List Of Contents | Contents of Captain John Smith by, Charles Dudley Warner
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staring to behold him, the souldiers first all in file performe the
forme of a Bissom so well as could be: and on each flanke, officers
as Serieants to see them keepe their orders.  A good time they
continued this exercise, and then cast themselves in a ring, dauncing
in such severall Postures, and singing and yelling out such hellish
notes and screeches: being strangely painted, every one his quiver of
arrowes, and at his backe a club: on his arme a Fox or an Otters
skinne, or some such matter for his vambrace: their heads and
shoulders painted red, with oyle and Pocones mingled together, which
Scarlet like colour made an exceeding handsome shew, his Bow in his
hand, and the skinne of a Bird with her wings abroad dryed, tyed on
his head, a peece of copper, a white shell, a long feather, with a
small rattle growing at the tayles of their snaks tyed to it, or some
such like toy.  All this time Smith and the King stood in the middest
guarded, as before is said, and after three dances they all departed.
Smith they conducted to a long house, where thirtie or fortie talI
fellowes did guard him, and ere long more bread and venison were
brought him then would have served twentie men.  I thinke his
stomacke at that time was not very good; what he left they put in
baskets and tyed over his head.  About midnight they set the meat
again before him, all this time not one of them would eat a bit with
him, till the next morning they brought him as much more, and then
did they eate all the old, and reserved the new as they had done the
other, which made him think they would fat him to eat him.  Yet in
this desperate estate to defend him from the cold, one Maocassater
brought him his gowne, in requitall of some beads and toyes Smith had
given him at his first arrival] in Firginia.

"Two days a man would have slaine him (but that the guard prevented
it) for the death of his sonne, to whom they conducted him to recover
the poore man then breathing his last.  Smith told them that at James
towne he had a water would doe it if they would let him fetch it, but
they would not permit that: but made all the preparations they could
to assault James towne, craving his advice, and for recompence he
should have life, libertie, land, and women.  In part of a Table
booke he writ his mind to them at the Fort, what was intended, how
they should follow that direction to affright the messengers, and
without fayle send him such things as he writ for.  And an Inventory
with them.  The difficultie and danger he told the Salvaves, of the
Mines, great gunnes, and other Engins, exceedingly affrighted them,
yet according to his request they went to James towne in as bitter
weather as could be of frost and snow, and within three days returned
with an answer.

"But when they came to James towne, seeing men sally out as he had
told them they would, they fled: yet in the night they came again to
the same place where he had told them they should receive an answer,
and such things as he had promised them, which they found
accordingly, and with which they returned with no small expedition,
to the wonder of them all that heard it, that he could either divine
or the paper could speake.  Then they led him to the Youthtanunds,
the Mattapanients, the Payankatanks, the Nantaughtacunds and
Onawmanients, upon the rivers of Rapahanock and Patawomek, over all
those rivers and backe againe by divers other severall Nations, to
the King's habitation at Pamaunkee, where they entertained him with
most strange and fearefull conjurations;

          'As if neare led to hell,
          Amongst the Devils to dwell.'

