A. Stewart (Alexander Stewart) Walsh.

Mary, the queen of the house of David, and the mother of Jesus ; the story of her life online

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Online LibraryA. Stewart (Alexander Stewart) WalshMary, the queen of the house of David, and the mother of Jesus ; the story of her life → online text (page 35 of 40)
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battering rams of Titus destroyed wall and Holy Tem
ple, but thus was let in new dawn. Above the storm
of that awful conflict the spiritual may discern in living
letters the mightly words of God which dispelled dis
ordering darkness from the universe at the beginning :
Let there be light, and, indeed, Might was. The
obliterated records of Jewish ancestral lines, on which
alone many a worthless child of Abraham based his
claims to superiority, his right to despise and neglect
his fellow men, his justification to tyrannize, and finally
his hope of favor with God, ceased to present their
sturdy barriers to the entering in of a better hope.
Then came in the beginning of this new era ; now the
patent of nobility is noble character; this is the time
to be marked by an universal recognition of universal
brotherhood in a kingdom where there is neither Jew
nor Gentile, bond nor free, male nor female. A king
dom where righteousness, impartial justice, liberty,
equality, purity and humanity are to be the regnant
potencies. In this kingdom, how fittingly, Christ
stands as the king and ideal of man, and how fittingly
his mother supplements his sway by being presented
herself to all womankind as a queenly ideal. Let him
or her dispute her title, who can surely say the earth,
in this redemption period, needs no such sublime epit -
ome of womanly virtue and worthfulness.

" My words are ended for to-day, assembled men and
women. Some of thes things spoken may seem like
deep sayings, but I leave them to find their lodgment
in your hearts and minds. I trust them, knowing that
Truth has a sword which cuts her way, each sweep of
that sword making light."



" Would I had fallen upon those happier clays,
And those Arcadian scenes . . .
Vain wish ! Those days were never ! airy dreams
Sat for the picture, and the poet s hand
Imposed a gay delirium for a truth.
Grant it; I still must envy them an age
That favored such a dream ; in days like these
Impossible when virtue is so scarce,
That to suppose a scene where she presides
Is tramontane, and stumbles all belief."


" The glory of the Lord came from the way of the east,
and the earth shined with His glory. Thou son of man show the
house to the house of Israel, that they maybe ashamed of their in
iquities, and let them measure the pattern." EZEKIEL, xliii.

Y Cornelius once said I might expend the
fortune coming from my grandfather, Har-
rimai, as I chose."

"Why, that s so without my saying. I
did not court your grandfather, nor his ownings, and
have gotten affluence beyond the wildest dreams of a
lover in Miriamne s self." *

" I think the old church on the hill is smiling day by
day, more and more."

"I ve noted the improvement, and it assures me our

The " LigJit of the Harem" 549

hearers are growing. A meanly kept sanctuary, wit
nesses of starved worshipers. Some churches might be
called stables for all-devouring, nothing-giving, lean

" I d like to be brought to confession ; question me ! "

"Question? I can not doubt either Miriamne or her
doings; to question, one must doubt."

"Sir Courtly! But I ll flank your courtesy; I ve
purchased and furbished up the old ecclesiastical pile."

" I might have guessed it was Miriamne s work !
Now, good Bishop of Bethany, appoint me Rector."

" Churchman forever ! We ll have no Rector."

"No Rector? No sermons ? No congregation ?"

" We ll have a multitude, if we can get into the place
the God-shine ; that brightens and draws ever."

"Allurement by light! A new device. Are we to
have a tryst where lotus-dreamers may take sun-baths ? "

" Curiosity, too proud to question directly ; travels
around with banterings."

"Incisive Miriamne, my segis, thin as paper, is
shredded : I confess ! "

" Confession compels pardon and counsel. I ll give
both. The restored sanctuary is to be the capitol of
our fraternity, the Sisters of Bethany. "

" Capitol ? Are you inviting the Sultan to take your
homes and your heads? A capitol sounds like politics,
revolution and things governmental."

" There is to be war and a revolution ; our munitions
are to be solely moral agencies ; our aim, to revolve the
world around toward Paradisiacal days. I d have part
ing streams flow out from Bethany to water the earth,
and sing anew the jubilant strains of Pison, Gihon,
Hiddekel and Euphrates."

55O The Queen of the House of David.

"Arcadia! Alas, how sad such dreams, because so
impossible to realize. The Arcadians, so charming in
the poet s pictures, were, in fact, very warlike, very
loutish, very human."

