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the newly married pair by the guests; and others given to them in return. The company exercised their ingenuity in riddles and maschals; or a grave and learned rabbi would discourse on the sanctity and duties of the marriage state, and the honor and happiness of those who might thus be appointed to give birth to the Messiah.

This protracted festival was at times wearisome to Sulamith and Helon, who longed to begin their tranquil, solitary, and domestic life. In the mean time, Helon was delighted to discover every day some new perfection in Sulamith, some new resemblance to the maidens and mothers of Israel in times past. Her domestic virtues assimilated her to Sarah; her poetical imagination to Miriam, the sister of Moses; her disinterestedness and self-devotion to the daughter of Jephthah; and her artless piety to Hannah, the mother of Samuel.


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It was determined that the young married pair should proceed with Myron, immediately after the marriage, to Alexandria, to fetch Helon's aged mother from Egypt, in time to attend the feast of Tabernacles. Elisama was to remain in the mean time at Jericho, lest, as he observed, he should bring on her the imputation of being a false prophetess. Alas! he little knew what a melancholy accomplishment her prediction was about to receive, and in his own person. The departure was delayed neither Sulamith nor Helon was impatient for it, and Myron was very willing to remain. Helon found scarcely anything left him to wish. All his expectations of outward prosperity were fulfilled, and he flattered himself that he was as near the summit of spiritual perfection as of

earthly bliss. The deep veneration which Sulamith expressed for his purpose of becoming a Chasidean, regarding him as already being all that he proposed to become, inspired him by degrees with a high opinion of his own righteousness. His present happiness seemed to him a sign of the favor of Jehovah. Accustomed to regard all calamity as a divine judgment for sin, all prosperity as the reward of virtue, he considered his present condition as a mark of the distinguished approbation of God. His conscience seemed to join the league and promote his self-deception; his tenderness for Sulamith, his readiness to make little sacrifices of his wishes to hers, his gratitude and affection towards her parents and his own benefactor Elisama, were magnified by him into a complete obedience to the divine commands, into something more than mere righteousness. As those are apt to do who have experienced hitherto uninterrupted success, he began to think that everything which he undertook must be successful that his mountain stood strong and should never be moved. He never, alas, thought of inquiring how much youth and good fortune, the sense of pleasure and pride of heart, had to do in the construction of this showy edifice of self-righteousness.

Myron, during the first days of his residence at Jericho, found himself in circumstances so different from what he had expected, that he held it prudent to keep back as much as Rossible, and become better acquainted with the scene and its personages, before he trusted himself to act upon it. Hence during the festivities of the nuptials, he had been a quiet and unobtrusive spectator, and had recommended himself to the Jewish youths by the easy flexibility of his manners. He had particularly attached himself to Selumiel, after the tumult of rejoicing had subsided, and those who were left together had leisure to seek out the persons who were most congenial to themselves. If he ever offended Elisama, by some expression savoring of heathenism, which now and then seemed to drop from him involuntarily, Selumiel took

his part. He soon discovered Selumiel's partiality for the Essenes, and completely won his heart by telling him, that the Tomuri of Dodona, the Orphici of Thrace, the Curetes in Crete, were either degenerate branches of these Jewish devotees, or had endeavored to form a similar association of wisdom and sobriety, but reinained at a much lower point in the scale of perfection. Selumiel took him with him everywhere, even when he went in the evening to the gates of the city, where the men of Jericho assembled to pass the cool hours in conversation. Helon, of whom he stood most in awe, happened to turn the discourse upon the superiority of Israel to the worshippers of Idols, and pointed out the absurdity of the worship of the Egyptians and earlier Samaritans, among whom Apis was revered under the form of a bull; Moloch of a mixed figure, partly man, partly calf; Dagon was represented as having the lower part of a fish; Tartac, as an ass; Nibbaz, as a dog. All expected to see Myron provoked by this attack upon his religion; but to their great astonishment he not only assented to all that Helon had said, but entertained the company, the whole evening, with ludicrous tales of the adventures of the Grecian gods. The grave Orientals were delighted with him, because his manners were diametrically the reverse of their own. While they sat immoveable in the position which they had at once taken, he on his light and nimble feet turned this way and that, alert to seize every opportunity of mirth; ready to converse with those who were disposed for conversation, or to talk alone when others were silent. Amused with his lively sallies, they encouraged him to proceed from one freedom to another, till he thought that everything was allowed to him.

