Imágenes de páginas

And as if thonght had the power to draw to itself, like the loadstone,

Whatsoever it tonches, by subtle laws of its nature,

Lo! as he turned to depart, Priscilla was standing beside him.

"Are yon so mnch offended, yon will not

speak to ine?" said she. "Am I so mnch to blame, that yesterday, when

von were pleading Warmly the cause of another, my heart, impulsive and wayward, Pleaded yonr own, and spake ont, forgetful.per

haps of decorum'' i Certainiy yon can forgive mo for speaking so

frankly, for saying What I onght not to have said, yet now 1 can

never uusay it; For there are moments in life, when the heart is

so full of emotion. That if by chance it be shaken, or into its depths

like a pebble Drops some careless word, it overflows, and its

secret, Spilt on the gronnd like water, can never be

gathered together. Yesterday I was shocked, when I heard yon

speak of Miles Standisll, Praising his virtnes, trausforming his very defeets into virtnes, Praising his conrage and strength, and even his

fighting in Flanders, As if by fighting alone you conld win t he hen it of

a woman, Quite overlooking yonrself and the rest, in exhalting yonr hero. Therefore 1 spake as I did, by an irresistible impulse. Yon will forgive me, I hope, for the sake of the

friendship between us. Which is too trne and two sacred to be so easily

broken 1" Thereupon auswered Johu Alden, the scholar,

the friend of Miles Standisli: "I was not angry with yon, with myself alone I

was angry. Seeing how badly I managed the matter I had

in my keeping." "No!" interrupted the maiden, with auswer

prompt and decisive; "No: yon were angry with me. for speaking so

frankly and freely. It was wrong, I acknowledge; for it is the fate

of a woman Long to be patient and silent, to wait like a ghost

that is speechiess, Till some qnestioning voice dissolves the spell of

its silence. Hence is the iuner life of so many suffering

women Suuless and silent and deep, like subterranean

rivers Itnuning throngh caverus of darkHess, unheard.

uuseen, and unfruitful. Chafing their chaunels of stone, with endless

and profitless umrumrs." Thereupon auswered Johu Alden, the yonng

man, the lover of women: "Heaven forbid it, Priscilla; and truly they

seem to me always More like the beantiful rivers that watered the

garden of Eden. More like the river Euphrates, throngh deserts

of Havilah flowing! Fllling the land with delight, and memories

sweet of the garden!" "Ah, by those words I can see," again interrupted the maiden, "How very little yon prize me, or cure for what

I um saying, When from ttie depths of my heart, in pain and

witli secret misgiving,

Frankly I speak to yon, asking for sympathy ouly and kinduess,

Straightway you take up my words, that are plain and direet and in earnest.

Turn them away from their meaning, and answer with Mattering phrases.

This is not right, is not just, is not trne to the best that is in yon;

For 1 know and esteem yon, and feel that yonr nature is noble,

Lifting mine up to a higher, a more ethereal level.

Therefore I valne yonr friendship, and feel it perhaps the more keeuly

If yon say aught that implies 1 am ouly as one among many.

If yon make use of those common and complimentary phrases

Most men think so fine, in dealing and speaking with women.

Hnt which women rejeet as iusipid, if not as insulting."

Mnte and amazed was Alden; and listened

and looked at Priscilla, Thinking he never had seen iier more fair, more

divine in her beanty, lie who bnt yesterday pleaded so glibly tlic

cause of another. Stood there embarrassed and silent, and seeking in vain for an auswer. So the maiden went on, and little divined or

imagined What was at work in his heart, that made him

so awkward and speechiess. li Let us, then, be what we are. and speak what

we think, and in all things Keep onrselves loyal to trnth, and the sacred

professious of friendship. It is no secret I telliyon, nor am I ashamed to

declare it: I have liked to be with yon, to see yon, to speak.

with yon always. So I was "hurt at yonr words, and a little

affronted to hear yon Urge me to marry yonr friend, thongh he were

the Captain Miles Standlsh. For I umst tell yon the trnth: mnch more to me

is yonr friendship Than allthe love he could give, were lie twice

the hero von think him." Then she extended her hand, and Alden, who

eagerly grasped it. Felt all the wounds in his heart, that were

aching and bleeding so sorely, Healed by tne tonch of that hand, and he said,

with a voice full of feeling: "Yes, we umst ever be friends; and of all who

offer yon friendship Lot me be ever the first, the trnest, the nearest,

and dearest!"

