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[130] as he could advance in boats, but struck into the in-
Chap. IV.} 1607-8
terior. His companions disobeyed his instructions, and, being surprised by the Indians, were put to death. Smith himself, who, in the plains of the Crimea and of Southern Russia, had become acquainted with the superstitions and the manners of wandering tribes, did not beg for life, but preserved it by the calmness of self-possession. Displaying a pocket compass, he amused the savages by an explanation of its powers, and increased their admiration of his superior genius, by imparting to them some vague conceptions of the form of the earth and the nature of the planetary system. To the Indians, who retained him as their prisoner, his captivity was a more strange event than any thing of which the traditions of their tribes preserved the memory. He was allowed to send a letter to the fort at Jamestown; and the savage wonder was increased; for he seemed, by some magic, to endow the paper with the gift of intelligence. The curiosity of all the clans of the neighborhood was awakened by the prisoner; he was conducted in triumph from the settlements on the Chickahominy to the Indian villages on the Rappahannock and the Potomac; and thence, through other towns, to the residence of Opechancanough, at Pamunkey. There, for the space of three days, they practised incantations and ceremonies, in the hope of obtaining some insight into the mystery of his character and his designs. It was evident that he was a being of a higher order: was his nature beneficent, or was he to be dreaded as a dangerous enemy? Their minds were bewildered, as they beheld his calm fearlessness; and they sedulously observed towards him the utmost reverence and hospitality, as if to propitiate his power, should he be rescued from their

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