Yusuf rose, and, placing both hands on Amzi’s shoulders, said earnestly: “My friend, who can say that every good impulse of man may not be an outcome of the divine nature implanted in him by the Creator, and which, if watered and developed, will surely burst into the flower of goodness when once the influence of God’s Spirit is fully recognized and ever invoked? Amzi, you have many such seeds of innate good. Your very longings for good, your tone of late, show me that you are near this blessed recognition. Why will you not believe? Why will you not embrace the Lord Jesus Christ? We are all weak of ourselves, but we have strength in him. Amzi, my friend, pray for yourself.”
He turned abruptly and left Amzi alone, to ponder long and earnestly over the conversation of the past hour.
THE FATE OF DUMAH.
“Death is the liberator
of him whom freedom cannot release, the
physician of him whom medicine cannot cure, and the comforter of
him whom time cannot console.”—Colton.
And now began a veritable reign of terror for the Jews of Medina. The first evidence of the closing of Mohammed’s iron hand was shown in his forcing them to make Mecca, rather than Jerusalem, their kebla, or point of prayer. Many refused to obey this command, and were consequently dragged off to await the pleasure of the prophet.
At first the keenest edge of Moslem vindictiveness seemed to be directed against the bards or poets, for the power of stirring and pathetic poetry in arousing the passionate Oriental blood to revenge was recognized as an instrument too potent to be overlooked.
Ere long even the form of imprisonment was, to a great extent, set aside, and the knife of the assassin was set at work. Among those who thus fell were Kaab, a Jewish poet who strove to incite the Koreish to aggressive measures against the Moslems; and Assina, a young woman who had been guilty of writing satires directed against the prophet himself.
Yusuf and Amzi became greatly alarmed for the safety of Dumah. Every possible means of rendering assistance to the poor singer seemed to be cut off. They could not even find any clue to his whereabouts, and feared that he, too, had fallen beneath some treacherous blade.
As yet, Amzi and Yusuf had been permitted to wander at will. For hours and hours did they roam about the streets seeking for some clue to Dumah’s place of imprisonment, but all efforts were futile, until one day Amzi heard a faint voice singing in the cellar of one of the Moslem buildings. He lay down by the wall, closed his eyes, and strained his ears to catch the sound. It was assuredly Dumah, singing weakly: