“Thou art right, my good friend,” answered the president, “perfectly right. There must be a ground of complaint, and I trust we shall be able to find it. We must find it!”
Again the great city of Babylon was all excitement, and expectation was raised to its highest pitch. The long-expected day had arrived, and the grand entry of Darius the Mede was momentarily expected by an enthusiastic and curious throng. By the Babylonians generally, their new king was regarded in a favorable light. Such had been the profligacy and tyranny of their late kings, that any change was hailed with gratitude; and, moreover, the mildness of Darius toward them on a previous visitation, when accompanied by Cyrus the Persian, had won their regard and affection. Thousands of the people had gone without the walls to meet him, and tens of thousands were seen thronging the public grounds in the vicinity of the royal palaces. At last the monarch’s triumphal train appeared in the distance, the shining spears and bright armor of his guard glittering in the clear sunbeams. Nearer and nearer they approached, and entered the city; and, amid enthusiastic shouts, the monarch was escorted to the royal palace.
Darius the Mede was far from being a man of stern moral worth and true decision of character. He was rather weak in mind and easily flattered. Nevertheless he was a man of tender feelings, and cruelty was no part of his nature. He was greatly elated with the warm reception he had received at the hands of the Babylonians, and now or never was the time for the foul conspirators to try their power with the king.
The two presidents, accompanied by the four princes, soon made their appearance in the presence of the king.
“Welcome into the presence of your sovereign!” said the king in a pleasant mood. “Let the full desires of your hearts be made known to the king, and with pleasure he will grant your every wish.”
“O king, live forever!” replied President Fraggood. “Thou art a mighty ruler. Thy dominions are unbounded. Thy rich possessions are found in every clime. The name of Darius falls on the ears of the kings of the earth, and they tremble. In thy wisdom thou hast set over the provinces of Babylon an hundred and twenty princes, and over these thou hast set three presidents, the first of whom is Daniel, a man mighty in wisdom and understanding. Now, O king, thou knowest that these provinces are united, and may the gods forbid that anything should ever transpire to dissolve this glorious union. Thy servants have some reason to fear that among some of the inhabitants of these northern provinces there is a disposition to think that the commands of the king are not absolute, and that in certain cases they may be disregarded. Far be it from us to think that this feeling prevails to any serious extent. We are happy to know that,