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TRANSLATED FROM THE MODERN SANSCRIT BY HEZEKIAH
ILLUSTRATIONS OF NATIONAL CUSTOMS. “ It is exactly five years from this day,”
went on Hophin; “I was coming from the NO. I.-HEBREW.
bath, when Ezela met me with her eyes
glistening with tears, 'Oh! my lord,' she From Frazer's Magazine.
exclaimed, 'a child-a poor orphan is at your gate. No home, no friend, no resuge!
Bless the first year of our union with a good It was the vigil of the Sabbath day, and work, and let the feast we are now celebrathe evening star shone brilliantly on the ting be to your wife a memorial of her husTemple of Solomon, whose hundred port- band's generous bounty.' Ezela was so als were now sending forth (the sacred ser- beautiful at this moment, that I promised vice being over) multitudes of Zion's to adopt the boy. I took him by the hand, children. Slowly they vanished away, like seated him at my table, and called him ‘son.' clouds over the valley of the Jordan ; and I hope I have never had reason to repent the holy temple now appeared tenantless, my conduct.” with the exception of one votary, who, in a " I hope so, too,” replied Assir, mysteripensive and gloomy mood, remained lean- ously. ing against a column, of which, by his death- “What mean you ? Your voice sounds like stillness, he seemed to be a part. From ominously ?" said Hophin, whose usually the gold-embroidered silks of India, which pale cheek reddened up with a burning constituted his dress, his flowing beard par- flush. tially silvered with age, his stately stature “Nay, I speak in my wonted tone,” reand noble countenance, it was easy to con-plied the priest. clude that this man was amongst the lofti- “I know thee for my enemy,” sharply est of his tribe. He seemed yet buried in rejoined Hophin. thought when the chief priest Assir, who “ Your rival once, but your enemy had just taken off his officiating robes, pass- never! The Lily of Hebron inflamed me ed him by, remarking with a smile of mask- with a passion such as few can feel. You ed malignity, “ Has Hophin, happy Hophin, were preferred to me; and, in the first moforgotten that his young and lovely wife is ments of my despair, I owed you, perhaps, anxiously awaiting his return ?"
no very great good will; but now-poh! no “Ha, Assir !" replied Hophin, startled more of this. Ezela is about twenty, 1 befrom his reverie : then adding in a tone of lieve, and you are fifty, Hophin ?" assumed tranquillity,“ my wife, good Assir, “That is my age this very day,” replied is passing the evening by the bedside of my the husband of Ezela. niece, Rachel, who is dangerously ill." “Ezela is beautiful, mild, affectionate,
“ And, doubtless, you are now going to but young and thoughtless." conduct to her home your fair spouse ? At
“ Assir !" least you will not depute that pleasing duty “ I have a nephew at home, a fine stripto the orphan whom you adopted five ling like your adopted son Ammiel. Now years ago at the feast of the nuts ?” had I a wife so young, so beautiful as Ezela,
“ An act of humanity,” replied Hophin why-women will make comparisons, and evasively.
they seldom decide in favor of gray hairs." “ Backed by the moving entreaties of The priest's words were arrows.
His your young wife,” furtively sneered the looks poisoned the barbs. high-priest.
“ Wretch, be silent !" at length burst “How could I do otherwise ?” continued forth Hophin. “Ezela is as pure as the Hophin, with gathering gloom. “The snows of Hermon!” 'Feast of the Huts,' as you well know, is “ And who has said to the contrary, my celebrated to bless the produce of the earth good Hophin? As for me, I have not the and to return thanksgiving to the Divine slightest doubt of it; but other people say DONOR. Huts formed of branches are rais- that they have seen and hearded before our doors. In these we eat in “What?" roared Hophin, trembling in common during the festival. It was at this every, nerve, and perspiring at every pore feast that Ammiel came to our hut. How —“what have they heard ?—what have could I refuse hospitality to a famished they seen?" child ? for Ammiel was then but a child." “Only the gentle conversation and pri
“But is so no longer," observed Assir, vate meetings of Ammiel and Ezela upon with studied indifference.
