Amy Cranstoun


Amy Cranstoun


Love, Religion, Native Americans, Abduction, Tragedy


Amy Cranstoun, an orphan, lives with her religious aunt and uncle in a Providence community. Her aunt attempts to convince Amy to reject her frivolous behavior and settle down to marry. Unbeknownst to her aunt, Amy is having an affair with Lovell Reeve, a controversial figure in the religious community. One night, when Amy is secretly meeting with Reeve, she is abducted by Native Americans. Amy grows close with a Native American, Matunno, who is falling in love with her. Lovell Reeve's desperate search for Amy allows her family to accept him. However, a Native American woman, Telula, is spiteful towards Amy, because she loves Mantunno. Telula's actions lead to tragedy.


Sedgwick, Catherine M., the author of "Redwood" and "Hope Leslie."


"Amy Cranstoun." By the author of "Redwood" and "Hope Leslie." In The Magnolia, edited by Henry W. Herbert, 145-76. New York, 1836 [pub. 1835]. Volume reissued as The Snow Flake, 145-76. New York, 1853


The Magnolia (1836), The Snow Flake (1853)




S. Riggins






Amy Cranstoun
By the author of Redwood, Hope Leslie, etc.

The famous Indian war, which ended in the destruction of the chieftain of Mount Hope and his adherents, broke out just a hundred years before our revolutionary war; a circumstance which we leave for the speculation of those who believe that certain periods of time have a mysterious relation and dependance, while we use it merely to fix the date of a domestic story, some important portions of which have been omitted on the page of history, rather we should hope from its fitness for a cabinet picture, than from its insignificance.
Madam Cranstoun, at that period, resided at Providence, and was, we believe, the wife of the governor of Providence Plantations. If we are mistaken in his official dignity, we are not in the fact, that he is set down in history as a “notable gentleman.” There was living with Mrs. Cranstoun, a dependant on her bounty, an orphan niece of her husband, Amy Cranstoun. Amy had the figure of a nymph, and a face that expressed a freedom and happiness of spirit that even dependance, that most restricting and acidifying of all states, could never subdue nor sour; and an innocence and open-heartedness, without fear, and without reproach.
It cannot be denied that the elderly persons of the strict community in which she lived, looked upon her as a very unapproveable and unedifying damsel; still she had the miraculous art to open a fountain of lobe in their hard bound bosoms. She had the irrepressible gayety of a child. Her elastic step seemed to keep time with the harmonious springs of youth and joy. At all times and seasons, and, it must be confessed, without any very reasonable relation to persons or circumstances, her musical voice would break forth in song, or bursts of laughter—
“That without any control, But the sweet one of gracefulness, run from her soul.”
Poor Amy often offended against the rigid observances of her contemporaries. She would gape, and even smile in the midst of the protracted Sabbath-service, and that in spite of the bend of her uncle’s awful brow, her aunt’s admonitory winks, and the plummet and rule example of her cousins — maiden ladies, some fifteen years older than Amy, who were so perpendicular and immovable, that our gay little friend sometimes suspected that the process of petrifaction had begun about the vital region of their hearts. Amy had a wonderful facility in committing to memory “ungodly ballads and soul-enslaving songs,” but a sort of intellectual dyspepsia when she attempted to digest sacred literature. She never repeated an answer accurately in the assembly’s catechism; and though she did not, as is reported of those “afflicted by the Salem witches,” faint at the reading of that precious little treatise entitled, “Cotton’s Milk for Babes,” she was sure to fall asleep over it, the very opposite effect to that intended by the author of this spiritual food. She reached the age of eighteen without acquiring the current virtues of her day; but her beauty, spirit, or sweet temper, or all of them united, attracted more suitors than her exemplary and well-proportioned cousins could boast through their long career. Among the rest came one Uncle Smith, the son of Deacon Smith, a precious light in Boston. Uriah was a fair, sleek, softly looking youth, grace and deliberate, and addicted to none of the “fooleries and braveries” of the coxcombs of the day. So said Madam Cranstoun to Amy, for Uriah had not, like young Edwin, “only bowed,” but had told his love — not to the niece, but most discreetly to the aunt. Madam Cranstoun, amazed at the wonder-working Providence, as she was pleased to term it, that had set before her niece the prospect of such a “companion,” communicated, to Amy, Uriah’s proposition, with all the circumlocution and emphasis a prime minister might have employed to announce a royal bounty; but most ungraciously did Amy receive it. She sat the while calmly drawing with her pencil on the blank leaf of a book, her face unmoved, except that now and then a slight but ominous smile drew up the corners of her mouth. “Cousin Amy! cousin Amy!” exclaimed her aunt, “give me that book, and let me hear you testify your thankfulness for a favor of which, sooth to say, you are abundantly unworthy.”
“Well, there is the book, aunt Cranstoun, and let it speak for your ‘unworthy’ niece.”
One glace at the penciled page sufficed. Amy had delineated there a striking resemblance of the overgrown angular Rosinante, on which Uriah had rid to his wooing, and for the rider she had portrayed the form of Uriah, and the face of a monkey! “Shame! shame to you, Amy!” exclaimed her aunt, “dare you thus to trifle with so serious a subject?”
