« AnteriorContinuar »
MY DEAR HUSBAND,
A FELLOW PILGRIM OF MANY YEARS,
THIS LITTLE WORK
IS AFFECTIONATELY INSCRIBED
L. E. P.
On a still and balmy evening succeeding a hot day in August, I sat in my garden-bower, amidst the charming scenery of South Wales; my eyes resting on the varied tints cast by the setting sun on the side of the neighbouring mountain, while the ivied tower of the village church reposed in shade at its foot; and my thoughts dwelling on the book in my hand, which I had just finished: its concluding words ran thus :—" Should it be my lot to go that way again, I may give those that desire it an account of what I am here silent about." It may be almost needless to inform my readers that the book was "The Pilgrim's Progress,"—that general favourite in childhood, maturity, and even old age. Would
that thou hadst gone that way again, thought I; but thy own progress, good Bunyan, was probably concluded ere that intent could be fulfilled! And what hand can like thine trace, or rather guide, the progress of a third pilgrim to the desired haven? Pondering on this, I fell from a reverie into a deep sleep, and then
"I SAW IN MY DREAM"
two youths, apparently of eighteen and twenty years of age, walking and conversing together. They had set out in the morning from their native Town of Trouble, in the Land of Imperfection, with the resolution of following the steps and the example of their grandfather Christian, the well-known Pilgrim of former days: the elder, named Paul, was the son of Matthew, and the other (who was called Luke) of Joseph; Christian's eldest and third sons. And thus they discoursed by the way:—
Luke. I am glad you persuaded me, cousin Paul, to accompany you on your journey. How fine the morning is, and how sweetly the birds sing! Besides, I was quite tired of living in our Town of Trouble.
Paul. I am equally glad to have you for my companion; but, dear Luke, we must not expect our
OLD SLOUGH OF DESPOND. 8
road to be always as smooth and pleasant as it is at this, the commencement of our journey; neither should our chief motive for going on pilgrimage be, that we are tired of our present residence.
Luke. I hope I am aware of that; nor do I forget the records we have read of what our grandfather and some of his friends underwent before us: but some of the evils they encountered are now, I believe, mitigated, if not extirpated.
Paul. More, I fear, in appearance, than reality, and externally than internally; for our great enemy still remains unchanged, and "man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward." And, methinks, I even now perceive something a little way before us, which looks like the Slough of Despond that we were told of.
Luke. I think I can see it too; but the path at the side seems to be wide enough for us to go, if we walk carefully.
I saw that they soon came up to the place, which was not quite so bad as in old Christian's time, though, as he had remarked, it never could be thoroughly mended. Then said Paul, "I am determined to keep as far from it as possible:" and with that he jumped over a low hedge by the path, which was too narrow for both to walk side by side. Luke, who was in front, not perceiving him go, thought he was still behind, but had not gone much further, (for he walked slowly, taking heed to his steps,) when he heard a cry for help; he turned round, and saw Paul on the other side of the slight fence, on some higher ground, and floundering up to his knees in dust or sand: he hastened to his assistance, with some difficulty from the unsteady footing, and reaching him at arm's length, extricated and led him back to the path, which now began to widen, for they had passed the slough. "Dear brother," said Luke, "for I must call you so, though we are but cousins, how came you in the awkward situation wherein I found you?"
Paid. First, I must thank you for getting me out of it, and though you are younger than me, you have proved yourself wiser. I was so anxious to avoid the slough that I got on that dry-looking ground, which gradually ascended, and at the same time became so soft and crumbling, that I sank into the dust or sand, of which it seems to be composed, and whilst endeavouring to regain my footing, a gust of wind blew such a cloud of dust into my eyes that I was nearly blinded, and they feel quite sore.