468 The Queen of the House of David.
and tribulations, come to understand at last that love
grows out of law and is more than a sentiment, free to
go when lured or flee from that which burdens. It was
to them like a revelation from heaven to find that love
is the vassal of the will and can be made to go where
it ought, as well as be reined back from lawless rovings.
They found there was great satisfaction in their efforts
to be very agreeable to each other. Sir Charleroy con
stantly assured Rizpah of his belief that they were now
more really lovers than they had been in those fervent
days at Gerash. She believed this new creed with the
avidity of a heart sore with long waitings for its pro
The knight bethought himself of a graceful advance,
and introduced the matter with a sort of parable. " I ve
been thinking to-day that the only man whom I ever
felt like kissing, the man who loved me to the full of
his great heart, is present with us in spirit these days
to joy over our reconciliation. I ve felt a strange thrill
at times which made me think I was touched by the
glowing heart of Ichabod."
" Yes ; he that fell in our defense the day of that
perilous battle with those Mamelukes, near Gerash.
Ah, he had the heart of a mastiff, the soul of a
martyr ! "
"Thy love is constant. But what s in thy hand ? "
The knight had hoped for the question.
"A token I took from his corpse. It was given him
by a Copt priest, whose life he saved in Egypt. See."
"I see a stone in a gold setting; on the stone an
image, I think of a woman? I ve noticed it with thee
The Rose, Queen of Hearts in the Giant City. 469
"I knew it! Once I thought thou didst observe it
askance, as if a trifle jealous. Well, no more secrets,
no more jealousies. What says Rizpah?"
" I say amen ; and yet I say tell all, or none ; either
way I shall be content. Love s trust, when full, has
few questions and no doubts."
" Nobly spoken, but yet I must tell all. The image
is of Neb-ta, from the country of Hamites."
" What an odd figure ! Her head-dress, a basket ! "
" The basket on her head and the little house by her
side betoken that she was the presiding spirit of do
mestic life. I love Neb-ta ! She ever reminds me of
woman at her best, as a mother brooding her chicks."
"Praise be the Patriarchs; they left us testimonies
which makes it needless to go to Egypt for precepts
concerning home-love ! " responded the wife.
" But, Rizpah, thou dost divert me ! Wait ; I m
coming around with the patriarchs, by way of Jerusa
lem, to Bozrah."
" Now, that s a fine parade ; I await it," the woman,
with quick reply, answered.
" Tradition says this Neb-ta will stand before Osiris
and Isis in the judgment hall of truth, where another
deity styled divine wisdom opens the books of men s
earthly deeds. As the great Anubis weighs them,
Neb-ta stands by ready to cut away the failings of
those weighed. When the scale of their merit is lack
ing, she herself leaps into it, to weigh it down in their
"A pretty myth for grim old Nile Land ! "
" It proves man s belief that at last he ll need help."
" It is strange those women degraders should have
allotted one of that sex so fine a part in the hereafter."
The Q:tccn of t/te House of David.
" It illustrates the constant conviction in men s hearts
that woman s sympathy abides to the last."
"In some men s hearts, say. All are not equally
" I ll be direct, Rizpah, and sincere. I ve felt an in
describable unworthiness of all I enjoy here in the house
saved and brightened by my wife. I ve been saying,
Oh, that some one like Neb-ta would cut off my fail
ings and enrich my merit. "
Sir Charleroy, after this long journey around about,
felt relieved. He had made his confession and waited
Rizpah s eyes brightened up, and, though bedewed,
shone with the luster of gleaming affection.
He knew full well how to interpret that look, and
evinced the quality of the interpretation by quickly
embracing her. There passed between them saluta
tions having the purity of manna, the lusciousness of
Escol s grapes.
" Will Sir Charleroy need to go to Egypt for a
Neb-ta ? "
" No, never, while I ve an all-forgiving, all-blessing
Rizpah ! "
Encouraged by the success attending one simile, he
attempted another later:
" I was thinking," tenderly replied the knight, "that
I ve sinned against God in the name of religion, and
unconsciously offered the female lamb.
"Pardon my stupidity, but yet I do not gather what
is thy meaning."
" My Rizpah has been sacrificed for years."
