emergency he was
compelled to listen to the admonitions of the friends, who advised that
he should endeavour to turn the popular current in his favour, by
signing the commissions, and withdrawing the offensive proclamations. To
this he was forced to accede, and accordingly when the committee of the
citizens returned he signed the commissions. Scarcely had he dismissed
them, however, before he began devising measures to counteract the very
purpose of his act. He ordered a representation to be immediately drawn
up for ministers, in which the now commissioned officers in question
were represented as traitors--directed the most resolute and
trust-worthy of his adherents to embark for Accomac, whither he resolved
to transfer the seat of Government until the citizens of the capital
should be taught that respect for his majesty's representative in which
they had shown themselves so deficient within the last few hours; and
commanded all the armed ships not engaged in transporting his own troops
across the bay,[11] (and there were many of them in the river,) to
cruise up the stream, in order to intercept the sloop conveying General
Bacon and his suite to the city, with strict orders to bring him dead or
alive to Accomac. Having issued these various orders, and seen them put
in a regular train of execution, he embarked the same night on board an
armed brigantine, with his own family and suite, not forgetting his
imprisoned and deeply injured niece.

[Footnote 11: See Burke.]

Meanwhile General Bacon was calmly reclining upon the deck of his little
sloop; it was the second night from his embarkation--the moon was
shining brightly in the heavens, and the stars sparkled brilliantly
through a hazy but not damp atmosphere, and not a breath of air filled
the white sails as they flapped idly against the mast. The vessel was
drifting slowly toward her place of destination it is true, but not with
a velocity in accordance with the ardent desires of the passengers.
Every soul on board had retired to rest except himself, Brian O'Reily,
and that part of the crew to which belonged the duty of the watch. It
was the same night the reader will remember, on which Sir William
Berkley arrived at, and afterward so suddenly departed, from the
capital.

Brian O'Reily was for the first time explaining to his master the manner
in which he came into the hands of the Indians. Bacon had readily
surmised the whole process, but knowing that O'Reily must be indulged
with the relation at one time or another, and being unable to sleep in
his present excited state of mind, he had given the impulse to Brian's
garrulity, not inadvertently, however, by the simple question,

"So Brian, you were in pursuit of me when the Powhatans made you a
prisoner?"

"Ay, by St. Stephen the martyr, and the twelve Apostles, barrin one iv
them that was a thraitor, I was near bein a martyr myself, only the
bloody nagres had a notion to fatten me, and that's the rason they kept
me tied on me back all the while, jist as I used to fix the misthress's
blind calf, the saints bless her soul."

"Fatten you, Brian, for what?"

"To ate me, to be sure!"

"Pshaw, O'Reily, they are not cannibals."

"Oh the divil burn my eyes, but I saw thim roastin babies by the fire,
and ating them like pathriges, widout so much as salt to season them!"

"You just now told me you were tied in a dark hole, and fed on parched
corn, all the time you were a prisoner."

"Divil a word iv a lie's in that, any way, your honour, and sure enough
I didn't jist see thim kooking the young ones, but didn't I smell thim
roastin? Sure and Brian O'Reily wouldn't be after being decaived in the
smell of a pig for a sucking baby. Didn't the divil tempt me wid that
same smell any way? may be he didn't? Wasn't I starvin myself upon short
allowance iv their murtherin popped corn, and didn't the bloody nagers
roast a baby jist whin me unconscionable bowels came up into my throat
every day, begging for muttin and turnips? and didn't they want to
fatten me like the misthress's blind calf--me bowels I mane? and didn't
I put thim aff wid a half score o' parched corns? Oh! if they had only
been stilled into whiskey, may be it wouldn't iv cured the smotherin I
had about the heart."

"I suppose, Brian, you were never sober for such a length of time
together in your life before."

"Oh! be our Lady you may say that--there was jist nothing to ate, and
the same to dhrink, barrin the parched corn, and the babies, and may be,
an oldher sinner for Sundays, by way of a feast."

"You travelled on foot, I suppose, from place to place, until they
concentrated at the falls!"

"Divil a foot iv mine touched the ghround, since they pulled me off my
horse at yon town of theirs over the river. I rode on a horse ivery foot
iv the way, your haner, and had one iv the nagers to attind me; may be
he didn't ride behint me on the same baste, and put his arms around me
like a butcher taking a fat wether to the shambles."

"You were in right good case too, when you fell into the hands of this
singular butcher, that deals in human flesh, according to your account?"

"Ay was I, but I lost it asier than I got it--by the five crasses, but
the sweat run down to me shoes every time I looked round at the painted
divil sittin on the same baste wid me--his nose ornamented wid a lead
ring like a wild steer. Sure I thought the ghreat inimy was flyin away
wid me, before I was dacently buried."

"What did he say to you, Brian?"

"Say to me, your haner! By the holy father, but he addressed none iv his
discourse to me. Maybe he was talkin to the divil that was in him as big
as a sheep--didn't he grunt it all away down in his pipes like a pig in
a passion? Or may be he was talkin to the horse, for he grunted too, and
one iv thim jist discoursed as well as the t'other, to my mind."

"Could you not tell upon what subject he spoke, from his gestures or
signs.--Did he not point to Jamestown frequently?"

"Not he--he pointed to the colour iv me hair, more belikes, and when
they gat to yon place where your haner put so many iv thim to slape,
they all gathered round me to see it. They had their own crowns painted
the same colour, and they wonthered at the beauty iv mine, and faith,
that was the most rasonable thing I saw among thim, barrin that they
brought me the paint-pot, and wanted me to figure off one iv their
beautiful gourds like Brian O'Reily's. I towld thim it was a thing out
iv all rason, and pulled out some iv the hair to show thim, and divil
burn the bloody thaives, but they cut it all aff jist for keepsakes
among thim."

"They left you a top-knot, I see, however."

Before O'Reily could make a reply, the sailor on the watch cried out
that there was a large ship bearing down upon them. Bacon sprung upon
his feet, ordered Brian to alarm the soldiers, and walked hastily
forward. At the first glance, he saw a crowd of warlike heads, and
caught the reflection of the light upon their arms. A second look at the
strange movements of the vessel, and the hostile preparations of those
on board served to convince him that he was himself the object of their
pursuit. Taking two of the first soldiers who made their appearance on
deck, he silently entered the boat swinging from the tafferel of the
sloop, motioned the two soldiers to follow him, and then ordered the
boat to be let down with all silence and despatch. O'Reily seeing these
preparations as he came on deck from the performance of his orders,
sprung into the boat as one end struck the water; it was too late, and
the circumstances too urgent for his master to order him back--the frail
bark was pushed off, therefore, with muffled oars, and as much within
the shadow of the approaching vessels as their destined course would
permit. Scarcely were they without the protection of these, before they
discovered the yawl of the ship full of armed men, rapidly gliding into
the water, and in the next moment, they heard musket balls whistling
over their heads, accompanied by the momentary gleam and then the quick
report of fire-arms. Seizing an oar himself, and ordering Brian to
follow his example, they pulled with all their strength for the shore;
this once gained, he hoped that the protection of the forest and the
increasing haziness of the atmosphere settling upon the high banks of
the river, would effectually protect his retreat. But in spite of their
utmost efforts, the superior power with which the yawl was propelled
through the water was rapidly shortening the distance between them.
Brian threw off his jerkin, and strenuously exhorted his master to trust
himself to the mercy of the waves, though he knew not the nature of the
threatened danger. On this point, Bacon himself could only conjecture,
that it was some device of his old enemy to get him secretly into his
power, and hence his anxiety to reach Jamestown at the present juncture.
He knew nothing of the change which had taken place at the capital in
his favour, but he knew his own power over the populace, and he
preferred being made prisoner in public, to trusting himself to the
tender mercies of Sir William Berkley. In spite of all his exertions,
and the hopes of reward held out to the soldiers in case of success,
their boat was cut off from the shore by the pursuers interposing
between it and themselves. He saw that resistance would be madness, as
the boat now wheeling exactly in front of them contained five times
their number, and would doubtless, in case of a struggle, be promptly
sustained by assistance from the ship, which was now nearer to them than
their own vessel. His only course, therefore, was to submit with as much
philosophy as he could muster. He was deeply mortified and chagrined
however, for his presence seemed to him to be most urgently called for
at the capital. These views were founded upon the information he had
received, now two days old. Could he have known what had taken place at
Jamestown only a few hours before, and only a few miles distant from his
present position; could he have known that Sir William Berkley was at
that very moment an adventurer upon the same waters, but a few miles
below, and driven thence by the firmness of the patriotic citizens who
belonged to his own party, he would doubtless have made a desperate
resistance. Perhaps it was more fortunate for all parties that he was
thus ignorant of existing circumstances at the capital, for had he
fallen at this juncture, (which was most probable) the fate of the
Republican party in the infant state might have been very different.

He and his party soon found themselves on board of the hostile ship,
which was commanded by Capt. Gardiner, an Englishman--a devoted loyalist
and adherent of Sir William Berkley. He was politely received by that
officer, but informed that he must consider himself a prisoner until he
could exculpate himself before the Governor in person, at Accomac. Until
this moment Bacon had been partially reconciled to his mishap, trusting
to his known popularity among the people of the city, which he knew
would not be diminished by the eclat of his Indian victories; but now
that he was informed of the present residence of the Governor, and the
destination of the ship, his hopes were totally prostrated. He began to
suspect that something was wrong with Sir William at Jamestown, from
his present singular location, and was not a little uneasy at the secret
and unusual measures he had taken to get him into his power. He knew the
turbulent and impetuous temperament of the old knight, and how little he
was given to consult right and humanity in too many of his summary
measures of what he chose to call justice, to think that he would
hesitate one moment to summon a court-martial of his own partizans--try,
condemn, and execute him and his three unfortunate followers, if not the
more numerous body, now also prisoners, in the sloop. As he stood upon
deck in the midst of his guard, weighing these various aspects of his
position, the ship was silently gliding within view of the lights from
the city. He observed that the captain steered his course as far from
the island as the channel of the river would permit, which confirmed his
previous suspicions as to the state of popular feeling in the capital,
and increased his uneasiness as to the secret designs of the Governor
upon himself. From Captain Gardiner he could gain no satisfactory
information--he merely replied to Bacon's demand for his authority, that
Governor Berkley had commanded him to bring him (Bacon) to Accomac, and
to deliver him dead or alive into his hands.

When it was too late, Bacon saw the rashness of the councils which had
induced him to abandon his army, and trust himself among the numerous
ships floating in the river, the commanders of which were known
adherents of his enemies.

The reflections of our hero, as he paced the quarter deck toward
morning, were bitter in the extreme. He saw all the bright hopes of his
reviving spirits vanish like a dream, as the vessel now just emerging
from the waters of the Powhatan, and propelled by a fresh morning breeze
from the land, was plunging with every swell of the buoyant waves into
the waters of the Chesapeake, and receding farther and farther at every
plunge from the objects of his highest and dearest aspirations.

That portion of the magnificent bay into which they were now entering
immediately ahead, was expanded and lost to the eye on the limitless
waves of the ocean. On the starboard tack, like a black cloud joining
the sea and the sky together, lay Cape Henry, and on the larboard, still
more faintly pencilled against the horizon, lay Cape Charles. Between
the two, the white bordered waves of the Atlantic rolled their swelling
volumes into the Chesapeake.

The faint yellow tinge of dawn could just be discerned, like a moving
shadow, now upon the waves and then upon the hazy clouds, dipping into
their bosom, while hundreds of aquatic birds, interposed like a black
cloud at intervals to intercept the view in the distance, or more
suddenly flapped their wings from under the very prow of the vessel as
they swooped along the surface of the stream and dipped the points of
their wings like a flash of light into the sparkling waters.

A steady breeze was blowing from off the land, and the white sails of
the ship swelled proudly and the tapering spars bent under its
influence, as she ploughed up the waves foaming and falling in divided
masses before her prow. On any other occasion than the present, Bacon
would have enjoyed the prospect on this grandest of all inland seas, but
now his mind was oppressed with gloomy doubts and forebodings. Every
plunge of the vessel was bearing him more within the grasp of his
relentless foe. But the mishap of his own personal adventure, every way
unfortunate as it was both for himself and the cause in which he had
engaged, was not that which weighed most oppressively upon his mind.
Ever since the discovery of the miniature contained in the locket, he
had been gradually giving way to his reviving hopes, and building upon
that slender assurance bright and glorious superstructures of
imagination. He had endured and lived, and fought and conquered with
that hope, as the polar star to his otherwise dark and dreary course.
Now again his destinies were almost wrecked by a storm from a quarter in
which he had scarcely cast his eyes. How could he imagine that Sir
William Berkley would be driven from the capital, by the stern and
independent resistance of the unarmed citizens? How could he know that
being thus driven from it he would yet retain a sufficient naval force
to capture him and his escort upon the very eve of his triumphal entry
into the city? These were the reflections which made him look with a
feeling of dark misanthropy upon the glorious beauties of the
Chesapeake. His ambition, his pride, and his conscience were satisfied;
but his love for a bride, already once led to the very steps of the
altar, was again thwarted upon the eve of what he had supposed and hoped
would prove the final and happy fulfilment of his most ardent hopes. His
feelings toward the devoted and interesting maiden, who had perilled and
suffered so much on his account, were enthusiastic in the highest
degree. She stood toward him not only in the relation of his betrothed,
but his wedded bride; and the more endearing and captivating she became
to him as he contemplated her in these relations, the more he cursed in
his heart the hard-hearted and perverse old man who had been the cause
of all his troubles.

