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"Call them not thy Essenes,” said Elisama, “for, Jehovah be praised, there is a wide difference between them and thee."

"Allow me this," said Selumiel," and I will in return allow thee to speak of thy Pharisees."

"That," said Elisama, very earnestly, “I shall never be; call me an Aramæan Jew, and I shall gladly accept the title."

"What difference should one or the other make in our friendship?" said Selumiel. "Cannot we attach ourselves to different opinions, without any breach of our mutual goodwill? Iddo takes it ill if I call him a Sadducee."

"Alas for Israel," said Elisama; "shall peace never come to thee? It has been a melancholy reflection to me, that în the land where alone Israel is truly Israel, I have scarcely found a single old friend who does not lean to one sect or other. What will be the end of these things?"

The young priest dissatisfied with the turn which their conversation had taken, said hastily, and in a manner which neither of the old men understood, "In my service in the temple one thing only displeased me, that the turn of duty comes to each course of priests but once in twentyfour weeks. I fain would live the life of a priest every week and every day."

"You might have discovered the method of doing so this very day," said Selumiel.

"The Essenes do not sacrifice," said Helon; "how then shall I find among them a perpetual priesthood?"

Elisama looked at him with astonishment. Selumiel, rejoiced as if he had come over to his opinion, replied, "You may find it in the daily mortification of your body and obedience to the law."

"No," said Elisama, "I will tell you the conjugal and domestic life is the perpetual priestoood. You know that the patriarchs sacrificed with their own hands, and even now the master of the house becomes priest, when, at the feast of the Passover, he kills the lamb, blesses the bread, and praises

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Jehovah. In spite of all the Essenes and their admirers,” said he, looking significantly at Selumiel, "it is my opinion that the true Chasidean must be the father of a family."

Selumiel stretched out his hand to the friend of his youth: they turned round, and scarcely had they advanced a few. steps further when they had reached the summit of the hill, and the garden of God, the plain of Jericho, lay before them. The towers of the city arose from amidst the fertile fields, through which the silver Jordan wound its course. From the valley of death through which they had just passed, they had emerged into a scene where life displayed itself in all its luxuriance and fulness. The wide meadows through which the Jordan rolled were adorned by groups of towering palmtrees and balsam bushes; the hills on both sides closed in the landscape with a beautifully picturesque effect. The air was fragrant with the odor of the roses which bear the name of Jericho. The note of the quail was heard in the corn-fields, the eagle swept his majestic way through the air, and the stork and the pelican strode stately beside the flood.

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SELUMIEL led his friends from Egypt through the gate of Jericho. Not far from it stood a house distinguished from all in its neighborhood by its size and the style of the archiIt was the house of Selumiel, who filled the office of an elder in Jericho. He had scarcely bidden his guests welcome in the outer court, and invited them to enter the inner by the covered way, when his son met him with his new-born grandson. The joy of the old man was indescribable. "You see," said he to his guests, when he had led

them to the fountain under the palms, and had called the slaves to wash their feet, "you see by my joy at the sight of my grandchild, that notwithstanding all I have said in their praise, I do not belong to the highest class of the Essenes. While the slaves do their duty, allow me to take a short walk into the Armon."

Selumiel's house was built in such a way, that it enclosed a large open quadrangular space, called Chazer, or Thavech, {the middle or inner court,) which, under a sky that was almost uninterruptedly serene, served as a great chamber, even on great and festive occasions. The pavement was composed of variegated marble, tastefully disposed. In the middle, where in houses of humbler construction a simple basin stood, was a fountain, enclosed with marble and surrounded with lofty palms, which cast such a cooling shade beneath, that our travellers felt themselves instantly refreshed. In the angles stood rows of vases filled with flowers, especially the roses of Jericho, and many other odoriferous shrubs, planted in bowers. Their grateful shade, and the ever fresh and green turf around the fountain, made the coolness as it were visible, which in the hottest days was to be found there. On the sides of this quadrangle stood three rows of pillars, forming two parallel porticoes. The floor of them was covered with carpets and cushions of very elaborate workmanship, and before some of the pillars hung curtains, which gave the space behind the convenience of an enclosed chamber. The cushions were embroidered with gold and silver, and the curtains were of silk, red, white, green, and blue. Against the interior side of the porticoes were divans and sofas, elevations of the height of from two to three feet, which were surrounded with a lattice, and in the day time were covered with carpets and served as seats, in the night were used as beds. Above, the porticoes were covered by three galleries one above another, for the house had three stories, and each gallery had a parapet breast-high towards the court. Round this court the principal parts of the house were dis

