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Vol. VI. PHILADELPHIA, FEBRUARY, 1850. No. 2.
TALES OF THE PURITANS.
BY PBOFlllOl ALDKN.
"I Am too young and inexperienced to aspire to so important a command, and I would rather serve under Cromwell than command the finest regiment in England."
"I once saw Captain Cromwell in company with Mr. Hampden. It would not surprise me to hear you speak thus in relation to the latter."
"I would not say aught in disparagement of Mr. Hampden, who is all that a bleeding country believes him to be; but there is that in Cromwell, plain and unimposing as he appears, which fits him, above all others, to wield the destinies of England. Were the conduct of our armies entrusted to him, I should speedily hope to be at liberty to lead a life of peace with the best and fairest maiden in England."
"I pray you spare your compliments for a more fitting time.—Are you led by a sense of duty to peril your life in this struggle?"
"I can truly say that I am, and yet, I know not but that the example of Hampden and Cromwell, and the desire of winning a name, which Alice may not be displeased to bear, may influence me unduly."
"What is the value of a name, however widely read, if it be written in a tracery of Wood? If your duty summon you to the post of danger, there is no friend worthy the name, who will not bid you God speed, though the heart may ache in view of the dangers and sufferings to be encountered." As she thus spoke, a tear trembled in her eye.
"Let us hope for the best," said Hollis. "Mr. Hampden saith we are immortal, till our
VOL. VI. 8
work is done. When God calls men to defend his truth, and to rescue the ark of Liberty from Philistine hands, those who know how to lay hold of omnipotence, and are sustained by an immortal hope, should not draw back. I rejoice that you are willing that I should take part in this great work."
"I cannot say that I am willing, but I should be unworthy of your regard could I say aught against it."
Time paused not in his flight. Hollis departed with the assurance that he possessed the wealth of a virgin heart.
Sir Herrert Elliston, the uncle of Alice, was the eldest son of Sir Arthur Elliston, who ranked among the wealthiest knights of England. He was a staunch defender of the church and king, and lent his support to many of those acts of intolerance and wrong which had placed the people of England in martial array. The widely different views and practice of his younger brother led to an estrangement, and to an almost total cessation of intercourse, till Alice drew near to womanhood. Sir Herbert then made advances which the Christian spirit of his brother would not allow him to repel. Alice paid occasional visits to her uncle, who would fain have made her a permanent member of his family. To his proposal to that effect she would not listen. Not the prospect of inheriting his wealth, nor visions of gay winters in London, nor the chances of ■ an alliance with some noble family, could induce her to consider, for a moment, the idea of exchanging the dwelling of her father for the stately halls of her uncle.
During the summer preceding the occurrence of the events above related, she had passed several weeks at Elliston Hall. There, in company with many others, she met George Hollis.
Some negotiations on the part of his father with Sir Herbert, relating to certain contiguous estates in Lancashire, rendered it necessary for him to pass a week under the same roof with Alice. He noticed her surpassing beauty, and was often obliged, by a sense of propriety, to turn away his admiring gaze; but no feeling of positive interest was awakened till her uncle chanced, in sport, to call her a Puritan rebel. Hollis noticed her blush of acknowledgment, and the sparkle of her confessing eye.
Alice, from the first, had observed the difference between Hollis and the other frequenters of her uncle's board. The wine-cup never touched his lip. He spoke only on topics of interest, when his speech gave indications of an earnest and fearless soul.
After the incident above related, when they met alone they conferred together on the topics which swelled, almost to bursting, the Puritan heart of England. On the day of his departure from Elliston Hall, he read to her certain productions of a Puritan bard, who began to feel conscious of possessing power to produce something that posterity would not willingly let die.
As he gazed upon her countenance radiant with the divine emotions awakened by the inspired bard, he could scarce refrain from casting himself at her feet, and declaring the intense affection which, in so brief a period, had arisen in his heart. When, therefore, the master spirit of England called him to the field, it was not strange that he sought to make known to her his feelings, and to secure her sympathy and prayers.
Alice had not yet recovered from the agitation occasioned by the advent and departure of the student-soldier, when a company of troopers, whose language and bearing made it evident that they were in the service of his blessed Majesty, surrounded the dwelling, and making a violent entrance, seized the aged father, and dragged him away, unheeding the tears and supplications of his wife and daughter.
flrtP^>' The bl°W fel l W'th 8tUn"
ning violence upon the gentle
mother. For weeks Alice
watched alone by her sick
bed. So silent and secret
had been the movement of the captors, that
the abduction of Mr. Elliston was unknown to
his friends. Hence his daughter watched and
wept unaided, when there were many hearts
that would have beat in sympathy, and many
hands that would have furnished aid.
Alice felt that she must rely upon her own
resources, and the support of heaven. Calmly
she breasted the cold waters, which rose higher
and higher, threatening to overwhelm and bury
her in their depths. Friend and lover were far
away. Her father was in the hand of his cruel
foes,—her mother was dying all unconscious of
the sorrows of her devoted child.
The dreaded hour arrived. The mother bade
her daughter farewell. Before the warmth of
life had departed Sir Herbert arrived, bringing