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AND TALKS WITH HER NEIGHBOURS OF CHRISTIANA. 15
great argument to persuade her to stay at home (to wit, the troubles she was like to meet with in the way,) is one great argument with her, to put her forward on her journey. For she told me in so many words,
The bitter goes before the sweet: yea, and forasmuch as it doth, it makes the sweet the sweeter.'
Mrs. BAT'S-EYES. Oh this blind and foolish woman; and will she not take warning by her husband's afflictions? For my part, I see, if he were here again, he would rest him content in a whole skin, and never run so many hazards for nothing
Mrs. INCONSIDERATE also replied, saying, Away with such fantastical fools from the town: a good riddance, for my part, I say of her; should she stay where she dwells, and retain this mind, who could live quietly by her? for she will either be dumpish or unneighbourly, to talk of such matters as no wise body can abide: wherefore for my part, I shall never be sorry for her departure ; let her go, and let better come in her room: it was never a good world since these whimsical fools dwelt in it.
Then Mrs. Light-MIND added as followeth: Come, put this kind of talk away. I was yesterday at Madam WANTON's', where we were as merry as the maids, For who do you think should be there, but I and Mrs. LOVE-THE-FLESH, and three or four more, with Mr. LECHERY, Mrs. FILTH, and some others : so there we had music and dancing, and what else was meet to fill up the pleasure. And, I dare say, my
I P. i. p. 75, 76.
CHRISTIAN, PERSUADES MERCY TO GO WITH HER.
lady herself is an admirable well-bred gentlewoman, and Mr. LECHERY is as pretty a fellow.
By this time CHRISTIANA was got on her way, and MERCY went along with her : so as they went, her children being there also, ChrISTIANA began to discourse. • And, MERCY,' said CHRISTIANA, I • take this as an unexpected favour, that thou shouldst
set foot out of doors with me to accompany me a • little in my way.'
Then said young Mercy, (for she was but young) If I thought it would be to purpose to go with you,
I would never go near the town.
Well, Mercy, said CHRISTIANA, cast in thy lot with me, I well know what will be the end of our pilgrimage: my husband is where he would not but be for all the gold in the Spanish mines. Nor shalt thou be rejected, though thou goest
invitation. The King, who hath sent for me and my children, is one that delighteth in mercy. Besides, if thou wilt, I will hire thee, and thou shalt go along with me as my servant,
Yet we will have all things in common betwixt thee and me: only go along with me,
Mer. But how shall I be ascertained that I also shall be entertained? Had I this hope from one that can tell, I would make no stick at all, but would go, being helped by him that can help, though the way was never so tedious.
Chr. Well, loving MERCY, I will tell thee what thou shalt do: go with me to the WICKET-GATE, and there I will further enquire for thee; and, if there thou shalt not meet with encouragement, I will be
MERCY GRIEVES FOR HER CARNAL RELATIONS.
content that thou shalt return to thy place; I also will pay thee for thy kindness which thou showest to nie and my children, in the accompanying of us in our way as thou dost.
Mer. Then will I go thither, and will take what shall follow; and the Lord grant that my lot may there fall, even as the King of heaven shall have his heart upon me.
CHRISTIANA was then glad at heart; not only that she had a companion; but also for that she had prevailed with this poor maid to fall in love with her own salvation. So they went on together, and MERCY began to weep. Then said CHRISTIANA, · Wherefore * weepeth my sister so?'
Alas! said she, who can but lament, that shall but rightly consider what a state and condition my poor relations are in, that yet remain in our sinful town: and that which makes my grief the more, is, because they have no instruction, nor any to tell them what is to come,
CHR. Bowels become pilgrims: and thou doest for thy friends, as my good CHRISTIAN did for me when he left me; he mourned for that I would not heed nor regard him; but his Lord and our's did gather up his tears, and put them into his bottle; and now both I and thou, and these my sweet babes, are reaping the fruit and benefit of them. I hope, MERCY, that these tears of thine will not be lost; for the Truth hath said, that “ they that sow in tears, shall reap in joy” and singing. And “ he that goeth forth and weepeth, sf
bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come
18 THE SLOUGH OF DESPOND WORSE THAN HERETOFORE,
again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with o him?."
Then said Mercy,
Now my old friend proceeded, and said, --But, when CHRISTIANA came to the slough of DESPOND’, she began to be at a stand; · For,' said she, this is the
place in which my dear husband had like to have · been smothered with mud.' She perceived also, that, notwithstanding the command of the King to make this place for pilgrims good, yet it was rather worse than formerly. So I asked if that was true? Yes, said the old gentleman, too true: for many there be, that pretend to be the King's labourers, and say they are for mending the King's highways, that bring dirt and dung instead of stones, and so mar instead of mending. Here CHRISTIANA therefore and her boys, did make a stand: but said MERCY, • Come, let us venture; only let us be wary.' Then
THEY PASS THE SLOUGH AND ARRIVE AT THE GATE. 19
they looked well to their steps, and made a shift to get staggering over.
Yet CHRISTIANA had like to have been in, and that not once or twice. Now they had no sooner got over, but they thought they heard words that said unto them, “ Blessed is she that believeth, for “ there shall be a performance of what has been told “ her from the Lord'."
Then they went on again; and said Mercy to CHRISTIANA, Had I as good ground to hope for a
oving reception at the WICKET-GATE, as you, I think no slough of DESPOND could discourage me.
Well, said the other, you know your sore, and I know mine; and, good friend, we shall all have enough evil before we come to our journey's end. For it cannot be imagined, that the people that design to attain such excellent glories as we do, and that are so envied that happiness as we are; but that we shall meet with what fears and snares, with what troubles and afflictions, they can possibly assault us with that hate us.
And now Mr. SAGACITY left me to dream out my dream by myself. Wherefore, methought I saw CHRISTIANA, and MERCY, and the boys, go all of them up to the gate: to which when they came, they betook themselves to a short debate, about how they must manage their calling at the gate: and what should be said unto him that did open unto them, so it was concluded, since CHRISTIANA was the eldest, that she should knock for entrance, and that she should
i Luke i. 45.