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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!” Ah, by these words, I can see,” again inter

rupted 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 compli

mentary phrases Most men think so fine, in dealing and speak

ing 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 seek

ing 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!"

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,

indefinite feeling,

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,

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