« ПредишнаНапред »
Here in front you can see the very dint of the
bullet Fired point-blank at my heart by a Spanish
arcabucero. Had it not been of sheer steel, the forgotten
bones of Miles Standish Would at this moment be mould, in their grave
in the Flemish morasses." Thereupon answered John Alden, but looked
not up from his writing: "Truly the breath of the Lord hath slackened
the speed of the bullet; He in his mercy preserved you, to be our shield
and our weapon!" Still the Captain continued, unheeding the
words of the stripling: "See, how bright they are burnished, as if in
an arsenal hanging; That is because I have done it myself, and not
left it to others.
Serve yourself, would you be well served, is an excellent adage;
So I take care of my arms, as you of your pens and your inkhorn.
Then, too, there are my soldiers, my great, invincible army,
Twelve men, all equipped, having each his rest and his matchlock,
Eighteen shillings a month, together with diet and pillage,
And, like Caesar, I know the name of each of my soldiers!"
This he said with a smile, that danced in his eyes, as the sunbeams
Dance on the waves of the sea, and vanish again in a moment.
Alden laughed as he wrote, and still the Captain continued:
"Look! you can see from this window my brazen howitzer planted
High on the roof of the church, a preacher who
speaks to the purpose, Steady, straight-forward, and strong, with irresistible logic, Orthodox, flashing conviction right into the
hearts of the heathen. Now we are ready, I think, for any assault of
the Indians; Let them come, if they like, and the sooner
they try it the better, — Let them come if they like, be it sagamore,
sachem, or pow-wow, Aspinet, Samoset, Corbitant, Squanto, or To
Long at the window he stood, and wistfully gazed on the landscape,
Washed with a cold gray mist, the vapory breath of the east-wind,
Forest and meadow and hill, and the steelblue rim of the ocean,
Lying silent and sad, in the afternoon shadows
and sunshine. Over his countenance flitted a shadow like
those on the landscape, Gloom intermingled with light; and his voice
was subdued with emotion, Tenderness, pity, regret, as after a pause he
proceeded: "Yonder there, on the hill by the sea, lies
buried Rose Standish; Beautiful rose of love, that bloomed for me by
the wayside! She was the first to die of all who came in the
May Flower! Green above her is growing the field of wheat
we have sown there, Better to hide from the Indian scouts the
graves of our people, Lest they should count them and see how many
already have perished!"
Sadly liis face he averted, and strode up and down, and was thoughtful.
Fixed to the opposite wall was a shelf of books, and among them
Prominent three, distinguished alike for bulk and for binding;
Bariffe's Artillery Guide, and the Commentaries of Caesar,
Out of the Latin translated by Arthur Goldinge of London,
And, as if guarded by these, between them was standing the Bible.
Musing a moment before them, Miles Standish paused, as if doubtful
Which of the three he should choose for his consolation and comfort,
Whether the wars of the Hebrews, the famous campaigns of the Eomans,
Or the Artillery practice, designed for belligerent Christians.