Ernest began to speak, giving to the people of what was in his heart and mind. His words had power, because they accorded with his thoughts; and his thoughts had reality and depth, because they harmonised with the life which he had always lived. It was not mere breath that this preacher uttered; they were the words of life, because a life of good deeds and holy love was melted into them. Pearls, pure and rich, had been dissolved into this precious draught. The poet, as he listened, felt that the being and character of Ernest were a nobler strain of poetry than he had ever written. His eyes glistening with tears, he gazed reverentially at the venerable man, and said within himself that never was there an aspect so worthy of a prophet and a sage as that mild, sweet, thoughtful countenance, with the glory of white hair diffused about it. At a distance, but distinctly to be seen, high up in the golden light of the setting sun, appeared the Great Stone Face, with hoary mists around it, like the white hairs around the brow of Ernest. Its look of grand beneficence seemed to embrace the world.
At that moment, in sympathy with a thought which he was about to utter, the face of Ernest assumed a grandeur of expression, so imbued with benevolence, that the poet, by an irresistible impulse, threw his arms aloft, and shouted:
“Behold! Behold! Ernest is himself the likeness of the Great Stone Face.”
Then all the people looked, and saw that what the deep-sighted poet said was true. The prophecy was fulfilled. But Ernest, having finished what he had to say, took the poet’s arm, and walked slowly homeward, still hoping that some wiser and better man than himself would by and by appear, bearing a resemblance to the Great Stone Face.
THE DIVERTING HISTORY OF JOHN GILPIN
SHOWING HOW HE WENT
FARTHER THAN HE INTENDED AND CAME SAFE
John Gilpin was a citizen
Of credit and renown,
A train-band captain eke was he
Of famous London town.
John Gilpin’s spouse said to her dear,
“Though wedded we have been
These twice ten tedious years, yet we
No holiday have seen.
“To-morrow is our wedding-day,
And we will then repair
Unto the Bell at Edmonton
All in a chaise and pair.
“My sister and my sister’s child,
Myself, and children three,
Will fill the chaise; so you must ride
On horseback after we.”
He soon replied, “I do admire
Of womankind but one,
And you are she, my dearest dear.
Therefore it shall be done.
“I am a linen-draper bold,
As all the world doth know,
And my good friend the calender
Will lend his horse to go.”
Quoth Mrs. Gilpin, “That’s well said;
And for that wine is dear,
We will be furnished with our own,
Which is both bright and clear.”