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yet I then thought, and have since felt more thoroughly convinced upon the subject, that my dream was not all a dream.
I saw the smoke hanging almost motionless over the bare trees of the wood where that boy's father was encamped. It was not half a mile distant, and I felt at first almost inclined to follow the poor fellow to his comfortless resting-place; my heart really yearned to see " little Charley.” Warm thoughts stole over it, as they will do when we commune in spirit with children of that age, especially if we are at liberty to picture them exactly as we please. But I stood still, till the boy looked back, when he reached the wood, and smiled a farewell, as I imagined—for at that distance I could scarcely see. He then seized hold of a stake in the hedge, and by its help swung himself forward into the thicket, and disappeared.
I stood and looked still. And now it seemed as if a glorious burst of sunlight spread over the cold, cheerless landscape. The boy was again there, but the sun did not lie on that part of the lane where he was walking. Now and then, however, a glance of light shot across his path, blinding and bewildering him as he went restlessly forward, and sometimes a break in the hedge let in a broad belt of sunshine on his path ; but he had no sooner come up with it, than it was gone. At length he reached the high ground beyond the wood, gleaming and glistening in its pure radiance as the “ body of heaven for clearness.” He stood still, and looked complacently around him; and as he turned towards me, it seemed as if the sunlight had reached his very soul, and was beaming in every line and feature of his face.
I was evidently dreaming ; but dreaming with my eyes open, and possessing sufficient consciousness in some measure to direct the current of associations welling forth within. I thought of Christian, in the Pilgrim's Progress, and his chequered journey to the celestial city, and then of Bunyan himself, the prototype of that illustrious traveller. Then, as if gazing on some moral phantasmagoria, the scene dissolved, reappearing in a new form, till it was my young friend again that stood
How long I was thus occupied I scarcely know ; but an involuntary shudder brought me to myself again. I had caught cold, and was all the worse for this little passage of romance
How often dreamer sare! Walking briskly to make up for lost time, I soon reached my home, and felt when I had again seated myself at my own fireside, and was surrounded by my family, how much reason I had to be thankful for the many comforts I enjoyed.
“Charlotte,” said I to my wife, after a brief narrative of my adventures —" I've had a dream this morning'—for that dream had made a deep impression.
Sleeping, I suppose,” she answered, “ with the heart awake? But I should not think it likely to be a very pleasant one. Did you dream of 'thrilling regions of the thick-ribbed ice?'"
“Not I-I dreamt of shadow and sunshine, and a poor pilgrim passing first through one, and then, the other; and to crown the matter, caught cold as I stood conjecturing its meaning."
• You are quite sure, then, that it had one ?"
Why, to tell you the truth, Charlotte, it was not all a dream ; our friend, the little tramper, was its hero; his figure melted away, as we often see in dreams, first into Christian, in the Pilgrim's Progress, then into honest John Bunyan himself, and then resumed its identity.”
“Well, then, Charles,” said my wife, smiling, “I can tell you its meaning. I lay no claim to a spirit of divination ; nor do I speak as an oracle; but if we can make a practical application of such things, and get good out of them, we may assume, that in the absence of further evidence, they mean just what they teach - your little friend will some day become a Bunyan.”
I was about not merely to question the interpretation, but actually to frown it down as impossible. But a moment's reflection satisfied me that my decision was too hasty, and the more I thought the matter over, the more I felt disposed to entertain my wife's conjecture.
“ Well,” said I, at length breaking silence, “I believe you may be right after all. When I recollect what Bunyan once was, there really is a striking coincidence between the two. By birth and calling he was meanest and most despised'-I think he uses those very words
- of all the families of the land -a travelling tinker, and probably of gipsy pedigree."
A tramper, in fact,” rejoined my wife ; "just such another as your little friend. I really never thought of that when I drew the comparison."
“And a Puseyite, too!" I added abruptly, for this second point of coincidence had just flashed across my memory. "You remember how graphically he describes his early superstitionshow he tells us he was intoxicated and bewitched by all the meretricious forms of outward worship; how he could have kissed the hem of the priest's garments, and how he adored all the paraphernalia of devotion—the ornaments of the church and the ministers thereof.' And then, as the development of this infatuation took another form, how rigorously he strove after a Pharasaic righteousness. I think, too, as a last resource, he sought to identify himself with the seed of Abraham, and claim a kind of hereditary right to heaven."
