Irene the Missionary


“ I MUST get out of this,” was the conclusion which De Vries came to after some fretful meditation over his slight but awkward tiff with Dr, Macklin.

“ I mustn’t marry this nice little Puritan,” he brooded on in a vague way. “ I think I don’t want to marry her,— don’t want to marry anybody, — at least, not yet. And as to flirting with her, taking advantage of Mr. Payson’s hospitality, desecrating mission ground with college coquetry, it would n’t be the handsome thing,—won’t do at all. I must be off. There will be no war in the mountains. I must go and dig up the five cities, and settle the genealogies of the lords of the Philistines.”

It was such a hypocritical life, too, this Beirut existence of his, he went on. He would defy anybody to guess his real character from his present walk and conversation. He could indulge in none of the amusements which he best liked, and had not a companion to whom he could say his whole honest say. Here he was talking to himself, like an idiot or a misanthrope, for lack of a listener of his own kidney. In a month of this self-repression he would not have a personality, nor so much as a solitary idiosyncrasy. He must put an end to his lounging and masquerading, no matter what became of that sweet little missionary. The doctor must have her,— and be hanged to him, the snarling boor !

Such at least was the substance of his intelligent and manly meditations as he cantered at random through the pine forest which successive pashas have planted around Beirut as a barrier against the encroaching sands of the Mediterranean. Well on past noon he rode home and took lunch alone, waited upon willingly by Saada of the brilliant black eyes. He was still reluctant to depart, and it occurred to him that perhaps he could forget Irene, or at least keep himself aloof from her, by flirting a little with a Syrian maiden.

“ Will you go home with me, Saada, when I go? ” he asked.

“ Ya howaja!” exclaimed the girl, her dark, pale cheek flushing crimson.

“ Oh, do you surely mean it? ”

“I think I should like to have you in America. We must think it over.”

Saada was evidently thinking, and perhaps wishing also, with all her maidenly might. Her magnificent eyes dwelt upon the tall, blonde young Frank with such an expression of admiration that he thought them more beautiful than ever.

“You will have to wear your veil there, young lady,” he said. “ You’ll have to wear it from morning till night.”

“ I thought ladies in America walked the streets without the veil,” stared Saada.

“ Yes, but not with those eyes. There would be too many astronomers after you. They would think they saw stars, and all run with their telescopes,”

“ Ya howaja! ” laughed Saada, perfectly comprehending a compliment so Eastern in its style, and blushing joyously over it. “ But you are making merry with me.”

“They are dangerously bright,” said De Vries, looking steadily between the long ebony lashes. “ They are enough to turn a man’s head. Ah, dear, I shall have to carry the whole of you to America, just to get the eyes.”

“But what will you do with the rest of me, which you don’t want, howaja? ”

“ Well, somebody will marry it, I suppose,— all but the eyes. I shall keep those.”

Saada blushed again profusely, and looked very bewitching. Then, hearing Mrs. Payson in the next room, she looked a little guilty, and presently slipped away.

“ See here! ” said De Vries to himself. “ This may turn out a worse affair than the other. This girl — why, of course — she thinks I 'm a prince — and I must n’t talk this nonsense to her. The solemn, old-bachelor fact is that I must be off, and let this missionary dove-cote alone.”

At dinner, that evening, he announced his purpose to depart on the morrow. Irene kept her eyes steadfastly on her plate, and made no comment. Mrs. Payson murmured a little surprise and regret, meanwhile remembering that it was all for the best, meaning for her friend the doctor.

“ Is not this very sudden? ” asked her husband. “I have scarcely seen you. I had many more things to say to you than I have said.”

“It is high time that I started for Philistia, if I mean to accomplish anything there.”

“ Yes, the winter is your season for digging. It is best, I verily suppose, that you should hasten. May the Merciful One follow and preserve you.”

Then De Vries inquired what he could do for the mission, and by dint of close questioning learned that two hundred dollars might be made useful in a certain manner, which sum he handed over in Turkish gold to his doubting and shrinking host.

“ I don’t know — I don’t know about it,” said Payson, shaking his head at the little pile of yellow scales, delicately stamped with wreaths and Arabic letterings, — one of the prettiest of coinages. “ It seems like extortion to permit it. Will the angels themselves dare to be our guests hereafter ? ”

“ Put it straight into the mission chest and get it off your mind,” recommended De Vries. “ If there should really be a war in Lebanon, you will want a hospital fund badly enough.”

Next Macklin came in, and learned what this abominable dandy had done, coupled with the fact that the wretch was about to vanish sweetly away. He colored to his hair with surprise, joy, and admiration; his shamefaced gratitude and penitence were quite pathetic.

“Ah, you are a happy man!” lie sighed. “ A man who has money, and a will to give it to the needy, is a man to be envied. I know almost nothing of that luxury. I never had a dollar that I didn’t get hardly and need badly. I have been my own pauper.”

“ When a man gives his life’s work to others he gives far more than I do,” returned De Vries, with that fluent courtesy of fine society which so often does the work and wins the reward of goodness of heart, and which in reality is no more than the dialect of such goodness carefully committed to memory.

The doctor did not hear the compliment; he was thinking of his sickest patients.

“ I am immensely obliged to you,” he declared, meanwhile squeezing the hand of beneficence until the owner of it thought of a surgical operation. “ Our sick and poor will thank you. I wish I could do something for you.”

It seemed just then to Irene that there never were two nobler and sweeter men than these two, who had that morning nearly fought with each other across her grammar and dictionary. I believe, by the way, that few agreeable things are more touching to a right-hearted spectator than a scene of cordial reconciliation.

Was it solely the moral elevation and dazzle of this interview which caused our young lady to turn away from it so quickly? Or did she suddenly realize that Hubertsen De Vries was truly about to depart, perhaps never to return? No doubt she remembered that he had been for two weeks a cheering feature in her life, and foresaw that she was going to feel painfully lonesome and lost without him. Somewhat of her opinions and emotions on this subject came out that evening, as they two chatted by themselves in the moonlight of the comandaloon.

“ I should have left Beirut sooner but for a Delilah,” he said, though he knew that it was dangerous jesting.

“ You can’t mean me when you say Delilah,” she replied. “ I thought you stayed to look for Punic inscriptions.”

“ You are my Punic inscription. I ’ve found you, but I can't decipher you.”

“ What is it that you want to know ? I have always meant to be frank.”

“ I want to know whether you are sorry to have me go away.”

