Read: I, Mary Magdalene


                      I, Mary Magdelen
                      by Juliet Thompson
                      New York: Delphic Studios, 1940

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ON THE GREAT DAY, the piping of a shepherd woke me at dawn. I sprang up
alarmed, for the shrill notes came from just below my casement and Novatus
still lay beside me. Praise God, he was a sound sleeper!
     
Ah, I know who this is, I thought. How dare John seek me out here ... and at
such an hour! Is he playing a trick to anger Novatus with me? Or has he no
sense at all?

I cast an anxious glance at my lover's face, so comely in its swarthiness that
for a moment I lingered. That dear head on the pillow ... the clustered hair
curved to his temples, fitting their breadth in dark angles; the upturned
crescent of the brow; that mouth ... a quivering wound ... the long oval cheeks
flushed with sleep ...

Again a high note fluted from the garden.

This piping must stop, I thought. And I slipped from the couch, snatched up a 
robe to cover my body and tiptoed stealthily to the casement.
     
"John! Novatus is here. Do you wish to bring trouble upon me? I would not
anger or hurt Novatus if you could give me the whole world."
     
The shepherd lifted his eyes to me, liquid eyes, burning madly in their large 
orbits, and now there was a great flare in them ... which vexed me.

"I can give you better than the world, Mary. I have a better gift for you this
day."
     
I leaned through the casement. I stretched forth my hand.
     
"Give it to me quickly then."
"But it might take long for you to believe me."
This was too laggardly and I frowned as I leaned lower.
"If it is something to be told, tell it quickly."
"In a word then ... Messiah has come! I have seen Him, Mary. I want you, too,
to see that beauty."

Now John, these past six years, by one means or another, had sought to disturb 
my happy life, for he deemed it sinful. Wherefore I laughed, to tease him.
     
"Is He as beautiful as my beloved?"
    
John's smile glistened. "Come and see!"

Over his shoulder as he turned to go he whispered his last message: "On the 
mount above the city, at sundown. You can trace him by the multitude that 
follows."

"Come and see." "Come and see." All day the words rang in my heart ... a bell, 
waking the Hebrew woman in me, the child of my mother, calling up memories ... 


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A little dome shaped house on the shore of Magdala. A woman, death written upon 
her, a young maid at her knee, and a shepherd lad of the Essenes, the beautiful 
John of Capernium. The woman, my beloved mother, reading to us from a scroll. 
Again I could hear John Say: "Truly, from all these signs and dates, Messiah is
due."

And then my mother: "Remember, John, He will come, not as a warrior, not, as 
the people think, to deliver Judea from Rome, but as Enoch's Messiah, the Lord 
of the Spirits, the Messenger, descended from a high realm to 'free the whole 
earth from fetters of darkness.' Yet ... remember, too, the warning of Enoch, 
that 'Men will believe the Lord to be one with themselves and will see not
the splendour wherewith God hath clothed Him' ... till too late."

Novatus himself could not have kept me from the mount that night. Not that I 
yet believed John's words, but ... if he spoke the truth ... no woman of Israel 
could let Messiah's day pass her by.

I had never deceived Novatus, wherefore I told him frankly of the shepherd's 
message at dawn. This I had feared to do and it took a load from me when he 
laughed.

"A pastoral?" he mocked, with lifted brows and a flicker of fun on his lips. He 
could look so droll, my dear one! Then, as I urged him to go to the mount with 
me, emboldened to do this by his good mood: "Go yourself, my Mary. Sit with 
your prophet under your tree! His wisdom, "he deigned to say, "I shall hear 
later from you. I prefer it from your sweet mouth."

Had I but left it at that! I know not what madness it was in me that day that 
robbed me of all my arts. To my beloved Gentile, general of the Roman legions 
in Judea, half-brother to Rome's philosopher, Seneca, I quoted our scriptures 
to prove our Messiah.

In the end, and wearied, he broke forth: "Oh, abandon such follies, Mary ... 
prophets and prophecies, visions, miraculous persons. Why must the world always 
have its gods ... crutches to lean upon, from one trivial phase to another, 
never coming out into anything?"

At sundown I climbed the hill behind Tiberias, below me the roofs of houses, 
black steps to the sea; above, on its pine-clad crest ... a rabble! Drawing 
nearer, I saw their rough beards, their coarse mantles. They were busily 
chattering ... like magpies.

I thought: "He is not yet here. And ... is this John's multitude? This the 
following of the Messiah ... of the Lord of Spirits?"

Then through the rabble strode John, and I saw he was searching the road, and 
also ... because of the fire in his eyes and his gravity ... that it was not 
for me he searched. But as I climbed among the rocks, my yellow tunic so bright 
in the sun that none could fail to see me, his look singled me out and he came 
to me.

Silent, he took my hand and led me through the midst of those ill-smelling 
ones, who now turned hundreds of curious eyes upon me, to where, upon a stone, 
two women sat. And as I approached these women

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whose faces, framed in the lengths of dark veils, glowed with an unearthly 
light, I crossed the boundary of a new world.

John turned first to the taller of the two, the one with the strong and high-
boned face, but with a mien so gentle it seemed to give forth fragrance.

"O holy mother," thus he addressed her, so that I knew her at once as the 
mother of Him I had come to see, "this is my friend from childhood, Mary of 
Magdala. And this" - now John spoke to me, but looked toward the other younger 
woman, who was small, her features chiselled so fine that light seemed to 
filter through them, her lips moulded in a secret smile - "this is yet another
Mary who has come hither from Bethany to be near the Lord."
     
They rose. Each took me in their arms and kissed me, and it was as if I had 
been kissed by angels. And when again they seated themselves, I, Mary of 
Magdala, known as a sinner, sank to the ground in my fine linen to sit upon 
clay and stubble at their feet.

And there I asked of the mother what name she had given her Son and she told me 
His name was Jesus.

He came not by the road, but, all unexpected, through the olive grove. Nor 
could I have seen his approach from where I sat, with my back to the grove and 
my eyes lifted to His mother's face.

Now this mother rose. "See! The Lord," she said.

I turned. Coming forth from the olive grove, thrusting aside a branch that He 
might have free passageway, strode one so mighty that my heart cried out, King 
of Men! Lion of the tribe of Judah! I spoke in my heart, for no word could I 
have uttered.

And yet ... was this "the Lord of Spirits," ... this strong man, this man of 
vigourous body, of hawk-like face? True, His head stood erect from His spine 
with a majesty greater than that of any king. True, in that hawk's face the 
brow was moulded to ineffable compassion, and above the hollows in His heart-
shaped cheeks splendour flashed from his eyes. But He was flesh and bone and
blood, clad in rough homespun, and His sandals were soiled from the dust of the 
road. Heated by the climb up the steep mount, He thrust back his head-cloth 
from His sweating forehead and, under its akal, twisted up His hair at the 
neck. And as I thought on these things, He stepped forward with the restless 
tread of a lion. and His glance fell on me ... and pierced me like a sword. 
Then I knew that from such eyes nothing in the heart could be hid. Shamed, I 
looked away, but His steadfast gaze drew my eyes back to His. And my heart took 
fright at their holiness and the unearthly love that shone in them.

Ah! Who could this be but the Lord of Spirits? Who else could press upon the 
mortal heart such a weight of love as its frailty could not bear? Of a nature 
too high for the little heart of desire?

Once more I turned away, rejecting this love. Regally, He passed.
     
He moved to a clearing where stood a tall pine tree, beneath


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which He seated Himself. And there for a little He sat in silence, upright and
still, while the hushed people gathered around Him. And when all were assembled
He turned His face toward them and I saw it lit with an enchanted smile.

"Are you happy?"

And as He began to speak I heard a voice swinging as to music, with a sound 
even as the wind of unknown source. He was full of grace and winning, for the 
while He taught He gestured not as the rabbis, with pointed finger, but with 
hands outspread, palms upward, in sweet persuasion.

Of peace Jesus spoke, the peace of the kingdom of God, which He told us was the 
true peace. But He said this peace could be established even in the kingdom of 
our earthly world. For as bronze when brightly burnished reflects the radiant 
sun, so the heart of man if it be untarnished can flash to earth in one moment 
the Kingdom of God and all the glory thereof. And as I harkened to His words, 
wings in me spread for flight.

Now He rose to his feet and paced that circle of people, holding speech with 
them one by one. And I saw with what meekness each waited his turn, with hands 
crossed on the breast and bowed head, or with eyes full of tears lifted to his 
Lord's face.

To some He spoke jestingly. To a haggard woman who stood with a young maid
beside her, He said: "Are you pleased with your daughter, O Leah? Pleased now?
When next you have to complain of her, come and complain to me and I will do
the chastising!" And He bent on the maid a tender mirthful look.

Like to a boisterous wind He was in His laughter, and witty phrases fell from 
His lips. And again I said within myself: Can this be the Lord of Spirits? He 
is man. Such a man as I never beheld, but man.
    
Now He drew nigh to His mother and Mary of Bethany and me. And His mother and 
Mary fell on their knees in His path. But I ... I stood struck to stone. 
Wherefore He passed me by with but a merciful smile. And my heart grieved for 
that He had passed and I yearned for a word with Him.
     
He turned to go down the hill, twelve men following Him. And I saw from the 
back His swaying gait, the strong tramping of His feet, the restless might of 
His body and the grace of His garments wrapping it as He strode. And I thought: 
Lion in the cage of flesh!

Lower and lower He sank on the rocky levels, till a turn in the path far below 
snatched Him from my sight. And I was aware of a great loss and that the hill 
was stark without Him.

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           II

BACK TO THE VILLA I hastened, eager to tell Novatus, should he still be there, 
that in the man Jesus was a greatness worth his seeing. But having repented my 
folly of the morning when my zeal had wearied my dear Roman, I would leave it 
to him now to speak first.

I found him reclining in the portico waiting to sup with me and we went 
together to the triclinium - a pleasant place, cool and pillared and built of 
white marble. Black panels were frescoed on its walls and in each a Bacchante 
soared with a cup. Novatus himself had designed this dining-hall, wherefore it 
had beauty ... which he loved.
    
Now, as we sat at the table, I waited from one course to another for my lover 
to ask me concerning Jesus. Then, since he asked not, I thought: It is because 
the slaves are here. Later he will surely question me, if for no reason save 
that he is curious ... or, mayhap, a little jealous.
     
But out in the portico again he did but fondle me. Twining my hair through his 
fingers: "Your hair is spun amber, rollicking in curls. Your face ..." he 
uptilted it ... "a luscious fruit. Your eyes? They are Sybil's eyes. Can you 
read me the future Mary? Nay, you need not, for I know it! Your lips ... .your 
lips ... pomegranate wine ... " And he played upon me as if I were a harp and 
he a deft musician.

Now when morning was come I found myself greatly torn in spirit. The mount 
overshadowing my villa seemed to have taken on life and to be brooding, 
conscious, above me, a centre for the diffusion of unearthly fragrance which 
reached me as a gentle breeze and drew ... drew me. My heart burned to return 
to its summit, but for Novatus' sake I dare not. Last night when I had hasted
him, eager to tell him of Jesus, he had disdained to hear, and in his silence I 
had caught a warning. For the first time I felt the bondage of his love and I 
chafed against it, for to seek Jesus again had become my utmost need.
     
This man Jesus ... He was too much man to be Lord of Spirits ... still ... a 
chain had been forged betwixt His greatness and my nothingness, and through 
that chain ran a power that pulled me back to Him. Moreover, I knew not yet ... 
and this I must know ... if Jesus were indeed Messiah, or some false prophet to 
be forgot ... 

... put out from this heart that was now so troubled by him. Could I but see
Him once more! Could I but ease this heart tonight ... !

In the cool of the day Novatus was ever with me; wherefore to slip from the 
house in secret would be well-nigh impossible, even, had such been my wont. I 
saw but one course: to be frank with my dear lover and tell him I wished to go
to the mount again and beg that he go with me.

And so, as we rested in the colonnade after our mid-day meal, I led up to this 
artfully.

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Concerning greatness, I asked: How was it that some were born to it, their 
natures so compounded of it that they shed a glamour about them and their very 
destiny seemed charmed, while others for all their striving could attain not to 
this heaven-born thing?

He looked on me in his world-weary way. "Greatness is all outside of life and 
not in it, Mary."

"Ah, that cannot be dear one. In all that befalls even if it be not good, I see 
a thread of beauty."

"No," he laughed, "life is a round of jests. Mary, we are but thin soil and
something is ever occurring to prove this to us. Rock covered with thin soil."

"Novatus, I have thought that even as in the womb the babe forms eyes and ears
and all that it needs for use when it comes forth, so we have hidden within us
another sight and hearing and new virtues, the use of which we know not in this
world."

"But I am speaking of this world."
"Can we not get above this world even while we are in it?"
"Mortals are not gods! Nay" - and he sighed - "we are shallow vessels ... of 
clay. Nothing enters in very deep and nothing very wonderful happens. Even 
tragedy is but the result of something being ill-timed."

"But yesterday, my Novatus, when I saw Jesus I did see greatness. To me He was
like to a mountain catching the sun's first rays. I would have you see this
too, beloved. For my own part I long to make sure if He be verily Messiah. Will
you not take me to Him tonight?"
     
"Nay, Mary, tonight I must be busy. But you ... you go. You need me not," he 
laughed, "A prophet can do no harm."

Thus once more I came to Jesus on the rocky summit, in the midst of His
multitude. Again He was seated beneath the pine tree. Again I saw that mighty
head, those eyes like to jewels in deep-hollowed settings, that smile - a heady
cup. Again I heard the chime of His voice:

"Grace and welcome unto you. Are you happy?"

So wedged were the people together that I could find neither John nor those two
women who had seemed like angels. I was swallowed up in the crowd and it stank
around me and some men spat. I felt a little sick. Then tall men pushed to the 
front of me and Jesus Himself was shut from my view.
     
Now He began to speak. He told us the meek were blessed, for they should 
inherit the earth; the merciful were blessed for they should obtain mercy; the
pure in heart were blessed ... they should see God ... and those whom men 
reviled for that they believed on [sic] Him, those were greatly blessed and 
their reward was in Heaven.
     
And walled up in that roughness and those stale odours, and wretched and faint
with sickness, I said in my heart: 

What is all this? Meek creatures never inherit anything! The

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merciful obtain not mercy. To my slaves I am too merciful so that they flout
me. Novatus, when young, had great merciful thoughts towards the common people
in Rome and for this he well-nigh lost his life. And who can see God? Has not a 
prophet said that were we to look on Him we would die? Moreover, the slandered, 
the persecuted ... it is foolishness to call these blessed. Are they then never
to have peace on earth and naught but a reward in heaven? What indeed has this
Jesus to offer but trouble ... to such as would follow Him? This teaching is a
gloomy thing. His face must have cast a spell on me last night, for now that I
cannot see it, I like not his words.

But words still harsher fell on my ears.

"Every man that looks on a woman to lust after her has already committed
adultery with her in his heart ... "
      
"If your right eye offends you, pluck it out and cast it from you."
      
I would hear no more! This Jesus was much too stern in His judgement for me.
Pluck out my eye, indeed ... or ... pluck out my love for Novatus from my 
heart! Was this then adultery between him and me? Nay, I knew it was not. 
And my Novatus was kind in judgement. I remembered words of his of a gentle
charity for which I had loved him the better as he spoke them: "All these 
poor creatures who come our way, come with their excuses hanging around 
their necks."

I edged through the crowd and climbed down the hill alone. Yet, as I slid from 
rock to rock, my heart was heavy and sore and I felt bereft, as one who has 
lost a great treasure.

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           III

TO THE MOUNT I went no more. And soon Novatus and I were on our way to 
Jerusalem, where oft his duties held him for the space of months, and where, on 
the Mount of Olives, I had a villa – given me by my beloved. A sweet villa this, 
I called it my "House of the Sportive Loves," for the friezes along its walls on 
golden panels were of rows of playful cupids, tipping scales in a merchant's booth 
full of sealed packets, up to mischief with bows and darts, or marching with
gifts - looped garland of flowers, urns of clustered fruits.

The villa was old, built in the days when Rome first occupied Judea. On a stone at its 
entrance was inscribed "Salve" – relic of a more hospitable owner, for Mary of 
Magdala had but one guest. The floor of the atrium, tiled in black and yellow was 
worn from the passing of many feet, and at its center a pool gleamed, bordered by
myrtle. My chamber was paneled in scarlet and painted with landscapes and birds, 
and masks tragic and comic, and its hangings were of Tyrian hue. It looked on an 
unkempt garden where cupids in marble stood out against cypresses and cedars, and 
a fountain like to a small silver tree blew in the midst. I loved my villa well.

And here now Novatus and I revelled in unclouded happiness ... though times there 
were when Jesus strode into my thoughts, whereupon I quickly let down a curtain to 
shut Him out.

And then one night I dreamed. In my dream I stood on the mount above Tiberias 
with an invisible one who whispered to me: "He is coming." Then I saw Jesus 
midst the olive trees. And now His garments were white and glistening and His 
face like unto a lamp. And the invisible one said: "This is a Beauty to die for."

Awaking, I marvelled at the dream, and again my heart was sore troubled by 
Jesus, and again I felt that chain and the power flowing through it.

Once more I dreamed. In this second dream I was a captive in fetters, walking 
behind Novatus' chariot, my feet bleeding on cobble-stones. Then this picture 
vanished and I saw another. Here, deep in a bottomless chasm, I was climbing 
the rough stones of its wall toward crags open to the sky, affrighted and weeping 
... when wings swooped down upon me and flew with me into a golden void. 

And I saw, standing upon the air, a great Being in shiny robes, having the face of 
Jesus. And while He looked steadfastly on me, with a love that glowed and swelled 
upon me even as light swells forth between bright clouds, He drew from the folds 
of His robe a white veil and laid it upon my head and wound it about my cheeks and
throat, and His fingers stung me where they touched. And when I awoke from this 
dream, my head and throat still tingled.

Now I felt a madness to see Jesus. Yet to Novatus I dared not speak of this. A 
knowledge in my heart forbade me. And times there were when fear smote me.
For should this man in Galilee who could

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draw my soul across miles to Him, who, while still in Galilee, had looked on me 
out of the sky ... should He be verily Messiah, what choice had I but to follow 
Him? And should my beloved not follow with me ... I dared look no further.

Now I dreamed these dreams, one upon another, on the eve of starting with our 
household for Tiberias. It was then late spring. The camels were loaded and at
dawn one day our caravan set forth, my dear lover and I in one litter, borne by
the slaves. A fair land is Palestine, all but shadowless in the morning light. 

The colours of its bosom are all pale ... pale henna, pale grey, pale brown, 
pale green and the soft yellow of maize ... the thick pebbling on its 
hillsides, white.

We jogged through Judea, peaceful beneath its vineyards, guarded by round watch 
towers. We came to the hill country, where strange mountains rise, striped round 
the summits with ridges of chalk white - having the look of coiled serpents - and,
where farther mountains, low-lying, tawny, like unto great crouched beasts, mark 
the boundary of Samaria. We went on past Shiloh and by nightfall reached old 
Shechem, wedged between two hoary mountains, the Mount of Blessing, the 
Mount of Cursing. There we rested at the caravansary, and, in the morning, set 
forth again.

The henna-coloured tents of the hills of Galilee soared into view, then the round 
summit of Tabor, like to a rising purple moon above a low spiking of crags; and by 
starlight we looked from a height on the ruffled sea of Galilee.

Now I was in Tiberias, but where to find Jesus I knew not. None had told me 
where He dwelt. John's home was in Capernaum, but of him I could not ask, since 
I would go not in secret to him. There was naught to do but wait till by some 
happy chance news reached me.

Then one day as I stood at a both in the bazaar I saw Mary of Bethany in the 
distance treading her delicate way among the pedlars, who shouted up and down 
the vaulted street, their baskets of wares on their heads. Touching my wrist with 
her fingers and looking on me with eyes full of light, she said: "This meeting is
blessed." And at that touch and look my heart was strangely stirred.

"Does Jesus still speak on the mount?" I asked of her.
"Yes, He is here again, Mary."

Now when I went to my villa and joined Novatus in the peristyle I took my 
courage in my hands and spoke out boldly to him.

"My love," I said, "Jesus is here and I am going at sundown to the mount. 
Would you not ... "

But he shook his head.

"The Proconsul expects me at sundown. I will return and wait here for you."
Then he added with banter in his tone, but a stiff smile on his lips, "I thought 
your prophet displeased you that last

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time."
     
I wish to assure myself, Novatus, for truly this is no light thing," I said. "You 
have heard many times of our Promised One. Think on this promise, I beg of 
you. For should you come to believe in its truth and find that Jesus fulfilled it, 
that great hope of your youth would also be fulfilled. More than fulfilled. Your
hope was to see the true glory of Rome restored, the virtues of the great republic. 
Messiah is to restore a world!"

"Mary, this is but a built-up dream. As for my own early dreams" - he spoke 
sadly - "I have long since come to see that man is a hopeless product of ... we 
know not what, save nature, and the existence of the gods but a concoction of his 
own mind."

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            IV

SO AGAIN I CLIMBED alone to that summit. Now I chose another way, that I might
avoid the multitude, and thus came out upon the hill-top with my face toward
the people. Wherefore it was a simple thing to find the mother of Jesus and
Mary of Bethany. As on that first day they were seated on a rock apart from the
others, and again I sank to the ground at their feet.

Jesus had begun to speak. Today He sat not beneath the tree, but with that
straight majesty, hands clasped at His back, He moved to and fro before the
people, His speech flowing forth as a life-glvlng shower.

Love, He said, was the greatest law in this vast universe of God. It beat
betwixt the realities of all things. It beat betwixt the stars. (He took up a
pebble and held it out on His palm.) It beat betwixt the particles in this very
stone and made of the stone a solid. In the inner world of spirit it was like
to a waving sea and the cares of all men's hearts as drops of the sea. In the
inner world it was the bond joining creator with creature. But, alas, the
stranger ... the little self ... had usurped the hearts of most men and sealed
them against this inflow of love. Whereas God, the Friend, had chosen the heart
to be His own home. Earth and heaven were as His garden, but the heart of man
His dwelling-place. 

Should His love reign in any heart, imperishable power would radiate therefrom.
This was eternal life. And when such life quickened all men and the love of God
linked hearts ... even as it linked the stars throughout the firmament, the
atoms in this little stone ... then verily would God's kingdom appear in the
mortal world. And the King Himself would be manifest in the midst like a
resplendent sun.

And He ended thus, while my heart became drunken as from a goblet of strong
wine: "A moth loves the light, though it burn his wings. Though he singes his
wings he throws himself into the flame. He loves not the light for that it 
confers benefit upon him. He loves it for itself alone. Wherefore he hovers
around the light, though he sacrifice his wings."
     
Now the while Jesus spoke I had observed a youth nearby, standing apart in a
clearing, his eyes, gentle as a doe's, fixed upon that holy face. Oft had I
seen this youth in Tiberias, and I knew him to be a prince of Israel. A strange
figure he made against the dingy rabble. The fillet binding his head cloth was
of gold, his tunic of a rich striped stuff and he wore gold bracelets on
his upper arms. And no sooner had Jesus ceased than this youth came quickly
toward Him, and standing with modest mien before Him, said:

"Good Master, what shall I do to have this eternal life?"

Now Jesus had stretched forth His hands and seized the hand of the youth in a 
firm grip which He relaxed not the while He answered, and I saw that His eyes 
were full of great compassion as He loked down on the prince.

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He said:
"If you would enter into the life, keep the commandments."
"Which?" asked the youth.
"Thou shalt not kill," said Jesus, and His voice rang as in a chant. "Thou 
shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false 
witness. Honour thy father and thy mother. And thou shalt love thy neighbour as 
thy self."

"But," said the youth, raising earnest eyes to Jesus, "all these things I do 
observe. What lack I yet?"

"Ah-h!" smiled Jesus, "if you would be perfect, go, sell what you have and give 
to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me."

Will he do it ... oh, will he do it? My dream came back to me, "This is a 
Beauty to die for." And I leaned forward in my eagerness and watched the young 
face closely. Which would he choose: - to keep his poor bauble ... nay, (for 
the choice meant more than this) to keep friends and kin? Or would he dare cast 
all aside for this eternal love and life that now stood in human form before 
him?

Which ... which would he choose? It seemed I scarce could bear this silence.

The eyes of the prince fell before the steadfast look of Jesus, who smiled the 
while He waited. Then shame overspread the youthful face, as of one who knows 
not what to say. And sadly he turned about and went.

Now when he was gone, Jesus came first to those of us who stood near - twelve 
men and we three women - and in His eyes was so great a sorrow that it seemed I 
saw God sorrowing.

"It is hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven," He said. "Verily it 
is easier" ... and He smiled again, albeit faintly, "for a camel to pass 
through the Eye of the Needle. "

"But who then can be saved?" asked one of the twelve men.

And another: "Did he not say he observed the commandments?"

Jesus looked upon these and gently answered:
"With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

Now a third man spoke up.
"We have left all and followed you. What shall we have?"

And this speech affronted me, for I thought: Who gives, gives and asks nothing.

But Jesus took up the words with mercy and a promise whereat I marvelled, 
having seen and heard such men:

"In the day of the Re-birth, when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of His 
glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of 
Israel. And everyone that has left for my sake homes or brethren or sisters or 
father or mother or land shall receive an hundredfold and shall inherit eternal 
life."

I whispered in His mother's ear:
"Might I speak with Him in secret?"

Ah, He could have my life! Tonight I would fling it at His

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feet. One thing alone would I ask ... that my lover might wake to the knowledge 
of God and belief in Him, the Messiah. Messiah ... had I said the word? Well, 
now I knew ... knew beyond doubt. Yet how had I passed to this certainty, that 
Jesus was Messiah?

I would pray then tonight at Messiah's feet that Novatus too might throw his 
life to the winds to serve the Promised One with me. Had not Jesus said that 
very day that with God all things are possible? And this was not wrong to ask. 
Nay, it was but the way of love that prayed not for self alone. Moreover, what 
a great servant would Jesus gain in Novatus ... he who was called "the golden-
tongued" and who wielded such power in Rome. And my Novatus was not as this 
other prince, for when he gave ... he gave all.

Free and fearless was Novatus, and by nature, as well as birth, noble.

The mother and I found Jesus restins in the house of a believer. In a white-
walled chamber lit by a flickering taper He lay on a mat, His head pillowed on 
His arms. His eyes were closed and and that high-boned face, framed by the 
black bands of His locks, was still as death. The mother led me softly in and 
we sat on the floor for a long time, while Jesus stirred not. But the air in 
the room was astir! It was as though incense burned there and an invisible life 
pulsed all about me. And I know not whether Jesus slept ... or prayed. And as I 
sat, my eyes fixed on His pure profile, I became aware that this dancing life 
was entering into me and that it was opening my heart. I felt my heart open 
like to a rose in sunlight. Then I felt a sunbeam stab it. My hand went to my 
heart and I sighed and closed my eyes. When I looked again ... lo! Jesus
had risen and was standing above me, gazing down. And now my opened heart 
burned as He gazed. He smiled and held out His hands to me.
     
"Welcome! Welcome!" He said. And His tones were so tender that my tears sprang.

