standing before a mirror. Just then he thought of his
mother and Mary, his ideal, standing on either side of
him, before the same presentment. It might have been
a dream; but he believed they smiled through tears,
pressed their beating hearts to his and upheld him by
their arms with tenderness and strength.
left him for a few moments only, undisturbed. At a
sign from Azrael, he was soon carried away by a guard ;
the parley was ended and he that had so bravely spoken
doomed to confront that that is to the vigorous mind
the worst of happenings, uncertainty. For months the
captive mechanically submitted to the fortunes of the
88 TJie Queen of the House of David.
Sheik s caravan ; in health improving ; in spirit de
pressed, numbed. The knight had constantly before
him three grim certainties, escape impossible ; rebel
lion useless ; each day hope darkened by further depar
ture from the sea. The captive s treatment from the
Sheik was not unkind. The latter met him by times
with a sort of courtly condescension, varied only by an
occasional penetrating, questioning glance. They had
little conversation, yet the Sheik s looks plainly said:
" When thou art subdued, sue for favors; they ll be
granted." De Griffin nursed his pride and firmness and
prevented all familiarity on Azrael s part. The latter
was puzzled sometimes, sometimes angered ; but he
was too polite to show his feelings. For months the
only conversation between the two alert, strong men
might be summed up in these words on the Sheik s
part : " Slave, freedom and heaven are sweet." " Knight,
Allah knows only the followers of the Prophet as
friends." On the knight s part a look of scorn or an
expression of disgust was the sole reply.
In the Sheik s retinue was another captive, a Jew.
He was constantly near the knight ; for being more
fully trusted than the latter, the Sheik had made the
Israelite in part the custodian of the Christian. The
knight discerned the relationship very quickly; though
both Jew and chief endeavored to conceal it. Sir
Charleroy, at the first, treated his companion captive
with loathing and resentment, as a spy. After a time,
the " sphinx, eyes open, mouth shut," as Azrael
described Sir Charleroy. deemed it wise and politic to
make the Jew his ally. The resolution once formed,
he found many circumstances to aid in bridging the
gulf that separated the captive and his guard ; the cul
tured Teutonic leader and the wandering Israelite.
They both hated the same man, their captor; both
loathed the religion he was covertly aiming to lure
them to ; both were anxious for freedom. They gave
voice to these feelings when together, alone, and ere
long sympathy made them friends. The next step was
natural and easy ; the stronger mind took the leader
ship of the two, and Sir Charleroy became teacher ; his
keeper became his pupil 3&& prottgt.
The twain one day, after this change of relation,
walked together conversing, on a hill overlooking Jeri
cho, by which place the Sheik s caravan was encamped.
" Ichabod, thou wearest a fitting name."
" I suppose so, since my mother gave it. But why
say so now ? "
" Ichabod, glory departed, thou art like thy people
" Oh, Lord ! how long? " piously exclaimed the Jew.
"Till Shiloh comes!"
" Verily it is so written," was the Jew s reply.
" But He has come, Israelite ! "
"Where?" the startled Jew questioned, drawing
back as if he expected his, to him mysterious, com
panion to throw back his tunic and declare : " I am he ! "
" In the world and in my heart."
"Ah, Sir Knight, Israel s desolation refutes all that."
Jew, thine eyes are veiled. I ll teach thee to see
The Jew was puzzled.
The twain fell into prolonged converse, and then
in that lone place the Crusader waxed eloquent, preach-
90 The Queen of tJic House of David.
ing Christ and Him crucified to one of Abraham s
When the two captives descended to their tents,
each was conscious of a new, peculiar joy. One had the
joy of having proclaimed exalted truth, faithfully, to the
almost persuading of his hearer; the other was mov
ing about in the growing delight and wonder of a new
At frequent intervals Ichabod besought the knight
to take him " to the mountain."
Each visit thither was a delight to the new inquirer.
On such a journey one day spoke Ichabod : " Chris
tian, I am consumed with anxiety to hear thy words
and another anxiety lest they do me harm. I am
thinking, thinking, by day, and, what little time my
thoughts permit sleep, I m filled with wondrous dreams !
