of Rabbins, which said that He who would not make his
son a robber makes him a mechanic. Besides this, said
the Temple priest, thy espoused one is like thyself, of the
royal house of David. The blood of twenty kings mingle
in the veins of you both. God grant that to that house of
David there soon be born another, greater than all before,
to deliver our holy nation from foreign masters. Mary
made no reply, but as a blush of hopefulness passed over
her face, she looked very earnestly toward heaven and
296 The Queen of the House of David.
seemed to be repeating the prayer of the priest to the
All Father. The formal betrothal then took place. Joseph
presented his chosen bride a small token of silver, saying -
If thou consentest to be my bride, accept this. She
took it, smiling affectionately, and then the witnesses signed
the usual Jewish compact, which read as follows :
" I Joseph, said to Mary, daughter of Jehoiakim, become
my wife under the law of Moses and Israel. I promise to
honor thee ; to provide for thy support ; thy food and thy
clothing ; according to the custom of Hebrew husbands,
who honor their wives, as is befitting. I give thee at once
thy dowry and promise thee besides nourishment, and
clothing, and whatsoever shail be necessary for thee, also
conjugal friendship, a thing common to all nations of the
world. Mary consents to become the wife of Joseph. The
two signed the document."
" See Miriamne, the Jews were wise ; they made the
husbands do most of the promising. They knew that
the wives would be all wifely without such pledging."
And Rizpah again bitterly laughed.
" Shall I proceed ?"
" Yes, oh, proceed ; it s a Jewish poem."
" Thereupon Joseph placed a jeweled ring upon Mary s
fourth finger, with a smile and a blush, saying, the physi
cians say, my beloved, that a nerve and a vein, reaching the
heart together, lay close to the surface of that finger. And
she understood and was happy. A benediction was pro
nounced, and then the espoused pair were ready to depart
to Joseph s house. He was to be the guardian of the maiden
from that hour forth. The hereditary servants of the fami
lies took up the line of march, bearing flaming torches ;
immediately after these followed a procession of women,
richly garbed and wearing golden tiaras and pearl bedecked
girdles. Behind these attendants of the virgin, followed a
goodly company of dexterous musicians and singers, dis
coursing rapturously the significant canticles of Solomon.
As the latter went on from time to time they broke out of the
line of march and disported themselves in the eastern star-
dance, saying as they did so, to one another, the morning
stars sang at creation ; the dawn of a new home coming by
The Wedding, the Birth and the Flight. 297
love, is next to creation the most joyous of all events. So
the dancers went on, and as they rejoiced in poetic motions,
they thought of the stars which yet tremble as if with the
thrilling of that first delight they shouted. Of all, the sweet
orphan girl now companioned was the center. She was be
decked with costly jewels, the glad tributes of those that loved
her ; over her was the significant veil, and, so beneath the
wedding canopy, she entered Nazareth to be a wife. Her sky
had become very bright, for her s was a heart that took
exquisite joy from the honeyed petals of affection s flower.
No bride ever more fully entered into that supreme state,
the all exalting, entrancing, expanding, thrilling period of
new married life. She went forward in the proud con
sciousness that her weakness had overcome a giant, and
that while she lead a royal captive, she was supremely happy
in her utter bestowal of her all upon the one only man now
became almost next to God in the temple of her soul."
Miriamne paused, and Rizpah wept a little
" Shall I go on or pause, mother ? "
" Go on, dear."
" But you weep, are you ill ? "
" Oh, no, except in memory. This is sweet sorrow,
that beats us back and forth ; contrasting dark endings
with bright beginnings; heaven high hopings with
black disappointments, and happy lives with our own,
all interwoven with miseries. I walked once in the sweet
illusions of bridal days, but an utter widowhood came
before death called. That s the worst bereavement."
" But some marriages are all happiness, are they
not?" queried the daughter.
" Some, but not many. That s the rule. Most of
them begin well enough, but wedded mates are not
as wisely tender as lovers ; they too soon entomb
all their joys in graves of selfishness and lust. So
then the dove flies from the blossom of espousal never
298 The Queen of the House of David.
"Perhaps, sucn as they did not love enough to begin
with and so separated ? "
" Some who would die for each other before mar-
riage, would die to be quit of each other, after. Hence
the brood of suicides, and that blackest crime of all,
murder, which often raises its treacherous, cruel head
within the marriage chamber."
" How comes this error, trouble, horror?"
" In wedding bodies, without consents or courtings of
the souls, if those, who, though mismated, happen to
join lives, were only wise, they might yet be happy,
growing together. But read more daughter."
" In the fullness of time, the angel Gabriel, known amid
the Seraphim as God s champion, the chosen of Jehovah and
His messenger of comfort and sympathy from heaven to
man, was commissioned to carry the glorious news to earth.
He spread his rainbow pinions, and with his own radiance
to lighten his course, passed from the confines of the august
court of the Divine Presence, the companionship of his fel
low archangels, Michael, Raphael, Uriel, to go out across
the planet-lightened realms of everlasting space. His
course was watched with throbbing interest by the spirits of
mercy appointed for ministering to man. Gabriel sped on,
with sweeps of power which almost devoured distances, nor
paused to bask for a moment in the many colored lights of
the golden and silvery shielded planets or constellations
that he passed in his rapid flight. The wheeling suns and
rushing worlds, marching and charging along the shoreless
oceans of eternal space, had no splendors nor powers with
which to challenge his high mission ; though theirs was
grand, his was grander. He traveled at love s behest, on
mercy s work, to carry to this little earth, rolling along,
mostly in shadows, the mandate of glory, the news of
heaven s great saving device. He bore proclaim -lion in its
substance and its realizations forever the manifold wisdom of
God ; the wonder of all who know to think or reason. And
so that voyage passed into the pages of history and the
records of eternity as well.
The Wedding, the Birth and the Flight. 299
" Mary, whom Gabriel sought, was engaged in evening
prayer as was her wont, with her face toward Jerusalem s
Miriamne paused ; she perceived that she had ar
rived at a part of the manuscript which Father Adol-
phus had marked with a red line to remind her it was
from his Christian Bible. She feared to read this por
tion to her mother.
" Read on, daughter, the words are precious ; they
are as songs in the night to my soul."
"And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent
from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
" To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was
Joseph, of the house of David ; and the virgin s name
"And the angel came in unto her and said, Hail!
thou art highly favored, the Lord is with thee : blessed
art thou among women.
"And when she saw him, she was troubled at his
saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation
this should be.
"And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for
thou hast found favor with God.
" And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb,
and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS."
Miriamne read the last word "Joshua."
She proceeded :
" He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of
the Highest ; and the Lord God shall give unto him
the throne of his father David.
" And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for
ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
3OO The Queen of the House of David.
"Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be,
seeing I know not a man?
"And the angel answered and said unto her, The
Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of
the Highest shall overshadow thee : therefore also that
Holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called
the Son of God."
"Hold! hold!" cried Rizpah. "What is this? the
faith of the Nazarene?"
Miriamne was awed. She feared she had proceeded
too far ; but quickly remembering an explanation of
Father Adolphus, replied: "Be content, mother, I
read but that that appears in our holy prophets, Isaiah,
the poetic and vehement ; his words you so much prize
have here an echo."
Rizpah gazed at her daughter, with a puzzled, ques
tioning expression for a moment, and then senten-
tiously said, " Read on." She was alert, though severe.
Her curiosity was ruling, but her prudence was con
served, at least in her own mind. The daughter was
anxious, but could not retreat ; she knew she must
read further or make a futile effort to explain her
reluctance. The two were a study ; each afraid of the
other : each anxious to aid the other to truth ; both on
guard, and, while professing to be all love for each
other, attempting to move forward to a fuller fellow
ship by indirection. The outlines of the cross were
appearing in that household, and never was there to be
complete accord until there it ruled all hearts.
Miriamne continued to read, but confined herself
chiefly to notes made by the old priest on the margin
of her manuscript.
" Presently Joseph, the affianced husband of Mry > dis.
The Wedding, the Birth and the Flight. 301
covered that his beloved was to become a mother. At first
the discovery was like a dagger in his heart, for as yet the
marriage had not been consummated. It was a crisis of
great import and trial to husband and wife. Joseph, though
now a plain man and a mechanic, carried in his veins the
noblest blood of his race, being descendant of the ancient
kings and in the line of Solomon and David. Besides that,
he had all the abhorrence of the better Jews for adultery,
that their awful law of death as its penalty, implied."
" Did he help the mob to stone her?" cried Rizpah.
Miriamne was startled by her mother s angry earn
" Oh ! we ll see."
She continued reading:
" He met his affianced in the evening on her return from
Hebron s rosy hills, whither she had gone to visit her kins
woman, the mother of John, by name Elizabeth. The inter
view of those two noble women had prepared Mary to tell
her betrothed all that troubled and rejoiced her. When her
espoused met her privately and for the last time, as he in
tended, he found her sweetly, serenely singing, as was her
wont, a Davidic psalm. He was at first astonished, not
knowing how she could be so happy under such stigma as
seemed to rest upon her. His patrician blood was roused,
and for a moment he was ready to denounce her to the
Sanhedrim as an adulteress. Then he looked at her, piti-
? ully, questioningly. It could not be, he meditated, that
>ne so young could be so depraved as to sing God praises,
being a criminal. She must be insane ! He tore himself
from her presence, but instantly returned when she called
;>ut : Joseph, God knows all ; touch not His anointed.