Every chance of escape was intensely examined; not a word was suffered
to fall unheeded from Captain Gardiner and his subordinates. He noted
carefully the distribution of the prisoners in the vessel in which he
was himself confined, as well as of those in the sloop following in
their wake. He took careful observations of the most prominent objects
on their route--the state of the tide in the river which they had just
left. He examined the boats--how they were secured--the equipments and
appearance of the crew on board, and resolved if he must fall in the
midst of his reviving hopes, to die as became the conqueror of Bloody
Run and the lover of Virginia Fairfax.



CHAPTER IX.


Amid all his misfortunes and gloomy anticipations, Bacon discovered one
bright spot in his horizon. He had inquired of Captain Gardiner whether
Mr. Beverly had accompanied the Governor to Accomac, and was answered in
the affirmative. This was the source of rejoicing, because he believed
that Virginia was yet in Jamestown. Harriet Harrison's letter had been
perused over and over again, during the first part of the voyage, and
was one cause of that restless anxiety to escape which we have attempted
to describe.

He chafed the more as his imagination pictured his rival leading, or
rather forcing Virginia to the altar, while he was thus ignobly
detained. But now having satisfied himself that Beverly was not left
behind, his mind was comparatively at ease on that score. Nevertheless
his desire to escape was not diminished; the state of parties might
change in the capital--Beverly might return and perpetrate his design
while he was yet in confinement. That Sir William Berkley intended more
than to keep him in temporary duress, he could not now in his cooler
moments believe--his repinings were caused by the interruption to his
own cherished schemes and ardent desires. He had hoped before this
time, to be in Jamestown--a conqueror--the accepted lover of Virginia
Fairfax, and to satisfy the Recluse himself, that he was deceived as to
his birth and parentage. That there was some mysterious knowledge of
Mrs. Fairfax's history possessed by that strange man, he doubted not;
but he doubted as little that it had led to error with regard to
himself.

The dark shadows of night had already closed over the broad expanse of
waters on whose bosom our hero was thus far borne without chance of
escape. He could discern numerous lights flitting along the
circumscribed horizon, which he supposed to be upon the shores of
Accomac, from the dark curtain which skirted along as far as the eye
could reach, between the sky and the water. He was not left long in
doubt upon this point, for the sailors were busily engaged furling the
broad sheets of canvass and heaving over the anchor. In a few moments a
bright flash illuminated the darkness around, followed by the booming
sound of a piece of ordnance let off from the ship. This was answered by
another from the shore, and Bacon perceived the lights which had before
attracted his attention, moving, as he supposed, toward the boat
landing, there being no facilities for running the ship close in upon
the land. These he could perceive now rising and falling with the
swelling and receding waves, and very soon faintly distinguished voices
in confused murmurs as they were borne along the water, and lost amidst
the roar of the waves lashing against the sides of the vessel, and the
confused noise and merriment of the ship's crew.

Captain Gardiner took up his trumpet and hailed the approaching boat,
after which a dead silence ensued on board, all hands listening intently
for the expected answer. Hoarse and confused sounds came sweeping on the
wind, as if the person answering spoke through his hand instead of a
trumpet, but no distinct words could be made out. Again the captain
hailed, "boat ahoy," and again with the like result. The wind was
unfavourable for the transmission of sound, and he gave up the attempt.
He had scarcely left the deck, however, before the boat came riding by
on the buoyant waves, both parties having been deceived as to the
distance, by their inability to intercommunicate. The Captain ran
eagerly upon deck, and inquired of those in the boat, whether the
Governor had arrived? The answer was in the affirmative. Bacon now
understood the anxiety of Captain Gardiner to communicate with the
shore. He learned too, from the dialogue going on, that the Governor and
himself were probably crossing the bay at the same time.

When it was announced to the boat's crew that the rebel chief, Bacon,
was a prisoner on board, a loud huzza burst simultaneously from twenty
voices, among which Bacon distinctly recognised those of Ludwell and
Beverly. Bitter indeed were his unavailing regrets that he had left his
army, and thus fallen a prey to his most violent enemies. He now
remembered, with not less regret, that he had strictly enjoined upon his
temporary successor, not to march into Jamestown until he should rejoin
the troops. This he saw would effectually prevent his present situation
from becoming known to his friends, until, possibly it would be too late
to render him any assistance.

The boat very soon returned in order to ascertain the Governor's
pleasure with regard to his prisoner, and Bacon waited with the most
intense anxiety for their return. His unavailing regrets were rapidly
forgotten in a fierce and burning desire to be confronted with his
enemies, alone and unsupported as he was. His noble mind could scarcely
conceive of that malignity which could trample upon a solitary and
defenceless individual, placed by accident in the hands of numerous
personal enemies. He had yet to learn a bitter lesson in the study of
human nature. His own impulses were all high and generous, and he
naturally looked even upon his foes as to some extent capable of the
like magnanimity. He imagined that Sir William Berkley, Ludwell, and
Beverly would feel and acknowledge his indignant appeals to their honour
and chivalry. How these youthful and sanguine expectations were realized
will be seen in the sequel. The boat soon returned with orders from Sir
William Berkley to detain the prisoner on board during the night, and
to send him ashore as soon in the morning as it should be announced by a
shot from a piece of ordnance, that the court had assembled. That he was
to be tried by a court-martial had barely entered his imagination.

At dawn of day a gun from the shore announced the assembling of the
court, and Bacon was brought upon deck by the orders of the Captain. He
perceived that the ship's boat was already in the water, supported on
each side by larger ones from the shore, filled with armed soldiers.
However much he may have been surprised by these prudential
preparations, he was still more surprised, and more fully began to
realize his situation, when he perceived a man standing ready to secure
his hands in irons. At first sight of this contemplated indignity, he
shrank back instinctively with something of the natural feelings of
youth, but the impression was only momentary; he shook it off and walked
firmly to the smith, near whom stood Captain Gardiner, and a guard to do
his bidding in case of necessity. As the youthful Chieftain approached,
the hardy veteran of the seas was evidently embarrassed. He was
reluctant to offer such a needless affront to one of so bold and manly a
bearing. An indistinct apology was commenced, of which the only parts
that Bacon distinguished or cared to learn was, that the precaution was
taken by the orders of Sir William Berkley. "I doubt it not--I doubt it
not, sir," he replied; "Do your duty--I am in his power for the
present, and must submit with the best grace I can; but a day of
retribution is coming; and even should I be basely murdered upon these
distant shores, as seems not unlikely from these preparations, and the
tribunal of which I hear they are the precursors, my death will not go
unavenged."

His hands were soon confined within the iron bands, connected by chains
some two feet in length, and then, with the assistance of the Captain
and crew, he was let down into the boat. He was not long in discovering
that the military escort in the two outer boats was commanded by Mr.
Philip Ludwell. No sign of recognition took place between them,
notwithstanding they had moved in the same circles at the Capital before
the interruption of the civil war. Bacon was too much of a soldier
himself, and too well versed in the duties of a subordinate to throw any
of the blame of his present condition upon his quondam acquaintance, and
would readily have exchanged the courtesies due from one gentleman to
another, had he not perceived a suppressed smile of triumph upon the
countenance of Ludwell as he entered the boat. Whether the latter viewed
him as rebel or patriot he felt indignant at his ungentlemanly conduct,
and folding his chained arms upon his manly chest, took no farther
notice of its author.

As they approached the shore, and the mists of early morning began to
break away before the rising sun, Bacon recognised many landmarks which
had not altogether been unknown to him in happier days. The house at
which Sir William Berkley now exercised his vice-regal functions,
surrounded by such of the Cavaliers as still adhered to his fortunes,
became also visible. This Bacon recognised as the property of the
officer in command of the guard surrounding his own person. The shore
was covered with tents, marquées and soldiers, the latter being the
English mercenaries, and marshalled for his reception in imposing array.
Two lines were formed from the landing to the house, between which he
was now marched in the centre of his guard.

When they arrived within the hall he found the martial tribunal ready
assembled for his trial. A long table was placed in the centre of the
room, upon which lay swords, caps, and feathers. At the farther end from
the entrance sat Sir William Berkley, as president of the court, and on
either side some eight or ten of his officers, all clad in the military
costume of the day. Their gay doublets had been exchanged for buff
coats, surmounted by the gorget alone, for the vambraces, with their
concomitants, had been abandoned during the commonwealth. Some of the
cavalry and pikemen, indeed, still wore head and back pieces, in the
king's army,[12] but the Virginian officers were generally dressed at
that time as we have described them.

[Footnote 12: See statutes 13 and 14th Charles the 2d.]

Among the number of officers now confronting the prisoner, sat Francis
Beverly. He seemed perfectly calm and collected, and not in the least
aware that there was any impropriety in his sitting in judgment upon the
prisoner standing at the foot of the table.

Bacon drew himself up to his utmost height, as he again folded his arms
and ran his indignant eye over his accusers and judges; as it rested in
its course upon Beverly, a fierce indignation lighted up its clear hazel
outlines, but it was only for an instant--his glance wandered on over
the other members of the court, while his lip curled in a settled
expression of scorn and contempt. The old Cavalier at the head of the
board rose in visible agitation--his eyes flashed fire and his hands
trembled as he took the paper from the scribe and read the charge
against the prisoner.

The merest form of an impartial trial was indecently hastened through.
Witnesses were not wanting indeed, and those too, who could testify to
every thing the Governor desired, but no time had been allowed the
prisoner to procure testimony in his own behalf, or prepare his defence.

The times were perhaps somewhat out of joint; but the state of the
colony was by no means such as to require that a prominent citizen,
standing high in the affection of his countrymen, should be deprived of
those inestimable privileges secured by the laws of England, to every
one under accusation of high crimes and misdemeanors; and these laws
had been adopted and were in full force in the infant state. At the very
outset of the trial, Gen. Bacon objected to the military character of
the court, as well as to the indecent haste and the retired nature of
the place in which it was held. He contended that his crime, if crime he
had committed, was a civil offence, and ought to be tried by the civil
tribunals of the country. All these weighty objections were answered by
a waive of the president's hand, and the trial proceeded to its
previously well known conclusion, without farther interruption.

Before the final vote was taken upon the question whether the prisoner
was guilty of high treason or not, he was ordered to be removed from the
court-room for a few moments, in order that their deliberations might be
uninterrupted. As the guard marched the prisoner through the house into
the back court of the establishment, his step still proud and his
carriage elevated with the sense of conscious rectitude, he was at once
brought to a stand by the sight of a spectacle which sent the blood,
chilled with horror, back to his heart. This was a gibbet or gallows,
erected in the very court to which they were conducting him, and upon it
hung two of his own soldiers![13] All evidence of vitality had long
since departed, and their bodies swung round and round, under the
impulse of the morning breeze, in horrible monotony. Bacon's first
sensation was one of unmixed horror, but this was succeeded by
indignation; not a thought for his own safety occurred to his mind while
under the first impressions of the fearful spectacle. But as fierce
indignation stirred up his torpid energies to thoughts of revenge, the
means began to present themselves, and then it was that he shook the
iron fetters which bound him, in savage and morose despair. Perhaps a
chill from some more personal feeling ran through his veins, when he
reflected how short had been the passage of his two humble followers
from the sloop which had borne them across the bay on the preceding
night, to eternity. They had evidently suffered some hours
previous--perhaps during the night. They were the two subaltern
officers--selected by himself for his expedition down the river, and
chosen for their desperate bravery at the battle of Bloody Run. And now
to see their manly proportions ignominiously exposed upon a gibbet,
after having been most inhumanly murdered, was more than he could calmly
bear. Bitter and unavailing were his reflections as he stood a spectator
of this outrage, while his own life hung suspended by a hair.

[Footnote 13: See Sanguinary executions of Bacon's followers--without
the legal forms of trial, in the Histories of the times.]

He was not left long a spectator of this cruel scene; the guard was
ordered to present the prisoner again before the court to receive
sentence.

When Bacon stood once more at the foot of the table, surrounded by his
unrelenting enemies, his countenance evinced a total change. When first
he stood in the same place, he had not fully realized his situation; he
was stupified with overwatching and fatigue. The young are always slow
to apprehend the darker shadows in their own prospective, and
instinctively cling to the brighter aspect of events and circumstances,
until some sudden calamity or unexpected reverse in their own immediate
career, opens their eyes to the stern reality. When such a change is
brought immediately before the senses, then indeed the dreadful truth
speaks direct to the apprehension. Few criminals at the moment of
receiving sentence of death, realize more than a horrid and oppressive
sense of present calamity--all hope has not yet entirely forsaken them.
But could they see upon the spot a fellow criminal undergoing the last
penalty of the law, they would at once realize the truth in all its
terrors.