Casting a farewell look at the glimmering sail of the May-Flower,

Distant, bnt still in sight, and sinking below tho horizon,

Homeward together they walked, with a strange indefinite feeling,

That all the rest had departed and left them alone in the desert

Hnt,as they went through the fields in the blessing and smile of the suushine.

Lighter grew their hearts, and Priscilla said very arehiy:

'. Now that onr terrible Captain has gone in pursuit of the Indiaus,

Where he is happier far than he wonld bo commanding a honsehold,

Yon may speak boldly, and tell rac of all that happened between yon

When you returned last night, and said how ungrateful yon fonnd ine."

Thereupon auswered Johu Alden, and told her the whole of the story,—

Told her his own despair, nml the direful wrath

of Miles Standish. Whereat the maiden smiled, and said, between

laughing and earnest, '.He is a little chiumey, and heated hot hi a

moment!" Tint as he gently rebuked her, and told her how

mnch he had suffered,— How he had even determined to sail that day in

the May-Flower, And had remained for her sake on hearing the

dangers that threatened,— All her maimer was changed, and she said with

a faltering aecent, "Truly I thank yon for this: how good yon have

been to me always!"

Thus as a pilgrim devont, who toward Jerusalem jonrneys,

Taking three steps in advance, and one relnctantly backward,

Urged by importunate zeal, and withheld by pangs of contrition;

Slowly bnt steadily onward, receding yet ever advancing,

Journeyed this Puritan yonth to the Holy Land of his longing.

Urged by the fervonr of love, and withheld by remorseless misgivings.


Meanwhile the stalwart Miles Standish was marehing steadily northward,

Winding throngh forest and swamp, and along the tread of the sea-shore.

All day long, with hardly a halt, the fire of his anger

Burning and crackling within, and the sulphurons odonr of powder.

Seeming more sweet to his nostrils than all the scents of the forest.

Silent and moody he went, and mnch he revolved his discomfort!

He who was used to snccess, and to easy victories always,

Thus ro be flonted, rejeeted, and laughed to scorn by a maiden.

Tlius to be mocked and betrayed by the friend whom most he trusted!

Ah! 'twas too mnch to be borne, and he fretted and chafed in his armonr!

"I alone am to blame," he mnttered, "for

mine was the folly. What has a rongh old soldier, grown grim and

gray in the harness, Used to the camp and its ways, to do with the

wooing of maideus? 'Twos bnt a dream,—let it pass,—let it vanish

like so many others! What I thonght was a flower is ouly a weed, and

is worthiess; Ont of my heart will I plnck it, and throw it

away, and henceforward Re hut a fighter of battles, a lover and woer of

dangers?" Thus he revolved in his mind his sorry defeat

and discomfort, While he was marehing by day or lying at night

in the forest. Looking up at the trees, and the coustellatious

beyond them.

After a three days' mareh he came to an Indian encampment

Pitched on the edge of a meadow, between the sea and the forest;

Women at work by the tents, and the warriors horrid with war-paint,

Seated abont a fire, and smoking and talking together:

Who, when they saw from afar the Hidden approach of the while men. Saw the flash of the sun ou breastplate awl

sabre and mu^k't, Straightway leapt to their feot, and two from

among them advancing. Came to parley with Standish, ami offer him

furs as a present; FrhMnMiip was in their looks, bai in their hearts

there was hatred. Braves of the tribe were these, and brothers

gigantic in stature. Huge Hi Goliatli oi t;ath,or the terrible Og, king

of Bashan; One was Pecksont named, and the other was

called Wattawamat. Honnd their necks were suspended their knives

in scabbards of wampum. Two-edged, trenchant knives, with points as

sharp as a needle. Other arms had they none, for they were cunning and crafty. "Welcome English!" they said— these words

