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A Pilgrim Maid by Marion Ames Taggart

Who saw what Captain Myles saw


The

gifts that bound both parties to this treaty were exchanged, and the treaty, that was so important to the struggling colony, was consummated.

The women and children, even the youths, were excluded from the council; the women had enough to do to prepare the feast that was to celebrate the compact before Massasoit took up his march of forty miles to return to his village.

But Giles leaned against the casement of the open door, unforbidden, glowing with pride in his father, for the first time in heart and soul a colonist, completely in sympathy with the event he was witnessing.

Stephen Hopkins saw him there and made no sign of dismissal. Their eyes met with their old look of love; father and son were in that hour united, though separated. Suddenly there arose a tremendous racket, a volley of shots, a beating of pans, shouts, pandemonium.

Captain Myles Standish turned angrily and saw John and Francis Billington, decorated with streamers of party-coloured rags, which made them look as if they had escaped from a madhouse, leaping and shouting, beating and shooting; John firing his clumsy "Bouncing Bully" in the air as fast as he could load it; Francis filling in the rest of the outrageous performance.

But worst of all was that Stephen Hopkins, who saw what Captain Myles saw, saw also his own boy, whom but a moment

before he had looked at lovingly, bent and swayed by laughter.

Captain Standish strode out in a towering fury to deal with the Billingtons, with whom he was ceaselessly dealing in anger, as they were ceaselessly afflicting the little community with the pranks that shocked and outraged its decorum.

Stephen Hopkins dashed out after him. Quick to anger, sure of his own judgments, he instantly leaped to the conclusion that Giles had been waiting at the door to enjoy this prank when it was enacted, and it was a prank that passed ordinary mischief. If the Indians recognized it for a prank, they would undoubtedly take it as an insult to them. Only the chance that they might consider it a serious celebration of the treaty, afforded hope that it might not annul the treaty at its birth, and put Plymouth in a worse plight than before it was made.

Mr. Hopkins seized Giles by the shoulders and shook him.

"You laugh? You laugh at this, you young wastrel?" he said, fiercely. "By heavens, I could deal with you for conniving at this, which may earn salt tears from us all, if the savages take it amiss and retaliate on us. Will you never learn sense? How, in heaven's name, can you help on with this, knowing what you know of the danger to your own sisters should the savages take offence at it? Angels above us, and but a moment agone I thought you were my son, and rejoicing in this important day!"

Giles, white, with burning eyes, looked straight into his father's eyes, rage, wounded pride, the sudden revolt of a love that had just been enkindled anew in him, distorting his face.

"You never consider justice, sir," he said, chokingly. "You never ask, nor want to hear facts, lest they might be in my favour. You welcome a chance to believe ill of me. It is Giles, therefore the worst must be true; that's your argument."

He turned away, head up, no relenting in his air, but the boy's heart in him was longing to burst in bitter weeping.

Stephen Hopkins stood still, a swift doubt of his accusation, of himself, keen sorrow if he had wronged his boy, seizing him.


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