The history of the Old Colony includes, among some very stern facts, a deal of sweet and tender romance, hitherto hardly known except to those who have learned it at their mother's knee.
foe, or savage beast, or peril by land or sea, was John Howland ever known less than the foremost; but now in face of this angry woman he found naught to say, and blushing and stammering and half laughing fairly turned and ran away, springing up the stairs to the elevated deck cabins, in one of which Elder Brewster and his family had their lodging.
Mistress Brewster, a pale, sweet-faced woman, already at fifty-four dressing and behaving as the venerable mother in Israel, came forward to meet him, and smiling indulgently asked,--
"Now what hast thou done to goodwife Billington, thou naughty lad? I hear thy name in her complaint, and indeed all the company can hear it, if they will."
"I did but say I would none of her boys in my party, dear Mistress Brewster, and I hope you'll say so too," replied Howland, uncovering his yellow head. "They are the greatest marplots and scapegraces"--
"Nay, nay, John! Say no evil, or thou 'lt make me think thou hast 'scaped grace thyself," suggested t