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One with the sanction of earth and one with the
blessing of heaven. 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 Holland. Fervently then, and devoutly, the excellent Elder
of Plymouth Prayed for the hearth and the home, that were
founded that day in affection, Speaking of life and of death, and imploring
Lo! when the service was ended, a form ap
peared on the threshold, Clad in armor of steel, a sombre and sorrowful
figure! Why does the bridegroom start and stare at the
strange apparition ? Why does the bride turn pale, and hide her face
on his shoulder ?
Is it a phantom of air,—a bodiless, spectral illu
sion? Is it a ghost from the grave, that has come to for
bid the betrothal? Long had it stood there unseen, a guest unin
vited, unwelcomed; Over its clouded eyes there had passed at times
an expression 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 brightness. Once it had lifted its hand, and moved its lips,
but was silent, As if an iron will has mastered the fleeting in
tention. But when were ended the troth and the prayer and
the last benediction, Into the room it strode, and the people beheld with
amazement Bodily there in his armor Miles Standish, the Cap
tain 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;
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.” Thereupon answered the bridegroom: “Let all be
forgotten between us,All save the dear, old friendship, and that shall
grow older and dearer!"
gentry in England,
country, commingled, Wishing her joy of her wedding, and loudly laud
ing her husband. Then he said with a smile: "I should have remem
bered the adage,If you would be well served, you must serve your
self; and moreover, No man can gather cherries in Kent at the season
of Christmas !''
Great was the people's amazement, and greater
yet their rejoicing, Thus to behold once more the sun-burnt face of
their Captain, 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 in
terrupting the other, Till the good Captain declared, being quite over
powered and bewildered, He had rather by far break into an Indian en
campment, 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