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Staying its current awhile, but making it bitter and


Meanwhile Alden at home had built him a new habitation,

840 Solid, substantial, of timber rough-hewn from the firs

of the forest. Wooden-barred was the door, and the roof was covered

with rushes; Latticed the windows were, and the window-panes were

of paper,

Oiled to admit the light, while wind and rain were ex

cluded. There too he dug a well, and around it planted an

orchard :


888, 889 Such rivers are called tide-rivers. The Saint Lawrence is a tide-river up above Quebec.

848 Describe lattice windows.

Window-panes: the art of making window glass was known in England long before that, but it came into use very slowly, and glass windows were considered a great luxury which only the very rich could afford. Usually the lattice framework of windows was filled with paper which was treated with linseed oil. This allowed the light to shine through, but prevented the rain from soaking the paper.


may be seen to this day some trace of the well

and the orchard. Close to the house was the stall, where, safe and

secure from annoyance, Raghorn, the snow-white bull, that had fallen to

Alden's allotment In the division of cattle, might ruminate in the night

time Over the pastures he cropped, made fragrant by sweet


Oft when his labor was finished, with eager feet

would the dreamer Follow the pathway that ran through the woods to the

house of Priscilla, Led by illusions romantic and subtile deceptions of

fancy, Pleasure disguised as duty, and love in the semblance

of friendship Ever of her he thought, when he fashioned the walls of his dwelling;

855 Ever of her he thought, when he delved in the soil of

his garden;

846 The descendants of John Alden still own his old homestead in Duxbury, a neighboring town to Plymouth. The present house is supposed to occupy the site of the first one.

Ever of her he thought, when he read in his Bible on

Praise of the virtuous woman, as she is described in

the Proverbs,
How the heart of her husband doth safely trust in her

always, How all the days of her life she will do him good, and not evil,

860 How she seeketh the wool and the flax and worketh

with gladness, How she layeth her hand to the spindle and holdeth

the distaff, How she is not afraid of the snow for herself or her

household, Knowing her household are clothed with the scarlet

cloth of her weaving !

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So as she sat at her wheel one afternoon in the

865 Alden, who opposite sat, and was watching her dexter

ous fingers, As if the thread she was spinning were that of his life

and his fortune,

858 Look up Proverbs xxxi. 10-28.

867 Thread: the old legend was that the three Fates spun out the thread of each one's life and cut it off where they pleased. A very famous picture represents the three Fates, Clótho spinning, Láchesis drawing out the thread, and Átropos cutting it off.

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After a pause in their talk, thus spake to the sound of

the spindle. “ Truly, Priscilla,” he said, “when I see you spinning

and spinning, Never idle a moment, but thrifty and thoughtful of others,

870 Suddenly you are transformed, are visibly changed in

a moment; You are no longer Priscilla, but Bertha the Beautiful

Spinner.” Here the light foot on the treadle grew swifter and

swifter; the spindle Uttered an angry snarl, and the thread snapped short

in her fingers; While the impetuous speaker, not heeding the mis

chief, continued : “ You are the beautiful Bertha, the spinner, the queen

of Helvetia; She whose story I read at a stall in the streets of



876 Helvetia : southern Burgundy, which used to include a part of Switzerland. Bertha was the wife of Rudolph II of Burgundy, and was famous for her domestic virtues. On the monuments of the time she is represented spinning.

877 Southampton: locate on the map.

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Who, as she rode on her palfrey, o'er valley and

meadow and mountain, Ever was spinning her thread from a distaff fixed to

her saddle. She was so thrifty and good, that her name passed into a proverb.

880 So shall it be with your own, when the spinning-wheel

shall no longer Hum in the house of the farmer, and fill its chambers

with music. Then shall the mothers, reproving, relate how it was

in their childhood, Praising the good old times, and the days of Priscilla

the spinner!” Straight uprose from her wheel the beautiful Puritan maiden,


879 Spinning: the primitive method of spinning, which may be seen to-day in Greece, as Homer described it, is as follows: a bunch of wool is stuck on a short staff called the distaff. Then there is a small rod or stick with a notch in it and slightly weighted. A tuft of wool is fastened in this notch, and the weight of the stick or spindle hanging down serves to draw out the tuft so that the fingers by running up and down it can twist it into a uniform thread of yarn. When the thread becomes too long, it is wound up on the spindle and the process continues.

881-884 The inventions which took spinning out of the homes into the factories were patented from 1770–1775. Would John Alden have been likely to make such a prophecy?

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