The Abyssinian Neophyte

by Caroline Lee Hentz

Adellan, an Abyssinian youth, approached one of those consecrated buildings, which crown almost every hill of his native country. Before entering, he drew off his shoes, and gave them in charge to a servant, that he might not soil the temple of the Lord, with the dust of the valley; then bending down, slowly and reverentially, he pressed his lips to the threshold, performed the same act of homage to each post of the door, then passed into the second division of the church, within view of the curtained square, answering to the mysterious holy of holies in the Jewish temple. He gazed upon the pictured saints that adorned the walls, long and earnestly, when, kneeling before them, he repeated, with deep solemnity, his customary prayers. He rose, looked towards the mystic veil, which no hand but that of the priest was permitted to raise, and anticipated with inexplicable emotions the time when, invested with the sacred dignity of that office, he might devote himself exclusively to Heaven. From early childhood, Adellan had been destined to the priesthood. His first years were passed mid the stormy scenes of war, for his father was a soldier, fighting those bloody battles, with which the province of Tigre had been more than once laid waste. Then followed the dreadful discipline of famine, for the destroying locusts, the scourge of the country, had followed up the desolation of war, and year succeeding year, gleaned the last hope of man. The parents of Adellan fled from these scenes of devastation, crossed the once beautiful and fertile banks of the Tacazze, and sought refuge in the ample monastery of Walduba, where  a brother of his father then resided. Here, he was placed entirely under the protection of his uncle, for his father, sickened with the horrors he had witnessed, and loathing the ties which were once so dear to him, recrossed his native stream, became a gloomy monk in another convent, where, with several hundred of his brethren, he soon after perished a victim to those barbarities, which had robbed him of all that gave value to life. Adellan had never known the joys of childhood. The greenness and bloom of spring had been blotted from his existence. Famine had hollowed his boyish cheek, and fear and distrust chilled and depressed his young heart. After entering the convent of Walduba, where all his physical wants were supplied, the roundness and elasticity of health were restored to his limbs, but his cheek was kept pale by midnight vigils, and long and painful fastings. The teacher, whom his uncle placed over him, was severe and exacting. He gave him no relaxation by day, and the stars of night witnessed his laborious tasks. He was compelled to commit lessons to memory, in a language which he did not then understand, a drudgery from which every ardent mind must recoil. Yet, such was his thirst for knowledge, that he found a pleasure, even in this, that sweetened his toils. All the strains of the devout Psalmist were familiar to his lips, but they were in an unknown tongue, for in this manner are the youth of those benighted regions taught. Often, when gazing on the magnificent jewelry of a tropical sky, shining down on the darkness and solitude of night, had he unconsciously repeated the words of the royal penitent—"The heavens declare the glory of God. The firmament showeth his handy work." He understood not their meaning, but the principle of immortality was striving within him, and every star that gemmed the violet canopy, seemed to him eye-beams of that all-seeing Divinity he then darkly adored.

Adellan left the enclosure of the church, and lingered beneath the shade of the cedars, whose trunks supported the roof, and thus formed a pleasant colonnade sheltered from the sun and the rain. Beautiful was the prospect that here stretched itself around him. All the luxuriance of a mountainous country, constantly bathed with the dews of heaven, and warmed by the beams of a vertical sun, was richly unfolded. Odoriferous perfumes, wafted from the forest trees, and exhaled from the roses, jessamines, and wild blossoms, with which the fields were covered, scented the gale. Borne  from afar, the fragrance of Judea's balm mingled with the incense of the flowers and the richer breath of the myrrh. A cool stream murmured near, where those who came up to worship, were accustomed to perform their ablutions and purifying rites, in conformance with the ancient Levitical law. Wherever Adellan turned his eyes, he beheld some object associated with the ceremonies of his austere religion. In that consecrated stream he had bathed, he had made an altar beneath every spreading tree, and every rock had witnessed his prostrations. He thought of the unwearied nature of his devotions, and pride began to swell his heart. He knew nothing of that meek and lowly spirit, that humiliation of soul, which marks the followers of a crucified Redeemer. He had been taught to believe that salvation was to be found in the observance of outward forms, but never had been led to purify the inner temple so as to make it a meet residence for a holy God.

Near the close of the day, he again walked forth, meditating on his contemplated journey to Jerusalem, the holy city, where he was not only to receive the remission of his own sins, but even for seven generations yet unborn, according to the superstitious belief of his ancestors. He was passing a low, thatched dwelling, so lost in his own meditations, as scarcely to be aware of its vicinity, when a strain of low, sweet music, rose like a stream of "rich distilled perfumes." Woman's softer accents mingled with a voice of manly melody and strength; and as the blending strains stole by his ear, he paused, convinced that the music he heard was an act of adoration to God, though he understood not the language in which it was uttered. The door of the cabin was open, and he had a full view of the group near the entrance. A man, dressed in a foreign costume, whose prevailing colour was black, sat just within the shade of the cedars that sheltered the roof. Adellan immediately recognised the pale face of the European, and an instinctive feeling of dislike and suspicion urged him to turn away. There was something, however, in the countenance of the stranger that solicited and obtained more than a passing glance. There was beauty in the calm, thoughtful features, the high marble brow, the mild devotional dark eye, and the soft masses of sable heir that fell somewhat neglected over his lofty temples. There was a tranquillity, a peace, an elevation diffused over that pallid face, which was reflected back upon the heart of the beholder: a kind of moonlight  brightness, communicating its own peculiar sweetness and quietude to every object it shone upon. Seated near him, and leaning over the arm of his chair, was a female, whose slight delicate figure, and dazzlingly fair complexion, gave her a supernatural appearance to the unaccustomed eye of the dark Abyssinian. Her drooping attitude and fragile frame appealed at once to sympathy and protection, while her placid eyes, alternately lifted to heaven and turned towards him on whose arm she leaned, were expressive not only of meekness and submission, but even of holy rapture. A third figure belonged to this interesting group: that of an infant girl, about eighteen months old, who, seated on a straw matting, at the feet of her parents, raised her cherub head as if in the act of listening, and tossed back her flaxen ringlets with the playful grace of infancy.

