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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,
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.
THE MARCH OF MILES STANDISH.
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
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
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
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
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.