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Title:Pearl-Maiden
Author:H.RiderHaggard

ReleaseDate:February,2004[EBook#5175][Yes,wearemorethanoneyear
aheadofschedule][ThisfilewasfirstpostedonMay29,2002]
Edition:10
Language:English
Charactersetencoding:ASCII


***STARTOFTHEPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOK,PEARL-MAIDEN
***

PEARL-MAIDENByH.RiderHaggard
FirstPublished1901.
EtextpreparedbyJohnBickers,jbickers@ihug.co.nzandDagny,
dagnyj@hotmail.com

PEARL-MAIDEN
ATaleOfTheFallofJerusalem
BY
H.RIDERHAGGARD

TO
GLADYSCHRISTIAN
ADWELLERINTHEEASTTHISEASTERNTALEISDEDICATEDBY
HEROWNANDHERFATHER’SFRIEND
THEAUTHOR
Ditchingham:September14,1902.

PEARL-MAIDEN


CHAPTERI
THEPRISONATCÆSAREA
Itwasbuttwohoursaftermidnight,yetmanywerewakefulinCæsareaonthe
Syriancoast.HerodAgrippa,KingofallPalestine—bygraceoftheRomans—
nowattheveryapexofhispower,celebratedafestivalinhonouroftheEmperor
Claudius,towhichhadflockedallthemightiestinthelandandtensof
thousandsofthepeople.Thecitywasfullofthem,theircampsweresetuponthe
sea-beachandformilesaround;therewasnoroomattheinnsorintheprivate
houses,whereguestssleptupontheroofs,thecouches,thefloors,andinthe
gardens.Thegreattownhummedlikeahiveofbeesdisturbedaftersunset,and


thoughtheloudersoundsofrevellinghaddiedaway,partiesoffeasters,manyof
themstillcrownedwithfadingroses,passedalongthestreetsshoutingand
singingtotheirlodgings.Astheywent,theydiscussed—thoseofthemwhowere
sufficientlysober—theincidentsofthatday’sgamesinthegreatcircus,and
offeredoracceptedoddsuponthemoreexcitingeventsofthemorrow.
Thecaptivesintheprisonthatwassetuponalittlehill,afrowningbuildingof
brownstone,dividedintocourtsandsurroundedbyahighwallandaditch,
couldheartheworkmenattheirlaboursintheamphitheatrebelow.Thesesounds
interestedthem,sincemanyofthosewholistenedweredoomedtotakealeading
partinthespectacleofthisnewday.Intheoutercourt,forinstance,werea
hundredmencalledmalefactors,forthemostpartJewsconvictedofvarious
politicaloffences.Theseweretofightagainsttwicetheirnumberofsavage
Arabsofthedeserttakeninafrontierraid,peoplewhomto-dayweshouldknow
asBedouins,mountedandarmedwithswordsandlances,butwearingnomail.
ThemalefactorJews,bywayofcompensation,weretobeprotectedwithheavy
armourandampleshields.Theircombatwastolastfortwentyminutesbythe
sand-glass,when,unlesstheyhadshowncowardice,thosewhowereleftaliveof
eitherpartyweretoreceivetheirfreedom.Indeed,byakindlydecreetheKing
Agrippa,amanwhodidnotseekunnecessarybloodshed,contrarytocustom,
eventhewoundedweretobespared,thatis,ifanywouldundertakethecareof
them.Underthesecircumstances,sincelifeissweet,allhaddeterminedtofight
theirbest.
Inanotherdivisionofthegreathallwascollectedaverydifferentcompany.


Therewerenotmorethanfiftyorsixtyofthese,sothewidearchesofthe
surroundingcloistersgavethemsufficientshelterandevenprivacy.Withthe
exceptionofeightortenmen,allofthemold,orwelloninmiddleage,sincethe
youngerandmorevigorousmaleshadbeencarefullydraftedtoserveas
gladiators,thislittlebandwasmadeofwomenandafewchildren.They
belongedtothenewsectcalledChristians,thefollowersofoneJesus,who,
accordingtoreport,wascrucifiedasatroublesomepersonbythegovernor,
PontiusPilate,aRomanofficial,whoinduecoursehadbeenbanishedtoGaul,
wherehewassaidtohavecommittedsuicide.InhisdayPilatewasunpopularin
Judæa,forhehadtakenthetreasuresoftheTempleatJerusalemtobuild
waterworks,causingatumultinwhichmanywerekilled.Nowhewasalmost
forgotten,butverystrangely,thefameofthiscrucifieddemagogue,Jesus,
seemedtogrow,sincethereweremanywhomadeakindofgodofhim,
preachingdoctrinesinhisnamethatwerecontrarytothelawandoffensiveto
everysectoftheJews.
Pharisees,Sadducees,Zealots,Levites,priests,allcalledoutagainstthem.All
besoughtAgrippathathewouldberidofthem,theseapostateswhoprofanedthe
landandproclaimedintheearsofanationawaitingitsMessiah,thatHeavenbornKingwhoshouldbreaktheRomanyokeandmakeJerusalemthecapitalof
theworld,thatthisMessiahhadcomealreadyintheguiseofanitinerant
preacher,andperishedwithothermalefactorsbythedeathofshame.
Weariedwiththeirimportunities,theKinglistened.LikethecultivatedRomans
withwhomheassociated,Agrippahadnorealreligion.AtJerusalemhe
embellishedtheTempleandmadeofferingstoJehovah;atBerytushe
embellishedthetempleandmadeofferingstheretoJupiter.Hewasallthingsto
allmenandtohimself—nothingbutavoluptuoustime-server.Asforthese
Christians,henevertroubledhimselfaboutthem.Whyshouldhe?Theywere
fewandinsignificant,nosinglemanofrankorwealthwastobefoundamong
them.Topersecutethemwaseasy,and—itpleasedtheJews.Thereforehe
persecutedthem.OneJames,adiscipleofthecrucifiedmancalledChrist,who
hadwanderedaboutthecountrywithhim,heseizedandbeheadedatJerusalem.
Another,calledPeter,apowerfulpreacher,hethrewintoprison,andoftheir
followersheslewmany.Afewoftheseweregivenovertobestonedbythe
Jews,butthepickofthemenwereforcedtofightasgladiatorsatBerytusand
elsewhere.Thewomen,ifyoungandbeautiful,weresoldasslaves,butif
matronsoraged,theywerecasttothewildbeastsinthecircus.


