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All the hot blood of his race, of Sir Hugh and of Thurston de Standish, Boiled and beat in his heart, and swelled in the veins of his temples. Headlong he leapt on the boaster, and snatching his knife from its
scabbard, Plunged it into his heart, and, reeling backward, the savage Fell with his face to the sky, and a fiendlike fierceness upon it. Straight there arose from the forest the awful sound of the war-whoop, And, like a flurry of snow on the whistling wind of December, Swift and sudden and keen came a flight of feathery arrows. Then came a cloud of smoke, and out of the cloud came the lightning, Out of the lightning thunder ; and death unseen ran before it. Frightened the savages fled for shelter in swamp and in thicket, Hotly pursued and beset ; but their sachem, the brave Wattawamat, Fled not; he was dead. Unswerving and swift had a bullet Passed through his brain, and he fell with both hands clutching the
greensward, Seeming in death to hold back from his foe the land of his fathers.
There on the flowers of the meadow the warriors lay, and above
them, Silent, with folded arms, stood Hobomok, friend of the white man. Smiling at length he exclaimed to the stalwart Captain of Plymouth : “ Pecksuot bragged very loud, of his courage, bis strength, and his
Mocked the great Captain, and called him a little man ; but I see now Big enough have you been to lay him speechless before you !”
Thus the first battle was fought and won by the stalwart Miles
Standish. When the tidings thereof were brought to the village of Plymouth, And as a trophy of war the head of the brave Wattawamat Scowled from the roof of the fort, which at once was a church and
a fortress, All who beheld it rejoiced, and praised the Lord, and took courage. Only Priscilla averted her face from this spectre of terror, Thanking God in her heart that she had not married Miles Standish ; Shrinking, fearing almost, lest, coming home from his battles, He should lay claim to her hand, as the prize and reward of his valor.
Month after month passed away, and in Autumn the ships of the
merchants Came with kindred and friends, with cattle and corn for the Pilgrims. All in the village was peace; the men were intent on their labors, Busy with hewing and building, with garden-plot and with merestead, Busy with breaking the glebe, and mowing the grass in the meadows,
Searching the sea for its fish, and hunting the deer in the forest.
Meanwhile Alden at home had built him a new habitation, Solid, substantial, of timber rough-hewn from the firs of the forest. Wooden-barred was the door, and the roof was covered with rushes ; Latticed the windows were, and the window-panes were of paper, Oiled to admit the light, while wind and rain were excluded. There too he dug a well, and around it planted an orchard: Still may be seen to this day some trace of the well and the orchard. Close to the house was the stall, where, safe and secure from annoyance, Raghorn, the snow-white steer, that had fallen to Alden's allotment In the division of cattle, might ruminate in the night-time Over the pastures he cropped, made fragrant by sweet pennyroyal.
Oft when his labor was finished, with eager feet would the dreamer
Follow the pathway that ran through the woods to the house of Priscilla,
So as she sat at her wheel one afternoon in the Autumn, Alden, who opposite sat, and was watching her dexterous fingers, As if the thread she was spinning were that of his life and his fortune, After a pause in their talk, thus spake to the sound of the spindle. “ Truly, Priscilla,” he said, “when I see you spinning and spinning, Never idle a moment, but thrifty and thoughtful of others, Suddenly you are transformed, are visibly changed in a moment; You are no longer Priscilla, but Bertha the Beautiful Spinner.” Here the light foot on the treadle grew swifter and swifter; the spindle Uttered an angry snarl, and the thread snapped short in her fingers ;