“And here, pretty lad, know you the touch of gold?” said Amzi, as he slipped another coin into the child’s hand. “Now, Yusuf,” he went on, “come, let us see your Jewish friends of yester-even.”
“Alas, Amzi, these are they,” returned the priest, sadly, “and I fear yon poor woman feels little like talking to us in the freshness of her grief.”
Amzi laughed, mysteriously. “So your teacher has proved but a common Jew thief,” he said.
Yusuf turned almost fiercely. “Do you believe this vile story?” he exclaimed. “Did you not see truth stamped upon Nathan’s face?”
“You must admit that circumstances are against him. The proof seems conclusive.”
“I will never believe it, were the proof produced by their machinations ten times as conclusive! There is some mystery here which I will unravel!”
“My poor Yusuf, you are too credulous in respect to these people. So be it. You believe in your Jews, I shall believe in my Mohammed, until the tale told is a different one,” laughed Amzi; and for the moment Yusuf felt helpless.
Yusuf studies the scriptures.—Connecting events.
“Surely an humble husbandman
that serveth God is better than a
proud philosopher who, neglecting himself, is occupied in
studying the course of the heavens.”—Thomas a Kempis.
For many weeks, even months, after this, Yusuf’s life, to one who knew not the workings of his mind, seemed colorless, and filled with a monotonous round of never-varying occupation. Yet in those few weeks he lived more than in all his life before. Life is not made up of either years or actions—the development of thought and character is the important thing; and in this period of apparent waiting, Yusuf grew and developed in the light of his new understanding.
He read and thought and studied, and yet found time for paying some attention to outer affairs. In Persia he had amassed a considerable fortune, which he had conveyed to Mecca in the form of jewels sewn into his belt and into the seams of his garments, hence he was abundantly able to pay his way, and to expend something in charity; and between his and Amzi’s generosity the family of Nathan lacked nothing.
Yusuf obtained possession of parts of the Scriptures, written on parchment, and spent every morning in their perusal, ever finding this period a precious feast full of comforting assurances, and hope-inspiring promises. He never forgot to pray for Amzi, to whom he often read and expounded passages of Scripture, without being able to notice any apparent effect of his teaching.
It troubled him much that Amzi lent such a willing ear to Mohammed, and to the few fanatics among the Hanifs who had now professed their belief in this self-proclaimed prophet of Allah. It seemed marvelous that a man of Amzi’s wisdom and learning should be so carried away by such a flimsy doctrine as that which Mohammed now began to proclaim. Amzi appeared to have fallen under the spell which Mohammed seemed to cast over many of those with whom he came in contact; and, though he acknowledged no belief in the so-called prophet, neither did he profess disbelief in him.