« AnteriorContinuar »
on the outside, which was a Fox. So he knocked again; and at last one came.
“ I perceive,” said Paul to him, " that this is an inn, and I wish to have a night's lodging for myself and three other wayworn travellers.”
To which the man replied, in a hasty manner, that the house was full, and they were all very busy, for that a large assembly was held there that night.
But,” said Paul, we should be satisfied with the meanest apartments in your house; or, if they are also full, even in an out-house, for we are poor pilgrims, on our way to Zion, and are just come through the Valley of the Shadow of Death."
Oh!” said the man, in a contemptuous tone, “my master's house is frequented by the first gentry in the land, who come to and from the Town of Vanity; and we really cannot accommodate all the poor pilgrims who may be passing this way." With these words he was going to shut the door, when perceiving Paul's armour, which the light just then glanced on, he looked rather surprised, and added, more civilly:- I can mention that you are here, and perhaps the landlord may speak to you himself, if he has time."
So he called him. When he came, he repeated
nearly the same words that the other had said ; hinting, also, that the persons who came to his inn paid handsomely for whatever they had.
May I ask," said Paul, “ whether this is the house that was once kept by a man named Gaius ?”
“I never heard of any such person,” answered he; nor could he have lived here, as this is a new house, which has only been occupied by myself and the man of whom I bought it, whose name was Lovegain."
“I see,” said Paul, “ I must be mistaken, and (observing symptoms of impatience in the other) will not detain you longer. We should be unprofitable customers to you : for though not quite destitute of the coin of the realm, we could not afford to give what you would deem sufficient remuneration. So can you tell me if there is any other inn near ?”
• Why,” said the other, " there is an old-fashioned house, not above a stone's throw from hence, on the opposite side, where, I believe, they take all sorts of people; that is to say, all they can get,” added he: “ for, as most travellers of condition come to me, only the inferior sort are left for him.”
“ I thank you for your information,” replied Paul (not noticing the implied slight); “ but before we part, let me advise you, friend, not to close your doors
always against the poor man. You
be rich and flourishing now, but should the time ever come when you yourself are poor, you will reflect with regret and shame on your treatment of him. And remember, that · he who giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord,' and will be rewarded fourfold hereafter."
The landlord said nothing; and I saw that Paul went his way, and turning to his right, as directed, soon came to the house mentioned, which, however, he could but indistinctly discern by the star-light. He felt, more plainly than saw, a bell at the gate, which he rang, and which was instantly responded to by the deep-toned bark of a house-dog, and, in a few minutes, a lad came in haste to the gate, saying that the family had retired to rest, but when he heard the bell he got up to see who could be coming at that time of night.
Paul said he was very sorry to disturb them at so late an hour, and then stated the same particulars he had done at the other place; which when the young man had heard he begged him to come in, adding that he could have the accommodation he sought. Paul thanked him, but said he must hasten back to his companions, whom he had left waiting for him.
“Well, then," replied Benjamin (for that was the youth's name), “ if you will sit down for a minute in this room, I will bring a covered cart that we have, and that will take us both there speedily, and convey them here without adding to their fatigue, as you say they are so tired.”
With these words he disappeared, and presently returned with the cart. They got in, and were soon at the spot, for it was not far. They found Luke watching by his sister and her friend, who had both fallen fast asleep. He was agreeably surprised to see his friend jump out of the comfortable vehicle, telling him that his patience had been nearly exhausted, and he began to fear that his brother had lost himself in a labyrinth again.
“ Or been enticed to the house of another Romius, perhaps,” replied Paul, smiling. And, indeed, had it not been for this kind man, you might not have seen me again even so soon.”
Their talking awoke Grace and Myra, who were much refreshed by their sleep; but both complained of feeling cold, and were not a little glad to enter the warm cart unexpectedly brought for them.
Paul told them, as they went, the cause that had detained him, and very soon they all alighted at the inn, where their guide shewed them into a clean comfortable room, and then ran to tell Mr. Trueman, the landlord, of their arrival, who presently came to them; for having heard a noise in the house he had got up, and was somewhat alarmed when he missed his horse and cart, and then (when he was going to question him his trusty young man ! Who now told his master the cause of this three-fold disappearance, adding, that as he felt sure of his concurrence in what he did, he thought it best to avoid both delay and disturbance.
The master, who approved of the young man's conduct, received his guests with respectful cordiality; for their toil-worn appearance had a different effect on his mind to that produced by it on the mind of the former landlord. Paul began to tell him (as he had done the other) that they stood in much need of rest and refreshment, but being able to make but small payment, it must be of the plainest kind.
“We will talk of payment by-and-by,” answered he: “let not that distress
you are welcome to whatever my house affords; and I am sure you must require it."
Accordingly the board was soon spread, and the