Imágenes de páginas


[ocr errors]

IN the continual quarrels which sub- amined the wounds of the young sisted between the Arabs of the De- cheykh, and, after laying his hand sucsert, and the Motsallam of Jerusalem, cessively on his breast

, on his beard, the people of the latter surprised and and on his forehead, said, “ My Lord, made prisoner, near the valley of Be- what thou hast commanded shall be gâa, a young cheykh who had already done: deliver up to me this slave, and distinguished himself by his valorous I will endeavour to restore him to thee achievements. He was named Ismayl, worth all the ransom which thy justice the son of Ahmed, the son of Bâhir: has a right to expect.” his father was chief of the tribe of The expiring youth was conveyed to Ouahydyeh, one of the most consider- the house of the drogoman, who was able of Barr el Châm.* Ismayl defend- numed Youhannà ebn-Temyn. The ed himself with the courage of the fire of charity warmed the heart of this lions he had so often attacked in the Christian man : he dwelt near the sands of Maan and Karac. Bring des- gate of St. Stephen, on the via doloroperately wounded, it was not without sa, f and the garden of his house vas great difficulty that he was transported formed on the ruins of one of the walls to Jerusalem, where he was lodged, of the piscina probatica,ş to the botwith his head resting on a column, in tom of which it descended. the court of the Governor's Palace. Maryam, the most beautiful of the The paleness of death overspread his daughters of Palestine, heard the sunburnt visage, without changing the sounds of redoubled blows : having masculine and dignified beauty of his discerned the voice of Ebn-Temyn, features : bis stiff and chilled limbs, her father, she opened the door, which however, seemed to announce that he was barricaded 'like those of all the who was the rampart of the Desert, Christians of Jerusalem, and was not a and the terror of Syria, would soon little surprised at seeing him enter with yield up the ghost. But his blood still the inanimate body of the young flowed; and what pity denied, was cheykh. “My daughter," said the inspired by a sordid interest. The drogoman, “ bring to thee one in afmotsallam, expecting a considerable fiction;" and thenceforth compassion ransom for the only son of the cheykh was depicted on the celestial counteof the Ouahydyeh, ordered the drogo- nance of Maryam. “ He is of the most man of the convent of the Holy Land, formidable chiefs of those Bedouins, who had the reputation of a skilful the son of Ahmed, the cheykh of the physician, to be called. “ Hakim,"+ Ouahydyeh.

What! so said he to him,“ seeing that thou young,” said she; “ and is it he who hast received from heaven the gift of made himself so terrible to the Bethlecuring men, and that my people see in hemites ! O my father, let us pardon thee a second Averroès, I will con- him : bring to thy remembrance the fide to thee this prisoner, if thou think- history of the Samaritan. If thy art est that thou canst save his life : let could save this unfortunate youth !"him be conveyed to thy dwelling. “Haste, run !” replied to her Ebn-TeSwear that thou wilt bring this slave myn, “ bring the balm of zaggoum, into my presence on the twentieth day and stripes of linen.” of the noon of schowal: if thou fail With hasty steps she departed. Isest, if he escape thy vigilance, the trea- mayl was laid on the plain divan of the son be on thy head. The half of his drogoman. Maryam got ready the ransom shall be the reward of this ser- folded linen : on her knees, she supvice."

ported in her arms the drooping bead The drogoman bowed his head, ex- of the youth, and waited impatiently

* Syria.

Doctor. Physician.
+ The road by which our Saviour was led to crucifixion.
§ A pool at Jerusalem where the sheep intended for sacrifice were washed.

[ocr errors]

