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Bathsheba's beautiful face, and his friend in the front

of the battle! Shame and confusion of guilt, and abasement and self

condemnation, Overwhelmed him at once; and he cried in the deepest contrition :

365 “It hath displeased the Lord! It is the temptation

of Satan!”

Then, uplifting his head, he looked at the sea, and

beheld there Dimly the shadowy form of the Mayflower riding at

anchor, Rocked on the rising tide, and ready to sail on the

morrow; Heard the voices of men through the mist, the rattle of cordage

370 Thrown on the deck, the shouts of the mate, and the

-sailors' “Ay, ay, Sir!” Clear and distinct, but not loud, in the dripping air of

the twilight. Still for a moment he stood, and listened, and stared

at the vessel, Then went hurriedly on, as one who, seeing a phantom, Stops, then quickens his pace, and follows the beckoning shadow.

375

“ Yes, it is plain to me now," he murmured ; the

hand of the Lord is Leading me out of the land of darkness, the bondage

of error,

Through the sea, that shall lift the walls of its waters

around me,

Hiding me, cutting me off, from the cruel thoughts

that pursue me. Back will I go o'er the ocean, this dreary land will abandon,

380 Her whom I may not love, and him whom my heart

has offended. Better to be in my grave in the green old churchyard

in England, Close by my mother's side, and among the dust of my

kindred; Better be dead and forgotten, than living in shame

and dishonor ! Sacred and safe and unseen, in the dark of the narrow chamber

385 With me my secret shall lie, like a buried jewel that

glimmers Bright on the hand that is dust, in the chambers of

silence and darkness,

876-878 Look up Exodus xiv. 21-29.

Yes, as the marriage ring of the great espousal here

after!”

390

Thus as he spake, he turned, in the strength of his

strong resolution, Leaving behind him the shore, and hurried along in

the twilight, Through the congenial gloom of the forest silent and

sombre, Till he beheld the lights in the seven houses of

Plymouth, Shining like seven stars in the dusk and mist of the

evening. Soon he entered his door, and found the redoubtable

Captain Sitting alone, and absorbed in the martial pages of

Cæsar, Fighting some great campaign in Hainault or Brabant

or Flanders. “ Long have you been on your errand,” he said with a

cheery demeanor, Even as one who is waiting an answer, and fears not

the issue.

395

888 The great espousal: look up Revelation xix. 7.

396 Hainault, Brabant, Flanders: all counties of the Netherlands which are now incorporated in Belgium and Holland.

400

“Not far off is the house, although the woods are

between us; But you have lingered so long, that while you were

going and coming I have fought ten battles and sacked and demolished

a city. Come, sit down, and in order relate to me all that has

happened.”

Then John Alden spake, and related the wondrous

adventure From beginning to end, minutely, just as it hap

pened; How he had seen Priscilla, and how he had sped in his courtship,

405 Only smoothing a little, and softening down her re

fusal. But when he came at length to the words Priscilla

had spoken, Words so tender and cruel, “Why don't you speak

for yourself, John ? " Up leaped the Captain of Plymouth, and stamped on

the floor, till his armor Clanged on the wall, where it hung, with a sound of sinister omen.

410 All his pent-up wrath burst forth in a sudden explosion,

E'en as

a hand-grenade, that scatters destruction around it. Wildly he shouted, and loud : “John Alden! you

have betrayed me! Me, Miles Standish, your friend ! have supplanted,

defrauded, betrayed me! One of my ancestors ran his sword through the heart of Wat Tyler;

415 Who shall prevent me from running my own through

the heart of a traitor ? Yours is the greater treason, for yours is a treason to

friendship! You, who lived under my roof, whom I cherished and

loved as a brother; You, who have fed at my board, and drunk at my cup,

to whose keeping I have intrusted my honor, my thoughts the most sacred and secret, –

420 You too, Brutus ! ah, woe to the name of friendship

hereafter! Brutus was Cæsar's friend, and you were mine, but

henceforward

415 Wat Tyler: the famous rebel in the early part of the reign of Richard II. It is stated that after Wat was struck from his horse in the presence of the king, a squire of Richard's, a certain John Standysshe," slew him with his sword, and for this was knighted.

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