Chapter 59577308

See chapter in newspaper

Chapter NumberII-continued.
Chapter Url
Full Date1880-08-07
Page Number0
Word Count1274
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleMercury and Weekly Courier (Vic. : 1878 - 1903)
Trove TitleThe King of No-Land
article text

THE KING- OF NO-LAND. "'BY B. L. FARJEON. CHAPTER II. continued. MAANY MEN GROW BLIND BY LOOKING AT THE SUN, AND NEVER SEP. THE BEAUTY OF THE STARS. And the Prince and the poor school master went together into the houses of the poor, and Coltsfoot showed Sassafras the virtues and the good that were in their lives. Had the Prince been of Coltsfoot's age, Coltsfoot would probably have shown him more of their vices, so that whatever judgment he formed might have been formed upon a thoroughly correct basis ; but Sassafras was a boy, and Coltsfoot (apart from his consideration for Sassa fira's tender years) was anxious to show the best side of those he loved and compassionated. Yet he did not utterly conceal their vices; he spoke of them with gentle words of commis seration, saying how, in manyinstances, the poor were like creatures walking in the dark, being, in most instances, judged by a higher standard than that up to which they were educated, or were like helpless flies attracted by the glare of lights. It was while the Prince's mind was filled with the theme that he said to his time-servers. ' What do you think of the poor ? They shrugged their shoulders, as they were wont to do at any subject that was indifferent to them, and an swered carelessly, ' They are an ungrateful class.' ' Why ungrateful?' questioned the Prince. For being allowed to live ?' They evaded explanation by remark ing, 'Your Royal Highnes is too young to understand these matters,' With this he was forced to be satis fied, for they would return him no other answer. In truth, they were puzzled and perplexed by his whims and whaums, as they termed them; strive as they might to educate him in the right way, he refused to think as they bade him. To them it was inex plicable that he would not follow them blindly through the path of roses, but would bother his head about the nettles. This suggestion concerning the roses came froiom the Court Poet, and was highly praised by all but the Prince. 'You have forgotten the thorns,' he said. ' They are not for your Royal high. ness,' was the answer he received. 'If weeds and thorns exist,' lie re marked sagely, ' they must be minded. 'It will he our pleasure and duty,' they said, ' to clear them from your Royal Highness's life ; they shall not touch your sacred person.' 'My sacred person !' he repeated, under his breath, and trembled at the words. To him they sounded like profanity. Still he per-isted, and was then told that it was not seemly in him to allow his mind to be thus disturbed. 'These things are not for princes,' they said. After his usual fashiou, lie flew from one to another for counsel and assist. ance. In some rare way there had come to this young Prince an intense desire to know the rights and wrongs of things, and he found himself batt ling in a sea of doubt because of the conflicting views that were presented to him. He a-ked Coltsfoot about the 'divine right,' which he said he had heard was the especial attribute of kings ; and Coltsf?ot showed him, first, not only the folly but the blas phemy of the term, if taken (as it is too often taken) in its literal sense; and next, to what great ends it might be used, if rightly understood. Rais ing some up, and bringing some down, Coltsfoot brought all persons on a level, so far as reg:ards thie laws andti princi ples of humanity and morality and the proper living of life. Coltsfoot saw that Sassafras was in doubt as to his opinions, and without in the least sus pecting tile lad's altered station, lhe opened his lheart and mind to the lad whom hie had learned to love. IHe im planted in thle lad's soul the purest seeds of honor and religion, and did his best to lay the foundation for a good life. These conversations occurred when the snow was falling, early in Decem ber, and Coltsfoot, who never missed an opportunity of enrichling the Ild's mind, told him wonderful things con cerning the snow fluakes, how that each crystal was of the most exquisite shape and form, transcending in beauty tile finest and most elaborate workl of man's hands ; how that, as it lightly covers the earth, it keeps the soil be neath it warm, protecting it from the nipping cold which would destroy the treasures sleeping in its breast ; and many other p:articulars which need not be set down here. 'But for the snow,' said Coltsfoot, 'we should have no primroses. 'And until to-day,' said Sassafras re gretfully, 'I have looked upon it with a careless eye.' SThe fashion is a common one,' ob served Coltsfoot ; 'many men grow blind by looking at the sun, and never see the beauty of the stars.' 'Nor feel the peace that is in them,' added Sassafras. 'I have sometimes thought, as I have gazed at them from my window on a still night, that I should like to pass away into the depths where they lie, and float among them in eternal peace.' ' The nights are not always still,' responded Coltsfoot: 'storms come and wild winds; the clouds are tossed and whirled on the wings of the wind ; and if a star is visible, it hangs disconso lately and drearily in the heavens, like a soul in doubth' Sassafras in a timid tone repeated a few lines of a poem he had composed, but had never had courage to show his friend : ' I stood upon a dark and dreary shore. And voices rose upon the viewless air, And sighed, "Ah, nevermore shalt thou know peace ! Evermore shalt thou be tossed on this dark shore, Till death shall claim thee for its own; And then, thou scornfl doubter, what shall be,. Thy Alter to mortality ? " Coltsfoot suspected the authorship, and notwithstanding the boyishness of the effort, listened thoughtfully to the lines; he traced in them the'doubts and yearnings of a young sensitive soul,

and with a peculiarly sweet. smuile, he said -You sigh for ;peace. Well, peace will come to all of us to-morrow.' ' To-morrow ?' 'Yes. for to-morrow all of us must die.' 'And then?' asked Sassafras, with eager yearning. 'A new birth,' replied Coltsfoot, passing his arm around Sassafras with a kind and affectionate motion. ' To be believed ini as we bielieve in the wisdom which designed this wondrous work, the world ; to be worked for, so .that we may fit ourselves for it, with faith and cheerfulness and good intent.' Scarcely a week after this conversa tion, orders came to the palace that the Prince was to set forth on his travels early in the ensuing year. His tutors and time-servers were delighted. 'No more truant-playing then,' they said to one another ; for the Prince's truant holidays had grown so frequent lately as to cause them more trouble and anxiety than ever. Sassafras was not pleased at the idea of leaving his friends, but he knew that it would be vain to resist. He made up his mind that he would see them once more be fol e he left; but day after day passed, and he found no opportunity to escape. At length the oppurtunity came; or rather he made it, and, singularly enough, on Christmas-day, which hap pened to fall that year on the Sabbath.