2.1.1 Mr Sagacity tells the author about Christiana (cont.)
From John Bunyan's classic The Pilgrim's Progress, Part II, Section 1, Step 1.2.
Mr Sagacity: Who? Christiana and her sons? They are like to do as well as Christian did himself; for though they all played the fool at first, and would by no means be persuaded by either the tears or entreaties of Christian, yet second thoughts have wrought wonderfully with them: so they have packed up, and are also gone after him.
Better and better, quoth I: but, what! wife and children, and all?
Mr Sagacity: It is true: I can give you an account of the matter, for I was upon the spot at the instant, and was thoroughly acquainted with the whole affair.
Then, said I, a man, it seems, may report it for a truth.
Mr Sagacity: You need not fear to affirm it: I mean, that they are all gone on pilgrimage, both the good woman and her four boys. And being we are, as I perceive, going some considerable way together, I will give you an account of the whole matter.
This Christiana, (for that was her name from the day that she with her children betook themselves to a pilgrim's life,) after her husband was gone over the river, and she could hear of him no more, her thoughts began to work in her mind. First, for that she had lost her husband, and for that the loving bond of that relation was utterly broken betwixt them. For you know, said he to me, nature can do no less but entertain the living with many a heavy cogitation, in the remembrance of the loss of loving relations. This, therefore, of her husband did cost her many a tear. But this was not all; for Christiana did also begin to consider with herself, whether her unbecoming behavior towards her husband was not one cause that she saw him no more, and that in such sort he was taken away from her. And upon this came into her mind, by swarms, all her unkind, unnatural, and ungodly carriage to her dear friend; which also clogged her conscience, and did load her with guilt. She was, moreover, much broken with recalling to remembrance the restless groans, brinish tears, and self-bemoanings of her husband, and how she did harden her heart against all his entreaties and loving persuasions of her and her sons to go with him; yea, there was not any thing that Christian either said to her, or did before her, all the while that his burden did hang on his back, but it returned upon her like a flash of lightning, and rent the caul of her heart in sunder; especially that bitter outcry of his, "What shall I do to be saved?" did ring in her ears most dolefully.
Then said she to her children, Sons, we are all undone. I have sinned away your father, and he is gone: he would have had us with him, but I would not go myself: I also have hindered you of life. With that the boys fell into tears, and cried out to go after their father. Oh, said Christiana, that it had been but our lot to go with him! then had it fared well with us, beyond what it is like to do now. For, though I formerly foolishly imagined, concerning the troubles of your father, that they proceeded of a foolish fancy that he had, or for that he was overrun with melancholy humors; yet now it will not out of my mind, but that they sprang from another cause; to wit, for that the light of life was given him, (Jas. 1:23-25; John 8:12); by the help of which, as I perceive, he has escaped the snares of death. (Prov. 14:27). Then they all wept again, and cried out, Oh, woe worth the day!
The next night Christiana had a dream; and, behold, she saw as if a broad parchment was opened before her, in which were recorded the sum of her ways; and the crimes, as she thought looked very black upon her. Then she cried out aloud in her sleep, "Lord, have mercy upon me a sinner!" (Luke 18:13); and the little children heard her.
After this she thought she saw two very ill-favoured ones standing by her bedside, and saying, What shall we do with this woman? for she cries out for mercy, waking and sleeping: if she be suffered to go on as she begins, we shall lose her as we have lost her husband. Wherefore we must, by one way or other, seek to take her off from the thoughts of what shall be hereafter, else all the world cannot help but she will become a pilgrim.
Now she awoke in a great sweat, also a trembling was upon her: but after a while she fell to sleeping again. And then she thought she saw Christian, her husband, in a place of bliss among many immortals, with a harp in his hand, standing and playing upon it before One that sat on a throne with a rainbow about his head. She saw also, as if he bowed his head with his face to the paved work that was under his Prince's feet, saying, "I heartily thank my Lord and King for bringing me into this place." Then shouted a company of them that stood round about, and harped with their harps; but no man living could tell what they said but Christian and his companions. Next morning, when she was up, had prayed to God, and talked with her children a while, one knocked hard at the door; to whom she spake out, saying, "If thou comest in God's name, come in." So he said, "Amen;" and opened the door, and saluted her with, "Peace be to this house." The which when he had done, he said, "Christiana, knowest thou wherefore I am come?" Then she blushed and trembled; also her heart began to wax warm with desires to know from whence he came, and what was his errand to her. So he said unto her, "My name is Secret; I dwell with those that are on high. It is talked of where I dwell as if thou hadst a desire to go thither: also there is a report that thou art aware of the evil thou hast formerly done to thy husband, in hardening of thy heart against his way, and in keeping of these babes in their ignorance. Christiana, the Merciful One has sent me to tell thee, that he is a God ready to forgive, and that he taketh delight to multiply the pardon of offences. He also would have thee to know, that he inviteth thee to come into his presence, to his table, and that he will feed thee with the fat of his house, and with the heritage of Jacob thy father.