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Fixed were her eyes upon his, as if she divined his inten

tion, Fixed with a look so sad, so reproachful, imploring, and

patient, That with a sudden revulsion his heart recoiled from its

purpose, As from the verge of a crag, where one step more is

destruction. Strange is the heart of man, with its quick, mysterious

instincts! Strange is the life of man, and fatal or fated are moments, Whereupon turn, as on hinges, the gates of the wall

adamantine! "Here I remain!” he exclaimed, as he looked at the heavens

above him, Thanking the Lord whose breath had scattered the mist

and the madness, Wherein, blind and lost, to death he was staggering head

long. “Yonder snow-white cloud, that floats in the ether

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above me,

Seems like a hand that is pointing and beckoning over the


There is another hand, that is not so spectral and ghost

like, Holding me, drawing me back, and clasping mine for

protection. Float, О hand of cloud, and vanish away in the ether! Roll thyself up like a fist, to threaten and daunt me;

I heed not Either your warning or menace, or any omen of evil! There is no land so sacred, no air so pure and so wholeAs is the air she breathes, and the soil that is pressed by


her 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 remem

brance. 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!

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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 harbor,'';' 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, Much endeared to them all, as something living and

human; Then, as if filled with the spirit, and wrapt in a vision

prophetic, Baring his hoary head, the excellent Elder of Plymouth 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

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Gleamed the departing sail, like a marble slab in a grave

yard; Buried beneath it lay for ever all hope of escaping. Lo! as they turned to depart, they saw the form of an

Indian, Watching them 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.

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Thus for a while he stood, and mused by the shore of the

ocean, Thinking of many things, and most of all of Priscilla; And as if thought had the power to draw to itself, like the

loadstone, Whatsoever it touches, by subtile laws of its nature, Lo! as he turned to depart, Priscilla was standing beside him.

“Are you so much offended, you will not speak to me?"

said she. “ Am I so much to blame, that yesterday, when you were


Warmly the cause of another, my heart, impulsive and

wayward, Pleaded your own, and spake out, forgetful perhaps of

decorum? Certainly you can forgive me for speaking so frankly, for

saying What I ought not to have said, yet now I can never unsay it; For there are moments in life, when the heart is so full of

emotion, That if by chance it be shaken, or into its depths like

a pebble Drops some careless word, it overflows, and its secret, Spilt on the ground like water, can never be gathered

together. Yesterday I was shocked, when I heard you speak of Miles

Standish, Praising his virtues, transforming his very defects into

virtues, Praising his courage and strength, and even his fighting in

Flanders, As if by fighting alone you could win the heart of a woman, Quite overlooking yourself and the rest, in exalting your

hero. Therefore I spake as I did, by an irresistible impulse. You will forgive me, I hope, for the sake of the friendship

between us, Which is too true and too sacred to be so easily

broken!" Thereupon answered John Alden, the scholar, the friend of

Miles Standish: “I was not angry with you, with myself alone I was angry, Seeing how badly I managed the matter I had in my


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