In the midst of the entertainment some one came to the door.
“It is a peddler!” cried one. “Let us see what he has—perhaps another gift for our fair bride.”
The young people gathered about the glittering trinkets. Manasseh came near, and, with a merry twinkle in his eyes, placed his hand on the man’s shoulder. The peddler looked up, and his face blanched with fear.
It was the little Jew, who, having escaped like an eel from Manasseh’s care after the Battle of Ohod, and having become thoroughly frightened at the idea of remaining longer in a war-ridden district, had disappeared like magic from the plains of Arabia, and had become once more the insignificant Jewish peddler in the more secure provinces to the north.
“Do not be frightened,” laughed Manasseh. “We no longer take prisoners of war; yet, for the sake of old acquaintance, I claim you to partake of our feast.”
The little man was half-dragged to the table and given a place by Nathan, who spoke kindly to him. Yet he did not feel at ease. The stolen cup seemed to point an accusing finger at him; and he ate little, and talked less.
Presently he caught a glimpse of Yusuf. The sight of the man whom he had so nearly delivered to death was too much for him. His little eyes darted about as if suspicious of some design upon his freedom. He could not understand the magnanimity of these people, and, deeming discretion the better part of valor, he sprang from the table, shouldered his pack, and was off, to be seen no more.
“Sondry folk, by aventure y-falle in felaweschipe.”—Chaucer.
And now, our tale draws to a close, and time permits but a parting glance at those who have been so long a goodly company of friends.
Amzi has, in his descent to old age, developed a wonderful activity of mind and body. He has become one of the most influential members of the little town in which he has taken up his abode. Realizing as never before the duty which man owes to man, and fully awakened at last to the fact that our talents are given us to be exercised fully, he no longer dreams away time in the Arab Kaif; but, from morning to night, his plump figure and good-natured old face are seen, up and down, in the mart, in the council-chamber, in the church, wherever he can lend a helping hand. He has even assumed the role of schoolmaster, and upon the earthen floor of an unused hall he gathers day by day a troop of little ones, over whom he bends patiently as they cling to his gown for sympathy in their small trials, or as they trace upon their wax tablets, with little, uncertain hands and in almost illegible characters, the words of a copy, or text.
“Aye,” he says, “who knows what these little ones may some day become? They are as impressionable as the wax upon which they write. Heaven grant that the impression made upon them may be mighty for good!”