“The praises of this man have not yet reached his real merits, Cyrus,” said Darius. “Thou well sayest. There is a striking peculiarity in all his movements that convinces the beholder that he is one among ten thousand.”
“Thy stay in Babylon must be of short duration. Thou art soon off to the wars. I also must soon return to Media; therefore, this appointing of the presidents must be attended to without delay. On thee, I pray, let this business rest; and whomsoever, in thy wisdom, thou shalt appoint, be assured the appointment will receive my cordial approbation.”
“In this I will strive to do the will of my kind uncle. I will call together my council, and the thing shall soon be accomplished.”
. . . . . . .
In the mansion of one of the presidents, in a delightful part of the city of Babylon, sat together two men in deep and earnest conversation. One of these, whose name was Kinggron, was the owner of the superb mansion. The other, whose name was Fraggood, was his fellow president, under Daniel. On some point of great moment they appeared to be well agreed; while envy, mingled with anger, rested on each countenance.
“The king will soon be again in Babylon,” said Kinggron, “and there is no time to be lost. Whatever measure we resort to in order to replace this old Hebrew, whose eye is upon us continually, must be attended to without delay, for the king’s stay among us will be of short duration.”
“As soon as our companions come, I trust we shall be able to contrive some measure that will remove this ever-watchful old Israelite far out of our way. Does it not ill become the wisdom of Cyrus the Persian to place over our heads this exacting old stranger, who is neither a Persian, Mede, nor even a Chaldean, but a Hebrew, brought to the country as a captive of war—and behold, surely he stands next to the king! One year has gone. We have borne our grief in painful silence. The time for action has arrived—he must be removed. Our combined wisdom must be brought to bear on this one point, and no rest must we find until it is fully accomplished.”
The door opened and four persons silently walked into the apartment. They were of middle age, and appeared to be on familiar terms with the two presidents. They were all Medes, and appeared to be princes of the provinces, and it was very soon evident that with the two superior officers they were favorites.
“Let it be well understood,” said Kinggron, “that this Daniel is greatly in the favor of Cyrus; and, moreover, that he stands high in the estimation of the king. Of Cyrus we have no present fear, seeing he is out in the wars. This is well, for before him we would not dare to complain. The king is in possession of far less power of discernment than he, and with him, I trust, we must be successful.”
“But,” answered Bimbokrak, “we must have some cause—something specific to offer as a ground of complaint against him before the king, or the movement will utterly fail, and prove disastrous to ourselves.”