524 THE THORNY ROAD OF HONOUR
but suddenly it stops. The crowd begins to laugh and whistle and hiss—the very father of the man whistles with the rest.
' Conceit ! Foolery !' is the cry. ' It has happened just as he deserved : put the crack-brain under lock and key !'
Then suddenly a little nail breaks, which had stopped the machine for a few moments ; and now the wheels turn again, the floats break the force of the waters, and the ship continues its course—and the beam of the steam engine shortens the distance between far lands from hours into minutes.
O human race, canst thou grasp the happiness of such a minute of consciousness, this penetration of the soul by its mission, the moment in which all dejection, and every wound—even those caused by one's own fault—is changed into health and strength and clearness—when discord is converted to harmony—the minute in which men seem to recognize the manifestation of the heavenly grace in one man, and feel how this one imparts it to all ?
Thus the thorny path of honour shows itself as a glory, surrounding the earth : thrice happy he who is chosen to be a wanderer there, and, without merit of his own, to be placed among the builders of the bridge, between Providence and the human race !
On mighty wings the spirit of history floats through the ages, and shows—giving courage and comfort, and awakening gentle thoughts—on the dark nightly background, but in gleaming pictures, the thorny path of honour ; which does not, like a fairy tale, end in brilliancy and joy here on earth, but points out beyond all time, even into eternity !
THE JEWISH GIRL
Among the other children in a charity school sat a little Jewish girl. She was a good, intelligent child, the quickest in all the school; but she had to be excluded from one lesson, for she was not allowed to take part in the Scripture lesson, for it was a Christian school.
In that hour the girl was allowed to open the geography