“ Indeed I am; of course I am,” confessed Irene, able to be frank because she was merely friendly, or at least so believed. ‘‘ I feel as if I were losing an old acquaintance. An old acquaintance of ten days! Is n’t it strange? But I have lived so much in that time! How many wonderful things we have seen together! What a magic voyage that was from Smyrna here! I shall never forget its smallest circumstances; and you were one of the larger circumstances. ”

“I am sorry it is all over,” said the young man, gratified by the confession of good-will which he had extorted, and wishing for more. “ I don’t know that it is all over. I shall come back here.”

“ But not to live, — only to pass through.”

“ I don’t know. Sometimes I think that I want to live here.”

“ Oh, if you could!” wished Irene, a pleasant future opening before her imagination,— so pleasant that it made her heart beat.

“ Ah, well! ” sighed DeVries, discovering also a vision of Syrian delights, with a Puritan houri in the centre of it.

They were in that perilous stage of a tête-à-têle when words are few and seem to be loaded with meaning.

“ At any rate, I shall see you again,” he went on.

“ I hope so.”

“ And before I go I want to ask one question: What about your going home? Do you ever think of it ? ”

“ I try not to.”

“ You don’t want to return to America? ” he asked distinctly and gravely.

“ Please don’t urge me. I hope you don’t want to make me cry again.”

He rather thought that he did, it was so flattering to have her treat him with the confidence of tears, and so delightful to comfort her. But, after a struggle with his longings, he decided that he ought to be magnanimous, and that he must be prudent.

“ Well, I will put that off for a while. When we meet in the spring I shall recommence. ”

“Ah, dear!” sighed Irene. Then they rose together, for there was a noise of closing shutters, and they knew that it was late. Hubertsen looked at the girl very earnestly as he took her hand and bade her good-night. He had a manly desire to lay a kiss on those rather tremulous fingers; but he remembered that he was a gentleman, and merely gave them a decorous pressure. The pressure was not returned, and that fact he pondered over a good deal in his own room, deciding on the whole that he was glad of it.

“I think she likes me, — a little,” was his private opinion. “ I think I could make her — if I really wanted to — accept me. ’’

Well, he was certainly half right, and he was probably half wrong. Irene did like him very exceedingly much, — better than she liked any other young man, better than she thought she ought to. But it is not at all positive that she would have accepted his opulent hand at the price of abandoning her mission labors and of yoking her soul to a soul which could not share her inmost and highest life.

De Vries spent the next morning in collecting and organizing his little caravan of men, mules, and donkeys. His plan was to start in the afternoon, encamp for the night a little south of Beirut, traverse by easy marches the lovely Phœnician plain, climb into the green highland paradise of Galilee, study Jerusalem and Judea for a week or so, and then descend, spade in hand, upon Philistia. Sites of Philistine battles, including of course Mount Gilboa, were to be looked up and examined. He must try to settle on which side, whether from the north or the south, those fascinating filibusters attacked Sidon, three thousand and odd years ago. The whole pilgrimage would be dotted with opportunities for strategic and tactical study of topography. In short, he proposed to collect materials for an exhaustive History of the Rise and Decline of the Philistines.

No wonder that nearly the whole mission gathered to wish a pleasant journey to a charming young man who took such an interest in scriptural subjects, and promised to throw so much light upon the enemies of God’s people. There was hope, Brother Kirkwood smilingly remarked, that he would yet write a Biography of Satan.

“I don’t propose to excavate in his capital,” replied DeVries. “ It is understood to be too populous.”

“Alas!” sighed Mr. Payson, “it is too true to laugh about.”

Then De Vries remembered that he did not wear the privileged cloth of a clergyman, and ceased his joking concerning matters diabolical. Meantime, the lacing of burdens upon cringing mules and staggering donkeys proceeded in the leisurely fashion of the Orient.

“ You had better camp to-night at Nebby Yunas,” loudly counseled healthy and hearty Brother Kirkwood. ‘‘ Don’t be humbugged by your muleteers into stopping short of it; they want to make all the days-works they can out of the trip, of course. Put up at the sign of the Prophet Jonas. There is a khan there for the comfort of travelers, and you will be very well off, — if you keep out of it. Would n’t you advise him to reach Nebby Yunas, Brother Payson? ”

“The Lord be with him!” returned Payson, in his rapt, apostolic way. “ The Lord be with our dear young friend ! ”

“ Yes, exactly; but all the same he had better stop at Nebby Yunas.”

Then there was a quiet mission laugh, for Mr. Kirkwood was looked upon as an original who could not help joking, and who might without sin be humored in it. In fact, the farewell was a lighthearted scene, rather than a solemnity. There is something in brisk movement, even when it separates loving comrades, which tends to rouse the blood and give cheer to the heart. DeVries himself, though conscious of a slight pang whenever he glanced at Irene, was mainly in high spirits, and uttered only gay speeches.

“ Mirta, what did you get married for before I reached Syria? ” he saucily demanded, as he shook hands with the lovely brunette.

“I didn’t know you were Coming,” smiled Mirta, who merely understood that he had wanted to be present at the Ceremony.

“ Well, don't do it again.” he laughed.

“No, sir,” promised Mirta, looking the while like a Cleopatra, but failing to comprehend this coquettish joking as the Cleopatra of old would have done.

“ Stop that,” grinned Brother Kirkwood, “and God bless you.”

Mr. Payson was in such a rapt mood of prayer for the youngster’s prosperity that he forgot to shake hands until he was reminded of it.

“ I have a comfortable confidence that we are to look upon your face once more,” he said, holding DeVries by both arms, and gazing at him as if he were a son. “ If it is ordered otherwise, may it still be for your good.”

“I am going with you for an hour,” declared the now loving doctor. “I want to make sure that your loads are well slung. We’ll say good-by at least a little later.”

DeVries wrung Irene’s hand with no uncertain pressure, and hers clung to his for a moment all unintentionally, as if it had a longing and a purpose of its own, quite apart from her will. Their eyes met in a grave gaze of mutual inquiry, as though each asked the other, “ What do you wish of me? ” But to that earnest, timorous questioning no response was possible there; and they parted in a silence which each thought of and marveled at for long afterward.


After the departure of the historian of the Philistines, our young lady found mission-life much more tranquil and sober in color.

Hitherto there had been a hurly-burly of novel sights, of events which at least seemed to her important, and of emotions which verged on the uncontrollable. Now, merely because a pleasing young man had ridden out of sight, the magic of freshness and interest faded away from many things recently strange and fascinating. Irene hardly looked upon white turbans as foreign, or upon a kilted Albanian kawass as picturesque. Syria suddenly became, like New England, a place to do steady labor in; and to work she went with a zeal which simulated content and also tended to produce it.

