of porphyry and serpentine, which continued to the foot of the mountain. There arriving we found shallower steps on both banks, leading up to the gate, and along the ascending street. Without the briefest halt, the Little Ones ran straight up the stair to the gate, which stood open.
Outside, on the landing, sat the portress, a woman-angel of dark visage, leaning her shadowed brow on her idle hand. The children rushed upon her, covering her with caresses, and ere she understood, they had taken heaven by surprise, and were already in the city, still mounting the stair by the side of the descending torrent. A great angel, attended by a company of shining ones, came down to meet and receive them, but merrily evading them all, up still they ran. In merry dance, however, a group of woman-angels descended upon them, and in a moment they were fettered in heavenly arms. The radiants carried them away, and I saw them no more.
' Ah ! ' said the mighty angel, continuing his descent to meet us who were now almost at the gate and within hearing of his words, ' this is well! these are soldiers to take heaven itself by storm!—I hear of a horde of black bats on the frontiers: these will make short work with such !'
Seeing the horse and the elephants clambering up behind us—
' Take those animals to the royal stables,' he added ; ' there tend them; then turn them into the king's forest.'
' Welcome home !' he said to us, bending low with the sweetest smile.
Immediately he turned and led the way higher.