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Thereupon answered the youth: – “Indeed

I do not condemn you;

Stouter hearts than a woman’s have quailed in this terrible winter.

Yours is tender and trusting, and needs a stronger to lean on ;

So I have come to you now, with an offer and proffer of marriage

Made by a good man and true, Miles Standish the Captain of Plymouth !”

Thus he delivered his message, the dexterous writer of letters, – Did not embellish the theme, nor array it in beautiful phrases, But came straight to the point, and blurted it out like a schoolboy ; Even the Captain himself could hardly have said it more bluntly. Mute with amazement and sorrow, Priscilla the

Puritan maiden

Looked into Alden's face, her eyes dilated with wonder, Feeling his words like a blow, that stunned her and rendered her speechless; Till at length she exclaimed, interrupting the ominous silence : “If the great Captain of Plymouth is so very eager to wed me, Why does he not come himself, and take the trouble to woo me? If I am not worth the wooing, I surely am not worth the winning !” Then John Alden began explaining and smoothing the matter, Making it worse as he went, by saying the Captain was busy, Had no time for such things; — such things! the words grating harshly Fell on the ear of Priscilla; and swift as a “Has he no time for such things, as you call it, before he is married, Would he be likely to find it, or make it, after the wedding 2 That is the way with you men; you don’t understand us, you cannot. When you have made up your minds, after thinking of this one and that one, Choosing, selecting, rejecting, comparing one with another, Then you make known your desire, with abrupt and sudden avowal, And are offended and hurt, and indignant perhaps, that a woman Does not respond at once to a love that she never suspected, Does not attain at a bound the height to which you have been climbing. This is not right nor just: for surely a woman’s Is not a thing to be asked for, and had for only

flash she made answer:


the asking. When one is truly in love, one not only says it,

but shows it. Had he but waited awhile, had he only showed

that he loved me, Even this Captain of yours—who knows?—

at last might have won me, Old and rough as he is; but now it never

can happen.”

Still John Alden went on, unheeding the words of Priscilla, Urging the suit of his friend, explaining, perSuading, expanding; Spoke of his courage and skill, and of all his battles in Flanders, How with the people of God he had chosen to suffer affliction, * How, in return for his zeal, they had made him

Captain of Plymouth ;

He was a gentleman born, could trace his pedigree plainly Back to Hugh Standish of Duxbury Hall, in Lancashire, England, Who was the son of Ralph, and the grandson of Thurston de Standish; Heir unto vast estates, of which he was basely - defrauded, Still bore the family arms, and had for his crest a cock argent Combed and wattled gules, and all the rest of the blazon. He was a man of honor, of noble and generous nature ; Though he was rough, he was kindly; she knew how during the winter He had attended the sick, with a hand as gentle as woman’s ; Somewhat hasty and hot, he could not deny it,

and headstrong,

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