The sight of his unfortunate followers had thus opened the eyes of the
youthful general, to the desperate character of his enemies, and the
awful fate which immediately awaited him, but it was not fear which now
revived his stupified powers to action. His look was bold and daring,
while a preternatural brilliancy shot from his proud eye, as the
president of the court, with an assumed calmness, pronounced upon him
the sentence of death. As the last fatal word fell from the lips of the
stern old knight, the prisoner's countenance was rigid, cold and
death-like for an instant, as he struggled to master his rebellious and
scornful feelings into such a state of discipline as would enable him
to express the little he had to say, with clearness and precision.

Although the usual question, "if he had any thing to say why sentence of
death should not be pronounced against him," was not asked, he stepped
boldly up to the end of the board, and notwithstanding the magisterial
waive of the president's hand for silence, and a simultaneous order to
the officer of the guard to remove him--gave utterance to his feelings
in these words, and with a manner powerfully subdued, yet energetic; his
voice issuing from between his rigidly set teeth like that of one under
the influence of reckless desperation.

"If it may so please the president, and gentlemen of the court-martial,
I will not tamely and silently submit myself to be butchered in cold
blood, without raising my voice and protesting against the jurisdiction
of the court--the time--the place--the manner of the trial--the persons
who compose the court, and especially him who presides over your
deliberations.

"Was it treason I committed, when I boldly and openly marched from
Jamestown to Orapacks, at the head of the brave men who drove before
them the savages by whom the dwellings of the Colony had been burned,
and its women and children murdered? Did not the house of burgesses
request the Governor to sign the commission, which the people had
unanimously put into my hands? Did he not pledge his knightly word that
the commissions should be ratified? Under the authority of that
commission and that promise, have I not driven the enemies of civilized
man before me, as I marched through the Peninsula? Have I not done what
has never before been done? cut out a broad line of separation between
the habitations of the white man and the savage? Have I not avenged the
murders committed on the night of the massacre? Have I not avenged
injuries committed against more than one member of this very court, by
the bloody confederation? Have I not, with these hands, rescued the
sister-in-law of the president of this very tribunal from the murderous
tomahawk of the savages? True, it was only to die--but it was worthy of
all my poor exertions to rescue her body from their unhallowed hands,
that it might rest in consecrated ground. Have I not annihilated the
confederation itself, cut to pieces the assembled tribes--rescued the
prisoners, razed to the ground the fortifications at the falls, and made
prisoners of the brave remnant of those misguided nations who erected
it? If this be treason, then indeed am I a traitor!

"Why is it that this great and glorious country, opened to the oppressed
and crowded nations of the old world by a kind and beneficent
Providence, must so often become the theatre of struggles for personal
aggrandizement and power? Why is it that our arms must be turned against
ourselves in fratricidal conflict, when so many enemies have been
swarming upon our frontiers, and devastating our settlements? Must the
great and evident designs of the Creator be thus constantly retarded?
the great destinies of this vast land obscured in the dawn, by the petty
struggles of contending chieftains? Who can tell how far to the mighty
west the tide of civilization and emigration would have rolled their
swelling waves, but for the scenes of personal rivalry and contention
like the present, which have disgraced our annals?

"The rosy tints of the morning dawn of destiny have scarcely risen in
the east of this mighty continent--the boldest and the wildest
imagination cannot soar into futurity, and predict its noon-day glories,
or count up the tides and floods of human beings, that shall be wafted
to these shores, and thence roll in successive waves, to the dark and as
yet unknown west.

"I have been but an humble instrument in the hands of the Great Mover of
these mighty currents, and for this ye seek my life. But death to this
frail body cannot arrest the great movement, in which I have been an
actor. I have indeed been the first to point out the importance of
drawing a broad line of separation between the European and the native,
the first to show the necessity of rolling to the west the savage
hordes, as the swelling numbers of our own countrymen increase upon our
hands. Future emigration must advance westward in a semicircular
wave--like a kindred billow of the watery ocean, sweeping all
obstruction before it.

"If the natives flee before this rolling tide, and survive its
destructive progress, well and happy will it be for them; but if they
attempt to buffet the storm, ruin hangs upon their tardy footsteps. I
confess that I have been the first to maintain the impossibility of the
two species living together in peace, and to execute the primitive and
opening step in this great revolution of nations. If this be treason,
then am I a traitor. But if I fall, think not that the great movement
shall fall with me. The Great Ruler of the universe has opened these
fertile hills and dales to his oppressed creatures; and he has likewise
pointed out the necessity of driving back them who make no use of these
blessings, and who rise not from their idolatry and ignorance to a state
fitted to render glory to their Creator. The tide will move on to the
westward, in spite of such tribunals as this. If I am to die here in
this insulated neck of land, by the hands of those who are themselves
prisoners, so be it--I shall die contented in the knowledge that I have
not lived in vain, and that future generations will rescue from oblivion
the name of him who first opened an avenue to the mighty and unknown
west, and however illegally my life may be taken, I will show you that I
can die as becomes a soldier and a Cavalier. One request I would fain
make, even of them whose actions I abhor and despise; it is this; as
you have tried and condemned me by a military tribunal, that you inflict
upon me the death of a soldier. This is a request which I would alike
make to a heathen or an infidel."

"Take him immediately to the gallows," shouted Sir William Berkley.

The officer of the guard approached with his myrmidons, and laid hold of
the prisoner, in accordance with the mandate of the Governor; but three
or four members of the court rose at once, and expressed their
willingness to allow the prisoner until the succeeding day to prepare
for execution.

"Away with him, away with him," again vociferated the president, at the
same time, menacing the official who stood holding the prisoner,
doubtful how to act, and apparently willing to listen to the more
merciful suggestion. By this time the whole court was in confusion and
uproar; every member was upon his feet, together with the president,
each one endeavouring to be heard. A large majority of the members were
for the longest time, and these now demanded of the Governor to submit
the question to the court; but the old knight, having probably
discovered that Ludwell and Beverly were his only supporters,
clamorously persisted in ordering the prisoner to instant execution.

Bacon himself, during this time, at first stood with his arms folded and
a bitter smile of contempt playing upon his features, until the turmoil
growing louder and more protracted, he too attempted to obtain a
hearing. "It is perfectly indifferent to me," said he, "whether I am
murdered to-morrow, or at the next moment; let the hour come when it
may, my blood be upon your skirts!"

His manly bearing served to reanimate those who contended for delay, and
the strife continued to grow more noisy and turbulent, until, as if by
magic, a side door of the apartment opened, and a new actor appeared
upon the scene. The court was instantaneously hushed to silence, and Sir
William Berkley stood as if he beheld an apparition, while Bacon bounded
forward and clasped Virginia, who rushed into his outstretched (but
fettered) arms.

When she first gently pushed open the door, not one of the court or of
the attendants perceived her. She was clad in the loose folds of the
sick chamber--her blond curls fell in unheeded ringlets over her brow,
temples and shoulders--her face was pale as monumental marble, and her
frame weak and trembling, while a preternatural excitement of the moment
shot from her eyes, as she gazed through the partly opened door, to
ascertain if her ears had not deceived her.

Not a word was uttered louder than a deep impassioned whisper, until
Virginia perceived the chains upon his hands, when seizing the iron by
the middle she stepped forward and boldly elevating her head, addressed
Sir William--"Whence these chains, sir?--tell me quickly; tell me that
they have not been put on by your orders--before I curse the hour that
united my destiny in any manner with yours!"

"Not only were they imposed by my orders, but they were so put on in
preparation for a ceremony which shall alike cure you of your vagaries
and release me from his hated presence for ever! Guard, lead her to her
chamber, and the prisoner to execution!"

Scarcely had the words died upon his lips, ere she sprang from the grasp
of the officer, and locked her hands around the neck of her lover,
exclaiming, "Now you may shoot him through me--no ball enters his body
but through mine. You may hack off my arms with your swords, but until
then I will never leave him!"

The Governor and Beverly now came forward, and each of them seizing a
hand, they tore her from his embrace, in the midst of a wild hysterical
laugh, not however before Bacon had imprinted a kiss upon her pale
forehead, and uttered a brief and agonizing farewell. He then seated
himself upon a chair, and covering his face with his hands, gave himself
up to emotions which had not before been awakened during his trial.

As they were leading Virginia from the room, she suddenly recovered her
composure, sprang from their grasp, and placing herself against the
wall, between two of the officers of the court, who were still standing,
clung to their arms while she thus addressed Frank Beverly--"And this is
the method you have taken to win your way to my favour--this is the
plan you have devised to rid yourself of a rival. And you too, his
deadly enemy--to sit in judgment upon him, and mock justice by the
cowardly device. Out upon you, sir, for a craven-hearted dastard. Is
this the way you were to meet and conquer him in battle? Where are your
trophies for my bridal turban, taken from the standards of his
followers? You take trophies from Bacon in battle! One glance of his
manly eye would drive the blood chilled to your craven heart, and wither
the muscles of your coward arm."

Again she was seized, and dragged from the court-room by the Governor
and Beverly. In a few moments the president returned, and found the
court proceeding in his absence deliberately to take the question on
granting the prisoner until the succeeding day to prepare for death, and
allowing him the attendance of a clergyman. Sir William was fearful
perhaps, that by resisting the will of the majority, he should defeat
his purpose, and therefore acquiesced in what he could not prevent, with
more amenity than might have been expected from his previous violence.

The prisoner had not so suddenly regained his equanimity; he was indeed
making strenuous exertions to that end, but now and then a piercing
scream from the upper chambers of the mansion thrilled through his
nerves, and more than once he suddenly sprang to his feet, and made an
attempt to rush past his vigilant keepers, but was as quickly reminded
of his helplessness by the jarring sound of his fetters, and the ready
grasp of the officials. After several such attempts, he at length folded
his arms, and gave himself up to bitter reflections--a wretched smile
flashing athwart his countenance indicating the violence of the internal
struggle and the cruel pangs that rent his bosom.

The majority of the court having triumphed in the first matter, the
question was again raised as to the manner of his death, and Bacon's
countenance was actually lit up by a smile when he heard the decision of
the court in favour of his own request, that he might die the death of a
soldier. The guard were at the moment leading him from the court room to
his prison house, and his step became more firm and elastic, and he
could now look upon the wretched spectacle in the court, without the
same degree of horror which he had before evinced.

When he had marched several paces in his progress round the mansion, he
halted suddenly and wheeled round to survey the dormer windows peering
through the roof, as was the fashion with the long low houses of the
time. His eye rested from its piercing and steady gaze, in sadness and
disappointment, and he threw down his chained hands with a violent
motion, as he resumed his march between the soldiers. They conducted him
to the door of a cellar at the end of the house, which was secured with
double defences; in the next moment he was rudely thrust into a damp
cellar, without a ray of light, and the door was closed and securely
bolted.



CHAPTER X.


Bacon heard the rusty bolt shoot into its socket, and then the hasping
and locking of the outside door, with a sensation of utter hopelessness.
He wandered through the dark precincts of his prison, stumbling now over
an old barrel, and anon against a meat block, until he came to some dry
bundles of fodder, which seemed to have been spread out in one corner to
answer the purpose of a bed. Before throwing himself upon this rude
couch, he resolved to examine the structure of his cell. By passing his
hands along the walls, he found that they were built of brick, well
cemented by a long process of time--that the summit upon which the
basement beams of the frame rested, were entirely out of his reach, and
that in the present confined state of his hands, it would be impossible
for him to make any impression on them, and he could distinctly hear the
tramp of more than one sentinel, as they paced their monotonous rounds
about that wing of the building. There was yet much of the day
remaining, and he resolved to spend it in endeavouring to grind off the
end of the rivets to the iron bands enclosing his wrists. By rubbing
these against the bricks, he found that he could wear them away by a
tedious and laborious process. Our hero was not one of those who
surrender themselves up to despondency at the first appearance of
insurmountable difficulties; decision of character was his most striking
quality, and he knew that his devoted army only waited for him to lead
them to avenge his wrongs. He felt the difficulties which lay between
him and Jamestown, but he did not despair, however desperate his
circumstances. For many hours he persevered in grinding the rivets
against the bricks; with wrenching and great danger of dislocating his
wrists, he at length succeeded in so wearing down the iron, that he
could at any moment throw aside the manacles. Encouraged with this
success, he moved the meat-block against the wall, and made all
preparations for a breach, as soon as he should be satisfied that the
darkness of night would cover his movements.

To while away the time usefully, he threw himself upon his rude bed, and
was soon, from the effects of great previous mental excitement and
bodily fatigue, wrapt in profound slumber.

The shadows of night had closed around this land in the midst of waters
in sombre hues, and the prisoner still slept profoundly.

In the mean time circumstances were in progress on the bay, which had a
most important bearing upon the fate of every one then at Accomac.

It has already been stated that Sir William Berkley had put in
requisition such of the naval power as he could bring to bear upon his
immediate designs and pressing necessities. But, after leaving the city
in the precipitate manner which has been related, the citizens
determined to summon to their aid, such of the ships and other vessels
of war and merchandise, as yet remained in the river, within convenient
distance of the city, and make the old knight a prisoner at Accomac.

