A LITTLE MAID OF MASSACHUSETTS COLONY
ALICE TURNER CURTIS
A LITTLE MAID OF PROVINCE TOWN A LITTLE MAID OF NARRAGANSETT BAY
ILLUSTRATED BY WUANITA SMITH
THE PENN PUBLISHING COMPANY PHILADELPHIA 1915
COPYRIGHT 1914 BY THE PENN PUBLISHING COMPANY
The first Anne Nelson story was "A Little Maid of Province Town," which told how the little Cape Cod girl's father went away to fight for the colonies, how she went to live with the Stoddards, how she escaped perils from Indians and wolves, made an unexpected trip to Boston, and carried an important message for the colonial army.
The girls and boys who made acquaintance in that book with Anne and with Amanda and Amos Cary will be glad to read here how Amos won his heart's desire,—to go a long voyage from the harbor of Province Town; Anne's journey with the Indians, her imprisonment in the house in the woods, and her escape; how she and Rose Freeman discovered "Aunt Anne Rose" on the happy trip in Boston, and how Anne helped to capture an English privateer, will hold the attention of young readers, and, incidentally, show them something of the times and history of Revolutionary days in New England.
I. AMANDA'S MISTAKE 9 II. ANNE DECIDES 22 III. A NEW FRIEND 32 IV. WITH THE MASHPEES 48 V. AT BREWSTER 61 VI. AMANDA'S CONSCIENCE 75 VII. THE BLACK-BEARDED MAN 88 VIII. THROUGH THE WINDOW 104 IX. LADY DISAPPEARS 117 X. AUNT ANNE ROSE 131 XI. IN BOSTON 140 XII. A WONDERFUL DAY 149 XIII. ANNE'S BOOK 162 XIV. ANNE AND MILLICENT 173 XV. AMOS APPEARS 184 XVI. AN UNEXPECTED VISITOR 192 XVII. THE STRANGE SCHOONER 204 XVIII. A GREAT ADVENTURE 213 XIX. "HOMEWARD BOUND" 221
"A WONDERFUL THING IS GOING TO HAPPEN" Frontispiece
"SIT THERE AND BE QUIET" 42
"YOU CAN GET ON HIS BACK" 132
HE HANDED HER A BALL 177
"YOU ARE THE BRAVEST GIRL IN THE COLONY" 220
A Little Maid of Massachusetts Colony
"Do you think I might go, Aunt Martha?" There was a pleading note in the little girl's voice as she stood close by Mrs. Stoddard's chair and watched her folding the thin blue paper on which Rose Freeman's letter was written.
"It is a pleasant invitation, surely," replied Mrs. Stoddard, "but the Freemans have ever been good friends to us; and so Rose is to visit their kin in Brewster and then journey back to Boston with her father in his chaise, and she says there will be plenty of room for you. Well! Well! 'Tis a wonderful journey."
Anne moved uneasily. "But, Aunt Martha, do you forget that she asks if Uncle Enos cannot bring me to Brewster?"
"Yes, child, I have read the letter, and I doubt not Enos will set you safe across to Brewster. And your father's vessel will be due in Boston early in September, and he could bring you safely home to Province Town. We'll see what Uncle Enos says about sailing across to Brewster," and Mrs. Stoddard smiled affectionately at Anne's delighted exclamation. It was two years before that Anne Nelson, whose father's boat had been seized by an English ship, had come to live with the Stoddards. Her father had escaped, and, after serving the colonies until after the battle of Lexington, had returned to Province Town, and was now away on a fishing cruise. Anne had visited the Freemans the year before, and now this pleasant invitation for a journey to Boston had been brought by one of the harbor fishermen, the only way letters came to Province Town. It was no wonder Anne was eager for permission to go. It would be a three days' ride from Brewster, and the road would take her through many pleasant towns and villages. There was not a person in the settlement who had taken the journey by land. Uncle Enos declared that Province Town folk who could sail a good boat, with fair winds, to Boston in six hours were too wise to take such a roundabout route as the land offered.
"But it will be a fine ride for Anne," he agreed. "She will learn much by the journey, and Squire Freeman will take good care of her. I'll set her across to Brewster on Tuesday, as Rose says they plan to start early on Wednesday morning. Well, Anne," and he turned toward the happy child, "what do you think the Cary children will say when you tell them that you are to ride to Boston in a fine chaise?"
"I do not know, but I think Amos will say that he would not journey by land; he is all for big ships; but I'm sure Amanda will think it is a wonderful thing, and wish to go with me, and indeed I wish she might. But why do we not have chaises in Province Town?"
"We must have roads first," replied Aunt Martha smilingly; "but Province Town has no need of coaches and roads with good boats in harbor. Now we must see that your clothes are in order, for a week soon goes."
"Anne! Anne!" and before Anne could respond a girl of about her own age came running into the kitchen. "Can you go with me over to the outer beach? May she go, Mrs. Stoddard? See! I have enough luncheon for us both in this basket," and Amanda held up a pretty basket woven of sweet grass.
"May I, Aunt Martha? And oh, Amanda! A wonderful thing is going to happen to me. Isn't it wonderful, Uncle Enos?"
Aunt Martha and Uncle Enos both smiled and nodded, and Amanda looked from one to the other in great surprise.
"Run along with Amanda and tell her all about it," said Mrs. Stoddard, and the two little girls started happily off.
"I can guess," declared Amanda, "for I know that Captain Starkweather brought you a letter from Boston, and I can guess who the letter is from."
Anne shook her head laughingly. "You would guess that it was from my dear father," she answered.
"And is it not?" questioned Amanda in surprise.
"It is from Rose Freeman," announced Anne. "And oh, Amanda, she asks me to come to Brewster next week, and go with her in her father's chaise to Boston!" And Anne turned, smiling happily, toward Amanda. She had expected Amanda to exclaim with delight over such a wonderful piece of news, but instead of delight Amanda's face expressed an angry surprise. She had stopped short, and stood looking at Anne.
"Rose Freeman!" she exclaimed. "Boston in a chaise! I wonder I play with you at all, Anne Nelson. Why don't you stay in Boston? I shouldn't care if you did!" and throwing the basket of luncheon on the ground Amanda turned and ran back toward home.
Anne looked after her in amazement. "That's the way she used to act before we were friends," she said aloud; "and all that good food thrown down in the sand," for the basket was overturned, and two round ginger cakes, two pieces of corn bread, and two three-cornered tarts had rolled out. Anne knelt down and picked them up carefully, shaking off the sand, and returned them to the basket.
"Her mother cannot afford to have such good things wasted," said Anne; for even the children in Province Town in the days of the Revolution knew how difficult it was to secure supplies. The end of Cape Cod, with its sandy dunes, scant pasturage or tillage, made the people depend on their boats, not only to bring in fish, but all other household necessities. The harbor was unguarded, and its occupation as a rendezvous by English men-of-war had made it very hard for the people to get provisions. So it was no wonder that Anne looked at the ginger cakes and tarts as special delicacies, too precious to lie in the sand.
"I'll go to the outer beach by myself," decided Anne, "but I will not eat my share of the luncheon. I do not see why Amanda should be angry," and the little girl walked on, choosing her way carefully among the scrubby pine trees or patches of beach-plum bushes.
Amanda ran swiftly, and in a moment or two was almost back in the Stoddards' dooryard!
"I mustn't go home," she said to herself; "they would question me, and I would have to tell them all the wonderful news about Anne. And, oh," she exclaimed aloud, "if I did not throw down the fine treat my mother put in the basket. I'll go back for it; Anne Nelson has everything, but she shall not have my tarts."
Amanda made her way back very carefully, hoping to get the basket and escape without Anne seeing her. But when she reached the spot where Anne had told the wonderful news neither the basket nor Anne was to be seen.
"She's run off with my basket. She means to eat all that mother gave me!" Amanda now felt that she had a just grievance against her playmate. "I'll go home and tell my mother," she decided, and on the way home a very wicked plan came into the little girl's mind. She pulled off her gingham sunbonnet and threw it behind a bunch of plum bushes. She then unbraided her neat hair and pulled it all about her face. For a moment she thought of tearing a rent in her stout skirt, but did not. Then she crawled under a wide-branched pine and lay down. "I must wait a time, or my mother will think I am too quickly back," she decided, "and I do not want to get home while Amos is there;" for Amanda knew well that her brother would not credit the story which Amanda had resolved to tell: that Anne had pushed her over in the sand, slapped her, and run off with the basket of luncheon.
"My mother will go straight to Mistress Stoddard, and there'll be no journeyings to Brewster to see Rose Freeman, or riding to Boston in a fine chaise," decided the envious child.
So, while Anne kept on her way to the outer beach, carrying Amanda's basket very carefully, and expecting every moment that Amanda would come running after her, and that they would make friends, and enjoy the goodies together, Amanda was thinking of all the pleasant things that a journey to Boston would mean, and resolving to herself that if she could not go neither should Anne. So envious was the unhappy child that she tried to remember some unkindness that Anne had shown her, that she might justify her own wrong-doing. But in spite of herself the thought of Anne recalled only pleasant things. "I don't care," she resolved; "she shan't go to Boston with Rose Freeman, and she has run off with the basket."
"Mercy, child! What has befallen you, and where is Anne?" questioned Mrs. Cary, as Amanda came slowly up to the kitchen door, where her mother sat knitting.
"She's run off with my basket," whimpered Amanda, holding her apron over her face.
"And is Anne Nelson to blame for your coming home in this condition?" questioned Mrs. Cary, a little flush coming into her thin cheeks.
Amanda nodded; some way it seemed very hard to say that Anne had pushed her down and slapped her.
"And run off with my basket," she repeated, "and next week she goes to Brewster, and by carriage to Boston."
"Well, that's no reason why she should turn so upon you," declared Mrs. Cary. "What made trouble between you?"
"I think it was because of this journey," replied Amanda. "She is so set up by it, and she went off with the basket."
"Never mind about the basket, child; but it's a sad thing for Anne to so lose her temper. You did quite right to come home, dear child; now brush your hair neatly, and bathe your face, and then come with me to Mistress Stoddard; though I like not our errand," concluded Mrs. Cary, rolling up the stocking she was knitting.
Amanda looked at her mother pleadingly. "Why must I go to Mistress Stoddard's?" she questioned. "I have run all the way home, and you know she will not blame Anne; it will be me she will question and blame. Oh, dear!" and Amanda, sure that her evil plan would be discovered, began to sob bitterly.