Adellan had heard that a Christian missionary was in the neighbourhood of Adorva, and he doubted not that he now beheld one whom he had been taught to believe his most dangerous enemy. Unwilling to remain longer in his vicinity, he was about to pass on, when the stranger arose and addressed him in the language of his country. Surprised at the salutation, and charmed, in spite of himself, with the mild courtesy of his accents, Adellan was constrained to linger. The fair-haired lady greeted him with a benign smile, and the little child clapped its hands as if pleased with the novelty and grace of his appearance; for though the hue of the olive dyed his cheek, his features presented the classic lineaments of manly beauty, and though the long folds of his white robe veiled the outlines of his figure, he was formed in the finest model of European symmetry. The missionary spoke to him of his country, of the blandness of the climate, the magnificence of the trees, the fragrance of the air, till Adellan forgot his distrust, and answered him with frankness and interest. Following the dictates of his own ardent curiosity, he questioned the missionary with regard to his name, his native country, and his object in coming to his own far land. He learned that his name was M——, that he came from the banks of the Rhine to the borders of the Nile, and, following its branches, had found a resting-place near the waters of the beautiful Tacazze.

"And why do you come to this land of strangers?" asked the abrupt Abyssinian.

"I came as an humble servant of my divine Master," replied  the missionary, meekly; "as a messenger of 'glad tidings of great joy,' to all who will receive me, and as a friend and brother, even to those who may persecute and revile me."

"What tidings can you bring us," said Adellan, haughtily, "that our priests and teachers can not impart to us?"

"I bring my credentials with me," answered Mr. M——, and taking a Testament, translated into the Amharic language, he offered it to Adellan; but he shrunk back with horror, and refused to open it.

"I do not wish for your books," said he; "keep them. We are satisfied with our own. Look at our churches. They stand on every hill, far as your eye can reach. See that stream that winds near your dwelling. There we wash away the pollution of our souls. I fast by day, I watch by night. The saints hear my prayers, and the stars bear witness to my penances. I am going to the holy city, where I shall obtain remission for all my sins, and those of generations yet unborn. I shall return holy and happy."

Mr. M—— sighed, while the youth rapidly repeated his claims to holiness and heaven.

"You believe that God is a spirit," said he; "and the worship that is acceptable in his eyes must be spiritual also. In vain is the nightly vigil and the daily fast, unless the soul is humbled in his eyes. We may kneel till the rock is worn by our prostrations, and torture the flesh till every nerve is wakened to agony, but we can no more work out our own salvation by such means, than our feeble hands can create a new heaven and a new earth, or our mortal breath animate the dust beneath our feet, with the spirit of the living God."

The missionary spoke with warmth. His wife laid her gentle hand on his arm. There was something in the glance of the young Abyssinian that alarmed her. But the spirit of the martyr was kindled within him, and would not be quenched.

"See," said he, directing the eye of the youth towards the neighbouring hills, now clothed in the purple drapery of sunset; "as sure as those hills now stand, the banner of the cross shall float from their summits, and tell to the winds of heaven the triumphs of the Redeemer's kingdom. Ethiopia shall stretch out her sable hands unto God, and the farthest isles of the ocean behold the glory of his salvation."

Adellan looked into the glowing face of the missionary, remembered the cold and gloomy countenance of his religious  teacher, and wondered at the contrast. But his prejudices were unshaken, and his pride rose up in rebellion against the man who esteemed him an idolater.

"Come to us again," said the missionary, in a subdued tone, as Adellan turned to depart; "let us compare our different creeds, by the light of reason and revelation, and see what will be the result."

"Come to us again," said the lady, in Adellan's native tongue; and her soft, low voice sounded sweet in his ears, as the fancied accents of the virgin mother. That night, as he sat in his lonely chamber, at the convent, conning his task in the stillness of the midnight hour, the solemn words of the missionary, his inspired countenance, the ethereal form of his wife, and the cherub face of that fair child, kept floating in his memory. He was angry with himself at the influence they exercised. He resolved to avoid his path, and to hasten his departure to Jerusalem, where he could be not only secure from his arts, but from the legions of the powers of darkness.

