“Because I have faith: that is all—and it is all,” said Morok, imperiously interrupting Karl, and accompanying these words with such a look, that the other hung his head and was silent.
“Why should not he whom the Lord upholds in his struggle with wild beasts, be also upheld in his struggle with men, when those men are perverse and impious?” added the Prophet, with a triumphant, inspired air.
Whether from belief in his master’s conviction, or from inability to engage in a controversy with him on so delicate a subject, Karl answered the Prophet, humbly: “you are wiser than I am, master; what you do must be well done.”
“Did you follow this old man and these two young girls all day long?” resumed the Prophet, after a moment’s silence.
“Yes; but at a distance. As I know the country well, I sometimes cut across a valley, sometimes over a hill, keeping my eye upon the road, where they were always to be seen. The last time I saw them, I was hid behind the water-mill by the potteries. As they were on the highway for this place, and night was drawing on, I quickened my pace to get here before them, and be the bearer of what you call good news.”
“Very good—yes—very good: and you shall be rewarded; for if these people had escaped me—”
The Prophet started, and did not conclude the sentence. The expression of his face, and the tones of his voice, indicated the importance of the intelligence which had just been brought him.
“In truth,” rejoined Karl, “it may be worth attending to; for that Russian courier, all plastered with lace, who came, without slacking bridle, from St. Petersburg to Leipsic, only to see you, rode so fast, perhaps, for the purpose—”
Morok abruptly interrupted Karl, and said:
“Who told you that the arrival of the courier had anything to do with these travellers? You are mistaken; you should only know what I choose to tell you.”
“Well, master, forgive me, and let’s say no more about it. So! I will get rid of my game-bag, and go help Goliath to feed the brutes, for their supper time draws near, if it is not already past. Does our big giant grow lazy, master?”
“Goliath is gone out; he must not know that you are returned; above all, the tall old man and the maidens must not see you here—it would make them suspect something.”
“Where do you wish me to go, then?”
“Into the loft, at the end of the stable, and wait my orders; you may this night have to set out for Leipsic.”
“As you please; I have some provisions left in my pouch, and can sup in the loft whilst I rest myself.”
“Master, remember what I told you. Beware of that old fellow with the gray moustache; I think he’s devilish tough; I’m up to these things—he’s an ugly customer—be on your guard!”
“Be quite easy! I am always on my guard,” said Morok.
“Then good luck to you, master!”—and Karl, having reached the ladder, suddenly disappeared.