“The subject is too serious, I confess, aunt, to be trifled with, and therefore, being an incorrigible trifler, I must decline it altogether.” Madam Cranstoun started in dumb astonishment. “I am in earnest, aunt,” continued Amy, “Master Uriah must seek a more suitable helpmeet than your foolish niece.”
“Foolish! — both foolish and wicked, Amy.” Madam Cranstoun lost her self-command. “Yea, wicked, without leave, counsel, and consultation, from and with those who have given you shelter, food, and raiment from your cradle, blindly and scoffingly to reject this little-to-be expected, and most unmerited provision for your protection and maintenance through life.”
Amy’s frivolity, if it must be called by so harsh a name, vanished, while half indignant and half subdued, her cheeks burning, and tears gushing from her eyes, she said — “For food, raiment, and shelter, and for every kindly-spoken word, aunt Cranstoun, the only child of your husband’s sainted sister thanks you, and will, please God, testify her gratitude for your past bounty by every act of duty and devotion to you and yours. But I implore you, in the name of the God of the fatherless, not to drive me from the house of dependenance to a house of bondage — the vilest bondage, service without love, fetters on my affection — joyous would they be in a voluntary service, but rebellious and unprofitable in a compelled one.”
Madam Crastoun’s heart was touched. She perceived there was reason as well as feelin in Amy’s appeal. “Well – well, child,” she said, “you know I do not wish to put a force upon you. I do not, nor ever did, feel you to be a heavy burden on us; I only ask you to take the proposition of Master Uriah into consideration, and try to live him, as much as it becometh a virtuous maiden to love a worthy suitor.”
“Oh, aunt, ask me to do anything else, but indeed there is no use in trying to love. I did try, and for one whom, I confess, I was not in any sort worthy; and whom, beforehand, I should have deemed it right easy to love, but the more I tried the more impossible I found it.”
“And for whim, I pray you, did you make this marvelous trial?” Amy was silent. “Not, I am sure, for Master James Chilton? – nor Nathanial Goodeno?” Amy shook her head. “And you would not, Amy,” continued her aunt with a more scrutinizing glance, “you would try to love that lawless young spark – I will not mention his name, since your uncle has forbidden it to be spoken within his doors.”
Amy felt her face and neck flushing and burning, and to avert the right inference from her treacherous blushes, she did what may be most pithily expressed by a vulgar proverb, ‘jumped out of the frying-pan into the fire.’ “No, no, aunt,” she said, “he to whom I allude is far – far away, and has I trust forgotten me.”
“Surely – surely, Amy, you do not mean Wickliffe Wilson?”
“I do, aunt,” replied Amy, with an irrepressible smile that abated the virtue of her humble tone of voice.”
“Oh, Amy!” exclaimed her aunt, in a voice of sorrow and rebuke, “you amaze and distress me. I knew you to be giddy and trifling to a degree, but I never before thought you a senseless ad hardhearted.” She paused, and then added, as if a sudden light had broken upon her, “Ah, I see it all now! Little did I think when Wickliffe was spending his precious time, day after day, in teaching you the tongues, that Satan was spreading a snare for him. How could the learned and pious youth suffer his affections to be wasted upon such a piece of laughing idlesse! Wickliffe Wilson, the honored son of an honored sire! the gifted youth! the hope of the plantation! Amy, Amy, was it for that his eye lacked its lustre, his cheek became sunken and pale, and his heart waxed faint! – love of you, Amy, that has sent him forth from his father’s house, and from his native land, and without one accusing word or look?”
Amy burst into tears. “He was most generous,” she said, “I would have done any thing to manifest my gratitude to him, and as I truly told you, aunt, I did try in earnest to love him.”
“O pshaw, child! – I see through it all. You could not choose but have loved him, had not your unbridled affections strayed another way. The sooner you recall them the better, for never – never shall you wed with Lovell Reeve – a foil, a contrast truly to the worthy youth Wickliffe!”
This pursued, Amy turned and stood at bay. “Aunt Cranstoun,” she said, “worthy and noble as Wickliffe may be, and I grant him so, Lovell Reeve, in all gentlemanly points, in all high sentiment and right feeling, is his equal – his equal in every think but yours and my uncle’s esteem; and I have long believed, without the courage to tell you so, that some one has traduced him to you.”
“Nay, Amy, his own ill deeds dispraise him. Did he not join the galliards of Boston, in their assemblings for dancing and other forbidden frolics? Did he not aid and abet – nay, was he not the sole instigator and agent in conveying dame Hyslop beyond the Massachusetts, after it was well nigh proven that she was the confederate and vowed servant of Satan, in bewitching Levi Norton’s children? – and was not Lovell Reeve foremost, and ringleader of those ungodly youths, who discredited the right of assistants, and openly opposed the driving forth of the Quakers, and the extirpation of their blasphemous heresy?”
“I believe, aunt, he has done all this.”
“And still you dare to even him with one, who is in full communion and fair standing with the church, and whose walk has been, like pious Samuel’s, even from his youth, in all godliness.”