She soon found that mere linguistic study palled upon her, as it does upon all who are not born Mezzofantis. She asked for employment in the English department of the mission seminary, and kindly Mr. Kirkwood accorded it with an intelligent smile, merely saying to himself that she was finding her womanly sphere. He was mistaken in supposing that she would soon drop Arabic; there was more staying power and brain force in her than in some pretty girls. But she went into the business of teaching English to little maidens from Beirut, Mount Lebanon, Tripoli, and Sidon with an interest which was good for her own spirits and health.

“ Who would not,” she wrote to her mother, “ be delighted with such scholars ? Their faculty for languages astonishes me, and gives me a feeling of humiliation. Here is Miss Irene Grant, a graduate of a Female College, wearing the costume of one of the superior races, who finds it hard work to learn Arabic in Arabistan. And here are small misses in tarbooshes and shintyan (trousers) who never left their native villages before, and never had a lesson in their own tongue, picking up English in Syria as easily as birds learn to sing.”

This same subject she mentioned to Messrs. Kirkwood and Payson when they visited the school one morning. Are we not mistaken,” she asked, “ in supposing that we are the people, and wisdom will die with us? ”

“ Wisdom was certainly not born with us,” replied Payson. “ Our ancestors thousands of years ago had reason to thank God that the Hebrews existed before them.”

“ A person who has learned Arabic can learn any language,” said Kirkwood. “It is a curse to have such a vast speech. They are all instinctively glad to throw it off, as David put off Saul’s armor. Our students who go to London or Paris come back with the accent of Englishmen or Frenchmen, and can hardly talk their own tongue.”

“ You must remember that this land gave letters and the germs of civilization to Europe,” added Payson. “No doubt the mariners and merchants of Tyre and Sidon knew more or less of all the dialects of the Mediterranean. Perhaps there has been a descent of the linguistic faculty.”

“ Yes, they gave letters to our ancestors,” said Irene, her imagination pleasurably inflamed by the antiquarian fact. “ And here we are giving letters to them. How the world turns round!”

“ It reminds me,” observed Payson, “ of a charmingly simple, broad remark of that wise old infant, Herodotus, —

' Everything may happen in the course of ages.’ It is a reflection which some of our historical infidels of the present day would do well to bear in mind.”

“ The time will come when your bringing letters to Syria will be forgotten or denied,” said Kirkwood, smiling at Irene.

“ It will only remain on record in the eternal books,” answered Payson. “ The deeds of men pass away, and are as though they were not. Yet are they written in brass. Moreover, they have their fruits, harvest after harvest,” he added,his pale face lighting up. “ Many a little acorn, of which no man ever heard, lives on in an oak, or in generations of oaks. The thought cheers me to hope on and work on. Let us not weary in planting worthy deeds because they come to naught in our little lives. But this is not instructing our scholars. We preach too much to ourselves. St. Paul preached to the Gentiles.”

Then, turning to the benches of tarbooshed damsels, he delivered a little speech in Arabic, containing very nearly the thoughts of the above dialogue, and dwelling especially on the vitality of good deeds. A benediction closed the exercises of the morning, and sent the young Orientals forth to chatter and play.

“ Do you think that I have done one atom of good? ” he murmured sadly to Irene. “ I never yet spoke to my fellowcreatures without feeling like an archer who shoots an arrow in the dark. If I hit any target I could not perceive it, and it was none of my marksmanship. It is very depressing to work a whole life-time, and not see the kingdom of glory arrive. If I did not believe that the Master would in his own time show his mastery, it seems to me, by hours, that I should lie down like a coward and die of despair. I am not by nature a combative or an eager man, but in this battle for the faith I do take a strong interest, and I long painfully to discern victory. ”

I have sketched the above scene mainly to remind the reader once more of the kind of society which surrounded Irene. Very seldom did she hear any conversation which was not suffused, or at least tinged, with sober philanthropy and devoutness. There was, the worldly reader will probably observe, a degree of moral despotism in this environment. Only when alone, and scarcely when alone, could she indulge in the thoughts and desires of ordinary girlhood. As for its speech, its rattling talk about trifles and its sentimental talk about love and its serious talk about raiment, she heard it about as frequently as she heard the song of the mermaid.

But this solemn spiritual pressure was no hardship, because it was no novelty, and because it coincided with her conscience. From her infancy, all through her life thus far, she had been familiar with just such a grave existence, and unfamiliar with any other. It was in exact accordance with her ideas of what ought to be in all human society. In short, to find a handsome girl better fitted than Irene to become a missionary would have been no easy matter. Mr. Payson, a good judge of such material, believed in her with saintly affection, and trusted that she would grow into one of the pillars of the church in Syria. The only obstacle to her perfected pillardom lay in her own attractiveness. The minions of the world might yet strive to withdraw her from the sanctuary and use her for the adornment of their palaces.

Even devout admirers were liable to address her mostly concerning this existence and its emotions. There was the doctor, for instance, who rarely had anything to say about the battle of Armageddon, and rather produced a feeling that life was largely a matter between her and himself. Now that his rival was gone, and he had Irene measurably in his own hands, he was very considerate and tender with her. Had he been a betrothed lover, or a bewitched husband, he could hardly have been more confidential and attentive. He went straight to her arms, as it were, and could not be put aside any more than an affectionate child. He told her all his own history, and catechised out of her the whole of hers, what history there was.

There is a magic in intimate intercourse and unreserved communications. The doctor did not know it ; he knew nothing about women. He was not intentionally artful in his approaches; he simply confided and questioned out of impulsive sympathy, —perhaps one had better say, plainly, out of love. All the same he succeeded in making a warm friend of Irene, and, as the phrase goes, in getting her head full of him, though not as full as it could hold.

Meantime he sought to be of benefit to her. A missionary, he distinctly perceived, must be a blessing to every one whom he might meet, not excepting the object of his worship. He worked hard to disentangle for her the puzzle of Semitic grammar, so alien and so seemingly irrational to the Indo European intellect. It was owing to his suggestion, also, that she resumed the study of Italian, and gave three evenings a week to concersazioni with Signor Fiorentini, a meagre little martyr of freedom who had found refuge at Beirut.

“ We don’t know what we may be,” said the doctor, who was a man of imagination, and often built strange futures in the clouds. “The time may come when we shall be called to declare the truth in Italy. Besides, Italian is the most common European tongue in the Levant, and will be useful to a missionary or a traveler all along these Oriental coasts. Your readings at your college did n't amount to much, I suppose. College readings in languages seldom do. Learn to speak Italian. Then you and I will commence together on modern Greek. ’’

“You frighten me, doctor,” declared Irene, though at heart she was flattered at seeing how much was hoped of her.

