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companion was informed on the road of this theft, and wished to return, for the purpose of restoring the goblet. “Stay," said the angel, “ I had my reasons for acting thus, and you will learn them soon; perhaps in my conduct you may again find cause of astonishment, but whatever you may see, know that it proceeds from a proper motive.” The hermit was silent, and continued to follow his mys. terious companion.
When tired with their journey, and wet with rain which had fallen during the whole day, they entered a populous town; and as they had no money, they were obliged to demand shelter from gate to gate in the name of God. They were everywhere refused an asylum, for Dom Argent, whom the English minstrels style Sir Penny, was then (says the tale), as he still is, more beloved than God. Though the rain still continued they were forced to lie down on the outer stair of a house which belonged to a rich usurer, who would scarce have given a halfpenny to obtain Paradise. He at this moment appeared at the window. The travellers implored an asylum, but the miser shut the casement without reply. A servant, more compassionate than her master, at length obtained his permission to let them in, suffered them to lie on a little straw spread under the stair, and brought them a plate of peas, the relics of her master's supper. Here they remained during night in their wet clothes, without light and without fire. " At day-break the angel, before their departure, went to pay his respects to their landlord, and presented him with the cup which he had stolen from his former host. · The miser gladly wished them a good journey. On the way the hermit, of course, expressed his surprise, but was commanded by the angel to be circumspect in his opinions.
The evening of the third day brought them to a monastery, richly endowed. Here they were sumptuously entertained ; but when they were about to depart, the angel set fire to the bed on which he had lain. On ascending a hill at some distance, the hermit perceived the monastery enveloped in flames. When informed that this also was the work of his fellow-traveller, he cursed the hour in which he had been associated with such a wretch, but was again reprimanded by the angel for his rash conclusions.
On the night of that day the pilgrims lodged with a wealthy burgess. Their host was a respectable old man, who had grown gray with years, but lived happily with a beloved wife and an only son
of ten years of age, who was his chief consolation, He entertained the travellers with much kindness, and bade them on the morrow an affectionate adieu. ..
To reach the high road, however, it was necessary to pass through the town, and to cross a river. Pretending that he was unacquainted with the way, the angel persuaded the old man to allow his son to accompany them to the bridge, and point out to them their path. The father awakened his child, who joyfully came to conduct the travellers. In passing the bridge the angel pushed him into the stream, by which he was instantly overwhelmed. “My work is accomplished," said the angel; “ art thou satisfied ?" The hermit fled with the utmost precipitation, and, having gained the fields, sat down to deplore the folly of having left his cell, for which God had punished him by delivering him up to a demon, of whose crimes he had become the involuntary accomplice.
While engaged in this lamentation he was rejoined by the heavenly messenger, who thus addressed him :-"In thy cell thou hast arraigned the secret counsels of God: thou hast called in question his wisdom, and hast prepared to consult the world on the impenetrable depth of his designs. In that moment thy ruin was inevitable, had his goodness abandoned thee. But he has sent an angel to enlighten, and I have been commissioned for this ministry. I have in vain attempted to show thee that world which thou hast sought, without knowing it; my lessons are not understood, and must be explained more clearly. Thou hast seen the care of a goblet occupy the mind of a hermit, when he ought to have been fully engaged in the most important of duties : now that he is deprived of his treasure, his soul, delivered from foreign attachments, is devoted to God. I have bestowed the cup on the usurer as the price of the hospitality which he granted, because God leaves no good action without recompence, and his avarice will one day be punished. The monks of the abbey which I reduced to ashes were originally poor, and led an exemplary life-enriched by the imprudent liberality of the faithful, their manners have been corrupted ; in the palace which they erected, they were only occupied with the means of acquiring new wealth, or intrigues to introduce themselves into the lucrative charges of the convent. When they met in the halls, it was chiefly to amuse themselves with tales and with trifles. Order, duty, and the offices of the church, were néglected. God, to correct them, has brought them back to their pristine poverty. They will rebuild a less magnificent monastery. A number of poor will subsist by the work, and they, being now obliged to labour the ground for their subsistence, will become more humble and better."
“I must approve of you in all things," said the hermit, “but why destroy the child who was serving us? why darken with despair the old age of the respectable father who had loaded us with benefits?" "That old man,” replied the angel, “ was formerly occupied with doing good, but as his son approached to maturity he gradually became avaricious, from the foolish desire of leaving him a vast inheritance. The child has died innocent, and has been received among the angels. The father will resume his former conduct, and both will be saved ; without that, which thou deemest a crime, both might have perished. Such, since thou requirest to know them, are the secret judgments of God amongst men, but remember that they have once offended thée. Return to thy cell and do penance. I reascend to Heaven.” · Saying thus, the angel threw aside the terrestrial form he had assumed and disappeared. The hermit, prostrating himself on earth, thanked God for the paternal reproof his mercy had vouchsafed to send him. He returned to his hermitage, and lived so holily, that he not only merited the par