The Governor had not long been gone before an armament superior to his
own, was seen steering in the course which he had taken. This consisted
of "one ship, a bark of four guns, a sloop and schooner." The expedition
was under the joint command of Giles Bland and William Carver, both
veteran and experienced seamen. On board of one of the vessels, and
subordinate to the officers just mentioned, was Captain Larimore; he was
one of the most devoted friends of Sir William Berkley, but his personal
predilections and loyal principles were entirely unknown, either at
Jamestown or on board the fleet. When this (at that time) formidable
armament arrived in sight of the vessels at anchor, which had borne Sir
William and his partisans to Accomac, it being now dark, (on the same
evening in which Bacon lay sleeping in his dungeon,) Capt. Larimore
proposed to his superior officers, that he would take one or two
resolute tars, and, avoiding the hostile vessels, land and reconnoitre
the position and forces of the Governor.

His proposition was promptly acceded to, and Larimore launched his boat,
selected his men, and protected by the thickness of the fog and the
darkness of the night, succeeded in effecting his landing unperceived by
the vessels in the service of the Governor. If he had been aware of
Bacon's imprisonment and condemnation, and disposed to do so, he might
have rendered him the most important services; but whether disposed to
hazard any thing in his cause or not, both he and his superiors were
ignorant of Bacon's fate.

When the boat containing the adventurer and his two associates struck
the shore, Larimore immediately sprang upon the beach and ordered his
subordinates to push a few yards out into the bay, and remain within
sound of his whistle. He proceeded directly towards the quarters of Sir
William Berkley, until he was challenged by one of the sentinels with
his carbine at his breast. Larimore desired the sentinel to lead him to
the Governor. As soon as he had made himself known to his Excellency, he
informed him of his disposition to advance the cause of the loyal party,
and submitted the following proposition.

He requested the Governor to send one or two of his most daring and
trusty officers, with one hundred resolute men in boats or canoes,
during that portion of the night when he should himself be in command of
the watch--and promised that he would deliver the whole armament into
the hands of the Governor. Sir William immediately summoned his officers
and made the proposition known to them--requesting, at the same time
that any gentleman who desired to be entrusted with the expedition
would step forward. Philip Ludwell promptly acceded to the offer, and
tendered his services, which were as promptly accepted. Ludwell having
selected his supporters from the hardiest of the troops and sailors, he
held himself in readiness to push off as soon as the appointed hour
should arrive. Larimore giving the concerted signal, sprang into his
boat and returned to those who sent him, with a very different account
of Sir William's position and intentions from that we have just related.

All this time Bacon was sleeping as soundly upon his bed of corn blades,
as if it was not to be his last sleep on earth. Criminals condemned to
death generally do sleep soundly the night preceding their execution,
and Bacon, whether criminal or not, was no exception to the rule.

It was some hours after the sun had gone down, and about the same time
that Larimore put off to his vessel, when Bacon suddenly started up from
his rude couch, under an oppressive sense of glaring light upon his eye
balls. An aged and decrepid woman was leaning over him; she was resting
upon her knees, in one hand holding the lamp and in the other the locket
which had already exercised such an important influence upon his
destiny. She had sprung the lid, during his sleep, and was now gazing
upon the beautiful picture, with an interest and amazement not less
intense than he had himself manifested on its first discovery in the
Indian wigwam. So absorbed was her every faculty, that his sudden start
from sleep scarcely attracted her attention. Her eyes were filled with
water in the vain endeavour to decipher the outlines with convincing
accuracy. When the date and the initials and the hair were submitted to
a like scrutiny, conviction settled at once upon her mind. The feeling
operated slowly at first, but as one doubt gave way after another, her
pale and haggard features began perceptibly to assume the life and
vigour of deep excitement. The locket fell from her grasp, and she
clasped her hands--but suddenly throwing back the curling masses from
his brow she exclaimed: "Tell me, my master, are you called Nathaniel
Bacon?"

"I am! but tell me in your turn, why do you ask?"

She answered only by exclaiming, "O merciful Heaven! God be praised!
Wonderful are the ways of Providence!" Bacon was on his knees also, his
manacled hands laid upon her shoulders as he anxiously and hastily
inquired, "Tell me, good mother, what do you know of Nathaniel Bacon?"

"More than he knows of himself, mayhap!"

"Speak it quickly--moments are more precious than diamonds--say, whence
comes your knowledge? who are you? who am I? for God's sake tell me
quickly!"

"You are the son of as worthy a gentleman as ever wore a sword. I knew
him and your honoured mother well--that is, if you are the same
mischievous boy whom I have mourned as drowned these many long and
lonesome years."

The captive waited to hear no more, but springing upon his feet, paced
wildly round the damp cellar like one in a delirium of joy. The old
woman still maintained her humble posture, her hands again clasped, and
her long wrinkled neck turning with difficulty to follow the strange
movements of the prisoner. Suddenly, and as if stricken down by a cannon
shot, he threw himself upon the earth his whole frame convulsed with
thoughts of his present hopeless condition. "What matters it whether I
am Nathaniel Bacon or not? What will it avail, this time to-morrow, when
these limbs, now so full of life and vigour in the renewal of hope, will
be still in the cold embrace of death?"

"Death!" the old woman screamed, rising from her knees, seizing the lamp
and thrusting it in Bacon's face--"Death, did you say, my son? or did my
old ears deceive me with the horrible word?"

"They did not,--truer words were never spoken or heard; to-morrow,
before the sun has measured an hour in the heavens, the voice which now
addresses you, will be silenced in the everlasting sleep of death!"

Horror struck his auditor dumb; her shrivelled lips moved with a
tremulous motion, as if she desired to speak--but she spoke not. An ashy
paleness overspread her features, and she staggered backward and would
have fallen, had she not been caught in the arms of her long-lost
foster son. A tumult of thoughts crowded upon her enfeebled mind, as she
recovered, gasping with the unusual excitement, and her aged frame
heaved as if it would burst in the effort. At length a ray of hope
seemed to dawn upon her mental vision; her eye sparkled with the
thought, as she resumed the lamp which Bacon had taken from her hand,
and placed upon the ground. "It must not, shall not be, my son. There is
your coarse food, Heaven forgive me for not offering you better, but
little did my thoughts turn upon such a godsend. I have a thousand
things to ask and tell, but as you say, life--precious life--hangs upon
every moment lost, so--"

At this moment the sentinel advanced directly before them, and taking
the old woman rudely by the arm, said, "Come, old Tabby, the prisoner
can find the way to his mouth without the light; give him his bread and
water, and be off;" thrusting her up the steps, as he spoke, slamming
the door, and once more turning the grating bolt upon the unfortunate
prisoner.

Bacon's late reviving hopes almost died within him as he listened to the
unwelcome sounds and the retreating footsteps of his visiters.

He threw himself once more upon his rude couch and abandoned himself to
despair. But youthful hope never despairs utterly, however desperate the
circumstances; a few moments after saw him with his handcuffs thrown
off, and busily engaged in piling the loosened bricks upon the floor.
In less than an hour, he beheld the stars lightly twinkling in the
Heavens, through the aperture created by the removal of a single brick,
which he had taken from the outer layer before he was aware of his
progress. Cautiously and intently he listened for the footsteps of the
sentinel; strange sounds seemed to come from off the water, but all in
his immediate vicinity was as quiet as the grave, except the tumultuous
throbbing of his own heart. Again he proceeded cautiously in his work,
until he had completed an aperture sufficiently large to admit the
passage of his body. Then, bracing his nerves, he proceeded to effect
his exit through the opening, and was vigorously struggling to free
himself, when a musket ball whistled by his ear and buried itself in the
wooden sill of the house. He sprang back into the cellar, and stood in
confusion and amazement, until the short chuckling laugh of the sentinel
roused him from his delusive dream of hope. He could distinctly hear the
marksman who had exhibited such a dangerous proof of his skill, laughing
and telling his comrade, who paced before the door at the end of the
house, "how he had shaved the prisoner's head." The unfortunate captive
now abandoned himself to despair in earnest. A thousand times he cursed
his ill fated stars, for thus leading the old nurse into his cell to
rouse his dormant hopes, and give a new impulse to his desires for
freedom.

While these matters were in progress at the prison of our hero, the
naval armament under the command of Bland, Carver and Larimore,
belonging to and put in motion by his friends among the citizens, and
which might have rendered him such effectual assistance had the two
principal officers been aware of his situation, was itself about to
perform its share in the contest. The expedition under Ludwell, as had
been promised to the traitor Larimore, was sent out at the exact time
specified, and with muffled oars skimmed along the surface of the
tranquil lake, keeping under the shadow of the ships. As they
approached, signals were exchanged, which satisfied Ludwell that
Larimore was indeed in command of the watch, and still ready to betray
his trust. Once or twice, indeed, a suspicion shot across his mind, that
Larimore might only be an agent in the hands of Bland and Carver, and
that his proposal was but a scheme laid to entrap himself and followers
into the power of the rebels, as the Governor's party were pleased to
call the patriots; but it was as speedily dissipated by the favourable
train in which every thing seemed to lie, as the traitor had promised.

The loyal party under his command was in a very few minutes silently and
stealthily climbing up the sides of the vessels. Having gained the
decks, they proceeded at once to disarm and bind the sentinels. These
unfortunate fellows had been induced by the traitor Larimore, to believe
that the party under Ludwell were deserters from the ranks of Sir
William Berkley, and were not undeceived until they found themselves
bound hand and foot, and such other precautions taken that they could
not alarm their sleeping comrades below. In less time than we have taken
to record the transaction, the whole naval armament in the service of
the patriots, together with the officers, crews and military stores,
were delivered into the hands of Governor Berkley. The success of the
enterprise was announced to the anxious expectants on shore, by a
discharge of artillery, which was joyously answered on their part. Sir
William Berkley was transported with delight--so lately abandoned by the
majority of the citizens and soldiers of the capital, and compelled to
desert the legitimate seat of government, he now saw himself in
possession of a naval and military power, more than sufficient to
command the obedience, if he could not win the affections of the
rebellious citizens. He immediately called together his officers, and
such of the cavalier gentry as had followed his fortunes to this remote
corner of the colony, and imparted to them his determination to embark
his land forces on board the ships brought over by himself, and those
surrendered by Larimore, and sail within the hour for the capital.

It may be readily imagined that this sudden change in their fortunes was
not received with murmurs and discontent; on the contrary preparations
were eagerly and joyously commenced. The captured and betrayed patriots
were divided among all the vessels, so as to preclude effectually any
chance of their rising upon the Governor and his party. The soldiers,
artillery and baggage were placed on board, and the signal given for the
embarkation of the old knight and his staff--family and attendants.

Our gentle heroine was not forgotten--she too had been roused, not from
her slumbers, for she had not slept, but from her restless and feverish
pillow, and commanded to prepare for instant departure for the capital.
The stern old Cavalier, her uncle, stood in the open plot in front of
the house surrounded by his partisans, impatiently waiting her descent.
At length she appeared, leaning upon the arm of Frank Beverly on one
side, and that of her female attendant upon the other--her aunt
following in evident dejection of spirits. Virginia's countenance was
white as the spotless attire in which she was enveloped. Her eye wildly
wandered over the faces crowding around, as she emerged from the house,
but soon settled again in sullen composure as she perceived the absence
of the one sought. The pine torches, borne by the negroes, shed a
glaring and unsteady light on the objects around; the steady tramp of
the soldiers, as they marched to and embarked on board the boats, were
heard in the direction of the water, while other parties were seen in
like manner provided with torches, floating in the barks already laden,
toward the ships moored in the offing. As the party that had just
emerged from the house was about to move in the same direction, Beverly
spoke aloud to the Governor.

"Sir William, are you going to leave the prisoner in the cellar?"

"True--true, my boy," he replied, "I was so overjoyed at trapping so
many of his compeers, that I had entirely forgotten his generalship; but
we will care for his standing, and that right speedily. We will elevate
him--I will not say above his desert--but certainly to a position to
which he has long had eminent claims. Ho! Sir Hangman! Ludwell, order
the hangman into our presence; we need a cast of his office before we
set sail."

"It was customary with the Romans, you know, Sir William, to offer up a
sacrifice before they embarked upon any important enterprise," said
Beverly, laughing at his own wretched attempt at wit. But there was one
countenance in the group upon which the first intimation of Beverly
concerning the neglect of the prisoner, wrought a fearful change.
Virginia threw her eyes wildly round, searching from face to face, for
some small evidence of sympathy on which to cast her hopes, but they
were all steeled in imperturbable apathy, or clad in more appalling
smiles of derision. As her eye glanced around the circle, it fell at
last upon the youth supporting her own enfeebled steps. Her knees were
just sinking under her from weakness and dismay, but the sight of Frank
Beverly's smiling countenance aroused her energies. Her muscles were
instantly braced, her eye shot forth scorn and contempt, while she threw
his arms from her, as she would have started from the touch of some
loathsome reptile. The youth, with a grim smile, folded his arms in
quiet serenity, to await the appearance of the prisoner, as if conscious
that his hour of sweet revenge was near at hand.

