528 THE JEWISH GIRL
felt the force of Christianity, a force like that of a sunbeam, which streams into my soul, however firmly I may shut my eyes against it. But I will not pain thee in thy grave, 0 my mother, I will not be unfaithful to the oath of my father, I will not read the Bible of the Christians. I have the God of my fathers to lean upon ! •
And years rolled on again.
The master died. His widow fell into poverty ; and the servant girl was to be dismissed. But Sara refused to leave the house : she became the staff in time of trouble, and kept the household together, working till late in the night to earn the daily bread through the labour of her hands; for no relative came forward to assist the family, and the widow became weaker every day, and lay for months together on a bed of sickness. Sara worked hard, and in the intervals sat kindly ministering by the sick-bed: she was gentle and pious, an angel of blessing in the poverty-stricken house.
' Yonder on the table lies the Bible,' said the sick woman to Sara. * Read me something from it this long evening: my soul thirsts for the word of the Lord.'
And Sara bowed her head. Her hands folded over the Bible themselves, which she opened and read to the sick woman. Tears stood in her eyes, which gleamed and shone with ecstasy, and light shone in her heart.
* 0 my mother,' she whispered to herself; ' thy child may not receive the baptism of the Christians, or be admitted into the congregation—thou hast willed it so, and I shall respect thy command : we will remain in union together here on earth ; but beyond this earth there is a higher union, even union in God ! He will be at our side, and lead us through the valley of death. It is He that descendeth upon the earth when it is athirst, and covers it with fruit-fulness. I understand it—I know not how I came to learn the truth ; but it is through Him, through Christ! '
And she started as she pronounced the sacred name, and there came upon her a baptism as of flames of fire, and her frame shook, and her limbs tottered so that she sank down fainting, weaker even than the sick woman by whose couch she had watched.