It chanced that a man passed by, loaded with a heavy burthen, and hanging down his head like one conscious of ignominy. He had been detected in frauds a few days before, and as a punishinent his beard had been off. The finger assemblage, and "How strange,"

of scorn
was pointed at him by the whole
the unfortunate man slunk hastily away.

said Myron," that you should set so much value on a huge tuft of hair upon your chins, that one who has been deprived of it dares not show himself in your presence; and yet you seldom have taste enough to give it an elegant form! Look for example at Elisama, who thinks so much of his beard; what an unsightly incumbrance it is to him." Encouraged by the laughter which arose from the younger part of the assembly, he approached Elisama, and plucked him by the beard; little aware that to an Oriental, and especially a Jew, such an action was one of the grossest outrages that could be committed—an attack upon the very sanctuary of his personal dignity. Helon sprung to interpose but it was too late. Elisama arose, with glowing cheeks, and a look in which the expression of the wildest rage grew every moment stronger. His limbs trembled; his features were distorted, his hair stood on end, and his breast heaved with a feverish gasp. "Accursed heathen!" he exclaimed in a fury, "accursed heathen!” he repeated, and drawing his sword, aimed a blow at Myron. The offender, awakened to a consciousness of what he had done, saw the weapon about to fall on him and evaded the stroke; a citizen of Jericho, whom the tumult of the assembly had pushed forward, received it, and fell mortally wounded at Elisama's feet. In silent horror all stood around, and looked by turns on the murderer, the corpse, and the author of the mischief. The whole city hastened to the spot; Myron escaped; and Selumiel, taking the unconscious Elisama by the hand, led him home. Helon, preceding them, burst with a cry of horror into the house, exclaiming, “Wo, wo homicide - Elisama!" The women hastened from their apartments, and knew not the cause of the confusion. Selumiel entered with Elisama- one in eager haste, the other bewildered with fixed eye and open mouth. "Bring horses, bring camels, bring any beast of burden," exclaimed Selumiel. "Thou hast slain him, Elisama, and must flee before the avenger of blood." "Whither?" asked Helon. "To a city of refuge to Hebron in Judah- to Bezer in

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Reuben to Ramoth Gilead, best of all." At these words Elisama awoke from his trance. Tears flowed from his aged eyes as he exclaimed, "Merciful God, must I in my old age flee as a murderer, and die by the hands of the avenger?" His voice was choked with sobs.

Two rapid dromedaries, "ships of the desert," were brought. Helon accompanied the unhappy man. It was already night, and they passed unobserved out of Jericho. Without a salutation, or an adieu, they urged their flight, in dread lest the avenger should be on their traces; Elisama with his hair loose, his turban floating on the wind, and death on his countenance.

It was one of the most terrific customs of the East, that the next of kin of any one who had been slain, even unwittingly, was deemed infamous if he did not avenge him, by putting to death the man who had killed him. Moses, unable to eradicate this custom, had mitigated it by the appointment of six cities of refuge, three on each side of the Jordan, in which the unintentional homicide might be safe from the vengeance of the Goel.* In these cities, and for a thousand yards around, he could not be touched- - if he ventured beyond these limits, before the death of the high-priest, the Goel might lawfully kill him. The roads and bridges leading to the city of refuge were to be kept in repair, that the fugitive might not be impeded in his flight. The son of the citizen of Jericho whom Elisama had killed, had been fetched from the field, and had gone forth to avenge his father; but he was too late Elisama had already reached Ramoth Gilead in safety.

On the following morning a judicial investigation was held. The seven judges took their places in an apartment at the gate, crouching on carpets; beside them sat two Levites; Selumiel, who represented the accused person, stood on the left; the avenger of blood, as the complainant, on the right. Selumiel was clad in mourning and with disordered

* Numb. xxxv.

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