Suchwasthefate,indeed,thatwasreservedforthesepoorvictimsintheprison
onthisverydayoftheopeningofourhistory.Afterthegladiatorshadfought
andtheothergameshadbeencelebrated,sixtyChristians,itwasannounced,old
anduselessmen,marriedwomanandyoungchildrenwhomnobodywouldbuy,
weretobeturneddowninthegreatamphitheatre.Thenthirtyfiercelions,with
othersavagebeasts,maderavenousbyhungerandmadwiththesmellofblood,
weretobeletlooseamongthem.Eveninthisactofjustice,however,Agrippa
sufferedittobeseenthathewasgentle-hearted,sinceofhiskindnesshehad
decreedthatanywhomthelionsrefusedtoeatweretobegivenclothes,asmall
sumofmoney,andreleasedtosettletheirdifferenceswiththeJewsasthey
mightplease.
SuchwasthestateofpublicfeelingandmoralsintheRomanworldofthatday,
thatthisspectacleofthefeedingofstarvedbeastswithlivewomenandchildren,
whosecrimewasthattheyworshippedacrucifiedmanandwouldoffersacrifice
tonoothergod,eitherintheTempleorelsewhere,wasmuchlookedforwardto
bythepopulationofCæsarea.Indeed,greatsumsofmoneywereventuredupon
theevent,bymeansofwhatto-daywouldbecalledsweepstakes,underthe
regulationsofwhichhewhodrewtheticketmarkedwiththeexactnumberof
thosewhomthelionsleftalive,wouldtakethefirstprize.Alreadysomefarseeinggamblerswhohaddrawnlownumbers,hadbribedthesoldiersand
wardenstosprinklethehairandgarmentsoftheChristianswithvalerianwater,a
decoctionwhichwassupposedtoattractandexcitetheappetiteofthesegreat
cats.Others,whoseticketswerehigh,paidhandsomelyfortheemploymentof
artificeswhichneednotbedetailed,calculatedtoinduceinthelionsaversionto
thesubjectthathadbeentreated.TheChristianwomanorchild,itwillbe
observed,whowastoformthecorpusvileoftheseingeniousexperiments,was
notconsidered,except,indeed,asthefishermanconsidersthemusselorthe
sand-wormonhishook.
Underanarchbythemselves,andnotfarfromthegreatgatewaywherethe
guards,theirlancesinhand,couldbeseenpacingupanddown,sattwowomen.
Thecontrastintheappearanceofthispairwasverystriking.One,whocouldnot
havebeenmuchmorethantwentyyearsofage,wasaJewess,toothin-facedfor
beauty,butwithdarkandlovelyeyes,andbearingineverylimbandfeaturethe
stampofnobleblood.ShewasRachel,thewidowofDemas,aGræco-Syrian,
andonlychildofthehigh-bornJewBenoni,oneoftherichestmerchantsin
Tyre.Theotherwasawomanofremarkableaspect,apparentlyaboutfortyyears
ofage.ShewasanativeofthecoastsofLibya,whereshehadbeenkidnappedas


agirlbyJewishtraders,andbythempassedontoPh​nicians,whosoldherupon
theslavemarketofTyre.Infactshewasahigh-bredArabwithoutany
admixtureofnegroblood,aswasshownbyhercopper-colouredskin,prominent
cheekbones,herstraight,black,abundanthair,anduntamed,flashingeyes.In
frameshewastallandspare,veryagile,andfullofgraceineverymovement.
Herfacewasfierceandhard;eveninherpresentdreadfulplightsheshowedno
fear,onlywhenshelookedattheladybyhersideitgrewanxiousandtender.
ShewascalledNehushta,anamewhichBenonihadgivenherwhenmanyyears
agoheboughtheruponthemarket-place.InHebrewNehushtameanscopper,
andthisnewslavewascopper-coloured.Inhernativeland,however,shehad
anothername,Nou,andbythisnameshewasknowntoherdeadmistress,the
wifeofBenoni,andtohisdaughterRachel,whomshehadnursedfrom
childhood.
Themoonshoneverybrightlyinaclearsky,andbythelightofitanobserver,
hadtherebeenanytoobservewhereallweresooccupiedwiththeirownurgent
affairs,couldhavewatchedeverymovementandexpressionofthesewomen.
Rachel,seatedontheground,wasrockingherselftoandfro,herfacehiddenin
herhands,andpraying.Nehushtakneltatherside,restingtheweightofher
bodyonherheelsasonlyanEasterncan,andstaredsullenlyatnothingness.
PresentlyRachel,droppingherhands,lookedatthetenderskyandsighed.
“Ourlastnightonearth,Nou,”shesaidsadly.“Itisstrangetothinkthatweshall
neveragainseethemoonfloatingaboveus.”
“Whynot,mistress?Ifallthatwehavebeentaughtistrue,weshallseethat
moon,orothers,foreverandever,andifitisnottrue,thenneitherlightnor
darknesswilltroubleusanymore.However,formyownpartIdon’tmeanthat
eitherofusshoulddieto-morrow.”
“Howcanyoupreventit,Nou?”askedRachelwithafaintsmile.“Lionsareno
respectersofpersons.”
“Yet,mistress,Ithinkthattheywillrespectmyperson,andyours,too,formy
sake.”
“Whatdoyoumean,Nou?”
“ImeanthatIdonotfearthelions;theyarecountry-folkofmineandroared


roundmycradle.Thechief,myfather,wascalledMasterofLionsinourcountry
becausehecouldtamethem.Why,whenIwasalittlechildIhavefedthemand
theyfawneduponuslikedogs.”
“Thoselionsarelongdead,Nou,andtheotherswillnotremember.”
“Iamnotsurethattheyaredead;atleast,bloodwillcalltoblood,andtheir
companywillknowthesmellofthechildoftheMasterofLions.Whoeveris
eaten,weshallescape.”
“Ihavenosuchhope,Nou.To-morrowwemustdiehorribly,thatKingAgrippa
maydohonourtohismaster,Cæsar.”
“Ifyouthinkthat,mistress,thenletusdieatonceratherthanberentlimbfrom
limbtogivepleasuretoastinkingmob.See,Ihavepoisonhiddenhereinmy
hair.Letusdrinkofitandbedone:itisswiftandpainless.”
“Nay,Nou,itwouldnotberight.Imayliftnohandagainstmyownlife,orif
perchanceImay,Ihavetothinkofanotherlife.”
“Ifyoudie,theunbornchildmustdiealso.To-nightorto-morrow,whatdoesit
matter?”
“Sufficienttothedayistheevilthereof.Whoknows?To-morrowAgrippamay
bedead,notus,andthenthechildmightlive.ItisinthehandofGod.LetGod
decide.”
“Lady,”answeredNehushta,settingherteeth,“foryoursakeIhavebecomea
Christian,yes,andIbelieve.ButItellyouthis—whileIlivenolion’sfangsshall
tearthatdearfleshofyours.Firstifneedbe,Iwillstabyouthereinthearena,or
iftheytakemyknifefromme,thenIwillchokeyou,ordashoutyourbrains
againsttheposts.”
“Itmaybeasin,Nou;takenosuchriskuponyoursoul.”
“Mysoul!WhatdoIcareaboutmysoul?Youaremysoul.Yourmotherwas
kindtome,thepoorslave-girl,andwhenyouwereaninfant,Irockedyouupon
mybreast.Ispreadyourbride-bed,andifneedbe,tosaveyoufromworse
things,Iwilllayyoudeadbeforemeandmyselfdeadacrossyourbody.Thenlet
GodorSatan—Icarenotwhich—dealwithmysoul.Atleast,Ishallhavedone


