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Yours is tender and trusting, and needs a stronger to
So I have come to you now, with an offer and proffer of marriage
Made by a good man and true, Miles Standish the Captain of Plymouth!"
Thus he delivered his message, the dexterous writer of letters,
Did not embellish the theme, nor array it in beautiful
But came straight to the point, and blurted it out like a school-boy;
Even the Captain himself could hardly have said it more bluntly.
Mute with amazement and sorrow, Priscilla the Puritan maiden
Looked into Alden's face, her eyes dilated with won
Feeling his words like a blow, that stunned her and rendered her speechless;
Till at length she exclaimed, interrupting the ominous silence :
"If the great Captain of Plymouth is so very eager to
Why does he not come himself, and take the trouble to woo me?
If I am not worth the wooing, I surely am not worth the winning!"
Then John Alden began explaining and smoothing the matter,
Making it worse as he went, by saying the Captain was busy,
Had no time for such things;-such things! the words grating harshly
Fell on the ear of Priscilla; and swift as a flash she made answer:
"Has he no time for such things, as you call it, before he is married,
Would he be likely to find it, or make it, after the
That is the way with you men; you don't understand us, you cannot.
When you have made up your minds, after thinking of this one and that one,
Choosing, selecting, rejecting, comparing one with another,
Then you make known your desire, with abrupt and sudden avowal,
And are offended and hurt, and indignant perhaps,
that a woman
Does not respond at once to a love that she never
Does not attain at a bound the height to which you have been climbing.
This is not right nor just: for surely a woman's affection
Is not a thing to be asked for, and had for only the
When one is truly in love, one not only says it, but
Had he but waited awhile, had he only showed that he loved me,
Even this Captain of yours- who knows? - at last might have won me,
Old and rough as he is; but now it never can happen."
Still John Alden went on, unheeding the words of
Urging the suit of his friend, explaining, persuading, expanding;
Spoke of his courage and skill, and of all his battles in Flanders,
How with the people of God he had chosen to suffer affliction,
How, in return for his zeal, they had made him Captain of Plymouth;
He was a gentleman born, could trace his pedigree
Back to Hugh Standish of Duxbury Hall, in Lanca
Who was the son of Ralph, and the grandson of Thurston de Standish;
Heir unto vast estates, of which he was basely defrauded,
Still bore the family arms, and had for his crest a cock argent
Combed and wattled gules, and all the rest of the
He was a man of honor, of noble and generous nature; Though he was rough, he was kindly; she knew how during the winter
He had attended the sick, with a hand as gentle as woman's;
Somewhat hasty and hot, he could not deny it, and headstrong,
824 Family arms: if a man belonged to a family of the nobility, or was knighted for bravery in war, he and his sons were permitted to wear upon their shields a design of some sort to distinguish them in battle. This design usually contained the head or the whole body of some animal. That of Standish was evidently a cock argent, that is, silver-colored or white, with comb and wattles gule, that is, red.
825 Blazon: the word means the description of a coat of arms.
Stern as a soldier might be, but hearty, and placable always,
Not to be laughed at and scorned, because he was little of stature;
For he was great of heart, magnanimous, courtly,
Any woman in Plymouth, nay, any woman in England,
Might be happy and proud to be called the wife of Miles Standish !
But as he warmed and glowed, in his simple and eloquent language,
Quite forgetful of self, and full of the praise of his
Archly the maiden smiled, and, with eyes overrunning with laughter,
Said, in a tremulous voice, "Why don't you speak for yourself, John?"
Into the open air John Alden, perplexed and bewildered,
Rushed like a man insane, and wandered alone by the