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

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" I d lead to the Rest of the Aged: "

"To the retreat with door like a castle? What are
those amazon forms in armor?"

"The Peri?"

" I bid them welcome in Miriamne s name, having
learned that she is serious as well as cunning in weav
ing the manna-bearing garlands of every myth about
her ideals. Say on."

"They say there is beneath the Caucasian mountains
a wondrous city builded of pearls and precious stones,
in which dwells a race of surpassing beauty of person.
I ve utilized the tradition."

" Oh, the fabled Peri ; but I m mystified."

"They also say," continued Miriamne, "that Dives,
a wicked genus, wages constant war against the Peri,
hoping to possess the treasures of the Peri capital, but



590 The Queen of t lie House of David.

that they successfully repel him and make their
happiness secure. I have a similitude of the Peri
city."

" In truth, I wonder now. What fitness for such an
allegory here ?"

" I think I have come near to a profound truth.
Listen ; here at the west, I have planned to show what
makes approaching age a terror."

" There are many evils which fall upon man s de
clining years."

"Judge me if my philosophy is faulty. I see ever
that the fear of being left poor and also old here haunts
most lives. This fear is the parent of avarice, and
avarice is a serpent of glowing head and deadly sting.
It robs Society and individuals of the two choicest
jewels, plenteous benevolence and serene hopefulness.
You will find that most of the wrongs from man to
man arise from hearts made cruel by the rigors of
avariciousness. If we could stay that master passion,
all streams of benevolence would rise to their flood,
and hoarding, now a seeming necessity, most fre
quently a curse, become the occupation solely of a few
monomaniacs."

" Miriamne s philosophy is as invulnerable as a
knight s hauberk, but how can you make it a general
practice ? "

"Oh, very easily. I ve planned to endow our Tem
ple of Allegory so that it may not only teach but also
do beautiful things. I d have it a Pool of Bethesda,
stirred continuously to meet every human need."

" Miriamne will have a vast following ; the masses
believe in loaves and fishes ! "

"True, avarice prompts some to a mean faith, bi.t



The Queen s Vision. 591

I seek to slay avarice and blast the love of money, that
root of all evil."

" Enthusiast ! a gainsaying world will cry."

"And the cry of the \vorld will be then, as often
before, a burning lie ! So be it. I m holding up the
truth, the royal truth of Christianity. I ll hold it up
while I have breath, and leave that truth, if God gives
me grace, as the beacon light on our hill to glow until
all Christendom puts on a charity as multiform and
broad as the needs of humanity."

" But there is a large and needy world."

"I have a rich Father; the earth is His and the
fullness thereof. The only difficulty is in securing
from His stewards an accounting and a beginning of
payment."

"This, Miriamne, sounds like the dream of a poet.
I ll not waken you from your beautiful trance, but
still the rough fates of life as it is, and the very com
mon commonplace confront us."

" What a world this would be if all mankind was as
one family, realizing universal brotherhood ! "

"This, too, is the dream of the poet, Socialism;
Astarte s devotees practiced it in the past."

" Now, I ll say silence ! You speak of heathen so
cialism. Whatever its form, lust was its corner stone,
and a barbarous selfishness, which limited it to those
of each tribe or clan, its best expression! I speak of
a vastly finer, grander creed ! I look out and forward
to a day when all shall know the Lord ; a day when
law shall be love and love shall be law. Then earth
shall be an Eden, with plenty for all, such plenty as
Divine bounty bestows. Christianity means the bring
ing in of that day; the Precious Gift was an earnest



592 The Queen of the House of David.

of all needed gifts from on high. When that day
comes we shall understand why the Pentecostal fire
came to all hearts in the time when all worshipers
were thanking the All-Giver for the bounties of the
harvest. Then avarice shall cease from the earth, and
men, no more harassed by it, learn to practice all
bountifulness in youth and mid-life, and also serene
restfulness when their powers of bread-winning are
paralyzed by the burdens of years. All will be noble,
therefore none indolent. There will be no beggars,
for charity will run before want, ever glad to serve
those that can not serve themselves. Then those who
wear the glory-crowns of gray will be nourished rever
ently and gladly, not as if they were useless paupers ;
not with a niggardly service which seems to be con
stantly saying, How long are you going to live!
There will be no more worriment, no more crowdings
of each other, no more dishonesty among men ! It is,
I say, the constant fear of coming, in the day when
the heart is beating the last strokes of its own funeral
march, to doled charity or to nothing, that makes men
pile up gain in dishonor and hoard it with miserly
grasping. Do you remember that Mary returned from
ministering to Elizabeth to sing her Magnificat with
these prophetic strains :

" His mercy is on them that fear Him from genera
tion to generation. He hath filled the hungry with
good things. He hath holpen His servant Israel.

