Willis the Pilot by Johanna Spyri
God's Government--King Stanislaus--The Dauphin son of Louis XV.--The shortest Road--New Year's Day--A Miracle--Clever Animals--The Calendar--Mr. Julius Cæsar and Pope Gregory XIII.--How the day after the 4th of October was the 15th--Olympiads--Lustres--The Hegira--A Horse made Consul--Jack's Dream.
Some men, when they regard the sinister side of events, are apt to call in question the axiom, Nothing is accomplished without the will of God. Why, they ask, do the wicked triumph? Why are the just oppressed? Why this evil? What is the use of that disaster? Was it necessary that Mary Wolston should be thrown into the sea, and that she should afterwards die in consequence of the accident?
To these questions we reply, that God does not interrupt the ordinary course of His works. Man is a free agent in so far as regards his own actions; were it otherwise, we should not be responsible for our own crimes. We might as well plunge into vice as adhere to virtue; for we could not be called upon to expiate the one, nor could we hope to be rewarded for the other. It is not to be expected that God is to perform miracles at every instant for our individual benefit. It is unreasonable in us to suppose that, in obedience to our wishes or desires, He will alter His immutable laws.
A foot slips on the brink of a precipice, and we are dashed to atoms. Our boat is upset in a squall, and we are drowned. Like Stanislaus Leszinsky, King of Poland, we fall asleep in the corner of a chimney, our clothes take fire, and we are burned to death. We go a hunting; we mistake a grey overcoat for the fur of a deer, and we kill our friend or his gamekeeper, as once happened to the son of Louis XV., who in consequence almost died of grief, and renounced forever a sport of which he was passionately fond. Did Providence will, exact, or pre-ordain all these calamities? Certainly not; but our Creator has seen fit to tolerate and permit them, since he did not interpose to prevent them.
The government of God is a conception so wonderful, so sublime, that none but Himself can fathom its depths. Human intelligence is too finite to penetrate or comprehend a system so complex, and yet so uniform. The mind of man can only form a just idea of a cause when the effect has been made manifest to his understanding. There might have been a reason for the death of Mary Wolston--who knows? But if it were so, that reason was beyond the pale of mortal ken.
Let us not, however, anticipate. Mary Wolston is not yet dead. On the contrary, when the ninth day of her illness had passed, Fritz and Jack were returning from an expedition, the nature of which was only known to themselves, but which, to judge from the packs that they bore on their backs, had been tolerably productive. The two young men observed their mother advancing, as usual, to meet them, but this time she ran. They had no need to be told in words that Mary Wolston was now out of danger; the serenity of their mother's countenance was more eloquent than the most elaborate discourse that ever stirred human souls.
Mrs. Becker herself felt that words were superfluous, so she quietly took her son's arm, and they walked gently homewards, whilst Jack strode on before. On turning a corner of the road, the latter stumbled upon Wolston and Ernest, who, in the exuberance of their joy, had also come out to meet the hunters. They were, however, a little behind; but that was nothing new. These two members of the colony had become quite remarkable for procrastination and absence of mind. When Wolston the mechanician, and Ernest the philosopher, travelled in company, it was rare that some pebble or plant, or question in physics, did not induce them to deviate from their route or tarry on their way. One day they both started for Rockhouse to fetch provisions for the family dinner, but instead of bringing back the needful supplies of beef and mutton, they returned in great glee with the solution of an intricate problem in geometry. All fared very indifferently on that occasion, and, in consequence, Wolston and Ernest were, from that time on, deprived of the office of purveyors.
In the present instance, instead of running like Mrs. Becker, they had philosophically seated themselves on the trunk of a tree. At their feet was a diagram that Wolston had traced with the end of his stick; this was neither a tangent nor a triangle, as might have been expected, but a figure denoting how to carve one's way to a position, amidst the rugged defiles of life.
"In all things," observed Wolston, "in morals as well as physics, the shortest road from one point to another, is the straight line."