they had learned from the traders Tonching at times on the coast, to barter and

chaffer for peltries. Then in their native tongne they began to parley

with Standish, Throngh his guide and interpreter, Hobomok,

friend of the white man. Begging for blankets and knives, bnt. mostly for

umskets and powder, Kept by the white man, they said, concealed,

with the plagua in his cellars, Heady to be let loose, and destroy his brother

the red man! Bnt when Standish refused, and said he wonld

give them the Bible, Snddeuly changing their tone, they began to

boast and to bluster. Then Wattawamat advanced with a stride in

front of the other, And, with a lofty demeanonr, thus vauntingly

spake to the Captain: "Xow Wattawamat can see, by the fiery eyes of

the Captain, Angry h? he in his heart; bnt the heart of the

hrave Wattawamat Is not afraid at the sight. He was not born of a

woman, Bnt on a monntain, at night, from an oak-tree

riven by lightning, Forth he sprang at a bound, with all his weapous

abont him, Shonting, 'Who is there here to fight with the

brave Wattawamat V" Then he uusheathed his knife, and, whetting the

the blade on his left hand, Held it aloft and displayed a woman's face on the

handle. Saying, with bitter expressious, and look of

sinister meaning: I have another at home, with the face of a man

on the handle; By and by they shall marry; and there will be

plenty of children!"

Then stood Pecksuot forth, self-vaunt lug, in

suiting Miles Standish: 'While with his fingers he potted the knife that

hung at his bosom, Drawing it half from his sheath, and plunging it

back, as he mnttered, "Bv and by it shall see; it shall eat; ah, ha!

bnt shall speak not! This is the mighty Captain the white men have

sent to destroy us! He is a little man; let him go and work with the


Meanwhile Standish had noted the faces and flgures of Indiaus Peeping and creeping abont from bush to tree in

the forest,

Feiguing to look for game, with arrows set on

their bow-strings, Drawing abont hhu still closer and closer the net

of their ambush. Bnt undaunted he stood, and dissembled and

treated them smoothiy; So the old chronicles say, that were writ in the

days of the fathers. Bnt when he heard their defiance, the boast, the

taunt, and the iusult, All the hot blood of his race, of Sir Hugh and of

Thurston de Standish, Boiled and beat in his heart, and swelled in the

v iius of his temples, Headlong he leaped on the boaster, and, suatching his knife from its scabbard, Plunged it into Iiis heart, and, reeling backward,

the savage Fell with his face to the sky, and a fiend-like

fiereeness upon it. Straight there arose from the forest the awful

sonnd of the war-whoop, And, like a flurry of suow on the whist in g wind

of December, Swift and sndden and keen came a flight of feathery arrows. Then came a clond of smoke, and ont of the clond

came the lightning; Ont of the lightning thunder; and death uuseen

ran before it. Frightened the savages fled for shelter in swamp

and in thicket. Hotly pursned and beset; bnt their sachem, the

brave Wattamainat, Fled not; he was dend. Uuswerving and swift

had a bullet Passed throngh his brain, and he fell with both

hands clntching the greeusward, Seeming in death to hold back from his foe the

land of his fathers.

There on the flowers of the meadow the

warriors, lay, and above them, Silent, with folded arms, stood Hobomok, friend

of the white man, Smiling at length he exclaimed to the stalwart

Captain of Plymonth: "Pecksuot bragged very lond of his conrage, his

strength, and his stature.— Mocked the great Captain, and called him a little

man; bnt I see now Big enongh have yon been to lay him speechiess

before yon I

Thus the first battle was fonght and won by

the stalwart Miles Standish, When the tidings thereof were bronght to the

village of Plymonth, And as a trophy of war the head of the brave

Wattawamat Scowled from the roof of the fort, which at once

was a chureh and a fortress, All who beheld it rejoiced, and praised the Lord,

and took conrage. Ouly Prlscitla averted her face from this speetre

of terror, Thanking God in her heart that she had not

married Miles Standish: Shrinking, fearing aimost, lest, coming home

from his battles, He shonld lay claim to her hand, as the prize and

reward of his valonr.


