Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

Fixed were her eyes upon his, as if she divined his

intention, Fixed with a look so sad, so reproachful, imploring,

and patient, That with a sudden revulsion his heart recoiled from

its purpose, As from the verge of a crag, where one step more is

destruction. Strange is the heart of man, with its quick, mysterious instincts!

570 Strange is the life of man, and fatal or fated are mo

ments, Whereupon turn, as on hinges, the gates of the wall

adamantine! Here I remain !” he exclaimed, as he looked at the

heavens above him, Thanking the Lord whose breath had scattered the

mist and the madness, Wherein, blind and lost, to death he was staggering headlong

575 “ Yonder snow-white cloud, that floats in the ether

No

above me,

Seems like a hand that is pointing, and beckoning over

the ocean. There is another hand, that is not so spectral and

ghost-like,

Holding me, drawing me back, and clasping mine for

protection. Float, o hand of cloud, and vanish away in the ether!

582 Roll thyself up like a fist, to threaten and daunt me:

I heed not
Either your warning or menace, or any omen of evil!,
There is no land so sacred, no air so pure and su

wholesome,
As is the air she breathes, and the soil that is pressed

by her footsteps.

Here for her sake will I stay, and like an invisible 11.

presence

585 Hover around her forever, protecting, supporting her

weakness; Yes! as my foot' was the first that stepped on this

rock at the landing, So, with the blessing of God, shall it be the last at the

leaving!”

Meanwhile the Master alert, but with dignified air

and important, Scanning with watchful eye the tide and the wind and the weather,

590 Walked about on the sands, and the people crowded

around him

Saying a few last words, and enforcing his careful re

membrance. Then, taking each by the hand, as if he were grasping

a tiller, Into the boat he sprang, and in haste shoved off to his vessel,

594 Glad in his heart to get rid of all this worry and flurry, Glad to be gone from a land of sand and sickness and

sorrow, Short allowance of victual, and plenty of nothing but

Gospel! Lost in the sound of the oars was the last farewell of

the Pilgrims. O strong hearts and true! not one went back in the

Mayflower! No, not one looked back, who had set his hand to this ploughing!

600

Soon were heard on board the shouts and songs of

the sailors Heaving the windlass round, and hoisting the ponder

ous anchor. Then the yards were braced, and all sails set to the

west-wind, Blowing steady and strong; and the Mayflower sailed

from the harbor,

[ocr errors]

Rounded the point of the Gurnet, and leaving far to the southward

605 Island and cape of sand, and the Field of the First

Encounter,
Took the wind on her quarter, and stood for the open

Atlantic,
Borne on the send of the sea, and the swelling hearts

of the Pilgrims.

610

Long in silence they watched the receding sail of

the vessel, Much endeared to them all, as something living and

human; Then, as if filled with the spirit, and wrapt in a vis

ion prophetic, Baring his hoary head, the excellent Elder of Plym

outh Said, “Let us pray!” and they prayed, and thanked

the Lord and took courage.

805 Gurnet: a sandy spit of land enclosing the northern part of Plymouth Bay. It was named from a similar cape in England.

606 Island: Clark Island in Plymouth Bay.
Cape of sand : it probably means Cape Cod.

Field of the First Encounter: the place on Cape Cod where they had their first strife with the Indians. See the sketch of the Pilgrims in the preface.

611 Filled with the spirit: look up Ephesians v. 18.

Mournfully sobbed the waves at the base of the rock,

and above them Bowed and whispered the wheat on the hill of death, and their kindred

615 Seemed to awake in their graves, and to join in the

prayer that they uttered. Sun-illumined and white, on the eastern verge of the

ocean

Gleamed the departing sail, like a marble slab in a

graveyard; Buried beneath it lay forever all hope of escaping. Lo! as they turned to depart, they saw the form of an Indian,

620 Watching them from the hill; but while they spake

with each other, Pointing with outstretched hands, and saying,

“ Look!” he had vanished. So they returned to their homes; but Alden lingered

a little, Musing alone on the shore, and watching the wash of

the billows Round the base of the rock, and the sparkle and flash of the sunshine,

625 Like the spirit of God, moving visibly over the waters.

626 Spirit of God: look up Genesis i. 2.

« ПредишнаНапред »