" The wife tried to reply, " I m no lamb without
blemish;" but her tears and his passionate embrace,
The Rose, Queen of Hearts in the Giant City. 471
checked her utterance. To those without, there is
much incomprehensible in the estrangements and rec
onciliations of human pairs, made utterly one in wed
lock. If, since the Incarnate died for love, and the
Temple s veil was rent, there has been on earth an un-
revealed Holiest of Holy places, it has been where wed
lives, alienated, have been reunited. It is like a sacri
lege to attempt its depicting to stranger eyes or ears.
Many, for themselves, have been within that holy place ;
each twain meeting its own peculiar and varied ex
periences. But, having come forth with a natural and
most meritorious reverence for the events of such su
preme hours, they are wont to withdraw from human
curiosity all that transpired, as completely as they hide
from the world their souls dealings with God. They
who have never been within that Holy Place, can not
understand about what there transpires ; those that
have been there, defend their sacred right to keep from
all the world that which they saw and felt, by refusing
to give audience to the experiences of others.
Sir Charleroy and Rizpah, at the time of the foregoing
conversation, entered serenely, lovingly that Holy
Place. Then they took, as it were, wings of memory
and shields of faith. The grim giant house was forgot
ten. Its walls seemed to thin a\vay, until they had to
themselves a broad, but secluded world. There was
light, but not exposure ; repentance, mutual, and for
giveness, not only free, but in every syllable seeming to
have balm for healing. There followed an unutterable
sense of getting nearer and nearer to each other. They
felt as if they had but one will, and that guided by
God ; one mind, and that clear and heaven soaring.
The only sense of being two, was in their beating
472 The Queen of the House of David.
hearts, and then two hearts seemed more blessed than
one ; for being two, there was the joy of their beatings
for and against each other. Words fail ; it would be
sacrilege to go further. Let the curtain drop. Leave
them with a thousand angels, winged and liveried in
white, with wands of silence to keep watch and ward
until morning !
On the morrow they knew that both had surren
dered and both conquered. And by a paradox, to
those uninitiated, each rejoiced as much in the sur
render each had made, as in the victory which had
been won by the one defeated. Defeat and victory
was their common wealth. There was a full com
munity between them, and that made both rich,
whatever their possessings. Thenceforward, between
them, there was perfect frankness and consideration ;
no sarcasms, no recriminations, and hence no need
of foils nor masks. Christ had captured the Crusader s
heart, and he was now, as never before, able to reveal
the King of his soul to Rizpah. She moved uncon
sciously into a beauty of character like unto that of
Mary, and her heart began singing a Magnificat.
The woman was transformed, if possible, more com
pletely than the man. For years amid hurtings she
had schooled herself to reticence, and had been an
enigma to all who knew her; but now, under the
rising of this new sun, she opened as the blossom of
early spring. Sir Charleroy, indeed all who knew
her, attested delight and surprise ; but Rizpah was
as much surprised at herself as any other could be
" I didn t know I could," she exclaimed often with
laughter and tears. She seemed to break awav and
The Rose, Queen of Hearts in the Giant City. 473
run from her former self as one from some phan
tom, as a child from a reputed witch, or a freed
bird from a prisoning cage. She saw herself grow
ing in all these things every moment and exclaimed,
in the rush of feeling; " I could fly, I m sure!" Then
tenderly, " I would not, my mate, for a thousand worlds,
unless thou couldst fly with me. No, no, Charleroy,watch
my wings ; they are thine ; cut them if they grow or
flutter for rising. If they do, they ll do it themselves,
without my willing." Again the sacredness of the
holiest came over them.
"Oh, Rizpah. I know, I knew this wealth of love
was in thee ; I ve wondered often why I could not find
" I did not know it, my lover king ; I m glad thou
hast found it, for thy finding feeds me with light and
glory ! I m carried back to Gerash and Damascus."
" I think not. There were flaming swords at Eden s
Gate, after the fall. No going back ; but the swords
gave light for departure into broader places. I think
that s the symbol of the sword and the flame, Rispah."
Again he spoke : " Hadrian built a temple of Venus
over the tomb of Christ, but Hadrian and Venus are
no more in power and there has been a resurrection
from that tomb."
" Ah, Sir Charleroy, I m a child in thy creed, but I m
comforted by thy resurrection hopes, especially since
conversing yesterday more freely than ever with our
lovely child of God, Miriamne."
" Hers is an angel s visit, wife."
"And angel-like, with filial spirit, she comes, this
time, with request for our consent to an act of great
import to her."
