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as a private person, laying a regular
Charming! queen of diplomatists
'Recollect that you are a Christian,' answered Hypatia, half smiling.
So the prefect departed; and passing through the outer hall, which was already crowded with Hypatia's aristocratic pupils and visitors, bowed his way out past them, and regained his chariot, chuckling over the rebuff which he intended to administer to Cyril, and comforting himself with the only text of Scripture of the inspiration of which he was thoroughly convinced-Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.'
At the door was a crowd of chariots, slaves with their masters' parasols, and the rabble of on-looking boys and market-folk, as usual in Alexandria then, as in all great cities since, who were staring at the prefect, and having their heads rapped by his guards, and wondering what sort of glorious personage Hypatia might be, and what sort of glorious house she must live in, to be fit company for the great governor of Alexandria. Not that there was not many a sulky and lowering face among the mob, for the great majority of them were Christians, and very seditious and turbulent politicians, as Alexandrians, men of Macedonia,' were bound to be; and there was many a grumble among them, all but audible, at the prefect's going in state to the heathen woman's house-heathen sorceress, some pious old women called her before he heard any poor soul's
petition in the tribunal, or even
his prayers in church.
Just as he was stepping into his curricle, a tall young man, as gorgeously bedizened as himself, lounged down the steps after him, and beckoned lazily to the black boy who carried his parasol.
Ah, Raphael Aben-Ezra! my excellent friend, what propitious deity -ahem! martyr-brings you to
Alexandria just as I want you? Ge up by my side, and let us are a chat on our way to the triba
The man addressed came sy forward with an ostentatiously in salutation, which could not hide. and indeed was not intended to ii, the contemptuous and lazy expres drawling, fainéant tonesion of his face; and asked, 'n 1
the representative of the Casars be And for what kind purpose des stow such an honour on the humbles of his, &c. &c.-your penetration will supply the rest.'
going to borrow money of you,' an 'Don't be frightened; I am not swered Orestes, laughingly, as the Jew got into the curricle.
'I am glad to hear it. Really one father made the gold, and if I spend usurer in a family is enough. My it, I consider that I do all that is required of a philosopher.'
A charming team of white Nigrey hoof among all the four.' sæans, is not this? And only one Yes horses are a bore, I begin to find, like everything else. Always falling sick, or running away, or breaking one's peace of mind in some way or other. Besides, I have been pestered out of my in Cyrene, by commissions for dogs life there episcopal Nimrod, Synesius.' and horses and bows from that old
What, is the worthy man lively as ever?'
into a nervous fever in three days.
with me, with a cargo that may suit your highness.'
There are a great many fair daughters of your nation who might suit me, without any cargo at all.'
Ah, they have had good practice, the little fools, ever since the days of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat. But I mean old Miriam-you know. She has been lending Synesius money to fight the black fellows with; and really it was high time. They had burnt every homestead for miles through the province. But the daring old girl must do a little business for herself; so she went off, in the teeth of the barbarians, right away to the Atlas, bought all their lady prisoners, and some of their own sons and daughters, too, of them, for beads and old iron; and has come back with as pretty a cargo of Lybian beauties as a prefect of good taste could wish to have the first choice of. You may thank me for that privilege.'
'After, of course, you had suited yourself, my cunning Raphael?'
'Not I. Women are bores, as Solomon found out long ago. Did I never tell you? I began, as, he did, with the most select harem in Alexandria. But they quarrelled so, that one day I went out, and sold them all but one, who was a Jewess- so there were objections on the part of the Rabbis. Then I tried one, as Solomon did; but my garden shut up,' and my sealed fountain' wanted me to be always in love with her, so I went to the lawyers, allowed her a comfortable maintenance, and now I am as free as a monk, and shall be happy to give your excellency the benefit of any good taste or experience which I may possess.'