" Say not that what has been must always be. Moses,
at a time when Israel was at its lowest dip, received of
God a pattern of the Tabernacle. The God of Moses
is unchangeable. I ve gotten from Him a pattern, also."

" And now I question, as you wish ! "

"The old sanctuary is to be a Temple of Allegory.
We shall attempt therein to picture the finest truths by
symbols that shall make them tangible and irresistible."

"A splendid ambition! Possess me of your intrica
cies of canon and catechism. I d accept them."

" You overlook our simplicity by expecting com
plexity. We shall not walk like ghosts, hampered by
tac grave-clothes of the dead, though august forms.
Seven words, enough for each day of the round week,
are our whole profession ; Humanity toward humanity %
with godliness toward Cod "

As they conversed, they walked toward the old sanc
tuary at the suburbs of Bethany, and now were draw
ing near it.

" Behold, Miriamne, the Hospitaler; yonder."

" Yes, I ve called the knights hither ; the Hospitaler
will dedicate our temple to-day."

" But has he ecclesiastical authority so to do ? "

"The same authority that these growing shrubs and
vines have to make the place beautiful. See, I ve
pierced the walls of the grirn pile, wherever I could, to
make a window. The Hospitaler is to take them fora

" Windows for themes ? "

The " Light of the Harem." 5 5 1

" He is able ; and understands by them that we d
have let into musty beliefs floods of sweet light."

" The knights are singing ! "

" Yes, the Grail song, Faint though pursuing- the
dedication has commenced."

The words sung recited the grail quest ; but its
chorus, a simple one, was much the same as that sung
at the May-day festivities on a former occasion. The
people gathered, heartily joined in the chorus. When
the singing ceased, the Knight, in his usual abrupt
manner, began addressing the assembly:

" The beloved young missioners have undertaken, by
means of their handiwork here, to strikingly present the
noblest truths, and they have taken a step in the right direc
tion. Love for the pictorial, manifest especially in children,
grows with growth; those adult needing and seeking, as
they grow, finer, grander symbols. Our Divine Lord, who
knew men and knew what was in man, did not rebuke, but
rather utilized this taste of man, by teaching the profound-
est things of His Kingdom by means of it. He came as
close as close could be to the very core of human life, as it
was or to all time will be. While He might have navigated
Galilee in a palatial barge, borne over be-flowered waves by
perfumed breezes and golden wings, with the aureoled
spirits, who do excel in strength, by thousands, to escort
Him, He chose rather to journey in an all-winning humility,
borrowing, as He had need, the old boat of some poor
Tiberian fisherman. He might have entered Jerusalem,
that last time, in an Elijah-like chariot, dazzling the city
with splendors surpassing those that the rapt John beheld
on Patmos ; but the King of Glory, seeking to be the King of
all men, elected in that supreme moment to get near to
men by approaching the august courts of Herod and Caiphas,
and the commons as well, on an ass an humble beast, and
borrowed at that. All this allegorized the condescension
and sympathy of Jehovah. The universe is full of patterns !
The books of Nature, Revelation, and Providence, having a
common authority, are constant in the use of pictured
truth. Nature gives us the dawning of light and the mar-

552 TJie Queen of the House of David.

shaling of order out of darkness and chaos. There is the
low earth, the high firmament, ripe summer going down into
the winding sheets of winter and up to the resurrections
of spring. Twig, flower, seed, forest ; insect that creeps,
and bird that flies ; the speck-life moved, and the behe
moth ; the atom and the planet-system waning and
growing, dying and living, from formlessness to beauty, from
time to eternity! Then take the inspired picture-history:
Eden s fall, Egyptian captivity, the Red Sea passage, the
wilderness, the manna by the way, the rest by the Mount of
the Law, the entrance to the Promised Land. Lastly, the
Incarnate One, an eternal symbol, the realization and fulfill
ment of all preceding. Which things are an allegory, ex
claimed Paul, with a sweeping back-look. The three books
present to the thoughtful pictured banners innumerable, to
wave him onward. This temple is dedicated to the purpose
of pointing to these pictures. Fitly the angels of the
mount have determined to make prominent the beautiful,
patient, modest Mary, Mother of Jesus. And to study her
intelligently or profitably, it is necessary to know her not only
as an historical personage, but as one in the cavalcade of
symbolism unfolded by Sacred Writ and by Nature. She
passes by, herself every way unique, the exemplar of God to
those aspiring after gentle, devout girlhood, pure and wise
maiden-life, constant wifehood, and patient, consecrated,
and influential motherhood. Turn again to the Divine
Word, the beacon of the ages, the history of Provi
dence, the solver of life s problems. It is made up of
an entrancing array of symbols, types, prophetic dramas,
and gorgeously constructed visions, constantly representing
or dextroucly pointing, by countless trophies and alle
gories, to its Ideal and Darling, Mary s Son, who spoke as
man never spake, yet who without a parable spake nothing.
Though the literary ages are strewn with long winrows of
dead books, no work of man long surviving the mutations
of time, God s picturesque handiwork, the inspired volume,
as potently molds the thoughts, charms the affections and
quickens the hopes of our race with its tokens, types, idyls
and illustration as it did when the earth was younger by far
than it is now. It is a living fountain, not only giving, but
retaining its immortality ! It abides because it masterfully
deals with the things that pertain to the wonderland of the

