Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

Letters written by Alden, and full of the name of Priscilla,

85 Full of the name and the fame of the Puritan maiden

Priscilla!

II

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,

90 Heavily on the

page : 6 A wonderful man was this Cæsar! You are a writer, and I am a fighter, but here is a

fellow

a mild

one

tions they suffered in trying to make a home in an unsettled country. But the season itself was

for New England.

85 Priscilla: see the sketch of the poem in the preface. 89 Bring into class a sketch of Julius Cæsar.

95

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 ;

[ocr errors]

100

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

ensigns;

IIO

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 inen. 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 !”

115

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

his musket,

120

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

Priscilla.

136

188 Look up Genesis ii. 18.

« ПредишнаНапред »