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“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 l’” “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 an
swer 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 complimentary phrases Most men think so fine, in dealing and speaking with women, But which women reject as insipid, if not as
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 professions of friendship. It is no secret I tell you, nor am I ashamed to declare it : I have liked to be with you, to see you, to speak with you always. So I was hurt at your words, and a little af. fronted to hear you Urge me to marry your friend, though he were the Captain Miles Standish.
For I must tell you the truth: much more to me is your friendship
Than all the love he could give, were he twice the hero you think him.” Then she extended her hand, and Alden, who eagerly grasped it, * Felt all the wounds in his heart, that were aching and bleeding so sorely, Healed by the touch of that hand, and he said, with a voice full of feeling: “Yes, we must ever be friends; and of all who offer you friendship Let me be ever the first, the truest, the nearest
and dearest l”
Casting a farewell look at the glimmering sail of the May Flower, Distant, but still in sight, and sinking below the horizon, Homeward together they walked, with a strange,
That all the rest had departed and left them alone in the desert. But, as they went through the fields in the blessing and smile of the sunshine, Lighter grew their hearts, and Priscilla said very archly : “Now that our terrible Captain has gone in pursuit of the Indians, Where he is happier far than he would be commanding a household, You may speak boldly, and tell me of all that happened between you, When you returned last night, and said how ungrateful you found me.” Thereupon answered John Alden, and told her the whole of the story, Told her his own despair, and the direful wrath of Miles Standish. Whereat the maiden smiled, and said between
laughing and earnest,