CHRISTIAN to his fellow, If this meadow lieth along by our way-side let us go over into it. Then he went to the stile to see, and behold a path lay along by the way on the other side of the fence. 'Tis according to my wish, said CHRISTIAN, here is the easiest going; come, good HOPEFUL, and let us go over.

Hope. But how if this path should lead us out of the way?

That's not like, said the other. Look, doth it not go along by the way-side ?-So HOPEFUL being persuaded by his fellow went after him over the stile. When they were gone over, and were got into the path, they found it very easy for their feet; and, withal, they looking before them spied a man walking as they did, and his name was VAIN-CONFIDENCE : so they called after him and asked him whither that way led? He said, to the celestial gate. Look, said CHRISTIAN, did not I tell you so ? by this you may see we are right : so they followed, and he went before them. But behold the night came on, and it grew very dark; so that they that went behind lost the sight of him that went before.

He therefore that went before, (VAIN-CONFIDENCE by name) not seeing the way before him, fell into a deep pit', which was on purpose there made by the prince of those grounds to catch vain-glorious fools withal, and was dashed in pieces with his fall.

Now CHRISTIAN and his fellow heard him fall : so they called to know the matter ; but there was none to

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]


answer, only they heard a groaning. Then said HopeFUL, Where are we now? Then was his fellow silent, as mistrusting that he had led him out of the way; and now it began to rain, and thunder, and lighten, in a most dreadful manner; and the water rose amain.

Then HOPEFUL groaned in himself, saying, 'Oh that • I had kept on my way!'

Chr. Who could have thought that this path should have led us out of the way?

Hope. I was afraid on't at the very first, and therefore gave you that gentle caution. I would have spoke plainer but you are older than I.

Chr. Good brother, be not offended, I am sorry I have brought thee out of the way, and that I have put thee into such imminent danger : pray, my brother, forgive me; I did not do it of an evil intent.

Hope. Be comforted, my brother, for I forgive thee; and believe, too, that this shall be for good.

Chr. I am glad I have with me a merciful brother : but we must not stand thus; let us try to go back again.

Hope. But, good brother, let me go before.

Chr. No, if you please, let me go first, that if there be any danger I may be first therein ; because by my

out of the

way. No, said HOPEFUL, you shall not go first; for your mind being troubled may lead you out of the way again. Then, for their encouragement, they heard the voice of one saying, “ Let thine heart be towards the

highway; even the way that thou wentest turn

means we are



“ again!.” But by this time the waters were greatly risen, by reason of which the way of going back was very dangerous. (Then I thought that it is easier going out of the way when we were in, than going in when we are out.) Yet they adventured to go back; but it was so dark, and the flood was so high, that in their going back they had like to have been drowned, nine or ten times.

Neither could they, with all the skill they had, get again to the stile that night. Wherefore at last, lighting under a little shelter, they sat down there til the day-break: but being weary they fell asleep. Now there was, not far from the place where they lay, a castle, called DoubTING Castle, the owner whereof was Giant DESPAIR: and it was in his grounds they were now sleeping. Wherefore he getting up in the morning early, and walking up and down in his fields, caught CHRISTIAN and HOPEFUL asleep in his grounds. Then with a grim and surly voice he bid them awake, and asked them whence they were, and what they did in his grounds ? They told him they were pilgríms, and that they had lost their way. Then said the giant, You have this night trespassed on me by trampling in, and lying on, my ground, and therefore you must go along with me. So they were forced to go, because he was stronger than they. They also had but little to say, for they knew themselves in a fault. The giant, therefore, drove them before him, and put them into his castle in a very dark dungeon, nasty and stinking to the spirits of these two men.

[ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Here then they lay, from Wednesday morning till Saturday night, without one bit of bread, or drop of drink, or light, or any to ask how they did : they were, therefore, here in evil case, and were far from friends and acquaintance'. Now in this place ChrisTIAN had double sorrow, because it was through his unadvised counsel that they were brought into this distress.

Now Giant DESPAIR had a wife, and her name was DIFFIDENCE: so when he was gone to bed he told his wife what he had done; to wit, that he had taken a couple of prisoners, and cast them into his dungeon for trespassing on his grounds. Then he asked her also what he had best do further to them. So she asked what they were, whence they came, and whither they were bound-and he told her. Then she coun. selled him that when he arose in the morning he should beat them without mercy.

So when he arose he getteth a grievous crab-tree cudgel, and goes down into the dungeon to them, and there first falls to rating of them as if they were dogs, although they gave him never a word of distaste : then he falls upon them, and beat them fearfully, in such sort that they were not able to help themselves, or turn them upon the floor. This done he withdraws, and leaves them there to condole their misery, and to mourn under their distress : so all that day they spent their time in nothing but sighs and bitter lamentations. The next night she talked with her husband about them further, and understanding that they were yet alive did advise

* Ps. lxxxviii, 8.

him to counsel them to make away themselves : so when morning was come he goes to them in a surly manner as before, and, perceiving them to be very sore with the stripes that he had given them the day before, he told them that, since they were never like to come out of that place, their only way would be forthwith to make an end of themselves, either with knife, halter, or poison : for why, said he, should you choose life, seeing it is attended with so much bitterness? But they desired him to let them go; with that he looked ugly upon them, and rushing to them, had doubtless made an end of them himself, but that he fell into one of his fits, (for he sometimes in sun-shiny weather fell into fits) and lost for a time the use of his hand. Wherefore he withdrew, and left them as before to consider what to do. Then did the prisoners consult between themselves whether it was best to take his counsel or no; and thus they began to dis

course :

Brother, said CHRISTIAN, what shall we do? The life that we now live is miserable ! for my part, I know not whether it is best to live thus, or die out of hand;

my soul chooseth strangling rather than life', ” and the grave

is more easy for me than this dungeon! Shall we be ruled by the giant ?

Hope. Indeed our present condition is dreadful, and death would be far more welcome to me than thus for ever to abide : but yet let us consider, the Lord of the country to which we are going hath said, “ Thou “ shalt do no murder;" no, not to another man's

* Job, vii. 150

« ForrigeFortsett »