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How the heart of her husband doth safely trust

in her always, How all the days of her life she will do him

good, and not evil, How she seeketh the wool and the flax and work

eth with gladness, How she layeth her hand to the spindle and hold

eth the distaff, How she is not afraid of the snow for herself or

her household, Knowing her household are clothed with the scar

let cloth of her weaving!

So as she sat at her wheel one afternoon in

the Autumn, Alden, who opposite sat, and was watching her

dexterous fingers, As if the thread she was spinning were that of his

life and his fortune, After a pause in their talk, thus spake to the sound

of the spindle. "Truly, Priscilla,” he said, “when I see you spin

ning and spinning, Never idle a moment, but thrifty and thoughtful

of others,

Suddenly you

are transformed, are visibly changed in a moment; You are no longer Priscilla, but Bertha the

Beautiful Spinner.” Here the light foot on the treadle grew swifter

and swifter; the spindle Uttered an angry snarl, and the thread snapped

short in her fingers; While the impetuous speaker, not heeding the

mischief, continued : “You are the beautiful Bertha, the spinner, the

queen of Helvetia; She whose story I read at a stall in the streets of

Southampton, Who, as she rode on her palfrey, o'er valley and

meadow and mountain, Ever was spinning her thread from a distaff fixed

to her saddle. She was so thrifty and good, that her name passed

into a proverb. So shall it be with your own, when the spinning

wheel shall no longer Hum in the house of the farmer, and fill its cham

bers with music. Then shall the mothers, reproying, relate how it

was in their childhood,

Praising the good old times, and the days of Pris

cilla the spinner!”

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Straight uprose from her wheel the beautiful

Puritan maiden,

Pleased with the praise of her thrift from him

whose praise was the sweetest, Drew from the reel on the table a snowy skein of

her spinning, Thus making answer, meanwhile, to the flatter

ing phrases of Alden: “Come, you must not be idle; if I am a pattern

for housewives, Show yourself equally worthy of being the model

of husbands. Hold this skein on your hands, while I wind it,

ready for knitting; Then who knows but hereafter, when fashions

have changed and the manners, Fathers may talk to their sons of the good old

times of John Alden!” Thus, with a jest and

jest and a laugh, the skein on his hands she adjusted, He sitting awkwardly there, with his arms ex

tended before him, She standing graceful, erect, and winding the

thread from his fingers, Sometimes chiding a little his clumsy manner of

holding, Sometimes touching his hands, as she disen

tangled expertly

Twist or knot in the yarn, unawares—for how

could she help it?Sending electrical thrills through every nerve in

his body.

Lo! in the midst of this scene, a breathless mes

senger entered, Bringing in hurry and heat the terrible news from

the village. Yes; Miles Standish was dead !-an Indian had

brought them the tidings,Slain by a poisoned arrow, shot down in the front

of the battle, Into an ambush beguiled, cut off with the whole

of his forces; All the town would be burned, and all the people

be murdered! Such were the tidings of evil that burst on the

hearts of the hearers. Silent and statue-like stood Priscilla, her face

looking backward Still at the face of the speaker, her arms uplifted

in horror; But John Alden, upstarting, as if the barb of the


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