"There, there! I did but think you could tell Mrs. Stoddard of Anne's mischief. You need not go, child. Get you a ginger cake from the stone jar in the cellar-way. I'll tell of the way Anne pushed you about, and made off with the basket, and you sit here by the door. There's a sweet breeze coming over the marshes," and, patting Amanda's ruffled locks, Mrs. Cary took down her sunbonnet from its hook behind the door, and prepared to set forth.
"I'll not be long away," she called back, as she passed down the sandy path.
From the pleasant doorway Amanda watched her with a gloomy face. Her plan was going on successfully, but Amanda did not feel happy. She was dreading the time when Amos would return, and his sharp questioning, she knew, would be a very different matter from her mother's acceptance of her story.
"Everybody always thinks that Anne is right," she said aloud.
"Well, isn't she?" said a voice directly behind her, so near that Amanda jumped up in surprise.
"How did you get into the house, Amos Cary!" she exclaimed angrily.
"Phew, Carrot-top! What's the matter?" responded Amos teasingly. "Say, Sis, don't cry," he added. "I won't call you 'Carrot-top' again. You know my hair's exactly the same color as yours, anyway; so it's just like calling myself names."
But Amanda kept on sobbing. "It's Anne," she whimpered. "She—she—she's run off with my basket."
"Anne!" exclaimed the boy in surprise. "Oh, well, she was only fooling. She'll bring it back. You know Anne wouldn't do a mean thing."
"She would, too. She's going to Boston, and to Brewster, with Rose Freeman," said Amanda.
"O-oh! So that's the trouble, is it?" said Amos. "Well, she'll come back, so don't cry," and he stepped past her and ran down toward the beach.
At Mrs. Stoddard's Mrs. Cary was repeating Amanda's story.
"I cannot understand it," said Mrs. Stoddard. "You know well, Mistress Cary, that Anne is a pleasant child, and she and Amanda started out as friendly as need be. Did Amanda say what began the trouble?"
Mrs. Cary shook her head. "No, she is at home crying her heart out about it, poor child."
"I know not what to say," and Mrs. Stoddard's usually smiling face was very grave. "Anne is not home yet, but I will question her. You may be sure, Mistress Cary, that I will not let it pass. Her father leaves her in my care when he is away, and perhaps I am too indulgent, for I love the child."
It was an hour later when Anne came and peered in at the open door. Mrs. Cary had gone home. Mrs. Stoddard looked at the little girl, but not with her usual smile.
"Where is Amanda's basket?" she asked sharply. "Do not stand there; come in." Anne obeyed. "Now, tell me why you pushed Amanda down, and slapped her, and ran off with the basket of food? Mrs. Cary has been here and told me all about it. A nice story indeed for me to hear. But like as not it is my fault for indulging you in everything. But I shall be firm now. Go up-stairs and stay until I call you; and as for that visit with Rose Freeman, think no more of it. I shall not let you go. No, indeed, after such a performance as this."
Anne thought to herself that she must be dreaming. "I shall wake up in a minute," she said aloud, but Mrs. Stoddard did not hear her.
"Go right up-stairs," she repeated, and Anne, with a puzzled look over her shoulder, went slowly up the narrow stairs.
"I don't know what to do," Anne whispered to herself, with a little sob, as she looked out of the narrow window in her little room. Captain Stoddard was coming briskly up the path; in a moment he would be directly under the window. "I'll call to him, and if he answers I shall know that I am awake," she decided, and leaning out she called softly: "Uncle Enos! Uncle Enos!"
Captain Stoddard looked up, and answered briskly: "Anne Nelson, ahoy!"
"Uncle Enos, listen!" and Anne leaned out still farther. "I went toward the outer beach with Amanda Cary, and she slapped me and ran off. And when I came home Aunt Martha sent me up-stairs. Now what have I done?"
Captain Stoddard chuckled, then he looked very serious indeed, and replied:
"A pretty affair! What have you been doing?"
"Nothing, Uncle Enos; indeed I have done no mischief. Tell Aunt Martha that Amanda slapped me, and that I did not slap back."
Uncle Enos nodded, and made a motion for Anne to be silent, and Anne drew quickly back into the room.
"Uncle Enos will find out," she whispered to the little wooden doll, "Martha Stoddard," that her father had made for her when she was a very small girl, and which was still one of her greatest treasures. But the July afternoon faded into the long twilight and no one called to Anne to come down. She began to feel hungry. "I wish I had eaten my share of that luncheon and not given it to Amos to carry home," she thought. For on her way home she had met Amos and had given the lunch basket into his charge, telling him to carry it home to Amanda, but saying nothing of Amanda's anger.
As Anne sat in the loft chamber waiting for the call that did not come, she began to feel that she had been treated very badly. "And Aunt Martha says I shall not visit Rose Freeman, and does not tell me why I shall not go. My father would let me; I know that full well. And I am going; I will walk to Brewster!" Anne's heart grew lighter as she thought of all the joys that a visit to Rose would mean. "I'll start to-night," she decided. "Maybe it will take me a long time, as there are no roads, but I know I can find the way. Oh, I wish it would get dark! I'll take you, Martha Stoddard, but I guess I'll change your name, for Aunt Martha doesn't like me any more," and the little girl began to feel very lonely and unhappy. The room door swung open at that very moment and there stood Mrs. Stoddard with a mug full of creamy milk and a plate of corn bread.
"Here is your supper, Anne. And I hope you are ready to tell me why you pushed Amanda down and ran off with her basket," and Mrs. Stoddard looked at Anne with a puzzled expression in her kind eyes.
"I did not——" began Anne.
"There, there, child. Mrs. Cary told me the whole story. Tell me the truth, and I'll not be hard with you," and Mrs. Stoddard set down the mug and plate on the light-stand and stood waiting.
"I will not say another word!" declared Anne, who felt that even her dear Aunt Martha had turned against her.
"Then you must stay up here until you are a more obedient child," said Mrs. Stoddard, and went slowly out of the room. "I don't see what has possessed the child," she said to Captain Enos on returning to the kitchen.
"She has always been a truthful child, Martha," ventured the captain, "so why not believe her now?"
"I would gladly, Enos; but Mrs. Cary came straight to me as soon as Amanda reached home, and 'twas an hour later when Anne returned, and she has no word of excuse. 'Twill do the child no harm to stay in her room until she can tell me the reason for such behavior. And of course this visit to the Freemans' must be given up. 'Twould not do to let her go after such conduct."
"A pity," responded the captain. "'Twould have been a fine journey for the little maid."
Anne could hear the murmur of their voices as she drank the milk and ate the corn bread. "I wish I had some bread to take with me," she thought. "I'll take my blue cape, and my shoes and white stockings, for I'm sure I ought to wear them on the chaise," and Anne tiptoed about the room gathering up her clothing. It did not make a very large bundle, even when she decided to take the white muslin dress, and the coral beads. She heard Captain Enos and Aunt Martha go to their chamber, and then, holding "Martha Stoddard" and the bundle in her arms, crept down the narrow stairway. The outer door stood ajar to admit the cool fragrant air, and in a moment Anne was running along the sandy track that led through the little settlement. It was still early, but there was not a light to be seen in any of the small gray houses. The summer sky was filled with stars, and as Anne ran she could see her shadow stretching ahead of her, "as if I were running right over it all the time," she whispered to "Martha Stoddard."
The beautiful harbor seemed like a shining mirror, it lay so calm and still in the shadow of the land. But Anne did not stop to look at stars or sea; she wanted to reach the pines at the end of the village. Then she meant to go on as fast as she could toward Truro. "There will be nice places to rest under the trees, where nobody will ever look for me; perhaps no one will want to look," thought the little girl, with a choky sensation in her throat as she remembered the strange happenings of the afternoon.
The track grew more indistinct toward the end of the settlement, and when Anne reached the woods the shadows were dark, and she was obliged to go carefully in order not to lose her way. The border line between Truro and Province Town was marked by the jawbone of a whale set in the ground by the side of a red oak stump. The path up to this landmark was well known to all the village children; the hill was called Cormorant Hill; and Anne had been there many times with Amanda and Amos and the Starkweather children, and was very sure that from that place she could find her way through Truro to Wellfleet. "I'll not rest until I get to Kexconeoquet," decided Anne. Kexconeoquet was the Indian name for the hill.
About half-way up the slope Anne stopped to rest under a tall pine tree. There was a bed of soft green moss, and as she sat down she gave a little tired sigh. "Maybe it will be morning before I get to the top of the hill," she thought, and put "Martha Stoddard" carefully down on the moss. "I suppose I might sleep a minute," she said drowsily, arranging her bundle for a pillow and resting her head upon it. And a moment later an inquisitive little squirrel noticed that there was a little girl in a brown gingham dress fast asleep under the pine tree.
Mrs. Stoddard awoke early the next morning, and when she and Captain Enos sat down to their simple breakfast she said:
"I hear no sound of Anne, and I'll let her sleep late this morning; when she wakes she will tell me what happened. I woke up in the night and thought about it, and I feel sure our little maid could not have been all to blame. Amanda is quick to find trouble."
Uncle Enos nodded approvingly. "'Twill do her no harm to sleep," he agreed, "and do not make up your mind that she must not go for the visit to Brewster and Boston. I can set her across to Brewster come Tuesday. 'Twill give me a chance to get some canvas for a new jib for the sloop."
Captain Enos spoke softly, and tiptoed out of the little kitchen, and Aunt Martha moved quietly about the house until the long summer morning was half over; then she went softly up the stairs, and opened the door to Anne's room. In a moment she realized what had happened: that Anne had run away; and she lost no time in hurrying to the shore, where Captain Enos was salting his yesterday's catch of fish and spreading them on the "flakes"—long low frames—to dry. Captain Starkweather and Amanda's father were near by, busy at the same work, and further along the shore were other groups of men taking care of the "catch" of the previous day. For the dried fish were shipped to many distant places, and curing them was a part of the fisherman's business.
"Anne is gone! She has run away," called Mrs. Stoddard, and in a moment she was telling Captain Enos that she was sure that the little girl had crept out of the house in the night. Captain Starkweather and Mr. Cary listened in amazement.
"But where could she go?" asked Captain Enos. "There's something wrong in this. Anne called to me from her window yesterday that she knew not the reason for her being punished. She has run away from us, Martha, because we have been unfair toward her."
"But where? Stop not to talk, Enos. Is there a boat missing? Like as not Anne has set forth for Boston." And Mrs. Stoddard looked out over the wide harbor as if expecting to see Anne sailing away.
"It may be your little girl is playing about and will soon return," suggested Captain Starkweather.
"Is her doll gone?" questioned Captain Enos; "for if it is not you may be sure that Anne is not far away."
"Indeed, I did not think to look; and you may be right, Captain Starkweather. I'll step back and see," and Mrs. Stoddard's face brightened as she turned toward home, followed by Captain Enos and the two fishermen.
