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Sensitive, swift to resent, but as swift in atoning for error.
Never so much as now was Miles Standish the friend of John Alden.”
Thereupon answered the bridegroom: “ Let all be forgotten between us, — 965
All save the dear old friendship, and that shall grow older and dearer!”
Then the Captain advanced, and, bowing, saluted Priscilla,
Gravely, and after the manner of old-fashioned gentry in England,
Something of camp and of court, of town and of country, commingled,
Wishing her joy of her wedding, and loudly lauding her husband. 970
Then he said with a smile:“I should have remembered the adage, —
If you would be well served, you must serve yourself; and moreover,
No man can gather cherries in Kent at the season of Christmas 1”
Great was the people’s amazement, and greater yet their rejoicing,
’73 Give in your own words the meaning of the adage as applied to this situation. Where is Kent ?
Thus to behold once more the sunburnt face of their Captain, 975
Whom they had mourned as dead; and they gathered and crowded about him, I
Eager to see him and hear him, forgetful of bride and of bridegroom,
Questioning, answering, laughing, and each interrupting the other,
Till the good Captain declared, being quite overpowered and bewildered,
He had rather by far break into an Indian encampment, 980
Than come again to a wedding to which he had not been invited.
Meanwhile the bridegroom went forth and stood with
the bride at the doorway,
Breathing the perfumed air of that warm and beautiful morning.
Touched with autumnal tints, but lonely and sad in the sunshine,
Lay extended before them the land of toil and privation;
There were the graves of the dead, and the barren waste of the sea-shore, 986
There the familiar fields, the groves of pine, and the meadows;
But to their eyes transfigured, it seemed as the Garden of Eden,
Filled with the presence of God, whose voice was ‘the sound of the ocean.
Soon was their vision disturbed by the noise and
stir of departure, 990
Friends coming forth from the house, and impatient of longer delaying,
Each with his plan for the day, and the work that was left uncompleted.
Then from a stall near at hand, amid exclamations of wonder,
Alden the thoughtful, the careful, so happy, so proud of Priscilla,
Brought out his snow-white bull, obeying the hand of its master, 995
Led by a cord that was tied to an iron ring in its nostrils,
Covered with crimson cloth, and a cushion placed for a saddle.
She should not walk, he said, through the dust and heat of the noonday;
Nay, she should ride like a queen, not plod along like a peasant.
Somewhat alarmed at first, but reassured by the others, rooc Placing her hand on the cushion, her foot in the hand of her husband,
Gayly, with joyous laugh, Priscilla mounted her palfrey.
“Nothing is wanting now,” he said with a smile, “but the distaff;
Then you would be in truth my queen, my beautiful Bertha !”
Onward the bridal procession now moved to their
new habitation, 1005 Happy husband and wife, and friends conversing together.
Pleasantly murmured the brook, as they crossed the ford in the forest,
Pleased with the image that passed, like a dream of love from its bosom,
Tremulous-fioating in air, o’er the depths of the azure abysses.
Down through the golden leaves the sun was pouring his splendors, 1010
Gleaming 0n purple grapes, that, from branches above them suspended,
Mingled their odorous breath with the balm of the pine and the fir-tree,
Wild and sweet as the clusters that grew in the valley of Eschol. Like a picture it seemed of the primitive, pastoral
Fresh with the youth of the world, and recalling Rebecca and Isaac, 1015
Old and yet ever new, and simple and beautiful always,
Love immortal and young in the endless succession of lovers.
So through the Plymouth woods passed onward the bridal procession.
101’ Eschol: look up Numbers xiii. 23 and 24.
1015 Find the story in Genesis xxiv.
It will perhaps be pleasant to know that Captain Miles Standish was not permanently saddened by Priscilla’s refusal of him. In the Anne, which arrived at Plymouth in August of 1623, there came a maiden by the name of Barbara, whom the doughty Captain wooed and won. Thereupon he built himself a home at a short distance from Plymouth and called the region Duxbury, after one of the ancestral homes of his family. There at the foot of Captain’s Hill he lived for the rest of his life. He left six children who have numerous descendants. The tall shaft erected on Captain’s Hill to his memory is a prominent object in the landscape for miles around.
There is a fitting monument erected to the Pilgrims at Plymouth.