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Letters written by Alden, and full of the name of Priscilla,
85 Full of the name and the fame of the Puritan maiden
LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP
Nothing was heard in the room but the hurrying
pen of the stripling, Or an occasional sigh from the laboring heart of the
Captain, Reading the marvellous words and achievements of
Julius Cæsar. After a while he exclaimed, as he smote with his
hand, palm downwards, Heavily on the page : “A wonderful man was this
Cæsar! You are a writer, and I am a fighter, but here is a
tions they suffered in trying to make a home in an unsettled country. But the season itself was
a mild one for New England.
85 Priscilla: see the sketch of the poem in the preface. 89 Bring into class a sketch of Julius Cæsar.
Who could both write and fight, and in both was
equally skilful !” Straightway answered and spake John Alden, the
comely, the youthful : Yes, he was equally skilled, as you say, with his
pen and his weapons. Somewhere have I read, but where I forget, he could
dictate Seven letters at once, at the same time writing his
memoirs." “ Truly,” continued the Captain, not heeding or hear
ing the other, “ Truly a wonderful man was Caius Julius Cæsar ! Better be first, he said, in a little Iberian village, Than be second in Rome, and I think he was right
when he said it. Twice was he married before he was twenty, and
many times after ; Battles five hundred he fought, and a thousand cities
he conquered ;
100 It is told of Cæsar that as he was once marching through a wretched little village of barbarians and there arose some mocking comment among his companions about there being no canvassing for office there, he remarked that for his part he would rather be first there than second even in Rome. Standish evidently agrees with him. What do you think of the sentiment?
He, too, fought in Flanders, as he himself has recorded; Finally he was stabbed by his friend, the orator Brutus !
105 Now, do you know what he did on a certain occasion
in Flanders, When the rear-guard of his army retreated, the front
giving way too, And the immortal Twelfth Legion was crowded so
closely together There was no room for their swords ? Why, he seized
a shield from a soldier, Put himself straight at the head of his troops, and
commanded the captains, Calling on each by his name, to order forward the
104 Can you give the name of a famous man connected with the Virginia colony who also fought in Flanders ?
Flanders : a county of the Low Countries or the Netherlands (now Holland and Belgium) where war was waged with Spain. The seven counties which continued the war until they gained their independence made up the modern Holland.
106 Flanders: in the time of Cæsar, Flanders and the rest of what is now Belgium were not divided from France, and the Romans called the whole country Gaul. This part of it was occupied by the Belgi whom Cæsar considers “the bravest of all the Gauls."
108 Legion: a division of the Roman army consisting of about five thousand men. The Twelfth Legion was Cæsar's favorite.
111 What would be the effect of this order when executed ?
Then to widen the ranks, and give more room for their
weapons ; So he won the day, the battle of something-or-other. That's what I always say; if you wish a thing to be
well done, You must do it yourself, you must not leave it to others !”
All was silent again; the Captain continued his
reading Nothing was heard in the room but the hurrying pen
of the stripling Writing epistles important to go next day by the
Mayflower, Filled with the name and the fame of the Puritan
maiden Priscilla; Every sentence began or closed with the name of
Priscilla, Till the treacherous pen, to which he confided the
secret, Strove to betray it by singing and shouting the name
of Priscilla ! Finally closing his book, with a bang of the ponderous
cover, Sudden and loud as the sound of a soldier grounding
Thus to the young man spake Miles Standish the Captain of Plymouth :
125 “When you have finished your work, I have something
important to tell you. Be not however in haste; I can wait; I shall not be
impatient !” Straightway Alden replied, as he folded the last of his
letters, Pushing his papers aside, and giving respectful at
tention : “Speak; for whenever you speak, I am always ready to listen,
130 Always ready to hear whatever pertains to Miles
Standish." Thereupon answered the Captain, embarrassed, and
culling his phrases: “ 'Tis not good for a man to be alone, say the Scriptures. This I have said before, and again and again I repeat it; Every hour in the day, I think it, and feel it, and say it. Since Rose Standish died, my life has been weary and
dreary; Sick at heart have I been, beyond the healing of
friendship. Oft in my lonely hours have I thought of the maiden
188 Look up Genesis ii. 18.