"Unless," objected Ernest, "the straight line were encumbered with obstacles, that would require more time to surmount than to go round. Two leagues of clear road would be better than one only a single league in length, if intersected by ditches and strewn with wild beasts."
"Bah!" cried Jack, who had just come up out of breath, "you might leap the one and shoot the others."
"Your argument," replied Wolston, "is that of the savage, who can imagine no obstacles that are not solid and tangible. The obstacles that retard our progress in life neither display yawning chasms nor rows of teeth; they dwell within our own minds--they are versatility, disgust, ennui, thirst after the unknown, and love of change. These lead us to take bye-paths and long turnings, and fritter away the strength that should be used in promoting a single aim. Hence arise a multiplicity of hermaphrodite avocations and desultory studies, that terminate in nothing but vexation of spirit. Let us suppose, for example, that Peter has made up his mind to be a lawyer."
"I do not see any particular reason why Peter should not be a lawyer," said Jack.
"Nor I either; but unfortunately when Peter has pored a certain time over Coke upon Littleton, and other abstruse legal authorities, he accidentally witnesses a review; he throws down his books, and resolves to become a soldier."
"After the manner and style of our Fritz," suggested Jack.
"He changes the Pandects for Polybius, and Gray's Inn for a military school. All goes well for awhile; the idea of uniform helps him over the rudiments of fortification and the platoon exercise. He passes two examinations creditably, but breaks down at the third, in consequence of which he throws away his sword in disgust. He does not like now to rejoin his old companions in the Inn, who have been working steadily during the years he has lost. He therefore, perhaps, adopts a middle course, and gets himself enrolled in the society of solicitors, which does not exact a very elaborate diploma."
"Well, after all, the difference between a barrister and a solicitor is not so great."
"True; but the exercises to which he has been accustomed previously unfit him for the drudgeries of his new employment, and he soon abandons that, just as he abandoned the other two."
"Your friend Peter is somewhat difficult to please," said Jack.
"He then goes into business, a term which may mean a great deal or nothing at all; it admits of one's going about idle with the appearance of being fully occupied. Then a few unsuccessful speculations bring him back, at the end of his days, to the point whence he started--that is, zero."
"Ah, yes, I see now," cried Jack, whilst he traced a diagram on the ground. "Poor Peter has always stopped in the middle of each profession and gone back to the starting point of another, thus passing his life in making zig-zags, and only moving from one zero to another."
"Exactly," added Wolston: "whilst those who persevered in following up the profession they chose at first finally succeeded in attaining a position, and that simply by adhering to a straight line."
Here Fritz and his mother arrived, arm in arm.
"Ha! there you are," cried Ernest. "We were on our way to meet you."
"You surely do not call sitting down there being on your way to meet us, do you?"
"Well, yes, mother," suggested Jack, "on the principle that two bodies coming into contact meet each other."
Like those flowers that droop during a storm, but recover their brilliancy with the first rays of the sun, so a few days more sufficed to restore Mary Wolston to better health than she had ever enjoyed in her life before. Some months now elapsed without giving rise to any event of note. All the men, women, and children in the colony had been busily employed from early morn to late at e'en. No sooner had one field been sown than there was another to plant; then came the grain harvest and its hard but healthy toil; next, much to the delight of Willis, herrings appeared on the coast, followed by their attendant demons, the sea-dogs; salmon-fishing, hunting ortolans, the foundries and manufactories, likewise exacted a portion of their time. Frequently parties were occupied for weeks together in the remote districts; so that, with the exception of one day each week--the Sabbath--the two families had of late been rarely assembled together in one spot.
The hope of ever again beholding the Nelson had gradually ceased to be entertained by anybody. Like an echo that resounds from rock to rock until it is lost in the distance, this hope had died away in their breasts. Willis nevertheless continued to keep the beacon on Shark's Island alight; but he regarded it more as a sepulchral lamp in commemoration of the dead, than as a signal for the living.
