Chapter 73

Morning hymn - Much alone - John Bunyan - Beholden to nobody - Sixty-five - Sober greeting - Early Sabbaths - Finny brood - The porch - No fortune-telling - The master’s niece - Doing good - Two or three things - Groans and voices - Pechod Ysprydd Glan.

I SLEPT soundly during that night, partly owing to the influence of the opiate. Early in the morning I was awakened by the voices of Peter and his wife, who were singing a morning hymn in their own language. Both subsequently prayed long and fervently. I lay still till their devotions were completed, and then left my tent. ’Good morning,’ said Peter, ‘how dost thou feel?’ ‘Much better,’ said I, ‘than I could have expected.’ ‘I am glad of it,’ said Peter. ‘Art thou hungry? yonder comes our breakfast,’ pointing to the same young woman I had seen the preceding night, who was again descending the hill bearing the tray upon her head.

‘What dust thou intend to do, young man, this day?’ said Peter, when we had about half finished breakfast. ‘Do,’ said I; ‘as I do other days, what I can.’ ‘And dost thou pass this day as thou dost other days?’ said Peter. ‘Why not?’ said I; ‘what is there in this day different from the rest? it seems to be of the same colour as yesterday.’ ‘Art thou aware,’ said the wife, interposing, ‘what day it is? that it is Sabbath? that it is Sunday?’ ‘No,’ said I, ’I did not know that it was Sunday.’ ‘And how did that happen?’ said Winifred, with a sigh. ‘To tell you the truth,’ said I, ‘I live very much alone, and pay very little heed to the passing of time.’ ‘And yet of what infinite importance is time,’ said Winifred. ‘Art thou not aware that every year brings thee nearer to thy end?’ ‘I do not think,’ said I, ‘that I am so near my end as I was yesterday.’ ‘Yes, thou art,’ said the woman; ‘thou wast not doomed to die yesterday; an invisible hand was watching over thee yesterday; but thy day will come, therefore improve the time; be grateful that thou wast saved yesterday; and, oh! reflect on one thing; if thou hadst died yesterday, where wouldst thou have been now?’ ‘Cast into the earth, perhaps,’ said I. ‘I have heard Mr. Petulengro say that to be cast into the earth is the natural end of man.’ ‘Who is Mr. Petulengro?’ said Peter, interrupting his wife, as she was about to speak. ‘Master of the horse-shoe,’ said I; ‘and, according to his own account, king of Egypt.’ ‘I understand,’ said Peter, ‘head of some family of wandering Egyptians - they are a race utterly godless. Art thou of them? - but no, thou art not, thou hast not their yellow blood. I suppose thou belongest to the family of wandering artisans called -. I do not like you the worse for belonging to them. A mighty speaker of old sprang up from amidst that family.’ ‘Who was he?’ said I. ‘John Bunyan,’ replied Peter, reverently, ‘and the mention of his name reminds me that I have to preach this day; wilt thou go and hear? the distance is not great, only half a mile.’ ‘No,’ said I, ‘I will not go and hear.’ ‘Wherefore?’ said Peter. ‘I belong to the church,’ said I, ‘and not to the congregations.’ ‘Oh! the pride of that church,’ said Peter, addressing his wife in their own tongue, ‘exemplified even in the lowest and most ignorant of its members. Then thou, doubtless, meanest to go to church,’ said Peter, again addressing me; ‘there is a church on the other side of that wooded hill.’ ‘No,’ said I, ‘I do not mean to go to church.’ ‘May I ask thee wherefore?’ said Peter. ‘Because,’ said I, ‘I prefer remaining beneath the shade of these trees, listening to the sound of the leaves and the tinkling of the waters.’

‘Then thou intendest to remain here?’ said Peter, looking fixedly at me. ‘If I do not intrude,’ said I; ‘but if I do, I will wander away; I wish to be beholden to nobody - perhaps you wish me to go?’ ‘On the contrary,’ said Peter, ‘I wish you to stay. I begin to see something in thee which has much interest for me; but we must now bid thee farewell for the rest of the day, the time is drawing nigh for us to repair to the place of preaching; before we leave thee alone, however, I should wish to ask thee a question - Didst thou seek thy own destruction yesterday, and didst thou wilfully take that poison?’ ‘No,’ said I; ‘had I known there had been poison in the cake I certainly should not have taken it.’ ‘And who gave it thee?’ said Peter. ‘An enemy of mine,’ I replied. ‘Who is thy enemy?’ ‘An Egyptian sorceress and poison-monger.’ ‘Thy enemy is a female. I fear thou hadst given her cause to hate thee - of what did she complain?’ ‘That I had stolen the tongue out of her head.’ ‘I do not understand thee - is she young?’ ‘About sixty- five.’

Here Winifred interposed. ‘Thou didst call her just now by hard names, young man,’ said she; ‘I trust thou dost bear no malice against her.’ ‘No,’ said I, ‘I bear no malice against her.’ ‘Thou art not wishing to deliver her into the hand of what is called justice?’ ‘By no means,’ said I; ‘I have lived long enough

  By PanEris using Melati.

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