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Down to the Plymouth Rock, that had been to their feet as a door-step Into a world unknown,--the corner-stone of a nation!
There with his boat was the Master, already a little impatient Lest he should lose the tide, or the wind might shift to the eastward, Square-built, hearty, and strong, with an odour of ocean about him, Speaking with this one and that, and cramming letters and parcels Into his pockets capacious, and messages mingled together Into his narrow brain, till at last he was wholly bewildered. Nearer the boat stood Alden, with one foot placed on the gunwale, One still firm on the rock, and talking at times with the sailors, Seated erect on the thwarts, all ready and eager for starting. He too was eager to go, and thus put an end to his anguish, Thinking to fly from despair, that swifter than keel is or canvas, Thinking to drown in the sea the ghost that would rise and pursue
But as he gazed on the crowd, he beheld the furm of Priscilla
footsteps. Here for her sake will I stay, and like an invisible presence Hover around her for ever, protecting, supporting her weakness; Yes! as my foot was the first that stepped on this rock at the landing, So, with the blessing of God, shall it be the last at the leaving !"
Meanwhile the Master alert, but with dignified air and important, Scanning with watchful eye the tide and the wind and the weather, Walked about on the sands; and the people crowded around him Saying a few last words, and enforcing his careful remembrance. Then, taking each by the hand, as if he were grasping a tiller, Into the boat he sprang, and in haste shoved off to his vessel, Glad in his heart to get rid of all this worry and flurry, Glad to be gone from a land of sand and sickness and sorrow, Short allowance of victual, and plenty of nothing but Gospel! Lost in the sound of the oars was the last farewell of the Pilgrims. O strong hearts and true! not one went back in the May Flower! No, not one looked back, who had set his hand to this ploughing!
Soon were heard on board the shouts and songs of the sailors Heaving the windlass round, and hoisting the ponderous anchor. Then the yards were braced, and all sails set to the west-wind, Blowing steady and strong; and the May Flower sailed from the
harbour, Rounded the point of the Gurnet, and leaving far to the southward Island and cape of sand, and the field of the first encounter, Took the wind on her quarter, and stood for the open Atlantic, Borne on the send of the sea, and the swelling hearts of the Pilgrims.
Long in silence they watched the receding sail of the vessel,
Said, “ Let us pray!” and they prayed, and thanked the Lord, and took
courage. Mournfully sobbed the waves at the base of the rock, and above them Bowed and whispered the wheat on the hill of death, and their kindred Seemed to awake in their graves, and to join in the prayer that they
uttered. Sun-illumined, and white on the eastern verge of the ocean Gleamed the departing sail, like a marble slab in a graveyard ; Buried beneath it lay for ever all hope of escaping. Lo! as they turned to depart, they saw the form of an Indian, Watching thein from the hill; but while they spake with each other, Pointing with outstretched hands, and saying, “ Look !" he had
vanished. So they returned to their homes; but Alden lingered a little, Musing alone on the shore, and watching the wash of the billows Round the base of the rock, and the sparkle and flash of the sunshine, Like the spirit of God moving visibly over the waters.
Thus for a while he stood, and mused by the shore of the ocean,