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Printed in Amsterdam, the words and the music together, Rough-hown, angular notes, like stones in the wall of a churchyard,
Darkened and overhung by the running vine of the verses. Such was the book from whose pages she sang the old Puritan anthem,
She, the Puritan girl, in the solitude of the forest,
Making the humble house and the modest apparel of home
Beautiful with her beauty, and rich with the wealth of her being!
Over him rushed, like a wind that is keen and cold and relentless,
Thoughts of what might have been, and the weight and woe of his errand;
All the dreams that had faded, and all the hopes that had
All his life henceforth a dreary and tenantless mansion,
Though the ploughshare cut through the flowers of life to its fountains,
Though it pass o'er the graves of the dead and the hearths of the living,
It is the will of the Lord; and his mercy endureth forever!" So he entered the house; and the hum of the wheel and the
Suddenly ceased; for Priscilla, aroused by his step on the threshold,
Rose as he entered, and gave him her hand, in signal of welcome.] [John enters.
John, I knew it was you, when I heard your step in the
For I was thinking of you, as I sat there singing and spinning.
[Awkward and dumb with delight, that a thought of him had been mingled
Thus in the sacred psalm, that came from the heart of the
Silent before her he stood, and gave her the flowers for an
Finding no words for his thought.]
[Priscilla points to a chair, and both sit.
I have been thinking all day,
Dreaming all night, and thinking all day, of the hedgerows of England,
They are in blossom now, and the country is all like a
Thinking of lanes and fields, and the song of the lark
and the linnet,
Seeing the village street, and familiar faces of neighbors Going about as of old, and stopping to gossip together, And, at the end of the street, the village church, with
Climbing the old gray tower, and the quiet graves in the churchyard.
Kind are the people I live with, and dear to me my religion;
Still my heart is so sad, that I wish myself back in Old England.
You will say it is wrong, but I cannot help it: I almost Wish myself back in Old England, I feel so lonely and wretched.
Indeed I do not condemn you;
Stouter hearts than a woman's have quailed in this ter
Yours is tender and trusting, and needs a stronger to
So I have come to you now, with an offer and proffer of marriage
Made by a good man and true, Miles Standish the Captain of Plymouth!
[Thus he delivered his message, the dexterous writer of letters,
Did not embellish the theme, nor array it in beautiful phrases, But came straight to the point, and blurted it out like a school-boy;
Even the Captain himself could hardly have said it more
Mute with amazement and sorrow, Priscilla the Puritan
Looked into Alden's face, her eyes dilated with wonder, Feeling his words like a blow, that stunned her and rendered her speechless;
Till at length she exclaimed, interrupting the ominous silence:]
If the great Captain of Plymouth is so very eager to
Why does he not come himself, and take the trouble to Woo me?
If I am not worth the wooing, I surely am not worth the winning!
[Then John Alden began explaining and smoothing the matter,
Making it worse as he went, by saying the Captain was busy.]
You know the Captain is busy; has no time for such
[Had no time for such things;-such things! the words grating harshly
Fell on the ear of Priscilla; and swift as a flash she made answer :]
Has he no time for such things, as you call it, before he is married,
Would he be likely to find it, or make it, after the wed
That is the way with you men ; you don't understand us, you cannot.
When you have made up your minds, after thinking of this one and that one,
Choosing, selecting, rejecting, comparing one with another,
Then you make known your desire, with abrupt and sudden avowal,
And are offended and hurt, and indignant perhaps, that
Does not respond at once to a love that she never sus
Does not attain at a bound the height to which you have been climbing.
This is not right nor just for surely a woman's affec
Is not a thing to be asked for, and had for only the
When one is truly in love, one not only says it, but
Had he but waited awhile, had he only showed that he
Even this Captain of yours who knows? at last might have won me,
Old and rough as he is; but now it never can happen.
[Still John Alden went on, unheeding the words of Priscilla, Urging the suit of his friend, explaining, persuading, expanding :]
Think of his courage and skill, and of all his battles in
How with the people of God he has chosen to suffer affliction,
How, in return for his zeal, they have made him Captain of Plymouth;
He is a gentleman born, can trace his pedigree plainly Back to Hugh Standish of Duxbury Hall, in Lancashire, England,
Who was the son of Ralph, and the grandson of Thurston de Standish ;
Heir unto vast estates, of which he was basely defrauded, Still bears the family arms, and has for his crest a cock
Combed and wattled gules, and all the rest of the blazon. He is a man of honor, of noble and generous nature; Though he is rough, he is kindly; you know how during the winter
He has attended the sick, with a hand as gentle as woman's;
Somewhat hasty and hot, I cannot deny it, and head
Stern as a soldier may be, but hearty, and placable al
Not to be laughed at and scorned, because he is little of
For he is great of heart, magnanimous, courtly, coura
Any woman in Plymouth, nay, any woman in England,