Again the voice fell, and the bony hands met in a fervent clasp.

“One night I walked by the shores of the lake, and spoke to the listening silence, ‘When will God come and claim His own? Is there to be no redemption?’ Suddenly a light began to glow tremulously out on the water; soon a star arose, and moved towards me, and stood overhead. The brightness stunned me. While I lay upon the ground, I heard a voice of infinite sweetness say, ‘Thy love hath conquered. Blessed art thou, O son of India! The redemption is at hand. With two others, from far quarters of the earth, thou shalt see the Redeemer, and be a witness that He hath come. In the morning arise, and go meet them, and put all thy trust in the Spirit which shall guide thee.’ “And from that time the light has stayed with me; so I knew it was the visible presence of the Spirit. In the morning I started to the world by the way I had come. In a cleft of the mountain I found a stone of vast worth, which I sold in Hurdwar. By Lahore, and Cabool, and Yezd, I came to Ispahan. There I bought the camel, and thence was led to Bagdad, not waiting for caravans. Alone I travelled, fearless, for the Spirit was with me, and is with me yet. What glory is ours, O brethren! We are to see the Redeemer- to speak to Him- to worship Him! I am done!”


CHAPTER V.

THE EGYPTIAN’S STORY- GOOD WORKS.

THE vivacious Greek broke forth in expressions of joy and congratulations; after which the Egyptian said, with characteristic gravity- “I salute you, my brother. You have suffered much, and I rejoice in your triumph. If you are both pleased to hear me, I will now tell you who I am, and how I came to be called. Wait for me a moment.”

He went out and tended the camels; coming back, he resumed his seat.

“Your words, brethren, were of the Spirit,” he said, in commencement; “and the Spirit gives me to understand them. You each spoke particularly of your countries; in that there was a great object which I will explain; but to make the interpretation complete, let me first speak of myself and my people. I am Balthasar the Egyptian.”

The last words were spoken quietly, but with so much dignity that both listeners bowed to the speaker.

“There are many distinctions I might claim for my race,” he continued; “but I will content myself with one. History began with us. We were the first to perpetuate events by records kept. So we have no traditions; and instead of poetry, we offer you certainty. On the facades of palaces and temples, on obelisks, on the inner walls of tombs, we wrote the names of our kings, and what they did; and to the delicate papyri we entrusted the wisdom of our philosophers and the secrets of our religion- all the secrets but one, whereof I will presently speak. Older than the Vedas of Para-Brahm or the Up-Angas of Vyasa, O Melchior; older than the songs of Homer or the metaphysics of Plato, O my Gaspar; older than the sacred books or kings of the people of China, or those of Siddartha, son of the beautiful Maya; older than the Genesis of Mosche the Hebrew- oldest of human records are the writings of Menes, our first king.” Pausing an instant, he fixed his large eyes kindly upon the Greek, saying, “In the youth of Hellas, who, O Gaspar, were the teachers of her teachers?”