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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 ren

dered 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


"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.

you have

When you have made up your minds, after thinking of this

one and that one, Choosing, selecting, rejecting, comparing one with another, Then you make known your desire, with abrupt and sudden

avowal, And are offended and hurt, and indignant perhaps, that

a woman Does not respond at once to a love that she never suspected, Does not attain at a bound the height to which

been 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 afflic

tion, How, in return for his zeal, they had made him Captain of

Plymouth; He was a gentleman born, could trace his pedigree plainly Back to Hugh Standish of Duxbury Hall, in Lancashire,


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 honor, of noble and generous nature; Though he was rough, he was kindly; she knew how during

the winter He had attended the sick, with a hand as gentle as woman's; Somewhat basty and hot, he could not deny it, and head

strong, Stern as a soldier might be, but hearty, and placable

always, Not to be laughed at and scorned, because he was little of

stature; For he was great of heart, magnanimous, courtly, coura

geous; Any woman in Plymouth, nay, any woman in England, Might be happy and proud to be called the wife of Miles


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 your

self, John?"



Into the open air John Alden, perplexed and bewildered, Rushed like a man insane, and wandered alone by the sea-side; Paced up and down the sands, and bared his head to the

east-wind, Cooling his heated brow, and the fire and fever within him. Slowly as out of the heavens, with apocalyptical splendors, Sank the City of God, in the vision of John the Apostle, So, with its cloudy walls of chrysolite, jasper, and sapphire, Sank the broad red sun, and over its turrets uplifted Glimmered the golden reed of the angel who measured the city.

Welcome, O wind of the East!” he exclaimed in his

wild exultation, “Welcome, O wind of the East, from the caves of the misty

Atlantic! Blowing o'er fields of dulse, and measureless meadows of

sea-grass, Blowing o'er rocky wastes, and the grottos and gardens of

ocean! Lay thy cold, moist hand on my burning forehead, and

wrap me Close in thy garments of mist, to allay the fever within me!"

Like an awakened conscience, the sea was moaning and

tossing, Beating remorseful and loud the mutable sands of the sea

shore. Fierce in his soul was the struggle and tumult of passions


Love triumphant and crowned, and frierfdship wounded and

bleeding, Passionate cries of desire, and importunate pleadings of

duty! “Is it my fault,” he said, “that the maiden has chosen be

tween us? Is it my fault that he failed,-my fault that I am the victor?" Then within him there thundered a voice, like the voice of

the Prophet: “It hath displeased the Lord!”—and he thought of David's

transgression, Bathsheba's beautiful face, and his friend in the front of

the battle! Shame and confusion of guilt, and abasement and self-con

demnation, Overwhelmed him at once; and he cried in the deepest

contrition: “It hath displeased the Lord! It is the temptation of


Then, uplifting his head, he looked at the sea, and be

held there Dimly the shadowy form of the May Flower riding at

anchor, Rocked on the rising tide, and ready to sail on the morrow; Heard the voices of men through the mist, the rattle of

cordage Thrown on the deck, the shouts of the mate, and the sailors'

“Ay, ay, Sir!" Clear and distinct, but not loud, in the dripping air of the

twilight. Still for a moment he stood, and listened, and stared at

the vessel,

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