The " Light of the Harem" 553

soul. How necessary its methods is at once apparent to
any one who considers, discerningly, man as a complex union
of spirit and matter ; wonderful forever, but very good
since the All Holy, Great High Priest performed the nuptial
ceremony of that union. If there could be found a being
able to reason, as a man, who had not within himself this
unity, and who had never experienced its phenomena, such
would at once combat the possibility of its existence. Even
those so organized, and momentarily realizing the jointure
of the God-like spirit with the earthly body, the higher con
descending to and communing with the inferior, the inferior
at times over-persuading, dominating and utterly ship
wrecking its great spiritual co-partner, are compelled to
admit the whole as being a fact without parallel, alike in
scrutable and bewildering. A life-time of profoundest in
trospection can carry the greatest mind, herein, only to the
confines of new wonders. But the interest in the study of
the unwritten, unvoiced language of symbolisms by which
the wonderfully united twain, soul and body, confer and
commune with each other deepens with the study. What a
fine, expressive, rapid, exact, exalted language that must
be ! To each well understood ; without their arcana un
known, unheard, incomprehensible. And it is of necessity
all symbol, natural, intuitive, without a single arbitrary sign !
This sign-language acts by symbol in the royal temple of
memory and imagination. And so again we perceive the
representative, picturesque or typical is the medium of the
tine, the deep and the lofty in expressing truth. This is the
soul s language, by which it communes with whatever else
there is in man, through which it receives the songs of
Heaven, and the august or tender messages of the Spirit, out
of the deathless land.

" When this sphere of ours was rolling swiftly onward
through the shadows of night, as well as swiftly downward
through darker shadows of sin, Divine love said Let there be
<ight. Then the hosts of heaven saw at Bethlehem a
mother and babe marking the place of world-dawn, unfold
ing the design of Deity to effect redemption by touching the
face of man at infancy ; the most effective because the most
plastic point ; through motherhood the most influential be
cause the tenderest instrumentality. The never-to-be-for
gotten spectacle thrilled, with a new ecstasy, the beings of

554 The Queen of the House of David.

glory whose every throb of life is joy. They tracked the
heavens about with light as they sped out to keep abreast
the rleeing earth and shout over Bethlehem, Glad tidings !
Gla. 1 tidings ! They saw Eden restored through the advent
of a new, pure home ; they saw a mystic covenant between
God and man typified in the child begotten of a human
mother in conjunction with the Eternal Father. By this there
seemed to be an attesting that humanity was to be raised to
Divine favor ; there also was a symbol showing the value of
law; for through the incarnation, Deity, in the form of a babe,
became submissive to law administered by a mortal mother.
" He is blind who can not see in all these things God s pur
pose to elect some of His creatures to be His co-laborers in
the choicest co-operations, and also to be exemplars of what
He does and would do. These things being so, we do well
to learn the alphabet of His goodness from His elect heroes,
heroines and saints ; and I proclaim to day my innermost
belief in Christ as the argument, logic and fruit of God s
love ; but, at the same time, I praise, as one enravished,
the character of her who was God s poem, God s perora
tion ! We now proclaim this temple dedicated to the pur
poses of showing forth the things I have spoken."

The Hospitaler abruptly ceased his address, as he be
gan it. There were other services consisting of psalm-
singing and prayers, and the service was ended.

