This is the story of God’s sovereignty, goodness, and faithfulness to Mary Rowlandson. She wrote the narrative of her “captivity and restoration.” Until now, it has been private. This is the second, amended and corrected draft of her story. She wants to make her story public so that others, particularly her family and friends, will read and be amazed at the works of the Lord. [This narrative takes place during King Philip’s War.]
At sunrise on February 10, 1675, many Indians with guns attack Rowlandson’s town of Lancaster, Massachusetts. Rowlandson looks outside and sees houses burning and the Indians beginning to take prisoners. She espies one neighbor begging for his life and others being shot down or cruelly murdered. Unmoved by their cries or pleas, the “murderous wretches” continue to burn and destroy everything around them. This is the “dolefulest day” of Rowlandson’s life.
Finally the attackers reach the Rowlandsons’ house, which is located on a hill. Many family members are home and they fight together against the invaders. The house and barn are surrounded by Indians; they begin shooting at the house and those trying to protect it. The attack continues for two hours and several are wounded before the Indians set fire to the main house. Inside, some are fighting for their lives while others are “wallowing in their [own] blood.” The six dogs, which would normally have attacked any Indian who came to the door, are now afraid, and the mothers and children are crying out for help.
Finally Rowlandson and the others have to leave the burning house and are met by tribesmen wielding guns, spears, and hatchets, ready to “devour” them. Immediately Rowlandson’s wounded brother-in-law falls in death and the Indians strip him of his clothes as they continue shooting. One bullet goes through Rowlandson’s side, also hitting the child she is carrying in her arms. Her nephew William’s leg is broken before he is killed. Indians begin to wrench children away from their mothers; seeing this, William’s mother (Rowlandson’s sister) cries out to God, asking Him to let her die, too. As soon as she says it, a bullet strikes her dead.
The Indians promise Rowlandson not to kill her if she will go with them. She had always thought she would rather die than be an Indian captive; however, their fierce weapons change her mind and she agrees to go with them.
(The entire section is 447 words.)
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The First Remove Summary
Mary Rowlandson and the other captives are bleeding and wounded on the outside while their hearts are broken on the inside. They walk with their captors, “barbarous creatures,” for about a mile before they stop for the night. They spend the night on the top of a hill, overlooking their bloodied and burning town of Lancaster. When she sees an abandoned house, Rowlandson asks if she can spend the night inside it but is scorned for still loving the life of the English.
It is the “dolefulest night” for Rowlandson, as she watches her dark captors roar, sing, dance, and yell. The entire display resembles hell to her. Just as awful are the wasted animals, confiscated during the attack: horses, sheep, cattle, swine, lambs, pigs, and chickens. The Indians feast on some of them and are joyful in their bounty; the captives, on the other hand, are miserable.
That night, Rowlandson is not only miserable from the events of the day but also disconsolate about what she has lost. She is separated from her husband (who was away, though the Indians promised to kill him when he arrived back in Lancaster) and has lost her friends and family as well as her house and worldly possessions. Though she has her life, she understands that might be taken at any moment, too. That leaves her nothing but a wounded child, and she sees nothing in her current circumstances to give her hope. The “savageness and brutishness of this barbarous enemy” weighs heavily upon her.
The Indians tell her the eight people savagely murdered in Lancaster last year were killed by one-eyed John and “Marlborough’s Praying Indians” that Captain Mosely brought to Boston.
(The entire section is 282 words.)
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The Second Remove Summary
The morning after the Indian attack, Rowlandson and the others turn their backs on their town (Lancaster) and start their journey as captives, walking into the “vast and desolate wilderness” unknown to her. Neither her spoken nor her written words can adequately express her sorrowful heart or the bitterness of her spirit as this journey begins. Despite that, God helps her bear the burden and lightens her spirit enough to allow her to keep moving.