Months passed away. The humble cabin of the missionary was gradually thronged with those who came from curiosity, or better motives, to hear the words of one who came from such a far country. His pious heart rejoiced in the hope, that the shadows of idolatry which darkened their religion would melt away before the healing beams of the Sun of Righteousness. But he looked in vain for the stately figure of the young Adellan. His spirit yearned after the youth, and whenever he bent his knees at the altar of his God, he prayed for his conversion, with a kind of holy confidence that his prayer would be answered. At length he once more presented himself before them, but so changed they could scarcely recognise his former lineaments. His face was haggard and emaciated, his hair had lost its raven brightness, and his garments were worn and soiled with dust. He scarcely answered the anxious inquiries of Mr. M——, but sinking into a seat, and covering his face with his hands, large tears, gathering faster and faster, glided through his fingers, and rained upon his knees. Mary, the sympathizing wife of the missionary, wept in unison; but she did not limit her sympathy to tears, she gave him water to wash, and food to eat, and it was not until he rested his weary limbs, that they sought to learn the history of his sufferings. It would be tedious to detail them at length, though  he had indeed experienced "a sad variety of woe." He had commenced his journey under the guidance and protection of a man in whose honour he placed unlimited confidence, had been deceived and betrayed, sold as a slave, and, though he had escaped this degradation, he had been exposed to famine and nakedness, and the sword.

"I have been deserted by man," said Adellan; "the saints have turned a deaf ear to my prayers; I have come to you to learn if there is a power in your Christianity to heal a wounded spirit, and to bind up a broken heart."

The missionary raised his eyes in gratitude to Heaven.

"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me," cried he, repeating the language of the sublimest of the prophets: "because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captive, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound."

"Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted," repeated Mary, softly; and never were promises of mercy pronounced in a sweeter voice. Afflictions had humbled the proud spirit of Adellan. But his was not the humility of the Christian. It was rather a gloomy misanthropy, that made him turn in loathing from all he had once valued, and to doubt the efficacy of those forms and penances, in which he had wasted the bloom of his youth, and the morning strength of his manhood. But he no longer rejected the proffered kindness of his new friends. He made his home beneath their roof. The Testament he had formerly refused, he now gratefully received, and studied it with all the characteristic ardour of his mind. Persevering as he was zealous, as patient in investigation as he was quick of apprehension, he compared text with text, and evidence with evidence, till the prejudices of education yielded to the irresistible force of conviction. When once his understanding had received a doctrine, he cherished it as a sacred and eternal truth, immutable as the word of God, and immortal as his own soul.

He now went down into the hitherto untravelled chambers of his own heart, and, throwing into their darkest recesses the full blaze of revelation, he shuddered to find them infested by inmates more deadly than the serpent of the Nile. Passions, of whose existence he had been unconscious, rose up from their hiding places, and endeavoured to wrap him in their giant folds. Long and fearful was the struggle, but  Adellan opposed to their power the shield of Faith and the sword of the Spirit, and at last came off conqueror, and laid down his spoils at the foot of the cross. The missionary wept over him, "tears such as angels shed." "Now," exclaimed he, "I am rewarded for all my privations, and my hitherto unavailing toils. Oh! Adellan, now the friend and brother of my soul, I feel something like the power of prophecy come over me, when I look forward to your future destiny. The time will shortly come, when you will stand in the high places of the land, and shake down the strong holds of ancient idolatry and sin. The temples, so long desecrated by adoration of senseless images, shall be dedicated to the worship of the living God. Sinners, who so long have sought salvation in the purifying waters of the stream, shall turn to the precious fountain of the Redeemer's blood. Oh! glorious, life-giving prospect! They who refuse to listen to the pale-faced stranger, will hearken to the accents of their native hills. Rejoice, my beloved Mary! though I may be forced to bear back that fading frame of yours to a more congenial clime, our Saviour will not be left without a witness, to attest his glory, and confirm his power."

To fulfil this prophecy became the ruling desire of Adellan's life. He longed to liberate his deluded countrymen from the thraldom of that superstition to which he himself had served such a long and gloomy apprenticeship. He longed, too, for some opportunity of showing his gratitude to his new friends. But there is no need of signal occasions to show what is passing in the heart. His was of a transparent texture, and its emotions were visible as the pebbles that gleam through the clear waters of the Tacazze. The beautiful child of the missionary was the object of his tenderest love. He would carry it in his arms for hours, through the wild groves that surrounded their dwelling, and, gathering for it the choicest productions of nature, delight in its smiles and infantine caresses. Sometimes, as he gazed on the soft azure of its eyes, and felt its golden ringlets playing on his cheek, he would clasp it to his bosom and exclaim, "Of such is the kingdom of heaven."

Mary idolized her child, and Adellan's great tenderness for it, inexpressibly endeared him to her heart. She loved to see the fair face of her infant leaning against the dark cheek of Adellan, and its flaxen locks mingling with his jetty hair. One evening, as it fell asleep in his arms, he was alarmed at the scarlet brightness of its complexion, and the burning heat of its skin. He carried it to its mother. It was the last time  the cherub ever slumbered on his bosom. It never again lifted up its head, but faded away like a flower scorched by a noonday sun.

Day and night Adellan knelt by the couch of the dying infant, and prayed in agony for its life; yet even in the intensity of his anguish, he felt how sublime was the resignation of its parents. They wept, but no murmur escaped their lips. They prayed, but every prayer ended with the submissive ejaculation of their Saviour, "Not our will, O Father! but thine be done." And when the sweet, wistful eyes were at last closed in death, and the waxen limbs grew stiff and cold, when Adellan could not restrain the bitterness of his grief, still the mourners bowed their heads and cried, "The Lord gave, the Lord taketh away—blessed be the name of the Lord."