Thanks, worthy Jew. We are not yet as exalted as yourself, and will send for the old Erictho this very afternoon. Now listen a moment to base, earthly, and political business. Cyril has written to me, to say that you Jews have plotted to murder all the Christians."
'Well-why not? I most heartily wish it were true, and think, on the whole, that it very probably is so.'
By the immortal-saints, man! you are not serious ?'
"The four archangels forbid! It is no concern of mine. All I say is,
that my people are great fools, like the rest of the world; and have, for aught I know or care, some such intention. They wont succeed, of course; and that is all you have to care for. But if you think it worth the trouble-which I do not-I shall have to go to the synagogue on business in a week or so, and then I would ask some of the Rabbis.'
'Laziest of men !-and I must answer Cyril this very day.'
'An additional reason for asking no questions of our people. Now you can honestly say that know you nothing about the matter."
'Well, after all, ignorance is a stronghold for poor statesmen. So you need not hurry yourself.'
'I assure your excellency I will
Ten days hence, or so, you know.'
'Exactly, after it is all over.' 'And can't be helped. What a comfort it is, now and then, that Can't be helped!'
'It is the root and marrow of all philosophy. Your practical man, poor devil, will try to help this and that, and torment his soul with ways and means, and preventives and forestallings: your philosopher quietly says-It can't be helped. If it ought to be, it will be: if it is, it ought to be. We did not make the world, and we are not responsible for it.There is the sum and substance of all true wisdom, and the epitome of all that has been said and written thereon, from Philo the Jew to Hypatia the Gentile. By the bye, here's Cyril coming down the steps of the Cæsareum. A very handsome fellow, after all, though he is looking as sulky as a bear.'
With his cubs at his heels. What a scoundrelly visage that tall fellow-deacon, or reader, or whatever he is by his dress-has.'
"There they are-whispering together. Heaven give them pleasant thoughts and pleasanter faces!"
'Amen!' quoth Orestes, with a sneer: and he would have said Amen in good earnest, had he been able to take the liberty-which we shall-and listen to Cyril's answer to Peter, the tall reader.
From Hypatia's, you say? Why, he only returned to the city this morning.'
And twenty carriages besides. I das coin?
The street was blocked up with them. There: Lok mund the corLet Low-Carriages, litters, RATES, and candles—When shall we see Fuch & oLoverse as that where it ought to be?
Cyrli made no answer, and Peter went on Where it ought to be, my father-in front of your door at the Serapeum?
The world, the flesh, and the devil know their own, Peter: and as long as they have their own to go to, we cannot expect them to
come to us.'
But what if their own were taken out of the way!
They might come to us for want of better amusement. ... devil and all. Well-if I could get a fair hold of the two first, I would take the third into the bargain, and see what could be done with him. But never, while these lecture-rooms last-these Egyptian chambers of imagery these theatres of Satan, where the devil transforms himself into an angel of light, and apes Christian virtue, and bedizens his ministers like ministers of righteousness-as long as that lecture-room stands, and the great and the powerful flock to it, to learn excuses for their own tyrannies and atheisms, so long will the kingdom of God be trampled under foot in Alexandria; so long will the princes of this world, with their gladiators, and parasites, and moneylenders, be masters here, and not the bishops and priests of the living
It was now Peter's turn to be silent; and as the two, with their little knot of district-visitors behind them, walk moodily along the great esplanade which overlooked the harbour, and then vanish suddenly up some dingy alley into the crowded misery of the sailors' quarter, we will leave them to go about their errand of mercy, and, like fashionable people, keep to the grand parade, and listen again to our two fashionable friends in the carved and gilded curricle with four white blood-horses.
'A fine sparkling breeze outside
"Are they gone yet?
I sent the first feet of three days ago; and the rest are clearing outwards to-day." *Os—25—80-Then you have not heard from Herasian ?
Heraclan? What the blessed saints has the Count of Africa to do with my wheat-ships?
Oh, nothing. It's no business of mine. Only he is going to rebel... But here we are at your door."