“Serpent or demon !" replied Hophin, My Jord,” replied Ezela, the tears hissing with the suppressed fury of both, clinging to her silken eyelids, “Rachel is “if this be false, your life would be but as much better. The night was growing late, a drop in the cup of my revenge; but is true and Ammiel accompanied me home." -true !-God of Israel, where am I? My “Ammiel, Ammiel!" repeated Hophin, reason wanders! Assir ! for mercy's sake using the word as a stimulant to his rage; retract your words. Pluck from my mind and what brought Ammiel thither ?" these dreadful suspicions ! say that Ezela is Pale and trembling, Ezela answered not: true, or, by my father's grave" but Ammiel, starting to his feet, replied,
“Ezela's truth and love can be easily and " My father! I went to meet you and Ezela; surely proved,” calmly interrupted Assir. but, not finding you at Rachel's house, we “How ?” gasped Hophin.
believed that you had returned home in our “By one of our pious ceremonies now absence, and therefore we hastened hither almost obsolete; but which, on this occa- to rejoin you.” sion, I would wish to revive."
" It is well,” coldly observed Hophin, “What ceremony ?"
seating himself on the cushions, and con“I will explain it to you as we go along. cealing under a tranquil air the suspicions Come,” said Assir, familiarly passing his gnawing at his heart. Drawing Ezela to arm under Hophin's. “The night advan- his side, and passing his arm around her ces, and Ezela is not yet at home.” waist, till his fingers pressed insidiously
upon the life-pulse of her spotless breast, he continued,
" Ammiel, my son, thou art now eighteen It was late at night when Hophin, strid- years of age ?”). ing rapidly through the principal streets of “Since the last moon,” replied Ammiel, Jerusalem, arrived at his door, which was in perplexity. immediately opened by an old female slave. “ Ammiel, thou art now a man.
It were “Where is Ezela ?” demanded he, with foul shame for thee to pass thy days in the a voice so altered, that the old slave raised apartments of women." her lamp to his face, doubting that it was " What would my father say? I am an her master who spake.
orphan. On earth I have no other friend “Where is Ezela ?” hoarsely repeated than you and Ezela,” added he, sadly lookHophin.
ing at the young woman, who smiled as • My lord, upon the terrace ;” and the sadly in return. slave bowed to the dust.
Hophin pressed so tightly the arm of “ Alone ?” muttered Hophin, as if dread- Ezela, that she uttered a cry of pain. Reing the reply.
gardless of this, her husband sternly conNo, my lord; the young Ammiel is tinued,– with her.”
“ The king of Israel now lives in peace; In an instant Hophin was on the terrace. but peace has need of soldiers even as One rapid glance drank in the whole scene.
The night was oriental in its fairest at- “Now I understand my father," proudly tributes; clear, calm, and beautiful. Myr- replied Ammiel. “Let it be to-morrow, iads of stars sparkled in the deep blue heav- let it be this hour : I am ready to depart.” ens, forming the retinue of the crescent 'No, no, Ammiel!" suddenly exclaimed moon slowly rising from the waves of “the Ezela ; " leave not this roof. Choose some Great Sea." At one extremity of the ter- other profession than the cruel one of war.” race female slaves were seated on straw “Woman !" thundered Hophin, “give mats, and spoke in low murmurs; at the your advice when asked!" other end Ezela, unveiled, and reclining on The silence which suceeded the loud and cushions, sang, in a low soft voice, one of furious words weighed heavily even on the David's canticles. Ammiel was seated at slaves crouching in whispering groups at the her feet, and their attitudes changed not at other extremity of the terrace. the presence of Hophin ! Ezela sang. Am- “Ezekiel, the captain of the king'sguards, miel gazed on her, and listened; but Ho- is my friend and kinsman. He will receive phin, with a voice as from the tomb, slowly you to-morrow in his corps. Ammiel, you articulated, “Why have you left the house depart to-morrow.” of Rachel before I came to conduct you "To-morrow?" involuntarily sighed Ezela. hither ?”
