“Spirits of the stars, show me God. If this Jesus be indeed the Son of God, show me him. Give me faith, such faith as had he of the withered hand, that I too may stretch forth my hand and be made whole; that I may look, and in looking, see.”
This was his prayer. Ah, yet, the “spirits of the stars” were as a bridge to the gulf which, he fancied, lay between him and Infinite Mercy.
Yusuf meets Amzi, the Meccan.
confident of Fate,
And resolute in heart.”
The next morning, Yusuf, against the remonstrances of Musa and his wife, prepared to proceed on his way. Like the Ancient Mariner, he felt forced to go on, “to pass like night from land to land,” until he obtained that which he sought.
When he was almost ready to depart, a horseman came galloping down the valley, with the news that a caravan, en route for Mecca, was almost in sight, and would make a brief halt near the stream by which Musa’s tents were pitched. Yusuf at once determined to avail himself of the timely protection on his journey.
Presently the caravan appeared, a long, irregular line—camels bearing “shugdufs,” or covered litters; swift dromedaries, mounted by tawny Arabs whose long Indian shawls were twisted about their heads and fell in fringed ends upon their backs; fiery Arabian horses, ridden by Arabs swaying long spears or lances in their hands; heavily-laden pack-mules, whose leaders walked beside them, urging them on with sticks, and giving vent to shrill cries as they went; and lastly a line of pilgrims, some trudging along wearily, some riding miserable beasts, whose ribs shone through their roughened hides, while others rode, in the proud security of ease and affluence, in comfortable litters, or upon animals whose sleek and well-fed appearance comported with the self-satisfied air of their riders.
A halt was called, and immediately all was confusion. Tents were hurriedly thrown up; the pack-mules were unburdened for a moment; the horses, scenting the water, began to neigh and sniff the air; infants, who had been crammed into saddle-bags with their heads out, were hauled from their close quarters; the horsemen of Musa, still balancing their tufted spears, dashed in and out; while his herdsmen, anxious to keep the flocks from mixing with the caravan, shrieked and gesticulated, hurrying the flocks of sheep off in noisy confusion, and urging the herds of dromedaries on with their short, hooked sticks. It was indeed a babel, in which Yusuf had no part; and he once more seized the opportunity of looking at the precious parchment To his astonishment, he perceived that it was addressed to “Mohammed, son of Abdallah, son of Abdal Motalleb, Mecca,” with the subscription, “From Sergius the Monk, Bosra.”
Here then, Yusuf had, in perfect innocence, been entrapped into reading a communication addressed to some one else, and he smiled sarcastically as he thought of the inquisitiveness of the little Jew who had taken the liberty of “just peeping in.”