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
"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
"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
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
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
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
"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
"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
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
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
"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
"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
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
"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.