To what? asked Orestes, in a horrified tone.
To rebel, and attack Rome." "Good gods-God. I mean! fresh bore! Come in, and tell a poor miserable devil of a governor -speak low, for heaven's sake!—I hope these rascally grooms haven't overheard you.'
Easy to throw them into the canal, if they have,' quoth Raphael, as he walked coolly through hall and corridor after the perturbed governor.
Poor Orestes never stopped till he reached a little chamber off the inner court, beckoned the Jew in after him, locked the door, threw himself into an arm-chair, put his hands on his knees, and sat, bending forward, staring into Raphael's face with a ludicrous terror and perplexity.
Tell me all about it. Tell me this instant!'
'I have told you all I know,' quoth Raphael, quietly seating himself on a sofa, and playing with a jewelled dagger. I thought, of course, that you were in the secret, or I should have said nothing. It's no business of mine, you know.'
Orestes, like most weak and luxurious men, Romans especially, had a wild-beast vein in him—and it burst forth.
'Hell and the furies! You damned provincial slave-you will carry these liberties of yours too far! Do you know who I am, you accursed Jew? Tell me the whole truth, or, by the head of the emperor, I'll twist it out of you with red-hot pincers!'
Raphael's countenance assumed a dogged expression, which showed that the old Jewish blood still beat true, under all its affected shell of
Neo-Platonist nonchalance; and there was a quiet unpleasant earnest in his smile, as he answered
Then, my dear governor, you will be the first man on earth who ever yet forced a Jew to say or do what he did not choose.'
'We'll see!' yelled Orestes. 'Here, slaves!' And he clapped his hands loudly.
Calm yourself, your excellency,' quoth Raphael, rising. The door is locked; the mosquito net is across the window; and this dagger is poisoned. If anything happens to me, you will offend all the Jew money-lenders, and die in about three days in a great deal of pain, having missed our assignation with old Miriam, lost your pleasantest companion, and left your own finances and those of the prefecture in a considerable state of embarrassment. How much better to sit down, hear all I have to say philosophically, like a true pupil of Hypatia, and not expect a man to tell you what he really does not know.'
Orestes, after looking vainly round the room for a place to escape, had quietly subsided into his chair again; and by the time that the slaves knocked at the door, he had so far recovered his philosophy as to ask, not for the torturers, but for a page
'Oh, you Jews!' quoth he, trying to laugh off matters. The same incarnate fiends that Titus found you!'
The very same, my dear prefect. Now for this matter, which is really important at least to Gentiles. Heraclian will certainly rebel. Synesius let out as much to me. He has fitted out an armament for Ostia, stopped his own wheat-ships, and is going to write to you to stop yours, and so starve out the Eternal City, Goths, senate, emperor, and all. Whether you will comply with his reasonable little request depends of course on yourself.'
And that, again, very much on his plans."
Of course. You cannot be expected to-we will euphemize-unless it be made worth your while.'
Orestes sat buried in deep thought. 'Of course not,' said he at last, half unconsciously. And then, in sudden dread of having committed
himself, he looked up fiercely at the Jew.
'And how do I know that this is not some infernal trap of yours? Tell me how you found out all this, or by Hercules (he had quite forgotten his Christianity by this time) -by Hercules and the Twelve Gods, I'll-'
'Don't use expressions unworthy of a philosopher. My source of information was very simple and very good. He has been negotiating a loan from the Rabbis at Carthage. They were either frightened, or loyal, or both, and hung back. He knewas all wise governors know when they allow themselves time-that it is no use to bully a Jew; and applied to me. I never lend money-it is unphilosophical-but I introduced him to old Miriam, who dare do business with the devil himself; and by that move, whether he has the money or not, I cannot tell: but this I can tell, that we have his secret-and so have you, now; and if you want more information, the old woman, who enjoys an intrigue as much as she does Falernian, will get it you.'
