Then they led him off, and presently Simeon appeared upon the gateway with Miriam’s chain about his middle and Miriam’s rope knotted afresh about his wrists.
“Now for this poor girl,” went on Titus Caesar. “It seems that she is a Nazarene, a sect of which all men speak ill, for they try to subvert authority and preach doctrines that would bring the world to ruin. Also she was false to her own people, which is a crime, though one in this instance whereof we Romans cannot complain. Therefore, if only for the sake of example it would be wrong to set her free; indeed, to do so, would be to give her to death. My command is, then, that she shall be taken good care of, and if she recovers, be sent to Rome to adorn my Triumph, should the gods grant me such a thing, and afterwards be sold as a slave for the benefit of the wounded soldiers and the poor. Meanwhile, who will take charge of her?”
“I,” said that officer who had freed Miriam. “There is an old woman who tends my tent, who can nurse her in her sickness.”
“Understand, friend,” answered Titus, “that no harm is to be done to this girl, who is my property.”
“I understand, O Caesar,” said the officer. “She shall be treated as though she were my daughter.”
“Good. You who are present, remember his words and my decree. In Rome, if we live to reach it, you shall give account to me of the captive lady, Miriam. Now take her away, for there are greater matters to be dealt with than the fortunes of this girl.”
Many days had gone by, but still the fighting was not ended, for the Jews continued to hold the Upper City. As it chanced, however, in one of the assaults upon it that officer who had rescued Miriam was badly hurt by a spear-thrust in the leg, so that he could be of no more service in this war. Therefore, because he was a man whom Titus trusted, he was ordered to sail with others of the sick for Rome, taking in his charge much of the treasure that had been captured, and for this purpose travelled down to Tyre, whence his vessel was to put to sea. In obedience to the command of Caesar he had carried the captive Miriam to the camp of his legion upon the Mount of Olives, and there placed her in a tent, where an old slave-woman tended her. For a while it was not certain whether she should live or die, for her sufferings and all that she had seen brought her so near to death that it was hard to keep her from passing its half-opened gates. Still, with good food and care, the strength came back to her body. But in mind Miriam remained sick, since during all these weeks she wandered in her talk, so that no word of reason passed her lips.