I crept to His feet and knelt before Him, for now I knew that I was at the 
mercy-seat. And shameless of my tears, shameless of aught that was in me, I 
threw back my head and gazed up at His beauty. Wherefore my veil fell to my 
shoulders, leaving all my hair uncovered. Then Jesus, smiling, stooped and said:

"I will cover your head myself, my daughter."


And with fingers that thrilled me where they touched, he wound my veil about my 
cheeks, my throat.  "O Rabboni," I cried, "This ... this is not the first time ... "

"Nay," He smiled, "verily this is not the first time ... nor yet last."

Now so awed was I before His mystery that I bowed my face on my feet. And 
again from above I heard the tender tones: "What would you ask of me, Mary? 
Speak to me."

A new desire burned within me, burst into flame in my heart ... and I knew I 
should find no rest till I had died for Him.

"In another dream, O Lord, I saw your face and a voice said: 'This is a Beauty to 
die for.'"

Fire flashed from His eyes.

+14

"That was a true vision and you shall see it again."
"Then I may die for you?"

I looked up to behold Him - His hands raised in blessing above my head, His face 
uplifted in prayer, His eyes closed, His lips apart. Then He held my head against 
His heart ... and I, Mary Magdala, heard the heart of Jesus beat.

"For this," He said at last, and I knew He meant the offer of my life, "you are 
accepted in the Kingdom. Go now. I will send for you. "

+15

IT WAS LATE to be alone in the streets, dark and deserted at this hour. I sped
through a labyrinth of narrow ways, flanked crookedly by black houses, and, 
timorous though I was, a song sang itself in my heart as I ran - "I will send for 
you. I will send for you. "

Ah, when would He send for me? Must I wait to be summoned ere I taste again 
the new wine of His presence? Was not the mount free to all? Might I not follow
with the multitude - unsummoned? I asked not to be seen or heeded by Jesus ... 
only to see, to heed, only to breathe the air He breathed. Mayhap ... when 
Novatus heard what I have to tell tonight, he too would go ...

Novatus! I spoke the name aloud. I stood still in the street. Till this moment I had 
forgotten him! And ... that prayer: that my dear beloved wake to the light of this 
new day and share the love of its Sun with me ... my heart had been full of it when
I sought Jesus. So much had hung on the granting of it ... great issues ... our very
happiness ... how could I have forgot that prayer? Why ... Jesus Himself had 
minded me of it! Had He not said: "What would you ask of me, Mary?" He had 
given me leave then to ask what I would, and I could think of naught else, with 
His glory shining down upon me, but that I would die for such divinity. As I 
uttered those words:

"Then I may die for you?" - my mind, my will spoke them not. Nay, they 
upwelled from depths unknown within me, called forth by that Mystery
smiling on me through the lips and eyes of Jesus. And He had accepted my
life, even unto death for His sake. Had I then taken a step ... never to be
re-traced ... away from my beloved?

Alone in this dark alley, free of the magic of Jesus' presence, my heart still
burned to die for Him. But could love like to this part me from Novatus? No, 
ah no! Jesus was kind!

Before me at last stood our villa, its marble in the midst of palm trees pale blue
in the night. And, as I approached the gate, I saw Novatus emerging from it.
     
"Mary! I have been hunting the whole mount for you. Gods but it is good to have
you back, unharmed."

His arm around me, we entered the atrium. In the light of the lamps he turned me 
about and with a keen look searched my face. And I saw that deep in his eyes 
were points of torment.

"Ah, Mary, the fear I had lost you made this clear to me," he said: "I would 
rather lose the whole world."

“Lose me, O beloved," I cried, smitten to the heart by his words and by that look. 
"Am I then separate from you to be lost? Nay, we are so interthreaded, you and I, 
fibre with fibre, that there is no such thing as you and I, but to me ... only you."

We turned our steps toward the triclinium. Now surely, I thought, he will ask the 
reason of my delay and thus start me on my wondrous tale. But again he deigned 
not question me; nay, when we were seated at our late supper, both reclining on 
the one couch,

+16

rather he increased his ardor, spent his full charm in witty cajoleries, smiling upon 
me ... and when Novatus smiled it put me in mind of a great song. Yet though he 
jested, still in his eyes flickered those points of torment. And as ever I admired my 
lover for that he could mask his heart so well.

"There are three things that cannot be hid" - his tender game plumbed mine - "a 
man on a camel, a woman great with child, and ... love"'

And when I cupped his face in my hands and kissed him: "Oh, Mary, you are love 
itself. To kiss your lips is to worship in a temple."

And though I know well he worshipped in no temple, I also know he spoke as a 
poet and his words were sweet to me.

From Novatus came in waves the strength and seduction of warm earth. With his
winged black brows, those eyes of blue fire, that mouth like a crimson wound,
the fine lips prone to quiver when a rush of feeling shook his firm control, he was,
as none I ever knew, disturbing.

We went and reclined in the atrium, its columns rising high above us; on the 
frescoed walls, Trojan battles and Odyssean victories. And the spell of my lover 
and the spell of Rome stole like a sleeping-draught into my veins. That face 
above me ... so hungry ... in its dusky cap of circlet-bound curls, weighed down
upon me, a focus like to a burning-glass of all human love and passion, blotting
out (alas, how could it be?) - the holy majesty of Jesus.

"See what I have brought you, Mary," and Novatus pressed into my hand an
alabaster tear-jar from which exuded a fragrance as of flowers at dawn. "Nard 
for you, beloved," he whispered, "nard for your sweet body tonight."

On the morrow Novatus sought me, bringing news. A matter of great urgency,
he said, had recalled him to Jerusalem. Would I make haste to pack? We were
to journey on camels as speed was imperative. Wherefore, when sundown 
came, I found myself far from that hallowed mount in Galilee. The sun set for
me that day behind the bleak Samarian hills.

We broke our journey at Shechem to rest for the night in its old caravansery; 
as I lay in a great vaulted chamber, pressed to my lover's heart, in the dark I 
heard him whisper;

“My whole life centers in you, O Mary. Without you, I exist not.”

Alone with him I loved above all earthly things, but bereft of that unearthly 
One who had opened to me the gates of another Kingdom ... what was this
new loneliness?

I no longer dared speak Jesus' name, for once when I did, Novatus had 
muttered an oath beneath his breath. Wherefore, for the first time, I had 
a life separate from my beloved, a sweet secret world wherein I would hide
to worship my Lord. And Novatus sensed

+17

this and feared and hated it.
     Oh the pity of that blind fear! Now I but loved him the
more,
with a quickened passion, tenacious as it had never been, and a
deeper, more poignant tenderness. For now I understood those
words
of Jesus, "I will send for you." From Galilee to Jerusalem would
He
send - I knew not how soon. And when such a call should come,
what
could I do but obey it, though it tear me forever from my
beloved?
     Here, verily, was a cause of fear, had Novatus but known it.
But this too I must keep hid from him, a guilty secret, gnawing
at
my heart, clutching it now and again with a grip so fierce that I
thought at such times I was dying.
     Could I but prove to my poor Novatus that my love for the
holy
Jesus had naught to do with human love, but was in a realm apart,
like to the worship of God, ;he burning of incense in a temple.
This foolish, impious jealousy was no more than an evil dream.
Could I but wake my beloved ... while there was yet time!
     Opportunity slipped with the passing days. At last I dared
wait no longer to speak out the truth though against the barriers
of that stubborn will, I know not how I should reach him.
     One night as we sat in the porch, looking out on a dusky
wall
of cedars and cypress trees, while my fountain tinkled in the
starlight, Novatus being in a tender mood and sitting with an arm
around me, I ventured upon my theme.
     "Dear one," I whispered, "no word you have ever said to me
is
forgot. By your words my mind has grown. And once ... we talked
of
tragedy. This, you said, was but the result of something being
ill-
timed. But what of the scars of tragedy on the heart?"
     He stiffened, for he knew me as I knew him.
     "They are never very deep. Take the emotions. Though the
relation be the closest, the loved one is certain to be replaced
by
another if all things go not well."
     So ... he would threaten me!
     "Should aught go wrong between us, Novatus, there would be
none other for me. And naught would go wrong if you would but
hear
me. Jesus ... "(at the name his lips curled; he withdrew his arm
from
my shoulder) " ... Jesus to me is Messiah, whom one loves not
with
body but with the soul."
     "You cannot, Mary, divide yourself up in this way! Mind and
body are one whole. You deceive yourself, my child."
     "Oh, listen, Novatus! Open your mind. Try, try to think with
the Jew. One thing wherefore I have loved you is your sift of
sympathy. Why withhold it ... now ... from me?" Think of the
faith I
imbibed even with my mother's milk. Consider this: I have been
schooled all my life in one great Expectation, the coming of the
Messiah, and all my life this Expected One has been as a living
Person to me and I have loved Him ... as I loved God. Long ere I
saw
Him living in Jesus I loved Him. I look upon Jesus not as man,
Novatus. To me He is Lord of men, the holy Messenger of God, sent
down upo earth with great power to free ths cruel, benighted age

+18

from its fetters of darkness."
He had heard me thus far with cold impatience; now he broke

     "Fetters of darkness! The Hebrew mind has a morbid twist,
Mary. And I wonder that your Greek blood from your father,
philosopher that he was, rises not up against this. We live, dear
child, far removed from a dark age. Ours is the age of
enlightenment, an age of clear thinking, science, art. The arts
of
the Muses, the sciences of construction, such as the past never
knew, whether it be the construction of temple or circus,
aqueduct
or government. All this ... and this, I maintain is light ... the
civilization of Rome is spreading throughout the world. Rome may
be
power-mad but she builds in untrodden places. You are vague, my
Mary. Define 'Darkness.'"
     "I think conquest is darkness, O Novatus. I think war is
darkness."
     "But through conquest, I repeat, Rome is spreading
enlightenment throughout the world. And war is essential to the
strong nation. Without war the nation becomes, like the Greeks,
effete."
     "I cannot argue on such things beloved. But I will tell you
another form of darkness. It has come to me that even love may
weld
fetters of darkness."
     I know not why i spoke such words unless from the
carelessness
of despair. They struck fire frcm my poor Novatus.
     "What is this fantastic strain in your race to which it
falls
easy prey to rebels whom you call prophets? Ar.d you of all
others,
Mary. What would you do midst a dirty mob, trailing a vagabond?
What would you do without roof or bed, crawling into some cave by
night to sleep on clay ... this delicate raiment" - he pinched up
a
fold of my tunic - "shredding into ra-gs? Nay, think you I would
brook this while I lived? There are ways, my Mary, to guard you
from yourself. Rome has small use for rebels."
     I met his eyes unafraid, and at this the anger went out of
him. Pleading stole into his voice.
     "Mary, mistake not for lust that which is love. Love to me
is
that awe wherewith one regards the sac,edness of another's
person.
And it is this I feel for you. Mary ... till I met your
loveliness I
had never known anything but lust. But when I saw you, a flame in
you burned through my hard fibre and - if you would know the
truth
- woke in me something I cannot name; you might name it spirit.
That day I found you ... darling ... so young, scarce more than a
child ... alone in the door of an empty house, weeping for your
dead
mother ... ."
     "Ah, yes, that day when you came down the path to water your
horse in the sea."
     "That day, my child. I know that never till then had there
been any reality in my life. Yes, what you call spirit, I call
reality. And reality to me is what I can touch ... feel."

+19

     His face yearned upon me. In pity and passion woven together
in too strong a mesh, I yielded to his formidable love.
     Now I knew the full cruelty of my fate; that my heart was
caught in a strait betwixt two giant loves which were as enemies
one to the other. My passion for this dear Roman I could not
uproot. My love for Jesus was a quenchless flame. In the nearness
of Novatus the human love overwhelmed the divine. The face of my
sc
earthly lover blurred the memory of the immortal face. The touch
of
the human hand, the human lips, I would crave. And times there
were
when the echoes of that promise, "I will send for you," would
drive
me, defiant, to the broad breast of Novatus to seek protection
there, in the bosom of this blinded creature, against a too
jealous
God.
     Shamed was I in my soul. For one who would throw away life,
was I not holding fast to mine?

+20
           VI

     RECLINING ONE DAY in my peristyle alone (for Novatus was
gone
on an Prrand to Tiberias), I was meditating on a dream, my heart
swallowed up in fear as I re-lived it, lest it be a prophecy.
     In my dream I stood wrapped in a blue cloak beneath the
great
arch of the Fish Gate in Manasseh's Wall, looking out from its
mouldy shade into the glitter of noon. With jewelled hand I
clasped
my veil. I faced Jerusalem. The rows of white houses enclosing
the
market-place, glaring in the sun, dazzled my eyes. Of a sudden
Novatus appeared in a doorway; then crossed the square quickly
towards me. He wore a red tunic banded with purple and the golden
circlet on his head ringed it with fire. His hands were out-
stretched; his face eager. I waited, my heart full in my throat.
     The dream changed. Now my lover had entered the gate, but,
alas ... and I knew not what this meant ... he was striding past
me,
seeing me not, robed for a journey in toga and white mantle, his
profile set and cold as marble. Fear laying low my pride, I cast
an
anguished glance behind me, to see him in a green meadow, hand in
hand with a woman. Her face I could not see, for she too was
wrapped in a cloak ... a crimson cloak, the colour of
wine ... or ... blood. It seemed to me I died in my dream! I all
but
d ed now as a I brooded on it.
     Then it was that Mary of Bethany came. At the sound of steps
I turned. My little Greek slave stood at the door, and in the
portico, Mary. Her presence brought with it a breath from another
world. Her chastity seemed to rebuke me.
     She came and sat at the foot of my .eclining chair, silent
while she fixed me with a long gaze. Tears of compassion shone in
her eyes which, like to her mouth, had ever a secret look, as of
one who knows and veils a mystery.
     "Mary," she breathed at last, "the Master has sent for you."
My hand at my throat, I stammered:
     "But Novatus is away."
"This is your opportunity."
I liked not the words, though it was she that spoke them.
"To run away would be cowardice," I said.
"It is your only chance to escape."
"How poor a creature then you think me!"
"I know your too tender, yielding heart."
I turned from her. I rolled in anguish. I bit my pillow.
     "O God," I whispered, "to be stronger, that what I must do I
might do nobly."
     "The Master knows all things," she said, and now she moved
closer and knelt beside me and laid a soft hand on my hand.
"Today
this word came from Galilee for you. And the moment of obedience
is
the moment when the Lord speaks."
     I rose and unclasped my jewels, princely gifts from Novatus,
and they dropped, a flashing heap, at my feet. I stopped then and

+21

gathered them and took them away in their casket. But even as I
shut them from me, my eyes fell on my jar of nard. I snatched it
to
me heart. A breath of ineffable fragrance escaped its broken
seal.
With swooning senses I drunk of its spice,
remembering ... remembering ... . Essence of our rapture bottled
in a
tear-shaped jar ... . No, I could not, would not leave this! If I
must be exiled from earth ... dear earth! ... I would take into
heaven's aridity with me this memory-evoking nard. But I hid it
from thoe secret eyes of Mary.
     We started on our journey - oh, immeasurable journey, from
him
who was the whole substance of mortal love to me, unto the Lord-
God-with-us.
     Mary and I had joined a caravan whose destination, like
ours,
was Capernaum, where our Lord was sojourning. We had made the
start
from Mary's house in Bethany, a little white house, built of
carved
tiles, with a pomegranate tree at its door. Mary's sister, Martha
- that dark, different sister - had met me with a grim face, and
her brother, Lazarus alas, with sly advances.
     By now it was midsummer. The countryside was parched and
thirsty, the trees along the road powdered with dust. In the
shade
of a tree here and there a leper crouched, crying out raucously
as
he saw us, holding out a ghostly hand for alms, or a blind beggar
sat patient, flies swarming on his closed eyelids.
     We left Judea behind, entered the Samarian country, sighted
the pointed peaks of Galilee and the rising-moon of Tabor; and at
last, from a grassy mount, looked down on the sea of Galilee.
     On the way, as we rested at an ir.n, I made bold to confide
in
Mary, longing to bear my soul.
     "Oh, Mary," thus I began, "I had such pride in the choice of
my heart. To have loved such a man ... To have so loved such a
man ... Now I must deny this love. And what will he do?"
     But she broke in upon my words, and I knew f-om a sudden
sternness in her that she was far from love and grief as is a
star
from earth.
     "What is human love compared with divine? Man's love is no
more than a mirage, or as waves that roll in upon the shore, wave
after wave, and break, and are lost."
     "YGU have never loved!" I cried.
     She raised her eyes heavenward.
     "None but God," she whispered.
     "How have you escaped ... if you have a heart?"
     The sharp words sprang from my lips ere I could think to
withhold them, for all that was in me rebelled at that heavenward
look, that lofty answer; and I felt sad and sore because the
angel
had no power to comfort me.
     Softly she spoke.
     "All my life, I believe, I have been wait.ng for the Lord
Jesus and His sacred love. Mary, the heart is never content until
it bestows itself on the highest. From my youth up I have guessed
eternity, the World!"

+22

this. Marriage meant naught to me. Then when I saw our Lord I
knew
why."
     "But had you married with love," I said, "you would know
that
such love too is sacred, since it is veritable oneness. Oneness
of
spirit, oneness of flesh ... ."
     Yes, flesh! Wherein spirit dwells on earth ... the flesh of
two
beings that are as one soul ... 
     "Mary" - she bent low to me - "can you not drive out this
stranger from your heart and truly admit your Lord?"
     I turned away despairing.
     "How can I make you to see that if there is any stranger I,
myself, am interwoven with him. And now that we are rent asunder
can you look for less than agony? Could you cut the hand from the
arm without pain ... and maiming? Could you cleave the heart in
twain
and still live?"
     We came to Tiberias. Here I lowered my veil, torn by terror
lest I encounter Novatus and a mad desire to turn back now, ere
it
be forever too late, and fly to him who was blood of my blood,
soul
of my soul.
     We passed brown Magdala, then into level land, through the
gclden grain fields of Gennesaret. At last we entered Capernaum.
And there we traced our Lord to the house of Simon the Pharisee,
where He sat at the mid-day meal and awaited the many who came to
hear Him speak.
     Following the multitude we reached a great white mansion
and,
crossing its court, were borne with the crowd up a stair leading
to
the second story and into a dim hall. Light streamed through an
archway - light and the strains of a charming voice!

      "Cause us to drink of the crystal river of Thine

O Divine One!
"Cause us to walk in the garden of Thy nearness,
     O Beloved!
     "Cause us to attain the summit of Paradise. Shepherd of
the World!"
     Make us steadfast in Thy love, O Inspirer!" 
     God of my fathers ... that voice! How it struck into my
heart ... pierced, wounded it. As I drank even deeper of lts
swinging
cadence, in which a wrenched agony, as of the suffering of God,
rose blended with strains of triumph, earth with its poor
delights,
its puny sorrows, faded away.
     "Cause us to approach the throne of Thy might, O Cleaver of
Dawn!
     Make us steadfast in Thy love, O Inspirer!"

     I could endure no more! Blind to the throng gathered in the
outer hall, blind to all but One who sat at Simon's table, I ran
through the arch to that One and cast myself down at His feet and

+23

wept ... and dared rain kisses on those holy feet.
     What could I do now to pledge myself forever to Him? Of what
worth was my word? But one treasure remained to me. I drew it
from
its hiding-place in my breast. Should I empty my nard, should I
shatter my jar at His feet, would He know this to be my mortal
heart, broken into fragments for His sake, and all its love
spilled
for Him? I drained out the perfume to the last drop and dashed
the
jar upon 'he stones before Him. And then I looked up ... and His
eyes
were a fathomless mystery. So that none could hear He bent low
and
whispered, "I know." Once more I cast myself down, and His
feet ... so wet with my tears and my nard ... I wiped with the
locks of
my hair.
     From afar ... so it seemed to me ... I heard murmuring.
     "She is weeping for her sins" ... in a woman's thin notes.
     "W-lo is s'ne?"
     "mhe courtesan, Mary - famous in Jerusalem. Cnce a poor maid
from this neighbourhood - Magdala."
     "Oh ... she."
     And after this the whisper of a man.
     "Why was this waste of ointment made? For it might have been
sold for more than three-hundred pence and given to the poor."
     I know not what it was that made me to raise ,..y head a'
these
words and fix my eyes on that man. His whisper had come from the
seat next Jesus. Who was this that sat so near ... and counted
pence?
I saw a face drugged with earth.
     The whispers buzzed on - now whispers of men.
     "It is polluted ointment.  Ointment used for shameful
purposes."
     "With this ointment she anoints her body for her lovers ...
and
she dares pour it on the Master's feet!"
     Then the voice of Jesus Himself lifted with authority, while
upon my head I felt a hand, light as a rose-leaf, f,.m as ma.l -
and the centre of its palm burned me with its life.
     "Let her alone. Why do ycu '.ouble her? You have the poo.
with
you always and whenever you will you can do them good. But me you
have not always. Verily, verily I tell you, that wheresoever
throughout the world this gospel shall be taught, this that she
has
done shall be mentioned also as a memorial to her."
     Silence, heavy with shame, hushed that chamber; I more
shamed
than all to be the object of so grea a bounty. None but Jesus
could break such silence. He called out now, as if to rouse one
who slept.
     "Simon! Simon! I have somewhat to say unto you."
     His hands still comforted my head and from His palm flowed
life so strong that His palm was as fountain and my body a vase
to be filled from it. Wherefore, lost to all save this mystery, I
heard naught He said to Simon till I became aware He spoke of me.
     "You gave me no water for my feet, but she has washed my
feet
with her tears and dried them with her hair. You gave me no kiss,

+24

but this woman since she came in has not ceased to kiss my feet.
You brought no oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my
feet
with her precious ointment. Wherefore all her sins are forgiven.
For she loves much ... "
I burst into sobs so wild that I could hear no moe.
     And now I must be alone. To a corner of Simon's garden I
went
and sat upon a stone bench, screened Erom the house by tall
buslles.
     All my sins forgiven for this sin of loving ... of a
reckless
spending of my heart and count ng not the cost Did the virtues of
the Kingdom then centre in but one - unbridled love for God and
all
that He had made?
     At a sound in the bushes I looked up and saw a man plucking
a
rose. He turned. Why ... this was he that had sat next Jesus! Now
he
came toward me holding out the rose, his great body sinuous in
its
gliding. At close hand I could observe his features. His nose
hooked downward. His mouth was a ruby crescent in his beard, his
brows like a scimitar curved across his forehead. The full
ellipses
of his amber-coloured eyes gloated upon me. He smiled ... as a
serpent bares its fangs.
     "Will you have a red rose from me?"   .
     "But it was you that questioned my humble sift to Jesus."
     "You face was hid when I made that speech! Beautiful Mary, I
am Judas Iscariot, chief of the Lord's disciples." He flung the
words at me, his head tossed back, his red lips curling.
     "Chief of the Lord's disc ples? And you offer lust where
your
Lord gives love "
     Judas' eyes flinched, his face fell, and a look Oc strange
despair engulfed his pride, as of one inured to defeat, so that
for
a little space I pitied him ... till he lifted those eyes,
narrowed
with guile.
     "I offer my heart, O cruel one." Seduction
voice. "The rose, the hundred-petalled rose, Mary,
the heart. and of the oneness of hearts."
     "Tne nard was the symbol of my heart offered to the Lord,"
sa,d. "With Him alone I wish oneness."
     "Do you think you can have it this way, when you scorn a
fellow-creature?"
     The thrust was sharp ... and, alas, true. Judas dealt it as
if
in soft reproach, his voice wistful. But my eyes, piercing his
mask, saw behind the secretive flesh a sinister self - like to a
column of black basalt, immovable and cold - and I gave him
thrust
for thrust, though mine the worst by far.
     "You, Judas, are a hypocrite. In the Master's very presence
you gossiped of my paramours. I will not trouble to deny such
slander. Yet you seek for yourself, from me, that same illicit
love
for which you dared judge me."
     "It is you that judge me, Mary." I marvelled at the man's
patience. So deaf was he to my bold affronts that now a dark
laughter danced in his eyes. "And the Master has said, "daring to

+25

jest with holy words, "judge not that you be not judged." You
will
have a 'all," he chuckled in his throat. "Mark what I say, Mary
of
Magdala, you wil' have a fall!"
     Then, leaving his LOSe to die in the dust of the path, he
turned on his heel and went back into Simon's house ... to
companion
Jesus.
     And I stood and grieved for that I should hate him, when I
had
hoped at such a moment, fresh from the Lord's 'orgiveness, to
love all
that God had made.

+26
           VII

     AT SUNDOWN, again athirst fvr solitude, I stole from our
chamber at the inn, where Mary lay in a light sleep, and set
forth
for the synagogue. Now the synagogue stands on that street which
ends in the highway, and when I had mounted the few steps to its
court and turned to watch the beauty of the sunset - the sky
being
a.. inverted solden bowl and the sea a mirror to it - I saw in
the
distance a horseman galloping. His face was hid in the shadow of
his mantle, but that form ... that form ... broad in the
shoulders,
lean, erect on his horse, well I knew!
     Oh, to escape such a meeting! Yet could I flee from it ...
from
Novatus? Nay, whatsoever the pain of it, this I would not do. I
stood still, in full view upraised on those steps, the long
avenue
of the colonnade behind me - still as a statue - waiting.
     Swiftly he drew nearer. Now I saw the beetling brows below
the
white mantle, the oval drop of the chin, the thin red mouth. And
now I saw his eyes and the anger smouldering in them. He
dismounted
and strode to my side.
     "Mary" - his voice shook - "why such a blow in the dark? You
stabbed me, Mary, while I slept."
     No answer had I, nor voice wherewith to answer. I cast down
my
eyes, mute in my shame.
     "What folly, this flight ... and to my very neighhourhood.
You
have gone mad! The scene you made today .. the house of that
Jew ... ah, you wonder that I know of it? A guest present from
Tiberias quickly brought the news. Did it not shame you then to
be
held up a gazingstock, exposed to a room full of hypocrites as a
repentant harlot your 'sins' the apt subject of a parable? Nay,
this has shamod both you and me. Come back to me, Mary ... to
your
own home ... to my love that changes not, thcugh you lose your
senses ... turn coward ... knife me in the back." I shrank from
the
hunger in his look.  "Or" - seeing me shrink, his eyes blazed -
"or,
by all the gods, Rome shall make snort work of this man Jesus.
shall despatch Him before another sundown."
     Now I found my voice. Terrified, driven to the wall, lost to
all thoughL OL myse.. cr .ny shame, now I found;.
     "Novatus, should you dare destroy this Holy One of God, and
do
so b~ause of irie, ; swear to you I will kill myself."
     He bowed his head and stood lingering ... for I knew not
what.
And my hea.t broke over him and I lcnged L3 '~};e him to i.,y
breast.
But he nad r,.ade the worst of threats and
Himself was now imperiled by h~m. And I knew not what he might
~o.
~esources had he to c~,.y out this threat, and also .o
~efea..l..r.e.
Wherefore . spoke once more, and my words were false as .hei were
cruel.
     "Whatsoever you may a'tempt, yau will f.nd of no ava l. Your
hold upon me is loosed, G ~lovatus. And ... you are too proud to
seek
revenge."