“Well, so he did,” resumed my wife," and it was this last point which led his biographers to conjecture that he either was, or thought himself, a gipsy !"
Then, wife," I added, "we have settled the matter. This boy may be a Bunyan some day or other. But looking at the question seriously, we have less to do with what he was, than with what he afterwards became; and what the means were by which this glorious change was brought about. How was he schooled up to that commanding eminence on which we now see him; how was he made so useful, not only in his day and generation, but, through his writings, to all time, and to all men? The question is a grave one, and never was it better worth considering than in the present day. Education is the great cry of this time; and it seems to me to be the business of education to make men great or good. Here then is our model-a man, at once, great and good, on the testimony of friend and foe. What man has been, man may be; how, then, shall we make others like him?"
“Why, as to that, Charles," replied my wife, “the subject is a large one; we must think over, but I have long been of opinion that it is shut up in Three Words--and in three only. What they are, we will examine presently."
“Nay, Charlotte, why not now? Will you give me no clue to them?"
"Gladly; they are alliteratives," said my wife roguishly.
“Well, and what else?"
They all begin with consonants." “Yes; but what consonants ? You'll tell me the words though, themselves, won't
?" said I coaxingly. “No; not at present; but I may perhaps, add, that these consonants are semi-vowels, though not liquids.”
“ Thank you ; but which ?'
“ There, then,” said my wife, handing me a paper which lay upon the table-"read that, and know." I took the paper and read as follows :
To heaven or earth;
You may seek me in vain
Upon mountain or plain,
Yet, mark what I say,
Wherever you stray,
And in spite of your stare,
With yourself, I declare,
In square and in street
With me you will meet,
And though in the church
You be left in the lurch,
In summer I'm seen,
When nature is green;
Though he certainly knows
That his frosts and his snows
No more to intrude,
My praise I'll conclude
For, though I ne'er wrote,
One line I can quote,
“Well !" I said, when I had finished ; "as far that goes, the matter is cleared up; but I don't mean to ask you any more ques. tions just now. Perhaps I may get some farther insight into this business by following up the topic we began with. I am unwil. ling to part company with our little tramper, and having settled it, that he shall become a future Bunyan, I am, of course, anxious to look at the means by which that great man achieved his greatness. And really the coincidence holds good still farther than we have traced it. The Bible was Bunyan's only schoolmaster—the source of all his nobility of soul--the groundwork of all that majestic simplicity and singleness of heart which made him what he was. Like his great teacher, Paul, he learned from it, no longer to confer with flesh and blood, but fearing God, determined to know no other fear. Nor did he owe to it his religious education only; it made him great in literature as well; not that he rose to scholarship or erudition, or a deep knowledge of curious questions in philosophy or science, but it gave him so pure, so forcible, so manly, so majestic, so unmistakeable a language in which to clothe his inspirations, that though dead, he will live to bless unborn ages, and to speak effectively and constrainingly to our children's children."
My wife smiled at this eulogium. She knew that on many points I did not make the Puritan of Elstow my model, for the subject had often come before us, and I had taxed him on some points with littleness and intolerance, and with a feeling making head too strongly in the present day, of opposition to observances and the constitution and modes of church government which, if not exactly all right, were certainly not all wrong. “What!" she said, as I remarked her good humoured commentary on these unqualified expressions of my zeal—" Have you forgotten the intolerance of these separatists in the case of brother Ingello, who, ‘being a thin, spare, slender person, did go very neat in a costly trim,' and was verily guilty of a love of music?”
"No," I replied, laughing, "nor that great, ‘godly woman,' Mrs. Kelly, who at the needle's point, held all the lordly bishops of her time at bay; the Bristol Deborah, 'who would keep open her shop on the time they called Christmas-day, and sit sewing in her shop, as a witness for God in the midst of the city, in the face of the sun, and in the sight of all men ! But this littleness