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"No!” interrupted the maiden, with answer

prompt and decisive; “No; you were angry with me, for speaking so

frankly and freely. It was wrong, I acknowledge; for it is the fate

of a woman Long to be patient and silent, to wait like a ghost

that is speechless, Till some questioning voice dissolves the spell of

its silence. Hence is the inner life of so many suffering

women Sunless and silent and deep, like subterranean

rivers Running through caverns of darkness, unheard,

unseen, and unfruitful, Chafing their channels of stone, with endless and

profitless murmurs.” Thereupon answered John Alden, the young man,

the lover of women : “Heaven forbid it, Priscilla; and truly they seem

to me always More like the beautiful rivers that watered the

garden of Eden, More like the river Euphrates, through deserts of

Havilah flowing,

Filling the land with delight, and memories sweet

of the garden! “Ah, by these words, I can see,” again interrupted

the maiden, “How very little you prize me, or care for what

I am saying When from the depths of my heart, in pain and

with secret misgiving, Frankly I speak to you, asking for sympathy only

and kindness, Straightway you take up my words, that are plain

and direct and in earnest, Turn them away from their meaning, and answer

with flattering phrases. This is not right, is not just, is not true to the

best that is in you; For I know and esteem you, and feel that your

nature is noble, Lifting mine up to a higher, a more ethereal

level. Therefore I value your friendship, and feel it

perhaps the more keenly If you say aught that implies I am only as one

among many, If you make use of those common and compli

mentary phrases

Most men think so fine, in dealing and speaking

with women, But which women reject as insipid, if not as in

sulting.”

Mute and amazed was Alden; and listened and

looked at Priscilla, Thinking he never had seen her more fair, more

divine in her beauty. He who but yesterday pleaded so glibly the cause

of another, Stood there embarrassed and silent, and seeking

in vain for an answer. So the maiden went on, and little divined or

imagined What was at work in his heart, that made him so

awkward and speechless. “Let us, then, be what we are, and speak what we

think, and in all things Keep ourselves loyal to truth, and the sacred pro

fessions of friendship. It is no secret I tell you, nor am I ashamed to de

clare it: I have liked to be with you, to see you, to speak

with you always.

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SHE STANDING GRACEFUL, ERECT, AND WINDING THE THREAD FROM HIS FINGERS.

Page 96.

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