+27

"Mary, why do you weep?"
On t~e temple steps Jesus found me in tears.
     "Oh my Lord, I have driven my lover away ... broken him ...
with
a lie. And ... this worthless life of mine ... would I had never
offered it tc you! Fcr now ... it mer.aces your 'iLe. ~y Lord,
.~cvatus
would kill you."
     A touch on my ncad, a burn r.g cur.ent st.~am ny from a
li~ht
hand, and I li'ted my ~ace to X s above me, and 'c ~he compassion
in Hia eyes.
     "Why do you weep~" He said once more, and now ;ie was
smilir,g
"When you have verily siven up, your lover shall come after you.

+28
           VIII

     THREE DAYS HAD PASSED. On the way to sup with our Lord in
Peter's;-louse, John and I strolled the highway. It was the
twilight
hour. Through alleys betwixt the black houses that edge the
beach,
women were coming up from the sea bearing jars on their shawled
heads.
     To John I could speak, as I could not to Mary - the Mary
that
had never .ov~d - as I dared not yet to the holy mother, of the
sorrow and dread in r~i heart.
     "Dear John," I said, "you have been patient these three days
and have taught me much. I see now that to fear Novatu
folly, since the Divine One canr.ot be slain by human hand-~. And
my
heart is ruly comforted by my Lord's sweet prom se, whi~h I could
nev. doubt, that some day my lover will come back. ~ut ... oh, in
the mea ... ime, ~ tremble fcr him: I know not to what I have
goaded
him. Yet I c~n guess. He will Lurn to some other woman, John. For
w 'hout a woman's love Novatus cannot endure his disillusioned
life."
"Is that all?" said John.
     The scornful ~uestion was soCtened by his voie, which was
melodious as a viol.
     "~ut ~ onc~ dreamed of anot';.eL woman ... a wo.r.an n a cr
mson
mantle. And crimson is the colour of blood. This bodes ill to
him."
     ":~;ary, ~ swear you do u'ot' '~ie'd him up t^ the
woman ... shou~ there be one!~'hy be troubled s~nce the end is
sure?
The Lord has been merciful in giving you such assurance. ~e s al'
com~assion LO H.s children. He feels with us, aches with our
sorrows. Still ... has He not called us out from our private
grief,
our pr vate ha~piness, to serve Him in His giant task? If we
would
share this task, how strong we must be! Messengers of God come
not
as physicians to babes, healing one of a fever, another of a
heartache. When the house itsel~ is rotting they
new struct~re am,d the ru.~ o da.e to serve so great a Builder
should be enough for such humble ones as we."

     By now we were close to the home of reter, which stood on
the
narrow strip to our righ' between the highway and the sea ... a
simple dwel,i..g of black brick, cris-crossed with lines of
mortar.
     His disciples alone were to sup with Jesus that night, the
twelve men who were ever with Him and a few women; the holy
mother,
the wiEP of Peter, the mother of John, and:'aLi Oc 3e'hany. And
to
this meeting of near ones He had in His loving kindness bid me.
     We entered a whited chamber lit by candles. He~e our Lo,d
sat
upon a bench, ki..gli in full white robes that billowed from His
wide-spread k~ees, casting a mighty shadow on the wall. His
disciples, seated on the floor, formed a half circle at His feet.
     As we c.ossed 'he threshold, John's mother looked up from
that
circle and I saw a small frown gather her Lorehead. Yet she was a

+29

soft and lovely creature, with child-like cheeks and a round
cleft
chin ar.~a, under two little arches for brows, great blue eyes
that
~ver worshipped Jesus.
     Vashti, the wife of Peter, came forward to greet me. ~ashti
had a fierce l~eauty. Her face was short and put me in mind of a
youny eayle, and dus~iy tresses framed it, flying out rrom her
white
veil. r.cr brows were like spread winss frcm low on the bridgc o'
her nose. Her mouth when she s ... iled could be merry, though
today,
alas, I saw a tight-lipped smile. This woman bestowed her trust
?~ith caution and not yet was it given to Mary of .~agdala.
     Peter followed his wife to bid me welccme - a man of heavy
build, but with the quick of his soul bared on his broad face. He
grasped my hands and tears filled his eyes. Lvr Peter wept ar.d
laughed readily. I~ove had he wherewith to weep; wisdom wherewith
to
laugh.
     3ehind Peter, Judas Iscariot slunk my way with a grin.
Plainly, ~udas LLad forgiven me!
     "Mary, ~ou like me not, but I am a good -'ellow; try me! I
will
make you laugh, I ~ill make you dance!" He whipped cuL a flute
fL'.'Cm
the breastfold of his robe and tilted iL .o his 'irs. "You will
dance to my piping!"
     I swept ~ast him, mute and indignant, for there was a
Presence
in that chal..ber, and to .hat Presence ' straiyhtaway went a..d
took
my place at Hi~ feet. The master smiled ~own on me and I thought:
now I 'now that God i.. heaven smiles.
     We gathered round the table, sp.ead with a white cloth and
strewn with jasmine anc7 rose petals, The Master placed Peter
(who
wept and begged for a humbler seat, at the head of the table. He
himself took the center, Vashti at Y~is right hand. His mother at
His left and we other Marys ac.oss from Him. ~Lnd when Y.e had
chanted, blesslng Lhe food, ~e turned ~is 'ace to me and said:
     "You have journeyed far to be wi,h me. Some souls ccme he.-e
and are resucitated. They come dead, they return alive. They come
sick, ~hey return htalc?v'. ~hey come iil sorrow and return
joyo~s.
They come in want and return having partaken of a share. They
come
athi.at, they return sa~isfied! Pralse be to God, ~ou are of
these
souls and yol must rejoice exceedinqly therefore."
     Now the mother of John turned about to me that little frown
gone from from her face, and caught my hand and folded it in
hers. And
the Master, seeing this, glowed upon her.
     "Wife of Zebedee," He said, "you have a tender heart." Then
He
looked on Mary of Bethany. "You have a kind heart. And what sort
of
heart have you, Mary of Magdala?" His smile was full upon me.
"What
sort of heart have you?"
     "Oh, what sort of heart have I? You know Rabboni!"
     "You have a boiling heart, Magdalene" - Laughing He rolled
His
lively hands one round the other. "You have a heart in tumult!
Now,
were there three hearts made one ... the kind, the tender, the
tumultous ... what a great heart that would be!"

+30

     Thus the meal went on, we happy and gay in the presence of
'h~s Holy One, who could be gayer than any. And then came a
solemn
cha..ge. The Master fell silent, .~;.s eyes uprolled, that
luminous
gaze as it were turned within Himself. It was even as though ne
had
qone away, leavin~ only the shell Or His body with us. Now, I
        - my fill of ~is beauty! But He moved, ~aught me

thought, I can drink
staring, ar.d sm~'ed.
     "S~eak, Mary,

speak," He said, "Your eyes are all speech."
     "Your presence," ~ sLammered, "makes of this ~meal a king's
banquet."
     "This is because of you. S,eat love. Onc a poet said, Woun~s
dealt by Thee are my healin~. Poison from Thy hand is honey.' "
     "~ou..d me and give me poison that my human hear' may die!"
     "I will. ~hcr. afflictions and bitter conditions tasLe sweet
to
man, t'nis is a sign Lhat he has fourd favour in the sight of
God."
     Now Peter murmured:
     "The Master is feeding His sheep."
Jesus bowed His head and lowered nis eyes and His hands lay
in His lap like cups.
"I myself am the food," He said.
     In the sil~nce I could all but hear my tears fall. Then the
Master raised Xis hand with an ineffable smile.
     "Eat, Ma,y."
     ~ool ~hat I was and blind to think He meant .he food on my
platter! To obey , ate all that focd, though row it was like to
rough, coarse grains and I scarce could swallow~ the changed
substance. Or ... was it my body that was change& and caught up
i..to
tt..e .;i.lgdom? .es, Lhe change was ir. this body, so light was
it now,
so filled w~th sparkling life, as if fashioned of air.
     "I myself am the food," the Lord had said.
     So, it was heavenly food of which He had bidder, me partake.
And verily I )lad partaken, for what could th~s be ... t~is life
eLfervescir.g within me ... if it be r.ot His l fe?

     3n the dark and deserted highway Mar~ and I wal~ed alone to
our inn, the blue nigh' enveloping us. To our left the sea ran a
liquid silver; to the ,-g'.' stood rows of black houses. The
Synasogue lay ahea&, its olumr,s pallid in the moonlight, casting
long blacls shadows. Its deep, colG.,..aded porch stood at the
corner
. ~';e highwa~ and the steep littl2 ;treet that led to our inn.
~ear,~ 35 we were, we d.eaded th.s cl m~ and, when we reached the
aynagogue, ~e sat down on its step-~ 'o rest. Behind us stretched
the lGng recess of 'he cclonnade, .ts pavement - flanked '~
LrLos~-
many colum..s - st.,ped with black sha~ows. A whi.e moon soared
over
'he sea, while her double danced on the ripples, and Mary said:
     "I r.ever saw the moon so dazzliny."
     "But," I made answer, "when I think of th~ lust.e on Jesus'
face tonight, this whole scene looks opaque to me, even as a
~ar.ting on a wal'."

+31

     She pressed my hand and we both f-ell silent. In the
stillness
of the nighL, as T watched the rippling, flashing sea, I was
again
aware of that life like to wine within me and my heart opened to
a
ragrance blown from white gardens.
     A scream pierced and .ent the stillne~s .~lary had sc.eamed!
~nd at that ir.stant the folds of a cloak flung over me from
behind,
.ufrled me in thick darkness. Hands wrapped it around me,
rnuscular
arms lifted me, and knew that a man bore me down the steps and a
little fu.t'.er on level ground, and set me down in a chair. Then
to
the tramp of feet I moved forward. At my side hoofs clattered ~r.
the stones. ~ut sosn all sound ceased as we came 'o a halt.
Agair.
hands fumbled about my body, loosing the cloak, freeing my face
of
it, and I saw (and this surprised me not) that I sat in my own
l ter - ~elix, Nova';us' most trusted slave, on his horse beside
, e .
     ~T 3S1- pa-don, my lady, for such rough treatment," he said,
ber.ding an anxious loc'~ on re. "; could not have done this, you
know, but by the express comma;.d of my ~aster."
     A great light s~emed to break upon me, and while we ,ogg~d
alons the hishway, through the litL.e city of Bethesda, through
silvered wheat fields, past the black slabs of Magdala's huts,
Tiberias looming darkly ahead, a huddle of black and silver cubes
descending th~ mou ... ain, my though.s were as a song o.
triumph.
     How swift the fulfilment of the Lord's promise; that when I
had v~rily given up my lover should come after me! How easy ...
th,s
gi-~ing up' I had done no more th~n breathe a prayer, "Wound me
and
give me poison t..at my hea.. r,ay die." And my Lord, without
death,
had immo.talized my heart and wi,hout death changed me. Poison
and
wou..d~ had I asked, and ins~ead He had fed me with His own life,
refinins my very flesh thereby. And here I was now on the road to
Tiberias ... on the W5Y bac~ to my beloved ... a new Mari, ready
.o
meet him, ready at last to win hl.., to the Lord! But yesterday
Jesus
had said, as ; knelt at H s feet, "You must become so free and
joyou, ;Jlary, that you will be able to light in a coid heart a
great fire." Now inde~d was I free and joyous!
     True, Novatus himself had come not after me. Lawless as
Barabbas, chief of bandits, he had stolen me by the hands of
slaves. But ... could he steal me from the Lord save by the will
of
the Lord?
     Late in the night we entered Tiberias and, passing through
its
crooked streets, soon reached the terrace where stood our villa,
its white walls shining below the high feathers of the palms.
     Within, the villa was silent and dark. I walked the length
of
the atrium, blue in a haze of moonlight, and, approaching the
colonnade, saw a light like a yellow star glowing in my
cubiculum.
Loie, my little Greek slave, crossed the peristyle to meet me.
She
welcomed me with happy tears and led me back to my chamber where
she had wine and cakes set out. There she tenderly served me,
removing my rupled tunic, preparing my bath, and when I had come

+32

forth fresh rrom it, kneading me with perfumed oils - with the
oils
~ heady spices. Then, covering me with a broidered sheet of silh,
she bade me gcod-night ... and left .he lamp burnins.
     Impatient, now T awaited my dear one, scarce able to wait,
being at last so free to love him, tc atone for my baseness
toward
him, scarce able to wait to 'light in this heart a ~reat fire.'
     A step. The ~urt~ins at the doorway parted and Novatus stood
in the arch, in his eyes a look humbl~ and shamed.
     "Forgive me, Mary. I did a brutal thi.,g, but you left me no
other way. I k.iew you had l,ed to me. I ~now in my ve.y fibre
your
love for me. The only thing in the world Oc which I am sure is
this ... this ... and my love for you."
     His voice quivered. I saw his .ips quiver. I held out
~elcoming arms.
     "Yes ... you can love ... ~lovatus ... "
     W-th a cry he was on his knees beside my couch. And 'he
rhy'hm
of ou~- oneness pulsed in that chamber - a great silent song.

+33
            IX

     TWO WEARY MONTHS had passed. By now the summer was far
advanced. ~ong since, in my v-lla on the ~ount of Olives - that
house of the lit'le foolish 'oves - I had lost my joy, my
freedom.
     On a night of stifling heat Novatus and i were reclining in
the atrium, by the ai.--refreshing pool. From the walls those
cupids
mocked us wi'h their levity, their darts and balances and gay
garlands. Talk had flickered and died. I sat brooding.
     Why ... whi had all gone wrong? No meana had I l~Et unt.ied
to
win my ~eloved to my Lord. He had grown but the more implacabLe
in
his jealousy, the more ravenous for the whole of me. Mind and
soul
I must yield as well as body, my every thought I must yield, ere
I
satisfy his devouring greed. What could . do to break the knot of
falsity in which . now found myself caught? Even my prayers had
been in vain.
     Novatus left his reclinir.g chair, seated himself on mine
and
bent a flushed face to me. Into his halL-closed eyes there came a
crafty iook and to his thin lips the hunger of a~wolf. I
shuddered
away from him.
     "Come not near me tonight!" I c.ied, "'n-ght, I tell you
fra..kly, my mir.d is full of a better th.ng - that vi~ion I saw
in
Galilee .n the heart cf a true ... an - ir. the hearts cf a few
audacious fishermen ... "
     "Mary!"
     "You thought I had forgot? Never can i forget. Can I stay
with
ycu, Novatus, and you minc so closed to truth? I once thought you
just. Were you verily so, you would seek out Jesus and see for
yourself."
     "Mary ... I ... I have done this."
     "You have done it!" I sa' up, amazed, a..d my anger dro~ped
from me. "Oh, when?"
     "Tha' t me I was in Tiberiaa ... withou' you, before ' Sound
you
in Capernaum."
     "~ou will tell me wha. happened?" Not easy was it to curb my
easerness.
     "He mocked me," Novatus muttered, black fury on his face.
"Xe
lau~hed at me."
     "He laughed at you? Oh impossible. Tell me all He said. Tell
me what you said. WHy is it you have kept this hid?"
     "I could not grieve you, Mary. But, since it is out, you may
have the story. I went to Him privately ... to the house of one
of
your fishermen, where he was quartered. I too shall be frank. I
went for your sake, that I might ... 'see for myself' the true
nature
of His influence over you. But I approached Him with courtesy. In
His first question was contempt. A subtle contempt. 'What was the
news of Rome?' I answered Him - truthfully - that Rome at the
moment was occupied with the Olympic games."
     "And there was no contempt in that, Novatus?"

+34

     "I but stated the truth. He then said it was a pity men
should
be occupie& with games. Still cour'eGus, I explaine~ 'hat these
games had a serious object. The bodies of our potential soldiers
must be developed to the fullest strength to d.ive heavy swords
through coats of mail and to support the weight of the armour. He
replied with flippancy that man was 'oo greatly concerned with
this
perrection of the body, for no matter to what e~tent he developed
his sinews he could never become as strong as the ox, as bold as
t'.e l on OL as big aS the elephant. ~nd this barbarian had the
eCfron'2ry thus to trifle with me!"
     So dismayed was I that I ould not laugh, even at Novatus'
comic anger. Too great a riddle was this for me to guess! ~hy was
it the tender Jesus - He who would not crush a bruised reed - had
Lreated r~ovatus thus?
     Sick to heart, I went to my chamber alone, and my lover
sought
me not that night. Strange that the dawn should have been so
safeguarded!
     A pebble Ï1ung agains~ my casement woke me. I went to the
casement and looked down on John.
     "une word," I whispered. "-where may I meet you?"
     John raised to my hand a small clay tablet.
     ~-~L Mary's house in Bethany." And, swift as a ~eer, he was
gone."
     Traced on the tablet in ,lowing sc.ipt I beheld ... an
epistle
f-om my Lord. And life tiding back and flooding me and a great
joy
l-.ting .., up, I sank to my couch to read it.
     "O tender lamb! How long will you wander bewildered while
the
Shepherd seeks you~ Without hesitation turn to the flock, that
led
once again by the shepherd over hill and wady, in the light of
the
Sun of T.uth, you may renew your spirit. Could you but know the
love that awaits you, you would delay no longer your return to
the
fold."
     "Bewildered" ... "wandering" ... the tablet d.oFped to my
knee-.
Me.-ci~ul Father, those words were addressed to a stray sheep!
     So ... I had failed. Failed my Lord. Failed Novatus. Had I
then
lost Novatus? Forfelted my Lord's promise? And ... my hope ... my
g,eat
purpose to win to the ~o.d this dear bcloved who w s more than
halC
of rie, who wa~ the very tree of my identity from which I grew as
a
b-a.lch ... If d nope so high be 'ost, if it be verily true 'hat
,
must be cut from the .ree, .hen let me die ... ~uickly ... O my
God' I
sank in'o a black abyss.
     Ah, last night, last night ... could I but relive it with
the
wisdom born of this agony. Or ... have another night! Enough to
abandon my beloved! Why leave him hopeless, bitter, believins I
went i.. hate, shudderins froi.l his 'ouch, wher ... .I so burned
for
that touch now, when ... I so loved h.m? ~ay, I would take 'his
night. Such was my right and his. Yet ... why wait for nisht?
     I sprang from my couch to seek him, then paused to put my
tablet in a chest. But even as L stooped to cover it my glance
fell

+35

on that flowing script, and I saw words verily holden from me
before ... "Without hesitation, turn to the flock." Why ... here
was a
command wrapped in such tender phrasing that it had been hid from
me till now. Another night was not mine to take. "The momen' of
obedience" - I heard asain ~Iary's voice - "is the moment when
the
Lord speaks."
     I had no choice but to go. In the Shepherd ... in His
forgiveness ... lay my only hope.
     I stood for I knew not how long, there in that familiar
chamber, in whose narrow lensth the wall,, painted so bright in
red, seemed to happily shelter me, from whose casement I coul~
see
the cedars, the white cupids on pedestals in the sraSs, the
showering fountain. My gaze travelled round the little room,
iinsering on each dear object - my couch set upon silded lion's
feet, its cover the hide of a lion, '.~.e tripod at its Soot
capped
'~ a winged Mercury, the chairs and the stoois cc old ivory
cushioned with Tyrian purple, the dressing-table of citrus wood
strewn with precious trifles ... each one the ~ift of my lover,
quick
with his touch. At last I said aloud:
     "Lot's wife looked back. I dare not."
     I gathered u~ the few 'h.ilgs needful and, in trembling
haste
lest my resolution weal.en, made ready to go. One robe alone I
took
with me, a tunic of rich pomegranate stuff, broidered with
threads
of gold, for ~ovatus h.mselr had chosen this for me and had ever
been hap~y when I wore it. Ar,d in its soft fold I laid my
tablet.
     What could I say to my dear one when I should bid him
farewell? How explain this sudden fight save as my thr~aL of last
ni~ht explained it? That the Lord had again summoned me - this he
must never know. i prayed God for strensth ... for wcrds. Then I
went
to his door, parted the curtains and peered within.
     ~e lay so still ~h' I knew he ~lept. I stole to his couch
and
knelt. Pale morning light shone through the casement and glinted
across his face, illumi~lating it for m~ ... and I saw that
moving
thing which had ever roused my tenderness, its innocence in
sleep.
     Long I knelt with eyes fixed, to imprint on my heart forever
this face I might see no more ... each love feature of Novatus
... my
lover. And then he worke, looked at me there on my knees, and
stretched forth his arms to me. Alas that, fearful of my heart, I
drew back from those dear arms!
     He raised himself on his elbows and a great pain dawned in
his
eyes.
     "May ... what is it?"
     "Novatus ... my dear ... I must go."
     "Go? What is all this?"
     "Novatus ... if I stay ... we will kill our love."
     "Kill ... our love?"
     "Oh my beloved, do you not know? Inwardly are we not parted
now? In this outward union we do but wound each other. And too
many
wounds mean ... death."

+36

"Nay, Mary, not in reality parted."
     "Ah yes, a shadow lies between us ... naught but a shadow,
could
you but see ... in time ... "
     He cut me off in sudden rage.
     "Shadow? That is a good word, Mary. The shadow of your own
fancies ... from the accursed ... "
     "~No! No! You must not say it!"
     "May the gods grant that I see the day when He is strung on
the cross ... with other thieves!"

     Horrified by his blasphemy I fled and he made nGt a move to
hold me. Now I stood high on the mount. On its rocky crest above
me, the house of the pure Mary rose like a pillar of snow against
Lhe blue sky. In the midst of vineyards below, my villa shone in
the sun ... as if no shadow had fallen ... Irresolute I stood.
     So ... I had ceased not to blunder till I had turned this
dearly
loved one into a vengeful foe to my Lord. Oh never had been bold
enough, free enough with Novatus' I had trod LoO softly, fearful
of
his jealousy, fearful ... ever fearful ... Gf my own heart, lest
it be
tempted to yield its all to him and thus be faithless to
Jesus ... and in the end I struck him a ~ortal blow.
     Could I but go back now - for no more than an hour - to my
poor ~eloved, alone ... so bereft ... in that villa, and bare my
whole
heart at last, with all that was in it of anguished love fo. him,
might he not for very piLy forget his wra~h? Pain like to this
must
move him to listen. Verily, such pain proved my love' And when he
had hec..d me and ~new ... knew that naught in ea.th or heaven
could
uproot this passion and that to leave him was death to me, migh~
he
not lay down a little pride and go with me to Jesus? To one so
generous this should be an easy thing to do ... a simple way out
of
our sorrow. ~ot yet was it too late!
     I turned to run down the hill. But ere I had run ten paces I
saw a commotion within my garden walls. Slaves appeared at the
porch carrying a litter. The slaves bore him forth to the
highway.
Then I saw them swing about and set of briskly for th~ Golden
Gate.
     On what errand was Novatus bound at this early hour, and in
such haste? Trembling now for the life of my Lord, I sp-d to thaL
house cn the summit.
     ~ounding a bend in the road, I saw John.
     "'ohn! Joh..!" T cried. "Thar.'~ God you are here. When I
left
Novatus ... he threatened. See, his l,tter ... near the Golden
Gate.
Where is the Master, John?"
     "In Bethany."
     "So near! ~.nd Novatus mayhap on the way 'o Pilate."
     "What power has he, or Pilate, over the Lord, when His hour
is
not yet come?" John's eye~ flashed. "This I have heard Him say,
Mary: - 'My hour is not yet come.' Look! Even now Novat~s turns
back."
     The litter had stopped and faced about to my villa.'what
could

+37

have changed Novatus' purpose - there, at the very wall cf the
city? Had he remembered my words, "You are too proud to see~
revenge"? Or was this but a last contemptuous gesture to dismiss
me
from his mind?
     "John, why has the Master called me from Novatus? Is it that
I have failed?"
     "I think not, Mary."
     "Was it not then His will tha. sent me back by means of that
capture?"
     "I think Novatus but captured you and the Master had naught
to
d o w i t h i t . "
     "~ohn, I beseech you help me to understand. In my soul I was
never faithless to the Master. You know that when He promised me
that when I had entirely given up, my lover would come after me.
That night, at Peter's table, verily, verily, , save up. John,
even
my flesh was changed. I believed from my mould the .Yaster had
wrought a miracle on me that I might quickly fulfil this great
thing - the winning to Him of my gifted, my ~owerful Novatus."
     "Oh, think clearly, Mary. How could a Gentile, a Roman,
quickly see with the vision of the Jew? T~e Jews themselves,
despite their prophets, thei. age-long belief in the coming of a
Messiah, are not yet ready to welcome vod's Mess ah. The great
and
powerful ignore Him. As for these crowds that dog His footsteps
and
give Him no peace, do you think them fit for such a gospel as
His?"
John's strange eyes sought the distance. "Did they know the cost
of
following Him they would flee away."
     "But ... Novatus~ Think you, Johr., there is any hope for
him
now?"
     "Where is your faith? You are blown upon by every wind. Men
break their promises. Not so the Master."
     "Then ... ' have failed not ... yet?"
     "What could you do asainst a ~ealous lover? ~earn, Mary,
from
this" - stooping he plucked a ~ud - "that God has a destined.time
for all flowering. Learn to bide God's time. Force not closed
doors."
     We walked up the road that wi~ds beneat~ a rocky cliff.
     "You are taking me to the ~aster, Johr,? He is with Mary and
Ma .ha?"
     "'.es, but a r-ew steps away now. The Master has planned a
long
Journey," John spoke sently. "r:e would ha~-e you with Xim on
this
jola.-ney. ;~herefo.e He has ~ome Hi,..self for you."
     By now we were near to he '..use Or Mar;-. She stocd in the
arch of the door, behi..d the ~omegLanate t Pe, wi.h the mother
oL
Jeus. A~d seeing us, both came out upon the ~ath an&, tenderly
.mling, embraced ,,e, and the mother said:
     "The Master i wa ti..g for you, Mary." Then she led me to
his
own chamber.
     ;ie stood ga~ing thro~gh a grated windor~, sradly, towa~i
     aler., and I SaW the k.ngly ,weep of .iis prc. lc. The ch~

+38

was redolent of His musk. As we entered He turned and approached
us. Now His grandeur burned full upon me and, shame consumed in
the
fire of His love, I ran forward and threw myself at His feet.
Unsmiling, He raised me up, and I felt the solemnity of His love.
And while I stood awed before Him, He drew a step closer and
plunged His gaze into mine.
     "I look into your eyes, O Mary," He said, ".~nd I see your
heart. Your pure heart is a magnet for the divine bestowals."
     And now He began to pace the floor, hands clasped at His
back,
His eyes uplifted, their glory withdrawn from u~ and turned in
upon
Himself, as though He would read God's secrets from a tablet
within
His own being.
     To and fro He paced between the window and that spot where i
stood with his mother, and the while He strode the power of His
tr~ad shook me. Whensoever He wheeled about at the window and
drew
swiftly nigh unto me, flashing on me His lofty glance, a whirling
currer,t of life rolled from before His advancing Eeet. And
caught
in the onrush, my body grew ever more buoyant and free, its
su~stance lighter and lighter, till it seemed to become light as
     At last I thought: ~ shall rise like a leaf in the wind and
     shall be ~lown away if this walk of the Lord cease not!
     He stopped and once more stood close to me.
     "I may tell you this," He said, "all your hopes and desires
are destined to be fulfilled in the ~ingdom o' 50d." In the
~ingdom
of God, I thought, and not before? "Even as twins in the womb,"
the
Lord went on, "embrace and know not why, so it is with two that
love in this world. For man traverses as in a dream the life of
the
physical world but dimly awa,e of its meaning, knowing li'tle of
the immortal powers wrapped within his own being. ~ut when he
enters the world of the Kingdom he will become acquainted with
all
mysteries, and even as he loves here, so there in that heaven of
light, that heaven of divine bounties, that heaven of the will cc
God, shall he love a thousandfold."
     Ah then, I said w~thin myself, in very truth I have los'
~ovatus and must wait till the life to come ere we meet. And my
heart bled from 'his wound deal' so suddenly by the hand of the
Lord and tears streamed down my cheeks the while I stood silent
before Hir., sa~ing upward at His great might from the depths of
my
sorrow.
     He ~rushed my wet lashes wi'h his fingertips.
     "Weep not," He said, in tones so piercing-tender that my
tears
broke forth afresh. "Weep not, Mary. You must be happy because of
this thing ; have told you."
     "Mary weeps from love," said the kind mother, lay .,g he,
hand
on mlne.
     "i am cast into flames, my lord ... the Elames of your love,
your presence ... and in these I am melting away."
     Put His pitying eyes saw deeper. Slowly He shook His head,
and
the one word He spoke in answer came as a sigh:

+39

"Nay."
     And now was my mind thrown into confusion, for ~ knew not
why
this thing He had told me should make me happy when it snatched
from me for the whole of my earthly life my love and hope. And I
o~ld scarce believe that "Nay". ~or, with the yielding of my hope
to the irresistible will of the Lord, it had seemed to me I
adored
Him but the more for the very cruelty of His will, and that some
of
my tea.s had truly sprung from the ~angs of a fierce new lcve
wakened in my heart for Him.
     Then ... behold a wondrous thing! For while I still gazed
through misted eyes on His glory, veils dropped from these eyes.
r
stood no longer in a walled chamber, in the Lord's bodily
presence.
NGW He loomed vast and blinding-bright, a form as it were built
up
of sunlight, vistas of a softer light opening behind ~im..
     He Himself brought me back from the vision. He led ..
plaque of polished bronze on the whited ~all and wiLh a yesture
s'rong in majesty, placed a hand on my head and laid my face to
~is. So, standing before that mirror by the side Or Jesus, I saw
a
~oung face moulded from clay ... pale clay, red-lipped, tear-
stained ... ch~ek to cheek with a stern and immacuiate Beauty,
with
eyes like to lamps in a watch-tower; I saw a young s~ul shielded
by
the Lord of souls from all loves less than the love of the Most
High; I saw the D ~ine Shepherd enfolding His stray sheep.
     Once only He spoke ere He dismissed me.
     "I am your Father. I am your King. I ... I am your Beloved."
     The mother led me back to that larger chamber wherein we had
left John and ~ary. Here ~e now fcur.d Martha and a few of the
.welve who always walked i.. the t.ain of the Master. All were
seated on benches against the wall, awaiting the arrival of their
Lord, the men darkly mantled, t7r.eir rough heads strong against
the
white wall.
     Pet~r smiled on me, jovial and kind. The publican Matthew
crossed cver and ~ook my hand in his. In s~ir t ~Ia~'hew and
~e;-e
kin. Philip and Thaddeus also came and spoke with mc. James
c.ossed
not, but smiled from His bench. James was of shorter stature than
John and his nose more hooked, and his eyes had less of de~'h
than
those strange eyes Or hi-~ brother, though h s too were large and
bright.
     ~11 thcse men ~.-.ad sc.-cne brows.
     ~ut nc~ a long shadow fell across the f'oor and I saw .n
tl.e
doorway ... J~das, ~a.X against 'he mcr..ing l.sht. ur.ous, I
s'ared
at h.,~ hat had he to c'o with 'his circle~ ould it be that ~od's
Messenger t-vel'ed 'winncd with s7nadow, e~en as the s.~n? ~nd
was
this man, 'u7as, such a thiny~?
     ;ie came and ~laced in my hand ~ lock of blach 7nar.
     "T7-.e ~aster's r.air," he sa,d. "Whe.. '.ie tr-.,u..ed
,m3rn..g, Mari, ; saved this fo, icu. 1 Xl-.ew you wcuLd be nere
t~day."
     My heart softened.