As the congregation dispersed, the young missioner,
Cornelius, exclaimed : " Miriamne, the Hospitaler has
awakened me as from sleep by God s truth. Oh, the
heavens are not as full of shining stars as God s truth
is full of beauty " It seems strange that men like my
self, and wiser, are so long in bringing these things to
their minds. You, my dear little mystic, are my inter

"It s just as I told you, wife. We must go in pairs.
In the Egyptian mythologies, Osiris had his Isis,
Amen-Ra his Maut, and Kneph his Sate. Thank
God I have my adolescent other self ! "

The " Light of the Harem" 555

" I, a woman, help you ? My sex is honored by the
praise. Are they worthy of all they need ? Is it
madness to seek to gather all women having gifts and
needs into a helped and helping fraternity whose creed
is a fine example? If I help Cornelius, cannot a peer-,
less one like Mary help all ? "

" Pardon the thought, but one word haunts me
idolatry ! "

" Impossible ! We all need soul company, and have
room within for such. We must have an inner popu
lation of real heroines and heroes or be filled with
ghosts and myths. The empty soul, eaten up with
self-worship, goes mad ; the myth-possessed becomes
an idolater. If we harbor the God-like, keeping the
highest place for Deity, our inner selves will be no
hideous chambers of imagery, but a counterpart of

" But some have fallen into putting Mary before
Jesus, and so we ve seen the advent of Mariolatry."

"But this only, and surely, here I know, no friend of
the Divine Son can dethrone Him by honoring her,
aright ; indeed, as He, Himself, did. It was of Him
she spoke when exclaiming: My soul doth rejoice in
God my Savior! Can one truly honor Him and
despise and ignore the woman who gave Him human
birth ? Can one have His mind and forget her for
whom love was uppermost to Him in His supreme last
hours? Can one honor her aright, and yet dethrone
the Son whom she enthroned? She bore Him, then
lived for Him. She honored herself in bearing Him,
and was His mother, His teacher and His disciple.
He revered her, she worshiped Him. Awed by His
augustness, she was yet conscious of an ownership of

556 The Queen of the House of David.

His greatness; believing in His divinity, she yet en.
joyed the nearness to Him of a mother.

" I can not but believe that she is a queen, indeed,
high among the glorified who reign with God ! I ques
tion again : Who ever did, or could, become heretic or
carnal by sincerely revering the peerless woman whom
Christ enthroned on His heart?"

" I know at least that the fathers at imperial and pa
gan Rome placed a representation of Mary in their
Pantheon when public policy made it an imperative
necessity to overthrow the influence of the lewd, fan
ciful and ungodly ideals that had been set up therein,"
responded Cornelius.

" The world is a Pantheon full of corrupt ideas. Let
us raise high the choice ones God has sent us But
see, yonder is the wife of a poor old Druse camel-driver.
She was once a sinner in the streets of Jerusalem.
Now she is a Sister of Bethany, allured to goodness by
our Temple s allegories ! "

" A woman that was a sinner, a scarlet woman ? "

" Only such. No ; all of that ! One woman ; a lost
one? How little to man; how much to God ! Had
nothing else been done, heaven would have been set
singing, as ever, over a sinner s return. That s reward
enough for all we ve attempted."

" Now I m interested, indeed ! "

" Well you may be, when you hear all. We ve here one
once a harem beauty, who, having lost her power to
fascinate, was committing her life to that hag-cunning
belonging to old women who supplement their decaying
power by wickedness, fox-like and serpentine."

" The old, old story ; yet I thank God if her life be

The " Light of the Harem? 557

" Hers is a strange story."

" May I know it ?"

"Yes; it is, as I ve gathered it in scraps, a sad
romance. She was born of Georgian parents, among
the mountains of Armenia, and gifted, in her youth,
as are most of those of her sex in that country, with un
usual personal beauty. She early attracted the atten
tion of the monsters who dealt in human flesh, and a
Georgian noble unrighteously claiming her family as
his serfs, bartered away Nourahmal to merchants seek
ing recruits for Mameluke harems. She became, in
time, part of the retinue of a sheik by the name of
Azrael, a desperate adventurer, who, on account of his
blood-deeds, was called by his followers the Angel of
Death. His luxurious and desperate way of living
justified his claim to Turkish extraction; his adroit
ness and avidity for intrigue stamped him as a Mame

"Nourahmal? Azrael? Why, these must be the
same of whom I ve heard SirCharleroy speak ? queried

" The same ! "

" She comes out of the past as one from the dead ! "

" And her sti.ry is a series of strange events. It is
as follows : Azrael suspected her of having abetted
the escape of my father and Ichabod, therefore de
termined to kill her. She gained a temporary respite
through having saved her master s life from an assas
sin plotting to supplant him ; though she periled her
own in so doing.

