Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land, Complete
Page: 124In contrast to the tales of habitual tyranny toward the Quakers is the tradition of the Southwicks. Lawrence and Cassandra, of that name, were banished from Salem, in spite of their blameless lives, for they had embraced Quakerism. They died within three days of each other on Shelter Island, but their son and daughter, Daniel and Provided, returned to their birthplace, and were incessantly fined for not going to church. At last, having lost their property through seizures made to satisfy their fines, the General Court of Boston issued an order for their sale, as slaves, to any Englishman of Virginia or Barbadoes. Edward Butter was assigned to sell and take them to their master. The day arrived and Salem market-place was crowded with a throng of the curious. Provided Southwick mounted the block and Butter began to call for bids. While expatiating on the aptness of the girl for field or house-service, the master of the Barbadoes ship on which Butter had engaged passage for himself and his two charges looked into her innocent face, and roared, in noble dudgeon, "If my ship were filled with silver, by God, I'd sink her in harbor rather than take away this child!" The multitude experienced a quick change of feeling and applauded the sentiment. As the judges and officers trudged away with gloomy faces, Provided Southwick descended from the auction-block, and brother and sister went forth into the town free and unharmed.
THE COURTSHIP OF MYLES STANDISH
Myles Standish, compact, hard-headed little captain of the Puritan guard at Plymouth, never knew the meaning of fear until he went a-courting Priscilla Mullins—or was she a Molines, as some say? He had fought white men and red men and never reeked of danger in the doing it, but his courage sank to his boots whenever this demure maiden glanced at him, as he thought, with approval. Odd, too, for he had been married once, and Rose was not so long dead that he had forgotten the ways and likings of women; but he made no progress in his suit, and finally chose John Alden to urge it for him. John—who divides with Mary Chilton the honor of being first to land on Plymouth Rock—was a well-favored lad of twenty-two. Until he could build a house for himself he shared Standish's cottage and looked up to that worthy as a guardian, but it was a hard task that was set for him now. He went to goodman Mullins with a slow step and sober countenance and asked leave to plead his protector's cause. The father gave it, called his daughter in, and left them together; then, with noble faith to his mission, the young man begged the maiden's hand for the captain, dwelling on his valor, strength, wisdom, his military greatness, his certainty of promotion, his noble lineage, and all good attributes he could endow him with.
Priscilla kept at her spinning while this harangue went on, but the drone of the wheel did not prevent her noting a sigh and a catch of the breath that interrupted the discourse now and then. She flushed as she replied, "Why does not Captain Standish come to me himself? If I am worth the winning I ought to be worth the wooing."