+40

     "Oh, Judas," I cried, "you have given me what the whole
world
cannot give."
     And now we heard a step ... that step at whose strange
commotion
hearts suffocated with joy, rushing tears burned and blurred the
eyes. And all rosP, hands crossed on the breast ... awaiting our
Beloved's smile.

+41
            X

      A YEAR PASSED; a year of far journeyings on foot, we -- the
twelve men and six women -- follow.ng ever that "Cloud by day and
Pillar of Fire by night. "
      Across Galilee we trami?ed, across the misty Plain of
Esdraelcn, flat and wide within a higher border of mountains,
like
unto a striped cloth, with its long patches of sesame, maize and
wheat and purple - rich earth . Up the elephant's back of Carmel,
"Vineyard of God" -- a grey-green heap beneath the white dust of
its
roads.
      On Carmel the prophets of old have left their footprints
and
holy presences hang above it. Once as we sat With the Master on
the
terrace of a house built on its sU~unit, of a sudden ~Ie lifted
His
face to thc sky, His eyes flashed a glad recognition into empty
air, then up went His hand in a high salute. So we saw the great
Immortal greeting invisible immortals.
      On to Phoenicia we tramped, along the white crescent of the
beach to that ancient city Ptolemais, a crown, of pearls on the
distant tip of the crescent; on and on, to Tyre and Sidon. And
withersoever we went the people were enthralled by our Beloved,
though there were many that knew not why. They that were Jews
clamorously hailed Him, bUt, alas, as no more than a leader who
would deliver them from Rome. ~owbeit, He patientiy trudged 0;1,
scattering the seeds of God's message on rich and stony soil
alike.
      Tramping in the footsteps of my Lord, gladly had I accepted
homelessness, for His footsteps were home enough for me. But one
thing there was I could not yet accept - that which seemed God' s
blindfold bound upon my eyes to hide from me my poor Novatus'
fate.
It had been a year since I had heard his name .
      On our way to Phoenicia we tarried awhile in a vil lage at
the
base of Carmel, on that s . de where the mountain fronts the sea,
and
here at sundown one day the holy mother and I went walking with
our
Lord.
      He led us along the highroad to an ancient olive grove,
where
he stoo& still and pointed out its trees, ~hich were bent, grey
ar.d
gnarled like two old men, and told us Eli jah himself had been
wGnt
to rest beneath them.
      "Let us also rest here, "He said.
      So we sat on the grass under those hoary trees, while
shepherds passed by on the road, singing, leading their flocks to
the fold; while swift dusk fell and the jackals set up their
howls
on the mountain, and night came, studded with bright stars. I
lifted my face to the stars.
      "All the lamps of the night are lit, O Lord," I said, "but
the
ho' y ... ct..er and I s-. L .n the li5ht cf the Sun. "
      "~his is but the beginning, ~lary . Y~u shal i be with me
in a! 1
~c wurl~s of God. And none can know here in this elemental world
what it is to be with me in the eternal worlds."

+42

     "Ah," I murmured, "having such a promise, how could I ask
for
a smaller happiness~"
     Thei-iaster tilted His head and the magic of His smile
gleamed
in the starlight.
     "You will ~ake your heart from this other and give it up
wholly tG God~"
     "Oh, I will try."
     "First you say you will and then you say you will try!"
     I bowed my head, shamed.
     "What can I do with my heart?"
     And now ~esus laughed with a great delight.
     "I am pleased with your answer, Mary, for you have spoken to
me one word of pure truth."
     We strolled homeward in the night, the holy mother and I
dropping a pace behind Him. Often He turned to speak to us, with
some pleasant.-~; again, with winged words that liE'ed our
spirits
skyward. And such sweetness streamed from Him the while that I
said
within myself:
     "Should He dain me not a syllable or a glance, to see this
sweetness shining before me I would follow upon ..,y knees,
crawling
behind Him in the dust, forever"'

+43

     TO CAFERNAUM we returned to rest, though rest there was none
for the Master, save when He fled us and sailed alone to the
shore
o' .he vadarnes and hid Himself in the hills. For by now the news
of His wondrous works had spread far abroad and ever greater
mul.itudes followed Him. And so compassed about by people was He
that I Xnew not how He bore it, till one day ~e told me the
secret
of His patience.
     The young Salome had come to Him with a little grief, then
begged His forgiveness lest she weary Him, and in tones ineffable
He answered her:
     "Were I to spend day and night on ycur troubles should never
t.re ... I love you all so well."
     And again ~e said:
     "I work by the power of the Holy Spirit. I worl~ not by
physical laws, If I did, I should set nothing done!"
     Here He taught by the seaside, standing on the pebbled
beach.
8ut soon such a crowd came jostli.,g down on Him that He must
perforce find a boat, push out a little from the shore and sit on
the sea while Xe spoke. And a beauteous sight was this. For at
sundown ~e taught, in the cool of the day, and with fire above in
the sky and below in the water, He was like unto a 'orm of ligh~.
     Now in Capernaum are many Greeks. Gree~s people the cities
on
both sides of the sea. And these flocked to Jesus, loving His
gaiety. Romans 'oo came unto ~im. Among the centur ons He had
friends. And oft did Xe si. at the center of 'hese Gentiles, the
master-wit among .hem. ~or to such He spo'-e not of the ~ingdom,
they believing not. Yet He made them happy and, drawn by His
love,
they would let Him not alone.
     In th~ synagogue too Jesus was welcomed. On many a Sabbath
we
followed Him across that colonnaded pavement to listen with
rejoicing hearts as He spoke fro..l the pulpit His words of life
~nd
spirit. Also at the house o' Simon was He kept busy, for there
the
rich and great from amo~g Lhe Pharisee~, importuned by the eager
Simon, would oftimes sather to hear His discourse. Howbe.t ~esus
toc'c these li~htli-
     .ven He made s~ort of one, ~ strutting scribe ~LhGm imon had
Lric'-~d 'o .~is P.esence. Ever sha,l- I see this pu''ed ~p rllan
as he
stocd before the Lord of men, his raised eyebrows seeming tu pull
hi~ up on tip-toe, the while he delivered a speech such as he
deemed suitable. In too great has e to ~e g~ne tG await ou.
Lord's
ar.swer, he bowed himse..' out, ar.d the '~aste.- t~riled
laughi..g to

S i.~.c.::
"Th s is a dish ~ou have co~;ed for me!"
     "I trust," the ar.A.cus Si.'.cn ans~ered, "that it -s well
~r~ai-ed. 3ther d shes I ;.ave to et before you, also men o.
wealth
and ; ~aLning . "
     "~et ~s hop they are l.ght," smiied the Master, "and will

+44

rest easily cn my digestion. Some of these dishes are so heav~ !"
And t hen H e s i ghe-l .
      "Great is the power of the intellect, but it is of no avail
till it has become the servant of love. "
      While we tarri ed in Capernaum I made my abode wi th John '
s
mcther (now widowed) in her f.ne stone house on the beach. At
first
the Bord dwelt with Peter and Vashti, then in our household. ~nd
each place in turn, as He filled it with His abundan' life, was
thronged to the doors night and day with peopl e .
      Busy were the women serving, for many came each day to sit
at
meat with our Lord. Vashti, John's mother, and I, with the help
of
the men, prepared the food. Much time we lost over the ovens,
away
from the beloved Pre.~ence. 3ut the poor mother of James and
Joses
-- another Mary -- that red-haired woman with .he jocund face and
fierily worshipping heart, stood from morn till nish. in the
kitchen, washing with Salome's aid the mounting piles of pots and
platters.
      While the Master dwelt with John and his mother sometimes I
served as His doorkeeper. I would meet the people at the door and
1 ead them to that upper chamber wherein He spoke wi th them
privately. Hence, I saw many wondrous scenes, and others I scarce
could bear!
      There was the day when two great ladies of the court came,
taking Him for a soothsayer. One wished to know i, she could
remarry, the other if it would advantage her to acquire a certain
property . And then did I witness the sternness of the Lord! lil
1 the
while those bedizoned women trifled in that chamber He paced up
and
down like to a captive lion. And when at last they minced away,
none too satisfied with His answers - though these had been more
patient than His mien - He turned unto me with great majesty and
s ai d :
      "The people of the world are sleeping. You must be awake.
mhe
people of the world are heedless ... have you not seen hc~
heedless?
You must be awa.e. The people of the world are steeped ir,
darkness.
You must be immersed in a sea of light . "
      Vashti fol 1 owed these women . She ' had by the hand her
son
~avid, then but a babe of two years. (He remembers now having
played beneath the Lord's mantle when once, as he sat wi' h a toy
on
the flooL-~ that mantle swept round and hid him. ) The Master's
sternness fled. Smiles overspread His face. He held ou' His arms
to
the babe. Then, glancing on Judas at His side, from the bas this
disciple ever carried He drew forth a coin of gold and '~ent with
it
to the little one.
      "David, I give you gol&, " He said.
      Behold, the infant scowled!
      "O Rabboni, Eorgive him, " - Vashti hung her head.
      But the Master laughed on a ioyous note.
      "Gold will never buy that child!"
Beneath the rays of His power whatsoever was hidden in the

+45

heart appeared above ground, even as seeds in the earth sprout
beneath the sun. He poured forth His love ... and lo! evil sprang
out
into the open. In the soul that was drawn unto Him, all that was
good leapt to the call of that love, while all that was mean
crept
away, shamed before such greatness.

     At another time I sat in the sacred Presence with si~
others.
One was a publican, Reuben by name, known to be a sly man and a
rascal. 3ut our Lord, once passing his booth, had entered into
speech with him, and from that very hour ~euben was ever tG be
seen
in the multitude that followed us. At last, on a day when all
were
gathered about our Lord, He beckoned to John and said: "Go, John,
on my behalf unto Reuben and tell him I have great love for him
for
that he is truly honourable." Whereat ~udas ~poke up: "Why say
you
this of a man whose mind is so set upcn money that he extorts and
cheats?" Then answered our Beloved, "There is naught I can ~ ve
this man but hope."
     Thus it was that Reuben, emboldened by such mercy, came
seeking the Master in John's household.
     The second st.anger in our midst that day was a Pharisee, a
man of miserly heart, who, seated beside the publican, drew his
cloak tightly about his knees that it be not contaminated by
Reuben's cloak.
     Now the five other sinners at the feet of the all-forgiving
Lord were~the faithful disciples, John and Peter, the mother of
John, Vashti, and this woman of no repute, Mary of Magdala.
     He of the miserly heart had come last to the Master's
presence. Till he entered Jesus had kept silence. Sitting above
us
on a bench, He had been gazing on a rose He held and lifting it
to
His face to smell it. But as the Pharisee joined us He smiled and
bade him be seated on the mat next Reuben.
     Then He began to speak:
     "I hope a great love ma~ be established among you and that
day
by day love will increase. I have gathered you all together here
that you may be gathered in the same way in the Ringdom of God,
and
that you may verily love one another. If you love one another as
you should, it is even as though you had loved me as you should.
I
go away from this world, but love stays always."
     Mary, the mother of John, raised worshipful eyes '~ the
' ~ r
Mas'
     "Would I could be like that rose," she said, "and give for'h
such a fragrance."
     5entle as a breeze, wisi'Lul as a sigh fell the Master's
voice:
     "One could ~e ~ch more '-eautiful than this rose. For the
rose
per-s.le~. Its frag.ance is but for a tir,,e. There is no winter
Ïo,
th~ ,oul of man."
     One day we went b~ sea with the Mas'e- to T~berias. And as
we
~V11OW~J uim '~p from the shore into the market-place I SaW two
~om-ins ~r~ssing 'he s~uare. .~y heart leapt to ~y throa'. One
was

+46

Lucius Vitellius, the Proconsul ... but ... that other ... that
vigourous
body, that head held high in its mantle, the beetling brows, the
pinched, ironic nostrils, the fine-drawn mouth ... 
      That he had seen me I had no way of proving. Wel 1 aware he
must have been, there in that little market-place, of the tumult
about Lhe Lord Jesus . Yet he cast not a gl ance our way, but
keeping
his face steadfastly averted, turned up a side street with the
Proconsul. And all day I could think of naught else, but went
about
sunk in pain. An old dream came back to torture me. Again I could
see Novatus in the Fish Gate, wrapped, even as noW, in white toga
and mantle, passing me by. . . to join a woman.
      But at a later hour Jesus Himself sought to comfort me,
albeit
with a stern comfort.
      We sat encamped in a grove, eating our midday meal from
baskets, He in the midst, upraised on a rock. His regal head, in
the green light of the grove and lifted against its foliage, had
the look of an alabaster statue. From my seat on the ground I saw
Him in profile. Then of a sudden He turned, xis eyes fell on my
tear-stained face and He beamed on me with that smile wherewith
He
would oftimes watch our little behavio..rs --a smile spiced with
wit
and wisdom, sweet With tenderness, deep with a mingl ed joy and
sorrow beyond our knowing . I flung back my head, brushed of r
the
tears from my cheeks and ~1 ashed Him an answering smile . And at
this He broke into laughter:
      "Ah, the sun is out again ! The sun is shining ! I am wel 1
pleased. But" -- ineffable tones gentled His voice - "if the
cloud
weep not, how shal 1 the meadow laugh? The hurricane, the cycl
one
and the blast are but harbingers of spring. "
      Then He spoke of the tempests that . sometimes rage over

     "Strong ships are not conquered by the .,ea ! They ride the
waves like galloping steeds."
     "Winds from every point, from the north, south, east and
wes~
have beaten against my Ark" -- smi ling, He swung both hands to
depict a boat in a storm -- "yet my Ark still floats!"
     And now He sat straight and triumphant.
     "Though the waves should rise to the zenith of heaven, I
shall
preserve an invariable heart. For I know my goal ... it is even
as
sighted land before me . . . and my eyes are fixed upon this and
swerve
not f.om it . "
     Once more His glance fell on me and he called:
     "Come, Mary, sit beside me. "
      rose and went over to Him and sank on the grass at His feet
and laid my hand on His knee, and He covered it With His hand.
And
then, looking down on me with a great compassion, He said:
      "Verily aCCeptanCe is the true path. When man surrenders
his
wil 1 unto God he is always happy. Your heart must become so
tranquil, Mary, so invariable that neither trial nor woe wil 1
affect its peace. You must be wholly submissive. Then you shall

+47

have no will of your own and shall asl~ for nausht but the Will
of
God. ~hatsoever may happen, even in the nether world, is by the
Will of God. And when man forgets his own will, his will s the
Will of God, and all that he does is the Will of God.
"I can hide nothing from you, Lord," I murmured.
His hand rose high in the gesture of a king.
"Nothing!"
And then He smiled.
     "Be happy, Mary! Unhappiness and the love of the Fa~her
cannot
exist in the same heart, for the love of the Father is
happiness."
     "This is my wish for you" - His great eyes gazed beyond me -
"that you become as a glowing lamp and shine forever from the
horizon of universal glory upon centuries and cycles."
     Nevertheless, when at sundown I followed Him up the mount,
the
mult-tude also following, I went as before ... sun ~
all were dispersed and we came down ~'ne hill in the twilight and
the highway stretched before us, a wave of grief wholly
subr.erged
my small ship. For, stirring the dust of the highway into clouds,
I had seen horses and a gilded chariot, and Novatus erect .n the
cha.iot holdins the reins. And as I stopped by the side of the
road ... my heart choking me ... expecting - I kr.ew not what -
again he
passed r..e by with averted face.
     But there came a day when we who served in the household
being
alone with our Lord, sad thoughts were forgot in the abounding
joy
of His nearness.
     Free of guests at the mid-day meal, all sat at table with
our
Beloved, and the ever-toiling Mary, mother of James and Joses -
she
who spent other days in the kitchen - was bidden by Him to the
seat
at His right hand. Then He made merry with her, for He greatly
loved her laughing spirit.
     That day so full was her heart for that she was sitting next
the Lord, she scarce could touch her food. Smiling He heaped her
plate.
     "I perceive you are an angel, Mary. Angels eat not! Or,
mayhap, you are going home to a luscious meal, and saving your
appetite for that!"
     Mary looked down, abashed.
     "~ou are kind 'o me," she said.
     "God kr.ows the degree o. it!" ~e answered with a deep sigh.
     "i am not an angel, then," I laushed, "for I eat every
morsel
you set before me."
     He held out to me on a platte. th,ee dried date~, bla~k as
though burnt to a crisp.
     "Here, ~ary, are Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego." And I knew
nct if He were jestng or in earnest, for 'he jests of the Master
hid ~ an-ngs - Shad.ach, Meshach and Abednego had been ~as' -ntG
a
--e.y fu.nace - yet had come forth ~live. ;ihen He spol~e aga n
i'
was w- th gravity.
     "IoU ~re wise, ~lary Magde'cna, in that you eat ~11 L gi~e
i~u,

+48

bitter or sweet."
Then He turned to the mother of James and Joses.
     "Mary's heart is pure like unto the snow on Hermon. I am her
witness that she is pure. She spoke one word of truth to me which
I shall never forget."
     "Will you not tell us?"
     "Nay, I cannot tell you, for this was between Mary and me."
     "Secret?" asked the other Mary.
     "Oh, verily secret!"
     "My Lord, I said, "if ever I told you an untruth, it was
that
I deceived myselC."
     "There are degrees of truth," He answered me, "but that one
word of yours which has so pleased me was perfect truth."
     And I knew the word He praised was this: What can I do with
my
heart?
     "Ra~boni," I cried, "You are the heart of God. You alone can
drive out the stranger from these poor hearts. Oh, do this for
mine!"
     ~e turned and His ga~e burned upon me and in it was a
majesty
of sorrow. Then He touched my eyes w-th His fnger-tips, as though
drying tears yet unshed.

     On another day Vashti came, bringing Simon, her son of four
years, and David, the babe. The house, as ever, was full of
people,
among them two other small boys brought by their mothers to be
bles.. And at early eventide all were assembled in the Master's
chamber. This chamber is large and high and faces the sea and its
walls are whited.
     ~ur Lord sat majestic in the midst. The sun's rays, slanting
through the windows, glistened upon Him. His robes, spread out in
white folds on the floor, were like the great base of a statue.
So
upright He sat, so solemn, clothed with such might that I
thought:
Thus Moses must have looked when he thundered forth the Law.  .
     Then, while the children played at His feet, He opened His
lips to speak, and at this His austerity fell from Him like a
dropped cloak and with the sorcery of His unearthly joy He taught
us of happiness.
     "Happiness is life. The happiness of the spirit is
everlasting
life. This is a light which is not followed by darkness. This is
an
honour which is not followed by shame. This is a life which is
not
followed by death. This great blessing is obtained by men through
naught but the guidance of God."
     "This happiness is the source wherefrom man is born and
spheres are framed and the ~ingdom of God appears like unto the
sun
at mid-day. This happiness is the love of God. This happiness is
the eternal might, the rays of which shine forth unto the temples
of unity. Were it not for this happiness the worlds would not
have
been c.eated."
     When the Master had ended and now sat silent, gazing toward

+49

the sea, we women went into the kitchen, to return with wine and
cake for the guests and milk for the children .
      Now our Lord turned to the children and drew them up to His
knees and gathered them to His breast. And He caressed and played
with them, while they, enfolded in his arms, raised wondering
faces
to His smiles. Then He set them upon the floor and, calling to
Vashti to bring their bowls of milk and one .or Himsel falso, He
got upon the floor with them. And there, in the midst of these
little ones, He said:
      'rI am hungri~ too. We wil 1 take our milk ~ogether . "
      Tenderness played on His immortal face. He sipped from His
own
bowl and fed each child with a spoon.
      In that chamber stood an old man, hands crossed on his
chest
like lifted bird's wings, his eyes cast down, and upon his
cheeks,
below the withered eyelids, trickled unheeded tears.
      Now when night was come and the peopl e were leaving, one
of
the mothers passed by, her little son at her side, and I heard
the
lisp of the babe:
      "Is the Lord that blessed me, mother, the same Lord who
holds
the moon and the stars in His hand and makes the sunshine? "

      Ah, those days in Capernaum. . . smal 1 wonder that I dwel
1 so
long on their perfect joy. They came to a sudden end.
      One night as we sat at meat with our Lord, none being
present
but the twelve, those of our household and the holy mother (
lately
arrived from Nazareth), He, turning to us with a sol emn 1 ook,
bade
us make ready at once to go with Him to Jerusalem for the
Passover.
      "We wil 1 go up in secret to the Passover, " He said.
     And my heart gave a great leap. At last, I thought, I shall
have news of Novatus . Perchance, even I may meet him! Then shal
1
know of a certainty if he has ceased to love me.

+50
           XII

      NOW WE WERE on our way to Jerusalem, walking in the
footsteps
of the Lord, a sun-clothed eagle treading earth, who strode on
before us, His garments swinging, the sleeves of His cloak like
great pinions; while Judas with His money-bag followed ... in His
s hadow .
      We went by way of Jericho, which leads to that desert of
salt
shoring the Dead Sea. Unto this we drew nigh, down a white aisle
of
pillars and pyramids. Bleached bones these strange forms seem to
be, standing about the sea called Dead, whose 1 aughing waters
hide
the dead sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. Then slowly, through
murderous
heat, licked by breezes of fire, we mounted the lava wilderness
that crag the sea and white desert.
      In the midst of this peaked and petrified wilderness stands
a
small inn, into which we women crowded for the night, the men
sleeping out in the court, for the inn was already over-full. Now
the holy mother was with us and the mother of James and Joses,
John 's mother and the young Sal ome .
      With the dawn we set out again upon our journey, and at
last
from a flowered plateau sighted Jerusalem. Its spired temple on
Mount Moriah, uplifted above the great square of wall and with
all
of Jerusal em' s domes behind it, appeared to my eyes like a
high-
crowned ~ride, leading the procession of the city forth.
      Al 1 Bethany met these spent travellers . Al 1 Bethany
gathered
at the house of Mary, wherein we rested. And when the Lord made
His
entrance into Jerusalem, all Bethany companioned Him, a surging,
re joicing band, strewing branches broken from the palm trees on
the
path before Him, and He rode forward, mounted on a white ass.
      From the day whereon we entered Jerusalem, lo! our Beloved
changed. A force at white heat had His body in its grip, an inner
coTrunotion that al 1 but burst His body and made it like to a
nettlesome charger .
      Now, in the faces of Pharisee and Sadducee, in the very
Temple
itself, He hurled 'new audacities - claims heretofore never
whispered save to a few believing hearts; divine and perilous
teachings for the age-to-be; anathema on this loutish age; ana'
hema
on the Pharisees and money-changers in the Temple ... while we
listened in mingled wonder and terror, for among the multitude
herded about Him, hanging upon His words, we saw baleful priests
and heard their muttering.
      One night, returning from Bethany to Jerusal em, He
gathered
together Mary ' s household to depict a scene we had witnessed
not,
when that very morning certain Rabbis had pursued Him to the
Templ e
c 1 oisters .
      Buoyantly He depicted this, laughing the while He turned
into
.oolishness the accusations of the Pharisees . And yet . . . that
laughter ! What was this new sound in it that struck into my
heart
such dread?

