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Sun-illumined and white, on the eastern verge of the ocean Gleamed the departing sail, like a marble slab in a graveyard; Buried beneath it lay for ever all hope of escaping. Lo! as they turned to depart, they saw the form of an Indian, Watching them from the hill; but while they spake with each other, Pointing with outstretched hands, and saying, “Look!” he had vanished. So they returned to their homes; but Alden lingered a little, Musing alone on the shore, and watching the wash of the billows Round the base of the rock, and the sparkle and flash of the sunshine, Like the spirit of God, moving visibly over
THUS for a while he stood, and mused by the shore of the ocean, Thinking of many things, and most of all of Priscilla; And as if thought had the power to draw to itself, like the loadstone, Whatsoever it touches, by subtile laws of its nature, Lo! as he turned to depart, Priscilla was standing beside him.
“Are you so much offended, you will not
speak to me?” said she.
“Am I so much to blame, that yesterday, when you were pleading Warmly the cause of another, my heart, impulsive and wayward, Pleaded your own, and spake out, forgetful perhaps of decorum ? Certainly you can forgive me for speaking so frankly, for saying What I ought not to have said, yet now I can never unsay it; For there are moments in life, when the heart is so full of emotion, That if by chance it be shaken, or into its depths like a pebble Drops some careless word, it overflows, and its secret, Spilt on the ground like water, can never be gathered together. Yesterday I was shocked, when I heard you speak of Miles Standish,
Praising his virtues, transforming his very defects into virtues, Praising his courage and strength, and even - his fighting in Flanders, As if by fighting alone you could win the heart of a woman, Quite overlooking yourself and the rest, in exalting your hero. Therefore I spake as I did, by an irresistible impulse. You will forgive me, I hope, for the sake of the friendship between us, Which is too true and too sacred to be so easily broken l’” Thereupon answered John Alden, the scholar, the friend of Miles Standish: “I was not angry with you, with myself alone I was angry, Seeing how badly I managed the matter I had in my keeping.”
“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 WOmell 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: