With a smile, one of the twain took the hand of the prophet, and gently said:
“May Jehovah grant a happy night to his servant among the lions, and on the morrow may we have a joyful meeting.”
“God bless thee, dear Perreeza!” said the man of God.
The other one now approached, and, in a mild voice, said:
“Daniel, the servant of the living God, is secure in the midst of all his foes. He that quenched the violence of the fire, shall tame the fury of the lions.”
“Heaven smile upon the daughter of Barzello!” was the prophet’s answer.
The procession was now formed, and soon reached the vicinity of the lions’ den, where thousands of the inhabitants had assembled to take the last lingering look at their aged fellow-citizen. There also was the king himself, with a number of his most intimate nobles. The soldiers moved forward, and a clear space was prepared in front of the platform on which the king and his friends stood.
The countenance of the monarch was pale, and his whole appearance gave the beholder to understand that he was one of the unhappiest of mortals. The conspirators were not permitted to occupy the platform with him, but were commanded to stand together on his left.
When the prisoner arrived, he gently bowed and saluted the king, which salutation was answered only by falling tears. The throng, witnessing the emotion of the king, gave vent to their grief, and one loud wail ascended. Then, indeed, did those conspirators tremble! Then did they really learn the deep hold their victim had on the popular mind. Again the agitation was partially quieted, when the loud roaring of lions within made the earth tremble. The awful moment was drawing nigh! Daniel ascended some steps near by, and having had permission from the king, proceeded, in a few words, to address the multitude:
“Babylonians! with naught of malice in my heart against any man, and with perfect good feeling toward the king, I yield myself to the demands of a broken law. Here, in the presence of the God of my fathers, whom I worship, and in the presence of my king, whom I respect, and in the presence of this throng, whose tears flow for my sorrow, and in the presence of these mine accusers, who thirst for my blood, I solemnly declare, that as first president in the kingdom, I