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"No!" interrupted the maiden, with answer prompt and decisive;

"No: you were angry with me, for speaking so frankly and freely.

It was wrong, I acknowledge; for it is the fate of a woman Long to be patient and silent, to wait like a ghost that is


Till some questioning voice dissolves the spell of its silence. Hence is the inner life of so many suffering women

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Sunless and silent and deep, like subterranean rivers Running through caverns of darkness, unheard, unseen, and unfruitful,

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Chafing their channels of stone, with endless and profitless

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Thereupon answered John Alden, the young man, the lover

of women:

"Heaven forbid it, Priscilla; and truly they seem to me


More like the beautiful rivers that watered the garden of


More like the river Euphrates, through deserts of Havilah


Filling the land with delight, and memories sweet of the


"Ah, by these words, I can see," again interrupted the maiden,

"How very little you prize me, or care for what I am saying. When from the depths of my heart, in pain and with secret


Frankly I speak to you, asking for sympathy only and kindness,

Straightway you take up my words, that are plain and direct and in earnest,

Turn them away from their meaning, and answer with flattering phrases.

This is not right, is not just, is not true to the best that is

in you;

For I know and esteem you, and feel that your nature is


Lifting mine up to a higher, a more ethereal level.

Therefore I value your friendship, and feel it perhaps the more keenly

If you say aught that implies I am only as one among


If you make use of those common and complimentary


Most men think so fine, in dealing and speaking with


But which women reject as insipid, if not as insulting."

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Mute and amazed was Alden; and listened and looked at Priscilla,

Thinking he never had seen her more fair, more divine in her beauty.

He who but yesterday pleaded so glibly the canse of another, i

Stood there embarrassed and silent, and seeking in vain for an answer.



So the maiden went on, and little divined or imagined What was at work in his heart, that made him so awkward hand speechless.

"Let us, then, be what we are, and speak what we think, and in all things

Keep ourselves loyal to truth, and the sacred professions of friendship.

It is no secret I tell you, nor am I ashamed to declare it:

I have liked to be with you, to see you, to speak with you


So I was hurt at your words, and a little affronted to hear


Urge me to marry your friend, though he were the Captain Miles Standish.

For I must tell you the truth: much more to me is your


Than all the love he could give, were he twice the hero you think him."

Then she extended her hand, and Alden, who eagerly

grasped it,

Felt all the wounds in his heart, that were aching and bleeding so sorely,

Healed by the touch of that hand, and he said, with a voice full of feeling:


"Yes, we must ever be friends; and of all who offer you

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Let me be ever the first, the truest, the nearest and


Casting a farewell look at the glimmering sail of the May Flower,

Distant, but still in sight, and sinking below the horizon, Homeward together they walked, with a strange indefinite

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That all the rest had departed and left them alone in the


But, as they went through the fields in the blessing and smile of the sunshine,

Lighter grew their hearts, and Priscilla said very archly : "Now that our terrible Captain has gone in pursuit of the



Where he is happier far than he would be commanding a household,

You may speak boldly, and tell me of all that happened between you,

When you returned last night, and said how ungrateful you

found me."

Thereupon answered John Alden, and told her the whole of the story,

Told her his own despair, and the direful wrath of Miles Standish.

Whereat the maiden smiled, and said between laughing and earnest,

"He is a little chimney, and heated hot in a moment!" But as he gently rebuked her, and told her how much he had suffered,

How he had even determined to sail that day in the May


And had remained for her sake on hearing the dangers that threatened,—

All her manner was changed, and she said with a faltering


"Truly I thank you for this: how good you have been to me always!"

Thus as a pilgrim devout, who toward Jerusalem journeys, Taking three steps in advance, and one reluctantly backward, Urged by importunate zeal, and withheld by pangs of contrition;

Slowly but steadily onward, receding yet ever advancing, Journeyed this Puritan youth to the Holy Land of his


Urged by the fervor of love, and withheld by remorseful misgivings.




MEANWHILE the stalwart Miles Standish was marching steadily northward,

Winding through forest and swamp, and along the trend of the sea-shore,

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All day long, with hardly a halt, the fire of his anger Burning and crackling within, and the sulphurous odor of Mod powder

Seeming more sweet to his nostrils than all the scents of › the forest.

Silent and moody he went, and much he revolved his discomfort;

He who was used to success, and to easy victories always, Thus to be flouted, rejected, and laughed to scorn by a


Thus to be mocked and betrayed by the friend whom most he had trusted!!

Ah! 't was too much to be borne, and he fretted and chafed in his armor!

"I alone am to blame," he muttered, "for mine was the


What has a rough old soldier, grown grim and gray in the harness,

Used to the camp and its ways, to do with the wooing of maidens?

'T was but a dream, let it pass, let it vanish like so many others!

What I thought was a flower is only a weed, and is worth

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