THE RULINGS OF CONSCIENCE IN THE HOUSE OF BODY: FORTITUDE
Fortitude in Poverty.—“‘May I see your sick squire, fair sir?’ The Scottish knight hesitated and coloured, yet answered at last, ‘Willingly, my Lord of Gilsland; but you must remember, when you see my poor quarters, that the nobles and knights of Scotland feed not so high, sleep not so soft, and care not for the magnificence of lodgement, which is proper to their southern neighbours. I am poorly lodged, my Lord of Gilsland,’ he added, with a haughty emphasis on the word, while, with some unwillingness, he led the way to his temporary place of abode. . . . Sir Kenneth cast a melancholy look around him, but suppressing his feelings, entered the hut, making a sign to the Baron of Gilsland to follow. . . . The interior of the hut was chiefly occupied by two beds. One was empty, but composed of collected leaves, and spread with an antelope’s hide. It seemed, from the articles of armour laid beside it, and from a crucifix of silver, carefully and reverentially disposed at the head, to be the couch of the knight himself.
The other contained the invalid, of whom Sir Kenneth had spoken, a strong-built and harsh-featured man, past, as his looks betokened, the middle age of life. His couch was trimmed more softly than his master’s, and it was plain, that the more courtly garments of the latter, the loose robe, in which the knights showed themselves on pacific occasions, and the other little spare articles of dress and adornment, had been applied by Sir Kenneth to the accommodation of his sick domestic.”
Here we have an example of Fortitude under very difficult circumstances, where pity and tenderness for dependants, personal dignity and high courage, go along with extreme poverty. The man who shows this manner of fortitude is a hero. The knight it is, and not that strange hermit-monk of the Lebanon, his body scarred with penitential wounds, who braces us by an example of Christian fortitude.
The Roll of our Heroes.—Time fails to tell of Nansen, Gordon, Howard, Livingstone, Collingwood, Raleigh, Galileo, Florence Nightingale, Calpurnia, Mackay of Uganda, Grace Darling; for the roll of persons notable for their Fortitude is, in fact, the roll of our heroes, and our little ‘Book of Fortitude’ will come to be a book of heroes, whether in small things or great. The reader will perhaps object that Fortitude belongs to the mind and the heart rather than to the body; but, when the body is not kept in
its proper place, trained to endure without murmur, Fortitude has no chance. It is in the body we must endure hardness, and the training comes in the cheerful bearing of small matters not worth mentioning.
The Song of the Lotos-Eaters has music for us all:—
therefore we have need of Fortitude, without which no man or woman has ever yet brought life to any purpose: “So fight I, not as one that beateth the air; but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection.”
 By Sir Walter Scott.
 Middlemarch, by George Eliot.
 Scenes of Clerical Life, by George Eliot.
 Martin Chuzzlewit, by Charles Dickens.
 By Charles Dickens.
 By Charles Dickens.