One of the Indians carries Rowlandson’s wounded daughter on his horse; the child continually moans that she is going to die. Rowlandson walks behind the horse and finally takes her child, carrying her until her strength runs out and she stumbles. She and her child are placed on a horse with no saddle; they travel uneventfully until they ride down a hill and, because there is nothing to keep them on the creature, fall off the horse over its head. The Indians rejoice at the spectacle, laughing and ridiculing Rowlandson and her child until she thinks this must surely be the trial which finally ends her life. But God once again shows His great power by giving her the strength—more than she could ever have imagined—to continue.
It begins to snow, and that night Rowlandson sits in the snow in front of a small fire with her feverish child on her lap and a few branches behind her for a bed. Her own wound has made her so stiff that she can hardly sit down or stand up, and she has no one near her to offer comfort or help. The fact that her spirit does not “utterly sink” under her affliction is due entirely to God’s “gracious and merciful spirit.” Both she and her child live through the night.
(The entire section is 299 words.)
The Third Remove Summary
In the morning, Rowlandson and her wounded daughter ride on a horse behind an Indian; both are in a “lamentable condition” because they have eaten nothing for more than three days. In the afternoon, they arrive at their destination, a village called Wenimesset, and are immediately surrounded by natives, her “merciless enemies.”
The next day is Sunday, and Rowlandson considers how many Sabbath days she wasted, how careless she has been with “God’s holy time.” She knows God has every right to cause her to be punished, yet He continues to show her grace and mercy despite her failings.
Another captive comes to see Rowlandson. He tells her that an Indian once healed him by putting oak leaves in his wound. Rowlandson puts oak leaves on her own wound and is eventually healed. During this time, Rowlandson’s daughter Sarah cries incessantly, and the Indians threaten to harm the child if she is not quiet.
Rowlandson sits on her knees with her wounded, sick child on her lap for nine days, still without any sustenance. Sarah dies that night, on February 18, 1675, at the age of six years and five months. Before, Rowlandson could not bear to be in the presence of a dead body; now she lies next to her daughter’s cold body and thanks God for preserving her sanity and preventing her from trying to take her own life during that long night.
In the morning, the Indians realize the child is dead and take Rowlandson to her master, Quinnapin (a Sagamore married to King Phillip’s sister) who bought her from her original captor, a Narragansett. She wants to take her daughter’s body with her but has to obey them. When she is able to leave her master, the Indians show her they buried Sarah on the hill.
Rowlandson goes to see her ten-year-old daughter, Mary, who is in the same town. Mary was taken by a Praying Indian and sold for a gun. When Mary sees her mother approaching, she begins to cry inconsolably; the Indians immediately send Rowlandson away and she walks aimlessly, praying and grieving for her children: one dead, one kept from her, and another lost somewhere. Immediately, God answers her prayer and Rowlandson’s son comes to her and asks how she is. He was taken to a village six miles away; he has talked with Mary and is heartbroken to hear that Sarah is dead.
The Indians from her son’s village have been on a raid; when they return, there is much outrageous “roaring...
(The entire section is 505 words.)
The Fourth Remove Summary
The Indians disperse and Rowlandson is forced to leave her fellow captives and what little comfort she had. She has to leave her daughter Mary (whom she will not see again until she sees her “in Dorchester, returned from captivity”). She is also separated from “four little cousins and neighbors” (whom she will never see again, and only God knows what happened to them). Rowlandson learns that the miserable woman with whom Rowlandson read the Bible for comfort did deliver her child but so vexed her captors about going home that they finally beat her and then stripped her and her child naked before burning them alive. The woman prayed but shed no tears during her ordeal, and the Indians warned the captive children that this would be their fates as well.
Rowlandson’s journey takes a day and a half, and the party stops in the middle of a desolate wilderness with no inhabitants and no wigwams. They arrive in the middle of the afternoon: “cold and wet, and snowy, and hungry, and weary, and no refreshing for man but the cold ground to sit on.” She is still heartbroken as she thinks about her children, and she is physically suffering from both hunger and hardship. Rowlandson is weak and sore, barely even able to articulate her misery; but God helps her express it to Him.
