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Praising his virtues, transforming his very defects

into virtues, Praising his courage and strength, and even his

fighting in Flanders, As if by fighting alone you could win the heart of

a woman, Quite overlooking yourself and the rest, in exalt

ing your hero. Therefore I spake as I did, by an irresistible im

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

friendship 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 : “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 Long to be patient and silent, to wait like a ghost

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

its silence. 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, Chafing their channels of stone, with endless and

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

the lover of women :

woman

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 Filling the land with delight, and memories sweet

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

the maiden, “ 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, Straightway you take up my words, that are plaire

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. Therefore I value your friendship, and feel it per:

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

among many, If you make use of those common and complimen

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

with women, But which women reject as insipid, if not as in

sulting."

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 imag

ined 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 pro

fessions of friendship. It is no secret I tell you, nor am I ashamed to de

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

with you always. 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, 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 May Flower, 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: “ Now that our terrible Captain has gone in pur

suit of the Indians, Where he is happier far than he would be com

manding a household, You may speak boldly, and tell me of all that hap

pened between you, When you returned last night, and said how un

grateful you found me.” Thereupon answered John Alden, and told her

the whole of the story, Told her his own despair, and the direful wrath of

Miles Standish. Whereat the maiden smiled, and said between

laughing and earnest, “ He is a little chimney, and heated hot in a mo

ment!” But as he gently rebuked her, and told her how

much he had suffered, How he had even determined to sail that day in

the May Flower, And had remained for her sake, on hearing the

dangers that threatened, All her manner was changed, and she said with a

faltering accent, Truly I thank you for this : how good you have

been to me always !” Thus, as a pilgrim devout, who toward Jerusa

lem journey, Taking three steps in advance, and one reluctantly

backward,

L'rged by importunate zeal, and withheld by pangs

of contrition ; Slowly but steadily onward, receding yet ever ad

vancing, Journeyed this Puritan youth to the Holy Land of

his longings, Urged by the fervor of love, and withheld by re

morseful misgivings.

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