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 1.5.
So Mrs Timorous returned to her house, and Christiana betook herself to her journey. But when Timorous was got home to her house she sends for some of her neighbours, to wit, Mrs Bat's-Eyes, Mrs Inconsiderate, Mrs Light-Mind, and Mrs Know-Nothing. So when they were come to her house, she falls to telling of the story of Christiana, and of her intended journey. And thus she began her tale:
Mrs Timorous: neighbours, having had little to do this morning, I went to give Christiana a visit; and when I came at the door I knocked, as you know it is our custom; and she answered, If you come in God's name, come in. So in I went, thinking all was well; but, when I came in I found her preparing herself to depart the town, she, and also her children. So I asked her what was her meaning by that. And she told me, in short, that she was now of a mind to go on pilgrimage, as did her husband. She told me also of a dream that she had, and how the King of the country where her husband was, had sent an inviting letter to come thither.
Then said Mrs Know-Nothing, And what, do you think she will go?
Mrs Timorous: Aye, go she will, whatever comes on't; and methinks I know it by this; for that which was my great argument to persuade her to stay at home, (to wit, the troubles she was like to meet with on 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! said she; and will she not take warning by her husband's afflictions? For my part, I see, if he were here again, he would rest himself 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 her mind, who could live quietly by her? for she will either be dumpish, or unneighbourly, or 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 Mrs 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 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 shouldest set forth out of doors with me to accompany me a little in the way.
Mercy: 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 any more.
Christina: 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 but upon my 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.
Mercy: But how shall I be ascertained that I also should be entertained? Had I this hope but 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.
Christina: Well, loving Mercy, I will tell thee what thou shalt do: go with me to the Wicket-gate, and there I will further inquire for thee; and if there thou shalt not meet with encouragement, I will be content that thou return to thy place: I will also pay thee for thy kindness which thou showest to me and my children, in the accompanying of us in the way that thou dost.
Mercy: 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 then was 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?
Mercy: 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 heavy is, because they have no instructor, nor any to tell them what is to come.
Christina: Pity becomes pilgrims; and thou dost weep 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 ours 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 "he that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him" (Ps. 126:5,6).
Then said Mercy,
"Let the Most Blessed be my guide,
If it be his blessed will,
Unto his gate, into his fold,
Up to his holy hill.
And let him never suffer me
To swerve, or turn aside
From his free-grace and holy ways,
Whate'er shall me betide.
And let him gather them of mine
That I have left behind;
Lord, make them pray they may be thine,
With all their heart and mind."