“ Oh, you can do it,” he affirmed. “ Each language makes the next easier. Besides, you have a faculty for tongues: you talk your mother speech fluently, which is a good sign; your accent is neat and true, which is another. There are people who never in all their lives could learn Arabic, and they show their incapacity the first time they open their blundering mouths in it. Our consul is a harrowing instance.”

Then there was a little talk concerning the general nature of the consul, who, it seems, had been instrumental in finding the Italian maestro for Irene, and who had been led thereby into making her a call or two.

“ He is a good-hearted, simple, honest fellow,” opined the doctor, certainly not a shrewd man at reading character. Mr. Brassey himself would probably have denied that he was simple, and perhaps had doubts as to whether he was honest, at least in the game of politics.

“ But he is a dull, commonplace, unrefined creature,” added Macklin, after a moment’s hesitation. “ I do hope you won’t see much of him.”

It must not be unjustly supposed that he was jealous of the public functionary. But, inasmuch as he worshiped Irene, he was delicately choice of her, and wished her to be approached by no vulgar votaries.

“ I suppose I must see him if he asks for me,” she said. “ he has been considerate and useful to the mission. We can’t be uncivil.”

“I don’t admit that he has any right to ask for you,” declared the doctor, looking indignant.

But Mr. Porter Brassey continued to call on the young lady, and inquired for her so pointedly that he could not be evaded. We must remember how dreadfully lonesome he was in Syria, and how few chances he had to look upon his own fair countrywomen, or indeed any fair women whatever. There was a small Levantine (European) society in Beirut, but its speech, aside from Arabic, was either French or Italian, and thus it was unintelligible to our representative. Moreover, its few young ladies were held in strict tutelage, and he could not have got at them in a social way even had he talked their “ lingo.” Consequently, when he at last discovered that there was a pretty American girl at his hand, he was pathetically overjoyed, and dropped in on her frequently.

“ I quite hope that our worthy consul is beginning to apprehend the importance of spiritual things,” said Mr. Payson, one evening. “ he has appeared twice of late at the Mission Chapel.”

Mrs. Payson, who venerated her husband, almost wanted to laugh at him, but of course did not. She could not, however, suppress an amused twinkle in her eye, nor keep from glancing understandingly at Irene. That young lady undertook to turn off the matter by remarking that Mr. Brassey looked at Mirta a good deal; and no wonder, for she was lovely.

“ I sometimes think that Mirta ought to be cautioned gently,” said Mr. Payson. “ She certainly does attire herself wondrously well. But a daughter of Israel should not be a snare to the eye.”

Then he escaped to his study, for there was a sound of a visitor at the gate, and his evenings were reserved, if possible, to Hebrew. It was the doctor who entered, looking more pensive than usual, and also a little pale.

“ I have called to bid you good-by,” he said. “ They have selected me to visit the Hasbeya people. I shall start at daybreak.”

“Shall I call Mr. Payson? ” asked Irene.

“No, no,” replied Macklin with a nervous eagerness. “ I ’ll just leave a word for him. Don’t break up his Hebrew.”

Mrs. Payson meanwhile had a knowing and rather guilty look upon her face, and was obviously anxious to get out of the room. An acute observer might have guessed that the doctor had something important to say to the younger lady, and that the elder one had promised to afford him an opportunity for the communication.

“ I think I ’ll go and walk in the garden,” said Mrs. Payson, which was such an absurd subterfuge that Irene stared at her in amazement. The garden was an arid rectangle of some thirty feet square, jealously inclosed by a stone-wall as if it grew apples of gold, but containing only one cactus plant and one small mulberry-tree.

“ Irene, you know all about me,” said Macklin as soon as they were alone.

“ I know a great deal about you,” she laughed, in an embarrassed manner.

“ And I have had great pleasure in learning so much of you, — so much to he admired,” continued the doctor, his voice trembling.

Irene was confounded and frightened. This thing was coming upon her, or rather had come upon her, by surprise. Of course she had thought, as all young maidens must do, even when they are very, very good, that some time or other some charming body would fall in love with her and propose to her and win her. But she was far from having settled as to who that person would be.

Of the doctor she had not thought in this connection, at least not with any seriousness. He had taught her Arabic, and had often been very gentle with her, and in short had shown her much kindness. But he had not, as she understood it, paid her any loving court whatever. He had given her quite as many scoldings as compliments, and the compliments all concerned her progress in Oriental studies.

Yet here he was, all of a sudden, driving right toward a declaration, unless she entirely misunderstood him, which she fervently hoped was the case. Of course, a young lady in this surprised, perplexed, and unready state of mind, who, moreover, was not a coquette nor a veteran of society, would be hard up for a suitable remark. The result was that to the doctor’s expression of joy in her character she made no reply, except by turning a little pale and glancing at him timidly.

“ We have a common life to live,” he continued, not a little daunted by her silence. “We have the same duties to perform. I am going to Hasbeya tomorrow.”

“Yes,” said Irene, glad to think of it, and wishing he had gone that morning.

“ I don’t know when I shall return, ” pursued Macklin, as if he were wandering in his mind. “ It is a long and severe journey. I may not see you for some time.”

Just then there was a murmur of voices in the desert of a garden, and almost immediately a scraping of footsteps on the stone stairway. Mrs. Payson, looking red and anxious, entered the little hall, ushering in the consul. There was humble apology, and there was also a glimmer of hope, in the glance which she gave the doctor. Even in that short minute, for aught she knew, he might have given and received a heart. It had taken Mr. Payson less time to make his proposal and get a favorable answer. But the doctor stared at the public functionary with an injured, surly expression; and then the good woman comprehended with a pang that the interview had miscarried.

“ Fine evening, Miss Grant,” said Mr. Brassey. “ How are you, Hákim? ” he added, shaking Macklin’s hand with a warmth which was not reciprocated. “I’m learning Arabic, you see, Miss Grant. Took on my third teacher this morning. The two first did n’t amount to much.”

“It is pronounced Hakeém, — not Hákim,” observed the doctor sulkily.

“ Oh, exactly. These medical men are sensitive about their titles, Miss Grant,” smiled the consul affably. “ Do you enjoy your Arabic in these days? And what’s the last, sensation in Italian ? ’’

The doctor got up and stalked directly between them with a demeanor which made the public functionary stare.

“ As I was saying, I shall not see you again for some time,” he stammered, addressing Irene. “So — good-by.’’

“Going, doctor?” asked Mr. Brassey, cheerfully. “ Not home? Oh, to Hasbyer. Well, pleasant journey. Anything I can do for you? ”

“ No,” said poor Macklin, suffering himself to be shaken once more by the official hand, and then getting as quickly as possible out of the house.

Mrs. Payson followed him to the door, and whispered, “ I tried to keep him in the garden; he would come up.”