She opens her Bible and finds a scripture in Jeremiah which encourages her to stop mourning and weeping; she will eventually be removed “from the land of the enemy.” These words bring tears to her eyes and comfort to her heart. The Indians stay here for four days.
(The entire section is 275 words.)
The Fifth Remove Summary
Rowlandson believes she and her captors have to move again because the English army is following them. They send men back to hold off the soldiers while the others (the old, the young, the women, and the infirm) travel as quickly as possible to the Banquag River. The entire party arrives on Friday, just after noon, and there are too many of them for Rowlandson to count.
Because of her wound, Rowlandson does not have to carry anything but her knitting and two quarts of parched meal. Though she is weak from hunger, when she asks her mistress for a spoonful of the meal, her request is denied.
The Indians quickly cut dry trees and make rafts to carry the tribe across the river. Though others get their feet and legs wet, Rowlandson was able to cross without getting her feet wet, a favor from God because her body is weak and the air is cold. She is surprised at how dangerous such crossings are and remembers comforting scriptures about God’s presence while passing through rough waters. It takes several days for everyone to cross the river.
On Saturday night, the squaws “boil an old horse’s leg which they had got” and everyone drinks the broth. In her first week with the tribe, Rowlandson refused to eat almost everything she was offered; during the second week of her captivity, she began to feel weak but still found it “very hard to get down their filthy trash.” By the third week of her captivity, the foods that had been so revolting to her are now “sweet and savory to [her] taste.”
She refuses to do any knitting for the tribe on the Sabbath; though the Indians threaten to harm her if she does not knit for them, they let her keep the Sabbath. God’s providence is evident to Rowlandson as she sees the hundreds of Indians, most of whom are squaws traveling with all their possessions, make it across the river on the same day the English army arrives. The last Indians to cross burn the tribe's wigwams. The soldiers see the smoke and arrive just after the burning, but they are not bold or eager enough to follow the tribe across the river.
Rowlandson believes she is “not ready for so great a mercy as victory and deliverance” or God would have made a way for the English to cross the river and rescue her.
(The entire section is 408 words.)
The Sixth Remove Summary
It is now Monday, and the Indians have burned their wigwams behind them before crossing the river to escape the English army. It is a cold morning and the river has a thin coat of ice on it. During the crossing, some wade into the water “up to the knees and higher,” but others search for a drier crossing. Rowlandson and some of the others walk until they find a beaver dam to assist them in their crossing. God’s providence keeps her feet dry during the ordeal.
Rowlandson spends the day in mourning because she is now even farther from her “own country.” As she travels into this “vast and howling wilderness,” Rowlandson believes she understands how Lot’s wife must have felt when she was tempted to look behind her upon being forced to leave her home.
The tribe camps near a large swamp for the night; when she looks down from the hill overlooking the swamp, Rowlandson thinks she must be looking at some huge Indian village, though it is only her own tribe. It seems to her that Indians are everywhere and “a thousand hatchets [are] going at once.” In front of her, behind her, and on every side of her there are nothing but Indians. She is the only “Christian soul” in the tribe and she wonders how the Lord has spared and preserved her life in such circumstances. Rowlandson is again struck by the goodness of God to her and those she loves.
(The entire section is 249 words.)
The Seventh Remove Summary
After a “restless and hungry” night spent near the swamp, Rowlandson and the others survive a “grievous day of travel.” She feels as if her heart and legs will both break and fail her, but she is encouraged and somewhat comforted to see signs of English cattle and people near the trail. Soon Rowlandson sees an English path, and the sight alone is enough to make her want to lie down and die.
Shortly after noon, the tribe stops at Squakeag so the Indians can glean whatever they can find in the English fields, including ears of wheat, Indian corn, ground nuts, and frozen sheaves of wheat which could be thawed and threshed. Rowlandson is able to gather two ears of Indian corn; however, as soon as she turns her back, one of them is stolen and she is quite troubled by this theft.
