The girl averted not her glowing cheek, whereon, with these words, he imprinted a passionate kiss, which he attempted to repeat, but Prudence drew a little back, and removed his arm. His lips burned like fire. She felt as if they had left behind a mark to betray her, and she shuddered with aversion; but she believed the fate of the soldier to be in his hands, and dared not to offend him. Besides, she was no delicate lady, but strong and full of confidence, and feared no danger to herself. As she marked his heightened color and kindling eyes, and he made another attempt to salute her, she said, with half a disposition to cry and half to laugh:
“Is not kissing and toying forbid by the elders and worshipful magistrates?”
“They are forbid to them outside of the congregation, and who have no Christian liberty,” answered Spikeman—“to them who make a display of what should be concealed, to avoid the scandal of the wicked; but not to the elect and discreet, who can use their liberty as not abusing it. Therefore, let me kiss thee with the kisses of my mouth, for thy love is better than wine. Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair,” he continued, pressing upon her; “thou hast dove’s eyes within thy locks. Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet.”
“Hark!” cried Prudence, pushing him back, “I hear a noise.” “I hear no sound,” said Spikeman, after listening for a moment, “save the voice of my beloved. O, speak, and say unto me, ’rise up, my love, and come away, for lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone, the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land,’”
So saying, he caught her in his arms, and giving license to his fiery passions, stamped repeated kisses upon her lips and bosom, in spite of her struggles. But the sounds which the quick ears of Prudence had detected became more and more distinct, and persons on foot and on horseback were seen in the street returning from the lecture. Without difficulty she broke from the now yielding arms of Spikeman, and had just time to compose her disordered hair and tunic, when the voice of the dame at the door was heard demanding admission.
give me liberty!
For were even Paradise my prison,
Still I should long to leap the crystal walls.”
The motives which animated Spikeman to play the part which he did in the court that condemned the soldier, will now be better understood. He had cast eyes of licentious desire upon the blooming Prudence, who was, at the same time, beloved by Philip, and was solicitous to remove him out of the way. Bold in all his plans, neither honoring God nor fearing man, unscrupulous in regard to the means, to effect a purpose, and esteeming the gratification of his evil wishes the highest happiness, it was yet necessary to the achievement of his objects