" Perhaps, Nourahmal ! Maya was the reputed wife
of the supposed god Brahm of the Hindus. It is
reported that she was in form like unto fog and her
name means illusion. A subtle truth, Jew; even a
god, in love, is near a fog bank! "
" Thou dost not know Nourahmal and dost discredit
her; that s slander; thou dost know me and ridiculesr
me; that s but I ll not say it."
" I d not pain my Ichabod."
" Nor discredit Nourahmal ?"
IO4. The Queen of the House of David.
" No ; but did this angel, or Syren of thine, having
shown the peril, present a map to a city of refuge?"
" Ah, poor, helpless girl ! she has none for herself,
much less for us. She just told me all and wept and
kissed me a farewell, praying me to flee. I could think
of no question in the delight of hearing her say, she
hoped I d meet her in Heaven, in peace away from
Moslem and wars. Only think of her faith ! All new ;
just a little while ago she did not know there was a
heaven for women. I felt I could die then in peace.
I ve taught one woman that she is more than a pretty
" Then, Jew, to thee, life is worth living?"
" Oh truly ! Oh, if this light could only spread over
Egypt and all my own Syria ! "
" Thy desire is akin to that of Mary s son and noble.
Certain it is that we can not spread that light by fight
ing to sustain the fateful Crescent."
" By the glory of God, I never will."
" Nor I, son of Abraham ; so let s decline."
" And go to the slave mart ? "
" Oh, no, not while I ve a sword, Ichabod."
" Then to flee is the word ? "
" The eastern campaigning with the sheik, would
be a little longer route to Paradise?"
" Perhaps not ; I am assured that we are needed of
God by the use He has recently made of us. He will
keep us in our flight from bloody persecutingwar, and
" I hate the last word ! A knight enchanted of Mary
can never become a renegade ; not I, at least. I was
born October ninth. Tradition says that the holy St.
From Jericho to Jordan. 105
John Damascene, having had his hand cut off by the
Saracens that day, was by Our Lady miraculously
made whole, and lived long after to wield a powerful,
facile pen in her behalf. I ll trust my head and saber
hand, used for her, to her protection."
" And I ll trust Him that led the wandering hosts
of Moses ; for in all their affliction, He was afflicted
with them, and the angel of His presence saved
them ; and He bore them and carried them all the
days of old. Oh, master, I ve comfort I can not tell,
when I feel orphaned, by thinking of my Maker,
not only as a Father, but as a Mother ! God is
our Mother when we, bereft of mother-love, most
feel our need of it. So thou toldst me in the moun
" True ; but shall we try our escape now ? "
"Nay, we had better wait till a little before dawn;
the camp patrol is then withdrawn ; then we ll em
" The Jew seems very confident."
"Oh, I spent the hour after I met Nourahmal (God
keep her), amid the palms for which Jericho is fitly
named, and got a token."
" My eyes were touched in the darkness"
" Sweet Nourahmal followed thee ? "
" No, but He that opened the eyes of blind Bartimeus
"What didst thou see?"
" Elisha healing the streams about this palm city,
type of God healing the floods of bitterest fates; after
that I saw Jericho s walls falling at the blasts of
io6 The Queen of the House of David.
Joshua s trumpets, and remembered that his God then
is ours now."
" Didst thou see two poor men fleeing in the dark
from peril to peril, pursued by a hundred horsemen,
who saber-lashed them ; a little further two corpses, one
of a Christian the other of a Jew, on which fed fighting
" I saw no such horror ! I saw two led forth from
their captors, as Peter from his dungeon ; the angels
that blinded the eyes of the monstrous men, who of
old sought to defile Lot s house, blinded the eyes of
the pursuers of the two ; and the angel of Peter gave
them guidance and light. But come, the night-guard
has retired; between now and the call to morning
prayers is our opportunity."
Out of the old stone stable silently knight and Jew
glided, threading their way amid splendors they be
lieved to be, but could not see. The ministering
spirits were over and around them, their path was
through the Kelt, the sublimest waddy of Palestine ;
but night shrouded the latter ; their weak faith dimly
discerned the other.
" Can t thou see any way-marks, Jew?"
" I discern but few. Yet, what matter? It is enough
that He who leads us sees ? "
" The night is getting blacker and blacker ; the omen
makes my heart shiver as it beats."
As the knight spoke there came a terrific crash of
thunder and a succession of blinding lightning flashes.
Sir Charleroy clasped the Jew s arm and in startled
voice questioned :
"Dost thou not fear these?"
