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the maid brought him in a note. In an
instant the whole house was in a flutter.

"My warm night-coat, Mary. Take this
out to the fine fellow on the horse, with my
best wishes; it'll keep the night air out of

The ladies of the house were fluttering
down in skirmishing order. The bright
face of Polly highest, and peeping over the

"Peter, dear, what is it? and won't you
muffle yourself up?"

"Professional, darlings; up at the Leader
Arms. One of the poor officersconsultation
fee. God be with you all till I come

"Whist, Peter, my dear boy," he said
to himself as he strode along, "this looks
like putting in the thin end of the wedge."


THE preposterous idea that utterly
useless self-inflicted suffering gave a man a
claim to special felicity in the eternal life
after death, caused many Christians of the
first centuries to subject themselves to
most severe deprivations and pains. To
have any enjoyment in this life was
considered sinful, and they only were looked
upon as thoroughly good Christians who
made their existence miserable. Bishop
Zeno, of Verona, informs us that this
morbid view of Christianity was entertained
generally in the fourth century, and
that it was believed to be "the highest
glory of Christian virtue to tread nature
under foot."

Because Our Saviour was recorded to
have stayed forty days in the desert and
to have fasted, it became quite a fashion to
retire to the desert and "to tread nature
under foot," The deserts of Syria and
Egypt were crowded with self-tormenting
"saints." The sufferings which these poor
lunatics invented for themselves, and the
fortitude with which they endured them,
are wonderful. One of themhe has his
place as a saint in the almanacklived for
fifty years in a subterranean cave, without
ever seeing the friendly light of the sun.
Others buried themselves to the neck in
the glowing sand of the desert, or sewed
themselves up in fur. Many burdened
themselves with heavy chains. St. Eusebius
always carried two hundred and sixty
pounds of iron about his body. One
Thalal├Žus forced his body into the hoop
of a cartwheel, and remained in this highly
useful position towards society for ten
years. After this he took up his dwelling
in a narrow cage. Some made a vow not
to speak a word for years, and not to look
at any face; others bound themselves to
jump about, on one leg apiece.

St. Barnabas, by some accident, got
a sharp stone in his foot, which caused
him immense pain. He rejoiced, and would
not have it removed. Other saints slept
on bundles of thorns, or tried not to sleep
at all. Simeon, the son of an Egyptian
shepherd, ate only every Sunday, and
wound round his waist a rope so tight
that boils broke out all over him which
smelled so odiously that nobody could
bear his saintly company This Simeon
was an ambitious saint; he became the
leader of a peculiar class, the Stylites or
column-saints. He placed himself on the
top of a column and remained there for
years. He first perched himself on a
column only four yards high, but his
columns grew with his madness. When
his insanity reached its utmost degree, his
column had risen (or is represented to have
risen) to the height of forty yards; on this
he managed to keep alive for thirty years;
but it is difficult to understand how he
could sleep without falling off. One of his
favourite recreations was to bow as low
and as often as possible in praying. An
eye-witness counted one thousand two
hundred and forty-four of his bows, but then
gave up counting. Simeon at last succeeded
in fasting for forty days. It is, however,
well known that lunatics can fast a very
long time. When Simeon became too
weak to stand upright, he had a post
erected on the top of his column, to which
he was attached in an upright position
with chains. This madness found many
imitators in the Orient, but only one in
Europe. He was a native of Trier; the
bishop of that city, however, would not
acknowledge him as a saint, but treated
him simply as a fool.

Immense numbers of people resorting
to the desert, in order to live, had to form
communities; these became associations of
self-tormentors, which were called monasteries.
St. Pashorn is looked upon as the
originator of these institutions. He had in
his monastery fourteen hundred monks,
besides a great number of nuns; for the excitable
sex were, of course, taken by ascetic
fanaticism. Artificial solitudes also arose
in the heart of cities. The city of
Oxyrrhinchus had more convents than dwelling-
houses; and in them did pray, and not