“Well! what next ? Pray continue.
This may be the last opportunity;"' and Ho- at his feet, “ Ezela must die ! You underphin smiled maliciously.
stand me.' “You hurt me, my lord,” said Ezela, in “Justice shall be done on the guilty;" a low voice (his poniard-hilt pressed rudely and the priest bowed again. against her side),-"you hurt me;" and Assir, you are a doctor of the law, and she endeavored to disengage her person even so am I. But you are also a priest, from his coil.
and so am not I. Speak we undisguisedly. Stay!" shouted Hophin ; and the ad- Speak not as a high-priest to an ignorant joining terraces reverberated successively Levite, but as man to man.” the sound. Ezela seemed petrified to a So saying, he sat down upon the trunk beautiful statue. A flash of indignation of a storm-uprooted cedar; and, approachgleamed from the large blue eyes of the ing his lips towards the ears of the highorphan; but, suppressing his bitter emotion, priest, whispered, in a hiss of torture, he demanded at what hour he should re- “Assir, I am betrayed! Ezela loves ceive his instructions.
Ammiel ! You see this poniard. Last “At two hours after sunrise," coldly re- night it was within a hair-breadth of drinkplied Hophin.
ing the life-blood of the wanton and her another word, Hophin, Ezela, paramour. You shudder, Assir, and you and the orphan Ammiel, separated for the are right. The deed were brutal, so I night; the trembling slaves slowly follow- checked myself to enjoy a sweeter vening. No sound was heard save the step geance, Assir, Ezela must die, yet not in and voice of the warder on the walls, or the the darkness of night, but in the glare of distant gurgling of the Kedron. The cloud- noon-day,—not assassinated by my slaves, less stars shone down upon the deserted ter- or by my own hand, but by thine, good Asrace; gradually they waned away toward sir, by the draught of the “bitter waters” the palm-clad shores of Phænicia; and in the midst of the Temple, and before the soon the mountains of Moriah hailed the face of all Israel. Thou understandest ?”' cheerful day-dawn,-cheerful to all but the “To none but the guilty are the waters wretched, whose sleepless eyes turn away terrible,” solemnly replied the priest. from the blessed beams as froin a ghastly “And yet, had I been high-priest, good mockery
Assir, they should be terrible to whomsoever I pleased,” insinuated Hophin.
But the hint fell stillborn, apparently, for
the priest's eye was imperturbable as the But long before day-break, Assir, the tonb. high-priest, and Hophin, chief of the tribe “ The sand which I mix with the waters of Naphthali, were slowly walking on the is collected from the floor of the sanctuary. margin of the Kedron, or Dark Rivulet," I mix with the sand certain burnt herbs, which darns its darkling way through the and prepare two cups, one for the wife, the valley of Hinnom. Pressing almost con- other for her husband." vulsively his companion's arm, Hophin ea- “You mark one of these cups good Asgerly asked,
sir?" “But is the 'test of the bitter waters' in- Their
eyes met. A flash of demon joy fallible?"
gleamed, for a moment, in the eyes of the “ Infallible beyond the shadow of suspi- high-priest, then left them more lurid than cion."
before, as darkness after lightning. A “My reason refuses to believe it,” de- fiendish thought seemed to mark, as with a murred the layman.
brand, his forehead, piercing through the “The power of Jehovah is infinite !" |prophylact, and burning in the brain. The priest bowed low.
“The laborer deserves his hire," mutterAnd yet, if Ezela should prove inno-ed Assir. cent ?" mused Hophin.
Hophin drew from his bosom a gold-em“She would appear more beautiful from broidered purse, and presented it to the the ordeal," complimented the priest. high-priest. “ But if guilty ?”
