“And what did thee do after thee got out of Russia?” asked Mrs. Crowder, the next evening.
Her husband shook his head. “No, no, my dear; we can’t go on with my autobiography in that fashion. If I should take up my life step by step, there would not be time enough—” There he stopped, but I am sure we both understood his meaning. There would be plenty of time for him!
“Often and often,” said Mr. Crowder, after a few minutes’ silence, “have I determined to adopt some particular profession, and continue its practice wherever I might find myself; but in this I did not succeed very well. Frequently I was a teacher, but not for many consecutive years. Something or other was sure to happen to turn my energies into other channels.”
“Such as falling in love with thy scholars,” said his wife.
“You have a good memory,” he replied. “That sometimes happened; but there were other reasons which turned me away from the paths of the pedagogue. With my widely extended opportunities, I naturally came to know a good deal of medicine and surgery. Frequently I had been a doctor in spite of myself, and as far back as the days of the patriarchs I was called upon to render aid to sick and ailing people.
“In the days when I lived in a cave and gained a reputation as a wise and holy hermit, more people came to me to get relief from bodily ailments than to ask for spiritual counsel. You will remember that I told you that I was visited at that time by Moses and Joshua. Moses came, I truly believe, on account of his desire to become acquainted with the prophet El Khoudr, of whom he had heard so much; but Joshua wanted to see me for an entirely different reason. The two remained with me for about an hour, and although Moses had no belief in me as a prophet, he asked me a great many questions, and I am sure that I proved to him that I was a man of a great deal of information. He had a keen mind, with a quick perception of the motives of others, and in every way was well adapted to be a leader of men.
“When Moses had gone away to a tent about a mile distant, where he intended to spend the night, Joshua remained, and as soon as his uncle was out of sight, he told me why he wished to see me.”
“His uncle!” exclaimed Mrs. Crowder.
“Certainly,” said her husband; “Joshua was the son of Nun and of Miriam, and Miriam was the sister of Moses and Aaron. What he now wanted from me was medical advice. For some time he had been afflicted with rheumatism in his left leg, which came upon him after exposure to the damp and cold.