"The doll is gone," she called down from the little chamber, "and Anne's cape and beads, and her shoes and stockings."
In a short time every one in the village knew of Anne's disappearance, and Amanda heard her father say that he feared Anne had started off in one of the little boats. "If she has there is small chance for the child," he said soberly, and Amanda began to whimper.
"She gave me Amanda's basket to bring home yesterday," said Amos; "'tis in the shed."
"Yes, she ran off with it yesterday, and ate all the lunch herself," explained Mrs. Cary, "and slapped Amanda. Your sister came running home crying as if her heart would break."
"Anne didn't eat the luncheon. 'Twas all in the basket, and I ate it," said Amos. "I don't believe she slapped Amanda, anyway. Or if she did I'll bet Amanda slapped her first."
"Amos!" Mr. Cary's voice was very stern, and the boy said no more.
It was found that a rowboat was missing, and remembering how Anne and the Cary children had once started out to sail to Boston, it was generally believed that Anne had started off in the boat. Nevertheless search-parties went across the narrow strip of land to the outer beach and up and down the shore of the harbor and along the edge of the Truro woods. Several boats started off, for it was felt that the best chance of finding her was the hope that the little boat could not have gone very far. "It may have been swept out to sea," Mr. Cary said, and at this Amanda set up such a wail that he instantly added: "But Anne will be found; of course she will."
A NEW FRIEND
"It's morning!" And Anne sat up and looked about with surprised eyes. Little flecks of sunshine came through the sheltering branches of the tall pine, squirrels ran up and down its trunk, and there were chirpings and calls of birds among the near-by trees. "And I'm not half-way to the top," continued Anne, shaking off the feeling of drowsiness, and springing up from the soft moss. She picked up her bundle and "Martha Stoddard" and started on. "'Tis about the time that Aunt Martha and Uncle Enos are eating porridge," she thought longingly, and then remembered that on the hillside, not far from the top, there was a spring of cool water, and she hurried on. She could hear the little tinkling sound of the water before she came in sight of the tiny stream which ran down the slope from the bubbling spring; and laying down her doll and the bundle she ran forward, eager for a drink. She knelt down and drank, and then turned to pick up her belongings, but the bundle and doll had disappeared. Anne looked about as if she could not believe her eyes. "They must be here!" she exclaimed aloud, and at that moment "Martha Stoddard" peered at her astonished owner from behind a tree. The little wooden doll appeared to walk. Then it bowed very low, and vanished. Anne ran to the tree, but Martha was not there; but the doll's head could be seen behind a small bush, almost within Anne's reach; but now Anne stopped, remembering that dolls, even dolls like Martha, could not play hide-and-seek. She felt bewildered, and, although Martha bowed and even tried to dance, Anne did not approach a step nearer. She could see that a small brown hand was keeping a tight grasp on Martha, and as she watched this hand a brown face peered out at her over Martha's head—the brown smiling face of an Indian girl, probably several years older than Anne. After looking at Anne for a few seconds she came out from behind the cluster of bushes. "She's as tall as Rose Freeman," was Anne's first thought.
"Where is my bundle?" she demanded, for although the Indian girl held Martha Stoddard in plain sight the bundle was not visible.
The Indian girl shook her head smilingly, and Anne repeated, "Bundle! Bundle!" and then exclaimed, "Oh, dear, she doesn't know what I say."
The girl now came a step or two nearer, holding out the doll for Anne to take. Her hair was very black and thick, and braided in one heavy plait. There was a band of bright feathers about her head, and she wore a loose tunic of finely dressed deerskin which came to her knees, and was without sleeves. Her arms and feet were bare, and as she stood smiling at Anne she made a very pretty picture.
Anne reached out her hand for the doll, and as she did so the Indian girl grasped it firmly, but in so gentle a manner that Anne did not draw back. The girl drew her along, smiling and saying strange sounding words in her own language, of which Anne could understand but one—"Mashpee." This was the name of a tribe of Cape Cod Indians who owned land, and who were always kind and friendly toward the white settlers; Anne was quite sure that the girl was telling her that she belonged to that nation.
The Indian girl circled around the big tree near the spring, and there lay—spread out on the moss—Anne's pretty blue cape, her white muslin dress, and her shoes and stockings and the bright coral beads. The Indian girl knelt down and picking up the beads fastened them about her own neck; she then threw the cape over her own shoulders, and, picking up the shoes and stockings, placed them in front of Anne, and put the muslin dress beside them.
It needed no words to explain this; she had selected what she wanted from the bundle and Anne could have the things that the Indian girl did not want.
Anne's face must have expressed what she felt, for the smile faded from her companion's lips, and the dark eyes grew unfriendly. She snatched the doll from Anne, and turned as if to run away.
Both the girls gave a little jump, for they had been too much engrossed in each other to notice that an Indian squaw had come along the path, and had stopped a short distance from them. As she spoke the Indian girl started toward her, and began to talk rapidly. Anne stood waiting, and wondering what would happen now, and heartily wished herself safely back in the Stoddards' snug little house.
As the Indian woman listened Anne could see that she was angry and when Nakanit, for that was the Indian girl's name, had finished the squaw snatched the cape from the girl's shoulders, and, pointing to the beads, evidently bade her unfasten them. As the Indian girl obeyed the squaw gave her a sharp slap on the cheek, and Nakanit, without a look toward Anne, fled into the forest.
"Here, white child," said the woman, "here are your things. What are you doing so far from the settlement?"
"I am going to Brewster," replied Anne.
The Indian woman eyed her sharply.
"You have run away from your mother and father," she said sharply.
"My mother is dead, and my father is at sea," Anne replied, feeling her face growing red under the sharp eyes of the squaw, and a little ashamed that she did not own that she was running away from Aunt Martha Stoddard. But she felt that Aunt Martha had been very unfair toward her.
The Indian woman's face softened. "And you journey alone to find friends in Brewster?" she asked.
"Yes, indeed; I am to go to Rose Freeman, and ride with her and her father in their chaise to Boston, and wait at their house for my father."
The squaw nodded. The name of Freeman was known to her, and though a sixty mile journey seemed a long way for so small a girl as Anne, the woman only wondered at the unkindness of the white women in letting a child go alone.
"Come," she said, and Anne, gathering up her shoes and stockings and the rumpled white dress, followed her.
The squaw turned from the path and, as she walked swiftly on, gave several low calls which to Anne sounded like the notes of a bird. The last call was answered, and a moment later Nakanit appeared beside them. For a long time they went on in silence, and at last the squaw stopped suddenly.
"Oh!" exclaimed Anne, for directly in front of them was a wigwam, so cunningly built in behind a growth of small spruce trees that unless one knew of its whereabouts it might be easily passed by. The Indian girl laughed at Anne's exclamation, and nodded at her in a friendly manner.
"Go in," said the squaw. "Did no woman give you food to eat on your journey?"
Anne shook her head.
"Umph!" grunted the squaw, and turned toward Nakanit, evidently telling her to bring Anne something to eat.
The Indian girl opened a basket that stood near the wigwam door and took out some thin cakes made of corn meal, and handed them to Anne. Anne ate them hungrily; they tasted very sweet and good, and, when she had eaten the last one, she turned toward the squaw who sat beside her, and said: "Thank you very much. The cakes were good."
The squaw nodded gravely. Anne looked round the wigwam with curious eyes. It was evident that Nakanit and her mother were nearly ready for a journey. The two baskets were near the door, the roll of blankets beside them, well tied up with stout thongs of deerskin, and the little brush wigwam had nothing else in it.
The Indian girl stood with her dark eyes fixed on Anne, and the squaw talked rapidly for a few moments, evidently giving the girl information or directions; then she lifted the smaller of the two baskets, and fastened its deerskin strap over Nakanit's shoulders. The roll of blankets and the other basket she carried herself.
"Follow," she said to Anne; "we journey toward Wellfleet and you can go with us."
Anne's face brightened, and she began to feel that her troubles were over. She picked up her own bundle and followed the squaw and the Indian girl out through the woods and across a meadow where a few cattle were feeding.
"This must be Truro," Anne thought to herself as she trudged silently on beside her new friends.
It grew very warm and there was no shade, and Anne began to feel tired, but neither Nakanit nor her mother seemed to notice the heat. It was past noon before they made any stop, and as Anne, who was some distance behind her companions, saw the squaw turn toward a little wooded hill and begin to lower the basket from her shoulders, she gave a long tired sigh of relief. Nakanit heard and turned toward her, and reached out her free hand to take Anne's bundle. But Anne shook her head, and tightened her hold on it. This seemed to anger the Indian girl, and with a surly word she gave Anne a push, sending her over into a clump of wild rose bushes. As Anne reached out to save herself the thorns scratched her hands and arms and she cried out. The squaw turned, and, as she had not seen the push, thought that Anne had stumbled, and began to laugh at her and to mock her cries. This delighted Nakanit, who joined in so loudly that Anne stopped in terrified amazement, and scrambled out as well as she could. Her feet ached, and she could hardly walk, but she went on behind Nakanit into the pleasant shade of the woods, and here her companions set down their baskets, and threw themselves down to rest. Anne looked at them a little fearfully; they had not spoken one word to her since leaving the wigwam.
The squaw opened the basket and gave each of the girls some of the corn bread, which they devoured hungrily. "There are berries over there," she said briefly, pointing toward the slope, "and water."
Nakanit was already running toward the slope, but Anne did not move; she was still hungry and very thirsty, but too tired to walk, and as she lay on the soft grass she began to dread the moment when the squaw might start on again. It was not long before Nakanit returned. She brought with her a cunningly made basket of oak leaves pinned together with twigs, and heaped full of blueberries; the squaw shook her head as Nakanit offered her the berries, and pointed toward Anne. Nakanit obeyed, but somewhat sulkily, for she had meant to help Anne with the bundle, and was still angry at Anne's refusal.
"How good they taste," exclaimed Anne as she helped herself to a handful, and she smiled up gratefully at Nakanit. The Indian girl's face brightened, and she smiled back, and sitting down beside Anne held the basket forward for her to take more. When the berries were finished Nakanit again disappeared.
After several hours' rest the squaw started on again, and Anne followed after wondering where Nakanit was. In a short time they came down to a sandy beach.
"Why, look! There's Nakanit!" exclaimed Anne, pointing toward the water, where a bark canoe floated near the shore with Nakanit in it, holding her paddle ready to send the craft to whatever point on the beach her mother might direct.
