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able man, with hoary beard and flowing white robes; and follow him a majestic-looking female who was wont to lead the solemn dance—Miriam the sister of Aaron; and a youth of heroic bearing, in the springtime of that life whose maturity was spent in leading the chosen race to conquest in the promised land.

With proud and pleased humility did the fair inmates of those tents, the most accomplished of Israel's daughters, display to their illustrious visitors the 4{ fine needlework" to which their time and talents had been for a long season devoted, and which was now on the eve of completion. The "holy garments" which God had commanded to be made " for glory and for beauty;" the pomegranates on the hem of the high priest's robe, wrought in blue and purple and scarlet; the flowers on his f< girdle of needlework," glowing as in life; the border on the ephod, in which every varied colour was shaded off into a rich and delicate tracery of gold; and above all, that exquisite work, the most beautiful of all their productions—the veil which separated the <( Holy of Holies," the place where the Most High vouchsafed his especial presence, where none but the high priest might presume to enter, and he but once a year, from the remaining portions of the Tabernacle. This beautiful hanging was of fine white linen, but the original fabric was hardly discernible amid the gorgeous tracery with which it was inwrought. The whole surface was covered with a profusion of flowers, intermixed with fanciful devices of every sort, except such as might represent the forms of animals—these were rigidly excluded. Cherubims seemed to be hovering around and grasping its gorgeous folds;

and if tradition and history be to be credited, this drapery merited, if ever the production of the needle did merit, the epithet which English talent has since rendered classical, *''Needlework Sublime"

Long, despite the advancing shades of evening, would the visitors have lingered untired to comment upon this beautiful production, but one said, " Behold!" and immediately all, following the direction of his outstretched arm, looked towards the Tabernacle. There a thin spiral flame is seen to gleam palely through the pillar of smoke; but perceptibly it increases, and even while the eye is fixed it waxes stronger and brighter, and quickly though gradually the smoke has melted away, and a tall vivid flame of fire is in its place. Higher and taller it aspires: its spiral flame waxes broader and broader, ascends higher and higher, gleams brighter and brighter, till it mingles in the very vault of heaven, with the beams of the setting sun which bathe in crimson fire the summits of Sinai.

In the eastern sky the stars gleam brightly in the pure transparent atmosphere; and ere long the moon casts pale radiant beams adown the dark ravines, and utters her wondrous lore to the silent hills and the gloomy waste. The sounds of toil are hushed; the weary labourer seeks repose; the toilworn wanderer is at rest: the murmuring sounds of domestic life sink lower and lower; the breath of prayer becomes fainter and fainter; the voice of praise, the evensong of Israel, comes stealing through the calm of evening, and now dies softly away. Nought is heard but the password of the sentinels; the far-off shriek of the bat as it flaps its wings beneath the shadow of some fearful precipice; or the scream of the eagle, which, wheeling round the lofty summits of the mountain, closes in less and lesser circles, till, as the last faint gleam of evening is lost in the dark horizon, it drops into its eyrie.

The moon and the stars keep their eternal watch; the beacon-light of God's immediate presence flames unchanged by time or chance. It may be that the appointed earthly shepherd of that chosen flock passes the still hours of night and solitude in communion with his God; but silence is over the wilderness, and the children of Israel are at rest.

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"How is thy glory, Egypt, pass'd away!

Weep, child of ruin, o'er thy humbled name!
The wreck alone that marks thy deep decay
Now tells the story of thy former fame I"

There can be little doubt that the Jewish maidens were beholden to their residence in Egypt for that perfectness of finish in embroidery which was displayed so worthily in the service of the Tabernacle. Egypt was at this time the seat of science, of art, and learning; for it was thought the highest summary which could be given of Moses' acquirements to say that he was skilled in all the learning of the Egyptians. By the researches of the curious, new proofs are still being brought to light of the perfection of their skill in various arts, and we are not without testimony that the practice of the lighter and more ornamental bore progress with that of the stupendous and magnificent. Of these lighter pursuits we at present refer only to the art of needlework.

The Egyptian women were treated with courtesy, with honour, and even with deference: indeed, some historians have gone so far as to say that the women transacted public business, to the exclusion of the men, who were engaged in domestic occupations. This misapprehension may have arisen from the fact of men being at times engaged at the loom, which in all other countries was then considered as exclusively a feminine occupation; spinning, however, was principally, if not entirely, confined to women, who had attained to such perfection in the pretty and valuable art, that, though the Egyptian yarn was all spun by the hand, some of the linen made from it was so exquisitely fine as to be called "woven air." And there are some instances recorded by historians which seem fully to bear out the appellation. For example: so delicate were the threads used for nets, that some of these nets would pass through a mans ring^ and one person could carry a sufficient number of them to surround a whole wood. Amasis king of Egypt presented a linen corslet to the Rhodians of which the threads were each composed of 365 fibres; and he presented another to the Lacedemonians, richly wrought with gold; and each thread of this corslet, though itself very fine, was composed of 360 other threads all distinct.

Nor did these beautiful manufactures lack the addition of equally beautiful needlework. Though the gold thread used at this time was, as we have intimated, solid metal, still the Egyptians had attained to such perfection in the art of moulding it, that it was fine enough not merely to embroider, but even to interweave with the linen. The linen corslet of Amasis, presented, as we have remarked, to the Lacedemonians, surpassingly fine as was the material, was worked with a needle in figures of animals


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