474 TJie Queen of the House of David.
" So ; and what may it be ? Though I know it can
only be good."
"She came to tell us, that she desires publicly to
profess the religion of the Naz - of Jesus."
Sir Charleroy felt a twinge of an old pain, and for a
moment queried within : " Will the old struggle over
faiths again confront us?" But he dismissed it with
an unexpressed " Impossible, we re allchanged ! " Then
replied he quietly with a question. " Does the dear
girl fully understand the seriousness of the act? If she
do and then acts, I ll be glad to commit her to Christ
as her Bridegroom and King."
" We cannot be with her always, and she seems de
termined to go through life unwed."
" A Neb-ta, an angel spinster, mothering other peo
ple s chicks ! But what says my Rizpah of our daugh
ter s purpose to profess her faith ? "
"I? This: God being my Helper, I ll never again
stand between Him and any soul, except it be to pray
for that soul s health."
Just then the maiden entered bearing a lamp which
suddenly lighted the room, now well nigh in darkness.
She presented a most striking and suggestive figure.
Her eyes were full of her heart s chief question, and,
standing in the light of her own bearing, she seemed
to fitly represent the part she had borne in that house
Sir Charleroy, anticipating his daughter s question,
greeted her with promptness thus : " Sunshine, thy
purpose I know. It s all between God and thyself.
Go gladden Father Adolphus and Cornelius with an
She was filled with surprise, and voiced its chief cause:
The Rose, Queen of Hearts in the Giant City, 47 5
"Cornelius? He s at Jerusalem i
" Well, if so, tis wonderful, since I met him here
" I wonder," she meditated, meanwhile speaking her
thoughts as if unconscious of those about her, " What
brought him here?"
" Oh," replied the father, " he says to see Father
Adolphus about the church of Jerusalem ; but Father
Adolphus says the young man came because he could
not help it, to see his good angel."
His good angel ! Whom ? "
" Now, Sunrise, guess ! When thou dost so, to make
short work, begin with the good angel of us all, Miri-
Miriamne lifted her hand reprovingly, but the tell
tale crimson hung confession on her checks, while her
lips, wreathed in smiles, told her pleasure.
" Well, now, will my father go with me to good
Adolphus about my profession ?"
" As thou mayst like, but it will be easier to reduce
three to two than four to two! "
Again the uplifted, reproving hand and the blush
and Miriamne ran out.
" Do not reopen that question settled once ; it can
only pain us both to recur to it."
" Reopened! Settled! exclaimed Cornelius.
" Not with me. Nothing in silence can settle it ; and it
is always open to me, sleeping or waking."
" The consciousness of duty done comes like the
breezes of Galilee, turning all meanings to a song within
4/6 The Queen of the House of David.
"Oh, Miriamne-, who is it decrees that we, belonging,
all, each, to the other, should be torn asunder ruthlessly ?
Duty, conscience ! Hard metallic words when they
describe the links of a chain ! Ah, our misconceptions
often bind us to pain ; this one I cannot bear! "
" And yet, Cornelius, you told me in that Adriatic
storm you could as easily drown a passion rising
against righteousness as you could drown the body
then, by a plunge into the billows ! "
" You held me back when I moved forward to show
how easily I could make the plunge."
"But then you had no intention of leaping to
death ! "
" Not while held back by Miriamne ! "
" I ? Poor, \Veak I, hold you ? "
"To me your touch has ever had persuasion and
might ! Oh, woman, you lead me captive to your will
in chains riveted, unyielding, and yet of golden de
" Say not so. We have each a great mission, but apart.
"Apart! The decree that settles our courses that
way is monstrous. It is not of God. He ordained
that our race go in pairs. And when He set up the
new kingdom of Jesus, its heralding disciples were sent
forth two by two. As Moses needed his Hobab, Christ
his confidants, so need I a yoke-fellow. I ve no ambi
tion to live, much less to work, unless I have my heart s
idol with me."
"Call it Maya 1 if you like; but Maya Brahm s
wife, illusion, made the universe visible to him. So
say those ancient mythologians. I can see nothing
without my Miriamne!"
The Rose, Queen of Hearts in tJie Giant City, 477
"Oh, man, hold; nor pain me further! I cannot
help you. How can I, since my own chosen work
seems too great forme ! I m like a mere shell, drifting
with the tides, without sail or helm ; the harbor un
known. I only know I carry a precious pearl, truth,
and that there are those who need it. I must bear it
" I m a shell, without helm or sail, and have the same
pearl. Let me voyage with you."
