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[131] hands. The decision of his fate was referred to Pow-
Chap IV} 1607-8
hatan, who was then residing in what is now Gloucester county, on York River, at a village to which Smith was conducted through the regions, now so celebrated, where the youthful Lafayette hovered upon the skirts of Cornwallis, and the arms of France and the Confederacy were united to achieve the crowning victory of American independence. The passion of vanity rules in forests as well as in cities; the grim warriors, as they met in council, displayed their gayest apparel before the Englishman, whose doom they had assembled to pronounce. The fears of the feeble aborigines were about to prevail, and his immediate death, already repeatedly threatened and repeatedly delayed, would have been inevitable, but for the timely intercession of Pocahontas, the daughter of Powhatan, a girl ‘of tenne’ or ‘twelve’ ‘years old, which not only for feature, countenance, and expression, much exceeded any of the rest of his people, but for wit and spirit, was the only nonpareil of the country.’ The gentle feelings of humanity are the same in every race, and in every period of life; they bloom, though unconsciously, even in the bosom of a child. Smith had easily won the confiding fondness of the Indian maiden; and now the impulse of mercy awakened within her breast; she clung firmly to his neck, as his head was bowed to receive the strokes of the tomahawk. Did the childlike superstition of her kindred reverence her interference as a token from a superior power? Her fearlessness and her entreaties persuaded the council to spare the agreeable stranger, who might make hatchets for her father, and rattles and strings of beads for herself, the favorite child. The barbarians, whose decision had long been held in suspense by the mysterious awe

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