“Oh, aunt, the Scripture says there be divers gifts; Wickliffe’s are not Lovell’s, neither, under favor I say it, are Lovell’s, Wickliffe’s. And now,” she continued, throwing herself on her knees before her aunt, and clasping her hands, “Now, my dear aunt, that I have boldly foregone maidenly modesty, and spoken, in some measure as I feel, of my true-love, let me plead with you, by all your care for my well-being – by all your gentle; womanly thoughts and memories – by that pure and interchanged affection which Lovell and I have plighted before God, I beseech ye let me follow the biddings of my heart, and profess before the world what I have revealed to you, instead of hiding it like a guilty passion in the depths of my heart – you do feel for us! – you cannot help it – Oh speak to my uncle.”
Amy had skillfully touched a powerful spring. Her aunt was affected by her half voluntary confidence; but though the ling congealed sources of sympathy were soften, they were not melted, and when Amy mentioned her uncle, the subject, in Madam Cranstoun, reverted to its old light. “Rise, my child,” she said, “it ill becomes you to put yourself in the posture of a silly damsel of romance. Your uncle and I cannot recede from a decision made after and due and prayerful deliberation. I now perceive that you are apprised of the youth Lovell having applied to us – not as he should have done before communing with you, - for leave to make suit to you, to which we answered with a full negative, and stated our reasons therefor, which were he of a right temper, would have been satisfactory. We have fully warned him not to urge you to an act of disobedience, and secured his compliance by informing him that an marriage bounty, which your uncle might purpose, would be withheld in case of your failure in duty due.”
“You mistake his spirit – he spurned the threat, and urged me to forfeit my uncle’s gift; and by me troth, aunt, it was not in the wealth of the Indies to hold me back, but I did fear to violate my duty to you, and I hoped you would grant my prayer when I dared to make it to you.”
“Never, Amy, never. I commend you in as far as you have acted wisely in the past; and for the future I command you to dismiss Lovell Reeve from your mind.”
“I cannot. I may control the outward act, but how eradicate the image blended with every thought and affection?”
“This is girlish talk, Amy. Be humble and teachable, child. Remember they youth ever errs in judgment. But guided by those, who are both wise and experienced; and then, Amy, if you should still be privileged with the favor of worthy Master Wickliffe’s love, you may yet be mated to our acceptance and your own profit.”
“Heaven forbid,” thought Amy. Her aunt proceeded, “ I see that thou art self-willed, but take heed – the judgment of Heaven may light upon thee – consider duly – go thy apartment, and commune with thy heart.”
Amy obeyed with alacrity; for in these communings she found the only indulgence of an affection, which neither her conscience nor her judgment forbad. Amy’s conscience, though it did not act in obedience to the laws Madam Cranstoun could have prescribed, was a faithful monitor, and Amy was obedient to its monitions. Clandestine proceedings were abhorrent to the integrity of her character. Every delicate woman instinctively revolts from an elopement and a secret marriage. Amy had maintained a firm negative to Lovell’s entreaties. With the confidence of her most happy temper she believed that some favorable circumstances would occur, some influence come, she knew not whence, to shift the wind in her favor. But – when she had put aside her pride and her maidenly reserve, and freely confessed her love to her aunt, and found her unrelenting, and resolved to maintain her power in its utmost rigor – Amy felt a spirit of insurrection rising in her heart, that probably, but for the strange events that followed, would soon have broken out into open rebellion. There were throbbings at her heart at the thought of escape from thralldom; when, at this treacherous moment, a servant tapped at the door to announce “that Wimple, the Boston Pedlar, was in the hall with his box full of nick-nacks, that he was sure would pleasure Miss Amy’s eye.”
“Tell him,” said Amy, in a tone that indicated nothing could pleasure her at the moment, “tell him I want nothing.”
“Pray do not send him that word, Miss Amy! – Madam has huffed him already; and Miss Prudence and Miss Tempy have bought nothing but knives and whalebones. They were sharp and stiff enough already! – and besides, Wimple bade me tell you he has a violet ribbon, just the color of your eyes.”
Perhaps curious to ascertain the color of her eyes, or it may be, like most frail mortals, not deaf to flattery, Amy descended to the hall. She found her aunt and cousins, attracted by the pretty assortment of merchandise, still hovering about the pedlar’s box, inquiring prices, cheapening the articles they meant to buy, and vouchsafing a few grains or praise to such as they did not want.
“Ah, my service to you, Mistress Amy,” said Wimple, “it would be ill luck to my box to leave the plantations without seeing you.”
“And ill fortune to me, Wimple. But where is the ribbon Judith told me of!”
“The ribbon! – what ribbon, my young lady? – ah, I remember,” added Wimple, as the luring message he had transmitted recurred to him, “it should be here – or here – it was of the violet dye, young lady – the flower – and something else I’ve seen – looks as if a drop from the blue sky had fallen into it – the ribbon is clear gone, but here is a pair of gloves, a nice fit for you.”
“They are just the color I have been looking for, for a full half hour to no purpose,” said Miss Prudence, “so it is but fair I should have the first trial.”