The squaw called, and with a twist of the paddle the girl sent the canoe to the shore. The squaw lifted in the baskets, the roll of blankets and Anne's bundle. "Sit there, and be quiet," she said, and Anne stepped in very carefully and sat down on the bottom of the canoe.
It was now late in the afternoon. The water was very calm, and as Nakanit and her mother dipped their paddles and sent the canoe swiftly along, Anne looked back toward the wooded shore and was very glad that she was not plodding along over the fields and hills. It was much cooler on the water, and the little girl wondered if her Aunt Martha missed her at all. "But perhaps she is glad that I ran away," thought Anne, for she was sure that she had not given either Amanda or Mrs. Stoddard any reason to be unkind or to blame her. "Rose Freeman will be glad I came; I know she will," was her comforting thought.
The Indians did not speak save for an occasional word of direction from the squaw. The sun had set when they turned the canoe toward the shore. Nakanit pulled the canoe upon the sand beyond reach of the tide, and the squaw led the way to a little opening among the trees, and there Anne was surprised to find another wigwam, very much like the one they had left that morning. The squaw spread the blankets, gave the girls the corn cakes with strips of dried fish for their supper, and they had water from a near-by brook.
Anne was soon fast asleep, quite forgetful of her strange surroundings and of the friends in Province Town.
Meanwhile those friends had now nearly given up the hope of finding her.
Amanda Cary's jealousy had vanished the moment she heard of Anne's disappearance.
"I do not know what I shall do with the child," Mrs. Cary said anxiously, when Amanda cried herself to sleep on the night after Anne left home, and when, on the next morning, she began sobbing bitterly at the mention of her playmate's name.
"Amanda's ashamed; that's what's the matter with her," declared Amos boldly.
Amanda's sobs stopped, and she looked at her brother with startled eyes. What would become of her, she wondered, if the Stoddards should ever find out that she, Amanda, was the one to blame; that Anne had not deserved any punishment.
"Amos, don't plague your sister," said Mrs. Cary. "You know she loves Anne, even if the girl did slap her. Amanda has a good heart, and she does not hold resentment," and Mrs. Cary looked at Amanda with loving eyes.
At her mother's words Amanda began to cry again. She thought to herself that she could never tell the truth, never. "Everybody will hate me if I do," she thought, and then, remembering Anne and hearing her father say on the second day after her disappearance that there was now little hope of finding the runaway, she felt that she must tell Mrs. Stoddard.
"I'll wager I could find Anne," said Amos as he and Amanda sat on the door-step. "She's started for Brewster."
"Oh, Amos!" Amanda's voice was full of delight. "I shouldn't wonder if she had."
"But Captain Stoddard says he followed the Truro path and no sign of her; and other people say that wolves would get her if she started to walk."
Amanda's face had brightened at Amos's assertion that he knew he could find Anne, and now she asked eagerly:
"What makes you think you could find her, Amos?"
"You won't tell?" and Amos looked at his sister sharply.
"I promise, hope to die, I won't," answered Amanda.
"Well, I'll tell you. I think she started for Truro, and will go by the meadows and over the hill instead of the regular path. I know the way I'd go, and I know I could find her; but father just shakes his head and won't let me try."
"Amos, you go," said Amanda. "Promise you'll go. I'll tell you something if you won't ever tell. It's something awful!"
"I won't tell," said the boy.
"I made Anne run away! Yes, I did. I was angry when she told me about going to Boston again, and going in a chaise, and I pushed her——"
"And then you came home and told mother that yarn!" interrupted Amos; "and mother went and told Mrs. Stoddard, and so Anne got punished and didn't know what for. You're a nice sister to have!" and the boy's face expressed his disgust.
"But, Amos, I didn't s'pose Anne would run away," pleaded Amanda.
"Hmph!" muttered Amos. "Well, she has, and whatever happens to her will be your fault."
"O-ooh—dear," wailed the little girl. "What shall I do?"
"Nothing," answered Amos relentlessly; "only of course now I've got to find her."
"And you won't ever tell about me," pleaded Amanda.
"I'd be ashamed to let anybody know I had a sister like you," answered Amos.
"Amos, you're real good," responded Amanda, somewhat to her brother's surprise. "When will you start?"
"Right off," declared the boy. "I'll put a jug of water and something to eat in my boat, and I'll go round to Truro—Anne must have got that far—and I'll keep on until I find her and tell her how ashamed I am of you."
"And say I'm sorry, Amos; promise to tell her I'm sorry," pleaded Amanda.
"Lots of use being sorry," said the boy. "When they miss me you can tell them just where I've gone and that I'll be home Saturday night, anyway, or let them hear from me if I don't come."
"I do believe you'll find her, Amos," declared Amanda.
"Sure!" answered the boy.
WITH THE MASHPEES
Amos was so frequently in his boat that no one gave any especial attention when they saw him push off from shore and row steadily in the direction of Truro. He was not missed at home until supper time; then, as the little family gathered around the table, Mrs. Cary said:
"'Tis time Amos was here. He's not often late for his supper."
"He won't be here for supper," announced Amanda; "he's gone to find Anne!"
"My soul!" exclaimed Mrs. Cary; "gone to find Anne, indeed. What possesses the children of this settlement is more than I can answer. And you, Amanda! Here you are all smiles and twinkles, as if you thought it a great thing for your brother to start off like this."
"He's gone by boat, I vow," said Mr. Cary.
"Yes, he means to row to Truro, and catch up with Anne. And he said to tell you he'd be back, or get you news of him in some way, by Saturday," and Amanda nodded smilingly, as if she were quite sure that her father and mother would be quite satisfied with Amos now that she had given them his message.
"Amos shall have his way in one thing," said Mr. Cary. "As soon as he is back, aye, if he comes Saturday or not, I'll put him aboard the first craft that can get out of harbor, and the farther her port the better. A year on shipboard is what the boy needs."
"You wouldn't send the boy with a strange captain?" Mrs. Cary questioned anxiously.
"Indeed I will. So long as he's on board a ship we shall know where he is," declared Amos's father. "We can do nothing now but wait. Find Anne, indeed! who knows where to look for the poor child?"
"Amos knows," said Amanda.
But Mr. and Mrs. Cary shook their heads. They did not feel much anxiety as to Amos's safety, for the boys of the settlement were used to depending on themselves, and many boys no older than Amos Cary or Jimmie Starkweather had made a voyage to the West Indies, or to some far southern port; but they were displeased that he should have started off without permission.
Saturday came, but Amos did not appear, but toward evening a Truro man brought Mr. Cary word that Amos had been in Truro, and had started for Brewster that morning.
"He's a sailor, that boy!" declared the Truro man admiringly. "He hoisted that square foot of sail-cloth, and went out of harbor at sunrise with a fair wind. He said he had 'business in Brewster,'" and the Truro man laughed good-naturedly. "But he's a smart boy," he added.
Mr. Cary made no answer, but his stern face softened a little at the praise of Amos. Nevertheless he was firmly resolved that Amos should be sent on a long voyage. "The harder master he has the better," thought the father. "I'm too easy with him."
When Amos hoisted his "square foot of sail" and headed for Wellfleet, he saw a canoe some distance ahead of him.
"Two squaws paddling and one doing nothing," thought the boy. "Wonder where they're bound?" But it was no unusual sight to see Indian canoes in those waters, and Amos did not think much about it. But his course brought him nearer and nearer to the graceful craft, and all at once he noticed that the figure sitting in the canoe was a little white girl. At that very moment Anne turned her face toward him.
"Amos!" she exclaimed, springing to her feet.
There was an angry exclamation from the squaw, a yell from Nakanit, and in an instant the girls and woman were in the water. Anne's jump had upset the delicately balanced craft. The baskets bobbed and floated on the water. Anne's bundle was not to be seen, while Anne herself, clutching at the slippery side of the canoe called "Amos! Amos!" in a terrified voice.
But it was no new experience for either the squaw or Nakanit. In a moment Anne felt a strong grasp on her shoulder. "Keep quiet," commanded the squaw. "Let go the canoe." As Anne obeyed she saw Nakanit close beside her, and, while the squaw kept her firm grasp on Anne's shoulder, the girl righted the canoe, and easily and surely regained her place in it. The squaw lifted Anne in, and quickly followed her. Amos had brought his boat as near as possible and now rescued the baskets and floating paddles, and handed them to Nakanit.
The squaw scowled at Anne, and when the girl bewailed her lost bundle muttered angrily.
"Want to get in my boat, Anne?" asked the boy.
Before Anne could answer the squaw with a strong sweep of her paddle had sent the canoe some distance from the boat, while Nakanit called back some word to Amos, evidently of warning not to follow them. But Anne turned her head and called "Amos! Amos!" For the scowling faces of her companions frightened her, and she wished herself safely in Amos's boat.
The breeze had now died away, and Amos was soon left some distance behind. Anne did not dare turn her head to see if he were following the canoe, which was now moving ahead rapidly as the Indians swiftly wielded their paddles.
"Go to Brewster," announced the squaw after a little silence.
Anne, huddled up in her wet clothes, frightened and unhappy, nodded her head in answer. Then, remembering that the squaw had bidden her to sit still, and that her jump had upset the canoe, she ventured to say: "I'm sorry I jumped."
The squaw's scowl disappeared, and she gave a grunt of approval, and then, evidently, repeated Anne's words to Nakanit, for the Indian girl smiled and nodded. Anne began to realize that they were really kind and good-natured, and that she had no reason to be afraid.
"I was surprised to see Amos," she continued.
The squaw nodded again, and repeated, "Go to Brewster."
Anne could now hear the sound of the oars, and knew that Amos was rowing toward them. The paddles began to move more swiftly, and the sound of the oars grew more indistinct. Anne realized that Amos could not keep up with the canoe. But she was sure that he would follow them, and it made her feel less uneasy.
"Amos is a good boy," she explained to the squaw, but there was no response. "I'd like to tell him that you've been good to me," continued Anne.
At this the squaw, with a word to Nakanit, held her paddle motionless, and very soon Amos was close beside them.
"Tell him," commanded the squaw.
So Anne told her little story of adventure, and said, "And they are going to take me right to Rose Freeman in Brewster. Nakanit's mother talks English."
Amos listened in amazement. "I told Amanda you'd started for Brewster," he responded, "and I sent word to father that I was going there, so I might as well go. I've got things to eat. Amanda's sorry," he added, looking rather shamed as he spoke his sister's name.
The squaw now dipped her paddle again, and the canoe and boat moved forward. Anne began to think about her lost bundle, and to remember how neatly Rose Freeman dressed. "She will be ashamed of me," thought the girl, looking down at her wet and faded skirt and bare feet.
"Say, don't we stop anywhere for dinner?" asked Amos. "It's getting hot work rowing all this time."
