Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

I.

MILES STANDISH.

In the Old Colony days, in Plymouth the land

of the Pilgrims, To and fro in a room of his simple and primi

tive dwelling, Clad in doublet and hose, and boots of Cordo

van leather, Strode, with a martial air, Miles Standish the

Puritan Captain. Buried in thought he seemed, with his hands

behind him, and pausing Ever and anon to behold his glittering weapons

of warfare,

Hanging in shining array along the walls of

the chamber, Cutlass and corslet of steel, and his trusty

sword of Damascus, Curved at the point and inscribed with its

mystical Arabic sentence, While underneath, in a corner, were fowling

piece, musket, and matchlock. Short of stature he was, but strongly built and

athletic, Broad in the shoulders, deep-chested, with

muscles and sinews of iron; Brown as a nut was his face, but his russet

beard was already Flaked with patches of snow, as hedges some

times in November. Near him was seated John Alden, his friend,

and household companion, Writing with diligent speed at a table of pine

by the window;

[ocr errors]

Fair-haired, azure-eyed, with delicate Saxon

complexion, Having the dew of his youth, and the beauty

thereof, as the captives Whom Saint Gregory saw, and exclaimed,

“ Not Angles but Angels.” Youngest of all was he of the men who came

in the May Flower.

Suddenly breaking the silence, the diligent

scribe interrupting, Spake, in the pride of his heart, Miles Stan

dish the Captain of Plymouth. “ Look at these arms," he said, “the warlike

weapons that hang here Burnished and bright and clean, as if for pa

rade or inspection ! This is the sword of Damascus I fought with

in Flanders; this breastplate, Well I remember the day! once saved my life

in a skirmish;

Here in front you can see the very dint of the

bullet Fired point-blank at my heart by a Spanish

arcabucero. Had it not been of sheer steel, the forgotten

bones of Miles Standish Would at this moment be mould, in their grave

in the Flemish morasses." Thereupon answered John Alden, but looked

not up from his writing: : “ Truly the breath of the Lord hath slackened

the speed of the bullet; He in his mercy preserved you, to be our shield

and our weapon!” Still the Captain continued, unheeding the

words of the stripling : “ See, how bright they are burnished, as if in

an arsenal hanging ; That is because I have done it myself, and not

left it to others.

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed]

Serve yourself, would you be well served, is an

excellent adage ; So I take care of my arms, as you of your pens

and your inkhorn. Then, too, there are my soldiers, my great, in

vincible army,

Twelve men, all equipped, having each his rest

and his matchlock, Eighteen shillings a month, together with diet

and pillage, And, like Cæsar, I know the name of each of

my soldiers !" This he said with a smile, that danced in his

eyes, as the sunbeams Dance on the waves of the sea, and vanish

again in a moment. Alden laughed as he wrote, and still the Cap

tain continued: “ Look! you can see from this window my

brazen howitzer planted

« ПредишнаНапред »