mybestanddiedfaithful.”
“Youshouldnotspeakso,”sighedRachel.“But,dear,Iknowitisbecauseyou
loveme,andIwishtodieaseasilyasmaybeandtojoinmyhusband.Onlyif
thechildcouldhavelived,asIthink,allthreeofuswouldhavedwelttogether
eternally.Nay,notallthree,allfour,foryouarewell-nighasdeartome,Nou,as
husbandoraschild.”
“Thatcannotbe,Idonotwishthatitshouldbe,whoambutaslavewoman,the
dogbeneaththetable.Oh!ifIcouldsaveyou,thenIwouldbegladtoshow
themhowthisdaughterofmyfathercanbeartheirtorments.”
TheLibyanceased,grindingherteethinimpotentrage.Thensuddenlysheleant
towardshermistress,kissedherfiercelyonthecheekandbegantosob,slow,
heavysobs.
“Listen,”saidRachel.“Thelionsareroaringintheirdensyonder.”
Nehushtaliftedherheadandhearkenedasahunterhearkensinthedesert.True
enough,fromnearthegreattowerthatendedthesouthernwallofthe
amphitheatre,echoedshort,coughingnotesandfiercewhimperings,tobe
followedpresentlybyroaruponroar,aslionafterlionjoinedinthatfearful
music,tillthewholeairshookwiththevolumeoftheirvoices.
“Aha!”criedakeeperatthegate—nottheRomansoldierwhomarchedtoand
frounconcernedly,butajailor,namedRufus,whowascladinapaddedrobeand
armedwithagreatknife.“Aha!listentothem,theprettykittens.Don’tbe
greedy,littleones—bepatient.To-nightyouwillpurruponafullstomach.”
“Nineofthem,”mutteredNehushta,whohadcountedtheroars,“allbeardedand
old,royalbeasts.Tohearkentothemmakesmeyoungagain.Yes,yes,Ismell
thedesertandseethesmokerisingfrommyfather’stents.AsachildIhunted
them,nowtheywillhuntme;itistheirhour.”
“Givemeair!Ifaint!”gaspedRachel,sinkingagainsther.
WithagutturalexclamationofpityNehushtabentdown.Placingherstrongarms
beneaththeslenderformofheryoungmistress,andliftingherasthoughshe
wereachild,shecarriedhertothecentreofthecourt,wherestoodafountain;
forbeforeitwasturnedtothepurposesofajailoncethisplacehadbeena


palace.Hereshesethermistressonthegroundwithherbackagainstthe
stonework,anddashedwaterinherfacetillpresentlyshewasherselfagain.
WhileRachelsatthus—fortheplacewascoolandpleasantandshecouldnot
sleepwhomustdiethatday—awicket-gatewasopenedandseveralpersons,
men,women,andchildren,werethrustthroughitintothecourt.
“NewcomersfromTyreinagreathurrynottolosethelions’party,”criedthe
facetiouswardenofthegate.“Passin,myChristianfriends,passinandeatyour
lastsupperaccordingtoyourcustoms.Youwillfinditoverthere,breadand
wineinplenty.Eat,myhungryfriends,eatbeforeyouareeatenandenterinto
Heavenor—thestomachofthelions.”
Anoldwoman,thelastoftheparty,forshecouldnotwalkfast,turnedround
andpointedatthebuffoonwithherstaff.
“Blasphemenot,youheathendog!”shesaid,“orrather,blasphemeonandgoto
yourreward!I,Anna,whohavethegiftofprophecy,tellyou,renegadewho
wereaChristian,andthereforearedoublyguilty,thatyouhaveeatenyourlast
meal—onearth.”
Theman,ahalf-bredSyrianwhohadabandonedhisfaithforprofitandnow
tormentedthosewhowereoncehisbrethren,utteredafuriouscurseand
snatchedaknifefromhisgirdle.
“Youdrawtheknife?Sobeit,perishbytheknife!”saidAnna.Thenwithout
heedinghimfurthertheoldwomanhobbledonafterhercompanions,leavingthe
mantoslinkawaywhitetothelipswithterror.HehadbeenaChristianand
knewsomethingofAnnaandofthis“giftofprophecy.”
Thepathofthesestrangersledthempastthefountain,whereRacheland
Nehushtarosetogreetthemastheycame.
“Peacebewithyou,”saidRachel.
“InthenameofChrist,peace,”theyanswered,andpassedontowardsthearches
wheretheothercaptivesweregathered.Lastofall,atsomedistancebehindthe
rest,camethewhite-hairedwoman,leaningonherstaff.
Assheapproached,Rachelturnedtorepeathersalutation,thenutteredalittle


cryandsaid:
“MotherAnna,doyounotknowme,Rachel,thedaughterofBenoni?”
“Rachel!”sheanswered,starting.“Alas!child,howcameyouhere?”
“BythepathsthatweChristianshavetotread,mother,”saidRachel,sadly.“But
sit;youareweary.Nou,helpher.”
Annanodded,andslowly,forherlimbswerestiff,sankdownontothestepof
thefountain.
“Givemetodrink,child,”shesaid,“forIhavebeenbroughtuponamulefrom
Tyre,andamathirst.”
Rachelmadeherhandsintoacup,forshehadnoother,andheldwatertoAnna’s
lips,whichshedrankgreedily,emptyingthemmanytimes.
“Forthisrefreshment,Godbepraised.Whatsaidyou?ThedaughterofBenonia
Christian!Well,evenhereandnow,forthatGodbepraisedalso.StrangethatI
shouldnothaveheardofit;butIhavebeeninJerusalemthesetwoyears,and
wasbroughtbacktoTyrelastSabbathasaprisoner.”
“Yes,Mother,andsincethenIhavebecomebothwifeandwidow.”
“Whomdidyoumarry,child?”
“Demas,themerchant.TheykilledhimintheamphitheatreyonderatBerytus
sixmonthsago,”andthepoorwomanbegantosob.
“Iheardofhisend,”repliedAnna.“Itwasagoodandnobleone,andhissoul
restsinHeaven.Hewouldnotfightwiththegladiators,sohewasbeheadedby
orderofAgrippa.Butceaseweeping,child,andtellmeyourstory.Wehavelittle
timefortears,who,perhaps,soonwillhavedonewiththem.”
Racheldriedhereyes.
“Itisshortandsad,”shesaid.“DemasandImetoftenandlearnedtoloveeach
other.Myfatherwasnofriendtohim,fortheywererivalsintrade,butinthose
daysknowingnobetter,DemasfollowedthefaithoftheJews;therefore,because


