And later in that same evening, another group came to Nathan’s house. The door was closed, for the evening was chill without. A knock was heard. Mary opened the door, and there was Manasseh himself, radiantly happy; and close behind him was another Manasseh with Bedouin eyes.
Mother, sister, and father pressed round the youth until he could scarcely move.
“There, there!” he said, shaking them off playfully, “my cousin Kedar will be jealous. Mother, this is Lois’ son, and there is someone in the darkness here still.”
The youth went out. Who was this that he assisted from the shugduf?—the living image of Lois in her girlhood days! Not Lois, but her daughter, a Bedouin maid, fresh as the breeze from her native hills. And can this be Lois—this sad-faced yet stately woman? It is, indeed, and the long-separated sisters are once more united. Kedar’s brothers are there too, and one more family is added to the little community.
A WEDDING IN PALESTINE.
“God, the best maker of all marriages.”—Shakespeare.
For a moment let us look more closely at the little district where the Jewish band found a home after all their wanderings.
They settled at a point where the Jordan River, that strange river flowing for its entire length through a depression one thousand feet below the level of the sea, is cut up by many a cataract; and the rushing noise of the water, carried from its mysterious source at the foot of Mount Hermon, fills the valley with a music not lost upon ears long accustomed to the dry wastes of Arabian deserts. To the north lie plains where cold blasts blow, and mountains whose crests gleam with never-failing snow; yet in the fair vales of Jordan the tempered breeze fans the air with the mildness of a never-ceasing-summer, and the soft alluvial soil is luxuriant with the rich growth of the tropics. To the west the rugged and picturesque mountains of Judea rise, and to the east, at a distance of some ten miles, lie the blue-tinted mountains of Moab, rich in associations of sacred history.
In this favored spot, shaded by waving groves and hidden by vines, was the house of Asru’s wife; and at a little distance from it was a well, an old-fashioned well such as is seen only in the East, walled about with ancient and worn flag-stones, between which, at one side, the water trickled and ran over mossy stones to the river below.
A large tamarisk tree waved above it, and in its shade, with one knee resting on the flag-stone, her hands clasped behind her head, and her large eyes fixed upon the mountains of Moab beyond, stood Sherah, ere the sun rose, on one beautiful autumn morning.
An earthen water-pitcher, such as is carried by the girls of the Orient, was beside her, yet she moved not to execute her errand.
The sun arose behind the mountain; the amber sky became golden; the rosy pink clouds changed to radiant silver; the birds sang; the dew glittered; and the sun shone through the leaves of the trees with a flush of green-gold.