From Jericho to Jordan. 10;
j Why should I ? The angel guides swing the torches
of the unchangeable Father to give us glimpses of our
way. All is well ; I saw by the lightning flash that we
are passing safely the camp lines of our captors."
A few miles were over-past. The storm had abated
a little, and the first streaks of dawn, like spears, were
rising in the east.
"Would God, good Jew," said the now wearied Sir
Charleroy, " that the Prophet of the Moslem, who, near
by here, is said once by a stamp of his foot to have
brought forth from the rock a camel, were present to
dance for us now."
" He is not here, so we must help ourselves, knight."
"Ah, my dear man, canst thou dance rocks into
" No, but there are houses nigh, and each thou
knowst has it s stable-yard in front."
" But there is the thorny nubk tree, surrounding the
" I ve faith to try my faith when all I have is
"What for; to steal a camel?"
" Oh, no ; I d not steal a camel but I d borrow a
couple of them. Two ; for I m not one of the knights
who exhibit poverty, by riding double, thou dost
" Borrow ? Well so be it ; the black infidels owe us
for two years service. They borrowed us ! "
" It s pious to take the beasts; for we pay so honest
debts of these heathens and shorten the list of their
souls sins by removing from them, in ou; escape, the
opportunity for our murder. "
lo8 The Queen of the House of David.
"If this be sophistry, Ichabod, it is so sweet that it
is taken as delightful truth."
"Thou art persuaded?"
" No man can out run me, be he rabbi or priest, in
condemning vices, if they be such as I do not care to
practice, and I am a profound believer in every creed
that s sweet to my desires. Here acticti treads the
heels of persuasion."
On beasts, borrowed without formality, the fugitives
hurried toward Jordan, only there to find a barrier to
their progress in the angry torrent swelled by the
recent storms. It was clearly futile to attempt a pas
sage, and to tarry, waiting the ebb of the waters, was
to bring certain detection. They turned the heads of
their borrowed camels toward their master s homes and
waited the sunrise, meanwhile moving about to find
some means of safety.
"Well, my comrade, I think it will not be long until
those Turks will give our souls an Elijah-like ascen
sion except that there will be no chariot. The morning
shimmering on his mountain makes me think of this,
" The tracks of our returning camels in the wet
earth will guide our pursuers."
" Suppose we climb a tree asZacchaeus, since we can
not have a chariot. By my plume! which I ve not
seen for a year, I think that would be safety ; the
Turks never look up except in prayer, and the wolf
Azrael seldom prays. But God pity us! there they are
From Jericho to Jordan. 109
"To the tombs, master ! On the left."
" Refuge for jackals? "
11 Yes, but also for the miserable, living and dead !
Sir Charleroy obeyed quickly, but recoiled with a
groan of disgust as he suddenly pushed against an
entombed body. He touched his hilt, a* if determined
to abandon attempt at flight, and then, overcoming the
rash impulse to confront the pursuers, turned about,
seized the corpse, and dragging it from its place, hurled
it over the river bank into the torrent. He was in the
dispoiled nich in an instant. A cry from the pursuers
drew him forth. " See, Ichabod, the Turks are running
along the river banks watching the mummy bobbing
along in the torrent. See, it sinks. Ah, the
brutes, how they shout ! They think that body
alive, and that one poor slave is hounded to death."
" Jehovah Jeireh, now help us; they ll soon be back,"
"Ah, I forgot; they ll remember there were two of
" Calm, Sir Knight, By this sign I conquer/ quot
ing thy words of another. I ll go forth; the only one
left; at least so they ll think."
Sir Charleroy turned and looked at the Jew, and was
amazed to see him binding in front of himself a board
having the ominous words, " Unclean " upon it.
" What ; thou, a Jew, and touch that foul thing, worn
to festering death by some leper ! "
" Better night and a clean soul, though in a body
burned by the cursed leprosy, than life in Moslem
no The Queen of the Hoiisc of David.
" But what if the disease cleave to thee, and we
"Sir Knight, thou wilt live to tell others that a once
hated Jew was led of thee to truth, and after died a
living death, that his benefactors might survive. I
think such deeds cause noble lights to glow in human
" God bless and pity thee, Ichabod."
"Ah, he does; even now. I see the scarlet line of
Rahab, and it binds the pestilence that walketh by
The furious pursuers spurred their steeds up toward
the tombs, but as they beheld the solitary man, sitting
in painful attitude with beggar-like palm extended and
wearing the dread sign, they rapidly wheeled their
steeds about and galloped away. The Moslem had
heard that a Jew would suffer any torture rather than
ceremonial pollution ; hence judged that the object
before them could not be the refugee they sought.