Month after month passed away,and in Antuum the ships of the merehants

Came with kindred and friends, with cattle and corn for the Pilgrims.

All in the village was peace ; the men were intent on their labonrs.

Busy with hewing and building, with gardenplot and with merestead, Busy with breaking the glebe, and mowing the

grass in thejneadows, rening f"

Searching the sea for its flsh, and hunting the deer in the forest.

All in the village was peace; bnt at times the rnmonr of warfare

Fllled the air with alarm, and the apprehension of danger.

Bravely the stalwart Miles Standish was scunring the land with his forees,

Waxing valiant in fight and defeating the alien armies,

Till his name had become a sonnd of fear to the natious.

Anger was still in his heart, bnt at times the remorse and contrition

Which in all noble natures sncceed the passionate onthreak.

Came like a rising tide, that enconnters the rush of a river,

Staying its'current awhile, bnt making it bitter and brackish.

Meanwhile Aldenat home had built him a new

habitation. Solid, substantial, of timber rongh-hewn from

the firs of the forest. Wooden-barred was the door, and the roof was

covered with rushes; Latticed the windows were, and the windowpanes were of paper. Oiled to admit the light, while wind and rain

were exclnded. There too he dug a well, and aronnd it planted

an orehard: Still may be seen to this day some trace of the

well and the orehard. Close to the honse was the stall, where, safe and

secure from aunoyance, Raghorn, the suow-white steer, that had fallen

to Alden's ullotment In the division of cattle, might ruminate in the

night-time Over the pastures he cropped, made fragrant by

sweet peunyroyal.

Oft when his labonr was finished, with eager

feet wonld the dreamer Follow the path-way that ran throngh the

woods to the honse of Prisclllo, Led by illusious romantic and subtile deceptious

of faney, Pleasure disguised as dnty, and love in the

semblance of friendship. Ever of her he thonght, when he fashioned the

walls of his dwelling; Ever of her he thonght, when he delved in the

soil of his garden; Ever of her he thonght, when he read in his

Bible on Sunday Praise of virtuons women, as she is described in

the Proverbs,— How the heart of her husband doth safely trust

in her always, How all the days of her life she will do him

good, and not evil, How she seeketh the wool and the flax and

worketh with gladuess. How she layeth her hand to the spindle and

holdeth the distaff. How she is not afraid of the suow for herself or

her honsehold, Knowing her honsehold are clothed with the

scarlet cloth of her weaving!

So as she sat at her wheel one afternoon in

Antuum, Alden, who opposite snt, and was watching her

dexterons fingers, As if the thread she was spiuning were that of

his life and his fortune.

Aftcrapause in their talk, thus spake to the

sonnd of the spindle: "Truly. Friscilla," he said, "when I see yon

spiuning and spiuning. Never idle a moment, bnt thrifty and thonghtful of others, Snddeniy yon are trausformed, are visibly

changed in a moment: Yon are no longer Priscilla, bnt Bertha the

Beantifni Spiuner." Here the light foot on the treadle grew swifter

and swifter; the spindle Uttered an angry suarl, and the thread suapped

short in her fingers; While the impetuons speaker, not heeding the

mischief, continned. '. Yon are the beantiful Bertha, the spiuner, the

qneen of Helvetia; She whose story I read at a stall in the streets

of Sonthampton, Who, as she rode on her palfrey, o'er valley and

meadow and monntain. Ever was spiuning her thread from a distaff

fixed to her saddle. She was so thrifty and good, that her name

passed into a proverb. So shall it be with your own, when the spiuningwheel shall no longer Hum in the honse of the farmer, and fill its

chambers with umsic. Then shall the mothers, reproving, relate how it

was in their childhood. Praising the good old times, and the days of

Priscilla the spiuner!" Straight uprose from her wheel the beantiful

Paritan maiden, neased with the praise of her thrift from him

whose praise was the sweetest, Drew from the reel on the table a suowy skein

of her spiuning, Thus making auswer, meanwhile, to the flattering phrases of Alden; w Come, yon umst not bo idle; if I am a pattern

