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After the first great snow, when he broke a path from the village, Reeling and plunging along through the drifts that encumbered the
doorway, Stamping the snow from his feet as he entered the house, and Priscilla Laughed at his snowy locks, and gave him a seat by the fireside, Grateful and pleased to know he had thought of her in the snow-storm. Had he but spoken then! perhaps not in vain had he spoken; Now it was all too late; the golden moment had vanished ! So he stood there abashed, and gave her the flowers for an answer.
Then they sat down and talked of the birds and the beautiful Spring
time, Talked of their friends at home, and the May Flower that sailed on
“ I have been thinking all day,” said gently the Puritan maiden, "Dreaming all night, and thinking all day, of the hedge-rows of
wrong, but I cannot help it: I almost
Thereupon answered the youth :-“ Indeed I do not condemn you ; Stouter hearts than a woman's have quailed in this terrible winter. Yours is tender and trusting, and needs a stronger to lean on; So I have come to you now, with an offer and proffer of marriage Made by a good man and true, Miles Standish the Captain of
Thus he delivered his message, the dexterous writer of letters,Did not embellish the theme, nor array it in beautiful phrases, But came straight to the point, and blurted it out like a schoolboy ; Even the Captain himself could hardly have said it more bluntly. Mute with amazement and sorrow, Priscilla the Puritan maiden Looked into Alden's face, her eyes dilated with wonder, Feeling his words like a blow, that stunned her and rendered her
speechless; Till at length she exclaimed, interrupting the ominous silence : “If the great Captain of Plymouth is so very eager to wed me, Why does he not come himself, and take the trouble to woo me ? If I am not worth the wooing, I surely am not worth the winning!" Then John Alden began explaining and smoothing the matter, Making it worse as he went, by saying the Captain was busy,Had no time for such things;—such things! the words grating
harshly Fell on the ear of Priscilla; and swift as a flash she made answer : “ Has he no time for such things, as you call it, before he is married, Would he be likely to find it, or make it, after the wedding ? That is the way with you men; you don't understand us, you cannot.
When you have made up your minds, after thinking of this one and
Choosing, selecting, rejecting, comparing one with another,
you make known your desire, with abrupt and sudden avowal,
climbing This is not right nor just: for surely a woman's affection Is not a thing to be asked for, and had for only the asking. When one is truly in love, one not only says it, but shows it. Had he but waited awhile, had he only showed that he loved me, Even this Captain of yours—who knows?—at last might have won me, Old and rough as he is; but now it never can happen.”
Still John Alden went on, unheeding the words of Priscilla, Urging the suit of his friend, explaining, persuading, expanding; Spoke of his courage and skill, and of all his battles in Flanders, How with the people of God he had chosen to suffer affliction, How, in return for his zeal, they had made him Captain of Plymouth ; He was a gentleman born, could trace his pedigree plaiuly Back to Hugh Standish of Duxbury Hall, in Lancashire, England, Who was the son of Ralph, and the grandson of Thurston de Standish; Heir unto vast estates, of which he was basely defrauded, Still bore the family arms, and had for his crest a cock argent Combed and wattled gules, and all the rest of the blazon. He was a man of honour, of noble and generous nature;
Though he was rough, he was kindly; she knew how during the
But as he warmed and glowed, in his simple and eloquent language, Quite forgetful of self, and full of the praise of his rival, Archly the maiden smiled, and, with eyes overrunning with laughter, Said, in a tremulous voice, “Why don't you speak for yourself, John ?"
Into the open air John Alden, perplexed and bewildered,
up and down the sands, and bared his head to the east wind,
“ Welcome, O wind of the East,” he exclaimed in his wild exulta
Welcome, O wind of the East, from the caves of the misty Atlantic !