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Through the congenial gloom of the forest silent and sombre, Till he beheld the lights in the seven houses of Plymouth, Shining like seven stars in the dusk and mist of the evening. Soon he entered his door, and found the redoubtable Captain Sitting alone, and absorbed in the martial pages of Cæsar, Fighting some great campaign in Hainault or Brabant or

Flanders. “ Long have you been on your errand,” he said, with a cheery

demeanour, Even as one who is waiting an answer, and fears not the

issue. “Not far off is the house, although the woods are between us; But you have lingered so long, that while you were going

and coming I have fought ten battles and sacked and demolished a city. Come, sit down, and in order relate to me all that has hap


Then John Alden spake, and related the wondrous adven

ture, From beginning to end, minutely, just as it happened; How he had seen Priscilla, and how he had sped in his court

ship, Only smoothing a little, and softening down her refusal. But when he came at length to the words Priscilla had spoken, Words so tender and cruel: “Why don't you speak for your

self, John?” Up leaped the Captain of Plymouth, and stamped on the

floor, till his armour Clanged on the wall, where it hung, with a sound of sinister

omen. All his pent-up wrath burst forth in a sudden explosion, Even as a hand-grenade, that scatters destruction around it.

Wildly he shouted, and loud: “John Alden! you have be

trayed me! Me, Miles Standish, your friend! have supplanted, defrauded,

betrayed me! One of my ancestors ran his sword through the heart of Wat

Tyler; Who shall prevent me from running my own through the

heart of a traitor? Yours is the greater treason, for yours is a treason to friend

ship! You, who lived under my roof, whom I cherished and loved

as a brother; You, who have fed at my board, and drunk at my cup, to

whose keeping I have intrusted my honour, my thoughts the most sacred

and secret,You too, Brutus! ah, woe to the name of friendship hereafter! Brutus was Cæsar's friend, and you were mine, but hence

forward Let there be nothing between us save war, and implacable


So spake the Captain of Plymouth, and strode about in the

chamber, Chafing and choking with rage; like cords were the veins on

his temples. But in the midst of his anger a man appeared at the door

way, Bringing in uttermost haste a message of urgent importance, Rumours of danger and war, and hostile incursions of In

dians! Straightway the Captain paused, and, without further ques

tion or parley,

Took from the nail on the wall his sword with its scabbard of

iron, Buckled the belt round his waist, and, frowning fiercely,

departed. Alden was left alone. He heard the clank of the scabbard Growing fainter and fainter and dying away in the distance, Then he arose from his seat, and looked forth into the

darkness, Felt the cool air blow on his cheek, that was hot with the

insult, Lifted his eyes to the heavens, and, folding his hands as in

childhood, Prayed in the silence of night to the Father who seeth in


Meanwhile the choleric Captain strode wrathful away to the

council, Found it already assembled, impatiently waiting his coming; Men in the middle of life, austere and grave in deportment, Only one of them old, the hill that was nearest to heaven, Covered with snow, but erect, the excellent Elder of Ply

mouth. God had sifted three kingdoms to find the wheat for this

planting, Then had sifted the wheat, as the living seed of a nation; So say the chronicles old, and such is the faith of the people! Near them was standing an Indian, in attitude stern and

defiant, Naked down to the waist, and grim and ferocious in aspect; While on the table before them was lying unopened a Bible, Ponderous, bound in leather, brass studded, printed in

Holland, And beside it outstretched the skin of a rattle-snake glittered,

Filled, like a quiver, with arrows; a signal and challenge of

warfare, Brought by the Indian, and speaking with arrowy tongues of

defiance. This Miles Standish beheld, as he entered, and heard them

debating What were an answer befitting the hostile message and

menace, Talking of this and of that, contriving, suggesting, ob

jecting; One voice only for peace, and that the voice of the Elder, Judging it wise and well that some at least were converted, Rather than any were slain, for this was but Christian be

haviour! Then outspake Miles Standish, the stalwart Captain of

Plymouth, Muttering deep in his throat, for his voice was husky with

anger, “What! do you mean to make war with milk and the water of

roses? Is it to shoot red squirrels you have your howitzer planted There on the roof of the church, or is it to shoot red de

vils? Truly the only tongue that is understood by a savage Must be the tongue of fire that speaks from the mouth of the

cannon!” Thereupon answered and said the excellent Elder of Ply

mouth, Somewhat amazed and alarmed at this irreverent language: “Not so thought Saint Paul, nor yet the other Apostles; Not from the cannon's mouth were the tongues of fire they

spake with!" But unheeded fell this mild rebuke on the Captain,

Who had advanced to the table, and thus continued dis

coursing: “Leave this matter to me, for to me by right it pertaineth. War is a terrible trade; but in the cause that is righteous, Sweet is the smell of powder; and thus I answer the


Then from the rattlesnake's skin, with a sudden con

temptuous gesture, Jerking the Indian arrows, he filled it with powder and bullets Full to the very jaws, and handed it back to the savage, Saying, in thundering tones: “Here, take it! this is your

answer!” Silently out of the room then glided the glistening savage, Bearing the serpent's skin, and seeming himself like a serpent, Winding his sinuous way in the dark to the depths of the


Just in the gray of the dawn, as the mists uprose from the

meadows, There was a stir and a sound in the slumbering village of

Plymouth; Clanging and clicking of arms, and the order imperative,

“Forward!” Given in tone suppressed, a tramp of feet, and then silence. Figures ten, in the mist, marched slowly out of the village. Standish the stalwart it was, with eight of his valorous army, Led by their Indian guide, by Hobomok, friend of the white


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