One morning, the break of day was announced by a cannon-shot. All instantly started on their feet and gazed inquiringly in each other's faces. One thing forced itself upon all their thoughts--daybreak generally arrives without noise; it is not accustomed to announce itself with gunpowder; like real merit, it requires no flourish of trumpets to announce its advent.
"Good," said Becker; "Fritz and Jack are not visible, therefore we may easily guess who fired that shot."
"Particularly," added Wolston, "as this is the first of January. Last night I observed an unusual amount of going backwards and forwards, so, I suppose, nobody need be much at a loss to solve the mystery."
"Aye," sighed Willis, "New Year's Day brings pleasing recollections to many, but sad ones to those who are far away from their own homes."
Shortly after, the absentees arrived, each mounted on his favorite ostrich.
"Mrs. Wolston," said Fritz, spreading out a fine leopard's skin, "be good enough to accept this, with the compliments of the season."
"Mr. Wolston," said Jack, at the same time, "here is the outer covering of a panther, who, stifling with heat, commissioned me to present you with his overcoat."
"I am very proud of your gift, Master Fritz," said Mrs. Wolston; "it is really very handsome."
"It may, perhaps, be useful at all events, madam," said Fritz; "for, in the absence of universal pills and such things, it is a capital preventative of coughs and colds."
"You have been over the way again, then?" inquired Willis.
"Yes; but, as you see, we adopted a more efficacious mode of operations than the one you suggested."
"Ah," replied Willis, drily, "you did not light a fire this time to frighten the brutes away, and go to sleep when it went out!"
Sophia then presented Willis with a handsome tobacco pouch, on which the words, "From Susan," were embroidered.
"Bless your dear little heart!" said the sailor, whilst a tear sparkled in the corner of his eye, "you make me almost think I am in Old England again."
"What is the matter?" inquired Mrs. Wolston, as Mary came running in.
"Oh, such a miracle, mamma! my parrot commenced talking this morning."
"And what did it say, child?"
Here Mary blushed and hesitated; Mrs. Wolston glanced at Fritz, and thought it might be as well not to inquire any further.
"Perhaps somebody has changed it," suggested Jack.
"Not very likely that a strange parrot could pronounce my own name."
"Well, perhaps your own has been learning to spell for a long time, and has just succeeded in getting into words of two or more syllables. These creatures abound in sell-esteem; and yours, perhaps, would not speak till it could speak well."
"Odd, that it should pitch upon New Year's morning to say all sorts of pretty things. They do not carry an almanack in their pockets, do they?"
"Well," remarked Willis, "parrots do say and do odd things. I heard of one that once frightened away a burglar, by screaming out, 'The Campbells are coming;' so, Miss Wolston, perhaps yours does keep a log."
"By counting its knuckles," suggested Jack.
"Counting one's knuckles is an ingenious, but rather a clumsy substitute for the calendar," remarked Wolston.
"And who invented the calendar?" inquired Willis.
"I am not aware that the calendar was ever invented," replied Wolston. "Fruit commences by being a seed, the admiral springs from the cabin-boy, words and language succeed naturally the babble of the infant; so, I presume, the calendar has grown up spontaneously to its present degree of perfection."
"Yes, Mr. Wolston, but some one must have laid the first plank."
"The motions of the sun, moon, and stars would, in all probability, suggest to the early inhabitants of our globe a natural means of measuring time. God, in creating the heavenly bodies, seems to have reflected that man would require some index to regulate his labors and the acts of his civil life. The primary and most elementary subdivisions of time are day and night, and it demanded no great stretch of human ingenuity to divide the day into two sections, called forenoon and afternoon, or into twelve sections, called hours. Such subdivisions of time would probably suggest themselves simultaneously to all the nations of the earth. Necessity, who is the mother of all invention, doubtless called the germs of our calendar into existence."
"Yes, so far as the days and hours are concerned. There are other divisions--weeks, for example."