But the perturbed, disappointed doctor was ungrateful, as the sharply unhappy often are, and gave her no word of thanks.


Macklin’s absence put an end, for a time, to the direct pressure of his courtship.

Erelong, to be sure, Mrs. Payson read Irene a letter from him, in which he spoke with great interest of “ our dear young lady,” and sent her his “most cordial remembrances.” Moreover, she frequently spoke to the girl of the departed one, and endeavored to make him a subject of confidential discourse, as is the way with ladies who have undertaken to bring two hearts together.

About this time Mr. Payson received a long epistle from DeVries, giving a very entertaining account of the opening of his excavations, expressing a noble gratitude and good-will toward the mission, and closing with special regards to Miss Grant. Mrs. Payson longed greatly to suppress this perilous missive, but did not dare to hint the desire to her best beloved. She knew well that he would not countenance artfulness. nor the slightest appearance of it, even for a good end.

As for herself, she did not mean to be sly, but she did earnestly long that her bright and attractive young friend should remain in the mission; and with almost equal eagerness she craved that her doctor (word dear to the feminine soul) should have his way and be happy. Of Irene’s comfort in heart and success in life she somehow thought less. I believe that many women have a feeling that no particular woman should hesitate to sacrifice herself to manly excellence and devotion.

The letter reached Irene’s hands, and remained in her charge for some time. She admired it much, and read it aloud to her now frequent visitor, the consul, though mainly to lighten the burden of entertaining him.

“ What’s he digging at Askelon for? ” asked Mr. Brassey.

“ He says that he wants to find something, — crusader relics, if not Philistine.”

“ I’d go to Gath,” said the official. “ If a man should turn up the skeleton of Goliath, — I don’t s’pose it’s any ways likely, — but if he should rouse out that old chap, it would be striking ile. I ’d give a smart sum for the bones, myself, for a great moral show. Would n’t the Sabbath-schools flock to see it! ”

He had a humorous twinkle in his half-shut eyes; and yet at bottom he was not a little in earnest. He would really have been glad to get possession of the frame-work of Goliath, and put it on exhibition before a paying public of Bible readers. It might fill a fellow’s pockets, and help him work into Congress. For as to the “ smart sum ” of which he spoke, that was either a mere conversational phrase, or the figment of an imagination trained in politics.

“ There might be a good deal picked up at Gath,” he continued, his mind already expanding to the idea of an Anakim Museum. “I’ll suggest it to the government.”

“You must n’t take away Mr. DeVries’s chance,” said Irene, eagerly.

“ Oh, no,” he laughed. “ Which chance do you mean? ”

He looked very roguish over his retort, but she clearly did not understand him, and, seeing that, he pushed the harder.

“ Ever think of going home, Miss Grant? ”

“ I never suffer myself to think of it.”

“ I do,” returned Mr. Brassey, with real feeling. “ I wish I was going home to-morrow. Only, Miss Grant,” and here he sought to smile pleasingly, “ I wish we were going in the same ship.”

“It won’t be,” she answered, coloring.

“ So you would n’t like to be in the same boat with me? ” he persisted, with an unabashed smile.

“I should neither like it, nor dislike it,” which was a very severe speech for our young lady to make.

“ Indifference is the worst kind of cruelty, " commented the consul, with a loud laugh.

Irene blushed still deeper, and the experienced politician understood the sign as favorable to himself, and was annoyed that Mrs. Payson should happen into the room just when he was doing so well.

“ That’s a smart young woman,” he said to himself, as he rode away. “ And of course she’s got the lead of me just now. But how long will she keep it? ”

His comprehension of Irene was that she was an artful coquette who wanted to trifle with him for the purpose of subjugating him, which was about as wild a misjudgment as could be. But I believe that gentlemen frequently misconstrue ladies, especially when they study them with unusual interest and attention.

For a week, now, Mr. Brassey did not call again. He knew that DeVries and the doctor would be away, and that there was no other bachelor in that mission field. Ilis calculation was that if Miss Grant were left without a beau for several days, and were made to realize that the only one at hand could hold himself aloof at pleasure, she would become less tricky and topping than he had hitherto found her. The result of this bit of untutored diplomacy was that the young lady nearly forgot his existence, and was quite surprised to see him stalk once more into the Payson leewan.

“ Just dropped in as I was going by,” said the consul, persisting in his artfulness, and believing the while that he was meeting cunning with cunning. “ How ’s father Payson? ”

“He is quite well; did you wish to see him ?" responded Irene, eagerly.

“No, no!” he promptly returned, rather put out by such obstinate dissimulation and slyness. “Oh, I like Payson amazingly; he’s a gentleman and a scholar, — yes, and a saint, too. But I occasionally like to see a young lady quite as well, Miss Grant. I suppose you wonder why, Miss Grant.”

“To tell you the truth, I was n't wondering a bit. I had n’t had time to wonder.”

The consul laughed heartily, although not sure that a joke was intended, and also a little fearful that, in case there was a joke, it was at his expense. But he earnestly desired to conciliate her, and so he affected to appreciate her wit. Irene also smiled very slightly, and merely to keep him in countenance. Human intercourse, and especially intercourse between the sexes, is cumbered with many sich absurd misunderstandings.

“ Have you heard from DeVries lately?” he went on. “I’m a little anxious about that young feller. It’s something of a fever hole, they say, that old Philistine country.”

“ It is healthy at this season,” asserted Irene, with interest and positiveness. “ We have n’t heard from him since his first letter. I hope he is n’t sick. Do you think he is? ”

“Don’t know; thought I’d drop in and ask,” said Mr. Brassey, forgetting that he had dropped in because he was going by. ” Knew you took an interest in him, and corresponded.”

“I ? I never saw but one of his letters, and that was to Mr. Payson.”

“I was joking,” returned the artful gentleman; but he smiled with honest pleasure. He had conceived a suspicion that Miss Grant was indifferent to himself because of a kindly understanding with the rich young tourist and explorer. “Yes, I sometimes joke, lonesome and sad as I am,” he continued. “ You have n’t, probably, the smallest idea how abandoned I feel out here, and how low-spirited I git. If you had, I think you ’d give me a little womanly pity, Miss Grant.”

“ It seems so absurd to pity a man who has a position.”

“ But, you see, I have n’t any companionship. I could be happy enough, I reckon, if I only had a — a companion. My dragoman is sorry for me. He wanted to know, yesterday, why I did n’t take a native wife, and hinted at one of the girls in the mission.”

Irene looked up with interest, — a woman’s interest in a possible love affair, — and marveled which one it might be.