the opinion her father was about to particulars of his family, and his form of the state of Ismay!. Alas! a pleasures in the Desert. The evening sigh, perhaps the latest, is ready to surprised them in the midst of these escape his lips: the strong throbs long and agreeable reveries, from which which heave the bosom of the young they were at length roused by the virgin do not rekindle in his bosom the voice of the mouezzin, who, from torch of life. Maryam watches the the lofty minaret of the rich mosque slightest movement, the smallest spark : of El-Harem, called the mussulmans she sees for the first time a man—a to prayers. stranger-she contemplates with an ar "Maryam," said the Arab to her, dent pity the closed eyes of the Bed- 6 thou makest me forget my father, the ouin, whose long black lids cast their Prophet, and my tribe. Within these shadow on his wan cheeks. On the gloomy and high walls which shut out breast of Ismayl a deep wound has the light of heaven, thy eyes are bebeen inflicted ; Ebn-Temyn thinks it come the only stars I wish to follow. mortal : Maryam shudders, and pres- Either will my bones become light ashes, ses to hers the sad burden she supports. to be the sport of the wind of yamyn, One of her hands holds what has been or I will plant for thee the nuptial tent prepared to quench the blood which in the desert: my father and mother will flows abundantly on the sash and un- leap for joy at thy sight; all the Ouafolded turban of the Bedouin. Her hydyeh will kiss the skirt of the robe tears, which she cannot wipe away, of Ebn-Temyn; and the girls of the gabathe the brow of the young man : byleh will contend for the honor of washthis potent balm might have awakened ing the dust from thy feet.” Maryam, him from the last sleep; he opens his confused and moved to pity, replied eyes, and fixing them stedfastly on this to him that she was a Christian---that ravishing beauty, in the delirium of the every thing in this life separated them. fever which consumes him, “Maho- “Death,alas!” she added with a sad premet," he exclaims, “ am I at length sentiment,“ will perhaps be more just.” in thy divine Paradise !"... 6 0 In the interim, the pacha of DamasVirgin, mother of the true God,” cries cus, covetting the treasures of the motMaryam," he is still alive! blessed be sallam of Jerusalem, called him to his thy name : help this poor infidel, for divan, and reproached him with his exwithout thee our endavours will be vain.” tortions : his head fell by the stroke of

During the time of his long confine- the cimeter; and those eyes, a single ment, Ebn-Temyn and his daughter glance from which would, the evening did not quit the son of Ahmed for an before, have terrified all Judea, instant. He saw almost unceasingly, dim. A favourite of the pacha was apby day and by night, the expression of pointed governor of Jerusalem : being the softest pity embellish the features of desirous to repay the favour his patron Maryam: words of kindness afforded had conferred on him by an acceptable the hope of a better destiny to this ar- present, he levied contributions, as well dent youth, whose ignominious bonds on the convent of the Holy Sepulchre, galled him more sorely than the suffer- as on those of the Armenians and ings he endured.

Greeks : twenty of the richest Jews In the mean time Ismayl recovered sunk under the merciless blows of the strength, and his heart paid back with staffs of the chiaoux. Grief and coninterest the debt of his life. His soul sternation prevailed throughout the was filled with love and gratitude. As whole city of Jerusalem.“ Listen, soon as he was able to walk Maryam son of Ahmed," said the drogoman to led him beneath the sycamore the the cheykh confided to his care : branches of which overshadowed the “bound by a sacred oath towards the house and garden of Ebn-Temyn : last motsallam, I have not made any seated side by side, it was her delight promise to his successor : to call on him to relate the wars of his strength will enable thee, profit by the tribe, the revenge taken by the Ouahy- confusion which prevails in the city; dyeh on the perfidious Getzar, the go out to morrow at sunset, by the gate



if thy

of Naby Daoud; conceal thyself in with compassion : but I conjure thee, the grottoes of Haceldama, where the let us depart without loss of time.” sepulchres will afford thee a sacred asy Ebn-Temyn, struck by the wisdom lum; and afterwards direct thy steps of these words, and by his daughter's with prudence towards the Desert. grief, yielded to her prayer. Every May the God who sent thee to my thing having been agreed on, and all house, protect thy flight, and may he the measures taken, Ismayl addressed bestow on thee, as on those whose to them the parting wish. “May you blood flow in thy veins, long life.” pant after the sight of the camp of AhMaryam blushed on hearing these med, the son of Bahir, as the wearied words: the cup, filled with the drink she traveller pants after that of the Oasis!" was about to offer, fell from her hand. This project, however, was soon dis

“O my father," said Ismayl, concerted: the tumult had become 6 wherefore is it that thou wouldest such in the streets of Jerusalem, that have me sever myself from thee, Ebn-Temyn would not consent to alwhen danger menaces those my heart low his guest to depart: he even obwill never abandon ? That cruel man liged him to conceal himself beneath Abdallah, now persecutes the chief the vaults of the cistern, there to wait men of Jerusalem ; but, when this new a more favourable moment. After this motsallam shall have sacrificed the precaution he ascended more tranquilly dromedaries, his hand will slay the to Maryam, with whom he was conewes and shear the tender lamb. He versing when a party of spahis came will recollect the combat of Tiberiades, to seize him. He had been denounced when he shall be told that Ismayl is a by a perfidious Greek, and was concaptive; and not any ransom will be ducted to the motsallam : his daughter the purchase of my life: there is blood never saw him more. between us and the children of our What little Ebn-Temyn possessed children. Soon will Abdallah demand was confiscated. Maryam, in despair, of thee an account of the slave; and hastened to throw herself at the feet thy mouth, the daughter of truth, what of the superior of the monks of the reply will it have to make ? Let us Holy Land, to conjure him to sue for rather Alee together; or if thou wilt her father.' The monastery was surplight thy faith to me, I will proceed rounded by soldiers, and the monks towards my father : he will draw near menaced. “ My daughter," said the to Pharan with the children of his most reverend father to Maryam. tribe, gentle as antelopes, and coura “ Our Lord has inflicted on us a deep geous as lions ; and I will bring a do- wound, and you, of all the victims, are cile camel, which Maryam will guide subjected to the severest trials: offer without difficulty. Accompanied by up your griefs to Him who, at this very her, thou wilt come out to meet us at spot, voluntarily drank of the cup, the entrance of the valley of Gaza, even unto the dregs : daughter of Jesus and shouts of joy will welcome thee Christ, your father is no more." among the sons of the Ouahydyeh. The wretched girl was ignorant of We will await thy coming during the this deplorable loss : she fell motionlast three days of the moon of sepher; less. By the time she had recovered and I will watch unceasingly on the her senses, she was surrounded by seveheights of Ebor to discern thine arrival.” ral Christian women, who wept, and