I fear to lose my old faith, and yet it becomes like
Dead Sea apples under the light of this new way. So
new, so infatuating. None I ve met, and I ve met
many, ever so moved me. Why, knight, I ve traversed
half the world ; sometimes as wealth s favorite, some,
times of necessity in misfortune ; I ve seen the faiths
of Egypt and India in their homes, and walked amid
the temples of great Rome, but with abiding contempt
for all not Israelitish. Not so this creed of the knight
"And for good reason; I offer thee the true, new,
refined and final Judaism ! "
"It seems so, and yet I tremble. I dare not doubt ;
that s sin ; but here s the puzzle that harasses me :
What if, in doubting these things I m now told, I be
doubting the very truth, the Jewish faith "
" Ichabod, thy heart has been a buried seed await
ing the spring. It has come."
" OX knight, I m trusting my dear soul to thee.
As a dog his master, a maid her lover, so blindly I
follow thee. I can not go back : I can not pause nor
can I go onward alone. I m in the misery of a joy too
great to be borne, almost, and yet too much my master
to be given up. Oh, knight, thou art so wise, so
strong! Steady me ; hold me up! I can only pray
and adjure thee to be sincere with me; only sincere;
that s all; as sincere as if thou wert ministering to the
ills of a sick man battling death."
The child of Abraham, with a sudden movement,
flung his arms with all vehemence about Sir Charleroy.
The East and the West embracing, truth leading, love
" Poor Ichabod, if thou hads t no soul, thy clingings
and yearnings would bind me to thee faithfully. Thou
hast tried to give me charge over that that is immortal.
A Higher Being has it in loving trust; were it not so,
I d turn in dread from thy confiding ! "
" Is mine so bad a soul, master? "
" Indeed, no. Its preciousness to Him that created
it, is what would make me dread its partial custody."
" Thou lt help me, master, now ? "
"For three objects I ll willingly die ; my mother;
our lady, and the soul of one who abandons himself, as
thou, to my poor pilotage."
" Then, thou strangely lovest me. Oh, this but more
persuades me that thy faith is right ; it makes thee so
good to a stranger, a slave, a hated Jew ! "
But then we are so apart and so unlike each other I
92 The Queen of r/ie House of David.
" No, Jew, I want to show that humanity is one.
The very creed I m trying to teach theeand would fain
have all thy race, ay, all mankind fully understand, is
full of love, joy, peace. These follow it as naturally as
the flower the stem, the humming the flying wing
made to fly and be musical."
" Oh, my dear light, with thee I m in joy and wilder-
ment. Thy presence seems to bring me hosts of
crowned truths, all seeking to enter my being. I feel
like a tired runner ready to faint when thou rt absent,
but when thou talkest the tired runner is plunged into a
cooling ocean, whose circling waves, as it were charged
with the stimulus of tempered lightnings, glowing with
a million rainbows, overwhelm, lift up and rest him.
I m floating thereon now !"
" Thy strange fancies make me wonder, Ichabod."
" Wonder ; why my strength dies from over wonder.
I was ill for hours yesterday. Light to my sweat-
blinded, feverish eyes, all calm and healing, comes
when I yield to thy will ; but still all my joy is
haunted by ghosts which rise in day-mare troops,
pointing rebukingly to labyrinths into which I seem
to be pushed. I sometimes wonder if I m seeing real
spirits or going mad."
" Dost pray, Jew?"
" I dare not live without praying! "
"Then tell the All Pitiful what thou hast this day
told to me. He loves the sincere, down to the deep
est hell of doubt, and from it all, at last, will lead
tumulted souls safely. An honest doubt is a real
prayer, well winged ; quickly it reaches heaven, at
whose portal it dies to rise again all peace."
FROM JERICHO TO JORDAN.
Through sins of sense, perversities of will,
Through doubt and pain, through guilt and shame and ill
Thy pitying Eye is on Thy creature still."
Wilt Thou not make, eternal Source and Goal,
In thy long years life s broken circle whole,
And change to praise the cry of a lost soul ? "
EW and Crusader came to love each other
after the manner of David and Jonathan,
and they were both made stronger and
happier men on account of this loving.
" Sir Charleroy, a year gone to day, thou and I climbed
"Thou hast a prolific imagination or I a poor mem
ory. I have no remembrance of either climbing or
glory of a year ago."
" I may well remember the greatest day of my life ;
the day thou tookst me up yon hill over against Jericho ;
I saw, as Elisha, in the presence of his great master
Elijah, the mountains, that day, full of the chariots
and angels of God."
" But, Jew, the chariot separated Elijah and Elisha ;
we were, in thy great day, made one."
" True, but I got the prophet s insight and power. Oh
94 The Queen of the House of David.
now 1 see Shiloh coming in the redemption of Jew and
" Radiant proselyte, give God, not me the glory."
" I ll call thee, knight, Jordan my Jordan."
