Pearl-Maiden eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 396 pages of information about Pearl-Maiden.

But although he accompanied them, since otherwise they might have suspected that he was a Jew, Demetrius, who sought another goddess, cursed Venus in his heart, knowing that had it not been for her delights the sailors would have risked the weather.  Still, there was no help for it and no other ship by which he could sail, so here he abode for more than three months, spending his time in Curium, Amathos and Salamis, trading among the rich natives of Cyprus, out of whom he made a large profit, and adding wine, and copper from Tamasus to his other merchandise, as much as there was room for on the ship.

In the end after the great spring festival, for the captain said that it would not be fortunate to leave until this had been celebrated, they set sail and came by way of Rhodes to the Island of Crete, and thence touching at Cythera to Syracuse in Sicily, and so at last to Rhegium.  Here the merchant, Demetrius, transhipped his goods into a vessel that was sailing to the port of Centum Cellae, and having reached that place hired transport to convey them to Rome, nearly forty miles away.

CHAPTER XXI

THE CAESARS AND PRINCE DOMITIAN

When the captain Gallus reached the outskirts of Rome he halted, for he did not desire that Miriam should be led through the streets in the daytime, and thus cause questions to be asked concerning her.  Also he sent on a messenger bidding the man find out his wife, Julia, if she were still alive, since of this Gallus, who had not seen her for several years, could tell nothing, and inform her that he would be with her shortly, bringing with him a maiden who had been placed in his charge by Titus.  Before nightfall, the messenger returned, and with him Julia herself, a woman past middle-age, but, although grey-haired, still handsome and stately.

Miriam saw their meeting, which was a touching sight, since this childless couple who had been married for almost thirty years, had now been separated for a long time.  Moreover, a rumour had reached Julia that her husband was not only wounded, but dead, wherefore her joy and thankfulness at his coming were even greater than they would otherwise have been.  One thing, however, Miriam noted, that whereas her friend and benefactor, Gallus, held up his hands and thanked the gods that he found his wife living and well, Julia on her part said: 

“Aye, I thank God,” touching her breast with her fingers as she spoke the words.

Presently the matron seemed to notice her, and, looking at her with a doubtful eye, asked: 

“How comes it, husband, that you are in charge of this captive Jewess, if Jewess she be who is so fair?”

“By the orders of Titus Caesar, wife,” he answered, “to whom she must be delivered on his arrival.  She was condemned to perish on the gate Nicanor as a traitress to the Jews and a Nazarene.”

Julia started and looked at the girl over her shoulder.

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Pearl-Maiden from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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