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The Hidden Children
by Robert W. Chambers, 1914
TO MY MOTHER
Whatever merit may lie in this book is due to her wisdom, her sympathy and her teaching
No undue liberties with history have been attempted in this romance. Few characters in the story are purely imaginary. Doubtless the fastidious reader will distinguish these intruders at a glance, and very properly ignore them. For they, and what they never were, and what they never did, merely sugar-coat a dose disguised, and gild the solid pill of fact with tinselled fiction.
But from the flames of Poundridge town ablaze, to the rolling smoke of Catharines-town, Romance but limps along a trail hewed out for her more dainty feet by History, and measured inch by inch across the bloody archives of the nation.
The milestones that once marked that dark and dreadful trail were dead men, red and white. Today a spider-web of highways spreads over that Dark Empire of the League, enmeshing half a thousand towns now all a-buzz by day and all a-glow by night.
Empire, League, forest, are vanished; of the nations which formed the Confederacy only altered fragments now remain. But their memory and their great traditions have not perished; cities, mountains, valleys, rivers, lakes, and ponds are endowed with added beauty from the lovely names they wear-- a tragic yet a charming legacy from Kanonsis and Kanonsionni, the brave and mighty people of the Long House, and those outside its walls who helped to prop or undermine it, Huron and Algonquin.
Perhaps of all national alliances ever formed, the Great Peace, which is called the League of the Iroquois, was as noble as any. For it was a league formed solely to impose peace. Those who took up arms against the Long House were received as allies when conquered-- save only the treacherous Cat Nation, or Eries, who were utterly annihilated by the knife and hatchet or by adoption and ultimate absorption in the Seneca Nation.
As for the Lenni-Lenape, when they kept faith with the League they remained undisturbed as one of the "props" of the Long House, and their role in the Confederacy was embassadorial, diplomatic and advisory-- in other words, the role of the Iroquois married women. And in the Confederacy the position of women was one of importance and dignity, and they exercised a franchise which no white nation has ever yet accorded to its women.
But when the Delawares broke faith, then the lash fell and the term "women" as applied to them carried a very different meaning when spat out by Canienga lips or snarled by Senecas.
Yet, of the Lenape, certain tribes, offshoots, and clans remained impassive either to Iroquois threats or proffered friendship. They, like certain lithe, proud forest animals to whom restriction means death, were untamable. Their necks could endure no yoke, political or purely ornamental. And so they perished far from the Onondaga firelight, far from the open doors of the Long House, self-exiled, self-sufficient, irreconcilable, and foredoomed. And of these the Mohicans were the noblest.
In the four romances-- of which, though written last of all, this is the third, chronologically speaking-- the author is very conscious of error and shortcoming. But the theme was surely worth attempting; and if the failure to convince be only partial then is the writer grateful to the Fates, and well content to leave it to the next and better man.
Early Spring, 1913. _________________________________________________________________
During the serial publication of "The Hidden Children" the author received the following interesting letters relating to the authorship of the patriotic verses quoted in Chapter X., These letters are published herewith for the general reader as well as for students of American history.
R. W. C.
149 WEST EIGHTY-EIGHTH STREET,
NEW YORK CITY.
MRS. HELEN DODGE KNEELAND:
DEAR MADAM: Some time ago I accidentally came across the verses written by Samuel Dodge and used by R. W. Chambers in story "Hidden Children." I wrote to him, inviting him to come and look at the original manuscript, which has come down to me from my mother, whose maiden name was Helen Dodge Cocks, a great-granddaughter of Samuel Dodge, of Poughkeepsie, the author of them.
So far Mr. Chambers has not come, but he answered my note, inclosing your note to him. I have written to him, suggesting that he insert a footnote giving the authorship of the verses, that it would gratify the descendants of Samuel Dodge, as well as be a tribute to a patriotic citizen.
These verses have been published a number of times. About three years ago by chance I read them in the December National Magazine, p. 247 (Boston), entitled "A Revolutionary Puzzle," and stating that the author was unknown. Considering it my duty to place the honor where it belonged, I wrote to the editor, giving the facts, which he courteously published in the September number, 1911, p. 876.
Should you be in New York any time, I will take pleasure in showing you the original manuscripts.
Very truly yours,
ROBERT S. MORRIS, M.D.
MR. ROBERT CHAMBERS,
DEAR SIR: I have not replied to your gracious letter, as I relied upon Dr. Morris to prove to you the authorship of the verses you used in your story of "The Hidden Children." I now inclose a letter from him, hoping that you will carry out his suggestion. Is it asking too much for you to insert a footnote in the next magazine or in the story when it comes out in book form? I think with Dr. Morris that this should be done as a "tribute to a patriotic citizen."
Trusting that you will appreciate the interest we have shown in this matter, I am
HELEN DODGE KNEELAND.
May 21st, 1914.
Ann Arbor, Michigan.
MRS. FRANK G. KNEELAND,
727 E. University Avenue. _________________________________________________________________
THE LONG HOUSE
"Onenh jatthondek sewarih-wisa-anongh-kwe kaya-renh-kowah! Onenh wa-karigh-wa-kayon-ne. Onenh ne okne joska-wayendon. Yetsi-siwan-enyadanion ne Sewari-wisa-anonqueh."
"Now listen, ye who established the Great League! Now it has become old. Now there is nothing but wilderness. Ye are in your graves who established it."
"At the Wood's Edge." _________________________________________________________________
When the West kindles red and low, Across the sunset's sombre glow, The black crows fly-- the black crows fly! High pines are swaying to and fro In evil winds that blow and blow. The stealthy dusk draws nigh-- draws nigh, Till the sly sun at last goes down, And shadows fall on Catharines-town.
Oswaya swaying to and fro.
By the Dark Empire's Western gate Eight stately, painted Sachems wait For Amochol-- for Amochol! Hazel and samphire consecrate The magic blaze that burns like Hate, While the deep witch-drums roll-- and roll. Sorceress, shake thy dark hair down! The Red Priest comes from Catharines-town.
Ha-ai! Karenna! Fate is Fate.
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