" The Jew rambles amid strange conceptions. Why
am I like that mighty stream ? "
" Its bed and banks, God s cup ; they nobly serve,
catching the pure waters of mountain springs and
heaven s clouds, to bear them, mingled with sweet Gali
lee, to the black burning lips of Sodom s plains below.
X was a dead sea, alive alone to misery ; nothing to me
but my historic past, and that sin-stained. I m now
refreshed and purified ; sometime there ll be life grow
ing about me ! "
"The highlands of Galilee gather from heaven,
oceans of sweet, pure water, which Jordan, year after
year, night and day, hurries down to the Asphalt
sea; but still that sea remains lifeless and bitter.
Even so, the clean, white truth comes to some, life
long, yet vainly. I think I m little like Jordan, but
much like that sea."
And yet, knight, all is not vain that seems so. I
learned this once, long ago, in the vale of Siddim, by
the sea of Lot. As I entered that place of desola
tion I thought of Gehenna! The lime cliffs about, all
barren and pitiless as the walls of a furnace, shut out
the breezes, and intensified the sun s scorching rays.
A solemn stillness, unbroken by wind, wave or voice of
life, was there ; suffocating, plutonic odors ladened the
air, and a fog hung over that watery winding sheet of
the cities of the plain. I watched that overhanging
cloud until my heated brain shaped it into a vast com-
From Jericho to Jordan. 95
pany of shades ; the ghostly forms of the overwhelmed
denizens of those accursed habitations, now in mute
terror and confusion, holding to one another desper
ately ; fearing to go to final judgment. Once I thought
they were together trying to look down into the depths,
perchance to seek for vestiges of their ancient, earthly
habitations. These fancies grew and grew upon me,
mad dreamer that I was, until I was nigh to desperate
fright ; but I found some little angels on the shore
" Angels at Sodom ? "
" Even so. The first was light and liquid silver; it
sang a bar of nature s tireless, varied melody by my foot
steps Ah, the little, fresh spring that burst forth
through the rim of the crystalline basin, was an angel to
me. Then I found others here and there. At first I was
glad, then I began to pity them, and to wish I could
change their courses. They all wended their ways to
the desolate sea, and their sweet currents were swal
lowed up in the yawning gulf of death. Vainly, I
said at first. Then I saw other angels in the forms of
bending willows, and gorgeous oleanders. Just then it
all came to me; the springs, though small and few,
were not in vain. The oleanders and the willow, whose
roots kissed their fresh life, were evidences that the
springs had been for good. Aye, more, the flowers re
joiced me in those desolations more than could the
rose gardens of the Temple in days of happiness.
Yea, knight, thou hast been a rivulet to Ichabod in a
d^y when he wandered as among arid mountains and
" Blest child of Abraham, thy faith is great, though
96 The Queen of the House of David.
I be but a pitiable guide ; yet I ll adopt thy similes,
Be thou and I, to each other, Jordan, rivulet and
flower by turn ; the fresh current gives life to plant and
blossom, while plant and blossom both shade and beau
tify the streams. With both it shall be well, if we well
learn to seek deep for the hidden springs of the life
that can never die. Already thou hast blessed me very
greatly, gathering truths I failed to find. Thou re-
turn st to me multiplied all I bestow."
" Would I could gather for all ; for my race, so
blinded ! Oh, it is a tristful thought that the nearer I
get to God, the further I get from them 1 love next
after Him. Even my mother was wont to say to me,
when, as a questioning boy, I inquired beyond the
traditions of the Rabbis, that she d disown me to a!!
eternity as a heretic. My belief has made me an out
cast to her, and yet the thought of her hating me tears
" I ll love thy orphaned heart."
" Me ? Love me ; so far beneath thee and with such
pauper power of payment ? "
" Thy desolation makes thee rich ; having none other
to love, thou canst love me the more. Thou know st
this open secret of loving ; its selfishness demands all ;
getting that it gives all. Fear not Ichabod, but that
thou lt find the hunger of thy heart well fed. It is as
natural for us to love those we have helped as to hate
those we have harmed. Thou know st how men won
der that the Infinite can love the finite, but they for
get, or never realized, that one may love because he
has loved. So is it with God. He loves, and that He
loves becomes therefore rich and worthful to Him."
From Jericho to Jordan. 97
The morning after the betrothal, shall we call it, of
these two men to each other, long before dawn the
knight was wakened by a cautious step on the stone
floor of his sleeping place. Sir Charleroy was at once
all alert and leaped from the couch, sword in hand,
expecting to confront some gipsy thief, for there had
been a band of these wanderers hovering near the day
"Who s there?" sternly he demanded, advancing,
on guard meanwhile.