+51

     "When I had ended my discourse," smiled the Master, "a Rabbi
answered me thus:
     " 'As you well know we expect plain signs in the day of the
advent of Messiah, and unless these signs be fulfilled, to
believe
He is come is manifestly impossible.
     " 'It is written He shall appear from an unknown place. You
are from Nazareth. We know you and your people.
     " 'According to the clear text of the Scriptures, Messiah is
to wield a sceptre, a sword, and to sit upon the throne of David.
But you! You have not so much as a staff or a net.
     " 'Messiah is to fulfil the Law of Moses, but you have
broken

     " 'In the day of Messiah the Jews are to conquer the earth,
till all mankind becomes subject unto them. In the day of Messiah
justice is to reign. Even among the beasts shall this prevail, so
that wolf and lamb shall quaff water from the same fountain,
eagle
and guail dwell in the same nest, lion and deer pasture in the
same
meadow, cat and mouse be at peace in the same house! But behold
the
oppression and wrong rampant in your own time. The Jews are
captive
to the Romans. Rome has uprooted our foundations, pillaging and
slaying us. What manner of justice is this?' "
     "But I made answer: 'These texts have an inner meaning.
Sovereignty I do possess, but it is of the eternal kind,
resembling
not earth's empires. And I conquer not by the sword. My conquests
are through love. I have a sword but it is not of steel. My sword
is my tongue, which divided truth from falsehood.' "
     "Ah, what said the Rabbi to that?" I cried.
     "He said naught to that," laughed the Master, "but later I
heard Him addressing a multitude. 'The Nazareen is a liar. He is
the false Messiah. Believe Him not. Beware lest ye listen. He
will
mislead you; will lure you from the religion of your fathers,
will
create turmoil among you.' "
     "And as I set forth for Bethany," said Jesus after a silent
moment (and now the while He spoke, we were all aware of a
mystery
and of a gathering darkness, and a fear clutched at our
hearts ... yet we believed it not), "as I set forth for Bethany
the
whispers of certain Sadducees, consulting together in Jerusalem,
reached me ... from afar. 'Let us hold a conclave and conceive a
plan. This man is a deceiver. We must do something! What?' " -
gaily the Master mimicked their confusion - " 'Let us expel Him
from the Land. Let us imprison Him. Let us oppress Him. Ah-h! Let
us refer the matter to Rome. Thus shall we be quit of Him.' "
     Jesus rose to His feet. He went to the window and gazed into
the night. On His lips was a strange exultant smile. His eyes
gleamed like unto Jewels.

+52
           XIII

THERE CAME A DAY fateful for me . . . and for two others.
      We, the eighteen were seated with our Beloved in one of the
thin-columned cloisters of the Temple. People on their way to the
shrines, glimpsing the Lord from across the spacious pavement,
turned and came toward us, and soon a crowd cGmpassed us about.
      The master had but just begun to speak, when of a sudden
the
noise of scuffling feet and an ugly swarm of phylacteried men,
like
unto a f1 ight of ravens, rushed upon Him. Two dragged between
them
a woman.
      Why . . . I knew the face of this woman . This was Phyl
lis, one of
the loveliest of Jerusalem's courtesans. What had these Rabbis to
do with her that they should force her to the Lord?
      And now one stepped from the midst, a man with a mouth flat
and cruel, and talleyebrows, and I heard him say unto Jesus :
      "Rabboni, this woman was taken in adul tery, in the very
act .
Moses commanded such to be stoned. What say you to this?"
      The man was mad ! Phyl lis taken in adul tery? She was no
common
harlot. Then all became clear to me. These pries,ts had seized
her
in a helpless moment, to be used as bait for "the friend of
sinners" that He be tempted to deny the 1 aw . And none woul d
have
dared to 1 ay hands on her but that she had 1 ost the favour of
Pilate. Had not my Lord been present I would have fought them al
1

      The Lord seemed to hear not the crafty question. A white
peace
enwrapped Him and made Him to shine . He stirred Himsel fand bent
low to the pavement to write thereon ... to write with His finger
on
the temple's stones. Was He writing a new law there - upon that
foundation -- a merciful new law? Who could doubt, as He crouched
there, the Lion of Keaven, that He and He alone was Lawmaker now?
      So still was He , save for that moving finger , that His
very
stillness (or was it His voiceless will?) commanded silence. I
stole a swift glance at Phyllis. Poor woman, she was coweriny,
white as the slim columns about her. My pity cried our for her.
Yet
I knew these evil priests had but brought her to her eternal
ref uge .
      And now the Master raised Himself and His eyes flashed a
terrible fire as God's answer to hypocrisy rang from His lips.
      "He that is without sin among you, let Him cast the first
stone. "
      And again He stooped and 1 ost Himsel fin His secret
writing .
And one by one the priests slunk out ... an old man first.
      Now none but Phyllis was left. She stood gazing upon the
Lord,
where He still bent low above that tracel ess script . Her lips
were
parted, as though in wonder . She 1 aid a hand on her breast .
The
curls of her head were dishevelled, her tunic torn, but her
pl aintive disarray made her the 1 ovel ier .
     And now Jesus raised again that mighty head and in His eyes,

+53

as He fixed them on this woman, was the burning revelation of the
love of God.
"Where are your accusers? Has no man condemned you?"
"No man, Lord," she whispered.
     "Neither do I condemn you." Oh the music of the voice of Him
who was more than man, who bore God's messages! "Neither do I
condemn you. Go, and sin no more."
     As the Master strode form the Temple courts, descending the
white cascade of steps, Judas crept to my side.
     Judas had never abandoned hope to win me, even though he
knew ... as who did not? ... that my heart was torn between two
deathless loves, and of late this hope had waxed in effrontery.
Now
he whispered:
     "Go after the woman, Mary. Jesus bids you go after her."
     "The Master said naught to me ... " I began, doubtful.
     "Go, or you will be too late. He wishes her brought back to
Him."
     "Go yourself, Judas."
     "Stubborn one! I will come with YOU. HurrY now. See, she is
swift."
     We followed the affrighted woman through the Golden Gate and
up the Bethany road. At last to a path so familiar ... so
familiar ... running through a vineyard to a Roman villa. Ah,
what
was this? The woman was on her way to my villa! My gate opened
and
took her in.
     "Judas," I gasped, "my house!"
     "I heard it had been sold." His voice was shallow and hard
as
metal.
     Sick to the heart that Novatus had sold my villa and Phyllis
was here in my stead, I all but ran to the entrance - too shaken
to
heed, or care, that Judas followed me not. Once more I stood at
my
door, "Salve" inscribed on the stones of its vestibule ... Salve!
     A slave admitted me into the atrium. and bade me be seated
by
the pool till she asked of her mistress if she would receive "one
who came from Jesus."
     By the pool again ... the worn pavement beneath me feet, the
columns standing about the myrtle-bordered basin, reflected in
the
clear water, the cupids at play on the walls ... the old
enclosure,
wrapping me about with the old spell. I sat in my own reclining
chair, Novatus' chair - vacant - beside me. Naught was changed.
We
might have been here but yesterday.
     Twice had the Lord summoned me from this spot, through His
messengers, Mary of ~ethany, John. The Lord had been stern
concerning this house of the little loves. Now I found myself led
back ... to a house empty for me, with Novatus gone from it.
Worse
than empty, aliens being here. I found myself led back ... sent
back
by the Lord, using me now for a messenger, to summon another
woman
away from love. Oh strange ... .
     The slave, re-appearing, bade me follow her. As in a dream I

+54

followed. We crossed the court to the rear wing in which were the
cubicula. Beyond the looped curtains at the central exit, between
the columns of the portico, I could see my blowing fountain,
silver
against the dark trees. And a sharp cry sprang from my heart for
Novatus, my beloved, and for a vanished delight. Till now I had
sat, I had walked with the spectre of my beloved. Now I demanded
of
God that I see him once more in the body.
     The slave led the way into my own bed-chamber, my scarlet
chamber opening on the evergreens of the garden.
     The woman lay on my couch ... while the masks, tragic and
comic,
stared from the red panels above her, and as I stood in the arch,
she looked up with beautiful eyes hardened against me.
     "You come from that great man who saved me from those
hypocrites? ~evils! They lied, falsely accused me. They had not
that proof they claimed. But ... who is He, that could shame
them?
Jesus of Nazareth, I know. But in reality, who is He?"
     I moved to her side and, sinking to a stool, gazed at her
long
and sadly, for all that was struggling within her I knew. Even in
my own breast at this moment such a struggle was set up.
     "You wish to know?" I said at last. "For to know is to lose
what peace you have, to barter it for a peace you know not ...
yet."
     "I guess what you would tell me. You believe Him to be
Messia~. But I tell you, I will not believe! He said, 'Go, and
sin
no more.' I will not have a Messiah who calls love 'sin'. Indeed,
we need Him not who know the perfect love of earth."
     At the head of the couch, thrown upon a chair, lay a man's
cloak. This she seized and devoured it with kisses.
     "Love is not sin," she cried, "love is not sin! Love never
divided the soul from God. Nay, hate alone does this."
     Wordless I gazed, my grief deepening. How poor a messenger
was
I! What had I to say to this sister ... I ... with passion asurge
in my
own heart, desire for my own beloved aflame in me again?
     A step. A heavy step. The curtains were drawn aside. And
Novatus himself stood before me - Novatus in the flesh, even as-I
had prayed to see him - glancing from Phyllis to me, from me to
Phyllis with dazed and unbelieving eyes.-
     There were prayers then that God answered with a jest!
     I drew my veil closer and moved to the door that led to my
garden. Novatus took a step toward me and I glimpsed an
outstretched hand. In the taut silence I could all but hear his
misery crying for me through his mute lips. Yet I gave no sign.
For, as I turned forever from him I had loved so long, though my
knees were shaking and my body weak, my heart was cold within me.
     "Love is not sin," Phyllis had said. "Only hate divided the
soul from God." And my own soul had made obeisance to the great
truth of her words, and, victim myself of a love too strong for
the
net of man's puny laws, I had had no answer for her. Then I must
not, must not hate - nor so much as scorn. But ... how could it
be ... my Novatus, from whom I had branched as from a deep root,
as

+55

an artery from the heart, joined now with this other woman in
"the
perfect love" - become one flesh with a stranger?
     I dragged myself through the garden, where those foolish
marble cupids stood frozen beneath the dark boughs of the trees .
I
glanced neither to right nor left, though my fountain as I passed
its basin sprayed my hand with a last caress. And when I had
closed
the gate behind me and found mysel fout in the vineyard - al one
for a little space I stood a lifeless thing, even as the wife of
Lot . . . when she looked back .

+56
           XIV

     MERCIFUL grief came ... and melted me. Remembrance of my
Lord
stabbed through me, quickened my numbness to life, released a
flood
of tears and all my love for the Highest.
     In that white house on the summit - the home of Mary and
Martha - He with His loved ones dwelt for a time. I would haste
to
Him who al one shamed not the heart .
     Enough my own shame ... wakened to full awareness. Toiling
up
the steep ascent I lashed myself with my shame. Long, long had
the
Eternal Lover wooed my heart for God's love, and I ... ingrate
that
I was! ... for that my stiffnecked will was set upon a fellow-
creature, had withheld from this True Lover the heart I had vowed
to Him -- nor known that I withheld it ! Here I was now, on the
way
back to the Lord ... the love I would yield not snatched from me
by
a ribald jest of fate - creeping back, beaten and broken.
     Yet the filching of that love had left my heart empty at
last
of "the stranger," and as I climbed the weary road so great a
love
for the True One burned in this emptiness that, humbled and
guilty
though I might be, I must perforce seek His presence. Could so
small a thing as shame deter me from the Fogiver? Now I knew the
climax of all pain - the pain of the spirit's passion, a passion
forever hopeless of attainment, even by winged spirit, its object
being too pure, too high.
     At the house in Bethany I found none but the women, Mary and
~artha,-the mother of John and the holy mother. Word had come
from
the Lord in Jerusalem that He would not be here till night, for
He
and the twelve were to keep the Feast of the Passover in the
house
of the mother of John Mark.
     Ah, how could I wait? So parched was I now for His nearness,
so eager my heart to tell Him that it was verily His at last to
do
wi th as He willed.
     The sun sank in the threatening clouds and dusk fell to
night,
billowed with clouds. Midnight passed and the first dark hours of
the morning ... and still the Master came not. Helpless to
conceal
our fears, we women crowded at a window~ our eyes strained toward
Jerusalem.
     At last I could bear the suspense to longer. Driven by panic
now, I made bold to seek my Lord. But that none might know my
purpose, I slipped unseen from the chamber wherein we had
gathered
to watch the road and on tip-toe stole to the house door, then,
myself out upon the road, hugged the cliff lest those watchers
discover me.
     Out upon the road . . . out in the night . . . al one . . .
what was this
I felt in the night that weighed so heavily on me, this pall that
stiffled me? The black air was stiff with a living
     Had my Lord been slain in Jerusalem? Ah no, that could not
be.
We Jews wel 1 knew that no true prophet could be slain by human
hands. But what had they done to him, then, tonight? Where could
I

+57

find Him? Where?
     I came to the gate of the Garden of Gethsemane. It stood
ajar.
Could He be here -- safe -- in Gethsemane? For of ten He stopped
to
rest here. But would He linger at such an hour? Still . . . I
would
search this first, the gate being open.
      groped my way to the grove of ol ive trees . Grey as ghosts
they were in the night, their branches writhing to heaven.
Rumbling
sounds reached my ears and, affrighted, I paused, thinking
animals
might be here . Then under trees I saw forms huddl ed, and I knew
these sounds were the snores of sleeping men.
      I drew nearer. Ah yes, there was Peter, there James, and a
little beyond them, John in quiet sleep. My Lord must not be far
now . And then I saw a 1 one figure, prostrate on a rock .
      I stood, my hands clasped on my breast, sighing for joy. I
had
found Him and all was well !
      And now His voice quivered,into a chant --so low that I
heard
not the words -- then rose in a great wai 1 . And my heart
stopped. . . for what was this He prayed?
      "Abba! ~ather! Remove this cup from me. Howbeit, not my
will
but Thine be done. "
      "This cup"? "This cup"? What cup?
     Terror seized upon and shook me . Thought bl otted out, I
knew
but two things. I must stay. I must hide. I sank to the ground
behind a flowering bush, where I still could see (myself unseen)
that prostrate form on the rock . . . the arms outstretched. . .
a white
cross .
     How was it I had re jo~ ced, believing that al 1 was wel 1?
Why
had these eyes perceived not , till fear tore the vei 1 s from
them,
the awful abandon of those outstretched arms ... of that rolling
head
with face buried? The rock, grey and flat, upon which He lay
became
to me a stark island, lapped by waves of a sinister sea ... and
He on
that island, encircled by the impassable sea, sweated blood
alone.
     Who then could gain access to ~Iim ... who cross the
boundary of
this loneliness? God sorrowed here where men slept. God here
communed with God. A pitiful woman, wide-eyed, sleepless
--watching
-- even though her too ~old heart yearned to soothe where none
could
soothe ... might not profane by mortal touch the majesty of such
sorrow, nor raise so much as a whisper to break the dread silence
of such communion.
     But oh ... that cup ... that cup ... what could it be, too
bitter
f Gr the ~ord to drink?
     He rose to His knees and slowly lifted His face. His head
fell
back till His eyes strained toward the zenith of the clouded
heavens. And again His voice soared in a chant. And though
abysmal
agony wrenched its tones to a strange beat, I heard - in the few
words that reached me - love singing high above agony . For - the
cup forgotten --He prayed for us, for His poor disciples, who
would
hare walked in His footprints, but, slothful, had walked lagging;
for those that slept under the trees ... so near.

+58

     "Father," He prayed, "I have manifested Thy Name unto them
Thou gavest me out of the world. Thine they were and Thou gavest
them to me ... I pray for them."
     The deep tones sank to a murmur; then rang forth strong.
     "Neither pray I for those alone, but for them also which
shall
believe on me through their word. That they all be one, as Thou,
Father, art one in me and I in Thee ... that the love wherewith
Thou
hast loved me may be in them and I in them."
     And when He had ceased to pray, He knelt for a long time
motionless ... a statue on that rock.
     At last He staggered to His feet, and I saw Him turn from
the
rock and move to the tree under which lay Peter, nigh to my rose-
bush. His robe was ghostly in the night. His arms hung down in
the
loose white sleeves. His head drooped ... and never before had I
seen
that head bowed low. Enshrouded by His loneliness, He walked with
faltering step. To me, He was like a great white eagle - wounded.
He stooped and stood above Peter and called this disciple's name.
And Peter stirred and half-rose; then sank to the ground and
straightaway slept again. And I heard the Lord groan:
     "Oh Peter, could you not watch with me one h4ur?"
     And now ... behold His coming, with that slow step, toward
the
rose-bush. Fright overtook me; shame consumed me, for here I was
an
unbidden guest ... and a secret watcher.
     Still He came on. Beside the bush He paused; then turned His
face to where I sat cowering.
     "Mary! You! He cried. In that cry was a note that rent the
heart, a darkened joy - as a cry from one too heavy~laden who
finds
solace in a little thing.
     One step ... and He stood over me, and I cast down my eyes
before His broken beauty, pale in its nimbus of sorrow.
     "You, Mary, are awake."
     I opened my eyes, I upturned them, and, because He stood so
near, I could dimly see that He smiled on me, and that it was a
wild smiie gleaming through anguish.       ~
     "Forgive ... Lord ... forgive. Accept my heart ... now ...
Iimplore."
     From His height He spoke.
     "My daughter ... the heart should seek the Beloved of the
World,
for verily He is faithful. Henceforth forever ... forever ... be
the
lover of the Sun, aflame with the fire of the love of God.
This ... this is eternal."
     And I fell on my face before Him.
     My Lord still stood in the grass of Gethsemane. Ah, I know,
for my face was rested on His feet, imprisoning them there,
though
I dared not ... tonight ... kiss their sacredness, nor had I the
tears
wherewith to bathe them. He still stood upon earth, but his words
floated down as from a receding cloud.
     The darkness had begun to lift and now a jagged rip of
crimson
wounded the east.
     "See, the dawn," He breathed. Go now, my daughter ... Mary.
I am

+59

with you always - in every world. "
     I looked up. He stood pointing to the dawn. And as
gazed. . . oh not at the heavens, but at Him. . .Him. . .mutely
pleading,
for had He not said, "Go"? He flung back His head and His eyes
blazed down with such almighty love that in that look ... again I
saw
God.
"Forever?"
"Forever . . . oh Bel oved ! "

      I knew that I must go -- must leave Him to the awful secret
of
His "cup." I crept back from Him, facing His glory till I could
see
no more, for the distance and the tears that came at last.
      Ah, where shoul d I go? Coul d I but c ling to the wal 1 of
Gethsemane, to wait His coming forth, that I might
follow ... follow ... to I knew not what. BUt alas, He had
dlsmissed
me . And as I lingered hesitant, there by the wal 1, I saw
emerging
from the Golden Gate a multitude with swords and staves, a
multitude of priests and elders and captains of the Temple, and
1 eading them - Judas ! My senses reeled. In a lightening f1 ash
beheld the form of the cup . I turned to run back to Gethsemane
back to my Lord - to drain that cup of bl ood with Him. But now
my
body reeled. I swooned.
      A hand bathing my brow, then holding a draught to my
lips ... and cruel life returned. Ah, I knew that hand and the
signet
i t bore !
      "You are better . . . dear? Thank the gods I have found you
!
Having watched you . . . yesterday . . . from. . . from your
villa , cl imbing
toward Bethany, I came this way, seeking you, Mary ... beloved
... you
are in danger . The Nazarene . . . I grieve to tel 1 you this . .
. has been
seized by Caiaphas. His followers too, are suspect."
      "I am glad, Novatus, to be endangered. Have no fear for me.
"
wi th me? "

litter ... here on the road. Will you not come

      "I want but to share His fate. Let me go. "
     " I cannotlet you go, my dear, my own ! Mary . . . for what
you
have seen matters not . Your love only is love to me. "
     "What I have seen matters not? Ah, indeed it matters not!
Have
they passed . . . from Gethsemane?"
     "They have passed, Mary . ~
     "They have taken my Lord to. . . "
     "Caiaphas. Then Herod. Afterwards, Pilate. " The words were
reluctant and spoken with great pity. "You cannot reach Him.
..where
He is now. "
     "Still, I shal 1 go . . . wherever He is . . .
     "Come in my litter, Mary. "
     "No . . . no . You detain me . Farewel 1 . "
     And as I went, 1 ooking not back ( for I knew that Novatus
followed to see that I came to no hurt), Palestine's sudden
sunrise, a great fan of fire, leapt above the mountains of Moab.

+60
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+61
           XV

I SOUGHT my Lord in the Praetorium.
     In the square bef ore the Praetorium al ready the mob was
gathering. The great Roman house, upraised upon many steps, the
tall pillars of its porch, loomed above me, forbidding. The
guards
at its doors threatened me from afar. As I passed through the
mob,
deft, resolute, fixed upon my goal, the Beloved, I heard hateful
muttering .
     My heart-broken 1 ook, I think, was my password at the doors
.
Unchallenged, I entered the vast hall. Within was commotion.
Dark-
brooding Jews, messengers from the high priests and Herod, were
crossing and re-crossing the pavement, besieging Pilate's
chambers.
     As I drew near, a plan in my mind, a door opened and John
came
forth. Pale as death was he, his lips set, his eyes stari~
me not till I spoke.
     "You have talked with Pilate?"
     "No, I could get no farther than his antechamber."
     "John ... I know Pilate ... a little."
     "Try then to see him, Mary . Let us do all we can.
Though ... after this morning ... in the garden ... Mary, He gave
Himself
up, not to the hirel ings of Caiaphas, but as to God. Even those
ruffians fell back before His high fortitude, ashamed to arrest
Him. But He would have it so. He advanced to them. He accepted
Judas' filthy kiss as if it were a lover's."
     "Where is He now?"
     "Mary, His feet are in the stocks . "
     "Oh great God! Oh, could I but go and throw myself at His
feet
--His feet in the stocks - and beseech Him to deliver Himself.
For,
John, He can . Pray that Pi 1 ate may see me . Pi 1 ate coul d
ref use
Cai aphas .
     Alas that I too was driven from Pilate's door.
     Desperate, I sought a guard. For a fever to act now burned
in
me. . . to move. . .move. . .nor rest til li had turned my last
stone.
     "Take me," I pleaded with the guard, "to the wife of
Pilate."
     The noble lady Claudia received me. I found her pacing the
hal 1, her face distraught .
     "O Claudia ... you love Jesus?"
     "Mary, why do I 1 ove Him? I have seen Him not, save in the
distance. But all last night He troubled my dreams. In my dreams
He
appeared ... more than man! This exeCution ... it must not go
on." She
wrung her hands. "This must not be on Pilate's soul. Yet I cannot
move him. "
     "You cannot move him? Oh try once more, once more. "
      "~Ie is like unto rock . I cannot penetrate . This
pol itical thing. No woman - nor I - could reach him now."
      "You are the one hope, Claudia. Beg at least this of Pilate
-
that Ma~-y of Magdala be admitted to Jesus . "
      "For your sake I will try, even though it anger him."

+62

     I waited alone, forced to a tortured interval wherein I was
helpless to do aught but wait. When at last she returned, her
face
bespoke her fai 1 ure .
     "Mary, at. the door of Pilate's antechamber I met your
friend
Novatus hasting from it. His look was furious. Can it be that he
has opposed this execution? What could you do With Novatus, Mary?
The hope is slight, since it seems plain that he and Pilate have
quarrelled. Still, Novatus might find some means. What could you
do? "
     faced her chal lenge, horrified.
     "God knows. Even this, I will try . "
     And now I sought . . . Novatus. Claudia, the woman, having
failed
with her lord, perchance Mary of Magdala ... the woman ... .
     God forgive me if this were sin. Yet what mattered my smal 1
sinning, even should I forfeit heaven for it, if the life of the
Lord be spared thereby, to finish that work wherefor He had come?
His "cup" . . . had it not been this . . . that so soon His
ministering to
man must end. . . the message of God silenced on His lips? Oh not
pain, not death, His cup.
     But where . . . where to find Novatus? Of a sur'ety not in
that
house where dwelt in my place, slept in my bed, that other woman!
Nay, not now. In his house in the city, perchance ... I recrossed
the
hal ls of the Praetorium. From a corner I heard the strong
sobbing
of a man . I coul d not pass a broken heart . There knel t Peter,
his
great body heaving, his face hid in tear-wet hands. I touched his
shoul der .
     "Peter. "
     He uncovered his face ... and I pray that never again may I
look
on such despair.
     "Mary, touch me not. I am accursed ... with Judas. No such
traitor as he. No such coward as I. A pretty pair we, to be
travelling arm and arm through eternity. Mary, you know I love
the
Lord. I was no coward in the garden. With my sword I struck off
the
ear of the high-priest's servant himself. My Lord healed that
wound ... ah God!" Again sobs rent him. "Because I could not
leave
Him, Mary, I crept af ter Him. . . though at 1 ong distance . . .
into the
very court of the palace of Caiaphas ! Then how could it be that
fear got me. . . fear of what a maidservant could do? When the
wench
accused me saying: 'You also were with the Nazarene, you are one
of
them', 'I know not the man' I lied, and spat and swore to carry
it
off. In all the worlds to come, Mary, I can lift not my face to
my
Lord's. And He warned me. He warned me even last night that I
would
do this very thing. And I said, ' I will never deny you, Lord. If
I
must die with you, I will not deny you. ' "
     "Poor Peter," I answered, "grieve not. The Master's love is
so
great . . . so great, I think even this is as naught to Him. He
warned
you? Then He knew you would do it. He has always known all that
is
in you, and He 1 oved you more than any . . . save John . Grieve
not . I
must go. " And I stooped and kissed the tears on his cheeks. "One

+63

word more. Whatever I do, you will judge me not, I know."
"I judge?"
     Now I hastened to a stair leading to a back street whereby I
might escape the crowds . When, as I approached the arch from
which
this stair turns, a clutch on my arm held me fast. Who was this
impeding my flight to my so ignoble sacrifice? An iron hand
wheeled
me round and I stood confronted by ... Judas, his face thrust
close
to mine -- oh sickening cl ose !
     But was this Judas ' face? For this was a stone mask of evil
.
Darkness suffused his eyeballs and from his body exuded a strange
stench, as it were the stench of the dead. He stared at me
gloating, daring to smile.
     I wrenched myself from his murderous hand. Yet even then
pity
filled my heart for this creature, once human, made of flesh and
blood as I; having eyes and lips and a head and a heart ... all
f eel ing members . . . and heart 1 ongings and some good deeds .
Once he
had brought me a lock of the Master's hair.
     "Judas," I said with a great sadness, "your devil has eaten
up
your humanity. Judas, I hate you not . "
     "I will say you hate me not! I am left yo~r one strong man.
Novatus has taken another woman into your own bed. Jesus you
behold
as a traitor to His trusting race, a hypocrite and coward; in
actual fact subservient to Rome, yet slyly cozening us with
dreams
of a free hereafter, of a kingdom in the world to come," he
sneered, baring his pointed teeth; "now brought low indeed ...
sold
to Caiaphas by Judas for thirty pieces of silver! Soon will you
see
Judas mustering, as Jesus feared to muster, all Judea against
Rome.
And more than Judea . The mal content throughout Rome ' s
dominions
will Judas unite under his banner. You will yet see Judas king of
an empire. And if Judas be not Messiah Himself, from whose loins
should Messiah spring but from mine and yours ... "
     crimsoned his cheek with a stinging bl ow .
     "Go, poor creature!" I cried, "Can you not see that you are
but a burst bubble, and all you can ever hope for from men is
cont empt? "
     He fel 1 back . Sinking to a bench he raised his eyes to me
. And
those uprolled eyes, that stricken face, like unto a dumb beast
on
whom a quagmire has seized to slowly suck him down, I shall cease
not to see while I live .
     Turning my back upon him while he still sat motionless, I
tottered down the steps to the door. Weary unto death, I dragged
mysel fal ong Jerusal em' s streets, down stepped streets,
buttressed
streets, vaulted streets, past latticed and balconied happy
houses,
now decked for the Passover , till I reached the abode of Novatus
.
     Felix, that slave who had ever been my friend, opened the
gate
to me. When he saw me his eyes filled with pity and grave
concern,
and I knew he dreaded to speak . Yet tidings like unto his must
be
~old at once.
     "My master," he said, "has been forced to speed to Rome, by

+64

the Governor himself. He went raging, my lady, for that he must
leave your neighbourhood. He put you in my care and you know I
will
do my best . When you came, I was on the point of starting forth
to
trace you. I would have sought you earlier, but that some trouble
with the slaves. . . "
"He cannot be overtaken, Felix?"
     " I am sure he cannot, my 1 ady . Helef t in a chari ot
drawn by
his race horses, commanded to catch the galley which sails today
f rom Joppa . Sent on some trumped-up errand to get him out of
Jerusalem at this moment ... when he would have interfered to
save
your Master . So I gathered from what I knew of his purpose, and
from his last words spoken to me. 'Those who forced my going, '
he
said, 'would do well to look to my return. ' He has already been
gone upwards of an hour . "
     So ... Novatus would have saved my Lord -- of his own will
would
have saved my Lord - and now he was gone ... gone ... .