An Indian carrying a basket of horse liver walks by and Rowlandson asks him for a piece of it. The man is surprised at her request, but she tells him she will try to eat some if he gives her a piece. The Indian grants her request and she places the meat on the coals to roast. While it is cooking, some Indians take half of it away from her and she is forced to eat what is left. Though it is virtually raw, Rowlandson is hungry and finds the horse liver to be a “savory bit.”
It is a sobering sight for Rowlandson to see the English fields plundered to provide food for the “merciless enemies” of the English. The tribe eats a “mess of wheat” for dinner that night.
(The entire section is 275 words.)
The Eighth Remove Summary
Tomorrow the tribe crosses the Connecticut River to meet with King Philip. Just as Rowlandson is about to step into a canoe, an outcry and scurrying occurs because the Indians discover some nearby English scouts. As the tribe regroups to make the crossing further downriver, Rowlandson’s son Joseph unexpectedly finds her. They remember their past life and bemoan their circumstances but are comforted by the words of Job and Psalms in the Bible. Rowlandson is thankful that God has been good enough to remind her of comforting verses throughout her harrowing ordeal.
The tribes travel until night and in the morning Rowlandson is part of the group which crosses the river for the meeting with King Philip. She is amazed to see the “numerous crew of pagans” waiting on the other side. When Rowlandson steps onto shore, she is immediately surrounded by these Indians as they share stories celebrating their gruesome victories in battle. She is so discouraged that, for the first time, she cries in front of her captors. Until now, though she has been discouraged, she has been too bewildered to cry; now she is too discouraged to withhold her tears. The Indians ask why she is crying and offer her gifts and comfort.
King Philip offers Rowlandson a seat and some tobacco, something she has not used since she was taken captive and is a “bewitching” habit of which she is happy to be free. The Indians “gather their forces” to make a raid on Northampton. The night before they leave, they yell and holler about their plans and prepare their provisions for battle.
While the Indians are gone, King Philip asks Rowlandson to make his son a shirt; she does and he gives her a shilling. She offers the money to her master but he allows her to keep it and she buys some horse meat. King Philip asks her to make his son a cap and pays her with food; though it is unpleasant, Rowlandson says she has “never tasted pleasanter meat in [her] life.” Others ask Rowlandson to make items for them and pay her in food. She makes a stew with her earnings and shares it with her master and mistress. The persnickety squaw will only eat a few bits of meat her husband picks out of the stew.
She finds Joseph (her son) lying on the ground praying, and Mary Thurston of Medfield offers her a hat to wear (though as soon as Rowlandson leaves, Thurston’s mistress comes and takes it back from her). A squaw gives Rowlandson a spoonful of meal...
(The entire section is 494 words.)
The Ninth Remove Summary
Instead of going either to Albany or toward her home (Massachusetts), the tribe goes five miles upriver and crosses it. They live here for a while. One “sorry Indian” asks Rowlandson to make him a shirt, which she does, but he refuses to pay her. He lives near the river, so each day when she fetches water she calls to him to pay her. Finally he tells her he will give her a knife if she makes him another shirt for a yet-to-be-born papoose. She makes the shirt and he gives her a knife. Her master demands that she give it to him and she does, pleased that she finally has something which he might find acceptable.
Rowlandson’s mistress has been gone for three weeks in the Narragansett country to find corn and returns with a peck and a half. During this time, the “great captain” Naananto was killed in Narragansett country. Rowlandson asks permission to visit her son about a mile away and is allowed to go; however, she gets lost in the hills and swamps and encounters many Indians she does not know or recognize. She thanks the “wonderful power and goodness of God” which protects her from any harm before she returns to her home and master.
Her master takes Rowlandson to her son and she discovers Joseph is suffering from a boil on his side. After they commiserate for a bit, Rowlandson returns home, “mourning and lamenting,” ready to “sink with the thoughts of [her] poor children.” Her son is ill and there is no Christian person near him to help or give him comfort. Rowlandson does not know where her daughter is—or even if she is alive. She again finds sustaining comfort in the Bible.