" As Azrael awaited her recovery from the wounds
she had suffered in his behalf, he devised another scheme
which he hoped would compass his favorite s destruc-

558 The Queen of the House of David.

tion and his own elevation. He was ambitious to be
Sherif of Mecca. To attain that honor he saw he
must needs do something to enhance his popularity
greatly with his Mohammedan followers, and so con
ceived the plan of getting into his power, Harrimai of
the Jews and Adolphus of the Christians. His purpose
was to rack those two leaders into apostasy and the
betrayal of their followers. Had he succeeded, the
event would have been crushing to Jews and Christians
east of Jordan. He promised Nourahmal her freedom
and restoration to her Georgian home if she aided him
in his design ; though he did not disclose his purpose
to her beyond that of securing the presence of Von
Gombard and Harrimai in his camp. She felt that
there was some malign, hidden purpose in her master s
breast, but deemed it expedient, at the outset, to seem
to co-operate in his plan."

" But how was the sheik using his strategy against
Nourahmal? "

"As a fiend! He, having no conception of a friend
ship between a man and a woman that was pure and
free from intrigue, suspected the relations between his
favorite and Ichabod. He thought the two only
needed the opportunity to precipitate into perfidy. He
laid his plan darkly, and, leaving a trusty follower to
carry it out, hastened forward to Mecca."

" But surely, Nourahmal was not what he thought

" No ; though training her as a plastic child, he judged
she was what he had tried to make her ; at her worst she
was. But let me continue. The assault on my parents
and Ichabod, on the road between Gcrash and Bozrah.,
was the opening of the drama. The plan then was to

The " Light of the Harem. 1 559

seize Rizpah, and under pretense of negotiating for her
ransom, inveigle Harrimai into the hands of Azrael s
followers. Nourahmal was to aid in this by affecting
tears, pleading for pity and suggesting the sending for
the girl s father."

" What besetments perilous we pass through, all
unknown to us ! Harrimai and your parents, to their
death, never suspected the devices worked against
them ! "

" Nor dreamed that a harem favorite, a mere girl,
and an utter stranger to them, was their good
angel ! "

" Good angel ! How ? "

" She witnessed the assault from behind a sequester
ing wall, in company with a follower of the sheik, com
missioned to kill her instantly if she faltered in the
part appointed her. This infernal guard was also
charged to insinuate into her mind the feasibility of
elopement with Ichabod. If she could be compro
mised, Azraelknew he could justify her death to those
who remembered her heroic defense of himself. That
was to follow as soon as she had done her part in in
veigling Harrimai to Azrael s camp."

" A demonstration of a personal devil, Miriamne."

" I d say rather of an overruling God."

" How fared Nourahmal after Azrael s chagrin? "

" Cornelius anticipates me. When she saw Ichabod
fall, a sudden desire for liberty for herself and to help
the imperiled Rizpah, prompted her to drive a dagger
into the heart of her guard and cry, Rescuers come !
That cry drove the remnants of the assailers of Sir
Charleroy to sudden flight. She asserted to the fugi
tives that Laconic, the nc\v runner, just passing, had

560 The Queen of the House of David.

slain her guard, and so allayed suspicion until oppor
tunity of escape came. She soon made her way to
Bozrah, where she found among the Christians a tem
porary home. From thence she drifted into Jerusalem."

" Twas strange she did not turn toward Gerash."

" I said as much to her, but desire to get as far as
possible from Azrael, and as near as possible to the
Holy City, of which Ichabod had so glowingly spoken
to her, determined her course ; besides that, Ichabod
being dead, Gerash was a strange place to her Jerusa
lem seemed to her, she said, near heaven."

" Had she only known it, she was near heaven in
Bozrah, being near Von Gombard."

" Her story weaves a chaplet for his tomb to-day;
for now it appears that from Nourahmal the old priest
foreknew the intention of those Saracens, who assailed
the city that day I was with him. Though they designed
capturing him to put him on the rack, he rushed into
the conflict, crying, Kill the foe with kindness ! The
assault would have been fatal to Bozrah, too, had not
the leader of one of the invading bands ordered a re
treat, just at the point of victory. This was indirectly
Nourahmal s work ; for that leader had been won by
her to esteem Christians far enough to be unwilling to
murder them, though not adverse to plundering them.
That was a great improvement in a Mohammedan."

" And Nourahmal knows from you that you are Sir

Online LibraryA. Stewart (Alexander Stewart) WalshMary, the queen of the house of David, and the mother of Jesus ; the story of her life → online text (page 35 of 40)