" From the song she went to humble, painful minis,
tries in behalf of all the world. Mary supplemented
the wondrous work of her Son and King, all the way
bearing as best she could her part of His cross ; all the
way her quivering heart pierced by the sword that



The Queen s Vision, 593

finally slew Him. She saw His bloody tears turning
to crown jewels as He ascended from Olivet, and with
unfaltering faith knelt among His earthly followers
chat she with them might receive her crown of flame.
That room was the highest point of outlook on earth.
It was the place of supreme beneficence ; the place
where God gave Himself up freely for His followers
and established the memorial-superlative of the ages.
Thither they hasted that they might learn how all-re
ceiving comes from all-giving, that they might realize
the measure and splendor of perfect charity, which is
perfect love."

" Miriamne, whence do you get such wondrous in
sights ? "

Then the young wife turned aside to her " own little
mountain," as she called a secret praying place in the
chapel. She quickly returned, and handing a manu
script to Cornelius, said :

" Read, please, of Pentecost."

He complied :

" Then they that gladly received His word were
baptized ; and the same day there were added unto
them about three thousand souls.

"And they continued steadfastly in the apostles
doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and
in prayers.

" And fear came upon every soul, and many won
ders and signs were done by the apostles.

" And all that believed were together, and had all
things common ;

" And sold their possessions and goods and parted
them to all men, as every man had need.

"And they, continuing daily with one accord in the



594 The Queen of the House of David.

temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did
eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

" Praising God, and having favor with all the peo
ple. And the Lord added to the church daily such
as should be savedo"



CHAPTER XLI.
A CHIME AND A DIRGE AT CHRISTMAS TIME.

"Oh, not alone, because his name is Christ;

Oh, not alone, because Judea waits
This man-child for her King the star stands still !

Its glory reinstates,
Beyond humiliation s utmost ill,

On peerless throne which she alone can fill,
Each earthly woman ! Motherhood is priced

Of God, at price no man may dare
To lessen or misunderstand.



The crown of purest purity revealed
Virginity eternal, signed and sealed
Upon all motherhood."

HELEN HUNT.

" In sorrow thou shalt bring forth." Gen. iii. 16.
"Thou shalt be saved in child-bearing." Tim. ii. 15.




1



JNDREDS of willing hands, directed by
Miriamne, were engaged in preparations for
fitly celebrating the feast of the Nativity at
Bethany. There was cheerful expectation
everywhere in the village, and the Temple of Allegory
was smiling and glowing by day and by night with
flowers and lights.

* Miriamne, look forth ! There approaches our dom-



596 The Queen of the House of David.

icile a company of singing maidens, wearing holly
wreaths and bearing a kline ! What can it mean ? "

An instant of wonderment ready to echo the chap
lain s question possessed Miriamne, then with a glow
of satisfaction on her pale face, she cried :

" I know it all ! The maidens of our fraternity have
been declaring for a month past they d have me this
Christmas at our Temple on the Hill, if they must
needs carry me thither ! "

"And they knew you were drooping? Who told
them ? Not I."

" Love has quick eyes, and my sisters love indeed! "

" But, Miriamne, you surely will not risk your life,
so precious to all, by going forth to-day?"

" The holly, over-canopying the couch they bear, says
to me : Yea, go. 1 told them the secret of the holly,
and how those ancient Romans, thinking their deities
largely sylvan, cherished this shrub, so pe/sistently
evergreen, in the belief that it afforded a safe and cer
tain abiding place for their gods in bitter, biting days
of winter. The maidens remember their lesson."

And shortly after, all went forth toward the temple,
the physically weak but spiritually strong woman
borne by her followers in a sort of triumph, and Cor
nelius leading ; the latter, that day was one of the hap
piest, proudest men in all Syria. He rejoiced and
exulted in being companion of a woman such as Miri
amne was.

