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Let there be nothing between us save war, and impla

cable hatred!”

So spake the Captain of Plymouth, and strode about

in the chamber, Chafing and choking with rage; like cords were the veins on his temples.

425 But in the midst of his anger a man appeared at the

doorway, Bringing in uttermost haste a message of urgent im

portance, Rumors of danger and war and hostile incursions of

Indians! Straightway the Captain paused, and, without further

question or parley, Took from the nail on the wall his sword with its scabbard of iron,

430 Buckled the belt round his waist, and, frowning

fiercely, departed. Alden was left alone. He heard the clank of the

scabbard Growing fainter and fainter, and dying away in the

distance. Then he arose from his seat, and looked forth into the


Felt the cool air blow on his cheek, that was hot with the insult,

435 Lifted his eyes to the heavens, and, folding his hands

as in childhood, Prayed in the silence of night to the Father who seeth

in secret.


Meanwhile the choleric Captain strode wrathful

away to the council, Found it already assembled, impatiently waiting his

coming; Men in the middle of life, austere and grave in de

portment, Only one of them old, the hill that was nearest to

heaven, Covered with snow, but erect, the excellent Elder of

Plymouth. God had sifted three kingdoms to find the wheat for

this planting,

437 Look up Matthew vi. 4.

442 Elder of Plymouth: this was William Brewster. The church had an Elder for teaching and another, called the ruling Elder. Brewster was the teaching Elder, that is, the pastor of the church.

443 Sifted three kingdoms: the people of the dissenting churches of England, France, and Holland had been fearfully persecuted for their religion. Only those of the utmost courage and endurance remained true to their faith. When these refugees met in Holland, the common refuge, they formed practically one church. In Winslow's narration, page 395, it is stated: “For the truth is the Dutch and French churches, either of them being a people distinct from the world and gathered into a Holy Communion and not national churches – nay, so far from it as I verily believe the sixth person is not of the church — the difference is so small, if moderately pondered, between them and us, as we dare not for the world deny communion with them.”

Then had sifted the wheat, as the living seed of a

nation; So say the chronicles old, and such is the faith of the people!

445 Near them was standing an Indian, in attitude stern

and defiant, Naked down to the waist, and grim and ferocious in

aspect; While on the table before them was lying unopened a

Bible, Ponderous, bound in leather, brass-studded, printed in

Holland, And beside it outstretched the skin of a rattlesnake glittered,


444 Sifted the wheat: these people were again sifted out in Holland, only the most zealous electing to go to America.

448 Bible: what did they intend to do with the Bible? The Pilgrims used the old Geneva Bible long after King James' Version was printed in 1611. What Version do we use?

Filled, like a quiver, with arrows : a signal and chal

lenge of warfare, Brought by the Indian, and speaking with arrowy

tongues of defiance. This Miles Standish beheld, as he entered, and heard

them debating What were an answer befitting the hostile message

and menace, Talking of this and of that, contriving, suggesting, objecting;

455 One voice only for peace, and that the voice of the

Elder, Judging it wise and well that some at least were con

verted, Rather than any were slain, for this was but Christian

behavior! Then out spake Miles Standish, the stalwart Captain

of Plymouth, Muttering deep in his throat, for his voice was husky

460 “ What! do you mean to make war with milk and the

water of roses ? Is it to shoot red squirrels you have your howitzer

planted There on the roof of the church, or is it to shoot red

devils ?

with anger,

Truly the only tongue that is understood by a savage Must be the tongue of fire that speaks from the mouth of the cannon !”

465 Thereupon answered and said the excellent elder of

Plymouth, Somewhat amazed and alarmed at this irreverent lan

guage: “Not so thought Saint Paul, nor yet the other Apos

tles; Not from the cannon's mouth were the tongues of fire

they spake with !” But unheeded fell this mild rebuke on the Captain, 470 Who had advanced to the table, and thus continued

discoursing: 6 Leave this matter to me, for to me by right it per

taineth. War is a terrible trade; but in the cause that is

righteous, Sweet is the smell of powder; and thus I answer the


Then from the rattlesnake's skin, with a sudden, contemptuous gesture,

475 Jerking the Indian arrows, he filled it with powder

and bullets Full to the very jaws, and handed it back to the


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