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Turned o'er the well-worn Jeaves, where thumb-marks thick on the
margin, Like the trample of feet, proclaimed the battle was hottest. Nothing was heard in the room but the hurrying pen of the stripling, Busily writing epistles important, to go by the May Flower, Ready to sail on the morrow, or next day at latest, God willing! Homeward bound with the tidings of all that terrible winter, Letters written by Alden, and full of the name of Priscilla, Full of the name and the fame of the Puritan maiden Priscilla !
Nothing was heard in the room but the hurrying pen of the stripling,
Straightway answered and spake John Alden, the comely, the
youthful : “Yes, he was equally skilled, as you say, with his pen and his
weapons. Somewhere I have read, but where I forget, he could dictate Seven letters at once, at the same time writing his memoirs.” “ Truly,” continued the Captain, not heeding or hearing the other, “ Truly a wonderful man was Caius Julius Cæsar ! Better be first, he said, in a little Iberian village, Than be second in Rome, and I think he was right when he said it. Twice was he married before he was twenty, and many times after ; Battles five hundred he fought, and a thousand cities he conquered ; He, too, fought in Flanders, as he himself has recorded ; Finally he was stabbed by his friend, the orator Brutus ! Now, do you know what he did on a certain occasion in Flanders, When the rear-guard of his army retreated, the front giving way too, And the immortal Twelfth Legion was crowded so closely together There was no room for their swords ? Why, he seized a shield from
a soldier, Put himself straight at the head of his troops, and commanded the
That's what I always say; if you wish a thing to be well done,
All was silent again ; the Captain continued his reading. Nothing was heard in the room but the hurrying pen of the stripling Writing epistles important to go next day by the May Flower, Filled with the name and the fame of the Puritan maiden Priscilla ; Every sentence began or closed with the name of Priscilla, Till the treacherous pen, to which he confided the secret, Strove to betray it by singing and shouting the name of Priscilla ! Finally closing his book, with a bang of the ponderous cover, Sudden and loud as the sound of a soldier grounding his musket,
Thus to the young man spake Miles Standish the Captain of Plymouth : “ When you have finished your work, I have something important to
tell you. Be not however in haste ; I can wait ; I shall not be impatient !" Straightway Alden replied, as he folded the last of his letters, Pushing his papers aside, and giving respectful attention : “ Speak ; for whenever you speak, I am always ready to listen, Always ready to hear whatever pertains to Miles Standish.” Thereupon answered the Captain, embarrassed, and culling his phrases : " ’T is not good for a man to be alone, say the Scriptures. This I have said before, and again and again I repeat it: Every hour in the day, I think it, and feel it, and say it.
Oft in my lonely hours have I thought of the maiden Priscilla.
When he had spoken, John Alden, the fair-haired, taciturn stripling,