" I wonder not that the demoniac cut himself madly
when among the tombs, good Jew. Sure it s like going
to glory to get out once more. Methinks freedom is
only sweet when taken with fresh air! Well, we are
out and the enemy thwarted."
"Methinks, master, that the leper that died here,
leaving no legacy but the sign of his death, did some
good in unknowingly making me his heir."
"And the corpse I disposed of so unceremoniously
left me a house of safety, though small and musty.
I ve a bitter thought.
" So, Sir Charleroy, tell it me, perhaps I can sweeten
From Jericho TO Jordan. ill
" I, the heir for a little time of that soulless clay, am
" Not much being here and alive."
" I rather think like it. See me tossed about by
strangers, robbed of my rights, helpless to resist fate s
tides, begrudged the room I occupy, and not one who
once knew me to weep over my besetments.
" Sir Knight, the miracles of our frequent preserva
tion should make our murmurings dumb."
In the evening Jordan ebbed a little and the two
wanderers passed over. Nor did they regret the con
sequent immersing in its flood. No word was spoken
as they passed through the current, for, before they
entered, having remembered that at this Bethabara
ford man s Savior was baptized, they were each busy
with his own meditations. When they stood on the
other shore, Sir Charleroy reverently said : " Comrade,
I prayed as we passed that we might have the dove of
peace henceforth above our souls at least."
"I prayed on my part that God would accept the act
as the Christian s typical burial to the world and separ
ation from its sins."
" How like death and birth is that beautiful type.
They level all life."
"Are our lives leveled? knight."
"Henceforth ; and we are brethern."
And our King and Savior was baptized here by the
herald of His Kingdom, John "
"Yea; here the new Judaism was formally inaugu
rated. Tradition says also that Jesus baptized his
mother afterward at this ford."
"How filial; how beautiful; how expressive! He
112 The Queen of the House of David.
was her God, yet her son, she his mother and disciple ;
and each by all ties and forms bound together in a fel.
lovvship of helpfulness.
" The Jew s an interpreter."
" Sir Charleroy sweetens my trust as Jordan
ens the bitter waters of Bahr Lut.
THE FEAST OF THE ROSE.
They arise now like the stars before me
Through the long, long night of years ;
Some are bright with heavenly radiance,
And others shine out through our tears.
They arise, too, like mystical flowers,
All different and all the same
As they lie on my heart like a garland
That is wreathed around MARY S name,"
OOD morning and a blessing, comrade." It
was the greeting of fche Jew to the knight
who lay asleep under a palm the day after
the flight. The sleeper slowly rising,
" I m half vexed at thee, Ichabod ; thou hast dis
solved a dream filled with sights of home and mother. "
"I ve brought lentils, barley, and grape-clusters
they are better than dreams when the sun is up."
" To those sad when awake, joyful dreams are wel
" There are real joys just before us."
41 Real joys, just before us? Grim sarcasm ; a sorry
jest, Jew ! "
**No; oh.no. r m telling thee the smiling, clear-
H4 The Queen of the House of David.
faced truth. We ll be safe at Jabbock s city by sun
"Safe? safe? I m unused to that word; almost
afraid of it. What does it mean in this country ? "
" Oh, these cavalrymen ! always on the charge ; now
here, now there. Thy thoughts go by habit, some
times racing forward, sometimes retreating. A while
ago thou wert as full of faith as Gideon, now thou art
as timorous as Canaan s spies."
" My habits have grown fat by feeding on piebald
" Experience is a lying prophet, when it counts with
out reckoning God."
" I can not see a step ahead. That s certainty to
me, though thou callest it doubt. I know not how to
hang rainbows upon the ghostly brows of the future
when I ve no power to lay hand on the griostly form
and have no rainbows."
" He that lifted the burdens of the past from off us
holds the changing winds of the future in His fists.
One second of life goes ever with only one second of
care. I learned this of Sir Charleroy long ago. Now
he forgets his own teachings. Shall I call him Reuben,
never excelling because unstable as water? "
" Call me slave: Uncertainty s slave! Thou didst
waken me from a dream of home, to the shock of
remembering again that I was homeless, dead to all
that once made life worth living. The gorgeous hopes
of thy fertile mind are mocked by stern present facts."
"Odd talk from one just dreaming of his mother; a
good woman didst say? then very hopeful ; all good
women are. Then remember how thou didst lift me
The Feast of the Rose. 1 1 5
to the very gates of heaven yesterday. Thou canst not
see a step ahead ? Well, then look back; miles; years.