hewasrichmyfatherconsentedtoourmarriage,andtheybecamepartnersin
theirbusiness.Afterwards,withinamonthindeed,theApostlescametoTyre,
andweattendedtheirpreaching—atfirst,becausewewerecurioustolearnthe
truthofthisnewfaithagainstwhichmyfatherrailed,for,asyouknow,heisof
thestrictestsectoftheJews;andthen,becauseourheartsweretouched.Soin
theendwebelieved,andwerebaptised,bothononenight,bytheveryhandof
thebrotheroftheLord.TheholyApostlesdeparted,blessingusbeforethey
went,andDemas,whowouldplaynodoublepart,toldmyfatherofwhatwehad
done.Oh!mother,itwasawfultosee.Heraved,shoutedandcursedusinhis
rage,blasphemingHimweworship.More,woeismethatIshouldhavetotellit:
Whenwerefusedtobecomeapostateshedenouncedustothepriests,andthe
priestsdenouncedustotheRomans,andwewereseizedandthrownintoprison;
butmyhusband’swealth,mostofitexceptthatwhichthepriestsandRomans
stole,stayedwithmyfather.Formanymonthswewereheldinprisonherein
Cæsarea;thentheytookmyhusbandtoBerytus,tobetrainedasagladiator,and
murderedhim.HereIhavestayedsincewiththisbelovedservant,Nehushta,
whoalsobecameaChristianandsharedourfate,andnow,bythedecreeof
Agrippa,itismyturnandherstodieto-day.”
“Child,youshouldnotweepforthat;nay,youshouldbegladwhoatoncewill
findyourhusbandandyourSaviour.”
“Mother,Iamglad;but,youseemystate.Itisforthechild’ssakeIweep,that
nowneverwillbeborn.Haditwonlifeevenforanhourallofuswouldhave
dwelttogetherinblissuntileternity.Butitcannotbe—itcannotbe.”
Annalookedatherwithherpiercingeyes.
“Haveyou,then,alsothegiftofprophecy,child,whoaresoyoungamemberof
theChurch,thatyoudaretosaythatthisorthatcannotbe?Thefutureisinthe
handofGod.KingAgrippa,yourfather,theRomans,thecruelJews,thoselions
thatroaryonder,andwewhoaredoomedtofeedthem,areallinthehandof
God,andthatwhichHewillsshallbefall,andnootherthing.Therefore,letus
praiseHimandrejoice,andtakenothoughtforthemorrow,unlessitbetopray
thatwemaydieandgohencetoourMaster,ratherthanliveonindoubtsand
terrorsandtribulations.”
“Youareright,mother,”answeredRachel,“andIwilltrytobebrave,whatever
maybefall;butmystatemakesmefeeble.Thespirit,truly,iswilling,butoh!the


fleshisweak.Listen,theycallustopartakeoftheSacramentoftheLord—our
lastonearth”;andrising,shebegantowalktowardsthearches.
NehushtastayedtohelpAnnatoherfeet.Whenshejudgedhermistresstobe
outofhearingsheleaneddownandwhispered:
“Mother,youhavethegift;itisknownthroughouttheChurch.Tellme,willthe
childbeborn?”
Theoldwomanfixedhereyesupontheheavens,thenanswered,slowly:
“Thechildwillbebornandliveoutitslife,andIthinkthatnoneofusare
doomedtodiethisdaybythejawsoflions,thoughsomeofusmaydiein
anotherfashion.ButIthinkalsothatyourmistressgoesveryshortlytojoinher
husband.ThereforeitwasthatIshowedhernothingofwhatcameintomy
mind.”
“ThenitisbestthatIshoulddiealso,anddieIwill.”
“Wherefore?”
“BecauseIgotowaituponmymistress?”
“Nay,Nehushta,”answeredAnna,sternly,“youstaytoguardherchild,whereof
whenalltheseearthlythingsaredoneyoumustgiveaccounttoher.”


CHAPTERII
THEVOICEOFAGOD
Ofallthecivilisationswhoserecordslieopentothestudent,thatofRomeis
surelyoneofthemostwonderful.Nowhere,noteveninoldMexico,washigh
culturesocompletelyweddedtothelowestbarbarism.IntellectRomehadin
plenty;thenoblesteffortsofhergeniusarescarcelytobesurpassed;herlawis
thefoundationofthebestofourcodesofjurisprudence;artsheborrowedbut
appreciated;hermilitarysystemisstillthewonderoftheworld;hergreatmen
remaingreatamongamultitudeofsubsequentcompetitors.Andyethowpitiless
shewas!Whatatigress!Amidalltheruinsofhercitieswefindnoneofa
hospital,none,Ibelieve,ofanorphanschoolinanagethatmademanyorphans.
Thepiousaspirationsandeffortsofindividualsseemnevertohavetouchedthe
conscienceofthepeople.Romeincarnatehadnoconscience;shewasalustful,
devouringbeast,mademorebestialbyherintelligenceandsplendour.
KingAgrippainpracticewasaRoman.Romewashismodel,heridealswerehis
ideals.Thereforehebuiltamphitheatresinwhichmenwerebutchered,tothe
exquisitedelightofvastaudiences.Therefore,also,withouttheexcuseofany
conscientiousmotive,howeverinsufficientorunsatisfactory,hepersecutedthe
weakbecausetheywereweakandtheirsufferingswouldgivepleasuretothe
strongortothosewhochancedtobethemajorityofthemoment.
Theseasonbeinghotitwasarrangedthatthegreatgamesinhonourofthesafety
ofCæsar,shouldopeneachdayatdawnandcometoanendanhourbefore
noon.Thereforefrommidnightonwardscrowdsofspectatorspouredintothe
amphitheatre,which,althoughitwouldseatovertwentythousand,wasnotlarge
enoughtocontainthemall.Anhourbeforethedawntheplacewasfull,and
alreadylatecomerswereturnedbackfromitsgates.Theonlyemptyspaceswere
thosereservedfortheking,hisroyalguests,therulersofthecity,withother
distinguishedpersonages,andfortheChristiancompanyofoldmen,womenand
childrendestinedtothelions,who,itwasarranged,weretositinfullviewofthe
audienceuntilthetimecameforthemtotaketheirshareinthespectacle.
WhenRacheljoinedtheothercaptivesshefoundthatalongroughtablehad
beensetbeneaththearcades,andonitatintervals,piecesofbreadandcupsand


