The Pearl Story Book A Collection of Tales, Original and Selected

The Pearl Story Book
A Collection of Tales, Original and Selected

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CHAPTER FIRST.

ABOUT A YOUNG ENGLISH MUSICIAN, AND HOW HE CAME TO SPEND THE WINTER AT MOUNT CARMEL.

great many turtle-doves lived about Mount Carmel, and there were orange-trees and cypresses there, and among these the doves lived all the winter. They had broods early in the year, and towards the end of March, or the beginning of April, they set off like great gentlefolks, to spend "the season" near London. All last winter a young English musician, who was very pale and thin, lived with the monks in the monastery on Mount Carmel. He went to Syria because when a child he had loved so to hear his mother read in the Bible about Elijah and Elisha on Mount Carmel. And he used to think then that if ever he was rich, he would go and see all the wonderful places mentioned in the Bible.

But he never was rich, and yet he came here. He was very pale, and had large and beautiful but sorrowful eyes. He took a violin with him to Mount Carmel; it was the greatest treasure he had on earth, and he played the most wonderful things on this violin that ever were heard, and everybody who heard it said that he was a great musician. In the winters he suffered very much from the cold and the fogs of England; so, last summer he saved a little money, and set off with his violin for Syria, and all last winter he lived in the monastery of Mount Carmel, among the grave old monks.

There was one little old monk, a very old man, who soon grew very fond of him; he too had been a musician, but he was now almost childish, and had forgotten how to play; and the brother monks had taken from him his old violin, because they said he made such a noise with it. He cried to part with it, like a child, poor old man!

The young musician had a little chamber in the monastery, which overlooked the sea; nobody can think what a beautiful view it had. The sun shone in so warm and pleasant, and a little group of cypresses grew just below the window.

 

The young man often and often stood at the window, and looked out upon the sea, and down into the cypress-trees, among the thick branches of which he heard the doves cooing. He loved to hear them coo, and so did the little old monk. One day early in January he saw that the turtle-doves had built a nest just in sight; he watched the birds taking it by turns to sit on the eggs, and his heart was full of love to them; they turned up their gentle eyes to him, but they never flew away, for they saw in his mild and sorrowful countenance, that he would not hurt them.

Beautiful and melancholy music sounded for half of the day down from his window to where the birds sat; it had a strange charm for the doves, they thought it was some new kind of nightingale come down from heaven. The little old monk sat in his Carmelite frock, with his hands laid together on his knees and his head down on his breast, and listened with his whole soul; to him too it came as a voice from heaven, and seemed to call him away to a better land; great tears often fell from his eyes, but they were not sorrowful tears, they were tears of love, tears which were called forth by a feeling of some great happiness which was coming for him, but which he could not rightly understand....