Графични страници
PDF файл

“ Am I so much to blame, that yesterday, when

you were pleading Warmly the cause of another, my heart, impul

sive 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 de

fects 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 ex

alting 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! 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


Sunless and silent and deep, like subterranean


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:

[ocr errors]

“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!” p" 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.

« ПредишнаНапред »