The squaw looked at the boy sharply, and then turned the canoe toward the shore. They landed on a beach, close by the mouth of a stream of clear water. A little way from the beach they found shade under a branching oak-tree.
"I'll build a fire," suggested Amos, "and I'll get some clams; shall I?" and he turned toward the squaw.
She nodded, and seemed rather surprised when she saw that the boy understood her own way of getting fire, and when he asked for a basket and soon returned with it well filled with clams, which he roasted in the hot sand under the coals, she evidently began to think well of him. Amos shared his bread and a piece of cold beef which he had brought from home with his companions, and, with a quantity of blueberries that Nakanit had gathered while Amos roasted the clams, they all had enough to eat, and Amos said everything tasted better than if eaten in the house, at which the squaw nodded and smiled.
Anne found a chance to whisper to Amos: "Don't tell her I ran away."
"All right, but I fear she knows it," replied the boy.
It was in the early evening when the canoe, closely followed by Amos's rowboat, left Wellfleet harbor behind them and headed for Brewster. The squaw had decided that it would be easier to go on than to wait for another day, and Anne and Amos were glad to go on as soon as possible.
At first Amos had wondered why the squaw had promised to take Anne to Brewster, and had decided that probably the Indians were bound in that direction when they fell in with Anne. This was really one reason, but it was Anne's mention of the name of Freeman that had made the squaw willing to do the girl a service. For the Freemans of Brewster had been good friends to the Mashpee Indians, and the squaw felt bound to help any friend of theirs.
She had questioned Amos sharply as to his reason for following Anne, and Amos had told her the truth: that his sister had not treated Anne fairly, so that Anne had been punished, and had run away. "So, of course," added the boy, "I had to come after her and be sure that she was all right."
The squaw understood, and evidently thought well of Amos for his undertaking. Anne felt much happier to know that a friend was close at hand, and that Amos on his return home would tell her Aunt Martha Stoddard that she was safely in Brewster. But the lost bundle troubled her a good deal. As she sat in the swiftly moving canoe and watched the steady dip of the paddles she thought that the Indians had been very good to her. "If I had my bundle now I would give Nakanit the cape and the beads; indeed I would," she said to herself.
The midsummer moon shone down upon the beautiful harbor. Every wooded point or sloping field was plainly outlined in the clear water, and there was the pleasant fragrance of pine and bayberry mingled with the soft sea air. It was much pleasanter than journeying in the sun. The squaw and Nakanit began to sing, and although neither Anne nor Amos understood the words, they were both sure that the musical notes told of birds flying over moonlit water.
It was midnight when the squaw turned the canoe toward shore. It proved to be the mouth of a small inlet up which they went for some distance, Amos keeping close behind.
"Look, Anne!" he exclaimed as the Indians stopped paddling. "There is a camp-fire. I do believe it's the Mashpee village."
"Sshh," warned the squaw in a sharp voice. At the sound of the boy's voice a number of dark figures appeared to spring up from the ground, and the squaw called out a word of greeting. A moment later she was talking rapidly to several tall figures who came to meet her, evidently telling Anne's story and that of Amos.
Anne could distinguish the word "Freeman" in the squaw's talk.
Amos pulled his boat up on shore, and stood wondering what would happen next. He looked toward the wigwams and the smoldering camp-fires, and almost forgave Amanda, because his journey was bringing him into the Mashpee village.
One of the Indians gave him a little push, and pointed toward a wigwam. It was evident that the squaw was the only one who spoke English.
"Go with him," she said to Amos.
"All right," responded the boy; "here's your bundle, Anne," he said, holding it out toward her. "I fished it out of the water when you tipped over. Guess it isn't much wet."
Anne was almost too delighted to speak. She hugged the bundle in her arms and followed Nakanit up the path toward the village. This was evidently the squaw's home, and her wigwam had many deerskins, blankets and baskets.
Nakanit led Anne toward the back of the wigwam where lay a pile of spruce boughs over which deerskins were thrown. In a few moments the Indian girl and Anne lay on this rude couch fast asleep.
When Anne awoke the next morning there was no one in the wigwam. Everything seemed very quiet. Anne's first thought was for her beloved bundle that she had carefully set down beside her bed. It was not there. The little girl slid to her feet, and began looking about the wigwam. There was no trace of it. Anne began to feel very unhappy. It had been hard to make up her mind to give Nakanit her treasured corals and her pretty cape, but it was even harder to bear to have them disappear like this. She threw herself back on the bed and began to cry bitterly. She wished that Rose Freeman had never thought of asking her to come to Brewster, and that she was safe in Province Town with Aunt Martha.
She stopped crying suddenly, for she felt a hand smoothing her hair, and she looked up to find Nakanit sitting beside her, and at her feet rested the bundle. It was plain that the mischievous Indian girl had wished to tease the little white girl, but had relented at the sight of her tears.
"Oh," exclaimed Anne, "I'm so glad!" and she began to unfasten the bundle, spreading out the blue cape and muslin dress, and laying "Martha Stoddard" down on the deerskins. Then she took up the string of coral beads and turning toward Nakanit fastened them around her neck. "I want to give you these for being good to me," she said. The Indian girl understood the gift if not the words, and was evidently delighted. Hearing a noise at the entrance they looked up to see the squaw smiling in at them. She had heard Anne's words, and now came toward the girls. Anne picked up her blue cape and held it out toward the squaw. "I wish I had something better to give you," she said.
The squaw took it eagerly, and with a grunt of satisfaction, and then, turning to Nakanit, began chattering rapidly. Nakanit ran toward a big basket in the corner and came back with several pairs of soft moccasins. Kneeling before Anne she tried them on her feet until a pair was found that fitted.
"Now go with Nakanit to the lake," said the squaw, and Anne followed Nakanit out of the wigwam through the woods to a clear little lake where the girls bathed, braided their hair, and then came back to eat heartily of the simple food the squaw gave them.
"Look, look, Aunt Hetty. Here are some Indians coming up the path, and I do believe that they have a little white boy and girl with them," and Rose Freeman drew her aunt to the open window that looked down over a smooth green lawn to an elm-shaded village street.
Aunt Hetty's well-starched dress rustled pleasantly as she hurried to join Rose.
"It's old Nakanit and her daughter," she said. "My mother taught her a good deal, and she often comes to see me. Those are surely white children. I wonder what the trouble is. Old Nakanit knows that the Sabbath is not a day for idle visits, and indeed, Rose, it does not become us to be stretching our heads out of the window. There, they are on the porch now. Why, Rose!" For with a quick exclamation the girl had run from the room and when Mrs. Freeman followed she found her with an arm about a little moccasined dark-eyed girl, saying: "Why, it is Anne; it is dear little Anne Nelson."
"I declare!" exclaimed Mrs. Freeman. "And did you fetch the child, Nakanit? Sit down and I will have Hepsibah bring you some cool milk and cake."
Nakanit grunted appreciatively, and while the Indians were eating Anne told Rose all the story of her journey.
"I do not know why Aunt Martha shut me up and said that I could not visit you, Rose," said Anne; "if I had been disobedient or careless I do not know it."
Amos listened, looking very flushed and unhappy, for he knew that it was Amanda's story that had caused Anne's punishment and made her a runaway. But he had promised his sister that he would not betray her, and now that Anne had reached Brewster in safety he resolved to keep silent. "But Amanda shall tell Mrs. Stoddard; indeed she shall," the boy said to himself.
The Indians soon rose from the porch steps to depart, and as Anne said good-bye to them she felt that she was parting from friends, and tried to tell them so.
"And you are going home to Province Town, and will tell Aunt Martha that I am safe," she said to Amos. "You were real good to come after me, Amos, and you tell Amanda not to be sorry she slapped me; that it's all right."
Amos wriggled about uneasily at Anne's message. He was almost resolved not to go home at all.
"I reckon I'll stay with the Mashpees a while," he answered. "There's an Indian boy who talks English and he's told me lots of things: how to set traps for foxes and woodchucks, and how to make fish-spears, and he can stay under water longer than I can. He's fine. You ought to hear him tell stories. Last night he told me of a tribe of Indians who sent six of their bravest warriors out to sea in a canoe, without food or paddles, so as to prove to other tribes that their braves could not be harmed anywhere. And they were carried by the winds and waves to a wonderful island where there were friendly Indians; and they hunted wild deer, and made bows and arrows, and paddles, and caught wild birds, and when another summer came back they came to Cape Cod with many canoes, and skins, and much deer-meat, so that their tribe made them all great chiefs. And this boy who told me is one of the descendants of the very bravest chief, and he wants me to stay and be his brother," and Amos looked as if he would like nothing better than to be adopted into the Mashpee tribe.
"What's the Indian boy's name?" questioned Anne.
"I don't think much of his name," said Amos, a little regretfully; "it's 'Shining Fish.'"
"But you won't stay with the Indians, Amos, will you?" pleaded Anne.
"I s'pose I'll have to go home," agreed Amos. "I wonder what Jimmie Starkweather will say when I tell him about living with Indians," and Amos looked more cheerful at the thought of Jimmie's surprise and envy when he should describe his adventures. "Nothing ever happens to Jimmie," he added, in a satisfied tone.
After Amos and the Indians had started on their way back to the Indian village Rose and Anne followed Mrs. Freeman into the square comfortable house. Mrs. Freeman had heard all about Anne, and now, as she noticed the torn and soiled dress, the untidy hair and moccasin-covered feet, she whispered to Rose: "Take the child right up-stairs. I don't want your uncle to see her looking so like a wild child of the woods."
Rose nodded laughingly. Aunt Hetty Freeman was known as one of the best housekeepers in Brewster, and no one had ever seen her looking other than "spick and span," as her husband often admiringly declared. Rose always said that she could tell just what part of the big house Aunt Hetty was in because she could hear her starched skirts rattle; and she realized that Anne's untidy appearance was a real trouble to her kind-hearted aunt.
Anne looked at the broad stairway admiringly, and exclaimed at the sight of a tall clock on the landing. "It's better than Boston, isn't it, Rose?" she said, as Rose took her into the big comfortable room, with its high, curtained bed and chintz curtained windows.
"It's a dear house," answered the older girl, who was too loyal to her home to think any other place quite as good. "You are the bravest child I ever heard of," Rose continued admiringly, drawing Anne down beside her on the broad cushioned window-seat; "to think of your starting out to come all the way alone to Brewster through the wilderness!"