Wimple looked disconcerted – “Indeed, my young lady,” he said, with a discreet emphasis on young, not enough to imply sarcasm, and just enough to seem earnest, “indeed, my young lady, they are a thought too small for you,” and suiting the action to the word, he adroitly measured the glove against the back of Miss Prudence’s broad, sinewy hand; she turned away satisfied, or piqued. Wimple, too politic to leave a shadow on the mind of a customer, added, “I will suit you, Miss Prudy, next time, for one of my brethren in the walking line, is expected from Acadie with French nackeries, and he’ll be sure to bring gloves; - such as these with pretty devices are much sought after, by the Boston gallants, for love-tokens.”
“Let me look at the gloves before you purchase,” interposed Madam Cranstoun, whose ear was offended by Wimple’s professional vaunt; “I do not approve these braveries that feed vanity, and draw truant eyes at meeting.”
Wimple adroitly exchanged the gloves designed for Amy, for a pair of embroidered with a monumental device, saying, “Madam Cranstoun will certainly approve the wholesome lesson wisely wrought here.”
Madam Cranstoun returned the gloves with a cold remark, that she believed they would do no harm; and Wimple unsuspected slipped the right pair into Amy’s hand, contriving as he did so let her see the corner of a note within the glove. “Never mind the ‘pay this time, Mistress Amy,” he said. Amy understood him, dropped a silver penny in his hand, and quickly disappeared. She then returned to her room, bolted her door, and kissing the gloves, – those fated gloves – she read the following note: “My beloved Amy; and yet mine, since your own cruel sentence makes those barriers impassable which tyranny has erected? Still you are mine by your own most precious confession; by vows registered in Heaven, and which not all the power of all the uncles and aunts in christendom can make void. I have something to communicate that I cannot trust to paper – meet me, I beseech you, on Tuesday the 5th, at 7 o’clock, P.M., under the elm tree, just beyond the cove. If you refuse me this boon, I shall fear the freezing atmosphere in which you live has chilled the warm precincts of your heart. At seven, dear Amy, – remember, 7 P.M. of Tuesday the 5th – farewell till then.”
“Tuesday the 5th,” had come, and “7 P.M.” drew nigh, when Amy put on the memorable gloves, which were wrought with a bunch of forget-me-nots, tied with a true-love know; and sheltering herself in a dark silk cloak and hood, she eluded all the argus eyes aout the mansion, and reached the place of rendezvous. “He is not here!” she exclaimed, as her foot touched the spot; “there is yet one minute to spare,” she added, looking at her watch; “yet it should have been Lovell, not I, who came the minute too soon – next time,” she concluded, drawing off one of her gloves, “Lovell shall wear the forget-me-not.”
Poor Lovell! he would not have broken the thousandth part of a minute in his appointment; but the most faithful are not exempted from the cross accidents of life. His horse, in passing a treacherous causeway, had broken his leg. Lovell did not hesitate to abandon him, and hurried on with all the speed that vigorous and agile limbs, and a most impatient spirit, could supply; but even love cannot travel like a sound horse, and when Lovell reached the cove it was a quarter past seven. There was still enough of twilight left, for him to discern the print of Amy’s little foot on the white sand. He bent and kissed it, then sprang up the bank and onward to the elm-tree – she was not there! He thought that in the spirit of sportive retaliation for his delay, she might have hidden in some shaded recess. He explored every recess, penetrated every possible hiding-place, he pronounced, and imploringly repeated, her name, but all in vain. “She must have been here!” he exclaimed, “I could not mistake the print of any other foot for her’s – Oh Amy, could you not wait one quarter of an hour for me! – Can any thing have happened to her? – She may have been followed hither by some evil-minded person!” Apprehensions accumulate most rapidly where the safety of a defenseless object, and the dearest one in life, is at stake. Lovell reiterated Amy’s name in a voice of agony; he looked over, again and again, the places he had already thoroughly searched; he then returned to the cove, there was not mark there of a returning footstep; she could not then have gone back that way. He remounted the bank, intending to extend his search farther up the river. After passing some willows, the shore was rocky, and just beyond the rocks was a thicket of saplings, and tangled bushes that led to the water’s edge. “She could not have passed here,” he said. Something caught his eye at the bottom of the rock. He descended, and just on the margin of the river he found on of Amy’s gloves, one of the pair which he had sent by Wimple, and on the sand was imprinted the mark of a small foot, that must have been recently there. His head became giddy with terrific apprehensions, and now, as he looked up the rock, he saw the fibrous plants that grew from their fissures had been freshly uprooted, and appeared as if their insufficient aid had been resorted to. The mind will not at once surrender itself to despair. It was barely possible that some acquaintance had been sailing on the river, and that, to avoid surmises, Amy had returned to town in the boat. But there was the glove! – Amy would not have carelessly dropped his love-token – and the uprooted plants! Still there was a ray of hope, and in one half hour Lovell burst into Governor Cranstoun’s parlor, and darting his eyes around the formal circle, he explained its glance by asking in one breath, “Is Amy here? – has no one seen her?” The family all rose, startled at his wild appearance. “Is the youth crazy?” asked Madam Cranstoun.
“This intrusion is unlooked for, and manifestly indecorous!” said the governor.
