An Unpublished Legend of the Regicides.

From New England Magazine

An Unpublished Legend of the Regicides.

By Helen Evertson Smith

      Nothing in my childish days had ever interested me more than the Regicides, Goffe and Whalley, and the sudden appearance of one of them amid the Colonists of Hadley, Massachusetts, in repelling an attacking party of Indians. There was such a delightful opportuneness in the mysterious advent of the old man, whose flowing white locks crowned a still stalwart figure of more than common height, clad in garments of so ancient a fashion as to excite the wonder of the youthful part of the population. There was victory in his voice of command, in the swing of his sword, in the flashing of his eyes. There was an awesome thrill, too, in his sudden disappearance after the foe had been beaten back; a disappearance so sudden that the men at one moment obeyed his gesture of command, then, turning again, could find no trace of him. No wonder they — this people who believed with all their hearts that they had been under the direct and almost visible protection of the Lord of Hosts for so many years — should as fully believe that now. His intervention was only a little plainer than before; that the white haired leader was an angel temporarily made visible to give them courage and direction.
      Later, I learned to think that the most wonderful things about it all were the qualities shown by the persons who thus believed.
      Even in this distant wilderness, the sword of the avenger sought the men whose verdict had ordered death to an anointed king. That these men were successfully protected here argued a degree of steadfast courage combined with wisdom, a firmness and self-repression, and an absolute loyalty to a conviction of right, that are uncommon traits in any country and at any time. For here was a case in which no one could be actuated by hopes of possible future reward to offset the dead certainty of destruction to all who had I any way aided or comforted the hunted wanderers in event of their discovery. They were prudent, these wary men of the New England; they were weak in numbers and by position, and they would submit to the son of Charles the First, as they had once been submissive, if not loving subjects of the beheaded monarch, but they would not betray the refugees who had trusted in them and cast themselves upon them for protection.
      There was a marvelous power in the silence which they maintained — not for weeks, nor for months, nor for two, nor for three, nor for half a dozen years, but for almost a score of dragging twelve-months, during which the fugitives were traced from settlement to settlement, but were never betrayed. Yet score, certainly an probably hundreds of persons knew or guessed their secret, and would not even make an inquiry

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