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“Alas, I know not, save that he has gone with his brother Harry Waters to Canada to procure
“Cora, what strange mystery surrounds your life?
“I know not."
“No; I never saw her. My earliest recollections are of the theatre, where a nurse cared for me in the greenroom,
my father performed on the
“Does he never talk of her?"
To Charles Stevens, it was quite evident that Cora's father was purposely putting off some important revelation. He gazed upon
He gazed upon her fair young face and in it could see little or no resemblance to her father. Then a suspicion entered his mind, that she might not after all be the child of George Waters. Though mysterious, Cora tried to conceal nothing; her manner and conversation were frank and open.
“Your father was captured at the battle of Sedgemore, was he not?
“Yes; he was impressed into the army of Monmouth. My father had no interest in either army. What were their quarrels to him? Part of the time he was in the Netherlands, and a part of the time in France, Scotland or Wales. I don't think at any time he knew much of England's trouble. We were roving all the time and thought little of political questions. When he was arrested and forced into Monmouth's army, at Bridgewater, he asked whose army it was."
“And you followed him?”
“I followed at a distance and from a lofty hill watched the long, hard struggle. Oh, such a scene as it was! Ranks of cavalry and ranks of infantry dashing at each other. Through the great volumes of smoke and dust, I watched the regiment to which my father had been attached. I saw it in the thickest of the fight and, kneeling by a stone fence, prayed God to spare him. God answered my prayer, for he was spared. When I saw Monmouth's army retreating and the ruthless butchers of the king in pursuit, I ran down the lane, weeping and wringing my hands, expecting to find his dead body. I was very young then; but the scene has been indelibly stamped on my memory.
“As I was running down the hill, I met him,
so covered with dust and blackened with gunpowder, that at first I knew him not. He knew me, and, as I swooned at his feet, he carried me across a field to a road-side inn, where I recovered, and we were about to resume our flight, when the king's soldiers surrounded the house. One of the officers cocked his pistol to shoot my father and would have done so, had I not clung to his neck and presented my body as a shield between him and the trooper's bullet.
“Spare him for the hangman,' suggested another.
“He was spared, and at the trial it appeared that he held no commission in the rebel's army, so he was condemned to ten years' penal servitude in the colonies, and was sent to Virginia, whither I went, also. Of our escape, through the kindness and courage of your relative in Virginia, you already know."
“Is your father going to take you away?”
“Yes; he says that my persecution at Salem will cease as soon as he can prepare a home for me."
She was silent for a long while, in fact, so long was she silent that he asked the question again before she answered. Then, fixing her beautiful
eyes, with a startled expression, on him, she answered:
“No, no! I would not go away, if I could remain in peace; but our persecutions seem endless. My father is a good man. Although he was a player, he was ever the kindest of fathers, and taught me only the purest religious sentiments, yet Mr. Parris calls him the agent of the devil.” Charles shudderingly responded: Cora, I fear we are on the verge
of fearful upheaval of ignorance and superstition. Religion, our greatest blessing, perverted, will become our greatest curse. I cannot understand it, Cora; but we are on the brink of some terrible volcano, which will destroy many, I fear.”
That Charles Stevens was no false prophet, subsequent history has fully proven. Coming events seemed to cast their dark shadows before. In New England, there had been a preparation for this stage in the temper with which the adventurers had arrived in the country, and the influences which at once operated upon them. Their politics and religion were gloomy and severe. Those who were not soured with the world were sad, and, it should be remembered, they fully believed that Satan and his powers were abroad and must be contended with daily and hourly and in every transaction of life. There was little in their new home to cheer
them; for the gloomy and unexplored forests shrouded the entire land beyond the barren seashore. Their special enemy, the Indian, always on the alert in some mysterious glade to take advantage of them, was not, in their view, a simple savage. Their clergy, ignorant and fanatic as they were zealous, assured them that the Indians were worshippers and agents of Satan; and it is difficult to estimate the effect of this belief on the minds and tempers of those who were thinking of the Indians at every turn of daily life. Indian hatred has ever been mingled with ferocity and fanaticism quite inconsistent with mild precepts of Jesus Christ. This passion, kindled by the first demonstration of hostility on the part of the Massachusetts red man, grew and spread incessantly under the painful early experience of colonial life, and has been only intensified by time.
In turn, every man had to be scout by day and night, in the swamp and in the forest, and every woman had to be on the watch in her husband's absence to save her babes from murderers and kidnappers. Whatever else their desires might be, even to supply their commonest needs, the citizens had first to station themselves within hail of each other all day, and at night to drive in their cattle among the dwellings and keep watch by turns. Even on Sundays, patrols were appointed to look to the public safety