“I did not disturb them, but I went back to the town and made some inquiries about the stranger. I found that he was a Danite, and lived with his parents in Zorah, and that his name was Samson. I also learned that his family was possessed of considerable means.
“It soon became plain that it would not be easy for me to carry out my marriage plans and settle down among my vines and fig-trees. Samson went home, told his parents of his desire to marry this girl, and in the course of time they all came down to Timnath and made regular matrimonial propositions to her parents.”
“Was this the great Samson who tore lions apart and threw down temples?” asked Mrs. Crowder, in amazement.
“The very man,” was the reply; “and he was the most formidable rival I ever had in that sort of affair. The proper thing for me to do, according to the custom of the times, would have been to take him aside, as soon as I found that he was paying attentions to my sweetheart, and fight him; but the more I looked at him and his peculiar proportions, the more I was convinced that he was not a man with whom I wanted to fight.”
“I should think not,” said Mrs. Crowder. “How glad I am thee never touched him!”
“The result might not have been disastrous to me,” he said; “for although I have always avoided military matters as much as possible, I was probably better versed in the use of a sword than he was. But I did not care to kill him, and from what I heard of him afterward, I am sure that if he had ever got those long arms around me I should have been a mass of broken bones.
“So, taking everything into consideration, I gave up my plan to marry this girl of Timnath; and I was afterward very glad I did so, for she proved a tricky creature, and entered into a conspiracy to deceive her husband, actually weeping before him seven days in order to worm out of him the secret of his strength.”
“I suppose thee never met Delilah?” asked Mrs. Crowder.
“Oh, no,” he answered; “before Samson was married I left that part of the world, and I did not make the acquaintance of the attractive young person who was so successful in the grand competition of discovering the source of Samson’s strength. In fact, it was nearly a hundred years after that before I heard of those great exploits of Samson which have given him such widespread fame.”
“I am glad thee never met Delilah,” said Mrs. Crowder, reflectively; “for thee, too, was possessed of a great secret, and she might have gained it from thee.”
“I think thee was in great danger,” continued Mrs. Crowder, “in that Samson business. It makes me shudder to think, even now, of what might have happened to thee.”
“There was not much danger,” said he; “for all I had to do was to withdraw, and there was an end to the matter. I have often and often been in greater danger than that. For instance, I was in the army of Xerxes, compelled to enter it simply because I happened to be in Persia. My sympathies were entirely with the Greeks. My age did not protect me at all. Everybody who in any way could be made useful was dragged into that army. It was known that I had a knowledge of engineering and surveying, and I was taken into the army to help build bridges and lay out camps.