Adellan had witnessed the stormy sorrow of his country-women, whose custom it is to rend their hair, and lacerate their faces with their nails, and grovel, shrieking, in the dust; but never had his heart been so touched as by the resignation of this Christian mother. But, though she murmured not, she was stricken by the blow, and her fragile frame trembled beneath the shock. Her husband felt that she leaned more heavily on his arm, and though she smiled upon him as wont, the smile was so sad, it often brought tears into his eyes. At length she fell sick, and the missionary saw her laid upon the same bed on which his infant had died. Now, indeed, it might be said that the hand of God was on him. She, the bride of his youth, the wife of his fondest affections, who had given up all the luxuries of wealth, and the tender indulgences of her father's home, for the love of him and her God; who had followed him not only with meekness, but joy, to those benighted regions, that she might share and sweeten his labours, and join to his, her prayers and her efforts for the extension of the Redeemer's kingdom; she, whose presence had been able to transform their present lowly and lonely dwelling into a place lovely as the Garden of Eden—could he see her taken from him, and repeat, from his heart, as he had done over the grave of his only child, "Father, thy will be done?"

Bitter was the conflict, but the watchful ear of Adellan again heard the same low, submissive accents, which were so lately breathed over his lost darling. Here, too, Adellan acted a brother's part; but female care was requisite, and this  his watchful tenderness supplied. He left them for a while, and returned with a young maiden, whose olive complexion, graceful figure, and long braided locks, declared her of Abyssinian birth. Her voice was gentle, and her step light, when she approached the bed of the sufferer. Ozora, for such was the name of the maiden, was a treasure in the house of sickness. Mary's languid eye followed her movements, and often brightened with pleasure, while receiving her sympathizing attentions. In her hours of delirious agony, she would hold her hand, and call her sister in the most endearing tone, and ask her how she had found her in that land of strangers. Sometimes she would talk of the home of her childhood, and imagine she heard the green leaves of her native bowers rustling in the gale. Then she thought she was wandering through the groves of Paradise, and heard the angel voice of her child singing amid the flowers.

Ozora was familiar with all the medicinal arts and cooling drinks of her country. She possessed not only native gentleness, but skill and experience as a nurse. She was an orphan, and the death-bed of her mother had witnessed her filial tenderness and care. She was an idolater, but she loved Adellan, and for his sake would gladly embrace the faith of the European. Adellan was actuated by a twofold motive in bringing her to the sick-bed of Mary; one was, that she might exercise a healing influence on the invalid, and another, that she might witness the triumphs of Christian faith over disease, sorrow, and death. But Mary was not doomed to make her grave in the stranger's land. The fever left her burning veins, and her mind recovered its wonted clearness. She was able to rise from her couch, and sit in the door of the cabin, and feel the balmy air flowing over her pallid brow.

She sat thus one evening, supported by the arm of her husband, in the soft light of the sinking sunbeams. Adellan and her gentle nurse were seated near. The eyes of all were simultaneously turned to a small green mound, beneath the shade of a spreading cedar, and they thought of the fairy form that had so often sported around them in the twilight hour.

"Oh! not there," cried Mary, raising her glistening eyes from that lonely grave to heaven—"Not there must we seek our child. Even now doth her glorified spirit behold the face of our Father in heaven. She is folded in the arms of Him, who, when on earth, took little children to his bosom and blessed them. And I, my beloved husband—a little while  and ye shall see my face no more. Though the Almighty has raised me from that couch of pain, there is something tells me," continued she, laying her hand on her heart, "that my days are numbered; and when my ashes sleep beside that grassy bed, mourn not for me, but think that I have gone to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." Then, leaning her head on her husband's shoulder, she added, in a low trembling voice—"to my child and your child."

It was long before Mr. M—— spoke; at length he turned to Adellan, and addressed him in the Amharic language: "My brother! it must be that I leave you. The air of her native climes may revive this drooping flower. I will bear her back to her own home, and, if God wills it, I will return and finish the work he has destined me to do."

Mary clasped her hands with irrepressible rapture as he uttered these words; then, as if reproaching herself for the momentary selfishness, she exclaimed, "And leave the poor Abyssinians!"

"I will leave them with Adellan," he answered, "whom I firmly believe God has chosen, to declare his unsearchable riches to this portion of the Gentile world. The seed that has been sown has taken root, and the sacred plant will spring up and increase, till the birds of the air nestle in its branches, and the beasts of the forest lie down beneath its shade. Adellan, does your faith waver?"

"Never," answered the youth, with energy, "but the arm of my brother is weak. Let me go with him on his homeward journey, and help him to support the being he loves. I shall gather wisdom from his lips, and knowledge from the glimpse of a Christian land. Then shall I be more worthy to minister to my brethren the word of life."

A sudden thought flashed into the mind of the missionary. "And would you, Adellan," asked he, "would you indeed wish to visit our land, and gain instruction in our institutions of learning, that you might return to enrich your country with the best treasures of our own? You are very young, and might be spared awhile now, that you may be fitted for more extensive usefulness hereafter."

Adellan's ardent eye told more expressively than words could utter, the joy which filled his soul at this proposition. "Too happy to follow you," cried he; "how can I be sufficiently grateful for an added blessing?"