Was not our God in thy battles in the thickets; in the
mountains; in Jordan ? My poor reasoning tells me
that lie has wrought too much for us to drop us
now. He must get His reward in keeping us to the
"Some of the past makes me shudder, Tchabod."
" Pick out the best, not the worst. We escaped the
very Gehenna at Jericho, following murderers, the
storm, slavery ; now free, fed, rested, the eastern air
washed and sunned to a tonic. I m drinking lotus balm
out of it."
" There it is ; the sun s in thy brain, poet-preacher."
" No, I m only giving thee back some of thine own
sermon^. I draw from my own heart no monster
memories. If I ve fought hard battles it sufficeth
that I have fooght them once. I ll not recall their
bloody sweat and tears for the sake of refighting them.
No, I m going back to the sweet, happy hours of baby
hood ; for I tell thee, knight, there is a world of joy to
a man, scorched by stern experience, to forget himself
sometimes back to the lullabys and warblings of the
days of his innocence."
. " I can t do it,"
" I can t help doing it, especially in this place! My
whole beHg feeds on a present scent of home."
" Thou knowest the country hereabouts ? "
"My soul laughs in friencliy converse with these
irocuscs, pinks, and asphodels, turning the velvet,
grassy plains to palace carpets. I m saying to myself
these blossoms must know me, their bowing heads
1 1 6 The Queen of the House of David.
and offered odors being my reward for nursing theit
mothers when I was a boy."
" Well, flowers are sincere friends ; they never change
and are all charitable. That s why they are deemed fit
presents to those in prison, or proper offering to be laid
on the breast of the dead Magdalene."
" Ah, dead Magdalene ; for even the symbol of a
broken promise; born to be a queen of love, by per
verted love dethroned ! Woman, man s ward, by man
betrayed; the guide star setting in black night; the
savior of human purity befouling all purity ! Given
the power by which Eve was to crush the serpent s
head and using it to Dreed all serpentine ills. This is
Eve turning a volcano upon Eden. Put flowers upon
her once passionate, now dead, heart, in awful contrast !
Nature at her worst is intensified anguish ; at her best
an ocean of joy, an universe of light and song. So I
learn of nature under man. Listen to nature s per
fumed throb now : these thousands of feathered song
sters, millions of lesser creatures, whose melody is
larger than themselves and more perceptible. Hear
tha humming, thrumming, buzzing, trumpetings.
Oh, this is life as the All-Saving tuned it to utter
joy! It widens, deepens, thickens; getting sweeter,
louder, happier all the way. A tempest, set to music,
knight. I m caught in it s whirl and join in its prais
ings. It comes over me as an insight of what nature
really is. God cares for it all and made it thus, to
throb and exult ! " Ichabod paused in transport.
" But I sometimes think there s a great waste of these
things ; there is so much in places where there is no
human ear or eye to hear or see."
The Feast of the Rose. 1 1/
" Reuben is narrow-viewed just now. Man ;s not
rfill; God makes happiness because He i:? so full of
goodness He must. Our rabbis call Him The Foun
tain. There is no waste ! He makes these things for
His own joy, and, methinks, looks down from the circle
of the heavens to say to what is in the desert or wild
erness, Very good. Then, beyond this, I ve sometimes
thought He kept the processions of joy and beauty
moving along ; coming, going, dying, living, ending and
beginning again, as a sort of practice ; by action keep
ing all fresh and new. He causes things of beauty and
power to pass through His divine alchemy from one
glory to another, as the general causes his squadrons
to move through the evolutions of the battle before
the conflict. The Father is awaiting man s hour, man s
return from sinning; the time for millennial advent;
then all delights, as if fresh born, all goods newly har
vested, will appear tc be multiplied, intensified, trans
figured. That will be the beginning of hereafter."
" Oh, Israel, the sun is in thy brain. I forget all
logic of contention, charmed out of words, by feasting
on thy orisons, Go on, Jew."
"Then I ll say twas God, not chance, nor fate, that
brought us to wander alone with nature. Read well
nature s book that lies open in the lap of the Great
Teacher ! Only stand close to Him and He will hold
the torch, turn the pages and give the sure interpreta
tions of the sweetness that feeds quiet, the picturesque-
riess which evokes smiles and the stately grandeurs
f/hich beget faith."
