Графични страници
PDF файл

Finally closing his book, "with a bang of the

ponderous cover, Sudden and loud as the sound of a soldier

grounding his musket, Thus to the young man spake Miles Standish

the Captain of Plymouth: "When you have finished your work, I have

something important to tell you. Be not however in haste; I can wait; I shall

not be impatient!" Straightway Alden replied, as he folded the

last of his letters, Pushing his papers aside, and giving respectful

attention: "Speak; for whenever you speak, I am always

ready to listen, Always ready to hear whatever pertains to

Miles Standish." Thereupon answered the Captain, embarrassed,

and culling his phrases:

"'Tis not good for a man to be alone, say the

Scriptures. This I have said before, and again and again

I repeat it; Every hour in the day, I think it, and feel it,

and say it. Since Eose Standish died, my life has been

weary and dreary; Sick at heart have I been, beyond the healing

of friendship. Oft in my lonely hours have I thought of the

maiden Priscilla. She is alone in the world; her father and

mother and brother Died in the winter together; I saw her going

and coming, Now to the grave of the dead, and now to the

bed of the dyiiB, Patient, courageous, and strong, and said to

myself, that if ever

There were angels on earth, as there are angels

in heaven, Two have I seen and known; and the angel

whose name is Priscilla Holds in my desolate life the place which the

other abandoned. Long have I cherished the thought, but never

have dared to reveal it, Being a coward in this, though valiant enough

for the most part. Go to the damsel Priscilla, the loveliest maiden

of Plymouth, Say that a blunt old Captain, a man not of

words but of actions, Offers his hand and his heart, the. hand and

heart of a soldier. Not in these words, you know, but this in short

is my meanj§g; I am a maker of war, and not a maker of


Ton, who are bred as a scholar, can say it in elegant language,

Such as you read in your books of the pleadings and wooings of lovers,

Such as you think best adapted to win the heart of a maiden."

When he had spoken, John Alden, the fairhaired, taciturn stripling,

All aghast at his words, surprised, embarrassed, bewildered,

Trying to mask his dismay by treating the subject with lightness,

Trying to smile, and yet feeling his heart stand still in his bosom,

Just as a timepiece stops in a house that is stricken by lightning,

Thus made answer and spake, or rather stammered than answered:

"Such a message as that, I am sure I should mangle and mar it;

If you would have it well done, — I am only

repeating your maxim, — You must do it yourself, you must not leave it

to others!" But with the air of a man whom nothing can

turn from his purpose, Gravely shaking his head, made answer the

Captain of Plymouth: "Truly the maxim is good, and I do not mean

to gainsay it; But we must use it discreetly, and not waste

powder for nothing. Now, as I said before, I was never a maker of

phrases. I can march up to a fortress and summon the

place to surrender, But march up to a woman with such a proposal, I dare not. I 'm not afraid of bullets, nor shot from the

mouth of a cannon,

« ПредишнаНапред »