for honsewives. Show yonrself equally worthy of being the

model of husbands. Hold this skein on yonr hands, while I wind it,

ready for knitting; Then who knows bnt hereafter, when fashious

have changed and the mauners, Fathers may talk to their sous of the good old

times of Johu Alden!" Thus, with a jest and a laugh, the skein on his

hands she adjusted, nc sitting awkwardly there, with his arms extended before him. She standing graceful, ereet, and winding the

thread from his fingers. Sometimes chiding a little his clumsy mauner of

holding. Sometimes tonching his hands, as she disentangled expertly Twist or knot in the yarn, unawares—for how

conld she help it ,-'— Sending eleetrical thrills throngh every nerve

in his body.

Lo! in the midst of this scene, a breathiess.

messenger entered, Bringing in nurrv and heat the terrible news

from the village. Yes; Miles Standish was dead!—an Indian had

bronght them the tidings.— Slain by a poisoned arrow, shot down in the

front of the battle. Into an ambush beguiled, cnt off with the whole

of his forees: AH the town wonld be burned, and all the people

be umrdered! Snch were the tidings of evil that burst on the

hearts of the hearers. Silent and statne-like stood Priscilla, her face

looking backward

Still at the face of the speaker, he/ arms uplifted in horror; Bnt Johu Alden, upstarting, as if the barb of the

arrow Piereing the heart of his friend had strnck his

own, tmd had sundered Once and for ever the bonds that held him

bonnd as a captive. Wild with excess ot seusation, the awful delight

of his freedom. Mingled with pain and regret, uncouscions of

what he was doing, Clasped, aimost with a groan, tho motiouless

form of Priscilla, Pressing her close to his heart, as forever his

own. and explaining: -'I'h.'.-'' whom i Iri- Lord hntli united, let no man

pnt them asunder!"

Even as rivulets twain, from distant and

separate sonrees, Seeing each other afar, as they leap from the

rocks, and pursuing Each one its devions path, bnt drawing nearer

and nearer, Rush together atlast, at their try sting-place in

the forest; So these lives that had run thus far in separate

chaunels, Coming in sight of each other, then swerving

and flowing asunder, Parted by barriers strong, bnt drawing nearer

and nearer Bushed together at last, and one was lost in the



Foeth from the curtain of clonds, from the tent

of purple and scarlet, Issned the sun, the great High-Priest, in his

garments resplendent, Holiness unto tho Lord, in letters of light, on his

fore lie ad, Bonnd the hem of his robe the golden bells and

pomegranates. . Blessing the world he came, and the bars of

vaponr beneath him Gleamed like a grate of brass, and the sea at his

feet was a laver!

This was the wedding-mor n of Priscilla the Puritan maiden.

Friends were assembled together; the Elder

and Magistrate also Graced the scene with their presence, and stood

like the Law and the Gospel, One with the sanetion of earth, and one with the

blessing of heaven. Simple and brief was the wedding, as that of

Rnth and of Boaz. Softly the yonth and the maiden repeated tho

"words of betrothal, Taking each other for husband and wife in tho

Magistrate's presence. After the Puritan way, and the landable custom

of Holland. Fervently then, and devontly, the excellent

Elder of Plymonth Prayed for the hearth and the home, that were

fonnded that day in affeetion. Speaking of life and of death, and imploring

divine benedietious. Lo! when the service was ended, a form appeared on the threshold. Clad in armonr of steel, a sombre and sorrowful

figure! Why does the bridegroom start and stare at the

strange apparition? Why does the bride turn pale, and hide her face 'ui,on his shoulder?