"I guess I should have been lost but for the Indians," replied Anne; "but when Aunt Martha said I could not come, that she did not want to hear more of any visit to Brewster or Boston, I had to run away. But now I'm sorry," and Anne began to cry bitterly. Rose, too, looked very unhappy, for she realized that Captain and Mrs. Stoddard would be greatly troubled until they knew of the little girl's safety. And, besides that, she was sure that her father would not be willing to take a runaway child to Boston. But Rose resolved not to worry about it, and not to tell Anne that she feared that she would be sent home to her Aunt Martha, instead of taking the wonderful journey to Boston.
So she comforted her little guest, and told her not to feel bad—that Aunt Martha and Uncle Enos would be only too happy to know that she was safe.
"And see, Anne, what my good mother sent you," and Rose opened a small hair-covered trunk that stood near the tall chest of drawers, and took out a pretty dress of spotted percale, and some white stockings. Then there was a dainty white petticoat, and a set of underwear, all trimmed with a pretty crocheted edge.
"And you can wear your moccasins these hot days," continued Rose, "and you will look very nice indeed."
Anne was soon dressed in the neat clothing, and, with her hair brushed and smoothly braided, she looked like quite a different child from the little girl who had journeyed with Nakanit.
"I am glad to look nice to go to Boston," Anne said soberly, as they went down the stairs.
"Oh, dear!" thought the older girl; "how can I tell the poor child that I am almost sure that father will find a way to send her safely back to Province Town?"
Rose's father and uncle spoke kindly to Anne as she came into the sitting-room, and Aunt Hetty's skirts rustled briskly as she moved about the room, and then she went out in the shed and came back with a round, low basket in which lay two black kittens, which she placed in Anne's lap saying: "There, little girls and little kittens always like each other; so you can have Pert and Prim for your own while you stay with us."
"Oh, thank you," said Anne delightedly, for the two little kittens began to purr happily as she smoothed their soft fur.
Rose found an opportunity to tell her father all about Anne's reason for running away.
"She did not know why her Aunt Martha shut her up," pleaded Rose.
But Mr. Freeman shook his head soberly. "We'll have to send her home by the first chance to Province Town," he answered, and Rose went back to her little friend feeling that all her pleasant plans for Anne's visit must come to an end.
"But she shall have a good time here in Brewster," resolved the girl.
"Shall we start for Boston on Tuesday or Thursday?" Anne asked the next morning, as she helped Rose put their pleasant chamber in order.
"Father has not decided," replied Rose, feeling rather cowardly that she did not tell Anne the truth.
"It will be fine to ride in a chaise," went on Anne happily, "and to stop in taverns, and see towns along the way. Your father is indeed good, Rose, to take me."
"We must do up the dishes for Aunt Hetty," said Rose briskly, "and then we can walk down the street, and maybe father will drive us about the town."
While the girls were busy helping Aunt Hetty, Rose's father was on his way to the Mashpee village to see Amos Cary and to give him a letter to take to Captain Stoddard. He found the boy just ready to start. Shining Fish had launched his canoe and was to go part of the way with his new friend, greatly to Amos's delight.
"Anne wasn't to blame." Amos repeated this a number of times so earnestly that Mr. Freeman began to realize that the boy knew more than he was willing to tell, and to blame Amos.
"That Amanda," Amos whispered to himself, as he blushed and stammered and evaded Mr. Freeman's questions.
"I suppose I can trust you with this letter to Captain Stoddard?" said Mr. Freeman.
Amos lifted his head, and his blue eyes did not falter in meeting the stern look of the man.
"I'll give it to him," he replied, and Mr. Freeman felt quite sure that the letter would reach its destination.
When Amos's boat drew near the landing at Province Town, he saw that his father, Amanda, and the Stoddards were all waiting for him. He felt himself to be almost like the chiefs of whom Shining Fish had told him, and quite expected to be praised and made much of; but as he sprang ashore he felt his father's hand on his shoulder.
"March yourself straight to the house, young man. I'll see that you pay for this fool's errand," said Mr. Cary.
Amos wriggled away from his father's grasp. "I've got a letter for Captain Enos. Anne's in Brewster," he announced.
"Thank heaven!" exclaimed Mrs. Stoddard. "And did you find her, Amos? You are a brave boy! Why, Mr. Cary, there's not another boy in the village who thought of Anne's going to Brewster, or man either for that matter," and Mrs. Stoddard patted the boy's shoulder affectionately, while Mr. Cary regarded Amos with puzzled eyes, hardly knowing whether to blame or praise him.
While Captain Enos read the letter Amos briefly told the story of his adventures to the little group, saving all that Shining Fish had told him to relate to Jimmy Starkweather as soon as opportunity should occur.
"Well, go home to your mother," said Mr. Cary in a more gentle voice, and Amanda kept close beside her brother as they turned toward home.
"You've got to tell Mrs. Stoddard," said Amos. "Yes, you have," he went on, almost fiercely, as Amanda began to whimper. "Everybody's blaming Anne, and it's not fair; you've got to tell."
Amanda stopped short and looked at her brother accusingly. "You promised not to tell," she said.
"Well, I haven't," answered the boy, "and I won't. I'm ashamed to, beside the promise. Anne said, when I told her that you said you were sorry, that I was to tell you 'twas all right. She seemed to feel bad because you were sorry."
"Well, Amos Cary, I won't tell Mrs. Stoddard; so now!" declared Amanda angrily. "Anne is all right, and going to Boston in a chaise. You ought to be satisfied. Let them think what they want to, I don't care. And you've got to go to sea. Father's told Captain Nash that he can have you, and the 'Sea Gull' sails next week."
"Truly, Amanda! Say, that's great news. I do believe I'm the luckiest boy on the Cape. Are you sure, Amanda?" Amos's eyes were shining, his shoulders had straightened themselves, and, for the moment, he quite forgot everything except the wonderful news.
"Do you want to go?" and Amanda's voice was full of disappointment.
"Want to! Why, the 'Sea Gull' is bound for the West Indies her next voyage, and maybe the English will try and catch us," and Amos's voice expressed his delight. "Are you sure, Amanda?" he questioned eagerly, and turned toward his sister in surprise, for Amanda was crying. It seemed to the unhappy child that everything was going wrong. She did not want Amos to go away, and she had hoped that he would persuade his father to let him remain at home, and here he was rejoicing and triumphant. She was in great fear that Anne would tell the Stoddards the truth, and then Amanda hardly knew what might befall her. She wished that she was a boy and could go with Amos in the "Sea Gull."
"It is indeed good news to know that our little girl is safe in Brewster," said Mrs. Stoddard, as she read Mr. Freeman's letter, "but what shall we do, Enos, about bringing her home? Mr. Freeman truly says that, while Rose is eager to take Anne to Boston, we may feel that it would not be right for her to go. It is indeed a puzzle, is it not? Whatever possessed Anne to turn upon Amanda in such fashion, and then to run off?" and the good woman shook her head dolefully.
"I'll have to sail to Brewster and fetch her home," responded the captain, but his face was very sober. He would have been glad if the Freemans had written that they would take Anne to Boston, for he did not want the child disappointed.
"Well, well, we'll let her see how glad we are to have her safe home, shall we not, Enos? I'll say no more to her about her naughtiness, and I am sure Mrs. Cary will tell Amanda to forgive Anne and be friends again, and all will go on pleasantly," but they both felt sorry that it seemed best for the little girl whom they so dearly loved to have to give up the wonderful journey up the Cape to Boston in the Freemans' fine chaise.
Amos Cary and Jimmy Starkweather lay on the warm sand in the narrow shadow cast by a fishing dory pulled up on the beach. No chief returning from far-off islands could have been more a hero than was Amos among the boys and girls of the settlement. They followed him about, and listened eagerly to all that he had to tell them of the Indians. Then, too, he was to go in the "Sea Gull" with Captain Nash, the swiftest schooner and the smartest captain sailing out of the harbor, and Jimmie Starkweather felt that Amos was having greater good fortune than any boy could hope for.
"Maybe the 'Sea Gull' can't get out of port," said Jimmie, digging his bare toes in the soft sand. "The English ships keep a sharp outlook for a schooner loaded down with salt fish. I'll bet Captain Nash won't get beyond Chatham."
"Pooh!" responded Amos scornfully. "We can sail right away from their old tubs. But 'twill be great if they do follow us."
"'Twould be just your good fortune," said Jimmie. "I do wish my father would let me go with you, Amos. Who knows what adventures you may have!"
For a few moments the two boys did not speak; they lay looking out over the beautiful harbor, and their minds were full of vague hopes of adventure. Jimmie was the first to break the silence.
"You won't see Shining Fish again, will you, Amos?"
"No; did I show you what he gave me?" And Amos pulled out a stout deerskin thong from inside his flannel blouse. The claw of a bird was fastened to the thong. "See! It's a hawk's claw," exclaimed Amos; "and as long as I wear it no enemy can touch me. I gave Shining Fish my jack-knife," continued Amos. "You'd like him, Jimmie; he knew stories about chiefs and warriors, and he had killed a fox with his bow and arrow. He told me about a chief of their tribe who lived long ago and was the strongest man that ever lived. He used to go on long journeys, way beyond Cape Cod, with his band of warriors, and once he met an unfriendly tribe, and they laughed when the braves told how strong their chief was. 'Can he conquer a wild bull?' one of them asked, and the brave answered, 'Aye, or two wild bulls.'
"So the unfriendly Indians laughed louder, and were glad, for they thought they could destroy the chief even without a battle. Well, they arranged that this brave chief was to go alone into a fenced-in place and meet two wild bulls, and if he conquered them the unfriendly tribe would own him the strongest chief in the world, and would be subject to him. It was great, Jimmie, to hear Shining Fish tell it. He said the great chief marched into the place where the bulls were, and they came dashing toward him, and their hoofs rang upon the ground, and their nostrils sent out sheets of flame, but the chief never flinched a step, and the bulls stopped short and trembled. Then the chief sprang upon the nearest, and seized him by the horns, and they wrestled until the bull fell to its knees tired out. Then he grabbed at the other, and threw it, and all the Indians began to wonder how any chief could be so strong."
"S'pose it's true?" questioned Jimmie.
"Sure!" answered Amos. "What's Captain Stoddard doing to his boat?" he continued. Captain Enos was evidently not bound out on a fishing trip, for he was making his boat as tidy as possible.
"He's going to sail over to Brewster to fetch Anne back," answered Jimmie.
"But Anne is going to Boston with Rose Freeman," said Amos.
Jimmie shook his head. "No, the Freemans won't take her because she ran away," he explained, and looked up in amazement, for Amos had sprung to his feet and was racing along the beach toward Captain Stoddard's boat as fast as his feet would carry him.
Jimmie laughed. "I'll bet Amos wants to go to Brewster," he decided.
