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Bravely the stalwart Standish was scouring the land with

his forces, Waxing valiant in fight and defeating the alien armies, Till his name had become a sound of fear to the nations. 835 Anger was still in his heart, but at times the remorse and

contrition Which in all noble natures succeed the passionate outbreak, Came like a rising tide, that encounters the rush of a river, Staying its current awhile, but making it bitter and brackish.

Meanwhile Alden at home had built him a new habitation,

840 Solid, substantial, of timber rough-hewn from the firs of the

forest. Wooden-barred was the door, and the roof was covered with

rushes; Latticed the windows were, and the window-panes were of

paper, Oiled to admit the light, while wind and rain were excluded. There too he dug a well, and around it planted an orchard:

845 Still may be seen to this day some trace of the well and the

orchard. Close to the house was the stall, where, safe and secure from

annoyance, Raghorn, the snow-white bull, that had fallen to Alden's

allotment In the division of cattle, might ruminate in the nighttime Over the pastures he cropped, made fragrant by Sweet pennyroyal.

850

1 This house was at Duxbury. Many of the first settlers built their permanent homes a short distance from the village of Plymouth. Miles Standish founded Duxbury and named it for his old home in England. Oft when his labor was finished, with eager feet would the

dreamer Follow the pathway that ran through the woods to the house

of Priscilla, Led by illusions romantic and subtile deceptions of fancy, Pleasure disguised as duty, and love in the semblance of

friendship. Ever of her he thought, when he fashioned the walls of his dwelling;

855 Ever of her he thought, when he delved in the soil of his

garden; Ever of her he thought, when he read in his Bible on Sunday Praise of the virtuous woman, as she is described in the

Proverbs, – How the heart of her husband doth safely trust in her

always, How all the days of her life she will do him good, and not

evil, How she seeketh the wool and the ilax and worketh with

gladness, How she layeth her hand to the spindle and holdeth the

distaff, How she is not afraid of the snow for herself or her house

hold, Knowing her household are clothed with the scarlet cloth of

her weaving!

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So as she sat at her wheel one afternoon in the Autumn, 865 Alden, who opposite sat, and was watching her dexterous

fingers, As if the thread she was spinning were that of his life and

his fortune, After a pause in their talk, thus spake to the sound of the

spindle.

"Truly, Priscilla,” he said, “when I see you spinning and

spinning, Never idle a moment, but thrifty and thoughtful of others,

870 Suddenly you are transformed, are visibly changed in a

moment; You are no longer Priscilla, but Bertha the Beautiful Spin

ner.” Here the light foot on the treadle grew swifter and swifter;

the spindle Uttered an angry snarl, and the thread snapped short in her

fingers; While the impetuous speaker, not beeding the mischief, continued:

875 You are the beautiful Bertha, the spinner, the queen of

Helvetia; She whose story I read at a stall" in the streets of South

ampton, Who, as she rode on her palfrey, o'er valley and meadow and

mountain, Ever was spinning her thread from a distaff fixed to her

saddle. She was so thrifty and good, that her name passed into a proverb.

880 So shall it be with your own, when the spinning-wheel shall

no longer Hum in the house of the farmer, and fill its chambers with

music. Then shall the mothers, reproving, relate how it was in their

childhood, Praising the good old times, and the days of Priscilla the Straight uprose from her wheel the beautiful Puritan maiden,

spinner!” 1 The English use the word stall as we use the word stand (news stand).

885 Pleased with the praise of her thrift from him whose praise

was the sweetest, Drew from the reel on the table a snowy skein of her spin

ning, Thus making answer, meanwhile, to the flattering phrases

of Alden: Come, you must not be idle; if I am a pattern for house

wives, Show yourself equally worthy of being the model of husbands.

890 Hold this skein on your hands, while I wind it, ready for

knitting; Then who knows but hereafter, when fashions have changed

and the manners, Fathers may talk to their sons of the good old times of John

Alden!” Thus, with a jest and a laugh, the skein on his hands she

adjusted, He sitting awkwardly there, with his arms extended before him,

895 She standing graceful, erect, and winding the thread from

his fingers, Sometimes chiding a little his clumsy manner of holding, Sometimes touching his hands, as she disentangled expertly Twist or knot in the yarn, unawares — for how could she

help it? — Sending electrical thrills through every nerve in his body. 900

Lo! in the midst of this scene, a breathless messenger

entered, Bringing in hurry and heat the terrible news from the vilYes; Miles Standish was dead! — an Indian had brought

lage.

them the tidings, – Slain by a poisoned arrow, shot down in the front of the

battle, Into an ambush beguiled, cut off with the whole of his forces;

905 All the town would be burned, and all the people be mur

dered! Such were the tidings of evil that burst on the hearts of the

hearers. Silent and statue-like stood Priscilla, her face looking back

ward Still at the face of the speaker, her arms uplifted in horror; But John Alden, upstarting, as if the barb of the arrow 910 Piercing the heart of his friend had struck his own, and had

sundered Once and forever the bonds that held him bound as a cap

tive, Wild with excess of sensation, the awful delight of his free

dom, Mingled with pain and regret, unconscious of what he was

doing, Clasped, almost with a groan, the motionless form of Pris

cilla, Pressing her close to his heart, as forever his own, and

exclaiming: "Those whom the Lord hath united, let no man put them

asunder!"

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Even as rivulets twain, from distant and separate sources, Seeing each other afar, as they leap from the rocks, and

pursuing Each one its devious path, but drawing nearer and nearer, 920 Rush together at last, at their trysting-place in the forest;

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