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Battered and blackened and worn by all the storms of
the winter. Loosely against her masts was hanging and flapping
510 Rent by so many gales, and patched by the hands of
the sailors. Suddenly from her side, as the sun rose
over the ocean, Darted a puff of smoke, and floated seaward ; anon
rang Loud over field and forest the cannon's roar, and the
echoes Heard and repeated the sound, the signal-gun of departure!
515 Ah! but with louder echoes replied the hearts of the
people! Meekly, in voices subdued, the chapter was read from
the Bible, Meekly the prayer was begun, but ended in fervent
entreaty ! Then from their houses in haste came forth the Pil
grims of Plymouth, Men and women and children, all hurrying down to the sea-shore,
520 Eager, with tearful eyes, to say farewell to the May
Homeward bound o'er the sea, and leaving them here
in the desert.
Foremost among them was Alden. All night he
had lain without slumber, Turning and tossing about in the heat and unrest of
his fever. He had beheld Miles Standish, who came back late from the council,
525 Stalking into the room, and heard him mutter and
murmur, Sometimes it seemed a prayer, and sometimes it sounded
like swearing Once he had come to the bed, and stood there a mo
ment in silence; Then he had turned away, and said: “I will not
awake him ; Let him sleep on, it is best; for what is the use of more talking!”
530 Then he extinguished the light, and threw himself
down on his pallet, Dressed as he was, and ready to start at the break of
522 Desert: is Plymouth county a desert? What would be a better word? See if it will fit into the line.
Covered himself with the cloak he had worn in his
campaigns in Flanders,
to embrace him,
fire of the insult.
534 Bivouac: a soldier often has to sleep on the field of battle wrapped only in his cloak, ready for action at a moment's notice. This is called bivouacking.
Saw him go forth to danger, perhaps to death, and he spake not!
545 Then he arose from his bed, and heard what the peo
ple were saying, Joined in the talk at the door, with Stephen anc.
Richard and Gilbert, Joined in the morning prayer, and in the reading of
Scripture, And, with the others, in haste went hurrying down to
the sea-shore, Down to the Plymouth Rock, that had been to their feet as a doorstep
550 Into a world unknown, — the corner-stone of a nation !
There with his boat was the Master, already a little
547 Stephen, Richard, Gilbert: these are first names of some of the colonists.
550 Plymouth Rock: the famous rock may still be seen at Plymouth. Years ago when the town felt obliged to build out a new wharf which threatened to cover the rock, an effort was made to remove the cherished landmark. The upper part was broken off and is preserved at the Museum of the Pilgrim Society. The rest of the boulder remains in its place some paces back from the water, enclosed, and surmounted with a granite canopy in which are preserved a few bones of the first settlers disinterred from the old purying lot.
661 Why is it called the corner-stone of a nation ?
Lest he should lose the tide, or the wind might shift
to the eastward, Square-built, hearty, and strong, with an odor of ocean
about him, Speaking with this one and that, and cramming letters and parcels
555 Into his pockets capacious, and messages mingled to
gether Into his narrow brain, till at last he was wholly bewil
dered. Nearer the boat stood Alden, with one foot placed on
the gun wale, One still firm on the rock, and talking at times with
the sailors, Seated erect on the thwarts, all ready and eager for
starting He too was eager to go, and thus put an end to his
anguish, Thinking to fly from despair, that swifter than keel is
or canvas, Thinking to drown in the sea the ghost that would rise
and pursue him. But as he gazed on the crowd, he beheld the form of
Priscilla Standing dejected among them, unconscious of all that was passing