“Will no one answer me?” exclaimed Lovell, and snatching a hand-bell from the table, he returned to the hall and rang it furiously. The servants, alarmed, obeyed the summons. “Have any of you seen Mistress Amy?” he asked, “and when? – and where?” All looked amazed, non answered. “For the love of Heaven speak, - go to her room – search every where.”
“Hold, young man!” said Governor Cranstoun, “you are mad.”
“Mad? – I shall be mad! – she is lost! – it may be, murdered.”
The last word, articulated as it was in a broken and suppressed voice, penetrated to every heart, and instantly every mouth was opened, every room was searched, and every corner of the mansion in an uproar and confusion.
“I saw her before tea,” said one. “I saw her go out the side gate!” said another.
“Yes,” said Miss Prudence, “and I saw her from my window, and thought then she was going on a wild goose chase.”
The alarm soon spread from the governor’s family to the town; alarm-bells were ring, and the men in separate and small bands went out on a scout in every direction. The search was continued for days, and not relinquished till neither reason nor hope held out the slightest probability of success. But after the people had returned to their usual occupations, and Amy’s disappearance had become an old story, it continued to be as acutely felt by Lovell Reeve, as at the first terrible moment of conviction that she was gone. He abandoned his ordinary pursuits, forsook his accustomed haunts; and worn and wasted wandered over the country, seeking and inquiring, but finding nothing to feed his hopes, which were only kept alive by the undying fires of love. Amy’s disappearance was just about the period of the death of the heroic Indian, king Philip. A few of his old comrades still maintained a feeble resistance to the English. Lovell sometimes encountered their parties in the fastness of the savage forests. They answered his questions patiently, and treated him kindly; probably his wild and haggard aspect impressed them with the belief that he was suffering from one of those visitations of Heaven, which elicit far more tenderness and respect from the savage than the civilized man. On one occasion, at late twilight, he had thrown himself down in a little nook made by the turning of a brook that ran rambling past it, and wearied and exhausted he had opened his wallet, when he heard some one striding down the rocky hill above him. From the dimensions of the figure he mistook it for that of a man, but as it approached nearer, her perceived it to be a young Indian woman. Her head was thrown back, her brow painfully contracted, and her eye fixed, and indicating a mind abstracted from all outward things. She threw herself on the ground, almost at the feet of Lovell, without seeing him. Her check was hollow, and her limbs tremulous; but she seemed as if some passionate grief obscured the sense of corporeal wants. Lovell spoke to her; asked her whither she came” where she was going? to which she replied, in such imperfect English, that she conveyed no meaning to Lovell. One word alone he understood, and that was the name of the famous Annowon, the Indian chieftain, who had been the companion of Philip’s father, the tried and trusted associate of Philip himself, and who, still unsubdued, though hunted like a beast of prey, maintained his national independance in the gloomy depth of a forest – all that was left of the wide domain inherited from his fathers.
Lovell offered the woman a portion of his evening mean; she took it eagerly, devouring it ravenously, and then drawing her blanket over her head, she pillowed it on the rock, and was soon lost in deep sleep. Poor Lovell envied her short oblivion, and continued, hour after hour, watching the stars on their courses, till at last nature overcoming his sense of misert, he too fell asleep. When he awoke in the morning, the Indian woman had disappeared. On the crushed grass where she had lain there was something that quickened Lovell’s pulses. He sprang forward, seized, and examine it – it was Amy’s glove. The mate he had worn in his bosom, from the fatal hour of her disappearance. But alas! the woman who had possessed this clew had gone. H shouted, he ran hither and yon, calling in the most supplicating voice, but he was only answered by the forest echoes. He had, however obtained some light; and vague, and feeble as it was, it might prove a guiding beam over the weary waste that had encompassed him. Annowon either did possess the secret of Amy’s fate, or could command it. This conclusion made, Lovell instantly conceived a project, and set forward to execute it.

We return to where we left out little friend Amy. She was startled from her mental reproaches of her lover by the plash of oars, and, turning, she saw a canoe rowing through the cove, and stealthily close into the shore. There were two Indians in the canoe, but as there were many friendly natives in the vicinity of Providence, she was not alarmed till the canoe, having turned the ledge of rocks and disappeared, she saw the Indians coming up the bank towards her. Escape was impossible. The one was the old man, the other a youth. The young man asked her to come with them. The elder, without ceremony, seized her arm and dragged her forward. She resisted with all her might, shrieking the name of Lovell, and vainly hoping he might be near enough to hear her voice, but that hope soon vanished. She was thrust into the canoe, and it was rapidly rowed down the stream to a swampy landing-place, where the Indians disembarked, drew their canoe up into the thicket, and began their scramble through the morass. In the short itme that had passed since Amy had relinquished the hope of a rescue, she had, with her strong native good sense, surveyed her position, and made up her mind as to her mode of conduct. In carrying her resolve into execution she was sustained by an unconquerable, a Heaven-inspired cheerfulness of spirit, that like a cleaf meridian sun brightened even the darkest objects. Poor girl! she needed all its power. The Indians were amazed to see her, instead of lagging, press forward without a word or sigh of complaint. The elder of her captors she soon ascertained to be the far-famed Annowon, now verging to old age, but still retaining many of the attributes of vigorous manhood, a fiery eye, an upright person, and a firm step; the younger was Mantunno, a young man of two and twenty, an exception to, rather than a specimen of his race. His aspect was that of a man of peace and gentleness. His voice was sympathetic, as he ever and anon cheered on his captive, and where the passes were most difficult he carried her, sinking to his knees in the bogs, till he reached a firm foot-hold.