"And what ? "
" In all brevity marry me ! "
"That cannot be, I fear. I d rather be the .
Can t I be your ideal as Mary?" She blundered amid
her efforts to express herself, and the tell-tale blush
"Yes; be my Mary, and let me take the place as
your Joseph. Mary was a wife and mother. The
greatest of God s works in the old dispensation was to
translate men; in the new dispensation, seeking to sur
pass the old, He presented a perfect woman, in her
highest estate, as the queen of a home ! "
The woman was silent for time. There then seemed
to her to be two Miriamnes, and the debate was trans
ferred from being between the young man and herself
to these two which she seemed to be. One Miriamne
said "Yield," one " Be firm." One said, " He has the
better reasons," one said " Nay ;" one said, " It is pleas
ant to be overcome," the other said " J/<rjv7, Maya,
Maya ! " Then recovering herself she exclaimed, " I
wish the priest were here ; he d guide us by the Divine,
" I have a holy text," and drawing a line at a ven
ture, the youth repeated these words :
TJic Queen of t lie House of David.
" God said it is not good that man should be alone !
She smiled and stammered :
"Oh, Cornelius! I want to admire you and lean on
you as my guide, teacher, pastor ; but you meet all my
approaches that way, transformed to a lover."
" Maya ! Maya ! Miriamne ; let the illusion work ;
sleep the Leathen sleep ; yield to love s dream ; then
comes the full noon to awaken to marriage joy. Thou
wilt find, not above thee but at thy side, then, the
teacher, guide; shepherd as well ; but also the husband."
Miriamne had reached a point of hesitancy, which is,
in all lives, just a step from surrender, and the lover,
made alert by his ardor, perceived the advantage.
Though a prey to hopes and fears, an incarnation of
paradoxes, in which bashfulness contested with au
dacity for control of the will, he gathered all his powers
into a grand charge. With a tender vehemence he
stormed the citadel of the heart before him. First he
imprisoned her hand in his; he had done so before.
Now it fluttered strangely ; presently it rested as a
bird ; at first as if frightened, then helpless, then con
tent. All that followed may be easily imagined. Suf
fice to say that Cornelius Woelfkin just then believed
life worth living and the universe made visible, though
not by an illusion.
Just as many another of Eve s daughters placed as
she in a tempest of delights, she confessed her capitu
lation by a series of retorts, which gave her relief from
tears by affording apologies for laughter.
" No woman ever so loved as I now? You men all
talk that way at betrothal ! "
" To death ! Miriamne, twill be true with me."
" Yes, at betrothal and when their wives are dead,
The Rose, Queen of Hearts in the Giant City. 479
they say men are very affectionate. But, Cornelius,
remember I ll expect sweets between times. Do not
love me to death at first, vex me to death later, then
go mad for love s sake after I m gone ! "
He vowed, protested and assured ; she believed him
without the shadow of a doubt. They were irrevocably
committed to each other now. There was a rush of
thoughts, plannings, questionings and hopes. Two
lives apart converging, becoming mysteriously one.
Over them arose that wondrous sun which illumines
some betrothal days. They were both very happy,
very proud, and also each to the other very beautiful.
The harmless conceits of love possessed them and they
persuaded themselves easily that they were at the cen
ter of all things, even of the infinite love of God. The
glow of their own hearts brightened to them all things
immediately about them, and they entered that arcana
of delights where secret blessings may be experienced
but can not be depicted. They ate of that hidden
manna which is reserved alone for those who sincerely
love and are loved. No being ever loved as they, who
afterward despised or regretted the enchantment, al
though it brought some pain or at the last ended in
disappointment. None ever having been for a season
in that Beulah-Land but wishes himself there again.
None who comprehends the thrillings of lover days
can fail to envy more or less, if they are loveless, those
who are in love as these twain were.