Looking for something to eat, Rowlandson finds a squaw who kindly gives her a piece of bear which she places in her pocket. Unfortunately, she cannot roast it, fearing someone will steal it from her; in the morning she asks the kind squaw to boil the meat in her kettle, which she does. The squaw also offers Rowlandson some ground nuts and Rowlandson enjoys a pleasant meal. Eating bear would, at one time, have turned her stomach, but now she finds the meat quite savory.
One bitterly cold day, Rowlandson cannot find room to sit around the fire in her wigwam, so she goes to another wigwam where she is made welcome, fed, and invited to return. These strangers even said they would buy her if they could.
(The entire section is 420 words.)
The Tenth Remove Summary
Today, a small group of the tribe journeys three quarters of a mile away, and they intend to journey even farther away tomorrow. Mary Rowlandson is among this group. The group arrives at the site where they intended to set up their encampment for the night; after they pitch their wigwams, Rowlandson is hungry and must think of how she will feed herself. She goes back to the place they “were before at” and hopes to find some kind of sustenance. She goes to the wigwam, encouraged by the squaw’s former kindness; the woman had asked her to come back, so that is what Rowlandson does.
While she is there, an Indian who was sent to “look after” her manages to find her and kicks her out of the kind squaw’s wigwam. Rowlandson is forced to return to the encampment and discovers venison being roasted for the group for the evening meal. Despite her ravenous hunger, Rowlandson is not given even one bite to eat. Rowlandson observes that in the course of her journey in captivity, she sometimes finds God’s favor; however, sometimes she is met with “nothing but frowns.” Tonight she finds no favor and plenty of frowns.
(The entire section is 202 words.)
The Eleventh Remove Summary
The next morning, the group starts traveling once again, intending to journey up the river. Mary Rowlandson puts her loaded pack on her back and soon they all have to wade across the river. After that, they trudge over “tiresome and wearisome hills.” One of those hills is so treacherously steep that she nearly has to crawl on her hands and knees to reach the top; all the while, she has to hold onto twigs and branches in order to keep herself from falling back down the hill.
Rowlandson grows so lightheaded that she often finds herself reeling unsteadily as she walks. Her only hope in the midst of her torment and captivity rests in the thought that these “wearisome steps” which she now takes are just a precursor to her future “heavenly rest.” She quotes Psalm 119:75 which says that God’s judgments are right and any affliction He gives His children are given only through His faithfulness. As always, Rowlandson finds comfort in the Word of God.
(The entire section is 168 words.)
The Twelfth Remove Summary
The tribe leaves again on a Sunday morning; this is the day Rowlandson asks her master if he would sell her to her husband. He says “Nux,” and Rowlandson rejoices in her spirit. Her mistress leaves to attend the burial of a papoose and comes back to find Rowlandson reading her Bible. Immediately the mistress snatches the book and throws it outside. Rowlandson retrieves it and puts it in her pocket, careful never to let her mistress see it again.
Rowlandson complains that the load she must bear for the journey is too heavy, but all her mistress gives her is a slap across the face and a command to go. Rowlandson expresses her sorrows to God and hopes her redemption is near because her captors’ “insolency [grows] worse and worse.”
Despite that, the tribe is heading toward her home, so her spirits are lifted and her load seems lighter. Things soon change, however, when her mistress refuses to go any further, decides to turn back, and insists that Rowlandson go with her. Her husband refuses to go and commands that his wife rejoin them in three days. Rowlandson confesses that she feels impatience and outrage at this change in course, but she complies with her mistress’s wishes. As soon as she is able, Rowlandson reads her Bible and finds a verse which calms her spirit for a time.
Rowlandson believes her master is her best ally, and she discovers it is true when she is away from him. Now she is cold and hungry, forced to scavenge acorns and chestnuts for food and gather sticks to build her own fire. Soon she is sent from her own fire and wigwam, forced by an Indian wielding a sword to find another place to sleep. (She later meets him, along with several others, in Boston, disguised as Friend Indians.) Rowlandson asks for a place to sleep at several wigwams and is told there is no room; finally an old Indian couple takes her in, giving her a few nuts and something on which to lay her head. The fire is strong and, by God’s providence, she has a good night’s sleep.