Thus they proceeded till they approached a place, which still, after the passage of more than a century and a half, retains the name of “Annowon’s rock.” This rock, or rather ledge of rocks, for it extends from 70 to 80 feet, was then inaccessible except from one point, being nearly surrounded by a morass which, before the land was drained, was covered with water. Near its base the rocks have deep recesses and shelving places, and being well hedged in with felled treed and dried bushes, they afforded a sort of sheltered nest for these wild denizens of the woods. A beacon-light had penetrated through the tangled wood, guiding Amy’s step over the slippery rocks and trembling mosses, but the way suddenly became more difficult; the poor girl’s heart of grace failed, and exhausted she sunk down and burst into tears. The old Indian muttered, “Telula cry? – never.”
“Telula no woman,” replied the young man, and taking out poor little friend in his arms, he strided on through bush and through brake, till emerging suddenly, they came upon the access to their wild resting-place, and as the now unimpeded light streamed cheerfully up from it and shone on Amy’s face, Mantunno saw there a tolerable successful effort at a smile of gratitude, which wen very near to his heart. Refreshed by her rest in the Indian’s arm, and encouraged by the wilderness and novelty of the scene, – for Amy’s was a somewhat romantic and most buoyant spirit, – she descended the ledge of rocks, sometimes upheld by Mantunno, sometimes sustaining herself on a foothold that seemed scarcely qualified to afford support for a bird, and sometimes holding fast by branches of the trees that here and there had forced themselves through the crevices of the rocks. This she reached safely the broad base of the ledge, and looking around her at various distances, and imperfectly, as the firelight glanced athwart them, she saw small groups of Indians. Near her a bright fire was burning under a caldron, from which issued fumes so savory, that considering the gross appetites of which common souls are compounded, they would have been much more like, than those strains the poet magnifies, to “create a soul under the ribs of death.” Tending this caldron was a tall bony Indian girl; her features were large, and expressive of turbulent passions, but without a particle of the feminine softness that is common to young woman of all hues.
She looked like a vulture, eager to grasp a dove in its talons, as she fixed her eyes on poor little Amy. Some broken sentences she spoke to the youth, in her native tongue, complaining of his protracted absence and her wearisome solitude, and then turned her eye again on Amy, as if she longed to know, but would not ask, why the little garden-blossom had been brought to their wild home.
Mantunno neither heeded her words nor her looks. He was busied in making a bead of dry mosses and leaves for his captive, and forming a bower for her, by interweaving branches of the hemlocks and cedars that were growing in abundance around them.
Annowon called loudly for supper, and Telula served I, but without eating herself or offering a portion to Amy till bidden by Annowon, when she filled a wooden trencher and set it before her, and Amy, in pursuance of her resolution to sustain her strength and spirits by all human means, and we suspect befriended by an honest appetite; ate as heartily as if she had been at her uncle’s table – the best in ‘Providence Plantations.’ After she had finished her singular meal, she thanked Mantunno for the bed he had spread for her, bade him “good night,” in the sweetest tone of her sweet voice, and crept into her little bower, where, after commending herself to God, she fell asleep, pondering over the chances of reunion to Lovell Reeve, Oh, what lessons may be learned from those who act according to the dictates of wise nature!
Mantunno laid himself down at a little distance from Amy’s bower, and long into the watches of the night Telula observed his wakeful eye fixed on it, as a miser watches the casket that contains his treasure. But when at last his sense were locked in sleep, Telula drew near the old man, who, as he sat leaning against the rock, looked like a portion of it, so rigid were his features, so sharp and immoveable the outline of his bony figure. “Father,” asked Telula, in her own language, “is this Yengee girl yours, or Mantunno’s captive?”
“My father is wise! –” said Telula, in that tone which converts an affirmation into a negative.
“And why am I not wise, Telula.”
“Was I not wretched enough yesterday?”
“And why more wretched now?
“Did he ever pile the mosses for my head to rest upon? – Did he ever weave a curtain around my bed? – Did he ever watch my sleep as the eagle watches its nestling? Mantunno’s soul is as the pale-faces! He would fain mate with them.”
“What mean you, Telula?”
“This girl! – this girl! – why did ye bring her hither?”
The vehement tones of Telula’s voice, and the flood of tears she poured out, seemed, rather than her words, to have conveyed her meaning to the old man. He fixed his eye on her and said, “Ye would not surely wed your mother’s sister’s son?”
“I would.”
“This is worse than all! – I charge ye, Telula, as you love your life, never to speak – never to think of this again.”