"The division of time into weeks is a matter that belongs entirely to revelation; the Jews keep the last day of every seven as a day of rest, in accordance with the law of Moses, and the Christians dedicate the first day of every seven to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
"Then there are months."
"The month is another natural division. The return of the moon in conjunction with the sun, was observed to occur at regular intervals of twenty-nine days, twelve hours, and some minutes. This interval is called the lunar month, which for a long time was regarded as the radical unit in the admeasurement of time."
"But the year is now the unit, is it not?"
"Yes, in course of time the moon, in this respect, gave place to the sun. It was observed that the earth, in performing her revolution round the sun, always arrived at the same point of her orbit at the end of three hundred and sixty-five days, five hours, fifty-eight minutes, and forty-five seconds."
"Does the earth invariably pass the same point at that interval?"
"Yes, invariably; and the interval in question is termed the solar year."
"After all," remarked Jack, "the perseverance of the earth is very much to be admired. It goes on eternally, always performing the same journey, never deviates from its path, and is never a minute too late."
"If the earth had performed her annual voyage in a certain number of entire days, the solar year would have been an exact unit of time; but the odd fraction defied all our systems of calculation. Originally, we reckoned the year to consist of three hundred and sixty-five days."
"And left the fraction to shift for itself!"
"Yes, but the consequence was, that the civil year was always nearly a quarter of a day behind; so that at the end of a hundred and twenty-one years the civil year had become an entire month behind. The first month of winter found itself in autumn, the first month of spring in the middle of winter, and so on.
"Rather a lubberly sort of log, that," remarked Willis.
"This confusion became, with time, more and more embarrassing. Another evil was, likewise, eventually to be apprehended, for it was seen that, on the expiring of fourteen hundred and sixty revolutions of the earth round the sun, fourteen hundred and sixty-one civil years would be counted."
"But where would have been the evil?"
"All relations between the dates and the seasons would have been obliterated, astronomical calculations would have become inaccurate, and the calendar virtually useless."
"Well, Willis, you that are so fertile in ideas, what would you have done in such a case?" inquired Jack.
"I! Why I scarcely know--perhaps run out a fresh cable and commenced a new log."
"Your remedy," continued Wolston, "might, perhaps, have obviated the difficulty; but Julius Caesar thought of another that answered the purpose equally well. It was simply to add to every fourth civil year an additional day, making it to consist of three hundred and sixty-six instead of three hundred and sixty-five, This supplementary day was given to the month of February."
"Because February, at that time, was reckoned the last month of the year. It was only in the reign of Charles IX. of France, or in the second half of the sixteenth century, that the civil year was made to begin on the 1st of January. As the end of February was five days before the 1st or kalends of March, the extra day was known by the phrase bis sexto (ante) calendus martii. Hence the fourth year is termed in the calendar bissextile, but is more usually called by us in England leap year."
"The remedy is certainly simple; but are your figures perfectly square? If you add a day every four years, do you not overleap the earth's fraction?"
"Yes, from ten to eleven minutes."
"And what becomes of these minutes? Are they allowed to run up another score?"
"No, not exactly. In 1582, the civil year had got ten clear days the start of the solar year, and Pope Gregory XIII. resolved to cancel them, which he effected by calling the day after the 4th of October the 15th."
"That manner of altering the rig and squaring the yards," said Willi laughing, "would make the people that lived then ten days older. If it had been ten years, the matter would have been serious. Had the Pope said to me privately, 'Willis, you are now only forty-seven, but to-morrow, my boy, you will fill your sails and steer right into fifty-seven,' I should have turned 'bout ship and cleared off. Few men care about being put upon a short allowance of life, any more than we sailors on short rations of rum."
"But you forget, Willis, that, though ten years were added to your age, you would not have died a day sooner for all that."
"Still, it is my idea that the Pope was not much smarter at taking a latitude than Mr. Julius Caesar--but what are you laughing at?"