Miriamne entered the temple to find a vast congre
gation awaiting her. There was a ripple of excite
ment, a deep murmuring of satisfied voices almost
reaching the proportion of a masculine outbreak of
applause, as she appeared. Contentment was depicted



A Chime and a Dirge at Christmas Time. 597

on all faces, on many real happiness. Neither was it
transitory; there was a throbbing of gladness running
back and forth, rising higher and higher, until it finally
broke out into an impromptu "Gloria in excelsis ! "
Then followed a scripture lesson :

"And Ezra the priest brought the law before the
congregation both of men and women, and all that
could hear with understanding, upon the first day of
the seventh month.

"And he read therein before the street that was before
the water-gate from the morning until midday, before
the men and the women, and those that could under
stand ; and the ears of the people were attentive unto
the book of the law."

And now the attention of all was drawn to the
sound of footsteps in the throbbings of a march, keep
ing time to the tones of the organ and the flourishings
of cymbals. Nigh an hundred Syrian maidens, wearing
girdles and crowns of evergreen, moved with grace
ful evolutions from the temple s east entrance and
quickly formed in a crescent nigh to Cornelius and
Miriamne. They paused in their progress but still
kept time with their feet and swinging cymbals. Then
the crescent was broken ; those in the center standing
in lines that made a cross ; those at either end group
ing as stars.

"Sisters, we d hear the fitting song of this day,"
said Miriamne. Forthwith the gathered company of
garlanded maidens began to retire, but in perfect
order, the two star groups passing along as the com
pany making the cross went, so preserving the form of
the tableau, until the exits were reached. As the pro
cession went forth the temple bell tolled solemnly,



598 The Queen of the House of David.

and the maidens sang, accompanied by organ-notes
which died away finally like the sigh of tired waves on
a beaten strand. Cornelius was silent, though his eyes
were like the eyes of a child awakened from a dream
of wonderland.

Miriamne penetrating his thoughts remarked :

" Is Cornelius weary of questioning?"

" I listen as to autumn winds in a scared flight through
weeping forests, instead of to Christmas exultations ! "

" The singers are of my Miriamne Band, as they
call themselves, in honor of the sister of Moses, Israel s
greatest law giver."

" Methinks ail here are mystics in thought and poets
in expression ! "

"Then so was God. We are but reproducing His
lessons ! Remember now how the Egyptian Pharoah
once commanded that all the male children of his
Israelitish captives be put to death, to the intent that
eventually all the females should become the prey of
his people."

" Miriamne journeys far from Bethlehem."

" The mother and the sister watched the ark in
which the infant Moses was given to the cruel mercies
of the Nile."

" I remember, but there come no carols from the
bullrushes."

" Yea, finer than from the reeds of Pan. Listen ; the
ark, emblem of God s covenant, carried the law. The
mother and sisters, by the ministries of a love which
never faltered, frustrated wily Egypt, saved themselves^
their male companions, and finally their whole race.
When God embalms a history it is well to look into it
for germs of mighty portent."



A Chime and a Dirge at Christmas Time. 599

"But thinking of this distant and bitter history, we
are kept from Bethlehem, Miriamne."

" So the Red Sea and the \vilderness preceded the
Promised Land. You remember there were fears
and tears before Miriam and her mother saw their
babe safely adopted at the palace ; so there were
pains and toils to Mary along the way from Bethle
hem s manger to Bethany s mount of Ascension."

The words of Miriamne were broken off by a strain
of the organ that was very like amoan of the distressed.

" Look yonder ! "

The chaplain did as bidden, following a motion of
his wife s hand, and saw the folds of a huge black cur
tain slowly rising from in front of one of the temple
alcoves.

" Woman s sorrow is tardily lifted ! " exclaimed his
wife ; then there came to his ears words of human
voices, which were joining in the almost human-like
moanings of the organ ;

"In Rama was there a voice heard;
Lamentation and weeping and great mourning;
Rachel weeping for her children,
And would not be comforted,
Because they are not."

" Rachel and funeral dirges seem still distant from
the songs of the angels in Judea ! "

" Rachel is here likened to Mary by the Apostle
Matthew."

" I liken Rachel to Miriamne : for the former Jacob
served fourteen years which, for the love he bore her,
seemed but a few days. Cornelius could have done as
much for Miriamne."



6oo The Queen of the House of David.

" My knightly spouse goes from Betlilehem himself
toward Bethany. Go back now."

" I listen ; lead me."