“I cannot obey you.” Both reverted to silence; but the subject was for ever fixed in the minds of both. The marriage of cousins was regarded as an abomination by some, if not by all the Indian tribes, and their strict adherence to the Hebrew law in this particular is urged by some of our antiquaries as among the proofs of their descent from the ten lost tribes. Annowon had met with losses and miseries in every shape. His wives were dead – his children had gone like flowers from the hill-side – his people had vanished – his brother Philip had been slain in battle, and his body hacked in pieces by the sacrilegious knives of the Yengees – and some fifty followers, and this barren rock on which the sun shone, and the showers fell in vain, was all that was left of his tribe and their wide domain; and now this unlawful passion of the last of his race seemed to him to fill up the measure of his sorrows.
He had seized Amy from an impulse of hostility to her race; he had learned from her high connexions, and he now purposed either to make her a victim of his vengeance, or an instrument in obtaining his own terms in the treaty that, in his moments of despair, he contemplated making with the English. In the mean time, if Amy could be made to subserve the purpose of extinguishing Telula’s hopes and affection, so much the better; – her hopes, she might; her affection, as it proved, could outlive hope.
When Amy awoke, she felt, as every one does in coming out of a kind of oblivion of sleep, the full weight of her calamity. She seemed translated to a new world. Every object around her was savage, and the Indians themselves seemed, not creatures of her kind, but meet offspring of the rocks and tangled forest. But as the morning advanced her courage returned. As she felt the cheering influence of the sun, and heard the notes of familiar birds – the voices of old friends – her spirit revived, and she came forth from her bower so serene, bright, and beautiful, that Mantunno exclaimed, in his own language, “The morning star!” Telula’s jealous ear caught the words, and she darted a glance first at Amy, and then at him, that made her recoil. And filled him with alarm. He was aware of Telula’s strong passions, he was aware of her love for him, and that one look had revealed to him what she might feel towards a rival.
Day after fay passed on, and he never left the rock save when he was sure that his grandfather’s presence secured Amy’s safety. Telula saw his distrust, and it sunk deep into her soul. When he was present, his eye continually rested on Amy; when he was absent, it was plain his heart still lingered with her. The brilliant feathers of birds, their curious eggs, wild flowers, and every pretty treasure of the forest, were laid at her feet, and Mantunno was sufficiently rewarded with a kindly beam of Amy’s blue eye, or a faint smile from her bright lip, when Telula felt that she would have given life for one such proof of his love. The miserable girl’s jealousy was inflamed in every way. The old man permitted and encouraged Mantunno’s devotion, and Amy, believing, from her own experience, love to be the most generous of all sentiments, cherished it by smiles and kindness. Telula neither ate nor slept. Her form wasted, and her face became so haggard, that Amy shrink from her as from some blinding demon.
One evening, just at twilight, Mantunno and Amy were alone together. It was a rare chance, and Amy eagerly seized it to urge a suit she had long mediated. She entreated the young Indian, by all his love of his own people and kindred – by all his friendship for her, to guide her back to her home.
“But,” he tenderly remonstrated, “you have neither father nor mother, sister nor brother – they make home.” Amy wept bitterly. “Oh!” he continued, in the universal language of loving nature, “let my home by thy home, and my people thy people!”
Amy was rather stunned by this proposition. She soon recovered her self-possession, and replied courageously, “Mantunno, I have not, it is true, father nor mother, sister nor brother, but there is one dearer to me than all these, and I am his promised bride.” The Indian threw himself on the ground and wished he were dead.
At this moment Telula, returning from a half-frenzied wandering, had led herself down the rocks, her eyes fixed on them, but unseen and unheard them. She heard Amy say, as she approached near them, “Oh rise, my good friend, I shall always love you for your kindness”—
Telula did not wait to hear her out. One word only, love, of which she felt the full import, penetrated to her brain. She instantly resolved on a project, to which, though most abhorrent to her national feelings, she was stimulated by her resentment towards Annowon, and by the maddening passions of love and jealousy. She sprang towards Amy, tore apart a ribbon, by which was suspended the glove, Lovell’s precious gift, and thrusting it into her own bosom, mounted the rock like a wild-car, and went forth brooding on her purpose, in her better mind dismissing it, and then again goaded on by her insane passion, seeking the means of its execution.
Old Annowon was afflicted and soured by Telula’s protracted absence. He became sullen and crabbed, and wreaked his bitter feelings on poor Amy. He imposed domestic offices on her, compelled her to bring water, and feed the fire. Mantunno saw her fragile form bending under burdens; he felt, like the liver in the play, that “such baseness ne’er had like executor,” and fain would he have given the strongest proof of love a savage could give, by performing these ignoble, womanly offices himself; but the old man harshly forbade him, and asked him “when it was he served Telula?”
Poor Amy’s heart sink as her hopes abates. She was yet far from despairing, but each day seemed an age to her. Mantunno’s kindness was undiminished, but now her soul revoled from itl even the crabbedness of the old man was more tolerable to her. Still, save in the tears that would unbidden now and then steal from her eyes, she did not betray the sadness of her heart.
Two weeks had elapsed, and nothing was yet heard of Telula, though Annowon had sought her in all the forest hunts of his dispersed and hunted tribe. He retuned one night, wearied, and more sad than sullen, threw himself on his mat. Amy heard him groading, and at intervals repeating the same words, “What says he?” she asked of Mantunno.