Virginia threw herself at the feet, first of her uncle, and then of her
aunt, and earnestly prayed for the life of her lover, as she heard the
orders for bringing him forth, but from the first she received only a
contemptuous glance, and from the latter silent tears. She was still
kneeling upon the grass at the feet of the latter, her head fallen in
despair and exhaustion upon her bosom, when the soldiers rushed out from
the cellar, and proclaimed the escape of the prisoner. An electric
stream poured into Virginia's sinking frame could not have more suddenly
restored her to life and animation. She screamed, clasped her hands,
sprang to her feet, and fell back into the arms of her aunt in a
paroxysm of mingled joy and agitation.

Sir William Berkley gnashed his teeth, and swearing vengeance against
the traitors who had permitted his enemy's escape, seized one of the
pine torches and rushed into the cellar to satisfy himself that he was
not concealed behind some of the rubbish of the apartment; but soon
found convincing evidence of his escape, in the irons that lay upon the
ground, and the aperture through which he had made his exit. The
sentinels were all called up, who had at any time stood guard over the
prisoner through the night. It appeared that the one who had discharged
his piece so near to the head of the prisoner, had been some time since
relieved, and that he had merely mentioned to his successor, the attempt
of Bacon to escape, with his own amusement in showing him how near he
could shoot to his head without wounding him.

"Would to God you had lodged the ball in his skull," exclaimed the
enraged governor. The truth was, that the sentinel had supposed the
prisoner still loaded with his irons when he appeared at the breach,
having merely discovered one of the many evidences of dilapidation in
the house, and had consequently left him in the care of his successor,
with the full confidence that he would not make a second attempt. How he
was induced to make that second attempt will appear in the sequel. The
soldier on duty, at the time when he was supposed to have escaped, was
immediately ordered to be put in irons.

Lady Berkley was about having her niece conveyed to the house, but her
enraged husband harshly ordered those supporting her now prostrate form,
to convey her to the vessel, which was accordingly done. The Governor,
his suite and followers were soon also on board, and a roar of artillery
announced their final departure from the "eastern shore."

When Bacon threw himself upon his couch, after his last unfortunate
attempt to escape, every thought of once more gaining his liberty
abandoned him. He very naturally supposed that his failure would only
redouble the vigilance of his guards, and therefore resumed his irons,
with the desperate resolution of throwing them off, when he should be
led to execution on the following morning, and selling his life as
dearly as he might.

He had lain for some hours in a state of mind that may be readily
imagined from the late scenes through which he had passed, when at
length he heard his own name softly whispered in his gloomy cell; the
voice appeared to be in his immediate vicinity. He arose and followed
the supposed direction of the sound, and again he heard it on the
opposite side--proceeding from the still unclosed aperture in the wall.
He answered in the same subdued whisper. "Come this way," said the voice
of the old woman, the shadow of whose head he could now perceive
darkening the partial light which broke through. "Come this way, Master
Bacon. Tim Jones, the sentinel, has gone into my cabin to eat a chicken
supper, and drink some aqua vitæ which I procured for him; his place is
supplied by a soldier whom I engaged to be ready, as if by accident. He
pretends to be asleep under the big tree yonder. Do you come forth and
proceed round the opposite end of the house to that occupied by the
other sentinel, until you come to the bushes at the end of the garden
palings--there wait until I come to you--for your life do not stir,
until I join you there."

Bacon succeeded in avoiding the notice of the sentry and in gaining the
spot indicated by the old woman, where he had scarcely concealed
himself, before the discharge of artillery from the betrayed fleet
startled him from his recumbent posture. He supposed that his own
capture had been ascertained at Jamestown, and that vessels had been
despatched to rescue him. This idea had scarcely entered his mind,
before he sprang over the palings and was running at his utmost speed
across the garden toward the bay, for the purpose of procuring a boat,
but his attention was instantly arrested by the appearance of the
Governor and his suite collecting in the yard in front of the house. He
was on the point of running into the hands of the sentinel whose
temporary absence had afforded him the chance of escape, and who now sat
with his weapon ready for action, securely guarding, as he supposed, the
person who stood just behind him. The man hailed him as soon as he heard
the rustling among the shrubbery, but the liberated captive had seen and
heard enough to induce him to seek his hiding-place once more.



CHAPTER XI.


When Sir William Berkley embarked on board the ships, he left a company
of picked soldiers, commanded by an officer of tried fidelity, together
with the smallest of the vessels and her crew, with orders to bring the
fugitive to Jamestown, dead or alive. In a short time that portion of
the eastern shore, lately so full of bustle and activity, was wrapped in
profound repose, unbroken save by the monotonous tramp of the sentinel,
pacing before the door of the mansion, now the solitary quarters of the
sole remaining officer.

Bacon had perceived from his hiding-place, that some unusual commotion
was in progress between the quarters of the Governor and the ships lying
in the offing, and he was seized with the most eager desire to know what
it foreboded. For the first half hour, he lay in momentary expectation
of the commencement of a naval action; at length he saw the glaring
lights of the pine torches, skimming along the margin of the water, and
dark shadows of moving crowds, as the boats floated to their
destination. These movements he could not comprehend except by supposing
that the crafty old knight had set on foot some secret expedition, for
the capture of the newly arrived ships, the increased numbers of which
he could easily perceive. But when the whole fleet set sail, with the
exception of the small craft already mentioned, he was completely at
fault. He was revolving these strange movements in his mind, when his
kind preserver came again to his assistance. She was moving like an
unearthly spirit along the garden palings, cautiously examining every
bush, when he presented himself before her. She led him by a circuitous
route, and one the farthest removed from the sentinel, to a lone cabin
that stood some distance from the main building, and that had lately
been occupied by the inferior officers attached to Sir William's cause;
it had formerly been used as a negro cabin. After she had ushered him
into the single room which it afforded, she pointed to a seat, and began
stirring up the coals which had been left from the culinary operations
of the late occupants. She was about sitting down to hear Bacon's
account of himself, and doubtless of communicating her share of
information for filling out the history, but recollecting that he had
left his food untouched, she hastily covered the light, and went out,
carefully securing the door on the outside, but soon returned with a
remnant of Tim Jones' chicken supper, which she had no doubt preserved
for her own use. This was speedily placed upon a rude table, and the
fugitive urged to help himself in the midst of a torrent of
questions.--Now she desired to know the fate of the Irishman--where
they had landed after the shipwreck--who had so kindly nurtured and
educated him--whether he knew any thing of his relations in England--if
he remembered any thing of her features, or her home in the old country.
What was his occupation. Why Sir William Berkley disliked him, in what
position he stood with regard to the beautiful invalid, who had shown so
much grief at the prospect of his immediate execution,--how he had
managed to preserve the locket so faithfully--and a hundred other
queries of like import, with the solution to which the reader is already
acquainted, but which our hero answered with great impatience,
interposing one of his own between every two of hers, and meanwhile
doing ample justice to the provision she had set before him. The
substance of the old woman's narrative was as follows:

"When Mrs. Fairfax, then Mrs. Whalley--"

"Merciful Heaven!" exclaimed Bacon, dropping his knife and fork--"was
General Whalley her first husband? Then indeed he and the Recluse are
the same person." The nurse stared at him a moment, but presently
proceeded with her narrative.

"When Mrs. Fairfax, then Mrs. Whalley, left her infant son in my care,
for the purpose of joining her husband, then an officer in the army of
the commonwealth, I was entirely unacquainted with the opposition of her
family to her marriage with General Whalley, and ignorant of the
clandestine manner in which that ceremony had been performed, as well as
the subsequent privacy of their movements, which they thought necessary
for their safety.

"It was a long time after her departure from my house, and after the
time of her promised return, before I received the least account of her,
or the cause of her prolonged absence from her child. But when I did at
length receive a letter from the unfortunate lady, the whole mystery was
cleared up. In that letter she stated 'that while she was on her way to
join her husband, she was overtaken in the highway, by a party of
loyalist soldiers, commanded by her own brother. She was immediately
recognised by him, and sent under a military escort to her father's
house, not, however, before she had time to learn from one of the
prisoners under the charge of the party, the death of her husband, who,
he stated, had fallen by his side.' She made the promised remittances
for the support of her infant, and every thing went on in the usual
train, until the time arrived for the next promised letter, which indeed
arrived, by the hands of a very different messenger from the one before
employed. It was brought by the very brother who had arrested her in the
road, and sent her a prisoner to her father's house. He presented the
letter unopened, but stated that he was fully apprised of its contents,
as well as of the existence of his sister's child, which she still
supposed unknown to her family. He told me that his father was almost
broken-hearted, on account of the disgraceful marriage which his sister
had contracted, and that the sight of her infant in the house, or even
the knowledge of its existence, would drive him to phrenzy; that his
brothers and himself had therefore determined to take effectual means,
not only to remove the child from within the reach and knowledge of
their father, but of its mother also. That they were determined to take
it by force, a sufficient proof of which he showed me in a party of
armed followers, (for they were all military men,) unless I would
consent to a plan for the removal of the offensive little stranger,
which would secure all their views, and be, at the same time, more
satisfactory to himself and, he doubted not, to me. His proposition was,
that I should remove with the child to a distant residence, the means
for which he would amply provide; and that I should then wait on Mrs.
Whalley, his sister, and inform her that her child was dead. As an
inducement for me to be guilty of this deception, he informed me that
there was a young Cavalier, of good birth and connexions, who was
enamoured of his sister, but if the child was permitted to absorb her
affections, and remind her of her lost husband, they despaired of ever
seeing her married to Mr. Fairfax, and consequently of wiping out the
stigma upon their good name created by her first marriage. I was really
attached to the little boy, and fearful that they would take him by
force if I did not quietly yield, and being assured that I should watch
over him wherever he went, I consented to the plan. I waited on the
mother, and with well dissembled sorrow, told her of the death of her
darling boy. I thought at first that she would have gone distracted, but
the necessity of keeping her secret from her father and brothers, roused
her to the needful exertion. It was well that it was so, for I could not
have endured her heart-rending distress five minutes longer. The next
information I had of the unfortunate lady, was from the same young
gentleman, her brother, who came to inform me of the success of their
plans and thus relieve my conscience. His sister after a tedious delay
had married Mr. Fairfax, and sailed for the Capes of Virginia. He
assured me that the child should always be provided for, but that I must
change his name from Charles Whalley to some other, which I might choose
myself, so that he could never be able to trace his parentage. I was
firmly resolved, however, that the innocent babe should some day know
his real history. In the meantime I consented to all that the young
gentleman desired, and he left the usual supply and departed. I never
saw him again. The remittances for the support of the child were indeed
kept up for some time, but they at length became irregular, and less
frequent. My mind began to grow uneasy concerning the charge which I had
thus by a crime brought upon myself, and which I considered but a just
retribution for my evil deeds. Nor were my fears less anxious concerning
the future prospects of my innocent nursling. My health had well nigh
sunk under the accumulating load of poverty and unavailing regrets for
my wickedness, and I trust that I sincerely repented of the evil deed.
Providence at length directed to my humble dwelling one who appeared
indeed as one risen from the dead.

"It was none other than General Whalley himself; he had really been shot
in the battle, but had recovered. Great God! what were my sensations,
when the gigantic warrior, pale and worn with mental and bodily
suffering, threw aside his disguise, and avowed himself to me.
Notwithstanding the embarrassing position into which his being still
alive was calculated to throw all parties, I fell upon my knees before
him, and my Maker, and fully acknowledged my participation in the
transactions which I have related. He had heard of the marriage of his
wife to Mr. Fairfax, before he sought me out, but even at this
comparatively remote period of time from her marriage, his huge frame
shook, and he became like an effeminate being while he listened to my
narrative. He told me that he was likewise about to sail for America;
not that he desired or intended to make himself known to his wife, but
because it was becoming unsafe for him to remain longer in the kingdom.
I have no doubt in my own mind, that he was unconsciously indulging his
desire to be near his still adored Emily, in his choice of a place of
refuge, which he now informed me, was the same to which she had gone
with her husband. He told me that it was his intention to live in the
greatest seclusion, and that his very name should be unknown in his new
abode. He proposed that I should follow him, after he should have
established himself, and made arrangements for my comfortable reception,
the time for which was specified. I felt myself impelled by an imperious
sense of duty to repair, as far as lay within my power, the injury which
I had helped to inflict upon him, and therefore consented to leave
country and home with my little charge, now become so dear to me.

"After furnishing me with the necessary supplies for the long and
dreaded voyage, together with particular directions as to the place of
embarkation, and the course I was to pursue after arriving in Jamestown,
General Whalley left me, and I have never seen or heard of him to the
present hour. I did not consider that surprising, however, because he
informed me that he would never more be known by the name of Whalley,
and that I must school myself carefully before my departure for America,
never to drop a hint that he had ever been more than he seemed to be in
his new abode. But to proceed with my story. He had directed that I
should sail with the boy after the lapse of one year from the time of
his own departure. The most of this interval was employed in making my
own little preparations for so long a voyage, and my final separation in
this life, from all my kindred and friends. I had promised to keep my
design as secret as possible, and every precaution was indeed taken to
keep my intended departure a secret from all but my own immediate
relations. But by some means unknown to me, my design became known to
others, as I was apprised one day, by a visit from a gentleman named
Bacon!"