"Nothing; only Julius Caesar is not generally honored with the prefix Mr. It is something like the French, who insist upon talking of Sir Newton and Mr. William Shakespeare; the latter, however, by way of amends, they sometimes style the immortal Williams.'"
"Not so bad, though, as a Frenchman I once met, who firmly believed the Yankees lived on a soup made of bunkum and soft-sawder. But who was Julius Caesar."
"Julius Caesar," replied Jack, sententiously, "was first of all an author, Laving published at Rome an Easy Introduction to the Latin Language; he afterwards turned general, conquered France and England, and gave Mr. Pompey a sound thrashing at the battle of Pharsalia."
"He must have been a clever fellow to do all that; still, my idea continues the same. When he began to caulk the calendar, he ought to have finished the business in a workmanlike manner."
"That, however," continued Wolston, "he left to Pope Gregory, who decreed that three leap years should be suppressed in four centuries. Thus, the years 1700 and 1800, which should have been leap years, did not reckon the extra day; so the years 2000 and 2400 will likewise be deprived of their supplementary four-and-twenty hours."
"There is one difficulty about this mode of stowing away extra days; these leap years may be forgotten."
"Not if you keep in mind that leap years alone admit of being divided by four."
"Did the Pope manage to get entirely rid of the fraction?"
"Not entirely; but the error does not exceed one day in four thousand years, and is so small that it is not likely to derange ordinary calculations; and so, Willis, you now know the origin of the calendar, and likewise how time came to be divided into weeks, months, and years."
"You have only spoken of the Christian calendar," remarked Ernest. "There have been several other systems in use. Those curious people that call themselves the children of the sun and moon, possess a mode of reckoning that carries them back to a period anterior to the creation of the world. Then, the Greeks computed by Olympiads, or periods of four years. The Romans reckoned by lustri of five years, the first of which corresponds with the 117th year of the foundation of Rome."
"And when does our calendar begin?"
"It dates only from the birth of Christ, but may be carried back to the creation, which event, to the best of our knowledge, occurred four thousand and four years before the birth of our Savior. This period, added to the date of the present, or any future year, gives us, as nearly as we can ascertain, the interval that has elapsed since our first parents found themselves in the garden of Eden."
"Our calendar," remarked Jack, "appears simple enough; it is to be regretted that there have been, and are, so many other modes of reckoning extant. What with the Greek Olympiads, the Roman lustres, the Mahometan hegira, and Chinese moonshine, there is nothing but perplexity and confusion."
"It is possible, however," said Becker, "to accommodate all these systems with each other. Leaving the Chinese out of the question, we have only to bear in mind, that the Christian era begins on the first year of the 194th Olympiad, 753 years after the building of Rome, and 622 years before the Mahometan hegira. These three figures will serve us as flambeaux to all the dates of both ancient and modern history."
The discourse was here interrupted by Toby, who entered the room, and was gleefully frisking and bounding round Mary.
"Really," observed Mrs. Becker, "Toby does seem to know that this is New Year's Day, he looks so lively and so smart."
The animal, in point of fact, wore a new collar, and seemed conscious that he was more than usually attractive that particular morning. At a sign from Mary, the intelligent brute went and wagged his tail to Fritz. Hereupon the young man, observing the collar more closely, noticed the following words embroidered upon it: I belong now entirely to Master Fritz, who rescued my mistress from the sea.
"Ah, Miss Wolston," said Fritz, "you forget I only did my duty; you must not allow your gratitude to over-estimate the service I rendered you."
"Well, I declare," cried Mrs. Wolston, laughing "here is another animal that speaks."
"The age of Aesop revived," suggested Mrs. Becker.
"What do you say, Master Jack?" inquired Mrs. Wolston. "Do you suppose that Toby has learned embroidery in the same way that the parrot learned grammar?"
