It was a long time agofar back in another centurythat my father brought home from the village, one evening, a brand-new book. There were not so many books in those days, and this was a fine big one, with black and gilt covers, and such a lot of pictures!
I was at an age to claim things. I said the book was my book, and, later, petitioned my father to establish that claim. (I remember we were climbing through the bars at the time, having driven the cows to the further pasture.)
My father was kindly disposed, but conservative; that was his habit. He said that I might look at the bookthat I might even read it, some day, when I was old enough, and I think he added that privately[Pg 2] I might call it minea privilege which provided as well for any claim I might have on the moon.
I don't think these permissions altogether satisfied me. I was already in the second reader, and the lust of individual ownership was upon me. Besides, this was a New Pilgrim's Progress. We had respect in our house for the old Pilgrim's Progress, and I had been encouraged to search its pages. I had read it, or read at it, for a good while, and my claim of ownership in that direction had never been disputed. Now, here was a brand-new one, and the pictures in it looked most attractive. I was especially enamoured of the frontispiece, "The Pilgrim's Vision," showing the "Innocents" on their way "abroad," standing on the deck of the Quaker City and gazing at Bible pictures in the sky.