Графични страници
PDF файл

Solid, substantial, of timber rough-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 excluded. There too he dug a well, and around it planted

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

well and the orchard. Close to the house was the stall, where, safe

and secure from annoyance, Raghorn, the snow-white steer, that had fallen

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

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

Oft when his labor was finished, with eager

feet would the dreamer

Follow the pathway that ran through the woods

to the house of Priscilla, Led by illusions romantic and subtile decep

tions of fancy, Pleasure disguised as duty, and love in the

semblance of friendship. Ever of her he thought, when he fashioned

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

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

Bible on Sunday Praise of the virtuous woman, as she is de

scribed 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 gladness, How she layeth her hand to the spindle and

holdeth the distaff, How she is not afraid of the snow for herself

or her household, Knowing her household are clothed with the

scarlet cloth of her weaving !

So as she sat at her wheel one afternoon in

the Autumn, Alden, who opposite sat, and was watching her

dexterous fingers, As if the thread she was spinning were that

of his life and his fortune, After a pause in their talk, thus spake to the

sound of the spindle. “ Truly, Priscilla,” he said, “ when I see you

spinning and spinning, Never idle a moment, but thrifty and thought

ful of others,

Suddenly you are transformed, are visibly

changed in a moment; You are no longer Priscilla, but Bertha the

Beautiful Spinner.” Here the light foot on the treadle grew swifter

and swifter; the spindle Uttered an angry snarl, and the thread snapped

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

mischief, continued : 6 You are the beautiful Bertha, the spinner,

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

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

and meadow and mountain, Ever was spinning 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 spin

ning-wheel shall no longer Hum in the house of the farmer, and fill its

chambers with music. Then shall the mothers, reproving, relate how

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

Priscilla the spinner!” Straight uprose from her wheel the beautiful

Puritan maiden, Pleased with the praise of her thrift from him

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

of her spinning, Thus making answer, meanwhile, to the flatter

ing phrases of Alden: “Come, you must not be idle; if I am a

pattern for housewives, Show yourself equally worthy of being the

model of husbands.

« ПредишнаНапред »