" Woman ! he cried explain ! explain ! Thy seeming
sin hangs scorpions over my eyes, and turns my heart to
ashes. Thy calmness is a wonderment !
" Then Mary quietly recited to him the wondrous story of
Gabriel s visit.
" Joseph was pale, and reverently attentive ; but still the
sadness of his countenance betokened his incredulity.
" Mary, self-possessed, confident in her own integrity,
continued : For three months I have been secluded with
The Queen of the House of David.
my kinswoman, Elizabeth. She knows I saw no man, and
thou canst testify of the manner of my living since our
espousal ; but 1 got words from God, at Hebron. When I
first went into my kinswoman s house."
" Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost :
" And she spake out with a loud voice, and said,
Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the
fruit of thy womb.
"And whence is this to me, that the mother of my
Lord should come to me ?
" For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation
sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb
" And blessed is she that believed : for there shall be
a performance of those things which were told her
from the Lord."
" No sooner had Elizabeth finished that salutation, than
the Spirit of the Most Holy Ghost possessed me and I,
thus, without premeditation prophetically said :
" My soul doth magnify the Lord.
" And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
" For he hath regarded the low estate of his hand
maiden : for, behold, from henceforth all generations
shall call me blessed.
" For He that is mighty hath done to me great
things ; and holy is His name.
" And His mercy is on them that fear him from gen
eration to generation.
" He hath shewed strength with his arm ; He hath
scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
" He hath put down the mighty from their seats,
and exalted them of low degree.
v He hath filled the hungry with good things ; and
the rich He hath sent empty away.
The Wedding, the Birth and the Flight. 503
" He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance
of his mercy.
" As He spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his
" I tarried until Elizabeth s son was born. He is to be the
herald of mine ! Joseph was amazed. The wisdom and
stately cnaracter of her magnificent description and ascrip
tion were unaccountable. But he doubted still her integ
rity. Yet his wrath was softened into pity a little He
hesitated, and then, being a just man and not willing to make
her a public example, was minded to put her away privately."
" Ha, ha ;" laughed Rizpah, bitterly ; " I see now,
tis a beautiful fable thou art reading! Put her away
privately ! a man do that under such circumstances !
Bah ! rather would a real man parade the woman s
guilt from the house tops. In truth, to show that he
was sinless because he was such a Nemesis of sin ; or to
get the pity of light-headed fools, who would gladly
take the place of the discarded ! A pretty, baby face
can catch unerringly the man who pities himself well, if
she will only gush with real or affected pity for him. Pity
and flatter a man and he ll be a Lucifer! But read
it all. This is refreshing; its so absurdly uncommon!"
The girl continued :
" But while bethought on these things, behold, the
angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, say
ing, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto
thee Mary thy wife : for that which is conceived in her
is of the Holy Ghost.
"And she shall bring forth a son, thou shalt call his
name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their
" Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled
which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
* The Magnificat.
304 The Queen of the House of David,
" Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring
forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel,
which being interpreted is, God with us.
"Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the
angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him
Miriamne again read "Joshua" for Jesus, but yet
felt assured that her mother was in heart, recognizing
the source of the story. Rizpah, by silence, pretended
not to know she was listening to parts of the Christian
Bible, for she was very curious now. Miriamne was
willing the harmless pretense should continue. But
they furtively observed each other.
" I see ; this is a story based upon some of the
Christian s heresies," interrupted Rizpah. "If the
stories be so unnatural, I d never fear their sacred
books ! "
Miriamne was rejoiced, for her mother was becoming
interested, and that was nigh being fully persuaded
that their home was not contaminated by the hated
Christian s Bible. Miriamne read again :
" Mary now was contented. She had the approval of
God and her conscience, and that for which hei young
heart greatly yearned the approval of the one man of earth
whom she loved. It mattered little to her that few others
knew her wondrous secret. She knew her position was
one of peril, and yet she felt certain God would be with
her to the end. The joy of Joseph was full, and the revul
sion of feeling from crushing shame, to lofty hope was
unutterable. A while before he was ready to die, as he
began tearing from his heart its idol, and attempting to
consign her to the tomb like that of death, forgetfullness
Now he perceived himself elect of God to defend, vouch
for and shelter the woman of women, the highly favoied of
The Wedding, the Birth and the Flight. 305
"And it came to pass in those days that there
went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the
world should be taxed.
"And all went to be taxed, every one into his own
" And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the
city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David,
which is called Bethlehem, (because he was of the
house and lineage of David,)
" To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife.
"And so it was, that, while they were there, the
days were accomplished.
"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrap
ped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a man
ger ; because there was no room for them in the inn."
" How barbarous ! They surely could not have been
Jews who kept that inn, or a woman in bearing would
have had tender welcome. They must have been
Christians ; they are the people whose women blush
when carrying little life, and, as if ashamed, forgetting
that God had royally privileged them, hide themselves.