vasescontainingwineofthecountrythathadbeenpurchasedatagreatprice
fromtheguards.Roundthistabletheeldersortheinfirmamongthecompany
wereseatedonabench,whiletherestofthenumber,forwhomtherewasnot
room,stoodbehindthem.Atitsheadwasanoldman,abishopamongthe
Christians,oneofthefivehundredwhohadseentherisenLordandreceived
baptismfromthehandsoftheBelovedDisciple.Forsomeyearshehadbeen
sparedbythepersecutorsoftheinfantChurchonaccountofhisage,dignity,and
goodrepute,butnowatlastfateseemedtohaveovertakenhim.
Theservicewasheld;thebreadandwine,mixedwithwater,wereconsecrated
withthesametextsbywhichtheyareblessedto-day,onlytheprayerswere
extempore.Whenallhadeatenfromtheplattersanddrunkfromtherudecups,
thebishopgavehisblessingtothecommunity.Thenheaddressedthem.This,he
toldthem,wasanoccasionofpeculiarjoy,alove-feastindeed,sinceallthey
whopartookofitwereabouttolaydowntheburdenofthefleshand,their
laboursandsorrowsended,todepartintoblisseternal.Hecalledtotheir
memorythesupperofthePassoverwhichhadtakenplacewithinthelifetimeof
manyofthem,whentheAuthorandFinisheroftheirfaithhaddeclaredtothe
disciplesthatHewoulddrinknomorewinetillHedrankitnewwiththeminHis
kingdom.Suchafeastitwasthatlayspreadbeforethemthisnight.Letthembe
thankfulforit.Letthemnotquailinthehouroftrial.Thefangsofthesavage
beasts,theshoutsofthestillmoresavagespectators,theagonyofthequivering
flesh,thelastterroroftheirdeparting,whatwerethese?Soon,verysoon,they
wouldbedone;thespearsofthesoldierswoulddespatchtheinjured,andthose
amongthemwhomitwasordainedshouldescape,wouldbesetfreebythe
commandoftherepresentativeofCæsar,thattheymightprosecutetheworktill
thehourcameforthemtopassonthetorchofredemptiontootherhands.Let
themrejoice,therefore,andbeverythankful,andwalktothesacrificeastoa
weddingfeast.“Doyounotrejoice,mybrethren?”heasked.Withonevoicethey
answered,“Werejoice!”Yes,eventhechildrenansweredthus.
Thentheyprayedagain,andagainwithupliftedhandstheoldmanblessedthem
intheholyTriuneName.
Scarcelyhadthisservice,assolemnasitwassimple,beenbroughttoanend
whentheheadjailer,whoseblasphemousjocositysincehisreproofbyAnnawas
replacedbyamienofsullenvenom,cameforwardandcommandedthewhole
bandtomarchtotheamphitheatre.Accordingly,twobytwo,thebishopleading
thewaywiththesaintedwomanAnna,theywalkedtothegates.Hereaguardof


soldierswaswaitingtoreceivethem,andundertheirescorttheythreadedthe
narrow,darklingstreetstilltheycametothatdooroftheamphitheatrewhichwas
usedbythosewhoweretotakepartinthegames.Now,atawordfromthe
bishop,theybegantochantasolemnhymn,andsingingthus,werethrustalong
thepassagestotheplacepreparedforthem.Thiswasnot,astheyexpected,a
prisonatthebackoftheamphitheatre,but,ashasbeensaid,aspotbetweenthe
enclosingwallandthepodium,raisedalittleabovethelevelofthearena.Here,
ontheeasternsideofthebuilding,theyweretosittilltheirturncametobe
drivenbytheguardsthroughalittlewicket-gateintothearena,wherethe
starvingbeastsofpreywouldbelooseduponthem.
Itwasnowthehourbeforesunrise,andthemoonhavingset,thevasttheatrewas
plungedingloom,relievedonlyhereandtherebystraytorchesandcressetsof
fireburninguponeithersideofthegorgeous,butasyetunoccupied,throneof
Agrippa.Thisgloomseemedtooppresstheaudiencewithwhichtheplacewas
crowded;atanyratenoneofthemshoutedorsang,orevenspokeloudly.They
addressedeachotherinmuffledtones,withtheresultthattheairseemedtobe
fullofmysteriouswhisperings.HadthispoorbandofcondemnedChristians
enteredthetheatreindaylight,theywouldhavebeengreetedwithironicalcries
andtauntingsof“Dogs’meat!”andwithrequeststhattheyshouldworka
miracleandletthepeopleseethemriseagainfromthebelliesofthelions.But
now,astheirsolemnsongbrokeuponthesilence,itwasansweredonlybyone
greatmurmur,whichseemedtoshapeitselftothewords,“theChristians!The
doomedChristians!”
Bythelightofasingletorchthebandtooktheirplaces.Thenoncemorethey
sang,andinthatchasteninghourtheaudiencelistenedwithattention,almost
withrespect.Theirchantfinished,thebishopstoodup,and,movedtheretoby
someinspiration,begantoaddressthemightythrong,whomhecouldnotsee,
andwhocouldnotseehim.Strangelyenoughtheyhearkenedtohim,perhaps
becausehisspeechservedtowhileawaythewearytimeofwaiting.
“Menandbrethren,”hebegan,inhisthin,piercingnotes,“princes,lords,
peoples,Romans,Jews,Syrians,Greeks,citizensofIdumæa,ofEgypt,andofall
nationsheregathered,hearkentothewordsofanoldmandestinedandgladto
die.Listen,ifitbeyourpleasure,tothestoryofOnewhomsomeofyousaw
crucifiedunderPontiusPilate,sincetoknowthetruthofthatmattercanatleast
doyounohurt.”