     After pressing on me a little bread and wine Felix provided
me
a litter to convey me back to the Praetorium, whither my heart
panted to return, and himself came on foot to guard me.
     But for his escort never could we have reached the
Praetorium,
for by now the square before it was filled with a churning mob
and,
as we clove a way midst struggling bodies, I heard a cry go up
from
a thousand throats:
     "Cruci fy Him ! Cruci fy Him ! "
     Sick with horror I parted the curtains and looked out . Al 1
around me was a sea of faces that were not as the faces of men,
but
of wolves and hyenas and jackals. And creeping, coiling among
these
wild beasts, I saw men with the Law bound on their heads. I saw
these pause to whisper, now here, now there, and knew they were
whispering poison into the mob's mindlessness.
     Ravening wolves in sheep's clothing ... how could it be that
such.were triumphing, that darkness could defeat light? Ah
the sky, uprolling clouds ... and daylight blanching.
     "Cruci fy Him ! Cruci fy Him ' "
     I dropped the curtains to shut out~the sight of those crying
mouths. 8ut the cries. . .the cries. . .I could not shut them
out, even
with hands pressed against my ears. Oh, passing strange that at
such a moment hope should have flashed into my heart .
     "Fel ix, " I called through the curtains, "are we near to
the
Praetorium?"
     "Here now, my lady. "
     We came to a halt and I stepped from the litter. BUt alas
for
my poor hope, these doors were now shut, set With a double guard.
turned to Fel ix .
     "Take me to the sentinels. Make them let me in. "
     "How can I, l ady? "
     "I have had a thought, Felix ... nay, more than a thought.
Pilate can refuse to execute. The Jews cannot do it. The law

+65

forbids. And something in my heart has told me that Pilate's will
is wavering. Oh take me to the guards. "
"I am but a slave and my master has been sent away. "
      "Felix! Felix! Why waste time? It is certain that Pilate
has
talked with Jesus . And something in my heart tel ls me. . . take
me to
those sentinels ! "
      But, conf ronting the sentinel s, I importuned faces of
stone .
The threshold was impassable. Crazed, I beat upon the central
door.
Then a guard seized me by the arm and, despite Felix' fiery
def ense, dragged me down the steps and thrust me into the mob .
I
found myself face to face with John. In his misery he was stern
wi th me .
      "All this is useless -- worse than useless! Come with me
now.
I am seeking the holy mother, my mother, and Mary. "
      We found them at last -- God knows how -- three mute women
wedged in that sweaty pressure of bodies, cries for the bl ood of
our Be 1 oved in thei r very ears .
      "Crucify Him! Crucify Him! Give us our king. Give us the
king
o fthe Jews ! "
      First I saw the face of John',s mother. This ... dear God
... was
pitiable enough. But it was when those others turned, the holy
mother and Mary of Bethany, that my knees weakened and the
beating
of my heart failed. For in the eyes of the mother, widened with
an
awful sorrow, I saw mirrored the death of our Lord, while in
Mary's
eyes danced the gleam of the mad.
      The central door of the palace opened. The churning of the
crowd ceased and silence fell. A man strode through, wearing a
toga
bordered with purple. The sleekness of his face was broken into
sagging flesh. His eyes stared, startled, uncertain. And I knew
my
heart had told me the truth and Pilate's will was indeed
wavering.
He came to the head of the steps.
      "I find no fault in Jesus the Nazarene," he began. He
cleared
his throat. "You have a custom that I should release a prisoner
at
the time of the Passover . will you theref ore that I rel ease .
. . the
King of the Jews?"
      A shout went up.
      "Not this Jesus ! Jesus Barabbas . Give us Jesus Barabbas !
"
     Now was my opportunity. Now would ~ cast myself at Pilate's
feet and from the depths of my agony sway him to my Lord, who, in
some way I know not, had al ready hal f-persuaded him to courage
.
     With the strength of the desperate I pushed my way through
the
mob and had al 1 but reached the steps when two steel hands
pinned
me. A priest, his phylacteries dropped between his cruel brows,
with a nose like the beak of a bird of prey, held me fast, dug
the
tal ons of one hand into my wrist, cl apped the other to my mouth
.
More birds of prey closed me in. And ere I could move, Pilate
turned on his heel and was gone. The great door clanged behind
him.
     Now the priests let me go. Towered about by those striking
bodies, I struggled back to John and the women. relix had been
lost

+66

"My child, all is vain," said the mother, speaking at last,

     "Yes," said John, "His hour is come. I told you." John's
face
was ashen; its youth dead.
     "His hour is come! His hour is come!" babbled Mary of
Bethany.
     We waited. . . I know not how long. It may have been a
little
t ime .
     Then again the door opened. And now two stood in the porch
between the pillars --Pilate and with Him ... Oh God! ... the
Master.
The Master, haggard, death-pale. On His brow was a crown of
thorns.
From His shoulders hung a soldier's cloak. . .a scarlet cloak,
soiled
and tattered. His submissive hand held a reed.
     Wickedly mocked. . . "King of the Jews ! " Yet to that crown
of
thorns, to those red ragS, Helent a terribl e ma jesty . And in
the
calm of His eyes, gazing down so steadfastly on the fury of these
"chosen ones" . . . in the very act of re jecting their Messiah,
I saw
naught but the pity of God.
     "Behold the Man, " cried Pilate .
     "Crucify Him! Crucify Him! ," roared the multitude.
     strong from the strensth at his side, Pilate' spoke roughly:
      "Take Him Yourselves and crucify Him, for I find no fault
in
Him. "
      And then from within that multitude crafty voices: "You
know
we cannot crucify Him. You know well our law that forbids the
taking of life. But we have a law and by that law He ought to
die.
He has made Himsel fthe Son of God . "
      "He has made Himself King, and he who makes himself king
speaks against Caesar. If you release this man, you are not
Caesar ' s friend . "
      Threatening voices -- not of the common people, these. And
Pi 1 ate f1 inched and turned, and my Lord tuned wi th him. . .
and I saw
that the back of my Lord's red cloak was darkly stained ... as
with
bl ood.
      "John, " I groaned, "they have scourged Him. "
      John bent his head.
     The door cl osed. Then once again it opened . And this time
Pilate came forth alone, except that a servant followed, bearing
an
ewer, a basin and a napkin . AS bef ore, Pi 1 ate stood at the
head of
the steps, and his servant with him. He dipped his hands in the
basin and washed and wrung and dried them. In silence he washed
his
thin, white hands. Then he turned to the throng in the square.
Till
now his eyes had been downcast. Now I could see into them. God in
heaven . . . they were more at peace ! He spoke .
     "I am innocent of the blood of this just man. See you to it
. "
     Sunk in abysmal despair for which there are no words in any
tongue, for now sorrow like to this, no 1 oss like to this, had
ever
before overwhelmed the human heart, I waited ... we five
waited ... while a lurid pallor, sickened the daylight.

+67

     To the right of the Praetorium stands a 1 ow wing of the
building, having grated windows set into its stones and a door
level to the pavement. At last the mother turned and With firm
step
walked to this door. And we turned and went after her. I knew. .
. I
knew then. He would come forth by this door.
     The door clanked and swung open from within . . . and
through it
protruded the great beam of a cross.
     With the beam, His thorn-crowned head emerged, and now His
brow was dewed with bl ood from the thorns . Then His body sagged
forth. And then His gaze fell on us, His loved ones, and He
stopped
and stood stil 1 before us . Oh fearful to see Him bowed beneath
those heavy beams, that martyred head weighed down, His eyes
upraised, His eyes upraised to us ! Roughly the soldiers seized
Him
and swung Him round, and, ever submissive He stumbled on.
     From the door emerged another cross, and behind it stil 1
another. Mean figures - culprits - bent beneath these crosses,
following after the Lord ... none but these now following in His
footsteps. And thus we saw our beloved, crossing the court of
that
prison, staggered toward a multitude poised to leap.
     Ah and how it leapt, this herd of hyenas, wolves and
jackals!
The soldiers themselves could not restrain them Fleeing on ahead
of John and the others, mad to be near my Lord while
could ... while I could ... even though that herd trample me to
death,
I could see at close hand the gambols of these animals, could see
them spring to buffet the blood-flecked face, to spit on that
holy
face ... to mingle their spittle with the Lord's blood ... agile
as
monkeys, capering before Him; supple- jointed, bowing backward
the
while they mouthed their mockery .
"Hai 1, King of the Jews ! "
But some women dared to weep.
The soldiers at lat cleared the way, and, close to my Lord, I
walked with Him to Golgotha. Ah, could I but have borne His
cross!

+69
            XVI

     THE WALK was short. The hill called Golgatha lies bUt a
little
beyond the Fish Gate. In shape it is like unto a skull, white as
a
skull, being stony, and round it spread gardens. On that spring
day, flower-studded gardens, lilies and red anemones jewelling
the
grass, which would have been a fair sight, but in the lurid
darkness of that day the very f1 owers had turned pale.
     Golgatha rolls up, not high, but oh steep, steep! Oh
see our Beloved struggling beneath His long cross up that rocky
hi 1 1 .
     Was it the agony on our faces that clove a path for us
through
the soldiers ' midst? For now, With our Lord, with His guards, we
stood alone on the SuJlunit . . . John, the holy mother, three
Marys ... while singly, unter their crosses, the thieves appeared
above i ts cha 1 ky ri dge .
     The executioners took the cross from the shoulders of our
dear
Lord and dropped it clattering to the stones. A soldier advanced
and 1 oosed the scarl et Cl oak so that it fel lin a heap on the
cross
at the Lord's feet. And He stood robed only in the, long white
tunic
His mother had woven for Him, compassed about by soldiers. Then
the
executioners turned to those others waiting, doubled beneath
their
crosses, and stripped them and laid them out upon the beams.
     I hid my face in my hands. And there was a dreadful silence
on
that hill ... and to me, With my fingers pressed upon my eyes,
darkness. Shrieks split the silence, followed by hammering and
more
shrieks. Then the sound of scuffling feet, of stones being hauled
and heaped. . . and two awful separate shrieks . And I knew that
the
crosses of the two culprits had been lifted with their wounded
burdens, and sunken and steadied in the ground.
     Now ... now ... it must be the turn of my Lord. Now I must
look.
For if I would drain His cup With Him, could I do less than look?
How else could I serve Him ... now ... save by faithful,
following eyes
that suffered With Him? I prayed God for strength and turned to
Him .
     The soldiers had stripped Him of HiS one garment, His body
stood out ma jestiC against a darkened sky, naked bUt for that
crown
of thorns, and in His uplifted eyes shone the glory of the
Godhead.
     So it was that I saw. . . at last . . . the Lord of Spirits
"in the
full glory wherewith God had clothed Him."
     They stretched out His body on the cross, flat on the
ground.
Now worse was to come -- the hammer ... the nails ... .
     Ah, those hands! Those palms, centres of a healing life;
those
f ingers that had wiped away my tears !
      saw one of the executioners pass to another, who knel t on
the ground behind that prostrate Might, a hammer and three long
nails, one longest of all. Two nails, a long and a short, the
kneeling man placed on the ground beside him; then with unmoved
face, he fitted the one he still held into my Lord's relaxed
palm,

+69

and with a single blow drove it into that palm, deep into the
wood.
     clapped my hand to mouth to .shut in a scream, for
     this. ..this ... was more than I could bear. BUt no sound
came from my
     Beloyed's lips. His eyes now were closed.
     "Ah, it may be He feels it not ... that now He is out of the
body, God grant that He feel it not ! " I prayed .
     Clumsily the executioner rose from his knees and came over
to
thelef t side . And now, because of the breadth of this man ' s
body,
     saw not the second nai 1 driven in . Onl y I heard the thud
of the
hamme r .
     Still no sound came from that cross. And when the
executioner
moved to impale the feet ... those feet ... those feet, which I
had
kissed and anointed and dried with my hair ... again I saw the
divine
face, and I saw the same patience wreathing His lips, the same
serenity on His brow, though now His face was white and sharp,
even
as the stones of Golgatha.
     At this moment a soldier stepped forward, on his mouth a
grin,
in his hands the superscription of the accusation. And he stooped
and nailed it on the upper cross-beam. Black letters stared from
the parchment: "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. "
     And now one of the executioners, not he that had hammered in
the nails, but the other who had held and passed them, came
bearing
a cruet and a Cup. I knew what was in that cruet -- the mixture
of
myrrh and wine whereby feel ing is dUlled . And I went forward to
meet this man, for I would assuage, myself, my Beloved's
suffering.
I findeed He suf fered .
     The man glanced on me with pitying eyes and in silence
placed
the cruet and cup into my outstretched hands. And with body gone
weak, I approached my Lord on His cross. His head drooped now,
His
skin was stretched taunt over the high bones of His face. There
was
the 1 ook of a s 1 ain 1 amb in thatleonine head .
     "My Lord, " I breathed, "my beloved Lord. . . "
     His eyes opened. And again upturned to me, I beheld the love
of the Godhead triumphant on that peak of hel 1. BUt mingled with
that bright glory in His eyes I saw an awful bodily anguish, and
with heart stabbed through til lit seemed to break into fiery
halves of pain I held out the myrrh and wine. . . in a cup .
     Feebly He moved His head in refusal. Ah, why should He not
drink this? Why hold so fast unto torture? Now I saw His lips
tremble open and, bending close, heard one word:
     "Forever? "
     "Forever. . . " I sobbed.
     Then the soldiers came to take Him from me. . . to set up
His
cross. And as they lifted high His naked majestY, the accusing
scrol 1 unfurled above, from the garden I heard a thousand
voices,
"Haii, King of the Jews ! " And shouts of laughter rang to that
hil 1.
     Till then, curtained close with my Lord on Golgatha, I had
know not the garden was filled with staring faces.
     The cross jarred into the earth, but stil 1 no cry, not even
a

+70

moan, escaped the drawn lips of my beloved Lord. I went, and with
me the holy mother and Mary of Bethany, now a child to be led,
all
walking as though in sleep, and together we sank to the foot of
that central cross. And then climbing the hill came Mary, mother
of
James and Joses, and Salome, veils across their mouths to stifle
their sobs. And they, too, sinking to the ground, we all raised
our
eyes to the face of our dying Lord . And He gazed on us, nor
removed
that gaze, but looked steadfastly down on us. His lips were half
open, giving up His anguish, or, as if He would speak but for
that
anguish, His weary eyes shrouded in a mystery of pain. How could
we
read that face, so great in death? BUt we could feel the yearning
of His love upon us.

     With the settling of the cross of our Beloved a few of the
chief priests and elders had mounted the hill and now stood
clustered together, too near ... too near that cross, whispering
among themselves, their faces satisfied.

     To the right of us, close to where one of the culprits
writhed
in pain, sat a group of soldiers at a game of dice, their helmets
bent low as the little dice rattled under the thief!s bloody
feet.
     Beyond stood four other soldiers, wrangling over our Lord's
seamless garment, for this divided, could be of no worth, but
whole, it would be soft to lounge in! Dear robe, whose hem my
lips
so oft had kissed, which had tingled as though alive to my lips,
shot through by the life of Him who wore it ... at last the four
threw dice for it . And when a youth by a lucky draw won it, he
laughed and said, "The Fates choose well, for t~is will fit me!"
     And now the priests sidl ed nearer to this central cross, so
near that the bal ls on their skirts jingled in our ears . On
their
golden mitres was inscribed, "Holy to Jehova, " and these mitres
they wagged at Him who hung above us, clothed only in His own
blood, the while they fell to mocking Him!
     "If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross."
     "You that are able to destroy the temple and build it again
in
three days, get yoursel fdown from the c-ross . "
     "Ho, dealer in miracles, you that save others, how is it you
cannot save yourse 1 f? "
     "He trusts in God! Well, let God deliver Him if H'e will
have
Him. Did not this blasphemer say, ' I am the Son of God? ' "
     "Come down from the cross, come down from the cross and we
wil 1 believe on you. "
     And pressing closer to gnash their teeth on Him, they all
but
trampl ed us who wept .
     At this, the soldiers nearby looked up from their game of
dice
and got to their feet and stood among the priests, and the youth
with the seamless robe hung over his arm came also, and others
with
him. And these Romans, for sport, joined their mockery to the
priests ', taunting "the King of the Jews".

+71

     Our Lord closed His eyes. His parted lips moved. Words
fainted
upon them. I strained my ears and heard:

def ender .

"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do . "
     Yet scarce had these syllables died when from the cross on
the
left of our dear Beloved - from the beams of Which a thief looked
down like unto an evil bird on the mitred and helmeted heads --
the
last gibe fell:
     "Are you not Messiah? If you are He, save yourself and us .
"
     And then it was that the Lord of al 1 mankind found one

     From the cross to the right a voice was raised, a dying
voice
and feeble, yet I doubt not its echo shall ring down the ages.
      1 ooked up to see a suf fering head craned forward to the
f arthest cross .
     "Do you not even fear God, you who are in the same
condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive but the due
reward of our deeds, but this man has done nothing amiss. "
     And now this blessed thief turned to the Lord's cross, and
as
he gazed at that face drooping below the placard-- livid and
shrunk
even as his own, lips blackened even as his own --wonder filled
his
eyes wi th a great humi li ty .
     "Lord," he prayed, "remember me when you come into your
Kingdom."
     Life tided back to our Lord. Once more in His eyes I beheld
the burning revelation of the love of God.
     "Verily, this day," He said and His voice rang strong,
"shall
you be with me in paradise. "
     My bosom swelled. My tears gushed. I thought: His first
gues t . . . a thi ef .
     Had He waited ... waited, prolonging His own torment, for
the
coming of this late guest? For now it was clear He was hastening
away . Now His gl ance roved from one to another of these
upturned
faces at His feet, plumbing their sorrow With His, so that His
sorrow sank into our depths; seeking to assuage our hearts wit.h
a
last flicker of the fire of His unearthly love . And we knew --
we
who gazed through tears that blurred Him -- that His dimlTling
eyes
were bidding us farewel 1.
     His eyes swooned back to John, whose arms encircled the holy
mother. Words struggled throu~h those black lips:
     "Behold your mother. "
     The looking last upon her that had borne Him:
     "Behold your son. "
     And then He said:
     "It is finished. "
     His head moved, His chin fell to His breast, the long half-
moons of His eyes beneath His fal ling eyel ids gl azed . And we
~;new
that He -- our li fe - was dead .

     Now a soldier came forward. The King of the Jews was dead.
The
death of the thieves must be hastened, for tomorrow was a festal

+72

day in Jerusalem and the hill should be cleared of these corpses
before nightfall. Wherefore with smashing blows, which shook
howls
f rom the thi eves, he broke thei rlegs and disposed of them.
Then he
stepped to the cross of our dear Bel oved and, raising his spear,
plunged it into that body which, God be thanked, could no 1 onger
feel men's weapons, neither scourge, nor nails, nor cross, nor
spear, nor. . . tongue.
     One of the executioners, lifting a ladder against the cross,
climbed it and drew forth the nails from the clotted palms, then
scrambling to the ground, jerked the long one from the feet. We
had
risen to make way for him. John stood supporting the tottering
mother, she who was now his own. BUt I . . . I cared not what he
nor
the others, not even the holy mother did. Too cold was I now to
feel, even to mourn, at this bleak moment. Apart from all I
stood,
turned t o s t one .
     And it was then there came to me that centurion by whose
orders my' Lord had been mangled and done to death. His eyes
burned
sol emnl y and as he reached my side, he spoke to me bel ow his
breath .
     "Trul y, this was a righteous man . "
     "A god, " I answered him dul ly.
     We took our beloved down from the cross. Now He was clammy
and
waxen .
     That merciful executioner who had passed unto me the cup and
the cruet permitted John to support the feet and himself held our
Lord by the arm-pits; and the beautiful head of our Lord, with
eyes
forever closed, rested at peace on the executioner's shoulder.
Then
the two, John and this kindl y man, 1 aid down the body on the
s t ones .
     With the fading of our Lord's last breath the chief priests
and elders had jingled down the hill; the multitude trampling the
garden had begun to scatter. And now two came to Golgatha, Joseph
of Aramathea and Nicodemus. Men of small courage, these.
Disciples
in secret of Jesus, they were also members of the Sanhedrin,
which
had met that very day to try for bl asphemy the Son of God .
These
two had been present at the trial and had dared keep silence,
def ending not their Master . Now they joined us beneath His
empty
cross, where we still stood in our mute misery, huddled round the
waxen form reclining mid the boulders of Golgatha.
     Grief was in the faces of these Sanhedrists, but uppermost a
sneaking shame. Each wore a smitten look. Yet had they come with
their offerings. Joseph had his tomb to offer, one he had lately
hewn for himself in a cliff in that garden below - his garden, a
corner of the broad acres he owned beyond Jerusal em' s wal 1 .
Nicodemus would bring us out of his wealth one hundred pounds of
myrrh and al oes wherewith to serve the dead body of his Lord .
     We left them on the hill with that loved body (for Joseph
asked not our aid in that which must be done) to bury al 1 that
was
left of Him who had come from above to exal t men and was now

+73

receiving His fellow-crucified before His throne in Paradise.

     In those days when the Son of God walked earth and we, poor
clods, companioned Him, if He withdrew from us but for an hour
the
sun of our spirits set . Now the sun had set forever . He was
dead .
Earth was dead. Alone we were left on its bare bones.
     Life we had known. Now al 1 was lifeless . Livid below that
black sky, the fields spread to shadowy mountains. Livid, the
domes
of Jerusalem rose above the long ribbing of its wall. Livid, a
company of wraiths, the satiated mob moved, soundl ess, toward
the
city gates. A band of shades ourselves, John and we six women,
numbly our feet found the path dropping steep from Golgatha,
numbly
followed the chalk-white road ... back to Jerusalem.
     As we went, the poor crazed Mary groaned fearful words !
     "The veil of His holy temple is rent, and with it the veil
that covers al 1 things . . . rent . And now I see . . . I see. .
. into the
darkness of al 1 things . Those monsters the slew the life of
God,
that march with us to Jerusalem. . . can none of you see what I
see?
Rotting corpses marching with us . Corpses come out from the
tombs
to do this deed. The corpses of those who eve~ since the world
began have risen from the tombs to suck the li fe of the prophet
.
The eternal dead. "
     Now, before us on the road we saw, spectral in the dark, a
tree, and dangling from it a man. And John turned aside with the
mother into a field and seized my elbow to drag me with them--
but
too 1 ate .
     "What is that hanging on the tree, John?"
     "You know . "
     "I know, Iscariot . That tree bears bitter fruit . "
     "Rotten fruit," said John, with hard-pressed lips.

+74
           XVII

     IN THE first dark hours of the third day I stole forth again
from the house in Bethany, now to seek my Lord at His tomb. To
press my cheek on the stone sealing the door of that tomb -- I
could
hope for no more than this. I asked no more.
      came to the gate of Joseph' s garden. Beneath the dark sky,
behind the blank pillars of the cypress trees, the sepulchre
loomed
ashen white, and where the stone had been . . . gaped a hol e !
     What was this? I ran . Yes, the stone was rolled away . Now
could enter, kneel close to my Beloved.
      plunged into the cave. Its chil 1 smote me. Its darkness
cl osed about me . I was in a narrow passage . I stretched forth
my
hands, feeling the dank stones of the walls, groping my way to
that
inner vaul t wherein I knew they had 1 aid my Lord .
     But at 1 ast in the vaul t I coul d take not a step forward
. For
here I stood lost in pitch-black space with no walls to guide me,
even as one gone suddenly blind. And what was this emptiness
here?
A musty breath, raw-cold -- a void-- this and naught else I
sensed.
Then my eyes cleared a little and, far in a corner, I saw a flat
blur of white . An icy hand gripped my heart . I dragged my feet
to
that corner, fear slowing every step; then, shivering,
stooped . . . and touched my Lord ' s grave cl othes .
     Where then was my Lord . . . where . . . where was He?
Turning, I
fled, I scarce knew how, back to the mouth of the cave.
     The air was fresh with the dawn, the sky greying. I had but
one thought -- to find my Lord. BUt, alone I' could do naught.
John
must be told; he would help me. At the moment he lodged in the
city
with Peter, in the square just behind the Fish Gate. I sped to
Jerusal em.
     The window of their room opened on the sguare. I peered
through its grating. The two men lay on their mats, still asleep,
but I saw John stir.
     "John!" I called, "John!" -- then when he woke -- "They have
stolen our Lord from the sepulchre. Come, oh come!"
     He sprang up and we went together, running. But John outran
me
and was at the tomb when I was no farther than the first trees of
the garden. I saw him stoop and enter the tomb, then come forth
and
stand still in the grove, with bowed head. As I neared him, he
raised troubl ed eyes .
     "Mary. . .these grave-clothes. . .discarded! This can mean
but one
thing -- enemies have stol en Him. "
     "We must find Him. . . wrest Him from them. "
     "But in such a case, how coul d we even find Him? "
     "John . . .1 ove can find Him. "
     And now we saw Peter in the distance, running to the garden.
When at last he caught up With us, breathless, staring amazed at
the open tomb, and we told him our Lord had vanished from it, he
wept and rent his garments.