The encampment is about two miles from the Connecticut River. Rowlandson and some others go there to gather ground nuts. They return at the end of the day with heavy loads on their backs, since they carry all their belongings with them any time they leave, even for a short trip. When Rowlandson complains that her load is scraping the skin on her back, she is told no one cares about her back, nor would anyone care if her head got...
(The entire section is 448 words.)
The Thirteenth Remove Summary
The group travels away from the Bay (near Rowlandson’s home) and heads five or six miles downriver where they stay for almost two weeks. An Indian asks Rowlandson to make him a shirt in exchange for food; when she asks him about her son, the Indian taunts her, saying he ate the boy (and he was “tasty”). She consoles herself with the knowledge that the Indians are rarely truthful with her. That night a squaw throws ashes in Rowlandson’s eyes, but she is not blinded. She is discouraged and beginning to think that all her “hopes of restoration” will amount to nothing.
Rowlandson dreams of being rescued by the English army or being sold to her husband as her master has discussed. Unfortunately, her master is not among this group. She fails even to find comfort in her Bible, though she knows God has not forsaken her. Soon some Indians “came yelping” about killing three Englishmen and bring a captive, Thomas Read. Rowlandson wants to comfort the sobbing man and asks if the Indians intend to kill Read. They do not, which brings him some comfort. She asks Read about her husband; he is well but quite melancholy. Rowlandson is glad to know the Indians have been lying to her about him, as well.
Rowlandson learns her son is here and tells him the good news about his father; she is impressed that the boy had been grieving for his father, as she has little energy with which to grieve for anyone but herself. John Gilbert of Springfield is “sick of a flux” from eating so much bloody meat; he and a sick papoose have been turned out of their wigwam into the bitter cold and left to die. She nearly forces him prepare a fire before she returns to her wigwam. As soon as she arrives, Gilbert’s master’s daughter demands to know where Gilbert is. When Rowlandson goes to show her where she left him, she is accused of trying to run away, threatened with hatchets, and confined to her wigwam. Her affliction is great: if she stays inside she will starve and if she goes outside she will be struck. After two days, she is released to go knit socks for an Indian and gets her freedom and a bit of food.
Joseph is allowed to stay with her for a time. She combs the lice out of his hair, but he stays too long and angers his master. The boy is sold to a new, kinder Indian. Rowlandson does not see her son until after she returns home.
That night her mistress’s papoose dies and suddenly Rowlandson is treated...
(The entire section is 506 words.)
The Fourteenth Remove Summary
It is time for the group to pack up and move from this encampment and begin journeying toward Baystown. Rowlandson has only a few crumbs of cake to eat; it is has been in her pocket since the day she was captured and it is so moldy she can hardly tell what it is. The cake is dry, crumbly, and hard, “like little flints,” but it is enough to sustain her when she grows faint with hunger. Even as she eats the crude and meager food, Rowlandson thinks about how she will tell others, if she ever returns, that God blessed her with sustenance.
Along the way, the Indians kill a deer which is pregnant with a fawn. The Indians give Rowlandson a piece of the fawn, and it is tender enough that she can eat both the meat and the bones. It tastes very good to her.
That night it rains, but the Indians quickly build a bark wigwam and Rowlandson stays dry, although many of the Indians spend the night outside in the rain. (She can tell because they smell.) These are a few of the ways God takes care of her during her time in captivity, and she knows she has been treated better than many other captives have been treated.
In the morning, the Indians take the blood of the deer and put it in a pouch to boil; while the Indians eat this with relish, Rowlandson is unable to eat any of this substance. While the Indians are sometimes quite kind to her, they are also capricious and threaten to beat her for harmless actions.
(The entire section is 270 words.)
The Fifteenth Remove Summary
The Indians’ journey soon continues. Rowlandson gets a handful of nuts as her food for the day and puts on her loaded pack, finding herself in good spirits because she has food and is heading homeward. Her back is more burdened than her spirit this morning. At the Banquang River, the group stops again for several days.