" Ichabod, Ichabod ! " with trembling voice and in a
half whisper. It was the Jew.
" I did not mean to fright thee," he hurriedly
explained, when he had recovered from his fear of
being thrust through, "but I ve news; bad news that
would not wait ! "
"What is the bad? Is it near ?"
" Oh, knight, speak low the news is bad enough
and the ill, though not on us, close after us! "
" Thou art excited, my friend ; sit down and then
unfold the matter. Meanwhile I ll light a faggot.
" In truth, I can t sit, and I ve reason to be nervous."
Then the man spread out his arms and his fingers as if
he would stand all ready to fly ; his eyes wide open,
staring as he talked.
" Our Sheik leaves Jericho to-morrow ; summoned by
the sheriff of Mecca. The sheriff is supreme to
Moslem. The command is for war toward the east.
Blood, blood ; when will the world be done shedding
blood ! "
" Well, my loving alarmist," replied Sir Charleroy,
coolly, " that s not very bad news. If the Shiek leaves
9? The Queen of the House of David,
us, we ll be free ; if he takes us, there will be a change
and for that I could almost cry Blessed be Allah ! I
am sickened, crushed, dry-rotted by this hum-drum
life; this slavery; dancing abject attendance on a glut
tonous master, whose sole object seems to be eating o^
dallying about the marquees of his harem"
" Oh, Sir Charleroy, the change has dreadful things
for us ! "
" Why ? "
" I heard that the runner bringing the mandate from
Mecca brings also command that all prisoners, such as
we, must be made to embrace Islamism, enlist to die,
if need be, in this so-called holy war, or be sent to the
"This is a carnival for the furies! Why, Ichabod,
the latter is burial alive ; the former death with a dis
"Sir Charleroy, I prefer the slavery."
" Well, I prefer neither. Is the mandate final?"
" Yes ; I ve an order to commence packing at sun
rise ; by noon we will be enlisted or in chains."
" Who gave thee these state secrets, so in detail ?
Perhaps tis only camp-fire gossip recounted for lack of
novel ghost stories."
"Ah, tis too true. I d swear my life on it !"
" Rash, credulous; but which now, comrade, I can
" Master, I had this from one that loves me as I love
thee ; the young Nourahmal, light of the harem,
favorite of the Shiek."
" Well, now it seems to me that this light of the
harem is thy favorite rather than the Shiek s."
From Jericho to Jordan, 99
" She adores me."
" Doubtless ! Where a woman unfolds her mind
there she brings all else an offering easily possessed.
She seals her change of allegiance by scattering the
secrets of the dethroned to the enthroned lover.
Nourahmal ? Is she as charming in form as in name?"
"Hold, now! If thou lov st me thou will st not
continue thus to wound. I love that girl, but not the
way thou meanest ! "
" So ? Is there an elopement pending ! "
" Unworthy gibe ! Say no more like it, but answer
this : Is it not possible for a man and woman to be knit
ted together in soul, as I and thou have been, without
the shadow of a remembrance that they are animals of
different sexes ? "
" Possible? Really I do not know. It may be pos
sible, but so very rare that I have failed to hear of any
Then thou shalt hear of it now in Nourahmal and
"I ll take both to Paris! Another wonder of the
tvcrld ! But explain further."
"My Nourahmal is a captive; hates the man to
whom she must submit as we hate him, and loves me
with the new love that you have revealed to me,
because I ve shown her that I love her that way ; so
different from any thing she ever knew before."
" Well, there are many women yoked to men for
whom they feel no great affection, yet they glorify
womanhood by their unfaltering loyalty. Loyalty is
woman s glory; the hope of society. If the women
be traitors, then, alas i "
ioo The Queen of the House of David.
" Nourahmal is not a wife! The man that parcels
out his heart to a dozen favorites buys but scraps in
return. A woman in misery s chains, without the
bands of the confiding, utter love of her lord, will talk ;
she must talk, or go mad. I tell, thee, knight, such gos
sip is the panacea of suicidal bent. There s many a
woman kills herself for lack of a confidant ! "
" Thou hast learned much philosophy going around
the world. Jew, but perhaps not this bitter truth ; the
woman who is traitor to one man will be to another.
