« ÖncekiDevam »
But here the sudden recollection of the cause of her journey flashes across her memory, and the remaining words of the sublime prophecy* die upon her tongue. And she likewise rides on in silence.
As night begins to darken round them, they approach the desired inn or caravansary, and view with pleasure its twinkling lights through the gathering gloom. It is a quadrangular building, in the interior of which a spacious court serves as the public hall of reception for man and beast. On the four sides of the
square are small sleeping apartments, without furniture, without fire, without any thing save bare walls, in whose crevices travelers must search, lest a scorpion, a lizard, or other venomous reptile lurk concealed. One side of the area is appropriated to a row of camels, each attached by a slender cord to a rope running the length of the side, and to which is connected a small bell, so that the least movement in any part of the row may keep it jingling. The other side witnesses the vicious exploits of congregated mules and other beasts of burden. Different parties of travelers saunter vociferous through the remaining space, or else, in their respective cells, are engaged in cooking, supping, or repose. Thus the clatter of culinary utensils, the jar
* Isaiah ix., 6.
gon of high voices of various dialect, Syriac, Greek, Roman, or other, joined to the barking of dogs, the cries of goats and poultry, the stamping of beasts, and the ceaseless jingle of the camels' bell, combine to produce a Babel of sounds not altogether musical to hear.
Into the middle of this din, as one accustomed to such scenes, rides the sturdy Eliezer, while Mary, closely veiled, and frightened at the uproar, follows shrinkingly behind. Directing the master of the caravansary to select a couple of apartments most remote from the tumult, the old man kindly assists his charge to alight, and leads her out of the midst to where she may prepare to seek refreshment and repose. Then returning, he supplies the beasts with provender, and prepares their own frugal meal, drawing forth all requisites from his capacious panniers. Soon they have completed their repast. The lowly mattresses are spread upon the floor. The prayer is uttered; and their voices join in chanting, with subdued and saddened melody, an ancient psalm. Then, finally, they retire to their respective apartments, and seek such slumber as the incessant hubbub from the court will permit.
With the dawn they pass onward toward the land of Samaria.
Fain would we journey with them through
these scenes, replete with moving associations and memories of past deeds; fain would we listen-to their pleasant converse, filled with noble reminiscences and nobler anticipations, where, at every step, objects spring to view, around which cluster tales of more than classic charm. But we must hasten onward.
Evening finds them in the fertile bowers of Syohar. Leaving the inn, they wander forth in search of Jacob's well. Mary sits upon the verge, and gazes down into its deep waters, thinking for how many hundreds, yea, thousands of years they have been there, pure and cold as at the very moment she is about to quaff them. She recalls her ancestor, who drank thereof, and his children and flocks, and whose dust, she remembers, is reposing not far away.
In the pleasing revery she little recks of the future. She little imagines what being shall in a few years be sitting, a houseless wanderer, upon, perhaps, the very stone she occupies, dependent on the kindness of an enemy to refresh his toil-worn spirit with that crystal wave she now is drinking. Poor short-sighted child of mortality! she walks, unconscious of coming events, among the very scenes, which seem as though they would themselves cry out in her ears with notes prophetic of sorrow.
But, happily unconscious, she reclines in the balmy evening air. Serene she leaves the spot; serene she sleeps through silent watches of the night, by angels guarded, and in the morning tranquilly follows her guide on her southward way.
In the gray light of dawn they approach the ancient sepulchres, hewn in the everlasting rocks, where have been slumbering the bones of the patriarch Joseph since the Exodus. With what reverence she treads the hallowed spot, sacred by the touching simplicity of the faith it breathes of a coming resurrection! With awe she leans her brow against the cold rock, and sighs a prayer to the God of her fathers, and her people, that soon the hour may dawn when they that sleep in the dust shall awake and sing!
And now, as they still journey on the livelong day, old Eliezer, delighted with the enthusiasm of his willing pupil, instructs her in the lore connected with every mountain, every valley, and every grove; recalling, on the very spots to which they relate, the stories of her national annals, with which from a child she has been made familiar.
The third night is spent at Bethel, where Jacob beheld the angels ascending and descend
ing as he slept, and heard the Lord of angels speaking to him from above.
The fourth day they came in view of the Holy City, seated upon her four hills, girt with impregnable battlements, and crowned, as with a diadem 'of fire, by that temple whose white marble walls and vast plates of gold gleam in the noontide ray with insupportable splendor.
But not in Jerusalem, the pride of the whole earth, may she turn aside nor tarry, and evening finds her reposing in the village of Bethlehem; a spot ere long to be revisited under other auspices than she can now conjecture.
On the fifth and last evening of her weary journey, partaking the impatience of her anxious spirit, an eagerness which, having sustained her in all the unaccustomed fatigues of such a lengthened pilgrimage, grows more absorbing as she approaches to its close, let us hasten to the end, as she enters, alone and unperceived, with throbbing heart, the gates of Zacharias's mountain home.
Noiselessly she flits through porch and court to the chamber where dwells Elizabeth. Scarcely, however, has her foot passed the threshold, her eye met the eye of her cousin, and her voice pronounced the hurried “ Peace be with thee !" when the matron, filled with supernatural in.