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There were angels on earth, as there are angels

in heaven, Two have I seen and known; and the angel

whose name is Priscilla Holds in my desolate life the place which the

other abandoned.

Long have I cherished the thought, but never

have dared to reveal it, Being a coward in this, though valiant enough

for the most part. Go to the damsel Priscilla, the loveliest maiden

of Plymouth, Say that a blunt old Captain, a man not of

words but of actions, Offers his hand and his heart, the hand and

heart of a soldier. Not in these words, you know, but this in short

is my meaning; I am a maker of war, and not a maker of


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You, who are bred as a scholar, can say it in

elegant language, Such as you read in your books of the plead

ings and wooings of lovers, Such as you think best adapted to win the

heart of a maiden.”

When he had spoken, John Alden, the fair

haired, taciturn stripling, All aghast at his words, surprised, embarrassed,

bewildered, Trying to mask his dismay by treating the

subject with lightness, Trying to smile, and yet feeling his heart stand

still in his bosom, Just as a timepiece stops in a house that is

stricken by lightning, Thus made answer and spake, or rather stam

mered than answered: “ Such a message as that, I am sure I should

mangle and mar it;

If you would have it well done, -I am only

repeating your maxim, You must do it yourself, you must not leave it

to others!

But with the air of a man whom nothing can

turn from his purpose, Gravely shaking his head, made answer the

Captain of Plymouth : “Truly the maxim is good, and I do not mean

to gainsay it; But we must use it discreetly, and not waste

powder for nothing. Now, as I said before, I was never a maker of

phrases. I can march up to a fortress and summon the

place to surrender, But march up to a woman with such a propo

sal, I dare not. I'm not afraid of bullets, nor shot from the

mouth of a cannon,

But of a thundering “No!” point-blank from

the mouth of a woman,

That I confess I'm afraid of, nor am I ashamed

to confess it! So you must grant my request, for you are an

elegant scholar, Having the graces of speech, and skill in the

turning of phrases.” Taking the hand of his friend, who still was

reluctant and doubtful, Holding it long in his own, and pressing it

kindly, he added : Though I have spoken thus lightly, yet deep

is the feeling that prompts me; Surely you cannot refuse what I ask in the

name of our friendship!” Then made answer John Alden : 66 The name

of friendship is sacred; What you demand in that name, I have not the

power to deny you !”

So the strong will prevailed, subduing and

moulding the gentler, Friendship prevailed over love, and Alden went

on his errand.

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