"What need have we of further witnesses ?" said
Hold ; "have we not come to the necessity of a divine
This conversation might have lasted much longer if
Oswald had not come in to attend his father home, as
it was already late. The pastor's wife declared that she
was not sorry to have this conversation postponed, as
she could not resist the inclination to listen, and yet
was conscious of a chilling effect upon her heart.
Oswald said, smiling :
"My father is certainly likely to be converted by
you, Mr. Hold. But before I could bow my knee to
Balaam's ass, my hair must be as gray as the donkey's."
His father gave him a look of disapprobation, and
would probably have severely reprimanded his unseemly
jest if the pastor had not answered hastily,
"You must pardon a little rudeness in your son.
He is only returning, in his way, what he received from
me at our last interview, in mine. But for your sake,"
continued he, turning toward Oswald, who, though smil-
ing, reddened slightly at the allusion, "for your sake,
I would wish that your hair should soon be as gray as
you think necessary before you can bow the knee, if
not to Balaam's ass, at least to Him whom a similar
animal bore, when he entered into Jerusalem to bring
no constrained, but a free-will blessing, not to one, but
"Pardon me, my dear sir," said Oswald, "if I ex-
pressed myself rudely. But it has always been incom-
prehensible to me how reasonable men can help rinding
insuperable difficulties in such narratives as the one to
which I alluded in the so-called word of God."