520 JACK THE DULLARD
much of it that I can afford to throw some away ; ' and he poured some of the clay out of his pocket.
* I like that ! ' said the Princess. ' You can give an answer, and you have something to say for yourself, and so you shall be my husband. But are you aware that every word we speak is being taken down, and will be published in the paper to-morrow ? You will see in every window three clerks and a head clerk ; and the old head clerk is the worst of all, for he can't understand anything.'
But she only said this to frighten him ; and the clerks gave a great shout of delight, and each one spurted a blot out of his pen on to the floor.
* Oh, those are the gentlemen, are they ? ' said Jack ; ' then I will give the best I have to the head clerk.' And he turned out his pockets, and flung the wet clay full in the head clerk's face.
1 That was very cleverly done,' observed the Princess. * I could not have done that; but I shall learn in time.'
And accordingly Jack the Dullard was made a king, and received a crown and a wife, and sat upon a throne. And this report we have straight from the newspaper of the head clerkóbut it is not to be depended upon !
THE THORNY ROAD OF HONOUR
There is an old story called ' The Thorny Road of Honour', trod by a marksman named Bryde, who indeed came to great honour and dignity, but only after long and great adversity and peril of life. Many a one of us has certainly heard the tale as a child, and perhaps when older has read it, and thought of his own unregarded thorny road and ' great adversity '. Romance is very closely akin to reality ; but romance has its harmonious explanation here on earth, while reality often points beyond this earthly life to the regions of eternity. The history of the world is like a magic lantern that displays to us, in light pictures upon the dark ground of the present, how the benefactors of mankind, the martyrs of genius, wandered along the thorny road of honour.