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So these lives that had run thus far in separate channels, Coming in sight of each other, then swerving and flowing

asunder, Parted by barriers strong, but drawing nearer and nearer, Rushed together at last, and one was lost in the other. 925

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THE WEDDING-DAY Forth from the curtain of clouds, from the tent of purple

and scarlet, Issued the sun, the great High-Priest, in his garments

resplendent, Holiness unto the Lord, in letters of light, on his fore

head, Round the hem of his robe the golden bells and pomegranates. Blessing the world he came, and the bars of vapor beneath him

930 Gleamed like a grate of brass, and the sea at his feet was a

laver!

This was the wedding morn of Priscilla the Puritan maiden. Friends were assembled together; the Elder and Magistrate

also Graced the scene with their presence, and stood like the Law

and the Gospel, One with the sanction of earth and one with the blessing of heaven.

935 Simple and brief was the wedding, as that of Ruth and of

Boaz. Softly the youth and the maiden repeated the words of

betrothal,

Taking each other for husband and wife in the Magistrate's

presence, After the Puritan way, and the laudable custom of Hol

land. Fervently then and devoutly, the excellent Elder of Plymouth

940 Prayed for the hearth and the home, that were founded that

day in affection, Speaking of life and of death, and imploring Divine bene

dictions.

Lo! when the service was ended, a form appeared on the

threshold, Clad in armor of steel, a sombre and sorrowful figure! Why does the bridegroom start and stare at the strange apparition?

945 Why does the bride turn pale, and hide her face on his

shoulder? Is it a phantom of air, - a bodiless, spectral illusion? Is it a ghost from the grave, that has come to forbid the

betrothal? Long had it stood there unseen, a guest uninvited, unwel

comed; Over its clouded eyes there had passed at times an expres-, sion

950 Softening the gloom and revealing the warm heart hidden

beneath them, As when across the sky the driving rack of the rain cloud Grows for a moment thin, and betrays the sun by its bright

ness.

1 They were married in the magistrate's presence so that there could be no dispute on the question of inheritance. Bradford's Journal contains the record of their marriage.

Once it had lifted its hand, and moved its lips, but was

silent, As if an iron will had mastered the fleeting intention. 955 But when were ended the troth and the prayer and the last

benediction, Into the room it strode, and the people beheld with amaze

ment Bodily there in his armor Miles Standish, the Captain of

Plymouth! Grasping the bridegroom's hand, he said with emotion,

"Forgive me! I have been angry and hurt, — too long have I cherished the

feeling.
feeling;

960 I have been cruel and hard, but now, thank God! it is ended. Mine is the same hot blood that leaped in the veins of Hugh

Standish, Sensitive, swift to resent, but as swift in atoning for error. Never so much as now was Miles Standish the friend of

John Alden.” 1 Thereupon answered the bridegroom: “Let all be forgotten between us, –

965 All save the dear old friendship, and that shall grow older

and dearer!” Then the Captain advanced, and, bowing, saluted Priscilla, Gravely, and after the manner of old-fashioned gentry in

England, Something of camp and of court, of town and of country,

commingled, Wishing her joy of her wedding, and loudly lauding her husband.

970 Then he said with a smile: "I should have remembered the

adage, — 1 Miles Standish married not long after, and the two families were neighbors in Duxbury.

If you would be well served, you must serve yourself; and

moreover, No man can gather cherries in Kent at the season of Christ

mas!”

Great was the people's amazement, and greater yet their

rejoicing, Thus to behold once more the sunburnt face of their Captain,

975 Whom they had mourned as dead; and they gathered and

crowded about him, Eager to see him and hear him, forgetful of bride and of

bridegroom, Questioning, answering, laughing, and each interrupting the

other, Till the good Captain declared, being quite overpowered

and bewildered, He had rather by far break into an Indian encampment, 980 Than come again to a wedding to which he had not been

invited.

Meanwhile the bridegroom went forth and stood with

the bride at the doorway, Breathing the perfumed air of that warm and beautiful

morning. Touched with autumnal tints, but lonely and sad in the

sunshine, Lay extended before them the land of toil and privation;

985 There were the graves of the dead, and the barren waste of

the sea-shore, There the familiar fields, the groves of pine, and the mead

ows;

But to their eyes transfigured, it seemed as the Garden of

Eden, Filled with the presence of God, whose voice was the sound

of the ocean.

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Soon was their vision disturbed by the noise and stir of departure,

990 Friends coming forth from the house, and impatient of

longer delaying, Each with his plan for the day, and the work that was left

uncompleted. Then from a stall near at hand, amid exclamations of wonder, Alden the thoughtful, the careful, so happy, so proud of

Priscilla, Brought out his snow-white bull, obeying the hand of its master,

995 Led by a cord that was tied to an iron ring in its nostrils, Covered with crimson cloth, and a cushion placed for a

saddle. She should not walk, he said, through the dust and heat of

the noonday; Nay, she should ride like a queen, not plod along like a

peasant. Somewhat alarmed at first, but reassured by the others, 1000 Placing her hand on the cushion, her foot in the hand of her

husband, Gayly, with joyous laugh, Priscilla mounted her palfrey. Nothing is wanting now," he said with a smile, “but the

distaff; Then you would be in truth my queen, my beautiful Bertha!”

Onward the bridal procession now moved to their new habitation,

1005 Happy husband and wife, and friends conversing together.

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