a bodiless, speetral

Is it ft phantom of air

illusion? Is it a ghost from the grave, that lias come to

forbid the betrothalr Long had it stood there uuseen, a gnest uninvited, unwelcomed; Over his clonded eyes there had passed at times

an expression, Softening the gloom and revealing the warm

heart hidden beneath them, As when across the sky the driving rack of the

rain-clond Grows for a moment thin, and betrays the sun

by its brightness. Once it had lifted its hand, and moved its lips,

bnt was silent, As if an iron will had mastered the fleeting intention. Bnt when were ended the troth and the prayer

and the last benediction, Into the room it strode, and the people beheld

with amazement Bodily there in his armonr Miles Standish the

Captain of Plymonth! Grasping the bridegroom's hand, he said with

emotion, " Forgive me! I have been angry and hurt,—too long have I

cherished the feeling; I have been crnel and Hurd, bnt now, thank

God! it is ended. Mine is the same hot blood ihnt leaped in the

veius of Hugh Standish, Seusitive, swift to resent, bnt as swift in atoning

for error. Never so mnch as now was Miles Standish the

friend of Johu Alden." Thereupon auswered the bridegroom: "Let all

be forgotten between us,— All save the dear, old friendship, and that shall

grow older and dearer!" Then the Captain advanced, and, bowing,

salnted Priscilla, Gravely, and after the mauner of old-fashioned

gentry in England, Something of camp and of conrt, of town and of

conntry, commingled, Wishing her joy of her wedding, and londly

landing her husband. Then lie said with a smile: "I shonld have remembered the adage,— If yon wonld be well served, yon umst serve

yonrself; and moreover. No man can gather cherries in Kent at the

season of Christmas!"

Great was the people's amazement, and greater yet their rejoicing,

Thus to behold once more the sun-burnt face of their Captain,

Whom they had monrned as dead; and they gathered and crowded abont him,

Eager to see him and hear him, forgetful of bride and of bridegroom.

Qnestioning, auswering, laughing, and each interrupting the other,

Till the good Captain declared, being quite overpowered and bewildered,

He had rather by far break into an Indian encampment.

Than come again to a wedding to which ho had not been invited.

Meanwhile the bridegroom went forth and stood with the bride at the doorway.

Ureathing the perfumed air of that warm ami

beantiful morning. Tonched with antuumal tints, bnt lonely and

sad hi the suushine, Lay extended before them the land of toil mid

privation; There were the graves of the dead, and the

barren waste of the sea-shore, There the familiar fields, the groves of pine, and

the meadows; Bnt to their eyes trausfigured, it seemed as the

Garden of Eden, Fllled with the presence of God, whose voice

was the sonnd of the ocean.

Soon was their vision disturbed by the noise and stir of departure,

Friends coming forth from the honse, and finpatient of longer delaying,

Each with his plan for the day, and the work that was left uncompleted.

Then from a stall near at hand, amid exclamatious of wonder,

Aldeu the thonghtful, the careful, so happy, so prond of Priscilla,

Bronght ont his suow-white steer, obeying the hand of its master,

Led by a cord that was tied to an iron ring in its nostrils,

Covered with crimson cloth, and a cushion placed for a saddle,

She shonld not walk, lie said, throngh the dust and heat of the noon-day;

Nay, she shonld ride like a qneen, not plod along like a peasant.

Somewhat alarmed at first, bnt reassured by the others,

Placing her hand on the cushion, her foot in the hand of her husband.

Gaily, with joyons laugh, Priscilla monnted her palfrey.

"Nothing is wanting now," he said, with a smile, "bnt the distaff;

Then yon wonld be in trnth my qnoen, my beautiful Bertha!"

Onward the bridal procession now moved to

their new habitation, Happy husband and wife, and friends conversing

together. Pleasantly umrumred the brook, as they crossed

the ford in the forest, Pleased with the image that passed, like a dream

of love throngh its bosom, Treumlons, floating in air, o'er the depth of the

azure abysses. Down throngh the golden leaves the sun was

ponring his splendonrs, Gleaming on purple grapes, that, from branches

above them suspended, Mingled their odorons breath with the baim of

the pine and the fir-tree, Wild and sweet as the clusters that grew in the

valley of Esheol. Like a pieture it seemed of the primitive, pastoral ages, Fresh with the yonth of the world, and recalling

Rebeeca, and Isaae, Old and yet ever new, and simple and beantiful

always, Love immortal and yonng in the endless snccession of lovers. So throngh the Plymonth woods passed onward

the bridal procession.

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