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But of a thundering "No!" point-blank from

the mouth of a woman, That I confess I ?m afraid of, nor am I ashamed

to confess it! So you must grant my request, for you are an

elegant scholar, Having the graces of speech, and skill in the

turning of phrases." Taking the hand of his friend, who still was

reluctant and doubtful, Holding it long in his own, and pressing it

kindly, he added: "Though I have spoken thus lightly, yet deep

is the feeling that prompts me; Surely you cannot refuse what I ask in the

name of our friendship!" Then made answer John Alden: "The name

of friendship is sacred; What you demand in that name, I have not the power to deny you!"

So the strong will prevailed, subduing and

moulding the gentler, Friendship prevailed over love, and Alden went

on his errand.

III.

THE LOVER S ERRAND.

So the strong will prevailed, and Alden went on his errand,

Out of the street of the village, and into the paths of the forest,

Into the tranquil woods, where blue-birds and robins were building

Towns in the populous trees, with hanging gardens of verdure,

Peaceful, aerial cities of joy and affection and freedom.

All around him was calm, but within him commotion and conflict,

Love contending with friendship, and self with

each generous impulse. To and fro in his breast his thoughts were

heaving and dashing, As in a foundering ship, with every roll of the

vessel, Washes the bitter sea, the merciless surge of

the ocean! "Must I relinquish it all," he cried with a wild

lamentation, "Must I relinquish it all, the joy, the hope, the

illusion? Was it for this I have loved, and waited, and

x worshipped in silence? Was it for this I have followed the flying feet

and the shadow Over the wintry sea, to the desolate shores of

New England? Truly the heart is deceitful, and out of its

depths of corruption

Rise, like an exhalation, the misty phantoms of passion;

Angels of light they seem, but are only delusions of Satan.

All is clear to me now; I feel it, I see it distinctly!

This is the hand of the Lord; it is laid upon, me in anger,

For I have followed too much the heart's desires and devices,

Worshipping Astaroth blindly, and impious idols of Baal.

This is the cross I must bear; the sin and the swift retribution."

So through the Plymouth woods John Alden

went on his errand; Crossing the brook at the ford, where it brawled

over pebble and shallow,

Gathering still, as he went, the May-flowers

blooming around him,
3*

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