The fugitive instantly dropped his knife and fork, which he had been
occasionally using as the story of the nurse ran upon those events
already known to him, but now a new name was introduced, and one which,
it may be readily imagined, did not fail to command his undivided and
breathless attention.

"Mr. Bacon informed me that he had heard of my intended expedition, and
that I was to take out with me the tender boy then on my lap, and said
he could readily surmise that the late unfortunate civil wars were in
some way or other the cause of my undertaking so long and dangerous a
voyage. As he saw my embarrassment from not knowing how to answer him,
he hastened to assure me that he did not desire to pry into my secret.
That he was placed in somewhat similar circumstances himself, to those
which, as he supposed, operated on the parents of the boy. He informed
me that his brother and himself had both been unfortunately in the army
of the commonwealth, in which his brother had fallen, and that he had
left an only son to his care, the mother of whom had died in giving him
birth. 'Now my object in coming to you, my good woman,' said he, 'is to
procure your assistance in conveying my ward to Virginia.'

"I readily undertook the task, and all necessary arrangements were made
for the boy's comfortable passage. Some months before the time of
embarkation, little master Bacon, or I may as well say yourself, was
brought to me, in order that you might learn to know and love me before
we set sail for this distant land. When I was on board the vessel, and
had paid for my own passage as well as for those of my little charges,
the money for which had been provided by the friends of each, I was
startled to perceive that Mr. Bacon did not join me as had been agreed
upon. My anxiety became more and more intense as the time approached for
weighing anchor, for although I was amply provided with all necessary
funds, my mind misgave me that some accident had befallen the
unfortunate gentleman. He was indeed in disguise when he came to see me,
and I doubt not, was a fugitive from the powers that then ruled our
native land. My worst apprehensions were realized--Mr. Bacon was either
made a prisoner, prevented from joining me by apprehension, or chose to
deceive me in the whole business, but I have always religiously
believed, since I have had time to reflect dispassionately on the
subject, that his absence was not a matter of choice.

"We had a pleasant and prosperous voyage, until the first night after we
came in sight of land, when such a storm arose, as it seemed to me that
the whole world was coming to an end. Daylight found us a miserable
company of forlorn wretches, hanging upon the wreck. The boats were
already loaded to the water's edge. I prayed and entreated some of the
good gentlemen to save my two precious boys, if they left me, but alas!
every one was taking measures for his own safety. There was one poor,
ignorant, but tender-hearted Irishman, who had been a soldier, that
seemed to commiserate my helpless little charges, his name was Brian
O'Reily--a talking, blundering, merry youth he was then. At length
seeing some prospect of effecting a landing, he made a raft of parts of
the wreck, and trusted himself and you to the mercy of the treacherous
waves. That was the last I ever saw of the warm hearted Irishman, and of
you, until I accidentally discovered, while you were asleep in the
cellar, the identical locket containing your mother's likeness, which I
had placed round your neck with my own hands. I saw the resemblance,
too, which you bore to my lost boy, and was immediately satisfied that
God had preserved you, in his own way and for his own wise purposes, and
I determined also to save you, if I could, from the cruel punishment
which I learned more fully from the sentinel, the Governor intended to
inflict upon you in the morning. Thank God, I have succeeded. Now do
tell me, what I have asked you so often, what became of the Irishman,
and where you were landed and how preserved."

"First tell me, good nurse, how you escaped the wreck, and what became
of your other ward. It is of immense importance for me to know. The
liberty which you have given me is worth nothing, without a clear
explanation of these points."

"That I can soon inform you of--the Captain, kind and generous man that
he was, seeing the probable success of the Irishman's plan, adopted it
himself, and after making a raft, with the help of some of his crew,
placed all the females on it who chose to venture in preference to
waiting for the return of the boats. Myself with my little remaining
boy, and several other females who were steerage passengers, suffered
ourselves to be lashed to the frail machine. For four dreadful hours we
were tossed about at the mercy of the waves, the water for at least half
the time dashing over us, and, as it seemed, carrying us half way to the
bottom. At length, however, we landed upon the eastern side of this very
neck of land, where I have remained ever since. I have never set my foot
on board of any kind of water craft from that time to this. Together
with another of the females mentioned and my little boy, the son of
General Whalley, I wandered through swamps, and marshes, and sea-weeds,
until we had entirely crossed the neck--never having eaten one mouthful
until we arrived at this plantation. Here we were most kindly received
by the widowed mother of the present proprietor, Mr. Philip Ludwell; but
alas, my little boy had suffered too long and too severely from the
combined effects of the night upon the wreck, the succeeding sufferings
upon the raft, and the hunger endured before we came to this place. He
sunk rapidly, notwithstanding the humane exertions of the good lady who
had extended her kindness toward us. He died and was buried on this
plantation--I have preserved his little clothes and trinkets to this
day. Little did I think at that time that you had outlived him."

Bacon then performed his promise, and related all that he knew of his
own and O'Reily's escape from the wreck--and likewise informed her that
the latter had been on the "eastern shore" within the last two hours,
but, he supposed had been taken as a prisoner to Jamestown by Sir
William Berkley. "But tell me," he continued, "have you never seen or
heard any thing of General Whalley, or Mrs. Fairfax, since you parted
from them in England?"

"I have never heard a word of the General from that time to the present,
though I have questioned every body that came from Jamestown. I knew
that he intended to assume another name, and other habits, and I
therefore described his person and manners, but no one had ever seen
such a personage!"

The hasp flew from the pine log into which it had been inserted, and the
door was driven back against the opposite wall. "Thou beholdest him now,
woman! look at me!" and he pointed to his now haggard features, "and say
whether I am that man!"

But his gigantic figure, never to be mistaken, had scarcely darkened
the doorway, before the person he addressed began to gasp for breath,
and seized the arm of Bacon for protection--calling upon him for God's
sake to save her--her eyes meantime immoveably fixed upon the intruder's
countenance.

"Quail not, woman; there is no one here to harm thee, if thy own
conscience condemns thee not. I have heard part of thy story, as I
listened at the door, in order to find out how many of the Governor's
minions I should have to slay before freeing the boy. Lay thy hand upon
the Holy Evangelists, woman," and he drew his clasped Bible from his
pouch and extended it across the table to her, "and swear that this boy
is not my son, whom I entrusted to thy care."

With a trembling hand she touched the holy book, and said as distinctly
as her fears would permit, "Before God and upon his word, I testify it
as my firm and unwavering belief, that this young man who sits before
me, is Nathaniel Bacon, and not your son."

"It was indeed my boy, then, whom thou buried upon this lone shore?" And
without waiting for an answer he threw himself into one of the rude
seats, leaned his head down upon the table, and gave himself up to
uncontrolled emotion.

Bacon was moved to tears as he saw the stern Recluse thus overwhelmed
with grief at the breaking up of the last tie that linked him to earth.
He remembered, as he looked upon his agitated frame, how uncompromising
had been the frowns of fortune upon this now solitary being. Once he was
flushed with the joy of youth, and love, and hope, and fired with a
military ardour like himself. But now (as he supposed) he was an outlaw,
and an exile from his country--unconsciously abandoned by a doting
wife--his only heir, and the sole stay and hope of his declining years
dead and buried upon the very spot where he at last found the nurse to
whom the child had been committed. He remembered also his unwavering
kindness to himself, and his general benevolence and kindness of feeling
toward his fellow men, and he unconsciously let fall the words which
rose embodied to his tongue, as with swimming eyes he looked upon him,
"'Tis a hard and cruel fate!"

"Rather say that retributive justice pursues and overtakes the guilty to
the ends of the earth," answered the Recluse, raising his head erect
from the table. "Oh God, how just and appropriate are thy punishments!
How true and discriminating is thy retribution. Behold here a wretch who
has fled three thousand miles from the scene of his crimes in the vain
delusion that he could flee from himself and the mysterious all seeing
eye above! Young man, there is a mysterious system of ethics which the
world understands not--the reputed wise, subtleize it, and the vainly
wicked contemn and despise it. It is comprised in the simple words
justice--probity--and benevolence! There is a power of bringing about
its own ends in the first which none but the wickedly wise know. Yea,
and bringing it about by the very weapons used against its dictates, and
if not upon the very scene of the crime, at least in a place peculiarly
appropriate. Behold here before you this worn down remnant of humanity,
summoned, as he supposed, to rescue the last of his race from the power
of the oppressor; but in truth, only to weep over the grave of his real
son, buried on this spot years ago. This hand once aided in severing the
links between father and son,--a man as innocent and unoffending as his
offspring was helpless. A royal line they were. Just heaven, how that
crime has been avenged! How strangely and how justly! Probity and
benevolence are mysteriously bringing about their own righteous
purposes, as does justice her avenging decrees. The worldly wise look
with contempt upon simple honesty, but the highest ultimatum of earthly
wisdom and experience is to have the power and the knowledge of the
wicked with the simple guide, that justice, probity and benevolence
unerringly work out their own reward.

"The wickedly wise cunningly suppose that they are cheating their God
and their fellow men; the last they may temporarily deceive, but the
Great Political Economist of the universe so overrules their cunning,
that their own hands are forging the chains of their future captivity,
at the very moment when they suppose themselves constructing daggers
for their neighbour's throats, and keys for their strong boxes. The
mysterious power of which I speak is felt always in the latter end of
human life, but can never be described to those just entering upon the
scene. Thrice blessed is he, my son, who can fall before his Maker and
say that justice, probity and benevolence have been his ruling motives
of action--whether from the dictates of the heart or of the head. That
thou art one of those I have long believed, and if thou art not the son
of my loins, thou art of my affections. Come, my boat waits for thee;
thy presence is even now needed in Jamestown. Thy troops are encamped
but a few miles from the town, and are wondering at thy absence. The
Governor has embarked for the city to perpetrate more wrong and
oppression. By the will of Heaven this rusty weapon shall once more do
battle in a holy cause."

As they were leaving the cabin, Bacon turned to the nurse and embracing
her said, "I go hence, good Margaret, to battle in the cause of my
country, and that right speedily. If I am successful, you will soon hear
from me, and if not, you will have the consolation of knowing that your
foster son died as became the son of a soldier. Before yon rising moon
has twice performed her circuit, I will be either the conqueror of
Jamestown or buried in its ruins."

With hasty strides he followed the Recluse, who was already half way to
the little secluded inlet from which he had landed. As they approached
the water, Bacon could perceive two slender masts dancing in the
moonbeams, as the dark hull of a fishing smack pitched and tossed with
the swelling billows. Stepping into a log canoe, (such as surround all
water bound plantations in slave countries,) they were speedily on board
the diminutive craft, where two lounging fishermen waited their
approach. The wind was blowing fresh from off the sea across the neck of
land they had just left, and they scudded before it at a rate, if not
quite equal to the impatience of the more youthful voyager, at least
with as much rapidity as could reasonably have been expected. The
Recluse seemed as usual inclined for thoughtful silence, and as his
companion leaned against the mast of the rocking vessel, he saw the
workings of a mighty mind--wrecked, as he supposed, upon some unseen
obstacle, as it was impetuously borne along by the resistless tide of
youthful hopes and aspirations. He could not believe that the Recluse
had ever been deliberately base or cruel, as he himself had more than
hinted. "At least," said he, as he communed with himself, "he has paid
ten-fold penance for a single error."

The Recluse at length perceived that his companion was observing him,
and arose from his half recumbent position, and stood beside him, his
arms folded for an instant, and his attenuated countenance, as it
reflected back the sickly rays of a hazy moon, settled in profound
melancholy. He took the hand of the youth, and shook it some time in
agitation before he could give utterance to his thoughts, but at length
he said in a voice which betrayed the violence of his feelings,

"Nathaniel, canst thou forgive me for that cruel mistake at the chapel?
Oh, couldst thou know what I suffered then, and since, both on thy
account and my own, thou wouldst accept it as ample atonement for the
unintended wrong. I saw, on that dreadful night, her who was the queen
of my manhood's fondest dreams--who had basked with me in the sunshine
of youth and hope--who had given me her young affections in return for
my own, when life was in its bud, and who afterward blossomed into the
rich fruition of maternal love and beauty in these arms--her who was
torn from me by a base deception of her kindred, and married to another.
I saw her face to face, for the first time in more than twenty years,
when she was about to give the offspring of her second marriage as a
wife to the offspring of her first, as I supposed. Oh, what human
conception can realize the torrent that broke over my soul at that
fearful moment? The shadowy remembrances which had been softening and
fading in the lapse of years burst at once into life and being. Time and
place were forgotten--the passions of youth rushed into the contest, and
I stood as the frail mortal body shall stand at the final day, when its
own spirit knocks for entrance. The buried ghosts of my own passions
rose from their grave, the frail cloak of stoicism which had been woven
round me, was blasted into shreds and patches, and I stood and quailed
before a woman's eye like Belshazzar at his feast. Thou hast felt thy
heart swelling and plunging against its bony prison, but thou hast never
had it gorged and choked with the dammed up waters of bitterness,
gathered through long and dreary years. Thou hast felt the words stick
in thy throat, and refuse to leap into life, but thou wert never struck
dumb with a judgment from Heaven, like a thunderbolt scorching and
searing into the very citadel of thought and vitality! Thou hast writhed
when stung by the scorpion tongue of calumny, but thou hast never been
outlawed and abandoned of all human kind--condemned by thy own
conscience--and given up of God!"