Rowlandson is randomly given a pipe, a little tobacco, and some salt by members of the group; she trades these items for a little food. She is often so greedily hungry that, when she is given a morsel of hot food, she burns her mouth in her haste to devour it—and would do it again if she were given the opportunity. Now that she has been “thoroughly hungry,” Rowlandson is “never again satisfied.” Occasionally she does get enough to eat and stuffs herself until she can eat nothing more, yet she feels as unsatisfied as when she was starving.
For Rowlandson, this is a picture of what sin has done to mankind, offering nothing but misery and dissatisfaction. Many times she considers condemning her Indian captors, but then she remembers some specific scriptures and is forced to think about the things she must still learn, including mercy and humility.
(The entire section is 207 words.)
The Sixteenth Remove Summary
The group must wade across the Banquang River. The water is cold and up past Rowlandson’s knees; she is so weak and the water is so swift that she is afraid, after surviving so many other trials and tribulations, this will be the last thing she does before she dies. The Indians laugh at her, but God gives her strength when she remembers His promise to bring her through the river without drowning (Isaiah 43:2).
When Rowlandson finally crosses the river, she sits down to put on her shoes and stockings as tears run down her face. Nevertheless, she rises and rejoins the group. Soon an Indian arrives to announce that Rowlandson must go immediately to Wachusett (where her master is) because a letter has arrived at the council of the Sagamores. The letter concerns “redeeming the captives,” and another letter will arrive in fourteen days. Rowlandson must be there and ready when the second letter arrives.
Her once-heavy heart is suddenly so light that she feels as if she could run. Her strength returns to bolster her “feeble knees, and aching heart.” Despite the urgency, the group only travels one mile and then stays there for two days. During this time, a company of nearly thirty Indians arrive on horseback.
When Rowlandson first sees them, she is excited to think they might be Englishmen because they are dressed in fine English clothes. As they come nearer, though, she sees that the heathens’ “foul looks” are nothing like the “lovely faces of Christians.” Once again her spirit is crushed.
(The entire section is 259 words.)
The Seventeenth Remove Summary
This is one of the most comfortable journeys Rowlandson has made because she is so hopeful. At the beginning of the day, she is loaded with a pack, as usual, and feels quite strong; however, she soon realizes that her spirit is stronger than her strength. It is not long before both are depleted.
That night the Indians sit down by one of the wigwams and talk, but Rowlandson is too exhausted even to speak. She goes inside the wigwam and finds an Indian boiling horses’ feet (the last part of the horse the Indians ever eat). Rowlandson asks him for some of the broth, which he gives her along with some samp [a kind of Indian porridge], telling her to drink as much as she is able. She eats and her spirits are revived. The Indian also gives her “a piece of the ruff or ridding of the small guts” which she roasts on the coals.
Rowlandson eats and it tastes as sweet as honey to her. Her spirit is renewed and she is reminded that even rude and humble things, when they are used by God for blessing, are able to refresh the soul as well as the body.
(The entire section is 201 words.)
The Eighteenth Remove Summary
Today is a wearying day of travel. Along the way, Rowlandson sees an unknown dead Englishman, stripped naked and lying on the ground. Soon the travelers arrive at another Indian village where they spend the night. Rowlandson discovers four English children living in this village, one of whom is her niece, her sister’s daughter. Rowlandson checks on her, and the girl is doing well, “considering her captive condition.” She wants to spend the night with the girl, but her captors do not allow it.
In another wigwam, Indians are boiling corn and beans; it would be a delightful meal for Rowlandson, but she is not allowed to eat any of it. Two of the other English children are living in another wigwam where Rowlandson visits, and a squaw is boiling horses’ feet. The Indian woman cuts off two tiny pieces and gives them to one of the English children and to Rowlandson.