+75

     "Will they not leave us even His body? What new sacrilege
would they heap on it?"
     "Find him, O Peter . Go . . . you and John . . . find Him. "
     "Who could find Him?" sobbed Peter, "The devils of Caiaphas
have Him. They would defile His body. "
     "The guards were set here," said John, still in deep
thought.
But it might be al 1 were in the pay of Caiaphas . " Then his
eyes
flashed; he spoke as if to himself. "Howbeit ... what matters the
body? "
     I cried:
      "It is His body, John ... His blessed and beloved body. Oh
go . . . go . . . both of you . . . go ! "
      "I like not to leave you here, Mary."
      "Here is where I wish to be. "
     And now they were gone and I was glad, for at last I was
free
to weep as I would . For this 1 ong time a crested wave of tears
had
been poised above me . The wave must break . . . and now ! And
such
weeping should be done al one .
     I bowed my head on the threshold of the tomb.
     None could weep long as I wept. The fury of my sobbing spent
itsel f, though my tears sti l l fl owed . I rose .
     In the garden, his back to me, his face to the sun, where it
showed a bright arc above a hil 1, stood one whom I took to be
the
gardener. Could it be he that had stolen the body of my Lord?
     Not turning, but still with his face to the sun, he spoke.
     "Why do you weep? Whom do you seek?"
     How knew he that I stood there, that I wept? Why were this
man's tones so melting tender? But I thought not then on such
things. Grief had me in too fierce a clutch that I should note
the
mystery of the gardener. So that I answered him brokenly:
     "sir, if you have borne my Lord hence, tell me where you
have
laid him, that I might take Him away. "
     And now he wheeled upon me ... this gardener. O merciful
God! O
kind God! Had I too died? Where was I? For here was my
Lord..-.'my
Lord Himsel f. . . al ive . . .
     "Mary ! "
     "Rabboni ! "
     Once again I was at His feet . The sunleapt above the
mountains of Moab. My Lord smiled down into my lifted face.
     Now I threw myself forward, frantic to kiss His feet, but He
put out a hand to ward me away.
     "Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father . "
     I heeded only "Touch me not" and fel 1 back grieving. Yet .
. . I
could touch His beauty, with a look! I drank my fill of the
adored
face'. How it glistened now! And His eyes beamed down like stars
while He smiled upon me .
     Once more He spoke.
     "Go, Mary, to my discipl es . Say unto them:
Father and to your Father, to my God and to your God. ' "

+76

     "Ascend, my Lord ... ascend?" I murmured, "Will you then go
away
-- again? Oh leave us not again!"
     Tears brimmed so full on my lashes I could see naught for
them, and when I had dashed them away, my Lord was no longer
there.
How could He have fled so quickly? Alone ... alone I knelt
between
the tomb and Golgatha.
     I staggered to my feet. I must seek John now, though where
to
seek him I knew not . I turned my steps toward Jerusal em. Then,
on
the further side of Golgatha, I saw him on his way back. As he
neared me, I ran to meet him.
     "John, I have found our Lord, " I cried.
     Gravel y he spoke .
     "Tel 1 me how. "
      "I found Him living ... not dead. John, how is it He lives,
more
vigourous even than before, when the cross wounded Him so? There
are no wounds on Him now. "
      "You have not yet told me how you found Him. What happened,
Ma ry? "
      "After you and Peter left me I went to the tomb and knelt
there and mourned. And when I stood up, I saw a man in the
garden,
His back to me . How was it that I knew not that ~back ! He
asked,
speaking with His face still hid, whom r sought and why I wept.
Then, when I told Him, He turned about and, oh, John. . . I saw
my
Lord. I all but died of joy ... after so much sorrow. John ...
His
smile is the same . "
      "Yes, I know."
      "You know? You too have seen Him? Then He passed your way?"
     "No, Mary -- that is, I saw Him not. 8ut I heard His voice,
His
same voice. When we had left yoU, as we neared the Fish Gate, He
sDoke to me."

.~nhn "

     "Spoke to you, and you saw Him not? I know not what you
mean,
                   sti 1 1

     "Mary, what you have seen is not that body whose bl ood
spatters Golgatha, but one the cross could not kil 1. It was
His,,
heavenl y body you saw . "
     "Ah, John ... and it is the same ... in every way like to
His
own ... and substantial. Will I see it again? Will you see it?"
     "Surely . From now on . . . always . "
      "John ! I am al ive again ! But tel 1 me, what happened
with you?
Did Peter too hear?"
      "No, and I bade him go on ahead. Then I sat on that stone
yonder, and our Lord spoke for a 1 ong time . "
      "Oh, what said He?"
     "Some things you may know. He said His earth-life had been
His
little life, but that His greater life, in which we His loved
ones
share, had had no beginning and was endl ess, even as the night-
depths. He said men questioned not by night the wealth and
strength
of the sun, nor by day the wealth and strength of the stars, for
all these orbs had been visible in full glory to the eye, and the

+77

disappearance of the sun by night or the stars by day was but a
manifestation of the will of the All-Powerful Godhead. He asked
if
we, His disciples, questioned His wealth and strength. Was it, He
asked, that we had perceived not His fUl 1 glory? HiS
disappearance
also was but a manifestation of the Will of the All-Powerful
Godhead. "
     "John"-- I covered my face with my hands. "He said this ...
that
we share His greater life with Him? We, who have felt so
desolate,
so helpl ess -- who thought that al 1 was ended? This means a
great
thing, John. "
     "It means" -- John spoke with bowed head -- "that He has
accepted even us to take up that work cut short by the cross . "
     "John, we must go at once to Peter and to all the others.
Yes,
to those nine who seem 1 ost to us I must go, for our Lord has
entrusted me with a message to them. Know you where to find them,
J ohn? "
     "I can find them. They are scattered ... hidin-g!"
     "How they must suf fer, poor soul s . . . beref t of faith .
. . beref t
of everything. Let us find them quickly ... tell them what we
know."
     "They will not listen, Mary ... not now."
     We found them and they listened not. SUCh things could not
be,
they said . Even poor Peter shook his head . But the women of Gal
ilee
believed, and also Mary, the mother of John Mark. And when I went
to Mary of Bethany, where she lay in her chamber, melancholy-mad,
and broke our glad-tidings to her, the darkness lifted from her
mind as an evil dream lifts with the morning. As to the holy
mother, she ever walked with God.
     And now to each of these steadf ast oneS came our Lord in
dream
or vision. And to Peter merciful ly He came and wiped away his


     There followed a day of great gladness, when all we who had
seen the Risen Glory were bidden to the house of the mother of
John
Mark - a large house With a porch on Mount zion - that we mIght
pray in that chamber wherein our Lord had supped for the last
time.
     And behold the while we prayed, the air of the chamber
stirred
and throbbed and our Lord ' s very presence burned upon us, not
manifest now to the eye and therefore most awful.
     whispered to John, who sat at my side :
     "He is here. "
     John's fase changed. Light trembled across it, moulding the
f eatures to a yet nobl er beauty . He upraised his eyes and gl
ory
spilled from them.
     "The Lord is speaking. Take down His words . "
     "He put into my hand his stylus, while Mary, the mother of
Mark, went quickly and fetched me tablets.
     "O my dear ones, " John heard, "I enfold you in my arms . "
     Our Lord spoke long with us that day, while His life filled
the room from wall to wall and from roof ~o floor and we were

+78

immersed in a sea of love.
      God's Messengers, He told us, all come attended by the
power
of the Great Ether, and this Power man cannot s 1 ay, nor conf
ine
below ground. From this Great Ether noW would He pour out His
love
and guidance upon us His chosen ones, till we should be lifted up
into such understanding of the divine mysteries as had never
before
been accorded to man while he lived in the body. Thus, filled
with
the might of the Holy Spirit, each one of us, single-handed,
could
enter and chal lenge a nation. And though that nation should shed
our blood, our very blood would conquer it for God. Our weapons
must be but two, Faith and His Love; our only battle-cry, His
Name.
So we would build a new Temple, a mighty Tower, its stones many
nations made one in Him. And when in turn this Temple should
crumble, the faith within it grown weak, then lo! the Lord of
Hosts
would come again.
      Now, as never before, the thought of the faithless nine
gave
my heart no peace. Once more I went seeking them, and traced them
at 1 ast to a s~ual id upper chamber, wherein al 1 had come
together
in their fear and misery.
      "Believe me that Jesus lives," I pleaded. "It is indeed
true
that no human hand can slay the Prophet of God. For the Prophet
of
God is a great spirit, as ye have seen, not a thing of clay like
a
jar in a potter's hand, to be broken and cast away. Did death end
Moses, Eli jah? Nay, it is said that Eli jah never died.
Wherefore,
then should our Lord have died? His risen spirit dwel ls in our
very
midst . Oh, bel ieve that I have seen Him! "
      And my words at last took effect in their hearts and they
did
believe. Then two of them, Andrew and Cleopas, saw for
themselves,
meeting the Lord on the way to Emmaus. And again He appeared unto
all the men as they sat at meat in their upper chamber, being
also
in the upper chamber of their own souls, where doors open into
the
light.
      Now at eventide on a day when John and I walked 01 ivet al
one,
our Lord came and spoke with us there. John heard the voices; I
saw
a ma jestic outline, a mist on shadows. And He bade me, Mary,
spread
a feast on Olivet and call to it all His disciples, for now, He
said, great decisions lay before us.
      On the morrow, therefore, at sundown, I spread my feast,
beneath a sycamore tree . And the el even came and six women .
And as
we ate, we talked of other days, when here on this very spot our
Beloved had sat in our midst, or when we followed Him across
Judea,
or along the shore of Galilee, or to Carmel and Phoenicia, or
dwelt
with Him in Capernaum. And each had some happy thing to recall --
of
a saying not understood till now, or of some sweet event through
which we had passed as in a dream, unawar,e of its import.
      "I remember," said James, "one day, walking behind Him on
Mount Carmel, fitting my sandals into His footprints, I tread
upon
an adder. "

+79

      "And I, " said John, "a day when, crossing Gennesaret with
the
Lord, walking alone with Him through the wheat, of a sudden He
stopped and uplifted His face and pointed skyward. And I, also
looking up, saw a hawk in pursuit of a little bird. And lo! while
we stood and watched, that little bird fluttered down and flew to
the breast of the Lord, and shel tered itsel fin His robe . "
      "I," said Peter, "recall a dark night in Capernaum when, as
we
started down a stair, I would have lighted His way with a lamp,
but
He 1 aughed and picked me up as a man might swing a babe, and
bore
my heaviness down the stair and set my feet on firm ground. "
      "I remember, " said Mary, "when He laid on my head a white
veil."
      And living again in those days, so that we breathed the
very
scent of them, again we seemed to be f1 ocked at the knee of our
Shepherd .
      The sky turned opal, then dark. The stars hung above us,
bright drops ready to fal 1. A great hush descended upon us .
      And now behold One coming like to the moon in glory.
Through
the trees He came, advancing with His swaying gate, till He stood
intolerably near. All saw Him and all fell prostrate at His feet.
And then the divine voice spoke. We heard it as a rushing wind,
resounding from every side:

      "Al 1 power has been given unto me in heaven and on earth.
Go,
therefore, my disciples, and make disciples of all the nations,
teaching them to observe whatsoever I have commanded you. And lo
!
am with you always, even to the consummation of the world. "

      His shining form was gone, but He . . . He hadlef t us not
. While
He spoke a swift elixir had distilled itself into our veins. And
now in our breasts a new Heart beat, a light and fearless heart.
And we knew that our many hearts had been made one in His.
      For long we sat in silence under the sycamore tree, in the
blackness beneath its canopy. Then. words burned my lips and I
knew
that I must speak them.
      "My brothers, my sisters, see what our Lord has done for us
!
First, He chose us out of al 1 the world, then He trained and
taught
us. Now, so great is His love, He has even come back from across
the grave to us. To prove that He is always with us, to prove
that
there is no death -- and theref ore, naught to fear -- He has
shown
unto us His immortal body. He reveals to us now such things as we
could not have borne before ... till something in us too had died
with Him. In our grief He has united us and brought us the
greatest
of al 1 His gifts -- His eternal presence and His guidance. The
greatest of al 1 His gifts? Nay, there is one stil 1 greater --
and
this He has bestowed tonight, when He poured His own heart into
ours - that we may know He lives within us, to 1 ove within us .
So
having resuscitated us, having reformed each one to be as a
Shephe.d's pipe at the lips of the Shepherd, having deigned to

+80

enter into us ti l l we are now as one soul, He l ays upon us a
new
command: To go forth and make disciples of the nations. By these
words our Lord has announced to us, O beloved brothers, beloved
sisters, that the time is come when we too may of fer a proof --
that
of our faithfulness, our loyalty; nay in very reality serve Him
who
has done al 1 this for us . "
     From the circle of the shadow-forms under the tree, Matthew
spoke first.
     "Once I heard Him say, 'Freely have you received. Freely
must
you give. Were you to give life itself in the path of the
kingdom,
the Kingdom is so great that even thus you wil 1 have received it
freely'. To make disciples of the nations clearly means that we
should scatter. What shall we plan to do? For, as Mary has said,
the time is upon us when we may prove our faithfulness, our
1 oyal ty . "
     Then fel 1 the calm voice of John.
     "It is plain that the first step is to free ourselves of all
attachments. Fettered, how could we be loyal?"
     "That is true, " said one and another out of the night . And
Peter broke forth:
     "Free, verily, must we be if we would herald the Kingdom in
the wilderness, free of every tie!"
     James sPoke.
     ~Mt~r~ than ties should be removed. From the sel fmust we be

     "That is true. " "True. "
     Then Phi lip:
     "We must wholly sacrifice ourselves. To be at ease and also
teach, these two will not coincide. From now we must forgo ease.
We
must accept every hardship. We must go forth, vagabond preachers.
     Once more John lifted up His voice, that voice dulcet sweet
and deep.
     "This has another aspect . For the sake of the Lord we shal
1 be
beaten, we shall be cast into prison, we shal 1 be exiled . Even,
the
oppressors may kill us . Let us read thislesson now . Let us know
that we shal 1 be beaten, bound with chains, spat upon,
banished ... killed. Let us accept all this. Verily, I will."
     "We will . " "Veri 1 y, we will, " echoed one and al 1 .
     Then, each having found his cross and shouldered it, in
silence we went down the hill, to face the menace of the future
and
the glory of the Kingdom.

+81
           XVIII

     WE DESCENDED Olivet. We went into Galilee. There the men
sold
their nets and boats and bade farewell to their families. Then in
perfect unity of heart they departed unto Jerusalem. In the city
of
Sol omon ' s Templ e where the Hol y Word that had spoken in
Moses,
distorted by a bl ind priesthood, was now as sounding brass and
tinkling symbols; where this same Word, speaking again through
the
lips of Jesus, had been silenced on the cross, they would make
their first stand for His deathless Truth.
     In Jerusalem a great new power lifted up the twelve.
Preaching
boldly in the streets, even in the cloisters of the Temple, they
proclaimed the Kingdom with tongues of fire. This power streamed
through their very hands. They touched a cripple; he leapt to his
feet and walked. The sick they healed with a touch. Multitudes
followed after them. Multitudes entered this living.Faith. Then
the
priests rose up, even as Herod had risen to slay the babes of
Bethl ehem. The wrath of the Synagogues broke like unto a raging
sea
against a rock, and hencef orth, the Lord ' s discipl es endured
great
tribulation.
     I, in the meantime, tarried in Galilee, where I dwelt in the
house of the mother of John, the home al so of the hol y mother
that house alive with the memories of a vanished Paradise, with
echoes of divine footsteps . And thus twel ve years went by --
weary
years to me, for I chaf ed at the peace of our lives i-n
Capernaum
while in perilous Judea our brethren laboured and suffered and
some
di ed .
     Moreover ( to tel l the truth), though the house sti l l
throbbed
with the life of Him that had blessed it, what was this compared
with the throb of His vigorous body aflame with His soul 's
ef fulgence ! What was this compared with the wonder of those
other
days when we, the eighteen bereft ones, praying together,
listening
for a voice, would be caught up in divine fire! Not even John was
left to us now. He had joined the apostles in Jerusalem. And
moments there were in these heavy days when my thoughts would
grope
like the hands of the blind toward yet-another who had vanished,
whose parting words had been, "These who forced my going would do
wel 1 to look to my return" . . . yet . . .who returned not .
     Once onl y had news of Novatus reached me, Paul the
unwitting
bearer ! This intrepid convert who, in advance of us al 1, had
gone
forth to spread the faith in new regions, had returned from
Achaia
with a strange tal e of the Governor of that province, one Junius
Gallo.
     Gallo was by birth, Paul told us, of the gens Annaea,
brother
to Seneca (my heart lost a beat at this) - Marcus Annassa
Novatus.
He had taken an adopted name with a fortune bequeathed him by an
old friend. With him Paul had had a Curious encounter -- he knew
not, he said, what to make of it. When the Jews of Corinth had
selzed him and brought him before the judgment seat of Gallo,

+82

charged with the teaching of unlawful worship, this Roman had
released Paul, rebuked the Jews, and suffered their leader,
Sosthenes, to be beaten in his very presence. At the foot of the
judgment seat the man was 1 ashed at the express command of Gal l
o,
he 1 ooking on meantime with a weary contempt . And so prompt had
been his decision that he, Paul, had had not a chance to speak in
his own defence, the which he had opened his lips to do!
     What was it had led Novatus to protect a Christian (albeit
with such disdain) if not some thought of me? Yet he came not
back . . . he came not back . . . and, 1 ost in this neW name, a
stranger
indeed was he now.
     Thus I crept through the years. For even by the sea of
Galilee, in this blessed city of Capernaum, the chosen home of
our
Lord while He lived in the body, unto Which He returned from each
journey to rest in- the dwellings of His loved ones; where
multitudes pressing about Him had witnessed His wondrous works
with
awe ... even here His dazzling image had faded from the minds of
men.
He had given up life itself in cruel agony, that men might know
eternal life ... yet ... He had been slain by human hands, and
for
this, belief in Him was dead! Some still held Him in their
hearts,
Reuben, the outcast, being of the faithful. Alas, that so few
f 1 ames werelef t -- 1 ow-burning midst the dying embers and
grey
ashes - on these shores where His gl ory had kindl ed great fires
.
     The holy mother, a spirit clothed in flesh, her eyes like
mirrors of a brighter world, her lips sealed over its secrets,
tirelessly ministered unto the sad and lonely With the soft touch
of her love. All their little perplexities, their griefs, she
took
to the bosom of her tenderness . BUt she spoke scarce at al 1 of
the
Lord's teachings, for to none would she offer an undesired cup,
nor
lay the burden of a great truth on any soul too weak for it. So
by
deeds she taught, her labours being in the field of human woe;
Mary, the mother of John, cheerfully aiding her. And with such
humble service her soul was content.
     It was~ I -- I alone -- who chaffed at the emptiness of the
days.
And oft would I think in my heart: Is this , then, the cross I
bore
down Olivet -- to sit with folded hands while others sacrifice
life
to seed the earth with the knowl edge of the Kingdom?
     And then, in the spring of the year just past, which is to
say
the thirteenth year since our Lord was crucified, all things
changed .
     One night as we sat in that chamber facing the sea where, on
the eve of the bl oodiest of Passovers, our Lord had taught us of
happiness -- we three women al one, Mary and I at the knees of
the
holy mother -- the door swung open and we saW John,
travel-stained,
pale in the candle-light, distraught.
     Oft before had he come With cruel news. We had heard of
Christians flogged and put into bonds, of women dragsed to the
prison-house. . . the stabbing of James the Less and the stoning
of
our glorious Stephen. We had seen John anxious and sorrowful. But

+83

never till now had we seen in his face ... fear. What then had
befallen our brethren worse than such suf ferings?
     He greeted us each with a kiss, then sank heavi 1 y into a
chair.
     Fear sharp in our own hearts, yet questioning him not, his
mother and I set food and wine bef ore him and an ewer and basin
that he might ref resh himsel f. BUt he pushed al 1 these aside
and
began his tale. His tones were calm, his words -- at the first -
too
careful.
     "I have made this long journey," he said, "to consult with
you
three on a grave issue which, if we find not the way to meet it,
 will bring down much troubl e on us al 1 .
     "But a short time since, while Peter and I stood on a street
corner preaching, a mul titude of men compassed us about, and
when
we had done, begged that we baptize them. I liked not the faces
of
these men, but to Peter all are the sheep of the Lord and,
whether
or no they be hungry, he must feed them. Later, they conf essed
to ... the worst of crimes! They had been, they told us," --
John's
voice broke -- "of that pack of beasts that h-owled for the blood
of
our Lord, and afterwards mocked Him. . . on the cross . Duped by
their
priests, used as tools, they swore. They appeared half mad with
remorse .
     "Now Peter has just uncovered a pl ot they have hatched . To
avenge the wrongs at the hands of the priests, and also, they
say,
the death of their Messiah, they have planned to slay al 1 who
deceived them. And not alone these, but the rulers ... elders.
And
should such a massacre take place (though Peter is striving with
all his might to prevent it), should men believed to be
Christians
start a bloody conflict with the Jews ... " He buried his face in
his
hands and groaned, then looked up with tortured eyes. "If the
Jews
retaliate and in turn massacre us ... when have we ever feared
death?
But . . . this blot on our Faith. . . "
"Oh, let us go to our Lord," I cried. "Let us seek His guidance,
for naught else can deliver us from this. "
"He has promised to be with us always, " murmured the mother of
John, weeping.
Then spoke the hol y mother .
     "Be not so troubled, John. Have we not heard the Lord say
that
if for a single moment the heart become distrustful, at that
moment
the bounty of God would be cut off from it? Had He not also said
that al 1 power in heaven and earth is His? ~ould He deliver His
cause into the hands of shame? Verily, it is clear, John. Our
part
is but to have faith, to seek, as Mary has said, ~is guidance,
and
then to act boldly upon it . "
     And now ... how dare I write of that which befell me as we
prayed, when the voice that answered laid a comma'nd on me ...
such a
command as no mortal could obey unl ess divinely aided?
     John heard the voice. We others felt in the air that mighty
throbbing. The masnitude of an unseen Presence burned from above

+84

upon us, wrapped us about with its tingling life, pricked through
our skin and invaded our hearts, and with a now unnameabl e
sense,
long ago opened in each of us, we touched the very Being of our
Lord.
     Now John began to speak, his face a center of light
straining
upward to catch the soundless words. And while he gave utterance
to
them I bowed my head low, amazed, weighed down by their import.
For
with his eyes of me, John said:
     "This is for you, Mary . You must depart at once for Rome .
The
apostles must send you thither With a message for Peter to
Caesar.
Having gained access to Caesar, ,you are to give this message by
word of mouth . You are to of fer a pl ea in behal fof these
endangered priests, beseeching for them the Imperial protection.
Thus will the mercy taught from the cross by the King of kings be
revealed before the earth's loftiest throne.
     "Meantime," said John "(and this is for all) there is naught
to fear. Those others - verily crazed by remorse - who seek
vengeance on the priests will be held in check by a hand stronger
than Peter's, mightier than Ceasar's. Why should your hearts be
troubl ed by such a test? Know ye not that al 1 are but vassal s
of
the Lord, standing by His command, serving ~is ultimate purpose?
In
this journey to Rome lies a consummate wisdom and in it momentous
results are hid. Others Will follow Mary's steps; for now,
verily,
has the hour struck when ye, the heralds of the Kingdom, must
scatter to the nations . "
     And then in my heart I heard secret words.
      "You first, my daughter, my beloved daughter, shall uplift
the
banner of my love in Rome."

+85

            XIX

     BIDDING farewell to Galilee, I set sail within the week from
Joppa, alone ... yet not alone. For now, while our galley rolled
in
the waves of an endless sea, my Lord was ever with me. I felt Him
within, through and around me, as an ocean surges in a drop. And
night after night I saw Him in dreams, always in His human
f orm. . . even as f1 esh and bone and bl ood, cl ad in rough
homespun,
lifting me up with His buoyancy and the resonant swing of His
voice
and intoxicating my heart. Once He appeared robed in white --
effulgent, exultant, lavishing on me, with smiles and eager
gestures, the bounty of a new promise. Feasting my eyes on His
gl ory , I thought: Am I still then a chi 1 d that He shoul d of
fer me
a gift? Why should He think I lack aught while I drink this
strong
wine of His nearness? And I listened not to His promise.
Wherefore,
when I awoke I knew not what i t had been .
     At last we anchored at Ostia and by nightfal li entered Rome
.
     I had with me a letter from Paul to a Jew named Malachi, a
porter in the Hebrew quarter. This man gave me a kindly welcome
and, his insula being full, lodged me in an attiC room. And here
at
the window that night I sank to my knees and cried out to the
heavens. For now as never before was I aware of my littleness. No
longer was Rome a dream, a phantom city in the distance, dwarfed
by
my faith in this mission of the Lord's. Now it lay before my very
eyes, solid and vast and dark beneath the stars, its building
marching in masses up the hills for as far as the eye could see ,
five hills crowned with great columned piles. And I must somehow
--
I knew not how --seek out the ruler of all this ... nay, of half
the
world besides ... and impart unto him, Caesar, the mercy of the
~ing
of kings.
     But when I fell asleep on my pallet, again my Lord came in a
dream to me, and now I remembered His words - even as I awoke I
heard their echoing -- and verily, they shamed me!
     "Your only hindrances are fear a~d doubt." Then: "Must I
speak
to you ... to you of fear and doubt?"
     There was one in Rome who could, if he would, gain me an
audience with Caesar -- the senator, Lucius Vitellius, once
Proconsul in Syria. BUt I put no trust in this man. For a
fanatical
Christian he would have little use. Still, other than he, I knew
not a soul in the city save the kindly porter, Malachi ! Of these
many thousand doors but one was open to me . Nor coul d I be sure
i f
this were open. Howbeit, I had no choice. There was naught to do
but knock at this door. If it should close in my face, God would
provide me another.
     Hence, on the morning of my first day in Rom~, having
enquired
of Malachi and learned that Vitellius dwelt on the Palatine Hill,
.nade ready to see;~ him without del ay .
     I had but a single tunic beside the one I wore -- a tunic of
rich pomegranate stuff broidered with threads of gold. In those

+86

days, so long ago that they seemed as days of another life, when
fled from my poor Novatus to rejoin the Shepherd's fold, I had
secretly carried it with me. I took it away and had ever kept it,
for remembrance' sake, this being the robe in Which I appeared
most
pleasing in my lover's sight. No need had I of such raiment in
the
humble fold of the Shepherd and I had worn it not til 1 this day
.
But now, in hope to please Vitellius and win him, if might be, to
my plan, I bedecked myself in the crimson folds. Then I covered
my
head with a blue veil and bound it with a golden tasseh. I scarce
knew myself when I held up my mirror! And a trace of an earlier
Mary, lingering within me still, exulted for that thus arrayed I
need have no fear to meet Vitellius. . .nor the Emperor himself !
     And so, in the gold-banded robe and with gold-ringed head I
descended the many stairs from my attic and stepped forth into an
al ley, where the gutters ran with filth, and naked and dirty
children romped in noisy play. I walked till I reached a wider
street and there found a litter with idle bearers. This I hired
forthwith, that I might in fitting mode approach Vitellius. And
soon we came to the Tiber, which we crossed by one of a row of
bridges spanning that muddy stream.