Ozora, who had listened to the conversation, held in her  own language, with intense interest, here turned her eyes upon Adellan, with a look of piercing reproach, and suddenly rising, left the cabin.

"Poor girl!" exclaimed Mary, as Adellan, with a saddened countenance, followed the steps of Ozora; "how tenderly has she nursed me, and what is the recompense she meets? We are about to deprive her of the light that gladdens her existence. She has not yet anchored her hopes on the Rock of Ages, and where else can the human heart find refuge, when the wild surges of passion sweep over it!"

"Adellan is in the hands of an all-wise and all-controlling power," answered the missionary, thoughtfully; "the tears of Ozora may be necessary to prove the strength of his resolution; if so, they will not fall in vain."

A few weeks after, everything being in readiness for the departure of the missionary and his family, he bade farewell to the Abyssinians, who crowded round his door to hear his parting words. He took them with him to the hillside, and, under the shadow of the odoriferous trees, and the covering of the heavens, he addressed them with a solemnity and fervour adapted to the august temple that surrounded him. His deep and sweet-toned voice rolled through the leafy colonnades and verdant aisles, like the rich notes of an organ in some ancient cathedral. The Amharic language, soft and musical in itself, derived new melody from the lips of Mr. M——.

"And now," added he, in conclusion, "I consign you to the guardianship of a gracious and long-suffering God. Forget not the words I have just delivered unto you, for remember they will rise up in judgment against you in that day when we shall meet face to face before the bar of eternal justice. This day has the Gospel been preached in your ears. Every tree that waves its boughs over your heads, every flower that embalms the atmosphere, and every stream that flows down into the valley, will bear witness that the hallowed name of the Redeemer has been breathed in these shades, and promises of mercy so sweet that angels stoop down from heaven to listen to the strains that have been offered, free, free as the very air you inhale. I go, my friends, but should I never return, this place will be for ever precious to my remembrance. It contains the ashes of my child. That child was yielded up in faith to its Maker, and the spot where it sleeps is, therefore, holy ground. Will ye not guard it from the foot of the stranger, and the wild beast of the mountain? Let the flower  of the hills bloom ungathered upon it, and the dew of heaven rest untrodden on its turf, till he, who is the resurrection and the life, shall appear, and the grave give back its trust."

He paused, overpowered by the strength of his emotions, and the sobs of many of his auditors attested the sympathy of these untutored children of nature. He came down from the elevated position on which he had been standing, and taking the hand of Adellan, led him to the place he had just occupied. The people welcomed him with shouts, for it was the first time he had presented himself in public, to declare the change in his religious creed, and such was the character he had previously obtained for sanctity and devotion, they looked upon him with reverence, notwithstanding his youth. He spoke at first with diffidence and agitation, but gathering confidence as he proceeded, he boldly and eloquently set forth and defended the faith he had embraced. That young, enthusiastic preacher would have been a novel spectacle to an European audience, as well as that wild, promiscuous assembly. His long, white robes, girded about his waist, according to the custom of his country, his black, floating hair, large, lustrous eyes, and dark but now glowing complexion, formed a striking contrast with the sable garments, pallid hue, and subdued expression of the European minister. They interrupted him with tumultuous shouts, and when he spoke of his intended departure and attempted to bid them farewell, their excitement became so great, he was compelled to pause, for his voice strove in vain to lift itself above the mingled sounds of grief and indignation.

"I leave you, my brethren," cried he, at length, "only to return more worthy to minister unto you. My brother will open my path to the temples of religion and knowledge. He needs my helping arm in bearing his sick through the lonely desert and over the deep sea—what do I not owe him? I was a stranger and he took me in; I was naked and he clothed me; hungry and he fed me, thirsty and he gave me drink; and more than all, he has given me to eat the bread of heaven, and water to drink from the wells of salvation. Oh! next to God, he is my best friend and yours."

The shades of night began to fall, before the excited crowd were all dispersed, and Mr. M——, and Adellan were left in tranquillity. Mary had listened to the multitudinous sounds, with extreme agitation. She reproached herself for allowing her husband to withdraw from the scene of his missionary  labours out of tenderness for her. She thought it would be better for her to die and be laid by her infant's grave, than the awakened minds of these half Pagan, half Jewish people, be allowed to relapse into their ancient idolatries. When the clods of the valley were once laid upon her breast, her slumbers would not be less sweet because they were of the dust of a foreign land.

Thus she reasoned with her husband, who, feeling that her life was a sacred trust committed to his care, and that it was his first duty to guard it from danger, was not moved from his purpose by her tearful entreaties. They were to depart on the following morning.

That night Adellan sat with Ozora by the side of a fountain, that shone like a bed of liquid silver in the rising moonbeams. Nature always looks lovely in the moonlight, but it seemed to the imagination of Adellan he had never seen her clothed with such resplendent lustre as at this moment, when every star shone with a farewell ray, and every bough, as it sparkled in the radiance, whispered a melancholy adieu.

Ozora sat with her face bent over the fountain, which lately had often been fed by her tears. Her hair, which she had been accustomed to braid with oriental care, hung dishevelled over her shoulders. Her whole appearance presented the abandonment of despair. Almost every night since his contemplated departure, had Adellan followed her to that spot, and mingled the holiest teachings of religion with the purest vows of love. He had long loved Ozora, but he had struggled with the passion, as opposed to that dedication of himself to heaven, he had contemplated in the gloom of his conventual life. Now enlightened by the example of the missionary, and the evangelical principles he had embraced, he believed Christianity sanctioned and hallowed the natural affections of the heart. He no longer tried to conquer his love, but to make it subservient to higher duties.