The hungry woman is ravenous and quickly eats her bit; the child is unable to eat the tough, sinewy morsel. The child lays on the ground, “sucking, gnawing, chewing,” and drooling all over its mouth and hand. Rowlandson takes the food from the child and eats it, finding it quite tasty and much to her liking. Rowlandson is reminded of a verse in Job which talks about “sorrowful meat” and is refreshed by this food which “would have been an abomination” to her before her captivity.
When she goes back to her master’s wigwam, Rowlandson is scolded for disgracing him by her begging. If she does such a thing again, she will be knocked in the head. Rowlandson says she would rather be knocked in the head than starved.
(The entire section is 283 words.)
The Nineteenth Remove Summary
Today’s journey to Wachusett is especially exhausting, but Rowlandson takes encouragement from the Psalms. King Philip is traveling with them and says she will be reunited with her master (who had been absent for three weeks) today and with her husband within two weeks.
When her master sees her condition, he insists that Rowlandson wash herself (something she has not done for a month) and be given food. She is quite revived by his kindness.
Her master has three squaws with whom he alternates living; here he lives with his old squaw. Another of his squaws is Weetamoo, “a severe and proud dame” who dresses like an English noblewoman. Rowlandson has been living with and serving Weetamoo for the past weeks. The third squaw is a young woman with two papooses. The older two squaws begin to treat Rowlandson better, hoping to receive some of the redemption money from Rowlandson’s return.
The Indian council asks her how much her husband will pay for her. Rowlandson is afraid to name an amount but finally says twenty pounds, not knowing if he will be able to procure that amount. A Praying Indian (part of a group notorious for mischief and double-dealing) writes the return letter, and the Indians go to Sudbury to fight. The Indians come back after killing a hundred Englishmen; however, they do not boast as they usually do. They seem to know they will experience losses quite soon, and they do.
In the next weeks, Rowlandson is treated with more kindness and generosity by the Indians, and she is reminded to be thankful for little kindnesses.
(The entire section is 269 words.)
The Twentieth Remove Summary
The group travels three or four miles and sets up a wigwam that will hold a hundred in preparation for a celebration. They fear the governor will be upset by the Sudbury massacre and will no longer be interested in redeeming the captives. Indians begin to gather and Rowlandson longs to see her family, who are still in captivity, but she is not allowed to do so. The Indians are tyrannical, but soon Rowlandson will be free.
John Hoar arrives with a third letter, and Rowlandson is finally able to talk to him and learn that her husband and friends are well. The next day, Hoar invites the Sagamores to dinner but discovers the Indians have stolen nearly all the provisions he brought with him. By God’s mercy, the Indians do not harm Hoar or Rowlandson, who are far outnumbered.
All the Indians dress in their finest and dance all night. Rowlandson’s master promises to set her free tomorrow if Hoar will give him a pint of liquor, which he does. King Philip asks Rowlandson what she will give him to “speak a good word” on her behalf, but she knows the trickery of the Indians and declines his offer. Her master, the only Indian Rowlandson ever sees drunk, behaves erratically. Three days later, Hoar arrives again with a letter. Rowlandson is torn, afraid she might have to leave her children in captivity.
Rowlandson reflects on some instances of God’s providence during her “afflicted time,” including His provision of food, even though it was often that which “a hog or a dog would hardly touch.”
Finally the Indians agree to let Rowlandson go, and she is thankful God is finally allowing her to leave. In all her time with the Indians, Rowlandson has never been sexually used or spoken to, and she credits God for protecting her. Hoar takes her to Lancaster, and she is overcome when she sees the decimated town. They go on to Concord, where Rowlandson meets family members who anxiously ask about their loved ones, and then they go to Boston, where she is reunited with her husband. The couple mourn for their children and are treated well by many kind Christians.
They stay with Thomas Shepard in Charlestown for eleven weeks. In that time, several other captives are returned but not the Rowlandson children. Just as Rowlandson is about to sink into despair, her son Joseph (and her nephew) is returned for a price; soon after their daughter is returned as well.
The Rowlandsons live...
(The entire section is 468 words.)