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“ Perhaps not, Harry; but it must appear pleasing in the eyes of the people of the East, or they would not wear them. Nose-jewels, strange as they seem to us, are of very great antiquity. Moses informs us that Isaac's servant put on Rebekah, after she had conversed with him at the well,' a golden ear-ring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets on her hands of ten shekels weight of gold.”
“ But it does not appear that he gave her any nose-jewels; and only one ear-ring ; which is very odd, you know, for every body has two ear-rings.
“ True, Harry: and from hence it seems almost certain that it was not an ear-ring which was given to Rebekah, but, as it is said in the margin, “a jewel for the forehead.'
a And as the word is in the singular number, it is in a high degree probable, to say the least, that it was a nose-ring, or jewel.”
“ It does seem so, indeed. I did not notice the reading in the margin.”
“ This we should always do, for it is often more literal than the text; and not unfrequently it throws great light upon the real meaning."
As Harry and his father were again walking the next evening in the corn-fields, and looking at the reapers, Harry inquired,—“ Is not rice a kind of wheat ?"
“ It may be so regarded,” replied his father, “ as it furnishes bread for by far the greater part of the human race."
“ Does it ?" exclaimed Harry, with a countenance full of wonder at the information.
Yes, it is cultivated and eaten, more or less, in all parts of the Eastern world; yet the manner of its production differs from that of wheat. • It is sown,' as a French traveller informs us, ' in Lower Egypt, from the month of March to May. During the inundation of the Nile, the fields are covered by its waters, and, in order to detain them there as long as possible, a sort of raised embankments are thrown up around each field, to prevent them from running off. Trenches serve to carry thither a fresh supply ; for, in order to make the plant thrive, its roots must be incessantly watered. The ground is so moistened, that, in some places, a person sinks in half-way up to his chin. Rice is nearly six months before it comes to maturity; and it is generally cut down by the middle of November.*"*
“ The prophet Isaiah says:— Blessed are ye who sow your seed in every well-watered place.'*~*This exactly,' says Sir J. Chardin, 6 answers to the manner of planting rice; for they sow it upon the water; and as they sow the rice in water, so they transplant it in water.'— The rice grounds,' says the late Dr. E. D. Clarke, “are inundated from the time of sowing nearly to harvest. The seed is commonly cast upon the water. When the rice plants are about two feet high, they are transplanted.”
Well, father, this is indeed, as you said, very much unlike wheat.” “ Yes; “Some lands produce three crops
in a year; vegetation is so quick, that as fast as the water rises, the plants of rice grow above it, so that the ear is never immersed. Men of experience affirm, that a single stalk will grow six cubits in one night."*
* Lowth's Isaiah.
“ This subject explains a beautiful passage in Ecclesiastes; •Cast thy bread,' says the wise Man, “ upon the waters, for thou shalt find it after many days.' Some have thought that the sacred writer here meant, that if any one literally threw bread into the river, they should find it again after a considerable lapse of time. This would not be likely, for the fowl, or the fish, or both, would assuredly devour it. But he who throws the seed-rice into the waters will, after many days, not only find again what he cast from his hand, but such a vast increase as will abundantly recompense his labours. So, no benevolent efforts to do good to mankind shall be lost, but shall assuredly in time, by the blessing of God, pro
* Maurice's Ind. Antiq. i. 240.