Not long after, early in a morning, a great fire was made in a long
house, and a mat spread on the one side as on the other; on the one
they caused him to sit, and all the guard went out of the house, and
presently came skipping in a great grim fellow, all painted over with
coale mingled with oyle; and many Snakes and Wesels skins stuffed
with mosse, and all their tayles tyed together, so as they met on the
crowne of his head in a tassell; and round about the tassell was a
Coronet of feathers, the skins hanging round about his head, backe,
and shoulders, and in a manner covered his face; with a hellish voyce
and a rattle in his hand.  With most strange gestures and passions he
began his invocation, and environed the fire with a circle of meale;
which done three more such like devils came rushing in with the like
antique tricks, painted halfe blacke, halfe red: but all their eyes
were painted white, and some red stroakes like Mutchato's along their
cheekes: round about him those fiends daunced a pretty while, and
then came in three more as ugly as the rest; with red eyes and
stroakes over their blacke faces, at last they all sat downe right
against him; three of them on the one hand of the chiefe Priest, and
three on the other.  Then all with their rattles began a song, which
ended, the chiefe Priest layd downe five wheat cornes: then strayning
his arms and hands with such violence that he sweat, and his veynes
swelled, he began a short Oration: at the conclusion they all gave a
short groane; and then layd downe three graines more.  After that
began their song againe, and then another Oration, ever laying down
so many cornes as before, til they had twice incirculed the fire;
that done they tooke a bunch of little stickes prepared for that
purpose, continuing still their devotion, and at the end of every
song and Oration they layd downe a sticke betwixt the divisions of
Corne.  Til night, neither he nor they did either eate or drinke, and
then they feasted merrily, and with the best provisions they could
make.  Three dayes they used this Ceremony: the meaning whereof they
told him was to know if he intended them well or no.  The circle of
meale signified their Country, the circles of corne the bounds of the
Sea, and the stickes his Country.  They imagined the world to be flat
and round, like a trencher, and they in the middest.  After this they
brought him a bagge of gunpowder, which they carefully preserved till
the next spring, to plant as they did their corne, because they would
be acquainted with the nature of that seede.  Opitchapam, the King's
brother, invited him to his house, where with many platters of bread,
foule, and wild beasts, as did environ him, he bid him wellcome: but
not any of them would eate a bit with him, but put up all the
remainder in Baskets.  At his returne to Opechancanoughs, all the
King's women and their children flocked about him for their parts, as
a due by Custome, to be merry with such fragments.

"But his waking mind in hydeous dreames did oft see wondrous shapes
Of bodies strange, and huge in growth, and of stupendious makes."

At last they brought him to Meronocomoco, where was Powhatan their
Emperor.  Here more than two hundred of those grim Courtiers stood
wondering at him, as he had beene a monster, till Powhatan and his
trayne had put themselves in their greatest braveries.  Before a fire
upon a seat like a bedstead, he sat covered with a great robe, made
of Rarowcun skinnes and all the tayles hanging by.  On either hand
did sit a young wench of sixteen or eighteen years, and along on each
side the house, two rowes of men, and behind them as many women, with
all their heads and shoulders painted red; many of their heads
bedecked with the white downe of Birds; but everyone with something:
and a great chayne of white beads about their necks.  At his entrance
before the King, all the people gave a great shout.  The Queene of
Appamatuck was appointed to bring him water to wash his hands, and
another brought him a bunch of feathers, instead of a Towell to dry
them: having feasted him after their best barbarous manner they
could.  A long consultation was held, but the conclusion was two
great stones were brought before Powhatan; then as many as could layd
hands on him, dragged him to them, and thereon laid his head, and
being ready with their clubs, to beate out his braines.  Pocahontas,
the King's dearest daughter, when no entreaty could prevaile, got his
head in her armes, and laid her owne upon his to save him from death:
whereat the Emperour was contented he should live to make him
hatchets, and her bells, beads, and copper: for they thought him as
well of all occupations as themselves.  For the King himselfe will
make his owne robes, shooes, bowes, arrowes, pots, plant, hunt, or
doe any thing so well as the rest.

          'They say he bore a pleasant shew,
          But sure his heart was sad
          For who can pleasant be, and rest,
          That lives in feare and dread.
          And having life suspected, doth
          If still suspected lead.'

Two days after, Powhatan having disguised himselfe in the most
fearfullest manner he could, caused Capt. Smith to be brought forth
to a great house in the woods and there upon a mat by the fire to be
left alone.  Not long after from behinde a mat that divided the
house, was made the most dolefullest noyse he ever heard: then
Powhatan more like a devill than a man with some two hundred more as
blacke as himseffe, came unto him and told him now they were friends,
and presently he should goe to James town, to send him two great
gunnes, and a gryndstone, for which he would give him the country of
Capahowojick, and for ever esteeme him as his sonn Nantaquoud.  So to
James towne with 12 guides Powhatan sent him.  That night they
quartered in the woods, he still expecting (as he had done all this
long time of his imprisonment) every houre to be put to one death or
other; for all their feasting.  But almightie God (by his divine
providence) had mollified the hearts of those sterne Barbarians with
compassion.  The next morning betimes they came to the Fort, where
Smith having used the salvages with what kindnesse he could, he
shewed Rawhunt, Powhatan's trusty servant, two demiculverings and a
millstone to carry Powhatan; they found them somewhat too heavie; but
when they did see him discharge them, being loaded with stones, among
the boughs of a great tree loaded with Isickles, the yce and branches

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