The Sovereignty and Goodness of God

The Sovereignty and Goodness of God Summary and Analysis of Remove 19


They travel to Wachuset, and Mrs. Rowlandson is wearied as this is her third consecutive day of traveling. They wade through a knee-high swamp, and when she is ready to fall, the Lord's mercy holds her up: "Philip [...] came up and took [her] by the hand, and said, Two weeks more and you shall be Mistress again." She asks him to confirm that he speaks the truth, which he does, and he says she will quickly see her master again as well. 

Mrs. Rowlandson sees her master, and when he finds out she hasn't bathed for over a month, he fetches water for her, tells her to bathe, and gives her a mirror to see how she looks. He asks the oldest of his three wives to feed her, and she gives her a hearty meal.

Mrs. Rowlandson describes her master's three wives. The oldest is the one who gives her food and with whom her master has been for the last three weeks. The second is Wettimore, her mistress, whom she complains spends an abundance of time dressing and painting herself, and making girdles of wampum and beads. The third is younger, and her master has had two children with her. 

Wettimore's maid comes to fetch her, but Mrs. Rowlandson later returns to the older wife, who gives her an unusually comfortable sleeping arrangement. Mrs. Rowlandson understands that Wettimore is afraid to lose her to the older wife because she would also lose her service and her ransom money, which makes Mrs. Rowlandson happy that her redemption is near. She trades her sewing services for a hat, a silk handkerchief, and an apron.

Two Native Americans, Tom and Peter, arrive with the second letter from the Council about restoring the captives, and Mrs. Rowlandson cries with joy and grabs them by the hands "Though they were Indians." In response to her inquiry, they tell her her husband and friends are all well but sad. They bring her two biscuits and a pound of tobacco, which she gives away.

When the tobacco is all gone, she is threatened by a man who wants some of the tobacco. She says her husband will bring some, but he says he would kill him if he came. She decides not to send for her husband for the sake of his safety. 

In response to the Council letter, the Native American leaders summon Mrs. Rowlandson to tell them what she thinks her husband would pay to redeem her. Her best attempt to preserve her safety without promising something she cannot procure is twenty pounds, though she wishes they would take less. They send a message to Boston saying she will be redeemed for twenty pounds.  

The message to Boston is written by a "Praying Indian." She describes a variety of "Praying Indians" who have shown brutality, especially against the English. One "Praying Indian" has a brother whom he convinced it was lawful to eat horse during a famine. Another betrayed his father into English hands to save his own life. Another was at Sudbury fight, hanged afterwards. Another, in preparation for the Sudbury fight, led an elaborate pre-war ritual which she describes in detail. 

Rowlandson says that, though the Native Americans kill many men at Sudbury, they come home very demoralized and feeling like they will be defeated. Upon return, her master asks her to sew a shirt for his child. Rowlandson spends a night at a wigwam that she later finds out has bullet-torn English clothes hanging in it. Yet, they give her food five or six times, even though they are strangers. 


Mrs. Rowlandson seems to feel differently towards King Philip than towards other Native Americans. She views his offer of his hand when she is struggling through the swamp and telling her she will be mistress soon as the mercy of God. In contrast, she says she grabbed the hands of Tom and Peter even though they are Native Americans. His saying she will be mistress soon shows that the Native Americans are aware of her social stature among the English, upon which Mrs. Rowlandson has probably capitalized. 

Rowlandson describes Wettimore as vain, and insults the time Wettimore spends working on wampum beads. Rowlandson does not mention Wettimore's status as a powerful Native American leader, and she does not acknowledge that Wettimore's physical preparations carry ceremonial and political significance. Rowlandson's unreliability as a prejudiced narrator again comes to light, and her strong dislike of Wettimore persists. 

In this remove, Mrs. Rowlandson makes a sharp transition from the starving woman who steals food from a child. Her food security is evidenced by her giving tobacco away instead of trading it and her selling her sewing services for accessories instead of for food. Her collecting adornments provides an interesting juxtaposition with her not having bathed for an entire month, something she only remedies at the guidance of her master. 

Both in her description of a "Praying Indian"'s pre-war ritual and in her explanation of her proposed ransom price, Mrs. Rowlandson shows a consciousness of her Puritan audience, the kind of consciousness that one would not find in a simple diary. Rowlandson describes the pre-war ritual with the goal of expressing her digust at a Christian Native American's engaging in such behavior. However, her detailed memory and description belies a fascination on her part. Her justifying her proposed ransom price with multiple reasons hints that she may have received criticism from fellow colonists for setting such a high ransom price for people to raise for her. 

Her pointed knowledge of her audience continues to be sharply evidenced in her description of Christian Native Americans. While she describes Tom and Peter, for example, with relative neutrality, she shortly aftern launches into a list of treacheries committed by other Christian Native Americans. Mrs. Rowlandson is especially angry at Native Americans who harm the English Christians despite being converted to Christianity. The hypocrisy of Mrs. Rowlandson's anger at a lack of loyalty shows, however, in her accepting food five or six times from a wigwam with bullet-torn English clothes hanging within.