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the world were made for laughing. It is full of jokes and the queerest-good wines also. But hold thine aged hands out. Heft the scrip which now I return."
Reached out Shem his hands, and his steward placed the scrip between them. The hands could not support the scrip, for it was too heavy. The bag fell to the ground.
Then laughed Trivialis another time, saying: “Have I root ? The root of evil. Yea and pearls and rubies also. What told I thee ere I started on my journey! Said I not, 'For myself I have no luck; for another great success always'?"
“What! hast thou revenged me on that man of blood and brass ? Is it true?"
“I have revenged thee,” said the steward, picking up the scrip. “The man hath lost his business utterly, is ruined. Nor can the law ever touch thee. And, even while I did the thing thou hadst ordered me to do, I earned thee all this wealth."
Then cast old Shem his trembling arms about the steward. Said he, “I have done thee wrong, O my steward. I knew thee for a bibber of wines— What say the Sopherim? But tell me about the voyage, and about thee and thy health.”
"My health is perfect. The voyage was beautiful. I played jokes on captain and passengers alike. Yet I drank no wine till thy plan of revenge was fully consummated. Then, having attended to my master's business, I did allow myself some little—well, thou knowest."
“I know. And now, good servant, I will reward thee richly when we get again home. Meantime, Pardon, O Son, I truly must give thee a little advice-a little instruction- What say the Sopherim! Say they not that a word in season is like rain in the spring? Yes, 60 those men, those holy men, do surely say. But now for the instruction.
“Behold, I mean as concerning my son, Samson. Now listen. Keep thou from rousing that young man's anger toward thee. He is stronger than lions, and stubborn-thou wouldst not believe." “I have seen that, Master. All that know the young
from time to time, he will be a person inflexible. Rather, they say, You can bend him but you cannot break him.'
Shem: “He hath given me much concern in this matter-this way in which he doth ever, having formed a purpose, hang to it. His dear mother, Shemaiah, when still she lived, tried, but in vain, to wean him of all that, and I have attempted to correct it, even by violence. It was all exactly as if we had not tried. His mother and I shed many a tear about that. Yet sometimes I have thought that
perhaps the Nameless One had in this quality of Samson, or Solomon, some deep purpose of His own.
Trivialis: “The old Chazzan hath indeed said so, and he hath also had dreams concerning the matter, such as that an angel hath said unto him that the Lord hath had a purpose in this, the inflexible will of thy son. And, ever since I became a proselyte of the Gate, I too have thought that the dream of the Chazzan might have boded
Shem: “Being of such a stubborn disposition, then, he should be taunted no more. He is ill, too much aroused. He would follow thee over the earth. I cannot understand his vengefulness. And, in particular, avoid slighting reference to the Chazzan's dreams about him, especially mock not his lineage, his family, his race, his tribal ancestry, his descent from Abraham-his holy title to the priesthood, for he comes of Aaron. Thou lookest down, I see. It is well. Thou art ashamed. Be not so roysterous. Thou art a good, grave man, an excellent servant--and yet, His strength is as the strength of many tempests, and his soul, though loving, is fierce. My son! My
At times, Trivialis, thou tryest him sorely. I fear, I fear. I fear both for thee and for him. Wilt thou not promise me"
The tears fell down the old man's cheeks.
Then dropped to the ground Trivialis of Cyrene, steward of Shem ben-Adam. He took his master's garments in his fingers, and did himself weep. He kissed the hem of the simlah again and yet again. Cried he to his master, “I have sinned, I have sinned. I know not what demon entereth into me, but, at times, when I see anyone serious or serene, I am constrained forcibly to mock him. Yet, after all, I may love him, O Master. What was I when thou didst find me! A slave in the old city of Occidentalis, a slave to Ignorantia. Are not my shoulders bent and twisted still with all that aforetime servitude ? Thou-dost not thou remember also 9'
“Aye, Master, thou didst liberate me. Then thou gavest me, further, knowledge of the sun-dial, taught me the Mazzaroth— I am ever thy debtor; I dwell in the tents of Shem; I shall not forget."
“Thou gavest me also the stone of Opportunitas, the which she had given unto thee in times gone before. See, I still have it herehere at the end of a chain about my neck. How clear and green this stone, symbol of youth and hope, opportunity itself! What a lustre! What a light! How the buyers of gems, the changers of money-"
"Enough. It is thine. Thou didst earn it well, for thou—"
“But the unlawful son of Ignorantia-Avidus? Dost thou not remember him also 1—I am fain to laugh."
"Mind not Avidus and Ignorantia, for now, O my steward, I would say unto thee that, barring thy levity, and, ofttimes, thy scornful mocking, thou hast more than repaid me all that I have ever done for thee. Rise, then. Up! So, embrace me. And now that thou hast accomplished so much on this, thy dangerous journey just passed, I will even send thee at once on yet another journey. Wilt thou go ?”
Trivialis saith, “I will go."
And after a little further discourse about the matter, Shem commanded him: “Take, therefore, with thee large sums of money. And set up, even there in Rhodes, a competing shop, in the Street of the Tripods, beside the little inn of Nemesis. Sell there oil and figs below the price at which the man can buy them. Then shall Hostilis be also ruined. He did my father a great injury, Hostilis. Besides, he hath mocked at Adonai. Violate no law, but, wherever the man doth set up a shop-be not merciful. Remember. Swear."
“I swear,” said the steward, “but-what say the Sopherim ?-See! There cometh a crowd back from the amphitheatre, and, as it seemeth, in an ugly mood, which bodeth no good for us Jews."