Amos did not want to go to Brewster. But he had instantly resolved that Anne must not be stopped from going to Boston. Even as he ran he could see that there was no time to spare in reaching Captain Enos, for he was already pushing off from shore.
"Captain Enos! Captain Enos!" he called frantically, and the captain looked toward him. "Wait a minute! wait!" yelled the boy, and the captain waited, saying good-humoredly:
"Never saw such a boy as that one. He can't bear to see a boat put off unless he's in it."
"Captain Enos, you mustn't bring Anne back," said Amos as he ran out into the shallow water and grasped the side of the boat. "It wouldn't be fair; it wasn't her fault," he added.
"Whose fault was it?" asked the captain.
"Wait!" commanded Amos, remembering his promise to his sister. "Wait just ten minutes, Captain Enos, before you start. I'll be back," and away went Amos up the beach and along the sandy path to the house.
"Amos is going to come out first rate, I can see that plain enough," said Captain Enos, watching the boy's flying figure, and he was not surprised when he saw Amos coming back with Amanda held fast by the hand.
The boy and girl stopped at the edge of the water.
"Tell him, Amanda," commanded Amos.
"It's my fault," whimpered Amanda. "I got my mother to tell Mrs. Stoddard that Anne slapped me and ran off with the luncheon. And she didn't. I slapped her."
"Clear as mud," muttered the captain; then in a louder tone, "Amos, you're going to make a good American sailor, and we're all going to be proud of you. And I guess Amanda's going to do better after this," and he pushed off from shore.
"But you won't go to Brewster now!" called both the children.
"I'll have to. Must go and tell the Freemans that we're willing for Anne to go to Boston, and to tell Anne that her Aunt Martha knows the truth. You just run up and tell Mrs. Stoddard all about it, Amanda," he answered; and, having sent his boat into deep water, the captain drew in his oars and began hoisting the big mainsail.
For a few moments the boy and girl stood watching him. Then, with a long sigh, Amanda turned to go toward the Stoddard house. Amos began to feel a little sorry for her.
"Say, Amanda, I'll go tell her," he called.
"You mind your own business, Amos Cary," and Amanda turned toward him angrily. "I'll tell Mrs. Stoddard myself, and then I'll go home and tell my mother. I'll tell everybody, and when everybody hates and despises me I reckon you'll be satisfied," and without waiting for any response she went on up the path.
Amos turned and went back to the shade of the boat, but Jimmie Starkweather was no longer there. He wished more than ever that he was back with Shining Fish. Then he remembered that in another week he would be on board the "Sea Gull." He watched Captain Stoddard's sloop until it was only a white blur against the distant shore, and then went up the beach toward home.
Captain Enos had a favoring wind and a light heart, for he was glad to know that their little maid had not been to blame. "She ran away because she had not been fairly treated. 'Tis what older people sometimes do," he said to himself. "'Twas the very reason that sent our fathers out of England to America. I'll not fetch Anne back, for she called to me from the window and would have told me all the story had I been willing to listen," and then because his mind was at ease the captain began to sing an old song that he had learned as a boy. He had a musical voice, and the words drifted back pleasantly:
"A fit and fa-vor-able wind To further us provide; And let it wait on us behind, Or lackey by our side; From sudden gusts, from storms, from sands, And from the raging wave; From shallows, rocks, and pirates' hands, Men, goods, and vessel save."
In Brewster time was going very smoothly with Anne. The Freemans were kind and pleasant people, and the big house was filled with many things of interest to a little girl. First of all there was black Hepsibah, a black woman whom Captain Freeman had brought, with her brother Josephus, from Cuba when they were small children. They had grown up in the Freeman household, and were valued friends and servants. Anne liked to hear Hepsibah laugh, and the negro woman's skirts were as stiffly starched as those of Mrs. Freeman herself, who had taught Hepsibah, and trained her to become an excellent housekeeper.
On the high mantelpiece in the dining-room were great branches of white coral, brought from the South Seas; on each side of the front door were huge pink shells. And in the funny little corner cupboard were delicately tinted pink cups and saucers, and the mahogany table was always set with a tall shining silver teapot, and a little fat pitcher and bowls of silver, and the plates were covered with red flowers and figures of queer people with sunshades. Rose told her that these plates came all the way from China, a country on the other side of the earth.
"When does your father say we shall start for Boston?" Anne asked, as the two girls walked down the shady pleasant street that led to the wharves. Anne was not a dull child, and she noticed that no word had been said of Boston, and began to wonder if Mr. Freeman blamed her for running away. "Perhaps your father thinks I am a wicked girl to have run away," she added before Rose could answer.
"Oh, Anne, no indeed; nobody would think you wicked," Rose answered promptly. "But father sent a letter to Captain Enos by Amos, and he expects that the captain will get word to us to-day or to-morrow——"
"To say whether I may go or not?" interrupted Anne. "Oh, Rose!" and there was a pleading note in the little girl's voice, "I do want to go so much, and I do wonder and wonder why Amanda should have slapped me, and why Aunt Martha should have punished me. I do wish I could hear Aunt Martha say again that I was a good child, as she used often to do."
Rose clasped the little girl's hand affectionately. "I believe that Amanda was jealous because you were to have this visit," said Rose, "and who knows, perhaps by this time she is as sorry as can be, and has told Mrs. Stoddard all about it. Perhaps word may come this very night that your Aunt Martha thinks you are a good child, and forgives you for running away."
As the girls walked along they met a party of men carrying rifles, and hurrying toward Brewster Common.
"They are going to the training field," explained Rose, at Anne's surprised exclamation, "and may have to march to Boston to-morrow. Father is anxious to get home."
The wharves at Brewster were much larger and better cared for than the Province Town landing places; but there were few boats to be seen. Far out a sloop, coming briskly on before a favoring wind, attracted the girls' attention.
"Rose, that's the 'Morning Star,' Uncle Enos's sloop. I know it is," declared Anne; "and he will never let any one else sail her, so it's Uncle Enos! Let's hurry! He's coming straight for this very wharf."
The big sloop swung round, the mainsail came rattling down, and Captain Enos ran his craft skilfully up beside the long wharf just as Anne, closely followed by Rose, came running down the pier.
"Uncle Enos! Uncle Enos!" exclaimed Anne joyfully. "I'm so glad you've come," and she clasped both hands around his brawny arm as he stepped on the wharf. "And here is Rose," she continued as the elder girl stepped forward to speak to the captain.
"Growing more like a rose every day," declared Captain Enos, as he shook hands with Rose. "And here is our little maid all ready to start on the great journey, eh?" and he looked kindly down into Anne's smiling face. "And what would you girls say if I told you that I had sailed over here to take Anne back to Province Town?"
"Oh, Uncle Enos!"
"Oh, Captain Stoddard!" exclaimed the girls fearfully.
"Wouldn't like it, eh? Well," said the captain, "then we won't have it that way, and Anne may go with you."
"Oh, Uncle Enos!"
"Oh, Captain Stoddard!" The exclamations were the same, but the words were in such joyous tones that Captain Enos began to laugh heartily, as did Rose and Anne, so that it was a very merry party that went gaily up the street toward Mr. Freeman's house, where Captain Enos was warmly welcomed.
After supper he and Anne had a long talk together about Amanda and Amos. "Amanda's had a hard time, I reckon," declared the captain, "and if I know aught of her parents she will remember this all her life, and will not be so ready to bear false witness against her neighbor."
"I did not so much mind Amanda's slapping me," replied Anne soberly, "but I thought when Aunt Martha shut me up that 'twas because she no longer loved me."
"Tut, tut, and so you walked off into the wilderness. A very wrong thing to do, Anne," and Captain Enos's voice was very grave. "Your running away has made a sad talk in the settlement, and some of the people are ready to say that we have not treated you well, or you would not have fled from us."
Anne began to realize, for the first time, that she had acted very selfishly. Thinking of nothing but her wish to go to Boston with Rose she had made her best friends anxious and unhappy.
They were sitting on the broad sofa in the quiet sitting-room, and Anne leaned against Uncle Enos and said quickly: "I ought to go straight back to Province Town!" She said it in such a sharp voice that Uncle Enos looked at her wonderingly, and saw that tears were very near falling.
"No, Anne," he answered kindly. "I want you to go with the Freemans, and have a pleasant visit. Your father's ship will be in Boston in a few weeks, and he will rejoice to find you there and will bring you safely back to Province Town."
THE BLACK-BEARDED MAN
Anne and Rose Freeman stood at the gate all ready to enter the comfortable chaise with its broad seat and big wheels. The big brown horse was apparently eager to start, but black Josephus held him firmly until the girls and Mr. Freeman were seated, and then handed the reins to Mr. Freeman.
"Good-bye, good-bye," called the girls, leaning out beyond the hood of the chaise to wave to Aunt Hetty and Captain Freeman and Uncle Enos, who had stayed to see the travelers start on the ride to Boston.
"A horse is useful," remarked Uncle Enos, thoughtfully, as he watched them drive away, "but there's not one in Province Town settlement as yet. We have little need of one, with so many good boats."
The summer morning was clear and bright, and not too warm. They had made an early start, and the heavy dew still lingered on the trees and flowers.
"How far shall we go to-day, father?" asked Rose.
"We will pass the night in Sandwich, if all goes well," replied Mr. Freeman. "Your aunt has put us up a fine luncheon, and we will give Lady a rest toward noon and enjoy it."
The sandy roads made it rather slow traveling, but Anne was as happy as a bird. They got many glimpses of the sea, and now and then some wild creature would run across the road, or peer at them from the shelter of the woods. Once or twice a partridge, with her brood of little ones, fled before them, and there was a great deal for them to see and enjoy. Anne felt very happy to know that Aunt Martha and Uncle Enos had forgiven her for running away, and that they were glad for her to go to Boston. She did not cherish any ill-will against Amanda, and thought herself a very fortunate little girl to be sitting beside Rose Freeman and riding along the pleasant road in such a grand chaise.
Mr. Freeman told them that there was something very wonderful to be seen in Suet, a little village that they would pass through on their way to Sandwich. "Captain Sears is an old friend of mine," said Mr. Freeman, "and we will make him a call and he will be glad to show us how salt is made."
"Can he make salt?" questioned Anne.
"Yes, and a good thing for the colony it is; for salt is hard to get, with English frigates taking all the cargoes afloat," answered Mr. Freeman; "and Cape Cod is the very place to make it, for there is plenty of salt water." Then he told them how Captain Sears had first made long shallow troughs and filled them with the sea-water, and the sun dried up the water, leaving the salt in the bottom of the vats. "And now," continued Mr. Freeman, "I hear he has had big kettles made, and with huge fires under them boils the water away and gets good salt in that fashion. We'll stop and have a look, if time allows."
Just before noon the sky began to grow dark, and there was a distant rumble of thunder. They were driving through a lonely stretch of country; there was no house in sight, and Mr. Freeman began to watch the sky with anxious eyes. He knew that, on the bare sandy plain over which they were now traveling, the wind would sweep with great force, sufficient perhaps to overturn the chaise. Rose and Anne grew very quiet as they heard the thunder and watched the threatening sky.
"We'll soon reach the Yarmouth woods," said Mr. Freeman encouragingly, "and if the storm comes may be able to find some sort of shelter, but I fear it will prevent our reaching the salt works."
Rose and Anne both thought to themselves that troughs and kettles filled with salt water would not be very much of a sight, and were very glad when the sandy plain was behind them and they were once more in the shelter of the woods, which broke the force of the wind. It was now raining in torrents.
"One good thing about this is that the rain will beat the sand down and make the traveling better," said Mr. Freeman.
The road was a mere lane, and they all began to feel a little uncomfortable and discouraged as the thunder deepened and came peal after peal, followed by shooting darts of lightning. The big horse was going at a good pace, but, all at once, Lady made a quick turn, and before Mr. Freeman could stop her had swung into an even more narrow track, half hidden by underbrush from the main road. In a few moments they saw a long low shingled house nearly hidden by closely growing trees.
"Well done, Lady!" exclaimed Mr. Freeman laughingly, as Lady stopped directly in front of the door.
Mr. Freeman handed the reins to Rose and sprang out, and rapped on the door, but no answer came.
"I don't believe there is any one here," he declared. "Stay in the chaise a moment, and I'll find out." As he spoke he gave the door a little push when, much to his surprise, it swung open and Mr. Freeman found himself face to face with a tall, black-bearded man who regarded him with a scowling countenance.
"What do you want?" he asked gruffly.
At that moment a peal of thunder heavier than any preceding it made Rose and Anne shrink more closely together in the corner of the chaise. "He looks like a pirate," whispered Rose fearfully.
"We want shelter until this storm is over," Mr. Freeman replied. "May I drive my horse into that shed?"
The man grunted an unwilling assent, and Mr. Freeman sprang back into the chaise and drove Lady under a rough shelter in the rear of the house.
"Don't go in the house, will you, father?" whispered Rose; for the man had opened a back door leading into the shed and was regarding his undesired guests with suspicious eyes.
"How did you happen to come here?" he asked gruffly. "This road don't lead nowheres."
"My horse turned in from the main road very suddenly," explained Mr. Freeman. "We had no plan except to get on to Sandwich as fast as possible."
"Going far?" questioned the man.
"We are on our way to Boston," answered Mr. Freeman.
"Guess the English are going to give the Yankees a lesson even if they couldn't hold Boston!" said the man with a smile, as if he would be glad to know his words would come true.
"I think not, sir," answered Mr. Freeman sharply; "and a Cape Cod man ought to be the last to say such a thing."
"You're not a Tory, then?" exclaimed the man eagerly. "Get right out of that chaise and come in. These your girls? Let me help you out, missy," and he came toward the carriage.
"Get out, Anne," said Mr. Freeman in a low tone, and in a moment the two girls were following the black-bearded man into a low dark kitchen.
"You folks looked so dressed up I thought like as not you were Tories," declared the man, as if wishing to explain his rude reception. "Now take seats, and I'll put your horse where it can have a bit of fodder."
Mr. Freeman followed the man back to the shed, and Anne and Rose looked at each other, and then glanced about the low dark room.
"I don't believe he's a pirate," whispered Anne; "anyway I'm glad to be in out of this dreadful storm."
"So am I," answered Rose, "but it is a funny house. What do you suppose made Lady turn in at that place? This man may not be a pirate, but there is something odd about him. This whole place is queer. I almost wish we had stayed in the chaise."
Under the two windows that faced toward the woods ran a long box-like seat, and in one corner of the room stood a shoemaker's bench, with its rows of awls, needles threaded with waxed thread, hammers, sharp knives, tiny wooden pegs, and bits of leather; a worn boot lay on the floor as if the man had started up from his work at Mr. Freeman's rap.
"What's that, Rose?" questioned Anne, pointing to a piece of iron that could be seen extending from beneath an old blanket which lay under the bench.
"It's a rifle!" answered Rose. "Look, Anne! Quick, before he comes back. I believe there are a lot of guns there."
Anne knelt down to lift the blanket. Rose was close beside her, leaning over to see what the blanket might conceal, when the kitchen door swung open and the man entered. As he looked at the two girls his face darkened again, and he came quickly forward.
"Aha!" he muttered. "It's just as I thought. Pretty clever of the old Tory to bring these girls along to peek about and find out all they can," but the girls did not hear him until he stood beside them, and then his scowl was gone and he spoke pleasantly: "A good many rifles for one man, but they are not all mine. I'm storing them for friends."
"Where's father?" asked Rose, a little anxiously.
"He's giving the pretty horse a rub down," answered the man; "now there's a better room for young ladies than this old kitchen," he continued. "Just come this way," and he opened a door into a long dark passage, into which the girls followed him.
"Right in here," said the man, opening a door at the further end of the hall, and holding it ajar for the girls to pass in.
"It's all dark!" exclaimed Anne, who had been the first to enter. Rose was close behind her and as Rose crossed the threshold the heavy door swung to behind them. They heard bolts shot and then all was quiet.
Rose sprang against the door with all her strength, but instantly realized that it was useless to try to open it. "Father! Father!" she screamed, and Anne, hardly knowing what she said, called also "Father!"
"It's dark as pitch," whispered Anne, clutching at Rose's dress; "there can't be a window in this room, or we'd see light somewhere."
The two girls clung together, not knowing what next might befall them.
"There may be some other door," said Rose after they had screamed themselves hoarse. "We must not be frightened, Anne, for father is sure to look for us. Let's go round the room and try and find a door. We can feel along the wall," so the two girls began to grope their way from the door.
"These inside walls are brick!" exclaimed Rose, as her hands left the wooden framework of the door. "Oh, Anne, I do believe it is a sort of prison all walled inside." Just then their feet struck against something hard and round which rolled before them with a little rumble of sound. Rose leaned down. "They're cannon-balls," she whispered. "Oh, Anne! There's a whole pile of them. Don't go another step; we'll fall over them. I do believe the man is a pirate, or else a Tory." For in those troublous times the Americans felt that a Tory was a dangerous enemy to their country.
As the girls groped about the room they came to a heavy iron chest, and sat down, realizing that all they could do was to wait until Mr. Freeman should discover them.
"Don't be afraid, Anne," said Rose, putting her arm about her little companion, and felt surprised when Anne answered in a hopeful voice:
"Rose, look! Right up on that wall there's a window. I can see little edges of light."
"So there is, but it's too high to do us any good; we can't reach it," answered Rose.
"Well, I'm glad it's there," said Anne.
Now and then they heard the far-off roar of the thunder, but at last it seemed to die away, and little edges of light showed clearly around the shuttered window on the further wall. The girls watched it, and, their eyes becoming used to the shadowy room, they could now distinguish the pile of cannon-balls in the opposite corner, and behind them a small cannon and a keg. They could see, too, the outlines of the doorway.
"How long do you think we shall have to stay here?" whispered Anne, as the dreary fearful moments dragged by.
"I don't know, dear," answered the elder girl, "but we mustn't be afraid."
The hours went by and the little edge of light around the high shuttered window began to fade a little, and the girls knew that the long summer day was fading to twilight, and that it had been about noon when they came to the house. A great fear now took possession of Rose's thoughts, the fear for her father's safety. She was sure that unless some harm had befallen him he would have found them before this time.
"Rose!" Anne's sharp whisper interrupted her thoughts. "If I could get up to that window I could get out and go after help. The window isn't so very high; it isn't as if we were up-stairs."
At that very moment the big door swung open, and the man entered. He had a candle in one hand and carried an armful of rough gray blankets which he dropped on the floor beside the girls, and instantly, without a word, departed, and the girls heard the bolts shot on the outside.
"Those blankets are for us to sleep on. Oh, Anne, what has he done to my dear father?" and Rose began to cry bitterly.
"Rose, he's coming back!" warned Anne, but the girl could no longer restrain her sobs and their jailer entered, this time carrying the big lunch basket which Aunt Hetty had put under the seat when they drove off so happily from Brewster.
"Here's your own grub," said the man roughly. "Your father'll have to put up with what I give him."
"You—you—won't kill my father, will you?" sobbed Rose.
"Oh, no, no!" answered the man, and then apparently regretting his more friendly tone added, "But I reckon I ought to, coming here a-peekin' an' a-pryin' into what don't concern him," and he set the basket down on the iron chest with such a thud that it fairly bounced.
"Oh, he wasn't; I was the one who peeked at the guns," said Anne.
"Oho! Peekin' at the guns! Well, I've got you now where you can't peek much," came the gruff answer.
"Won't you leave the candle?" asked Rose.
"I guess not," he answered with a little laugh, and pointed toward the keg. "Look at that keg! Well, it's full of powder, and powder's too sca'se an article these days to leave a candle in the same room with it."
"But we can't see to eat," pleaded Anne. "We'll be real careful; we won't go near the corner."
For a moment the man hesitated; then he set the candle down on the chest beside the basket.
"All right," he said. "I'll leave it; 'twon't burn more than an hour." He looked down at Rose's tear-stained face, and added, "Ain't no cause to cry about your father; he's had a good supper, and I ain't goin' to hurt him."
"Oh, thank you!" and Rose looked up at him gratefully.
The door had hardly swung to before Anne whispered, "Rose, Rose, I must get out of that window some way. You know I must. It's too small for you, but I'm sure I could get through."
"Let's eat something before you think about that," suggested Rose, who began to feel more hopeful now that she knew her father was safe, and opened the big basket. The man had brought them a pitcher of cool water, and the girls ate and drank heartily.
"Aunt Hetty would be surprised if she knew where we were eating these lovely doughnuts," said Anne, holding up the delicately browned twisted cruller.
"Anne, if we could push this chest under the window I could stand on it and try to open the window and if I can open it, then I will lift you up and you can crawl through," said Rose, biting into a chicken sandwich.
Anne nodded, watching the candle with anxious eyes, remembering that their jailer had said that it would burn but an hour.
"Now, Anne," said Rose, after they had satisfied their hunger, and closed the basket, "we must try to push the chest."
To their surprise it moved very easily, and they soon had it directly under the window. Rose was on top of it in an instant, and Anne held the candle as high as she could reach so that Rose could examine the fastening.