     I had seen naught of Rome last night save the wretched
alleys
I had traversed to reach the Hebrew quarter, and that view of its
mess from my casement. Now I peered eagerly into the narrow
-streets
swarming wi th boisterous crowds . To the right andlef t I 1
ooked up
high walls -- pink, bluish white, some a dingy brown -- broken by
bal conies and windows, with boxes dripping vines .and f1 owers .
In
the 1 ower story of these tal 1 houses booths lined the pavement,
their counters jutting across it, garlands looped along their
cornices, plaques to the side, on which were painted the genii of
each shop, a god or a yel 1 ow serpent . At the cross-roads I saw
little niches set into the walls for the gods of
street-crossings,
where passers-by laid their humble offerings.
     My bearers swung round a corner and I caught my breath,
unprepared for this sudden vision of splendour. For now we were
in
the via Nova, and, down a long vista of marble flagging, I
beheld. . . the Forum.
     On each side of me rose great buildings of white, green,
blue
and orange-hued marble. Through their colonnades moved a close-
packed throng, in which nobles in the bordered toga and women
with
high-coifed hair, sleek as silk in tight-fitting tunic and draped
palla, elbowed their way past beggars, shaggy blonds from the
north
wearing beasts' skins, blacks naked bUt for the loin-cloth, red-
skirted soldiers with flashing helmets .
     Jogging in my litter toward the Forum I saw its wide square
aglitter in the sun with white, gold and strong colour -- white
temples, their columns surmounted by red, green and gilded
pediments; heroic statues gaudily painted; basilicas niched with
statues; even on roofs the statues perched, some winged, about to

+87

fly! Cascading fountains, like unto crystal will ow trees,
showered
into great basins. Here and there the needle of a single column
lifted to the sky a golden god. Two hills rose behind all this,
temples climbing their terraces. On one stood the Capitol. On the
other the Palatine itself reared its mighty bulk, in pillared
porches, bronze domes and pinnacles.
     The Pal~tine i tself. I looked up awed at its grandeur. This
then was my goal. Into this forbidding ma jesty I must force my
way
to its heart, the throne-room. But how?
     My bearers mounted the hill and , running al ong in the
shadow
of the palace, at last reached the quarter of the senators and
the
knights. And ere I was ready in my mind to meet Vitellius, I was
at
the gate of his house. A slave opened to me. His master, he said,
was at the senate. Would I wait? He was expected soon. I heaved a
sigh of relief for this respite and waited.
     The slave led me. into a little oval room, through the door
of
which I could look into the atrium, could see a frescoed panel
framed by two columns, a statue in the aisle, a glimpse of the
lily-bordered pool. And the calm of this white stateliness
invaded
my whole being and filled me with peace, and I thought: An
atrium.
A pool . A Bacchante on the wal 1. . . soaring with a cup . . .
     Now I heard a step . Vitel lius had come, and as yet I had
not
planned what to say to him! And I sent up a prayer for help.
     Then I saw one crossing my vista . . . a man in a scarl et
tunic
banded with purple. The light from above streamed on his grey
hair
and silvered it to shining white. ~And my heart leapt to my
throat ... as I had felt it would never do again.
     He turned and came toward this oval room. And now I could
see
his dear face . . . and the changes there . How he has suf fered,
I
thought. I rose, my heart pounding. He stood in the doorway.
     "Mary. "
     That whisper was like to a cry, such pain was in it. A great
pang stabbed me ... and then ... my old love awoke from its sleep
of

     And yet could this be the old 1 ove? For as I gazed once
more
on my Novatus, ~ knew that even should he hate me, or. . . care
too
little to hate, should I pass utterly from his mind, a forgotten
play thing, valueless to him, I should ever re joice in this
living
stream of love now gushing forth so free from an inexhaustibl e
spring within me, asking not even to give . Al li asked was to
love . . . like this.
     Ah, his face ! How its suf fering smote me now he stood so
close, pale beneath the whitened hair (only the eyebrows dark,
and
those starved eyes), the once firm modelling broken into a hurt
looseness; all its forms deeper, thinner, as if the finger;, of
some
great sculptor had pressed into every hollow, flickered over
every
plane, and in places pinched away the clay.
     Could it be he was blind to my tumult, my passion of
tenderness? Not that it mattered ... now ... but why should he
stiffen,

+88

close himself against me as in a coat of mail? I had made no
answer
for that I coul d not.
     He spoke again, as
constrained.

he would to a stranger, his voice

     "You ... here? What can have brought you to Rome, O Mary?"
     Now I must find words. I forced a light tone, bUt it
trembled
like to a stretched lyre-string.
     "You shall hear! But first tell me of yourself, Novatus. I
bel ieved you to be in Corinth . "
     "I was recalled and came but yesterday."
     Yesterday? I thought. Yesterday I came.
     "I have answered your question. Will you not answer mine?"
Stil1 he held himself in that tight control. "Tel1 me, what
brings
you here?"
      will tell him, I thought, and in straight words, for then
he
will laugh and be simple with me.
"I am come on an errand to Caesar. "
     At this verily he unbent ! His brows went up. The old satire
darted into his eyes. The old humour played across his upper lip,
as he mocked me in his way of 1 ong ago .
     "And what may this matter of state be?"
     Now my words f1 owed free and happi 1 y .
     "I know not enough, Novatus, to meddle in matters of state!
I
am come" -- I turned grave --"from the Christians to bear a
reguest
to Caesar, and today I ventured to seek Vitellius, hoping he
would
take me to the Palatine."
     "Vitellius? Nay, Vitellius will not take you, Mary. Come,
sit
and tel 1 me the nature of the Christians ' appeal to Caesar. "
     He led me to a bench, and frankly I told him the whole
story,
touching on the great oppression we had suf fered from the Jewish
priests, yet making it clear that we must protect our foes, as
well
as safeguard our Faith. And he sat beside me, silent and grim,
his
eyes bent upon the floor, so that I could read them not, but I
saw
a muscle twitch in his cheek and knew that my words in some wa~
stirred him. Howbeit, when at last he turned and looked full on
me,
the fire in his eyes amazed me.
     "Fool that I was," he burst forth, "to have left you so long
exposed to danger in that accursed place! That my letter went
unanswered. . . "
     "You wrote? No letter reached me. . . "
     "And the bearer assured me he had del ivered it into saf e
hands ! I poured forth so much in that letter. Then,
waiting. . .waiting for some message. . . I remembered bitterly
your
last words to me ... that my love for you mattered not. Still ...
I
should have come myself to you! Forgive me, Mary. "
     "Nay, " I said, "it is I that should ask your forgiveness
for
al li have made you to suf fer . "
     He flashed me a glance . . . qui'ck . . . sharp, as if he
could not
believe. Then a great glow overspread his face and colour tided

+89

into it.
     "Mary ... you love me still?"
"Love never dies," I whispered.
     He turned and seized me. I could not escape his arms, his
kisses, nor stem the flood of his words.
     "What you have been to me! And now ... this meeting ...
proof that
we cannot part. Life without yo~ has not been ... life. That
happiness I thought lost ... Never again will I let you go, my
Mary!
As in the old days ... "
     "Ah, no!" Swifter than thought the words came.
     He loosed me and put me off from him, his eyes searching
mine ... and now they burned softly.
     He knows, I thought, reads what I cannot say.
     At last he spoke.
     "Mary, there are no barriers."
     How great is the wealth of God! We fling our lives at His
feet, but can these enrich Him? He gives them back to us with a
smile! He says: "Yield me your heart." And when the heart is
verily
yielded, all it has loved with the love that knows no swerving,
is
restored forever. And if even He say, through the lips of a
sacrificed messenger, "Take up your cross and follow Me." He
leads
us ... it may be through blood ... into His deathless Kingdom,
where we
find our treasures immortal.
     Long ago The Beloved of the World sought me where I sat on
Temple steps, weeping tears of hopeless grief for that I had
driven
my lover away with a lie, and that lover had threatened the
life. And He, my Lord, had dried my tears with a touch and a
word.
The touch of His finger tips; the words ... a prophecy: "When you
have verily given up, your lover shall come after you."
     Who but the Lord of the future could have foreseen so
strange
a seeking ... finding, or a consummation fraught with such great
portent? For now, joined outwardly in betrothal, within we two
were
aware of the fusion of our inmost beings, fathoms below the
stress
of mortal life, in that region where run the deep waters of the
eternal oneness. And ere on that day of days we bade each other a
brief farewell, Novatus made me this promise:
     "I will take you myself to Caesar, Mary ... my wife."

+90
          XX

WITHIN TWO DAYS Novatus took me to Claudius Caesar.
     We walked beneath a sweeping arch, on the top of which four
white horses pranced to the sky, behind them, driving a marble
chariot, Apollo and Diana. Thence, down the via Sacra, a long
corridor of fluted columns that led to a mountain of white steps
flanked by giant cypresses.
     We climbed the steps and entered a colonnaded hall, very
long
and lofty. Its walls were a dusty red, like to the bloom on a
pomegranate, frescoed with figures of heroic size in cool, bluish
colours, and with trellises of fruit and vines, and partitioned
at
the far end with a massive purple curtain. Knights and senators
thronged the colonnade, seeking audience with Caesar, but the
guardsled us quickl y past them, down the 1 ong vista of the hal
1
and into another extension of it, also closed in the distance by
purpl e hangings . We passed through, and again 1 ooked down a
vista
of red frescoed walls and columns to another purple curtain,
dropping to the pavement in austere fol ds .
     Such an approach prepared me for an august presence. But
when
the guards looped the third set of curtains and at last we stood
in
the throne room, I saw --still in the distance --a simple man,
who,
though his curule chair was raised on a gilded dais and his head
wreathed with its crown of oak leaves, seemed scarce to know that
he was Caesar, or that his chair was a throne. Less haughty was
he
than any of his courtiers waiting without.
     As we drew nigh to the dais I saw that his face wore a baf
f1 ed
look and twitched now and then in little spasms, that his kind
eyes
blinked, his mouth quirked at the corners, and above his long
nose
his eyebrows peaked, as if ever asking a question. When his eyes
rested on me, they grew very kind.
      had warned my bel oved to speak not of our betrothal, for
wished to approach the Emperor in al 1 simpl icity, as a humbl e
f ol 1 ower of the Lord Christ . Wheref ore, when I was
presented, it
was but as Mary of Magdala, who had come to bear a petition to
the
Imperial Presence from the Christians of Jerusalem. And then, to
gain me a little time, Novatus talked on other matters with
Cl audius, while I stood intent on this man raised on his throne,
thinking: Here then is the great rul er of Rome . . . and here am
I ! God
help me to do His will ... God help me!
     But as I watched his twitching face pity filled my heart for
this Caesar . For by now I had heard his whol e story . I knew
that
al 1 Rome had taken him for a fool, mocked or neglected him, and
even his own mother, shamed by her son's deformities, despised
him.
     knew that the few he dared to 1 ove had been torn from him
and
foully murdered, and he owed his own hapless life to naught save
its inconsequence. His very Empire he owed but to the whim of the
soldiers who, on that horrible day of the murder of Caligula,
when
all in the palace were fleeing, had dragged poor Claudius out by

+91

the feet from under a bed and, first having made a bUtt of him,
for
a jest set him on the throne . And when the time was come for me
to
speak, I was aware that Love itsel fspoke through me, albeit my
words were simpl e .
I began:
     "O Augustus! Surely you know of Him we Christians follow,
the
Lord Jesus Christ?"
     He bent upon me his mild loo3~.
     "I have heard but a rumour of Him. Of the Christian sect I
know a little more. Was not this Jesus a young thaumaturgist who,
in the reign of my uncl e Tiberias, gathered about Himsel fa
fol lowing and stirred up some trouble in Judea? I have forgot
how
the matter ended. "
     "The Christians believe, O Augustus, He was more than a
thaumaturgi s t . "
     "More? How more?"
     In few words I spoke of Israel 's hope -- that a holy One
would
come by the wil 1 of God to earth to set up an empire not of this
world, wherein all peoples would be united in an age-long reign
of
peace and justice. "Even aS Seneca has foreseen; " I said.
     "Seneca, yes," smiled Claudius. "Also this minds me of Plato
and his ideal republic. I have ever thought it would take a god
--
or a succession of gods --to bring to pass such a dream in this
our
world. Know you that here in Rome there is talk of the coming of
a
god-man? "
     "In Rome? You in Rome have this prophecy too? We Christians
believe it to be fulfilled in one whose life wa's no dream, but a
real ity beyond al 1 dreams . "
     "Where then is this one now? I take it He is that same you
say
is more than a thaumaturgist . "
     "Alas, 'He has been crucified."
     "Crucified?" Plain it was that in Caesar's mind were two
ques t i ons . H e as k ed fi r s t:
     "Can a god-man di e?
     "Nay, O Caesar ... a god-man cannot die!"
     "How was it that He was crucified? And by whom, O noble
lady?
What had Rome to do with this?"
     I replied that Pontius Pilate had been the means, but our
Jewish priests the cause; they fearing the power of Jesus, whose
precepts must of necessity strip them of their privileges.
     "Once in the Temple, " I said, "I saw Him seize a whip and
drive the money-chang,ors from i ' s cl oisters . "
     "Ah, He was a man of action. "
     "BUt this was His only act of violence. It was His sweet
persuasion our priests and elders feared, and that He taught the
people. . . love. For love, O Caesar, is an overturning power in
an
age of greed. Yet He was no rebel . Mysel fI have heard Him say,
"Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar ' s, and to God
the
thing;, that are God ' s . "

+92

     "He sounds like a sensible man," said Caesar, nodding his
head. "Go on with your story, O Mary Magdalena. I would hear why
Pilate yielded to such vermin."
     And then he did a gracious thing. He bade me sit.
     "I know not why I have kept you standing so long, eXCept
that
you had me in a spell. And you too Gallio, sit. I will come down
to
you." And he raised himself from his throne, hobbled down the
steps
of the dais and seated himsel fin a great chair by the wal 1, and
we
sat beside him. "Now your story. What of Pilate?"
     "He understood not the Jews, O Caesar, and our whole land
was
seething against him. I know not what threat the priests held
over
him, only that he feared to thwart them. But it was against his
wil 1 he yielded. And no blame can be laid upon Rome. "
     "You are just, O Mary. "
     "I am but the pupil of a god-man. "
     "How is it," now Claudius turned to Novatus, "you did not
yoursel favert this? Were you not in Judea at the time, known to
t hi s 1 ady? "
     And my dear one answered:
     "Pilate, who knew I was bent on averting it, by a subtle
trick
which I could not circumvent, rid himself of me, despatched me to
~ome on some fictitious errand the very day of the execution.
There
was no time. The whole dastardly thing, the arrest of Jesus and
His
death, was precipitated within ten hours. I have thought it part
of
some bargain with the Tetrarch whereby Pilate saved his skin in
Judea. For, as the lady Mary has hinted, the Jews detested him.
He
had outraged them and their religion by forcing upon them certain
policies deifying Tiberias, and they wanted bUt little excuse to
bring him low in the eyes of that very sovereign he would
flatter. "
     "Ah, well," said Caesar, "Pilate is already running down
hill.
Too weak, too thick-headed is he to last long politically. Tell
me,
O Mary, " he blinked at me, "is it your belief that the
punishment
of a man is but the offspring of his own acts?"
     "Indeed I believe this, Caesar. An act, iS it not like a
seed
with a whol e tree in it?"
     "And vengeance, " mused Caesar, "is this not an interf
erence
which but confuses the issue?"
     "strange you should speak of vengeance, O Augustus . "
     "Why strange? Revenge is in most men's thoughts."
     "But it has to do with my petition. "
     "You seek vengeance? On the priests . . . ?"
     "Oh, no ... no. I am come to ask your protection for them."
     Claudius fixed his gaze upon me and his face was all but
beauteous in its benignity.
     "Present your petition, Mary Magdelena. "
     "It is not in written form. With your permission, I wil 1
tel 1

     And I spoke fully of the plot hatched in Jerusalem to avenge
 the wronqs of the priests ' dupes and the death of their
Messiah.

+93

     "Unphilosophical, O Mary, but an impulse scarce surprising."
     "Ah, yes, but we are Christians, Caesar, and these men have
taken our name. And now we must safeguard our Faith, which
teaches
not such thin~s. We would also save these Jews from crime and
shield the lives of the priests."
     "Shield the lives of the priests?"
     "Surely, Augustus. Our Lord taught mercy. Even on the cross
He
taught it, praying with His last breath for those that had hung
Him
there and for all who mocked Him as He died. This was His prayer
on
the cross, 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they
do.'

     Steadfastly gazing on the Emperor while I spoke, I saw tears
start to his eyes.
     "Wherefore," I went on, "we Christians implore you to issue
an
imperial edict to the Proconsul at Jerusalem (who has come to
favour the Christians and has no liking for the Jews) that the
priests have guards set over them by the Government. So will this
plot to slay them, checked for the moment by our chief apostle,
be
brought to naught. Furthermore we hope, and our hope is in
Caesar's
clemency, not even the plotters need suffer death."
     "Such is the message, O Augustus, which has been entrusted
to
me."
     In-so-far as I can recall them, these are the words that
passed that day between the Emperor and me. His last words are
graven on my heart.
     Leaning out from his chair, his bewildered face working,
those
tears that had sprung at the mention of the mocked Lord Jesus now
coursing down the ridges in his cheeks, he stammered:
     "In all my life I have ne~er heard the like-of this. Those
priests who forced Pilate to execute Him ye worship, who are even
now harassing you, who ... should I save them ... will cease not
to
hound you ... . Well, if you wish it, have it! Noble lady, your
request is granted. I will at once send despatches [sic] to
Jerusalem. But I am tempted", now he smiled, "to command that you
remain in Rome under the Imperial Protection. Moreover" - again
those peaked brows, those peering eyes put me in mind of an
endless
quest - "I would hear more of your God of mercy, O Mary of
Magdala."

     Novatus and I left the Palatine in silence. At last he
spoke:
     "Mary, you have touched the heart of Claudius."
     "Claudius," I said, "may be Emperor, but he is a sad and
lonely man."
     "In Rome's high places, Mary, are many sad and lone}y
hearts.
Our murderous Emperors have seen to this. There is scarce a
patrician family that has not been decimated by the whims o-f the
divine Caesars. I know these people. We will bring them a new
hope."
     "We ... oh, Novatus!"

+94

     "Your Master once wounded my pride and it bled to death. I
am
grateful, Mary, my beloved, to have any memory of Him - even one
for which I blush."

+95

           XXI

     NOW WEDDED for the space of half a year, Novatus and I on an
autumn evening strolled the white paths of our garden. Across a
wide lawn of formal planting, of marble benches and herms, our
villa stood, its old yellow brick gold in the afterglow.
     The senator, Lucius Vitellius, had but just left us in the
garden, where for long he had sat in a great stone chair, his
paunch uplifting his toga, chatting on the news of Rome, and
there
had been that in his talk which had made me to shrink in horror
from him, the thought of which still tormented me. For he had
told
us with relish of an abominable crime committed against ten
slaves
by Cassius Longinus, who, suspecting these of mutiny, had huddled
them off in chains to the arena, and there, on that very day,
forced some of them to combat with the gladiators and some with
the
wild beasts.
     I screamed. Vitellius cast me a glance and laughed, and his
belly shook.
     "What would you have us to do?" he said. "These dogs
outnumber
us by the thousand. Should they come to realiz~ their power and
rise in rebellion against us - and among them are intelligent
ones,
men of rank in their own little nations - what would be left of
our
Rome? Anicetus ended the mutiny in his household by throwing a
few,
alive, to the fishes. There are, to be sure, the slave prisons
... "
     "Dens of torture and infamy!" flashed Novatus.
     "But, I was about to say, a punishment too habitual to cow
them. This, praise the gods, has been done today."
     I turned in loathing from his sleek face, glossed over with
the bland content of the wellfed, with its frosty eyes, its gross
nostrils, its full, curling lips, the ball of a chin half-buried
in
shaven jowls and a roll of fat below it; and it seemed to me my
heart collapsed as I felt within it the dying agonies of those
helpless slaves, dragged to the beasts in the arena, trembling
before great yawning, shaggy jaws. And Novatus - solicitous eyes
on
me - turned the talk to other things.
     Now walking beside him, still shaken, I said:
     "Novatus, fear rules this city."
     "With good cause," he sighed.
     "The nobles fear not alone their slaves, but men ... yes,
and
women, too, of their own rank, for the moment above them in
power.
They are caught betwixt two mill-stones," I said. "As for the
powerful, they fear one another. Even at the royal banquet ...
that
sea of faces, Novatus, beneath the circlets, the garlands ... how
they struck a chill into my heart! Fear was behind their very
grimaces. Some put me in mind of spoiled fruit and sickened me.
Others were like unto masks. And the Empress ... Messalina! When
I
looked on her in all her beauty, perfect and cold as a statue,
but
one thing alive in her face, her darting eyes, and poor Claudius
tipsy beside her, his wreath awry, I myself felt fear."

+96

     "Messalina is a murderess," said Novatus, his jaw set
grimly.
"She has murdered many."
     "It is true that through her intriguing Julia died?"
     "She has destroyed two Julias, the niece of Tiberias and his
grandchild."
     "It is of her - the younger - I hear Pomponia speak.
Novatus,
I love Pomponia. She is valiant like unto a youth and in her is a
stern strength. How she mourns her cousin, Julia. Ever she is
haunted by her image, so white in death. White she was in life,
Pomponia says, rare and pure."
"Julia was indeed pure compared with Rome's wicked women" -
      beloved darkened - "who concern themselves with
      naught but new forms of sensory pleasures ... strange and
terrible
      pleasures."
     "Pomponia had turned unto me for comfort." I said. "This
morning I sat long with her, speaking of eternal life and the
deathless bonds of love. Even she let me take her into my arms
while I tried to soothe her grief. I told her not of the Lord,
but
this I shall do in time, I know."
     "Little by little," Novatus answered me, "by means of such
tender friendship, we shall win many to the DispelIer of
Sorrows."
     I ~ressed his hand, my heart full, and

few steps in
silence. Then I spoke a thought which had been much in my mind of
late.
     "Seneca," I said, "is wise and noble. Oft when he visits us
here he says wondrous things, worthy of an apostle. He too
believes
in one God and in justice and mercy toward our fellow-men and a
reign of peace in the future. It is as though he had caught a ray
from the risen sun of Jesus. His words have more beauty than
Paul's
and more lucidity. Yet, despite all these gifts - knowledge and
wisdom and art, and rank with them, he has influenced not the
life
of Rome."
     "His words are but words ... empty shells, Mary. Seneca has
not
the courage to live his philosophy. Hence, it has little effect,
save to charm the mind."
     "Ah, yes, I once heard the Master say: 'Great is the power
of
the intellect, but it is of no avail till it has become the
servant
of love.' "
     "And love," Novatus mused, "is the one force strong enough
to
generate the true courage. Mary, I have seen in battle what men
call courage. Greed, fear and bloodlust lie at the bottom of
this ... in the motives of such as make war and the passions of
many
that serve it. I have seen the courage of helpless patricians at
a
word from a mad Emperor opening veins and dying in cynical calm.
But sublime courage I never witnessed till I saw you, my beloved,
standing so confident before Caesar ... straight as a lance, with
your kindled eyes and your incredible plea!
     "Dear child," he looked down on me with a brave and tender
compassion, "you have escaped those hounds in Judea loosed again
on

+97

the Christians, alas, through your intervention, but in this
degenerate city, governed by brutes that claim divinity, you will
run a greater risk ... eyen with me at your side. Treachery
stalks
Claudius. No Roman Emperor dies in his bed and this just
Emperor's
days are numbered. Who will reign in his stead, what lies before
us ... none can foresee. You, Mary, know not fear, and I shall
uphold
you in all you may do, and shall labour with you, and with John
and
Peter when they come. But to uplift the banner of the love of
Christ in Rome will require the sublime courage."
     "To my mind but belief, Novatus. And when John a-nd Peter
come ... when they come," I cried, "we four shall be as a strong
foundation, and then will the truth resound in Rome as those two
herald it in the streets!"
     "They will run into death," said Novatus, his face strangely

     "But out of the nothingness of death" - and a great joy
swelled within me - "God shall breed life."
     "Again we strolled for a little in silence. I, for one, deep
in thought. At last I said:
     "Beloved, you have raised me to a high estate, and together
we
mingle with the great in Rome and choose for our friends the
afflicted among them ... for our own sweet reasons. We have so
won
Caesar himself that he wishes to meet our chief apostle. And for
all this I praise God ... and you! Yet my thoughts turn back to
the
plight of the slaves and because of my pity upon them I would
also
reach out to these with mine own hands. I long to tell them with
my
own lips that they are free in God's Ringdom."
     "God's Ringdom," said Novatus softly, and I saw, as I lifted
my eyes to him, humility resting on him like a dove. "Is it not
the
true republic, the fusion of the great and lowly in an Order
which
will protect its every member? Even I see" - his eyes grew wide -
"the fusion of great and little peoples in a world-embracing
State.
And they who serve the one ~ing ... Him who was son of a
carpenter ... will know not if they be g     ~~

                 Assuredly we
will gather in the slaves."
     And my heart gave thanks for the mighty vision my Lord had
vouchsafed to Novatus - such as none had seen till now - and I
cried:
     "Oh my dear one, my beloved, I burn to begin the work of
this
Kingdom. Must we wait for the coming of John and Peter? May not
we
two begin? For we have but a single heart between us and that
heart
open to the Lord."
     "Not two are we then, but a host, Mary."
     "How and where shall we begin?"
      "Come," said my beloved, "come to the house and I will show
you. "
      "Will you not tell me now?"
      "Nay," he smiled, "for the answer is in the house."

+98

     And he turned with me into
     Felix opened the door to
haired.
light, Felix,"
a path that led to the portico.
us, a little bent now and white-

     "We need
lararium."
     We passed through to the atrium, fragrant with odours of
sandalwood and of aromatic oils, dripping from lamps. A stately
hall. The lamps glowed dimly in its great spaciousness reflecting
on the sheen of old wood panelling and the polished mosaic floor,
lighting up here and there some treasure from the past ... a
yellowed
statue of Eros, a cylice, a black-figured amphora, limned by the
hand of Clitias with horses and warriors.
     Novatus lifted a lamp from its stand and led the way down a
corridor.
     "Now," he said, "I will answer your question as to how and
where we may begin. One chamber there is which you have seen not
yet, my Mary. Since the day I brought you here I have kept it
locked against you. You will soon know why."
     We reached the door and Novatus flung it wide.

Novatus spoke gently, "in the


     "Our temple, wherein we shall worship, at
own free household."
with our

     I looked within and my heart leapt. Then I sobbed.
     "Why, Mary!" smiled Novatus, slipping his arm through mine,
"your eyes are two rivers of tears."
     "I am thinking, my dear beloved, of the foolish tears of
other
days, and ... that He once said to me, 'If the cloud weep not,
how
shall the meadow laugh?' "
     There, in that old lararium, above a now empty altar, the
lares all being gone, on

~ panel ... lived my Lord. Yet not
as in His earthly life. For this was the Ancient of Days, the
Word,
which through Jesus' lips had said:
" Before Abraham was, I AM . "

     A veiled head in profile, as it were descending through the
ether, on the lips a wise and tender smile, and below this head a
cross formed of two rays of light, descending from the divine
One.
     "Gaius, the Greek, did the painting, but I directed!"
Novatus
spoke lightly, to calm me. "What think you of that, my Mary?"
     "How ... you remember ... "
     "Ah, yes!" Then, as he pressed me closer: "The Messenger on
His way to earth to free all its slaves from the 'fetters of
darkness.' "

           THE END

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