Mary, grieved at the sorrow of Ozora, would have gladly taken her with her, but Adellan feared her influence. He knew he would be unable to devote himself so entirely to the eternal truths he was one day to teach to others, if those soft and loving eyes were always looking into the depths of his heart, to discover their own image there. He resisted the proposition, and Mr. M—— applauded the heroic resolution. But now Adellan was no hero; he was a young, impassioned  lover, and the bitterness of parting pressed heavily on his soul.

"Promise me, Ozora," repeated he, "that when I am gone, you will never return to the idolatrous worship you have abjured. Promise me, that you will never kneel to any but the one, invisible God, and that this blessed book, which I give you, as a parting pledge, shall be as a lamp to your feet and a light to your path. Oh! should you forget the faith you have vowed to embrace, and should I, when I come back to my country, find you an alien from God, I should mourn, I should weep tears of blood over your fall; but you could never be the wife of Adellan. The friend of his bosom must be a Christian."

"I cannot be a Christian," sobbed the disconsolate girl, "for I love you better than God himself, and I am still an idolater. Oh! Adellan, you are dearer to me than ten thousand worlds, and yet you are going to leave me."

The grief she had struggled to restrain, here burst its bounds. Like the unchastened daughters of those ardent climes, she gave way to the wildest paroxysms of agony. She threw herself on the ground, tore out her long raven locks, and startled the silence of night by her wild, hysterical screams. Adellan in vain endeavoured to soothe and restore her to reason; when, finding his caresses and sympathy worse than unavailing, he knelt down by her side, and lifting his hands above her head, prayed to the Almighty to forgive her for her sacrilegious love. As the stormy waves are said to subside, when the wing of the halcyon passes over them, so were the tempestuous emotions that raged in the bosom of this unhappy maiden, lulled into calmness by the holy breath of prayer. As Adellan continued his deep and fervent aspirations, a sense of the omnipresence, the omnipotence and holiness of God stole over her. She raised her weeping eyes, and as the moonbeams glittered on her tears, they seemed but the glances of his all-seeing eye. As the wind sighed through the branches, she felt as if His breath were passing by her, in mercy and in love. Filled with melting and penitential feelings, she lifted herself on her knees, by the side of Adellan, and softly whispered a response to every supplication for pardon.

"Oh! Father, I thank thee for this hour!" exclaimed Adellan, overpowered by so unlooked-for a change, and throwing his arms around her, he wept from alternate ecstasy and  sorrow. Let not the feelings of Adellan be deemed too refined and exalted for the region in which he dwelt. From early boyhood he had been kept apart from the companionship of the ruder throng; his adolescence had been passed in the shades of a convent, in study, and deep observation, and more than all he was a Christian; and wherever Christianity sheds its pure and purifying light, it imparts an elevation, a sublimity to the character and the language, which princes, untaught of God, may vainly emulate.

The morning sunbeam lighted the pilgrims on their way. The slight and feeble frame of Mary was borne on a litter by four sturdy Ethiopians. Seven or eight more accompanied to rest them, when weary, and to bear Mr. M—— in the same manner, when overcome by fatigue, for it was a long distance to Massowak. Their journey led them through a desert wilderness, where they might vainly sigh for the shadow of the rock, or the murmur of the stream. Adellan walked in silence by the side of his friend. His thoughts were with the weeping Ozora, and of the parting hour by the banks of the moonlighted fountain. Mary remembered the grave of her infant, and wept, as she caught a last glimpse of the hill where she had dwelt. The spirit of the missionary was lingering with the beings for whose salvation he had laboured, and he made a solemn covenant with his own soul, that he would return with Adellan, if God spared his life, and leave his Mary under the shelter of the paternal roof, if she indeed lived to behold it. On the third day, Mr. M—— was overcome with such excessive languor, he was compelled to be borne constantly by the side of his wife, unable to direct, or to exercise any controlling influence on his followers. Adellan alone, unwearied and energetic, presided over all, encouraged, sustained, and soothed. He assisted the bearers in upholding their burdens, and whenever he put his shoulder to the litter, the invalids immediately felt with what gentleness and steadiness they were supported. When they reached the desert, and camels were provided for the travellers, they were still often obliged to exchange their backs for the litter, unable long to endure the fatigue. Adellan was still unwilling to intrust his friends to any guidance but his own. He travelled day after day through the burning sands, animating by his example the exhausted slaves, and personally administering to the wants of the sufferers. When they paused for rest or refreshment, before he carried the cup to his own parched lips, he brought  it to theirs. It was his hand that bathed with water their feverish brows, and drew the curtain around them at night, when slumber shed its dews upon their eyelids. And often, in the stillness of the midnight, when the tired bearers and weary camels rested and slept after their toils, the voice of Adellan rose sweet and solemn in the loneliness of the desert, holding communion with the high and holy One who inhabiteth eternity.