“ My father," said Maryam, em- resisted her being taken before the govbracing his knees, “ the offer of this ernor. This man, having been informyoung man is an inspiration of heaven: ed of the beauty of Maryam, was de yesterday I prostrated myself before sirous to present to the pacha of Da the altar of the virgin, and my heart mascus a gift sweet as incense, and well divined all that he has proposed to us. worthy his acceptance. The prayers Let us flee from the first blows of these of the monks however, and their monbarbarians : the band of God will af- ey, delayed this measure for a few terwards dispel this storm : this power. hours. They were in hopes that they ful God will look down upon his people should be enabled to shield the young

Christian from all further inquiries by able to resist.” “ Thou didst not imag, confiding her to the nuns of Bethle- ine that I would depart," said Ismayl hem; but news was brought in the in a sorrowful tone of voice, laying evening that that city likewise had been down his weapons and his mantle : “I delivered up to the fury of the Metou- have not given thee reason to suspect alis. Information was at the same time the son of Ahmed -of so dastardly an received, that the convent of Jerusa- act. Was it thy wish to try me? And lem, and the church of the Holy Sep what signifies life to me when removed ulchre were to be forced in the night. from what I love ? What is it that I From that moment every one betook have just heard ? Is it possible that himself to flight, as the only resource. thou canst live far from Ismayl ? I reThe women concealed themselves with main, and I attest the Prophet that no their children, in the deep caverns con- earthly power shall drag me from thy taining the tombs of the kings and presence.” “ Thou remainest,” exjudges. Courageous Christians scaled claimed Maryam, "and the death the walls, and buried the most precious with which thou art menaced !” “I of the relics in the sands of the grotto despise it,” said Ismayl. “And thy faof Jeremiah, or in the depths of Siloe. ther who expecteth thee, and the tribe

Dejected, dismayed, without any which impatiently awaiteth thy comone to counsel her, and without an asy- ing !” “I remain,” repeated' Ismayl

. lum, Maryam returned to Ismayı, “Wretch,” replied Maryam, “ dost whom she found worn out with anxious thou not know that I cannot survive expectation. When he heard of the thee ?”—“ I will at least be the first to death of Ebn-Temyn, and witnessed die,” said Ismayl. These words emphatthe despair of his daughter, he foamed ically pronounced had all their weight: with rage, and breathed nothing but they decided the fate of Maryam. revenge. “ If God,” said she to him, “ Oh my God! what is to be done ?” “ has still left me a little strength, it exclaimed the young girl, falling on her is that I might engage thee to depart. knees. “Ought I to quit this soit I have told in confidence every thing to sprinkled with the blood of my father? the Father of the convent. Yousef, Ought I to suffer Ismayl to perish ? Am one of the janissaries to whom the pro- I then, a poor and desolate orphan to tection of the monks is confided, has sacrifice him thus ? If my father were been brought over by them, and will living, a sacred duty would attach me facilitate thy flight : he has consented to him ; but, alone in the world, insulato conceal himself in the ruins of Be- ted, and without a prop, where is the thamia, where the Arabs of Siloah tie that binds me ? A numerous family will furnish him with a camel. It is would have to deplore the loss of Isnight; gain the valley of Jehosaphat; mayl; and ought I to consent to his thou wilt there find thy guide, who will death? What matters the fate of Mawait for thee until the ninth hour. May ryam ? He will live, and may still be God bless this journey, and may he happy. Ismayl! save thy life, and disaccompany thy steps ! Bring sometimes pose of mine : I depart with thee. Par. to thy remembrance Ebn-Temyn and don me, 0 ! holy Virgin, pardon me; his unfortunate daughter.”—Thou and, if we are both culpable, punish me wilt not follow me,' said Ismayl, “and alone.” thou proposest to me to flee? “I Not a moment was to be lost : directam a Christian,” replied Maryam, ed by the light of the conflagration “and am not permitted to be thy wife : which consumed the convent of the but, Ismayl, if thou lovest me, save thy Armenians, Ismayl and Maryam penlife; be happy in the desert: Maryam etrated with great difficulty through will not fail to find a refuge near the the hedges of aloes which bound the tomb of her God.” Then, taking gardens of the environs. They reachcourage, she added with a voice hali ed the wall which encompasses Jerusastifled by her tears : “ the only grief lem, and climbed over it with the help which I could not support, vould be of a few Christians, to whom they renthat of forgetting my duties,or of seeing dered a like service. They might be thee lose thy life; all others. I shall be seen--they might be heard the small

