"I have been listening attentively to your narrative of my adventures," replied the chair; "and it must be owned that your correctness entitles you to be held up as a pattern to biographers. Nevertheless, there are a few omissions which I should be glad to see supplied. For instance, you make no mention of the good knight Sir Richard Saltonstall, nor of the famous Hugh Peters, nor of those old regicide judges, Whalley, Goffe, and Dixwell. Yet I have borne the weight of all those distinguished characters at one time or another."
Grandfather promised amendment if ever he should have an opportunity to repeat his narrative. The good old chair, which still seemed to retain a due regard for outward appearance, then reminded him how long a time had passed since it had been provided with a new cushion. It likewise expressed the opinion that the oaken figures on its back would show to much better advantage by the aid of a little varnish.
"And I have had a complaint in this joint," continued the chair, endeavoring to lift one of its legs, "ever since Charley trundled his wheelbarrow against me."
"It shall be attended to," said Grandfather.
"And now, venerable chair, I have a favor to solicit. During an existence of more than two centuries you have had a familiar intercourse with men who were esteemed the wisest of their day. Doubtless, with your capacious understanding, you have treasured up many an invaluable lesson of wisdom. You certainly have had time enough to guess the riddle of life. Tell us, poor mortals, then, how we may be happy."
The lion's head fixed its eyes thoughtfully upon the fire, and the whole chair assumed an aspect of deep meditation. Finally it beckoned to Grandfather with its elbow, and made a step sideways towards him, as if it had a very important secret to communicate.
"As long as I have stood in the midst of human affairs," said the chair, with a very oracular enunciation, "I have constantly observed that Justice, Truth, and Love are the chief ingredients of every happy life."
"Justice, Truth, and Love!" exclaimed Grandfather. "We need not exist two centuries to find out that these qualities are essential to our happiness. This is no secret. Every human being is born with the instinctive knowledge of it."