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of white marble, set there since the time of Christian's pilgrimage. He then presented them each with a staff to assist their steps up the hill, bade them an affectionate farewell, and they parted with mutual feelings of regret, and of gratitude on the part of the cousins, who, I saw, began now to mount the hill vigorously; but as they proceeded, it became more and more steep, and Grace said :—
"If it had not been for this staff of Sure-Trust, I think I could hardly have got on."
"And I," said Paul, "stumbled just now on a large rolling loose stone, and had well-nigh rolled back with it to the bottom, but that my staff supported me."
Now I observed that the part they came to was covered with short turf, and so slippery, that if they had not advanced, however slowly, they must have retrograded, for there was no standing still, and sometimes they were obliged to scramble on their hands and knees; at last, they reached some stunted shrubs that grew on a small patch of more level ground, and served them to rest against for a few minutes.
Then said Paul to his companion, "You promised to tell me the cause of my finding you in
THEY ASCEXD THE HILL. 5 1
that labyrinth, yesterday, but I have not yet heard it."
Grace. And so I will, dear cousin, when I get sufficient breath to do so, but at present it is nearly exhausted with mounting this steep ascent.
"True," said Paul, "I chose a bad time to make my request; but I suppose we shall soon get to the arbour which is erected for pilgrims, just above the steepest and longest half of the hill."
Grace. Let us not tarry longer here, then, for I begin to breathe more freely now; and perhaps the next turn in the road may give us a view of this arbour, which I think will be welcome to us both."
So I saw that they again proceeded, their path turning to the left; and the way, being now on a gravelly soil instead of turf, was no longer slippery, and they advanced with rather more expedition: nor was it long before (as Grace had predicted) they caught a sight of their desired resting-place at little more than a stone's throw from them, and presently they arrived there, to their no small pleasure, for both were weary and out of breath. It was a delightful bower, fragrant with the honeysuckle and jessamine (now in bloom) that were trained up round the entrance; they gladly entered, and as they seated themselves thought how in former times, Christian, Christiana, and their own respective parents, had rested their tired limbs on the same spot they now occupied, and were now enjoying that eternal rest in the glorious country which they hoped in due time to gain. And thus they sat talking of what had befallen the pilgrims of past days, when Grace observed, through the trellis-work of the arbour, two men advancing towards it, as briskly as the hill would allow, and more so than they had done; she pointed them out to her companion, and both looked but could only discern the foremost one, the other being nearly hid behind him.
Paul exclaimed, "It looks like Philemon, whom we saw with the good Sure-Trust!"
"Indeed, I think it is," said Grace; "and he seems to be conducting some one up this Hill of Difficulty."
Whilst they continued observing them, he turned to speak to his fellow, who now came up alongside him; and oh! who shall tell the joy of the two cousins when they beheld Luke, for he it was. Both rushed from the arbour towards him, and a happier meeting can scarcely be imagined than that which took place between the three. Nor was the kind
MEETING IN THE ARBOUK. 53'
hearted Philemon an indifferent or unconcerned spectator, for he was one who could "rejoice with them that rejoice," as truly as he "mourned with them that mourn." They all entered the arbour, and it was some moments before any of the party expressed their satisfaction in words, though each offered a silent thanksgiving to Him from whom all blessings come.
Then Luke said, with a kind smile, "I should have been greatly surprised, dearest sister, at finding you in this place, had not our good friend here told me of his meeting you and Paul at the abode of his uncle, the Hermit of the Spring; which meeting was indeed the cause of his so kindly coming in search of me."
"There is much to hear and to tell," observed Paul; "for I have yet to learn the reason of cousin Grace becoming our fellow-pilgrim."
"Oh!" exclaimed she, "I cannot say a word about myself till you, dear Luke, have told us your adventures; which, I am sure, are much more interesting to us all."
"Well, then," replied her brother, "in obedience to the wishes of your affectionate heart, which I know will not otherwise feel at ease, I will narrate my adventures, as you call them, as simply and briefly as I can; though to you, Philemon, I fear it will be tedious, as you are already acquainted with nearly all I have to say."
"By no means," replied the latter, "but before you commence, I must beg your audience and yourself to partake of these dried cherries (producing a box of that pleasant fruit), which I brought from the hermitage, though but a slight repast after your fatiguing walk."
They assured him it was quite sufficient, for the water they had drank at the foot of the hill was like meat and drink to them.
Then Luke, addressing himself to Paul, said, "I will begin from the time we separated. I waited, as you desired, seating myself under a tree, and as I soon ceased to hear the sound of the distant voice, (how little did I guess whose it was !) I momentarily expected your return: that not occurring, I arose, and, looking every way, walked to and fro, considering what I had best do; and had just resolved on following in the direction you took, when a gentleman approached from the opposite side of the road, and, perceiving me to be in some dilemma, addressed
me with much courteous politeness, and inquired