"Oh, more astonishing things than that have happened! Mr. Wolston there will tell you that he has seen a wooden figure playing at chess; why, therefore, should the most sagacious of all the brutes not learn knitting?"
"I fear, in speaking so highly of the dog," replied Mrs. Wolston, "you are doing injustice to other animals. Marvellous instances of sagacity, gratitude, and affection, have been shown by other brutes beside the dog. A horse of Caligula's was elevated to the dignified office of consul."
"Yes, and talking of the affection of animals," observed Ernest, "puts me in mind of an anecdote related by Aulus Gellius. It seems that a little boy, the son of a fisher man, who had to go from Baiae to his school at Puzzoli, used to stop at the same hour each day on the brink of the Lucrine lake. Here he often threw a bit of his breakfast to a Dolphin that he called Simon, and if the creature was not waiting for him when he arrived, he had only to pronounce this name, and it instantly appeared."
"Nothing very wonderful in that," said Jack; "the common gudgeon, which is the stupidest fish to be found in fresh water, would do that much."
"Yes; but listen a moment. The dolphin, after having received his pittance, presented his back to the boy, after having tacked in all his spines and prickles as well as he could, and carried him right across the lake, thus saving the little fellow a long roundabout walk; and not only that, but after school hours it was waiting to carry him back again. This continued almost daily for a year or two; but at last the boy died, and the dolphin, after waiting day after day for his reappearance, pined away, and was found dead at the usual place of rendezvous. The affectionate creature was taken out of the lake, and buried beside its friend.[D]
"And, on the other hand," added Jack, "if animals sometimes attach themselves to us, we attach ourselves to them. We are told that Crassus wore mourning for a dead ferret, the death of which grieved him as much as if it had been his own daughter.[E] Augustus crucified one of his slaves, who had roasted and eaten a quail, that had fought and conquered in the circus.[F] Antonia, daughter-in-law of Tiberius, fastened ear-rings to some lampreys that she was passionately fond of."[G]
"That, at all events, was attachment in one sense of the word," said Mrs. Wolston.
"Without reference to the dog in particular," continued Jack, "proofs of sagacity in animals are very numerous. The nautilus, when he wants to take an airing, capsizes his shell, and converts it into a gondola; then he hoists a thin membrane that serves for a sail; two of his arms are resolved into oars, and his tail performs the functions of a rudder. There are insects ingenious enough to make dwellings for themselves in the body of a leaf as thin as paper. At the approach of a storm some spiders take in a reef or two of their webs, so as to be less at the mercy of the wind. Beavers will erect walls, and construct houses more skilfully than our ablest architects. Chimpanzees have been known spontaneously to sit themselves down, and perform the operation of shaving."
"Stop, Jack," cried Mrs. Wolston; "I must yield to such a deluge of argument, and admit that Toby may have acquired the art of embroidery with or without a master, only I should like to see some other specimen of his skill."
"Probably you will by-and-by," replied Jack, laughing, "if you keep your eyes open."
Here Sophia came into the room leading her gazelle.
"Ah, just in time," said Mrs. Wolston; "here is another animal that probably has something to say."
"Wrong, mamma," replied Sophia; "my gazelle is as mute as a mermaid. Very provoking, is it not, when all the other animals in the house talk?"
"You had better apply to Master Jack; he may, probably, be able to hit upon a plan to make your gazelle communicative."
"Will you, Master Jack?"
"Certainly, Miss Sophia. The plan I would suggest is very simple. Feed him for a week or two with nouns, adjectives, and verbs."
Here Sophia, addressing her gazelle, said, "Master Jack Becker is a goose."
Meantime Fritz was leaning on the back of Mary's chair.
"Miss Wolston," said he, "did you not tell me that you had brought Toby up, and that you were very fond of him?"
"Then it would be unfair in me to withdraw his allegiance from you now, and, consequently, I must refuse your present"
"But where would have been the merit of the gift if I did not hold him in some esteem? Besides, I thought you were fond of Toby."
"So I am, Miss Wolston."
