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Their next halt was at the entrance into a very thick-grown part of the woods, and where an old trunk of a tree stood, which was hollow and vastly large; and in this tree they both took their standing, resolving to see there what might offer. They had not stood there long, before two of the savages Appeared running directly that way, as if they already had notice where they stood, and were coming up to attack them ; and a little way farther they espied three more coming after them, and five more beyond them, all coming the same way; besides which, they saw seven or eight more at a distance, running another way; for, in a word, they ran every way, like sportsmen beating for their game. o
The poor men were now in great perplexity whether they should stand and keep their posture, or fly; but, after a very short debate with themselves, they considered, that if the savages ranged the country thus before help came, they might perhaps find out their retreat in the woods, and then ...} would lost; so they resolved to stand them there ; and if they were too many to deal with, then they would get up to the top of the tree, from whence they doubted not to defend themselves, fire excepted, as long as their ammunition lasted, though all the Savages that were landed, which was near fifty, were to attack them.
Having resolved upon this, they next considered whether they should fire at the first two, or wait for the three, and so take the middle party, by which the two and the five that followed would be separated: at length they resolved to let the first two pass by, unless they should spy them in the tree, and come to attack them. The first two savages confirmed them also in this regulation, by turning a little from them towards another part of the wood; but the three, and the five after them, came forward directly to the tree, as if they had known the Englishmen were there. Seeing them come so straight towards them, they resolved to take them in a line as they came ; and as they resolved to fire but one at a time, perhaps the first shot might hit them all three ; for which purpose, the man who was to fire put three or four Sinall bullets into his piece ; and having a fair loop-hole, as it were, from a broken hole in the tree, he took a sure aim, without being seen, waiting till they were within about thirty yards of the tree, so that he could not miss. While they were thus waiting, and the savages came on, they plainly saw that one of the three was the runaway savage that had escaped from them; and they both knew him distinctly, and resolved, that, if possible, he should not escape, though they should both fire; so the other stood ready with his piece, that if he did not drop at the first shot, he should be sure to have a second. But the first was too good a marksman to miss his aim ; for as the savages kept near one another, a little behind, in a line, he fired, and hit two of them directly ; the foremost was killed outright, being shot in the head : the second, which was the runaway Indian, was shot through the body, and fell, but was not quite dead; and the third had a little scratch in the shoulder, perhaps by the same ball that went through the body of the second; and being dreadfully frightened, though not so much hurt, sat down upon the ground, screaming and yelling in a hideous manner. The five that were behind, more frightened with the noise than sensible of the danger, stood still at first ; for the woods made it sound a thousand times bigger than it really was, the echoes rattling from one side to another, and the fowls rising from all parts, screaming, and every sort making a different noise, according to their i:ind ; just as it was when I fired the first gun that perhaps was ever shot off in the island. However, all being silent again, and they not knowing what the matter was, came on unconcerned, till they came to the place where their companions lay, in a condition miserable enough ; and here the poor ignorant creatures, not sensible that they were within reach of the same mischief, stood all of a huddle over the wounded man, talking, and, as may be supposed, inquiring of him how he came to be hurt; and who is is very rational to helieve, told them, that a flash of fire first, and immediately after that, thunder from their gods, had killed those two and wounded him; this, I say, is rational; for nothing is more certain than that, as they saw no man near them, so they had never heard a gun in all their lives, nor so much as heard of a gun; neither knew they any thing of killing and wounding at a distance with fire and bullets: if they had, one might reasonably believe they would not have stood so unconcerned in viewing the fate of their fellows, without some apprehensions of their own. Our two men, though, as they confessed to me, it grieved them to be obliged to kill so many poor creatures, who, at the same time, had no notion of their danger, yet, having them all thus in their power, and the first having loaded his piece again, resolved to let fly both together among them; and singling out, by agreement, which to aim at, they shot together, and killed, or very much wounded, four of them ; the fifth, frightened even to death, though not hurt, fell with the rest; So that our men, seeing them all faii together, thought they had killed them all. The belief that the savages were all killed made our two men come boldly out from the tree before they had charged their guns, which was a wrong step; and they were under some surprise when they came to the place, and found no less than four of them alive, and of them two very little hurt, and one not at all : this obliged them to fall upon them with the stocks of their muskets; and first they made sure of the runaway Savage, that had been the cause of all the mischief, and of another that was hurt in the knee, and put them out of their pain; then the man that was not hurt at all came and kneeled down to them, with his two hands held up, and made piteous moans to them, by gestures and signs, for his life, but could not say one word to them that they could understand. However, they made signs to him to sit down at the foot of a tree hard by ; and one of the Englishmen, with a piece of ropetwine, which he had by great chance in his pocket, tied his two hands behind him, and there they left |. and with what speed they could made after the other two, which were gone before, fearing they, or any more of them, should find the way to their covered place in the woods, where their wives, and the few goods they had lest, lay. They came ouco
m sight of the two men, but it was at a great distance; however, they had the satisfaction to see them cross over a valiey towards the sea, quite the contrary way from that which led to their retreat, which they were afraid of; and being satisfied with that, they went back to the tree where they left their prisoner, who, as they supposed, was delivered by his comrades, for he was gone, and the two pieces of rope-yarn, with which they had bound him, lay just at the foot of the tree. ~.
They were now in as great concern as before, not knowing what course to take, or how near the enemy might be, or in what numbers; so they resolved to go away to the place where their wives were, to see if all was well there, and to make them easy, who were in fright enough, to be sure; for though the savages were their own country-folk, yet they were most terribly afraid of them, and perhaps the more for the knowledge they had of them.
When they came there, they found the savages had been in the wood, and very near that place, but had not found it; for it was indeed inaccessible, by the trees standing so thick, as before, unless the persons seeking it had been directed by those that knew it, which these did not : they found, therefore, every thing very safe, only the women in a terrible fright. While they were here, they had the comfort to have seven of the Spaniards come to their assistance; the other ten, with their servants, and old Friday (I mean Friday’s father), were gone in a body to defend their bower, and the corn and cattle that was kept there, in case the savages should have roved
over to that side of the country; but they did not spread so
far. With the seven Spaniards came one of the three savages, who, as I said, were their prisoners formerly ; and with them also came the savage whom the Englishmen had left bound hand and foot at the tree; for it seems they came that way, saw the slaughter of the seven men, and unbound the eighth, and brought him along with them; where, however, they were obliged to bind him again, as they had the two others who were left when the third ran away. s
The prisoners now began to be a burden to them; and they