Well, you are a true friend, after all.'
'Of course I am. Now, is not this method of getting at the truth much easier and pleasanter than setting a couple of dirty negroes to pinch and pull me, and so making it a point of honour with me to tell you nothing but lies? Here comes Ganymede with the wine, just in time to calm your nerves, and fill you with the spirit of divination. To the goddess of good counsels, my lord! What wine this is!'
True Syrian-fire and honey; fourteen years old next vintage, my Raphael. Out, Hypocorisma! See that he is not listening. The impudent rascal! I was humbugged into giving two thousand gold pieces for him two years ago, he was so pretty-they said he was only just rising thirteen-and he has been the plague of my life ever since, and is beginning to want the barber already. Now-what is the count dreaming of?'
His wages for killing Stilicho.' "What, is it not enough to be Count of Africa?'
'I suppose he sets off against
that his services during the last three years.'
'Well, he saved Africa.'
And thereby Egypt also. And you, too, as well as the emperor, may be considered as owing him somewhat.'
'My good friend, my debts are far too numerous for me to think of paying any of them. But what wages does he want?'
Orestes started, and then fell into thought. Raphael sat watching him awhile.
'Now, most noble lord, may I depart? I have said all I have to say; and unless I get home to luncheon at once, I shall hardly have time to find old Miriam for you, and get through our little affair with her before sunset.'
'Stay. What force has he?'
Forty thousand already, they say. And those Donatist ruffians are with him to a man, if he can but scrape together wherewith to change their bludgeons into good steel.'
'Well, go. ... So. A hunbe thousand might do it,' said be, mestating, as Raphael bowed himse out. He won't get them. Ier: know, though; the man has i head of a Cæsar. Well-that f Attalus talked of joining Egypt & the Western Empire.
such a bad thought either. An thing is better than being governe. by an idiot and a couple of cantin nuns. I expect to be excommus cated every day for some offence against Pulcheria's prudery. Heraclian emperor at Rome
I lord and master on this side the sea.... the Donatists pitted again fairly against the orthodox, to cu each other's throats in peace no more of Cyril's spying and tale bearing to Constantinople. Not such a bad dish of fare. But then-it would take so muc trouble!'
With which words, Orestes went into his third warm bath for that day.
ON the very day and hour whereon the events of the last chapter took place, the young monk Philammon was sitting, three hundred miles from Alexandria, on the edge of a low range of inland cliffs, crested with drifting sand. Behind him the desert sand-waste stretched, lifeless, interminable—reflecting its lurid glare on the horizon of the cloudless vault of blue. At his feet the sand dripped and trickled, in yellow rivulets, from crack to crack and ledge to ledge, or whirled past him in tiny jets of yellow smoke, before the fitful summer airs. Here and there, upon the face of the cliffs which walled in the opposite side of the narrow glen below, were cavernous tombs, huge old quarries, with obelisks and half-cut pillars, standing as the workmen had left them centuries before; the sand was slipping down and piling up around them; their heads were frosted with the arid snow; everywhere was silence, desolation-the grave of a dead nation in a dying land. And there he sat musing
above it all, full of life and youth and health and beauty-a young Apollo of the desert. His only clothing was a ragged sheep-skin, bound with a leathern girdle. His long black locks, unshorn from childhood, waved and glistened in the sun; a rich dark down on cheek and chin showed the spring of healthful manhood; his hard hands and sinewy sun-burnt limbs told of labour and endurance; his flashing eyes and beetling brow, of daring, fancy, passion, thought, which had no sphere of action in such a place. What did his glorious young humanity alone among the tombs ?
So perhaps he, too, thought, as he passed his hand across his brow, as if to sweep away some gathering dream, and sighing, rose and wandered along the cliffs, peering downward at every point and cranny, in search of fuel for the monastery from whence he came.
Simple as was the material which he sought, consisting chiefly of the low arid desert shrubs, with now and