“But, before I act, remarked the latter, “Her body would soon become swollen, I must previously ascertain whether Ezeand death would instantly succeed.” la deserves the death you doom her to. I
“ Assir !" said the husband, casting a desire to have an hour's converse with her gloomy glance on the dark waters rolling alone."
THE BANKS OF THE KEDRON.
“Never !" exclaimed Hophin, starting at my son! From the grave I implore your forthe thought.
giveness. Let not my memory be brought to “ Then seek from some other 'the ordeal shame, nor your sister to reproach, hy reveal
ing the secret which weighs heavily on my of the bitter waters, prepared in the man- heart at this my dying hour. Go to thy sister ; ner you wish them to be.
Peace be with tell her all. May the God of Israel support you!” And the priest arose from the pros- thee and her to keep inviolate the secret of thy trate cedar, as if about to depart.
" SHIRAZ." “ Hold! Assir," groaned Hophin, strug. gling with his passions; “ you have my se- “ Thus, Ezela,” sighed Ammiel, taking cret. When would you wish to speak with back the parchment, our mother's secret Ezela ?"
must be kept, even to the death." “When the evening prayer is said.” But, Ammiel, my brother, hear me. " Then be it so.”'
Leave not Jerusalem this morning, nor And, without word, look, or salute, they even to-morrow. I implore you to grant separated.
me this favor. Some horrible presentiment
as with a death-damp. Stay, Ammiel,” she repeated, enfolding him in her arms.
“ Wait till to-morrow ere near While the machinations of Sathanas were the tower of David. I shall either come thus concocting by the waters of the Ke- myself, or send a slave to thee." dron, the rays of the rising sun found Eze- “Well, I promise thee, Ezela. Trust la and the young Israelite clasped in each thy brother !'' other's arms on the terrace where the scene A shadow crossed the sunshine on the of the last evening had passed.
terrace. Ammiel started, and suddenly “My brother, my dear and only brother, disengaged himself from his sister's fareall must be revealed to Hophin. Ammiel, well embrace.
Ammiel, well embrace. Hophin stalked forward. you must not be sacrificed !” And Ezela “Pardon our tears and our last farewell, sobbed bitterly.
my lord. Ezela has been a sister to me; “ But the dying words of our mother to her I owe the protection you have so nomust be obeyed. Ezela, she knew not at bly granted to a poor orphan. Be not offirst that I lived, that I was saved from the fended at my grief;" and Ammiel turned shipwreck where our father perished ; oth- aside in sorrow. erwise she would not have willed you all the “ Wherefore should I ?” coldly respondproperty, half of which was legally mine." ed Hophin. But enough of this. Take
Yet, Ammiel, when she knew you were you these three purses of gold, you will alive, why did she conceal your existence, find my best horse ready caparisoned in and rob you of your just patrimony ?" the court-yard. Depart for the army. Fare
“Hush! my sister. A mother's pride, well !" and she was most proud in having Hophin Ammiel was about to refuse the gifts of for her son, led her to this error, besides the Hophin, but a look from Ezela altered his disgrace of Hophin's refusal, had you only intention. Receiving the purses, and casthalf the dowry proposed. I regret not the ing one look on Ezela, he uttered, loss. Your marriage was celebrated, and My lord, I accept these gists as from a you accompanied your husband to Jeru- brother; and now the God of Israel watch salein.”
over you." “And you, my poor brother, art cast Ammiel rapidly departed. penniless on the world for my account. “And now, woman, for thy destiny !" Oh! Ammiel, let me read once more the hoarsely muttered Hophin, leading his wife last injunctions of our mother. They may to her apartments. strengthen me in this hour of trial.” Ammiel took a scroll of parchment from
TIJE PILGRIM. his bosom, and Ezela read, with sorrowful agitation, her mother's letter :
Sadly leaning on the marble balustrade
which enclosed the terrace of Hophin's " To Ammiel.
mansion, Ezela was gazing intently on a
dark and vertical streak which curiously “My son, when you return to the home of
This your fathers you will find it desolate. Your appeared to bisect the setting sun. dying mother confesses she has robbed you, was the tower of David, where Ammiel and added to the robbery a lie. Forgive me, was to await her instructions.
