Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

In this way it runs: "The Emperor" (of Austria) "being at war with the Turks, Smith entered his service as a volunteer. A well conducted and successful exploit obtained for the youthful adventurer the command of a company of two hundred and fifty horse, in the regiment of Count Meldrick, a nobleman of Transylvania. In this new situation, Smith distinguished himself by his talents and bravery; and his commander passing from the imperial into the Transylvanian army, he accompanied him. At the siege of Regal, the Ottomans sent a challenge, purporting that the Lord Turbisha, for the diversion of the ladies, would fight any single captain of the Christian troops. The honor of meeting the barbarian was decided by lot among the Christians, and fell upon Smith, who accordingly fought and overcame him, within sight of the ladies, and bore his head in triumph to his general. A friend of the infidel, upon this, sent a particular challenge to Smith, who accepted it, and engaging with him in the presence of the ladies, as before, slew him in like manner, and sent a message into the town to inform the ladies, if they wished for further sport, they were welcome to his head, provided their third champion could take it. Bonamalgro appeared as his antagonist, and having unhorsed him was near gaining the victory; but Smith remounted in a fortunate moment, and with a stroke of his falchion brought the Turk to the earth, and added his head to the former trophies of his prowess. On his return to the Christian army, he was received in the most distinguished manner; was honored with a military procession of six thousand men; was presented with a horse, elegantly caparisoned, a cimeter worth three hundred ducats, and a commission as a major. When the place was captured, the prince of Transylvania gave Smith his picture set in gold, with a pension of three hundred ducats per annum, and a coat of arms bearing three Turks' heads in a shield. After this, the army in which he served was defeated by the enemy, on which occasion he was wounded, and lay among the dead. The victors, discovering him to be a person of consequence, used him well till his wounds were healed, and then sold him to a pacha, who made a present of him to his mistress at Constantinople. Smith conducted himself in so pleasing a manner as to gain the affections of the lady, who, to prevent his being ill-used, sent him to her brother, a pacha on the borders of the Sea of Azoph, upon the pretence that he should there learn the manners, religion, &c, of the natives. By the terms of the letter the brother suspected the true state of the case; and in an hour after his arrival, Smith was stripped, had his head and beard shaven, and was driven to labor with the Christian slaves. An opportunity presented itself for his escape, which he took advantage of with his usual courage. Being employed in threshing, about a league from the house of his tyrant, who visited him daily, and treated him in the most abusive and cruel manner. Smith watched his opportunity while they were together, and despatched him by a stroke of his threshing instrument. He secreted the body in the straw, and securing a bag of grain mounted the pacha's horse, and betook himself to the desert, where he wandered for two or three days, until he came to a post, by the marks on which he made his way into Muscovy, and in sixteen days arrived at a place on the river Don, occupied by a Russian garrison. Here he was kindly received."

Referring in his description of New England to the locality now known as Salem, Captain Smith says: "From hence doth stretch into the sea the fair headland Tragabigzanda, fronted with three isles, called the Three Turks' Heads." This language gives the impression that the discoverer took pleasure in thinking that he had found a fitting point on the coast to bear the name of his benefactress. Whittier, our genuine New England poet, referring to Cape Ann, in his loving tribute to the Merrimack, presumes that Captain Smith gave the Turkish name with as much ceremony as with his little company he could attempt. Thus he sings: —

"On yonder rocky Cape which braves
The stormy challenge of the waves,
Midst tangled vine and dwarfish wood
The hardy Anglo-Saxon stood,

Planting upon the topmost crag
The staff of England's battle-flag;
And, while from out its heavy fold
St. George's crimson cross unrolled,
Midst roll of drum and trumpet blare,
And weapons brandishing in air,
He gave to that lone promontory
The sweetest name in all his story; —
Of her — the flower of Islam's daughters,
Whose harems look on Stamboul's waters —
Who, when the chance of war had bound
The Moslem chain his limbs around,
Wreathed o'er with silk that iron chain,
Soothed with her smiles his hours of pain,
And fondly to her youthful slave
A dearer gift than freedom gave."

Proceeding from his reference to the "fair headland," and to the "three isles" fronting it, Captain Smith further says: "To the north of this" (the fair headland) "doth enter a great bay, where we found some habitations and cornfields." Clearly, in the beginning of this sentence, Ipswich Bay is meant; but, as to the meaning of the words following, nothing can be positively said. It may be considered probable, however, that the "habitations and cornfields " were found somewhere on the north side of the Cape. Tools and weapons of Indian manufacture, lately found on Folly Point, on the northern slope of Pigeon Hill, and near Pigeon Cove, as well as others like them dug in recent and in former days from the sands of Coffin's Beach, are silent but admissible witnesses which strengthen the probability.

[merged small][graphic][merged small]

Moreover, let it not be supposed that there were no fertile, sunny places for corn on the north side of the Cape in the long ago time in review. There were here then giant oaks and lofty pines, which both attested the strength of the soil and shielded the cornfields from wind and storm. Many of these majestic trees stood on Andrews' Point, and were felled and made into keels and ribs for ships, within the memory of persons still living. A few of these trees stand to-day to tell of the ancient forest grandeur of the "fair headland." A dozen or more of them are in the Babson pasture, inside the highway passing Halibut Point. One old oak near Pigeon Cove Harbor, occupying scant ground between ruts made by wheels carrying granite to the breakwater, and Mr. Marchant's coal-yard, if it were like Tennyson's "Talking Oak," would no doubt rehearse the incidents of three hundred years. Still in the

« AnteriorContinuar »