“He repeats, “my people! my children! Telula! all gone!” With the instinct of her sex, Amy tried to comfort him. She offered him his favorite drink, unbidden prepared his evening meal, and, with earnest words, prated him to take it. He declined her kindness, but he seemed touched by it, and drawing her towards him, he said, “Ah, child, bright days are written on they smooth brow, and the promise of friends and lovers stamped on thy beautiful face.”
“Oh, then,” said Amy, eagerly availing herself of the first auspicious moment, “restore me to my friends – do not make me wear out my life in bondage and doing strange tasks. I shall soon die if I hear not the voices of my kindred! – Oh, think how hard it must be not to hear the language of your own people! not sit to eat with those of your own color! to live on without a smile, and die without one to mourn you.”
“Amy! Amy!” exclaimed Mantunno involuntarily. The exclamation seemed to dry the fountain of pity that Amy had opened in the old man’s bosom. “Ye are the child of my enemies,” he said, “and like all the pale-faces, ye have misery and ruin in your track – go to your bed, child – go to your bed.”
Amy crept into her little bower, and in the anguish of her heart she mentally reproached her lover. “Ah!” she thought, “had I been Lovell, and he been me, I would not have rested till every white man in the colonies was on foot, till every den in the forest was searched; but alas! alas! men do not love as we love!’ Far into the night she resolved these bitter thoughts, but finally, true to herself and true to Lovell, she fell asleep, alleging very good reasons why Lovell could not have found her.
While all around him slept, Annowon was awake, gloomily pondering the past, more gloomily the future. The evening fire had gone out. The moon looked down smilingly, just as she had looked in his happiest days, on the stern home of the old warrior. Her silvery beams fell on the branches as they waved in the light breeze; shone on the flowers that, projecting from the crevices, hung over the rocks; penetrated even the recess where Annowon’s trusty followers were sleeping; defined Mantunno’s graceful figure as he lay near Amy’s bower, dreaming of the lovely form within it; fell on that form modestly wrapped in a cloak, and played over her fair cheek and bright hair – the fairest and brightest that ever rested on a leafy pillow in the wild world.
Annowon was suddenly startled from his abstraction, and looking up, he saw Telula creeping slowly and cautiously down the rocks. Annowon, as soon as he had recovered from his first joyous sensation of surprise, perceived the shadow of some person following her cast back upon the rock, and then another, and another, but these shadows were so confounded with that of a large basket that Telula carried, and constantly shifted from arm to arm. That they conveyed no definite information to Annowon; and he, as little expecting treachery from Telula as from his own soul, was not alarmed, till an Indian, instantly followed by others, grasped the branch of a tree, swung down the last descent, and round an angle of the rock, and darting into the recess where Annowon’s followers were sleeping, butchered them. At the same moment the old chief himself was seized. Telula rushed past him, rent open the bower as if it were a spider’s web, drew a hatchet from beneath her blanket and raised it over Amy; Mantunno sprang forward and interposed his person in time to save Amy – by the sacrifice of his own life!
As his body fell at her feet, Telula recoiled, then again raising her arm and flourishing the hatched in the air, she purposed surer aim at the “Yengee girl,” but Amy was already far up the rock, in the arms of Lovell Reeve! Telula gazed after her, she felt Mantunno’s warm blood dripping from her hatchet on her arm, and sunk senseless beside his body.
It had all passed like a flash of lightning, that uproots and tears asunder that which was fast rooted and bound together. Annowon turned his eye from the bloody tragedy, and saw himself in the hands of Captain Church, the famous vanquisher of King Philip. He then, as history records, took from his bosom two most curious bits of wampum, and some other consecrated trifles, that had been a portion of Philip’s royal insignia, and kneeling, surrendered them to Church, with the ceremony and feeling with which a faithful follower yields the banner of his chieftain. He then sunk down, and covered his face with his hands, saying, “I have done – I am the last of my people!”
We have not space to relate Annowon’s fate. It fills one of those pages that we could wish expunged from the history of christians.
It is not necessary to detail the particulars that led to the catastrophe we have described. We have faintly intimated them. The curious reader will find them at large in the contemporaneous histories. We have added some circumstances not there recorded, and we have learned from the veracious source, “the best authority,” that Telula was afterwards seen on the shores of the blue Ontario, where, among the wild people who confounded inspiration with insanity, she was reverenced and cherished.
Lovell Reeve, with his rescued betrothed, proceeded forthwith to Governor Cranstoun’s, and no one thenceforth opposing his right to her, it was soon confirmed by the solemn ceremonial of marriage. The only exception to the general kindness lavished on Amy, was a remark from one of her discreet cousins, – on whom a wedding seems not to have had its usual benign influence, – “that young ladies must expect to pay dearly for evening assignations with clandestine lovers.”




Sedgwick, Catherine M., the author of "Redwood" and "Hope Leslie.", “Amy Cranstoun,” Sedgwick Stories: The Periodical Writings of Catharine Maria Sedgwick, accessed October 5, 2022,

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