His eye shot forth vivid fires, and his arms, as they were flung abroad
in violent gesticulation, cast giant shadows upon the moonlit waves of
the Chesapeake.

"You do both yourself and your friends grievous wrong," said Bacon,
after a painful pause.

"I have indeed wronged myself--most wretchedly wronged myself, but not
now; the wrong which I did to others has recoiled ten-fold upon my own
head. I know full well thy meaning--thou wouldst say that kindly
feelings are not wholly dead within this seared heart! But thou hast
made but little progress in analyzing our moral structure, if thou dost
not know that crime committed by one whose nature would lead to good,
is the true source of that misery which surpasseth speech.

"An intuitive villain, if there be such, or one become wholly corrupt,
plunges from transgression to transgression, until his final ruin,
without enduring any of that wretchedness which comes of a stain upon a
tenderer conscience. Such a man has no conscience; it is seared or
obliterated; but he of benevolent heart and virtuous impulses, wounds
his guardian angel by the deed. The taint corrupts and sours the sweets
of life into gall and bitterness. If that stain be but a single deed,
and that, dark, damning and indelible, the perpetrator becomes as an
angel of light in the companionship of hell. He may be likened to one
who loses the power of sight, with all the other senses perfect. He
hears what others see, but to him the grand medium of perception is dark
and dismal, and the rhapsodies of others are his own damnation. There is
but one hue to his atmosphere; it is the fearful red which only the
blood of man can dye. In his case the language of scripture is fulfilled
before its time. The moon is turned to blood, and the morning beam
dispelleth not the horrid hue."

Bacon thought any direction of his companion's thoughts preferable to
his present mood, and therefore said "But she whom you supposed my
mother--"

"I know it all, my son," interrupted the Recluse; "I saw the marble
features upon their last journey. For twenty years I have not envied
mortal being, but I confess to thee, that there was something in the
cessation from thought, suffering and action--and the sleep-like
serenity of death for which I longed. Nevertheless, there is an awful
mystery in that which seemeth so simple in itself. Mere lifeless clay,
moulded by the hands of man into the same stamp, speaks not to man in
the same language; it may indeed refresh the memory, but it stirreth not
up the divinity within us. Who is he that looketh upon the features of
the dead and looketh not up to the giver and recipient of life? I saw
her mortal remains laid out in the midst of a camp, and the busy world
faded away into indistinctness, while the God of the universe spoke in
the person of the beautiful corse before me and said, 'Thus far shalt
thou go and no farther.'"

As they steered their course uninterruptedly towards the source of the
Powhatan, which they had entered as the sunbeams broke through the
morning mists, Bacon threw himself down, and slept soundly, until he was
aroused by the Recluse to inquire what direction their agents should
give the vessel when they arrived within sight of the city.

He was roused to immediate thought and action by the question. He knew
the danger of entering the capital, now that it was in the possession of
Sir William Berkley, and therefore directed the boatmen to land him some
miles above.

The Recluse, at his own request, was put on shore somewhat nearer the
capital, but entirely out of reach of any precautions which the
vigilance of the Governor might have instituted.

Bacon inquired eagerly, why he left him, after his promise to draw his
sword in the cause of the people and the country, assuring him at the
same time that he intended bringing the matter to immediate issue.

"I leave thee now, my son, to set my house in order. Trust in one who
has never failed thee in need. I will be with thee in this last
struggle--for there is something whispers me that it will be the last.
Leave the event, therefore, with him who rules the destinies of
battles." And with these words he sprang upon the shore and disappeared
in the forest.

In a few hours more, Bacon was again at the head of his devoted troops,
who were entirely ignorant of the cause of his protracted absence, but
now that they knew its cause, were bursting with ardour to avenge his
own and his country's wrongs.



CHAPTER XII.


General Bacon's ardour and decision of character were not in the least
abated by his late perils and imprisonment; on the contrary, recent
developments had relieved him from suspense and inspired him with new
motives for action, to say nothing of the redress loudly demanded, by
all classes of the citizens, for the Governor's increasing oppressions.
Scarcely was sufficient time allowed for his devoted officers to shake
him cordially by the hand, before his gallant band of patriots was
marching towards Jamestown, without music or noise of any kind. There
was a cool settled determination visible in the countenances of all,
which was admirably evinced by the order and alacrity with which they
obeyed the general's orders. Bacon's cause had now become personal with
every man in the ranks, composed as they were principally of hardy
planters and more chivalrous Cavaliers, who knew not at what moment they
might themselves be subjected to like wrongs and indignities to those
from which he had just escaped. As the chief had anticipated, the
patriot army arrived on the heights of Jamestown, just as the shades of
night were enclosing the forest. It was not his intention that Sir
William Berkley should ascertain his arrival and position, until he had
made suitable dispositions for his reception, should he feel disposed to
pay him a visit. Accordingly, the whole army was immediately employed in
digging an entrenchment, and erecting a barricade of fallen trees, for
the protection of the troops, should it be found necessary in their
future operations. These transactions took place, it will be remembered,
on the evening of the same day in which Bacon parted from the Recluse,
and landed upon the main shore.

Meanwhile, Sir William Berkley, his family, suite and followers, of high
and low degree, had effected their landing without opposition at
Jamestown. The same night that Bacon and his patriot followers were
entrenching themselves on the heights, the Governor and his adherents
were marshalling themselves in the city. Great numbers of the citizens,
however, were decidedly opposed to Sir William and his measures; and his
arrival and military preparations were no sooner perceived, then they
betook themselves, with their families and property, under cover of
night, to the privacy of the neighbouring plantations: numbers of them
accidentally encountered the patriots at their work, and immediately
sending on their families, joined their standard. Besides the land and
naval forces now at the disposal of the Governor--and they already
outnumbered his opponents--he offered every inducement to the worthless
and dissolute loungers of the town to unite with his army; he did not
even hesitate to promise largely of the plunder, and confiscated
property of the rebels.

On the succeeding morning, the sun rose upon the ancient city, in
unclouded splendour, for the last time it was destined ever to shine
upon the earliest erected city in North America. It was the dreaded day
to our heroine, appointed for her marriage. Her uncle had solemnly
assured her upon their landing on the previous day, that the one which
had now arrived, should see her the wife of Beverly. The latter, too,
claimed the fulfilment of her solemn promise. The distressed and
enfeebled girl knew not whither to turn for sympathy and succour; she
was beset on all sides, and not a little oppressed with the shackles of
her own promise. She did not dare to hope that her lover had already
made his way from Accomac to her own vicinity. She remembered indeed,
that the Recluse had charged her, in case of any sudden danger or
emergency, to send him a memento of the bloody seal, but she likewise
remembered, that he had since been the main cause of her separation from
one to whom she was heart and soul devoted. She was also oppressed with
unutterable sadness on account of her mother's death, the true account
of which she had just heard,--the body having been sent by the patriots
to the city for burial, immediately before her arrival. To her aunt she
appealed, with touching pathos; but alas, she could do nothing, even had
she been so disposed. Wyanokee had returned with the body of her
mother, and by her devotion to the revered remains, revived all
Virginia's former affection, but she was powerless, and withal a
prisoner, and so wrapped up in her own gloomy meditations, that she
looked more like one of the dumb idols of her own race, than a living
maiden. When spoken to, she started up as one from a trance--and without
speaking again, sought communion with her own ideal world.

The hour was a second time fast approaching for the celebration of the
nuptials of our heroine. None of the fortunate occurrences or lucky
accidents for which she had hoped, relieved the despair of the fleeting
moments. Her uncle and Beverly had both repeatedly sent up to her
apartments, and desired to be admitted to her presence, but on various
pretences they had been as yet denied. Her aunt had again and again
urged her to prepare for the ceremony, but hour after hour flew by, and
she was still sitting in her _robe de chambre_ her neglected ringlets
hanging in loose clusters over her forehead and neck, the former of
which rested upon her hand, and it in its turn upon her knee--her head
turned slightly to one side, where Wyanokee sat, straight as an Indian
arrow, and silent and immovable as death. At length she heard her uncle
at the door, who swore that if she did not dress and descend immediately
to the parlour, where the clergyman and Beverly were in waiting, he
would have the door forced, and compel her to go through the ceremony
even should her feet refuse to sustain her. Soon after he had retired,
Lady Berkley again entered, when the distressed and bereaved maiden
clasped her round the neck and wept bitterly. "Oh, dearest aunt," she
exclaimed, "save me from this desecration--this perjury! Great and
merciful God," she cried, loosing her hold, and clasping her hands, "how
can I vow before Heaven to love, honour and obey a man that I abhor and
detest?"

"You should have thought of that, my dear child, before you gave your
solemn promise to Frank; it is too late now to retract."

"Is it even so? then I will swear when they come to ask me to pledge my
vows, that my love never was mine to give away; that I learned its
existence in another's possession. They shall not--they cannot force me
to swear an untruth. They may lead me through the outward forms of a
marriage ceremony, but racks and torments shall not make me in any way
accessary to the deed. If I promised otherwise, it was the last
despairing refuge of outraged nature. It was the instinct of
preservation within me, and not my free and voluntary act." Influenced
by this idea, she stood like an automaton, and suffered her women to
deck her out in bridal array, and was then mechanically led from her
room, accompanied by her aunt, Wyanokee, and her female dependants. She
found Sir William Berkley and Frank Beverly waiting her approach in the
entry. She shrunk back at the sight of the latter, but he, none the less
bold, approached at the same time with her uncle, and together they led
her toward the room where the clergyman waited, with many of the loyal
Cavaliers. When they arrived at the door, and she saw the reverend
gentleman in his robes, and the book open before him, her excited frame
could bear the tension no longer, and she fell lifeless upon the floor.
A loud roar from the brazen throat of a cannon at the same moment shook
the windows like a peal of thunder, and was succeeded by the echoing
blasts of the trumpet's charge, multiplying the bold challengers it
rolled from river to cliff. This plan of daring an opponent to battle,
was strictly in accordance with the usages of the age, and was instantly
understood by the Governor and his friends, all of whom flew to the
windows, where they beheld a sight, which soon drove softer emotions
from their hearts, if they had any. The former saw the smoke curling
over Bacon's breastwork and entrenchments, and was struck dumb with
amazement. But soon recovering his voice, and throwing up the sash, he
shouted to the guard below, "to arms, to arms--for king and country."

Whatever were the faults of Sir William Berkley, and they will be
considered many in this refined age and renovated country, cowardice was
not one of them. In a very few moments he mounted his charger and,
together with Beverly and Ludwell, galloped swiftly along his forming
battalions rebuking the tardy and cheering on the brave. With his
superior numbers and heavier appointments, he felt as sure of victory as
if he already sat in judgment, or was pronouncing sentence upon the
chief of the rebels. That Bacon was already at the head of his army
never for a moment entered his imagination; but the knowledge would have
made no change in his arrogant calculations, even had he possessed it.

So confident was he of an easy and speedy victory, that he scouted the
idea of remaining within the palisade, and waiting for the attack of the
patriots; and this was indeed becoming every moment more impracticable,
for the cannon balls from the heights were even now tearing through the
houses, riddling the ships and throwing his troops into confusion. No
time therefore was to be lost. He ordered the vessels to draw off into
the middle of the stream, threw open the gates, and sallied boldly out
to meet the foe.

Virginia was borne to her apartment still senseless, and the physician
was immediately sent for, but before his arrival, she had several times
opened her eyes as her aunt with real but unavailing sorrow in her
countenance applied the usual restoratives. At every discharge of the
artillery she slightly moved; her excited imagination identified the
sound with the fearful thunder that attended the former disastrous
ceremony at the chapel.

But when her aunt explained to her the occasion of the uproar, she
sprang up in the bed, clasped her hands, threw her eyes to Heaven, and
exclaimed,--"Merciful God, I thank thee! Providence has indeed
interposed for my preservation! Oh, if _he_ could only be there?--No,
no, no, it is better, perhaps, as it is--for cruel as my uncle is, I
could not bear to see him pierced by Bacon's sword, and he would
assuredly seek his life. Merciful Father, thou orderest all things
wisely. Aunt, let me prepare you for another turn of fortune! The
patriots will be successful! my heart assures me they will. Young Dudley
and Harrison are there, and they have lion hearts; but weep not, aunt,
they are as generous as they are brave."

Sir William Berkley, with that blind, passionate, and impetuous courage
for which he was distinguished, scarcely delayed to organize his troops
effectually, but rushed with reckless fury against his enemies.

Bacon, from the moment that he perceived the marshalling of the troops
outside the gate, silenced his cannon, and waked with coolness, and in
profound silence, the approach of the opposing columns. Sir William
began to calculate upon a bloodless and easy victory, and even
contemplated sending in a flag with terms of capitulation. But dearly
did he pay for his error, and terribly was he awakened from the
momentary delusion.