“Besilent!”criedavoice,thatoftherenegadejailer,“andceasepreachingyour
accursedfaith!”
“Lethimalone,”answeredothervoices.“Wewillhearthisstoryofhis.Wesay
—lethimalone.”
Thusencouragedtheoldmanspokeonwithaneloquencesosimpleandyetso
touching,withawisdomsodeep,thatforfullfifteenminutesnonecaredevento
interrupthim.Thenafar-awaylistenercried:
“Whymustthesepeoplediewhoarebetterthanwe?”
“Friend,”answeredthebishop,inringingtones,whichinthatheavysilence
seemedtosearchouteventherecessesofthegreatandcrowdedplace,“wemust
diebecauseitisthewillofKingAgrippa,towhomGodhasgivenpowerto
destroyus.Mournnotforusbecauseweperishcruelly,sincethisisthedayof
ourtruebirth,butmournforKingAgrippa,atwhosehandsourbloodwillbe
required,andmourn,mournforyourselves,Opeople.Thedeaththatisnearto
usperchanceisnearerstilltosomeofyou;andhowwillyouawakenwhoperish
inyoursins?WhatiftheswordofGodshouldemptyyonderthrone?Whatifthe
voiceofGodshouldcallonhimwhofillsittomakeanswerofhisdeeds?Soon
orlate,Opeople,itwillcallonhimandyoutopasshence,somenaturallyin
yourage,othersbythesharpanddreadfulroadsofsword,pestilenceorfamine.
AlreadythosewoeswhichHewhomyoucrucifiedforetold,knockatyourdoor,
andwithinafewshortyearsnotoneofyouwhocrowdthisplaceinthousands
willdrawthebreathoflife.Nothingwillremainofyouonearthsavethefruitof
thosedeedswhichyouhavedone—theseandyourbones,nomore.Repentyou,
therefore,repentwhilethereistime;forI,whomyouhavedoomed,Iambidden
todeclarethatjudgmentisathand.Yes,evennow,althoughyouseehimnot,the
AngeloftheLordhangsoveryouandwritesyournameswithinhisbook.Now
whilethereistimeIwouldprayforyouandforyourking.Farewell.”
Ashespokethosewords“theAngeloftheLordhangsoveryou,”sogreatwas
thepreacher’spower,andinthatwearydarknesssosharplyhadhetouchedthe
imaginationofhisstrangeaudience,thatwithasoundliketothestirofrustling
trees,thousandsoffaceswereturnedupwards,asthoughinsearchofthatdread
messenger.
“Look,look!”screamedahundredvoices,whiledimarmspointedtosome


noiselessthingthatfloatedhighabovethemagainstthebackgroundofthesky,
whichgrewgreywiththecomingdawn.Itappearedanddisappeared,appeared
again,thenseemedtopassdownwardinthedirectionofAgrippa’sthrone,and
vanished.
“Itisthatmagician’sangel,”criedone,andthemultitudesgroaned.
“Fool,”saidanother,“itwasbutabird.”
“ThenforAgrippa’ssake,”shrilledanewvoice,“thegodssendthatitwasnot
anowl.”
Thereatsomelaughed,butthemostweresilent.TheyknewthestoryofKing
Agrippaandtheowl,andhowithadbeenforetoldthatthisspiritintheformofa
birdwouldappeartohimagaininthehourofhisdeath,asithadappearedto
himinthehourofhistriumph.[*]
[*]SeeJosephus,“AntiquitiesoftheJews,”BookXVII.,Chap.VI.,Sec.7;and
BookXIX.,Chap.VIII.,Sec.2.
Justthenfromthepalacetothenortharoseasoundoftheblareoftrumpets.
Nowaherald,speakingonthesummitofthegreateasterntower,calledoutthat
itwasdawnabovethemountains,andthatKingAgrippacamewithallhis
company,whereonthepreachingoftheoldChristianandhistaleofawatching
Vengeancewereinstantlyforgotten.Presentlytheglad,fiercenotesofthe
trumpetsdrewnearer,andinthegreyofthedaybreak,throughthegreatbronze
gatesoftheTriumphalWaythatwerethrownopentogreethim,advanced
Agrippa,wonderfullyattiredandprecededbyhislegionaries.Athisright
walkedVibiusMarsus,theRomanPresidentofSyria,andonhisleftAntiochus,
KingofCommagena,whileafterhimfollowedotherkings,princes,andgreat
menofhisownandforeignlands.
Agrippamountedhisgoldenthronewhilethemultituderoaredawelcome,and
hiscompanywereseatedaroundandbehindhimaccordingtotheirdegree.
Oncemorethetrumpetssounded,andthegladiatorsofdifferentarms,headedby
theequiteswhofoughtonhorseback,numberinginallmorethanfivehundred
men,wereformedupinthearenaforthepreliminarymarchpast—thesalutation
ofthoseabouttodietotheiremperorandlord.Now,thattheyalsomighttake
theirpartinthespectacle,thebandofChristianmartyrswerethrustthroughthe


doorinthepodium,andtomakethemseemasmanyaspossibleinnumber,
marshalledtwobytwo.
Thenthemarchpastbegan.Troopbytroop,arrayedintheirshiningarmourand
armed,eachofthem,withhisownfamiliarweapon,thegladiatorshaltedinfront
ofAgrippa’sthrone,givingtohimtheaccustomedsalutationof“Hail,King,we
whoareabouttodie,salutethee,”toberewardedwitharoyalsmileandthe
shoutsoftheapprovingaudience.LastofallcametheChristians,amotley,
wretched-lookinggroup,madeupofoldmen,terrifiedchildrenclingingtotheir
mothers,andill-clad,dishevelledwomen.Atthepitifulsight,thatverymob
whichafewshortminutesbeforehadhunguponthewordsofthebishop,their
leader,now,astheywatchedthemhobblingroundthearenaintheclear,low
lightofthedawning,burstintopealsoflaughterandcalledoutthateachofthem
shouldbemadetoleadhislion.Quiteheedlessofthesescoffsandtaunts,they
trudgedonthroughthewhitesandthatsoonwouldbesored,untiltheycame
oppositetothethrone.
“Salute!”roaredtheaudience.
Thebishophelduphishandandallweresilent.Then,inthethinvoicewith
whichtheyhadbecomefamiliar,hesaid:
“King,wewhoareabouttodie—forgivethee.MayGoddolikewise.”
Nowthemultitudeceasedlaughing,andwithanimpatientgesture,Agrippa
motionedtothemartyrstopasson.Thistheydidhumbly;butAnna,beingold,
lameandweary,couldnotwalksofastashercompanions.Aloneshereached
thesaluting-placeafterallhadleftit,andhaltedthere.
“Forward!”criedtheofficers.Butshedidnotmovenordidshespeak.Only
leaningonherstaffshelookedsteadilyupatthefaceofthekingAgrippa.Some
impulseseemedtodrawhiseyestohers.Theymet,anditwasnotedthathe
turnedpale.Thenstraighteningherselfwithdifficultyuponhertotteringfeet,
Annaraisedherstaffandpointedwithittothegoldencanopyabovetheheadof
Herod.Allstaredupward,butsawnothing,forthecanopywasstillinthe
shadowofthevelariumwhichcoveredalltheouteredgeofthecavea,leaving
thecentreopentothesky.Itwouldappear,however,thatAgrippadidsee
something,forhewhohadrisentodeclarethegamesopen,suddenlysankback
uponhisthrone,andremainedthuslostinthought.ThenAnnalimpedforward


