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Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Hermenie Templeton Kavanagh

Some Experiences of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross

The Secret Doctrine, Volume II Anthropogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

A. Conan Doyle


by Frederick Brotherton Meyer


T all befell according to the mother's faith. The princess, accompanied by a train of maidens, came to the river bank to bathe. She saw the ark among the flags, and sent her maid to fetch it. In the midst of the little group the lid was carefully uplifted; and their eyes were charmed with the sight of the beautiful face, whilst their hearts were touched with the whimper of the babe, who missed its mother, and was frightened by its unwonted surroundings and the many strange faces.

Quickly the woman's heart guessed the secret. The neighbourhood of Hebrew huts, the features and complexion of the babe, the unlikelihood of a mother forgetting her sucking child, the sudden recollection of the stern edict which her father had lately promulgated, all pointed to the inevitable conclusion, "This is one of the Hebrews' children." The sudden interposition of Miriam, who had eagerly and breathlessly watched the whole scene, with her naive suggestion of fetching a Hebrew nurse, solved the problem of what should be done with the foundling almost as soon as it could have suggested itself. Quickly the child's mother stood before the princess, and received the precious burden from her hands; and as she did so, was there not something in her almost convulsive movement which revealed to that quick eye the secret of the little plot? Whether it were so or not, the story does not tell. But with what an ecstasy of joy would that mother pour out her heart when the door was closed on the little group? The child's life was secure beneath the powerful protection of Pharaoh's own daughter, who had said, "Nurse it for me." And the wages which she had promised would do more than provide for all their need. God had done "exceedingly abundantly."

How long the boy stayed in that lowly home we do not know—perhaps till he was four or five years old : but long enough, in any case, to know something of the perils and hardships of his people's lot; to learn those sacred traditions of their past, which he was afterwards to weave with such majestic simplicity into the Book of Genesis; and to receive into his heart the love of the only God, which was to become the absorbing passion and pole-star of his career. Priests, philosophers, and scholars, might do their best afterwards ; but these things had been built into the growing structure of his soul, never again to be disintegrated from its fabric. What an encouragement is suggested by this record to mothers—to make the very most of the early years during which children are confided to their charge. The circumstances must be exceptional indeed under which that charge can be entrusted to others.

At last the time arrived when Thermutis claimed for her own the child whom she had rescued. He had now grown so beautiful that, Josephus tells us, passers-by stood still to look at him, and labourers left their work to steal a glance. The mother's heart must have suffered bitterly as she let her boy go into the unknown world within the great palace-gate; and very lonely must the little household have felt when the last kisses had been exchanged, the last instruction given, and the last prayer offered. What a crowd of tender thoughts, curious speculations, and eager yearnings must have followed the little nurseling of the Hebrew home, as his mother took him and brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son! But, amid all, faith rose pre-eminent, and believed that He who had delivered the child from the perils of the Nile, would keep him pure and sweet amid the evils and fascinations of the Court.

What a magnificent land must Egypt have been in those days of which Herodotus and the hieroglyphic records speak! The atmosphere was rainless; the Nile brought from afar the rich alluvial soil, that bore corn enough to feed the world ; the banks of the river were covered with cities, villages, stately temples, and all the evidences of an advanced civilization; whilst mighty pyramids and colossal figures towered to a hundred feet in height. Seven millions of people throve on this green riband of territory; and whilst the great mass of them were probably

poor and ignorant, the upper classes, and especially the priests, were remarkable for their familiarity with much of which we boast ourselves to-day.

The cream of all this was poured into the cup of Moses. He was brought up in the palace, and treated as the grandson of Pharaoh. If he rode forth into the streets, it would be in a princely equipage, amid the cries of "Bow the knee." If he floated on the Nile, it would be in a golden barge, amid the strains of voluptuous music. If he wished for aught, the almost illimitable wealth of the treasures of Egypt was within his reach.

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