" At Rama, the site of the tomb of Mary s son, the
converted publican, St. Matthew, told how death be
gan its cruel hunt of the Virgin s loved Child at His
very cradle. Sorrow envies joy ; death battles life, and
ever more woman s love, the choicest rose of life, has
been crossed by the destroyer of human happiness ;
that is human hatings."

" But how is Rachel so like Mary ? "

" A common agony and common needs make all
women akin."

" I accord great homage to the woman who taught
one so selfish, gnarled and rugged of soul as Jacob was
to love so deeply, as he was taught to love by her, and
yet almost infinitely I separate her from our Rose and
Queen."

" Rachel died a martyr in maternity and therefore is
worthy of place among the regal women of earth.
She was one of that line of women who gave their
jives for others. The line survives, and suffers through
the years ; all-worthy, but not fully honored. Saint
Matthew touched an all-responsive chord when he
voiced the Divine pity for all motherhood, by placing
the sorrows of Rachel and of Mary side by side. The
plain man unconsciously soars to the plane of the
prophets and poets when he is moved by human need
or Divine justice."

"The lesson is irresistible, but still I m waiting for
the celestial melodies that awakened the shepherd the
night of the Nativity ! "

" My partner shall get by giving. Here is a parch-



A Chime and a Dirge at Christinas Time. 60 1

merit given me years ago to read for my mother s con
solation after the death of my brothers. Read it, thou,
to the matrons and maidens when the chantings
cease."

After a time there was silence ! the hush of expecta
tion, for that gathering was wont at ti.nes to wait for
words of blessing from the missioners, as the hart for
the rivulet at the beginnings of the rain.

" Read ! " whispered Miriamne, " but not as the tra
gedian ! Read as a father and lover, both in one."
The young man complied, and these were the words of
the parchment :

" There was a man named Jehoikim who, impressed of
God thereto, offered a lamb in sacrifice. As he slew it his
heart was touched with tenderness, and he would have
staid his hand, but God gave him strength to perform the
command. After this a daughter, called Alary, was born to
him. Whenever he looked upon her gentle face he remem
bered the bleating lamb, and was certain that some way his
child was to be a sacrifice to God. And it was so ; for she
bore a Son to whom she gave all the wealth of a mother s
love, but at last He was offered for man s sin upon a felon s
cross, the agony He felt reaching the heart of his mother.
As lhe Son gave Himself up for the world, so she gave her
self up for her Son. She was sustained through it all by
a conscience void of offense, and by the ministry of angels.
Alone to the world, she had no solitude, for though her es
pousal to God had no human witness, even as Eve s to Adam
had none, and both were inexperienced, God was at her
nuptials, as He is ever with those who purely give them
selves to Him."

Then the wife wept and was silent.

" My darling, what so moves you ? I ve never
experienced such a Christmas. You make the feast as
solemn as the holy supper."

There came no answer ; but ere the husband could
turn to seek a reason it came in a cry from the audience,



602 The Queen of the House of David.

and a thronging from all directions toward where the
missioners were.

" Miriamne has fallen ! "

" Tis a swoon ?"

" No, tis death ! " There were surgings back and
forth, voices suggesting helps, voices filled with stifled
sobs, and voices of fright in the trebles of hysteria.

The sick woman was borne by strong men to her
domicile, and then began the tension of waiting. The
young chaplain was entering the valley of poignant
pains by sympathy s pathway, bound by that mystic
chain whose links are in the words : "These twain shall
be one flesh." Herein is a mystery often repeated ;
the man s grief was supplemented by a consciousness
of vague pains passing along unseen lines from the
woman to himself. Slowly Miriamne recovered con
sciousness ; but still she hovered on the confines of
woman s supreme hour, the hour when great fear haunts
great hopes, great weakness yields to miraculous
influxes of power, and great joy, in company with
unutterable yearnings, moves along under the shadows
and by the gulfs of greatest perils. About her
gathered a group of matrons of her sisterhood, pressing
to serve their beloved.

One whispered to another : " Her face is unearthly,
like Mary s as we saw it in the Assumption to-day."

The one that heard the words answered with a sob.
The voice of pain called the drooping woman quickly
from her semi-stupor to ministry, and opening her eyes
she tenderly murmured to the woman that sobbed,
" Remember what he said : Women of Jerusalem, weep
not* for me ; but weep for yourselves and children. If
I go twill be all well ; yes, by His grace, all well with



A Chime and a Dirge at Christmas Time. 603

me. Let all your pity follow the pilgrims of our sex
who tarry to painfully journey through years of trial,
unrequited."