There was a boy among the negro attendants, who was the object of Adellan's peculiar kindness. He seemed feeble and incapable of bearing long fatigue, and at the commencement of the journey Adellan urged him to stay behind, but he expressed so strong a desire to follow the good missionary, he could not refuse his request. He wore his face muffled in a handkerchief, on account of some natural deformity, a circumstance which exposed him to the derision of his fellow slaves, but which only excited the sympathy of the compassionate Adellan. Often, when the boy, panting and exhausted, would throw himself for breath on the hot sand, Adellan placed him on his own camel and compelled him to ride. And when they rested at night, and Adellan thought every one but himself wrapped in slumber, he would steal towards him, and ask him to tell him something out of God's book, that he, Adellan, had been reading. It was a delightful task to Adellan to pour the light of divine truth into the dark mind of this poor negro boy, and every moment he could spare from his friends was devoted to his instruction.

One evening, after a day of unusual toil and exertion, they reached one of those verdant spots, called the Oases of the desert; and sweet to the weary travellers was the fragrance and coolness of this green resting-place. They made their tent under the boughs of the flowering acacia, whose pure white blossoms diffused their odours even over the sandy waste they had passed. The date tree, too, was blooming luxuriantly there, and, more delicious than all, the waters of a fountain, gushing out of the rock, reminded them how God had provided for the wants of his ancient people in the wilderness. The missionary and his wife were able to lift their languid heads, and drink in the freshness of the balmy atmosphere. All seemed invigorated and revived but the negro boy, who lay drooping on the ground, and refused the nourishment which the others eagerly shared.

"What is the matter, my boy?" asked Adellan, kindly,  and taking his hand in his, was struck by its burning heat. "You are ill," continued he, "and have not complained." He made a pallet for him under the trees, and they brought him a medicinal draught. Seeing him sink after a while in a deep sleep, Adellan's anxiety abated. But about midnight he was awakened by the moanings of the boy, and bending over him, laid his hand on his forehead. The sufferer opened his eyes, and gasped, "Water, or I die!" Adellan ran to the fountain, and brought the water immediately to his lips. Then kneeling down, he removed the muffling folds of the handkerchief from his face, and unbound the same from his head, that he might bathe his temples in the cooling stream. The moon shone as clearly and resplendently as when it beamed on Ozora's parting tears, and lighted up with an intense radiance the features of the apparently expiring negro. Adellan was astonished that no disfiguring traces appeared on the regular outline of his youthful face; his hair, too, instead of the woolly locks of the Ethiopian, was of shining length and profusion, and as Adellan's hand bathed his brow with water, he discovered beneath the jetty dye of his complexion the olive skin of the Abyssinian.

"Ozora!" exclaimed Adellan, throwing himself in agony by her side; "Ozora, you have followed me, but to die!"

"Forgive me, Adellan," cried she, faintly; "it was death to live without you; but oh! I have found everlasting life, in dying at your feet. Your prayers have been heard in the desert, and I die in the faith and the hope of a Christian."

Adellan's fearful cry had roused the slumberers of the tent. Mr. M——, and Mary, herself, gathering strength from terror, drew near the spot. What was her astonishment to behold her beloved nurse, supported in the arms of Adellan, and seemingly breathing out her last sighs! Every restorative was applied, but in vain. The blood was literally burning up in her veins.

This last fatal proof of her love and constancy wrung the heart of Adellan. He remembered how often he had seen her slender arms bearing the litter, her feet blistering in the sands; and when he knew, too, that it was for the love of him she had done this, he felt as if he would willingly lay down his life for hers. But when he saw her mind, clear and undimmed by the mists of disease, bearing its spontaneous testimony to the truth of that religion which reserves its most  glorious triumphs for the dying hour, he was filled with rejoicing emotions.

"My Saviour found me in the wilderness," cried she, "while listening to the prayers of Adellan. His head was filled with dew, and his locks were heavy with the drops of night. Oh, Adellan, there is a love stronger than that which has bound my soul to yours. In the strength of that love I am willing to resign you. I feel there is forgiveness even for me."

She paused, and lifting her eyes to heaven, with a serene expression, folded her hands on her bosom. The missionary saw that her soul was about to take its flight, and kneeling over her, his feeble voice rose in prayer and adoration. While the holy incense was ascending up to heaven, her spirit winged its upward way, so peacefully and silently, that Adellan still clasped her cold hand, unconscious that he was clinging to dust and ashes.

They made her grave beneath the acacia, whose blossoms were strewed over her dying couch. They placed a rude stone at the head, and the hand of Adellan carved upon it this simple, but sublime inscription, "I know that my Redeemer liveth." The name of Ozora, on the opposite side, was all the memorial left in the desert, of her whose memory was immortal in the bosom of her friends. But there was a grandeur in that lonely grave which no marble monument could exalt. It was the grave of a Christian:

"And angels with their silver wings o'ershade

The ground now sacred by her relics made."

It would be a weary task to follow the travellers through every step of their journey. Adellan still continued his unwearied offices to his grateful and now convalescent friends, but his spirit mourned for his lost Ozora. When, however, he set foot on Christian land, he felt something of the rapture that swelled the breast of Columbus on the discovery of a new world. It was, indeed, a new world to him, and almost realized his dreams of Paradise.