44 Israel, thou climbest the sun-ladder to rhapsody! "
41 Whether soaring, climbing, or creeping, I know
1 1 8 The Queen of the House of David.
not; but this I know, I m tasting in these wanderings
God s kisses. They are in the flowers ; my spirit rests
on His as my body on the balm of the fresh breezes.
Then, animate nature seems so contented and happy!
Why, I ve been ravished by the songsters; as I ve said
to myself, they echo the angelic anthem of heaven,
peace. Had any such doubt as haunts thee, come to
me, since passing Jordan, it would have been sung out
of countenance by the winged warblers or dragged
from my heart captive in floral fetters by Him that
hath two staves, beauty and bands."
" Oh, Ichabod, do not pause. Go on, I pray thee."
" Then thou art glad to hear that nature is not a
beautiful widow mourning her dead bridegroom
through the ages ? "
" I love to listen to thee."
" Listen to a wiser. See those stately heliotropes.
They stand above all of their kind with shining faces ;
great in aspiration, great in devotion. All day they
turn toward the sun and when their blossoms fade they
leave a hardy seed. The winter may bury it, but it
springs forth in vernal days, strong in the life it won
by loving the summer sun."
* Ichabod, I m charmed ! Let s abide here always
amid these joys of nature."
"What, be hermits? "
" Yes ; life s troubles are made by its people ; the
fewer people the fewer troubles."
" While sharing their troubles may we not lessen
them. No man may live to himself ; we re wedded to
" Yes, wedded to life. A royal phrase ; since I ve
The Pcast of me Rose. 119
been constantly either hating or loving it ; fearing to
live and then fearing to die. Wedded ! ah, ha, ha; the
wedded are those who most madly love and then most
"Say sometimes; then thou lt be like the stopped
horologue, telling the true time once in twenty-four
hours, at least."
"Thy poetry runs into caustic quality. What hast
thou been lunching on since morn?"
" At least not on Dead Sea apples, fair without, ashes
within. My poetry, if I have any, always sings in
accord with the company it keeps."
" How many more arrows in thy quiver, hast thou ? "
" Only one, and that a question ; does my master in
tend to foreswear marriage himself? He ridicules it."
" I have already done so."
" Well, tis well thou didst not live in Rome, for its
citizens that dared to live amid the temptations and
soul-crampings of voluntary bachelorhood were highly
taxed for their disregard of the claims of society and
"Yet even the Romans ever deemed bachelorhood
a blessing. In this opinion royal Claudius decreed that
the sailors who brought to Rome a ship loaded from
the wheat graneries of Egypt in the time of Agabus s
famine, should be as a reward permitted to remain un
married. If I were a Roman and a sailor I d pray for
a famine and a Claudius."
" A world without wives ? What a world ! :
So saying Ichabod caught up a stick and began
marking on the earth.
" How now, Israel; some sorcery?"
I2O The Queen of the House of David.
" No yet, may be, yes. I ll picture a world with
The Jew outlined the Egyptian deity, " Kneph?
" What have we, man or beast ? "
"Truly, I think partly both. The knight has de
scribed his Elysium and I have here pictured a fit king
for it. Behold thy god, sworn celibate. Egypt s
adored Kneph. Is this hideous enough ?
" A god ! well he s not handsome ; a ram s head ;
four horns ; two up, two down ; armed as both ram and
goat ? "
" Both were sacred to him in Egypt ; also the horned
snake with which Cleopatra put out her life ; poor, un
fortunate man-wrecked beauty."
" But, Jew, thou dost dawdle ! What of this play ? "
" Oh, nothing, only Kneph would do well for a sailor,
at Rome, under Claudius, in famine time ! "
" My poet wanders, but yet stings."
" So ? Kneph was a god that boasted, or rather his
spokesmen did, that he was the fatJicr of his mother.
What economy ! No need to be grateful to or love a
mother ; no need to wear a wife on the heart. The
folly of a dark age by folly darkened in the mad at
tempt to lift up man without his purer better part."
" How strange, Jew, whenever we touch a new
belief, or an old one, new to us, we find peoples fol
lowing an idea or ideal. There has been a crying
through the world ever for a some one for pilgrim
man to follow. How passing strange ; our century
wails the self-same cry ; and somehow it always hap
pens that this matter has something to do with woman.
See; K)icph was the monstrous b : rth of those who
The Feast of tlie Rose. 12 1
thought man superlative, and greatness to be by being
all man. How sharply the devotion to the Madonna
cuts across this! She was mother of the noblest, and
man in the begetting left out. Oh, my head s full of
thoughts, but they tumble along toward my lips with