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Mute and amazed was Alden; and listened and
looked at Priscilla, JPhinking 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
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
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
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,
Where he is happier far than he would be commanding
a household, You may speak boldly, and tell me of all that hap
pened between you, When you returned last night, and said how ungrateful you
found me.” Thereupon answered John Alden, and told her the whole of the story,
710 Told her his own despair, and the direful wrath of
ing and earnest,
had suffered, How he had even determined to sail that day in the Mayflower,
715 And had remained for her sake, on hearing the dan
gers that threatened, All her manner was changed, and she said with a fal
tering accent, “Truly I thank you for this: how good you have
been to me always !"
Thus, as a pilgrim devout, who toward Jerusalem
Taking three steps in advance, and one reluctantly
backward, Urged by importunate zeal, and withheld by pangs of
contrition; Slowly but steadily onward, receding yet ever advanc
ing, Journeyed this Puritan youth to the Holy Land of
his longings, Urged by the fervor of love, and withheld by remorse
remorse-/ 3, ful misgivings.
THE MARCH OF MILES STANDISH
Meanwhile the stalwart Miles Standish was marching steadily northward,
725 718–724 Give-in your own words the meaning of this paragraph.
723 Holy Land: what is its geographical name? Where is it? Why was it called the Holy Land ?
725 Northward : this was an expedition against the Indians which Miles Standish undertook in 1623 instead of 1621. But it suits the story better to bring it in here. A friend of the Pilgrims in London, a Mr. Weston, had sent out a colony of his own which settled at about the present location of Weymouth. This colony was not composed of very sensible men, and they were faring badly at the hands of their Indian neighbors. Out of friendship for the founder of the colony, the Pilgrims sent Standish and his little band to their assistance. Eventually, a few of Weston's men joined the Pilgrims, and the rest found their way back to England.
Winding through forest and swamp, and along the
trend of the sea-shore, All day long, with hardly a halt, the fire of his anger Burning and crackling within, and the sulphurous
odor of powder Seeming more sweet to his nostrils than all the scents
of the forest. Silent and moody he went, and much he revolved his discomfort;
730 He who was used to success, and to easy victories
always, Thus to be flouted, rejected, and laughed to scorn by
a maiden, Thus to be mocked and betrayed by the friend whom
most he had trusted! Ah! 'twas too much to be borne, and he fretted and
chafed in his armor!
"I alone am to blame,” he muttered, “ for mine was
the folly. What has a rough old soldier, grown grim and gray
in the harness, Used to the camp and its ways, to do with the wooing
of maidens ? 'Twas but a dream, - let it pass, - let it vanish like
80 many others !