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Loosely against her masts was hanging and flap

ping her canvas, Rent by so many gales, and patched by the nands

of the sailors. Suddenly from her side, as the sun rose over the

ocean, Darted a puff of smoke, and floated seaward; anon

rang Loud over field and forest the cannon's roar, and

the echoes Heard and repeated the sound, the signal-gun of

departure! Ah! but with louder echoes replied the hearts of

the people! Meekly, in voices subdued, the chapter was read

from the Bible, Meekly the prayer was begun, but ended in fer

vent entreaty! Then from their houses in haste came forth the

Pilgrims of Plymouth, Men and women and children, all hurrying down

to the sea-shore, Eager, with tearful eyes, to say farewell to the

Mayflower, Homeward bound o'er the sea, and leaving them

here in the desert.

Foremost among them was Alden. All night

he had lain without slumber, Turning and tossing about in the heat and unrest

of his fever. He had beheld Miles Standish, who came back

late from the council, Stalking into the room, and heard him mutter and

murmur, Sometimes it seemed a prayer, and sometimes it

sounded like swearing. Once he had come to the bed, and stood there a

moment in silence; Then he had turned away, and said: "I wili not

awake him; Let him sleep on, it is best; for what is the use of

more talking !" Then he extinguished the light, and threw himself

down on his pallet, Dressed as he was, and ready to start at the break

of the morning, Covered himself with the cloak he had worn in his

campaigns in Flanders Slept as a soldier sleeps in his bivouac, ready for

action. But with the dawn he arose; in the twilight Alden

beheld him

Put on his corslet of steel, and all the rest of his

armor, Buckle about his waist his trusty blade of Damas

cus, Take from the corner his musket, and so strode out

of the chamber. Often the heart of the youth had burned and

yearned to embrace him, Often his lips had essayed to speak, imploring for

pardon; All the old friendship came back, with its tender

and grateful emotions; But his pride overmastered the nobler nature with

in him,Pride, and the sense of his wrong, and the burn

ing fire of the insult. So he beheld his friend departing in anger, but

spake not, Saw him go forth to danger, perhaps to death, and

he spake not! Then he arose from his bed, and heard what the

people were saying, Joined in the talk at the door, with Stephen and

Richard and Gilbert, Joined in the morning prayer, and in the reading

of Scripture,

And, with the others, in haste went hurrying down

to the sea-shore, Down to the Plymouth Rock, that had been to

their feet as a door-step Into a world unknown,—the cornerstone of a

nation! There with his boat was the Master, already a

little impatient Lest he should lose the tide, or the wind might

shift to the eastward, Square-built, hearty, and strong, with an odor of

ocean about him, Speaking with this one and that, and cramming

letters and parcels Into his pockets capacious, and messages mingled

together Into his narrow brain, till at last he was wholly

bewildered. Nearer the boat stood Alden, with one foot placed

on the gunwale, One still firm on the rock, and talking at times

with the sailors, Seated erect on the thwarts, all ready and eager

for starting He too was eager to go, and thus put an end to

his anguish,

Thinking to fly from despair, that swifter than

keel is or canvas, Thinking to drown in the sea the ghost that would

rise and pursue him.


But as he gazed on the crowd, he beheld the form

of Priscilla Standing dejected among them, unconscious of all

that was passing Fixed were her eyes upon his, as if she divined his


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