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Well I remember the day! once saved my life in a
skirmish; Here in front you can see the very dint of the bullet Fired point-blank at my heart by a Spanish arcabucero.
Had it not been of sheer steel, the forgotten bones of Miles Standish Would at this moment be mould, in their grave in the Flemish morasses.” Thereupon answered John Alden, but looked not up from his writing: “Truly the breath of the Lord hath slackened the speed of the bullet; He in his mercy preserved you, to be our shield and our weapon” Still the Captain continued, unheeding the words of the stripling: “See, how bright they are burnished, as if in an arsenal hanging; That is because I have done it myself, and not left it to others. Serve yourself, would you be well served, is an excellent adage; So I take care of my arms, as you of your pens and your inkhorn.
Eighteen shillings a month, together with diet and pillage, And, like Caesar, I know the name of each of my soldiers l’’ This he said with a smile, that danced in his eyes, as the sunbeams Dance on the waves of the sea, and vanish again in a moment. Alden laughed as he wrote, and still the Captain continued: “Look! you can see from this window my brazen howitzer planted High on the roof of the church, a preacher who speaks to the purpose, Steady, straightforward, and strong, with irresistible logic, Orthodox, flashing conviction right into the hearts of the heathen. Now we are ready, I think, for any assault of the Indians; Let them come, if they like, and the sooner they try it the better, Let them come, if they like, be it sagamore, sachem, or pow-wow, Aspinet, Samoset, Corbitant, Squanto, or Tokamahamon l’’
Long at the window he stood, and wistfully gazed on the landscape, Washed with a cold gray mist, the vapory breath of the east wind, Forest and meadow and hill, and the steel blue rim of the ocean, o Lying silent and sad, in the afternoon shadows and sunshine. Over his countenance flitted a shadow like those on the landscape, Gloom intermingled with light; and his voice was subdued with emotion, Tenderness, pity, regret, as after a pause he proceeded: “Yonder there, on the hill by the sea, lies buried Rose Standish; Beautiful rose of love, that bloomed for me by the waysides She was the first to die of all who came in the Mayflower! Green above her is growing the field of wheat we have sown there, Better to hide from the Indian scouts the graves of our people, Lest they should count them and see how many already have perished l’’
Sadly his face he averted, and strode up and down, and was thoughtful.
Fixed to the opposite wall was a shelf of books,
and among them Prominent three, distinguished alike for bulk and
for binding; Bariffe's Artillery Guide, and the Commentaries of Caesar, Out of the Latin translated by Arthur Goldinge of London, And, as if guarded by these, between them was standing the Bible. Musing a moment before them, Miles Standish paused, as if doubtful Which of the three he should choose for his consolation and comfort, Whether the wars of the Hebrews, the famous campaigns of the Romans, Or the Artillery practice, designed for belligerent Christians. Finally down from its shelf he dragged the ponderous Roman, Seated himself at the window, and opened the book, and in silence