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Quite overlooking yourself and the rest, in exalting

your hero.

Therefore I spake as I did, by an irresistible im

pulse. You will forgive me, I hope, for the sake of the friend

ship between us, Which is too true and too sacred to be so easily

broken!" Thereupon answered John Alden, the scholar, the friend of Miles Standish :

650 “I was not angry with you, with myself alone I was

angry, Seeing how badly I managed the matter I had in my

keeping.” “No!” interrupted the maiden, with answer prompt

and decisive; “No; you were angry with me, for speaking so

frankly and freely. It was wrong, I acknowledge; for it is the fate of a

655 Long to be patient and silent, to wait like a ghost that

is speechless, Till some questioning voice dissolves the spell of its



658–657 The tradition is that a ghost cannot address any one until it is spoken to.

Hence is the inner life of so many suffering


Sunless and silent and deep, like subterranean rivers Running through caverns of darkness, unheard, unseen, and unfruitful,

660 Chafing their channels of stone, with endless and prof

itless murmurs.” Thereupon answered John Alden, the young man, the

lover of women : “Heaven forbid it, Priscilla; and truly they seem to

me always More like the beautiful rivers that watered the garden

of Eden, More like the river Euphrates, through deserts of Havilah flowing,

665 Filling the land with delight, and memories sweet of

the garden !” “Ah, by these words, I can see," again interrupted the


664 Rivers of Eden: look up Genesis ii. 10–14. From these rivers, where is the Garden of Eden supposed to have been located ?

665 Havilah: names are often duplicated in Bible history. For instance, there are two Æthiopias, one lying about the southern portion of the Caspian Sea and one in Africa. So, too, there was one Havilah directly east of Egypt on the coast of the Mediterranean, and another, as the text shows, along the course of the Euphrates River.

"How very little you prize me, or care for what I

am saying When from the depths of my heart, in pain and with

secret misgiving, Frankly I speak to you, asking for sympathy only and kindness,

670 Straightway you take up my words, that are plain and

direct and in earnest, Turn them away from their meaning, and answer with

flattering phrases. This is not right, is not just, is not true to the best

that is in you; For I know and esteem you, and feel that your nature

is noble, Lifting mine up to a higher, a ethereal level.

675 Therefore I value your friendship, and feel it perhaps

the more keenly If you say aught that implies I am only as one among

many, If you make use of those common and complimentary

phrases Most men think so fine, in dealing and speaking with

women, But which women reject as insipid, if not as insult




Mute and amazed was Alden ; and listened and

looked at Priscilla, Thinking he never had seen her more fair, more di

vine in her beauty. He who but yesterday pleaded so glibly the cause of

another, Stood there embarrassed and silent, and seeking in

vain for an answer. So the maiden went on, and little divined or imagined

685 What was at work in his heart, that made him so

awkward and speechless. “Let us, then, be what we are, and speak what we

think, and in all things Keep ourselves loyal to truth, and the sacred profes

sions of friendship. It is no secret I tell you, nor am I ashamed to declare

it: I have liked to be with you, to see you, to speak with you always.

690 So I was hurt at your words, and a little affronted to

hear you

Urge me to marry your friend, though he were the

Captain Miles Standish. For I must tell you the truth: much more to me is

your friendship

Than all the love he could give, were he twice the

hero you think him.” Then she extended her hand, and Alden, who eagerly grasped it,

695 Felt all the wounds in his heart, that were aching and

bleeding so sorely, Healed by the touch of that hand, and he said, with

a voice full of feeling: “ Yes, we must ever be friends; and of all who offer

you friendship Let me be ever the first, the truest, the nearest and


Casting a farewell look at the glimmering sail of the Mayflower

700 Distant, but still in sight, and sinking below the horizon, Homeward together they walked, with a strange, in

definite feeling, That all the rest had departed and left them alone in

the desert. But, as they went through the fields in the blessing and

smile of the sunshine, Lighter grew their hearts, and Priscilla said very archly:

705 “Now that our terrible Captain has gone in pursuit

of the Indians,

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