Thou mayst be the next. What if she set us fleeing for
the sake of laughing at our forced return ? "
" Impossible, knight ; she reveres me truly ; even
as she does God ; just as I did Sir Charleroy when he
brought me light and rest. I was to her what thou
art to me. One day I told her women had souls, as
dear to heaven as the souls of men ! She laughed at
me like a monkey, at first, and reminded me that were I
a true desciple of Islam I d know that only young and
beautiful women go to heaven, and they even there
have a lowly place. Thou knowest these infidels be
lieve that the large majority of hellians are women."
" Not strange Jew ; they treat women as pretty or
useful animals, and so degrade, not only themselves, but
these very women. A woman so demeaned does not
become heavenly, to say the least. But I think, if I
were a Turk, I d keep only argus-eyed eunuchs to
guard my harem; in faith, I d even have the tongues
out of those guards."
" There, now, thou dost jest again."
" Well, go on, in seriousness. Tell us the pipings o
this seraglio beauty."
Prom Jericho to Jordan. IOI
I ve won her over completely."
" This is not strange. Poets are always valiant, vic
torious orators with women. The female heart is
emotionally moved up to belief with little logic, if the
speaker be fair, or musical, or brave ! "
" I was none of these ; I told her of the Friend of
Publicans and Sinners ; that fed her soul. I do not
believe there is a woman on earth that can resist that
"Oh, well, I m not going to forget that the first
woman outran her mate in evil, nor that she exchanged
the All Beautiful for the snaky demon."
" It would be nobler for a knight, truer for all, to
judge, if judge they will, by wider circles. Do not re
member the sin of one, or a few, to the disparagement
of all ! "
" Eve, the best made of all, fell ; then her weaker
sisters are more likely to follow in her way," said the
"She found a sin and fell: thousands of her daugh
ters have fallen by sins that men invented and thrust
on them. Thou knowest that most women who go
wrong, go in ways they would not without the temp-
tings of the stronger will. The sin that ruins most is
that to woman s nature abhorrent, until honeyed over
by the tongue of man."
" Dexterous lance, art thou, Jew ; but, anyway, some
women are born bad."
"No; I m not able for one so wise as the knight,
unless I ve the strength of truth. I ve heard that our
wise men say that if we could trace the ancestry of any
one evil, from birth, we would find somewhere, up the
IO2 The Queen of the House of David.
line, a father, preeminent in wickedness. Say, women
are weak to resist evil ; then, say men are strong to
propagate it. Now, which way turns f he scale ?
" Oh, I say always, dogmatically, if need be, in man s
" Let me see : Eve s humanity that sinned was out of
the finest part of Adam s body, and the serpent which
betrayed her was a male."
" I ll parry the thrust by asking why the Holy Writ
ings reveal no female angels? I think there are none."
" I ve a wiser reason, knight. It is this : Man has so
foully dealt with the angels in the flesh that God s
mercy reserves their finer spiritual counterparts for the
sole companionships of heaven, which justly appre
ciates these holy, pure and tender creations. Heaven
would not be perfectly beautiful without them and,
methinks, can not spare one for a moment ! "
"Not even to minister to a needy world?"
"Woman s life is here, generally, all service, all min
istry ; her return to earth after death would be a work
of supererogation. God sends back the male spirits
to help restore the world their sex did most to ruin."
Then both the debaters laughed out as heartily as
they dared, but there was in the tones of the knight s
laughter a part-confession of defeat. After a time
Sir Charleroy spo^e again : " Thou art calm now, after
this diversicn, Ichabod ; proceed with thy story of
" Well, Nourahmal "
" Oh, yes, begin again with Nourahmal. Samson was
a pretty good man for a giant, but he had a betraying
Delilah ! "
From Jericho to Jordan. 103
44 True enough ; but he had also a noble mother. Re-
member the better, rather than the worse/
" I remember her peers, Mary and my mother."
" So, then, when sweepingly condemning all the sex,
please except the mothers, at least of those who may
be thy hearers."
" Good Jew, I ll not wound thee ! "
" No pity for me ; pity thyself. Such thoughts as
thou hast spoken wound thine own soul. We Jews
have an order called Tumbler Pharisees ; they affect
humility, shuffle as they walk and stumble on pur-
pose that they may not seem to walk with confidence.
Akin to them we have the Bleeding Pharisees; they
walk with shut eyes, lest they should see a woman, and,
stumbling against many a post, are soon covered with
their own blood, receiving real harm in flying from
" Maya, Maya, Ichabod," laughing aloud, exclaimed
The latter, catching the knight s arm, hoarsely
whispered: "Hush! Thou mayst be heard. What
dost thou mean by Maya ? "