« ПредишнаНапред »
In the-Old Colony days, in Plymouth the land of the Pilgrims,
Hanging in shining array along the walls of the chamber,
panion, Writing with diligent speed at a table of pine by the window; Fair-haired, azure-eyed, with delicate Saxon complexion, Having the dew of his youth, and the beauty thereof, as the captives Whom Saint Gregory saw, and exclaimed, “Not Angles but Angels.” Youngest of all was he of the men who came in the May Flower.
Suddenly breaking the silence, the diligent scribe interrupting, Spake, in the pride of his heart, Miles Standish the Captain of Ply
“ Look at these arms,” he said, “ the warlike weapons that hang here
Had it not been of shear-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
He in his mercy preserved you, to be our shield and our weapon!"
See, how bright they are burnished, as if in an arsenal hanging ;
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 Cæsar, 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 Tokamahamon!"
Long at the window he stood, and wistfully gazed on the landscape, Washed with a cold gray mist, the vapoury breath of the east wind, Forest and meadow and hill, and the steel-blue 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 his 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 Cæsar, 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
Romans, Or the artillery practice, designed for belligerent Christiansa Finally down from its shelf he dragged the ponderous Roman, Seated himself at the window, and opened the book, and in silence Turned o'er the well-worn leaves, where thumb-marks thick on the
margin, Like the trample of feet, proclaimed the battle was hottest. Nothing was heard in the room but the hurrying pen of the stripling, Busily writing epistles important, to go by the May Flower, Ready to sail on the morrow, or next day at latest, God willing! Homeward bound with the tidings of all that terrible winter, Letters written by Alden, and full of the name of Priscilla, Full of the name and the fame of the Puritan maiden Priscilla!