posed. The side which adjoined the street contained a small court, separated from the inner only by a wall and a door, contrary to the common mode of building, according to which this court lay beyond the outer wall in front of the house, being connected with it by a covered way: some houses again had both the small internal court, which we have described in Selumiel's house, and the larger exterior court, the latter then serving to receive horses and camels. In Selumiel's house the court was furnished with a sofa, visitors were received here, and only those whom the master of the house specially invited into the interior went any further. The house door, which was in the wall of the house and was covered with inscriptions, led to the outer court. In this court was a staircase, which led to the upper stories of the house and immediately to a little building directly over the small interior court, called Alijah, which rose like a tower upon the flat roof. An awning was fastened to the parapet of the roof in such a manner, that it could be drawn over the whole of the innermost court, and produce complete shade in the brightest sunshine.


The side of the court which was farthest from the street formed the communication with the Armon, or house of the The apartments of the females were universally in the East separate from those of the men, and in Selumiel's mansion they formed a distinct house, divided and arranged much in the same way as we have already described, so that there were in fact two houses, having one side in common.

Elisama and Helon had been so much occupied with the splendor which they beheld around them, that they had allowed the slaves with their silver ewers to wait, without performing their office. Selumiel re-entered, and said, smiling, to Elisama, observing how he was occupied, "Doubtless you are used to see more splendid edifices in Alexandria." "Nay," said Elisama, laughing, “I recall what I said on the way. An elder of Israel who dwells so sumptuously and tastefully is assuredly no Essene." Selumiel led his guests

into one of the bowers, and after they had rested here a short time, to the richly spread table. When the dishes were taken away, and the dessert set on, the mother and her daughter appeared, to bid a solemn welcome to the guests from Egypt -a condescension which showed the esteem in which Selumiel held them. The mother, though advanced in years, was active and still handsome; but Sulamith her daughter, who stood by her side, was glowing in all the freshness of youthful beauty, and united in herself every charm by which a daughter in Israel could fix the attention of the beholder. From beneath the large eyebrows, colored of a brilliant black, dark eyes, like those of the gazelle, sent forth their quiet brilliancy, through the transparent veil which descended from the turban. Her tall and stately form was clad in a robe of fine cotton, which flowed down in folds like a wide mantle; the sleeves hung loose, except where they were fastened with costly bracelets; the ears and the nose were adorned with rings of gold, in which rubies, emeralds, and topazes were set. Helon dazzled by so much beauty, on which he hardly dared to gaze, and agitated by an emotion which he had never felt before, thought he read in the looks with which the old men regarded his surprise, the interpretation of some words which had occasionally escaped Elisama and Selumiel, and which till now he had not understood.

When the females had retired, and the men continued their conversation, Selumiel's son addressed himself to Helon, and proposed to him that in the coolness of the early morning on the following day he would be his guide through the region round Jericho, and as far as to the Dead Sea. Helon, lost in feelings to which he had hitherto been a stranger, had scarcely heard the conversation of the elders; but he was roused from his revery by this offer, which it was the more difficult to decline without discourtesy, as an oriential seldom imposes on himself the fatigue of a walk. Yet it seemed to him as if he were forcibly torn from that world of delightful illusions to which he had just been transported.

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