tojoinhercompany,whooncemoreweredriventhroughthelittlegateinthe
wallofthearena.
Forasecondtime,withaneffort,Agrippaliftedhimselffromhisthrone.Ashe
rosethefirstlevelraysofsunrisestruckfulluponhim.Hewasatallandnoblelookingman,andhisdresswasglorious.Tothethousandswhogazeduponhim
fromtheshadow,setinthatpointofburninglightheseemedtobeclothedina
garmentofglitteringsilver.Silverwashiscrown,silverhisvest,silverthewide
robethatflowedfromhisshoulderstotheground.
“InthenameofCæsar,tothegloryofCæsar,Ideclarethesegamesopen!”he
cried.
Then,asthoughmovedbyasuddenimpulse,allthemultituderoseshouting:
“Thevoiceofagod!Thevoiceofagod!ThevoiceofthegodAgrippa!”
NordidAgrippasaythemnay;thegloryofsuchworshipthunderedathimfrom
twentythousandthroatsmadehimdrunken.Thereforawhilehestood,thenewbornsunlightplayinguponhissplendidform,whilethemultituderoaredhis
name,proclaimingitdivine.Hisnostrilsspreadtoinhalethisincenseof
adoration,hiseyesflashedandslowlyhewavedhisarms,asthoughin
benedictionofhisworshippers.Perchancethererosebeforehismindavisionof
thewondrouseventwherebyhe,thescornedandpennilessoutcast,hadbeen
liftedtothisgiddypinnacleofpower.Perchanceforamomenthebelievedthat
hewasindeeddivine,thatnothinglessthanthebloodandrightofgodheadcould
thushaveexaltedhim.Atleasthestoodthere,denyingnaught,whilethepeople
adoredhimasJehovahisadoredoftheJewsandChristisadoredofthe
Christians.
ThenofasuddensmotetheAngeloftheLord.Ofasuddenintolerablepain
seizeduponhisvitals,andHerodrememberedthathewasbutmortalflesh,and
knewthatdeathwasnear.
“Alas!”hecried,“Iamnogod,butaman,andevennowthecommonfateof
manisonme.”
Ashespokeagreatwhiteowlslidfromtheroofofthecanopyabovehimand
vanishedthroughtheunroofedcentreofthecavea.
“Look!look!mypeople!”hecriedagain,“thespiritthatbroughtmegood


fortuneleavesmenow,andIdie,mypeople,Idie!”Then,sinkinguponhis
throne,hewhoamomentgonehadreceivedtheworshipofagod,writhedthere
inagonyandwept.Yes,Herodwept.
Attendantsrantohimandliftedhimintheirarms.
“Takemehencetodie,”hemoaned.Nowaheraldcried:
“Thekingissmittenwithasoresickness,andthegamesareclosed.Toyour
homes,Opeople.”
Forawhilethemultitudesatsilent,fortheywerefear-stricken.Thenamurmur
roseamongthemthatspreadandswelledtillitbecamearoar.
“TheChristians!TheChristians!Theyprophesiedtheevil.Theyhavebewitched
theking.Theyarewizards.Killthem,killthem,killthem!”
Instantly,likewavespouringinfromeveryside,hundredsandthousandsofmen
begantoflowtowardsthatplacewherethemartyrssat.Thewallsandpalisades
werehigh.Sweepingasidetheguards,theysurgedagainstthemlikewater
againstarock;butclimbtheycouldnot.Thoseinfrontbegantoscream,those
behindpressedon.Somefellandweretroddenunderfoot,othersclambered
upontheirbodies,inturntofallandbetroddenunderfoot.
“Ourdeathisuponus!”criedoneoftheNazarenes.
“Nay,liferemainstous,”answeredNehushta.“Followme,allofyou,forIknow
theroad,”and,seizingRachelaboutthemiddle,shebegantodraghertowardsa
littledoor.Itwasunlockedandguardedbyonemanonly,theapostatejailer
Rufus.
“Standback!”hecried,liftinghisspear.
Nehushtamadenoanswer,onlydrawingadaggerfromherrobe,shefellupon
theground,thenofasuddenroseagainbeneathhisguard.Theknifeflashedand
wenthometothehilt.Downfellthemanscreamingforhelpandmercy,and
there,inthenarrowway,hisspiritwasstampedoutofhim.Beyondlaythe
broadpassageofthevomitorium.Theygainedit,andinaninstantweremixed
withthethousandswhosoughttoescapethepanic.Someperished,somewere
sweptonwards,amongthemNehushtaandRachel.Thricetheynearlyfell,but


thefiercestrengthoftheLibyansavedhermistress,tillatlengththeyfound
themselvesonthebroadterracefacingtheseashore.
“Whithernow?”gaspedRachel.
“WhereshallIleadyou?”answeredNehushta.“Donotstay.Beswift.”
“Buttheothers?”saidRachel,glancingbackatthefighting,trampling,yelling
mob.
“Godguardthem!Wecannot.”
“Leaveme,”moanedhermistress.“Saveyourself,Nou;Iamspent,”andshe
sankdowntoherknees.
“ButIamstillstrong,”mutteredNehushta,andliftingtheswooningwomanin
hersinewyarms,shefledontowardstheport,crying,“Way,wayformylady,
thenobleRoman,whohasswooned!”
Andthemultitudemadeway.


