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hills and through the ravines, jumping fences and leaping ditches, with laughing and shouting, until at last they alighted at some house agreed on.
There a feast awaited them, and a fiddler who helped to make the evening a merry one.
A curious tradition of the island is that of the “Dancing Mortar.” This mortar was a section of a lignum-vitæ tree fourteen inches long and ten in diameter, and hollowed out at one end to contain about four quarts. In such mortars the early settlers put corn, a handful at a time, and pounded it into meal with a stone pestle. The wood was so hard and crossgrained as to stand almost any amount of pounding without being split or worn. Simon Ray owned the Dancing Mortar. After he and his family died their house was occupied by people of another name, and then for a considerable period it was said to be haunted. That was when the mortar won its name by dancing around the room it was in without any one's touching it, and performing all sorts of strange antics. It would throw itself on its side and roll to and fro, then right itself, and hop up from the floor several times in succession. At least, that is the way the story runs.
The first Block Island hotel was opened in 1842, but not until thirty years later did the island really begin to develop into the popular resort it has now become.
King Philip and His Narragansett Allies
EAR the old Rhode Island town of Bristol is NE
Mount Hope, where that most famous of New England Indians, King Philip, dwelt, and where he met his tragic death. It is a hill rather than a mountain, and its treeless rounded summit is thinly grassed
pasturage. The most flourishing growths there are huckleberry bushes, goldenrod, and thistles. The mount is at the end of a peninsula, and round about are irregular inlets from the sea. King Philip's village was at the foot of a rude crag where there was a good spring, and where it was sheltered from the rough northwest winds.
Philip's father, Massasoit, maintained friendship with the whites, sold them land, and fed them when they were starving; but as Philip grew older he perceived the increasing power of the English with alarm. They were overrunning the whole country. At length he determined to act, and he journeyed from tribe to tribe inciting them to unite against the white men.
The struggle began in 1675, and many an exposed English village was wiped out, and hundreds of the settlers' lives were sacrificed. Late that year the greatest battle of the war was fought in the southern part of Rhode Island not far from Kingston. There nearly two thousand Narragansett Indians, including women and children, had taken refuge on a piece of rising ground, five or six acres in extent, in the middle of a "hideous swamp. They planned to pass the winter on this swamp island, and they erected on it five hundred bark wigwams, which they lined with skins and made bullet proof by piling around the inner sides baskets and tubs full of corn and dried fish. The tubs were sections of hollow trees cut off about the length of a barrel. The Indians fenced in
the island with a strong stockade of logs set on end, outside of which trees were cut down to form a hedge a rod wide. The single door in the palisade was guarded
by a block-
An army of eleven hundred whites from the colonies
of Massachusetts, Plymouth, and Connecticut, and one hundred and fifty friendly Indians, prepared
to assail this A lurking Indian
Winter setting in when the expedition started, and the men who had to go farthest were nearly a month on the way. On the eighteenth of December, when they approached the swamp, their provisions were getting so low that they decided to attack the next day.
Fires were built, and by their light guns were cleaned and everything made ready. The troops had no tents, and they slept in the open, with no other blankets than a "moist fleece of snow."
They were up at five o'clock the following morning, and began the toilsome march by a roundabout route to the fort in the swamp. An Indian who had quarrelled with his fellows joined them and was enticed by the promise of a reward to act as their guide. They arrived before the Narragansett stronghold soon after noon of the short winter day. The cold was extreme, and the air was filled with falling snow. Some of the soldiers ran out on the tree trunk which bridged the water opposite the entrance, but were swept off by the bullets of the Indians' guns. More pressed forward only to share the same fate.
But a little party of whites went around to the other side of the island and found a way across the partially frozen swamp up to the palisades. They climbed on each other's shoulders, fought their way over the ramparts, and contended with the Indians hand to hand inside of the fort. More of the soldiers came to their assistance and hacked a breach through the stockade.
Meanwhile the assault at the front had been renewed, and presently the entrance was stormed. All the English were soon in the fort, but the Indian resistance was stubborn, and the assailants could only force the foe back foot by foot. Then the wigwams