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“Not far off is the house, although the woods are
between us; But you have lingered so long, that while you were
going and coming I have fought ten battles and sacked and demolished
a city. Come, sit down, and in order relate to me all that has
Then John Alden spake, and related the wondrous
adventure From beginning to end, minutely, just as it hap
pened; How he had seen Priscilla, and how he had sped in his courtship,
405 Only smoothing a little, and softening down her re
fusal. But when he came at length to the words Priscilla
had spoken, Words so tender and cruel, “Why don't you speak
for yourself, John ?” Up leaped the Captain of Plymouth, and stamped on
the floor, till his armor Clanged on the wall, where it hung, with a sound of sinister omen.
410 All his pent-up wrath burst forth in a sudden explosion,
a hand-grenade, that scatters destruction around it. Wildly he shouted, and loud: “John Alden! you
have betrayed me! Me, Miles Standish, your friend ! have supplanted,
defrauded, betrayed me! One of my ancestors ran his sword through the heart of Wat Tyler;
415 Who shall prevent me from running my own through
the heart of a traitor ? Yours is the greater treason, for yours is a treason to
friendship! You, who lived under my roof, whom I cherished and
loved as a brother; You, who have fed at my board, and drunk at my cup,
to whose keeping I have intrusted my honor, my thoughts the most
sacred and secret, You too, Brutus ! ah, woe to the name of friendship
hereafter ! Brutus was Cæsar's friend, and you were mine, but
415 Wat Tyler: the famous rebel in the early part of the reign of Richard II. It is stated that after Wat was struck from his horse in the presence of the king, a squire of Richard's, a “certain John Standysshe," slew him with his sword, and for this was knighted.
Let there be nothing between us save war, and impla
So spake the Captain of Plymouth, and strode about
in the chamber, Chafing and choking with rage; like cords were the veins on his temples.
425 But in the midst of his anger a man appeared at the
doorway, Bringing in uttermost haste a message of urgent im
portance, Rumors of danger and war and hostile incursions of
Indians! Straightway the Captain paused, and, without further
question or parley, Took from the nail on the wall his sword with its scabbard of iron,
430 Buckled the belt round his waist, and, frowning
fiercely, departed. Alden was left alone. He heard the clank of the
scabbard Growing fainter and fainter, and dying away in the
distance. Then he arose from his seat, and looked forth into the
Felt the cool air blow on his cheek, that was hot with the insult,
435 Lifted his eyes to the heavens, and, folding his hands
as in childhood, Prayed in the silence of night to the Father who seeth
Meanwhile the choleric Captain strode wrathful
away to the council, Found it already assembled, impatiently waiting his
coming; Men in the middle of life, austere and grave in de
portment, Only one of them old, the hill that was nearest to
heaven, Covered with snow, but erect, the excellent Elder of
Plymouth. God had sifted three kingdoms to find the wheat for
437 Look up Matthew vi. 4.
442 Elder of Plymouth: this was William Brewster. The church had an Elder for teaching and another, called the ruling Elder. Brewster was the teaching Elder, that is, the pastor of the church.
443 Sifted three kingdoms: the people of the dissenting churches of England, France, and Holland had been fearfully persecuted for their religion. Only those of the utmost courage and endurance
Then had sifted the wheat, as the living seed of a
nation; So say the chronicles old, and such is the faith of the people!
445 Near them was standing an Indian, in attitude stern
and defiant, Naked down to the waist, and grim and ferocious in
remained true to their faith. When these refugees met in Holland, the common refuge, they formed practically one church. In Winslow's narration, page 395, it is stated: “For the truth is the Dutch and French churches, either of them being a people distinct from the world and gathered into a Holy Communion and not national churches — nay, so far from it as I verily believe the sixth person is not of the church — the difference is so small, if moderately pondered, between them and us, as we dare not for the world deny communion with them."
444 Sifted the wheat: these people were again sifted out in Holland, only the most zealous electing to go to America.
448 Bible: what did they intend to do with the Bible? The Pilgrims used the old Geneva Bible long after King James' Version was printed in 1611. What Version do we use?