“Dear love,—It has been a day illumined with new honor and the praises of a king. Now, before sleeping, I send these words to tell you that I have not forgotten. Every day I think of you, and my love grows. I see your face full of honor and the will to give all for me. Because it is in you, I love honor beyond all my hope of it, and—that look in your eyes—oh, it has made me to think gently and be kind! Now I tell you of a wonderful thing—this feeling is the very seed of friendship. The legate, the procurator, the high priest, and Herod himself, are my friends. I had only the will to serve, and now they insist that I shall command. After all, it is in no way remarkable—there be so few here who forget themselves for the good of the service. It all leads to a new and a great law—think of the good of others and you need have no thought of yourself. Consider this, my beloved, if every man loved a good woman as I love you a new peace would fill the world.”
Then he told her of his discovery of David, the brother of Cyran, and their friendship.
When Appius told his mother and his sister what Augustus had said to him, they were greatly distressed. But Arria would not believe that Vergilius had been guilty of dishonor. Such were her anxiety and her fear of injustice falling upon her lover, the girl would have it that she must go to Jerusalem with Appius. She would neither be turned away nor bear with dissuasion. Her brother told her not of the bitter message of Augustus, and, fearing the wiles of the Jewish prince, determined to take her with him. So, therefore, as the sun rose on the nones of November in that year of the birth of Jesus, they set out with a troop of horse on the Appian Way.
They were midland in Thrace on their way to Piraeus, where a ship waited them, when they were overtaken by the cavalcade of Antipater. The prince, summoned by Herod, was now returning, under royal banners, to receive his inheritance of glory and power. A letter had started him, which, according to the great historian of that time, was warm with affectionate greeting. Antipater, also, was to take ship for Judea. He had learned of the departure of Appius and Arria, and had pushed his horses to the limit of their speed in order to overtake them. When he first saw the troop of the young Roman, he left his column and came rushing on to greet them.
The troop of Appius quickly faced about and stood with raised lances.
“Proud son and daughter of Publius,” said Antipater, drawing rein, “my heart, my horses, and my men are at your service!” He was now splendid in royal vestments of purple and gold.
“Our gratitude is not less than our surprise,” said Appius. “How came you flying out of the west like a bluebird?”
“’Tis a winged foot that goes to meet a friend,” said the prince. “I left Rome far behind you and I go to Jerusalem.”