Her thoughts were interrupted by the “Satanic slanderer !" replied the young entrance of a slave, who, touching the wife, her eyes flashing and her bosom ground with his forehead, announced that heaving with indignant emotion. a pilgrim requested hospitality.
Seest thou this purse? Dost thou re" See, then, to his wants," hastily replied cognize it? It is full of gold; my reward Ezela, resuming her gaze towards David's for your death.” Tower.
Ezela instantly recognized the purse “The pilgrim requests a private inter- which her own hands had wrought and view,” said the slave, returning.
presented to Hophin. The hot tears came “Where is thy master ?" inquired Ezela. gushing through her veil. “At evening prayer," replied the slave. “But it shall be the reward of his death,
“I receive no persons in his absence. if thou willest it,” said the priest, insidiDepart!"
ously approaching her. Promise, beautiful The slave departed, but in a few minutes Ezela, to be my bride, and Hophin shall reappeared, and lowly uttered,
quaff the poisoned cup, leaving thee a widow “The pilgrim requests this interview in to-morrow.”' the name of humanity."
“ Infamous assassin!” indignantly burst “In vain!" replied Ezela, in a tone of forth Ezela, as she rushed from the terrace. annoyance.
A moment after, and before Assir had “For the sake of your life, which is in recovered from his discomfiture, a slave danger.”
hurriedly conducted him from the terrace “Leave my presence," proudly com- to the court-gate. There the husband of mant.d the young matron.
Ezela met the high-priest. Their eyes met, “In the name of your husband." and the meeting of their eyes would have
“I cannot see this man,” said Ezela, delighted man's enemy to behold. hesitatingly.
“ To-morrow!" muttered Hophin. “In the name of the orphan Ammiel.” Ay, to-morrow!” and the priest hur.
“ Bid him enter immediately," rapidly ried on. answered Ezela, veiling her flushed features.
And Assir entered.
“Daughter of Shiraz !" mildly began the priest, "your mother spurned me as your It was noon; not a cloud obscured the
suitor. Hophin, the wealthy and powerful azure heavens. The sun shown down in · Hophin, was preferred to the poor priest all his power and beauty on the domes of
Assir. But that is past. I come not hither Jerusalem, " the vision of peace,” (and a to reproach; no, I come to save you." vision of peace has it been from its foundaHow, Assir ! what means this mys- tion to the present day.) Crowds thronged
through the gates of Solomon's Temple, “Thou shalt hear. The demon of jeal- eagerly anxious to witness the ordeal of the ousy has seized on your husband's heart. bitter waters. The women occupied exTo-morrow you shall be summoned by my clusively the galleries, the men filled nearly voice to the temple and compelled to un- to suffocation the body of the temple. Sidergo the ordeal of the bitter waters.' lence seemed to shudder as the high-priest Terrible will be the trial !"
appeared slowly ascending the steps of the “I fear it not,” replied Ezela unmoved. tabernacle. As soon as he had stood in
“And thou wert right, Ezela," rejoined front of the holy ark he bowed him to the the priest,“ if it had been the hand of God ground and then stepped back. that prepared the waters; but the hand of A few moments elapsed and he was fol
lowed by a man and a woman. The former Thy hand, good Assir ! is it not ?" in gloomy abstraction kept his eyes fixed “Yea, even mine," and the priest seemed upon the unleavened cake which he carried sunk in thought.
between his hands. The woman walked Speak, Assir, I implore you. You are upon the left side of the man, her person trembling, and your looks are those of the being entirely covered by a white woollen dead.”
veil. The swan of the Euphrates never ap“Listen, then, daughter of Shiraz. Your peared more graceful. husband desires your death, and by his or- A brief pause ensued, when the husband, der I am to poison one of the two cups,” placing the cake upon the altar, uttered said the priest in a voice barely audible. aloud," The spirit of jealousy possesses