est noise might betray them: Is. The rising sun displayed to their view mayl knew for the first time what fear the desert :—an immense plain of sand, is. They hastened their steps : Mary- reddened by its earliest rays, without a am, accustomed to the sedentary life of tree and without shelter. But this the females of the East, found it diffi- sight, far from dismaying Ismayl, gave cult to follow her friend: he carried her him new courage : to him the Desert in his arms. The minaret of Bethania was the country and the image of libwas at length in sight : now it was erty. “0! Maryam,” said he,“ be of that the son of Ahmed persuaded him- good cheer : before the end of this day self that he was master of the destiny we shall reach the fountain of Engaddi

, of Maryam, who was still engaged in and to-morrow we shall be with my faoffering up thanks to heaven when ther. Maryam, somewhat encouraged they came to the ruins. They hasten- by these words, tried to conceal her ed to make the signal which had been sufferings : she attempted to walk, agreed on; but it was not answered : leaning on Ismayl ; but her paleness all was hushed; the night was dark; soon betrayed her, and she was near and the guide and the camel missing. fainting when he again took her in his Ismayl repeated the signal; he search- arms. Towards the close of this long ed in vain, for nought was to be seen : journey, the Arab not yet fully recovthe ninth hour was certainly passed. ered from the effect of his wound, also

What was to be done? How travel became weak, and still the tops of the over sixty miles of dreary and rugged palms of Engaddi were scarcely perroads, without help, and without pro- ceptible at the horizon : it appeared visions, to have to find at the end of impossible to reach them before the this journey, moving sands scorched hour of darkness should set in ; but by the sun. What obstacles will not Maryam languished : the thirst that love surmount ! Ismayl had not any consumed her scarcely allowed her to difficulty in persuading Maryam that articulate one word. 'Twas for him they ought to proceed. “I know," that she was dying! This recollection said he, “a spring midway between inspired the Bedouin with new courage: this and the land occupied by my tribe: he walked, stopped, and walked again. near the fountain we shall find date- The fear of losing the object of his adtrees the fruit of which will nourish oration, diffused over his forehead a thee. I will carry thee : it will require cold sweat : trembling, panting for two days only to accomplish this jour- breath, he pressed his treasure against ney; and if thy strength should fail his anxious bosom: yet a few steps, thee, I will press thee to my bosom to and they will reach the fountain so arrestore it.”

dently desired. They reached it at A pure and sacred love inwrapped length, both of them ready to sink; them in its virginal robe : it tempered and each, deprived of motion, lay the ardour of their souls, where reign- stretched on the sand. ed a holy confidence-the tender and Ismayl rose, however, and dragged religious charm of a first love. Mary- his wearied steps to the cistern: he am readily believed what Ismayl said took water in the palms of his hands, to ber : they hastened to quit these sol- and moistened with it the lips of Maryitary ruins : it was their wish to take am ; she slowly opened her eyes beadvantage of the coolness of the night, dewed with tears, which a feeble smile to accomplish a small portion of their tried vainly to disguise. Anxious journey with less fatigue. Vain hope ! about the condition of Ismayl, all her Maryam was already exhausted by fa- thoughts were concentrated in him. tigue: her tender feet were lacerated “ Alas !" said the young girl, “ withby the thorns. Ismayl saw her efforts out me thou wouldst not have been and her sufferings, and his heart was thus dying, and exhausted with fabroken. He took her in his arms, and tigue." She accused herself; and, carried her for a long time; but he ad- while she lamented him she loved, trivanced slowly in treading on the sharp ed to find, even in her sacrifices, the flints which his feet buried in the sand. Occasion of her own blame.

« AnteriorContinuar »