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Twist or knot in the yarn, unawares for how could

she help it ? Sending electrical thrills through every nerve in his

body.

Lo! in the midst of this scene, a breathless mes

senger entered, Bringing in hurry and heat the terrible news from

the village. Yes ; Miles Standish was dead !- an Indian had

brought them the tidings, Slain by a poisoned arrow, shot down in the front

of the battle, Into an ambush beguiled, cut off with the whole of

his forces ; All the town would be burned, and all the people

be murdered ! Such were the tidings of evil that burst on the

hearts of the hearers. Silent and statue-like stood Priscilla, her face look

ing backward Still at the face of the speaker, her arms uplifted

in horror; But John Alden, upstarting, as if the barb of the Piercing the heart of his friend had struck his own,

and had sundered Once and for ever the bonds that held him bound

as a captive, Wild with excess of sensation, the awful delight of

his freedom, Mingled with pain and regret, unconscious of what

he was doing, Clasped, almost with a groan, the motionless form

of Priscilla, Pressing her close to his heart, as for ever his own,

and exclaiming : " Those whom the Lord hath united, let no man

put them asunder!”

arrow

Even as rivulets twain, from distant and sepa

rate sources, Seeing each other afar, as they leap from the rocks,

and pursuing Each one its devious path, but drawing nearer and

nearer, Rush together at last, at their trysting-place in the

forest; So these lives that had run thus far in separate

channels, Coming in sight of each other, then swerving and

flowing asunder, Parted by barriers strong, but drawing nearer and

nearer, Rushed together at last, and one was lost in the

other.

IX.

THE WEDDING-DAY.

Forth from the curtain of clouds, from the tent

of purple and scarlet, Issued the sun, the great High-Priest, in his gar

ments resplendent, Holiness unto the Lord, in letters of light, on his

forehead, Round the hem of his robe the golden bells and

pomegranates. Blessing the world he came, and the bars of vapor

beneath him Gleamed like a grate of brass, and the sea at his

feet was a laver !

This was the wedding morn of Priscilla the Puri

tan maiden. Friends were assembled together; the Elder and

Magistrate also Graced the scene with their presence, and stood

like the Law and the Gospel, One with the sanction of earth and one with the

blessing of heaven. Simple and brief was the wedding, as that of Ruth

and of Boaz. Softly the youth and the maiden repeated the words

of betrothal, Taking each other for husband and wife in the

Magistrate's presence, After the Puritan way, and the laudable custom of

Holland. Fervently then, and devoutly, the excellent Elder

of Plymouth

Prayed for the hearth and the home, that were

founded that day in affection, Speaking of life and of death, and imploring di

vine benedictions.

sion ?

Lo! when the service .was ended, a form ap

peared on the threshold, Clad in armor of steel, a sombre and sorrowful fig

ure! Why does the bridegroom start and stare at the

strange apparition ? Why does the bride turn pale, and hide her face on

his shoulder ? Is it a phantom of air, a bodiless, spectral illuIs it a ghost from the grave, that has come to forbid

the betrothal ? Long had it stood there unseen, a guest uninvited,

unwelcomed ; Over its clouded eyes there had passed at times an

expression Softening the gloom and revealing the warın heart

hidden beneath them, As when across the sky the driving rack of the rain

cloud Grows for a moment thin, and betrays the sun by

its brightness. Once it had lifted its hand, and moved its lips, but

was silent, As if an iron will had mastered the fleeting inten

tion. But when were ended the troth and the prayer

and the last benediction, Into the room it strode, and the people beheld with

amazement Bodily there in his armor Miles Standish, the Cap

tain of Plymouth ! Grasping the bridegroom's hand, he said with emo

tion, “ Forgive me !

I have been angry and hurt, - too long have 1

cherished the feeling; I have been cruel and hard, but now, thank God !

it is ended. Mine is the same hot blood that leaped in the veins

of Hugh Standish, Sensitive, swift to resent, but as swift in atoning for

error. Never so much as now was Miles Standish tho

friend of John Alden." Thereupon answered the bridegroom : " Let all be

forgotten between us, 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 laud

ing her husband. Then he said with a smile : “ I should have remem

bered the adage, If you would be well served, you must serve your

self; and moreover, No man can gather cherries in Kent at the season

of Christmas !”

Great was the people's amazement, and greater

yet their rejoicing, Thus to behold once more the sun-burnt face of

their Captain, Whom they had mourned as dead; and they gathered

and crowded about him, Eager to see him and hear him, forgetful of bride

and of bridegroom, Questioning, answering, laughing, and each inter

rupting the other,

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