A little later Cornelius was hastily summoned by
one that sought him, from the shadows of an arch of
the roof, whither he had gone for a few moments soli
tude, in which to plead, as only can a man who writhes
in the fear of having his life torn in two.

" Miriamne asks for her husband." He heard the
words and was by his consort s side instantly. Her
eyes were closed, but taking her pale hand tenderly in
his he impressed a kiss on her brow. She opened her
eyes full upon him, with a gaze of undying love.

"You kissed my brow, the first kiss as a lover. Then
you said it was given in the spirit of reverential admi
ration. Has marriage ever changed the thought?"

" Never! "

" If I should leave you, do you think you could tell
others how to love so?"

" Oh, 1 can, surely ; if I can do any thing, alone ! "
And then came to him the silence of a dumb grief. She
saw his agony and pitied him, yet serenely she spoke :

" Go onward, beloved, in the way of the prophet s
vision ; the power of Christ be with you ; the life of
Mary is an open book; speak to, work for those most
needing, then will you have your constant Pentecost
with the ever present Grail.

Cornelius pressed the hand he held tenderly ; he
could not speak.

" Repeat to me the beautiful words concerning the
Harvest Feast which you heard out of Moses at the
service that so blessed you at Jerusalem," she continued
again. Then, mastering his voice, he complied :



604 The Queen of the House of David.

"And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the
Lord thy God with a tribute of a freewill-offering of
thine hand, which thou shalt give unto the Lord thy
God, according as the Lord thy God hath blessed thee:

" And thou shalt rejoice before the Lord thy God,
thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manser
vant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is
within thy gates, and the stranger, and the fatherless,
and the widow, that are among you, in the place which
the Lord thy God hath chosen to place His name there."

When he finished the words he hid his face in his
hands.

" Thou art weary, my good master," spoke a Jewish
mother present. "Go now and rest. I ll watch."

Quickly, gently, firmly he waved her away, as one
unwittingly trying to draw him from the gates of
heaven.

" It is not usual," she persisted, " for a man to serve
this way; then thou hast other and more important
duties, our holy missioner! "

He found voice to speak, and needed to restrain
himself from indignant tone. It seemed as if it were
impiety now, so great his love, to speak of any duty as
higher than that lie had toward this one woman, more
to him than all the world beside. " No ; if I were on
the cross she would be there, another Mary ; if I am now
in torture I d be no Christian if I did not emulate Him
who, amid crucial agonies, between t\vo worlds, cried
as inmost thought of His heart, Behold thy Hot her !

He felt Miriamne s hand pressing his, and drawing
him closer to herself.

" Cornelius, I m leaning now as never before upon
my husband s loyal heart ! "



A Chime and a Dirge at Christmas Time. 605

It seemed to the man as if she were nigh to crying:
" My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ! " and
as if to answer his own thought he exclaimed:

" He will be Father, I as a mother, Miriamne, my
Miriamne ! "

Grief had made him an interpreter. It was as he
thought, the heart of the young woman, woman-like,
had been groping about for mother-love. Memory
had been busy, but had sent the heart of the woman
back from groping amid the graves of Bozrah all weary,
to nestle and rest on the breast of him that gave
mother-love, and promised all else that loyal heart ere
gave.

But all was not gloomful ; the clouds were shot
through and tinted by some light-rays.

"What if our forebodings prove untrue?"

Hope s question was as a north wind to a desert
noon.

Once the man bashfully questioned his spouse, with
broken sentence that was half signs.

" Does Miriamne feel aught of reproach toward the
great love, seemingly not far from utter selfishness,
which enchanted to this peril?"

" Could Madonna reproach God when she felt the
heart-piercing sword ? To Him she submitted, no less
do I in doing and suffering as He wills! "

It has been said a woman s heart is complex, but
this one s was not now. It lay open, as a book, before
her lover-husband. He saw no idol there but himself.
Had there ever been hidden remembrance of some
girlish love, some secret scar left by a romance, both
burning and brief, it would have been opened or effaced
now.



606 The Queen of the House of David.

As she beheld her consort, this time more loved, \ .
possible, than ever before, knightly, courtly and tender,
alert and strong to help, lavish in caressing, she not.



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