“Thou a- Let us on, then, to the synagogue yard,” said Shem. “Meanwhile, say nothing unto my son, Samson, as concerneth thy scheme for revenge. He is young. He is apt to draw conclusions. God protect him and keep him from all idolatries. My son, my son! Would my son were here."
“Thou hast thy wish," said the steward, “I am fain to laugh."
And behold! both Samson and Amahnah coming in from the country.
The Chazzan motioned them all to come to the synagogue yard. There he took Trivialis apart, and questioned him about the perils of his recent journey—the sweet, old, dignified Chazzan, with his fatherly ways, his deep serenity, his rare, mysterious wisdom. And the steward was bashful before him, and cast his timid glances to the ground.
But Samson and Amahnah went over before the synagogue. And the maiden looked at the lad, and loved him for his strength and great tenacity of purpose and for his adoration of the Lord. And Samson saw the maiden also, her simplicity of heart, her obedience, her wisdom and her love of duty. But he knew not that he loved her. So he merely declared unto her, “Thou seemest to me always, O Amahnah, to dwell very near to the beautiful presence of ElShaddai.'
She said unto him, “Dwell there with me."
“I know that El-Shaddai liveth," said the lad, "for I hear His voice in every little wind that bloweth and in the loud thunder, and I can see about me ten thousand things which He hath done and which no one else than He could do."
And Samson feared to tell her that he longed to behold Adonai El-Shaddai with his eyes, to speak with Him, to take Him by the hand, to be His friend. He said further only, “My father and the steward are going. Peace be unto thee."
She answered, “Go into peace," and made him a heavenly gesture both of tenderness and love.
But the Chazzan came to Samson. And his countenance was as the countenance of Moses and them that were with him, and that were before him, and that were a little after him. Taking a theca, or locket, which hung about his own neck, he placed the chain about the neck of Samson, saying: “Behold, O Samson-Solomon, my son! I knew thee in the school. And later I have seen that thou art a man to be trusted. Not all are so. Hence, now, I give to thee this precious gift. 'Twas always thine, even from the foundations. 'Twas thine or ere I found thee in the prison of the King of the South, and thence did, with many a wandering, fetch thee. Ensealed in the theca are three bright pearls, which, on a day, thou 'lt know the meaning of. Around these pearls a bit of parchment. On the parchment thou shalt find, plain writ, the proof and witness of thy lineage.? Thou, as thou knowest, art surely descended from the tribe of Levi, the family of Aaron, and even of the course of Jedaiah, so that thou art relative unto the great High Priest in Jerusalem. Is it not so? It is so, my son.
1 The Chazzan, or "Officer of the Synagogue,” was, not only in Palestine but throughout the Diaspora, the regular school-master for Jewish children.
2 With regard to the keeping of priests' genealogies in those days, Flavius Josephus, writing just a little later than the time above supposed (he was born 37 A. D.) has the following passage: "For our forefathers did not only appoint the best of these priests, and those that attended upon the Divine worship, for that design from the beginning, but made provision that the stock of the priests should continue unmixed and pure; for he who is partaker of the priesthood must propagate of a wife of the same nation. . . . And this is our practice not only in Judea, but wheresoever any body of men of our nation do live; and even there an exact catalogue of our priests' marriages is kept; I mean at Egypt and at Babylon, or in any other place of the rest of the habitable earth, whithersoever our priests are scattered; for they send to Jerusalem the ancient names of their parents in writing, as well as those of their remoter ancestors, and signify who are the witnesses also.”—“Against Apion,” Book I, Sec. 7.
“But thy genealogy, it is only in the Jerusalem records and on the parchment in this locket. Keep thou, then, the locket: for it may be that the High Priest in Jerusalem shall not be favorable unto thee, on the day when thou shalt go up unto him, and then thou shalt surely need that the proof of thy lineage shall be in thine own very hands. Thou art a humble kinsman, he a great-"
“I will keep the locket, O Father."
"It is well. I gave it not unto Shem, because he was not wholly Adonai's, as thee I know indeed to be. Moreover, he never would care with his heart to allege his birth and title to the priesthood. But thou—thou—" He looked afar off, as if he were seeing the face of curious things. Then again he gazed at Samson.
Samson said, “I am glad to have this locket. It may some time happen that I shall go to Jerusalem, and there shall seek to establish my title, and so become a priest.”
Betah: “Son, there hath been given unto me a prophetic eye. And I do clearly behold that, even shouldst thou follow thine own base passions (which Heaven forbid) even so thou wouldst still be on thy way to that which thou couldst not prevent, even though thou wouldst.'
“O Father,” said Samson then, “I never will go to Jerusalem. But yet I promise thee truly, by all the laws thou gavest me whenas I was captive unto the King of the South-yea, and later also—that I will ever keep the locket."
“Thou wilt go to Jerusalem. But, O my son, promise. Promise me holily thou 'lt never loose this locket from its chain, its chain from off thy neck, or open the locket out of any cause, lest, didst thou otherwise, the parchment or the pearls were wholly lost forever, thy title to the priesthood with them.”
“Father, I promise.”
“It is well. I long have known thee for a lad of strength and great endurance, as well as of deep religious qualities. But, O my
“The very depth and high sincerity of thy religiousness is apt to lead thee astray."
But Samson-Solomon at first would not go, being in a strange terror.
Said the Chazzan: “Thy very name, which is Samson-Solomon, meaneth Strength and Wisdom. My name, it is Betah, which, by