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Now as we know it is nearness which gives size and bulk to any object, it was not wonderful that these ill-judging pilgrims were more struck with these baubles and trifles, which, by lying close at hand, were visible and tempting to the naked eye, and which made up the sum of the things below,' than with the remote glories of
the things above;' but this was chiefly owing to their not making use of the telescope, through which, if you examined thoroughly the things below, they seemed to shrink almost down to nothing, while the things above appeared the more beautiful and vast, the more the telescope was used.
But the surprising part of the story was this, not that the pilgrims were captivated at first sight with the things below,' for that was natural enough, but that when they had tried them all over and over, and found themselves deceived and disappointed in almost every one of them, it did not at all lessen their fondness, and they grasped at them again with the same eagerness as before. There rere some gay fruits which looked alluring, but, on being opened, instead of a kernel, they were found to contain rottenness, and those which seemed the fullest often proved on trial to be quite hollow and empty. Those which were most tempting to the eye we often found to be wormwood to the taste, or poison to the stomach, and many flowers that seemed most bright and gay had a worm gnawing at the root.
Among the chief attractions of the things below,' were certain little lumps of yellow clay,
on which almost every eye and every heart was fixed. When I saw a variety of uses to which this clay could be converted, and the respect which was shewn to those who could scrape to. gether the greatest number of pieces, I did not much wonder at the general desire to pick up some of them. But when I beheld the anxiety, the wakefulness, the competitions, the contrivances, the tricks, the frauds, the scuffling, the pushing, the turmoiling, the kicking, the shoving, the cheating, the circumvention, the envy, the malignity, which was excited by a desire to possess this article ; when I saw the general scramble amoug those who had little to get much, and of those who had much to get more, then I could not help applying to these people a proverb in use among us, “ that gold may be bought too dear.” Though I saw that there were various sorts of baubles which engaged the hearts of different travellers, such as an ell of red or blue ribbon, for which
some were content to forfeit their future inheritance, committing the sin of Esau without his temptation of hunger; yet the yellow clay I found was the grand object for which most hands scrambled and most souls were risked. One thing was extraordinary, that the nearer these people were to being turned out of their tenement, the fouder they grew of these pieces of clay,
so that I naturally concluded they'meant to take the clay with them to the far country; but I soon learned that this clay was not current there, the lord having declared to these pilgrims, that as “they brought nothing into the world, they could carry nothing out.”
I inquired of the different people who were raising the various heaps of clay, some of a larg. er, some of a smaller size, why they discovered such unremitting anxiety, and for whom? Some whose piles were immense, told me they were beaping up for their children ; this I thought very right, till, on casting my eyes round, I observed many of the children of these very people had large heaps of their own. Others told me it was for their grand-children ; but on inquiry, I found these were not yet born, and in many cases, there was little chance that they ever would be. The truth, on a close examination, proved to be, that the true genuine heapers really heaped for themselves; that it was in fact, neither for friend cor child, but to gratify an inordinate appetite of their
Nor was I much surprised after this to see these yellow hoards at length “canker, and the rust of them become a witness acainst the hoarders, and eat their flesh as if it were fire.”
Many, however, who had set out with a high heap of their fathers' raising, before they had gone one third of their journey, had scarcely a single piece left. As I was wondering what had caused these enormous piles to vanish io so short a time, I spied scattered up and down the couutry all
sorts of strange inventions, for some or other of which the vain possessors of the great heaps of clay had bartered them away, in fewer hours than the years their ancestors had spent in getting them together. 0, what a strange, unaccountable medley it was ! and what was ridiculous enough, I observed that the greatest quantity of the clay was always exchanged for things that were of no use, that I could discover, owing, I suppose, to my ignorance of the manners of that country.
In one place I saw large heaps exhausted in order to set two idle pampered horses a running;