Much of the ridiculing of this grand passion, affected
by some, is after all the result of envy, secretly long
ing for that beyond its reach. Sometimes the enrapt
ured themselves attempt this deriding, but theirs is an
hysterical laughter, a feeble effort to rest from the in-
480 The Queen of the House of David.
tensity of their rapture or to hide their secret from N
others. The laughter of all such as the foregoing is
hollow and eventually turns the shame back upon the
ridiculers who would cover others with it ; for love,
while it is an angel of sunshine, has also the power oi
carrying to every heart which shamefully entreats it
remorse, humiliation and pains as numberless as
Cornelius and Miriamne, the young reformers, hav*
ing embarked fully upon the full, glowing, exalting,
triumphant tide of their love were themselves reformed
and transformed. A while ago each was willing to die
for the world, now each was willing to die, if need be,
for the other and not for humanity s sake, unless some
way the heart s idol was to be part of the reward of
that sacrifice. This new tide carried them quickly to
that place of paradoxical oscillations, the place wheie
the lover is one moment utterly self-denying, the nex>;
utterly grasping; willing to be annihilated one instant
in behalf of another, and then in an avariciousness
without a parallel on earth, the next moment willing
to annihilate the universe rather than be bereft of the:
one object deemed above all others.
The young lovers passed through the usual, often
experienced, often depicted, old, old, ever new phases
of this relation. The fire kindled in their hearts sped
from center to center of their beings, the laughter of
secret joy quivered along every nerve of each. Each
was happier than it was possible to tell, even that other
one that awakened the joy. Their gait, their blushing
cheeks, their flashing eyes, and their words proclaimed
unmistalcable the complete coronation of love. They
believed, and perhaps properly, that they were enjoy-
TJie Rose, Queen of Hearts in the Giant City. 4.8 1
ing the seraphic, exuberant, mellow, yet exciting de
lights of an hundred ordinary lives merged into one.
Each in turn, over and over, in repetitions that tired
neither to utter nor to hear, said to the other: " I love
you." A rain of impassioned kisses made reply. Time
was not observed ; they forgot their former hurry, that
pushed them earnestly, ever toward duty, when they
were committed to being reformers. They were only
and completely lovers now, and lovers are beings whose
existence is in a heaven where there are no clocks.
The sun set over Bozrah while the twain communed,
but there was so much light in their hearts they did
not observe the lull of night around them. Existence
seemed to them a living fullness, a soaring upward with
out friction or effort, and they incarnated that which
at last makes heaven, perfect desire perfectly satisfied.
They were presently recalled to the things outside of
themselves by the sound of some one approaching.
" It s Father Adolphus. I know his step," remarked
Cornelius, remembering his recent, successful assault,
was encouraged to attempt another. His heart whis
pered to him : " Why not make this matter final now?"
His heart seemed to grow pale and trembled at its own
whispering, until he himself grew pale and trembled
throughout his whole being, at the audacity of the
thought. But love s suggestions are ever very domi
neering ; this one dominated the man instantly, and he
acted on it.
" Miriamne, why not permit Father Adolphus now
to seal our betrothal with his blessing? "
" He will bless us, I know," quoth the maiden, eva
sively ; but she knew what her lover meant full well.
482 The Queen of the House of David.
Not only so, her heart, against her judgment, wai
siding for the blessing.
The youth felt certain he had carried one line of de
fense, and now went charging onward, determined to
carry all before him.
"Yes; he will bless us, I know, if we ask him. I ll
ask him, and then, Miriamne, mine, I ll call thee no
more sister, but wife."
" Oh, you are in such a hurry! This is all too sud
den. I only wanted to be engaged not married,
perhaps, for years. We could work for the Master "
She was interrupted, as victorious lovers usually in
Just then the priest entered. Miriamne tried to
greet him with a smile and a sentence, but she was un
der a spell. She seemed to herself to be a different
woman than she was when he last met her guide. She
spoke a few meaningless words, which were lost in the
vigorous utterance of her companion, as he explained
the betrothal and requested its ratification.
The aged man of God looked tenderly down on
both, and then questioned :
" Miriamne, I know his heart toward thee; is thine
resting on his ? "
The maiden drooped her eye-lids, but the tell-tale
blush on her cheek gave answer.
" Shall I commit you to each other before God, for
Her hand rose in an effort to restrain, but it fell back
into her lap, as if unwilling to do so.
" Bless us quickly, good father, I pray you/ spoke
" Clasp four hands crossed," said the priest.
The Rose, Queen of Hearts in the Giant City. 483
The maiden s hands joined those of the young man,
and yet one drew back a little, as if to say, Wait.
The motion was slight ; then she found voice.
" But, Father Adolphus, do you think God will con-
demn, if we do ? "
" God made such as ye are to love each other. What
says thy conscience ? Speak frankly now, girl ; thou art