CHAPTERIII
THEGRAINSTORE
Havingpassedtheouterterracesoftheamphitheatreinsafety,Nehushtaturned
downasidestreet,andpausedintheshadowofthewalltothinkwhatshe
shoulddo.Sofartheyweresafe;butevenifherstrengthwouldstandthestrain,
itseemedimpossiblethatsheshouldcarryhermistressthroughthecrowdedcity
andavoidrecapture.Forsomemonthstheyhadbothofthembeenprisoners,and
asitwasthecustomoftheinhabitantsofCæsarea,whentheyhadnothingelseto
do,tocometothegatesoftheirjail,and,throughthebars,tostudythosewithin,
oreven,bypermissionoftheguards,towalkamongthem,theirappearancewas
knowntomany.Doubtless,sosoonastheexcitementcausedbytheillnessofthe
kinghadsubsided,soldierswouldbesenttohuntdownthefugitiveswhohad
escapedfromtheamphitheatre.Moreespeciallywouldtheysearchforher,
Nehushta,andhermistress,sinceitwouldbeknownthatoneofthemhad
stabbedthewardenofthegate,acrimeforwhichtheymustexpecttodieby
torture.Also—wherecouldtheygowhohadnofriends,sinceallChristianshad
beenexpelledthecity?
No,therewasbutonechanceforthem—toconcealthemselves.
Nehushtalookedroundherforahiding-place,andinthismatter,asinotherson
thatday,fortunefavouredthem.Thisstreetintheolddays,whenCæsareawas
calledStrato’sTower,hadbeenbuiltuponaninnerwallofthecity,nowlong
dismantled.AtadistanceofafewyardsfromwhereNehushtahadstoppedstood
anancientgateway,unusedsaveattimesbybeggarswhosleptunderit,which
lednowhere,fortheouterarchofitwasbrickedup.IntothisgatewayNehushta
borehermistressunobserved,tofindtoherreliefthatitwasquiteuntenanted,
thoughastillsmoulderingfireandabrokenamphoracontainingcleanwater
showedherthatfolkhadslepttherewhocouldfindnobetterlodging.Sofarso
good;buthereitwouldbescarcelysafetohide,asthetenantsorothersmight
comeback.Nehushtalookedaround.Inthethickwallwasalittlearchway,
beneathwhichcommencedastair.SettingRachelontheground,sheranupit,
lightlyasacat.Atthetopofthirtysteps,manyofthembroken,shefoundanold
andmassivedoor.Withasighofdisappointment,theLibyanturnedtodescend
again;then,byanafterthought,pushedatthedoor.Tohersurpriseitstirred.


Againshepushed,anditswungopen.Withinwasalargechamber,lightedby
loopholespiercedinthethicknessofthewall,fortheuseofarchers.Now,
however,itservednomilitarypurpose,butwasusedasastorehousebya
merchantofgrain,forthereinacornerlayaheapofmanymeasuresofbarley,
andstrewnaboutthefloorweresacksofskinandotherarticles.
Nehushtaexaminedtheroom.Nohiding-placecouldbebetter—unlessthe
merchantchancedtocometovisithisstore.Well,thatmustberisked.Downshe
sped,andwithmuchtoilanddifficultycarriedherstillswooningmistressupthe
stepsandintothechamber,whereshelaidheronaheapofsacks.
Again,byanafterthought,sheventuredtodescend,thistimetofetchthebroken
jarofwater.Thensheclosedthedoor,settingitfastwithapieceofwood,and
begantochafeRachel’shandsandtosprinkleherfacefromthejar.Presentlythe
darkeyesopenedandhermistresssatup.
“Isitover,andisthisParadise?”shemurmured.
“Ishouldnotcalltheplacebythatname,lady,”answeredNehushta,drily,
“thoughperhaps,incontrastwiththehellthatwehaveleft,somemightthinkit
so.Drink!”andsheheldthewatertoherlips.
Rachelobeyedhereagerly.“Oh!itisgood,”shesaid.“Buthowcamewehere
outofthatrushingcrowd?”
Beforesheanswered,muttering“Afterthemistress,themaid,”Nehushta
swallowedadeepdraughtofwaterinherturn,which,indeed,sheneededsorely.
Thenshetoldherall.
“Oh!Nou,”saidRachel,“howstrongandbraveyouare!ButforyouIshouldbe
dead.”
“ButforGod,youmean,mistress,forIholdthatHesentthatknife-pointhome.”
“Didyoukilltheman?”askedRachel.
“Ithinkthathediedbyadagger-thrustasAnnaforetold,”sheanswered
evasively;“andthatremindsmethatIhadbettercleantheknife,sincebloodon
thebladeisevidenceagainstitsowner.”Thendrawingthedaggerfromits
hiding-placesherubbeditwithdust,whichshetookfromaloophole,and


polisheditbrightwithapieceofhide.
ScarcelywasthistaskaccomplishedtoNehushta’ssatisfactionwhenherquick
earscaughtasound.
“Foryourlife,besilent,”shewhispered,andlaidherfacesidewaystoacrackin
thecementfloorandlistened.Wellmightshelisten,forbelowwerethree
soldierssearchingforherandhermistress.
“TheoldfellowsworethathesawaLibyanwomancarryingaladydownthis
street,”saidoneofthem,thepettyofficerincharge,tohiscompanion,“and
therewasbutasinglebrown-skininthelot;soiftheyaren’thereIdon’tknow
wheretheycanbe.”
“Well,”grumbledoneofthesoldiers,“thisplaceisasemptyasadrum,sowe
mayaswellbegoing.There’llbefunpresentlywhichIdon’twanttomiss.”
“ItwastheblackwomanwhoknifedourfriendRufus,wasn’tit—inthetheatre
there?”askedthethirdsoldier.
“Theysayso;butashewastroddenasflatasaroof-board,andtheyhadtotake
himupinpieces,itisdifficulttoknowthetruthofthatmatter.Anyhowhis
matesareanxioustogetthelady,andIshouldbesorrytodieasshewill,when
theydo,orhermistresseither.Theyhaveleavetofinishthemintheirown
fashion.”
“Hadn’twebestbegoing?”saidthefirstsoldier,whoevidentlywasanxiousto
keepsomeappointment.
“Hullo!”exclaimedthesecond,asharp-eyedfellow,“there’sastair;wehad
betterjustlookupit.”
“Notmuchuse,”answeredtheofficer.“ThatoldthiefAmram,thecornmerchant,hasastorethere,andheisn’toneofthesorttoleaveitunlocked.Still,
justgoandsee.”
Thencamethesoundoffootstepsonthestair,andpresentlyamancouldbe
heardfumblingatthefurthersideofthedoor.Rachelshuthereyesandprayed;
Nehushta,drawingtheknifefromherbosom,crepttowardsthedoorwaylikea
tigress,andplacedherlefthandonthestickthathelditshut.Wellitwasthatshe


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