“ It turned out to be Saada, your handsomest girl,” pursued Mr. Brassey, watching the young lady narrowly, in hope, perhaps, of discovering symptoms of jealousy. Then, after a pause, he added firmly, “ Says I to him, Ahmed, says I, I’ve no objection to a wife, but I want one of my own lovely countrywomen, says I.”

Irene’s countenance fell into indifference once more; there was no lovely countrywoman for him, — none, at least, that she knew of. The consul studied her with an expression which started with being cunning, but which gradually changed into disappointment and humiliation, smartly flavored with annoyance. He was upon the point, as he at all events believed, of taking his hat to go, when Mrs. Payson entered the hall in joyous excitement, and announced the approach of Americans. Mr. Brassey was glad too, partly because the coming of countrymen was always to him as the coming of the saints, and partly because he was so angry with Irene’s coolness that he wanted to retaliate by being gracious to other people.

“Reckon I know who they are,” he said. “ It must be Mr. Felix A. Brann and family, who came yesterday in a bark from Boston. If you’ve no objection, Mrs. Payson, I’ll stay and shake hands with them, and offer the courtesies of the post.”

The strangers entered in single file: portly and rosy Mrs. Brann leading, followed by two stout daughters of about thirty; then by two remarkably narrowshouldered sons of somewhat fewer years; and lastly by a tall, shambling, white-headed gentleman, with an absent-minded smile, who was Mr. Felix A. Brann himself. The features and general style of the visitors indicated that they belonged to the simpler and more rustic class of New England squirearchy.

“How do you do, Mrs. Payson?” broke forth Mrs. Brann, who had the large, flexible mouth and animated manner which usually mark a talkative person. “ You don’t remember us a bit, I suppose, but we saw you at the meeting of the American Board of Foreign Missions, at Albany, sitting among the saints, and told you, don’t you remember, that we hoped to meet you next in Syria a-doing God’s own special work in his selected land; and here we are, Mr. Brann and myself and the four children, all bound for the Holy City, but as glad as we can be to meet you on the way and give you the right hand of fellowship. And how is good, scriptural Mr. Payson? And this is dear Miss Grant, I presume. And is this one of the good brethren?”

“This is the consul,” replied Mrs. Payson, who was always a little flurried in society, and especially apt to stumble in the formality of an introduction.

Mrs. Brann, now for the first time in foreign parts, stared at the official with an air of perplexity, as not knowing but that a consul should be addressed in Latin.

“Mr. Porter Brassey, of West Wolverine, an American citizen, and glad to see you, Mrs. Brann, " said our representative affably.

“ From West Wolverine? ” returned Mrs. Brann, her gift of speech suddenly restored in full measure. “ Why, you don’t say that your name is Brassey, and that you come from West Wolverine! And to think that I once lived a couple of years in East Wolverine, just across the river, though we were all born in Vermont, and reside there now on the old family homestead; for we only went West while Mr. Brann could sell out his wild lands, and got back as soon as we could to our natal spot. But really, you do interest me now greatly, for I had for neighbor and fellow church member a Mrs, Harrison Stokes, whose maiden name, she told me, was Brassey; and perhaps she was a connection by blood of yours, for it seems to me you favor her a little about the eyes, and the cowlick on your forehead.”

“ My own aunt!” broke in the consul, beaming with joy at meeting somebody who had known his people, and so might be considered a semi-acquaintance. “ Was n’t she a queer old lady, though? ”

“ Oh, I recollect her well, and it was impossible to forget her, for there was something very peculiar about her,” averred Mrs. Brann, smiling with the same pleasure. " Yes, there was something very peculiar about her; she was one of the most composed persons that ever I saw, and her face had no more expression than a sign-board. But she was a powerful good woman, I do verily believe, if there ever was one who never said anything; she loved the sanctuary, and she was good to the poor, and a restraint upon her husband, and her house was like wax-work.”

“That’s her!” cried Mr. Brassey, fairly grinning his satisfaction over this portrait.

“But her husband wasn’t no ways her equal, I used to think,” continued Mrs. Brann, smiling away with extraordinary amiability, as though site liked even the inferior Stokes, “He was a positive, contradicting, trumpeting sort of a man, who made me think of the stories I’ve read about wild elephants; and was mortally opposed to common and Sabbath schools, — which, you know, we New Englanders believe in, — besides being considerably scrimped, as I used to tell Mr. Brann, in the way of culture.”

The consul suddenly stopped smiling. It seemed to him that this last word savored of Boston conceit, and was a little disrespectful to the valley of the Mississippi and its tributaries. He had heard it before from Down East people, and had always felt it to be an obnoxious substantive.

“ There’s lots of culture in our district, Mrs. Brann,” he stated with firmness. “ Uncle Harrison was n’t exactly what I call the true Western type. He came of the North Carlina streak of pilgrims, and ” —

“Pilgrims,” broke in Mrs. Brann, with a genial titter. “ That reminds me to say just here, before I forget it, that here we are, pilgrims and strangers on the way to the Holy City; and I don’t believe you could guess in the least why we ’re going there, for nobody ever does, and when we tell them they only laugh, as though they did n’t believe it. But the real fact is that when we finally got shut of our wild lands we all wanted to set eyes on Jerusalem, and, what’s more, to dwell in it for a season, not out of vain curiosity, but to see if we could n’t lead a more spiritual life there; for it did seem to us that the daily sight of Zion’s hill and Siloam’s rill, and so on, would help to uplift us, if anything earthly could. And so here we are, bound on a real pilgrimage to Salem’s courts, with intent to abide there for a season.”

Mr. Brassey’s wooden countenance became unusually serious. He had already discovered that religious maniacs sometimes found their way to Palestine, and that the sending of them home was one of the most troublesome features of his duty, involving perhaps the payment of money out of his private pocket. Addressing himself to Mr. Brann, who seemed most likely to understand financial matters, he observed that traveling with such a family must be very expen sive. The old gentleman bowed graciously over his high cravat, and replied, in a tone of elaborate courtesy, “Yes, sir, it is somewhat expensive, sir; but we have lightened the burden by taking ship direct to this port, sir.”

“ And we might just as well have come through Europe,” put in his wife, “ only that we were daunted by the diversity of tongues and the confusion of currencies; besides which, Mr. Brann has been so marvelously prospered of late in his affairs by Providence that it seemed as if some recognition was owing, and we could think of nothing better than coming to the Holy Land first of all, and spending there a goodly portion of the overflowing bounty vouchsafed us.”

The consul was relieved of his fear that he might have these six people on his hands, and glanced at the two daughters to see if their charms equaled their financial expectations. But one look sufficed him, and gave him a low idea of Vermont beauty, and of course a very unjust one. So he let them prattle on to Mrs. Payson, while he patiently listened to the interminable outpourings of their mamma, and occasionally sought to exchange a knowing smile with Irene. Meantime, the two narrow-shouldered young men sat in perfect silence, as if their high cheek-bones were unmanageable, and would not let them open their mouths.

