CHAPTER XVII. THE DREAM OF ALL NATIONS.
What should it be? She thought of Arabs with their tents and horses, and Leonidas told her of Red Indians with their war-paint, and little Negroes dancing round the sugar-boiling, till her head began quite to swim and her ears to buzz; and all the children she had seen seemed to come round her, and join hands and dance.
Oh, such a din! A little Highlander in his tartans stood on a barrel in the middle, making his bagpipes squeal away; a Chinese with a bald head and long pigtail beat a gong, and capered with a solemn face; a Norwegian herd-boy blew a monstrous bark cow-horn; an Indian juggler twisted snakes round his neck to the sound of the tom-tom; and Lucy found herself and Leonidas whirling round with a young Dutch planter between them, and an Indian with a crown of feathers upon the other side of her.
“Oh!” she seemed to herself to cry, “what are you doing? How do you all come here?”
“We are from all the nations who are friends, brethren,” said the voices; “we all bring our stores: the sugar, rice, cotton of the West; the silk and coffee and spices of the East; the tea of China; the furs of the North: it is all exchanged from one to the other, and should teach us to be all brethren, since we cannot thrive one without the other.”
“It all comes to our country, because we are clever to work it up, and send it out to be used in its own homes,” said the Highlander; “it is English and Scotch machines that weave your cottons, ay, and make your tools.”
“No; it is America that beats you all,” cried Leonidas; “what had you to do but to sit down and starve, when we sent you no cotton?”
“If you send cotton, ’tis we that weave it,” cried the Scot.
Lucy was almost afraid they would come to blows over which was the greatest and most skilful country. “It cannot be buying and selling that make nations love one another, and be peaceful,” she thought. “Is it being learned and wise?”
“But the Prussian boys are studious and wise, and the French are clever and skilful, and yet they have had that dreadful war: I wonder what it is that would make and keep all these countries friends!”
And then there came an echo back to little Lucy: “For out of Zion shall go forth the Law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nations shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they war any more.”
Yes; the more they learn and keep the law of the Lord, the less there will be of those wars. To heed the true law of the Lord will do more for peace and oneness than all the cleverness in book-learning, or all the skilful manufactures in the world.