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Fragrant, filling the air with a strange and

wonderful sweetness, Children lost in the woods, and covered with

leaves in their slumber. "Puritan flowers," he said, " and the type of

Puritan maidens, Modest and simple and sweet, the very type

of Priscilla! So I will take them to her; to Priscilla the

May-flower of Plymouth, Modest and simple and sweet, as a parting

gift will I take them; Breathing their silent farewells, as they fade

and wither and perish, Soon to be thrown away as is the heart of the

giver." So through the Plymouth woods John Alden

went on his errand; Came to an open space, and saw the disk of

the ocean,

Sailless, sombre and cold with the comfortless

breath of the east-wind; Saw the new-built house, and people at work

in a meadow; Heard, as he drew near the door, the musical

voice of Priscilla Singing the hundredth Psalm, the grand old

Puritan anthem, Music that Luther sang to the sacred words of

the Psalmist, Pull of the breath of the Lord, consoling and

comforting many. Then, as he opened the door, he beheld the

form of the maiden Seated beside her wheel, and the carded wool

like a snow-drift Piled at her knee, her white hands feeding the

ravenous spindle, While with her foot on the treadle she guided

the wheel in its motion.

Open wide on her lap lay the well-worn psalmbook of Ainsworth,

Printed in Amsterdam, the words and the music together,

Rough-hewn, angular notes, like stones in the wall of a churchyard,

Darkened and overhung by the running vine of the verses.

Such was the book from whose pages she sang the old Puritan anthem,

She, the Puritan girl, in the solitude of the forest,

Making the humble house and the modest apparel of home-spun

Beautiful with her beauty, and rich with the wealth of her being!

Over him rushed, like a wind that is keen and cold and relentless,

Thoughts of what might have been, and the weight and woe of his errand; *

All the dreams that had faded, and all the

hopes that had vanished, All his life henceforth a dreary and tenantless

mansion, Haunted by vain regrets, and pallid, sorrowful

faces. Still he said to himself, and almost fiercely he

said it, "Let not him that putteth his hand to the

plough look backwards; Though the ploughshare cut through the

flowers of life to its fountains, Though it pass o'er the graves of the dead and

the hearths of the living, It is the will of the Lord; and his mercy en

dureth for ever!"

So he entered the house: and the hum of the wheel and the singing

Suddenly ceased; for Priscilla, aroused by his

step on the threshold, Rose as he entered, and gave him her hand, in

signal of welcome, Saying, "I knew it was you, when I heard

your step in the passage; For I was thinking of you, as I sat there singr

ing and spinning." Awkward and dumb with delight, that a

thought of him had been mingled Thus in the sacred psalm, that came from the

heart of the maiden, Silent before her he stood, and gave her the

flowers for an answer, Finding no words for his thought. He remembered that day in the winter, After the first great snow, when he broke a

path from the village, Reeling and plunging along through the drifts

that encumbered the doorway,

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