Eventually the Branns took their departure, and with them went Mr. Porter Brassey, drawn by the charms of American conversation. Only, at the bottom of the little court-yard he stopped with a start, and looked back at the house wistfully, much as if he had forgotten his umbrella.

“ By George! I meant to have got something definite out of that girl,” lie said to himself. “ But nevermind, now; I ’ll try her to morrow.”

So he went on with the Branns to their hotel and accepted their invitation to dinner.


Mr. Porter Brassey’s purpose of calling the next day “ to get something definite out of that girl ” was not carried into effect.

He received personal letters from home which required immediate and judicious answer; and as he was not a ready man with his pen the business worried and occupied him for a day or two.

The result was that, before he saw the young lady again, Dr. Macklin returned unexpectedly from Hasbeya, and recommenced to absorb her time and mind. The consular attentions, by the way, had been of service to the doctor. By contrast with Mr. Brassey’s shagbark rusticity and unpolishable gnarliness of internal fibre, the irritable but unselfish and profoundly tender Macklin seemed a gentleman of the old school, or at least one of nature’s gentlemen. Moreover, it was delightful to a lonesome young person to find herself greeted with a frank, hearty kindliness which reminded her of the tenderness which had followed her through all her girlish years.

“Ah, my dear young lady !” the doctor bad exclaimed, appropriating her at once, as though she had been a sister, or a patient of long standing. In the exuberance of arrival, and while he was not thinking of instant offers of marriage, he could forget that he had ever been fearful in her presence.

“ I am delighted to look upon your face again,” he went on. “ It brings me straight back to civilization and to things of good report. I don’t mean to say aught against our dear native brethren in Hasbeya. They are as good and decent as they can be, with their surroundings and their history. But circumstances, the blindness of ages, the oppression of ages, poverty, and too often filth, all those are terrible drawbacks. Their worthiness does n’t shine on the surface. An American woman represents the intelligence and the decorum of seven centuries of Christian prosperity. Well, I’ll stop this; you don’t like compliments; you think I’m talking like a lunatic. Wait till you have visited the interior, and seen its wretchedness and rudeness. So Mr. Payson has helped you on in Arabic? I am very glad. And you stick to Italian ? That’s good, also. As for me, I have ridden a good deal, and shaken a little. Quinine every day. I have had my adventures, too, as usual. The Moslem population is getting insolent. I tore off one blatant fellow’s turban for him. It was the only part of him that I could reach from my horse.”

“ Ah, brother ! ” sighed Payson; “do you think he took you for an evangelist of the gospel of peace? ”

“ I don’t think he did,” conceded the doctor. “But I took him for an impudent blackguard, and treated him accordingly. I won't be called a giaour and kelb to my face. You should have seen how astonished and cowed the scoundrel was. I left him twisting up his turban and spitting on the ground.”

“ You ought to have done your missionarying in the time of Richard the Lion-Hearted,” laughed Irene, not so much displeased with his pugnacity as one might expect. “ You are enough to bring on a mountain war. ”

“ There’s no mountain war this time,” affirmed Macklin. “ The mountain won’t bring forth a mouse. The Druzes are alarmists because the Maronites are twice as numerous, and might whip them if they should try. As for the story that Druzes are coming from the Hauran, I don’t believe a word of it. I rode from Deir el Kami to Abeih with Sheikh Ahmed of the Abdelmeleks, and he assured me positively that there was n’t a Hauran Druze in Lebanon.”

“ We did n’t use to believe all that Sheikh Ahmed chose to say,” remarked Payson. “ I desire not to be unjust to any man, but it does seem to me that he has the wickedest smile I ever looked upon, and that his eyes are inhabited by swarms of lies and perjuries. Besides, what was he doing among the Abunekeds? I dislike the look of it.”

“ Oh, well, nobody will believe me,” grumbled the doctor. “ I have been all over the ground, and questioned scores on scores of people,”

“ You know that I am naturally fearful,” was Payson’s apology. “ Even if I had been with you, I might not have been as hopeful. Well, it is months now since the first alarm came, and the sword still remains in its scabbard. It may be that a more than human mercy will keep it there.”

“ Aboo Shedood wants a pension of five piastres a day,” continued Macklin, with a look of contempt and indignation.

“ What for? ”

“ For letting the light of his countenance shine on the Hasbeyan church. I told him we could better afford twice the money to have him stay away.”

“ May the divine pity enlighten and forgive him ! ” said Payson. “ Poor Aboo Shedood ! The root of the matter is not in him.”

“ The rest of the brethren there are admirable. I believe they have joined themselves to us in unselfishness and singleness of heart. Aboo Shedood is the only man who asked me for a pará.”

“ He needs their prayers, truly. I should have suggested to the church to make him a special case for supplication. But perhaps your treatment of him is best. Well, we will have a meeting of the mission to-night, doctor, and you shall tell us in full what you have seen and heard. It will be a most interesting story. You must come, Irene.”

“ And to-morrow I resume my work as teacher,” added the doctor. “ I suppose Mr. Payson will give you up.”

“ I shall hate to give him up,” said Irene, laughingly. “ He never scolds.”

“It is easy to be patient when one is not troubled,” said Payson. “ You have studied hard, Irene.”

“ I suppose I am to remember all this and keep my temper,” growled Macklin, good-naturedly. “ By the way, where is DeVries? What is he finding? ”

“ We have had a second letter from him,” Payson stated. “ The lad is not finding any Anakims, nor any Philistine inscriptions. He has turned up half a dozen millstones and some potsherds which may belong to any one of the last thirty centuries. He begins to suspect that the Philistine cities were built, like the villages in that region now, of sundried bricks. It is a very ingenious hypothesis, and I fear it will be his only discovery.”

“ I hope not,” said Irene, warmly. “ He will be so disappointed, and so shall I. I did so want to have him find a giant with six fingers! ”

Next morning the doctor recommenced his teachings, and showed an unusual and charming patience therein, so delighted was he to get his scholar again. While they were raveling away at some tangled mystification of Arabic syntax, Mr. Porter Brassey stalked in, and cheerfully took a chair at the study table.

“ What! still at it, Miss Grant? ” he said. “ I did n’t know it took so long to learn a language when a person had a gift for it. ’’

“We have n’t the pentecostal gift nowadays,” returned Macklin, staring at the visitor with a lowering brow.

“ No, we ain’t Parthians and Modes and Elamites,” observed the consul, pleased to show that he also knew somewhat of the Bible. “ Well, I don’t want to interrupt you folks,” he added, perceiving that he was not entirely welcome. “ I want to see father Payson.”

