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Twice was he married before he was twenty, and many

times after; Battles five hundred he fought, and a thousand cities he

conquered ; He, too, fought in Flanders, as he himself has recorded; Finally he was stabbed by his friend, the orator Brutus ! Now, do you know what he did on a certain occasion in

Flanders, When the rear-guard of his army retreated, the front

giving way too, And the immortal Twelfth Legion was crowded so closely

together There was no room for their sworąs? 'Why, he seized a

shield from a soldier, Put himself straight at the head of his troops, and comLII' manded the captains, Calling on each by his name, to order forward the ensigns; Then to widen the ranks, and give more room for their

weapons; So he won the days, the battle of something-or-other. That's what I always say; if you wish a thing to be well

done, i You must do it yourself, you must not leave it to others!”

All was silent again; the Captain continued his reading. Nothing was heard in the room but the hurrying pen of

the stripling Writing epistles important to go next day by the May

Flower, Filled with the name and the fame of the Puritan maiden

Priscilla; Every sentence began or closed with the name of Priscilla, Till the treacherous pen, to which he confided the secret,

Strove to betray it by singing and shouting the name of

Priscilla! Finally closing his book, with a bang of the ponderous

cover, Sudden and loud as the sound of a soldier grounding his

musket, Thus to the young man spake Miles Standish the Captain

of Plymouth: “When you have finished your work, I have something im

portant to tell you. Be not however in haste; I can wait; I shall not be im

patient!" Straightway Alden replied, as he folded the last of his

letters, Pushing his papers aside, and giving respectful attention: “Speak; for whenever you speak, I am always ready to

listen, Always ready to hear whatever pertains to Miles Standish.” Thereupon answered the Captain, embarrassed, and culling

his phrases: “ 'Tis not good for a man to be alone, say the Scriptures. This I have said before, and again and again I repeat it; Every hour in the day, I think it, and feel it, and say it. Since Rose Standish died, my life has been weary and

dreary; Sick at heart have I been, beyond the healing of friendship, Oft in my lonely hours have I thought of the maiden Pris

cilla. She is alone in the world; her father and mother and

brother Died in the winter together; I saw her going and coming, Now to the grave of the dead, and now to the bed of the

dying,

Patient, courageous, and strong, and said to myself, that if

ever

There were angels on earth as there are angels in heaven, Two have I seen and known; and the angel whose name is

Priscilla Holds in my desolate life the place which the other aban

doned. Long have I cherished the thought, but never have dared

to reveal it, Being a coward in this, though valiant enough for the

most part. Go to the damsel Priscilla, the loveliest maiden of Ply

mouth, Say that a blunt old Captain, a man not of words but of

actions, Offers his hand and his heart, the hand and heart of a

soldier. Not in these words, you know, but this in short in my

meaning; I am a maker of war, and not a maker of phrases. You, who are bred as a scholar, can say it in elegant lan

guage. Such as you read in your books of the pleadings and woo

ing of lovers, Such as you think best adapted to win the heart of a

maiden."

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When he had spoken, John Alden, the fair-haired taci

turn stripling, All aghast at his words, surprised, embarrassed, bewil

dered, Trying to mask his dismay by treating the subject with

lightness,

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Trying to smile, and yet feeling his heart stand still in his

bosom, Just as a timepiece stops in a house that is stricken by

lightning, Thus made answer and spake, or rather stammered than

answered: “Such a message as that, I am sure I should mangle and

mar it; If you would have it well done, -I am only repeating your

maxim, You must do it yourself, you must not leave it to others!” But with the air of a man whom nothing can turn from his

purpose, Gravely shaking his head, made answer the Captain of

Plymouth: “ Truly the maxim is good, and I do not mean to gain

say it;

I can

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But we must use it discreetly, and not waste powder for

nothing Now, as I said before, I was never a maker of phrases. march

up to a fortress and summon the place to sur

render, But march up to a woman with such a proposal, I dare not. I 'm not afraid of bullets, nor shot from the mouth of a

cannon, 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 con

fess 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."

1

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 pompts 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 ver

dure, 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 gene

rous impulse.

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