« PreviousContinue »
Choosing, selecting, rejecting, comparing one with another,
Still John Alden went on, unheeding the words of Priscilla, 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 plainly Back to Hugh Standish of Duxbury Hall, in Lancashire, England, 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 blazon. He was a man of honor, of noble and generous nature;
Though he was rough, he was kindly; she knew how during the
He had attended the sick, with a hand as gentle as woman's ;
But as he warmed and glowed, in his simple and eloquent language, Quite forgetful of self, and full of the praise of his rival, 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,
Slowly as out of the heavens, with apocalyptical splendors,
“ Welcome, O wind of the East !"
” he exclaimed in his wild exultation, Welcome, O wind of the East, from the caves of the misty Atlantic ! Blowing o'er fields of dulse, and measureless meadows of sea-grass, Blowing o'er rocky wastes, and the grottoes and gardens of ocean! Lay thy cold, moist hand on my burning forehead, and wrap me Close in thy garments of mist, to allay the fever within me!”
Like an awakened conscience, the sea was moaning and tossing, Beating remorseful and loud the mutable sands of the sea-shore. Fierce in his soul was the struggle and tumult of passions contending ; Love triumphant and crowned, and friendship wounded and bleeding, Passionate cries of desire, and importunate pleadings of duty ! “ Is it my fault,” he said, “ that the maiden has chosen between us ? Is it my fault that he failed,—my fault that I am the victor ?” Then within him there thundered a voice, like the voice of the Prophet : “ It hath displeased the Lord !”—and he thought of David's trans
Bathsheba's beautiful face, and his friend in the front of the battle!
Then, uplifting his head, he looked at the sea, and beheld there Dimly the shadowy form of the May Flower riding at anchor,