Bah, I m sick of the thought ! I ve seen Christian
husbands ashamed of their pregnant wives ; " so solilo
" There were no Christians at the time of these
events, mother. But shall I read of the company
Mary had, to comfort her?"
" Yes, do; I d like to have been there, just to rai] at
the inn s folks."
" And there were in the same country shepherds
abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by
306 The Queen of the House of David.
"And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them,
and the glory of the Lord shone round about them ;
and they were sore afraid.
" And the angel said unto them, Fear not : for, be-
hold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which
shall be to all people."
" It is said that even the cave, where Mary was, was
filled with supernal light," remarked Miriamne di-
"I believe it on my word. If angels ever come to
earth, it must be surely to hold glad torches about the
couches where beings, to be at last perchance like
themselves, are coming forth to life," said Rizpah.
" It is thus reported," continued Miriamne :
"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea
in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came
wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
" Saying, Where is he that is born King of the
Jews ? for we have seen his star in the east, and are
come to worship him."
Miriamne substituted Joshua for Jesus in the read
" Joshua, Joshua, what Joshua is that ? "
"Joshua means "deliverer;" this one was to be
such ; for the rest, I ve not before read it, mother."
" Read on, again," tritely, Rizpah spoke.
"When Herod the king had heard these things, he
was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
"And when he had gathered all the chief priests and
scribes of the people together, he demanded cf them
where Christ should be born.
"And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea:
for thus it is written by the prophet,
The Wedding, the Birth ard the Flight. 307
" And them Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not
the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee
shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people
" Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise
men, inquired of them diligently what time the star
"And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and
search diligently for the young child ; and when ye
have found him, bring me word again, that I may come
and worship him also.
" When they had heard the king, they departed
and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went be
fore them, till it came and stood over where the young
" When they saw the star, they rejoiced with ex
ceeding great joy.
"And when they were come into the house, they
saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell
down, and worshiped him : and when they had
opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts ;
gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
" And being warned of God in a dream that they
should not return to Herod, they departed into their
own country another way."
Miriamne read The Annointed where the text
" Miriamne, who could these men have been, Rab
bins ? "
"I think not, mother ; I see upon the margin of my
t nugellah* a note which says, These were light or fire-
worshipers of Persia. They, or rather their ancestors
had heard, centuries before, from the Jews, then their
308 The Queen of the House of David.
captives, that there was an expectation, based on
wondrous prophecies, that some time, there was to
be on earth a man, born of woman, in character
like God and in mission the bringer in of the golden
age. These Magi were seeking that person, like pious
" Oh, the Messiah. Alas ! we all long for His com
ing ! " Then Rizpah fell into a revery from which
Miriamne roused her with the question : "Art too
weary to hear more ? "
" No, no ; read, on. These things strangely move
and rest me."
Miriamne continued :
" When eight days were fulfilled, they circumcised the
Child, calling him Joshua, offering, according to the law, a
pair of turtle doves."
" Circumcised ? Ah, I m glad ! They were good
Jews, though poor ones, since they offered the gifts of
the poor, two pigeons," exclaimed Rizpah.
Miriamne read onward :
"There was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was
Simeon ; and the same man was just and devout, wait
ing for the consolation of Israel.
"And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost,
that he should not see death, before he had seen the
Lord s Christ.
" And he came by the Spirit into the Temple ; and
when the parents brought in the child.
" Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God
and said :
"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace 3
according to thy word :
" For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
The Wedding, the Birth and the Flight. 309
" Which thou hast prepared before the face of all
" A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of
thy people Israel.
And Joseph and his mother marveled at these
things which were spoken of him.
" And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his
mother, Behold this child is set for the fall and rising
again of many in Israel ; and for a sign which shall be
spoken against ;
" (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul
also ;) that the thoughts of many hearts may be
" How mysterious and contradictory, and yet how
true the old man s word, Miriamne? He blessed the
parents amid their pious services toward their offspring,
yet predicted a sword thrust for the mother. Ah, the
sword for the mother is ever impending ! But read
Miriamne continued :
" And Anna, a prophetess, who was a widow of
about fourscore and four years, which departed not
from the temple, but served God with fastings and
prayers night and day.
"And she coming in that instant gave thanks like
wise unto the Lord, and spoke of him to all them that
looked for redemption in Jerusalem."
"What a finished picture, Miriamne," interrupted
Rizpah. "See, a young mother committing her child
to God ; a blessing and a sword of pain revealed ;
then the finest human sympathy in the form of
motherhood chastened by years coming to encourage
her. Oh, the years have sadly wrecked a true woman
310 Tlie Queen of the House of David.
if they have put her beyond saying, from her heart ;
Poor girl, I love thee, to her younger sister in hef
hour of maternal trial. But what followed ? "
Miriamne replied by again reading:
"The angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a
dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his
mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I