"Then you will not be indebted to me for anything--I owe you much."
"No such thing; you owe me nothing."
"My life, then, is nothing?"
"Oh, I did not mean that; I must beg your pardon."
"Which I will only grant on condition you accept my gift."
"Well, if you insist upon it, I will."
"I can see him as before; the only difference will be that you are his master, in all other respects he will belong to us both."
"May I know what your knight-errant is saying to you, Mary?" inquired Mrs. Becker.
"Oh, I have been so angry with him; he was going to refuse my present."
"That was very naughty of him, certainly."
"He has, however, consented, like a dutiful squire, to obey my behests."
"Yes, mother, Toby is henceforth to be divided between us."
"Yes; that is, he is to be nominally mine, but virtually to belong to us both. Is it not so, Miss Wolston?"
"Yes, Master Fritz."
On his side, Jack had approached Miss Sophia.
"So you won't give me your gazelle?" he whispered.
"No, certainly not, Mr. Jack," replied Sophia; "if you had saved my life, as Fritz saved my sister's, I should then have had the right to make you a present. But you know it is not my fault."
"Nor mine either," said Jack.
"Perhaps not; but if I had fallen into the sea, you would have allowed the sharks to swallow me, would you not?"
"I only wish we had been attacked by a hyena or a bear on our way to Waldeck."
"God be thanked, that we were not!"
"Well, but look here, Miss Sophia; let me paint the scene. You have fainted, as a matter of course, and fallen prostrate on the ground, insensible."
"That is likely enough, if we had encountered one of the animals you mention."
"Then I throw myself between you and the savage brute."
"Supposing you were not half a mile off at the time."
"No fear of that--he rises, on his hind legs, and glares."
"Is it a hyena or a bear?"
"Oh, whichever you like--he opens his jaws, and growls."
"Like the wolf at Little Red Riding Hood."
"I plunge my arm down his throat and choke him."
"Clever, very; but are you not wounded?"
"I beg your pardon, however; all my thoughts are centred in you--I think of nothing else."
"I am insensible, am I not?"
"Yes, more than ever--we all run towards you, and exert ourselves to bring you back to your senses."
"Then I come to life again."
"No, stop a bit."
"But it is tiresome to be so long insensible."
"My mother has luckily a bottle of salts, which she holds to your nose--I run off to the nearest brook, and return with water in the crown of my cap, with which I bathe your temples."
"Oh, in that case, I should open one eye at least. Which eye is opened first after fainting?"
"I really don't know."
"In that case, to avoid mistakes, I should open both."
"It is only then, when I find you are recovering, that I discover the brute has severely bitten my arm."
"Then comes my turn to nurse you."
"You express your thanks in your sweetest tones, and I forget my wounds."
"Sweet tones do no harm, if they are accompanied with salves and ointment."
"In short, I am obliged to carry my arm in a sling for three months after."
"Is that not rather long?"
"No; because your arm, in some sort, supplies, meantime, the place of mine."
"Your picture has, at least, the merit of being poetic. Is it finished?"
"Not till next New Year's Day, when you present me with an embroidered scarf, as the ladies of yore used to do to the knights that defended them from dragons and that sort of thing."
"What a pity all this should be only a dream!"
"Well, I am not particularly extravagant, at all events; others dream of fortune, honor, and glory."
"Whilst you confine your aspirations to a bear, a bite, and a scarf."
"You see nothing was wanted but the opportunity."
"Yes; if you had previously made arrangements with a bear, the whole scene might have been realized."
"You are joking, whilst I am taking the matter au serieux."
"That order is usually reversed; generally you are the quiz and I am the quizzee."
"You will admit, at all events, that I would not have permitted the bear to eat you."
Here Sophia burst into a peal of laughter, and vanished with her gazelle.
[D] Aulus Gellius, VII., 8.
[E] Macrobius, Saturn, XL, 4.
[G] Pliny, IX., 53.