Accordingly he was ushered into the bare, whitewashed little study, where the missionary was writing out Arabic memoranda for a sermon.

“ Parson, I want a confidential talk,” began Mr. Brassey, laying his kossuth hat on the stone floor. “ I’ve got an important little bit of news to communicate,—I mean important for me. An old bachelor uncle of mine has just gone — gone to a better world,” he added, on reflection. “Quite an old gentleman; healthy and hearty, though, when I saw him last; was n’t thinking that he would be called for.”

“ Death is always a surprise,” sighed Parson. “ I give you my sympathy with all my heart.”

“ Yes, I suppose it always is a surprise, and generally a disagreeable one,” replied the consul. “ Thank you for your sympathy. I knew I’d come to the right place for that.” And here he smiled inwardly over the humorous fact of getting condolence when he really had not thought of asking for it.

“ And yet human sympathy avails little,” said Payson. “ What we really need is the compassion of Him who inflicts the chastisement.”

“Exactly,” admitted Mr. Brassey, growing a little uneasy, for his state of mind was evidently misunderstood. “ But I don’t suppose that I feel this blow as I ought.”

“ Alas, we are all alike. I find that I am very hard to touch.”

“ You see he was quite an elderly gentleman,” urged the consul, who had by this time the air of trying to comfort the clergyman. “ His time had come.”

“ We know not. when our time shall be. It is often in the flower of our days.”

“ Certainly,” conceded Mr. Brassey, twisting on his chair as if he were looking around for his hat. “ Of course. Well, as I was saying,—or perhaps I did n’t say it, —the old gentleman left something behind him, — left a nice little pot of money, — and left it to me.”

Mr. Payson stared at him with amazement, wondering if his wits had forsaken him, so absurd did it seem that a mourner should care to spread such unimportant news.

“ Yes, left it to me,” repeated the consul, putting his hands in his pockets and thrusting his legs straight out before him, as if to claim more room in the world. “I’m a better man by at least fifteen thousand dollars than I was when I came to the Holy Land.”

By this time the missionary had perceived that Mr. Brassey was not grieving over the loss of his relation, and was rejoicing because he had inherited a little filthy lucre. Strange as it may seem, in view of his doctrines as to the depravity of the human heart, he had not expected such a display of toughness and egoism. His own unselfishness and his tender charity for other men led him to impute to them the best motives possible; and only when he saw them bring forth evil fruits did he distinctly realize that they were born in sin and shapen in iniquity.

It was a picture to see this elect spirit gaze on the hard-favored soul which sat there in his sweet presence. It was obvious that he did not regard the consul with anger, nor even with scorn. There was a semi-divine patience and pity on his pale, worn, tranquil, and pensive countenances. There was more : there was an air of profound humility; there was a pathetic recognition of fallen fraternity. He was meekly and solemnly saying to himself that but for unmerited grace he would have been as callous and greedy as this hapless brother. What desert was there in him, he asked, that he should have been taken, and the other left?

“ I have generally looked upon money with fear,” he said at last. “I have felt that if much of it were placed in my hands I should find it a snare to myself, and perhaps harm others.”

“I don’t believe you would, parson,” returned Mr. Brassey, staring at him with honest admiration, while he marveled at his simplicity. “ Upon my honor, I do believe you would be less hurt by it, and do more good with it, than any other man I ever laid eyes on.”

Mr. Payson shook his head. He sincerely and even severely doubted himself. He really and seriously thanked God that he had not been set afloat on the ocean of probation with the millstone of wealth fastened to his neck.

The consul, gazing at him with wideopen eyes, and perfectly convinced of his sincerity, was surprisingly affected. His heart had not been touched by the talk about the loss of his relative and the uncertainty of life. But in the spectacle of humility and of thorough unselfishness there is a noble pathos which elevates and softens the souls of all men who are not of the “ real, hardened wicked.” As Mr. Brassey looked into the meek, loving face of the missionary, hm felt something like tears about the secret places of his eyes.

“ Parson, I want to do a little good,” he broke out. “ I came here this morning with that notion, and it ’s grown on me since I got into your sanctum. I can afford it, and I’ve got to do it. Suppose, now, I should allow the mission one hundred — no, three hundred dollars a year, while I hold on here. What could you do with it? ”

“It is a very large sum — for one person,” returned the clergyman, so startled that he colored. “ Had you not better reflect well as to whether you can spare it? ”

“ I can spare it. I don’t need to reflect. Why, look here! My salary is a good, square two thousand, including odds and ends; and this little property, invested up our way on bond and mortgage, will make fifteen hundred more. There’s thirty-five hundred, for a bachelor. Why, I1 ’m ashamed to offer so little as three hundred, and I’d treble it but for some nieces of mine who may want an outfit some day. Now, to come down to business, what could the mission do with three hundred ? What particular thing could you start? ”

“ We could establish a native preacher at Damascus. We could open a church in that most ancient city, which stood in the time of Abraham.’’

“ That suits,” replied the consul with enthusiasm. “ That suits me to an iota. I ’ll give you a draft to-morrow, parson; and let’s have the new meeting-house right away. Porter Brassey’s Foundation Church in Damascus ! ” he exclaimed, with a hearty laugh. “ I want West Wolverine to get a return from it as quick as possible. Won’t the boys stare, though! And won’t my pious old aunt Stokes be delighted! How she will take down her Bible and Josephus, and look up all the texts about Damascus! ”

“I can understand,—I can imagine it,” smiled Payson, remembering with pleasure worthy old souls of his own relationship who loved to read the Bible in connection with Josephus. “ It will greatly interest the good people at home. Damascus is one of the regal and magical names of history.”

The public functionary remained pensive for a few seconds. He was thinking that, if he should go home and run for Congress, the Brassey Church in Damascus would be a good “ campaign card,” and might secure him the entire “ pious vote.” Evidently, the project must not only be initiated, but must also be established on a solid foundation.

“ You need n’t be afraid about starting,” he exhorted. “ The thing shan’t slump through, even if I quit here, or quit the world. I 'll make out a little trust-deed to secure you three hundred a year for five years. That will give the church a good send-off. And now, sixty pounds sterling to-morrow; will the mission do its part at once? ”

“It will,” promised Payson. “We have just the man, — a good man, and a scholar in his own tongue, — and he can go immediately.”

Then the consul shook hands with the missionary, and went away much astonished at his own munificence, but also rejoicing in it for more reasons than one.

“ I suppose of course he ’ll tell her,” he said to himself. “ I guess it will be a good card every way. By George! it was an inspiration.”