The friends of Mary and her husband welcomed him, as the guardian angel who had watched over their lives in the desert, at the hazard of his own; and Christians pressed forward to open their hearts and their homes to their Abyssinian brother. Mary, once more surrounded by the loved scenes of her youth, and all the appliances of kindred love, and all  the medicinal balms the healing art can furnish, slowly recovered her former strength. All that female gratitude and tenderness could do, she exerted to interest and enliven the feelings of Adellan, when, after each day of intense study, he returned to their domestic circle. The rapidity with which he acquired the German language was extraordinary. He found it, however, only a key, opening to him treasures of unknown value. Mr. M—— feared the effects of his excessive application, and endeavoured to draw him from his books and studies. He led him abroad amongst the works of nature, and the wonders of art, and tried to engage him in the athletic exercises the youth of the country delighted in.

Whatever Adellan undertook he performed with an ardour which no obstacles could damp, no difficulties subdue. Knowledge, purified by religion, was now the object of his existence; and, while it was flowing in upon his mind, from such various sources, finding, instead of its capacities being filled, that they were constantly enlarging and multiplying, and the fountains, though overflowing, still undrained: and knowing too, that it was only for a short time that his spirit could drink in these immortal influences, and that through them he was to fertilize and refresh, hereafter, the waste places of his country, he considered every moment devoted to relaxation alone, as something robbed from eternity.

One day, Adellan accompanied a number of young men belonging to the institution in which he was placed, in an excursion for the collection of minerals. Their path led them through the wildest and most luxuriant country, through scenes where nature rioted in all its virgin bloom; yet, where the eye glancing around, could discern the gilding traces of art, the triumphs of man's creating hand. Adellan, who beheld in every object, whether of nature or of art, the manifestation of God's glory, became lost in a trance of ecstasy. He wandered from his companions. He knelt down amid the rocks, upon the green turf, and on the banks of the streams. In every place he found an altar, and consecrated it with the incense of prayer and of praise. The shades of night fell around him, before he was conscious that the sun had declined. The dews fell heavy on his temples, that still throbbed with the heat and the exertions of the day. He returned chilled and exhausted. The smile of rapture yet lingered on his lips, but the damps of death had descended with the dews of night, and from that hour consumption commenced its slow but  certain progress. When his friends became aware of his danger, they sought by every possible means to ward off the fatal blow. Mr. M—— induced him to travel, that he might wean him from his too sedentary habits. He carried him with him, through the magnificent valleys of Switzerland, those valleys, embosomed in hills, on whose white and glittering summits Adellan imagined he could see the visible footprints of the Deity. "Up to the hills," he exclaimed, with the sweet singer of Israel, in a kind of holy rapture, "up to the hills do I lift mine eyes, from whence cometh my help." When returning, they lingered on the lovely banks of the Rhine, his devout mind, imbued with sacred lore, recalled "the green fields and still waters," where the Shepherd of Israel gathered his flock.

The languid frame of Adellan seemed to have gathered strength, and his friends rejoiced in their reviving hopes; but "He who seeth not as man seeth," had sent forth his messenger to call him to his heavenly home. Gentle was the summons, but Adellan knew the voice of his divine Master, and prepared to obey. One night, as he reclined in his easy chair, and Mr. M—— was seated near, he stretched out his hand towards him, with a bright and earnest glance: "My brother," said he, "I can now say from my heart, the will of God be done. It was hard to give up my beloved Abyssinians, but I leave them in the hands of One who is strong to deliver, and mighty to save. You, too, will return, when you have laid this wasted frame in its clay-cold bed."

"I made a vow unto my God," answered Mr. M——, "that I would see them again, and that vow shall not be broken. When they ask me the parting words of Adellan, tell me what I shall utter."

"Tell them," exclaimed Adellan, raising himself up, with an energy that was startling, and in a voice surprisingly clear, while the glow of sensibility mingled with the hectic fires that burned upon his cheek; "tell them that the only reflection that planted a thorn in my dying pillow, was the sorrow I felt that I was not permitted to declare to them once more, the eternal truths of the Gospel. Tell them, with the solemnities of death gathering around me, in the near prospect of judgment and eternity, I declare my triumphant faith in that religion your lips revealed unto me, that religion which was sealed by the blood of Jesus, and attested by the Spirit of Almighty God; and say, too, that had I ten thousand lives,  and for every life ten thousand years to live, I should deem them all too short to devote to the glory of God, and the service of my Redeemer."

He sunk back exhausted in his chair, and continued, in a lower voice, "You will travel once more through the desert, but the hand of Adellan will no longer minister to the friend he loves. Remember him when you pass the grave of Ozora, and hallow it once more with the breath of prayer. She died for love of me, but she is gone to him who loved her as man never loved. Her spirit awaits my coming."

The last tear that ever dimmed the eye of Adellan here fell to the memory of Ozora. It seemed a parting tribute to the world he was about to leave. His future hours were gilded by anticipations of the happiness of heaven, and by visions of glory too bright, too holy for description. He died in the arms of the missionary, while the hand of Mary wiped from his brow the dews of dissolution. Their united tears embalmed the body of one, who, had he lived, would have been a burning and a shining light, in the midst of the dark places of the earth; one, who combined in his character, notwithstanding his youth and his country, the humility of the Publican, the ardour of Peter, the love of John, and the faith and zeal of the great Apostle of the Gentiles. Perhaps it should rather be said, with the reverence due to these holy evangelists and saints, that a large portion of their divine attributes animated the spirit of the Abyssinian Neophyte.