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Broad in the shoulders, deep-chested, with muscles and

sinews of iron; Brown as a nut was his face, but his russet beard was

already Flaked with patches of snow, as hedges sometimes in No

vember. Near him was seated John Alden, his friend and household

companion, Writing with diligent speed at a table of pine by the win

dow: 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


Suddenly breaking the silence, the diligent scribe inter

rupting, Spake, in the pride of his heart, Miles Standish the Cap

tain of Plymouth. “Look at these arms,” he said, “the warlike weapons that

hang here Burnished and bright and clean, as if for parade or in

spection! This is the sword of Damascus I fought with in Flanders;

this breastplate, Well I remember the day! once saved my life in a skirmish; Here in front you can see the very dint of the bullet Fired point-blank at my heart by a Spanish arcabucero. Had it not been of shear-steel, the forgotten bones of Miles


Would at this moment be mould, in their grave in the Fle

mish morasses." Thereupon answered John Alden, but looked not up from

his writing: " Truly the breath of the Lord hath slackened the speed of

the bullet; He in his mercy preserved you, to be our shield and our


Still the Captain continued, unheeding the words of the

stripling: “See, how bright they are burnished, as if in an arsenal

hanging; That is because I have done it myself, and not left it to

others. Serve yourself, would you be well served, is an excellent

adage; So I take care of my arms, as you of your pens and your

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

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 vapory 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 sun

shine. 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

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!”

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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 Chris

tians. 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


Letters written by Alden, and full of the name of Priscilla, Full of the name and the fame of the Puritan maiden




NOTHING was heard in the room but the hurrying pen of

the stripling, Or an occasional sigh from the laboring heart of the Cap

tain, Reading the marvellous words and achievements of Julius

Cæsar. After a while he exclaimed, as he smote with his hand, palm

downwards, Heavily on the page: “A wonderful man was this Cæsar! You are a writer, and I am a fighter, but here is a fellow Who could both write and fight, and in both was equally

skilful!" Straightway answered and spake John Alden, the comely,

the youthful: “Yes, he was equally skilled, as you say, with his pen and

his weapons. Somewhere have I read, but where I forget, he could dictate Seven letters at once, at the same time writing his me

moirs." * Truly,” continued the Captain, not heeding or hearing the

other, "Truly a wunderful man was Caius Julius Cæsar! Better be first, he said, in a little Iberian village, Than be second in Rome, and I think he was right when

he said it.

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