Bacon had persisted in waiting the onset, notwithstanding the impetuous
ardour of his troops, until he could make every shot effective; he knew
his inferiority of numbers, and determined to compensate for his
disparity of force by coolness and precision. "Wait until you see the
white of their eyes, my fine fellows," was his often repeated answer to
the suggestions and even entreaties of his impatient cannoniers; but
when at length he did give the word "fire!" most effectually was it
echoed. The very heights seemed to the panic stricken troops of the
Governor, to pour out red hot iron and smoke. They were speedily rallied
and brought again to the charge--and again the same fearful reception
awaited their farther progress, with the addition, at the second onset,
of a volley of musketry. Dreadful was the havoc in the royal ranks, and
terrible the dismay of the soldiery. The rabble which the Governor had
hastily collected in the town, fairly took to their heels and fled to
the protection of the fort. Again the valiant old knight rode among his
troops, and cheered them to the onset, but at each succeeding attack,
some more fatal reserve was brought into action. At length the patriot
chief, standing upon his rude fortification, and looking down upon the
dismayed and retreating loyalists, began to take counsel of his youthful
ardour--he longed to measure swords with the officer whom he beheld
riding so constantly by the side of the Governor. He saw the officers of
the king, as they rode among their troops, some with tears in their eyes
endeavouring to rally them, and others swearing and rebuking their
cowardly followers; and he determined to permit them to rally and then
bear down upon them with his own high spirited and ardent soldiers. He
was quickly mounted, as were also Dudley, Harrison, and the brave band
of youthful Cavaliers who had adhered so long and so faithfully to his
fortunes. When he announced this determination to his army, the welkin
rung again with their joyous acclamations, and every heart throbbed in
unison with his own, and assured him of victory.

"This night," said Bacon in a low voice to Dudley, as they rode over the
entrenchment--"Jamestown shall be a heap of ashes!"

Dudley made no reply, but smote his clenched hand upon his harness with
emphasis, returning the glance of his commander with one of cordial
approval.

Sir William Berkley and his subordinates, seeing the movement of their
opponents, were soon enabled to rally the disheartened troops, and as
the patriot army marched down the hill, the royalists in turn, raised
the cheering chorus.

The loyal army had not at any time during the engagement, presented so
formidable an appearance, as they did at this moment, and they in their
turn silently awaited the sortie of the enemy. As Bacon's followers
debouched, they visibly accelerated their pace to double quick time, and
the two bodies came together with a shock like the explosion of a
magazine. Terrible was the _melee_, and dreadful the carnage which
ensued. As they closed, Bacon raised his voice, and addressing Beverly
by name, called upon him to sustain his late charges. Consternation was
visible in the countenances both of Beverly and the Governor at the
unexpected appearance of the patriot chief, but the former yielded to it
only for an instant--in the next the youthful champions plunged the
rowels into the flanks of their chargers, and rushed at each other like
infuriated wild beasts. The fire flew from their swords, and their eyes
flashed not less brightly, but at the first onset, Beverly's weapon
snapped off short at the guard. Bacon raised himself in the stirrups,
and was about to plunge his blade deep into the breast of his hated
rival, but it fell harmless upon the mane of his charger, and he drew
back to the command of his troops. Beverly wheeled his horse and rode
slowly from the field, deeply wounded and mortified; as much perhaps at
the contrast between Bacon's forbearance and his own late vote of
condemnation, as at the disaster and defeat he had sustained.

As Bacon returned to reanimate his troops, he found that a new ally was
doing battle in his cause. He saw near the right wing, the flourishes of
a gigantic arm, which he had formerly seen do service. The Recluse was
indeed there; how long since, Bacon knew not, but he seemed to be
already in the thickest of the fight. He had lost his cap, and his bald
head towered amid his fellows and brightly glistened in the sun. His
right arm was bare to the shoulder, and dyed with blood to the finger
ends. He seemed striving to throw his life away, and more than once
thrust himself into the very ranks of the foe, but as often the
terror-struck loyalists gave way before him. He seemed to be perfectly
invulnerable, for not a wound had he yet received.

The consequences of the first repulse at the assault on Bacon's
intrenchments could not be overcome by the now exhausted and dismayed
loyalists. One column after another gave way, and fled into the town,
until not more than half remained. These were the regular troops, which
had throughout adhered so firmly to the person and fortunes of the
Governor. His friends urged him to capitulate, but he was as obstinate
in battle as he had before shown himself in council.

He was at length almost dragged from the field by his friends--as all
his troops were flying in disorder and confusion into the town. The
patriots rushed in, together with their flying foes. The Recluse had
seized some flying charger, and, still bareheaded, was dealing death to
those who came within the sweep of his terrific weapon. Bacon over and
over again, offered quarter to the flying remnant, but they fought as
they ran, keeping up something like an irregular action, the whole
distance from the field of battle to the city.

At length both parties were within the walls, and the fight was renewed,
but the loyalists were soon driven from the field. Some escaped by boats
to the shipping--and among these, Sir William Berkley was forcibly
dragged from the city as he had been from the field. In vain he pleaded
the situation of his wife and niece; he was assured by his friends of
their safety in the hands of the victor, and still urged forward in his
flight. Many poor fellows plunged into the river, and endeavoured to
save themselves by swimming to the ships which still adhered to the
loyal cause, but numbers perished in the attempt.

Bacon with difficulty restrained himself by a sense of duty, long enough
to see the victory complete, before he leaped from his horse, and rushed
up the stairs of the Governor's house, where, in a few moments, he was
clasped in the arms of the amazed and delighted Virginia,
notwithstanding the presence of Lady Berkley. He had no sooner exchanged
those thousand little nameless but endearing questions and answers, that
leap into life unbidden after such an absence and such a meeting, than
he turned to Lady Berkley, and said, "Madam, a safe escort to convey you
to your husband, waits your commands, at any moment you may choose to
leave the city."

"But my niece--is she also free to go?"

"What says my Virginia--will she accept a soldier's protection?"

"With all my heart and soul," she answered.

While they discoursed thus, the bells were ringing, and huge columns of
smoke shot up past the windows on every side, and burning timbers
sparkled and cracked with increasing and startling rapidity. Bacon
instantly understood the cause, and taking Virginia in his arms, and
bidding Lady Berkley and Wyanokee, who till now had scarcely been
noticed, to follow, he rushed into the street, and beheld Jamestown in
flames. In a short time it was a pile of black and scorched ruins, as it
has stood from that day to the present.



CHAPTER XIII.


After the battle and destruction of Jamestown, Sir William Berkley,
accompanied by his now liberated Lady and his remaining followers,
comprising the still loyal marine force, retired again to the shades of
Accomac, where we will leave him and the remaining events of his life in
the hands of the historian.

The political power of the colony was now in the possession of the
victorious chief, so lately condemned to death. He was not long in
surrendering it to a convention of the people, summoned to meet at
Middle Plantations, (Williamsburg,) for that purpose, and in their hands
we will leave the political affairs of the future mother of states. Our
only remaining duty is to follow the fortunes of the principal
characters of our narrative. The successful general, after attending to
his military and political duties, accompanied his now betrothed bride
from the ruins of Jamestown to the new seat of government. It was a
delightful summer evening--the sun was just sinking beneath a horizon,
where the darker blue of the distant landscape softened the shades of
the azure sky, both merging in the indistinct prospect so as to form a
magnificent back ground to a panorama, bathed in a flood of golden
light. The youthful and happy pair instinctively reined up their horses,
and gazed upon the enchanting scene, until their hearts were full of
love and adoration.

Then by one impulse they turned their horses' heads, and gazed upon one
far different, which they were leaving. The ruins of the first civilized
settlement in North America were still sending up volumes of smoke,
through which at intervals gleamed a lurid flash, as some more
combustible materials fell into the mass of living embers below. But
there were associations with this scene, to the hearts of our pilgrims,
which no tongue or pen can describe; the melancholy treasures of memory
collected through long forgotten years, came gushing back over their
hearts in a resistless torrent. The scenes of their childhood--of all
their romantic dreams, and those fairy and too unreal creations of young
life--the graves of their relations and friends, were about to be
surrendered up to the dominion of the thistle and the ivy, there to
moulder through all future generations.[14] But this was not all that
was saddening in the view before them. The Indian captives, some two
hundred in number, were ascending the heights to the very spot which
they occupied, on their way to the far west. Poor and friendless beings
they were! their worldly store they wore upon their backs, consisting
for the most part of worn out leather garments, and a few worthless
baubles carried in their wallets. They skirted along the brow of the
hill in Indian file--their steps slow and melancholy. They too were
about to leave the scenes of their long sojourn, the broad and fertile
lands which they had inherited from the beginning of time--the honoured
relics of their dead, and all the loved associations which cling to the
heart of the rudest of mankind, when about to leave for ever the shades
of home. They were just entering upon the wearisome pilgrimage of the
exile, under a combination of the most cruel and unfortunate
circumstances, and in a condition the worst calculated to subdue new
countries, and battle with hostile tribes. As they passed in review
before the youthful pair of another race, no sign of recognition
manifested itself. They moved along with the gravity and solemnity of a
funeral procession, until the last of the line stood before them. It was
Wyanokee! She paused--attempted to pass on like her predecessors, but
her feet refused to bear her from the spot, and turning to them she
cried as if the words had burst irresistibly from her heart, "Oh cruel
and treacherous is the white man! See you those braves, going down the
path of yonder hill? So they have been going ever since Powhatan made
the first peace with your race. May the Great Spirit who dwells beyond
the clouds, shower mercies upon you both, equal to the wrongs which
your people have visited upon ours." And having thus spoken she broke
away, and ran swiftly down the hill in pursuit of her countrymen. She
saw that Virginia was struggling with her emotions to speak, and she
rushed away lest she should again be compelled to listen to a subject
which was disagreeable to her. Virginia, before her own departure, had
exhausted her persuasive powers in the vain effort to induce her to
remain. A hope had till now lingered in her heart, that Wyanokee would
follow her to Middle Plantations, and once more take up her abode in her
house, but when she saw the last traces of her receding figure through
the shadowy gloom of the forest, she knew that she looked upon the
Indian maiden for the last time on earth.

[Footnote 14: The ivy capped ruins of the old church are all that remain
to this day of the ancient city. We trust that no irreverent hands will
ever be laid upon that venerable pile; but that it may be suffered to
stand in its own melancholy grandeur, as long as its materials may cling
together.]

With swimming eyes the lovers pursued their way across the narrow
peninsula. Virginia sobbed aloud, until she had given vent to her
overcharged heart. But an easy and gentle palfrey, and a devoted and
obsequious lover, do not often fail to revive a lady's spirits,
especially through such scenes as she now beheld, bathed as they were in
the mellow glories of a summer twilight. "Hope told a flattering tale,"
and our hero and heroine would have been more or less than mortal, and
wise beyond their years, had they not listened to it. Their laughter was
not loud and joyous, it is true, they were far too happy for that; their
frames trembled with the exquisite pleasure which words warm from and
to the heart produced. Sometimes they were silent indeed, but not for
want of thoughts to interchange. Words had exhausted their power.

They had not proceeded many miles on their way, and the sun still hung
as it were suspended beyond the purple glories of the horizon, when
Bacon pointed with his riding whip to an object before them which
quickly changed the current of his companion's thoughts. Like human
life, their short journey seemed destined to exhibit many dark and
gloomy shadows. It was the Recluse; he was leaning against a tree,
apparently waiting their approach, for as they rode up, he stepped out
into the highway and saluted them. Virginia trembled upon her saddle
with very different sensations from those to which we have just alluded,
but her lover hastily unfolded to her his name and former delusion.
"This, my young friends," said the Recluse, "is our last meeting on
earth--and I have sought it that I might bless you both, before my
departure from the land in which I have so long been a sojourner and an
exile from the haunts of men."

"Whither are you going?" asked Bacon in astonishment. "You certainly
will not leave us, now that the very time has arrived when you may dwell
here in safety. I had even calculated upon having you as an inmate at my
house."

"It cannot be," replied the Recluse. "My destiny calls me to a place far
north of this, where some of my old comrades and now fellow sufferers,
dwell in comparative peace and security. But it is only detaining you
after night fall, to multiply words. May God of his infinite mercy bless
and preserve you both," and thus speaking he also departed, and was seen
no more.[15]

[Footnote 15: Our authority for assuming that one of the Regicides
secluded himself for a time near Jamestown, may be found in Stiles'
Judges, Chapter VI.]

       *       *       *       *       *

On a certain evening, not very long after the one just spoken of,
General Bacon was married to Miss Virginia Fairfax, and at the same time
and place Charles Dudley, Esq. led to the altar Miss Harriet Harrison.

After this happy announcement, it becomes our painful duty to cast a
melancholy blemish upon the character of one who has figured in our
narrative. On the two several occasions, namely, of his release from
captivity by the storming and capture of Jamestown, and his master's
marriage, Brian O'Reily was found hopelessly, helplessly drunk; or
according to his own explanation, in that state in which a man feels
upward for the earth.


THE END.



ADDENDA.


Should the author's humble labours continue to amuse his countrymen, he
will very soon lay before them "The Tramontane Order; or the Knights of
the Golden Horseshoe;"--an order of Knighthood in the Old Dominion,
which first planted the British standard beyond the Blue Mountains.





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