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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
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 woman 655
Long to be patient and silent, to wait like a ghost that is speechless,
Till some questioning voice dissolves the spell of its silence.
655-657 The tradition is that a ghost cannot address any one until it is spoken to.
Hence is the inner life of so many suffering women
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 profitless 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 maiden,
“4 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 Ethiopias, 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, 67°
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 more 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 insulting.” 68o Mute and amazed was Alden; and listened and
looked at Priscilla,
Thinking he never had seen her more fair, more divine 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 professions 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 dearest!”
Casting a farewell look at the glimmering sail of the
Distant, but still in sight, and sinking below the horizon,
Homeward together they walked, with a strange, indefinite 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,